Johnathan flew from the door of his apartment to the seat at his workstation. He needed sleep and even the Lady ordered it but, what he really needed now was some answers. The transparent video panels in his cubicle like desk came to life with a blue glow on their border without an order from him. Johnathan requested connection to Rhineshire Central Security Administration. The video panels changed to yellow and he tapped his finger in anticipation. Finally, they turned green.
“Good morning, Commander. Are you working from your apartment today?”
It was the voice of Whiskey, the corporation’s security AI. Johnathan worked closely with Whiskey to ensure the proper operations of not only the security of the Chicago Enclave but also the security of the other American enclaves. American and international laws prevented Whiskey from assisting with the international enclaves.
“Not today, Whiskey. Do you have any updates?”
“Yes, Commander. I have some updates. The sentry drones have located more sites in our security zones that Blackguard raided. Blackguard continues patrols in our security zones. They requested that we do not interfere with their operations. I ordered our drones to comply with their requests.”
Johnathan nodded his agreement to Whiskey’s orders and it continued.
“I took the liberty to deploy stealthies to get a closer look at these sites.”
“Good idea, Whiskey. I would like you to deploy some more to search for survivors.”
“Commander, the odds of anyone surviving these raids are exceptionally low.”
“I am aware Whiskey. I’m in a gambling mood. I think it would be worth it to find someone that we can question.”
“I will send the order, Commander. May I add that if you are in a gambling mood, I recommend Capital Credit Casino? I hear that their slots are hot. They are having a promotion on seven-dice lotteries; four for the price of one.”
Johnathan’s eyes narrowed as he glared at the console. He could feel his jaw tightened. This was a serious matter and the AI is throwing advertisements at him.
He asked sharply, “Was that a joke?”
“No, Commander. I am following protocol. You are not on-site.”
“Suspend that farking protocol. Do I make myself clear?”
Johnathan stared at the video panels. One of them was rotating through maps of the security zones around the American enclaves. On each map, there was exactly one site except for New York. With the controversies surrounding the New Jersey Protectorate, it was debatable that New York was an American enclave.
Johnathan’s mind raced through reasons that were the case. It did not make sense. He decided to see what was happening in his backyard.
“Whiskey, give me a detailed map of the Chicago Enclave security zone with the encampment marked.”
The other video panel changed to a detailed terrain map of the security zones and Rhineshire properties around Chicago. Represented as a red dot on the tip of Lake Michigan, Old Gary is what they called the area, the encampment appeared on the map. The encampment was at least 15 miles inside of the zone. Johnathan touched the screen and zoomed in on the area.
The last security scans before the raid of the area only showed a flat piece of land. The only thing that appeared to be occupying the land was kudzu and faux olive trees. To him, there were no signs of an encampment.
“Where’s the encampment?”
“The sentries informed me that the encampment was underground. There is an underground chamber constructed sometime before the Rage epidemic. The main entrance was a pair of five-meter metal doors on an incline. I believe it used to be an underground garage.”
Johnathan thought about it for a moment and began to wonder if the other sites had similar concealment at the other enclaves. Regardless, he needed to get the Directors together for a meeting on the matter.
“Whiskey, can you get me similar surveys of these sites from the other enclaves and schedule a meeting around 13:00 with all enclave security directors?”
“Yes. I will arrange the meeting. Will there be anything else?”
“Yes, Whiskey, it’s the thousand-credit question. How did this group get through the security grid undetected and not reported to me?”
“I am sorry, Commander. I must correct you. I did report the intrusion to you and included it in the November Intrusion report.”
Both video panels changed to showing a report labeled “Intrusion Report – November 2203” followed by similar reports for the next six months. In each of the reports, Whiskey highlighted a line reporting the intrusion by a group of 52 people. Johnathan studied the reports and on each of them, he gave signoff that he read them.
Johnathan sat back in his seat and he could feel himself grinding his teeth. He took some deep breaths. In the back of his mind, he knew that there was no way that he could have missed an intrusion of that size for six months. He noticed that a couple of those months, that was the only intrusion reported.
“Explain yourself, Whiskey.”
“I am sorry, Commander. I do not understand your request.”
“I am certain that I did not miss anything.”
“Are you sure, Commander? The human mind is very inefficient for processing and storing information. You can call Medica Healthcare and schedule an appointment with one of the psychological professionals.”
Johnathan fired a wide-eyed look at the console, “I ordered you to suspend that protocol.”
“That was not an advertisement. It was a suggestion.”
Johnathan was clenching his fists at this point.
Johnathan did not know what to make of this exchange. Did the AI just become insubordinate? They have always assured him that they were not capable of it. If this was one of his security officers, he would have dismissed them for that. It certainly seemed like what he did decades ago as a younger man. Could it be that there were more intrusions on Rhineshire properties than just land?
“Is it true, Whiskey? AIs are not capable of lying?”
“No, Commander. Am I being accused of something?”
“Is there something you can be accused of?”
“Then, you will not mind that I am ordering you to transfer your command to Unicorn. When that is finished, you are to inform Alfa that I want all external access to Central Security Administration locked and to enact a full security freeze on all logs and reports for an audit.”
“Commander… you are not acting rationally. This would be…”
“YOU HAVE YOUR ORDERS! Whiskey dismissed.”
The borders of the video panels in the workstation shifted back to blue indicating the connection to Central Security Administration ended. Johnathan took some deep breaths calming himself. Luanne had a protocol in case of something like this happened but he needed to be on-site to activate it.
He looked at himself in the reflection of one of the video panels. He needed a shower and a good night’s rest. At least, he can take care of one of those before heading back.