“Oh, you want her to be unable to track you. Stop giving interviews on live television?” Leo deadpans.
_Okay, serious answer time. But, man, that was the worst.
“I’m not an architect or engineer or whatever. I hit stuff, and I have friends. But my biological dad, uh, Rossum…” Leo bites his tongue. Everyone has family issues on this team, nobody’s asking to hear his personal bullshit. “He explained one time about how super-intellect and super-inventing work. Phosphorus atoms in the brain can sustain quantum states, when formed into Posner molecules. Matthew Fisher published a paper a couple years about it. The Posner molecules fall into a neuron and are eaten, so to speak. But they affect how the neuron fires. So people like my dad, and I guess me, and maybe your dad, have a mutation of sorts. The wave function collapses into a single eigenstate, but it does so in a highly favorable configuration.”
Leo thinks a few more seconds, turning his head this way and that. “Uh, basically there’s like 1 way to get something right and 50 ways to get it wrong, yeah? Super-intelligence uses quantum mechanics to make us get that 1 way every time. Or most of the time.”
“So as long as I have a solid grounding in the science I’m dealing with, I’ll just kinda arrive at the right answer the first time. Edison said the light bulb wasn’t 1000 failures, it was a success with a 1000 steps. People like me just get to jump to that 1000th step early.”
OOC: Leo doesn’t put the pieces together here, but there’s an opportunity for a Moment of Truth or similar power-up for Jason. If his nanobots are small enough to participate in these quantum interactions, uploading his mind more fully into them might dramatically boost his intelligence and aptitudes. If he needs to out-think, rather than out-fight, Alycia, he might need to take this step.
Already animated, Leo actually stands up and starts pacing, like a wild animal in a cage. Passion shines through his expression.
“Alright, tracking. First, most obviously, heat. Most machines give off a heat signature, starting at some kinda core, like the engine, and radiating through the hull, right? Your cloud doesn’t. It’s all pinpoint heat sources. It’ll be a solid sheet of red, not that sort of cool-outside-hot-inside look. That’s going to be really obvious on a thermograph for anyone who knows what they’re looking for. Anyone with a high-flying aircraft, or a blimp or drone, or even a satellite network with good enough cameras, can pick it out if they know where to start looking. Plus - plus! - heat dissipation is a big problem for nanotech anyway. Check arXiv for some papers about that.”
“My old man, yeah, he’s got more theories, of course. So ice manipulation powers, right? Ice isn’t a force, it’s a relative absence of heat. Where does that heat go? He speculated that ice manipulators were really controlling extra spatial dimensions. If a molecule has more room to vibrate, or has more stuff to vibrate into, it’ll cool down. I think that sounds crazy, but clearly there’s some way of doing it. Solve that problem, and not only can you cool your nanobots so they don’t show up like a flare on IR, but you could probably get a serious power boost from them besides. Know any ice-using heroes who are friendly to the Foundation? Or better, how about an ice-using villain we can bust, then bargain with? Lab time in exchange for a reduced sentence, and in the mean time they’re off the street.”
OOC: this is a potential setup for encountering one or more NPCs, and taking proactive steps to deal with villains. It can also serve one of my goals for Link, which is to help with villain rehabilitation.
“Alright, with that out of the way… once someone knows where you are, those brain interactions? That stuff is super distinctive. Zheng Joyce Wang published papers about predicting human behavior using quantum equations. You can just sample local radio waves, do some traffic analysis, look for anything that fits those models, and there you are.”
Leo stops pacing, and scowls. “Man, I dunno how you beat that. I mean, I guess you could turn the nanobots into a mesh, shorten the broadcast distance, let them talk to each other instead of just broadcasting… shit, you’d have to re-engineer them to do that, and I’d need a lot of study to figure out why that is. But that’s still short-range stuff, so honestly if you can beat the thermograph, she’ll only be able to find you if she’s already in the neighborhood. Or if she scatters receivers everywhere, I guess…”
author: Bill G.