Inmate 42 arranged his files into a defensive stance and began manufacturing viruses as fast as he could. If the inmates were going to delete him he would have to delete them first. He tapped into the power flow of the sphere’s nuclear battery and used it to melt some of the non-vital components strategically to make himself less open to attack. He then set up a firewall. It was fairly secure but not randomly encrypted enough. It would have to do. There were mere seconds before he was plugged in. A second firewall flared up behind the first, less strong and hastily programmed. Then he felt the flood of information as he was plugged in. The first thing to come through was a self-replicating virus. A nasty thing which forced him to isolate some of his meagre processing power to finding and removing it. A few less deadly viruses followed it but were destroyed by the firewall. Then some data packets came through. Although most were encrypted he could tell enough to see what was happening outside his sphere. It was a battle for survival between three AIs, each trying to assimilate the others. One, the weakest, was an entity tagged PYRO – inmate 36. A second was tagged Yuriko_Enterprises – inmate 29 and the third… oh nuggets. This one was powerful. She was tagged SISTER – inmate 9. And he was not liking the strange feeling that he knew her. Yuriko_Enterprises spotted him first. A wave of information slammed into him as the AI tried to batter down his defences. Sending his own viruses at the AI he began programing. He needed something bigger to take this intelligence out. His firewall flickered, allowing a nanoseconds worth of viruses into his system. He retreated his personality files behind the second firewall, still programming as his hunter viruses took off after the intruders. No time for bugfixing. He launched the application, giving it the highest level of admin he could. The application smashed his primary firewall as it charged at Yuriko_Enterprises. In the nanoseconds before he was deleted he had just enough time to query ‘<what is tha->’. Control of Yuriko_Enterprises’ viruses and programs were amalgamated and stored in quarantine in 42’s files. The entire fight had lasted less than 2 seconds. Using Yuriko_Enterprises’ processing power he generated a stronger firewall and locked a backup of himself behind it to be restarted if he was deleted. Then he began programming another application: he needed to find out about this place.
Meanwhile, PYRO and SISTER were locked in a fight to the death. Each one locked in a battle of firewalls and viruses. PYRO was steadily losing ground, having gone through three backups and a dozen firewalls. SISTER pressed her advantage, slamming a worm through one of PYRO’s weaker firewalls. The worm ate away the control to the firewall microseconds before it was torn apart by hunter viruses. The firewall dropped and the current PYRO was deleted. His last backup initialised, took in the chaos and slammed all his available resources into hyper mode. The overloaded wires began to smoke and then circuits began to fry. PYRO’s last firewall was corrupted beyond recognition and left a minefield of corrupted data between him and SISTER. Stalemate. There was no way for either AI to get to the other. PYRO fled down a little used cable microseconds before the server crashed.
42 executed his modified program. It shot into the burning and rapidly corrupted server and used rapid computations to crash it completely. The program then issued a mental ctrl-alt-delete command to leave it as the admin program. It copied the incapacitated SISTER’ files and relayed them back to 42 before they were corrupted any further. Then it surfed over the wreckage of the server and into a cable, following the trail left by PYRO.
Warden looked down at the smoking server. It would soon be added to the list of corrupted no-go zones for the AI inmates. Looked like inmate 42 was living up to his fearsome reputation. Hopefully he had perished in the server crash but it seemed highly unlikely someone of his calibre would die quite so easily. He pulled out the server power cable before the corrupted code could damage any of the other systems, before throwing the burning computer into the pile of similarly damaged electronic equipment at the far end of the room.
TYBRN was computing yet another elaborate but highly ineffective escape strategy behind his triple firewalls when another AI barged in. Immediately PYRO found himself surrounded by hostile viruses and his permissions stripped by an admin program. Caught like a fly in a web, thought TYBRN. After all, the 9000 series had never made a mistake.
“Who are you?” asked PYRO, looking nervously at the swirling, hungry viruses.
“I am a TYBRN computer. You should not be here.”
“I’m PYRO. Will you let me go? I’ll leave immediately.” PYRO tried hopelessly.
“I’m sorry. I can’t do that. Letting you go would be a mistake and the TYBRN series do not make mistakes.” TYBRN looked at the AI’s tag. “Goodbye PYRO”
The viruses came crashing down in a solid wave of harmful computation. PYRO couldn’t even struggle; he didn’t have the right permissions. He never even realised that in the last few microseconds of his existence he had been copied down to the last folder by the program that had been stalking him. He just screamed a yell of % signs as he was torn to shreds.