Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Mara watched this all unfold with mild consternation, brow furrowed and furrowing deeper as the locusts ate a picture of Ryder's helmet. It didn't seem malicious, but it boded poorly. "....concerning," she said, reaching off to the side of a piece of paper, which she folded neatly in half and dropped over the system's camera. "No more of that."

 

She took the mouse back from Chitin to add text of her own, floating beneath the flaming question in simple, unadorned monotype font:

 

WE ARE NOT GODS, BUT GODHOOD IS RELATIVE.

 

"Options? Opinions?" she queried, half-turning her head to look at the others. "Could check with Miss Americana, but don't think she'd want to leave the experiment alone. Also, mildly satisfying to leave her to it. Good strategy, too; backup in case we get crazied." She did not find it necessary to explain what 'getting crazied' entailed. "Probably sapient - not definitely, but too high a risk.Probably won't want to cut power, then. Definitely want to limit network, glad we did that. Not big on the face-eating."

Share this post


Link to post

"Come on, boss," Erin muttered, even as she texted rapidly with her security team. "If somebody asks if you're a god, say yes!" She looked up at the screen. "Jacob says we're go on the air-gap; this system is totally stand-alone now and has no access to the rest of the building or the network. I've also got security on alert and have everybody in this section of the building moving to the east wing in case we need to lock down. What do you think it is?" 

Share this post


Link to post

"I think it is very unlikely that we will be crazied," said Eira with a teenager's invincible assurance. "Whatever these entities may be, I doubt they are a match for contemporary software systems - otherwise they would have sought to leave this hardware before our arrival. With that in mind, a new home for them seems like the most prudent course of action. Perhaps Chitin could construct a new system for them to operate on once they have been displaced from this one. "  The addition of Chitin's name was a trifle belated but seemed no less sincere for that. 

 

It was a serious potential crisis, although certainly one within the wheelhouse of Dragonfly and Wander. Were there genuine magical sentients or were they artificial creations produced by some logorhythmic coincidence in the ancient text itself? Were they hostile or friendly - and if the one, could they be persuaded to be the other? These were all important questions. 

 

But not ones that the two teens could necessarily answer from inside their laboratory across the hall, where once again they found themselves reunited with their small charges along with their equipment. (Charlie was very busy playing a game on one of the security balls, but Mia had many questions about where they'd been, what were they doing, and why did that room they'd been in smell like farts?) 

 

In the privacy of the lab, while Mia talked with Ryder, Eira took a moment to bury her face in her hands. 

Share this post


Link to post

"I don't actually have a good explanation for the fart smell," Ryder admitted to Mia, sitting crosslegged with his armour returned to its dimensional pocket. After returning to the lab he'd prioritized making sure the kids - and to a lesser extent Yellow - had calmed down and we doing alright but with that accomplished he looked over his shoulder toward Eira. "Hey, I'll be back in a minute, okay?" he told the inquisitive little girl before getting to his feet and sauntering over, hands in his pockets.

 

"Heeeey. You, uh, you doing okay there?" He leaned over to try to catch Eira's gaze with her hands over her eyes. "You're probably pretty bummed out about them not letting us help deal with the digital demon bugs, huh? Infernal insects? Infernects? I'm working on it." He hopped up onto the side of the nearby table and swung his legs back and forth. "I get that. They ate a picture of my head, which seems like something I should respond to personally, right?"

Share this post


Link to post

"This is what I meant by exile," scowled Eira, lowering her hands and beginning to loudly crack her knuckles. "We are no different than those two to them." She shot a look at the kindergarteners, not looking nearly so irritable at the little kids, before looking back at Ryder. "If I had not spoken out, I might be in there with them still." Frowning, she looked at Ryder and threw up her hands. "We might as well start building the Infernect Jail! It is better than busywork.

 

Eira's touch with machines proved to be fast and hard, her brain seeming to run faster than anyone's had any right to. Without preamble, she attached herself directly to one of the room's computers by means of that same silver datacable, the system moving faster than Ryder could quite make out. "I will generate the synthetic reality - if you and Yellow can - build the hardware." she said. 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Ryder looked over his shoulder to follow Eira's gaze. "I mean, we're a lot taller than them, so there's that." The joke didn't really land so he set about gathering components from around the lab. He ended up with an unwieldy pile that made keeping his balance difficult before he dumped them onto the adjacent table.

 

"So..." He cracked open an appropriate casing and twirled a hexagonal screwdriver between his fingers while taking stock of the mounting points inside. "If this is a private thing totally don't worry about it but like, the thing with the big magnet kinda suggested you've got a lot of metal and I think I picked up on some strong feelings about ethics in artificial intelligence? And you're writing that code just impressively quickly." He bobbed his head back and forth in an implied question, looking for any reaction that told him he needed to rapidly backpedal from a sensitive topic.

Share this post


Link to post

Eira gave Ryder a hard smile, painted lips pulling back from perfect white teeth. "Yes," she said shortly, seemingly able to talk and carry on the work of programming without any trouble with the latter. She paused for a moment, letting it hang, then added, "I am fully synthetic. I do not know Talos, I am not related to Protectron, and Miss Americana and myself are responsible for the design of my current super-structure." She pulled her hand away from the computer, her datacable snapping back into place. "There, the program is now self-generating. By the time you are finished, it will be able to produce subjective weeks worth of content for the Infernects."  

Share this post


Link to post

"Neat!" Ryder replied, brushing past the slightly aggressive preemptive litany of clarifications. "So then how did you get around the need for compressive strength and micro-actuators while maintaining elasticity for stuff like facial expressions? 'Cause you're still stuck with the general skull structure just for shape and then it's like, there's never enough space for everything!" He slotted a solid state drive onto a flex cable and experimented with different orientations within the casing. "Man, and designing your own look from scratch, that's gotta take so much, like, self-assurance. I feel like I'd be all just, woah, decision paralysis! You should meet my sister, she's confident like that." He looked up as Yellow buzzed overhead and dropped a stick of memory onto the grounded mat on the table. "Wait, so did you just drink the smoothie to be nice? Aw, thank you!"

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...