Once Slaiton was done with his walkthrough, he headed back up the elevator to Server Room #1. As soon as he stepped out, he was ambushed by an extremely animated Secmaster.
“You are not going to believe this!” Whent cried, waving a pad in Slaiton’s face. “This is seriously crazy. Science fiction crap.”
Slaiton grimaced. He was glad Whent had his health back under control. Really, he was.
“Slow down and tell me,” Slaiton said. “And remember to keep it to vocabulary appropriate for an officer near retirement. School is a long way past.”
When nodded excitedly. He stared off into the distance for long enough that Slaiton was concerned he was having another fit. Then he blinked a few times and smiled.
“Okay,” Whent said. “You know the basics of distributed neural networks, right? Been around for a while. Fancy things used for self-learning programs. They exist in small forms in a lot of things these days.”
Slaiton nodded. He continued his walk down the hall. Whent tailed behind like a puppy, gesturing all the way.
“So the most secure servers here are not just nets. They are literally all combined into a single net. Entire floors of racks, all tied together, with some of the most insanely complex architecture I’ve ever seen. And look here.” Whent shoved the pad in Slaiton’s face. As expected, it was covered with incomprehensible patterns and numbers.
Slaiton raised an eyebrow and glared. Fortunately, Whent had learned to notice when the commissioner’s patience was wearing thing.
“Okay,” Whent said, sounding slightly disappointed. “Upshot is this: there’s a part of this thing that is complex enough to sustain full-on thought patterns.”
“You mean it’s like a brain?” Slaiton asked.
“Not just that. It might well be completely sapient.”
That’s when alarms started going off. Lights, strobes, and piercing shrieks from all sides. Slaiton started running towards the nearest server.
“What the hell is that?” he shouted to Whent.
“It sounds like a breach alarm,” Whent replied. “Someone’s running on Persephone!”