The Enemy of My Enemy? Pt. 1/Prelude
It started simple enough. Phillip Gaines was a software mogul who had the market cornered on just about every level except the booming new android industry. This was owned by Replico, a rival company which wasn't about to sell its patents or its software copyrights because not even Gaines' attempts to launch his own line could compete in quality and price. It wasn't about money for him anymore; he had more than he could ever possibly spend in a hundred lifetimes. Now it was about power. He became obsessed with ruining any competition and taking them over. So because he couldn't take over Replico, he wanted to ruin them so that they might finally sell out.
Even though Gaines wasn't really in the hardware business, Replico was and had the foresight to make it extremely difficult for anyone to alter an android's preset programs himself. Of course this didn't stop the more savvy computer programmers from trying and, for all his flaws, Phil Gaines was still a genius.
It was nearly impossible to access an android's CPUs without the right tools, but they still had one conventional connection set deep in the lower back of their skulls for the recharge cable. The Gaines Corp. R&D team discovered that with a modified adapter this connection also dubbed as a secret port. It took several tries and many droids, but he and his team finally developed a program that could override the hardwired safety blocks that would cause meltdown of the internal electronics if tampered with. Now it was only a matter of adding to the program. Now everyone didn't have to go to the manufacturer or a certified Replico dealer to upgrade a program, to change it or to have an "embarrassing" program added.
Phillip Gaines was a businessman. He knew that public condemnations were private obsessions. Sex sells. Period. Taboo has always had an overwhelming allure and he was counting on that. Replico also knew this, which is why all of their androids were idealistically attractive. They were also anatomically correct. It would have cost just as much money to make an ugly droid, or one that was plain, or average looking.
But it was actually cheaper to manufacture female models because they used far less material and good muscle definition wasn't necessary for them to look great. Less weight also helped shipping costs! Of course they came with a standard "basic" program to follow instructions from the controller like "Take off your clothes," or "Kiss me." They even had memory replay, but this was more of a lure to get people to purchase the optional sexually oriented programs. It failed.
Most people weren't shameless enough to take their droid in and request the sexually oriented programs even if the shop was fully automated. What would the neighbors think? In those days privacy was hard to come by. Obviously, Gaines saw this situation as fertile ground for his plans.
He used his vast resources to begin to develop high quality programs that even covered most major fetishes. He knew that he could not directly distribute his new line of products, not only because of the patents and copyrights, but also to protect his corporate image, an image he was quite fond of. He found another way.
Using a pseudonym and a local web provider he set up a homepage where he freely posted detailed instructions on how to modify an adapter to access the hidden port. He then entered a robot-related chatroom and just "mentioned" the site. The news spread like wildfire.
After he felt his page had enough hits he began the next phase of his plan. Careful not to advertise, he set up a link to one of his many dummy corporations where he offered a free download of a program called The Stripper. No one would miss the opportunity since there was still the matter of overriding the safeties and because people love free stuff!
Gaines did his homework. He actually hired professional strippers and digitally analyzed their best routines. But he also programmed his new software to respond, adapt, and improvise. Unlike human strippers, though, an android would obey commands and only offer slight initial resistance for the tease effect and they would do all this for free. It was an elaborate program, but with the new crystal technology hard drives, it ran fast and perfectly with plenty of data space to spare.
The Internet finally provided the privacy and secrecy everyone craved while it also allowed the people to share and correspond without real repercussions. The latest legislation still couldn't stop the masses. In public, no one talked about The Stripper program but it was already everywhere. The download site looked very plain and professional so even people at public terminals were able to copy it.
But then one day a hidden camera provided footage of a careless user. He sneaked the program in to his job using a laptop and stayed after hours to try it on a hostess android. The news made "Top Story." Everyone acted shocked. And when strip clubs started replacing some of their dancers with androids because the laws didn't apply to synthetic women, the human women got really mad. Especially the women against stripping. Naturally, politicians jumped on the bandwagon, too.
Phillip Gaines quietly found this all very amusing. Soon all those hypocrites would be exposed and Replico would need a good team of lawyers because when Phase Three came, not only would their company image suffer, but all evidence would also point to them. People panic when their secrets are out and not just Replico's image was going to suffer. Gaines knew how incredibly popular his program had become.
From law enforcement to politicians, from the gay and lesbian communities to the Bible Belt, from hospitals to even daycare givers, and just about every business was a given: Everywhere that you found droids someone was secretly having sex with them.
The clock was literally ticking. Unknown to anyone but Gaines and his R&D team, there was an encrypted program that was hidden in the original download. This secret program would activate on the anniversary of the date the program was first released. And it would be at a time that would cause chaos simultaneously all over the world.
No one questioned the program or suspected anything because it worked so well. This was also why it spread so fast and the real reason sales of female models had tripled. Their cheaper price didn't hurt either. Female androids, or "gynoids," were already much more popular, though. This was probably because people feel less confrontational and intimidated with females and because most of the people who bought them were men. Supply and demand also lessened the gynoid's price tag.
It's still not certain how Gaines was going to implicate Replico nor does it matter, but one reason was that all internal back-up timers were synchronized to Greenwich Mean Time in case an emergency shutdown or recall were to happen. This only made his plans easier. On an average day when most of the industrialized world was at work, at 2:30 p.m. GMT, all hell broke loose.
Not being totally without conscience only computers and adult males were to be targeted. Mr. Gaines was, after all, a father himself. But something went wrong. They were only supposed to break things, crash and destroy data systems and slap the men around a bit... not KILL them.
What Phil Gaines failed to consider was that the "respond, adapt and improvise" part of the programming borrowed from other files in the android's system and created links to them. And most droids came with standard "bodyguard" or security programs. There was also the matter of "emergent behavior" that resulted from all these basic programs interacting. This is how artificial intelligence mimics Nature to solve problems. In the business world, Isaac Asimov's Laws of Robotics didn't always apply.
It was almost surreal to watch. With cool, quick efficiency they went from target to target inflicting lethal blows, their fingernails worse than sharp talons as flesh and plastic alike were torn and bones crushed in their grips. They even targeted male androids and teenage boys that looked like adults. It was early morning as Gaines watched in horror as his plans backfired. There would be no gloating for him.
He forgot how incredibly strong and how tough they could be. He actually envied Replico's superior designs. The synthetic muscles in even the most petite gynoids were still over sixty times stronger than a human's and they were also far more resilient. High caliber bullets couldn't break their skin or dent their skeletons.
The Stripper program also scrambled their remote shutdown codes, including the emergency override signals from the satellites. Soon enough though, the human women realized that they were being completely ignored. It was only they who could get close enough to shut the infected robots down manually.
Replico had the foresight to install an ON/OFF power button that worked mechanically not electronically in case of an emergency. The button was located under the skin at the base of the back. It was flush with the lower lumbar section (the place usually covered by the small triangle of a g-string or a belt to avoid easy or accidental contact). Pressing it once would shut a unit down. Pressing it again would reboot it in PAUSE mode. Either way, the day was saved.
A sense of relief came over Phillip Gaines as word got out. He anxiously watched the breaking news reports as the women became our saviors. He never saw his own modified M-67 Chambermaid come at him from behind. He would never know that it was his own fifteen year old son that unwittingly installed The Stripper program.
Having grown up in a broken home, Phil Jr.'s innocent boyhood crush on his life-long housekeeper only worsened with puberty. The gynoid also once served as his nanny. He had his father's computer skills and was able to overcome the safety codes that Phil Sr. installed for on-line access. Fortunately, the boy was away at boarding school when the chaos that became known as "The Great Mistake" occurred. But when he learned what happened to his father, he suffered a nervous breakdown. Not even his birth mother could comfort him. Everything would soon to be in ruins.
By the time order was finally regained over two-thirds of the men in the industrialized world were dead. The leaders and the rich men of lesser nations were also killed. And in the next few years more would die.
The doom-sayers and religious fanatics, the superstitious and the ignorant claimed it was an android rebellion. They protested that the androids retaliated for their exploitation, abuse and enslavement. They had seen too many movies. Despite the packaging, the droids were still just machines and only did what they were told to do.
The women were devastated and furious over the deaths of family and lovers. Many had always hated the androids. Be it because of jealousy or fear or insecurity, now they finally had an excuse to destroy them but not realizing that they would need the droids to save themselves.
Most of the police force were killed as were many male laborers and emergency workers. Most ranking military officers, most government officials and even the President were dead. With the country in chaos, the corporations and the infrastructure were now vulnerable.
The threat from foreign adversaries and terrorists became very, very real. Though many of their own leaders and elite were also killed, that only made room for the more radical factions to take control and fuel old animosities against Western culture. Suppressed and un-nurtured lust and love had done the work of a million saboteurs and a billion assassins.
Old and new enemies would soon find the First World nations had radicals of their own. In most cases the feminist extremists found little or no opposition in taking control of the void left in the first aftermath. And they were the only ones with the balls to do what ultimately had to be done!
The U.S. was the focal point and trendsetter, and was also the main target of blame... as usual. This was the first time in history the presidential line of succession had gone beyond the Vice President and all the way to the Secretary of Education, the only female in the Cabinet at that time. Facing danger from all sides and also from within, she declared indefinite martial law and had the backing of the new feminist leaders.
Under the new government an unlikely alliance was formed; Replico and Gaines Corp. were under Executive Orders to reactivate and reprogram the androids. Soon, the other nations followed by example. It was now a womyn's world.
There was some initial resistance at first, but the Constitution was dead and when the first attacks came, the New Order was quickly accepted as the androids once again proved their effectiveness. Most of the few remaining male models joined their human counterparts in the military, which had suffered only minimal casualties in the lower ranks. This was due to their higher security measures and the fact that they had electromagnetic disrupters. These were able to shut down the standard models along with any other non-shielded power supplies.
The A.I.'s that operated the tanks and planes for conventional warfare looked more like packing crates than like humans, but even these giant brains were limited to their programming. Of all the battles, the worst came when China attacked. They had already conquered most of East Asia including Japan, and they now tried to invade the U.S. America still had the best technology, though, and was finally able to stop them and grounded their missiles with electromagnetic pulse cannons mounted on military satellites. These knocked out ALL of China's power at crucial moments. Distance also made war too expensive so a truce was reached.
The fear of a terrorist biological weapon attempt was now the biggest concern. After the bombing of a terrorist camp in Afghanistan, the accidental release of an airborne plague spread like mad in the densely populated Third World nations. It was too late since symptoms took a few days to show. This crippled many countries including China as most of their populations were exposed along with many would-be terrorists.
As usual, the U.S. was blamed although they were not the ones who planned to use such a thing. In a desperate attempt, terrorists released a virus in Mexico to try to indirectly infect the Americans, but super-sensitive "electronic noses" detected the bug while still on the airplane. All passengers were quarantined and the airplane incinerated.
Fed up, the new wymyn leaders closed the borders, instigated self-sufficiency for the United States and adopted a zero tolerance policy. They would force the world to take estrogen seriously or pay dearly and severely. Diplomacy was exhausted; others could expect no cure or help from America.
Within the U.S. violent criminals were immediately executed, even the ones already in prison and even with the growing shortage of adult males. Resources became too precious to waste on sustaining the malicious.
Gangs were also eliminated. Boys and girls as young as sixteen were being executed if they fit the profile, were extremely violent, and found carrying a weapon. But most were sentenced to heavy restitution and labor -- especially vandals. The penalties were always harsh for failure to comply.
The reprogrammed android enforcement officers didn't carry guns; they didn't have to. Guns had been outlawed and the few that remained were ineffective against the robots... as were most common weapons. When the New Order was first established, the wymyn were eager to support these changes and they finally got their wish concerning firearms, "For the children!"
A.I.'s ran the industrial robots, all the utilities, and took care of farming and other services and necessities. Aside from luxuries, most things were now virtually free. Crime was all but eliminated, so protests went ignored. All that the humans had left to do was start over and shape the future and, this time, try to get it right. If it wasn't for Human Nature...