The troops had to bring in their own lights to see in the dark data center. Quip was anything but helpful.
Tracy, struggling with her anger at having been stalled on their incursion for almost an hour, grabbed Quip’s ponytail and barked, “Turn this place back on, dammit! We are here to seize your illegal supercomputer, with or without your cooperation.”
Quip innocently questioned, “Did your warrant also say I was supposed to help you ransack my hobby room?
“Does it say I’m supposed to be chained up lying on my face in order to help you do that?
“Just for the record, you’re looking for a supercomputer. I’m an eccentric old fart who just tinkers around with cast-off computer equipment. Sounds like you got the wrong guy, Crudmander.”
Tracy was growing madder by the moment. “I said turn the power back on!”
Quip, unwilling to help, stated, “Buddy, I can’t. I didn’t pay last month’s bills and, well, they threatened to do something like this. Come back next month, I should have this misunderstanding all cleared up.”
In a thoroughly disgusted tone, she barked, “Alright, let’s go and bring Mister Mouth along. He has just won a nice cell to rethink his hard-ass attitude. J-Platoon, you stay here and gather anyone showing up looking for this guy.”
Quip, pretending to be in an alternate universe, called out loud enough to echo through the halls. “Honey, I’m going out for a while. Wait on supper, okay?”
Tracy just rolled her eyes at Quip’s nonsensical statements to the empty facilities.
Just then Lieutenant Commander Lee Smith called, “Commander, we’ve found the actual data center! Permission to effect CRUSH!”
Quip panicked and protested, “No! Don’t launch your Cyber Retribution Unleashed Signifying Holocaust! Please don’t destroy him! He’s family!”
The cruel smile on the leader’s face clearly indicated she was enjoying the upper hand finally. “Sergeant, set up the CRUSH unit and then pull our people out for the detonation on my command.”
Quip was dragged out, lamenting the loss of ICABOD while tears streamed down his face. Moments later, the sergeant and his team bolted out of the collapsed security doors and into the morning light.
The sergeant dutifully reported with a salute and stated, “Ready for your orders. All personnel are accounted for, sir!”
Resting her eyes on the weeping Quip, the commander flatly stated, “Punch it.”
A high-pitched squeal was broadcasted out through the doors, and then a loud crump rumbled out of the ruined exterior doors.
The commander’s face showed nothing but contempt. “You knew that using AI-enhanced supercomputers was outlawed, but you did it anyway. Why? We are all safer without those soulless bastards controlling our lives. Why risk jail when you knew the law?”
Awash in grief and remorse, Quip raised his head and angrily replied, “Maybe it’s you with your prejudice who is the guilty and wrong force. Just because you legislated it, doesn’t make it right. We learned that lesson from the Nazis leading up to WWII.”
Quip’s head slumped forward. He muttered, “Goodbye, my friend. We’ll meet again when we are both floating on the digital winds with gossamer wings for our final cyber combat.”
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