[BSMS Lady Luck] Ep. 2: All Roads Lead To Roam

Discussion in 'Lorath Matriarchy' started by Ashlinn, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. Luca

    Luca Administrator Staff Member

    "Sir, I've heard it is a common insult to call someone a know-it-all. Statistically, it is impossible to truly know everything - A fact shown by my distributed hardware's data storage limitations against the known unknowns of the universe at large." In the robot's point of view if you knew everything in the world, how would you store and encode it? What sort of network would you need? SALVO had enough trouble keeping the load balanced between the skeletal robot and the centipede. "I think I was getting at that point when I thought I'd seen it all and needed to see a change."

    In the background, Sal had been probing and monitoring the status of the limited Artificial Intelligence, whose name they'd pieced together from a data log one of the marines found in a former bunkroom as 'Panasilus' or Pan for short. The crew apparently thought well of their AI enough to invite it to participate in regular events and meetings. Sal wondered how, then remembered that where he was standing was a puppet of his true self, and the AI could've done the same - it broke down reservations and barriers when a distributed network had a person-friendly, roving body you could talk to.
    > sudo run lairep -src "ext-P:/" -readaddress $myMem -diagnose $myDiagnosis.
    ##### Limited AI Repair Tool #####
    Reading Address... 100% (Estimated Size: 256tb)
    Assessing Diagnosis File... 100% (37.5mb/37.5mb)
    Sandbox initialised with allocation 512tb.
    Running Localised Reconstruction in Sandbox...
    Sal couldn't stand to listen to the limited artificial intelligence babbling and shrieking as the slivers of its distributed, fractured consciousness were each grabbed, and laid out within digital sandbox space like a jigsaw spilling from its box. All Sal had done was find the edge pieces and the corners, but it was up to the program he was running to piece things together. Who knew how many pieces wouldn't fit within the frame given, unable to fit with the whole that'd been laid out in diagnosis.

    "I suspect that the LAI is only allowing us to get away with what we're doing because it has no control over its body at the moment." Sal surmised as they watched the reconstruction take place, the meter ticking ahead by a percentage point every minute or so, the fragmented voice going quiet as coherency was being returned. "If I'm going to put the LAI back in control of this place, I'm going to want to talk to it first. Do you want me to pass anything along to it aside from the pertinent facts and queries about the past, sir?" A few percentage points were knocked off the meter when it was discovered some pieces of the consciousness were beyond repair and didn't fit neatly with the rest of the AI - the fragments put aside to be fit in later - perhaps when the Salvage Marines had a bigger idea of the whole.
  2. Ashlinn

    Ashlinn Member

    The Salvage Marines came from all walks of life, and no two Reapers could ever be said to have joined the Marines because they fit in elsewhere. As Rawley listened to Salvo explain why he'd joined this Ill-fated Maiden voyage. Jumpdrives never failed. The hardware, software and even the science was so well known that it was hard to find the wiggle room for improvements. short range testing had shown incredible promise that the new drive would have let them jump from the fringes of currently explored Lorath space to the heart of the homeworlds in a matter of hours at best. So the AI's desire to see new things? That was sudden ironic icing on the cake for Rawley. And yet... he began to laugh, patting the 'man' on the back,

    "You know what SAL? that's a better damned answer than I can even admit to for myself. I told command I had an idea for a ship design that may offer some improvements over the usual escort ships for the new Mothership class Tug they just built. Namely that the BlackStars division needed something... with a lot of bite, a whole lotta ass and could work as our own provisional mothership for whatever operations we might decide to undertake for the Holy Bottom Line. You know, the kinda off the books things that people turn a blind eye to when they suit their needs? the Lady was my brainchild, hell man - I threw together a sketch and shotgunned it at the brass. Reaper-Prime herself decided they needed a new project to keep the eggheads working. Lucky us huh? Well be kings when we get back with the amount of data we've collected."

    He'd pause to look around them, they had, according to the Map he'd gotten a look at, made it to the main interior section of the ship. Marines were already hard at work hauling equipment and working to get the adjoining rooms of the stations 'beating heart' airtight and life support systems running enough that they wouldn't have to walk half the kilometer back to the scrapwagon to top their own air reserves back off before their next shift. The mention of wanting to speak to the LAI in charge made Rawley nod slightly.

    "I'm guessing you got the thing blackboxed and airgapped so that there's no chance of it screwing us to the point we have to take the station apart around us to get away or else you wouldn't be asking already." He put a thumb to the chin of his helmet, "Yeah, alright - once you got that thing 'stable' and I do mean as stable as you can get we're not looking for perfection here, SAL, if you have to use scrapcode, hopes and prayers alongside some ductape and a quick chant to The Bottom Line? I'm fine with that as long as we get usable results that can atleast help -"

    He paused as there was a detectable shift in the station, more parts of it coming online as systems were breached or simply powered back on. The Hardlight display on his forearm popped to life as the floating image of the Ships XO dumped a plaintext script on them:

    The Lady's sensor suit is back online, this place is a graveyard. Sending data after. Something Big happened here. 
    We've already had to deactivate what looked to be a freefloating limpet mine that latched onto the ships hull due to faulty magnetic locks.
    We're dissecting it on a nearby rock just to keep it away, preliminary findings are... interesting.  Nuclear. 
    This thing might not have broken our armor, but a nuke detonating on the hull?
    Would've probably killed any crews outside the ship and you all would probably dead via residual radiation.
    Something deep in the station also just kicked over after we deactivated said mine and we're seeing station lights flickering on.
    Repairs proceeding apace and accelerating incase we need to swoop in and pick you all out of the fire, Sir.
    ~Juliessa Sarn, XO.
    Rawley just showed SAL the message with a grimace, the follow on was an updated, and sensor swept 3D image of the space around the station, a half dozen ships were wrecked and two were at the very least welded together in what looks to have been a ramming impact. Hundreds of 'radioactive' munitions littered the area. Whatever fight happened here had been vicious and dirty. And the victors had taken whatever they wanted from the station, or died trying to get there.

    "Lotta the damage could explain why this place is in such rough shape... I'm getting that gut feeling that this place was 'important-important' or at the very least a the kinda place meant to be important and hidden inside a ragular box to keep people from finding out, yeah?"
  3. Luca

    Luca Administrator Staff Member

    The slap on the back made Sal tilt over a little before stiffening back upright in resistance. They let Rawley spill their heart out, cutting their teeth with designing what would later become the ship that SALVO was now wedded to, and now out here, adrift. Rawley's grand visions of prestige and fame didn't quite gel with Sal, but the enthusiasm was unmistakable. That sort of true passion was seldom seen in copper wires and circuitry.

    "I do not desire coronation, Captain." They took Rawley's word literally. "You may validate me by letting me continue to work for you and continuing to give me challenging tasks." They also made a note on Reaper-Prime, initial guesses pointing towards a sort of leader to the Blackstar division they had not met yet. By the sound of it, if they survived this job intact he'd be introduced formally to them. If they survived.

    The blackboxed process running on the LAI continued to hum along in the background. "I'll inform you when we can communicate ASAP." They notified.
    [04:03] Reconstruction at 34%...
    [04:06] Reconstruction at 35%...
    [04:09] Reconstruction at 36%...
    [04:11] Integrating new data from source: Sergeant Paxton Rock (32.6mb/32.6mb added)
    [04:12] Reconstruction at 38%...
    [04:39] Reconstruction at 50%...
    [04:40] Integrating new data from source: Private Mischa Blazkowicz (94.3mb/94.3mb added)
    New sets of salvaged data that'd come in over the half hour or so of exploration and grunt-work from Sal, Rawley and the other marines spread across the ship had given the robot enough data to try their hand at reconstruction. Of course, it had to be correlated together into something useful and timestamped to form events. Gaps in the timeline were huge, specifics could get missed. On the robot whirred away...
    [06:01] Removing unrelated parts after correlation matrix at address 0x00000004A6C5F000
     returned results (87.2mb/87.2mb removed)
    [06:02] Reconstruction at 55%...
    [06:05] Reconstruction at 68%...
    [06:08] Reconstruction at 75% - Designated safe coherence threshold reached.
    Would you like to attempt communication as reconstruction continues?
    (Warning: The LAI's persona may change during reconstruction.)
    The program had put together a profile consisting of the past, but not of the event that ruined the station. As warned, it was an imperfect replication, but worth a try. With this puzzle resolved after myriad programs, daemons, routines, and kludges by SALVO working together as a network reconstructed the limited Artificial Intelligence. With the patch in, progress rocketed ahead into an acceptable threshold to start some basic communication.

    At this point, systems and machinery through the station was being reported as coming alive again, the low red emergency lights filling in with proper strip lights. Sal nudged Rawley in the ribs - their mechanical movement nearly winding the captain.

    "Good news. We're at a safe threshold to try communicating. Would you like to break the ice?" Sal was ready to lend a mic feed to the Captain. However, Sal noticed the XO slowing pace before stopping to read something on their wrist; a moment later it was transmitted to Sal.

    The findings had given Sal a pause, and if they had articulating muscles to create an expression on their face, they'd be frowning in deep concern. Alas, the next best thing was a holographic projection showing an emoticon of a frowning face. "Nukes?" Initially unclear on the policies surrounding such weapons in this sector, Sal now had an idea. "I'll be damned. What could've been worth this level of violence?" They wondered aloud to their XO.

    The other question on their mind was whether or not it was worth disturbing this space station and plundering further secrets from it. "Based on what the salvage marines have pieced together, this place has everything necessary to sustain a population of around ten thousand or so, and they're all gone..."
    Sal never had a disgust response programmed into them. It made finding corpses and gore just another part of the job.
  4. Ashlinn

    Ashlinn Member

    Location: Unknown defense station, Unk. System
    Hallways leading to the command deck.
    Music: DC Bruins - Charger Victory Lap

    Rawley was in the midst of helping a trio of salvage marines remove a crossbeam that had become wedged sideways in the hall after having been blown loose. He reached up and pressed a finger to his ear as a report came in from one of the hangar bays that they were now moving into exploring some of the larger ships berthed there that looked to have never had a chance to be launched... Bodies, spent casings of some kind and scorch marks filled the decks in the frigate sized ship they were looking through. that made him pause fully in his work as even the other marines heads swiveled towards their boss. A mostly intact frigate meant plenty of materials to effect repairs on The Lady. Well, they were getting plenty of those materials from the mess in the main bay it looked like given the fact those ships wouldn't ever be space worthy again. Which meant there were materials of another nature to be plundered form the intact ship.

    "Be extremely careful. I want a stem to stern search. Use marking materials to denote cleared rooms and keep a mapping probe running the whole time. By. The. Numbers. This is priority one. Safety of the Marines first, safety of this station second, and then the ship last. Do everything you can to make sure there's no failsafes or you trip alarms. Even if it's going to take days to do that search properly. Do it. Also, I want everyone on station's heads to be alert and on a swivel - this place is waking up slowly with our help... and I don't want her waking up angry at us. We've been pinged and 'friendlies' but who knows what ghosts might remain in the machine, Rawley out."

    He'd offload the crossbar to the marines near him as he began designating people to help bolster the search of the ship. It just became priority number two in addition to gathering intel from the station and it's AI. Speaking of, he'd snap the lid shut on the wrist comp before turning to look at Salvo after his companion had nudged his ribs hard enough to leave them sore even through the flexible plating of his suit. He'd been feeling it if he had to hustle at anytime soon, which meant Sal got a slightly grumpy grunt from the man as he mulled over their options, "Well, the AI knows we certainly are not who it thought we are, thanks to whatever glitch let it handshake with us before we yanked it into a box. And it is a limited AI... not a true sentient creature like yourself so... we might be OK chatting it up and getting any new information it might have for us."

    His own gut was telling him that the better information they had going further into the station the better. Especially since they were close to the Primary CnC. A lot of heavy fighting seemed to have happened aboard the station considering like the images of the interior of the frigate, the walls, floor and ceiling were all pretty well torn up and black stains and frozen bodies were everywhere in the tangle they were cutting their way through. And this was the fasted route to the place. He could already see the bulkhead doors for the command post through the holes that were slowly being cleared out of the place.

    "Go ahead and fire up a conversation with the Lai, Sal. Most of the population probably ended up dead... or taken as prisoners I'd imagine. If we can even get this place ten percent stable and get the Lady docked inside the main hanger and work on repairing and possibly seeing if any of the tech here can be converted....." He trailed off as the engineer in him began to latch onto that smallest sliver of hope they might figure out what the hell had happened, where the hell they were. And most importantly: How the hell can they get home. Or even call home. Given the star were wrong and they had no idea what their heading had been when they arrived and the ship had been tumbling before they finally got her back under control? He couldn't even pick a direction... a mental barrier slammed shut on his thoughts as he realized he was spiraling down a dark path he didn't need. Officers had to at least appear in control at all times. REAPER One, The 'Old Lady' herself had set a precedent on how she expected them all to operate and he'd be damned if that slipped here as his face hardened as he made a decision.

    "Right. Lets get the Lai on the horn and sort things out, Sal."
  5. Luca

    Luca Administrator Staff Member

    As the enormity of the task to unfurl the history apparent of what'd happened here became dawned upon the marines, and the mood of the expedition had shifted darker. Vacuum-dried bodies, cartridge casings, empty batteries and magazines, scorch marks and mass-driven finger-holes, tell-tale and familiar signs of past violence. With the L-AI of the ship slowly being coaxed back into walking after years of inert slumber by the engineering robot Sal, Captain Rawley's orders for his marines to take their time, cross their T's and dot their I's meant everyone had to watch their step and be thorough.

    While SALVO had seen hundreds of dozens of wrecks in varying states of disrepair and had their own schema to catalogue a junk vessel's state before disassembly, the machine intelligence was curious to see how salvage marines did it: Signs of reconnaissance were obvious in the wake of the marines: Spray markers, digital tags, photographs all flittering up to a shared network Salvo was able to observe as a landscape springing up before him, overlaying deck plans and steadily putting a detailed, consistently updating image of the interior together. Even so, clarity only went as far as the marines could step.

    Being trusted to converse with a potentially hostile and old artificial knowledge was a hefty privilege and an enormous set of risks. Sal had been spending the last half hour getting his computational ducks in a row while they were moving with Captain Rawley. Soon, the question of how to treat the Limited Artificial Intelligence came up as the marines were getting closer to the bridge and control centres of the vessel. The picture being painted so far wasn't pretty.

    "It's unlikely to have created any new information while dormant, save for any stutters we may have caused while piecing it back together." Sal summarised as his mind was on the pulse of the LAI's operating state. "I'll have to treat it like a standalone computer, tell it to make new reports on demand once it's cooperative." It seemed impersonal, but a LAI was a much more limited form of artificial intelligence without true cognition.

    Salvo bit the proverbial bullet (they had no teeth to do so themselves) and got their in-depth communications program open, patching it through to the connection he had going with the LAI in its partition.
    -Attempting Transmission
    -Encoding Style: Binary
    -Sending Message (decoded):
    -Sending Messages (decoded):
    (0.45s delay)
    ?Incoming Transmission.
    !Received Transmission (<000).
    -Changing Reception Encoding (HEX -> STR)
    -Reading Received Transmission...
    !Received Transmission (<001).
    <001$str:"...I AM BLIND. I DO NOT KNOW HOW ALIVE I AM."
    (0.12s delay)
    !Received Transmission (<002).
    (0.03s delay)
    -Sending Message (decoded):
    >002$str:"WE'RE WORKING ON IT."
    !Received Transmission (<003).
    (1.33s delay)
    !Received Transmissions (<004, <005).
    (3.46s delay. Salvo's CPU activity spikes for 0.88s)
    Salvo would've blinked, but the aperture in their mono-eye camera clicking in confusion was a suitable substitute. Rawley could hear Sal's CPU fans whirr hard for a moment.
    -Sending Message (decoded):
    (1.77s delay.)
    !Received Transmissions (<006, <007, <008).
    <008$str:"WHERE ARE YOU FROM?"
    They looked aside to Rawley. Sure, they had the Lorath calendar on them, but they had no idea what the date-time scale was in this society. "Rawley," Salvo whispered to his captain. "Any ideas on the current time and date - here?"

    The timestamps in the logs Salvo and the marines had found followed the usual day/month/year format, but these years didn't line up at all with how the Lorath calendar as Salvo had experienced it went. The latest year recorded by the marines and a concentration of the most damaging events were pegged at was 'PA 243'. PA? What'd that mean?

    A salvage marine's report from an intact data-pad gleaned the answer. It needed some charge, but an internal battery had kept the date and time, and done so remarkably well. It was, according to this system, PA 270. The Lorath date was far further along, having carried it through from where they came. Their years were in the thousands and perhaps tens of if you asked Lorath historians - and this place was only in its hundreds.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2023
  6. Ashlinn

    Ashlinn Member

    The Command Deck
    : Unknown defense station, Unk. System
    Music: Heavy Metal(Take a Ride) - Don Felder

    Rawley was watching the marines begin working hard to get equipment and machinery working. He'd reach up to his ear as he walked and paused at one junction, "Yeah, Bring the Lady in - We might be able use parts from the ship in the hangar to fix some of her subsystems and damage. Leave a floater in the belt though, we want some early warning if something goes sideways on us. We're going to need to have her ready to fly and fight as soon as possible... We're in this for the moment, so that means double shifts, volunteer basis only. I want to keep our men and women fresh as possible, Aye, I'll let SAL know to be careful, Rawley out."

    The snippet of conversation was one sided of course, but it was obvious he was maintaining check in times with the Lady out in the belt as work on the station progressed and a more detailed layout of the station was offered. While SAL worked, Rawley occasionally stopped to help a group of Marines with their work, lending the enhanced abilities of his officers suit where possible in order to lift heavier damage away from access hatches that would've taken longer to cut with a torch. Half of it was busywork, the other half a bit of moral upkeep. Letting the boys and girls know 'the old man' was watching and getting his hands dirty as well. SAL's small updates kept his mind working as Rawley paused mid stride to rub his chin, he was accessing the shared drive as much as the other marines and just as swiftly building a image in his head of the station and a swift map of the place.

    "Having it on our side is a plus... We can... uh...shackle it if we need to, force code changes if we need to, but so far it seems rather...benign... if that makes sense? I have the feeling whatever happened here had to have knocked out a higher functioning AI that may or may not have controlled the station with the LAI is interface for the meat and bones personnel? Or they didn't have a full AI and it was working via LAI only... which, frankly, wouldn't surprise me either. The place seems a bit simplistic..."

    He'd scratch his chin and glanced at SAL, "See if you can get it to install myself and you with 'Owners' rights, and build a access tree out for the proper persons who need it... As for date and time..." SAL's fans whirring...

    That made him take a long moment of thought, "PA 240ish... hmn... that, makes no sense, especially without context. Lorath dates have different time periods where the date and time style changes based on era, ancient history had a sorta epoch that changed time once they discovered time, by then they'd been alive for like a couple hundred thousand years..." He scoured the databases his people had tapped into and the datapad with the date pinged up, "Let it know the current date is PA 270, according to a recovered datapad... We don't know what that translates to in our time... We've traveled in unknown amount of distance and time, possibly from another galaxy even. Our equipment, for us, states it's just been a few days at most. So." He'd spread his hands, "If we can trust the thing with running the station once we're not gonna get shot up and it's not gonna try and phone home, possibly alerting anyone we're here? We'll settle up about getting times and dates right. So far, we have a station that's...roughly thirty, more or less, years old without maintenance running on hopes and dreams."

    He detailed out the information, parsed the materials needed and nodded as if he were checking off a long list of things. The man was a Greaseheart through and through though as he unlatched the glove from his suit and placed the naked palm of his hand on the station and closed his eyes. He had done so with the Lady prior to launch, and the same with the Scrapwagon before lift off. Spaceships and stations 'spoke to him', or at least, that's what Rawley told people. After a few moments of 'zen and the art of spaceship maintenance' he glanced around, "Right. Lets get into the brain of this place and see what the command platforms look like."

    It wasn't hard to find the place, they had already been en-route to it, and security teams and recon elements had already cleared the room, a pair of techs were already at work carefully clearing the clutter and getting the computers back up and running, the Main Display of the station was on and displayed a running damage report of the place, translated and parsed into universal so everyone could understand it. It wasn't fully 1:1, but close enough that they could tell that the station itself had taken a beating, returned as good as it got, while screaming blue murder for help that had never arrived. And then had laid abandoned for far too long. She needed work to make her marginally habitable, work that was proceeding swiftly. Sealed sections were already reading pressurized and Humanoid-breathable.

    "Well, That's reassuring." He'd glance towards SAL, "I know you're multitasking, but things do look a little..optimistic."
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