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Far into the future evidence is found which appears to indicate highly unusual events taking place in the late 20th and early 21st centuries on Earth. One result of these events is the apparent development of the first immortal artificial intelligence. But that achievement will eventually be eclipsed by the realization that a cosmic case of mistaken identity occurs during this period. An error which serves to not only help protect 21st century and later humanity from two entirely separate and wholly unknown ancient scourges, but also forever link a brilliant American philanthropist to a canny opportunist who just happens to possess a very similar name and background. These two men, despite neither knowing the other, become so closely linked in later historical accounts that it may be impossible to ever separate their lives and deeds with 100% accuracy. However, my modest attempt follows below (please forgive any inconsistencies and contradictions you may discover, as this remains a work in progress).
Though there will be much disagreement among future academics as to which man ultimately contributed the most to human welfare, I will take it upon myself to designate the wealthy philanthropist as Staute Prime, and the grittier entrepreneur as Chance Staute (for reasons which will become apparent). As will be seen below, both men experienced eerie parallels in their lives; this great similarity between them was apparently the quality which led to their fates becoming so intertwined later on.
The entries below ascribing particular deeds and dates to one or the other man are essentially based upon my 'best guesses' as to who did what. Much of what's posted below is by necessity presented in a skeletal outline form, due to current gaps in the available records and inconsistencies among eye witness accounts and related documentation.
Perhaps the main elements leading to the later confusion of the two men with one another include:
1: The use of "J. Staute" as a pseudonym by the philanthropist in a literary work. A name possessed in reality by another man living at the same time as the philanthropist.
2: The various data catastrophes of the 21st century.
3: The philanthropist's failure to provide adequate means by which his far-ranging A.I. could positively indentify him, thousands of years later.
4: The chance discovery of remarkably advanced technological information in surviving fragments of a document listing "J. Staute" as a major contributor.
There appears to be several intriguing accounts of this period in the lives of both Stautes. Many involve intense adventures of various sorts in the outdoors, including bouts of violence and other high risks of injury and death. Automobiles of various sorts also play a large role here. Computers and the internet are virtually non-existent on a consumer basis during most of both men's youth.
Both Stautes are of similar physical size and strength. They perhaps even somewhat resemble one another-- although there will exist no imagery of either of sufficient quality to confirm this many years down the road. Both Stautes come from humble beginnings in terms of finances, working full-time jobs during the later years of high school. They also both work full-time during Christmas and summer breaks from school and part-time while attending college, and at times skip a year or so of college to work full-time (sometimes two jobs at once) to rebuild savings for school. Money was always in short supply for the men in the early years. Both men worked at a variety of jobs, learning much along the way. They were also both forced to learn to repair and maintain their own vehicles and other resources. Both gradually became entrepreneurs of sorts, though here they seemed to have diverged more as the years passed. Though both at some point get involved in computer programming, Staute Prime will become the more accomplished software writer by a wide margin. Chance Staute's software efforts never go further than providing him an occasional income boost from well-paying corporate jobs, and solving various local problems for him.
Both became involved in the security business in various ways, though Chance more as a scout with a custom-built car and nifty gadget tricks for certain bodyguard entourages, and Prime as a corporate heavyweight. Chance's own self-employment tended to be more rough and tumble than Prime's, and pay far less too-- except for Prime's involuntary stints as a government agent, during which he pretty much caught up to Chance in terms of danger and hardship endured. Of course, much of all this comes after this period.
In his turn, Chance will also work for a time on secret government projects-- though with his lifelong best friend usually serving as an intermediary there, where Prime had none.
However, still more goes awry with the rescue mission, leaving the AI and Chance Staute stranded aboard the shifter vessel Pagnew (a craft capable of omnidirectional travel through time as well as between universes), which itself was documented as lost circa 2483 AD. Chance Staute's memory of these events is effectively erased before he is returned to his college campus within hours of his abduction (no one else in 1972 seems to notice Chance's absence in any meaningful way), and the proxy Staute AI from the far future, severely damaged early in the adventure, is apparently completely destroyed at some point in this side trek. Note that this software entity being merely a copy of the AI existing in the future means the Staute AI itself continues to survive in the millennia ahead.
The story of Chance Staute's experiences aboard the Pagnew is told in The Chance of a Realtime, an online novel.
To read about Chance Staute's life in the months before and after his abduction, check out The Shadowfast supercar driver logs
The story of Chance Staute's experiences aboard the Pagnew is told in The Chance of a Realtime, an online novel.
The 1990 Chance Staute is at first traumatized by the brief mind-bending abduction and flood of new memories, but eventually comes to terms with it all. At some point he seeks out the future tech he now remembers hiding away, and uses it to make his life much more interesting than before. Included among this technology is a partial account of the next several centuries of humanity's future history, as well as what had been pieced together by future scholars about the jumbled actions of Staute Prime and himself.
Though Chance Staute in the main leads his own very low profile life from this point on, he also keeps an eye out for Staute Prime, interceding on occasion when it appears the record calls for it, or else history seems to be headed seriously off-track. Various inaccuracies and mistakes in the future history record in his possession cause Chance problems on many occasions.
2005 AUTHOR'S UPDATE: Apparently Chance Staute elects to lead a life of obscurity inversely proportional to the high profile of Staute Prime, in the decades to come. At least in terms of his official US citizen identity. In his new lower profile civilian role he assumes the characteristics of a somewhat unpredictable and impoverished hermit, owning as little property as possible and rarely making casual forays out into the world. Much of his time he spends with low key tasks such as a personal web site offering hints of what the world could be and how some of its most intractable problems might be solved, based on his memories of future history from his Pagnew trip and the archives known to his stolen android. This obscurity serves to help protect the timeline as well as Chance Staute and his family and friends from the long term threat revealed to him by Prime Staute's AI from the far future. However, Chance Staute does venture out on occasion when alerted to imminent danger to Staute Prime or certain other V.I.P.'s of the period (whom he keeps under surveillance via android and/or other gear), or the timeline itself. His V.I.P. list came from Staute Prime's AI onboard the Pagnew and identifies many individuals critical to humanity's present and future welfare during the 21st century, but not recognized as such during the time-- except by humanity's enemies. Staute also works on occasion for his corporate executive friend Steve, and in other venues, in order to pay the bills.
Chance Staute does not enrich himself with his knowledge of the future. For such would endanger him and his loved ones via the millennia spanning conspiracy outlined by Staute Prime's AI, as well as possibly damage the Pagnew-related timeline itself, likely taking the world down a darker path due to the forces of entropy and others.
The items stolen from the Pagnew did not include equipment which could substantially lengthen life spans or cure most illnesses. So Chance Staute will enjoy neither significant life extension or any increase in financial fortune from his trip aboard the Pagnew. He also will suffer for a lifetime from something much like addictive drug withdrawal symptoms due to his memories of a far future mind link experienced while a part of the Pagnew crew. To his own way of thinking, at least part of this pain is due to 'lost love'.
In a variation of Staute Prime's plan to have his AI return to the past to rescue him from mortality, Chance Staute hopes to contact through historical documents one or more certain parties he met in the far future, and persuade them to return for him if at all possible, after his own duties to events are complete. So his web site efforts are not altogether altruistic. However, he must take care he doesn't disturb the main course of events or tip his hand to the threat warned against by the Staute Prime AI. Therefore intentional errors and inaccuracies are inserted in spots he doesn't deem particularly significant to his published predictions. Just in case the threat happens to focus upon his efforts there.
Though Chance Staute doesn't enjoy a longer life span or greater personal fortune from the pilfered Pagnew artifacts, the items do offer him some advanced tech perogatives unavailable to anyone else of the period. For example, the android at his command can instantly assume the role of the most powerful personal bodyguard and ally anywhere, being basically vastly superior to any human being. The android's mind is also better than all the supercomputers on Earth of the time, combined. Though the android is far from indestructible, it can with a little caution and forethought likely penetrate any human occupied spot on Earth, no matter the security or defenses, as well as defeat almost any military force put up against it. The android is also adept at shape-changing, so it may realistically assume the identity of almost anyone, with only a few restrictions (mass and volume limitations prevent the android from posing as a small child, for instance; it also may not assume animal shapes and likenesses but perhaps for something near-human in shape and size, such as a gorilla).
Chance Staute possesses a special suit too which basically renders him super-human when worn, as well as offers a subset of the android's powers of disguise.
Another important Pagnew artifact in Chance's possession is a buffer field of nanotechnology-based microscopic robotic gnats, easily invisible when sufficiently dispersed, but also deadly to biological forms like those of human or animal of the early 21st century, when necessary. Chance Staute keeps the buffer field a constant companion almost 24-7 after he retrieves the artifact cache, with the super suit typically hidden nearby. The android is usually far removed from Chance, kept busy on various missions.
Sometime after Staute retrieves the above Pagnew items from their hiding places, he is shocked to learn yet another artifact from the interdimensional shifter yet exists on Earth: a nano-technology version of his original 20th century supercar, intended by the Pagnew crew to serve as a field platform for Staute's contingency replacement in the 20th and 21st centuries should Chance Staute himself fail to return. Staute eventually manages to locate and commandeer that pseudo-Shadowfast to his own purposes. But that task proves much more difficult than the acquisition of the previous items. For this 25th century technology Shadowfast truly does have a mind of its own.
When deemed necessary Chance will marshal all these forces at once to deal with perceived threats.
Staute Prime is matched up with both Chip (an organic AI created by a government program wholly unrelated to the one mentioned above) and an incomplete version of his own AI here.
Another important feature of the home is its 'virtual reality' supplementation; that is, at the owner's preference, the interior views of windows may show either reality or something completely different, such as snow covered mountains or vast deserts, etc. In other words, VR can be used to make the super efficiency seem to be located somewhere else, as well as make it seem much roomier and more spacious inside than it really is.
Staute intends the new prototype home to serve double-duty: one, as the field test described above for a possible future product; and two, as a secret getaway home to allow Staute more privacy and anonymity than his official residence and Horizon Labs may offer at this time.
Though Staute can communicate with his AI from anywhere (including here), the AI does not enjoy the same presence and control here as in Staute's other structures.
The villain here is an unscrupless, anarchist extremist, one of the wealthiest people in the world, who became obsessed with torturing (not killing) Staute over his remaining lifetime. The vendetta began decades before, when Staute caused the collapse of a major pet project of the maniac (the project was an unsavory one related to Chip, which would have caused harm to a great many people). The collapse led to a legal and political quagmire for Staute's nemesis, which would last for the rest of Staute's foe's life. Hence, the thirst for revenge.
One of the earliest moves of the villain was to kill a beloved college professor of Staute's. 2025 finally brings the end of this particular enemy.
Note that much of the information below was not available to the public during most of the time Horizon Labs was in operation and owned by J. Staute.
Both Staute's personal home and development lab/new place of business are basically completed in 2015.
Horizon Labs (Research and Development Studio, Offices, and Light Manufacturing Complex) basic configuration and lay out
"Horizon Labs" is basically a large warehouse type structure incorporating both usable roof space and substantial "hardened" basement facilities, surrounded by a spacious parking lot and roughly 90 acres of largely undeveloped countryside beyond that on all sides. The entire complex is sheathed in electromagnetic shielding, which prevents many forms of exterior electronic surveillance, and renders non-functional many types of electronic 'bugs' and/or other non-Lab authorized communications devices inside the Lab. Lab windows are double-paned with a vacuum between the panes for thermal insulation purposes-- this same vacuum prevents most lasers from 'reading' audio from vibrations in the glass caused by interior acoustics-- as sound cannot travel through vacuum.
The large flat roof is designed to support landings and takeoffs by small aircraft and helicopters, as well as generate electricity directly from sunlight as a supplementary and contingency power source. Horizon Labs is built relatively far from any large metropolitan area (around 75 miles), which is one reason for the small aircraft accomodations on the roof and adjoining land (to allow business associates relatively convenient access to the property).
Though mostly consisting of empty space inside to host various research and development and small manufacturing runs, Horizon Labs also contains a small complex of offices including a couple of conference rooms for business meetings, as well as a series of small enclosed specialty workshops. The only permanent full-time Lab personnel are Staute himself, a close personal assistant, a chauffeur/bodyguard, Staute's Lab & Grounds general manager and assistant, a Network Administrator and assistant, and several permanent and well trained security personnel (most of these security personnel are usually stationed outside the Lab, on the grounds). But usually there are at least a dozen or more other employees/contractors of varying status on the premises, and on occasion anywhere from a handful to several hundred visitors may be present.
The front of Horizon Labs sports a half dozen doors of varying sizes and functionality, with three large enough to admit vehicles and the rest consisting of personnel doors.
Airlocks are located at some entryways (and may be contingency placed at others).
One end of the Lab consists of a heavy ground vehicle garage/repair shop, the hardware/parts storage room for the lab, and an indoor heated swimming pool (which is also tied into Lab systems as a reserve water supply). The pool room takes up one corner of the Lab building. Adjoining the pool room along the rear of the Lab is an employee gym. Extending further along the rear of the structure are specialty workshops and labs, such as a chemical lab, model/prototyping shop, and electronics lab, among others.
The other end of the Lab consists of a hangar/garage space typically occupied by a mobile home used by J.Staute for living on premises, as well as his private vehicle, and miscellaneous private storage.
Occupying the rear corner of the Lab immediately adjoining Staute's hangar is the Lab's light ground vehicle garage/repair shop and main maintenance, machining, and fabrication facilities. This section also connects to the bank of specialty labs which line the rear wall of the warehouse-like structure.
Most of the walls and doors within the Lab building are fully soundproofed, as well as electronically shielded. The shielding prevents unauthorized transmissions between Lab enclosures. Authorized radio transmissions are picked up within each room and sent via wire to be broadcast within the others, through specially designed links in the walls.
Note that the Lab's overall layout often places as large a priority on offering regular physical exercise opportunities for personnel, and enhancing overall Lab security, as it does on maximizing operational efficiency.
The large open floor space at the center of the Lab also contains additional constructions. Roughly centered along the interior of the Lab's front wall is the kitchen and main food storage area-- a wide, transparent enclosed corridor with 2-way swinging doors at either end, somewhat resembling a trolley car eatery of old, with a handful of seating, table, and counter accomodations.
Across the great open floorspace of the Lab from the kitchen stands a two story barracks of sleeping and bathing accomodations for visitors and sometimes certain temporary employees (as well as the permanent ones when needed). The barracks offer their own kitchenette and laundry on the first floor, and may house a couple dozen personnel reasonably comfortably for weeks. Each guest room has it own bathroom with shower.
The Lab Command Center (sometimes also called "the Bridge" by Lab personnel) consists of an elevated, bulletproof-glass enclosed island at one end of the main Lab open floor space. Virtually all the main open Lab floor is visible from here. Spring-loaded blast shields automatically rise to protect the windows when needed. They can be manually activated, but usually will respond to automated sensor readings of various environmental conditions.
There's seating for seven in this Center, at seven different Command consoles. Six consoles line three sides of the rectangular Center (two per side). Staute's console is centered along the windowless rear wall. Twin exit doors and stairways to the main floor are postioned on two opposite sides of the Center.
Two table-style flat horizontal triangular display consoles are located in the middle of the Center, inbetween Staute's console enclosure and those of his lieutenants (typically one display will show an interior map, the other an exterior map of the Lab, over which Lab personnel may confer and plan).
Staute's own semi-circular console enclosure at the rear center of the Command post boasts additional security measures, among them direct but hidden access to the utility corridor which runs the full length of the Command Center along the single Lab wall to which it is attached. Inside the corridor is also an emergency breakaway exit to the Lab roof (which is sealed and well hidden until used).
Vertical steel blinds line Staute's semi-circular office enclosure; when shut, they offer additional protection from weapons outside; in normal times they also provide a reflective backdrop for projected displays inside-- a large graphical interface for Staute in normal office duties.
One of the twin stairways leading down from the Command Center to the main Lab floor ends almost directly in front of a set of (normally UNlocked) double doors, which open to an airlock entrance adjoining the heavy vehicle garage/repair shop. Rather than crossing the airlock to enter the garage however, one may instead turn left and descend a ramp to the basement level of the Lab. At the bottom of this ramp is a wide vault door which opens (one-way) into "the Bunker"; a refuge/arsenal of last resort for Lab personnel in extremis, but merely secure storage for archives, valuables, and a backup Command Center in more normal times.
The Bunker is a long wide room, its walls all lined with lockers, and another bank of lockers/cabinets situated in the center. The Bunker is not designed for comfort but serious functionality. A crude but functional duplicate of the normal Command Center may be configured here, utilizing unfolding seats and consoles hidden in the storage lockers. Virtually any sort of equipment, tools, supplies, or weapons Lab personnel might require in an emergency are available in some form here-- including databases and hard copy reference books for backup. The Bunker possesses its own independent systems for many critical matters, should the normal Lab systems fail.
The main fixed computer CPUs of the Lab are almost all located here in the air conditioned, heavily electro-magnetically shielded Bunker. The Bunker's walls, floor, and ceiling are all composed of steel reinforced concrete, designed to withstand virtually anything but a direct hit with a nuclear missile. The Bunker can be sealed against flood, and cannot be harmed by exterior fires. Failsafe contingency explosive elements (plus instructions) are available in kits inside the Bunker to aid escape in the event that a major disaster heaps so much debris on the Bunker exits that it must be cleared via explosives. The only way the Bunker may be directly threatened by an earthquake of any magnitude is if the ground beneath it opens up and swallows the entire Bunker itself, either dropping it a great distance underground from which inhabitants cannot escape, or crushing the Bunker as the ground closes up again.
Many of the above contingencies are highly unlikely in the vicinity chosen for the Lab's location-- the hills of East Tennessee. Major earthquakes are unlikely in the average human lifetime of the late 20th or early 21st centuries there, and the relatively high ground with excellent watershed characteristics around the Lab would not produce major Lab flooding even in 40 days and 40 nights of torrential rains. The Lab is located relatively far from most any likely nuclear target of a major military power or terrorist (though specific targeting of the Lab by criminals or others is still a possibility in Staute's mind). The spacious non-wooded area separating the Lab from the surrounding forest makes for an excellent firebreak, plus the Lab itself and contents are for the most part fireproof.
At the far end of the Bunker is a final layer of security: an emergency escape tunnel, its entrance sealed and hidden in the wall. Digging implements available in the Bunker may be used to dig out the wall section covering the exit, by personnel aware of its existence (Staute himself may be the only one aware of it under most circumstances). This will reveal a small safe-like door with a combination lock mechanism. The combination must be dialed correctly to open the door easily.
Beyond the door is a corrugated galvanized steel escape tunnel (itself wrapped in several feet of reinforced concrete), which runs the length of the Lab building, some 12-15 feet or so in depth under the Lab floor.
The escape tunnel is very long, ending a few hundred yards outside the Lab walls, at a far smaller contingency bunker which may only house a handful of people comfortably for a matter of days. The equipment and supplies stored here are much more spartan than the main bunker, but would support a single person adequately for about 90 days. At one end of the small bunker is a vertical ladder which leads to the surface-- a hidden escape hatch, built to withstand substantial explosions and other means meant to force an opening. Above ground the hatch appears as just another part of the landscape. Note that this secret exit from the small contingency bunker is always well in sight of the Lab security systems in normal times-- therefore it would be very difficult for intruders to access the entrance without alerting security-- even if they could find it. Plus, the tiny entrance can only be opened from outside by substantial force, and even then any intruder would find it extremely difficult to get past the next hatch at the end of the tunnel leading into the main bunker itself.
But now let us leave the Bunker and escape tunnel level, and go back to the main Lab layout once again...
The stairway on the opposite side of the raised Command Center faces a different set of doubledoors on the ground floor (these usually LOCKED). These doors are typically restricted to use by only Staute himself, and lead up an airlocked ramp which empties out onto the roof, in the hangar of an ultralight aircraft.
BOTH of the airlocked rampways described above possess one-way knock outs hiding gun ports. These gun ports can be useful to defenders inside the rampways for firing on attackers located on the main open floor of the Lab.
There's actually three separate Command Centers for the Lab: the high profile Center on the main floor; a console installed in Staute's trailer on premises; and the Bunker.
Horizon Labs Security
The Lab, surrounding grounds, and online facilities boast an impressive (most would say excessive) network of deep and wide security systems-- a legacy from Staute's near death some years before from hostile locals, as well as the cyberassaults his business suffered over many years (but especially in 2007), and various threats on his life and business which have increased in number and shrillness as Staute and his enterprises became wider known and enjoyed greater success at the expense of some competitors. Staute also remains concerned about any lingering consequences from his brief involuntary involvement with the intelligence/security agencies of the USAmerican government in years past, which made him real political enemies in addition to the commercial competitor variety.
Note that one of Staute's major businesses during this time is actually high end corporate security for both physical and virtual assets in locations considered vulnerable to espionage, terrorism, and war. This product and service line thus makes it easy to cost-effectively outfit the Lab too with advanced counter-measures, as well as justify the Lab's systems to government inspectors as prototyping and testing means for legitimate commercial products-- and a product showcase for important customers.
Staute's AI of course manages most or all the software-related functionality of the Lab and grounds, with some ongoing input from Staute's designated Lab and grounds human manager and assistant, Staute himself, and Staute's personal assistant.
Though unsure of what threat (if any) he might face in the Lab, Staute maintains a formidable array of anti-threat and friendly personnel evacuation systems in the building, which tend to be tied into more peaceable problem solving systems. For instance, the same sprinkler system meant for quelling fires in the complex also is incorporated into an anti-threat contingency treatment.
Staute and/or his personal assistant and/or the Lab and Grounds manager all possess on their person at all times a "panic" button device which may trigger the anti-threat systems (plain fire alarm triggers are more widely available throughout the building). The anti-threat systems may also be triggered by certain types of activity or elements detected and confirmed by the Staute AI and one of the top three personnel described above. There are several external-only systems, and several internal-only systems, and a wide array of prefabbed contingency plans devised for dealing with different threat scenarios. The Staute AI itself typically selects which contingency plan is closest to what's required, as well as any on-the-fly modification which may be necessary in order to protect 'friendlies' and pressure 'non-friendlies'.
Lab Main Floor Security (exterior)
The Lab's first fifteen feet of wall height is heavily reinforced in a manner similar to the design of a hydroelectric dam. That is, from the outside the Lab walls appear to slope up and inwards to finally intersect with perfectly vertical walls for the remainder of the building's height. The sloping surfaces are deeply cut out for several doorways of various sorts. Where doorways are absent, this extra wall thickness is virtually solid, steel reinforced concrete, with some modifications made for heat and sound insulation too.
Where the wall strength is compromised by doorways, other measures are taken. For one, the doors are typically heavily armored, capable of withstanding direct grenade and similar attacks with little or no damage. There are also optional reinforcement systems available to embed the doors in their frames much like the vault doors of many banks, electronically as well as manually. Added defensive contingencies include hydraulic bulwarks; essentially huge water proof bags woven of kevlar cloth and fitted over a special framework to give them shape, which may be wheeled into position behind doors, locked down, and filled quickly from contingency water tanks in the Lab to add additional capacity to absorb explosive force directed at the doors. Outside the doors, capture nets may be rapidly deployed to force truck bombers to fall short of reaching the doors with their deadly cargo (the nets normally reside unseen in facilities underneath the Lab parking lot, in front of the larger garage doors). Similar to nets used for aircraft landing on carriers at sea, these nets may not only catch large speeding vehicles, but even throw them backwards a short distance as well (proportional to their entry speed), to minimize the effects of an explosion.
There is a certain distance separating the actual parking lot from the Lab, with short drives connecting the two. This prevents a parked truck bomb from being too near the Lab in case of explosion.
The Lab may also deploy certain anti-aircraft mines against the blast as well-- clouds of kevlar strips or patches fluttering down through the air between the blast and the Lab, to help muffle the effect and reduce the distance and speed by which shrapnel may be propelled by the blast. A cascade of these blast reducers can be automatically triggered by superfast switches connected to seismic and other vibration detection equipment.
Most people entering the Lab must do so through small personnel doorways/airlocks, rather than within vehicles. These doorways scan everyone via computer for weapons or possible explosives, in terms of metal detection, chemical sniffing, acoustic imaging, and other means. Only if something extraordinary is found do human staff enter the monitoring loop-- since these devices essentially expose visitors stripped of clothing and other concealing devices, as well as reveal implants or swallowed objects and others. Visitors are informed of the procedures before entry. If they don't wish to submit to the scan, they are forbidden entry. No human observes the scans under normal conditions-- only the Staute AI. But if the AI sees something suspicious, authorized human security personnel will be called upon to further examine the scans, while the suspect guest is held in a secure area (they are usually escorted back out of the main Lab immediately, and taken to a nearby reinforced guard shack near the parking lot, where they are detained under armed guard until the matter is resolved).
The main gate to the Lab grounds which admit vehicles from public roads perform less invasive scans of the vehicles themselves as they pass through (and posted signs there warn visitors of the scan). Those scans include 'sniffers' looking for telltale odors of explosives, unusual electromagnetic or acoustic emissions, an actual weighing of the vehicle on-the-fly(!), and plain old visual examination of the vehicle (after all, if it's a military tank, you might not want to let it in). One visual is a detailed nightvision and infrared examination of the vehicle's underbody, for unusual looking items or equipment. If any of these factors indicate something not quite right about a vehicle, Lab security staff are alerted for a human verification of the analysis.
Lab Main Floor Security (interior)
The entire Lab interior is constantly monitored for air quality; smoke can indicate fires, for example (note that cigarrette smoking is not allowed in the Lab or on the grounds whatsoever). However, Lab security also constantly looks for many other elements, such as infectious agents or incapacitating gases of various sorts, and takes retaliatory measures as necessary. Of course, the array of agents to check for must be constantly updated, and so the system always remains at risk from new elements that it can't yet recognize.
To help make up for this weakness, the 'sniffer' system also looks for unexplained changes in the odors detected in the Lab, and consults personnel immediately if it cannot determine an adequate explanation for the change. This is an important security consideration, and therefore the personnel treat it seriously, always helping the system analyze and therefore mark as 'safe' (if applicable) any changes in Lab odors (in practice, a human staffer will typically move to the suspect location and take a sniff themself, with the Lab AI and/or other staff closely monitoring; if real danger is suspected however a Lab Remote transports a caged canary to the vicinity for a test instead).
The main floor interior threat system focuses on the large open floor expanse inside the building that is separate from the office complex and other sections. Here (when triggered), an immediate call is sent to local police authorities that there are unwelcome intruders at Horizon Labs, and help is required. All power (and UPS systems) feeds into the space itself are killed (and capacitive storage discharged through prepared grounds) to protect equipment , then the water sprinkler system is redirected to spray onto the sealed, hot banks of molten salt used to store reserve energy gathered via solar means to instantly create a dense cloud of (freshwater) steam within the largest open space of the Lab-- steam maintained at around 100 degrees Farenheit. This 'instant steambath' reduces unaided human visibility in the space to near zero in under a minute, while also making it more difficult to carry out aggressive actions involving extreme exertion and electronic communications vulnerable to hot and humid conditions. Someone like heavily armed and uniformed soldiers would find the environment very uncomfortable.
Nil visibility conditions would exist in the steambath scenario regardless of whether it was day or night outside. Infra-red or thermal imaging or 'nightvision' equipment would also all be neutralized by the hot and heavy fog. The heavy fog effect on average lasts 30-40 minutes without active replenishment.
Though the pure water steam technically allows virtually all electronic equipment to suffer little harm after thorough drying out later, still critical equipment and the office complex itself are scripted in many contingencies to be protected from the moisture and heat via positive pressure (slightly higher air pressure inside objects and rooms keeps out the water and humid air around them).
Before the next stage begins, a warning klaxon sounds. Lab personnel are trained to know to seek cover or else lay prone on the floor in a position they can stay perfectly immobile in for several minutes. If they are caring for visitors, they have them do the same. Then, thirty seconds later, the computerized security systems use a combination radar and sonar aiming system to locate any moving objects and silently fire at them with several rounds of rubber bullets, updating their aim several hundred times a second. The Staute AI has some latitude here; it can continue firing volleys of several rubber bullets at a time at any target until it stops moving, if it deems it prudent. The solid impact of just one of these rubber bullets is usually sufficient to knock the breath out of a stronger than average human adult male (as well as knock him hard to the floor), and inflict substantial bruising of flesh unprotected by padding, as well as even break bones in some cases. The computer guided guns do their best to hit targets as near their center of gravity as possible-- which means usually hits to the chest, back, side, abdomen, or hips. Note that the guidance system and intelligence wielding the guns is smart enough to shoot around obstacles such as fixed equipment sitting about the Lab floor. And the gun mounts are located about the space near the ceiling so that there's always at least one gun with a clear shot at any target in the space.
The combination of radar and sonar used to guide the guns purposely fluctuates the wavelengths used so as to disrupt much electronic and acoustic communications among enemy forces at the time as well. In other words, enemy personnel are blinded, drenched, and left sweltering immediately after the defense system is triggered, next their hearing is blasted with a loud klaxon horn, then 30 seconds later they are stunned, knocked to the ground, struggling to catch their breath, and perhaps brutally pummeled three to nine more times with piledriving force from a source they cannot identify or react to, if they insist on continuing to move. As this pummeling is going on, they may hear their associates loudly expressing pain, anguish, and surprise-- but it'll be difficult for them to hear much coherent dialogue from their friends, as radio communications and acoustically delivered orders will be garbled by randomly rotating changes in the radar and sonar radiations guiding the guns firing on them. The high heat and humidity may also reduce the effectiveness of their electronic communications under some circumstances.
The klaxon horn sounds again, and Lab personnel know they have sixty seconds to get themselves and their charges to safety if they believe they can make it. If they believe otherwise, all may simply stay where they are. The Staute AI provides very simple large graphic arrows in each appropriate Lab person's visor (or verbal directions in their ear piece if the visor is out of commission) to direct them and their charges along the safest and quickest routes to safety and away from the threat. Note that the Lab personnel and guests are just as blinded by the steam as the enemy-- however they are getting active guidance from the Staute AI to avoid obstacles and Lab security defenses.
One minute after the second klaxon sounds, a mechanized system of heavy rope nets is rapidly shot across the entire main floor of the Lab, falling across and over everyone now lying prone on the floor. With the threatening personnel now blinded, stunned, and effectively immobilized, local police forces can take over when they arrive to arrest them. Any friendlies caught in the net will simply be sorted out and freed at the same time.
If deemed necessary, the Lab staff need not wait for the police, but may deploy several dedicated security Lab Mobiles (robots) to closely examine everyone now tangled in the net, and take further measures as appropriate (recall that Lab Mobiles possess all terrain mobility and so would have little problem traveling over the tangle of immobilization nets). For instance, the Mobiles could administer tear gas or pepper sprays onto individuals, or apply stun gun voltages to further incapacitate them, before human staff approached for other actions. Sprays of immobilizing drugs applied via mere skin contact might also be appropriate in some circumstances.
The above is but one out of dozens of different contingencies the security system and personnel of Horizon Labs have trained for. Note that the above scenario is also sufficiently flexible to often subdue one or more large dangerous animals loose in the Lab as well.
Note that incapacitating agents could be mixed with the Lab anti-fire sprinking system too-- tuned for whatever delivery means was preferable, from breathing to skin contact-- and delivered easily to anyone not suitably protected on the main floor.
Horizon Lab Perimeter Security (exterior)
Visitors are usually discouraged from accessing Horizon Labs via automobile. Important Lab personnel and business associates often fly in and out from the Lab grounds rather than use automobiles. The Lab's location is comparatively far from any regular commercial air routes, and no other airports, private or commercial, are nearby. Thus, there's little extraneous air traffic to worry about in the Lab's vicinity under normal circumstances. This allows the Lab greater latitude in maintaining air traffic security than many other installations would enjoy. Both permanent and temporary Lab employees often do commute via auto however. Entry and exit from Horizon Labs via ground transport is strictly controlled, with unscheduled visits by anyone but permanent Lab personnel or law enforcement officers subject to extreme scrutiny on the part of Lab security (and usually not allowed).
The Lab enjoys a wealth of unoccupied countryside in every direction outwards from its central location, with still more undeveloped land beyond that (though that land is not owned by Staute). The Lab's immediate vicinity consists of a mostly flat field of what appears to be closely cropped lawn (but in actuality is a vast expanse of tough low maintenance solar cells designed to resemble a lawn from a distance; for instance, the green color of the ground is largely an artifact of the angle of observation), a substantial parking lot, and a supplementary airstrip. The spacious lawn simulation serves several purposes: a firebreak in case of fires in the surrounding countryside, an easy-to-watch security zone around the building, with little or no place for intruders to hide, and (in extremis) a usefully deep 'field of fire' in case of a major terrorist or military-type attack on the structure. The virtual lawn is also pressure-sensitive, which allows Lab security to precisely monitor all movement on the grounds, day or night, of anything heavier than a small cat or dog.
At the outer perimeter of this vast artificial lawn is found a broken assortment of lightly wooded low rolling hills, roughly positioned in a circular means about the Lab grounds, with a few extra hills hugging the lengthy and winding drive between the Lab and main gate. These hills are wholly man-made, and carefully placed. They serve as traps for sharpshooters and other antagonists bent on attacking the Lab. The hills are heavily laced with sensing and surveillance equipment, and designed to appear as attractive cover for anyone wishing to spy on or assault the Lab itself. The hills are also armed-- with the means to be selectively detonated remotely from the Lab building itself, in times of extreme urgency. They also serve as protections against terrorist truck bombs and the like. For instance, should a truck bomb crash the main gate and head up the drive towards the Lab, the hill bombs lining the windy drive can be detonated to stop it. Or, if the truck bomb explodes without help before emerging from the hills, the hills will help shield the Lab from the full force of the blast.
Note that there are no explosives embedded in the hills, but rather two sets of chemical mixtures preplaced as appropriate to allow rapid response to threats. While apart, the mixtures are not explosive at all. But when triggered, special pipelines from reservoirs safely removed from the hills allow the chemicals to mix and explode within seconds.
At the foot of many of these hills are shallowly buried nets of electricity conducting materials. These nets are designed to (on command from the Lab) receive a massive capacitive discharge and thereby emit a local electromagnetic pulse capable of disabling most or all unprotected electronics located within their effective range. In practice, this results in parked vehicles rendered unable to start or run, dead computers, dead radios, dead cell phones, etc. Anyone with a pacemaker in the vicinity may also suffer distress. Items like nearby grounded helicopters will face damage too.
After incapacitating the heavy equipment of a seige force, the Lab may also use custom mortar emplacements on the roof in combination with a comprehensive artilliary range mapping of the Grounds to fire a fusilade of stun bombs atop the threatening force. Said stun bombs consist of large shells which burst above the enemy force, distributing dozens of spinning devices which sport multiple ultra-thin wires sweeping around them and discharge only when they contact something besides their own kind. Each device has a small 9 volt battery, and wire contact with bodies has the same effect as a handheld stun gun (it can also hurt somewhat simply to be conked on the head by the little devices, even if the wires don't touch you).
There are, of course, still more options for Lab security in the event a full-scale assault must be countered-- but we're already into really far-fetched scenarios here.
Not far outwards from the superficially inviting but potentially dangerous circle of rolling hills and their sparse tree cover is...what appears to be a span of still more lawn area, only completely flat.
This is actually the modern equivalent of a castle moat-- a liquid-filled trench some 25 feet wide and 12 feet deep, which runs completely around the perimeter of the Lab Grounds in this zone, here at the extreme outskirts of the corporate pseudo lawn.
The moat looks like merely an extension of the lawn, but is a channel filled with a heavy liquid highly resistant to wave production via wind or vibration, with a thin mat of artificial grassy looking strips riding atop it to complete the deception.
The moat edge extends to the very foot of the electric fence-- so anyone getting past the electric fence immediately falls not onto solid ground but into a wholly unexpected, dense liquid 12 feet deep.
Laser sensors detect any significant disturbance of the moat and activate appropriate security measures in the relevant section.
The sudden unexpected dousing in the deep channel is meant to surprise and disorient a trespasser or invader. The liquid is formulated to perform several functions on a victim and his/her accessories, via the imparted coating or related penetration/saturation/soaking/clogging action.
The liquid will coat the individual and interfere with eyesight and hearing even after the victim is raised out of the liquid. The victim will be forced to breathe through their mouth as openings as small as nostrils, ears, and eyelids become plugged/clogged/impeded. If the victim is wearing something like a gas mask, the filters will immediately clog and they will be forced to remove the mask to breath. If the victim is wearing any eyewear like goggles these are made effectively opaque by the goo-- so even if the goo doesn't physically contact the eyes, the victim must remove the eyewear to see-- and usually at that point the fluid takes their sight temporarily away via the means described above.
This very sticky coating can only be removed quickly with chemical agents available to Lab security. Otherwise the victim may be extremely inconvenienced and somewhat incapacitated for at least several hours, until suitable cleaning materials may be found and used elsewhere.
Typical weapons like firearms are plugged up and will misfire or explode if anyone attempts to use them before cleaning after a dunking (note again that special chemicals are required for cleaning; ergo even a highly trained Special Forces team would likely be unable to clear their weapons without the proper agents onhand).
Electronics like computers and communications gear are adversely affected in several ways by dunking in the moat. If they are not entirely waterproofed, they are rendered completely inoperable as the goo is reasonably conductive (failsafes instantly cut power to any section of the electric fence which collapses into the moat, or otherwise seems to be supplying electrical charge to the liquid). If victim equipment is waterproofed, any exposed mechanical control interfaces such as switches, knobs, hinges, or levers are gummed up and greatly reduced in functionality. If the equipment boasts control surfaces impervious to this (such as sealed pressure sensitive surfaces), the sticky virtually opaque goo still reduces their effectiveness by rendering button and display labels illegible or invisible. The carefully designed texture of and particulates in the goo also defeat most tactile markings on buttons and other control surfaces. Exposed acoustic speakers can be filled with gunk, their output rendered incoherent. Fine metallic particles suspended in the liquid also greatly reduce the effective range and sensitivity of communications gear, if nothing else (as well as increase mechanical friction in devices like firearms, adding friction problems to the gumming up of works).
Clothing soaked in the liquid is made quite uncomfortable and sticky-- and cannot even be removed by the victim without substantial cleansing materials, carefully applied. Rapid or extreme exertion wearing clothing soaked in the liquid can actually tear flesh from the body due to the glue-like consistency of the liquid, so victims quickly learn it's best to remain still after soaking.
The victim is not left struggling in a deep channel long enough to drown. Instead, they are captured in a strong net ordinarily residing on the bottom of the moat, hoisted out of the channel and deposited, immobilized, on the solid ground beside the moat and towards the Lab building. There are many sections of netting installed on the bottom of the moat that may be raised individually or in groups or all at once. Strong mechanical arms and cabling retrieve the filled net from the moat as desired by Lab security. The moat liquid and netting material do not stick to one another at all. Therefore moat victims are easily deposited outside the moat by the netting mechanism.
In the rare case that a damaged portion of the electric fence interferes with the net raising, the nets will still lift victims above moat surface level, thereby preventing drowning.
Once blinded, deafened, and immobilized via the liquid, and captured in a net and deposited on solid ground again, the trepasser may be examined for various weapons and other equipment by a Lab Mobile robot. If necessary, the Mobile may electronically stun the victim too, for a deeper incapacitation, in order that human staff may approach and relieve the victim of any dangerous weapons or other items, as well as release them from the net, at less personal risk. Or, the Lab may simply alert the local authorities to help them by coming and taking custody (with Lab personnel aiding the authorities in washing the moat goo off the victim before they are taken away).
As might be expected, the moat is meant to contain true threats to the Lab such as trained commandos and terrorists attempting a surprise ground attack through the Lab perimeter away from the driveway gate. The moat is vast overkill for more casual trespassers, but is unlikely to permanently injure anyone under normal capture circumstances-- especially since Lab staff will immediately be available for aid in the case of a dunking (there's always at least one staffer on the premises 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and Staute's AI alone may also deal with such issues). Usually the vehicle trap zone would be more likely to seriously injure someone than the moat.
Note too that the 25 foot wide, 12 feet deep, gummy liquid filled moat would also prove a tough hazard for any ground assault vehicles which somehow had made it this far in from the outer perimeter of the Lab Grounds.
The driveway bridge itself can be withdrawn when desired (disappearing into an underground hold) to present the moat as an obstacle to main gate crashers.
Next (beyond the moat, as you proceed outwards from the Lab itself) stands a standard issue, 21 feet tall, electric fence with warning signs circling the grounds and hugging the driveway to the main gate. The fence is designed to keep out not only unauthorized people but animals as small as rodents and as large as bears as well. The fence is normally solar powered, with backup available from the Lab.
Out beyond the electric fence is a thick stand of trees which extends as far as several hundred yards in some places. A thick artificial fog bank is often maintained among these trees by Lab security, to offer an eerie, near zero visibility obstacle to trespassers. The fog also helps conceal the network of sound and motion detectors installed in the forest here, which provides one layer of early warning of intruders to the Lab security office. An added measure of uncertainty for intruders may also be added here with selective electronic sound cancellation. I.e., intruders could be essentially rendered blind and deaf in this region, both day and night-- discovering that even their own yells or whispers to one another seem supernaturally muffled. Lab security also has the option of releasing eye and nose irritants into the fog of this zone, such as tear gas or pepper spray.
The sophistocated noise management systems deployed here may also be used to spook intruders with bizzarre vocal contact which sounds like someone huge and threatening is speaking directly into the trepasser's ear-- a disembodied someone, that cannot be seen or located. Perhaps saying terrifying things. Still worse, an intruder's own companions may be oblivious to the verbal phenomenon, and merely think their friend is going bonkers. The ghost voice effect can be applied selectively or generally. The ghost voice may also be used to generate alarmingly hostile sounding large animal noises (bears, lions, wolves, etc.) directly in a victim's ear-- or make it sound like the animal is always just behind the victim. Essentially you can chase some intruders into any direction you wish with the system.
One direction in which Lab security might wish to herd trespassers is towards any of many foot traps/fear mines distributed about this zone. Normally the traps are inactive and a hiker could walk right over them, and even stand atop them, thinking them to be solid ground. However, when armed by Lab security, the foot traps swallow any foot or animal paw which descends upon them instantly, clamping onto them with padded jaws of sufficient force to prevent escape by 98% of all people or animals likely to be caught. The traps are only meant to frighten with their sudden unexpected movement and/or immobilization, and therefore unlikely to break the skin of victims in anything but the most extreme efforts to escape.
The traps may be programmed to automatically release a victim after a certain time period (like 30 minutes to several hours), or hold them until authorities arrive to take them into custody.
The foot traps are virtually invisible to any potential victims, being heavily camouflaged. However, as this zone typically possesses a low lying artificial fog bank as well, and victim eyesight may be optionally impaired via application of eye irritants too, even if the traps were painted bright red and in plain view many victims would never see them before stepping into them.
Though the noise cancellation devices and low altitude fog might hide the fact from intruders, this band of forest is actually actively maintained as a bird sanctuary. Electronic noise cancellation and other measures are carefully managed here to encourage massive bird nesting in the trees (so besides being blinded and deafened, intruders here may find an inordinate amount of bird droppings falling on them as well).
However, the bird droppings are not the reason for the sanctuary. Instead, the sanctuary is managed as an additional layer of Grounds security. In this case, the noise management system and others are set up to usually encourage massive bird nesting in the area-- but in the event that low flying aircraft are perceived to be threatening the Lab, the noise management systems can suddenly reverse their effect, to send huge flocks of alarmed birds up and into the path of such aircraft, with devastating timing. This system can do this selectively only on a certain sector, or all at once, all around the perimeter. Though the end result may not be easily repeatable for hours or even days afterwards, it can still offer a nasty surprise to airborne terrorists or similar threats-- at least during certain seasons of the year, and under certain weather conditions. Security monitoring systems within the Lab always make it clear to AI and personnel what the current estimated effectiveness of the bird element can be expected to be at a given moment.
Note that the powerful and sophisticated sound system responsible for managing the bird flocks could also deliver excrutiatingly loud sonic blasts to intruders, in a brute force approach, going so far as deafening them for life if need be. However, that would be an extreme measure in this defensive zone.
Near the outer edge of the thick woods a hiker would discover a sudden violent thickening in the underbrush. To the untrained eye this might simply appear to be a natural phenomenon-- but it's not. Instead, it's a carefully cultured mix of natural and manmade obstacles to both hikers and off road vehicles, that fully surrounds the Lab, with the main drive to the gate being the only exception. Close contact reveals a wicked tangle of enormous living briar vines, heavily intertwined with thick hedges and hidden weatherproofed wooden fenceworks, concrete works, and boulders, as well as strands of standard barbed wire. Still closer inspection would reveal this area of thick impassable underbrush was also hiding a random network of near invisible deep pits and trenches, offering not only seriously treacherous footing to any hiker attempting to hack their way through, but a myriad of vehicle traps and barriers as well. Indeed, even full-blown military vehicles would encounter difficulties traversing many spots along this perimeter.
Things improve outside the anti-vehicle zone. The underbrush and ground becomes normal again, and a visitor would see only a normal looking woodland around them. However, human-type sound and movement signatures in this region result in an apallingly offensive odor which few people would have the stomach to endure for long. Yes, we're talking deeply effective chemical stink bombs here, to discourage explorers. So strong the gag and vomit reflexes are easily invoked-- repeatedly. Anyone who managed to make it unprotected through this zone towards the Lab would almost certainly be badly weakened and dazed, if Lab security had deemed it wise to use full power on them in their passage.
Venturing out beyond the Great Stink Zone, we encounter merely a section of deserted woodland where we notice ourselves suddenly becoming much more nervous and edgy than before. In this region, motion and sound detectors usually set off an anxiety/paranoia attack in intruders by way of certain sound emissions, odors, and an ionization of air molecules known to be psychologically disturbing to the senses of human beings.
Emerging from the Zone of Fear, we come to the outermost ring of Lab defenses. Here the woods are dotted by a swampy assortment of foul smelling stagnant ponds and puddles and muddy spots (all kept that way artificially). Here, one quickly notices the annoying buzz and pinpricks of multitudes of mosquitos (especially since hidden loudspeakers amplify the natural sounds to something immediately recognized as alarmingly loud for a natural phenomenon). Anyone bitten suffers a brief bout of nausea and disorientation, due to drugs carefully fed to the mosquito hosts in a variety of ways. Yes, we're talking light duty biochemical warfare here. The mosquitos of this region are kept quarantined there by an ingenius arrangement of traps, ultrasonics, and chemical aids-- and the Lab often enjoys the added protection of the Ring of Bird nesting as well (mosquitos qualify as food for some bird species). The biochemical agents instilled in the mosquitoes are designed to have no effect on birds.
Out past the Realm of the Bloodsuckers, an observer would ecounter the obligatory NO TREPASSING signs and related warnings to KEEP OUT-- with little or no specific cautions about what lies ahead. The signs are posted with regular spacing along a standard 10 foot high galvanized steel fence surrounding the entire Lab property, with only one gateway servicing the main drive. This fence is NOT electrified, but does present barbed wire strands along the top to discourage climbers.
This list of Lab defenses was given in the reverse order that most intruders would encounter them-- to judge their effectiveness fairly, one would have to view them as an outsider would, attempting to enter Lab grounds from a starting point well removed from the outermost perimeter.
As you can see, Staute attempts to maintain adequate defenses to counter virtually any likely threat, but also graduates the strength of those defenses in direct proportion to how near to the Lab trespassers get-- and even then Staute heavily restricts the use of anything which might cause severe injury or fatalities among people passing through the system.
The bottomline for casual invaders of the Lab Grounds, on foot or in ground vehicle is this likely status by the time they catch sight of the Lab building itself:
* They have ignored the no trespassing signs, climbed over a ten foot tall fence, and possibly suffered some injuries in a related fall or clambering over the barbed wire at top. In most cases intruders are forced to leave extra gear or wheeled vehicles behind at this stage.
* They have been accosted by dense, alarmingly loud clouds of biting mosquitos and gnats amid a foul smelling and nasty looking area of wet swampy ground. The insect bites have made them nauseous and dizzy.
* They have passed through several frightening zones including swamp and dark woods-- some of these possessing a downright supernatural seeming warning effect, raising goose pimples and the short neck hairs on trespassers-- no matter their age, experience, or confidence levels.
* They have suffered one or more bouts of substantial nausea and disorientation, leaving them significantly weakened and perhaps dazed and confused.
* If they cut down or drove through the first fence with a vehicle, they have lost the use of that vehicle now in the traps, as well as likely been injured themselves with twisted ankles or perhaps even broken bones, or at minimum painful bruises, cuts, scratches, and scrapes from the briars and barbed wire and other obstacles in their path. They have likely been forced to leave behind some loose articles of clothing and hand-carried equipment too, in order to squeeze through the various prickly, clinging, close quarters barriers. Getting through the dense and precipitous anti-vehicle zone on foot has likely been an exhausting process for most people. Thus, they should be heavily fatigued on exiting the zone-- if not totally spent. Lab security must constantly monitor the anti-vehicle zone for signs of people stranded, in order to rescue them ASAP (or alert the authorities).
* They have been frightened by ghostly voices and/or threatening animal sounds for which they cannot trace the source, that always seem just behind them and/or inside their ear or head (in many cases a victim's companions cannot hear what the victim themself hears)-- perhaps making them question their own sanity or senses. Fierce arguments among trespassers are common here. In some cases they may have been temporarily deafened by powerful sonic blasts.
* Their vision has possibly been impaired, along with increased suffering in general, due to unwittingly walking through a fog of eye irritants such as tear gas or pepper spray.
* They have been immobilized/captured by a leg or foot trap and held there for a substantial period of time, helpless and terrified, forced to wait for some unknown captor to arrive at their leisure. Maybe hours of yelling or screaming later, they might find themselves inexplicably released-- although nothing and no one has visibly arrived to free or capture them.
* They have been shocked by contact with an electric fence.
Note the above are the probable effects on casual trespassers whom Lab security has judged as NOT substantial threats.
Many of the effects listed above could be scaled up to induce much more severe trauma, such as permanent hearing and vision damage/loss, possibly permanent psychological trauma, long term gastro-intestinal problems, much more grievous physical injuries (or even death), and more costly vehicle damage and/or retrieval costs-- IF Lab security deemed the trespassers a substantial threat. And all this is possible before the trespassers have even set foot on the large lawn which surrounds the Lab proper.
Note that all these perimeter security zones must be constantly monitored, and on occasion Lab personnel may have to come to the aid of trespassers to help them escape-- especially from the anti-vehicle zone.
Staff and visitors somewhere on the grounds outside the Lab building are vulnerable to long range snipers, from as far away as a mile or more on the ground, and from considerably farther given the contemporary sniper options from aircraft and satellites of the time.
However, Horizon Labs does pose a few small obstacles to such threats.
The very best long range sniper positions on the ground in the vicinity of the Lab have been carefully surveyed and mapped. These positions are ready-made targets for active counter-measures and passive special surveillance. That is, the locations are closely monitored for sniper-type activity around the clock, by way of specially positioned unidirectional microphones, onsite bugs, and more. If the distinct acoustic signature of a round being chambered in a rifle is detected in one of these locations, Lab security is instantly alerted to more closely monitor the spot in question. Likewise if light reflections similar to those from rifle scopes (or laser sighting beams, both visible and invisible) are detected from such locales. Covert metal detectors are also inplace at some likely locations.
If there's the slightest possibility that anyone is in danger outside the Lab at such a time, these countermeasures are immediately activated:
* High powered lasers are focused on the suspect sniper position and fired at only dazzling strength to ruin the potential sniper's aim-- unless a shot towards the Lab grounds is actually confirmed, after which the lasers can automatically be ratcheted up from temporary to permanent blindness strength, as well as burning skin on contact.
|-- Technology being tested to detect and report gunshots - Computerworld; computerworld.com|
* High pressure water sprinklers exist throughout the Lab's immediate vicinity on the Grounds (inside the electric fence). When a sniper threat is detected, the sprinklers in the affected sector of the grounds are switched on to alert personnel on the grounds to seek cover, and also interfere with the sniper's aim and possibly help deflect bullets sufficiently to maximize the probability of a miss. Note that the sprinkler use is an effective means to alert Lab personnel without necessarily tipping off the sniper that the Lab is aware of them.
The above measures may be triggered in instances of LOW certainty of impending or actual sniper attack-- where the certainty is higher, the relevant sector/class of anti-aircraft measures may also be activated-- the kevlar strip mines. In these the charges consist of kevlar cloth strips/patches/leaves treated to become 'sticky' on their land-to-air dispersal. They require a moment or two to flutter back to the ground, during which time they may interfere with a sniper's aim perhaps better than the water sprinkler system can. Bullets which make contact with the randomly falling kevlar strips may also be either slightly deflected off course or slowed down-- either of which can be significant in the course of long range rifle fire, perhaps reducing its accuracy.
The Lab also maintains several very narrow cones of specialized radar sweeps pointed towards the most likely sniper areas, which can detect actual bullets incoming and plot their trajectories both forward and backward before said bullets may arrive at their destinations. This radar apparatus is tuned for rapid detection of the likely size, shape, speed, and composition of sniper rounds in flight. Once a single shot has been verified, lasers are used in an attempt to blind the sniper at least long enough for him to be apprehended-- and perhaps permanently, depending on the sniper's actions by this point.
Note that due to the above measures, it is unlikely that a land-based sniper could get off more than one well-aimed shot before being dealt with-- and even that one might be spoiled off of target due to aiming interference and/or unexpected deflection/delay due to water droplets or kevlar strips/patches. Too, such a sniper is likely to be at least temporarily incapacitated (blinded) by the return laser fire, thus greatly reducing their chances for escape.
Lab Mobiles (robots)
A common sight on the main Lab floor (and outside the Lab as well) are the Lab Mobiles.
The Lab Mobiles are large flat-bottomed but otherwise egg-shaped devices as tall as a man and as wide in diameter as the length of a compact car, circa 1999 AD (when the base platform is fully extended). They move by virtue of a hybrid electric wheel carriage and hovercraft technology, which allows them to easily traverse a wide variety of terrain (including relatively calm waters).
There's three auto batteries and a powerful but compact gasoline fueled electric generator onboard, as well as the hover fan motor and a heavy flywheel to aid fast recharges and help maintain the upright balance of the remotes even under widely variable loads and changing terrain. Mobiles routinely switch between the two main batteries for normal use (so one is always under recharge), with the third battery reserved for emergency power. The Lab Mobiles may recharge their batteries from normal household current, an automobile cigarrette lighter, their onboard generator, or by deploying the solar cells which line the inside of three large cargo doors on each unit (when all doors are fully open the Mobile vaguely resembles a huge egg with three flower petals). A Mobile's batteries may also be recharged via a manual hand crank, but the necessity for that contingency is extremely remote.
The bottom hover skirt section is hinged to allow users to pull out a large articulated portion which may add roughly a 20 square foot platform on which to load people or supplies for transport. The extended section can be supported by the same air pressure force utilized by the Mobile proper.
Thus, payloads may ride either enclosed inside the Mobile, or on its extended trailing platform. A user standing on the trailing platform (or on the floor when the platform is not extended) has access to a drop down keyboard hatch computer terminal in the rear of the Mobile for interaction with the unit.
The Mobile possesses an articulated 3D camera arrangement under a tough transparent rounded cone on top of the unit. Powerful wide area lights are situated just underneath the imaging cone, along with combination handholds/intake vents for the hover fan.
The Lab Mobiles may be remotely controlled by either human masters or the Staute AI, or perform some tasks all on their own.
They archive all audio and visual elements they collect of Lab activities.
They serve as a mobile computing and communications station for Lab staffers.
They serve as both personnel and equipment transport, both inside and outside the Lab, though typically passengers stand or sit on the low extended platform from the base of a Mobile for transport, a Mobile may also carry two average sized adults hidden inside its cargo bays-- though this is a very cramped arrangement. These interior spaces enjoy an optionally filtered air supply, just in case a Mobile must carry Lab personnel through dangerous smoke during a fire, and as an impromptu temporary safe haven in the case that gas or an infectious agent is detected in the Lab. The outer skin of the Mobiles largely consists of a carbon composite which is effectively bullet-proof to most gunfire, as well as fireproof, and highly resistant to penetration by sharp objects. Note that if the doors are properly shut, the Mobile interior may even keep inhabitants dry and safe when the Mobile itself is carried away by a raging flood. A Mobile's already closed doors normally may only be mechanically locked or unlocked from the inside; the locking mechanism cannot be activated by setting it and then closing a door for it to take effect. The only way a Mobile's doors may be locked or unlocked from the outside is electromagnetically, via a special encrypted radio signal from Lab security itself. I.e., if Lab staffers have captured a trespasser and wish to imprison them for transport inside a Mobile, they must place the prisoner inside, shut the door, and radio Lab security to lock the Mobile's panels closed.
Mobiles serve as a handy mobile source of light and electricity either inside or outside the Lab.
They can offer users enhanced sensing/monitoring platforms capable of detecting some phenomena accessible only outside of the normal range of human perception.
They may act as mobile watchdogs/sentinals.
They may be set up as a mobile workshop with a wide variety of tools and devices.
They may be used to probe areas perhaps unsafe for humans to enter.
Several Mobiles are set up as dedicated automated fire extinguishing stations; virtually ALL the Mobiles carry substantial first aid kits, as well as the capacity to provide clear verbal instructions to users on how to give proper aid to victims.
Big Moe is a massive permanent scaffolding type device which is used as a mix of mega-ladder and heavy crane for indoor construction and maintenance in the Lab. Big Moe cannot leave the Lab except in pieces, and is equipped with large construction equipment wheels and stabilizers as befits his function. Big Moe has four wheel steering and drive. Big Moe possesses his own powerful motors for movements and lifts. Big Moe is so big he has his own elevator and access ramps. Big Moe may also be used as an indoor tractor or bull dozer, to pull or push massive loads. Big Moe is designed to be massively bottom heavy for safety and stability, and his top speed is well under five miles an hour.
Lab Work Islands (workbenches)
Other mobile fixtures of the Lab include movable work islands, which may be moved or fixed in place easily, and offer many functions similar to the Lab Mobiles, such as on the spot electrical power and lighting, and net terminals. However, the islands lack the built-in intelligence and capacity for independent action of the Mobiles, being essentially movable workbenches. They also lack the all terrain hover capacity of the Mobiles, being entirely non-motorized and wheel-based.
However, the work islands are sufficiently 'smart' to keep track of their own onboard equipment, and begin beeping if a tool isn't placed back into its proper shaped notch within 30 minutes of being removed (as well as other anti-theft/anti-loss tool tracking and organization measures).
Grounds Mobiles (flying robot eyes)
Used exclusively for reconnaisance/security, these small helicopter-like devices are essentially flying TV cameras, offering live feeds to Lab security video. They are normally housed in a shed on the Lab roof, and their maintenance/refueling is a manual procedure requiring human hands-- though they may land and take off by themselves. These Mobiles are rarely used indoors at the Lab, and their range is roughly large enough to span the full distance of the Labs' Grounds, hovering a few minutes at a couple spots along the way. Total flying time is usually limited to 30-40 minutes. These Mobiles are usually only dispatched where there's perceived to be a risk to human observers and Lab Mobiles are judged inappropriate, or else to gather more information about something detected in an outer Grounds security zone. In extreme cases a dangling wire may be attached to a flying Mobile that will stun anyone who contacts it, or a Mobile may be purposely flown into someone or an animal in an attempt to scare them away or injure them. Mobiles may also be used as 'guided missiles' of a sort-- to deliver small explosive charges (which will destroy the Mobile as well).
Safety nets line the outer edges of the Lab's roof line, with their supporting posts positioned at a 45 degree angle, pointing up and outwards from the building. These are mainly aids to the ultralight flights and roof landings made by Staute himself and friends, but also serve as safety nets for anyone falling or jumping from the roof, among other things.
Aircraft stand off technologies on the roof include dazzling laser lightshows which may temporarily blind aircraft pilots to deny them easy landing or takeoff from the Lab roof or grounds, as well as make it more difficult to drop troops or explosives onto the roof.
Helicopter/VTOL/STOL mines. Unauthorized roof landings may also be thwarted or hampered by charges of steel shot fired directly upwards to damage helicopter blades or engine intakes on enemy aircraft. When armed from a Command Center, firings may be triggered manually, or automatically at the sound signature of helicopters or other aircraft in the target range, or via certain radar proximity readings.
The steel shot charged mines are but one of several types on the Lab Grounds; a second type uses charges consisting of kevlar cloth patches/leaves treated to become 'sticky' on dispersal, which stay airborne longer than the shot, but may do similar damage to air intakes, as well as diminish the visability of pilots as they flutter in the air ahead of them like large synthetic snowflakes. If the kevlar patches strike the windshield of aircraft they also strongly adhere to them, blocking pilot vision in that manner as well, and resisting the action of mechanical wipers to remove them. Patches which become built-up on the leading edges of propellors or rotors, or gum up other control surfaces in some way, may also decrease the airworthiness of the host vehicle quite rapidly. The kevlar patches consist of three different categories, each designed to traverse the air to the ground at different rates and by different courses. There are both highly reflective and blacked out versions of the strips from which Lab security may choose for deployment.
The 'pillow' strips each possess a 'bubble' of warm air in them (always automatically adjusted for a certain bouyancy against ambient air temperature before deployment) that cause them to fall at the slowest rate of all, and even move laterally too given a sufficient breeze. Though their flattened corners give them some aerodynamic properties, their lift mostly comes from aerostatics. The second group is actually shaped and weighted somewhat like tiny paper airplanes, in order to have the greatest unassisted horizontal movement and moderate vertical staying power. Finally, there are the plain strips which flutter downwards the fastest, with the least lateral movement of all.
All strips do not become sticky until after dispersion/deployment; contact with normal air effects the chemical composition of their coatings.
All this makes for a highly random aggregate of combined vertical and horizontal motion and wide unpredictability in the courses of the sticky, opaque, tough kevlar patches after deployment, which helps maximize their impact on confusing/dazzling/impacting any threats, camouflaging Lab actions, and well filling up to five to eight minutes of time before an entire charge of strips has finally all left the air again (perhaps being replaced with a fresh charge), depending on the altitude dialed into the launch.
Each kevlar strip charge has more than hundreds of kevlar elements as described above-- it also boasts at least one VERY hot package equipped with mini-parachute for very slow descent, and meant to lure heat-seeking missiles. These 'hot spot' packages are optional elements of the kevlar charges, and therefore do not activate by default. The hot spots (when optionally armed) ignite only when their host kevlar charge has exploded, and all the kevlar elements have been dispersed. The hot spots are basically slightly modified magnesium flares. Note that though the lifespan of these flares is very short, deploying them at sufficiently low attitude over a target would also be a good way to set afire to or to melt that target. The flare is also bright enough to greatly reduce the nightvision of any threat personnel for tens of minutes afterwards.
A third type of anti-aircraft mine on the Lab grounds consists of small rocket propelled lines which essentially shoot straight up in the air and stay there until the rocket at the top runs out of fuel.
These briefly standing vertical lengths of wire may not seem like much of a defensive measure until you consider a few other items about them. One, the wires possess state-of-the-art strength in their lengths and anchors, and will not break except under terrific stresses. This means they can wind up in helicopter blades, causing choppers to rapidly pull themselves into the ground like super fast winches, or catch the wings of planes, ripping them off as the plane goes by (note that physics will force the firing rocket to wrap a wing in the wire if given the opportunity; plus the wire is well anchored to the ground). The wire's great strength also makes it a formidable threat to unshielded engine air intakes on aircraft as well.
Two, the Lab AI may use exquisite timing for deployment of the rocket systems according to radar, sonar, and laser based location and speed determining systems, to present maximum obstacles to incoming threat aircraft.
Three, both the rocket and wire are by default lit up via flashing blacklight ground illumination and high reflective properties along their lengths to make them highly visible to pilots even at night, as a means to warn them off without harming them-- however, both rocket and wire may optionally be used sans lights, which makes both invisible at night, and leaves only the rocket itself somewhat visible during the day (note the rocket flame is designed to be virtually invisible post-launch, and produce very little visible exhaust gas as well).
These wires are also optionally electrified-- capable of delivering a jolt equivalent to a lightning strike onto any aircraft they contact.
Though the wires' rockets are not themselves meant to directly impact anything, if they do before their fuel is exhausted-- well, a rocket is a rocket, after all, and fire or explosion damage to whatever they strike is not out of the question.
More powerful and longer range versions of these devices are also embedded about the Lab airstrip and large lawn-like expanse.
Of course, the more deadly of these anti-aircraft mines are not expected to ever be used when they are installed, except for demonstration purposes.
Hand weapons inside the Lab, available to Lab personnel in emergency conditions, mostly consist of stunners (which work at a distance similar to Star Trek phasers), stun prods (longer stun pole type devices, roughly five feet long) and/or collapsible batons. Other items include stun grenades (brilliant blinding flashes of light accompanied by horrendous, shocking noise, meant to distract and daze someone for a minute or so). All these devices are primarily meant for defensive, capture, or herding purposes-- to capture and shepherd prisoners to lockup, for instance.
Note that all Lab personnel typically have on their person several nylon ties suitable for use as effective quickie handcuffs/anklecuffs, in order to restrain anyone that seems a danger to themselves or others on the premises.
All staff on the premises almost always wear a comfortable lightweight headset with which they may easily converse with anyone else in the Lab or on the Grounds, via a secure, heavily encrypted channel. The Staute AI normally monitors headset traffic, differentiating between local conversations not meant for broadcast and those speakers who want to be heard by others remotely. The AI also directs traffic as indicated by the speaker-- to a single destination listener, or to all on the Lab net, or something inbetween. The AI may also interface headset traffic to standard telephone services, allowing dial up of others outside the Lab for headset users.
In the circumstance that a Lab staffer is accompanied by nearby visitors they do not wish to hear what is said over the headset, a sophistocated local noise cancellation system can be activated which makes it very difficult for a bystander to hear the conversation over the headset from any participant.
The headsets include a small high res heads up display embedded in an accompanying visor on which the AI may present various images to Lab personnel-- such as live video from a Grounds security cam, or breaking news on cable TV, or an interactive map of the Lab complex with markers for items of interest (such as tracking of individual Lab staffers), as well as realtime feeds from the cams embedded in the visors of other staffers.
More on the sophistocated visor (and also the fingerless gloves) which are standard Lab staffer equipment. The visors include a tiny video cam which transmits the view ahead of each staffer to the Lab AI for a variety of reasons. This video stream can be rerouted to other staffers, archived automatically into Lab storage, or filtered in various ways and returned to its sender in a modified form. For instance, the visor cams also emit an infra-red area light when ambient illumination is below a certain level. The remote AI may adjust the cam video to utilize this infra-red illumination for a form of night vision, and return it to the sender, thus enabling them to literally see in the dark in realtime. Note that the infra-red illumination light is not visible to the unaided human eye, however. Also note that this infra red illumination feature is accompanied by an infra-red sensor as well, specially designed to encode/decode two-way communications between staffer and Lab Command via invisible infra-red signals as a back up to normal communications. This contingency communication technique only works reliably via line of sight with the exterior of the Lab, atop the Lab roof, or within the main open floor of the Lab interior. The Lab AI may also modify the visor video feed in other ways as well, such as zooming in or out of any captured image thereon.
The Lab AI may also intercede in the hearing feedback of a staffer via headset, 'tuning' things so that the staffer essentially enjoys superhearing of a sort, when desired. Among other things, this can offer wearers a form of 'lie detection' capability, as the voice patterns and even heartbeat of someone they are conversing with can be monitored and analysed in realtime for signs of deception, with the headset wearer getting silent feedback on possible falsehoods from pager-like vibrations from their glove wrist-bands, or more comprehensive communications via noise cancellation protected means, as described before. The vibration alarms are also a covert means of alerting staffers to other risky circumstances when words spoken aloud might be detrimental.
Staff visors also protect wearers from ultraviolet light and extreme brightness, as well as physical trauma such as foreign objects impacting the face. Visors also include prescription lenses where advisable. Headset ear pieces offer sufficiently fast reacting automatic noise cancellation to protect wearers from hearing damage during anomalous sound events.
Typically all sound traffic through Lab headsets is archived and transcribed automatically for later contingency analysis. All video feeds from visors are automatically recorded too (but usually archived for only 90 days, unless deemed of special importance for some reason after initial recording).
The fingerless gloves of staffers possess wrist bands similar to oversized watches, which contain batteries as well as a back up audio communications channel (in case the headsets malfunction), the vibrating alarm function described elsewhere, a combination digital/analog time readout (regularly synchronized with standardized external sources for accuracy) and Lab orientation icon (which always displays the directions of several important Lab landmarks from the wearer's present location), and powerful mini area light which may be manually focused for a spot. The wrist bands may also emit several preset ultrasonic frequencies suitable for repelling local insects for outside work or driving off large animals which may be encountered in the Lab vicinity (such as dogs or wild animals). The wrist bands can also emit a sonic blast and blinding strobe light when the wearer activates the panic function (the wearer's headset protects against the deafening sonic blast automatically, while the visor would also protect from the strobe-- but the strobe flash is emitted from the area of the wrist usually facing outwards, so it's difficult for a staffer in a defensive position to strobe himself rather than an attacker). The wrist bands also incorporate infra-red and radio "keys" to access certain electronically locked doors, maintenance panels, and controls in the Lab. The knuckles of the gloves sport metallic studs which may be used to deliver stun-gun like electrical shocks to attackers by closed-fisted blows from the wearer-- when the gloves are armed via a special touchpad combination on the wristband keypad. The stun gloves are also armed automatically when the panic button is pressed-- but only for three seconds in that instance, to minimize the chances of accidental stuns.
Staffers also typically wear casual looking belts which conceal a storage compartment holding a wiresaw, a length of nylon string, a tough and waterproof plastic sheet, and $600 in USA currency. Staffers also usually possess elsewhere on their person a credit card-sized stainless steel basic survival tool incorporating a stubby knife with a secure finger grip, signal mirror polished surface, tweezers, toothpick, can/bottle opener, awl, ruler, flat screwdriver, wrenching slots, and magnifying lense in a tough plastic case.
Though much of this may seem overkill, keep in mind one of the Lab's primary business functions is as a showcase for security, and Staute's past near-fatal encounter with local survivalists during Lab construction was partially thwarted by the fact Staute possessed on his person some items like those listed above.
Only a handful of actual firearms similar to handguns, shot guns, and/or assault rifles are available inside the Lab, and these are mostly stored inside the Bunker, not usually available to Lab staff or anyone else.
The Staute AI routinely monitors all communications in and out of the Lab, as well as many public communications on the internet, radio, and dozens of television news channels, scanning for any possible news or message that may pertain to Lab security and safety in some way. If a lead is found, the AI investigates it to the best of its ability, and if unsatisifed with the results, consults human Lab staff with its findings.
Long term Lab staff roster
The only permanent full-time onsite Lab personnel are:
J. Staute himself
Staute's Lab personal assistant (duties include many traditional secretarial functions)
Staute's personal assistant stand-in (part-time residence assistant replaces Lab assistant when necessary)
Staute's chauffeur/bodyguards (three similarly trained men on call 24 hours a day seven days a week-- but rarely chauffer Staute, or accompany him in dedicated bodyguard role-- more typical jobs are being present plainclothed at the Lab when visitors are being shown the place as extra security; three in number makes it unlikely that not a single man of the three is available when needed)
Staute's Lab & Grounds general manager
Staute's Lab & Grounds general manager's two assistants
Staute's Network Administrator
Staute's Network Administrator's two assistants
Several well trained security personnel
But usually there are at least a dozen or more other employees/contractors of varying status on the premises, and on occasion anywhere from a handful to several hundred visitors may be present.
There's also other Lab staff, ranging from temporary to more-or-less permanent, who rarely show up at the Lab proper, usually living and working instead hundreds or thousands of miles away, in a form of telecommuting. One of the members of this usually remote staff is J. Staute's combination futurist/journalist/editor who essentially runs a futurist news and reference source for business/educators/entrepreneurs/inventors on Staute's web site, and helps insure Staute is not caught unawares by many new technological and economic developments
Main Private Residence
Though Staute maintains both a mobile home and a personal recreational vehicle in the Lab for extended stays at the office and lengthy trips respectively, he also maintains a more private and spacious home elsewhere, as well as a personal minivan for local errands. Staute only rarely flies on commercial airlines, for several reasons; but on the Lab roof he maintains a couple of experimental personal ultralight aircraft: one is a one-man helium filled balloon with a pilot seat fitted with micro jets for propulsion and manuevering (in addition to various ballooning mechanisms for same). The balloon vehicle also incorporates an experimental variable ballast generator which is essentially a heat pump, that may rapidly collect moisture from all but the dryest air to add weight to the vehicle on demand (of course, this weight may be discarded by simply turning a valve). The other is a rapidly inflatable wing and gasoline engine driven propellor arrangement (again, a single seater). The inflatable wing utilizes aerodynamic lift when rigid, but also makes use of aerostatic lift, as the temperature of the air inside the wing may be adjusted utilizing a mixture of engine exhaust and surrounding air, and the wing's interior volume is adequate to offer substantial aerostatic properties under these conditions.
Staute's private residence is a low-built but spacious steel framed eleven room dwelling incorporating a two car garage, "hardened" basement facilities, and state-of-the-art high efficiency technologies for power, light, and telecommunications, as well as a robust security system all its own. One-way windows are installed throughout (you can see out, but not in). The second floor holds only two guest rooms, which are usually unoccupied (though on occasion a visiting business associate and/or Staute's personal assistant may occupy one). Within walking distance from Staute's residence is the housekeeper/groundskeeper home, preferably occupied by a married couple amenable to those jobs and certain contractual aspects in regards to Staute estate security (such as having no children while living/working on the estate, since Staute fears they might be injured if future attacks are made on him by enemies). Staute himself is single and has no children of his own at this time. It's not always possible to have a married couple filling these duties and living in the employee's residence. At those times Staute gives preference to having the current Groundskeeper live in that structure if possible, with a housekeeper commuting several days a week to attend to maintenance of both residences.
Staute's private residence groundskeeper, like his sometime RV chauffeur(s), is fully qualified with a handgun and proven at various bodyguard and security duties, in addition to his normal gardening and routine household maintenance chores.
The bottomline status of Staute's private residence is that Staute himself on average spends 2-3 days a week there, with another 1-2 days spent at Horizon Labs, and another 1-2 days a week spent either in business-related travel or with family or friends somewhere else.
Staute's personal assistant may be there 1-2 days a week for various reasons.
There's usually a housekeeper in one of the houses on the premises 3-5 days a week. A Groundskeeper is usually there around 4-6 days a week.
Staute's private home lacks most of the heavy security measures of the Lab-- but that is not to say the house and surrounding grounds are easy pickings to potential threats.
The land of Staute's private residence borders the grounds of the Lab on one side.
Staute's basement has a Bunker near identical to that of the Lab-- which may even be used as a remote Command Center for the Lab in its own right-- though entry and access differs from that of the Lab Bunker; when descending the house stairs to the basement (the stairwell doubles as an airlock), at the bottom to one side is a single wide door that opens into what appears to be a spacious basement of a wealthy home owner-- but a normal enough place. Opposite the entryway however, in what appears to be a solid concrete wall, is the hidden entrance to the Bunker.
Anyone descending the stairwell into the basement will notice a large dumbwaiter device (something like a small elevator) incorporated into the architecture. They will also notice the stairs themselves are as wide and gently sloping as a public building like many county court houses or schools. They will also notice that the stairway descends several times deeper than a regular home's basement stairway.
This is because Staute's basement is a full 25 feet deeper than the typical basement for such a home.
The Bunker makes up about one third of the basement floor of Staute's private residence. Including the Bunker volume, Staute's basement is actually larger than the house above.
The Bunker is meant only for true emergencies and safekeeping of extreme valuables-- Staute might only enter the Bunker under his residence a handful of times a year, at most.
The remainder of Staute's basement is subtlely designed with a dual purpose in mind; as something of a supplement to the above ground facilities during normal times, and a well thought out long term refuge for Staute and as many of his close friends and family as he can gather, if a worst case scenario of some sort were to come about (such as nuclear or biological war or terrorism, or a comet or asteroid strike).
Virtually all the functionality of the above ground residence is duplicated here-- although many aspects (such as the gym) are normally packed up and hidden away in the basement, unseen during less stressful times.
Some aspects of the Bunker are supplemented in the basement, such as a much larger and more extensive armory, which includes a small but efficient workshop capable of constructing a wide variety of firearms from scratch if necessary, as well as maintaining them into perpetuity. Ammunition may be manufactured there, with specially stored supplies meant to provide sufficient ammo to defend and feed 18 adults for up to 20 years. There's also a substantial supply of readymade and tested firearms and ammunition, bought retail, and mostly prepared for very long term storage. The armory holds hunting rifles, pump shotguns, assault weapons, flare guns, and both semi-automatic and revolver pistols. Smoke grenades and other military-style items are also present.
There's a fully stocked and equipped kitchen near the entryway, suitable for dressing kills as large as bears and buffalos. A large stock of canned goods and other long term storage foods is also found there.
There's a large garage door entrance and ramp to the basement in addition to the stairwell entrance from the house, boasting its own large airlock functionality as well. However, this garage entrance is sealed and barricaded from the inside, and well hidden and inaccessible from the outside, until a worst-case scenario should necessitate its grand opening.
Surrounding the basement in the grounds around the home are a system of large water tanks, all large enough so that one is unsealed and used during normal times as a small private swimming pool, accessible from the basement. The rest are kept sealed and full as long term water reserves, added anti-invasion measures, and supplementary radiation shielding.
The basement's own unusual depth, as well as the water tanks surrounding its walls, make it difficult for an enemy to tunnel successfully into the structure-- they may drown when they inadvertantly tunnel into a water tank first, and certainly will be unable to take Staute by surprise with such a maneuver. And after that, they still face the challenge of breaking through several feet of steel reinforced concrete, as well as a heavy steel framework beyond that.
The basement is designed to operate as a completely closed system air, water, and food-wise for as long as a year and a half, supporting up to 18 adults, should it come to that. But completely closing the system and bringing it up to near 100% recycling efficiency can take a week or so (thereby signalling a harsh first few days for inhabitants who must do so without sufficient warning). Therefore a certain leadtime of alerts is expected before such drastic measures become necessary.
Besides being sealed and capable of 100% recycling of internal gases and fluids for an extended period, the basement also boasts a positive air pressure defense against exterior contagions/gases, when such functionality appears called for.
About a fourth of the non-Bunker basement space houses a completely equipped hydroponic garden-- but under normal circumstances it is barren of growing plants, as well as locked off from the rest of the basement (it opens to the kitchen). The hydroponics garden is meant to be cranked up only in desperate times, and will require at minimum six weeks to produce its first significant food, oxygen, or medicine output after that. Stored reserves are meant to provide 100% of the sustenance of inhabitants until the hydroponics come fully online.
Staute's AI of course, is just as 'present' at Staute's private residence as it is Horizon Labs-- 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Staute AI never sleeps, never requires a break of any kind, and is ever vigilant. Backing the AI up in these duties is a state-of-the-art residential security system as well.
Note that the Staute AI and its management of Lab defenses in various degrees of damage/incapacitation has been exhaustively tested in simulation against every possible threat Staute, his staff, and the AI itself could imagine to exist. Plus, the AI is able to make instantaneous decisions based on information available and preset priorities, in cases where events go outside pre-considered contingencies. This means both the Lab and residence are essentially sentient and capable of responding to threats instantly-- much faster than most any potential enemy would expect or be able to match.
Other significant security/privacy measures
Four wheel drive, bullet-proof tires, body, and windows, closed system air circulation/filtration and positive pressure interiors against outside gas threats. Built-in global positioning system and satellite telephony and net access. Continuous remote tracking which immediately alerts authorities and dispatches help if contact is lost or alarms triggered manually in the vehicle. Independent gasoline and electric drivetrains so that if one is disabled or out of fuel the other likely still works. Outer body electrification to dispell mobs.
Small flying escort craft often accompany Staute's vehicle forays. These are unmanned robotic craft, autonomous for basic functionality, but open to control and direction from Staute's main AI during certain circumstances. These craft usually maintain sufficient distance from Staute's vehicle(s) so as not to be easily noticed by would-be attackers. These craft can either fly relatively high and ahead acting as scouts, or below radar and around ground clutter seeking out nearby threats. These escort craft may be small but they are not toothless when it comes to defending their owner.
As to Satute's primary ground vehicles, four wheel steering allows robust maneuverability-- especially in tight places. Optional infra-red headlights/visor allow the driver to see at night without leaving a visible light trace for anyone following. In this mode items like brake lights too are blacked out.
Many scaled down versions of Lab defenses are present in Staute's primary vehicles, such as laser strobes to confound pursuit, and flash-bang explosives.
Staute did all he could to make it difficult for undesirables to obtain access to important blueprints and plans in regards to the design and layout of Horizon Labs and his personal residence-- and especially items relating to the security measures of the two properties.
As a growing part of Staute's business was security related, he was able to protect some aspects as trade secrets. Others were simply kept out of public records by way of never being officially documented at all. Still others were protected under laws written to protect celebrities from stalkers or executives from terrorists and kidnappers. Where he could not completely prevent public divulgence of important facets of his security measures, Staute sometimes clouded the issue by having them disclosed under misleading names or property classifications-- thereby throwing some extra curve balls to would-be investigators.
The most difficult aspect involved Staute's use of outside contractors for major construction on-site, as well as the proper construction licenses. Both these matters tended to straightforwardly describe the layout of buildings and many important security elements of each. Staute did his best here to defy easy research of his works by breaking up the overall projects into many smaller tasks and insuring that no one contractor would ever possess more than a woefully incomplete picture of the overall property's characteristics. Other additional measures were also taken to increase the difficulty for potential enemies to obtain comprehensive details on sensitive property info. Staute received considerable help from certain ex-intelligence agency operatives on making matters like these hard for enemies to fully uncover and document.
Staute legally changed his name eventually, not long after his business had achieved its first substantial financial successes, partly for increased personal privacy, but also to help possibly misdirect any enemies who might later on decide to come after him or his family or friends. In this name change, Staute went considerably further than most people did in the process, to flesh out his new identity sufficiently so as to somewhat reduce the indications investigators would get in subsequent years to make them realize such a change had taken place. Most of these measures were legal (though often not exactly what many would call ethical or aboveboard), but at least a few plainly were not.
One legal but shrewd maneuver made by Staute early on was to change the name of his company (and consequently the legal ownership of much of his enterprises and other estate elements) to something close but not quite the same as his true name, exploiting human nature and likely typographic errors due to spelling to cause a meandering trail of mistyped apellations in paperwork over time. This alone created a substantial but relatively subtle paperwork obstacle for later investigators. This second name of course was changed yet again some years later, further clouding the way of Staute's enemies in identifying his origins and loved ones.
An assortment of lawyers helped Staute form several shell corporations later on, to further jumble ownership and the ability of enemies to track Staute's true past history and the identities of his friends and family members. Staute was also careful about obfuscating the paperwork for any financial and real estate gifts to family and friends, as such a trail of ties could jeopardize their safety, as well as his own integrity in future decisions and investments.
After a certain point, Staute religiously utilized heavily encrypted and known secure means of communications with close family and friends, to prevent exposing them to new risks from any threat related to his own enterprises or enemies. He also had his AI monitor for any mention of them on the net or elsewhere that might indicate a threat to any of them, too.
Physical visits to friend and family could be tracked of course-- so Staute minimized those as the years passed, and took precautions against tracking when such visits actually did take place, such not listing them in his business schedules, never speaking of them to his usual circle of business associates, and never using rental cars or credit cards to make them. He also did not use his own autos to make the trips either, as license tags could be checked by observers. Rather, he would do things like loan his recreational vehicle to his gardener for a vacation, then use his gardener's car to make the trip during that time-- making sure the gardener's family kept the trade confidential.
Any time Staute shipped anything to friends or family, those too were arranged so as to be virtually untraceable to his enemies.
All these efforts of course were ineffective against such parties as specific individuals of certain USAmerican government intelligence agencies who had known and worked with Staute in previous times, as well as other determined and resourceful entities who were too savvy and careful to be misled by all Staute's attempts to confuse his paperwork trail in later years. However, as the years passed, memories faded, the paperwork got larger and harder to decipher, and a few of those in the know simply died or otherwise dropped out of play.
And Staute and his family and friends gradually had less and less to worry about possible enemies tracking them down and harming them.
However, on at least one occasion, Staute found someone dear to him endangered NOT by a failure of Staute's security measures, but by a young nephew's own ill-advised boasts about his kinship to the head of Staute's business empire. The boast eventually reached the wrong ears, setting off an awful train of events which would become one of the greatest personal crises of Staute's life.
To minimize confusion in the timeline (as well as protect Staute's privacy for reasons which are made clear elsewhere in the Timeline) here we do not refer to Staute by anything but his original given name.
Long term residence staff roster
The second floor holds only two guest rooms, which are usually unoccupied (though on occasion a visiting business associate and/or Staute's personal assistant may occupy one). Within walking distance from Staute's residence is the housekeeper/groundskeeper home, preferably occupied by a married couple amenable to those jobs and certain contractual aspects in regards to Staute estate security (such as having no children while living/working on the estate, since Staute fears they might be injured if future attacks are made on him by enemies). Staute himself is single and has no children of his own at this time. It's not always possible to have a married couple filling these duties and living in the employee's residence. At those times Staute gives preference to having the current Groundskeeper live in that structure if possible, with a housekeeper commuting several days a week to attend to maintenance of both residences.
Staute's private residence groundskeeper, like his sometime RV chauffeur, is fully qualified with a handgun and skilled at various bodyguard and security duties, in addition to his normal gardening and routine household maintenance chores.
The bottomline status of Staute's private residence is that Staute himself on average spends 2-3 days a week there, with another 1-2 days spent at Horizon Labs, and another 1-2 days a week spent either in business-related travel or with family or friends somewhere else.
Staute's personal assistant may be there 1-2 days a week for various reasons.
There's usually a housekeeper in one of the houses on the premises 3-5 days a week. A Groundskeeper is usually around 4-6 days a week.
Staute's private home lacks most of the heavy security measures of the Lab-- but that is not to say the house and surrounding grounds are easy pickings to potential threats.