Simon Charles is the head security officer of one of the biggest and most lucrative establishments on the Vegas Strip – the Carnival ‘de Carnel Casino Hotel and Resort. If you’re wondering how a little, unassuming guy like Mr. Charles became a security manager, well, the answer is quite simple: he is one of the foremost experts on the practical integration of artificial intelligence. And the Carnival is fully equipped with one of the most advanced A.I. units ever conceived – they call it Ramona.
Simon Charles has no hyper-abilities but he is extremely intelligent and one of the world’s authorities on artificial intelligence integration.
There are over 12,000 cameras all linked to Ramona and they all move and rotate in tandem so that every single inch of the casino is covered at all times. The cameras can also detect the meta-physics of every person in the building, allowing Ramona to know the body temperature, heart rate and other vitals of each individual who walks through the door. The game tables are rigged with pressure panels that feed Ramona additional information about the dealers, players and onlookers. The floor is rigged with similar panels, allowing Simon and Ramona to map out walking patterns and tendencies of the customers, as are every chair, seat and stool. Every slot machine and game machine is linked to Ramona. Every security guard and their weapons are continuously monitored by Ramona. And every single chip, coin and dollar in the entire building is accounted for by Ramona.
With the push of a button on his tablet, Ramona can tell Simon exactly how many used drink glasses are in the Casino, where they are, the best route to take in order to pick them all up, whether the patron using the glass needs a refill, what said patron is drinking and suggests the best waiter or waitress for the job at the time.
Ramona is remarkable and Simon is the one who implemented and integrated her. He is also the one that keeps Ramona locked up in a tech lab beneath the casino and behind a vault door, stronger and more unbreakable than any of the doors protecting the other assets of the hotel. That’s right, Romana is a living, breathing (though sedated) woman and there are no less than a couple of thousand synthetic inputs juiced into her mind. There is nothing artificial about the intelligence that runs the casino’s vast and complicated systems. She is very real and very powerful; a hyper-being with telepathic capabilities, she was a gift from Universal Intelligence – the multinational conglomerate ran by Reina Valencia and owned by Edgar Lockhart – in exchange for a future favor. And it just so happened that the day for the favor had come, as both Ms. Valencia and Mr. Lockhart were on their way to pay a visit.
As the head of security, Simon greeted the two distinguished guests at a private airport and personally escorted them back to the Hotel. He informed them that Ramona was working out extremely well for the most part, but there were limitations associated with the need to keep her physical body intact. Reina assured him that Universal Intelligence was near a breakthrough that would allow the minds and consciousnesses of telepathic hyper-humans to be integrated into technology without the need of the physical body. Simon was excited to hear that.
However, Reina and Edgar were in town for a totally different reason. Simon and his boss, Ray Carnel, had been working on a new hyper serum that could give human beings special abilities, and it was time to see if it worked. Simon informed them that the hyper-serum was close to complete, but still had some seriously adverse affects on each of the men whom they’d tested it with.
This did not sit well with Reina and Edgar, and they were beginning to tear into Simon when the doors to the office opened and Ray Carnel walked in. Now that all of the principal players were in the room, it was time for the games to begin.
Meanwhile, beneath the casino, behind the vault door, in the middle of Simon’s laboratory – a faint whisper was uttered. Just two words: “help me…”