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The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge 21 - Chapter 15

 
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:30 am    Post subject: The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge 21 - Chapter 15 Reply with quote

Morn runs back to her cabin by a route that allows her access to a tool locker. She quickly grabs a wiring laser, a coil of fine wire, a screwdriver, and a circuit probe before nearly running to her cabin door. She is confident Nick will leave her alone while he's still trying to escape Enablement. But she worries he will consider that she must possess a control box if she has a zone implant, and take the control from her. She walks inside her cabin knowing Nick will have the door locked behind her as soon as it shuts. With screwdriver in hand, she pries the door's control panel open. She uses the probe to check the control panel circuits. Once she realizes the properties of the individual circuits, she places wire pieces and welds them into place--for purpose of the computer reporting the door as locked even while its locking mechanism is disabled. Then Morn considers that there's nothing better she can do than wait. And in waiting, she manages to make productive use of her time.

Quote:
The time had come for her to wait.

That should have been impossible. Her son was being traded to the Amnion. They would run tests on him until his psyche tore and his spirit snapped. Then they would make him one of them. They might very well turn him into an improved version of Marc Vestabule. Waiting should have been inconceivable.

It wasn't. Her zone implant made her capable of anything.

On some level, she knew that its emissions were as addictive as any drug, and as destructive. But that didn't matter: they were also effective. With them, she could have put herself to sleep. Or she could have tuned her body to the pitch of orgasm until her brain went into noradrenaline overload, and everything she would ever think or feel boiled away.

However, she had a more complex form of suicide in mind.

After a few adjustments to her black box, she sank into a trance of concentration in which her mind was charged simultaneously with vitality and peace: a trance that allowed her to remember everything she'd ever learned about Captain's Fancy--every code, every command sequence, every logic tree--as well as every precaution Nick has taken for Enablement Station.

Instead of going hysterical with apprehension and helplessness, she spent her time preparing to fight the entire ship.


Her only fear is that Mikka won't tell her when the trade takes place. But it turns out Mikka does tell her, roughly two and a half hours later. Mikka whispers, "He's gone" and informs Morn that in trade for Davies they received from the Amnion impressive gap drive equipment and adapters, soon to be ready for use. Morn quietly opens her cabin door, steps into the deserted hallway, and quietly closes the door behind her. She walks through the hallway to the auxiliary bridge. Liete Corregio is in the room with her back to Morn, studying the command board. Morn sneaks forward and knocks Liete unconscious, taking Liete's handgun. She unseals Liete's shipsuit and arranges it so that Liete's arms are restrained. Morn is now ready to rig the ship...for self-destruct.

She opens the intercom to hear if Nick should happen to address the crew, and focuses on commands both subtle and compulsory to feed into the computer while avoiding attracting any attention. Morn designs these commands to have override authority upon the ship's computer systems. Next, she finds ways to enter overriding commands that dummy Vector's destruct sequence to her board. She also looks for ways that she can control the doors and life support of the auxiliary bridge. And she conceives a way to block Nick from shutting her down.

With her academy training and memory ability being used to the fullest, we now see how the zone implant imposes more superhuman ability than just allowing her to go for extended sleepless periods. It shows she can quickly become a force to be reckoned with on the scale of a ship-wide power struggle. This is a chapter that kept me guessing on what would happen next, practically all the way through.
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:40 am    Post subject: FK 21 - Chapter 15 Reply with quote

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The most crucial thing, the real trick, was to disable Nick's priority codes. This was his ship, programmed to let him supersede all other instructions no matter who issued them. As matters stood, he could shut her down the instant he realized what she was doing.

And yet she'd already conceived a simple solution to the problem--a solution so simple that he might never figure it out.

She wrote an intervening batch command to his board, a command which his priority codes would activate before they took effect. a command which altered his codes by transposing a few digits so that none of the computers would recognize them.

He would be unable to countermand her until he erased the batch command. And that wouldn't happen until he realized what she'd done.

Now. When she keyed in his priority codes herself, all the control she needed would switch to her board. It would belong to her until she gave it up.


Liete regains consciousness, but cannot speak loudly enough to be heard over the intercom system. Morn warns Liete by showing her gun and stating she won't tolerate interference. Liete nods her understanding. Morn speaks through the intercom system to Nick, informing him she has control of the self-destruct program and she's canceled his priority codes. She simultaneously writes another batch command in the system. Nick yells at a crewmember to cut power to auxiliary control. Nick at first orders Mikka to break into auxiliary, but then choses himself for that task. Morn addresses Mikka over the intercom, letting her and the ship snow she's got the self-destruct on a batch command so that the ship will be destroyed if her finger releases its pressure on a toggle switch. When Mikka demands an explanation, Morn tell her to just listen for a minute. Then Morn opens communication with the Amnion of Enablement Station.

Morn bluntly tells Enablement she's taken control of the ship, has rigged a self-destruct, and is ready to blow the ship and Enablement up if her son is not returned to her. A mechanical-sounding Amnion voice demands to know what is going on. Mikka speaks from the bridge to the Amnion, confirming that Morn has taken control. Mikka also asks the Amnion to reply to Morn while Nick tries to regain ship control.

Vector speaks through the intercom from engineering, asking Morn what does she think she's doing. Morn responds by asking Vector if he can go into tach cold. Nick screams over the intercom that this is his ship. An Amnion voice speaking for Enablement insists on knowing why she's dealing dishonestly. The glow of Nick torching the door lock to get in becomes apparent about the same time Liete tries to free her arms. Morn tells the Amnion Nick had no right to trade her son away, and she won't give him up. Morn remarks that she may after all be mad from the mind-copying part of the force-growing procedure, and that it likely explains why she's willing to blow them all up to reclaim Davies.

Morn turns off her communications line with the Amnion to ask Mikka via intercom to stop Nick. Mikka answers wearily she doesn't think it can be done. Enablement restores its communications with Morn, the authoritative voice threatening Morn with being hunted down for violating trade. Morn threatens destruction upon them all if she doesn't get her son back in five minutes. Mikka protests to the Amnion that the rest of the ship shouldn't be punished for Morn's mutiny. Enablement demands proof of self-destruct, and Morn sends them all of the auxiliary command's instructions and sequences. (Morn doesn't fear the Amnion can link to the internal systems of Captain's Fancy.)
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:44 am    Post subject: FK 21 - Chapter 15 Reply with quote

Then Liete manages to tear open her shipsuit. Morn grabs her impact pistol, as Nick burns through the door lock and comes into the auxiliary control room. Liete throws herself against Nick's laser weapon, making it miss Morn and melts a display screen. Liete explains to Nick that Morn could kill them all even if dead, with her finger leaving the toggle switch. Morn adds she has a gun, and Nick dares her to kill him, for he won't let her have his ship. Neither Morn nor Nick fire on the other, though Morn is quite tempted. In a moment, Morn tosses her gun at Nick's feet, to his surprise. She tells Nick if he leaves her alone, she can get them safely out of forbidden space. Nick tells Morn she's bluffing.

Quote:
"That's what Enablement thinks," she retorted. "That's why we might end up dead. But you don't have to believe it. Talk to Mikka. She's still got most of her command functions. She can look at what I've done. She just can't change it without your priority codes--and I've made them useless."

Nick's cheeks and forehead had turned ashen, the color of old bone. His eyes grew bleak, haunted by memories of despair and contempt. "Morn," he said to her softly, "I don't lose. I don't lose. If you beat me here, I swear to you I'll make you and fucking Thermo-pile's son pay so much for it that you'll wish you'd sold yourselves to the Amnion."

She wanted to spit at him. She wanted to sneer, Don't underestimate yourself--I've been in hell and agony ever since you touched me. Yet she resisted those desires, just as she'd refrained from shooting him. Instead she made a sacrifice which seemed more expensive, and infinitely harder, than killing herself. She offered him a way out of his dilemma; a way to salvage his ego.

She said, "I'm not trying to beat you. I'm trying to beat the Amnion."

He muttered, "The shit you are." But his scorn-ridden gaze betrayed an appeal, as if despite his outrage he were begging her to make what she said true.

"Enablement Station to Morn Hyland."

Morn turned away from Nick. Keying communications, she answered harshly, "I hear you."

"False trade is unacceptable," said the mechanical voice. "You have been dealt with honorably. Therefore the human offspring belongs to the Amnion. He must belong to the Amnion."

She started to retort; Nick surprised her by holding up his hand, demanding silence. Still clutching his laser, he walked toward her.

She pressed the chronometer toggle hard enough to whiten her knuckles. But when he reached her station, he dropped the laser. Instead of attacking, he leaned so close to her that she could smell the fury on his breath, as acrid as Amnion air.

"Enablement," he rasped to the communications pickup, "this is Captain Succorso. You'll get your damn offspring. I'll make sure of that."

While he spoke, his gaze held Morn's, daring her to contradict him. "You're right--you traded for him honorably. But Morn's calling the shots at the moment. She can blow us up, and there's nothing I can do about it.

"But she's only human," he snarled. "She's got to rest sometime. And she can't do that unless she releases self-destruct.

"I'll get my ship back," he promised. "And when I do, you can have the offspring."

"Presumed human Captain Nick Succorso," said Enablement promptly, "you have made a commitment which you will be required to fulfill."

As if his words had freed the Amnion from an impasse, the station announced, "Morn Hyland, your offspring waits outside your airlock. You will be permitted to take him aboard."

Permitted--

Nick, you shit.

--to take him aboard.


Morn orders Nick back to the bridge and tells Liete to collect her gun and get Davies. Nick tells Morn she's finished, for he predicts she'll face gap-sickness when they go into hard g before engaging the new gap drive. He says she'll be helpless and he'll be able to give Davies back to the Amnion. Morn laughs at him. Doubt appears on Nick's face as he utters "You're crazy," and leaves the auxiliary bridge.
Quote:
Left to herself, Morn Hyland cackled like a madwoman.
Well, she still sees hope for preserving Davies, for Nick's doubt could be useful for her efforts to change his mind concerning Davies. And she sheds tears thinking that even if Nick kills them both, that at least they died human, safe from being mutated into Amnion. As long as she can prevent Davies from becoming Amnion, she conceives that she has won something for them both.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She hears Liete state that Davies is aboard the ship, and also hears Nick quickly order Davies to be locked up. Then she briefly gets to hear him say he's all right. She's relieved enough to consider making it safe to take her finger off the toggle and then consider how to combat the return of her gap-sickness.

Quote:
With her free hand, she called up the self-destruct batch command to one of her readouts and began editing it.

"Enablement Station, this is command second Mikka Vasaczk. Prepare to disengage." First things first. Carefully, she removed the sequence which keyed self-destruct from the chronometer toggle. When she'd replace the old batch command with this new version, she was able to lift her finger.

More relief. Her imposed capability seemed to be failing. She wanted to put her head down on the console.

With an audible thunk and jolt, Captain's Fancy separated from dock.

At once g changed. Suddenly insecure in her seat, she paused to belt herself down. Then she went back to work.

Mikka's intercom remained open. Morn heard her ask, "Drive status?"

"Thrust is green." Pup's voice had a note of fright which made him sound even younger than he was. "Vector says you can have it whenever you want. He's still working on the gap drive. The new equipment functions fine, but the control parameters need adjustment. And some of the tests don't seem to run right."

"Take us out of here," Mikka instructed the helm first. "Follow their protocols exactly. They already have too many reasons not to trust us. Don't give them another one."

"Are you getting this, Morn?" Nick put in. "You're running out of time."

He'd left the intercom open, hoping to torment her.

The first small touch of thrust nudged her against the side of her seat. They were leaving Enablement Station; escaping the Amnion. She and her son. No matter what Nick did to her later, she was winning now.

With an effort of will, she continued her preparations for a crisis of g.


Morn remembers from Angus how to write a batch command for her zone implant control box. So she uses the auxiliary communications station circuits to make a second zone implant control, and programs it through the auxiliary command board (sounds like a neat trick). She sets her zone implant so that it will put her to sleep when Captain's Fancy experiences 1.5 g or higher, and will wake her up when g goes below 1.5.

Quote:
If this worked--if she remembered it right, did it right--she could avoid her gap-sickness without being forced to relinquish the self-destruct. Nick had never been in her cabin with her during acceleration or deceleration: he didn't know how she took care of herself. Before he could risk challenging her, he would have to discover--or guess--what her defenses were. And that might take time.

It might take long enough for Captain's Fancy to cross the gap.

Once he reached human space, he might reconsider the commitment he'd made to the Amnion.


It takes Morn several minutes to set up all her arrangements. The ship is putting on more thrust moment by moment. She hears a bridge report that the Amnion warships Tranquil Hegemony and Calm Horizons are following. Mikka enters the room, sits down at the scan station, and tells Morn she was sent by Nick to watch her. Mikka promises she won't interfere with whatever Morn is doing. Morn puts her finger back on the toggle switch like she's still ready to blow up the ship. She struggles to finish programming the parallel zone implant control on the auxiliary command board.

Then Morn gets distracted by hearing the intercom conversation between Vector and Nick. Vector is expressing concerns that some of the tests he's run on the new gap drive equipment have come up blank even while other tests show perfect tolerances. Morn tells Vector to chance it, but Nick snaps that he won't risk tach, because they could burn up in the gap.

Morn argues that if they run all necessary tests it will likely take them a month, based on Vector's calculations, which would give the Amnion plenty of time to realize Nick cheated them with his blood test. She tells Nick to pick up sufficient speed for engagement of the gap drive or she'll engage self-destruct. Vector objects by asking about her gap-sickness. Morn retorts, "Goddamn it! What the hell do you think I've got a zone implant for?" This makes Nick emit curses on the bridge, which tells Morn that Nick has no idea she can be rendered helpless during heavy g. Nick orders the ship to get ready to burn in thirty seconds.


Earlier in this book, Morn tells Vector that she had played poker in the academy, but wasn't very good at it. Well, NOW, when she bluffs Nick about how much control she has when her, her experience at poker comes to her aid. There is just no way that Nick can know what she can do under heavy g, because he's always felt he was needed to watch his bridge crew at such times. That has left him vulnerable to Morn's bluff. Vector had replied to Morn's statement about not being good at poker by telling her she was trying to win with her guts and she needed to try to win with her mind. In this instance where she's defying the whole ship and the Amnion of Enablement to get back Davies, she is trying win this with her guts AND her mind! As well as with her whole heart.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:56 am    Post subject: Forbidden Knowledge 21 - Chapter 15 Reply with quote

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Thirty seconds. Time for one last bluff--one last, desperate attempt to keep herself and Davies alive. Fear mounted like a storm in her as she turned to Mikka.

"You know what's at stake for me," she said as firmly as she could. "You know I'm out of choices. I'm going to turn my seat so you can't see how I take care of myself." So Mikka wouldn't see her go to sleep; wouldn't see her release the chronometer toggle. "That's for your protection as well as mine."

Please don't try to jump me. I beg you.

Mikka shrugged distantly. "It's your neck. I'm not the one who has to face him when this is over." A moment later she added, "I'm reasonably sure you're not going to blow us up now. And I want out of Amnion space myself."

As time ran out, Morn swung the command station so that the back of her seat concealed her from Mikka. Then the tactile howl of full thrust fired through Captain's Fancy's hull, and Morn's mind went away.


Mikka has certainly been willing to cut Morn a lot of slack, even to trusting Morn after she threatened to blow up the ship, because of Morn trusting Mikka with the truth of the zone implant. Perhaps Morn's willingness to trust proved her worthy of trust in Mikka's thinking...perhaps.
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Group Read had made some real progress, with two thirds completed for the second Gap book

The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge

1. Angus [1]
2. Chapter 1
3. Chapter 2
4. Chapter 3
5. Ancillary Documentation/Datacores
6. Chapter 4
7. Chapter 5
8. Chapter 6
9. Ancillary Documentation/Intertech
10. Angus [2]
11. Chapter 7
12. Chapter 8
13. Chapter 9
14. Ancillary Documentation/The Amnion [1]
15. Chapter 10
16. Chapter 11
17. Chapter 12
18. Ancillary Documentation/The Amnion [2]
19. Chapter 13
20. Chapter 14
21. Chapter 15
22. Ancillary Documentation/Gap Drive
23. Angus [3]
24. Chapter 16
25. Chapter 17
26. Chapter 18
27. Ancillary Documentation/The Preempt Act
28. Chapter 19
29. Chapter 20
30. Chapter 21
31. Angus [4] .
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Massive respect for the effort CH has put in at this 2/3 mark, both for insightful, detailed dissections and for managing the pool of willing volunteer dissectors.

Well Done!
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second that - superb work Cord Hurn Applaud
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I third that Big Grin

Great work and great coordinating. 👌
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