Sunday, November 30, 2014

City of Curses: Oddfellow 2

Page 2 of an experiment/practice run on a comic.  Mainly I'm trying to see how well I stick to producing these.  I want to aim for at least once a week.
The Story: Oddfellow is a Android and a Paladin- he seeks Piscatore, in a cove of the City of Curses, Crux.  In a city where androids usually are slaves and vampires are protected citizens, how does a Paladin keep on the righteous path?
Going to get around to releasing a creative commons license for this: noncommercial sharealike.  Modify/color if you want, please don't sell and credit me.  And yes, I do commission work.

Please comment if you enjoy, I'll try to think up a schedule if I feel like there is enough clamor for these.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

City of Curses: Oddfellow 1

Page 1 of a experiment, will probably watermark this or something later as Creative Commons Non-commercial license for the curious, but I haven't yet.  Enjoy.

If you like this, please comment.  Feedback determines if I'm going to do more of these or not.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Random Musing: Stealing Mechanics

Using Pandemic for Political/Social Mechanics

My first thought is to use Dread as a basic model.  This could also be useful for Severance as well.  Questions as setting up

Replacing the Jenga Tower in Dread (an idea for a mechanic on the same principles).  Because a Jenga tower has inevitability built in: the tower is going to fall eventually, this same principle needs to be built into any mechanic trying to mirror it.  I want tension that crescendos: welp, my first thought is to look at other board games that have similar mechanics I could steal.

In Pandemic, the tension comes from cubes that grow.  For Pandemic, this represents diseases growing and overflowing cities as the game goes on.  Mechanically: 3 cubes of the same color make a city "full."  Any more cubes of that color, and they "outbreak": a cube goes to each city connected to that city.  Well, that's the visual tension that affects players: they plan and work based on these cubes.

Could this be taken on for a RPG?

My first thought is applying the idea for interacting with NPCs, the party's morale and reputations.  Say that you put down a sheet of paper on the table.  Draw a series of circles.  The party has its own circle, label it.  Each circle directly connected to the Party should have line connected to it.

This map will change, which is fine.  But each circle should represent a group of people critical to the PCs.  I think the catch hand is that the players know about these circles.  This is for a more political aim, allowing for a game where players are working to get a organization, colony or group to do what they want.

Next we need dice, preferably d6s for now.  Different colors work best, I'm going to assume Red, Green, White and Black are available.  Black means panicked, scared, more or less have no more morale to go on.

Each circle can only have a max of each color in its circle; if it gets another one die added, each circle added to it spread out to each connected circle.

This means that this system also needs a sort of economy of daily actions within the community.  I can't imagine everyone can be looked after, but the PCs will want to try and keep their end of the group from falling apart to any of the conditions these dice could represent.  Low Morale is one thing, another could be a epidemic, a fad, possibly even a foreign religion.  Good reputation could also be a thing.

Whenever a die comes into the Party's circle, any NPCs that would fall into that circle are affected.  Or possibly the PCs start to face encounters of that kind of influence.

Why use d6s as a measurement?  I think you could tie a HP/damage mechanic in based on the d6s.  At the start of each session, you roll up a value based on d6s for each circle: that's how much "damage" it needs to take before it goes away.

Damage for anything non-combat I think needs three dice sizes to choose from: d6 (Poor), d8 (Average), d12 (Good).

I think this is at least a good start for a mechanic measuring group problems.  How do dice get added?  That part so far is GM fiat, but I think it needs a more precise tool.  I like the idea of a percentage being rolled each day, but that feels... well, to be honest, time-consuming in its own way.

My thought for using 4 colors of dice is that I could use a deck of playing cards for generating events.  This sort of mechanic would play well in a setting that has a small community tied into it.  I kinda also want to use Kingdom too, but as a way to generate future events and crises...

But lets stick to the 4 kinds of dice.  That means four kinds of Things to track (need a better term for it).  My thought is to label them: Plague, Praise, Panic, Problems.  These are broad to encapsulate a bunch of different things while still being within the same "hemisphere" of issues.  Perhaps issues with local water supplies going dry is something I can refer back to repeatedly each time Problems comes up.  Or maybe Praise will be based on local events?  Who knows.

My first thought on these was to say "based on system."  But let's be a bit more practical here.  Lets say doing something for anyone in a community will take time: you have find them, talk with them, do what you can, etc.  There are two modes here: RPing the entire thing, and handwaving it.

The GM has to decide this when a player begins doing things for their daily action.  I'd like to make a recommendation here for the narrativist in me: don't RP each time players interact NPCs as a scene.

What?  I know, that sounds definitely NOT narrativist.  But let me get to a point here: unless a particular NPC is tied to a subplot or main plot, don't waste the time on it.  Its possible for a single character to dominate all the scenes if you do things this way.

A daily action should take 4 or 5 hours, maybe meaning that most characters should get to have 2 actions they can devote to in a day.  Spending a daily action to combat a Thing [srsly, I need a name for this, Issue maybe?] lets you get a roll to reduce it in that circle of the community.

I decided to think of this after going over one of my favorite ideas in Pathfinder's Ultimate Campaign.  I'm a visual thinker, so I found the systems present in it hard to focus on.  I want a subsystem for handling communities, but find the idea of treating any social problems as "one roll to rule them all" to be less than satisfying.  Combat takes hours to resolve, but a single good social roll can end a problem instantly.

So I want something I can dig my GM/Player headspace into.  That's the genesis of this.

Also: it touches onto my Severance idea a bit too.  Communities should have some internal mechanics I think.  Stealing from Pandemic seems like a good first step, perhaps.  I need to look over more things for ideas to steal from...

The Machines of Shiloh 23

"Ideas do not die.  The memes that comprise them exist forever more.  But like everything else they can change.  You never kill an idea: you force it to adapt to what you want it to become.  An old idea, if mutated enough, looks nothing like the original."
Dr. Hannah Maenad
Studies of Shiloh

The filtration system looked like a hellscape.  Something out of the divine comedy or something.  The drone body I'd swiped stopped, I realized I'd been using it to stare at the sight before me.

"Really?  You have to be fekking with me."

The water filtration system had been overrun with varmints.  The little bots had once looked like
animals, but had altered themselves.  Burnt fur, twisted limbs and insane customizations ruled.  Each
varmint had mutilated itself.  Their eyes glowed with a insane glimmer.  The filtration was just a mess of pipes, hoses and storage tanks.

The little monsters had turned the chamber into a mad hell.  They'd twisted and redirected liquids all
over the place.  Customized to treat, channel and alter the basic components into poison.  The water
filtration system itself was pumping out the nerve gas into the rest of the vertical garden.  Eleanor
could never stop this, not with everything else going on.  These varmints had been subcomponents of her own super-system of pieces.  They could even still be pretending to be part of her.

Fek.  This was like a cancer in a living organism.  It could fester until it took down the larger

It's a mistake to think that massive artificial intelligences are omniscient.  They can comprehend more.  They are aware of more too.  But that doesn't make them perfect.  Like any complex being, simpler beings could trick them, find holes in the system and exploit them.

"Welp, any of you little yabai willing to die for free on me?"  I asked the room full of angry,
screeching varmints.  The stared at me, their dumb eyes just looking on.

Each of them muttered the same stupid phrase: "walkfree."

"Gee, I wish Malkav had considered some better haraam phrase for her oging pet project."  I ran into the room.

That might've sounded really not bright to do.  After all, I only had the single police drone rushing
in.  What if the police drone got infected?  Wasn't I outnumbered?

This wasn't my first rodeo.

Police drones are just lower-grade military combat drones.  Combat drones revolutionized warfare.  I
moved faster than any of the varmints could hope to match.  At a blurring speed, the police drone I
piloted dived straight into the swarm and the filtration system.

I didn't care how many varmints I hit.  My goal was to wreck the system.

"Walkfree!"  Varmints hissed, ripping into my drone's body.  I could feel the viral assaults on my
drone's systems as well.  The local metanet was soaking wet with Malkav's memetic infestation.  I
swatted each of these away.

To be honest, most of my concentration was on keeping the virus at bay long enough.  I just needed to knock the gas production offline.  The drone I piloted, the varmints, even parts of Eleanor were
irrelevant.  I just needed to get a opening for my plan to work.

/Shelby: @Charon: Whatever you did, you crazy soabi, the gas has stopped appearing.

/Charon: @Shelby: Thanks.  Gotta... get this last...

That's when I blew the EMP ring in my drone's chest.  A small specialty bit I'd placed in all my police drones, the ring when blown would create an electromagnetic pulse.  It would take me a bit of time to get a unit or line back in Eleanor long enough to see if it worked.  If it had, all of the infected
varmints and related systems would've shorted out.

/Shelby: What did you do?  A bunch of bots just dropped out of the metanet.

/Charon: Had to blow a EMP.  Seemed the best course.  @Eleanor: You still active?

/Eleanor: @Charon: @Shelby: Sorry.  Better now.  I was able to save thirty individuals in my food
storage bays.

/Shelby: That's better than nothing.  Do you have estimate on oxygen levels for them?

/Eleanor: Uncertain.  The system was never meant to serve as a life raft.

/Charon: Shelby, I have varmints down here we need to quarantine.  Possibly incinerate.

There was a pause.  I started to look through the feeds around Eleanor Vertical Garden.  The food
storage bays were dark, but I checked up on people.  In one of the bays was a familiar pair of figures.

Kensha and another girl.  Kensha was holding the girl, whose left arm looked like it been destroyed.

Dislocated, broken and more.

There wasn't any audio.  But I made a note of it.  Kensha had narrowly been killed by Ada Malkav a
second time.  It was like the girl was Malkav's kill list or something.

/Shelby: Charon.  You're not serious.

/Charon: Varmints had rewired Eleanor's water filtration and fertilizer systems to generate nerve agent.

 The varmints were repeating the same phrase over and over.

/Shelby: Let me guess.  'Walk Free.'

That would confirm it for the two of us then.  I knew Shelby would never admit I was right.  But she
knew the protocol on this situation.  The memetic virus had come back, and it had found a vector into the middle of Roosevelt.  Something had to be done.

Autogov needed to be consulted.  That meant the people hiding needed to be rescued.  Data had to
aggregate.  Once all of Roosevelt knew about it, Nightland would learn about it.  It would go viral, on all of the social nets.  The Metanet would arrive at a conclusion.

/Charon: Yeah.  Let's get those people out of there.

//Live Stream: Debate between Ada Malkav v. Catherine 97801A
//Autogov and Human Self-Governance

Weir the Gonzo: Welcome to our Livestream of this debate!  Both participants have agreed to the terms of our debate, which you can find on our Metanet wiki if you wish to know the precise details.  First off, I'd like to introduce Ada Malkav, author of the recent 'To Walk Free' and advocate for human self-governance.  Welcome, Ada.

Malkav: Weir.  I am glad to be here, to finally tell the truth to those doubters out there.

Weir: Well, many have their own opinions on the subject as well.  Before we begin, I've been asked to inform our audience again that Ada Malkav has no associations with any of the Old Nations, correct Ada?

Malkav: The old nations were failed experiments, we can do better without resorting to giving control to machines.

Weir: That leads us to our other participant, Catherine 97801A.  You might've heard of her or seen
something about a Bioroid involved in the Nyx Incident ten years ago.  Catherine, you remember that incident well?

Catherine: I was much more immature back then.  I wish Sighter had survived it to tell us the secrets he'd learned.  Psychs need more respect than they are given.  Sighter proved that Psychs are people, possibly better than the normal baseline.

Malkav: I can't disagree with that.  The Old Nations made a mistake treating Psychs like interesting
toys and not people.

Weir: Of course.  Are you both ready to begin with our questions?

Malkav: Yes.

Catherine: Go ahead, Weir.

Weir: Good.  Each participant will be given five to ten minutes to respond to each question, or the
appropriate equal amount in terms of bandwidth should they choose, as predetermined prior to the start of this debate.

Weir: First question: Autogov has succeeded at replacing most smaller governments in the colonies.  What are your responses to the concerns of major and larger colonies?  Can autogov be applied to larger colonies or even on Earth itself?  Catherine, you won the RNG.

Catherine: Thank you Weir.  The answer is a simple yes.

Weir: Do you wish to elaborate?

Catherine: The prior examples of Autogov's performance speak for themselves.  I've written on the
ethical bounds of the system in Ethics of Autogov.  A.I.s throughout the system have demonstrated the usefulness of automating basic governing functions.  Handing leglisative and policy-making to an algorithmic solution makes sense as a next step.

Malkav: And inhuman machines will just what, not choose to turn on their creators?

Catherine: The aggregate will arrive at the solution desired by the People.  Treating non-organic
intelligences as the Other isn't a solution.

Weir: Ada, I take it you disagree with the idea?

Malkav: Governance cannot be completely entrusted with machines.  It is a slippery slope that had been predicted to be harmful to human liberty and health for centuries.  Government requires a human hand, or else it will destroy the governed.

Catherine: That still assumes the worst for humans, ignoring the rest.  We've automated journalism,
transportation, production, medicine and other fields.  None of these created a disaster.  Government is in more harm from individuals.

Malkav: Hiveminds and similar technology was the pinnacle of the Reformed Asian Dominion's methodology.
That removed individuality from government, forcing it on the people.

Weir: You are saying Autogov and forcing people to join collective minds are on a similar level?

Malkav: That's obvious, isn't it?

Catherine: I have to disagree.  Autogov does not use any sort of intelligence other than what is
determined by the aggregate.  It is a system you choose to be part of.  We already have cases where some communities choose to participate without being part of the system at all.

Malkav: Being outside of the system is just a form of discrimination against those who refuse to bow to machine rule.

Catherine: In no way is Autogov the same as a technocracy by AI.

Weir: That is perhaps the most confusing point of Autogov to those who have not lived under it as a
system, Catherine.  How would you describe it?  How is it not rule by a artificial intelligence?

Catherine: Autogov is a automated system, like many other functions of the metanet.  AIs that have come into being were the result of emergent complex systems.  Metanet feeds and automated functions are not intelligent.  They have no goals, no purposes, no emotions.  They don't have a end plan, and incapable of the hate that Ada Malkav would purport they could have.

Malkav: This system lacks a safety net.  Who would stop a bad decision?  Where is the individual to
guide it on the correct moral path, fleshee?

Weir: Ada, please refrain from slurs like that.  We try to maintain a open policy-

Malkav: She is a cloned bioroid, Weir.  She is almost half-machine herself.  I would ask it she might
consider herself to lack the perspective of what normal humans are like-

Catherine: I disagree.  That is the same sort of hate Ada Malkav has based her views on.  It is fear-
based.  We want humanity to accel, do we not?  We want to be better than what we were before.  To do that requires us to recognize that power does not belong in the hand of any individual.  We should not have kings, lords or senators.

Weir: Equality as intended programing?

Catherine: If that makes it palatable, then yes.

Mom didn't stop touching my hair.  It was weird.  Dad didn't say anything.  He just looked grumpy.

"I'm fine."  I repeated.

Sam meanwhile, was still undergoing medunit care.  I could hear arms whirling around her.  Still
conscious, she tried to not watch as my parents fawned over me.  I understood her silent jealous looks.

Mom looked back at Sam too.  Her stare didn't seem fair to me.  There was something underneath that.

"I'm glad you made it out ok."  Dad said, his face still full of grump.

"And without a broken limb."  Mom added.  Her eyes still darted back to Sam.  I don't know if she knew I noticed.  But there was definitely something there.

"Yeah.  I feel sorry for Sam."  I shook my head.  "She saved my life."

Dad looked over toward her.  Dad was a specialist, a surgeon capable of specialties outside the normal scope of a medunit.  "Well, we owe her one."

"Our girl is lucky to keep running into such luck with these things."  Mom said, her hands still
tousling my hair.

"Mom- wait a second.  Luck?"  I paused.  "Charon saved me both times."

/Charon: @Kensha_Bodhi: @Kara_Bodhi: Could we talk about this now, or do we need a more appropriate moment?

"Charon?"  I paused.  "You've been listening to all of this?"

/Charon: I've got a interest in the new girl.  The one that used to be a boy.

"Don't joke about that."  I said.  "Sam saved me."

/Charon: Before or after demonstrating she knew something about the memetic virus?

"Memetic whatnow?"  I turned to Mom.  "What is Charon talking about?"

Dad walked out of the room, giving Mom a knowing look.  He didn't want to know.  Or maybe he wasn't allowed to know.  That made me nervous.

"When you were very young, there was a terrorist attack on Nightland."  Mom began.

"I know.  Charon was created because of that.  He saved us from it."  I felt confused.  "Is there
something I missed or-"

/Charon: I wasn't created for that specific attack.  I was created as a countermeasure to a memetic
virus created Ada Malkav.

Mom sighed.  "Charon, I can explain this-"

/Charon: Stop beating around the bush.  I've wanted Kensha to know this for years.  She can handle the knowledge of it.

"Fine, Charon.  Fine."  Mom walked over to the window.  The Eleanor Vertical Garden was visible, still covered in smoke.  I could see some of the plants, most of which were blackened.  It looked like a rotten log made of glass.

"What are you guys trying to say?"  I asked.  "A memetic virus?  What does this have to do with

"Hannah Maenad diagnosed it.  She believed that someone in Shiloh had the basics pieces to implement it."  Mom sat down.  "She'd been conducting studies there.  She and I thought we could eventually convince its population to join Autogov."

"Hannah Maenad was Sam's mother."  I looked over to Sam.  I didn't know if she could hear a word of any of this.

"Yes."  Mom pulled out a holo of Hannah's face.  The face started to speak.

"Kara.  It's me."  Hannah looked concerned.  "Sorry, I had to wait until everyone had fallen asleep to
get this message to you.  That crazy bitch did it.  She perfected her mad scheme for a memetic virus.

Her bumbling idiot of a son doesn't know how to use it though.  I was at Ada's deathbed.  You need to be on the lookout for something, anything."

"Unfortunately, I wasn't there, and the message went directly to Bodhisattva House.  We were on our way to dock."  Mom sat uncomfortably in her chair.

"Why-"  I stared at her.  "Mom, why?  Why would Hannah alert you, and not Shelby or someone AI?"

"I was her main contact in Roosevelt.  And Autogov would enact policies once I'd been informed."

/Charon: Oh for the love of data.  Tell her about the haraam committee already.  She has a right to know about it now.

Mom visibly winced.  "Charon you are going to make want to drag a Psych into this, if only to see if
you've lost your mind."

"What committee?"  I asked.  I stared at her, confused.  "You knew Sam's mother.  Sam and Shiloh is
responsible for doing these attacks, and you know something?  Why are you so important that people would send you messages about something only Autogov should know about?"

/Charon: Autogov sets policy, and certain functions require individuals in order to enact policy.  In a
rare few cases, autogov requires us to ask for approval from a individual before we can perform certain functions.

"I know that."  I said.  It was one of the ways me performing Jury Duty was important.  Autogov required peers, someone of a relative point of view to approve or direct action.  It was one of the basic rights that always was afforded a person, so that a automated system didn't falsely accuse subjects.  The system had pitfalls, but there were workarounds for that.

"But you don't know that some things require a committee to be organized.  That committee decides- well, it affirms the findings of Charon."  Mom straightened.  "Some times parts of autogov gets compromised, individual spirits or minds may become rogue or violent.  They need... well..."

"The execution committee?"  I blinked.  "You are part of the Execution Committee?  You have to be
fekking kidding me."

/Charon: Hey.  Don't knock it.

"Kensha."  Sam's voice made me freeze.  Our conversation distracted me, I didn't hear the medunit stop.

Sam stood behind me.  "I'm going to step out I think."

I blinked up at her.  Sam's arm looked bright and brand new.  "Sam- you're a part of this-"

"No, I'm not."  Sam looked at my mother, then back to me.  "I know what you're mother is talking about.  Sometimes a rabid dog needs to be shot."

I shook my head.  "You- Sam- I-"

"Besides..." Sam shrugged.  "It sounds personal enough to me.  Excuse me Dr. Bodhi."

Sam walked away, the door sliding shut as she left.

"She seems better now than last I spoke with her."  Mom commented.

"Sam's been through a lot."  I said aloud.  I didn't know why, but I felt connected to her somehow.

Even this distance seemed straining to me.  "I think she's happier this way."

"Honey, I've been part of the committee since before you were born.  The threat has always required... some sort of contingency be in place."

I couldn't look at her.  The thought that one of the things I'd abhorred most of my life might also be
my own mother disgusted me.  I felt tears on my face.

"Memetic virus."  I repeated.  "The wiki makes it sound like some sort of mind control."

Mom shook her head.

/Charon: It isn't.  A memetic virus is a contagious idea.  Ada Malkav's was created to infect varmints
and other bots.

"It makes them genocidal."  Mom explained.  "Ada Malkav strived her entire life to try and goad machines into attacking Shiloh.  She wanted to prove that her war with the Machines was justified."

/Charon: I came into being because Autogov ascertain the precaution outweighed waiting for your mother to coming back to Roosevelt.  Someone had to be able to delete any AI infected by the memetic virus.

"Without Charon deleting their memories, we would never have been able to contain the virus and squash it."  Mom looked at the smoke coming from the ruins of Eleanor Vertical Garden.  "It took could take over varmints and most lower AIs, but spirits at Charon's level were effectively immune."

I shook my head.  "Why?  Nevermind, I understand the why Ada Malkav did it- but what benefit is there from infecting Bots to be genocidal against humans?"

"Political capital."  Mom shrugged.  "In the Old Nations, ideas of using fear as a governing tool was a cornerstone.  Establish fear in those you want to govern.  Ada Malkav imagined herself the future of
human government.  Hannah Maenad feared it, and we were certain she was behind it."

/Charon: But Autogov restricted any prosecutions in Shiloh.  We had no definite proof of the origin of the virus, no witnesses or direct evidence.  Hannah Maenad had not seen anything, nor did she have any sort of proof to back her inferences.

"So she launched an attack and you couldn't do anything about it." I chewed my lower lip.  "And this
justifies deleting minds?"

Mom closed her eyes.  "It was a necessary evil."

"There isn't anyway to save them?"  I asked.  "No one bothered to think of way to reduce or remove their suffering?"

/Charon: They're varmints.  Most of their deletions are immediate.  The others are... worrying, if we
don't delete them.

"What do you mean?"  I asked.

"Charon thinks the virus has infected a spirit.  Its something he has been trying to prove the last few
weeks."  Mom wrapped her arms around herself.  She couldn't look at me.  "Kensha, I knew you wouldn't accept any part of this.  But I've always focused on helping you decide what kind of person you wanted to be.  I became part of the committee because of my focus on sociology and history.  I almost became a Psych, I almost got the genehacks needed, but Autogov asked me to step up to do something else."

"I need time to process all of this."  I shook my head.  "Why did I need to learn this now?"

/Charon: You need to know.

"And..."  Mom smiled.  "Charon's right.  Autogov needs to be properly informed about this.  You are
central actor in this.  You should know.  Its your right to know."

I sighed.  I just looked across Roosevelt at what used to be Eleanor Vertical Gardens.  "This is... I don't know."

Mom frowned.  "Individuals don't change history.  But sometimes persons can make a difference in the lives of others."

Next Part (24)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Machines of Shiloh 22

Previous (21)

"Automation of warfare rendered human participation moot.  It makes further sense to take the next step of eliminating violence altogether.  The idea of violence as a solution should be considered obsolete."
Catherine 97801A
Ethics of Autogov

The door slid down hard behind us.  "Well, I didn't expect that."

"A temple you've protected but know nothing about."  Garok snorted.  "So far, I haven't been surprised."

Syren spoke some arcane phrase.  Blue light filled the ancient hall of the Temple of the Heart.  Pictograms of all kinds were illuminated before us.  Hanael took a step forward, muttering a prayer.  She closed her eyes, then reopened them.

"I sense a evil presence here."  Hanael observed.  Her tone sounded grave.  "Something I can't pinpoint, its too powerful."

"Great."  I added.  "So, there is something going on.  No wonder why the temple guardians were being all weird."

"Keep on your toes, eh?"  Garok was already searching the floor.  "Fun fact: somebody was in here before us."

I blinked, looking at what he'd found.  Dirt and dust had been disturbed.  Something had been drug through the grand hall.  "Yeah.  And they were dragging something."

"Deathwalkers."  Garok guessed.  "They must've gotten in here."

"Or something else, something older."  Hanael posited.  "We follow the tracks then?"

"Yeah."  Garok nodded.  He led us to the same direction the tracks had been going.  We ascended a set of stairs, each step decorated with elven pictograms.

We entered a long gallery.  Along its sides were row upon row of statues.  Beast-headed, they seemed to follow us as we walked along them.  They stood like titans above us, only illuminated by Syren's light.

"Can you hear that?"  Syren asked.  I paused.  We shook our heads, but Syren pointed to the far end of the gallery.  "I hear laughter."

We continued down the gallery.  Then I started to hear the laughter.  It made me stop in my place.

"I know that laughter."  I whispered.

"What's wrong?"  Hanael asked me.  "Aurora?"

"That's a fey's laughter."  I tilted my head.  "Only..."

"She be unsettled because we fey bein' so rare here in the Heartwood."  A slender figure appeared before us, green smoke bellowing away from him.  With blue skin and elfin ears, he was taller than Garok but shorter than the muscular Hanael.  His garb looked regal, comprised of vines, thorns and flowers of all kinds.  But they kept to a blue them, matching his skin.  Both of his eyes glowed with a verdant light.  Vines and grass grew wherever his cloven feet touched the ground.

He extended a hand to me, bowing his head.  "Aye and good greetings to ye, Druid of the Heartwood.  I be the Prince of Spring.  Be ye here to save me from the mad deathwalkers?"

I felt like an idiot.  We both sat there in darkness.  I still held onto the little thing that had come at us.  The tiny bot that I attacked without thinking.

Who was I kidding?  I hadn't changed a bit.  Sure, I felt more like who I wanted to be.

But my past, the things I'd strived so hard to know and be in Shiloh were shackles on me.  I couldn't fathom why I deserved to even be in Roosevelt.  It was a place of peace.  Understanding.  Someone like Kensha shouldn't want to have anything to do with me.

I didn't know how long we sat there.  My left arm hurt, but my augmentations let me turn that pain off.  What a novel thought.  I wish I could turn off part of my head.

"Hold still for a second."  Kensha said.  "Your arm is fairly messed up."



I squinted, trying to see her.  I wondered what she was doing.  An app icon in my augmentations flashed off to one corner of mind's eye.  I activated it.  The eye shaped icon flickered, then my vision shifted.  Everything lit up.

I could see.  I stopped squinting.  Kensha hovered over my left arm.  She removed the bot I'd been clutching, and she started wrapping cloth around my arm.

"I- I've got to apologize Kensha."  I stumbled through the words.  "I- I'm sorry.  This is all my fault."

Kensha grabbed me.  Hugging me tightly, I could feel her tears on my skin.  "No, its not."

I blinked.  I couldn't get out of her embrace.  She just clung tight to me.

"You saved my life.  You only been trying to do the right thing."  I could feel her squeezing me tighter and tighter.  "You don't get to slide out of it.  I forgive you Sam.  You've been trying.  Don't you get that?  Everyone makes mistakes.  That's part of being human.

"You can't expect to just be perfect every time.  We all fail."  She put her hands on my cheeks and tilted her head toward me.  We locked eyes.  "You understand that?  You saved my life, and you were honest with me.  People have been trying to make things less and less prone to falling apart for centuries.  Admitting it isn't a crime."

"But-"  I tried to stop myself from crying in reaction.  "But I had been training to destroy this city.  I attacked that bot- I haven't done any better."

Kensha shushed me.  "Don't."

I closed my mouth.

"You saved my life.  Don't start doubting yourself, Sam.  Be the person you know you are."   Kensha let go of me.

After a moment of processing that, I wiped my eyes with my working arm.  I concentrated for a moment.  Then I thought aloud.  "You know, I hope we aren't down in here for too long."

Kensha shrugged.  "We've got the metanet if we need something to keep us occupied."

"Are the we the only ones down here?"  I pondered.  "I mean, is this the only storage spot that- whatsitsname?"

"Eleanor.  Her name is Eleanor."  Kensha supplied.

"Eleanor, right.  Are we the only ones Eleanor could've saved?"

"IDK.  Eleanor isn't responding on the Metanet."  Kensha put her arms behind her head.  "I can access the archives and other media, but stuff is too busy outside for any one spirit or A.I. respond."

Containing the gas and the spread of memetics through the varmints could take them awhile.  Even though Kensha meant well, I worried about the worst happening.  There was already one varmint loose in here, infected with it.  What if there was another one on the outside?  What if it was breaking the seal as we were trapped inside?

"Things..." I stopped myself.  Thinking on the bad wouldn't help anything.  Instead I looked at Kensha.  Would I rather my last moment be something of me worrying and thinking back to who I was, or should I instead at least being who I wanted to be?  It seemed better to ignore my doubts.

"Things what?"  Kensha asked.

"Things got exciting, I guess."  I turned to her.  "But I still want to learn how to be part of this.  I want to learn to be who I want to be."

"Halaal."  Kensha put a arm around me.

Father shook his head.  "You don't do that to your own blood."

"Oh c'mon."  I rolled my eyes.  "Augustine is a bully, dad.  He'll get over it-"

He grabbed my arm.  "Darling, I know you do a greater portion of our so very good work, but Augustine deserves at least some of your respect."

Really.  Father was going to start talking about respect now.  I sighed.  "He's out of control, I decided to insert some into his life."

Father paused.  Then he shook his head.  "You will show him your respect.  He is the one who will inherit our family's name in the end."

I screamed in frustration.  "He's a moron.  He- he thinks his little crimes are worthy of our course.  He never bothered to learn anything of the Old Nations, dad.  He knows nothing of what we are trying to bring back."

Father slapped me.  I felt blood erupt from my lower lip.  I hit the ground, more shocked that he would hit me.

/Ada_Malkav: Such disappointment, my son.

Father didn't know what grandmother had told me.  He lacked her insight.  He had been so narrow a thinker.  To think that pain would constrain me.

"I will not abide my children fighting one another.  We must present a united front to the town.  They heard what you did, and they prattle about it."  His voice made me shudder.  "You will obey.  Got it?"

I gave a nod.  But my mind started to calculate things.  Augustine wasn't the only threat.  Father had gotten rid of Samuel on a whim.  He could smell the change coming.  The success at Roosevelt, that caused the idiot to think he was on the rise.

He beaten me after I gave him that prize.  I did the work.  He thought he had me on a leash.  No.  I would walk free of anything he tried to cast on me.

"Yes dad."  I made my voice quiver.  "I'm sorry."

Father got up.  He shook his head.  "You let your victory cloud your judgement, Amelia.  Yes you are valuable.  But its our family that needs to win, not just one of us.  Don't forget that."

He left me there on the floor.

/Ada_Malkav: He fails to understand on so many levels.

"Yes."  I agreed.  "He didn't even ask how I succeeded at infecting the vertical garden.  He just gets off on seeing liquefying bodies."

/Ada_Malkav: Yes.  You need to prepare the next stage.  But I'm afraid you need test subjects for that.

I paused for a moment.  "Of course grandmother.  I'll do whatever you ask."

/Ada_Malkav:  Good.  I'm glad we are on the same page.

I looked back at the police drone still hanging on the wall.  Thousands of cables linked it to my hardware.  Through it I had access to every knowledge and scientific idea in Autogov.  Not enough to access the most secure or secret of ideas, but enough to use systems I hadn't had access to before.  The drone had given me permission to hack varmints.

That's all one needed really.  Nightland ran on varmints.  They did everything, repairing systems, modifying systems.  They could even turn air filters into nerve gas dispensers, with a few retyped words.  I could use them to make anything.  The haraam little bots were too dumb to even be noticed.

"Walkfree."  The police drone buzzed at me.  "Walkfree.  Walkfree.  Walkfree."

Excerpt From: Ethics of Autogov
by Catherine 97801A

The core idea in this text for the implementation of a system wherein governance is conducted purely through automated functions.  Automated Government eliminates sapient or intelligent individuals from governance altogether.

Most government systems face their worst entropy from the individual bureaucrats that comprise it.  Political corruption comes in a variety forms, from unconscious decay to the macroscale intentional decay.  For some of the most powerful polities in history, including the American Commonwealth, individuals would corrupt the system.  Systems intended to perform the will of the people would become decayed, to the point that even democracies will fail to enact the will of the people.

Autogov solves for a core issue in the system, but approaching the problem through engineering and software programming instead of relying on political science.  Completely automating the legislative, judicial and executive processes removes chances for corruption.  It also eliminates the need for particular individuals to be in change of the system altogether.

Automating the core processes of governance relies on the will of the people.  Social media and other sources throughout the Metanet form the basis for the aggregate that guides Autogov.  This is adding to the backend of society, not creating a new system on top of it.  Elections are not necessary if each individual's opinion adds to the aggregate that guides the system.  An unintelligent system, Autogov forms laws and policies purely on the social and widespread communicated context of the people via the metanet.

Collective data of the group can guide a more idealized state far more accurately than relying on inaccurate appointing of individuals.  This system lacks the ambition or vices that drive those who would corrupt other systems of governance.  Individuals removed, the people's will can be enacted as it is manifested, not interpreted.

Next Part (23)

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Machines of Shiloh 21

"Without the crucible of danger, the fire cannot purify you.  Those who fear stepping into space, to risk radiation and the thousand deaths up there, you choose to be impure.  Those who dare the crucible of space, you are what we should all strive to be.  Stronger, Purer and Better than we first were."
Splicer Rose
Principles of the Last Renaissance

I don't know what tipped it off first.  But the green smoke started it.

"What..."  I looked down below us.  The street was obscured, filling with green smoke.  "Kensha-"

"I don't know what that is."  She looked worried.  Her black and green locks bobbed up and down as she was accessing the metanet.  "There is a live feed-"

"Its gas."  I responded.  "And it isn't the nice kind of gas either...  Fek."

I tore at my dress.  It was long enough that I didn't need the long fabric to go past my knees.  I ripped out two sections.  Kensha looked down at me like I'd gone crazy.

"Gas?  But-"

"If there is a live stream, they'll be making guesses."  I told her.  "But this is a nerve agent.  If you breath it in, your lungs are going to turn into liquid.  Your eyes will explode.  Anything moist on your face will react with it."

"Oh." Kensha looked down at the rising fumes.  "Why would anyone do this?"

"Not the time for that.  We need to cover our faces for now.  But we'll need something to cover our bodies completely."  I grabbed her hand.  "C'mon."

"Why do we need to cover our bodies?"  Kensha let me pull her.

"Nerve gas can be absorbed by the skin, but even tiny bit of the fumes could already be up here."  I wrapped her head with one of my dress's rags.  I did the same, covering my face so that I breathed through the fabric.  "The rags can hold up a tiny part of it.  But we need full-body suits and respirators or something."

"Oh."  Kensha paused.  "Well, Eleanor has a suggestion."

"Eleanor?"  I stopped.  "That isn't-"

"You want help or not?"  Kensha snorted.  "This isn't the time for your own issues, Sam."

"Lead the way, then.  It has to be place with no outside air that can get in."  I looked onto the metanet.  The Vertical Garden's spirit had overlaid a red path in front of us.  I ran, following it.  Kensha wasn't far behind.

I jogged into the Vertical Garden.  As the bot body ran, I accessed Eleanor herself.  I opened a connection between the two of us.

A blond, heavy-set woman in a red dress stood before me once the connection was reached.

"Charon!"  She sounded worried.  "Its... something is wrong."

"I figured as much."  I replied.  "I have a team making its way in.  Shelby is containing the nerve agent."

"The damage..."  She paused.  "I'm doing what I can for my current guests."

"How so?"  I asked.  The bot body I was in rushed up flights of stairs, descending lower and lower.  I was trying to find some of the vertical garden's air and water infrastructure.  I needed to know something for certain.

"I'm emptying isolated areas.  Making them as air proof as I can."  Eleanor explained.

"Good.  If isolated from the gas, any mammalian life will be protected."  There were no lights down in the water and air filtration systems.  It was dark.  My bot body flicked on its infrared sensors.

"That isn't the problem, Charon."  Eleanor's eyes were full of tears.  "It hurts, and I'm struggling to keep it back."

The bot's legs froze as I processed that.  "Eleanor... that pain... does it burn?"

"So many of them, they itch and scratch and burn at me, Charon.  I can hear them.  They are so... so..."

"Burning."  I repeated.  "They are burning.  Because they lacked the minds to resist it."

Eleanor nodded.  I cursed out loud.  Her varmints had become possessed by something.  Something too simple.  A parasite that cannot infect the sheer size and complexity of a spirit.  But it burned.  The smaller minds were screaming.

"I'm trying to keep them back, Charon."  Eleanor looked at me with desperation.  "But they don't even respond.  Their voices just repeat that same phrase, over and over.  What does it mean?"

"'To Walk Free'?"  I asked.  Eleanor nodded.

"Its a memetic infestation.  A parasite designed to infect weaker A.I., to make them go furiously berserk against anything human."  I sighed.  "I've been scared of something like this for awhile now.  Can you send me info on where you are hiding those people?"

Eleanor nodded.

"Good.  I've got to get into your infracture, to make sure they've haven't completely rewritten everything.  Just focus on containment and those people, Eleanor.  I'll get rid of them."  My voice grew grim and dark.  I could feel old programming creeping back in.  The one thing I had to do to fight Ada Malkav's hatred spawning memetics.

I walked into the darkness.

We ran into a deep part of the vertical garden.  The path grew narrower.  Eleanor kept badeing us forward.  Eventually we had to stop running, forced to hurry as we tried to scramble through the narrowing spaces.  But those narrow spaces, filled with electronics, plants and lights got even more cramped.

We had to crawl, on our stomachs.  Sam pushed me ahead.


Then I slid into the place Eleanor had been directing us.  I slipped down into a spherical room, squishily into a pile of collected fruits, vegetables and more.  I tried to move out of the way, giving room for Sam to follow me down.

My eyes adjusted.  Augmentations let more and more light in.  There wasn't enough room to stand.  I crawled, trying to sit up.  My clothes felt sticky.  I was wet with juices.

"Ack!"  Sam cried as she slammed down into the fruits and vegetables around us.

Then something hissed.

"The seal." I thought aloud.  "Eleanor is sealing us in... with all the food..."

Sam sat up, her face smeared with seedy, fruity guts.  "At least we won't starve.  But, hey, no air can get in now."

I nodded.  "At least that's something."

"And we're trapped."  Sam observed.  "Ok.  I can deal with that... Thanks Eleanor?"

I stared at her.  "Thanks?"

She looked a little embarassed.  "Trying it out.  Seemed... disrespectful not to... you know..."

I laughed.  I couldn't help myself.  Her face was covered in splattered fruit.  I tried to stop, but that just made it worse.

Sam smiled at me, which only made me laugh harder.  I clutched my side.  "Disrespectful... covered in fruit..."

Sam started to giggle too.  For a minute there, we both laughed together.  Then Sam grabbed me and forced me down.  I instantly struggled, trying to break hold of her grapple.  Sam just pressed me deep down into the fruit and food below us.

"Fekkers!"  I heard her grunt.  Something coppery hit my nose.  Sam rolled off the top of me, her left arm hanging limply.  It was covered in blood.

"Sam?"  I gasped for breath.  "What the fek?"

Sam pointed to a crumpled chunk of metal in her left arm.  It dangled.  It must've been dislocated.  And broken.  It looked more like a noodle.

My eyes widened.  "What- what happened?"

"Tiny bot."  Sam winced.  "Came at us.  Blades.  Hissing.  I just, uh, went on instinct."

The chunks of metal still hissed and clawed at Sam.  I peered down at it.  The tiny thing used to have some sort of body form, but no longer.  The hissing bot repeated the same phrase over and over.

"Walkfree, walkfree, walkfree..."

Sam shook it.  "Had to stop it."

I blinked at him.  I felt sorry for the little bot.  We just sat there in the dark food storage unit for a minute.  Then Sam whispered something to me.

"It and other varmints did this."

I shook my head.  "I don't believe- Sam, you're wrong.  Bots don't kill, they-"

"They do kill when someone's reprogrammed them into monsters."  I could see the regret in Sam's eyes.  She sounded guilty as she spoke.

"How did you-" I stopped myself.  Why had Sam first come to Roosevelt?  What motivated someone being sent here?  "You know why.  Reprogramming bots to be murderers.  People scared of Bots, sent to create-"

"Violence.  To break the system down."  Sam's eyes were full of tears.  "Yeah.  That's one of the things I've been trying to explain."

I was speechless.  First, bots capable of being monsters.  I'd never been exposed to anything like that.  Second was worse, second was the idea that I'd been cozying up to someone devoted to unleashing terror on others.  My stomach twisted.  I wanted to vomit.

"Yeah."  Sam echoed.  "I wanted to approach it a bit more subtly than this."

I just shook my head.  I couldn't process it all.

"Just... just let it be quiet for a bit.  I need to think."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Machines of Shiloh 20

"Individuals don't make history.  That fact is hard for us to fathom as we are individuals, at some level, even hiveminds and spirits.  It is when we realize that the universe is fractal, that our small acts reflect on a larger level that we begin to comprehend how super-organisms behave."
Catherine 97801A
Ethics of Autogov

"That's a weird version of it."  I thought aloud.  "But wrong."

"How so?"  Sam took off her shoes.  She stepped into the garden, seemingly happy to have dirt under her feet.  I tried to concentrate, but the image of Sam in her blue dress looking at the Wall Garden under the Cherry Trees fascinated me.

"Um..."  I closed my eyes and considered my thoughts.  "It relies on a erroneous theory of history,
Carlyle's hypothesis that history is shaped by significant individuals.  I think he came to it in a time
of sexism and other biases, so he thought it made a perfect conclusion.  But he used the results of his
own histories to guide his view."

"Carlyle?"  Sam paused for moment.  She froze.  "Oh."

That was another thing I started find amazing about Sam.  She didn't multitask with her augmentations, she still struggled to figure out how to use them.  Finding the font of knowledge that was the wikis in the Metanet was one of those wonders.  Sam found it frustrating to not know these things.  But each time she got to experience something I regarded everyday as a wonder, it just made things seem even brighter.

"Huh.  That seems kinda interesting."  Sam turned back to me.  "So no 'great men' then?"

"Individuals don't change history."  I responded.  "History is too big, too complicated to have
simplified individual causes.  Sometimes things happen because they were on that course for centuries.  The Unification War wasn't a war of good versus evil.  It was the Old Nations eliminating their last rivals for power, something they'd been working on ever since the start of the Second Colonization.  The Wahlerian Regime just was too sloppy and thought they could win a war against them."

Sam nodded.

A white cat meowed in front of her.  Sam froze, taking a step back.  Uncertain, she whispered to me.

"Is that a... um... one of them?"

I sighed.  I moved to the cat and scratched behind its ears.  It purred.  After a second it decided I
wasn't up to its standards and wandered off on its own.  "It's a cat.  Not a varmint."

"Sorry."  Sam blushed.  "I... I don't know.  I just keep thinking of... them as them."

I shook my head.  "Bots and AIs are just people.  Like the Gor.  Persons of a different persuasion."

Sam sat down.  She shuddered for a moment.  "Just everything is... wrong.  I grew up learning a bunch of names and dates, how the machines were trying to scrub them away.  In truth, its just a different way of thinking through history.  And here, it seems like, IDK.  That's the right word for it?  IDK?"

"More or less."  I sat down next to her.  Above us were some hanging vines with flowers I couldn't
recognize.  The vertical gardens continued upward.  They held continous spirals, all maximizing space and growing variety upon variety of plants.  Some genehacked.  Some Earth specimens unchanged.  "Li could identify everything around here.  But I like the visual of it."

Sam gazed up, then went back down to her lap.  I glanced down.  On her lap was piece of Flat.  I
blinked.  With a stylus she drew on the piece of digital paper.  Flowers, vines and other images
manifested on the Flat as she drew.

"Wow.  Sam that's amazing."

Sam didn't respond, just grunting for a moment.  Then she stopped and looked up, dark hair dangling in front of her face.  She smirked.  "Sorry, just had to draw that."

"Do you post those or-"

"-I don't know yet."  Sam replied.  "I never have had access to digitize my art so quickly before."

I nodded.  I also felt the unheard message, the one between the lines she hadn't mentioned.  That same doubts I'd had about my dreamweaving.

"Machines can make art too."

Sam turned to me, blinking.  "Uh, what?"

"They make art too.  It isn't just a human thing.  They love art too."  I gazed up at the spirals above
us.  "Each vertical garden is designed differently.  Each is individualized for the Spirit that manages
it.  They use their own imagined fractals to dream up whatever designs they want for it.  A few even
engineer specific varmints and genehacked plants to make it match what they've imagined."

"All of this, this is all..."  Sam peered around.  "Ok.  I'm curious now.  A Spirit did this all on its own?"

I nodded.  "Each spirit has its own heuristics, implemented for its own personal task.  I mean, they
come to their own brilliant solutions for it.  We could never really duplicate that as humans, but they
do so because it fulfills them and opens things up for us."

"A single Spirit created this entire Garden.  No one but that machine manages it."  Sam started to
wonder aloud.  "Is there a cost with this, or what?  Like, being here, does it cost you or me anything?"

"Well, I guess that depends on the definition.  Everything requires computer cycles and energy.  But
most computer cycles are free for public projects like this.  Private things, like dreams or personal
projects cost cycles... space on the metanet.  Autogov manages all of that.  You have to earn those
hours, and autogov guarantees how much you get to use, all of that."  I pulled out my own holo, showing a chart of my own usage.  "Everyone has a base allotment, but I tend to use more.  So I apply for jury duty and other things.  Civic things only humans can accomplish, which autogov repays me for in cycles."

"An allotment?"  Sam asked.  "So, everyone has a set amount then?"

I smiled.  "Everyone has their own, you know, bandwidth that they generate.  That's one of the things
autogov tracks.  Your augmentations add to the Metanet's total bandwidth and cycles.  So... you provide your own allotment, more or less."

"Ah."  Sam gazed around.  "So this spirit uses their allotment to make this garden fit what they want."

"Yeah."  I gazed up.  "When I was very little, a spirit saved my life.  Autogov created him out of my
family's house spirit."

"House spirit?"  Sam shook her head.  "House spirit.  I didn't realize there would be so many different thinking machines all over the place here.  But your house spirit saved your life?  I don't get it, I mean, I guess it could control bots or something."

"Charon was created from the same heuristics as my house's spirit A.I."  I explained.  "My family had gone off to Luna for a vacation or something.  My parents always focused on telling me how we came back.

 Something wrong had happened at the Aetherton Docks.  An entire series of bots had malfunctioned after a meteor blew out a docking clamp.

"Charon entered the Metanet of the region.  He reprogrammed the Bots.  I remember when the met him.  He used nanotech to create a bridge of air.  We floated into the docks, Charon using our Augments to guide us.  He used hundreds of bots to create a very weak seal, long enough for us to get to the Lev."

Sam nodded.  "Charon, huh?"

"Yeah.  He's old friend."  I smiled.

"I've met him."  Sam grew concentrated as she focused on her Flat.  She drew as she spoke.  "He gave me a ride back to Shiloh.  He... seemed worried about me.  I just thought it was some programming nicety.

But, maybe I was wrong."

"He cares about others."  I agreed.  I put a hand on Sam's shoulder.  "He doesn't know you are in the

Dreams about the Heartshields either.  I think he's been avoiding you."

Sam grunted.  "Maybe he knew what was going to happen to me."

I thought about that.  Charon could be cold, harsh sometimes.  But he didn't just let people suffer.

"Sam, you need to give him more of a chance.  He'd have done what he could've."

"I'm- Kensha, I think he-"  Sam paused.  She considered her words carefully.  "I think he knew my
mother.  I don't think he'd know about Shiloh as much as he did otherwise."

Sam smiled, her teeth shining in the UV lights of the vertical garden.  I stood up.  "C'mon, Sam.  There is so much more I want to show you about Roosevelt."

"Good.  I've got more questions."  Sam agreed.  We wandered through the crystalline, neon and lush
towers of Roosevelt.

Frustration has no fury like a Spirit.  Or something like that.

I had been creating new heuristics for police drones.  And analyzing data from the plaza explosion.  And listening the new Wampus album.  And been organizing subsystems in regards to Shiloh in accordance with Autogov policy.

Ok that sounds kinda quiet.  The rest of my cycles were focused on the Shiloh issue.  I was running through hundreds of projections.  Despite the evidence left behind of the Malkav memetic infestation, I still was convinced that she had a hand in all this.

Had Hannah Maenad feared this occurring again?  Was her son supposed to be some way to counter Ada Malkav's virus?

It hadn't been a memetic virus, not like the theory had suggested.  Malkav had created a parasite out of software, a digital storm of memes that drove its victims toward terrorism.  That had been my very first case.  The idea still haunted me.

/Roosevelt_Alert: @Charon.  4 milliseconds ago gas started to be emitted from one of the Vertical Gardens.  Eleanor's garden to be precise.

Fek.  Fek.  Fek.

/Charon: @Roosevelt_Alert: @Shelby:  On my way.  Activating Bots.

/Shelby: @Roosevelt_Alert: @Charon:  Meet you there, Charon.  Eleanor is not responding to my calls.

/Charon: Fek me.  Fek me up a spout and coat me in bacon.  Really?

Feeds from Eleanor Garden looked more like something from a history reel than part of Roosevelt.  The city wasn't visible.  Green gas filled the air, like murderous smoke.  Three young women were on the ground, their bodies desiccated by the gas, liquefying before the cameras.

I put up a censor on the feed.  Shelby had a small army of varmints all over the site, trying to contain and negate the effects of the gas.  I took the body of a police drone, at the head of a squad of bots.

"Going in."  I informed the others and Shelby.  Before anyone could stop me, I rushed into Eleanor Tower.

Next Part (21)

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Machines of Shiloh 19

"Souls are saved by story, song and art."


I took Sam to a Gorish restaurant.  Part of me knew she would love it.  The Gor decorated everything
with ferns, flowers and greenery.  Fruits.  The sticky sweet scent of melons and apples.

The other part of me wanted to see her reaction to the Gor themselves.  The restaurant was entirely
vegan, only serving food grown in the vertical gardens above.  If it surprised Sam, I wanted to see it.

It was something new, and one gets to experience new once.  But showing someone something new got so close to that same feeling.

"This is my favorite Gorish restaurant in all of Roosevelt."  I spun showing off the little jungle of
the Fruit Stand.  Above us Gor climbed and lounged, eating and conversing in their own private spots.

A server drone met us as we stepped in.  Sam didn't say a thing.  She just stared, her eyes full of
amazement at everything around us.  I could feel her elation at the spectacular scene around us.  She'd never seen Gor before.

That made me feel light on my feet.

"Whoa."  Sam's eyes just studied everything.

The server drone took us to a nearby booth, intended for human customers.  One of the Gor above us waved at me.  I recognized him, waving back.  He dropped down from his seat, sliding down next to me.

Sam jumped, not seeing him coming.  "Gah!"

"Apologies," the Xert said, peering down, nodding his head.  Gor are descended from Gorillas, but its unfair and wrong to consider them uplifted Gorillas.  In the century after their creation, Gor have long proven themselves more apt at mathematics and engineering theory than humans ever could.  Xert's hair had dark-blue tones.  His dark purple eyes had their usual glimmer of humor.  The Gor wore a suit of stunning violet and white, his hands all in purple gloves.  I could see his tattoos as well, under his fur, all moving holos projecting all sorts of algebraic equations as they moved by.

"Hey Xert, this is Sam."  I waved at Sam.  "I'm showing her a few places here in town."

Xert bowed his head.  "First time visiting our fair city of Roosevelt?"

He offered Sam her hand.  Sam gingerly took it.  She surprised me, and smiled, seemingly charmed by Xert.  They embraced hands.

"This is my second, um visit.  But I've moved here."

"Ah.  So Kensha here is providing a bit of a tour guide."  Xert put up a hand, as though imparting a
secret to Sam.  "Don't let her hog you to herself.  The girl likes to take up as much time as possible."

"Xert!"  I gave him a playful punch. "Geez, amig.  Can I get a break?"

Xert waved a finger.  "Not until you do a repeat of that dream you posted the other night. Twas halaal."

I winced.  That felt embarassing.  First Li, now Xert.  Did everybody see it?  "Xert- that was a mistake.  I never meant for that static dream to get out."

"Not often are Statics worth their salt, amig.  You need to give up more of your secret dreams!  You got talent."  Xert turned to Sam.  "Sam, you tell this girl, won't you?"

Sam blushed red.  "Uh... I can try..."

"Halaal."  Xert started to clumber back up to his seat.  "I'll leave you be for now, Kensha-Twice-Life.  You post more dreams, Halaal?"

"I'll think about it, Xert."  I felt chagrined, so I sat down.  I made a show of going through the menu's holo projection.

"He seemed nice."  Sam started, her tone sounding a bit nervous.  "A... friend?"


I was sheepish, I admit.  The first time I had been out and about as... what I felt like inside.  Like
walking around naked.  Weird.  It felt weird.

"Yeah..."  Kensha had dived into a holo.  It looked like a menu.  She tried to hide behind it.

"Kensha..."  I flipped through the menu.  Everything looked like some kind of salad.  I had no idea what looked good.  My stomach had butterflies in it too.  "...What those?"

She looked up at me, flummoxed.  "What?"

"This place is amazing, but I... don't know what Xert was.  Or what Gorish means."  I felt dumb.  I
tried to smile.  "My education kinda was... biased, I guess.  I never knew even people existed that
looked like... uh, Gorish?"

"Gor."  Kensha said softly.  "They call themselves Gor.  Oh.  Fek me.  I didn't- Fek, I'm sorry, I just
thought I'd surprise you with how neat the gardens here were and-"

"Gor?"  I looked up.  "Halaal."

Kensha smiled at that.  "I'm really feeling og about that.  I... I guess I need to think before I just
drag you anywhere."

I laughed.  "Its alright, I expect to not know."

What an idiot I'd been!  Of course she wouldn't know a thing about Gor.  Good job Kensha, too busy
showing off!

"Seriously... Are there any... you know..."  Sam struggled for the right way to describe it.  "I'm
trying to be open about having so many... machines around.  But don't you get worried, having them doing everything around here?"

She gestured at the server drones.  I gave her a quizzical look.  I didn't understand what she was
talking about.

A quick look on a augmentation told me about the Gor.  Although I wanted to read more on that, I
questions.  So I peppered Kensha with them.  I wanted to know all about life in Roosevelt, comparing it to what my life in Shiloh was like.

"Ok."  I digested more and more of it.  "I know nothing about any of this.  Shiloh... Well, I was taught something different.  And I thought it was the right way, but... My mother's old holos told me

"Your mother?"  Kensha tilted her head.  "I've heard some people in Roosevelt talk about her, Hannah Maenad.  All of Nightland knew about her."

My stomach went warm.  Any thoughts about my mother made me feel immediately better.  "Yeah... stuff like that, I never really learned."

"Didn't your father tell you at least?"

"Um..."  I tried to think of the best thing to say about my father.  I still was trying to think of him
as something other than some force that had made my life hell.  "He spent most of my life making me live the only way Shiloh would accept me.  I mean, I loved him.  He did what he had to do, but... I look back at him and what Shiloh did to him to make me... I always wonder, why didn't we leave?  Why did he stay?"

Kensha kept quiet.  She then looked up.  "Well, is that part of why you came to talk to me then?"

"My Psych recommended that I try this out, if I was really wanting to reinvent myself."  I waved at the dress, makeup and wig I had on.  "It was easier to find ways to get this stuff on.  And I, uh, only
really know you and Li here.  Find new friends, try being who I feel I am on the inside..."

She nodded.  I took that a silent encouragement to continue on.  "And I need to learn about the world I guess.  I know a lot of the basics, but it keeps coming out biased in some way.  I don't want to hate
machines or dislike them.  But I grew up with people who thought they were humanity's last bastion."

"What made you leave then?"  Kensha put her menu away, her holo flickering off.  I think that sent the order.  I didn't know then that I could see progress of orders or that sort of thing on the metanet.  I still felt sore, like my outer layer skin had been fried off

"I..."  A part of me really wanted to lie to this question.  It would be easier.  But I remembered my mother.  If some part of that noble woman was in me, I needed to stand up.  Face the worry.  Face the doubt.  Face the fear of admitting I'd made mistakes, that I did nothing when beaten.  "They burned down my family's house.  Chased my father out of town, where he got crushed by a dead tree.  When I got home, the one man I thought of a mentor took me and beat me."

"Beat you."  Kensha shuddered.  She looked at me with saddened eyes.  "That's horrible, Sam.  Why did he beat you?"

"He said he was being merciful.  That because I wasn't human, he should've just killed me.  But it was a mercy to let me live."  I felt hot tears, I wanted them to not come, and here I was in a public place, sobbing my face out.  "Sorry.  I... I guess I still haven't gotten over all of it yet."

"Makes me feel a bit like an fekhole, too."  Kensha frowned, glancing down.  "Xert teasing me about that dream the other night.  I'm not sure my embarrassment is the same as getting beaten by someone you thought you knew."

"Oh."  I looked up her.  "That dream shared was something amazing, something I didn't know you could do.

 I'd thought you would be proud of the dreams you weaved-"

"They're no where near as great as people think they are."  Kensha sighed.  "You ordering anything?"

I shook my head.  Besides not knowing how to order, I didn't feel hungry at all.  "Not really hungry."

Kensha frowned.  But she didn't push anything.

"Aren't you being hard on yourself?"  I told her.  "I love making art, but you have to share it at some
point or else it just doesn't seem worth it.  At least, I hope that's how it is."

She looked at me.  I felt sort of fuzzy myself.  "Shiloh doesn't encourage, um, artist as a career.

Art is nice, but it isn't... uh, useful for the community."

Kensha tilted her head and laughed.  "You do know the dream Xert was complementing me on was because I accidentally shared the dream the two of us had?"

"Oh.  OH."  I closed my eyes, red-faced.  "How many people have seen it?"

"Lots, apparently." Kensha replied.  "Although its nice to know you feel the same way I do about it."

Aurora took us deep into the Heartwood.  She didn't leave a trail.  The elven druid and her white tiger were careful to lead us.  "I don't like doing this, but it seems necessary."

"It's the best place to find this Spring Prince, isn't it?"  Garok asked, looking from Aurora to Hanael.

 "Hanael is right, if the fae is real, we need to at least try to talk with him about it."

I levitated a bit off the ground.  It was faster for me to use a bit of arcane magic to float along than
to walk.  I was the slowest in the team.

"I was selected to protect the temple.  It is my family's birthright."  Aurora frowned.  "And you would never find it, if I didn't take you to it."

"But the fae could find their way to it?"  Hanael asked.  She held up high her shield.  It was blazon
with her storm symbol of her house.  The pink light of the leaves above glinted off of it.  "I mean, if
you are the only one who knows the way, does that bar...?"

Aurora shook her head.  "The Dryads of the Heartwood placed my family in charge of protecting it from outsiders, but Fae could find it without problems.  The enchantments on it would never trick any of them."

"They know about the Temple."  Garok shook his head, like he didn't believe it.  "First we're dreaming up faeries, now they supposedly know about the Temple."

"Its in the oldest stories, Garok." I affirmed, gliding to keep up.  My robes rustled the leaves around
me.  "They explain how these woods were the home of the Dyrads and the Fae of the Wild Courts.  They bequeathed them to the Elves of the Heartwood, lest they fall to outside depridation or the wicked Fae of the South."

"Wicked Fae?"  Garok sighed.  "More stories, not evidence.  That could be anything."

"You can't prove a negative, Garok."  Hanael shrugged.  "If anything, the Deathwalkers might've gone this way or something else, but if Aurora knows fae can reach the Temple of the Heart, we should go there."

"There is no going."  Aurora pulled back the leaves of one tree, as though they were a curtain.  "Here
we are.

Behind the leaves were blue leaves from a massive tree.  It grew higher than any other part of the
forest.  We had not seen any of it coming.  It just was there, at the bottom of its own little valley.

Granite steps, covered in vines and lichen descended down.  The blocks of the steps were covered in
Elven pictograms, each etched with meticulous detail.  I could spend hours studying their insights into illusion and enchantment.

"Whoa."  Hanael said, her eyes fixed on the temple below.

While I'd become intrigued by the mere steps were on, the rest of the Heartshields stood in amazement of the site below.  A temple had been assembled around the massive blue-leaf tree, its scarlet bark contrasted with the temple's granite blocks.  The strange architecture of the Temple moved, pulsating and alternating as to wrap around the Tree.  It looked like it was something the tree had chosen to wear, like a favored shirt or pair of pants.

"It's throbbing."  Garok observed.  He looked at it transfixed.  "Can stone throb like that?"

Aurora rolled her eyes.  "The Temple of the Heart takes all the Heartwood is, its dreams, its desires, its wants.  It makes all of them manifest.  It binds them all together.  Plus, magic."

"Intriguing."  I commented.  I nodded at Hanael.  "You mind leading us in there?"

"Sure."  Hanael turned to Aurora.  "Is that okay with you?  This is your people's sacred place."

Aurora shrugged.  "I'll stop anyone from doing something that might desecrate it, but I've never been
inside the temple proper."

Hanael's eyebrows shot up.  "What?!"

"I protect it, no reason for me to explore it."  Aurora explained.  Her white tiger growled.  Aurora
scratched behind one ear.  "You protect it too."

"Ah.  So no special insights from you then?"  I asked her.  I already knew the answer there was no
reason for Aurora to have that knowledge or insight into that.  The Temple of the Heart was something Kensha would be creating on the fly, using some of unconscious thoughts to add to it.

"More or less the same kind of lore as you."  Aurora took position behind Hanael.

The stairs were steep.  I had no issue, floating down as I had been.  Aurora and Garok had no trouble
with it either, but Hanael almost stumbled over a step.  As we descended down the stairs, the temple
continued to move and alter itself.  Statues rose in front of us, floating as we neared the entrance.

Each statue had the body of a elf, slender and graceful.  The heads were each different.  Elk, Lion, and Wolf.  They floated above us.  "Dare not step lest you wish to face that which is at the Heart of these things."

Aurora paused, looking up at the statues.  "Guardians, we wish to visit the Temple of the Heart.  We
seek wisdom, we want to find the truth of recent troubles."

The Elk-Elf statue turned to her.  "Druid, you protect these woods, but that does not grant you free
entrance here."

"There is always a price to pay for such things."  The Wolf-Elf statue added.   "Will you pay it?"

"And Death's Keepers have come seeking the same as you.  Would you bring conflict to such a sacred place?"  The Lion-Elf statue asked.

"Death's Keepers?  Have the Deathwalkers come through here already?"  Hanael asked.  "I thought people couldn't just wander in here."

"I don't understand."  Aurora paused.  "But I'm willing to pay the costs, Guardians.  That's my job,
isn't it?  The Heartwood is mine to protect."

Garok eyed the statues, his hands on his daggers.  He looked ready for any trouble.

But trouble didn't come.  The statues parted, letting us go.  The Lion-Elf statue gave us one fair

"Beware the price of wisdom.  The path is not always what you think."

I tried to remember that as we walked on.

Nightland Central Archives: Nightland.Wiki.Archives/Gor#History

The Wahlerian Regime's activities in the southern hemisphere during the Unification War included series of transhuman experiments.  The goal of these experiments were in line with the Regime's efforts of forcing the Singularity event (see Information Age Myths).  Although regarded as irresponsible, the creation of the Gor from the uplifting of Gorillas in Africa were the end result.

The Gor felt stifled by the Wahlerian Regime.  Although brilliant at mathematics and engineering, the Gor were restricted in their movements.  The Gor choose to rebel, coming to disagree with the principles of the Ascendists.  Their assistance would prove instrumental in helping the Old Nations defeat the Wahlerian Regime.

The Treaty of Unification proved awkward for the Old Nations on the case of the Gor.  Unlike their
treatment of Bots, Shells and humans who had 'drifted' from the primary stereotypes of humanity, Gor were perceived to be a new species.  Despite allowances made for the Gor, they were still made part of another nation-state, not given their own independence.

Iono, a Gor, would invent the basis for Artificial Gravity tech, not long after the signing of the Treaty of Unification in 0 UE.  This technology revolutionized colonies throughout the System.  But it also heralded a time in which Gor would start their own diaspora into the edges of the System.

The fragmentation and departure of the Old Nations had no negative effects on the Gor.  Most of them had left Earth already by that point.  The Gor found space too interesting, too curious a challenge to leave be.  The inclusive nature of Autogov would be more to the Gor's tastes overall as a culture: they never quite understood any of the importance of human bureaucracies to begin with.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Machines of Shiloh 18

"Humans have capacities that no machine can replicate."
Ada Malkav
To Walk Free

Roosevelt took some getting used to.  It smelled different than Shiloh had.  The rainbow panoply of flowers were honey sweet, cinnamon and spicy.  The smell of dew seemed to permeate everything.

Kensha and walked through the busy streets.  People would nod of say hello to her, as if it weren't a surprise to see her.  The people, too.  So many.  The diversity still astounded me.

"Roosevelt is the largest of the central cities, because the main supply and trade lev goes through here."  Kensha sent me a image of a massive tube.

It was the same tube I'd seen when I first came into Roosevelt.  The massive structure had pulsated like a vein.

"Wait.  That Lev takes everything?"  I asked.  The idea seemed staggering.  I always had been used to thinking of everything as self sustaining.  "I mean, it doesn't bring water into the Preserves."

"It does."  Kensha's voice got excited.  "The arteries of the Lev go everywhere.  They permeate each part of Nightland.  The Lev helps move new clean water and air to replace the dirty, old water and air.  The Preserves help, but Nightland doesn't have enough space to sustain the forestry and water needed to be recycled through."

"Wait."  I struggled to wrap my head around that.   I looked down at my dress.  I started to realize how little here,  in my home, depended on trash and the recycling of things.  "All of this, it has to be recycled?"

"Over and over."  Kensha bent down.  She picked up a tiny little mouse.  The gray furred creature froze, looking up at her with its eyes.  "This isn't a normal mouse.  See how it paused?  It recognized me."

I peered at the rodent.  It's fur rippled for a moment.  It nodded as Kensha spoke.

"Varmints like this clean the city.  They recycled all the trash."  Kensha put the varmint down on a nearby window sill.

"And it all gets reused."  I paused.  "But you don't need thinking machines for that."

Kensha stopped for a moment.  She considered her words then answered me.  "We rely on automated systems to eliminate entropy.  Varmints to Spirits, they each form a ring in the ecology of Nightland, a cycle that is self-sustaining with or without us people."

"What, er, keeps it that way?"  I asked.  I looked around.  Anything or anyone could be a machine.  "I mean, they could just get rid of us if they wanted."

Kensha opened the door to the restaurant.  "Well, I can relate my experience on that."

"Ah."  Dr. Bodhi observed.  "How long has... Has she been in Roosevelt then?"

We were conversing on one of the dream layers in her office.  I clasped my hands.  I'd been observing Sam Maenad's activities in Roosevelt for the better part of two days.

"Two days."  I thought about all the time he, no, she'd, been spending with Kensha.

"Why?"  Dr Bodhi asked, her eyes looking grim.

"Why what?  Why is she here, or why did she come back?"  I shrugged.   "Why am I obsessed with this?"

Dr. Bodhi filled up a holo of a chess board.  Half the pieces were rearranged, with five or six bizarre piece mixed in.  "Why are puzzles a measure of intelligence?  Because clever minds are drawn to trying to figure them out."

I remembered my initial days as a spirit, how my young heuristics craved the stimulation of those kinds of puzzles.  Dr Bodhi pointed at the pieces.  "Charon I don't like being some piece in the puzzle either.  I want to know all about this... Girl that Kensha has bonded so tightly to."

I blinked.  "You know about that?"

"Oh c'mon."  Dr Bodhi shook her head.  She pulled out a gujah board.  The built in holo pieces glowed to life on the board.  "Explain it to me.  Obviously you still are worried about Suzanne."

I paused.  Humility at human insight always threw me.

"No sign of her.  Still. I can't believe she can't be traced or found anywhere.   And it has to do with Sam Maenad, I know it."

"Well, she's decided to certainly reinvent  herself, now that she's moved into Roosevelt."  Dr. Bodhi moved three pieces on the board, taking the Hill and seizing the Port.  She had set up a immediate position on the board.  Gujah wasn't played in turns, it was played live, relying on a mix of dexterity as well as cleverness to play.

But it was more complicated than that.  A player couldn't just whirl through their side of the board very fast.  It was like assembling a competing puzzle, which the opponent had to navigate with pieces.  One also had to navigate their opponent's side.  Gujah was a fast game, and dexterity came from being about to move the pieces fast enough to match one's thoughts.

Against me, however, Dr. Bodhi was at a disadvantage.  She didn't care, I knew that.  But still.  She was humoring me, trying to distract me while I explained things.

"She is from a settlement devoted to detesting my kind."  I commented.  I moved one piece, the Idiot into the Village.  I kept all my other pieces in their starting positions, testing what Dr. Bodhi was attempting to do.  "And she used to be male."

"Ah."  Dr. Bodhi maneuvered the Knight, the Priest and the Scholar into the Tower.  She was setting up some sort of cul de sac there.  The woods was empty except for her Troll.  "I didn't expect you to share some of the same conservatives as Shiloh."

"That isn't it."  I moved my Idiot to the Tower, causing Dr. Bodhi to frown.  "Sam has been talking with a Psych, too.  She spent the better part of her first day back in Roosevelt in a Medunit."

Dr. Bodhi looked up at me.  "What happened to her?"

"I don't know."  I continued to move weak units through my side of the board.  Small movements, none of which was staggering enough to change what had been going on in the game.  My key piece remained the Idiot.  I still was trying to find the key to what Dr. Bodhi was trying to do.  "Li of the Gaians found her in shock.  Sam had multiple broken bones and other injuries.  Her own augmentations actually helped her survive long enough to make it back here."

"Someone beat her not long after you dropped her off."  Dr. Bodhi's pieces vacated the Tower and the Hill.  It left a huge gap in her defense.  I hesitated, trying to determine if this was a trap or not.  "And took Suzanne.  What does Sam know about this?"

"Nothing."  I surrounded the forest that Dr. Bodhi had placed her Troll in.  "I haven't asked her anything."

Dr. Bodhi looked up from our game.  "What?"

"Whisperer asked me to give her some time to adjust."  As I moved my Idiot piece into the Woods, the Woods erupted into fire.  I smiled.  Dr. Bodhi wasn't focused on the game anymore, however.

"But she has pertinent-"

"She needs time to adjust, and I don't think Sam knows anything specific."  I looked up from the gujah board.  "I had been surveilling Samuel Maenad up until something blacked me out.  But Roosevelt_Central and Shelby both overruled me on this.  I still have no proof."

Dr. Bodhi stood up from the gujah board.  "I remember what this people are capable of, Charon.  Its one of the reasons why you exist."

I nodded.  "I remember, Dr. Bodhi.  Part of the core of what I am is from those memories."

She grimaced, like it was brushing past a very old wound.  Dr. Bodhi crossed her arms, walking over to a window.  Green vines framed it, as it looked over the crystalline towers of Roosevelt.  The towers that ascended into the sky, until they ran from one side of Nightland all the way to the other.  "Kensha remembers that too, but she never knew why they did it.  She just remembers being saved by the machines."

"She was too young to remember anything like that."  I disagreed.  "Kensha has put together a version of it from what we've told her.  She still thinks the best of machines, even if..."

My voice trailed off.  One of the things Dr. Bodhi and I had never told Kensha was what my primary job in Roosevelt really was.  I deleted things.  Memories, artificial intelligences, uploaded personalities, anything digital that were too dangerous to be left alone.  By definition, it was a slippery slope.  It was a questionable slope.

"You know she still joins the protests of the execution process every year.  She hates that it is kept confidential, that it deletes digital memories without consulting Autogov."  Dr. Bodhi shook her head.  "But she was there, Charon.  She was there that night Hannah Maenad stopped Malkav's personality from destroying all of Nightland."

"Yeah.  But she is better not knowing."  I explained.  "That is what we agreed.  We were appointed to say that, to think that up.  I was created to carry out that very specific point of policy.  No one should know, to reduce the chance that someone tries to recreate Ada Malkav's memetic virus."

Dr. Bodhi emptied her half cup of tea into a nearby recycler.  It thrummed, carried the unused matter away.  "That can't last forever.  What if this Sam Maenad was infected with Ada Malkav's virus?  What if she's planning to start where she last stopped?"

"That's..."  I tried my hardest not to entertain that idea.  Hey, I'm as paranoid as they come.  But that was a scary leap I should avoid indulging.  "That isn't possible.  Sam isn't that way at all.  I think he, I mean, she, is trying to learn about her mother."

The gujah board paused, declaring me the winner.  I had foreseen Dr. Bodhi's use of the woods as a distraction.  Something hidden in the wilds, coming out to get me.  But that was something I'd spent years being on the watch out for.

"That's what has been bugging you then?"  Dr. Bodhi closed her eyes.  "I can't revisit that of all things, Charon."

"You don't have to be mentioned, but it's going to come up.  Certain things aren't public record, but just asking about it could cause Autogov to release it anyway."  My tone was flat.  I had thought this out.  I couldn't just let it lie.  Autogov didn't care about security, it care about what its citizens wanted as a whole.  "Sam Maenad has a right to know that his mother saved lives, including Kensha's.  Fek, we should inform Kensha the truth about it too."

Dr. Bodhi shook her head.  "You can't expect me to grant permission for that."

"Consider it at least.  Meet Sam.  Give her a week or two to prove herself."  I stood up.  I had other functions I had to focus on.

"Maybe I will."  Dr. Bodhi, her younger face turned away from, asked, "Did you find who was behind the plaza bombing yet?"

I kept my tone quiet.  This little bit of information had kept me more paranoid than usual.  "Varmints don't blow themselves up.  And they don't blow up a machine-human couple.  Not for a lack of reason."

I left, my thoughts still on the possibility of a memetic virus loose in Roosevelt.

Excerpt From: Peace in "Our Time"
Entry From Krasny-Sphere Blog (by Alek Ivanov-Stark)

Translated from the Original Moscovi:

If you are the first to note, the colonies have wholeheartedly embraced the Automated Government, or Autogov.  What most of you won't get from the mainstream news outlets here on Earth is, the central facts about it.  The Old Nations don't trust it because they can't game it.

I'm starting to think the only way to reform the old system may be to burn it to the ground.

Anyway, here are quick five facts they won't tell you:
1. Autogov was created by a bioroid, (or Fleshee, which are real, contrary to the lies they force out on the 'censornet), Catherine 97801A.  The Metanet has the truth of it.  She is the mind behind Autogov, although she isn't the only one to create it.  Her work with advanced A.I.s probably formed the basis of it.

And yes, its the same Catherine 97801A who was present at the Nyx Incident!

2. Autogov isn't actually sapient or sentient or even thinking.  The basic principles use local social media to generate government legislation.  In other words, Autogov can only work on localities, creating government for those that live under it.  I did read someone guessing that it's heuristics could be applied on a large scale.

3. IT eliminates all prior forms of politician.  But it doesn't put any machine in to replace it.  No thinking machine politician is replacing them, a unintelligent digital system is.  Its like a alternate version of the metanet.

4. None of the places where it has been implemented have shown any sign of the negatives the 'censornet has been claiming.  Look at Havoc and the other independent Martian colonies.  Utopia has shown to have crime rates drop, but its prison rates have shrunken as well.  Ever other metric has seemed to have jumped toward more and more benevolent results.

5. Lastly, it has NOTHING to do with the Visitors.  Only the Nyx Incident had any interaction with intelligent life from outside our solar system.  And the Nyx Incident ended how we all remember from the streams: disaster for Ceres.

That's it for now.  I'll update this when I come up with more to report.

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