In penance for trying to change the status quo, John Stratton is tasked with building a program from the ground up for training teenaged, enhanced assassins with AIs. Project Maestro. His obedience wavers when one of the candidates hits a little too close to home. The fire is back. And this time he is determined to succeed.
Light Morrison accepts the offer from Project Maestro in hopes of finding a challenge. Everything is going well at first – he’s made friends with Aria and Jinto, the curriculum is difficult, and the new environment is doing him wonders. The true nature of Project Maestro is revealed and, despite disliking what he’ll do, Light goes along with it. That is until he, Aria, and Jinto discover information that changes everything.
They all murmured their assent. John knew that Eli was biting back comments, something about the amount of time they had been given not being near enough for the amount of ‘prep work’ General Crawford had ‘requested’. At that, a lot of what they’d learned about had seemed rather bizarre. Hawking’s black hole theory, weird theories on the human consciousness, and theories on ghosts. Darien’s readings had been especially difficult; she’d been learning several different foreign languages, but Crawford’s orders had been clear; read it or else.
“Oh, and Dr. Taranis, did you start doing a little more research into neurobiology? I know I requested that at a different time.”
“Of course, sir.” Marianna said in her best imitation of polite. “I even took the opportunity to spend some of your money and take several courses on it. And buy a few rare texts.”
John bit his lip at the faux-sweetness in her voice. He wouldn’t have been surprised if Marianna had gotten herself an entire degree dealing with neurobiology.
“Ah, excellent. I’m glad that you’re now well-versed and using our funding wisely. I’m sure it’s a very complicated science.”
John felt a wave of irritation flood from Marianna. He assumed that complicated didn’t come close to the proper word to describe neurobiology.
“Let’s continue.” Crawford said as he clicked the remote in his hand. The screen showed the statistics associated with AI implantation success. “As you know, we have been experimenting on implanting artificial intelligence units into human hosts. Up until three years ago, this was impossible. The AI unit wouldn’t mesh with the host. The only way a standard AI is able to work with a human is if the human is in a mechanical exoskeleton. While that works for some projects…this is not the road we want to travel down.” He paused and stared the four of them down. He clicked again. “So I present the bio AI.”