Fate of Devotion (Finding Paradise Book 2)

By: K.F. Breene
Chapter 1

The small orb opened with a gush. Millicent leaned forward, surveying the interior for what seemed like the millionth time. The object was from Toton, one of the three conglomerates in control of Earth, and she’d been analyzing it off and on since she’d settled on Paradise. Until recently, she hadn’t taken as much time as she’d wanted to really dig into it. She had many demands on the new planet, but Toton was waging a destructive, high-casualty war on the other two conglomerates, and Millicent’s gut told her the orb was important.

It was one of three items she had stolen from a warehouse when she, Ryker, and their little girl, Marie, were escaping Moxidone, the conglomerate they used to work for. While she could get data on some of its elements, the larger picture of the device eluded her.

The inside of the metal casing wasn’t a perfect circle, unlike the outside. It was more oblong, with a little groove at the bottom for Holy knew what. The receptors jutted into open space like needles.

She checked her computer screen, going over the readings yet again. There was a solution within this puzzle, she could feel it.

“Hey, Millicent?” Trent wandered in, his unruly hair curling around his ears and his clothes baggy on his thin frame. He ignored the organized room full of tech pieces, screens, and nearly completed weapons. Unlike the other people on Paradise, he had no interest in Millicent’s tinkering. It was refreshing to her, and one of the reasons he was allowed to enter her work space. “I’m headed to the park with a few of the resident kids. I was going to take Marie with me to help corral the younger ones.”

“Sure, sure.” Millicent waved him away distractedly.

“Working on that Toton thing, huh?” He bent toward it, squinting his brown eyes. “I haven’t seen it opened before. Does this mean you’ve figured out what it’s for?”

“I still don’t know. From what I’ve found, it almost seems like a motherboard. Considering the size, it would have to be for a supercomputer. One that might take up half a room. But . . .” She stared at the opening of the sphere. “No way this interior could be for the central processing unit. It’s way too big in comparison to the motherboard. But if it’s not a motherboard, what could it be?”

“I don’t know what any of that means, except that something is amiss.”

Millicent ignored him, now hashing out the problem verbally. “It has the receptors I might expect from a motherboard, but then it has these strange prongs, almost like they would connect to a port. I just can’t . . .” She tapped her chin in frustration. It didn’t make sense. This sort of system was unlike anything she’d seen before.

Trent’s brow scrunched as he looked at the inside of the casing. He put out his hands in a measuring kind of way. “I’m sure this has already occurred to you, but we used those types of prongs in the research lab back in Moxidone. Not that I did the actual research, you know, but I did see some of the machines they used—”

“What’s your point?”

“Oh right. Just that those types of prongs are good for reaching different areas of the brain. And the size is about right. So . . .”

“Wait.” Millicent held up her hand and stepped back, taking in the whole situation. “Different parts of the brain . . .”

“Yeah.” Trent crossed his arms over his chest. “It’s the right size for a brain, too. But Moxidone’s equipment was larger. There were computers, and screens, and—”

“Shhh.” Millicent rubbed her temples as a sickening realization overtook her. The final piece clicked into the overall puzzle. She had no idea how she hadn’t seen it sooner.

She took another step back.

“They use brain power for their central processing unit,” she said in a hush. “Human brain power.”

“What do you mean?” Trent turned toward her in confusion.

“This is a motherboard, as I’d thought, encasing a CPU. A CPU that no computer could duplicate. Computers have limits. They are only as smart as their programming. Even artificial intelligence—even the learning computers—hits a wall at some point. But this . . .” Millicent started to pace. “In comparison to a computer, a human brain has no limits. And now it has a means to reach its full potential.”

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