The Ternary Code
Chapter 1 - Part 1
Taye wiggled the data fibers protruding from a control panel. “The last time Uniplexus went down, we were offline for four days,” he said before walking to his station and pushing buttons, furiously. “Jax might be able to figure something out when he gets here; he’s taken quite a bit of interest in this little problem.”
The control room was dark, now that the sun was down. Sage, the other of the three architects for Applied Integration, worked at her own station trying to get the network up and running. Through the shadows, Taye could make out her murky, yellow silhouette. She had a matte finish that helped hide her there. But Taye knew the lights were scheduled to come on in four minutes. Normally, Uniplexus controlled the lights, scheduling them to brighten as the sun went down. Now, they were just on a simple timer used as back up. As soon as they came on, Sage would not seem so murky. Even through her dull, yellow finish, she was oddly radiant when the lights were on.
Taye, on the other hand, had been painted with a light, glossy blue tint. Even though he was the oldest of the bots in existence, he had less scuffs and scratches on his finish than most of the older bots of similar age. He was built like an architect, too; there was no need for accessories, weapons, or tools integrated into his system as some bots had. And he was a servo machine, the way they used to make each other. Each limb and joint had separate motors. Aside from that, he was mostly a processing powerhouse capable of huge mental capacities. Jax, however, often thought he was smarter than Taye, but Taye programmed Jax, and he knew better.
There were things that Jax was exceptionally good at, though. One of which was troubleshooting the recent problems they have been having with Uniplexus. It was not, necessarily, Applied Integration’s responsibility to bring Uniplexus back online. They were the world’s division responsible for designing and manufacturing the bots. But the way things worked out was that Taye, Jax, and Sage all worked for Applied Integration. They were the three smartest bots on the planet. So, when Uniplexus went offline, the government was more than happy to let them tinker with it. And since Taye did not particularly like doing someone else’s work, he was more than happy to give Jax the lead.
“I’m lost,” Taye said, “We’ve been working on this all night and can’t make any headway.”
“Maybe you haven’t,” Sage replied, “I don’t think the network is crashing, I think it’s being turn off.”
Taye’s eyebrows flickered up with uncertainty, and he glanced at the display on his forearm. My battery is too low for another shift, he thought. “I’ll have to let Jax run with that. You can explain, to him, how you figured that out. Just send your findings to me after you—”
Before Taye could finish, Sage had hurried over to him. Being only one year old, she had been designed with newer hydraulic components, so Taye never heard her move until she was holding his forearm up so she could see it too. Her titanium fingers were cold against him. She only looked at his arm display for a moment before her seductive eyes met his. They caught him unexpectedly; he was frozen. Then Taye felt another cold hand against his side; her presence was so welcomed, uncalled-for, and curiously inviting that he had to fight the urge to say no. But before he could say anything, she gave him a zap. The charge of energy went from her hand, into his side, and tingled down to his light blue alloy toes.
Taye twitched. “Stop it,” he said. He knew Sage liked him. But he was in love with Ayana. Ayana had been his only charging partner, and he liked it that way. Sage, on the other hand, had more partners than she could count.
“Jax won’t be here for another few minutes. I have some new software I think you’ll like.” She zapped him again. He twitched again. She waited for another response, running her yellow fingers across his power pack. She must have increased her voltage because the third zap almost hurt.
Sage’s words were drawn out in her impatience. “C'mon, do something. Don’t just stand there; shock me.”
Taye was noncompliant with her request. Sage had never been so forthright with him before. Why now? Jax would be here soon, and this would only be enough to tease each other. Both of her hands were holding his waist now. Taye wasn’t worried about being caught. He liked Ayana. He knew she would never try to seduce another male bot. And that was one thing he liked about his life partner. She was faithful. Faithfulness was something he was still working on. Right now, in this moment, he wanted to spend a few minutes teasing Sage in return. He took Sage’s fingers interlocking them with his, titanium rubbing. “I can’t.”
She caressed his power pack again, but before she could say anything else, Taye pushed her away. He pushed hard. So forcefully, she flew back a good seventeen feet. She turned the clumsy fall into a methodical dance, stopping crouched, and standing slowly.
“I need to charge,” he said, “and I’m doing it alone, at home.”
Sage had bright, beautiful white eyes that glowed back at him. “Have it your way,” she said, and walked back to her work station.
“Jax is thirty-seven minutes out. I’m uploading a message to him, letting him know I went home and updating him on our progress.”
“What should I do with them?” Sage asked, pointing to six freshly manufactured robots laying on the assembly conveyor.
When Uniplexus would go down like this, the manufacturing plant could still maintain power on a limited basis, but production usually stopped. It was costly to have an extra number of bots that could not be programmed. There was no point in having a surplus that wasn’t needed.
“Stick them in a crate for now. There’s no point in having a surplus waiting around. Just get them out of the way. None of them have been programmed anyway.”