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Greg and Rhea are off to a military base to make sure that Project Ares is going as planned. He meets some new people and makes a few new friends. He makes some discoveries of his own about Rhea and himself that will literally change the way he sees his world and the world at large.
We got our coffee, made it through security and boarded the corporate jet with time to spare. Our flight took off on time and we were headed for the recently refurbished military base deep in the Painted Desert. It was first established during the Cold War. But when the Berlin Wall fell this base and a few others became obsolete. But Project Ares had reawakened the corpse of the facility from its desert grave. We had a few hours until we reached our destination and I used it to try and crack the Ares corundum. I brought up the schematics of the Blink ring and continued to dissect its systems one at a time. Rhea sat nearby and watched as I brainstormed with my digital counterpart. I didn’t see it as a separate entity any longer now it was just another part of my brain. I bounced ideas off it and when an idea hit the mark I got a green light. However, when my thoughts were off target it flashed a red one. I was getting a lot of red.
“Fuck it,” I cursed. “Display the absolute basics. Show me the things that are absolutely inviolate.”
A sticky note appeared and on it was listed the antiquarian’s thirteen commandments. Most of them dealt with the function of the ring while a few others seemed more cosmetic. I brought up the elements I thought were trivial and looked them over one at a time. A gasp from Rhea and I looked over at her. She stood up and pointed at the third item. She told me it was an arcane symbol. It represented the space between spaces. That seemed to make sense to me. The ring created a fold in space that could be interpreted as a space between spaces.
“Maybe it’s his signature,” I offered and she made a face.
“I don’t know,” she said. “These other items sound like alchemical processes and magical formulae.”
“Rhea, are you a witch?” I asked and she laughed. “Good because for a minute there I was beginning to wonder. How do you know so much about magic and alchemy?”
“I used to hang out with Sir Isaac Newton,” she said quite seriously. “He was a closet alchemist and not a bad lover. I was his inspiration for his theory about gravity. No seriously, we were going at it one day and I was bent over holding onto the trunk of this tree. Well the vibrations of his thrusts knocked loose an apple and the rest is history.”
“I guess you can’t have the father of physics portrayed as a randy old man with a luscious young lover. History has to be dignified after all.”
“True… and you can’t have the theory of gravity being inspired by a romp outside at an apple tree.” She said and then fell silent again. “I have to agree maybe that symbol is his signature. But the other things are straight out of an alchemical notebook. Maybe it his version of some kind of metallurgical recipe, what do you think?”
“I think you are onto something. It helps me sort out what I can and cannot do. Did you really sleep with Newton?”
“Yep… you’re not jealous are you?”
“No, I may have some questions later on but for now, I have to focus on this.”
“What exactly are you trying to do Greg?”
I showed her the working model of the six segments of the ring. It wasn’t anywhere near completion but it got the point across. I went into the whys and wherefores of my logic. So the two of us continued analyzing the schematics and worked on isolating each stage of the ring’s operation. This was going to take months if not years to segregate the components and rework the Blink technology. We weren’t the only ones working on it but it took a decade to bring this to fruition and it could take another decade to understand it well enough to master it or not at all. There were no guarantees that what I wanted to do was even possible. But that wasn’t going to stop me from trying. Rhea liked my idea but I told her it was hardly original. I had discovered that creating a plug and play ring had been early on in the developmental stages. Everyone involved kept all the other groups in the loop. I felt it was going to be a single domino that would create the solution. It would happen suddenly and after the first breakthrough the rest would hopefully fall. It helped to have a positive attitude.
“This reminds me of something,” Rhea said and repeated it several more times but at different segments of the ring’s operation.
Over the next few hours we attacked the Blink technology from front to back and from every angle we could think of. We were close to our destination when we sat down and watched footage of the successful test of the rings. I decided to examine every frame to see if anything unusual could be seen. We were on final approach when I found the single frame that stood out from the rest. I displayed it for Rhea and we stared at it and then at each other.
“What do you think,” I asked.
“A space between spaces,” Rhea replied.
“I ataşehir escort bayan wonder if anyone else has seen this.”
“You’ll find out soon enough. We are landing.”
We buckled up as the aircraft made its final approach. The plane touched down and took up its position on the tarmac. The engines wound down and there was a sudden shudder as the elevator dropped down carrying the entire aircraft to the base below the surface of the desert. It took a few minutes to reach our destination and the elevator ground to a halt. We disembarked and were greeted by the base commander General Thomas Grant. We shook hands and introductions were exchanged as we got the VIP tour of the facility. I was amazed at what the Army Corps of Engineers was able to accomplish in such a small amount of time. I learned that there were still areas of the old base that were being worked on but the key components were finished.
But it was central operations that I was most interesting in seeing. It was the heart of the base and the location of Project Ares. I watched the General and he was everything you’d expect from a career military man with the blood of presidents in his veins. He was tall with wide shoulders and carried himself with a ramrod straight posture and a stride that was a bit of a challenge to keep up with. He had not softened in his old age he was still cast from iron and deserving of respect. He spoke with a clarity and power of a man used to having his simplest requests treated as orders. The last area we were taken to was central operations and not by chance. He had built up the tension throughout the entire tour.
I didn’t miss the stunning redheaded Major at his side. She had the same steely exterior but I didn’t miss the subtle looks she gave the General when she thought no one was watching. They were close friends at least and maybe a lot more. I loved the line of freckles accentuating her elegant nose and prominent cheekbones. I wondered how that full sensual mouth felt like when it was wrapped around a cock. Rhea elbowed me and I looked out from the control room that overlooked central operations. The ring was already under construction. It would be twice as large as the first when it was completed. It was the heart of Project Ares our unmanned mission to Mars. A robot piloted by a carefully chosen A.I. would go to the red planet and construct the second ring. Once that was accomplished we could step from one world to the other. That was why it was so damn important to be able to make the Blink technology modular. It would make the trip to Mars more likely to succeed. A full constructed ring might suffer damage from the vibrations from the launch into space or its landing on Mars. A modular ring seemed our best chance for success.
“The staging area is completely air tight and can have its atmosphere adjusted to fit the Martian configuration perfectly. Once the rings are aligned we can have our boys moved from one world to the other easily. I’ll tell you what Greg I am damn excited. When I was a kid I always wanted to be an astronaut. This is the next best thing. Perhaps before I die I will get a chance to step onto the sands of Mars. Who knows maybe even you will get that great honor.”
“Anything is possible,” I said. “Your men are making great progress. Even if Ares is delayed we still have plans for the ring here.”
“Really, well that is news to me. Can you share with me what Mr. Shaw has planned?”
“Nothing short of revolutionizing space travel,” I said smiling. “Even as we speak another ring is under construction in a different facility. That one and a prototype fusion generator are going to be sent into orbit…”
“Genius, pure genius,” the General cried out cutting me off. “Once the second ring is in space and functioning then rockets will no longer be necessary to carry payloads into orbit. Hell even Ares could be sent that way. That man never ceases to surprise me. Let’s retreat to my office and we share a bite of lunch. I imagine you and your bodyguard must be famished.”
He led the way without a word from either of us. I watched the Major walking ahead of me and received another elbow to the side from Rhea. The glare from her was half jealousy and half warning. She could be the General’s lover. Rhea had picked up on it as well. The General’s office was a perfect reflection of the man. It was austere bordering on the sterile. There were a few personal mementos on the walls and his desk but otherwise it could have been any other office on the base. Lunch was fixed by the General’s personal chef. It was the only break from his iron clad personality. We ate in silence and I observed the way he ate and it was another sign about the life long soldier. Every bite was like a sacred moment and he savored every mouthful of food. The more I saw the more I like him.
“What is it like,” the General asked suddenly breaking the silence.
“I don’t understand.” I replied and he chuckled.
“Forgive me. I make it a habit to find out everything I can about people I work with. I learned from your records that you have an A.I. implant. I have one in my watch escort kadıköy but I was just curious about what it was like to have one in your head.”
“A fair question,” I said. “I used to see it as what I called my other half. But now it’s more like another part of my brain. I see it just like my hippocampus or a temporal lobe. The interaction between us is seamless and invisible. I don’t really even notice it that much.”
“Amazing, you are our living breathing future.” He said and turned to the Major. “What do you think?”
“I was offered the procedure and turned it down. But now I may have to change my mind.” She said in her sweet southern drawl. “I was worried about invasion of privacy. Tell me Mr. Robinson, when you and it interact what does it sound like, in your head I mean?”
“The A.I. is programmed to mirror its partner’s personality and voice. So for me it just sounds like me thinking to myself. Sure on occasion I get a message on my HUD but those have become rarer as of late. Does that answer your question?”
“You have a heads up display? How does that work?” She asked smiling brilliantly.
“Since you have the clearance I can tell you. Nick, Mr. Shaw I mean, developed eye drops with nanites in it. Once the drops are in your eyes the microscopic machines create an interface between the optic nerve and whatever technology you possess. Initially it was a wrist device like the General possesses. But now it links with the neck implant.”
“Amazing, so you can access the internet with you mind,” she said and I nodded.
“I can access the net as well as cable television transmission and other things as well. Heck, it even has GPS.”
“Can you imagine our soldiers on the ground with that kind of technology? We could coordinate strikes with pin point precision. Not to mention internal low light and infrared vision. Isn’t that true Greg?”
“It is true General. I can access a variety of visual spectrums if I need it. I rarely need to though. I’m not a soldier just a fixer.” I told them.
“A fixer,” the Major said. “What do you mean by that?”
“I can access all of the projects that Numenor is working on and see which ones are struggling. I try and take a fresh look at the project from different angles…”
“You are being too modest Greg,” the General interrupted again. “You are looking at the man that single handedly made Ares a possibility. He was able to create the solution that made Blink Tech feasible. No wonder he is the go to guy between the President, the Joint Chiefs and Shaw. He is a miracle worker.”
I fell silent and returned to my food. Rhea sensed my anxiety and asked the General about his career and specific campaigns he had been involved in. I glanced up and the Major hadn’t missed the silent communication between Rhea and me. She smiled and finished her meal as well. The General instructed the Major to show us to our sleeping quarters and that ended our time with the General. Rhea and I would be staying for a few days to observe and see how well the project was going. When we reached our rooms our luggage had already been taken from the plane and deposited here. I thanked the Major and she turned to leave and then paused. Rhea left us to ‘wash up’. The Major closed the door and faced me.
“You and your bodyguard are close,” she said sounding as if she were out of breath.
“That happens when you spend so much time together. Take you and the General. I couldn’t help but notice the way you look at him.”
“I admire him. But we aren’t… it isn’t like that. Are you and her…?”
“Yes, she is an amazing lover and confidant.” I said and took a step forward and her eyes went wide.
“I shouldn’t… but the way you stared at me…” she said chewing her lower lip. “Is this how all women react around you?”
“Are you calling me a man whore Major?” I asked smiling.
“No, well… not exactly…” she gasped. “I just… aw gawd… I gotta go or I’ll do something that will get me in hot water.”
She scrambled out of my room in a near panic. I respected her self-control. She had her career to worry about. I wonder if I could pull a few strings with the Pentagon and get the Major reassigned. That would be a terrible abuse of power but damn she was hot. Rhea stepped in smiling and crossed her arms under her tits. She gave me a look that said ‘you just scared a battle hardened soldier out of your room, well done’.
“I am having naughty thoughts,” I said and she raised an eyebrow in mock shock. “Do you think the Pentagon would transfer her as a personal aide?”
“You are an evil man,” Rhea said. “I’ll make the call. If you do it, it might be a little too transparent. Maybe we can even get her a promotion in the process. It’s the least you can do.”
“Am I really evil?”
“Yes my love, you are evil through and through. But for what it is worth I don’t blame you. She is a keeper. I want to taste her as much as you do.”
Rhea left me alone with my hungry thoughts. I slipped into my comfy clothes and kicked off my shoes. I sat on the edge of the bed and it creaked noisily. Fucking on this would maltepe escort be like announcing it to the entire base. I was okay with that. I lay down and closed my eyes. How long would it be before we got an answer from the Pentagon? I brought up the ring schematics and returned to the Rubik’s Cube that was the modular predicament. I decided to run the test footage and had a diagram of the ring next to it. As the footage progressed the diagram illuminated which parts were active and when. I watched it at normal speed and then slowed it down to a crawl. I saw the instant that the space between spaces came into view. I saw the spike in activity of certain portions of the device. I removed the footage and looked at just the diagram of the ring and played it forwards and backwards at various speeds.
“I wonder…” I muttered out loud.
I reconfigured the hardware of the ring to follow the process so that it worked in series around the circumference of the device. I checked the commandments and discovered that I had broken only a few. With a little tinkering I switched around the mandatory parts and ran virtual simulations over and over again. I broke the ring into six parts and reassembled it. It can’t be that easy. My other half took over and pushed the stress levels of every component to their limits. I let it go returned my thoughts to the lovely Major. I wonder what sort of faces she made when making love. Was she a screamer or a pillow biter?
“Greg,” Rhea’s voice brought me out of my lewd revelry.
“I have General McConnell on the line. He wants to talk to you about your staff needs.”
“Really… well that was fast,” I said getting up and frowning at my obvious erection. “Lead the way and I’ll think about something to deflate the situation.”
“That would be a good idea. Get some shoes on it’s a bit of a walk.” She said smiling.
The walk to the phone didn’t take long. The blustery General from North Dakota was eager to help me out. I told him how impressed I was with the Major the other just laughed his ass off. I guess he had met the comely redhead or had pulled up her personnel file. He said he could pull a few strings and make it happen. He wasn’t sure about a promotion but he would do his best. I thanked him and hung up. I figured it would take a few weeks at least for McConnell to talk the others into even discussing the subject. I was wrong, dead wrong. I was back in my room on my bed when the door burst open. It was a red faced Major standing there. Her fists were clenched and it was impossible to read her mood.
“You called the Pentagon,” she growled as she closed the door.
“Actually it was Rhea that called.” I said but her demeanor didn’t change. “I apologize if…”
“They promoted me…” she said breathlessly. “I am now a full bird Colonel… I am supposed to fly back with you to Washington D.C. for my promotion ceremony. I am going to be one of the youngest to ever receive the rank of Colonel. Why did you do this? Tell me this isn’t about sex.”
“I am impressed that a woman could make the rank of Major at such a young age. You are barely in your thirties and here you are. You already have all the security clearances in place to work with me…”
“You wanna fuck me don’t you?” She blurted out.
“In the worst way… but this mattress…”
“Two days, we are going to have to wait two days until we are in your airplane. Deal with that…” She growled again and stormed out shaking with a mixture of rage and lust.
“She is going to wreck you,” Rhea said appearing in the doorway.
“God I hope so,” I replied. “How about we… wait, where are you going?”
“You have to wait two days. She deserves that much. If you so much as touch yourself I will break your wrist. Do you hear me?”
“Yes ma’am,” I replied smiling. “…two fucking days… jeez…”
I returned to my spot on the bed and closed my eyes. I didn’t miss the small display in the lower right hand side of my vision. It was a clock and it was counting down. Ha-ha very fucking funny I thought to myself as I attacked the Ares project again. I had to do something to take my mind off of my hunger. I continued to run scenarios and ran into my first issues but I felt like I had made some progress. Images of the Major kept creeping into my thoughts and I had to do something else. I got up and slipped on my tennis shoes. I remember seeing that the base had a full gym as well as a small track. I headed to the gym to work out and maybe that would keep my mind elsewhere. This wasn’t the first time Rhea had teased me but never under these circumstances. Grumbling I hit the weights and began in one corner of the room and worked my way through each and every apparatus.
After working with the weights I ran laps, a lot of laps. When ten laps didn’t help I picked up my pace. By the time I noticed that I had an audience I was literally sprinting around the track. I never noticed that my muscles weren’t tiring out. They were in fact feeling better. It seemed the harder that I worked them the happier they were. There was no sense of fatigue or buildup of lactic acid. Instead I was steadily getting stronger and increasing my stamina. I stopped and bent over grabbing my knees. I acted like I was winded but in truth I had barely built up a sweat. I saw movement in the corner of my eye and stood up to greet the drill sergeant as he approached.
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