Preface and Introduction to the Delta Function Exordiums Collection
Hello, and welcome to the Delta Function Exordiums collection. The following pieces are preludes to my forthcoming novel, Delta Function. I’ve deliberately made them stylistically different, just to add some interest to the mix, though the novel itself is written in the third person omniscient. I hope you enjoy these stories, and that they give you a small taste of what’s to come, happy reading.
In the middle of the twenty-first century, bio-synth technology leapt from being a promising area of research to a global phenomenon. The exploitation of fossil fuels was eradicated when biochemists developed methods to efficiently mass-produce super-clean diesel and petroleum from re-engineered bacteria. Then, bioengineers bypassed the use of these fuels entirely by directly generating electrical energy within the bacteria themselves, spawning the invention of MFC technology, Microbial Fuel Cells. Energy production was revolutionised, and in a rare moment of humanitarian clarity, the world’s research centres and universities agreed to make their findings publicly accessible. There was an unlimited, contaminant-free energy source for all the peoples of the globe.
A golden period ensued – The Transilience. Decades of prosperity where living standards increased exponentially; economically developing countries stood tall, brandishing the new intensive-farming techniques enabled by inexpensive bacterial energy. Crops grew where none had before, irrigation systems and self-sufficient automated machinery rolled ceaselessly from pollution-free factories. The planet was reborn in a wave of industrial and agricultural metamorphoses.
Robotics came into its own, advanced autonomous carapaces were fitted with internal MFC plants; all they required to function was a glucose substrate and oxygen. As the work force was slowly replaced by mechs, humans were liberated, agriculture and industry ran themselves, and all basic needs were provided for by a flood of cheap mechanical slaves.
However, The Transilience was only to last until the beginning of the twenty-second century, unaddressed environmental issues continued unabated, the ice-caps broke up, thermal expansion of the waters escalated, and sea-levels rose dramatically. Weather systems became fiercely erratic and freshwater sources were salinized as the rising seas breached insufficient coastal defences. The human population, now close to fifteen-billion, was uprooted, crowded together, thirsty and starving.
English came to be the accepted international language as humanity was crushed into a diverse, multiethnic pressure cooker, culturally and religiously mixed like never before. Populations became splintered and riotous, warfare flared; minority groups and religious zealots took control of industrial zones and began generating armies of combat-mechs to protect their beleaguered territories.
The conflicts ignited technological innovation within warring nation-states; a drive for better combat-mechs pushed the envelope on artificial intelligence. The intention was to create a self-cognisant synthetic soldier, a bipedal weapon with the ability to think for itself, to learn and amend its own actions in the field. Many previous attempts had been made at artificial intelligence, only to produce a glut of highly sophisticated appliances, rigid within the confines of their programming, reactive, robotic.
Defensive Sciences, a think-tank inside the Eural Incorporated Block (EIB), made astonishing breakthroughs in adaptive neural networking and emotional synthesis. Leonard Vorcheff, one of Defensive Science’s most brilliant computational analysts, drew up and implemented elaborate emotional algorithms, believing that emotion was the key to intelligence – without emotion, he claimed, there was no drive, no impetus for learning. An individual had to care about its own existence, without emotion, intelligence did not exist.
And so, the Ares Project was born. Ares was to be the prototype for a strain of highly developed, emotionally-aware war-machines, equipped with cutting-edge quantum processing units. The processing power Ares possessed dwarfed the intellect of the entire Defensive Sciences research team combined, and, built from a diamond nanorod exoskeleton, it was virtually indestructible. It was the first, and the last of its kind to be produced…
Thanks for reading, the first of four short-story preludes to my novel Delta Function will be available to read here soon,
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