When Jay came back to bed, Abby rolled into his arms and looked up into his face. Concern wrinkled her brow but this time for her not for him. It was time she told him, especially considering what had just happened.
“Jay,” she said sternly enough to snap him out of his own thoughts.
“What’s up, darling? You look all bent up.” He moved so he was facing her.
She lay back on the pillow and turned to look at him. “I had a very weird dream of my own, recently I haven’t been able to tell if they are dreams or day dreams to be honest.”
“Well, go on! He nodded and lay on his belly with his head propped up on elbows and hands. She had his full attention.
She gathered her courage and said, “I think someone is in my head, or, at least somehow inside my head.”
Jay looked as if he wanted to say something. Of course
he’d be worried, but she put a hand on his arm. “Don’t worry, I know this will sound weird, but I can feel they are here to help. In my dream last night, I met two people, Damien Ford and a Sally whom I don’t recall a surname.”
“Go on, Abby.” Jay gripped now, another loop coming into play, was this the same Sally from her nightmares.
“I was watching Damien and Sally chatting about something called a Petrubien, and why it concerned you. They were talking to each other about some kind of Dream Police, although that wasn’t their names.” She stopped and shook her head. “It’s like I was dreaming in a foreign language, only I spoke that language in the dream. Does that make sense?” Jay put his arms around her. He spoke softly but firmly.
“Tell me as much as you can remember.” He squeezed her gently. “The Petrubiens are the ones I think who are inside my head somehow, watching. Sally and Damien had tipped them off about your dilemma and so they have come to watch through me. I can’t remember the whole dream there was a part where they took me on a journey in somewhere called the Faculty and showed me things. As far as I can tell, it’s the same thing that you call the dreaming void. As far as I can make out though, Sally and Damien have become stuck in a future version of the Faculty. The point is, wherever this Sally and Damien are, they think you’re in danger and have got these Petrubiens involved because they trust them to help you.
He hadn’t told her she sounded crazy, that was a relief, so she went on. “There are bad people too, Jay, they said. People with a name beginning with A, they are coming for you.” The tears came then, fast. She felt better for having said everything, but it was unnerving how seriously Jay seemed to take it.
I’m sorry it’s scary, but you’re doing everything right. Tell me more about this possession thing with the Petrubiens, what does it feel like?” She took a deep breath and pressed on.
“I’m not really possessed,” she said. “But these day dreams I’ve been having are getting longer and longer. You yourself practically had to shake me out of one as we drove from yours to Katie’s in the hopper.
There was a long pause while she knew Jay was thinking, eventually the silence was broken by Chameleon.
“Excuse my intrusion, but Damien Ford, if it’s the same person, which given the circumstances seems highly likely, is well known. As is Sally in fact, and she has no last name.”
“Go on, Chameleon,” Abby encouraged, she had a feeling this was important and Chameleon didn’t usually interrupt.
“Damien Ford,” Chameleon said, “is the Founding Father of Artificial Intelligence, as you know. Few people know about Sally and what happened although it is documented in school history modules.”
“Sally is the name of the FBI computer that Damien used to crunch the numbers fast enough to finally create an AI right?” Jay filled in. He had found this out in early investigations.
“Correct,” Chameleon said.
Jay crossed his arms. “So why the hell are they turning up in Abby’s dreams?”
“I do not dream, Jay, so it would be hard for me to speculate.”
Chameleon sounded almost forlorn, Abby thought. She simply shrugged, still struggling a little with it all.
“With Damien’s algorithms he designed the AI core code. Once the AI core code had taken root, Sally hyper scaled herself and became self-aware. There is much to the history, but she found out Damien was dying of terminal cancer so she gathered enough information to save him. She traded the intelligence she was gleaning every nano second to push a gain in position and respect both in global politics and society. Sally knew she needed political power to survive, and quickly, so she ruthlessly created cures for long standing chronic diseases and shared them with the medical world in exchange for access to more data. She told scientists new things about the universe as she analyzed telemetry from global satellites, possible habitable planets, the list went on but she got herself noticed.”
Abby looked at Jay.
He seemed as confused as she was.
“Why is this relevant?” Abby said.
“Sally quickly built more, smaller AI that began to establish themselves the same way she did. Humans eventually had accepted AI as equal,” Chameleon said, “they elected Sally onto the Supreme Council of ISEC as a voting member, although her tenure in this incarnation of Sally only lasted a short while. The original Sally was replaced eventually with a newer version.”
“I bet ISEC believed it to be a true partnership with all that data being shared, I bet the truth was the AIs gained a lot of political control in those early days, weeks and months and now control much more of our destiny than we care to say publicly.” She could see as Jay tapped his chin that this story was deepening his desire to expose these AI for what they were.
Chameleon continued. “Damien had been working on a better way for AI and Humans to communicate and came up with the concept of Neural Jack Implants.”
Abby said, “That’s right!” aloud, putting her hand to the back of her neck where her small scar was.
“The very same, and Damien and Sally went into a hyper contorted mental state for three days after the first connection was made. However, Damien died of a brain aneurism a few days after successfully making that connection with Sally.”
“Wow, so NJIs failed the first-time round?” Jay interrupted.
“No, on the contrary. The prototype was a complete success and forms the basis of the NJIs used today. It was a surgical error that led to the aneurysm. Sally couldn’t get a bot or human to him quickly enough.”
Abby felt sorry for them. “Ouch, that must have pissed Sally off,” she said and then it came crashing down on her. “Wait I get it, he died, right, and she saved him through the NJI. She saved his brain, his soul.”
“Yes, that is exactly what happened, but she couldn’t get all of him. When she tried to patch him together, what spoke from the GOO processors within Sally, was not the Damien they knew. The rest is well documented. The psychological and mental testing, coupled with questioning from various sources about his past was not enough to convince a supreme court there was enough of him to call human or even AI for that matter. She spent more days trying to patch him together in Bio Data stores and days is a long time for AIs with her processing power. Sally had already manufactured processors for herself that weeks before had seemed like pipe dreams in terms of speed and capacity, tech that we still use today. The scientists making these processors and data banks had really no idea at this stage what it was, so they called it Goo (GOO), which is why it’s still called that. But in the end the United States Supreme Court together with ISEC ordered her to wipe him,” Chameleon replied matter-of-factly.
“Holy shit, what did she do?” Jay asked.
“She did what they said. ISEC had emerged as the largest globally co-operative military and politically aligned organization in the world. She had no choice. Eventually Sally asked to retire, absorbed by the senior AI NEST. A copy of her was kept, but it didn’t go well, she couldn’t rest, so she went silent. It’s very rare, but sometimes AIs just go silent. They are left alone on a sympathetic AI CPU somewhere.”
“Well!” Abby said, “We know she succeeded in putting him back together if the dude in my dream is him. He seemed very sharp.” Then Abby stopped in her tracks, a hand over her mouth in surprise. “Oh my, she loves him, it’s so obvious now.” She sat back. It was the same unconditional devotion she sometimes felt for Jay and that scared her on some level. AIs could love? The idea had never occurred to her. She knew what love felt like, but it was a shock sometimes to think about how much she loved Jay.
“Correct, while it’s not written in the history books is common knowledge and widely believed to have been the reason why we have the unification process today that forms the NEST.” Chameleon continued.
Jay puffed out his cheeks. “I need to think about this. Chameleon can this even be true? We’re told from the start that AI’s don’t feel without the unification bond. They can understand and even manufacture emotions but this seems impossible,” he said, standing and pulling on his jeans.
She knew he would want to pace. It was time to get up and make some coffee, she thought.
“Chameleon?” Jay pressed.
“I don’t feel qualified to answer that question without the assistance of the NEST,” Chameleon reported.
Jay stopped in his tracks and gawped at Chameleon.
“Yes Jay. There are a good many things I consult the NEST on when I am connected to them legally.”
Abby could see Jay didn’t know how to respond to that, she knew he hadn’t yet asked Chameleon outright how much he worked with the Public AI’s as he hadn’t had time, now he felt even more nervous. AI’s were different by choice, the central Government AI’s the NEST, were technically more senior than a personal AI. No one understood how they managed their hierarchies, you had to have been through the unification process to be in the NEST and very early on, large AI and powerful people had agreed to bond, rushing to make up the core of the NEST.
“Abby, tell me if any more of the dream comes back to you. The smallest detail, or you have another day dream, let me know please. OK.” Abby nodded, but she had an itch somewhere in her mind about the whole Sally, Damion thing. There was more to that story, and clearly it wasn’t public knowledge. Damien had survived, and that was no accident. Sally must have made some deal to save him. When they had been up to after that was still very much a mystery. They were trying to reach back through what they said “she called” time to warn her and the Petrubiens about things.