The Doomsday Code
Publication date: November 14th 2023
Genres: Adult, Thriller
In an artificial intelligence lab in Shanghai, something has gone terribly wrong. Days after a major breakthrough in machine learning, CyberGen Industries’ lead AI scientist is dead—and their precious prototype has vanished into the ether. An investigation reveals that, against all odds, the lab’s “unhackable” system has been breached.
The discovery, an algorithm mimicking human intelligence, is growing quickly—becoming more cunning and unpredictable with each passing hour. Soon its capabilities will eclipse its creators entirely.
Who stole it? And more troubling, what do they plan to do with it?
Ex-NSA hacker Adrian Pryor may be the only person on the planet capable of reining it in. He spent his career keeping the world safe, a vigilance for which he paid an enormous, personal price. Adrian knows there are people who will stop at nothing to control the powerful technology. He must find a way to do the impossible: to stop them, and to outmaneuver a rival more clever, more powerful, and more alien than anything he has ever seen.
Grounded in real-world science, Sara Yager’s wildly inventive debut brings advanced AI to life, illuminating a frightening, all-too-real truth about the future: we are one breakthrough away from inventing ourselves out of existence.
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Adrian expected to see the other agents descend at any moment. Instead, a flash of movement from the top of the stairwell caught his eye. He looked up just in time to see a small metal object clattering down the stairs. A cold rush of panic coursed through him. “Run!”
He took two large strides and then shoved Olivia as hard as he could. They flew sidelong down the hallway, landing hard on stone, his body crushing hers in a protective shield. A second later, his night vision goggles flared painfully, and the entire room erupted in flames.
The grenade was as loud as a sonic boom in the silent chamber. The blast threw everyone to the ground. Shattered stone exploded from the walls and ceiling, followed by the thick pall of smoke and rock dust.
Adrian’s heart hammered in his chest.
Someone is still here.
His gaze shot to Wu. The agent was clearing rubble from around his legs and then proceeded to army-crawl back towards the stairwell, retrieving his CF-05 submachine gun. He pointed at the door. “You two—out, now!”
Before Adrian could react, a crack from overhead stopped him in his tracks. All eyes shot to the stairwell. A dark figure appeared, silhouetted by a hellish inferno behind him. Another gunshot blasted, followed by the whine of the man’s semi-automatic weapon as it unleashed a round past them. The attacker wheeled back from the force of the weapon’s discharge. Bullets rained from the ceiling, sparking, and ricocheting off stone. Adrian’s whole body tensed, pressing down tighter on top of Olivia.
When the bullets finally subsided, Agent Wu burst to his feet, streaking low across the chamber. He ducked into a cross-corridor and skidded to a stop, leaving only the barrel of his weapon visible around the corner.
Taking advantage of the momentary chaos, the assailant leapt from the stairs, charging headlong into the chamber and towards the solitary exit. He passed in a blur, leapfrogging over bodies as he went. He was almost to the door when another round cut the air, this time coming from Wu’s weapon. The fire caught the man on the back of his torso. Within seconds, his bullet-riddled form crumpled to the floor and the temple fell silent again.
Swearing, one of the agents next to Adrian rose to his feet. “You okay?”
“I’ll live.” Adrian’s eyes were on Olivia.
“How about you, ma’am?” the agent said.
“I’ve been better,” Olivia said, rubbing her arm.
“You’re lucky he got you out of the way before the grenade detonated,” the agent said. “If you had been at the bottom of that stairwell . . .”
Agent Wu joined them. “You’re safe now.”
Sara Yager built a successful ten-year career in the semiconductor industry before leaving to care for her children full time. With a unique perspective as a mother and former tech professional, she brings a fresh and insightful voice to the world of speculative fiction.
A mom of two young boys, Yager came up with some of her best concepts for The Doomsday Code while waiting in the elementary school pickup line. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. This is her first novel.
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