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A landslide is destroying my Alabama house and I believe the slide was caused by a county owned water main breaking after leaking for several years. My insurance company won't help me and I don't know what to do.
My house is on a slope by a lake with a house above it and a house next to it. My house started falling into the lake a few years ago due to a sort of landslide. The landslide occurred after a slow leak in the water line above my house that lasted for several years and a massive leak in the same line. The landslide destroyed my driveway, caused foundation damage, and destroyed my boat dock. My next-door neighbor’s house is completely destroyed. The house above me was built before the slide and is unharmed. My insurance agent said that the damage to my house and driveway was caused by sliding earth which is not covered by my policy, and said that the damage to my boathouse was caused by a flood. When I filed this insurance claim, my insurance company told me that my flood insurance had expired before the damage.
My questions are:
1) If the slow leak in the County owned watermain caused the watermain to break, which caused the landslide, can I recover from the County?
2) If my neighbor’s house being built contributed to the erosion that caused a landslide under my house, can I recover from the neighbor?
3) If an insurance policy was available to me before this was a threat but my Insurance agency wrongly told me it wasn’t, can I recover from my insurance company?
4) Did my insurance agent have a duty to inform me that my FEMA flood insurance policy expired?
I purchased my house on foreclosure in August of 2002. It is on a steep slope right above a large lake. We purchased an insurance policy through a national . I asked about landslide insurance and was told that landslide insurance is not available through any insurer in my state. I did purchase flood insurance from FEMA through a national insurance company, but that flood insurance expired when my mortgage was paid off in 2012. My insurance agent did not notify me of the flood insurance expiring and neither did FEMA. Both of them claim that they did, but have no record of doing so.
In 2011, we had fairly significant foundation work performed in order to be sure that it would support a fireplace addition.
In 2014 or 2015, a house was built on the flat area across the road from my house. The house is directly across the road, with its driveway in line with my driveway. My builder spoke to the builder of the house during the construction about my concern about water from his property impacting mine. The owner and builder of the house told my builder that he had complied with everything the County had required him to do including all requirements to prevent water from his property impacting my property. The neighbor told my builder that he would install a channel drain in his drive to direct water runoff from his driveway into the adjacent ditch and thus not onto my property. No channel drain or any discernible method of diverting or blocking water from his property onto mine was installed. County representatives later told my builder that there is no building code or inspections required of builders.
After the neighbor’s house was built, I did not observe significant amounts of water coming from the property across the road onto mine, even during heavy rainstorms.
Sometime in Spring of 2016, two of my neighbors were walking on the road above my house when they heard running water. They could not find any water source when they walked around my house. I called my builder and we met that afternoon at the house. We thoroughly checked inside and outside of the house and found no water leak or water source. There was no sound of water running or leaking anywhere. We checked the water meter but the meter was not running. My builder called the County Utilities (WaterBoard) saying that there must be a leak under the county road. WaterBoard sent a crew out and reported to my builder that they could not find a leak. (I have since learned that, unless water is bubbling on the surface, leaks are detectable only through ground penetrating radar).
In 2017, I noticed cracking and a slight depression in the road up the hill about 10-15 yards above my driveway.
In Spring of 2018, the second section of my driveway from the road dropped about an inch to 1.5 inches, enough to be noticeable when driving across the section. At this point, I thought that water must somehow be getting under that part of drive but even during heavy rains there was no area washing or runoff coming onto the section. The slope above it is well maintained with vegetation and pine straw mulch. I never saw any of the pine straw washing onto the drive. My builder suspected that it was from the mainline and called the Water Board several times. He was told each time that they could not find a leak (which apparently is impossible to do unless water penetrates through to the surface and is seen). My builder also called the County Commissioner who stated that the ditch above the road needed to be cleaned out, which they did. Over the rest of 2018 the section of my driveway may have dropped slightly more.
On February 21 of 2019, my builder called me to report the County had closed the road my house is on because the road had collapsed 2-3 feet. Our driveways had dropped about 4 inches.
On February 22 of 2019, I drove to the house and found that the driveway had dropped a total of one foot. A house next door to mine was seriously damaged. But the most concerning discovery was a tremendous water leak under the road right above my next door neighbor’s house. There was enough water pressure from the break to cause pea sized gravel to be visibly boiling around in the water puddle. The noise from the break was loud enough to hear 20 feet away. I could not find the source of the flow as it was beyond my reach under the road. In spite of the massive amount of water leaking, there was almost none washing over the ground. It was all going underground. On that day, I called the Water Board. They did not answer, so I left a message. They did not call me back.
On February 25, 2019, I spoke to the manager of the County Waterboard. He said the road had fallen a total of 4 feet. He said there was a leak in the main line that was repaired Friday morning at 9:30, which was the service line to neighbor across the road that had been pulled loose when the road dropped. He also said that there was a second break after that to the main line that was repaired later that day. He was “quite confident it has broken your water line……this is severe!” When I asked him what he thought had caused this he said “to be quite honest I don’t know what has caused this.”
On that same day, I called the county engineer but he was out of the office. His secretary told me that the county could not repair the road until the slide stopped. She said that the county commission would meet that night about the road.
On February 27, 2019, I met with a GeoTechnical Engineer. He said that he had never seen anything like this situation in Alabama, but had seen similar in California. He said the fault’s head was at the road and the tow (end) was somewhere 10- 20 feet in the lake. He said that the problem had started under the road where the collapse had begun and that the collapse had been caused by water. When I asked him where that much water had come from he said that is a very good question. He said there was no evidence of water flow or erosion undermining the road. He then discovered that the collapse occurred directly parallel and next to the waterline. The collapse occurred on the downslope side along the waterline.
That same day, I called the county engineer again. He did not have explanation for the road collapse and he could not say when road would be repaired as our property would have to be repaired at same time. I requested that a berm or barrier be placed on road to prevent more rain from getting across road onto our property. He said he would ask the commissioner. The county engineer called me the next day to say they had placed a dirt berm and put a plastic tarp over the collapse. He sent me pictures of both.
On March 14th, 2019, the WaterBoard crew came to my house to bypass the waterline to the other side of the road. I spoke to the crew chief doing the job and he said that they had not seen a leak until “waterline had broken” and confirmed that there had been two breaks. I also learned that the WaterBoard bought this neighborhood and area from previous water service and did not know who had put the waterline under the road. When I asked him how deep the waterline ran he did not know but showed me where the waterline went under the road. He then pointed from that point up the road and said you can see where the line runs because someone had dug up the road and then patched it over the line. He then said the line runs right up along where that collapse happened.
Around this time, I also spoke with a neighbor who said that there had been a leak above her property for several years despite numerous calls to the WB. The WB had told her they could not find a leak. She reported that the crew had found the leak today and fixed it. BUT she had a rental house downslope from the leak that was leaning from foundation problems now.
As of today, my driveway needs to be replaced, the road to the house is still closed, my foundation needs repairs, and my boat dock needs to be rebuilt. The total cost of repairing everything would probably cost about $300,000, which is more than half the value of the house.
In April of 2019, I filed a claim with my insurance company. They said that the damage to the driveway was caused by “shifting earth,” which is not covered by my policy. They also said the damage to the boathouse was caused by flooding, at which point they notified me that my flood insurance had expired.
My explanation for this catastrophe is that in 2016, something failed in the waterline under the road above my driveway. This failure caused the leak that was heard by my neighbors. Over the next two years, the leak continued along the water line, saturating the underlying supporting ground of the road and weakening it so that the road sunk slightly causing the swale I had observed. By February 2019, this saturation of the ground under the road reached a critical point where it could no longer support the weight of the road and collapsed. That collapse broke the water main, spewing tons of water, which caused the landslide.
I have no idea what to do now. Every lawyer I’ve talked to said that proving liability upon anyone is impossible. But surely there’s some sort of legal remedy available. If not, I’m going to lose this house.
I have pictures documenting all of this, if that would be helpful.
[OC] Day Zero (part 12)
I hope you enjoy.
PART 1PART 4 PART 7 Part 10 PART 13
PART 2 PART 5 PART 8 PART 11 PART 14
PART 3 PART 6 PART 9 PART 12
Ghol and Mark were watching A-seven and Amy stuff the last piece of gun into the assimilator on deck 11 when the Hab got a call over their plants.
“SH10151, this is the TSS Freedom and accompanying craft. Request docking procedures for 4, repeat 4 ships in 90 minutes,” Jido said over the Comms. “We also have 65 habitable bodies available. A-seven, please have your people get with Mac for body allocation.” “Holy shit,” Mark said to Ghol. “Four? They left in one and were supposed to just get another one. This will be interesting.” Then to Jido. “We have a good copy, Jido. can’t wait to see what the hell you’re bringing us.”
The Hab had docking points at 6 points on it’s round armored hull. One was currently in use by the freighter that Ghol had arrived in, and Ghol suggested that it be off loaded in case there was any issues with the docking procedures with the incoming ships. Mark agreed, and in the 90 minutes, the now 300+ strong force of AI unloaded the big freighter’s significant cargo into the main storage bay, then the ship drifted off into a holding orbit near the Hab. Ghol’s yacht had arrived in the mean time and had been parked in orbit as well. Ghol couldn’t wait to see what had transpired any more than Mark could, and so he decided to stick around.
When the ships became view able on screen, Mark let out a whistle. The Freedom was a nice looking ship, but the Redemption looked like it was built for war. Aggressively sloped armor, point defense gun pods and missile racks were every where on it’s sides. Next was the incredibly massive Tug. Jido had said Mac named it the Atlas based on some obscure mythology of Earth, and Mark thought it to be fitting. Last in line was the Light freighter who’s name read Liberator on screen. It looked a little rough, and the weapon mounts looked like an after thought, but it was serviceable or so Tab’s sensors said.
“Ok, everyone, welcoming committees to each docking point, and dinner in the Mess hall,” Mark said on the Hab channel. “I’m not big on formality, but we need to set up traditions. We welcome all of our people home. Every time. All that are able, and not on shift, please report to one of the Docking points, Tab will make assignments as needed.”
There were very few AI needed to run the ship, so most every one split up to the four hatches and greeted the returning AI, at least those that weren’t busy setting up dinner. Mark, Ghol, and the three rescued folks met Jido and Mac at their docking point. There were hugs, hand shakes, and introductions all around. The merriment and happiness was a pleasant change from the grinding work hours they had been doing. Everyone had been either putting Bodies together, moving fabber material from assimilator to Fabber, or repairing Hab systems.
There was a barking that came from behind Jido and Mac when Jodi came scrambling through the Airlock, dog feet gaining little traction on the metal surface despite her efforts to run so fast. Mark knelt and she jumped into his arms. He stood, and there was much whimpering and licking coming from his fuzzy roommate.
“Holy shit,” Amy said. “You have a dog? Like a real dog? She’s adorable” Amy was all smiles. She walked over to Mark while everyone was smiling and watching and stuck out her hand for Jodi to lick. She passed Jodi’s sniff test, and licked happily at her as well. Eventually, Mark put Jodi down and gestured in the direction of the mess hall. “Some of the others have prepared a meal in the mess hall. Lets head there and we can catch up.”
The mess hall held about a hundred people in a cafeteria style setting. The huge room having a bunch of tables with integrated chairs and a serving line against one wall where the food tables and food fabbers were. Really just the organics were eating, so it was ultimately only full of the senior AI Hab officers and the organics and the AI crews from the expedition. Mark explained to Jido and Mac that rank on the Hab had been determined logically by the AI themselves, as was the placement into the different specialties.
They actually had medical personnel now. Though it was only 5 AI at the moment, it was way more than they had before. The Tactical folks were divided into two groups. Those 40 who would become the Naval pilots trained with Vero in a VR environment that he and Tamet had devised using existing ship designs of many different races. The 30 AI ground combat crew were constantly training with Mark and Teckla in marksmanship, swordsmanship, and unarmed combat. The Engineering crew were the busiest, however, and consequently, had the most members. They were working almost constantly on maintenance. The Hab was old and had been sitting for quite a few years. The shuttles were similarly in need of repairs. The next few hours were filled laughter, eating, drinking and the tales of Mark and the AI rescuing Amy, Teckla and Vero interspersed with those of Jido and the Trandoshan Expeditionary force’s two battles. “...and so Turist has offered us the use of his cousin’s ship fabber for the 6 or so months it would take to create a ship.” Jido had reached the end of his story about what happened on Jurist’s Salvage Hab and began to fill in everyone on the discussions he and Turist had after. “Apparently he was very happy not to have been taken to the slave pens.”
“Holy shit, Jido!” Mark exclaimed. “I send you out in one ship to go get another and you bring back two extra and an IOU for another? Insanity.” Every one laughed. “Ok, lets get serious for a second, folks, any ideas on what we should have built for us? I imagine it can’t be anything too crazy, right?”
Mac smiled, sitting across from Mark. “In 6 months, a ship fabber like that can make a pretty good sized ship, and us being a political entity and all could legally obtain the permits for a pretty capable capital ship.”
“If I may interrupt,” a feminine voice spoke up in Mark’s ‘plant. The entire affair was being watched over the network by any of the AI that couldn’t attend in person. “I don’t believe that to be the best course of action.” The AI’s name in his ‘plant HUD was Sophie. An interesting name. He’d not seen a Human name for an AI before.
“Ok, Sophie, I’ll bite. What should we build?” Mark leaned back in his seat and wiped his mouth with a cloth napkin.
“Well, sir,” she began. “I think we should build a Foundry ship.”
“Alright, what is that?” Mark was curious. He looked to Mac.
“Well, Mark,” Mac began.
“Sir,” Sophie interrupted. “It’s a massive ship that turns raw materials into usable forms. Think an enormous assimilator that is part fabber. Put in an asteroid, get steel plate. Put in carbonaceous asteroid get nanotube sheets. The difference between it and a regular assimilator is scale and end form. The difference between it and a fabber is complexity. An assimilator puts out ingots of pure compounds, a fabber takes these ingots and mixes them to make things. A foundry ship breaks down asteroids and turns them into usable alloy panels, bars, or beams that can be welded together to make Habs...” She paused. “Or ships.” She paused again. “I’ve been to Earth a few times. I’ve been enamored with it for a while, but as a logistics AI I never got much time to research it. I’ve had plenty of time, here. The Earth will need ships. Ships for exploration, ships for trade and ships for combat.”
“Interesting,” Mark said.
Sophie continued. “And I have an idea for how we can use a foundry ship to help us out more than a capital ship.”
Mark was truly interested now. He had a few plans for ship ideas he’d yet to float by Jido or Mac, but this AI had things thought out. “Ok, so what do you propose?”
“Mac,” she began. “Can you tell Mark how a conventional ship is made, currently in the ship fabbers?”
“Well, yeah,” Mac said. “Essentially, they feed this huge fabber raw fabber stock in huge quantities and the fabber basically prints out the ship. Well, all the large systems, anyways and that’s how it’s been doine for the last few hundred years. The smaller stuff has to be fabbed separately, but when the ship is done, it just has those little finishing bits before it’s space worthy.”
“Exactly,” Sophie said. “I propose a different idea. Have you ever heard of pepakra? Paper crafting?”
“Kinda?” Mark said, not quite sure. “People print out polygonal shapes and glue them together, Right?”
“Right, what if they did the same to a ship? Essentially like how humans build them now, but on a massive scale. We could have armies of spider bots and AI working on a ship at a time. Ship fabbers have quite a few spider bots for the final, but they use a lot of organic labor and very few AI. We’re far more expensive than organics who work way cheaper. Yet, in our case, we’re more numerous. If we have 500 AI working on a ship, that’ll be 2000 spider bots as well working in a precision that can’t be duplicated by organics 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no breaks, no lunches until the ship is done, and it won’t really matter to us, because it’s what we do. You’ll get a ship the equivalent to the Freedom in a month, once we have the fabber capacity. You could get a Capital ship in 6, and I’m not talking like the one you’d get from Turist’s cousin. I’m talking a real Juggernaut. A fleet killer. Hell, we could build this fab in a 90 days.”
Mark looked to Jido, Mac and A-seven, who were all nodding. “I’d never thought of it,” Mac said. “But what she says tracks. Ship construction has been done the same way for so long, it is hard to think outside that box. I mean, it’s how it used to be done, but that was very early on.”
“Like I said,” Sophie chimed in. “I love Earth. Their early use of mass production inspired me. If we can come up with the right ship design, we could even mass produce them and production times would get even better.”
There was silence for a few long moments as everyone chewed on the proposal. Finally, Mark stood up. “Alright, folks.” He looked around the room. "This counts for those of you watching at home.” There were some confused looks. ‘Man,’ Mark thought. ‘Sometimes it’s hard to be funny around here.’ “It’s a turn of phrase, look it up. Anyhow, I know you think I am the end all be all about all this stuff. I’m not. I’m one of only 2 humans I know of in this part of the Galaxy. I’ve heard rumors of others, but in a decision making capacity, there’s just two. Except, you’ve all thrown your hat in with me. Look that up too.” Everyone smiled or laughed. Mark smiled and continued, “You know these galaxies better than I do, or probably can. Hell, A-seven’s been to more of the Galaxy than my planet can see. So I need help. I propose that for the time being, any decisions be made by senior officers with input by ALL junior staff. All.” He emphasized the last word.
There was a general murmur through the crowd. “On my planet, a true democracy never really worked all that often. When people can be bought off with food and gifts, their vote can be bought so I am going republic style, and since you all decided who your officers would be, this kinda qualifies. Tomorrow I’d like to have a vote on this plan. Please talk to your officers and we’ll convene a meeting where we will vote. I’ll let you all in on that too. Every decision will be public. No secrets. The more public oversight the better. Well at least for now, until other Humans get involved.”
There was a little more discussion about things, and things mellowed a little, the somber tone of logistic planning mixing with the celebratory atmosphere of just a few minutes ago. Ultimately, just Mark and Amy were at the table, everyone else having gone, leaving the two humans.
“You know, I do want to help, but I have a promise to keep.” She swirled the coffee around in her cup. There wasn’t much left, but she liked watching the little remaining bit cling to the sides of the cup.
Mark had a glass of water in his hand. He was trying to eat healthier and such, given that his new body performed so much better when he did. “Yeah? With Crix?” he said, looking at her.
“Yes,” she said, quietly, still looking into her coffee like it was a scrying pool. “Once, after we watched the slavers beat a male Yool to death and throw him in an assimilator for not instantly obeying, we promised each other that if we ever had to and we got the chance, we’d take the other’s body to their home-world. We didn’t want to be something for them to so easily dispose of.”
“A-seven has told me about this, and has a recommendation.” Mark paused and looked at her. She was pretty, but just under the surface of her eyes was a hurt. It softened the edges of her smile a bit as she looked at him. “What would you think about taking the Liberation, Hragh, and a few AI to Vwiria IX along with Crix’s body? A-seven has a hundred or so AI that have requested to leave, and in a few days, we’ll be done with their bodies. I’d appreciate it if you could take them with you and put them wherever they’d like. Keep a hold of the ship and the AI crew for however long you need. All I ask is that you try to keep Earth out of the limelight and remember where Home is.”
Amy was quiet for several long moments, pondering again the mysteries of her cup. “That’s more than I deserve, but I appreciate it.”
“More than you deserve?” Mark said. His voice was soft, his face split in a half smile. “You’re the only other Human I know out here. Yeah, I found you in cryo, but it damn sure wasn’t your fault. You don’t owe me a damn thing.” Mark sat his cup down. “We’re out here alone, just you and I. Sure, we’re surrounded by friends, but they are Aliens to us and us to them. We have the opportunity to make some good change here, both for our people and for the galaxy at large. So if you want to be an ambassador and return a man to his people, fulfilling a promise, I can only encourage you. I would be a fool not to. It is the best part of Humanity, and something that I deeply respect.”
“Thank you, Mark. It means a lot.” She said, putting the cup down and looking into Mark’s blue eyes.
“You’re more than welcome,” he said, and offered his hand across the table. She took it and held it tightly. “Now, I need to fill you in on the rest of my plan,” He said. “When you come back, I don’t want you to get lost.”
For another hour Mark laid out his plans and thoughts. Amy had questions and suggestions, and ultimately, the two went their separate ways to their quarters. Mark took off his clothes, and crawled into bed. Jodi was already in her dog bed, and was running in her sleep when Mark’s head hit the pillow. ‘Tomorrow will be another day,’ Mark thought. ‘Wonder what will happen?’
“”Yes, and not only that, the sun is between us and Earth right now. We have quite a while before we’d even be visible without stealth systems engaged.” Mac pressed some keys and the Holotable lit up, showing the solar system and the Freedom’s position in it.
“Ok, and this is where the Foundry ship will go?” Mark indicated a glowing blue dot uncomfortably near Earth. “My god it seems close.”
“Yes,” Mac said. “Like the advisers determined, once we get our guys on the ground, they will be able to hack any observatories that may stumble upon what we’re doing. They will have a few months still, but most of Earth based astronomy is digital and all satellite based certainly is.”
“But we ditch the Moon base?” That was the part Mark thought of as most flexible. Initially, it was just an idea to keep an eye out on Earth without breaking the rules the Inquisitor had put in place, but the council had determined that a hidden place on Earth would be even better with a far less chance of discovery.
“Yeah,” Mac said. “There’s no need when we drop off the folks here.”
Mac zoomed the image in. Then further like those cool google maps graphics until Earth came into view. Then the United States, down further to the west coast. Closer still, the image went, until Washington was obvious and then Seattle. Highways were obvious, then streets, and then buildings until a small shipping container yard, isolated from the rest of the heavy industrial area became clearer. Closer to Tacoma he thought, but Mark had always been frustratingly bad with maps.
“This has a clear landing place where we can offload the container among other containers. The business there isn’t open, or at least wasn’t when we left, but we’ll purchase it sooner rather than later, so it won’t matter.”
Mark was quiet for a long time. Jodi curled up near his foot. He reached down and petted her soft fur. Earth. The place he’d been thinking about all these weeks. The place he was trying to save by breaking the occasional law and barely skirting a few others, putting the Entire planet at risk in an effort to save it.
“Let’s do it. By the numbers and as safe as possible. Take us in.”
Dropping the shipping container hadn’t been a big deal and went flawlessly with the help of the gravity grappel at around midnight local time. They even managed to stack another container on top of it to help conceal it, and then they were away, headed back out to the Asteroid belt. That had been Sophie’s base of operations for the last week. Mark was excited to hear what she and her other 9 AI assistants had been able to do in the time they’d been on his planet. He wasn’t allowed per the inquisitor to directly interact with people from earth. He was betting it all on a technicality.
“Mark, so good to see you,” Sophie’s AI face filled his screen with a big smile. Mac had parked the Freedom, fully cloaked in a Geo-synchronous orbit above Seattle, where the container was. Communication out to where they were would have taken too long, and so he’d brought the Freedom down. There was the small matter of picking up a couple other supplies as well. “Sophie, you look happy. How have things been going? Did my “Here’s how to deal with people from Earth Primer” help,” Mark laughed, and Sophie joined him, a sweet little chuckle from her. It had been a fun evening with Sophie and the other 9 AI that were going to be on the ground. He’d filled them in on internet trolls, conspiracy theory crazies, religious nut jobs and all the other weird human types they’d likely find. Blind faith and the deep need to be an asshole were so foreign to the AI that Mark thought it a good idea to give them a heads up.
“OK, well, Humans are pretty great, but WAYYY more complicated than you really let on. You’re definitely on the very nice end of the spectrum, and the evil side people can be very very evil. I’ll get the important stuff out of the way first. Like you suggested, we obtained all the money we could from organizations like ISIS and similar, anything the Drug Cartels have in banks, most of the Various Mafias we could find in most countries, any unarguably corrupt business folks we stumbled upon like Soros and quite a few Russians, and the “church” of Scientology.” She even used air quotes when she said Church. “It created quite a... stir. We essentially made it look like a series of massive hacks by a new on the scene group of activist hackers, “The Children of Earth”.” She paused. “I took the liberty. We see ourselves as new to the galaxy, and Earth has granted us our freedom, even if most don’t know it.”
Mark nodded in acceptance. “It’ll help with phase two,” He said. “Are you trying to emulate Anonymous or something?”
“Kind of, but not really. The perceived power of Anonymous was our inspiration. The average person thinks Anonymous can do most anything or get into most anywhere, while we actually can. Better, we can prevent our voice from being snuffed out because we control the internet better than anyone else does, even the carriers and ISPs themselves. The CoE’s mission statement is to bring to justice those who have wronged the people of Earth and to expose the corrupt.”
“Holy shit, you’ve been busy. How much money are we talking about?” Mark was in Awe. “Trillions. It’s worldwide. We’ve also installed small portions of ourselves in the internet that watch for transactions from known accounts and whatnot as well.” Sophie was smiling wide.
“Whatnot? You have been learning.” Mark laughed.
“Sounds pretty good. You guys are impressing me. What’s next?” Mark said. He was on the bridge, drinking some Mate and took another bite of the delicious Drovel cookie like thing Jido had turned him onto.
“Our next step has been the dissemination of information we got on other organizations and individuals. We’ve been establishing relationships with reporters and other hackers and activists, trying to get a handle on how much destabilization is too much. For now, we’re concentrating on supporting activities against the criminal organizations we defunded, while we build cases against other targets.”
“Things haven’t gotten too unstable, have they?” Mark didn’t want to be the reason good people got killed by bad until he could help more.
“Not yet,” Sophie said. “Most of our actions haven’t been against governmental organizations. We have kind of bolstered security for the US government too with more of our AI fragments. The US Government and it’s citizens are basically impervious to outside hacking right now, while at the same time, we’ve essentially neutered their spying capability, well them and the rest of the world too. They are still getting “actionable” intelligence, but only really what we want them to see. We have two AI that are just specializing on international internet traffic. Hurting ISIS-ISIL will probably help coalition forces in the next few weeks, but you know how fast the government acts. The drug cartels weren’t hurt immediately, but they will feel it eventually.”
“Ok, how did the other parts go? I mean, we have the money now, we don’t need to steal Mate any more,” Mark said, taking another drink of his.
Sophie laughed, her high pitched chuckle. “We bought you two shipping containers full of it. One orange, the Taragui Naranja I believe, and the other regular from Cruz De Malta like last time as requested. They are sitting in a shipping yard in Argentina, as requested. I’ll ping Sprite the location.”
“Perfect,” Mark said. “And the other?”
“The program is barely a week old, but the Gunn corporation, Sorry, couldn’t think of another name at the time, offered the pick up contract for all of Australia for dead and road kill Koalas. We had shipping companies drop off Freezer units at the regional offices, and they just toss them in. We will arrange pick up every so often, or when they get full.”
“Perfect. Mac pointed out during our planning that on Earth they are endangered, so I don’t want to grab live ones, but these ones... Maybe we can salvage meat to sell. Fresh frozen, authentic, free range should be able to fetch a good price from connoisseurs. I dunno. Worth a shot.”
“Yup. We also got a hold of our friend from Arizona. I pretended to be a fellow physics nerd on one of the forums he frequents, he’s actually quite sweet.”
Mark smiled. “So is he closer than we thought initially?” Mac had identified this guys work as a real possibility for faster than light travel when he was on Earth last time.
“Yes and no. Using current models and tech and materials science, no. In theory, he’s changed the intergalactic game. I have one AI tasked with monitoring his internet presence and watching what he’s doing while at the same time keeping the stuff he’s posted safe. We can’t have anyone taking this info before humanity is ready to use it.”
Mark sat his cup down. “Change the game, how?”
“Everything, Mark,” She said, her voice unusually intense. “Computing, Communications, FTL travel, energy production and storage... everything. His home built quantum computer isn’t currently accessible by us. He hasn’t figured out a suitable storage system for more than a few megabytes of info, but from what he’s told me in instant message chat, it’s insanely powerful, and looking at the math, it should be incredibly powerful once we help him out. His grasp of quantum mechanics is years beyond just about any species I know of. It’s just Earth’s science isn’t able to keep up. Communications with his quantum gear will be instantaneous no matter the distance, and FTL... My god, using his FTL, ships should be able to travel FTL with a fraction of the energy, meaning big ships go faster than current, and little ones should be FTL capable that are too small, like our shuttles. And Energy... His zero point energy generators, using our modern tech could provide more power than traditional Gluon powerplants twice their size, not to mention the quantum batteries. One the size of a cell phone could hold the power out put of a Nuclear power plant produces in an hour, discharge that instantly, and recharge in 4 or 5 seconds.”
“Holy shit. How close is he to this?” Mark was beside himself. His mind was racing at the possibilities.
“Sadly, months or years at current rates if at all. I can help him out a little, but like I said, he’s way beyond my comprehension.” Sophie shook her head.
Mark rubbed his temples. “What if he had our resources? What then?”
Sophie’s mouth cracked into a wide smile. “Weeks maybe for the easier stuff like computing and Comms. There still has to be some research done, but still. Maybe Months for FTL. Energy will be a ways off. Materials science isn’t quite there, even for us. There will have to be real experiments. Computer modeling won’t really help here. Like I said, brave new world stuff.”
“Ok, here’s what we do. Massage him a little, help him out where you can. I have an idea, but it’ll take a few weeks on my side at least. We’re going to grab that cargo, and then head back out. I’ll be back in a week.”
“Okay, Mark, we’ll do everything we can.” Sophie saluted and signed off.