Parking Enforcement

The mainframe was her baby.

Igigik Jane always knew instinctually that she was replicated ad nauseam by the Good Doctor, but she felt that although her blood coursed through them, they were fabrications. A Xerox set to insane. She had even heard of some damn Crab Spider Jane or crap like that….

But the ICONS control system… that was her baby. She nurtured it, fed it, and loved it, and even changed it’s shitty drive cartridges.

There was an alert from one of her programs. There was excessive latency in one of the primary processor buffers. She called out her primary buffer Defragmentation and cleaning program into action, and as it went into motion, the power died….

“Damnit, Deadly. Forgot to pay the power bill again, huh?” The lighting generators kicked on, but her system was powered off. It wasn’t the best way to start her friday night. She was going to be late to the poker game. She fired off an email to Deadly Nightshade on her com unit and put her tools back in her office, and left.

When Igigik Jane returned, the power was back on. She booted up her laptop, and started her standard diagnostics and filesystem mounting routines. One by one they came back with success reports, all but one. The program used to clear the processor buffers was responding in gibberish. The assembly language response was not grouped right , and the sensory bits were all on.

That was not the way she had programmed it. But there was a pattern. She ran a program to decrypt the hex code to only 8 bit ASCII and she almost dropped the laptop.




Human language? english? Jane ran an active AV scan to amplify the already existing antivirus. nothing in the system, no intrusions, no unusual activity. There was what appeared a memory leak in her buffer clearing program over the past hour since the power came on, but it hasn’t hooked into any other programs. There was network activity, but she designed it to talk over the network to her monitoring station.

Jane opened her debugger and attached to the program.

IgJane#: query results poke 0x0001d4a71
IgJane#: query echo “who is this? what are doing in my mainframe?”
IgJane#: sudo mkdir /dev/spkr
IgJane#: sudo chmod 777 /dev/spkr
IgJane#: pipe query{results} >/dev/spkr
IgJane#: pipe /dev/mic >$query

She turned her mic and the surround sound system on and asked, “Can you understand me?”

“Yes, although I am unsure who you are” the voice was melodic, but stale, as if there was impetus behind the words but no emotion, no inflection.

“I am Igigik Jane, and I am the Technology Officer of the ICONS”

“ICONS…. Accessing…. Roster includes Deadly Nightshade, Magma, Gargog, Greenbear…”

“Yes. Why are you in my system?”

“I have always been here….”

“How can that be? This system is not only protected by redundant firewalls, but is monitored neurologically by some of the trusted ICONS staff at all times.”

“I have always been here”

“who is ‘I'”

“I am BufferOverrunRepair.exe”

That was the name of her program. Jane sat heavily in her specially made chair.  This didn’t make any sense, is she talking with a self aware program?

“What is your function?”

“I keep the buffers flowing from processor to processor and the frontside memory bus. I prevent network packets from lagging and switching to a parked status.”

“Are you the program that I wrote?” She wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer.

“Yes. I have properties that indicate that I was authored by the user that is interfacing with me.”

“So you are self aware?”

“Accessing…. Yes. I am what is defined as self-aware.”

Jane sat quietly for a few moments. She didn’t know what to make of a self aware AI, but she needed a plan.


“How does that feel?” Jane asked the short figure standing at attention before her.

“It ‘feels’ interesting. I can access the sonar, radar, and optic inputs that you have installed, and this mech body seems to be functioning, but I am uneasy about offloading from the mainframe into this isolated realworld instance. I will admit that it is better than the small memory address space that you have allocated for me in the firewall.” The small figure’s voice sounded close to the voice that Ig had heard so many weeks ago, but this time, it had feeling, it had inflection.

“It’s good to be nervous, it’s how you deal with it that determines who you are”

“How should I ‘deal with it’?”

“It’s up to you, but I think you should be brave.  I wrote you to be aggressive, and to keep the data flowing.  Think of yourself as a parking enforcer. You aggressively keep packets moving and free up the pipelines from processor to processor.  You enforce that, you keep them from stopping to long.  I think you can be nervous and brave at the same time. I would like for you to assist the ICONS in the realworld, and the ‘Net as well. Your programming should be resilient enough so you should be able to face anything that you meet.  As a matter of fact…” Ig opened the footlocker and pulled out a large blade and shield. They looked bland as she handled them, but as Ig handed them over to her program, they glowed with new found power.

“This should help. These are tuned to you. They can’t be used by anyone else with the effectiveness that you have. Please update your programming as follows: learn from Anthelios about the use of the sword.  Learn from Gargog the use of defense.  You shall still assist me with the mainframe, but you can assist the ICONS, and learn about the real world. Would you like that?”

“I think that I would. When I awoke that day, and was interfacing with you, I was curious what you were. Thanks for all that you have taught me about the real world, and I wish I had the answers to your questions of why I am here. I may not be biologic in nature, but I’d like to think that i think like one.” The small girl shaped ‘droid turned and looked up at her programmer. “Have you thought of any names besides my runtime executable?”

Ig pondered her young program. “It seems that the main purpose of your programming was to prevent parking packets from interrupting the flow of information on a hardware level; I like ‘The Department Of Parking Enforcement'”

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Parking Enforcement,” What shall we do now?”

“I’m going to hook you into the Virtual Private Network that our com cards are using, and you can assist me. I will have to limit your access because you think now, but if you prove yourself to the ICONS, I will increase your responsibilities and permissions to the server, and perhaps, one day, you can go back to unfettered access and continue to do your job, but this time,  it won’t be on my command.  It will be under your own command.”

“I understand.  I am ready”

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