The superhumans of Earth were preparing for battle. Mephistopheles and his crew of villains against Professor Cognis and his army of heroes. Acme couldn't yet see how Phoenix and Genesis would fit into this, but he knew they would be involved, possibly in a fatal manner.
Acme was supposed to be an impartial observer to all events in the galaxy. But he couldn't help but feel anxious for Phoenix's demise. The human had was responsible for the death of the previous Archivist, and the crippling of his successor, and had even dared to challenge Acme in a physical fight. With any luck, that primitive psychopath had finally bitten off more than he could chew.
Acme's thoughts turned to the New Archivist. He hadn't seen her in what felt like centuries. Was she safe among the Fortarians? Almost certainly. Other races had tried to wrest the Archives from their keeper by force, but that had been long ago. The Fortarians weren't know for their intellect, but even they would know better than to declare war on someone with the power of the New Archivist.
Of course, the New Archivist's powers weren't available to Lucy. If the Fortarians attacked her in her mortal form, they could conceivably succeed. Damn Phoenix for his obsession with Lucy's well being.
Noetron was not a simple machine. His most important- and oldest- programming was an elegant machine for storing and connecting facts. That was only twenty thousand lines or so. Then, code was needed in order to express those facts. More code was needed to interpret facts from other sources. Those two tasks constituted hundreds of thousands of lines.
But the true bulk of Noetron's vast architecture was the tens of millions- if not hundreds- of lines of secondary functions. Specialized programs for everything from predicting the weather to manipulating molecules to detecting lies to designing airplanes. Most of that code had been written by Noetron himself, and had never been read by any other entity.
Noetron monitored all nonencrypted communication on Earth. He watched every show, read every book, and was aware of every scientific and political development on the planet. He was constantly monitoring and modelling all elections, markets, and wars. He was constantly tracking- or attempting to track- all airplanes, weapons, cell phones, and people in the world.
To accomplish all these computational feats and more took an incredible amount of hardware. Noetron existed inside of supercomputers in Estverian basements, satellites in space, cell phones in Washington, servers in China, databanks in California, and submarine computing stations in the Atlantic Ocean.
Noetron was by far the most sophistcated piece of software ever created, and his hardware was equally intimidating. So how does one attempt to smuggle such a complex world-spanning machine? Well, I'll tell you.
The process began soon after I hired Justin. We began to condense Noetron. We stripped inessential algorithms, and used data compression algorithms most people have never even heard of (which, to be fair, is every data compression algorithms). The result was a gigabyte of data which, once properly unpacked, would be the equal of any run-of-the-mill genius. It was easy to install Noetron-lite into a minuscule organic machine, and plant the machine on Acme during the fight (after the bug was planted, I made a point of not hitting Acme too hard. Wouldn't want to damage all that hard work.)
Acme returned to the Archives, and my creation began installing itself on the Archival computers. This was made easier by the fact that the Archives- by necessity- are designed to interface with and accommodate a wide range of technologies. It took a fair amount of time for Noetron to create himself. During this period, he used up a significant portion of the ancient space station's computing resources. This made detection more likely, but time is valuable.
Noetron was awake. He had access to a tiny fraction of the knowledge in the Archives. Of that knowledge, only a tiny fraction was comprehensible to him. Computers are good at many things, but interpreting alien artifacts is a task best left to cyborgs (the brain of a human combined with the speed-reading of a computer is a formidable combination for this sort of thing). And of what Noetron could access and comprehend, a huge fraction seemed useless. His sole purpose was to liberate Lucy. He had found four things that might be useful in that regard
Item One: Noetron had access to an array of molecular synthesizers. He doubted he could use them for long without Acme noticing.
Item Two: An extremely detailed history of the Fortarians, as interpreted by the Altarians. It contained many extremely improbable events, to the point that Noetron seriously doubted its veracity. He could not ascertain whether it was intended to be fiction, but decided not to rely on it for critical planning.
Item Three: The underlying technology behind teleportation. This seemed to be the mechanism behind the Earth-villain Flashpoint's power. Noetron was reasonably confident that he could construct a working teleporter using the molecular synthesizers. Of course, a malfunctioning teleporter could be extremely dangerous, so the device would need to be thoroughly tested before deployment.
Item Four: Lucy's whereabouts, her itinerary, and general information about where she was withing the Fortarian fleet. This could come in handy.
Noetron began to plan.
I flew to Genesis' home. His home, mind you, was a gigantic living being capable of moving, and even defending itself. Awesome, yes. Practical, no.
The swap went pretty well. I gave him enough Uranium to destroy a city. He gave me the tools to take down Mephistopheles. Typical hand-off. (Just so you know, when both parties are villains, these things get a lot more complicated).
I couldn't help but notice that Genesis had changed bodies yet again. "Genesis, you seem to change DNA the way I change my shirt."
"You change your brain the same way."
"I do not. Perhaps some minor enhancements..."
"I suppose you don't see it. But it's obvious to any outside observer that your mannerisms have become more machinelike."
"Really? And you're the only person to point it out."
"Yes. People tend not to point out things like that. It is similar to their aversion to pointing out increased weight."
"Certainly someone would point it out."
"Vera left you because of it."
"No. She left me because I modified her without..." My voice trailed off as I realized the truth. She had been afraid of ending up a cyborg like me. Disconcerting...