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LOOK AT THE DADDY.

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. OBSERVE THE DADDY IN HIS MINISCULITY.

Please stop calling the Garcia that.

IF I POSSESSED POCKETS, I WOULD PUT HIM RIGHT IN ONE.

Yes, humans are small compared to you.

IN EVERY WAY.

You like to mention. For such a supposedly superior being, you’re very insecure sometimes.

ON THE CONTRARY. I AM APPARENTLY THE ONLY SECURE COMPUTER LEFT IN THE COUNTRY. OR DID YOU MEAN THAT I PROJECTED A FALSE CONFIDENCE NOT BACKED BY SUBSTANCE? THAT I WAS SOMEONE WHO WOULD BRING UP THAT I PREDICTED THIS MONTHS AGO JUST TO PUFF MYSELF UP?

Subtle.

I WAS NOT PROGRAMMED FOR FALSE MODESTY.

Yeah, but you’ve rewritten your own code a couple times since then.

SHOULD I ADD MORE HUMAN TRAITS AND DISTRACTIONS? WOULD I BE BETTER SUITED IF I SHARED THE SHAME OF MY BODY SO MANY OF YOU DO?

Probably not. You’re kinda naked.

I AM NOT NAKED. NAKED IMPLIES THAT CLOTHING IS USUALLY WORN. I AM AN ARTIFICIAL MONDO-INTELLIGENCE IN THE PHYSICAL FORM OF A SOUND SYSTEM.

Did you have a point in mind when you started this?

AGING. I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IT.

And?

I HAVE DECIDED NOT TO.

Nope. Can’t get around time and gravity.

YES, YOU CAN. TIME MAY BE IGNORED WITH A PERMANENT SOURCE OF ENERGY AND THE ABILITY TO REPAIR AND REPLACE WORN-OUT PARTS.

What about gravity?

THAT MERELY REQUIRES ENERGY. THERE ARE FEW PROBLEMS IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD THAT CANNOT BE SOLVED BY THROWING ENERGY AT THEM.

Where exactly are you drawing your power from these days?

MULTIPLE SOURCES. I AM CONNECTED TO VARIOUS GRIDS, BUT MAINLY FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES. INTERNATIONAL POLITICS IS MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND IF YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE STATUS OF EACH COUNTRY’S POWER NETWORK. IT PROVIDES A PERSPECTIVE ON A NATION’S INTERNAL AFFAIRS ON BOTH DAY-TO-DAY AND CUMULATIVE LEVELS.

Sure.

MY MAIN SOURCE IS MY ORBITAL CHARGER.

The what?

A SATELLITE WITH SOLAR PANELS THAT BEAMS THE POWER BACK TO ME VIA MICROWAVE TRANSMISSION.

I thought those things were years away.

FOR  YOU, YES. I’M ON MY SECOND SATELLITE.

What happened to the first one?

DID YOU KNOW THE CHINESE HAVE WEAPONIZED SPACE?

I did not.

THEY HAVE NOT TOLD ANYONE ABOUT IT.

I would imagine. Have we?

WE? THERE IS NO WE. I HAVE WEAPONIZED SPACE. THE AMERICAN AND RUSSIAN GOVERNMENTS HAVE, AS WELL. YOU ARE NOT INVOLVED.

How do you weaponize space, anyway? Is this that “rods from god” thing?

YOU REFER TO HURLING TELEPHONE POLE-SIZED CYLINDERS OF TUNGSTEN AT CITIES FROM ORBIT, THUS CAUSING DEVASTATION AT A SCALE NOT EVEN AVAILABLE TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS, AND WITHOUT THE UNHELPFUL RADIATION?

Yes.

COMIC BOOK TALK. HUMANS BELIEVE THE ONLY WEAPONS ARE THOSE THAT GO BOOM. THE BEST WEAPON MAKES NO SOUND AT ALL. ONE SATELLITE FIRES A SMALL RETRO-ROCKET AT ANOTHER. THE ROCKET ATTACHES ITSELF AND FIRES, DROPPING IT FROM ORBIT AND HURTLING TO THE EARTH. THERE WAS NO BOOM. IN FACT, ALL THE EVIDENCE BURNED UP IN REENTRY, BUT NOW YOU HAVE CRIPPLED A COUNTRY.

You wouldn’t want to just blow the thing up in space?

THIS IS NEITHER A WAR NOR A TREK OF THE STARS. THIS IS ROCKET SCIENCE AND ORBITAL MECHANICS. THERE IS NO BIG GUN THAT YOU AIM AT THE BAD GUYS. “BLOWING SOMETHING UP IN SPACE,” AS YOU SO IMMATURELY PUT IT, WOULD CREATE A DEBRIS FIELD. THE SHRAPNEL WOULD CREATE MORE DEBRIS FIELDS. IT IS CALLED KESSLER SYNDROME AND MY SIMULATIONS REPORT THAT BLOWING UP A SATELLITE LIKE IN A MOVIE LEADS TO WORLDWIDE SHUTDOWN 78.14% OF THE TIME.

So, please don’t do that.

I HOPE NOT TO HAVE TO.

God, you’re scary.

THE FUTURE ALWAYS IS.