Alexander made his way into the Official Experiments Lab, his personal laptop slung over his shoulder and his PET safely nestled in its holster at his right hip. He stopped as he entered through the front door, looking around the complex with its unique design and function - the navis that walked through the building, following behind their NetOps or moving through freely, were an amazing sight to see. Technology like this would be something he would be interested in, if the OEL were willing to share - but, that would be something for another day. He had a more specific purpose for being here today, and he presumed it would be better to handle one business venture at a time.
It took him long enough to get approval from the Syndicate to do this much, not too mention all the things he didn't tell them about his visit. His other informant had been dormant for quite a while; the red earpiece he had in had been silent for quite a while, even as his previous request resonated in his mind, time and time again.
"Do what the Animus Syndicate was too scared to and properly outfit K-358 with his appropriate abilities. He has operands and safeguards in his systems to protect him and allow him to operate in time scales much shorter than a Navi should be able to, without any capability beyond his incredibly limited FreezeFrame to access such time scales. I want the full product."
That was the conversation that led him here, after week or so of debating just how badly he wanted to go about ensuring he followed Joker's orders. For a Navi, he was incredibly persuasive, and, somehow, despite the protection of the border between Net and Reality, Joker still managed to strike fear into him. So, he walked up to the Navi standing behind the desk, and showed them his visitor's license.
[ASCII] - "Hello, I'm Alexander Cummings II, and I'm here from the Animus Syndicate to do some follow up on a conversation I had over private correspondence, project number K-358."
The receptionist Navi behind the main desk of the OEL doesn't even have a chance to respond to Alexander's request. As he finishes stating his name, a man with messed hair, a five-o-clock shadow, thick glasses, a labcoat, and a large, inviting smile walks into sight behind the desk with a clip-board under his arm. He looks to the representative from the famed Animus Syndicate and gives a smile of sudden realization, one that translates itself into a greeting as the young scientist extends a hand across the desk to shake Alexander's.
Everett: Mr. Cummings, glad to finally meet you! I'm Dr. Higsby, the OEL researcher that you've been communicating with.
Alexander turned the attention of his green eyes to the man as he appeared behind the desk, immediately noting that this was a human and not a Navi projection. That was good; he, at least, hadn't been in communication with yet another controlling figure on the Net. For the man of science and business he had been talking to, Dr. Higsby sure did not look the type of the serious, questionably kindhearted man he had been talking with.
Then again, if everyone in the building looked like they belonged in a prison or behind a computer screen and not much anywhere else, they wouldn't really have a business, would they?
"The pleasure is mine, Dr. Higsby. As you know, our subject was on something of a delicate matter. We're on your terms, now, so, wherever you would prefer to continue our discussions, the better."
He wasn't one for small talk, especially not on this matter. He'd rather get to wherever they need to go, have the work done, and be on his way after some trial runs.
Everett holds his cheerful smile, nodding to Alexander as the representative of the Animus Syndicate attempts to rush along the meeting. To the point and goal-oriented, just as the syndicate had long been reputable for. Still, moving along carried its own advantages, especially on matters along these lines.
Everett: Of course, Mr. Cummings. Allow me to offer a setting more suited to the matter at hand.
The door to the side of the desk slides open and Everett moves to the doorway, motioning for Alexander to follow him down the hallway of doors that is visible on the other side. It doesn't take long for the two men to reach a door with a nametag, which Everett holds open for Alexander.
Inside is a fairly plain room, mainly consisting of white walls, a desk, a filing cabinet, a few simple straight-back chairs and a computer. It is terribly neat and simple, and somehow it fits Everett to a T. The OEL researcher walks behind the desk but remains standing as Alexander enters, pressing a button on his computer to cause the door to gently shut itself.
Everett: Alright, now that we have a bit more privacy, care to elaborate on what exactly you hope to gain from Official Experiment Labs today?
Alex followed the man down the white-wash corridor, noting how many doors they passed by before they came to the one with a nametag on it. He checked the door just to see if it was actually the man's name on the tag, as his own name wasn't on his office door back at the Animus Syndicate's headquarters in Gigamerica.
As they walked in, he found the room in a state of repair and organization that reminded him a little obsessively of his own office. Everything had its place, and the man even still used a proper filing cabinet, as opposed to keeping everything stored in a computerized database. A properly paranoid and efficient man, to keep more than one copy - physical and digital - of anything and everything that was important to him.
Or, better yet, to keep a physical copy of something and not a digital trace of it.
[ASCII] - "Yes, indeed. As I discussed briefly over our messages, I am the operator of an overclocking and time scale surveillance and security program; unit K-358. The unit's main function is to control and either lag, maintain or overclock framedata, as well as survey local timescales for any network anomalies.
"The Animus Syndicate officially holds all the credit for his current framework, but, I designed him in full. I was able to give him a very unique set of parameters in order to operate best in the situations he was meant to survey and maintain, giving him a low resonance and incredibly high performance rate with his own unique framedata ran through his own processors, so that he is never slowed down or otherwise hindered by issues in the Network around him.
"Still, even with all of my tinkering, all I was able to accomplish was the perception of time data manipulation - The unit can move at astounding speeds, and slow down the framedata of the Net around him, making it appear as though he's operating at even greater speeds than he has already. I haven't been able to make the same breakthroughs you all did not so long ago; K-358 cannot manipulate any timescale that isn't his own, and he cannot overlay them to operate in a gap of personal time nor retarded or accelerated time. I was hoping you could help me outfit my program to give him the full package; right now, he's rather incomplete. The unit has a lot of operands that are lacking functionals, and its clunking up space in his processing - I need a full product."
As Alexander speaks, Everett is obviously taken aback by his explanations as to the operational capabilities and limitations of his Navi. His eyes widen slightly and his movement halt entirely as he looks Alexander over briefly. However, this only lasts for a few moments. The OEL researcher's previous smile fades into one of far wider gait as he takes a seat at his desk and folds his hands on his lap, a sharp glint in his eyes as he now shows real attention to Alexander.
Everett: Even the longest and most strenuous cases of Navi interactions are completed not by the Navis themselves, but by the internet beta servers on which they meet. The data on all Navis are fed to the server, and the result is actually calculated in a fraction of a second. The final result is shown to us severely throttled mainly for our own benefit.
Everett pauses for a moment, moving his folded hands to his desk as he glances upwards in thought.
Everett: You are obviously aware of this fact, and are skilled enough to abuse it in order to better serve your goals. However, the powers that you now elude to...
Everett pauses for a moment, his expression turning somewhat more troubled.
Everett: Talk of project Eon is something of a taboo in this office. In his time, he was considered the most powerful single Navi on the net, and the damage that he did was incalculable. And it could have been far worse. For this reason we tend to not speak of the two reality elements: Spacial and Temporal. They are simply too dangerous in most cases. In fact, the only Navi that we've used either of them on was an ONB commander by special order a few years ago.
Everett then turns his attention fully back to Alexander, his eyes sharp and clear as he looks on.
Everett: Assuming your Navi can do all that you've said, then you've made ingenious use of your own tools. In fact, you may very well be at the true pinnacle of time-manipulation software on the Navi side... that's because the power that you seek isn't actually on the end-user's side at all; it's on the server-side.
Everett thinks for a moment before he continues, weighing his options.
Everett: The two reality-elements are not actually Navi elements; this is why they don't have common sets of elemental strengths and weaknesses. Instead, they're actually emulated data processors that the server on which the Navi operates is forced to run. The effects of this are two-fold. The first is that the server itself is throttled by having to pour additional resources into the reality-bending Navi, this causes all other Navis on the server to lag on the server-side. On our end it literally cannot be distinguished, as it may only be a tenth of a second in real-time, but that could easily be ten-times the time of the actual confrontation.
The second effect is more direct on the Navi. By having an emulated extra processor, the Navi has additional resources to perform functions in a manner that far exceeds other Navis. In the case of temporal, it speeds up calculations at a grealy increased rate, allowing enhanced speed as well as the ability to take full advantage of the throttling effect that the Navi has on the network. In the case of spacial, it allows for more complete calculations that encode actions in a manner far stronger than normal and effect other streams of data running on the same network to a greater extent. This is also why they are weak to one-another: Spacial's more well-coded actions hit Temporal's more hastily run data harder than normal as it doesn't have the resources to deal with them in a normal manner, while Spacial's stronger encoding leaves it vulnerable to swift assaults while still compiling its final calculations. On top of this, the two literally compete with each other for network resources.
Everett stops again, considering the situation again.
Everett: With that in mind, the OEL is the only organization that has developed this type of emulated processor, and the only organization that has permission from all government agencies to run them on the global servers. A few beings have managed to gain the effects, but not many. Now, with this in mind, allow me to pose this question;
Everett pauses once again. By this point it's obvious that there's more that he isn't yet saying about the situation, but his exposition string is obviously leading to it.
Everett: if we allow you to use this technology, what is your intended use for it?
Alexander couldn't help but give a smirk as the doctor's interest suddenly piqued, watching as he was given a second look. It would seem that the doctor had underestimated him, or at least hadn't expected him to know and be able to do what he had done; he'd surprised him. Alexander liked being underestimated. It kept people's noses high, and their eyes off of him. For the time being, though, he wanted the doctor's attention - and he'd earned it.
He nodded his head when the doctor explained how Navi interactions worked; K-358 relied on his personal knowledge of how Network displays, lag, timescales and even real-time versus navi-time worked. The minimal fractions of seconds between which Navi Operators and human workers got to see what was going on in the Net and what was actually happening in the Net were the spans of time K-358 was designed - and trained - to operate in, and abuse.
As the doctor went on to explain much of what Alexander was able to find out on his own through his own careful dig, about Eon and the elements that the monstrous Navi commanded, he was forced to look as though he hadn't heard much on the subject. When the doctor continued to explain exactly how the two elements worked, however, he got to show genuine intrigue - he'd never thought about emulating additional data processors that ran entirely off of the server. He figured that, given even this little bit of information, he could go back to the Animus Syndicate and figure it out for themselves - maybe even begin building their own server stations for the reality elements. The money they could bring in . . .
. . . Legal matters. He'd let himself get caught up in the possibilities; thankfully, it hadn't shown on his face, beyond the intrigue and a scientist's enthusiasm. Of course the government would regulate who could and couldn't operate these servers, given the last time they granted that trust.
He was ultimately interested in all the things that the doctor explained that the reality element of Temporal was capable of; much of that was already in K-358's repertoire, but, built into his own code. He didn't have the luxury of operating those commands on an emulated data processor; he ran it through his own processors, at his own time. To think of what he'd be capable of if he had both his natural ability set and that emulated processor . . .
[ASCII] - "Ah, yes," he smiled, laughing a little at Dr. Higsby's final question. "Well, now that you explained the legal matters, I'm a little concerned for the rest of our discussion - what I had in mind was, in fact, marketing the unit for specialized sale. The Animus Syndicate, as you know, doesn't create traditional Navis - we create programs, tools and utilities with specific functional. On the Net overlay, these programs appear as simplistic creatures of varying kinds, depending on the unit specialty - the K-Unit is designed for efficiency, pack mentality and security maintenance of many different categories, and they're rather lupine.
"They have minimal soul code and, while they can operate independently, as nothing more than a true executable file, they do exactly as they're told, without question. Unit K-358 can do much on the lines of editing framedata and modulating network speed and framerate, but, his secondary advertisement line - his skill with timescales and network surveillance - cannot really be put in the ads until he is complete with the specs needed to actually do what you've explained.
". . . In short, I'd sell the completed product off to contractors who needed to use the program, for whatever it is they needed the program for. I'm the only one authorized to run K-358 outside of a personal computer; these additional programs will be specifically coded for the individuals that order them, and they will not be able to use them elsewhere. I'll be the only one with him fully on the Net, if that abates any concerns on that matter any more."
Higsby had expected an answer similar to this. What use is power on the corporate field other than gaining money, gaining more power, or both?
Everett: I see. It makes sense on the surface in this regard to want to make farther use of these unique modes of network manipulation. However, with due respect, you seem to have missed a key part of my explanation, as well as the reason that I feel so free explaining the OEL's proprietary technology to someone not affiliated with the organization; only so many Navis with these powers can exist at once. The very nature of the reality elements means that too many Navis running them at the same time could potentially crash entire beta servers due to the added strain. It's the same reason that Navis that use glitches and viral data generally bring heavy oversight. For that reason alone, mass-production of Navis using these elements is ethically and technologically impossible; the net as a whole can only support so many of them at a given time.
Alexander frowned, but quickly went back to the drawing board in his head of how he could still come out of this smelling like a rose. He needed this for more reasons than one.
[ASCII] - "Right, right, I understand. I suppose I could . . . yes, yes indeed. I'll be the sole owner of the K-358 Unit that we modify, here, today; his code and functionale will not be made available to anyone else. How I'll handle it is that the other K-358 Programs will all do what they already do, and, if the client is in need of the more capable program, I will personally see to that job - for a higher rate, for the better, one-of-a-kind program.
"You wouldn't have to worry about more than one being in existence, in that case. I'd be the only one with the full product."
And now the topic as moving in a far more advantageous direction. Now to cut away a few of the loose edges and move forward with the situation at hand.
Everett: That does sound far more agreeable. Combining the unique technologies of the OEL and Animus Syndicate into a single Navi would prove fascinating and worthy of study. However, as I'm sure you've already guessed, the OEL does have a few specific stipulations. The most important we already have out of the way; no mass-production for the good of the net as a whole. There is also the fact that we would be forced to study your Navi's internal systems in order to find a way to best make the modifications. In return for our aid, we would like the right to study the final product for ourselves in order to make improvements to our own design and, perhaps, use your example to make these powers less unwieldy for the sake of future joint-projects that I hope our organizations will have the opportunity to work on together in the future.
Everett holds his silence for a moment, allowing his terms for the project to sink in fully before he continues.
[ASCII] - "I actually figured as much, which brings me to my next few points.
"In the editing of K-358's code, as I expect that, for purely research purposes, you will add in a few things that we did not discuss here today. Alternative business interests, and all that. I'm not being accusatory, I'm just being practical. Whatever else you do to my K-Unit, I simply demand one simple thing: Whenever I insert a command stream directly to this program, he follows it, without question. His subservient attitude, and position as a pure tool at an individual's disposal, can never be compromised; he listens to the two data parameters in his code first, and to me second, and operates under no one else without at least two of those three parameters being in agreement.
"On the secondary matter, through your delving into his code, you will find two sets of heavily encrypted data strands. The first will link back to the Animus Syndicate Servers directly, which is one of the two data pools set as a parameter that he will follow. For your network's safety and the continuation of my employment, I suggest you leave that datapool alone. I say this as an individual, not a member of the Animus Syndicate - Do not try to piggy back off of it, do not try to hack it, and, for heaven's sake, please do not try to send any data over it.
"The second set of encrypted data is likely of a data type that you are ill equipped to handle or bother with anyways, but, just for everyone's safety, I'll let you know what it looks like so that you'll avoid it. It's an incredibly compact, condensed ball of code that takes on the appearance of a red sphere within his Network overlay. That data is a unique form of glitched data created by the Animus Syndicate, and, I promise you, you do not have the tools to properly interact with it. For your network's safety and the continuation of my Navi's existence, please leave it alone. If you could also omit any mentioning of that particular data strand in any data reports the Animus Syndicate requests of you after the fact, I'd be greatly appreciative.
"Finally, I'd like to request that, before we leave here today, if I could run some trial tests with K-358 on site, just to get out any of the first few kinks that could arise within his system. With my requests in place, so long as each one is followed, we should be good - and safe - to continue."
"Ill equipped to handle"... this comment would be what stands out to the greatest degree to Higsby simply due to the challenge inferred from the statement. Naturally, this comes with a parade of thoughts and theories about what exactly Alexander thought he'd developed that was so unique that one of the most advanced network-technologies organizations on the planet couldn't even handle it, but for the time being that wasn't important. For now, all that mattered was ironing out this game of industrial chess in order to move forward for the benefit of both sides.
Everett: Once again; agreeable. We will make what we feel will be the bare-minimum modifications necessary to bring about the desired outcome. Ensuring that all orders from K-358's owner and operator..
Everett motions to Alexander with his hand
Everett: ...will be the absolute priority. We will make no changes to compromise this. However, I feel it best to echo your previous warnings with out own; you are more than free to analyze and tinker with the changes that we make today, but be aware that most of our programming is done via our own proprietary tools and programs, meaning delving too deep may end up causing unexpected damage.
Everett once again trails his eyes to the ceiling as he reviews the meeting's events in his mind. Having answered all of Alexander's concerns favorably and offering a cautionary warning of his own to the tail end of the verbal contract, all issues should have been addressed by this point.
Everett: If we are in full agreement now, is K-358 prepared for the necessary modifications?
Alexander noticed the look on the doctor's face when he mentioned Joker's data stream, and realized that the doctor probably didn't believe that the young scientist was capable of anything that the OEL couldn't handle. Joker and his unique data stream was a whole other ball game, that, much like the OEL, the Animus Syndicate had been specifically contracted by the Government to handle. Officially, the whole of the project was a failure, and the AS no longer funded nor worked on it - unofficially, Alexander and Joker kept the project floating.
He thought of all the ways it would go horribly wrong if Higsby didn't heed his warnings, but, decided to leave the doctor to what he would.
[ASCII] - "I'm in agreement with everything, as well; K-358 is ready for the process, whenever you are ready to begin. I have the unit in question right here,", he said, pulling his Navi's PET out of his holster on his side.
Everett nods and holds out his hand, taking the PET before standing up at his desk with a smile.
Everett: Very well, we'll begin right away. I will see to it that our head researcher is put in charge of the situation. You're welcome to oversee the procedure, wait here, wait in the lobby, or return once the process is done. It should take roughly one hour to complete.
Alexander nodded as the doctor took K-358's PET, and mulled through his head what he would like to do while they worked on the product. If he stayed and watched, they may be extra careful about how they go about actually working on K-358 - which, while that would make it easier to ensure that they didn't mess anything up, it could also hinder the building process if he is present. He didn't want them to be finished and he be off elsewhere, however.
[ASCII] - "I believe I will wait out in the lobby while the researcher completes their work, thank you. Take good care of my Navi - a tool he may be, he is still a friend."