It was a normal, quiet night at the Quest Compound in Rockport, Maine. The night was clear, and countless stars could be seen. An easterly breeze brought in a tinge of salt air, permeating the property. Night birds chirped, softly. All in all, a peaceful scene.
One of the residents of the Quest Compound was hardly at peace, however.
Benton Quest sat awake in bed, trying to pull as much comfort as he could out of the warm embrace of his sleeping wife. Still, something bothered him. It wasn't the same thing that haunted him for eight years, although it had to do with that, but an idea. An idea that recently came to him, one that he could realize fully.
An idea that was quite possibly a bad one.
He couldn't get it out of his head, however. Fed up, he slowly disentangled himself from his wife's arms, and got dressed. After kissing Rachel gently, trying not to disturb her, he went to his lab.
He sat there, thinking. Wondering if he was about to cross the line into insanity, just by following up on an idea.
He sat there for a long time.
"Ya-HOOOO!" Jessie Bannon yelled as she tore down the trench in her A-wing starfighter, dodging laser fire in a desperate attempt to feed the space station a few select proton torpedoes. She jinked, trying to lose a TIE Interceptor on her tail. She pulled into a tight loop, one impossible in atmosphere, and punched two red laser bolts into the enemy's Twin Ion Engines.
Unhindered, she made a run for the reactor vent, when suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the countdown timer that had been running for the last five minutes.
The counter that had five seconds left on it.
Just as she was about to hit the trigger to launch the torpedoes, she was pulled out of Questworld, allowing a farm boy from Kentucky in an X-wing to win the game.
"Damn!" Jessie yelled, both glad and frustrated that her parents weren't home. Glad, because they couldn't hear her. The Questworld system had a parental control in it, right down to a timer that restricted access. Jessie couldn't disable it without a parental pass code. When one of her parents was home, however, they usually just left it off, preferring manual control.
Jessie was still working on hacking past the restrictions.
Defeated, at least for another few hours, Jessie went for a run in a nearby park. She had noticed that her physical condition in the real world carried over into Questworld (otherworldly physics notwithstanding) so she kept herself in peak condition. Besides, her father would kill her otherwise.
After her run, she decided to go see her friend Kris. They had to set up strategy for their next multiplayer game of Gotham: Heroes and Villains. Kris was kicking butt as Batgirl, but Jessie still needed practice working alongside her as the Huntress. Also, they needed to hack the costume designs into something that a person could actually fight in. They had some heavy duty planning to do.
Not to mention serious discussion about this really cute guy they saw at the mall.
[Author's insert: What? I had to ground them as normal teenagers...]
Benton had made his decision. He just wasn't done rationalizing it yet.
'I need this. I... it's necessary. For me. My sanity.'
Then why did he feel like he was giving up his sanity in doing so?
'It's for the best. This'll help everyone. When my time travel program didn't work... I just wish I had those Anasazi writings, they would have helped with that part of the technology, but I can't see Alice without Rachel being suspicious... This is the next best thing.'
He decided. "Iris." he said, voice cracking, "Full Stealth mode. Sound dampeners at full. Complete lockdown. Security recorders off. All processing power now dedicated to this workstation."
"Open Voice Aging program 'KARLA'. Keep open, copy algorithm and append to QuestSketch Police drafting software, beta 3. Save as new file...'Fast Forward.' Load files of folder Juliet-Bravo-Quebec," he stated in military alphabet, "Modification Value, 8 years. Do the same with program 'KARLA' and recordings in same folder." He made some changes in the programming from his keyboard. "Execute."
"Done." Iris said, after a small pause, voice calm.
"Create New Artificial Intelligence Persona. Use the new image template and resonance files we just created. Compile text of files: 'Journal' and 'Letters' in same folder. Append to standard vocabulary dictionary. Analyze speaking style. Use analysis to create behavior protocol." He took a breath. "Analyze speech in chat rooms T1 through T9 of Questworld. Analyze tone and use of nonstandard words. Modify protocol and vocabulary accordingly."
Benton waited for a few minutes. "Analysis and changes completed, Dr. Quest."
"Create detailed files compiled from all media, text and otherwise in source folder. Use program "Timeline' and use all visual, tactile, and other sense data to create files. Load result into AI template memory."
He took a deep breath. "Compile with latest, most advanced Artificial Intelligence creation program. Load new AI."
"Proceeding... Loading New Artificial Intelligence..." A new face appeared on the monitor. A teenage boy, with blonde hair and blue eyes, a smile on his face suggesting good humor, intelligence shining in his eyes.
"Welcome Jonny." Benton said, smiling sadly. "Welcome home."
To be continued...
Author's Note: Send me Comments and/or Criticism! Flames will be used to ignite the Nuclear Chicken Launchers and Brick-Bombs (Patent-pending) I received barely any C&C for the last parts (btw, Thanks Peggy! You can archive it if you want to). So if you have anything to say, fire up your respective email programs! It's Feyjin@mailroom.com or Escuadro@mediaone.net , so you have a choice! I'm grasping at anything as a draw to get some feedback, so that should tell you how desperate I am! I really should use less exclamation points!
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[ Home | Contact Author | JQHQ ]
Date: 6/29/99 8:38:32 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Author's Note: Sorry it's short. This can be seen as an expository piece, nonetheless with an important event, but mainly setting up the next parts, the main body of the story.
Category: ALT, E, A
Archiving: Take it. TakeittakeittakeIT!
Disclaimer: Hanna-Barbera owns Jonny Quest and all related personalities, places, and material. I don't. That may explain why this is written, rather than being lavishly produced into a rather lengthy animated feature.