Gone Away ~ The journal of Clive Allen in America

A Very Parfit Knight 5
(to start from the beginning of this story, click here)
Part Five

"You know the ultimate reason for existence of the intranet?" asked the lady.

Gawain pondered the question. There were many possible answers, most of them bordering on what he thought of as metaphysics. Perhaps it would be better to let the lady answer, rather than reveal his own thoughts on the matter.

"You tell me," he said.

"Nice avoidance," smiled the lady. "We need to go straight to the nub here rather than become embroiled in philosophy. The Company is the reason. It is the creator of the intranet and the creature serves its maker."

Sir Gawain nodded his agreement.

The lady continued. "Now, you will know from your records that my mistress is employed by the Company. But what you do not know is that she actually serves another master. Let us call that master the Opposition. You will have heard of the Opposition, although it has never concerned you, being purely the guardian of the intranet that you are. But the Opposition has become very interested in you and what you guard."

She paused, watching the knight for a reaction. Sir Gawain remained impassive as though absorbing information without judgement. The lady resumed her discourse.

"My mistress is not here to destroy. The intention is purely to extract a little information to assist the Opposition in its competition with the Company." She paused again, and shook her head. "Well, no, I will not insult your intelligence. What is required is more than a little information. The plan is to construct a wormhole through the firewall to enable me to feed the Opposition with daily reports on the Company's research and development. The Opposition finds itself temporarily short of funds in this area and, to ensure that competition can continue, has decided that some assistance from the Company would not go amiss."

The lady, who had been watching Sir Gawain carefully throughout her explanation, now pointed her slender finger directly at the knight. "You, sir knight, are one of two hindrances to our plan."

"Indeed so," replied Sir Gawain. "And the other is the Geek."

The lady nodded in confirmation. "Yes, the Geek. Well, my mistress is working on that minor problem right now. You know very well how close he is to capitulation. I do not think he will prove too difficult. After all, there will be considerable benefits to him in agreeing to our proposal. Both in monetary and, umm, other terms." She winked slyly at the knight.

Sir Gawain remained impassive. "So," he said slowly, "you may succeed with the Geek. But what of me? I cannot be purchased so easily."

"That is where my proposal comes in," replied the lady. "But first, there is something I must attend to quickly. Bumble has an errand to run for me."

She reached down to touch the crawler and it stopped its endless circling, its shell now rippling with instructions being fed into its core. Sir Gawain prepared the loop he was going to need. All that remained was that instant of contact with the crawler that he must create somehow.

The lady finished the programming and sat back again. The crawler beeped once and then headed for the exit. As it passed his chair, Sir Gawain stood and lashed out at it with his foot. "Traitor!" he snarled.

The crawler bounced a little off course but continued on its way. The lady laughed.

"Oh, Sir Gawain, such passion!"

The knight resumed his seat. "I'm sorry, lady. The thing is non-sentient. It was a foolish thing for me to do. Truly pointless."

"Just as is my Labyrinth, in your estimation, sir knight. It seems we are both capable of foolish acts." She beamed at him, delighted to have demonstrated the glories of their artificial intelligence. When Sir Gawain smiled in recognition and agreement to her point, she resumed her discourse.

"And now we come to my proposal, Sir Gawain. It is in both our interests that you remain in command of your realm, the intranet. From the point of view of the Opposition, your continuing presence will reassure the Company that nothing is amiss. And you will still have your primary objective, the care and protection of the intranet. If I understand you well, and I believe I do, your concern is for that only. No loyalty to the Company outside the intranet has been programmed into you. All that is required is for you to allow one small breach in the firewall and occasional visits from me."

The knight interrupted there. "Why would I do this? I have command of the intranet already without you to interfere."

"Oh, Sir Gawain, have you not realized yet?" The lady shook her head slowly. "You have no intranet, sir. You are in my realm here and, unless I say so, you cannot return to your fief."

"So I am a prisoner? And how will you stop me returning to the Gateway? I am much faster than you, as you well know." The knight did not hide the scorn in his voice for her C coding.

The lady looked at him in mock sorrow. "Ah, sir knight, are you so impolite as to throw your Assembly in my face? You may go to the Gateway if you wish but you will find it is not there. It does not exist unless the switch outside is thrown. Only Bumble has the key necessary to create the doorway from this side and he has gone it seems."

"What is to stop me waiting by the Gateway for his return?" asked the knight.

The lady shrugged. "He will not return. He is presently on his last errand, after which he will become again like any other crawler. His usefulness to me is ended."

"I see." The knight relaxed into his chair as though defeated. "Yet there is still a flaw in your plan. When I do not answer any call from the Geek, he will become concerned and wipe the drives. It will take time for your mistress to subvert him and he is always ready to reload."

The lady pretended surprise, her eyebrows raised. "Indeed? The Geek is a hasty one, it seems." Then she laughed again. "Sir Gawain, I am way ahead of you. Bumble has gone to change the passwords. If the Geek tries to wipe the drives, he will find that he is barred from entry. Only my mistress has the new passwords and she will offer them to him in return for co-operation. He is as dedicated to the intranet as you and he will agree to her offer. After all, it is his construction and he will not be able to countenance its removal from his grasp. He is like any other geek in the end; his loyalty is to his creation, not to the Company. I think you must agree that we have thought of everything."

Sir Gawain looked grim as he replied, "Yes, my lady, you have thought of everything. The Geek is just as you have said."

(to go directly to Part 6, click here)


This is marvelous! I no longer want it to end, it is much too entertaining.
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Gone Away
Thank you, Ned. *blush, blush*
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Oooooh the tension! This can't be a Microsoft network then or she wouldn't have to go to this trouble, she could just wander in ;)
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Gone Away
Hah, good point, Mad! LOL
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Such a tasty feast going here...compliments to the chef, and ask him to send out another large bowl, if you please.
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Mmm... steak... Golden Corral would be nice too ;-)
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Aha! Will the knight be seduced from his duty? Will the Geek? Or is this is a test of loyalty? I'm on tenterhooks (whatever the heck those are anyway). :D Great job, Gone!
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Gone Away
Next meal coming up shortly, Way... ;)
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Gone Away
Yes, indeed, Rusty. Here's to the Golden Corral!
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Gone Away
Thank you, Jodie. :) (I've always wondered what tenterhooks are, too)
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Harvey Young
I do like this very much. This is a great story and you are in a groove here. Go for it and continue to keep us wrapped up in this story.

This is such a welcome break that I get here as soon as the time allows.
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Gone Away
'Tis my pleasure that readers should get pleasure from what is written, Harvey. I am greatly cheered and encouraged by the fact that you enjoy this little tale so much. :)
Date Added: 25/02/2005

What do you mean, "little tale"? This is extremely well-written, concise, entertaining, and as I said before, the mix of genre works very well, sustaining itself throughout.
Dare I hope for another installment when I wake up for work?
Date Added: 25/02/2005

Gone Away
Well, thank you, Hannah, it's nice to be appreciated. :)

The sixth and final part will be put up some time tomorrow morning, I think. Depends really on when I can get it written, but I will try my hardest. What time do you leave for work?
Date Added: 26/02/2005

Too late :(
Date Added: 26/02/2005

Gone Away
Sorry :(
Date Added: 26/02/2005

"Well, there's egg and bacon; egg, sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg, bacon and spam; egg, bacon, sausage and spam; spam, bacon, sausage and spam; spam, egg, spam, spam, bacon and spam; spam, sausage, spam, spam, bacon, spam, tomato and spam. . . " (sorry, I am anxious for part six and getting a little squirrely over here)
Date Added: 26/02/2005

Gone Away
The chicken makes a contribution towards breakfast. The pig, however, is totally committed. All in good time, Josh...
Date Added: 26/02/2005

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