Chapter 1947 Machine Organ
It took hours for Ves to get the hang of some of the functions he could perform.
By far, the partial digitization of his cognitive functions boosted certain capabilities through the roof!
The most powerful of which was his memory. It was as if he upgraded a very old and outdated comm with the most powerful data chip for sale in the galaxy!
He could record nearly any piece of data flowing through his neurons if he wanted to. The possibilities were endless.
He could record his own brain waves and analyze it later to see if his thoughts were being tampered with from an outside influence.
He could record any book by flipping through its pages for just a fraction of a second.
He could turn himself into a surveillance sensor and record everything that happened around him before uploading it to a server which processed the data for anything suspicious.
That last ability was possible due to the way the Archimedes Rubal was both an organ and a machine. It was a bioimplant, which meant that it was built using organic materials but functioned like a machine.
This meant that while he was able to interface it with his brain, he could also use it as a bridge to connect to various electronic systems!
He didn't translate the contents of his mind into a terminal or his comm by dictating his words manually. He could just upload it directly in a matter of milliseconds!
The amount of time he saved which this adaptation alone was immense!
It also explained how Gloriana could keep up her prodigious rate of learning.
She had always been faster and more precise at work as well. Now that he had an implant of his own, Ves found out that it wasn't necessarily natural. Much of her strength relied on augmentation.
Of course, the implants didn't make the mech designer. Ves fully recognized that much of Gloriana's success came from her passion, her diligence, her persistence and her diligence.
Yet it was undeniable that she wouldn't have risen up to become a Journeyman so soon without her excellent Erestal-015 implant.
Their two implants also differed a lot from each other.
In general, while Gloriana's implant didn't come with a ludicrous amount of data storage capacity, it had been designed from the ground up to facilitate mech designers in their work.
It came with all kinds of handy features such as inbuilt mech modelling and various sophisticated algorithms that assisted in performing calculations and projections.
The central focus of the Erestal-015 was to improve a mech designer's judgement. Among other functions, it allowed Gloriana to look at a design and know exactly what was wrong with it and how to improve it with the least required effort.
Ves did not possess these proprietary features. The Archimedes Rubal was an implant designed for the CFA, and it was originally an outdated one to boot, so why should it share any relations to mechs?
The implant used to revolve around data storage, but Dr. Ranya and the late Dr. Guernica had both attached various add-ons to the implant in order to expand its utility.
It now came with a fairly robust processor that was useful in all kinds of calculations. While it wasn't as suited for mech design as the Erestal-015, it was more than enough to suit his day-to-day purposes.
Ves acted like a kid in a nutrient pack store. He curiously explored each and every function and already formed a general strategy in how to make effective use of his new addition.
I should take advantage of this implant to boost my learning.
There were plenty of textbooks in his library that he wanted to read. Before, he never had the time, but now, he could just upload them wholesale to his Archimedes Rubal and learn from them whenever he was idle!
Aside from that, Ves also wanted to make some headway into designing imaginary mechs.
His previous experimentations with spiritual creation already showed him the limits on relying on his intrinsic memory capacity. As an independent consciousness, Ves could only memorize as much as his ordinary brain allowed, which wasn't very much when he tried to create anything more complex than a rudimentary spiritual eye.
Yet now that he possessed the Archimedes Rubal, he could upload trillions of highly-detailed mech designs into it and be able to recall the full details with just a momentary thought!
When Ves proceeded to do so with his own mech designs, he began to call up the Bright Warrior design in his mind.
Different from before, his impression of the schematics wasn't limited to the broad strokes. He was able to recall the dimensions and other properties of millions of components at the same time!
How powerful! Ves gasped.
Gloriana smiled happily at him. It's great, isn't it? Now, you don't have to rely on me all the time to optimize our mechs! You should be able to do it as well. We can also share our solutions and proposals to each other without even having to talk!
She demonstrated this by establishing a simple data connection.
It was as if they linked their comms together. Gloriana transferred some files. Ves opened them up in his mind and saw that it was just an unfinished mech concept that she hadn't fully explored.
If it was before, then Gloriana would have needed to take at least ten minutes to explain her concept.
It was different now! Gloriana did not just transfer over her design schematics, but also a bit of her thoughts and reasoning in digital form!
This was something that transcended simple data exchange. It wouldn't have been possible for Gloriana to explain her perspective so accurately and intimately if not for the partial digitization of her mind!
Ves widened his eyes. This is incredible!
The one flaw with this method was that her thoughts did not convey her emotion and other intangible properties. Ves would have preferred to hear her thought process through words because she would be able to convey her passion with the inflections of her voice.
While not perfect in any means, it was still useful in many situations, especially if they were in a hurry to finish their work!
All in all, the various possibilities opened up by his bioimplant definitely brightened his day. Though he regretted the problems that followed after he underwent his surgery, he still regarded this boost as an extremely important augmentation!
After Ves was finally tired of playing around with his new toy, he left the infirmary in order to start addressing the huge pile of issues that had been building up in the last month.
You should talk to Calabast first before you meet with the Larkinsons or anything else. Gloriana suggested as she was cradling Clixie was if she was a baby. She told me that she has some very impactful suggestions in mind, some of which might change your working relationship with her. I don't like her, but she did save you from getting your brain scrambled, so I'll tolerate her presence. She better not sink her claws in you, though!
Ves smiled and leaned forward to exchange a brief kiss. I love you, Gloriana. Even though the galaxy is surrounded by treacherous bastards, I'm not one of them! I have always been faithful to you. I don't trust many people, but I trust you. I can't say the same for Calabast.
That reassured her. As someone familiar with Ves as her, Gloriana knew that her boyfriend valued trust very much.
You're right. She patted his shoulder. I should extend my trust to you as well. You won't be having affairs behind my back, right?
Her nails suddenly started digging in through the fabric of his suit!
Haha, of course! I'm not a womanizer, Gloriana!
They separated from each other. While Gloriana addressed her own affairs, Ves entered the compartment set aside for Calabast.
He entered what appeared to be an improvised command center of some sorts. Ves had never seen her with any of her subordinates aside from Commander Dise.
This time, she had an entire team of men and women manning various consoles. They were analyzing footage, writing analyses and modelling the outcomes of various actions.
What struck Ves the most was how they each wore a standard black uniform with subtle grey patterns.
Though the uniform's appearance looked simple, the fabric and cuts looked rather stylish in an understated fashion.
Each uniform also featured a distinctive badge that looked almost completely black to the less discerning eye. It featured a black cat with bright yellow eyes perched in front of a dark blue sea of stars!
Ves. Calabast greeted him from the opposite side of the compartment. I see you have noticed my new Black Cats. Do you like our new look?
Calabast wore the new uniform of the Black Cats the best, of course. She enjoyed one more round of CFA gene optimization treatments over him and doubtlessly resorted to other technological means to enhance her appearance like other women.
However, unlike most women, Calabast not only worked on her appearance, but also her demeanor.
Ves always felt a little repressed in her presence. Calabast exuded a sense of competence and superiority that reminded him of his mother.
Now that he gained a cranial implant, this sense of discomfort became a bit more obvious to him. Due to the partial digitization of his mind, he found out that an alarmingly large proportion of thoughts revolved around fear, doubt and worry ever since he entered the compartment!
He shook his head and tried to distract himself from his negative thoughts.
The uniform is too plain and monotone. I like how you or your uniform designers spruced it up with a bit of grey, but it's still a bit too basic. Even your badge exhibits so little contrast it's hard to make out that it depicts a cat at all. From a design standpoint, the uniform succeeds in bonding everyone who wears it, but fails in making your club stand out from other organizations.
That's the point, Ves. We aren't meant to draw attention. It's okay if our existence is known, but we should never stand out from the background.
As Calabast talked, Ves tried to probe her with his implant in order to see if he could glean any more information from her. As his implant began to process his observation data, a spike of dizziness suddenly interrupted his attempt!
The spy chuckled. Did you just try to probe me with your implant?
What the hell? What did you do?
I just performed a simple anti-surveillance countermeasure. Here's some advice to you, Ves. Don't go around scanning and probing everyone with your shiny new augmentation. People with means have many ways to block, mislead or outright counterattack any attempt to probe them beyond the surface.
Ves looked disturbed. I see.
Don't look so glum. You can still use this function on regular people who aren't as guarded, and you can still take secret images of me in order to keep you satisfied when you are by yourself.
He didn't even deign to respond to this statement.
Is there anything else I should be aware about?
Just stick to the general precautions. Your implant already comes with a very powerful security suite, courtesy of Dr. Ranya and myself, but you should always exercise prudent behavior. In particular, you should never open up your implant to outside signals unless you have no other choice. Try to rely on solid contact and wired connections to transfer data.
How do I do that?
Your implant makes it possible to receive data through touch when enabled. Just touch a port in a comm or a terminal to enable secure data transfer. You can also touch Gloriana's finger or press your forehead against hers if you want to exchange data.
All of this sounded very useful to him. Wireless transmissions had their place, but Ves should try to stick to more secure connections as much as possible.
I didn't come here to talk about my implant.
I know. She jerked her head to a different compartment. Let's head to my office so we can discuss the future.
As they filed into the office, Nitaa and Lucky followed inside as well. Calabast glanced at them with an unwelcome expression.
I'd like to hold this discussion in private.
Ves shrugged. Nitaa is loyal to a fault and Lucky is a cat. Whatever secrets you want to share with me are safe.
Very well. Don't blame me if they can't keep their secrets. The people around you aren't as reliable as you think.
Does that apply to you as well?
Calabast smiled ruefully. Even me. This is part of what I want to discuss with you today. A lot has happened in the last month and it's clear you will have to make some changes in direction.
Let's hear it, then.