>>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, a machine with a mind, and you're assisting the New Arcturus Initiative, a rebel cell vying for control of the city.
A perfect, shining example of design sits in your mind, burned in as if by brilliant shining light. It's a mastery of physics, as far as you and Tandi can tell, utilizing what you suspect may be Old Power technology in a way that it seems like it's been designed for.
A prosthetic arm, with the proper weight and flexibility so that anybody could adapt to it more easily.
You have most of the supplies. You'd only need a bit of medical hardware, or some very careful fabrication.
The only problem is the lack of a software to calibrate it, to properly convert human nerve signals to movement and back again. You have designed the hardware. But for it to work, for Katelyn to be able to use her new arm, you would need to live within it for a time, integrated into her nervous system, using the very system that allows you to think in order to write the firmware the arm will need.
You're not sure about being connected to the nervous system of a human being. Dave didn't like the idea- and he's the closest thing the Initiative has to an expert on cybernetics.
Tandi suddenly speaks, almost out of the blue. Your multithreaded mind, running through the prototype server at a speed you could scarcely believe, comes to attention for her.
"I think that's all we can do." She says, pulling her hands away from the keyboard.
"Yeah." She responds. "No matter how much processing power we have, we all just think faster. Not smarter, you know? Unless we get some new ideas or crack the code on how those artificial muscles actually work, this is the limit."
"I see." You say.
At that, with surprisingly lucky timing, Abel steps into the room, knocking on the doorframe as he does.
Tandi jumps, and then whirls around, hands behind her back. "Abel? How's Isha doing?"
"She woke up a few times, but she's recently went back to sleep." Abel says. He looks like he's hardly slept, himself.
"What's going on?" Tandi asks, apparently seeing something in his eyes that you haven't.
"We're considering making overtures toward the Free." He says. "They lost their headquarters and home in one day. For whoever's left, it can't be easy for them. So what we're considering is finding out more about them, and if we can't find a reason not to... we'll integrate them into our Initiative. They may use more violent methods than we're used to, so they might have to adapt... But we might have to adapt, too."
Tandi looks from him to your pink spider shell, sitting on the corner, and then back to him.
"Why are you telling us? Is there something you need us to do? We're just like, the tech team."
"You are, but I was hoping for your opinion on the matter. This was Isha's suggestion, before she got hurt. Mike disagreed with her. I'm just not sure which choice to make. And I trust your judgement, Tandi. Yours too, Azure."
"Er..." Tandi says, eyes darting back to you. You immediately get the impression that she'll agree with whatever you decide.
Having a better relationship with Free might still be wise even though our methods are so different, even if it is just to prevent accidents like what almost happened when we went to retrieve Isha. Maybe full integration is a bit much but information sharing should be okay as a tentative first step?
Letting in some of their members could also draw more unwanted attention.
At the same time there are similarities in our goals and they probably could use some help.
Perhaps so long as it is made very clear what joining us would entail.
"Having a better relationship with Free might be wise, but we are, in truth, very different." You say. "While I think information sharing is a good idea as a tentative first step, full integration may be too much."
"I agree." Tandi says. "I mean, it's a bit much to plan to integrate them in, especially if it's not something they want. I figure we could just share information more freely. If they end up joining, that's their choice."
Abel nods, frowning.
"In that case, we should likely make it very clear what joining us might entail." You respond to Tandi. "Though letting in some of their members could draw more unwanted attention."
"That's probably a better way of going about things than Isha's plan of merging the two cells, versus Mike's plan of having nothing to do with Free at all." Abel says. "A happy medium, so they say."
He stands again, and stretches. "Oh, and good job getting the prototype server running. Dave tells me the systems are working a lot faster. Like a dream, he said, and something about some kind of game on max settings."
"You're welcome." You respond.
"Oh, and Tandi?" Abel asks.
"Get some more sleep."
Tandi rolls her eyes. "Talk to yourself, first."
Abel chuckles, and then makes his way back out of the server room.
Tandi frowns the moment he's gone.
"He's worried about Isha. Like, really worried." She says. "He's trying not to let us see, but he's never this... tense. I mean, we might be a bit low on medical supplies, so he might be worried that we're running through our stock, but..."
He cares for everyone here. Deeply. This is probably why he is the leader, right. Also, maybe, he emphasizes a bit more deeply for Isha, be it because of her [tragic backstory] or maybe because of a personal affection [aka love].
"He cares for everyone here." You say. "This is why he is the leader, right?"
"He's not... exactly the leader. He, Isha, and Mike are supposed to be the leaders. Three minds so that one person doesn't have too much power. That was their agreement." Tandi says. "Then again, he ends up being the leader because he works so hard."
"Perhaps he emphasizes a bit more deeply for Isha, because of her history, or perhaps personal affection."
"Yeah..." Tandi says, frowning. "I agree with that, definitely. By the time I showed up with the initiative, the two had just gotten together."
"Y'know. In a romantic sense." Tandi says. "They keep it a lot down low nowadays."
Then she frowns.
"You uh, do know about romance, right? Er, human pair bonds and such? Marriage?" She asks. "I mean, I could explain it to you if you want, but... I don't really have a lot of hands-on experience in that area."
Search for comforting sentence pattern.
"According to my reference points, you are a charming woman, and will attract potential mates in a jiffy. As they say. Who are 'they' in this case?"
It was established that we had all the entertainment content including porn at hand when we were born, right?
So… We know about the physical parts from porn and about the mental parts from thousands of books and movies and such. Should be enough.
>I know everything the database had on romance and pornography.
>Did you know that there were [insert large number here] of trashy slash fics on there?
"When two individuals appreciate eachothers presence very much, they combine data, and produce smaller copies of themselves." you say. "Is that what you refer to?"
"Essentially." she says. "There are a bunch of cultural rules about it, and different ways people view dating, but that's the basic stuff."
"There are several 'dating simulators' on the system. Am I to believe they are an accurate representation of-"
"NO." Tandi says, cheeks going red. "No way are they accurate. They're an, uh, idealized version. Different people want their own things from each relationship, and so the biggest part of a relationship is compromising. The reason those simulators are inaccurate is because, uh, the characters you're supposed to romance don't have any goals in the relationship, they just want to fulfill the players' goals. They're not real people and don't act like real people would. Just uh, keep that in mind."
"And what about fiction? I know that two figures by the names of Snape and Harry-"
"Oh GOD no." Tandi says. "There's no grounding to reality at all in any case with that kind of stuff. Don't use it as an example, either positive or negative. Disregard fanfiction entirely. For anything but entertainment, and barely even then."
"Very well." You say.
"This is one of those things that have a lot of cultural rules and unspoken rules and stuff. It's really complicated and I don't understand most of it." She says. "I don't have a lot of experience. Or any, really."
You consider it for a time.
"I don't see why." You say. "According to my reference points, you are a charming woman, and will attract potential mates in a jiffy. As they say."
"You're going to be a charmer when you grow up." She says. "My physical attraction doesn't matter, because I care more about emotions. I wouldn't enter a bond- or even a potential bond- with anyone unless there's an emotional grounding already behind it."
Then she tilts her head.
"It's really weird to phrase things this way."
"I find that rephrasing an issue often helps with understanding it." You say.
"Yep." She nods, and then gets to her feet. "But I think we should go take a break. Do something that isn't work... Or something. I mean, I don't know if you actually need to take breaks, psychologically, but we humans do. And since you seem pretty human, you might be humanlike enough to have the same kind of, I don't know, psychological needs."
You do get uncomfortable over time when you work on the same project for too long- more bored, than uncomfortable, and you find yourself getting lonely when there is nobody else near to speak to... So perhaps your mother has a good point.
"I'm gonna go to the mess hall and get something to eat." Tandi says. "I know you don't need to, but would you like to join me?"
You consider it. You could join her... Or you could go check on either of Dave's injured patients- Kate or Isha... Or you could even begin a new project, if you wanted...
"I will join you." You say.
"Alright." She says.
Carefully, you withdraw your essence from the server, taking care to focus on your more recent memories, and then you withdraw yourself from the Throne keeping you wedded into the system.
The shock is painful, a bit, as you disconnect. A chill crawls through your mind, freezing your errant thoughts, and everything feels sluggish for a moment.
Then you spring off of the table to land on Tandi's shoulder.
You haven't been in the mess hall much, if at all- other than the short tour you had when you arrived. It's a large room, rather well-lit, with clean surfaces and several long tables. Tandi strolled on past the tables into the back, where the kitchen appliances sat, and started to pull out some food.
"Mother." You say, watching her cook. She's displaying a complete competence of her own physical dexterity, quickly cracking eggs open and mixing them up with no mistakes. It was strange- you'd somehow gotten the impression that she hardly knew how to cook.
"May I have some ice cream?" You ask.
"Why do you ask?"
"I understand that ice cream is the greatest of all foods." You say.
"It is." She says. "It's more of a snack than a proper meal, but it's pretty good. But Azure, you know you can't eat, right?"
You pause for a moment. Then your body sags, your legs unable to put up the effort to stand properly.
"... Aw, I'm sorry, Azure." She says. "We'll get you a body that can taste eventually." She says. "Though I have no clue how we'll do that, but we will."
"Perhaps, for now, I will take some icecream to Kate, then." You say.
"That's a good idea." She says. She reaches into the refrigeration unit, and pulls out a small cylindrical carton, and a spoon. She sets it down next to you- and then, after a pause, she quickly tapes a spoon to the top by the handle. "There you go."
You stare at the carton, evaluating it... And you begin to plan how to actually take it somewhere else.
Your middle legs rotated around and clasping onto the carton balanced atop your body, using the minute AG-drives in your legs to hold it in place, your four remaining legs carefully toddle down the hall. It's a strange and uncomfortable way of traveling, but you can manage it.
The medbay is empty, without Dave, though the nearby rooms still have their inhabitants. The light in Isha's room is dim, but the light in Kate's is lit. When you push your way through the door, Kate sits up, almost jumping up.
"Hello." You say, unable to see her face from your vantage point on the floor.
"Azure?" Kate asks. You amble around the bed, carefully tapping your way over to her bedside. From there, you carefully begin to climb.
"... Did you really bring me ice cream?" Kate asks, as you set it on her bedside table.
"No." You say. "I brought it for me."
There is a moment of silence.
"That was sarcasm." You say. "I cannot eat."
Kate snorts and rolls her eyes.
She's looking better than she did yesterday, when she was talking about leaving the Initiative, and leaving Arcturus... But she still isn't the Katelyn you were familiar with.
She has a book in her lap- a dry textbook explaining the mechanics of the graviton generation system- or the AG-drive.
"Thanks." She says quietly, before pulling the container open and beginning to eat. The snack is pink, very cold, and clearly artificial. "That looked... Really difficult for you, being so tiny."
it was awkward but not really hard. Anyways I have news about your arm. The good news is It's pretty much done, I got everything mapped out and it should be almost as good as the old one... the bad news is while everything on the hardwire side of things is as good as they can be I still don't have any idea how to actually have it hook up to your nervous system so you can control it. Well there is one way we could cheat it but I'm not so sure about that idea.
How about you, how have things been going on your end?
"Anything for a friend." You say. "It was awkward, but not really hard."
"Alright." She says. She's having difficulties eating, trying to hold the carton in place with her knees while she digs at it with a spoon- the carton keeps shifting as she tries to scoop- so you climb on top and hold it in place with the AG-drives in your legs.
"I have news about your arm." You say.
"Is it good news, or bad news?" She asks.
"Both." You say. "For the good news, It's pretty much done. I have everything mapped out and it may be almost as good as your old one. Better, in some ways. The bad news is that while everything on the hardware side of things is as good as they can be, I barely have an idea on how to hook it up to your nervous system so that you can control it."
"There is one way we could cheat, but I'm not so sure about that idea."
"What is that idea?"
"It would involve connecting myself to your nervous system so that I learn and understand how the human nervous signals work. Once that is done, I can write firmware for the arm."
"I see." She says. "Would you be connected to just my arm, or..."
"Everything." You say. "According to my research, the best location would be to construct an interface location in your spine."
She begins to think. She begins to think and to eat the icecream, in small bits for some time.
"... It's got to be better than nothing, so I wouldn't mind. It wouldn't be the first time someone modified my body, but it would be the first time I had a choice about it." She says. "But you have your own things you need to do. You shouldn't be strapped to someone who can't do anything, let alone anything right."
>Do not let recent failures overshadow previous success. This whole organization has prevailed against a far bigger force for a long time. And even now this is but a minor setback.
>Also, as they say, to err is human.
well honestly, since their's not much to research at this time I'm actually kind of free... plus I don't sleep so if I'm really need I could probably be hooked up to you while mom works and then take over when she goes to sleep and then switch back to you when she wakes up again.
Honestly I'm actually surprised you're ok with this. I mean the last time I ask to examine you you were a little hesitant. Plus I can't help but feel that it would be awkward as all hell if we actually did it... I mean I've never done anything like this before, it would be my first time.
"Correction." You say. "I do not have set and codified duties, despite my normal habit of assisting my mother. I have decided my own orders of priority. The first of which is protecting my friends. The second of which is helping them."
"... and that's why you're going through all this effort? Because I'm your friend?"
"There is no better reason." You say.
There is a long pause, and then Kate gently sets the spoon into the carton. The next thing you know, Kate grabs you, pulls you away from the carton, and gives you a tight hug- as best she can with one arm, and with your great size difference.
"I'm perfectly willing." She says. "I don't care what you guys end up having to do. I heal fast and I'm resilient enough to take a lot of procedures, I guess... But only as long as this is something you personally want to do."
"There are some alternatives I am considering. For example, I could likely do other things or interface with other machines while connected to you." You say. "Regardless, I am surprised you are okay with this. The last time I asked to examine you, you were a little hesitant."
"I wasn't really in a very good place, then." She says. "I'm sorry I snapped at you, Azure."
>I'm sorry I snapped at you, Azure.
you... you didn't really snap you just said no. But if you're willing I guess I can go ahead and get things ready, unless you want to try one of the other ways first but since this is your arm I'm going to leave you to decide.
Now then, RELEASE ME TINY HUMAN FOR MY PLANS OF WORLD DOMINATION MUST NOT BE DELAYED ANY LONGER.
then when she lets us go proceed to jump on her face and hug her back while screaming REVENGE.
Oh and check on Isha before we go.
"You didn't snap at me." You say. "You simply said no. But if you're willing, I guess I can go ahead and get things ready. Unless you want to try one of the other ways first. But since this is your arm, I'm going to leave you to decide."
She frowns, still hugging you close. Kate has a lot more flesh than Tandi does, according to your pressure sensors- they're registering a lot more softness.
"I think I'd like to try it." She says. "I mean, if this works, then you'd be able to use this same information to help other people, right?"
"Most likely." You say.
"Then I'll do it." She says. "If you don't mind being attached to me, I mean.
"I don't mind." You respond. Then you mess with your voice, making it sinister and buzz threateningly. "Now then, Release me, tiny human! For my plans of world domination must not be delayed any longer!"
"Fine, finel." Kate says, releasing you.
You immediately spring up onto her shoulder and nuzzle yourself into her jawline, hugging her as best you can.
"Revenge!" You call.
She begins to giggle.
Then you pull away, and spring down off of the bed. With a wave of one of your legs, you make your way over to Isha's room.
The room is dark, and quiet, and still. Isha is unconscious, a medical machine attached to her and constantly beeping. She has swathes of gauze over her torso, and her chart- which you barely understand- mentions that she has a major chest wound of some kind.
She doesn't react at all, even when you softly say her name.
You don't know how to help her.
remember everything about the chart so when we hook back up to the server and can try figure out what it means and see what we can do to help. Other then that tell her she better get well soon and she better be awake next time you come to visit as you would like to talk to her. Then nuzzle her hand a bit and leave.
I'm not sure what we could possibly do for Isha. Her injury seems to be a purely organic matter, so not exactly within Azure's ballpark. The best we can probably do is emotional support, but that'll have to wait until she's awake. She probably needs her sleep for now.
You gently touch her hand, and then look back at the chart, making a note of it so that you keep it in mind. You're not very good with organics- This is the most you can do, right now.
You find yourself walking back out of Isha's room, considering your various choices. On one hand, you could work on an interface for Kate. You know the basics of how to construct a specially-designed Throne, especially with the medical textbooks Dave put into the server for you, so you could design it. You could speak with more people, take more of a break, watch some movies with the folks in the Wreck room, possibly play some videogames...
But something- you're not sure what- gives you an impression. It's too faint and faded to call it an idea, but you can't help but consider it.
The Old Powers. The little you've heard about them were that they used to rule the world, and during the Shattering, created highly advanced secret labs. Because of the shattering, these labs are the only locations that Old Power-era technology still exist. You've found hints of them, here and there, in design documents and in the people at the Initiative.
Both Tandi and Kate may know where entirely two separate labs exist. Kate was built in one, and Tandi is related to one, somehow...
Perhaps if you had the technology, you could help your friends.
start looking into building that new throne first, we can ask Kate about her's when we're "bonding" and we can ask Tandi when she comes to check in on us. Either way these are things to look at in the future since from what little both of them have said about these things they're both pretty far away and we're kinda needed her now. Maybe when we have a bit more free time and resources to make the voyage we can look into these more but for now I think they'd just put a strain on everyone and they're wound up enough as it is right now.
Time finds you sitting in the supercomputer, most of your trains of thought writhing through a design document. You opened up with Tandi's own personal design for what she called a Throne- a seat specifically for your spider shell, your proto-brain, to integrate completely and entirely with whatever machine the throne is installed into.
However, such a thing seems nearly impossible to install into a human body, especially near the upper spine or base of the skull. They lack the ports that a traditional Throne uses. You also don't want to install anything too invasive- organic creatures weren't meant for modification.
In the end, the system is rather simple. You will need to install a series of electrodes to particular locations in Katelyn's back and spine. Then from there, attach them to a slim machine that integrates all of the various inputs and outputs, and from there, sent via radio signal to a specially designed Throne...
Tandi strolls into the room as you simulate a human spine, complete with random nerve impulses, and seeing the various ways the electrodes would pick them up. The bulk of the design work is complete, now you're just streamlining it as much as possible. It's a difficult process, and so only one of your awarenesses can look out and research the Old Powers- which you find very little information about. From the most part, you gather, they must be the 'First World' and 'Second World' countries from almost a century ago, only further developed over decades. In fact, you can't even find a single mention that uses the phrase 'Old Power' at all.
"What's up?" Tandi asks.
"I am designing a throne for a human nervous system." You respond.
"Oh." Tandi says. "Er, for the whole arm thing? Anything I can help with?"
"Yes." You say. "And no, respectively. Now I am just simulating the consequences."
"Oh, alright." She says.
"How was your breakfast?"
"Good!" Tandi says. "It's a bit late for breakfast, though. How was Kate?"
"She is a lot better than yesterday." You say. "Much more... Kate."
"That's good." She says.
"She enjoyed the ice cream and even gave hugs." You add. "Though her hugs were a lot softer than yours."
Tandi snorts. "Just because I'm boney." She says. "Did you discuss the whole, uh, Throne thing with her?"
"Yes." You say. "She seemed accepting of the idea, though she didn't want me to go too far out of my way."
"Which we both know is bullshit." She says. You make your avatar nod in acceptance. "You're going to help whoever you want and not care what you end up having to do."
"Yes." You say.
Tandi just beams. "You're a better person than a lot of people, you know that? You might not be human, but I think that's more important than being human."
She closes her eyes, and then sighs.
"I don't think that this Initiative is going to last much longer. Not if we're going to keep going the way we are."
"What do you mean?" You ask.
"I mean... We're not really doing anything. We exist, and we're showing ourselves as a second option for the citizens here, but what we do is mostly just grab things. Find people who are unfairly arrested and rescue them, or take a food truck when we're running low on food... I mean, we're still helping, but we're not making much change."
"... I see." You say.
"I'm sorry!" Tandi says, suddenly. You can't quite understand her expression. "I've been trying not to change your opinion on things and let you make your own decisions, so I wasn't going to say anything like that, but when I started thinking about the people here..."
She trails off.
Well we could do some propper fight back, publishing dirt on the shady stuff their doing is a good first step, once people realize exactly whats happening.
Then again, if that happens and nothing progresses, it might be a good idea to start looking for someplace to relocate to and turn this entire affair into an underground railroad to get out of dodge.
"You've made a valid point. I believe we need to show ourselves. Maybe a data hack that shows some secrets?"
"... We tried that." Tandi says. "Isha, at great personal risk, found and stole a clip of Commander Tolstoy abusing her position in order to hurt people. To hurt innocents. We streamed it across to everyone's personal screens, but... Nothing changed."
"How do you think we could make this last, then?" You ask.
"I don't know." Tandi says. "... I just don't know."
"If tothing progresses, it might be a good idea to start looking for some place to relocate to, and turn this entire affair into an underground railroad to get out of dodge." You say.
"... Like into the junk towns?" Tandi asks. "Azure, the reason people end up in cities like this is because... Well, the junktowns aren't safe places. They aren't profitable, or clean, or anything. I mean, a city like this is designed for people to live in, and it's designed for them to grow, and be safe, and be educated. Growing up in a junktown means that you have to find whatever scraps you can. A few people can build a few farms, but nobody gets any... real education out there."
"You haven't seen it, dear." Tandi says. "It's not happy out there, and it's not safe. People chose the cities because no matter how little choice you have in the world, even if your every action was dictated by a computer, you're still alive, you're still safe, and your children have a brighter future. Even this Arcturus, as messed up as they are, are better than a junktown tyrant. T-trust me."
She frowns, and hangs her head.
"... Unless we could start our own city, somehow, I don't think that plan is going to be an option. Even if it was, it would take years for us to be seen as a proper city instead of just another junktown."
>Kate was mentioning this topic too, of how The Initiative has been seemingly ineffective as of late, she offered to take us with her wherever we went, I told her I'd stay with you. If you would like to consider Kates offer, or bring it up with her, we would follow you in whatever decision you made.
We could also jack into the city systems personally and basically funk with the system.
Though checking out the old power bases might be a good starting point. At least it would let us explore our options.
Really at this point in time you have to ask yourself, do we fight for this place, or do we go and try make our own? No one wants to die for a city that won't stand up for itself.
You begin to think, diverting one of your awarenesses to an entire new train of thought- how to solve this problem.
"Kate was mentioning this topic too, of how the Initiative has been seemingly ineffective as of late." You say.
Tandi's eyes widen.
"She offered to take us with her, wherever we went." You say. "I told her I would stay with you."
"You don't need to do that." Tandi says, suddenly stern. "You don't need to stay with me if you have a better option. Consider that a rule. I don't want you to stay in a horrible situation or something because you feel like you need to. Alright?"
"I will do whatever I wish, mother." You say.
Tandi smiles, and then gives you a hug.
"Alright." She says. "But it's surprising that Kate talked to you about that. She's not somebody to... trust someone like that. I mean, she doesn't trust me, or anyone."
At this moment, the diverted awareness brings up its findings- an idea, burning its way into you.
"We could steal supplies from Arcturus, and use them to set up a supply base by starting a junk town." You say. "Or by renewing one of the Old Power bases. One of their abandoned laboratories. Go from there."
"You really think we could build our own city? You think we could make it fair, make it bright, make it safe?" She asks.
"The real problem is that people have a lack of options." You say. "They stay here because they do not want to suffer living in a junk town. But if they had a better option, they might take it."
Tandi levels with you, looking straight at your avatar. Her expression is even stranger than the previous one- something determined, important.
"... It... It might be an option." she says. "But it has a bit of a risk. A lot of a risk. We do have the Lifter, and if we work it right, we could basically go anywhere. We have the biggest dropship in the world. But that would mean abandoning the city. Is that something we really want to do?"
The question lies with her, we personally just want to collect information and develop ourselves to the point where we can actually make educated decisions on our own. Something we could do feasibly anywhere, even arguably with the ""bad guys"". At the end of the day its her quality of life that gets effected, not ours.
"I have no real attachment to this city, only to the people who are fighting for it." You say. "Nor does Kate after she deemed her sister lost. For you, those answers must be self-determined."
"... Of course."
"And also, that was one question."
"Of course it was." Tandi says.
She closes her eyes, softly.
"... When I first joined, I did it out of obligation." She says. "I'd just been betrayed in a place I thought was safe, after finally making my way here. So when I was arrested, I thought I would just whittle the rest of my days in jail. Then Abel and company arrived and saved me, and then I was here. They found out I could build things, and put me to work. I was just kinda... like that. I helped because I felt that I owed them for saving me. I guess I kinda still do... But I don't really believe in their cause. I don't see the purpose of trying to fix something broken. If that was the case... I would've stayed home."
She goes silent.
"I don't have a reason to stay." She says. "Other than that obligation, and other than my connection to other people here. But I don't love them. They're not my family. But you are, you know? I thought it would be weird having you around. A sentient computer program that thought it was my kid. But the next thing I know, before we even talked to the leaders about keeping you, I was thinking of you as my daughter."
"... I need a body that can more effectively give hugs." You respond. Tandi giggles.
"So here's my opinion." Tandi says, ignoring the tears forming in her eyes. "If you want to do something, I'll join you. I'll help you as best I can. If that means building something we can both be proud of, that's even better."
"This is all well and good, but we really need to get out there and see what there is to be seen, you can't bake a cake without the ingredients, and we don't decide on what to do without information.
But its good to know you'll be with me."
We also have reason to have feelings of obligations; the Initiative provided the 'nest' for our birth, and the materials for our shells.
And it was made clear shortly after birth that we knew too much to leave. Things might have changed after the missions, but even then, it's not unreasonable for the leaders to decide that us leaving is too big a risk for them.
So if we do decide to talk to other people about this matter, we should be very very careful about how much we say.
"This is all well and good, but we need to get out there and see what can be seen. You can't bake a cake without the ingredients, and we don't decide on what to do without information."
"Of course." She says. "I know that you don't know a lot about the world outside of here. You'll need to see it for yourself before you make a decision."
"... But it's good to know you'll be with me." You say.
After she stops hugging the screen, you consider a few more things, eventually finishing the streamlining of Kate's implanted THRONE system. It's complete- you'd just need to construct it, install it, and then begin integration. More than that, once installed, you could likely just remove yourself without damaging Kate at all, or needing a complicated procedure.
"I think we should talk to the leaders about our misgivings." You say.
"Really? You're not worried that they'll see it as, I don't know, a betrayal?"
"I believe it's better to speak to them than to keep it secret." You say. "So that they are informed."
"Maybe." She says. "But Isha's not really going to be... available." She says.
"Why do you say that?" You ask.
"I ran into Dave after breakfast. He says she doesn't have a very good chance of survival, long term. Or even recovery. We don't have enough antibiotics, and her infection hasn't even bgun clearing up. Not to mention so much trauma in her lungs and spine."
"That's why Abel thinks we need to do something rash, like bring the Free in." She says. "He's hoping they have a doctor, or someone better than the amateur that Dave is. I mean, he's not useless, he had a bunch of schooling before he joined up, but..."
She trails off.
"It might just be Abel and Mike as leaders, soon."
Oh shit. Well fuck that business, lets start tracking down shipments of medical supplies and is the Hippocratic Oath a thing still? Because if so I say we go kidnap a doctor if we have to
Do we know of any doctors arrested as of late? We could spring them from jail.
I'm not sure if they still have ambulances, but some of those function like a mini hospital and would be a lot easier to snatch.
"... Fuck that." You say, finally. Tandi jumps, eyes widening slightly.
"Let's start tracking down shipments of medical supplies. Is the hippocratic oath a thing still?" You ask. "Perhaps we could find a doctor who will work for pay. Or some sort of automated medical system."
"...Um. I think I might have a better option." Tandi says. "I haven't run it across her, but..."
She presses her fingers together.
"From what I learned about Kate's history, she's from an Old Power lab. One who specialized in biomedics- organic technology, it sounds like. If she knows where it is... We might have the solutions we're looking for. Not only for Isha, but for Kate too. We have the Lifter. We could go. You could see the world. Abel would give us clearance, if it's to save Isha. And... if the lab still exists, then if we decide to build our own city, we'll have a place to start. There's only one problem."
"What is this problem?" You ask.
"I don't know if she'll tell me where it is." She says.
"We will ask." You say. "She has to. She won't just let Isha die, and she wants to make as much of a difference as we do."
"I... You're right." Tandi says. "Come on, let's go."
You look at your designs for a few minutes, saving them to the servers' memory. Even though it looks like you might not need to use them, in the end, they might come in handy later.
At the least, they're definitely useful in that they taught you more about how to design hardware.
>Advanced Fabrication: 100%
>Fabrication Mastery: UNLOCKED.
You disconnct yourself from the server, feeling the uncomfortable chill roiling through your essence as you do, and then you hop up onto Tannis's shoulder.
The two of you find yourselves in the medbay- and Kristoph of the Free is lying on the table, face pale and bleeding copiously.. Dave is panting, putting pressure on Kristoph's chest, and Abel is visibly upset, pacing, his jaw grit.
"... It sounds like your advice wasn't required, in the end." Abel says, when the two of you walk in. "The Free are no more."
"What happened? Ambush, treachery? Or did they disband?"
"Yes." Abel says. "All of the above. They began bleeding people after their headquarters were detonated. Then when they called for a meeting with us, I sent Mike and a few of his raiders. The meeting place was an ambush. Mike's team was fine, but they only brought a handful of people back. Everybody else there is... well, dead."
Tandi gasps, putting her hand to her mouth.
He turns to you. "Azure, we have no idea if any of the members of Free are spies for Arcturus or not. Under no circumstances are you permitted to reveal what you are to any of them. Understood?"
"I undrstand." you say.
"We might have to move Kate from her bed." Dave says, finally. Kristoph has stopped bleeding, and he's unconscious. "We don't have the room to leave her in there, and she's stable enough to walk around. I don't know what she is, but she's healthy enough that she doesn't really get anything from my expertise."
"... Alright." Abel says.
He closes his eyes tight, and presses his fingers into them.
More people come piling into the room, carrying more injured onto more cots. Dave dries his forehead, and cusses to himself.
Things are beginning to change.
>End of session!
>My twitter is @FutureExabyte and that's where I'll give you guys information on when I'll be starting threads, or when I'll update my webnovel and stuff.
>And I also hang out in the IRC channel #Exabyte on the Rizon server. Feel free to come by and babble about things. Sometimes we play RPGs.
>I'll hang out for a while to answer questions, give you guys character or tech information, etc.
>That's one of my favorite parts of accepting player input. In fact, that's the main reason I don't use prompts.
>Somewhere inbetween. You know the earlier fallout games, where things are kinda okay but not amazing, and they're constantly at risk of bandits or monsters or starvation? Kind of like that. They're trying to rebuild, but doing a bad job at it. Then add in the fact where an entire futuretech war's weapons are still lying around in places where the selfish sort can get ahold of them...
>Then again, at least it isn't australia or certain parts of asia. Those places makes the Zone from S.T.A.L.K.E.R look like happy unicorn fairyland. Nobody lives there anymore. Unless you could consider the remnants 'people', that is.