This is not a gaming session. This is provided as character background and early development.
This expands on the backstory of SID, first mentioned in this post: Select Vignettes of Our Past…
This is part Two of Two ( Part One is here: SID Reflects on Pathos )
Origin. SID arrived at Origin. The team SID left with did not return to Origin. SID couldn’t explain in sufficient detail exactly what happened, only that SID was apparently subjected to a massive exposure of microwave radiation that overwhelmed his sensors and rendered him unconscious. What was left of the team on regaining consciousness was outside of SID’s medical capabilities and resources. SID attempted to return to Origin, without meeting any of the mission objectives.
There were no familiar faces among the technicians that assisted with his clean up and the diagnostics of his hardward. During SID’s debriefing, where he relayed his impressions of the events, the individuals present were impassive and perfunctory. None of the individuals SID encountered in this process were part of his indoctrination and training cadre. SID was then plugged into a console for complete downloading of his stored memories.
SID reflected on the impartiality of the process, and the manner in which he was being treated. It was beyond anything he had experienced so far in his short existence. He re-examined… What was that? A surge in the download. An anomaly.
The events leading up to the kill box didn’t appear to be aberrant. No unusual…. Another anomaly in the download? SID performed a few quick internal diagnostics, but it only appeared to be some type of double-layered code in the files being accessed by the Origin mainframe. Peculiar.
Back to the review of the mission, and the debriefing. Ah! Yes. Reviewing the interview, there were indicators of very high stress in one of the participants. They were as neutral as far as tone, expression and facial movements, but there were indicators in the respiration, heart rate and perspiration. Infra-red readings were in the range that indicated serious emotional distress, regardless of their attempt to mask it. So, what could that mean?
Yet another anomaly in the download? Should one of the technicians be informed? This is unusual. Perhaps SID should advise them. Would they be offended, or annoyed? How would biologicals react, if this was actually normal? SID had no experience with which to gauge. Let the biologicals monitor their work, and SID would learn by observation. Back to analysis of the debriefing.
What would Origin do, concerning the failure of the mission? This was never part of the training. It appeared to SID that there was never any question of failure. Success was the only option in the mission briefing. There was no fallback or extraction plan that SID had on file. The team was supposed to get SID to and from the target, and they would do the debriefing. SID was concerned. Biologicals had been terminated if damaged beyond repair. SID did not think he was damaged. Would failure mean disassembly?
All the screens within detector range suddenly went from their usual displays to a black background and a nearly full screen representation of three characters. This was not encouraging. SID immediately correlated the characters with the mission target. 111.
An audio signal started issuing from equipment speakers stated that Vidal Corporation was the perpetrator of heinous crimes against sentient beings. Images started flashing across the displays to demonstrate the audio information, and Vidal Corporation logos were predominantly featured. The same logos were all over the room and equipment in the room SID currently occupied, and even appeared on SID’s chest plate.
The narrator identified itself as AC-63. This individual was the primary objective of the team’s mission, if SID understood the briefing correctly. It wasn’t expected the team would encounter the head of 111, but if possible, the elimination of AC-63 was the ultimate target. That this individual was now broadcasting on every device within range was distressing. A technician came rushing into the room and quickly scanned the devices. A word that SID knew to be socially unacceptable was uttered loudly, and the technician left in a hurry.
SID unplugged himself from the mainframe terminal, and stopped the download. The displays did not change, but continued to stream videos and audio kept coming from the speakers. SID realized that the anomalies in the download were probably Trojans. SID had been used as a Trojan Horse. If the failure of the mission was bad, this was catastrophic. SID would be disassembled. Torn into component pieces, if the video displays were anything near true. If AC-63 was accurate, artificial intelligences were treated as completely disposable devices by Vidal Corporation. Should one be responsible for unleashing this torrent of anti-Vidal Corporation rhetoric, disassembly might be the kindest thing the corporation might do. Vidal Corporation would most likely be able to trace the Trojan back to this terminal, and how it got into the mainframe would be obvious.
Suddenly, sounds of gunfire and explosions could be heard. Vibrations were detected in the floor, commensurate with the sounds of the explosions. Alarms started blaring from the corridor outside the room. SID assessed the situation and determined that staying in the room was not in his best interests, if survival was a mission objective.
But, how to get out of the facility? There were doors SID would not be allowed to pass through, without clearance, and he was certainly not going to have it now. Perhaps going toward the sounds of conflict would be a means of blending into the mayhem. Serious Injury Droids would be expected to be assisting with casualties. Caring for injured individuals would allow SID to move through doors, without checking ID or authorizations. Someone else would open the doors as the casualties were evacuated. Perhaps SID could even get taken from the facility to a hospital. SID moved rapidly in the direction of the battle.
The main noise was coming from the parking garage under the facility. SID headed down stairs by the main elevator shaft, getting through doors that others left open as they fled the violence. It was almost too easy. Once in the garage, SID could see that the Vidal Corporation was engaged in a concerted firefight with heavily armored robots that appear to have blasted their way into the garage with armoured vehicles.
SID considered attempting to approach the robots, but was not certain they would recognize him as non-threatening. They appeared to be shooting at anything that moved. Death and destruction appeared to be the only objective, and they were very successful. SID considered approaching the Vidal Corporation security forces, but survival was not likely, with the weapons 111 robots were using. Very large vehicles were being perforated by the projectiles with remarkable ease, and the armour of the security forces didn’t appear to be at all successful at mitigating injuries.
A vehicle near SID started up and lights came on. A door near SID opened, out of view and arch of all the combatants. There was nobody nearby, and nobody appeared to be trying to get to the vehicle. SID decided to investigate. Looking in the open door, SID could see a display screen, and the text on the screen could be interpreted in only one way. “SID. Get in!” One way or another, SID was being assisted. To his destruction, or salvation remained to be determined, but staying where he was would not likely be favourable to long-term survival. Projectiles whined past SIDs aural detectors, and SID got into the vehicle.
The vehicle immediately accelerated toward the combat, and projectiles from both groups of combatants impacted on the skin. SID realized the vehicle had considerable structural strength, as holes were not being made in this particular vehicle, despite the calibre of rounds bouncing off it. The vehicle maneuvered deftly through the two groups of belligerents, and out through the gaping hole in the garage wall.
The ride was not lengthy, and took SID to a location near a medical facility in the Borough of Queens in Old New York. This was not far from the 600-floor tower of the Vidal Corporation Archology, but probably far enough at the moment for SID to hide. The last thing SID saw on the screen in the vehicle as it let him out, was the message: “Be better than your training. H.” The Borough of Queens was temporarily, but not somewhere SID could remain indefinitely. Time to put his Medbot camouflage to use, and disappear in plain sight.
SID is now, very likely, a hunted individual. Any contact with Vidal Corporation would be terminal. But, what had happened to him while he was unconscious? Something had been done to him. There was programming or Trojans buried in his core storage. The connection to the mainframe unleashed the Trojan. Was it the only one? Was he now marked by 111? Could he be carrying a tracking device that 111, or Vidal, could use to find him? Someone assisted him in leaving Vidal Corporation, but who, and would them contact him? How would they find him? SID was not trained for this, and had no experience. SID had lost everything, and would have no immediate help. Dark and uncertain days were ahead. If SID had eyes, he imagined they would be filled with tears.