For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.
First Appearance: Brothers in Stone (Stone Soldiers #2)
Description: Virtual Sentience/Artificial Intelligence Simulation
Current Status: Attached to Det. 1039, based in Argon Tower, Florida.
Summary: A virtual reality simulation of the mechanical construct FIVE, Max is a simulated personality that functions as an Artificial Intelligence, analyzing data and assisting Det. 1039 in their Counter Dark Operations, worldwide.
MAXIM is a super-computer network of machines built to analyze and decrypt radio communications intercepted from Florida. Conceived, built and programmed by the Emerson twins, MAXIM's abilities grew over time, allowing the hyper-network to decode volumes of data originally undreamt of. In 1987, MAXIM was hacked via a landline modem connection by the mechanical computer FIVE, which reprogrammed the decryption super network, creating a virtual-reality version of itself.
To all but a handful of the few that know of MAXIM's existence, the machine continues to monitor and decrypt electronic signals. However, the networked 100+ super computers comprising MAXIM also run the VR simulation that calls itself Max.
Connected to the world via the internet, DARPAnet and even the US Military's network (including satellites) Max is able to monitor and affect most of the world. The VR Sentience maintains its secrecy but actively works with the Detachment where it can and proves to be more and more valuable as the reliance on networked computers grows.
Author's Notes: K.I.T.T., B-9, Hal 9000... all were pretty cool, but limited in what they could do. I envisioned a character like Max years ago, back in the early versions of Detachment 1039 that still exist only as scribbled, pencil manuscripts. In the early Stone Soldiers books, I laid the groundwork for Max but wasn't sure how soon I wanted to reveal him to readers--the series is already packed with so much. But then, one weekend, I discovered Person of Interest and The Machine. Finally, a super computer, almost done right. (The Machine just needs to talk more). It was time for Max... and his origin story, Infernal Machine.