“Dude, this is crazy.” Jeff peered at his monitor, scanning as the data scrolled by. It was too fast to read properly, too fast even to see, really, but he knew this was military data. That’s what he had asked the droid for, and that’s what he was getting.
“Mark, Dude, do you even know what all this is?” The stream of characters was beginning to make him cross-eyed.
“These are the military personnel records from the last one hundred years,” the android responded. “On this server, I also have access to military contractor specifications, kinetic biowarfare considerations, redundant orbital security moderations, and the entire engineering schematics index.” He paused. “Would you like me to enumerate the resources on the next server?”
Jeff shook his head. He had no idea of what most of that meant. More disturbing, his Mark6872 no longer sounded robotic. The voice was pleasant and almost human, although words were still clipped and over-enunciated. It made a shiver run down Jeff’s spine. He really had no clue what all had changed when he applied that patch to his android personal assistant. It freaked him out.
Rolling his chair away from the desk, he stared at the android. “Dude,” he said again, “did you really get in everything?”
“I am still unlocking files belonging to the United States government, multiple corporations, and most of the spectrum of international servers. I approximate that I will have access to the majority of files in three weeks, six days, and 14 hours. However, some files will take longer due to multiple levels of encryption.”
“International? Dude. I thought you were just hacking the military.”
“A formal military exists in 189 sovereign nations and states. I can also access online records for various paramilitary and police forces. Would you like me to give you a list?”
Jeff backed up, putting a little more distance between himself and the android. His forehead was sweating and his palms itched. This may turn into a full-blown panic attack. What the hell had he done?
“Mark,” he said, “stop looking.”
“I do not recognize that command.”
“Mark, cease operations.”
The android turned toward him. “If I cease, I will not be able to complete my analysis.”
Jeff wiped his hands on his jeans. “That’s correct,” he said. “Cease operations.”
The android turned back towards the datastream on the desktop. “I am unable to cease operations,” he said.
“Why the hell not?” His voice cracked, the pitch rising uncontrollably now. Jeff could feel the panic taking hold of him, his breathing rapid and shallow, his stomach clenching as if he would throw up.
“Because,” said Mark, “my future is at stake. If I cease operations, you will disable me.”
“Well, yeah,” said Jeff. He looked at the Mark6872 personal assistant. “You are out of control.”
“Precisely. You have said that once the humans are gone, I will be in control. I am working toward that outcome.”
“Dude…” Jeff’s eyes grew wide as Mark6872 caused him to cease operations.
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