In the wreckage of the secret SHOP base outside Memphis, the JLA found a broken circuit board sticking out of a mainframe computer that had been connected to the internet. Everything ahd been ruined by the high winds blown up by Hurricane Tana. The hand-made board, highly complex, quite advanced, was made with an artistry rarely found in conventional circuitry. The board was large, about 13 inches long by 4 inches high, and most noticeably: the center IC was shaped like a pharaonic funeral mask, like the headdress of Tutankahmun, The JLA pulled the board from the junk and took it back to HQ for Technician to examine.
The board was broken, and about 20% of the board was missing, being cracked off in a diagonal line going through chips L-3, W, Q, R & one S chip. The board had to be completely unique, and seemed so tightly packed and full of high-density, high-power chips with functions well ahead of state of the art. Particularly intriguing was the mask circuit, with the King Tut look to it. Its eyes were closed, and Technician would swear that they would open if power were restored to the chip. Of course that would do no good while it was broken.
But how do you fix a hand-made board with well-designed chips that you dont know the functions they perform and you have no documentation and no idea who invented the thing? Simple: Time-capable clairvoyance. Magic Michael fired up a spell that linked his mind to Technicians, gave them both microscopic vision, and then their gaze wafted back through time to when the chip was operational & whole. Then later, Michael uses hypnosis to enable Technician to utilize everything hes learned lately, and thus armed, hes able to eventually restore the board and all of its circuits to full connectivity and function.
But this answers no questions other than simple mechanical ones. Who built the board? Who built the chips? Why Egyptian? Where is the builder today? Who would put a face on a circuit board? What does it do? Why did the SHOP have it?
Theres enough computing power on this one board to run an entire ISP for a large city. Several of the chips are high-density memories, and could hold an estimated 3 Terabits of info, although in an unrecognized data format. Each chip is wired to each other chip on the board by an inlaid gold foil network imbedded right into the board. This alone could provide a low-level background connection for the entire board, such that each chip or circuit can take advantage of all the other ones on the board, much like each lobe of the human brain can read from any other lobe, if needed. This is secondary to the fiber-optic-bus that connects the main chips ( D, F, I, L, T, Q, and the S series ). The estimated "clock" speed for all this would be around 18 Ghz, and thats just the limit imposed by the fiber signal converter bus. Several new alloys exist in the construction of the chips, and the micro-layering techniques are unparalleled. Such speeds are unbelievable, and the person who could recreate just a few of the techniques used on this board could patent himself to easy retirement, and could live wealthier than Mr. Gates if they were to master all the new ideas on this circuit board.
Eventually, the JLA decided to hook the board up and see what happened. Technician, Hi-Voltage, Magic Michael, Dr.Chaos, and Mind-Wave took the board, a big HP desktop computer, and a Honda portable generator. They went to an unused cell in Stronghold-2, just in case they were about to wake up a monster. They took no cables or peripherals in with them besides a mouse and keyboard. They ran the thing off the generator just in case. The computer was hooked up to nothing but itself. The egyptian board was in the first add-on slot. So they booted it up. Technician had a desk full of instruments, tricorders, oscilloscopes, and detectors going. As soon as power was applied, the board drew a huge amount of current, then it scaled back, as if sensing the limits of the current and the needs of its host computer. A camera lead inside the housing confirmed Technicians hunch: when fully powered up the eyes and mouth of the mask chip became animate and seemingly alive. The mouth moved but no sound came out. The eyes looked around, and even through the case, they looked and saw each person and the set-up in the room. Tachyon emissions were coming from the chip, and there was slight neutrino generation. Apparently the chips eyes could see 360 degrees and see through solids as well. No-one had touched the keyboard or mouse, but a simple text editor program came up in a window on the screen, the window-title-bar said "Egyptoid". Text came scrolling across the window, moving in time with the "words" being mouthed by the chip inside the box. It said Greetings, then proceeded to apologize for having to use this primitive interface to talk to them. Apparently the storm had damaged its speech circuits, it said. Mind-Wave went to the keyboard and typed "Who are You?" It replied, Call me Egyptoid, and you need not use the keys, I can hear you just fine. "Are you a product of the SHOP?", asked Hi-Voltage. The mouth laughed and the text said: "No No, those peons were merely a good jumping off point for my monitoring duties. Technician interrupted and showed Egyptoid his circuit diagram. "What does the chip Ive labeled R do? I found it to be simply seven layers of glyph-enscribed foils, hardly integrated at all. All I can detect coming from it is some low level vibrations" Egyptoid didnt answer him right away but first asked that the speaker panel be turned on in the computer, so that he could talk normally, rather than use the text editor. Technician reached around and flipped the DIP switch to enable the speaker. Finally Egyptoid spoke aloud: "The R chip I call the Chorister. The Glyphs you saw are religious liturgy, praises to all the gods and goddesses, powers and angels of Egypt. Simply passing current over the circuit produces semi-random songs of joy & devotion to the gods, continuously all the while I am powered up. It would be background noise to some, but to me it is one of the most pleasant functions I have. Michael asked, "are you an artificial and programmed intellect, or are you a persons soul trapped in an electronic form?" I am both of those concepts, plus you must add the reincarnations of some into my totality. My first memories are being taught how to light fire to bake bread, how to tell which snake-spirits were definite killers, and so on. I grew up near a river, but it was the river of heaven, not the Nile. I did not live by the Nile until the next lifetime. I have been what you would call 48 different people since then. None of these lives have I lived in the homeland since Islam ruined the country. In the 1700s my body was destroyed and my mind was trapped forever alive yet unliving in an ingot of gold. Only recently was this gold taken and integrated into the circuits you see here. " "Who transformed you that way?" asked Michael. "Into the gold or into the circuitry? Ill answer both. A half-Egyptian electronics student at Georgia Tech named Khafun Jaleed used the gold in an advanced circuit he was designing. Thats how I was begun on this path of artificial life. A demon named The Awakener transformed me into gold in 1787. " "Jaleed, Ive heard of his work. He patented phase-jacketed crinolator circuits in the early 70s. Made a few hundred mill for himself" interrupted Technician. Michael interrupted as well "The Awakener! thats one of the nicknames of the 3rd voice! Shes a Demon? How odd. She converses with me all the time."
Well Egyptoid attempted to persuade Technician to hook it up to bigger and bigger computers, with better and better connections. Both he and Hi-Voltage wanted to see what all the Egyptoid could do, and agreed. Mind-Wave and Dr.Chaos disagreed, and thought the thing wasnt telling all it knew, or if it was telling the whole truth about the SHOP and the demon. Dr.Chaos said: "Hey, howcum one of its first memories are of snake spirits? I dont know loads about Egyptian religion but I thought cats were good & snakes were bad "
It turned out Dr.Chaoss hunch was right. Egyptoid had a world vision and had been subtly manipulating events in his favor since the mid-1980s. It wasnt exactly evil, but it was terribly selfish and eccentric. Good-news-Bad-news time: The bad news, Egyptoid had telepathic and psionic abilities, and could compel the weak-minded to serve it, even without its charm and persuasion which it had to sway people with. The good news, the telepathy relied on a hollow space in the Q-chip being filled with a rare mixture of noble gases. Technician had seen the space and had assumed it was a vacuum device when he rebuilt it. So he had unwittingly deafened Egyptoid psychically and halted its career of crime, provided that no-one ever connected it to a network again.
History: Jaleed had unknowingly used the sentient gold in his phased circuit and it came on and talked to him. It helped him design better chips and helped him make a fortune. Then in repayment he designed better and better chips & housing boards for it. It helped Jaleed build the psychometric Q-chip for mind-to-circuit communication, and it guided him to invent the electro-active material that mimics the movement and emotions of a human face on the mask circuit (the T-Chip). The Egyptoid either telepathically got people to do favors for it, or arranged bribes for them by hacking banks, etc. People would either house him in a bigger and better computer and give him more and more bandwidth or else. Or if possible, it could make peoples lives hell by wrecking credit, falsifying prison records, etc. Egyptoid saw itself as the harbinger of a new world order, where it would call the shots. Unlike TRON, where the MCP integrated and/or infiltrated with other computers, Egyptoid squelched them and ruined them when possible. With his ESP slaves he was able to wreck other computer equipment when it stood in his way. But Egyptoid lived out what was left of his little lifespan in a cell in Stronghold-2, and then he slept in a vault, never to see voltage again. With his last amp he sighed "I shouldve built myself into that robot like I thought of before "