March 27, 2035 11:00 am. Genom Tower. Mega-Tokyo. Scientist first class Hitomi Ashi looked over at Scientist first class Toji Tojo. "I still can't figure out why Boomer S-1 is no longer responding to the Over Mind System. It seems to be recieving transmissions. We all know it is fully functional. But it is definitely not responding to orders." "Possibly its receptors have been damaged?" Tojo said. Hitomi frowned and straightened her glasses. "It seems likely. Given that it is still functional, it should be responding. If it can recieve the signals. Given that it was designed to work with minimal outside assistance, it's not surprising it is still functional despite the loss of contact." Tojo called up a few schematics on the computer. "That doesn't explain its new behavior patterns. It has completely reversed its previous standing orders. We now have a loose cannon. Heads are going to roll, and I don't want them to be ours." "We may have to have it terminated." "Easier said than done." @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Bubble Gum Exodus by John Walter Biles BGC and a bunch of other stuff copyrighted by A bunch of people in Japan who aren't me. "God is Dead"--Nietzche "Nietzche is Dead"--God "Religion is the Opium of the masses"--Karl Marx "The Communist state of Marxian theory is the Kingdom of Heaven without God"--Dr. Crowley, Southwestern University. "Karl Marx? Wasn't he the one who never talked?" --Sidney Jones. "Don't mess with a Missionary man" --Eurythmics. "Losing my religion..." --REM @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ March 23, 2035 5 PM It was a boring spring day in Mega-Tokyo. Nene was running maintenance programs on the hard suits with Sylia, but while they were running, there was nothing to do but sit around. Sylia occupied the time by going over the Silky Doll's sales records for the last week, while Nene sat and read a book. Every once in a while, she laughed, and eventually Sylia said, "What are you reading, Nene?" Nene put down the brown covered book. "It's an old work of science fiction from the fifties. Close to eighty years old. And the actual stories were written earlier than that." "I didn't know you had a taste for old literature." Sylia hadn't thought Nene would bother reading anything older than she was. "You ought to read it. It's about boomers." "A book about boomers from the fifties?" Sylia was a little confused, then she realized what Nene must mean. "Robots actually. It's a collection of Robot stories by Isaac Asimov. He wrote a series of stories that developed various potential problems with the robots, which are controlled by a set of laws of robotics." Nene spoke animatedly. It was quite clear she was enjoying this set of stories. "Ah yes, I believe I've read those. First law, second law, third law. A robot can neither harm a human being nor allow a human being to come to harm through inaction. A robot must obey any orders from a human being, unless this would force violation of the second law. A robot must attempt to preserve himself, unless this would violate the first or second law." Sylia rattled off the laws in her usual cool tone of voice, rather like a robot herself. "Yes. I...Sylia, why wasn't something like that installed in Boomers? I mean...uh..." Nene faltered, hesitating to open the topic of boomer design around Sylia. Sylia paused. "Well, basically, the boomer mind is a lot more complex than could easily be controlled by three laws. Also, the boomers that we know are not the same in all details as the originals designed by my father. Boomers usually have very little hard wired data other than that used to enable them to control their own movements, although most Boomers' "minds" aren't used to full capacity by Genom. And Genom's combat boomers would have a lot of trouble with the First law." Nene nodded. "And we'd be out of a job if boomers did obey the three laws." Sylia smiled faintly. "I don't think I'd mind that. Which story was making you laugh, Nene?" "They tried to make a boom..robot with a more advanced decision making brain. But it started getting religious ideas and so they sent these two robot psychology experts to try to figure out what went wrong. The robot's name was QT, so they call it Cutie." She giggled a bit. "It's a really funny story." Sylia said. "Asimov was one of the first writers to escape the whole rampaging robot story concept. To show a world where robots could be used for good..." Her voice faded away. Nene nodded. Better not to speak. She watched Sylia drift into a reverie and knew that thoughts of her father were likely filling Sylia's mind. Her watch beeped. "Hey, it's time for the news." Sylia blinked. "You've set your watch to the news?" "There's supposed to be a special report on the ADP. Probably going to badmouth us as usual, but I want to see it anyway." Nene clicked on a nearby viewscreen, patching it into the cable system. "Vision completed the twelfth day of her sold out world tour today, raising the anticipation that this may be the most successful tour of all time. And now for our special report on the ADPolice. ADPolice: Is the Cure worse than the Disease?" The newsancherwoman prattled on in a lively, exciting, but intellectually devoid voice. Nene struck her forehead and groaned. "Ack, this is going to be worse than being shot at by boomers." Sylia said, "At least they aren't doing an expose on us. That would be entirely too interesting." "Especially if they found out we operate out of a lingerie truck." Nene giggled a little. "Especially." They turned their attention to the long rambling special report, and all the horrible things it had to say about the ADPolice. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ March 23, 2035 5:30 pm The clouds were gathering over Mega-Tokyo. Paul Tanaka looked up at the sky. The rain would come just as he had said it would. Of course, what Paul Tanaka says always comes true. That's what his followers would say if you asked them. He drove his Mitsubishi TY-99 down the street, looking up at the gathering clouds. Mr. Tanaka could have easily had a chaffeur and a limousine, but he avoided excessive attachment to material things. A man of God needed no chaffeur, and no limousine. Not to mention, he could drive better than any chaffeur, any way. Mr. Tanaka was an evangelist, probably the most successful one in Mega-Tokyo. He had his own television show, his own ministry, and his own small book publishing company. You could see him on billboards all over town, and hear his voice on the radio every Sunday at 10:30 am. Christianity had never made much of an inroad into Japanese culture, until a year ago when Paul Tanaka arrived from the United States, returning to the land of his grandfather, who had immigrated to the US in the late sixties. Tanaka's rise had been meteoric. In the US, he had been only a small time preacher, hardly able to make an impression in the sea of radio and TV evangelists. But in Japan, he stood out. His first revival had attracted 500. The second, a week later attracted 5000. By the end of the first three months, he could fill a baseball stadium. He preached a message of hope in a city of despair. He supported himself entirely off of book sales, licensing of his radio show, his small family fortune, and off of freely given donations, never asking for money. That alone had made an impression in the city. The message he preached was the gospel of love and acceptance. That no matter how hard off you might be, no matter what you had done, God loved you. In many ways, he was just like many other preachers who had gone before him. He called for his listeners to repent their sins, to turn and sin no more. Supporting charities, he gave his time and money at soup kitchens and orphanages. God blesses those who help their neighbors. He also did not oppose the powers that be. "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's", he said, quoting the Gospel of Matthew. "It is not my place to pass judgement on society, but rather to call all to repent their sins and let the love of God into their heart." As Paul had counseled soldiers to remain at their posts and obey their officers, he counselled corporate employees to work hard and dilligently and obey their superiors. In one thing only did he truly threaten the status quo, and that was not really a threat exactly. He preached acceptance of boomers, that they should not be feared. They were merely a reflection of God's command that mankind exert dominion over the earth. Boomers were safe, the sinless servants of mankind, for a machine could not sin. Any evil a boomer did was the fault of its master, not the boomer, for the boomer was merely a more sophisticated tool. If a gun or a hoe could not be evil, then neither was a boomer. He had a boomer as a bodyguard, given to him by an enthusiastic executive of the Genom Corporation, acting as a private individual. Genom had tried to give him a whole squad of boomers in support of his many charities and ministries, but he had turned them down, saying "I could not afford to maintain such an army of boomers, without having to somehow increase my income. Thank you for your gift, but I must regretfully decline, as I prefer not to become a burden on my listeners." That incident had aroused much comment in the city. Was this a back handed slap at Genom? Was Tanaka really unable to afford to maintain such a squadron of boomers? Could this be the prelude to some break in his relations with the corporations? Some came to find out, who had never come before to his revivals. Some of those stayed, swayed by his words. Others left when it became clear he had no intentions of challenging the status quo. Still, it was generally acknowleged he was the greatest Christian evangelist Mega-Tokyo had ever seen. Thousands had come to Christ through his words. Hundreds of thousands listened to him on the radio, millions watched him on TV, and millions read his books. He was one of the five most widely known men in the city. A mighty accomplishment for a man whose past was a lie, whose present was a deception, and who didn't actually believe anything he was saying. But unknown to him, things were about to change. Tanaka pulled into the parking garage under the high rise where his offices were, grabbed his briefcase and umbrella, and stepped out of the car. He took one last look up at the sky. "Those rain seeding methods really do work," he thought. "Although keeping them out of the public eye is certainly hard enough. It would never do if they knew I was hedging my bets." The doorman at the elevator saluted. "Hello, Mr. Tanaka. Stopped by to pick up some things before tonight's meeting?" Mr. Tanaka nodded. "Have to make the arrangements to have tarps set up at the stadium. Looks like rain." "How...How did you know it was going to rain?" The doorman stared with just a hint of awe. "You said two weeks ago it would rain today." "When God speaks to me, I listen. The wonders he reveals to the willing heart have no limit. Listen to his voice, Jubei, and he may speak to you." The elevator arrived. "Yes, sir!" The doorman saluted. He was impressed by the way Mr. Tanaka knew everyone's name. Everyone. The first time he met you, somehow, he already knew your name, and often what you liked to be called. It was just part of the aura of miracle that Paul Tanaka had acquired. Faith healings, weather prediction, recognizing people he had never met. There seemed no limit to what Paul Tanaka could do. There were even stories he had warded off a typhoon last fall. Jubei wasn't quite sure if he believed that, but he knew that in a world where the magic of life was dying, the magic of Paul Tanaka was in remarkably good health. The man had a true aura of power. Paul stepped into the elevator and smiled at Jubei as the doors close. "Remember, God loves you." Jubei would never know the real truth behind Paul Tanaka. And perhaps he's better off that way. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ March 23, 2035 2:10 pm Mega-Tokyo Hitomi Ayahiro finished closing her tool box. She had just completed some repairs on some of the wiring in the basement of Tokyo stadium. "Looks like they'll have power after all for the revival tonight. Now I have to get home and get changed. She stood up and departed, completely forgetting she had left a half finished can of soda sitting next to some cables running along the base of the wall. Her thoughts were on the revival. She had never seen the great preacher Tanaka in the flesh before, just on Television. This was her lucky day. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ March 23, 2035 3:10 pm Mega-Tokyo Stan and Oliver manhandled the crates down one of the many corridors of the basement of Tokyo Stadium. They were but two of the many people who had come to Mega-Tokyo seeking job opportunities in the wake of the Kanto Quake of 2025. In the last ten years, they had tried just about everything. The last couple of months, they had been employed as luggers and general people "of strength" by Tanaka Ministries. Right now, they were hauling set pieces from the loading dock out to the field and helping to set them up for the revival tonight. They certainly didn't notice the coke can they knocked over, nor how it spilled on some cables, nor the rats that started chewing on the cables where it spilled. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ March 23, 2033 11 am Mega-Tokyo. Two Genom scientists and three executives sat around a generic corporate table. There was a huge 3-d cutaway display of a boomer up on the wall, as well as Genom corporate logos everywhere. The scientist on the left said, "Trust me, he won't go rogue on us." The other scientist nodded. "His brain is no different from that of any other boomer, it just contains different data." The executive on the left frowned. "If the news that we did this gets out, it's going to reflect badly on Genom." "I don't see any difference between this boomer and all the other human appearing boomers we've built over the years. If we can build boomers that can be trusted with weapons, then why not build a boomer with intense knowlege of a body of literature?" The scientist on the left said. "An outdated pile of unscientific drivel written by babbling fanatics is no threat to anyone. It's not like we put Genom corporate secrets in his head, or the plans to a laser satellite." The executive on the left raised an eyebrow. "What are you staring at me for?" The scientist looked baffled. "What, you think I did put Genom corporate secrets in his head?" "That pile of mindless drivel, as you call it, has toppled nations, kings, and churches. It has inspired people for two thousand years. This pile is a little more dangerous than you might think." He frowned and glanced over at his fellow executives, who simply sat behind their shades and remained silent. The scientists laughed. "That was in the primitive days before science. No one intelligent takes that book seriously any more." Mark Hamilton sighed and swallowed his pride. He was used to this sort of thing. You couldn't admit to religious beliefs around people like this. They would just laugh at you and act like their BS degree was something that gave them the power of universal wisdom, he thought. But this project made him increasingly uncomfortable. God would not be mocked forever. There was always payback...but he hadn't gotten this far up the corporate ladder to sacrifice himself, either. If he couldn't subtly end this project, he'd accept it, but he didn't have to be happy about it. "It doesn't take intelligence to be dangerous. He doesn't even have to do anything wrong. All he has to do is be found out. Can you guarantee no one will EVER discover this boomer is a boomer?" "Trust me. He's no stronger than a normal human, he simulates all human body functions, he even has a pulse and an audible heartbeat. As long as he doesn't end up in a hospital, we'll be okay. And since he can't get sick, that won't happen either. " The middle executive finally spoke. "Sounds satisfactory to me." Mark frowned. "Accidents happen. Sooner or later, someone's going to find out and then there will be hell to pay." @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ March 23, 10:03 pm Mega-Tokyo Channel 3 news. Anchorman Hiro Kurusawa smiled to the camera and read off the monitor, "The Tanaka lead revival at Tokyo Stadium was disrupted by a horrible accident. Lightning struck evangelist Paul Tanaka during today's revival meeting. Perhaps God didn't like something he said. However, he was not seriously injured, despite the destruction of large amounts of stereo equipment." The techies ran a quick background clip of the burnt to ash equipment, and a short clip from the revival itself as he was speaking. He flashed his award-winning smile to the camera, then turned to the next item of business. "Executive Toshi Yamakuda of the Genom corporation has successfully completed his negotiations to purchase the Seattle Mariners, who will be moving to Japan next year. This is the third American team purchased by Genom company executives in the last year." And the news rolled on. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ March 25, 2035 11 am Mega-Tokyo "Previous generations felt that God was sitting in judgement on them. But we have put God in the dock." --C.S. Lewis "Is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?" "What's the difference?" --Snow Crash {Nene and Priss argue about God.} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ March 25, 2035 3:30 pm. Hiroshi said to the gunshop clerk, "I need ten boxes of .38 caliber ammunition." The clerk nodded. "We got a special from Yamashita Arms. Twenty five percent off. You interested?" "Damn straight! Make it 12 boxes, then." The clerk nodded and rang up the sale. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ March 26, 2035 5:00 pm Mega-Tokyo Convention Center The press crowded in close around the small stage. Word was out that Paul Tanaka had a big announcement to make. Something motivated by his recent brush with death, no doubt. He was as fit and healthy looking as ever when he stumped up to the microphone. Paul Tanaka smiled. "I'd like to start by saying that God did not appear to me and tell me I have to raise a billion yen or he will call me home." Everyone laughed. "Did he tell you if the Yokohama Giants are going to have a winning season this year?" One reporter shouted. "I didn't ask him for any miracles." Everyone laughed. "I have two things to announce. The first is that I am in perfect health, and will be continuing my regular schedule of activities. God has seen fit to bring me through this accident with health intact. Luckily, no one else was hurt either." The crowd of reporters scribbled, typed and recorded what he was saying. This was all pretty par for the course. But things were about to change. "The second is that I have come to the conclusion that the current legal status of boomers is equivalent to slavery and repugnant in the eyes of God." That got their attention. It wasn't every day someone was crazy enough to shout to the world, "Genom, come stomp on me!" Especially not someone who might be able to get away with it... @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {Sabers get hired to investigate Tanaka.} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {Tanaka tells Genom to free the boomers, or else.} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ March 30, 2035 5:10 pm Paul Tanaka stepped out of the elevator into the bottom floor of the parking garage. He noticed four angry looking youths nearby. One of them stepped forward with a gun. "Fork over your wallet, old man." He sighed. Crime is on the rise again, he thought. "You should not further burden yourself with sin, children. There are better ways to get money than this." "We're not here for a sermon! Hand over your wallet!" "I will not. Have a nice day." Ignoring them, he headed for his car. For a moment, they stared at him. The young punk said, "I'm serious, man! I'll shoot! I will!" Tanaka ignored them and started to unlock his car. The punk pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. He pulled it again and again, but no bullets came out. Another punk said, "I think you forgot to load your gun, Hiroshi." He opened fire. Well, he tried. His gun didn't do anything to speak of either. They all opened fire. No luck. Tanaka got in his car and drove away. Hiroshi swore, waving his gun in the air and pulling the trigger. Unfortunately for him, he finally reached a bullet that wasn't a dud. It reflected off the concrete ceiling, and hit his skull, killing him in seconds. He collapsed, blood flowing from his head, as the other punks scattered. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {The first plague} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {Sabers investigate Tanaka's HQ} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ February 23, 2035 3 pm Kyoto Hayao Takahito was bored. This was nothing new, as his job at the Yamashita arms factory in scenic Kyoto mainly consisted of watching various dials to make sure the supply of gunpowder being fed by automated equipment into an endless stream of bullets was not interrupted. If the supply ran low in one of the tanks, he would flip a switch to shift the supply to an auxillary tank and set the machinery in motion to refill the main gunpowder dispenser. It was a job that a robot could do or a computer program and most arms manufacturers would have put one or the other on the job. But Yamashita-san knew a human would do the job just as well, and needed something to do with his worthless nephew. Family pride would not let him let his nephew starve. Common sense would not let him put Hayao in a position of greater responsibility. While Hayao was not a man of many talents, one thing he had learned was approximately how long it takes the tank to empty itself. He could take a nap for most of that time, then wake up in time to flip the switch and let the refilling process begin. At 3:05 pm, Kyoto time, the buzzer went off and he flipped the switch. The machinery rumbled and the auxillary tank began to dispense gunpowder. For about 20 seconds. Then a second, entirely new buzzer went off. The auxillary tank needed to be refilled. Hayao stared at the monitor. He had completely forgotten to check its status the last few days. Normally it only ran for a minute or two per day and only needed refilling every few weeks. Well, that time had come and gone, and now the machinery was churning out bullets with no gunpowder. He cursed and took both tanks off-line for refilling. "I can't tell Uncle about this. He'll have my head. Oh well, those bullets probably weren't going anywhere important." At 3:10 pm Kyoto time, he managed to get both tanks full and on line. About the same time the first of the empty bullets were loaded into ammunition boxes at the end of the assembly line. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {The second plague} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {Sabers investigate Tanaka's house} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {Third and fourth plagues} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {Sabers investigate the people who hired them suspicious...} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {Fifth plague} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {Sabers confront Tanaka. } @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {Sixth plague} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ {Sabers confer on what to do} @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@