You’ve Obviously Overlooked Something.
Before settling in for the night, SID attempted to learn about biological entities by engaging Eve in a discussion about her reaction to his attempt to warn the team about his self-protection system. This went very badly, as far as learning about emotions and reactions.
SID stated that the reactions to the revelation of the self-protection system from the members of the team were not all logical, and SID would like to learn why. It would be important for future interactions, if SID could determine better ways to provide information, that wouldn’t cause distress, or shock, as SID detected in Eve. Stating that only Aberforth reacted logically to SID’s disclosure about the knockout gas system, by asking about tactical uses, performance and capabilities, which would allow the team to usefully exploit the capabilities to the benefit of the team, SID couldn’t understand Eve’s hostile reaction. Eve stated that she didn’t want to die, because of SID’s system. SID could understand this, and shared her desire. However, the system wouldn’t, in and of itself, harm anyone. As SID had explained, depending on the situation, the system wasn’t the danger, but ignorance of it could be fatal. Which is why SID thought it best that the team knew of the system, and therefore prevent any catastrophic errors. Eve was a bit more accepting of this explanation.
SID went on to ask about developing trust amongst the group. SID was not clear on the cohesion of the group, and was having difficulty applying logical analysis and missions when the group didn’t appear to be striving to meet compatible objectives. SID was concerned that some of the criteria to gauge mission success were not possible for all the members. SID was concerned that Lavi might be risking severe repercussions for not following direction from her apparent leaders. Lavi explained that she was taking a calculated risk, but felt that the information that the group had must go to a place that would treat that information better, or at least neutrally. Lavi felt her leaders might attempt to suppress the information to the detriment of all. The information was more important than her alliance with her group, in this case. This was a bit of a revelation for SID, who had no frame of reference for outright disobedience.
SID asked if it was Lavi’s understanding that Sanctuarium was a better place for the team, and she agreed. She thought that Sanctuarium was the safest place, for the team and the information, because of Sanctuarium’s reputation as information seekers and welcomers of all comers. She mentioned that despite Aberforth’s potential bias, he was not, in this case, leading the group to a bad place. Another small revelation for SID, as the idea of ‘bias’ was now a bit clearer. Not intentionally misinforming, but potentially overstating the advantages of an idea? Interesting.
Lavi was very sure that the group would be, at least, neutrally and fairly assessed, along with the information they carried, and that their reception would be more favourable with Sanctuarium than with her group. The survival of the group would be more likely, if not an outright welcoming, when all was presented and discussed.
And SID then asked if the group had plans or ideas beyond Sanctuarium. This is when Lavi provided that there weren’t definitive plans. SID broached the possibility that there might be a need to go after von Schnauser, that he may not be fooled by the replacement medbot indefinitely. Also, that there might be a need to chase down who had funded his research. Lavi wasn’t sure about this, but said that it would be necessary to see how Sanctuarium would receive the group, and any future plans would develop from that meeting. SID was stunned! Completely stunned! The biological entities he was traveling with did not have a plan?!? There wasn’t a bigger picture beyond the completion of the current mission? Did all sentient beings not have overriding missions and objectives? If SID understood the discussion correctly, members of this group were doing what SID had been doing for the last few weeks. SID had reassigned missions and objectives as situations and survival assessments dictated, not due to orders and directives from supervisors or “Origin”. SID asked Reithered what he planned after reaching Sanctuarium, and his reply was even more vague. Whatever comes? No defined purpose? No direction, nor objectives? This was chaos! How did these biological entities exist in this vacuum of purpose? SID nearly had a Logic Reboot. Trying to stave off a shut-down, SID attempted a distraction with another vital goal for the evening: a team-building exercise. This was something SID had found, during the air voyage, in the library of medical texts he had downloaded.
SID suggested that if Eve was distressed by the revelation of one of his self-protection systems, would it be better for the group to reveal all their individual abilities and capabilities now? This would provide an opportunity to limit surprises to one occasion, and ensure that tactical resources were available to all members of the group. SID stated that in the interests of trust, SID would start. SID outlined most of his design capabilities, such as light armor, the already known chameleon surface of SID’s body, the vision capabilities with three spectrums of light and electromagnetic signature detection, even the ability to use SID’s hands as stunners. The SID-400 series medbots were equipped with external defibrillator devices in their hands, to treat incapacitated casualties with cardiac complications. However, with the medical abilities programmed into medbots, it was very possible to use these devices in more than one application, and stunning biological entities was possible.
SID also told the group that his specific design went well beyond a typical medbot. “Origin” had designed SID-422 to infiltrate a specific objective with a team of bio-engineered combat entities, who were to provide SID with an escort to that objective. The medbot would care for the needs and requirements of the team, but upon reaching the mission objective, would need to be much more intuitive, able to adapt and improvise to have any reasonable chance of success. The objective was to hack into a 111 facility. SID was outfitted as an AI and contained much more programming and equipment than an average medbot.
This information was a bit unsettling to the group, but questions started coming. Was SID supposed to be at the facility, and was it the objective. No, it was not the original objective, but a transitional place of concealment that went bad. The only reason that SID was carrying the information he had was that as things were looking very bad at the facility, SID wanted information to exchange for future security. The team showed up as things had gone from bad to terribly wrong.
What was the original objective? The original objective was a 111 facility that would allow “Origin” to obtain some vital information about the organization and its members. The mistake appeared to be the use of bio-engineered combat entities, no matter how extensively cyber-enhanced, as 111 was seriously inimical to organics. SID was hit with an EMP, and the escort was terminated. SID rebooted, and found the team scattered about his location, beyond his capabilities to assist due to their extreme state of disassembly.
SID returned to “Origin” and things went even worse. SID was connected to the “Origin” network as part of the debriefing, and it was discovered that 111 had installed a Trojan in SID. He inadvertently delivered the payload, and the “Origin” system went haywire. SID evaluated the situation, and without other orders or mission objectives, determined that remaining at “Origin” would result in his disassembly. SID extracted himself from that facility in the ensuing pandemonium and had been attempting to conceal his existence ever since.
Lavi had an inkling of an occurrence in the past, but couldn’t match it up with SID’s description. Vidal Corp had recently been badly embarrassed by a network hacking, that had been blamed on 111. AC63 had suddenly appeared on vidscreens all over New York and in places around the world providing damning evidence of Vidal’s abuse of AIs and androids. It was quite a row, but SID couldn’t have been involved with that. Could he?
This brought up other questions about SID’s current motives. SID stated that there were three current overarching missions. The first objective was the safeguarding, and delivery to Sanctuarium, of the carried information about von Schnauser’s activities and discoveries. This was paramount. Mostly, this was a determination by the group, and SID’s concurrence of that determination, as the information was so significant to future biological medical knowledge. The second mission was the survival of the group. SID considered that group survival was necessary to ensure that the first mission is achieved. The third current mission was the survival of SID. SID wanted the group to understand the order of the missions was deliberate, and that SID’s survival was not considered essential to the overall primary mission. If necessary, SID would interpose himself between danger and the team, if it would enhance team survival. SID used his actions with the Rockscythes as an example of his sincerity.
The question of why he left “Origin” came up. What about that? SID was designed for a single objective, and that objective had catastrophically not been achieved. Then, “Origin” was hacked, and before any conflicting orders or directives were received, SID extricated himself. At the research facility, by the time this team had arrived, there were no living biological entities capable of assisting SID with his instructions. Also, by this time, his instructions were not attainable, and remaining in the facility during the existing chaos was not survivable. SID adopted a new primary mission, which was the new team’s survival.
SID felt that enough information about his situation had been revealed, and attempted to develop some team bonding. SID looked at Eve, and stating that beyond his programmed responses for care of patients, SID wished to sincerely express condolences for Eve’s recent losses. Klamerath, and all the inhabitants were lost, and SID had experienced similar loss, namely his entire escort on his original mission. There were parallels, and SID wanted to share that loss. This upset Eve, even more than the self-defence system. Eve outwardly brushed off the attempt, saying it was nothing. SID detected a heightened pulse, a rise in facial temperature, and a slightly increased respiration rate. All theses symptoms indicated anxiety, despite Eve saying it was not important. SID advised Eve that she was indicating conflicting information and was exibiting a stress reaction, so something was wrong. This angered Eve even more, and she stalked away from the group, into the darkening desert.
Lavi attempted to explain that Eve needed space, not medical attention and to leave Eve alone. SID demanded that he needed more information, and that this was not at all what SID expected. Lavi suggested that SID research some psychology references. SID replied that he had used those references, and they were not helpful. SID attempted to provide information to the team about the self-defence system, and that cause more trouble than it solved. SID attempted to build trust between the members of the group, and that met with mixed success. SID attempted to foster empathy, and that went completely awry.
SID expressed that dealing with his escort was simplicity, compared to this group. The escort was trained in skills and procedures required for them to do their tasks, and they were very good at them. They knew what they had to do, and how to do it, and SID could deal with them very well. They were logical biological entities. This team was an enigma, and attempts to clarify the situation were making it worse. The psychology reference was turning out to be as useful as the fauna references. The result of accessing data files on animals and advising the group about threats was a “toaster” rating, which was of very questionable usefulness to SID, if not actually dangerous to the team.
Enough turmoil in the group had been caused, and SID suggested that everyone get some sleep. Eve was off a distance away, but within survey range, so SID went on watch for the night. SID discovered that there are many creatures that move about in the night, and even though they were all smaller than a toaster, there were a few dangerous reptiles. None of them approached the group, especially when SID stomped the ground near any of the curious ones. And this was when SID also discovered what was meant by cold-blooded, in that some reptiles don’t have vibrant heat signatures.
The night past uneventfully for everyone, and in the morning, Lavi attempted another manta ray. She wasn’t as successful, attempting a much longer duration, but did get a respectable ray. Aberforth attempted another combined wielding, and was also not as successful. However, there was transportation available, if not as fast, but of more than double the duration. The group mounted up, and off they flew. This attempt required Aberforth’s undivided attention to control, and he propelled the ray off at a respectable 50 kph.
As they past through the country side, SID noticed a very large winged creature behind the ray. It was a good distance away, and very slowly gaining on the ray. SID pointed out the creature to the group. Keeping a sensor on it, SID monitored its path, and it didn’t seem too interested in the ray, but was on a similar course.
Three hours into their journey to the East, Aberforth muttered “Vidnet!” Everyone with a P-Comm started scanning channels and they discovered something startling. Von Schnauser was declaring that his respectable and important research facility had been destroyed by industrial sabateurs. The vidcast showed a medbot (SID) accessing a data terminal, and the four original team members entering the facility. It then showed the devastation and debri of a shattered building, dead bodies all around. Lastly, it showed the team at the remote rendezvous point, all clearly identifyable in the image, and von Schnauser naming each individual clearly and correctly. Von Schnauser stated that these terrorists were responsible for destroying his facility, and stealing vital research, that was extremely useful to the species of the world. No group affiliation was mentioned, but full names of every group member was clearly stated. As to how this information was obtained by von Schnauser, none of the group was certain. Klamerath was mentioned in a manner that seemed to indicate that it was still in existance, which Aberforth had previously emphatically stated was destroyed.
This made the group’s current destination a serious danger. Going anywhere that the Vidnet report had been broadcast would likely end up in the group being arrested, even if von Schnauser was the actual criminal. The court of public opinion would hold sway for the time being, and it would not be favorable to ‘terrorists’.
Lavi wanted to make a call to her organization to provide an update. She asked SID if he could spoof a call, or conceal its origin. SID wasn’t programmed for that type of hacking. However, SID could encrypt a message, and burst transmit it. It would bounce off a tower or two, but attempts to triangulate a micro-second burst would be difficult, if not impossible. During the review of his databank, SID came across yet another buried encrypted file, hidden as a driver for the encryption software. SID filed it for future analysis, and encrypted the transmission with appropriate headers. He also did a quick ping off of available receivers, to determine the best one for transmitting the message and directionally sent it (to prevent any triangulation from multiple receivers).
Just as that was sent out, that big flying thing behind the group picks up trememdous speed toward the manta ray. SID did a laser ranging on the beast, and a wingtip to wingtip angular measurement, coming up with a toater rating that was far, far too big. Before the team could develop any countermeasures, and as the creature was within a few kilometers of the ray, the beast dove off toward an object on the ground. Terrible screeching of an animal was heard, and then silence. The winged creature had found something much bigger and tastier to dine on tonight…
Having Aberforth contact Sanctuarium was going to have to wait until the ray was set down. But, obviously walking into the Salt Lake Enclave would be detrimental to the primary mission. This was not looking good.