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The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge 31 - Angus [4]

 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:50 am    Post subject: The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge 31 - Angus [4] Reply with quote

The thirty-first and final Forbidden Knowledge chapter opens with Angus Thermopyle intensely eager to escape the tortures of UMCP Data Acquisition's surgical wing and begin his mission to Thanatos Minor.

Quote:
Get it over with, he snarled at Hashi Lebwohl's staff, even though they couldn't hear what he said in the silence of his mind. Let me out of here.

Ignoring him, they did their jobs with meticulous care. In theory, their control over him was perfect. The computer between his shoulder blades mastered him absolutely. Nevertheless they worked to ensure that he was as helpless in practice as in theory; that any hope he held out for himself was mere illusion.
______________________________________________________________________________________________

While Lebwohl's people tested him, he also tested himself.

Eventually he learned that his programming was in fact all that prevented him from getting away. In every other sense, he might as well have been designed and built to break out of UMCPHQ. The new dimension of his sight enabled him to identify and analyze alarms and locks. With his lasers, he could charge circuitry or cut open doors--or kill guards. He was as strong as a great ape; as quick as a microprocessor. And his computer recorded everything for him. In fact, it was more useful than an eidetic memory, since it held a wide variety of independent databases which were gradually made accessible to him as his programmers trusted their control over him more and more.

If he'd been his own master, he could have dismantled his prison and fled.

But his zone implants held him. He was required to wait.


Angus is frustrated by the many tests he undergoes (I'm not much of an Angus apologist, but I don't blame him in this case) and bitterly resents those particular tests that prove he cannot harm members of the UMCP. Angus is prevented from falling into despair by a passionate fear which keeps him hoping for an escape route from being controlled. He is looking forward to having only Milos Taverner to deal with once he leaves the UMCPHQ.

One morning a group of doctors and techs walk into Angus' room, and he is ordered to sit on the edge of his bed and assume stasis. The doctors swab Angus' back, make an incision, switch out his personal datacore from his back and replace it with another one, and disconnect him from all external equipment. His stasis is discontinued, and he's given a gray shipsuit and boots to don. He puts them on and lays on his bunk to await whatever's next.

UMCP Enforcement Division director Min Donner then walks into the room, seeming hawk-like and balanced for either relaxation or violence. A glowering Milos follows Min into the room. Angus tells Milos he looks like crap, and Milos orders Angus to apologize. Angus apologizes because he must, but Min warns Milos Angus isn't to be used like that. Milos smirks that he's planning to get satisfaction out of controlling Angus, and Angus calls Milos a traitor. Min orders them to shut up and to follow her out of the room. They comply.

They pass out of the surgical wing of UMCPDA section, then leave Data Acquisition altogether to travel through the Enforcement Division section of the UMCPHQ space station. Angus is plotting how he can take advantage of situations unforeseen by his programmers, and is looking forward to an opportunity to rid himself of Milos. They enter UMCPHQ's Administration section, and toward a door with a sign identifying a conference room behind it. Min warns Milos to keep his speech simple so he'll live longer. Then she opens the door for Milos and Angus to go in.

Quote:
Angus found himself in a room like an interrogation chamber in an old video. Lit by a single light, a long table surrounded by hard chairs stood in the center of the space. The light was so bright, so narrowly focused, that the middle of the table gleamed as if it were hot; but its ends remained dim, shrouded, and the walls were barely visible. A quick glance told him that the corners were thick with monitors of all kinds. However, none of them was active. Apparently no one would eavesdrop on or record him this time.

That made his anxiety worse.

Min Donner pointed him into a chair within the circle of light. Milos she instructed to take a seat opposite him. Then she sat down at one end of the table. In the gloom, she looked as hard and unreachable as her reputation.

"This is fun," Angus muttered. "What do you want us to do now? Make friends?"

Min watched him from the dimness. Milos' dull gaze revealed nothing.

Impelled by mounting apprehension, Angus demanded, "Did I tell you how he betrayed Com-Mine? How he and that glamorous fucker, Succorso, set me up? Hell, if more cops were like him, there wouldn't be anything left for me to do."

The ED director didn't move a muscle.

"Personally," another voice remarked, "I would be more interested in hearing how you acquired a name for such despicable crimes without accumulating evidence against yourself in your ship's datacore."

Angus jerked his head to look at the other end of the table.

A man sat there.

Angus hadn't heard him come in. And he definitely hadn't been in that chair a moment earlier. Yet he was there now. Maybe he'd been hiding under the table. Or maybe the purpose of the contrasting dazzle and gloom was to let him come and go with as much stealth as he pleased.

He was hard to see, but Angus made out enough detail to perfect his fear.

The man had a chest as thick as a barrel, short, sturdy arms, strong fingers.

Despite the dimness, the lines and angles of his face appeared as exact as if they'd been machine-tooled; his mouth, jaw, and forehead might have been cut from a block of steel. Gray hair uncompromisingly cut spread stiffly across his scalp. Only the crookedness of his nose moderated his features: it gave the impression that it had been broken several times.

Glints of light reflected piercingly from his single eye, the right one. Over the socket of the left he wore a synthetic patch glued to his skin.

Warden Dios.

UMCP director.

In effect, he was the most powerful man in human space. Holt Fasner, UMC CEO, wielded the political influence, the economic muscle. But the fighting force intended to protect humankind from the Amnion took its orders from Warden Dios.

Oh, shit.


Warden Dios The eye patch Warden Dios wears is how Angus recognizes him. Dios wears that patch to cover the prosthetic eye that allows him to perceive truth or falsehood in the people talking to him. Angus nervously claims to Dios to have interrupted scan to keep information from going to his ship Bright Beauty's datacore. Warden counters that the interrupts would have been recorded in the datacore. Warden asks Milos what he found in that datacore, and Milos answers glitches were found that were assumed to be interrupts. Warden remarks with a smile that the glitches fortunately kept Angus from being executed, so that he can now be used for the UMCP's mission.

Warden proceeds to brief Angus and Milos on their mission: they are to operate a Needle-class gap-scout ship called Trumpet and take it to Billingate on Thanatos Minor, where they will work to blow up Billingate. Warden explains that such a covert strike is necessary in order to avoid the appearance of treaty violation with the Amnion.

Milos states to Warden that he feels he's the wrong man for the job, being unexperienced with covert operations, combat, and deception. Warden tells Milos that he's the perfect cover for explaining how Angus broke out of jail.

Angus snaps that Milos is the one he'd chose to help him get free of UMCP control, and he demands to know why it's so urgent to destroy Billingate now. Dios responds that Nick and Morn are arriving at Billingate, having spent some time in forbidden space. Angus worries he may be intended to rescue Morn, and he fears her revealing his crimes even as he desires her company. The thought of Morn is enough to distract Angus from realizing that Warden hasn't made clear what's so urgent about blowing up Billingate.

Warden orders Min to take Milos to Trumpet, while he talks to Angus alone for a few minutes. Min complies. Warden demands Angus tell the truth that the glitches are data elisions rather than scan interrupts. Angus tells Warden that Warden's crazy. Angus argues that he could make a fortune editing datacores for illegals at Billingate if he was capable of data elision. Warden retorts that Angus hates other illegals too much to help them in such a manner, regardless of the profit to be made. Then Warden says it's just as well that he doesn't know how Angus can edit a ship's datacore, as the knowledge is too explosive.

Then Warden orders Angus to stasis, moves to Angus' chair, pulls down his shipsuit, cuts into Angus' back, and removes his body datacore to replace it with another datacore. Then Warden bandages Angus' back and pulls the shipsuit back up. Warden then walks around the table to the point opposite Angus' chair, and reaches across the table and shifts Angus so Angus can see him. Dios sits down and faces Angus.

Quote:
"Angus," Warden said distinctly, facing Angus with his tooled jaw and his human eye, "I've replaced your datacore. You know that--your mind is still alert, even if you can't move. You won't be able to tell the difference. In any case, most of the changes are extremely subtle. But even if they weren't, you wouldn't recognize them because you can't compare the two programs. As far as you're concerned, the datacore you have now is the only one that exists."

Angus blinked because his brain stem decided he should. His heart and lungs continued functioning. Something in Dios' manner told him that what he was about to hear was crucial, the crux of the whole situation.

"I wonder," the director continued, musing as if to himself, "if you understand what we've done to you. We call the process 'welding.' When a man or woman is made a cyborg voluntarily, that's 'wedding.' 'Welding' is involuntary.

"Technically, we've done you a favor. That's obvious. You're stronger now, faster, more capable, effectively more intelligent. Not to mention the fact that you're still alive, when you should have been executed years ago. And all you've had to give up is your freedom of choice.

"But I'm not talking about technical questions. In every other way, we've committed a crime against you." As he spoke, his tone became more and more like his earlier smile--the tone of a man who couldn't begin to express how intensely he loathed his power, or perhaps his obligation, to inflict condemnation. "In essence, you're no longer a human being. You're a machina infernalis--an infernal device. We've deprived you of choice--and responsibility.

"Angus, we've committed a crime against your soul. You may be 'the slime of the universe,' as Godsen says, but you don't deserve this.

"It's got to stop." Dios folded his hands together on the table as if he were about to pray. "Crimes like this one--or like withholding the immunity drug. They've got to stop."


Angus can't react to these statements, so he just waits until Warden tells him to end stasis. Then Warden leads Angus to the docks so that Angus and Milos can board Trumpet.

Warden's speech to Angus was unexpected, but it makes me think that he wants to fight the corruption at the UMCP, with his mention of withholding the immunity drug being an example of something that's got to stop. But then that leaves the question: who is forcing Warden to outwardly accept the corruption? Confused
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:55 pm    Post subject: FK 31 - Angus [4] Reply with quote

Quote:
Someone else, with different goals and priorities, would have had the prosthesis added like Angus' to his natural vision, so that it didn't show. Not Dios. He flaunted his augmented sight as if daring anyone to mislead him. According to some of the stories, he wore the patch as a courtesy to his subordinates, so that they wouldn't be disconcerted by having to look into a mechanical eye. Other said he wore it because it made him appear more dangerous. Still others insisted that it concealed, not an eye, but a gun.

In any case, the patch would be no obstacle to the prosthesis. That material wouldn't stop either infrared wavelengths or impact fire.

Angus was on the verge of hysteria. Nevertheless his fear steadied him: he was at his best when he was terrified. "Most of the time," he answered as if he were calm, "I did it by interrupting scan. My ship"--memories of Bright Beauty gave his voice a vibration of anger--"didn't record what she couldn't see."

Because his computer was no longer programmed to interrogate him, it let this statement pass.


I think that Warden flaunts his augmented sight to make himself appear more dangerous, so that people attempting to lie to his face will be more nervous and thus more likely to slip up with their lies. Angus being his best when terrified in this instance makes him a better liar, but Warden's vast knowledge of datacores (I'm presuming this because he's the UMCP director) makes it difficult for Angus to convincingly lie to him, even if the prosthesis and Angus' computer don't detect falsehood.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant overview .. will see if I can think of anything to add 🤔 right now I cant 😉
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Cord Hurn
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skyweir wrote:
Brilliant overview .. will see if I can think of anything to add 🤔 right now I cant 😉



Thank you, Skyweir. Please feel very welcome to post your thoughts here on this chapter (and that goes for everyone else reading along).


I think that I will want to make a post here about the cryptic things Warden Dios says about his directors in this chapter. There may be some things known about his directors previously in the story that will make his comments more understandable. So, I'm working on that at this moment.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:52 am    Post subject: Forbidden Knowledge 31 - Angus [4] Reply with quote

I find Warden's comments in this chapter about his three directors to be rather cryptic on the surface, by which I mean mysterious within the context of just this chapter. I want to take a look back at the previously-entitled "Angus" chapter to see if there's anything that sheds light upon the meaning of Warden's statements. But first, I want to quote the passage from this final FK chapter that contains Warden's comments about his directors.

In the thirty-first and final chapter of Forbidden Knowledge, being the fourth chapter to be entitled "Angus", was wrote:
"There are two ways to look at this," Dios remarked as he rose to his feet. "One is that I sent Min away for her own protection." In one hand he carried a large black box. "If she knew what I'm going to do, she might not be able to hide her relief." He may have had it in his lap all along. "Sooner or later, she would give herself away."

Opening the box, he moved around the table. When he was behind Angus, he put the box down and began peeling Angus' shipsuit off his shoulders.

Although he couldn't focus his eyes, Angus recognized the box. It was a first aid kit.

"I could probably recover if she made Hashi suspicious enough to figure out what I'm doing. He's dangerous--not because he comes to the wrong conclusions, but because he gets to the right ones for the wrong reasons. That's what he did when he suggested using Milos to control you."

As soon as he reached the sore place between Angus' shoulder blades, he stopped pulling down the shipsuit. With a jerk, he removed the bandage. His hands were as steady as stones as he took a scalpel from the first aid kit. Quickly he made a new incision. With a swab, he mopped blood away from Angus' computer.

Angus would have yelled if he'd been in control of his mouth--or his vocal cords.

"It's Godsen I'm really worried about," Warden continued, talking to himself. "If Min did anything to make him suspicious, she and I would both be finished. From that point of view, I really ought to keep this risk to myself."

All at once, a strange cold void filled Angus' mind. The datacore had been unplugged from his computer.

"The other way to look at this is that I'm protecting myself." Dios dropped the datacore unit on the table and lifted another out of his box. "If Min knew why I'm doing this, she'd turn against me herself." As soon as the new unit was plugged in, Angus felt his programming come back on-line. "I probably wouldn't live long enough to worry about what happens when Godsen betrays me."

No hesitation or insecurity slowed Warden's movements as he pinched the incision closed, sealed it with new tissue plasm. From his first aid kit, he selected a clean bandage and applied it carefully to Angus' back.




There are two ways to look at this. One is that I sent Min away for her own protection. If she knew what I'm going to do, she might not be able to hide her relief. Sooner or later, she would give herself away.
What would Min feel relieved about, if she knew that Warden was changing out Angus' personal datacore? From looking back at the previously-titled "Angus" chapter, I'm thinking Min would consider the switching of datacores to be a sign that Warden intends Morn to be rescued:
In the 23rd chapter of Forbidden Knowledge, being the third chapter to be entitled "Angus", was wrote:

"I agree," Donner rasped. "We've got to get her [Morn] back." She turned on Lebwohl again. "That's why I'm in a hurry. I don't like any of this--and I'm liking it less by the minute." The passion in her voice blazed higher as she spoke. "I want him ready and on his way. He's my only chance to rescue her. If she isn't past hope already."

This time Hashi looked a little nonplussed. "My dear Min," he said as if he were breathing sand, "I am not certain that his programming can accommodate your wishes."

She poised herself as if she were about to draw her gun. "What do you mean?"

"Forgive me. I spoke imprecisely. I mean, I am not certain that his programming will be allowed to accommodate your wishes."


Apparently there is someone higher up than Warden who doesn't want Morn rescued, and would kill Warden and Min if it became known that they want Morn rescued. That much can be gleaned from a reading of the story at this point.

Warden fears Hashi and Godsen learning he shares Min's concern for Morn, but his reason for fearing Hashi is different than his reason for fearing Godsen.

"I could probably recover if she made Hashi suspicious enough to figure out what I'm doing. He's dangerous--not because he comes to the wrong conclusions, but because he gets to the right ones for the wrong reasons. That's what he did when he suggested using Milos to control you."

Godsen Frik has already pointed out that Taverner will sell out anybody if the price is right, but that's not the only flaw in Hashi's reasoning. Hashi also considers providing "cover" for Angus' story of escape to be important enough to risk having Milos in control of Angus' computer.

In the 23rd chapter of Forbidden Knowledge, being the third chapter to be entitled "Angus", was wrote:

"Don't drag it out, Hashi," said Godsen. "Who is he?"

Hashi Lebwohl beamed.

"Why, none other than our trusted ally and colleague, Milos Taverner."

Somewhere in the back of Angus' mind, a small hope flickered to life.

"Taverner?" Frik spat. "Are you out of your mind? You're going to trust this entire operation to a man like Taverner? He has the scruples of a trash recycler. He's already sold out Com-Mine Security. All we had to do was pay him enough. He's probably selling us, too. If he isn't he'll do it as soon as he's offered enough credit."

"I think not." Lebwohl was unruffled. "We have several safeguards.

"First, of course, a datacore is unalterable. Our Milos cannot effectively issue instructions which run directly counter to Joshua's Programming. And every instruction he gives--indeed, every word he utters in Joshua's presence--will be permanently recorded. Our Milos will be unable to conceal what he has done.

"In addition, his unreliability is known. We have all the evidence we require. If our Milos seeks to betray us, he will be destroyed. We have left him no doubt of this."

Hashi smiled benevolently, then continued.

"In any case, whatever your objections, you must consider the question of credibility. Joshua's partner must appear to be Angus Thermopyle's subordinate. The Captain Thermopyle who is known upon Thanatos Minor would never serve under another--and would never accept as a subordinate any man who was not demonstrably illegal. His programming will allow him to expose his partner's treacheries, to explain--and thereby protect--him. That will leave Milos helpless to do anything other than serve us."
____________________________________________________________________

Hashi shrugged delicately. "What is honest? We define a goal. Then we devise a means to achieve it. Is this not honest?"


Warden seems to feel he needs to fear the means that Hashi will devise to achieve a goal he thinks Warden wants, that what plans Hashi makes could end up undermining or destroying what Warden really wants. And what does Warden really want? From this final FK chapter, it seems that he wants to clean up the corruption in the United Mining Companies Police. It's got to stop.


It's Godsen I'm really worried about. If Min did anything to make him suspicious, she and I would both be finished. From that point of view, I really ought to keep this risk to myself.


In the twenty-third chapter of Forbidden Knowledge, being the third chapter to be entitled "Angus", was wrote:
He? Angus thought. He? Were they talking about Warden Dios? The UMCP director?

Who else could give these three people orders?

Did the most powerful man in human space force them to let Morn go with Succorso?

Godsen Frik's voice had a petulant, almost defensive tone as he retorted, "I can go over his head."

Both Hashi Lebwohl and Min Donner looked away from the PR director as if they were shocked--or shamed. Studying the floor, Min said softly, "The way you did the immunity drug."

Dangerous red flushed across Godsen's face; but he didn't respond.


Godsen has gone over Warden's head before, and would be clearly willing to do it again if he realizes Warden is switching out Angus' datacore. And who is higher placed than Warden? We've been told that Holt Fasner is the CEO of the United Mining Companies.


The other way to look at this is that I'm protecting myself. If Min knew why I'm doing this, she'd turn against me herself. I probably wouldn't live long enough to worry about what happens when Godsen betrays me.

This statement remains mysterious for me, using only what's been written in the story thus far for illumination. I don't think first-time readers are meant to understand this statement of Warden's at this point in the story.
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