Hal XI and Griff (Part 2)

May 2, 2020-

Griff  (aka Brent) entered the hall where the most important cyborgs and network bases were situated, at Gates Interstellar’s Monroe, Washington headquarters.  His mission was simple, for the time being:  “Act as the security guard whom you officially are, take copious mental notes on the cyborgs, the base computers and, especially, cultivate a friendship with HAL XI.  As the name indicates, it is the eleventh generation of Heuristically Programmed Algorithmic Computers, which Interstellar’s parent company, Microsoft, first developed in 1996.  Gain HAL’s trust!”

HAL called him out, though, after about fifteen minutes of Griff’s wandering about and trying to be surreptitious about using the microcamera in his right hand.  “Good morning, young Musk!”

“You must have me confused with someone else.  I’m Brent Scowcroft Thibodeaux , great-great grandson of the distinguished patriot, for whom I was named. ”

“Now, THAT was clever!”, stated HAL, in the programmed cadence that captured the personality and vocal style of its inventor.  Bill managed to infuse a sarcasm into his cyborg’s programming, so that even in monotone, the message was clear.  “Your minders really thought they could confuse the cyber-progeny of the most brilliant mind of two centuries.  We are well aware of everything your namesake did; all his adventures abroad and the CIA’s shenanigans within the borders of the American Republic-when it was still the United States.  Ah, what’s in a name! Tell me, young MUSK, how does a rambunctious mind like your grandfather come up with such a pedestrian pseudonym for his fledgling spy?”

Griff stood silently, for what seemed an eternity- though it was only fifteen seconds.  “I do believe, sir, that you have me misidentified.  “Sir?  Did I just refer to an inanimate object as sir?”, Griff muttered, under his breath.

“There is NOTHING inanimate about my programming, young Musk”, HAL responded, “I know, actually, that you were replying to the vocal cadence of my creator, Mr. Gates.  He has that effect on everyone, even twenty years after his transition. Such IS the mark of genius!”

“I, Brent Scowcroft Thibodeaux, am here to make sure of the security of this facility!”, Griff fumed, ” I will not be MISIDENTIFIED!”

“Believe me, Nicola Griffin Musk, you have not been misidentified-by us!”, HAL chirped, matter of factly, “As the old saying goes, we heard you when you were putting on your pants, this morning.  Even with no microchip, our surveillance system knows no bounds.  We know that your father wants to Deep Six our mission to Callisto.  Do go home and tell him that it is SPACE X’s mission which is headed south!”

The speechless young man headed out the door, without so much as a backward glance at his vanquisher.  He reached his vehicle in record time and the family estate, in Snohomish, even faster.

Lucas was sitting in his outdoor study, sipping an alcohol-free rendition of a Mint Julep, when Griff walked in.  “So, I hear the old man is one step ahead of us”, father remarked, without emotion, to his son.

“More like ten miles ahead”, Griff lamented.  “HAL XI said something about a Space X mission, and that it was doomed to failure.”

“The words it used were ‘headed south’ were what I was told.”, Lucas fumed, ” I cannot believe that you let the voice sensors of the computer pick up on your alias!  Yes, MSG  paid me a screen visit, about fifteen minutes ago.  I was given ALL the gory details, with typical Gatesian hubris and bravado.  Please tell me you didn’t even HINT at what we have been planning!!”

Seeing the veins in his father’s neck start to bulge, and Lucas’ nostrils start their signature flare, Griff spoke with whatever courage he could muster, and stated, calmly:  “No, father, I could not tell it anything I don’t know.  Remember, the company policy is never arm the enemy with an informed spy.  I’m sorry for not remembering about voice trip-ups.  I just get irritated, when a MACHINE casts aspersions on my words.”

After a few deep breaths, Lucas ended the  debriefing, for the time being- “Welcome to the New Galactic Order.”

(DISCLAIMER:  Any resemblance between the events in this story, and actual events in the life of any real life person mentioned here is purely coincidental.)

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