757 Plagiarizing a Crime
What Ves needed to do was to find the root programming and sneak in a few extra codes.
However, Ves faced a huge issue at this juncture. He wasn't adept in the special programming language used to instruct a neural interface on how to manage the man-machine connection. He couldn't just write something like 'make the mech pilot unflinchingly loyal to the 6th Flagrant Vandals mech regiment, oh, and also forget about your past loyalty to Prince Hixt-Klaaster'.
The phrase described the desired outcome, but to get there Ves needed to manipulate the machine language into an exact set of code that specifically resulted in such an outcome. To do that from scratch, Ves needed to develop an extreme amount of expertise in the inner workings of the human mind in order to be able to target the specific brain sections related to loyalty and recognition of specific individuals and groups.
Fortunately, Ves came across a potential shortcut to the problem when he returned to browsing the textbooks. A huge section on ethics of all things provided the solution!
"Of course! Anyone who specializes in neural interfaces can't go around the Farund Affair!"
The Farund Affair that prompted the MTA to impose restrictions on neural interface technology changed the mech industry forever. A mech designer foolishly used to brainwash his customers into becoming devoted fans to his products in order to drive up sales.
"What a fool!"
If a mech designer had the power to brainwash millions of mech pilots, then at least use that power to conquer a state or something! Wasting all of that power to earn more money was one of the stupidest abuses of power in the history of the mech industry.
Ever since then, the MTA cracked down the endless variations in neural interfaces that mech designers had cooked up. The unethical practice of slipping in small subliminal brainwashing tricks make their customers become inexplicably attracted to their own products immediately came to an end.
The MTA even outright executed the worst offenders!
The sordid incident emphasized the huge potential for harm that mech designers wielded. If they completely lost all of their morality, they could corrupt thousands of mech pilots or cause harm at an untold scale.
Ves recognized the purpose behind the MTA's caution towards neural interface technology. It reflected in the sections of the textbooks that discussed the Farund Affair as a cautionary tale.
As Ves read through these sections, he skipped right over the many warnings and proselytizing to do the right thing. "Blablabla, I'm not interested in this irrelevant garbage. Where are the examples?"
Finally, he reached a page which contained an actual snippet of code sampled out of one of Farund Inc.'s tampered mech designs!
Best yet, the rest of the chapter detailed the exact mechanisms behind the code and how they all worked together to impose an unnoticeable mental compulsion upon the mech pilot whenever they interfaced with one of Farund's mechs!
"This is like the blueprint of a crime!"
The goal of these sections was to teach mech designers authorized to study neural interface technology to recognize the signs of altered programming and to identify their effects. It was much like how police detectives learned how other criminals performed their crimes.
It also had the unintended effect of teaching a crooked detective how to perform their crimes more efficiently and how to get away with it. The step-by-step outlining and deconstruction of key code sections taught Ves exactly how Farund Inc. and some of the other unethical mech designers managed to target the specific brain sections to achieve the desired response.
Of course, at some point, Ves felt a faint pressure building up in the back of his mind, and it didn't originate from the nauseating effects of his signal jammer. The pressure built up to such an extent that he had to forcibly jerk away his sight.
"I've finally come to this point." He frowned as he nursed his forehead. His obsessive state caught up to him, and he recklessly consumed the contents of the textbooks without regard to how his design philosophy might object to his current area of interest.
Even if he flipped the mental switch in his mind that allowed him to put his ethics and his principles inside a box and put it in the closet, he still couldn't escape the fundamental discordance that came with his actions.
"I can lie to everyone else, but I can't lie to myself."
His design philosophy centered around recognizing the intrinsic value of life of mechs. Implicit in this assumption that mechs shared the same right to recognition as the mech pilots that piloted them. If Ves purposely engaged in an act that impacted the life of a mech pilot, then that would automatically degrade the status of the mech as well.
It sounded a bit convoluted, but it essentially boiled down to that he should treat his mech pilots like he treated his mechs. With respect.
Any violation of this maxim threatened to collapse the entire theoretical underpinning of his design philosophy!
"It boils down to respecting the dignity of human life."
Ves became stuck at this juncture. If he really wanted to, he could force the issue and cause his design philosophy to stop harping so much about this demand. Yet he didn't wish to do so.
Just like how Ketis formulated her design philosophy in a deeply personal moment where she drew upon her most cherished memories and values, so did Ves share the same attachment for his own design philosophy.
How could he tarnish the guiding star he always dreamt of reaching in his career? That would be like a champion mech athlete suddenly retiring from the dueling scene in order to become a farmer!Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
In the end, Ves hadn't been able to come up with a better solution that to take bite-sized pieces out of his reading material and hoped he learned enough to apply them to his situation.
Fortunately, with the examples related to the Farund Affair to provide the starting point, Ves crudely copied entire sections of code and pasted them wherever they fit in the custom programming for the Parallax Star's neural interface.
Of course, it wouldn't be so easy to complete this job. It was like Ves modified an existing mech by stuffing it with parts from an entirely different design. Ves needed to seamlessly blend in the new code, adjust its parameters to redirect its loyalty-reinforcing mechanisms from Farund Inc. to the Flagrant Vandals, and make sure that the effects were inconspicuous enough that nobody sensed anything wrong.
The last part had the potential to expose his crimes. One uncontrolled outburst from the mech pilot or severe neurological damage could lead to an investigation that eventually narrowed down the source of the expert pilot's affliction to the altered neural interface!
And since Ves was currently working on the Parallax Star without allowing any recordings or maintaining any logs, he'd be the prime suspect!
Therefore, despite his desire not to, Ves returned to the textbooks and tried to study as much as possible before his access expired.
His design philosophy creaked and groaned under the strain. Ves gritted his teeth and pushed through by studying less important aspects about the programming of a neural interface. Ves inferred the use, application and functionality of a core function or code by trying to understand the workings of a smaller and less important functions related to the greater one.
It was like testing the lethality of a mech-sized weapon by letting himself be shot by a scale model a thousand times less powerful than the real thing. It still hurt an awful lot if he got hit by the toy, but at least it wouldn't outright turn his body into a smear of flesh and blood!
His clever learning method worked to a degree. Ves basically fooled his own design philosophy with this method, but the downside was that his learning efficiency dropped by eighty percent.
By the time the three-hour time limit finally passed, Ves barely managed to increase his understanding of the code, much of it built on spurious logic.
"I'm not cut out to customize a neural interface." He muttered. His design philosophy fundamentally objected to the entire practice, even if he used it for benign purposes.
It basically meant he had to resign himself to the fact that he'd be missing a vital tool in his toolbox when he finally started designing custom mechs and expert mechs. Either he could leave the custom programming to another mech designer, or just make use of one of the many off-the-shelf packages from the MTA.
That was a problem for later. Right now, he had less than twelve hours to figure out his configuration and apply it to both the mech and the simulator pod.
Ves actually completed his work in eight hours.
Not because he was so good that he finished his work early, but because he lacked sufficient understanding to do very much. In the end, Ves became highly unsatisfied with the improvised cobbled-together code that crudely replaced the subject to plead loyalty to from Farund Inc. to the Flagrant Vandals.
In fact, he did more than that. He added other pieces of code that temporarily boosted a mech pilot's compatibility with a mech in exchange for slowly wearing out their potential.
Over a few months of constant use, the implications of this short-term boost would become evident as the mech pilot's brains and nerves started to exhibit signs of breaking down.
"Since this guy is supposed to die anyway, there's no harm in milking him for all he's worth."
His design philosophy screamed when he adapted this portion of code. Ves had the feeling that if he forcibly increased the performance boost at the cost of degrading the mech pilot's mind faster, he wouldn't have come away as a different mech designer.
"That was close." He sighed in relief. He only got away with it because the changes only happened gradually over time. If the mech pilot stopped piloting the mech, then he had a chance to recover.
"Not that this is going to happen anytime soon."
Ves used the extra time that remained by adapting the same set of tampered code to the custom programming of the Pale Dancer, which was Venerable Xie's personal landbound rifleman mech.
It only took him two more hours to complete the transplant. Neural interface programming followed certain industry-wide rules, so Ves didn't have to reinvent the wheel. He just needed to connect the code to the right functions and make sure that the altered parameters didn't cause a problem down the line.
It was as easy as ripping out a power reactor of one mech and putting it inside a mech of a different model but with similar parameters. Ves only needed to adjust a small amount of connections and tweak the programming to make the new combination compatible with each other.
Once he finalized the programming for the two mechs along with their simulator versions, he only spent a half hour in updating their firmware. It took seconds to actually replace the old version with the newly tampered version, but it took a lot more time to verify the changes had stuck and that it wouldn't be reverted by the many backups stored in other parts of the system.
Due to the demands of the MTA, mech designers were compelled to include many safety features that protected against the corruption of the programming. After all, battles in space and barren planets often exposed mechs to cosmic radiation, which in rare cases corrupted data banks or transmissions of sensitive data.
This problem usually happened to cheap mechs that cut a lot of corners in terms of safety features. However, it could also happen to normal mechs or even expert mechs if the radiation shielding built around the cockpit sustained a breach and incurred substantial battle damage.
Still, the textbooks already listed out all the possible countermeasures against corruption, so he corrupted them as well.
By the time he was finished with updating the neural interfaces and the simulator pod, Ves mentally padded himself on the back and finally disengaged his signal jammer.
A slew of high-priority messages immediately arrived at his comm. Ves took one look at the oldest message and cursed.
"The Temple of Haatumak has arrived!"