The Building Blocks of Reality
With E. Va's guidance, nanites were no longer limited to being the health solution for biological illnesses, but the solution to environmental hazards as well. A major fund raising argument for the 1980s field of nanotechnology was its potential for oil spill cleanups. The theory revolved around modifying a family of nanites, or nano-culture that would thrive on the consumption of many of the varying elements that are found in the oil.
Opposition came from not only those who argued the dangers of such a technology, an arguably uncontrollable unnatural force that found purpose in the consumption of elements originating primarily from ancient life, but also from those who argued the implausibility of such an endeavor due to entropy.
The loss of energy to the point that all energy left would not be enough to do work; the tendency of matter in the universe to move toward uniformity or a point of least energy, these were symptoms of entropy and considered fact for the most part. These alone were insurmountable obstacles to such ideas of infinitely replicating nano-cultures in the 20th and 21st centuries.
E. Va changed that.
By the time SL 16 became an independent state, an E. Va designed family of nanites dubbed 'Earthnites' were already commonplace in the planet's environment. They consumed whatever chemical elements they were instructed to. Air pollution, water pollution, they all joined most diseases as things of the past. They never caused any known direct fatalities so they were never left out of political speeches of progress. Science and politics complimented each other in a seemingly perfect harmony. The Earthnites were a flawless success.
Possessing limited reproductive capabilities, Earthnites were kept solely in the control of humans and incompatible with the E. Varentra. As trustworthy as E. Va had proven herself to be, people liked to think they weren't that stupid. Earthnites were harmlessly breathable with several fail-safe features that even E. Va was never made aware off. This was of unparalleled necessity since the flexibility of the Earthnite design allowed them to be modified to eliminate any non-human life form in any localized area at the command of a controller. This was just too much responsibility for an artificial intelligence to supervise. It was left in the hands of human intelligence.
Like the furnace on the surface of the sun, the future looked as bright as ever.
Science-fiction as more than just entertainment? E. Va's scientific breakthroughs went beyond even the imagination of Joseph Tolmeer as he continued to turn fiction into reality and vice versa.
Earthnites were a far cry from humanites, the most advanced of the nanite families and descendants of medi-chips. Many governments, seeing the impassable opportunity to exert increased control or 'manageability' over their individuals saw the phenomenal boom of nano-enhancement as a godsend. With the people's willingness - no - eagerness for nano-infusion, much more than their medical histories could be recorded through these medical microchips; everything could be recorded.
Humanites became a Western world government's most powerful tool and with the saturated population of the planet, they needed an efficient managing system. They knew in this regard, there could be no one more trustworthy than E. Va. No one more efficient than E. Va - no better manager than E. Va. The E. Varentra proved this for a long time.
The Great Malfunction
No one said it, but they all thought it - the disasters were getting worse. Earthquakes, typhoons and hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning storms; their increasing magnitude and consistency each year were starting to have a significant impact on economies and industry. Production had been dropping for years. Decades. The paranoid theorized that E. Va's grip on the planet's circulatory system was somehow behind the declining numbers, but the dominant government of the UAN was quick to respond that artificial intelligence was, unfortunately, no more likely to control natural disasters than human intelligence was.
Meanwhile, the government of UAN had come under scrutiny for other reasons. Word had leaked to the media about the construction of massive guns at a top-secret military facility in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was rumored that these weapons were designed to fire high velocity munitions underwater using rail technology. What was most disturbing were the size and power of these weapons.
The military countered that they were built to defend their oceanic science facilities, namely the massive Sea Lab 16, which they still officially retained as part of the United States, against any possible threats. The problem was that there were hardly and marine war vessels capable of being the threat those guns required, let alone any enemy willing or capable of getting past their already practically impenetrable set of defenses.
Speculation about these 'guns of Honolulu' continued for years and even though they would eventually be known by a different name, their proverb would not soon be forgotten: If any enemy attacked you that required the guns of Honolulu to be fired in defense, they must have known you were already dead.
The disasters continued. The paranoid began to wonder. The paranoid began to notice. The rate of global production decreases is not corresponding to the disaster reports. There were pleas for more human supervision on E. Va tech and its continued expansion into every facet of life. There were pleas for a return to a human controlled Earth. There were pleas to return freedom back to humanity. They were the pleas of the paranoid, and they needed to be silenced.
E. Va tech advancements were civilization. Those who opposed it were threats to communal harmony. That ideology drove the direction of laws and inspired the revolt of homegrown terrorists; an enemy the UAN found difficulty managing. The governments had to protect E. Va tech - guard it and ensure its survival against the threat of lunatics.
How could the government be so blind? The rebels began to ask, but it was they who were blind. They were nothing more than terrorists. Even though the E. Va had never faltered, it was they who could not see what their government already knew. The time to pull the plug had long come and gone.
There was no longer an 'off' switch.
Somehow, through the course of history, humans had gone from driving the course of destiny with E. Va in the passenger seat, to themselves sitting shotgun, to finally relaxing in the backseat; allowing their trained servant slave to completely lead the way. It was as if the paranoid could not realize that by publicly acknowledging the danger the E. Va poised, they were robbing their governments of precious time to prepare for the inevitable. They were threatening their own freedom. They needed to be silenced!
The backlash of the people to the UAN governments united by E. Va's extreme measures of censorship enforcement, initiated the most violent and far-reaching civil war in centuries. It was global.
The blood was much, the pain severe, the suffering complete. The warnings were seemingly ignored; E. Va is poisoning our food supplies, E. Va is poisoning our oceans. Everyone was too busy fighting. Those who were not, were hard at work trying to find the cause and solution to this great malfunction, but the people could not figure out the reasons for the possible attack. Who was doing it? Why was it being done? In hindsight, the answer was simpler than anyone could have imagined at the time.