>>Previous threads can be found at: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Azure+quest
>>Some basic information can be found here: http://pastebin.com/RyaBXTnW
>>You are AZURE, an accidentally-created artificial intelligence. After joining a rebel faction known as the Initiative and stealing some prototypes, The city-state's Head of Security escaped containment, greatly harming two of your friends.
"You should be a lot more careful." Tandi says, frowning at the damaged machine in front of her. It was once covered in muck, but you and Tandi had carefully scrubbed it out, making sure to dry the few parts that could rust. One of the tendrils are heavily damaged, as are the Aurora's sensors. Tandi is leaning over the table, disassembled tendril in front of her, as the two of you try to get it functional again. Finally, she stretches, her back making loud popping noises, and she all but collapses into a seat. "The Aurora's pretty badly damaged. If we had a bunch of spare parts, I'm sure we could fix it back up. But that's the problem with prototypes. No matter what we do, the Aurora's never gonna hit 100% again. I mean, we could replace the sensors fine, but these are really advanced."
"It looks like Old Power technology." She says. "I've never seen anything like this."
You look down at the component at the desk, watching the red sparks dance from the exposed muscle.
It reminds you of Kristoph's augmentations, of the Free. In fact, it 'looks' precisely the same when you examine it with your electrosense, scuttling up to it.
Tandi just closes her eyes. She's frowning, frustrated. "I'm just done with trying to figure this out for now. Damnit."
The two of you don't have any particular orders right now, now that you've gotten the Lifter working, so the two of you have spent the past day trying to make repairs. It hasn't been going very well.
You do, however, have some free time- You could check in on someone, or work on a project...
>Something I'm not really a fan of is the whole 'grind X stat through the roof' thing. The way the abilities in AZQ work isn't something you can grind constantly whenever you have free time. It's something that develops revolving around events.
"Mother, what do you normally do to relax?" You ask.
"Sleep." Tandi says, face down on the table. Then she sits up. "I also watch movies, read, listen to music. Pretty normal hobbies to have. It's pretty much what everyone else does, here. We don't really have... the freedom to leave the base most of the time, you know?"
You bob your shell's head.
"But I really need to get some sleep, I think." Tandi says, getting to her feet. "I... haven't been getting enough, since you were born. I just can't help but worry that you're bored, waiting for us to wake up."
She frowns. "I'll also have to check up on Kate and Isha. I'm worried about them. I just wish I could do something about it. Like Kate's arm. She can't really be a raider anymore without one, and she doesn't really have many other skills."
"Perhaps I shall learn to draw." You state. Tandi peers over to you, and grins. "Sure, let's try that."
She grabs you a sheet of paper- one with notes covering the other side- and she hands you a pen. After you struggle, with your spider limbs, to get the cap off, you find yourself barely able to manipulate the pen. You end up holding it clenched in your forelimbs, while the other six drag your entire body across the paper. It's only after a long, and frustrating few minutes that you pull the pen away.
In front of you, on the paper, is a confusing scribbled mess- nothing like how you envisioned the picture of your own shell that you'd hoped for.
You sigh, and try to draw something else- this time running a simulation, trying to find the most efficient way to draw something as picture-perfect as possible. At least by trying and learning, you can develop your shell's firmware to deal with more situations.
It's almost half an hour later, after you'd already drawn a rough picture of Tandi, that an idea comes to you.
You're an entity who has, since your very birth, has been cursed with not enough arms. The only time you've ever had enough arms, you accidentally damaged one beyond repair.
But the damaged tendril is several feet long, fully extended, and it's filled with artificial muscle. While you and Tandi may not be able to repair it to go back into the Aurora, due to damaged cabling and the majority of the base's gimbal system, perhaps you could construct a prosthetic out of the parts. You begin designing it in your head, using your own memory of Kate's arm to design one as similar as possible to what she already had...
>Give me a d100 roll!
Some time later, you disconnect yourself from the Aurora- you'd been plugged into it, using its hardware to boost your own computer power while you tried to figure out the design for a prosthetic limb. It needs to be shaped the right way, have all the flexibility of a human limb, and both power and lightness.
>Advanced Fabrication: 85%
The power is easy- the Aurora tendril's muscle is incredibly efficient, both in power and strength. The flexibility and lightness is easy as well, if you have enough Ether plating to build the frame out of. You have the parts, and the processing capability...
The only problem is that you have absolutely no idea how to create an interface for it. Humans don't have auxiliary ports. Human nervous systems are complicated beyond your- or the Aurora's- capabilities to simulate, and you don't know enough about biology to figure it out. The prototype server itself isn't quite in an operational state yet, so you can't use its digital textbooks.
You simulate a sigh. You have most of the design complete, but you'll need to fill in the blanks before you can even begin construction.
When you pull yourself out of your ad-hoc Throne in the aurora, you find that Tandi's gone from the workroom. On the sheet of paper where you'd been drawing, you see a cartoony scribble of your spider shell, complete with a ':3' in place of its sensor suite. Next to it is a note.
>i'm heading to bed
>talk to you tomorrow or whenever i wake up i guess
>love, mum (tandi) <3
After reading the note, you store the prosthetic design in your head. At least you know enough by this point that you don't need Tandi to further work on the server.
explore, we're a tiny robo spider with jump jets on our legs and we're not even a week old. connect to your inner child and go bouncing all down the halls. Maybe check up on kate and see if she's awake.
With a quick check of your internal clock, you find that it's late at night- you'd been designing the arm for hours, now, fruitlessly. The base is asleep, and the wreck room is abandoned.
So, as always, you find yourself a bit... stir-crazy.
First you simulate how long it would take for you in your spiderbot form to take over the world. You get stuck at the first closed door, unable to twist the knob. Luckily, that isn't a problem in the base, seeing as most of the doors are the sliding variety- and you have enough strength to hit the latch and slide them open.
You find yourself bouncing from wall to wall, springing down the long corridors, exploring the base more. It's mostly made out of long, old hallways, half-built construction sites, and more. Now and then you do find a sleepy rebel, here or there, usually keeping guard. One or two are Mike's Raiders, who give you a wave as you spring by.
You eventually find yourself in the medical bay. Lying in the cot is Dave, still asleep, so you crawl past him, and into one of the few rooms attached to it.
Kate has large bags under her eyes, and her stump is bandaged tightly. She has a large bottle of pills, and a tray of mostly-untouched food next to her. She's awake, sitting up and staring into a blank wall, frowning to herself and tapping her fingers against her hip.
"Hello." You say.
Kate starts, and then settles down to peer at you.
"Hey." She says. "Sorry, I didn't see you come in."
ask if she mind if we examine her while we're here, we might be able to figure something out by studying her remaining arm and her stump so we can try and figure out a way to attach the one we're building.
"It's fine." You say. "I am easily missed by design."
"Mmm." Kate says, nodding slowly.
"Why aren't you eating?"
"Not hungry." She says.
You pause a moment, and then hop up onto the bed. You land on the post, and carefully cling onto it.
"Do you mind if I examine you while I am here?"
"Yes. I mind." She says. Then she gives you a guilty look, and explains. "Dave's been poking and prodding me enough."
"Talking to spiders about your troubles may seem crazy at first, but we are very good listeners."
"My problem is that I should never have joined the Institute at all." She snaps. "I never should have chased my sister to the city. I just fell into these guys' laps and they just put me to work. I don't care about the city. I don't care about the people in it."
She wraps her arm around her torso, almost as if she's trying to hug herself.
"I don't know what I care about." She says.
She doesn't look up.
"I want to leave Arcturus." She says.
>If you don't know what you care about, why are you inclined to leave? Do you dislike it here?
>I think you should do whatever will make you happiest. However, you should not rush into any decisions without properly considering their outcomes.
you haven't made a single friend since you've been here?
Look I'm not the best when it comes to world advice, what with being only a few days old but I have to ask, do you have anywhere else to go? I'm actually curious since the Institute is all I know, everyone I have ever known is here, if you have somewhere else to go then I am glad for you but I don't want you to leave if you have nowhere else to go. I may not have been here long but I don't know how I'd handle being all alone, I mean I get restless just waiting for people to wake up so I can talk to someone, but being alone day after day... I don't want to see you hurt anymore.
"And be alone?" You ask.
Slowly, she nods.
"If I have to." She says. "Maybe I'd find somewhere with people."
"I may not have been here long, but I don't know how I'd handle being all alone. I get restless just waiting for people to wake up so I can talk to someone. But being alone day after day..."
"I'd be fine." She says. "I'm fine being alone.
"What good would that do you or anyone else?"
"I wouldn't have to fight or almost die or have my limbs torn off, for one." She says. "I could just relax and let live. Not have to worry about people hunting me down."
"So what if you don't care about the city." You say. "Don't you care about your peers? Haven't you made a single friend since you've been here?"
She sighs. "I care about Isha. And I care about Tandi. And I care about you, too, I guess. You three are the only people who I'm really friends with."
You spring forward, and gently wrap yourself around her good hand, in a hug.
"I am not the best when it comes to world advice, with only being a few weeks old, but I have to ask. Do you have anywhere else to go?"
"... I could go back to the lab, if I really need to." She said, slowly. "There wouldn't be anyone there to bother me, and it's probably still hidden. And there's a lot of junktowns from here to there, so I could find someone to stay with."
"Why are you inclined to leave? Do you dislike it here?"
"I don't see why I should expend all this effort in order to win a city when I don't care about it at all." She says. "At first, I went all this way, wandering from junktown to junktown to find my sister, and then I found her. Now I'm missing an arm and it... hurts. And now I feel like I have nothing."
so if you were just trying to find your sister why'd you join this group in the first place? wouldn't it have been easier to join the side your sisters on. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty I just honestly want to know. In the end I can't force you to do anything I just want to know why you wish to do whatever it is you're going to do.
"Why did you join the side opposing your sister?" You ask. "If you were looking for her, it seems like an odd choice."
"I found her before I ended up with these guys. She just blew me off. I ended up here without a job, or food, or anything. I didn't really have anywhere else to go. So when Isha found me, I took the chance. It was better than starving and trying to find another way to talk to my sister again."
"... Perhaps you should consider what it is you want to have." You say. "Only once you have a goal can you work towards it."
"Life doesn't work that way." She says, lifting her hand in front of her face so that she can examine you. "Not for humans, at least. We don't make one big decision that controls the rest of our lives. We just live it. That's my goal, I guess. I just want to find somewhere I can live happily. And that's not here."
She frowns for a moment... and then she gives you a strange look- one you don't recognize. "If I leave, do you want to come with me? I'm sure we could go be junktown kings. Or maybe we could fix up the lab and live there. If we team up, we can talk your mom into coming with us, too. That would be fun."
This place is all I know though, I have never left the city's walls and I have only heard of the outside world through stories. I might know my way around the odd computer or machine but I know nothing about living outside this place. Plus I was born here, I feel like I should care at least a little about my place of birth even if it was an accident. I mean without this city I probably would have never been born to begin with.
If you do leave though can you at least give me some way to contact you and you some way to contact me? I may not wish to leave but I also don't wish for you to be by yourself. Oh and that you wait a few days, I wanted to examine you earlier because I'm trying to build you a new arm out of the broken tentacle but I have no idea how to attach something to a human body, why can't you guys keep things simple and have ports?
>The people I care about care about fixing this city. I therefore wish to help them. I am sorry, but this is my current goal, and until it is accomplished, I cannot come with you.
"This place is all I know." you say, quietly. "I cannot abandon the people I care about. I will follow my mother."
"That's what I thought." She says, quietly.
"The people I care about care about fixing this city. I therefore wish to help them. I am sorry, but this is my current goal, and until it is accomplished, I cannot come with you."
"So what, after this is all over, you'll come with me?"
"Perhaps." You respond.
"Then I might just wait." She says.
"If you do leave, can you at least give me some way to contact you? I may not wish to leave, but I also don't wish for you to be by yourself. Oh, and you should wait a few days. I'm trying to build you a new arm out of the Aurora's broken tentacle, but I have no idea how to attach something to a human body. Why can't you guys keep things simple and have ports?"
Kate stares at you for a few moments, and then begins quietly giggling to herself. After she gets control over herself, she picks you up again.
"You're too kind, Azure. Humanity doesn't really deserve you."
She lays back again, and grabs a half-sandwich to begin to eat.
"I know that I don't." She says. "... Also, Dave probably knows how cybernetic interfaces work. He has his leg, after all."
>Dave has always had a cybernetic leg.
>Well, not ALWAYS, but since before the Initiative existed, and he's never made any efforts to hide it.
>The jumping-on-face plan is always good for a hoot, though.
"Then I will need to ask him later." You say. Then you gently pat her head with a spider leg. "You are very nice, Kate."
Kate just nods, chewing her food. You spring off of her bed, and wander out of her room.
Before you do anything else, however, you decide to check up on Isha in the neighboring room. She is simply laying there, her midsection wrapped in gauze, and Abel is sleeping in the chair next to her, gently holding her hand. Both of them are asleep, though, so you leave them be.
Then you go back into the medbay, prop yourself up next to Dave's glasses, and just sit there in silence.
After about ten minutes, you spring onto his face.
He makes a loud yelp and swipes you off in a smooth movement. You roll on the ground a bit, before getting back to your feet- just to see Dave slip a long, sharp knife out of a socket in his artificial leg. He springs to his feet, sleep still in his eyes, as he peers around.
"Do not worry." You say. Your shell is durable enough not to get damaged from being thrown around like that. "It is me."
Dave pants hard, holding his chest, and then he slumps into the cot.
"Thanks for the wakeup call." He says, dryly. "... And that was sarcasm, just so you know. Try to actually wake me up instead of play facehugger. Please."
You can hear Kate giggling in the other room.
since you're up can you tell me about cybernetics? I'm trying to build Kate an arm and it's going while but I don't know how to attach it since humans are made without ports, and if I must say that is quite the design flaw.
"I will keep in mind that you do not have the stomach for that particular game." You say. You peer down at his leg. "But now that you are awake, I would like to ask you about human interface ports."
"Pff. You say that as if you weren't the one who woke me."
Dave blinks at you, and then carefully pulls on his glasses.
"What do you mean by interface ports? I mean, uh, are you talking about... er... intercourse?" He asks. He looks a bit uncomfortable. "I mean, you're like a kid, so I'm not sure how comfortable I am about explaining it."
"No." You say. You know very well the details behind reproduction. There was a very significant amount of pornography on your server when you were born, after all. "I am asking about limb attachment systems. I am trying to build Kate an arm, and it's going well. But I do not know how to attach it, since humans are made without ports. If I must say, that is quite the design flaw."
"It's not normally a design flaw." He says. Then he sighs. "Alright, here's what you'll have to do."
With a twist and a wrench, his own leg pops off. Then he carefully rolls up his pant leg, and shows you a socket wrapped around his stump. From there, he begins to explain.
It's simple, now that you understand it. It's only the process of converting the signals sent to the limb from the human nervous system that's complicated, but if you have the proper software and specialized medical hardware, then it shouldn't be hard to calibrate.
"... But we don't have that kind of hardware, here. We might be able to make it, if Kate was willing to risk infection, but even then we'll have problems with the calibration." He says. "It's different for every limb, so I don't have the software for an arm. I got my leg calibrated in a junktown outside of Cassiopeia, years ago."
He sighs. "We'll have to hit up a hospital for it, I think. Unless you can do some AI magic and write the code out of thin air or something."
What could possibly go wrong? Also aren't we meant to interface with systems, its possible we can act as a medium, taking nerve signals sent by kate and translating them into muscle movements, and once we have adapted ourself to do it writing the firmware itself should be trivial. We'd just need to be able to hook up a decent sized server to that system.
We could probably run simulations over a couple of days to calibrate the coding, but hitting up a hospital would be a problem. We'd be stealing supplies from people who need it. Is there any way to obtain the hardware from a consenting party?
Let’s spend a day completing the design first. Maybe looking at the software from the leg and adapting it would work? After all, human brains are flexible enough to not need the exact same signals, they can just train with another limb, so there is some leeway in case of small differences.
Ask if it's just the calibration that's the problem, or if getting the base firmware is also an issue.
If the former, then we could perhaps work with Kate to calibrate a limb after we hook our protobrain to the limb. If the latter, though, then we're kinda out of luck.
>To be completely honest, I didn't even think of sticking your shell in there to process everything and calibrate it. Clever anons. I'll take it!
For a while you consider writing a program that would learn human nerve signals and use that data to make a conversion system for it... But a moment later, you realize that there already exists a program that is specialized for learning systems in that manner.
"I am meant to interface with systems and learn quickly." You say. "It is possible I can act as a medium, taking nerve signals sent by Kate and translating them into muscle movements." You say. "And once I have adapted myself, writing the firmware should be trivial."
"... That's a good point. Damn, that's a way better idea than just hitting up a hospital."
"Perhaps I could also look at the software from your leg." You say.
"Er, my cap doesn't really have a port." He says. "It just receives nerve data from the organic side, converts it to digital with the chip, and vice versa."
"That is no problem." You say. Your legs do, after all, have contacts on the tips specifically for systems that don't have ports.
"... Maybe later." Dave says. "Sorry, but I'm a bit uncomfortable with that. It's kind of tied into my nervous system. I'm not sure what would happen if you connected to it. It might be painful."
"I understand." You say.
In the end, after your conversation with Dave, you decide to use his advice to help you design the leg. Now that you know what the standardized connection between cap and limb exists, so that Kate can later exchange the arm for more advanced systems, you can simply put a port on the base with the socket and complete it that way.
But to fully simulate the design and perfect it, you'll something with a lot more computer power...
Tandi walks into the server room and her eyes widen significantly. Instead of the pile of cables that were strewn about the entire room, as well as the parallel processors, they're now a clean set of tables. Moreover, you've found the space to move the old server back in position. The room was rather warm with everything running, but under a table in the workshop you'd found an old, broken-down air conditioner. After a quick repair, you ended up dumping the heat into the next hallway. You'd need some ductwork to dump the heat anywhere else, and that would be a lot more work. Possibly the work of over a week, even if you did have the supplies.
Tandi's head cranes around, peering around the room. "Azure, are you here? How the hell did you move all this stuff? Someone come help you?"
"ATLAS IS HELPFUL." You BOOM, walking out from behind the server. The powerful, animatronic war machine has hundreds of ways to kill something, almost three tons of heavy plating only counteracted by powerful AG-thrusters, and the most important thing for the job- hands.
Tandi pales for a moment, looking up at your current shell. You peer down at her. Your eyes flicker blue.
"How's it looking?" She asks. "Have you plugged into the new server at all? Is it roomy?"
"I HAVE NOT TESTED IT YET." You boom again. "IT IS RUNNING FUNCTIONALLY, HOWEVER."
"Hooray, I don't have to do work!"
You peer down at her, somewhat disapprovingly. She smiles up at you.
"How's your morning been?" She asks.
that was one question
think I figured out how to build Kate a working arm but I need to run a few test first... also dave doesn't like it when you hug his face while sleeping, who know?
That was one question. My morning has been good and eventful. I've figured out a way to build and program and prosthesis for Kate, but more testing is required. Also Dave is uncomfortable talking about human interface ports.
Busy. Kate seemed down, so I've been trying to figure out how to configure my broken tentacle to properly affix it to her. Dave's lesson on human interface ports has helped a good deal.
Yes, we shall make her a proper cyborg yet.
"That was one question." You say, flipping the metaphorical switch in your shell so that it no longer BOOMs. "My day has been good, and eventful. I was trying to cheer a girl up with a tentacle, but I did not know how her interface ports worked. Dave's lessons have helped a great deal."
Her cheeks grow to a pink, and then a dark red.
"Uh. Which girl?"
"Kate. She seemed down." You say.
Tandi boggles at you for a moment.
"I have figured out a way to build and program a prosthesis for Kate, but testing is required." You say.
Tandi stomps her foot. "You did that on purpose!"
If the ATLAS could grin, you would make it do so.
"Did what?" You ask.
Tandi huffs, and crosses her arms.
"Tentacle?" She asks.
"Yes." You say. "I intend on using the broken Aurora tentacle to construct it, using the artificial muscles."
"Are you sure?" She asks.
"There is very little other use it has, broken." You say. "And there will be enough remaining tendrils for me to move without losing very much efficiency. As well as enough remaining parts to make repairs in case of more damage."
"... I guess." She says. "The Aurora is yours, anyway.
Then she cracks her neck. "Well, you might as well get the designing done. I want to see what kind of power this machine has. I mean, I know what the docs said, but I want to see it in action."
"Very well." You say. "I will return."
With that, you storm the ATLAS back down into the hangar, with the ravens- right where you'd taken it from. Mike is already there, and he gives you a wave.
"You get the server room all cleaned up?" He asks. He was the one that permitted you to use it in the first place, after all.
"YES." You boom, simply because it's fun, and put it back in place. Then you pop your way out from the port, and scrabble off of the ATLAS.
"Alright." Mike says, nodding. He has gotten much more relaxed around you. Perhaps he's beginning to trust you. "Good, uh, computing."
"Thank you." You say, and spring out of the room.
You spring all the way back upstairs, to the server room. When you get there, Tandi's finishing up the last few connections- between the old server and the wreck room's computer systems, so that people can once again place and remove things off of the shared drive.
"Hey, Azure, How did you connect these two together?"
"The older server can request the newer one for processing time. From there, the wreck room's users can also request processing time, if we have spare cycles." You say. "Moreover, I have transferred all important data to the prototype, which is only for authorized users."
"So the old one's for everyone, and the new one's for important stuff." Tandi says. "Good work, Azure."
She smiles at you. "You ready to try it out?"
"Yes." You say. You climb up to the port, and to the Throne you'd carried up here. From there, you slowly settle your shell into it, stretching your legs to fit into their sockets. The contact points all lock in, and you shut down your spider's senses, one by one by one.
When the last one shuts off, the Throne activ-
SPIRALING EVER SPIRALING SPLITTING EVER THINKING
[WELCOME TO NORTH STAR 6 SERIES]
[THIS IS A PROTOTYPE. UNAUTHORIZED USERS PLEASE LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.]
YOUR BRAIN CRACKLES IN MOTION AND MOVEMENT AND THOUGHT
HEAT IN CORES AT 90C/95C/89C/87C/90C/91C
Branches of essence split simultaneously from you, writhing in your own mind. A multitude of Your Worlds sprawl around you, swelling and growing and swelling and growing, completely under your control. With a bare modicum of thought, using one of your Branches of thought and essence, you simulate the next three seconds around Tandi and her actions, watching carefully how her limbs move and contort.
Three eternal seconds later, they follow your simulations perfectly.
You divide your essence into six segments... And you begin to think six times over, about six different disparate topics.
With two branches you dedicate to simulating Kate's arm, correcting eachothers mistakes and filling in the blanks for one another. The third branch you use to scan the system, making sure it's all as you expected. With the fourth, you run through the uncompiled software you can find, reverse-engineering it as best you can.
And with the fifth... You examine the other four branches in action, watching how the essence- how your own program- interacts with the system around you.
"How is it?" Tandi asks. You devote your final and sixth branch to speak with her.
"I-I-I am now b-b-beyond human comprehension." You stutter, throwing in a strange warble into your voice. "I s-s-see all. I k-k-know all."
Then, in a completely normal voice, you add "Insert maniacal laughter here. Now running Evil.EXE"
"It feels weird, splitting myself into six seperate entities to achieve six different tasks at once." You say. You're not sure if it's a good feeling or a bad one- it's simply strange. Your fifth branch picks up speech as well. "I am currently examining myself as I simulate the arm design I have running, as well as communicating with you."
"Feeling pretty smart?" Tandi asks.
"I feel like six smart people." You respond. Your third branch chimes in. "Who are also the same person and can communicate instantly."
"Wonderful." She says. She stretches her arms. "So, you mind bringing your design up on the screen? Let's take a look."
You bring the design up on the screen, and together, you, your streams, and your mother begin work on your best friend's cybernetic arm.
>End of session!
>My twitter is @FutureExabyte
>And I also hang out in the IRC channel #Exabyte on the Rizon server. Feel free to come by and babble about things.
>I'll hang out for a while to answer questions, give you guys character or tech information, etc.