Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Machines of Shiloh 14


"Sovereignty has always been with the people.  Their will installs leadership, representatives and drives the politics of the government.  The aim of ideal governance is make sure sovereignty enacts the will of the people.  Because both Sovereignty and its Will are the same, ideal governance cannot abide any conflicts between these two views.  Democracies and Republics were first to take steps in this direction.  But making a system with individual minds directing sovereign power still conflicts at times with the will of that sovereign."
Catherine 97801A
Ethics of Autogov

CHARON
We, A. I.'s as a whole don't panic.  Autogov creates and Emily's us to be fair, intelligent arbiters.  Proxies of the subsystems that comprise it.

"That's not felling possible."  Shelby growled at me.

Oh, I had to simplify this discussion for you, btw.  This all happened in 43 seconds after the bombing occurred.  That's the other reason Autogov uses spirits.  Speed.

"Oh c'mon.  It makes sense."  I pointed to the black impact crater left behind by the explosion.  "Why would a varmint otherwise explode like that?"

"An incident or two is not a trend."  Shelby sniffed.  "And it does nothing to help find the terrorists behind this attack."

I shook my head.  "When has using that word ever benefited a government?"

"It's apt."  Shelby avoided my gaze.  Her hand were clenched, however.  Frustration pulsated from her expression.  "But you are still leaping to a conclusion.  It still be something else."

Roosevelt_Central raised a hand, standing up from where he'd been sitting in thought.  Both Shelby and I stopped our argument.  That's how things between us tended to go.  We were the public safety and police subroutine spirits.  That sounds fancier than it is.  "Charon.  You already informed me earlier of a theory you had.  This still doesn't prove any of that, although it places evidence in that direction."

Shelby whirled on me, fury in her eyes.  "Wait.  You've already discussed this conspiracy idea of yours with Roosevelt?"

I smiled.  I sent her a link to the relevant data.  "That incident near Memorial Tower."

"Ah."  She nodded as she processed the data, her face frowning more.  "I see.  Roosevelt is right, though.  This still doesn't prove anything.  Also we need to consider policy and precedents on this matter."

I tried to hide my own frustration.  Shelby had always leaned hard onto following the rules.  That had been how Roosevelt and Autogov had set her up.  A lawyer.  Never break the rules.  Always do this, do that.

Yeah.  I was created to be her opposite number.  I don't break the rules, but bend and stretch them.  On purpose.  That was my function, what Autogov had created me for.  I was the crazy detective who didn't care for the rules.  Stereotypes, don't you love 'em?

Roosevelt_Central nodded.  "Of course.  This sort of scale of attack has been rare in our city, but not unheard of in Nightland.  It needs to be investigated fully.  But that does not discount the idea that someone is trying to coordinate some sort of series of group attacks."

"Yes.  But we lack enough data."  Shelby waved an hand.  A series of charts and streams of data floated before us.  It looked rather unexciting.  "The bombing differs greatly from the water station infection.  The water station didn't result in any deaths, except for the infected spirit."

"Thats true."  Roosevelt turned to me.  "Your theory still lacks evidence, Charon."

"If it is a memetic virus I can't prove anything.  Human thoughts and the processes of emergent AI can't be analyzed for them.  They exist as flickers.  I could make a guess-"

"But that violates all policies in regards to sapient rights, Charon."  Shelby made a disgusted face.  "Don't use this as a opportunity to start a witch hunt.  You know we can't let you do that kind surveillance without breaking with one of our most important policies."

Roosevelt scratched at his mustache.  He gave me a stiff look.  "Investigate this matter.  Do you have an estimate of how long it'll take?"

I closed my eyes.  Estimates.  Calculations.  But I still had nothing.  Just a guess.  "I think it'll take me four or five days to fully look into all the facets of the case.  I admit my theory has nothing of merit to prove it yet, and that anything based out of Shiloh makes no sense.  Even if Gaius Malkav did do it, they have no tech of note to be the origin of it, I admit that."

"I sense you want to have a 'but'."  Shelby said, crossing her arms.  "You always have a 'but'."

"Well, if it is a memetic virus, we need to prepare for that.  This could turn into something much bigger."  I tried not to sound doubtful.

"How?"  Shelby asked, raising another point.  How do you defend against an idea?

"Yeah."  I shrugged.  "But I've kept tabs on the situation in Shiloh for awhile now.  I have questions.  And I still haven't recieved word back from Suzanne."

Roosevelt shook his head.  Shelby glared back at me.  Both seemed upset at that.

"Do you have to skirt the rules so close?  I know its your function, but really Charon.  You offered Samuel Maenad ride just to survey the town as an excuse."

"And then things went black.  I lost the signal."  I shook my head.  "It makes no sense.  There has to be some sort of tech that Gaius is using there."

"You assume that he's behind it."  Roosevelt pointed out.  "But all our records suggest that there is nothing of the appropriate tech level to even pretend to do that in Shiloh.  Ada Malkav took nothing more advanced than a holoputer with her when she founded the town."

I nodded.  "But, our knowledge could be wrong.  If you remove that assumption, its the simplest answer."

Shelby sighed.  "You need to run the investigation, Charon.  Look into it.  There is no reason that looking into this attack.  If they are tied together, then fine.  But I recommend that we avoid further surveillance of Shiloh for the time being.  It can't help any current investigations."

"I recommend further study."  I replied.  "I'd like to ask help from Samuel Maenad as well.  His mother helped push Shiloh in a more moderate position before her death.  I think he could be a valuable asset."

"Asset, position, push."  Shelby shook her head, her glowing neon red hair spinning as she did.  "Words to describe game pieces, not people."

I shrugged.  "You do your recommendation, I'll do mine."

Roosevelt pointed at Shelby.  I got the gesture.  That was that.  Awesome.  We were going Shelby's route, unless Autogov altered us from it.

I nodded and went off to work.


KENSHA
I didn't understand Li's position.

"Wow.  She blew me off like it was nothing." I said aloud, confused.  Sure, it wasn't everyday someone survives that sort of incident.

Violence.  That was always rare.  That had been something I'd learned in school, that violence, despite how often we hear stories about it in parts of the System.

"Well, not everyone can overcome that sort of thing easily."  Mom told me.  "She might've decided the best thing was to be alone to grapple with the idea.  She might even be talking with a Psych."

"Yeah.  I just wanted to..."  I sat down.  "I don't know.  I thought she'd want to share it with someone whose been through that sort of thing, you know?"

Mom looked up me.  "Oh, honey."

"I just..."  I shrugged.

"Kensha, you are a amazing person.  But you need to learn something."  She told me.  "You can't fix everyone.  Sometimes you don't win."

I nodded, but I didn't really process it.  Instead, I made my way up to my room.  It was nearing time for the dream anyway.  I'd been readying this for awhile now.  Li and Poro kept asking me on how it was going.

To be honest, I'd had trouble getting over a block.  I had killed off a key villain and more or less entire a part of the story.  But without that villain, I'd been confused as to how to keep the story going.  Li and Poro were convinced that I hadn't killed him off.  I hadn't talked with Charon, but I think he thought something deeper was going on as well.

Great.

They'd defeated the bad guy and shut off the arcane thing that threatened to destroy the world the dream was set in.  Big music right?  But I threw in a curveball at the end there.  I left a big enough of a nibble of more plot.

I didn't have any more to give.  I'd come up with something to keep the dream going until I got a good inspiration.  Either way, it would be a dream.  That much would be fun.



Each time I entered the dream it felt the same way.  Cold, chilling- like dipping slowly into a pool of ice water.  Each nerve in my body electrified, feeling like a pinpoint.  Then my eyes opened.

Being in charge as the dreamweaver, I had power over all aspects of the dream.  Others could influence it, but the Oneirostech would let me override any others' commands.  I controlled everything about it.

"Let there be light."  I said aloud, smiling.  My face felt sunlight on it, as the sun rolled from the darkside of a cloud, as if commanded.

The cherry trees of the Heartwood were filled with pink leaves.  I thought about it, and a brief wind rushed up, scattering more leaves about.  It looked like morning.  A large stone stood under me, carved with runes of all kinds.  I floated above it all, basking in my power as creator and driver of forces.

"Hey."  A voice called up to me.  I gazed down at the four faces below me.

Four?!  There should be three, one for Charon's, Poro's and Li's characters.  A fourth character?

"Uh..."  I blinked as I floated down.  I didn't recognize this fourth character.  "Who is this?"

Li's character, Aya Darkmoon smiled at me.  She petted her ferret animal companion, giggling.  "Oh c'mon, don't you recognize Sam?"

I paused.  What the fek.  "Oh.  I- er.  Li, can I talk to you in private for a bit?"

Li nodded, still giggling.  The two of us went up into a more private layer of the dream.  It made our conversation private.
"Ok.  Explain this to me.  Why is-no, how did you know about Samuel?"  I tried not to sound a little bothered.  But I had folded my arms, crossing them.

"You're kidding right?"  Li pointed at his character.  "He's amazing.  Did you see the character he made?"

I sighed. "I- you can't just insert a new character in here like-"

Li giggled.  "Oh c'mon.  I had to.  Besides... I saw the dream you weaved him on your stream the other night."

I couldn't muster much eloquence after that.  My mouth dropped open in surprise.  "What?"

"You forgot to delete it.  And I saw what he did.  He's got talent, Kensha.  You should've included him with us!"

"Instead of seeing a psych or talking about the bombing, you instead looked Samuel up?"  I still felt shocked.  "I don't believe it."

"Oh c'mon.  You need to look at his character, Kensha.  She's interesting, and could add something new."  Li looked at me with hopeful eyes, using her character to try some sort of puppy-dog eye trick on me.

"Sure.  I'll listen to his character."  This put a kink in my plans.  But like any good dreamweaver, I'd have to learn to adapt to it.

Nightland Central Archives: Nightland.Wiki.Archives/Oneirostech

Oneirostech is a set of operating systems and software that allows for shared dreams between multiple minds.  All minds obtain a a blend of lucid dreaming, engaging both their conscious and unconscious minds together in a network.  A refinement of the same hivemind technology that had helped define the Reformed Asian Dominion, the sharing of minds results in a shared dreamstate.

Static dreams can be crafted and shared.  But static dreams remain a somewhat minor use of the technology.  Instead, dynamic dreams are the most popular form of dream in this tech.  Dynamic dreams let all dreamers influence the story and course of the dream, although most elect to have a dreamweaver.

Dreamweavers, create the pieces of the dream.  Popular dreamweavers offer experiences that can be shared as static or dynamic.  Some other dreamweavers run their fellow dreamers through a dream game of sorts.  These dreamweavers invoke the classic art known as roleplaying, having their fellow dreamers craft characters.

The most popular Dreamweavers have been known to host up to millions of other dreamers at the same time.  This has pushed Dreamweaving into a form of pop art, although there always remains some debate on the merits of static versus dynamic dreams.

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