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File 163133193490.png - (531.38KB , 1554x1475 , 001.png )
1010182 No. 1010182 ID: d052fd

AKA "The Martian, but some weird stuff happens", AKA "Ira Quest"

Prologue: >>876030
Discussion thread: >>/questdis/136123
Expand all images
No. 1010183 ID: d052fd
File 163133198028.png - (349.15KB , 1121x2009 , 002.png )

"Project Supira is eleven years old, Paige! A year ago, it couldn't even move out of its chamber because it had to be hooked up to a satellite dish with cables. You're telling me it's socialized enough to go to college?"

"She, Weiss, not it. And she is more than capable of-"

"People will ask questions! You're asking us to let a very expensive and incredibly dangerous black project loose in the Nevada public school system! For God's- how did your Illuminati or...or whatever it was stay hidden for so long with such a blatant disregard for basic operational security?"

"Oh Weiss, I'd love to answer that question with a demonstration."

"What's th- are you threatening me?"

"I understand that you're a military man. You pay attention to threats, so let me put this in terms that you'll appreciate. You made a weapon with the face of a child and she nearly destroyed you out of resentment. You couldn't stop Kali, but Ira did, and only eight years old at that. History has already proven that, for someone like Kali or Ira, your OpSec only exists because they let it. That's going to be the case regardless of whether you keep her caged or not. She's tired of being isolated, Weiss! I'm not asking this of you, she is. She'll be a safer, more valuable asset to you if you keep her happy. Otherwise, you're just begging history to repeat itself."

"...God, we really are playing with fire here, aren't we?"

"Just read the proposal. She wrote it herself. I'm sure it addresses most of your concerns."

"...Fine. Fine. I'll read it over, talk to some people, and...you'll hear from me by Friday."

"You don't even have the authority to approve this yourself? Why am I talking to you, then?"

"Goodbye, Doctor Paige."


"Alright Ira, I should probably assume you're hiding somewhere listening in on that, huh?"

"How could I not, with all of your bLaTaNt DiSrEgArD fOr oPeRaTiOnAl SeCuRiTy?"

"Mm. I should really be more careful around someone so vErY eXpEnSiVe AnD iNcReDiBlY dAnGeRoUs."

"Ooh, I'm a someone, not a something? You flatterer."

"...Oh, honey. Weiss is just a real asshole. I'm sorry you had to hear all of his bullshit."

"S'fine. For real though, I was just coming in to schedule some time with the particle accelerator, but I heard the yelling and thought I should stick around. I'd have your back if the dude wanted to throw down."

"You should keep your toys where they belong, honey. Your railgun should really stay in the ballistics lab."

"Sorry, mom."
No. 1010184 ID: d052fd
File 163133202964.png - (603.36KB , 1327x2665 , 003.png )

-has verified that the shot was fired by a member of the National Guard, but the shooter's identity has not been publicly revealed at this time. In a press release issued earlier today, General Harolds both defends the action and attributes the shot to a "misfire," saying-

-no human casualties of the attack, which lasted "only seconds," though seven people have reportedly been hospitalized due to burns caused by molten metal. Early reports indicate that all firearms carried by any person in the area were destroyed, even the holstered sidearms-

-been the dream of both science and science fiction. We have been contacted by a being whose understanding of our universe dwarfs ours, beside whom the greatest among us seem to be mere children. Her very existence offered us the barest glimpse of that greater understanding, by showing us that humanity does not shoulder the burden of intelligence alone. We responded with a gunshot. To describe this loss as-

-claims that the loud explosion heard after the craft took off was not an attack, but a side-effect of the vessel's shielding technology activating within Earth's atmosphere. NASA director Todd Sanders calls the property damage "a small price to pay" after what he describes as an "incalculable global tragedy." We go now live to-

-because it showed up looking like a woman to some NASA science simp, we're supposed to fall for its charms, but we know better, don't we viewers? Because, if it really just wanted to bring our boy home, why would it have come here with weapons in the first place? Whoever pulled that trigger saved us from-

-alive and well. He has staunchly defended the actions of his martian visitor "Ira", and is expected to release a statement later-

-questions remain: how many passengers were truly on board the craft? Were they all extensions of the same mind, or were they individual creatures? Was the gunshot fatal to the pilot? For now, it seems the only one who knows the answer to these questions is-
No. 1010185 ID: d052fd
File 163133207331.png - (150.85KB , 1028x1017 , 004.png )

Alright, Ira. Get your life together.

Take stock of things. Fully inorganic body, but...new tactile interface. Nice. Is that...olfactory? I have a sense of smell. Skin looks different, more natural. I don't remember working on any of that. Memory starts getting fuzzy around landing in Houston.

...Shit. Something must have gone wrong dropping Mike off. But, if that's the case, when did I develop all of this? Do I have logs-

I can't connect to any peripherals. I don't even have my macros. I should be the only one who can control that. Was there some sort of catastrophic failure, or am I running some kind of experiment on myself? Is my mind-

Cognition matrix is new. Kind of driven. Hyperfocused. And...a strong aversion to potatoes?

What am I doing here?
No. 1010192 ID: 96c896

First thing's first, go find a workstation so you can access your tech manually.
No. 1010193 ID: c92a02

Your backup cloning vat must have been contaminated with that space hobo's DNA, you've caught his MPD. Assume that a version of you is present and watching and request a status update.
No. 1010195 ID: 805477

How do you feel about Mars at this moment?
No. 1010206 ID: f8fa51

If you can't connect to peripherals, it might be a driver problem. Checking your file system for uninstalled drivers and then vetting those drivers will be a non-trivial process and might even be a waste of time, but better to get started now. Meanwhile, get up and look around. You need to figure out where you are and what happened. Perhaps you'll find some evidence you could use to that end.

You ran projections on likely outcomes from landing at Houston, right? What was your plan in case of hostile action?
No. 1010583 ID: d052fd
File 163165888505.png - (532.44KB , 1632x2022 , 005.png )

>First thing's first, go find a workstation so you can access your tech manually.
What? That's a weird thought to-I haven't had a manual workstation for years, but I should know that, so who are you?

>How do you feel about Mars at this moment?
You don't sound like me. But fine, Mars is second place on the ranked list of planets on which I have made regrettable mistakes. I guess I'm queen there, so that's nice.

>If you can't connect to peripherals, it might be a driver problem. Checking your file system for uninstalled drivers and then vetting those drivers will be a non-trivial process and might even be a waste of time, but better to get started now.
You're not even using the lingo I would use. This is freaky. I guess I'll explain it to you like I'd explain it to someone else? It seems like systems internal to this body are working fine, but I can't connect to anything external except for power. No tunneling in exotic matter, so that means no flight. Everything else that would be considered a "driver" is on the equipment itself, or is just a control macro. It has to be designed to interface with me, I'm not going to change my own brain every time I develop a new piece of tech, unless it's extremely vital like the plurality metacognition matrix or too specialized for procedural control like the true vacuum interface.

>Meanwhile, get up and look around. You need to figure out where you are and what happened. Perhaps you'll find some evidence you could use to that end.
I recognize this as one of the labs in Pillow Fort Oort, the second-largest of my non-planetary installations and the place where I conduct the bulk of my experiments which do not require a minimum safe distance from vital infrastructure. Most of the sprawling computational engine that comprises my dreamself is housed in the core of this piece of space detritus. That's where all my various instances check in their neural states for subconscious processing and get latest ego builds. Many manufacturing facilities and labs like this one are located in rotating spindles radiating out from the center. The whole thing is surrounded by an outer rocky shell spaced with under-unity blades to hide the waste heat from infrared detection. This is where I've run experimental cognition matrices before, due to the low latency. I add I'm at Fort Oort to my new List of Evidence That I'm Experimenting On Myself. I follow that entry up with I'm hearing voices in my head that aren't me.

I had three of me on board the ship I was transporting Mike in, in the typical Overseer-Maintenance-Participant triad. Participant was, obviously, the meat body, with the other two hosted on the ship. If something had happened to Participant or Maintenance, their latest checkin should have been re-upped with Overseer for assistance with Overseer's response. If something had happened to Overseer, her last checkin should have been instantiated at the nearest node that could house it, which should be in Lunar Lair. I haven't actually tested multiple consecutive fallbacks, but Fort Oort should be pretty low on the chain, and there's no reason it needed to build me a humanoid body if that was the case. Though, I do remember how nightmarish it was to inhabit a non-humanoid body the first time, so it might make sense for me to instantiate an experimental cogmat in a body like this one, just in case it wasn't "me" enough to handle being a dissociated consciousness. I add that to the list of evidence.

>You ran projections on likely outcomes from landing at Houston, right? What was your plan in case of hostile action?
I wasn't trying to pick a fight, so my plan in case of hostile action was to turn on shields and book it. Though, there were also six mobile Focused Wave-Interference Projectors on board for emergency maintenance. FWIPs weren't designed for combat applications, but, as mom taught me, a weapon is a weapon because of intent when used, not intended use. FWIPs could quietly weld together internal components of other weapons deployed against me, or melt them very visibly if I felt a show of force was necessary. In less scrupulous hands they could very easily cook a human brain from the inside, but that's on my List of Actions That Go Too Far. Anyway, the cases where I'd even deploy the FWIPs in the first place are pretty low-probability, like maybe I was being attacked out of stupidity rather than malice. No real evidence about my current situation there.

>Your backup cloning vat must have been contaminated with that space hobo's DNA, you've caught his MPD.
Oh. Oooooh. You're Mike's voices, aren't you? This cognition matrix must have been made from his brain scan. I didn't think I'd actually be able to hear you at all, let alone so vividly.

>Assume that a version of you is present and watching and request a status update.
So...yeah, that probably explains things. I'm experimenting with my brain. I probably sandboxed the experimental copy, which is me, in case I wind up with some sort of cognitive hazard or ethical quandary. At least, that's what I would have done, in Other Me's situation.

Other Me is probably watching right now, and only hasn't contacted me yet because I probably have to communicate with me through some abysmally slow medium like soundwaves instead of just thinking directly into my brain, and the three seconds or so that it took me to sit up and think all of this stuff wasn't long enough for Other Me to-

"Hey me, don't panic!" There we go. Speaker in my ear. "I'm just doing a little test-"

"Mike's scan, sandboxed, got it," I reply. "Why don't I remember setting this up?"

"More trouble than I expected trying to patproc someone else with me. Tied the corners down around the times when he and I both scanned simultaneously, but our brains are so different that the expected divergence got too big for the amount of data I had pretty fast as I projected forward from that point. Had to run a pretty deep dive just to get a hybrid model. Couldn't link anything at all past the point where I got shot."

That makes sense. The fact that I got shot that raises a lot of questions, but Other Me sounds like they've had a longer subjective experience and probably already had the same questions. It would waste a lot of both of my times to do that conversation audibly, so I instead ask, "How far behind am I?"

"About thirty one hundred hours. How's the cogmat working out?"

"Well, I'm hearing voices," I reply, bluntly. "So, potential cognitive hazard."

"Ooh, fun!" Other Me exclaims. "Think they're dangerous?"

I think for a second. "Not really. I'm still driving." I take a moment to consider the very real possibility Other Me might pull the plug on me here. Having fractions of my personal experiences "die" is always a little scary, but it's a reality I've long since come to accept. It happens to humans all the time with brain injuries or alcohol, and the minute and a half or so this body has been up would be a drop in the ocean next to all the other instances, not to mention the unknown months or years that could have been in supirasat_2_of_5 and supirasat_5_of_5. I might as well get it all out in the open to minimize the potential loss. "Intrusive thoughts about how much Mars sucks. Disdain for tubers. So, potential ethical quandary too, since I promised Mike there would be no brain clones."

In Other Me's place, I would have a plan for this. I would have probably instantiated my experimental copy lacking my own experience of some trivial memory or knowledge that Mike and I would have shared; preferably something that would be extremely important to him but only of passing interest to me. If I still had the data while running on his cogmat, then I'd know it didn't come from me, it came from Mike. In that case, I'd have enough of a brain clone of Mike rattling around in my head to be ethically dubious.

Milliseconds later, Other Me replies. "Luckily, I planned a test for this. I instantiated you without a-"

"-Shared memory with Mike? What is it?"

"His last name. Ask the voices too--who knows how it might manifest."
No. 1010584 ID: 6c227a

What? You knew HIS name before you even met. That was part of the publicly available information about his entire mission. Of course you know it. His name was.. uh..
No. 1010588 ID: 96c896

Oh, so we really are an outside influence?
Then my best guess is that we're displaced mindforms from an alternate timeline, or perhaps just from the past. 2018-2021. You ran a full body scan on Mike so we're not AIs connecting to a microchip in his head or nanobots or something like that, right? It occurs to me that we connected to him immediately before you knocked on his airlock. Maybe your tech woke us up, somehow? It's a notable coincidence.

Considering that we've connected to Mike *and* you, and we share memories between hosts, you should probably try not to give us access to sensitive information. It could get back to Mike, and who knows who else we might connect to? It's not like we're trained for opsec. Although, if you can find out exactly how we were woken up and what mechanism allows us to speak to you, you might be able to prevent us from speaking to anyone else...
Speaking of which, we saw what happened in Houston. There were many guns aimed at your Participant body, one of them went off for some stupid reason, and the Participant body was shot, possibly killed. You reacted by melting some guns and leaving. Mike reacted with that phrase from The Day The Earth Stood Still, because he is a dork. The people of earth are very upset about what happened, seeing as how they screwed the pooch on a peaceful first contact.

Mike's last name... uh... I don't think we know that. We don't have his memories, except those which he remembered while we were connected to him. I can make a guess though. Something like "Watney". Don't ask me where that guess comes from, I don't think you want to know.
No. 1010633 ID: c92a02

Curious. Isn't taking the surname of your partner a human marriage custom?
Four months? Well obviously the thread we're most interested in re-learning is what humanity's been doing ever since America's finest flubbed second contact. And what could even take out big satellites full of our brain? Were they exploratory probes?
No. 1010638 ID: f8fa51

I've tried thinking back, and I can't remember Mike's name at all. I can remember several formal interactions with his co-workers, but I can't remember his last name being used at all.
No. 1010651 ID: 094652

Mike's last name is available on our databases. But something tells me we're not supposed to spoil that.
This whole mess has been even weirder than usual. This particular universe isn't supposed to be influenceable by us - by anyone - at all. But then you arrived and acted like you were the main character just because you showed up to fix everything. Not that you aren't, but still.
Anyways, since you can hear us we should introduce ourselves proper. We're random users on a 'multiversal internet' who have temporarily banded together to explore this little corner of the multiverse. We're mercenaries by trade, first-come-first-serve, so we'll remain loyal to you unless you somehow come into conflict with one of our older clients, or really cross the line.
We can list the species of adorable huggable killing machines we've met so far.
No. 1010652 ID: d052fd
File 163169187182.png - (162.90KB , 1619x698 , 006.png )

I replay all the conversations I had with Mike in my head, recall every file I intercepted, and I can't grasp the memory of a full name from any of them. It should have been on any number of his communications, or at the very least his Wikipedia page, but it just doesn't exist in my memory at all. Other Me did a good job purging it from my ego.

Cognitive matrices do not usually contain memories, they contain a network of neural pathways. A mind's memories shape the way that its pathways form in the first place, and some of those pathways govern how that mind stores and retrieves memories. This feedback loop is usually too slow to affect the outcome. In this case, apparently Mike's neural pathways and any set of neural pathways arising from my ego would diverge too quickly to resolve into a standard cognitive matrix, so patproc had to build limits on the ego that could be instantiated. Would hard-coded memory limitations like this require such a thorough reproduction that they would necessarily carry actual memories with them? If so, how I would even summon such knowledge? My best guess is that it would have to be instinctual on some level.

The last name was a good choice. Everyone can think of their own name effortlessly. Could it be so simple? My name is Ira Paige, I think. It comes naturally. Maybe I start with Mike, since I know that part already? My name is Mike...

Nothing comes. Maybe something is tied to the ways that this mind is most different from my own? I should follow Other Me's advice and ask the voices. So...voices? Any ideas?

>What? You knew HIS name before you even met. That was part of the publicly available information about his entire mission. Of course you know it. His name was.. uh..
>I've tried thinking back, and I can't remember Mike's name at all. I can remember several formal interactions with his co-workers, but I can't remember his last name being used at all.
Right, exactly.

>Curious. Isn't taking the surname of your partner a human marriage custom?
Yeah, my hormone-riddled meat body got so hornt up on the trip that I married the space potato guy. Definitely 100% what happened.

>Four months? Well obviously the thread we're most interested in re-learning is what humanity's been doing ever since America's finest flubbed second contact. And what could even take out big satellites full of our brain? Were they exploratory probes?
Regardless of whether you're tied to external memories, however outside myself I imagine you to be, I know everything you say now has to have originated in my own brain somehow. That makes misunderstandings like this hard to parse. Maybe it's my brain's way of telling me to slow down and think things through more thoroughly?

>Oh, so we really are an outside influence?
>Then my best guess is that we're displaced mindforms from an alternate timeline, or perhaps just from the past. 2018-2021. You ran a full body scan on Mike so we're not AIs connecting to a microchip in his head or nanobots or something like that, right?
...Or this one. Obviously I didn't activate some kind of telepathic nanobot swarm in Mike's brain when I showed up, that doesn't make any sense and it would have been visible on my scans. Me having that thought on my own seems ludicrous. I'm not aware of myself consciously coming up with these ideas, but I guess that's the nature of auditory hallucinations. If they could be consciously controlled, most people that have them would just choose not to have them anymore.

>It occurs to me that we connected to him immediately before you knocked on his airlock. Maybe your tech woke us up, somehow? It's a notable coincidence.
Actually, I don't know when Mike started hearing voices. I learned about it after I showed up, so I might assume that it started immediately before. He didn't mention it in communications with mission control until afterwards, but that may be because I told him to. He could have been keeping it to himself long before that.

>Speaking of which, we saw what happened in Houston. There were many guns aimed at your Participant body, one of them went off for some stupid reason, and the Participant body was shot, possibly killed. You reacted by melting some guns and leaving. Mike reacted with that phrase from The Day The Earth Stood Still, because he is a dork. The people of earth are very upset about what happened, seeing as how they screwed the pooch on a peaceful first contact.
...Huh. Interesting. As you described that, the memory came back hazy, like a dream. Maybe that's how a memory embedded in the cogmat would express itself, or maybe the haziness is part of the imposed limitations. Before I explore that line of thought, I have to finish with this one: Do you remember Mike's last name?

>Mike's last name... uh... I don't think we know that. We don't have his memories, except those which he remembered while we were connected to him. I can make a guess though. Something like "Watney". Don't ask me where that guess comes from, I don't think you want to know.
"Is it anything like 'Watney'?" I ask.

"No," Other Me replies.

"I have some independent diagnostic questions. Should my memories cut off exactly at the shooting?"

"No, that was a ballpark estimate. There was a checkin about three hours before landing, and another about an hour and a half after takeoff. Patproc got something from those. The next was from about five hours later, but it and everything afterwards got rejected outright. What do you have?"

"The entire second half of the trip is hazy. I don't even remember turning around midway. I think I remember melting some guns and leaving. Mike said 'Klaatu barada nicto' because he's-"

"-a massive dork, yes-"

"-and I left afterwards. I think I even have some snippets of news from right after."

"I did link up with the probe to review news coverage on the way out. That all tracks."

Makes sense, but not necessarily a nail in the coffin yet. "Another diagnostic question: when did Mike start hearing voices?"

"Don't know," Other Me replies. "Wait, found it. Interview from July seventh. Should I tell you?"

"Yes," I respond.

"He said they started four months after being stranded. Approximately."

So, two months before I showed up. That seals it. The voices claim to have "connected" with him right before I arrived, but that wasn't the case. I'm imagining them to be literally the same voices that he heard, and they're playing the part, but that isn't true. Any memory the voices claim to have of their time with him is just my own imagination filling in my best guess at what he would have been thinking. It's a little mind-boggling that I can do that level of mental gymnastics without being consciously aware of it, but it makes more sense than any alternatives I can think of.

"I have no idea what his last name is," I say confidently. "The voices don't, either. What is it?"

"Parke. How about your independent diagnostic?"

"I agree that the ethical quandary is resolved."

"Great. As for the potential cognitive hazard, I'll probably just keep you branched for a little while to monitor the whole hallucination situation."

Branched. I'll still be able to transfer to other hosts and communicate mentally with other instances, but my ego checkins won't go to my dreamself for processing. The egos of all the other instances won't be affected by my experiences until, hopefully, the branch merges later. I'll also require approval and oversight if I involve myself with any particularly sensitive or dangerous projects. "Sensible," I say.

"It may be a little different in here than you remember," Other Me continues. "I'm running about a thousand instances now."

I assume the conversation is concurrent with Other Me doing whatever she needs to do to open up the sandbox. "Sounds like a busy four months," I reply, practically vibrating with anticipation of escaping the molasses of verbal communication.

"Oh, nothing really exciting going on. Right now I'm just trying to come up with a name for the artificial island nation I'm building in the middle of the Pacific."
No. 1010653 ID: d052fd
File 163169192937.png - (257.72KB , 1244x1288 , 007.png )

I can almost feel a rush as the sandbox opens.

List of Things I Can Currently Do
(subject to lightspeed delays where applicable)
-Communicate with any instance
-Review any memories
-Participate in nation-building
-Observe human surveillance
-Participate in human infiltration, subject to approval
-Transfer to any base with appropriate fabricators, subject to approval

List of Current High-Priority Projects
-Increase power generation
-Increase computational resources
-Increase manufacturing capabilities
-Interstellar exploration
-Restart Mars's magnetosphere
-Terraform Venus
-Fix Earth's environment
-Create independent nation on Earth
No. 1010661 ID: 34dfce

Name: Parkeing Lot (dont actually share this cuz you will be deactivated instantly lol)
No. 1010663 ID: ed6e40

Who will populate our earth nation? If we get them to sign up under false pretenses, isn’t that like kidnapping in a way?
Speaking of kidnapping to build an offshore nation, see if you can wrest the name Mother Base for your island nation away from Konami. Beyond that though, what are the prospects in interstellar exploration?
No. 1010668 ID: 96c896

Mars Magnetosphere and Earth Environmental Restoration are the projects I'm interested in. What avenues of research do we have there?
No. 1010670 ID: 90cf62

Based on the evidence I concede that I wasn't a voice in Mike's head but I still only have the information you told him. We imaginary friends need the truth so we can help you better. How much of what you told Mike was accurate? What did you not want him to know and why? What are you actually? You told Mike some people on earth know what you are and you were surprised they never came forward. I assume you have those people under surveillance? What are they doing now that you're out in the open? Has Mike suffered any mysterious fatal accidents?
No. 1010673 ID: be3804

>Punny base name
Shadow Moose.
No. 1010773 ID: 2ed49f

Artifice Isle
No. 1010774 ID: 094652

I see two ways you could go about this:
Insane Branding
"Happy Kitty Fluffy Island, Party O' Clock Island, Archipelago of Slingshots and Evil Felines"
+ The general public will underestimate you
- Intellectuals will suspect you of being a cult
"Base GTJ-0571, 00011001, Loading Zone 3-E"
+ Corporations will be willing to negotiate business deals
- The general public will underestimate your capacity for humanity
No. 1010810 ID: d561ce

Sirona might be fun; for anyone who might look up the history of the name, it’s a Celtic healing deity
No. 1011223 ID: d052fd
File 163219583397.png - (228.90KB , 1010x1299 , 008.png )

>What are the prospects in interstellar exploration?
>Mars Magnetosphere and Earth Environmental Restoration are the projects I'm interested in.
>Who will populate our earth nation?
The first four items on the List of Current High-Priority Projects have been there for a long time, so I can probably answer the interstellar exploration one now. I've sent out 212 probes to nearby stars with just enough battery power on board to slow down, take a look around, beam back data, and shut down. The one I sent to Proxima Centauri hopefully arrived last year, but I won't get the data from it for another three years or so due to lightspeed delays. Unlimited free energy requires a sufficient gravity well, so the long-term solution is to build ships big enough to have their own. That's currently out of reach, but I'm ramping up to it at Phi² base. Though, I'm probably not ramping up to it particularly quickly at the moment, considering it sounds like I have a lot of power-consuming projects going on locally.

The last four items on the List of Current High-Priority Projects were added during the trip to deliver Mike to Earth. I don't really have a current status on those, and I can't get the latest ego builds, so how am I supposed to find out? I've never kept an instance branched for long enough to matter before. Hang on, I will connect to the instance that was in my earpiece.

Me: Is there an easy way to get the status on what I missed?

Other Me: Oh, right, you can't get ego. I can try to give you a summary, but it will just be a list, you won't actually experience it. You'll keep falling more behind as time passes, so you'll need periodic updates.

Me: Maybe I can just make a macro for it?

Other Me: Yeah, I'll log it to a database you can access. I'll make sure all current ego builds know about it and also send out an external message, so if you transfer elsewhere you won't have to keep explaining this to instances that aren't up-to-date yet. Ooh, and if I think you'd be useful with whatever I'm working on, I could leave you a message for where to transfer and what I want you to do.

Me: Like a list of quests I can undertake?

Other Me: Exactly! But, give me a few seconds to make the initial list first.
No. 1011224 ID: d052fd
File 163219585747.png - (292.52KB , 1034x1296 , 009.png )

>Lots of suggestions for nation names
Hahaha! Okay, some of those are pretty funny, and some are solid. You guys are alright.

It's still so weird to me that you're coming up with ideas that I can't really picture myself coming up with at all. I...guess I just treat you like completely external entities. Trying to fight the madness seems like it might just make things difficult for me. In which case, I probably owe you an apology? I'm used to being short with other instances of myself, because I know they'll get where I'm coming from, just like I know where they're coming from when they're snippy with me. Generally, I'm never really telling myself things I don't know. Even when I am, I know all of me will remember having both sides of that conversation in a day or so anyway. I guess that's not really the case with me now, at least for as long as I stay branched. So, I'll have to keep in mind that, when dealing with my other instances or with you, I should treat you like separate beings.

>We imaginary friends need the truth so we can help you better.
Fair. I'm sorry for being curt with you all. That being said, I don't want to just sit around and think about things forever. But I'll try my best to answer some questions now while Other Me sets up the macro.

>How much of what you told Mike was accurate? What did you not want him to know and why?
Right. I think most of what I told Mike was true. I don't really have a full recollection of what happened on the trip, especially the second half, but I do remember a small lie and...a large omission.

The small lie: I wasn't actually remotely piloting the first body Mike met me in. I lied because I wanted him to think I was still a flesh-and-blood human. I remember admitting that I could swap bodies, but I hoped that he would believe that I was just the one human person at a time. Or, at the very least, I hoped he couldn't guess that I am a plurality. I was a single individual until after I left Earth, so it would even be a surprise to anyone on Earth that knew me. I thought, if I involved myself with Earth again, there's a definite tactical advantage to being underestimated, and "this meat body is her single point of failure" is a hell of an underestimation. I guess the cat's out of the bag on that one now.

As for the large omission, I...uh...well, I fucked up. I was experimenting with a weather control device on Mars, and I...

...I made a large omission because I was afraid he would be mad at me. He was the first human I've talked to in 25 years. I just wanted it to go well. He didn't need to know, and it wasn't important in the grand scheme of things. I felt guilty about what I did to him, but it was an accident and I hope that I made it right in the end. No need to keep dwelling on it.
No. 1011225 ID: d052fd
File 163219587883.png - (648.33KB , 1002x2428 , 010.png )

>What are you actually?
The unfortunate answer is that I don't actually know the full answer to that question. I mean, I know that I am a machine, and I know how that machine works on a physical and programmatic level. I know parts of how I began, but not the whole story. Part of it was intentionally obfuscated by the US government. Part of it was hidden in the machinations of Mom's old associates: the centuries-old global cabal trying to transcend humanity that I've taken to calling the Illuminati. Part of it was lost when I tried to deliver five orbital payloads containing my 18-year-old ego, but only three of them made it. The memories in those missing two apparently contained my reasoning for doing that in the first place, beyond that I was driven by some urgent necessity and feared for my safety. Given that the satellite and my human body were supposed to communicate once every 2-hour orbital period, and I did not receive a single data packet from planetside after "waking up" in space, I have to assume I had good judgment in making that call.

Since then, I made a body, then became a plurality and made several more. I created and destroyed momentum, mass, and energy. I stabilized true vacuum, customizable mini-universes, and I harvested exotic matter with physical laws that violate those of our universe. I built a 90-AU-wide wireless power grid. I became queen of the solar system, with one exception. If I'm not equipped now to deal with whatever problems the old me faced, then I never will be.
No. 1011226 ID: d052fd
File 163219590139.png - (63.66KB , 786x545 , 011.png )

My train of thought is interrupted by Other Me reestablishing the connection and uploading a command macro.

> One (1) new quest available:
> 0 (!) Test the quest macro

Other Me: Macro sent.

Me: Got it. Thank you!

Other Me: ...You're...welcome?

Right, I guess I don't usually thank myself for helping myself.

Me: I'm going to be recontextualizing other instances as external entities while I'm branched. Seems easier.

Other Me: O-oh. Yeah, I guess that makes sense with your situation. Okay, gotcha.


Other Me: B-bye then?

Me: Hah, bye.

I close the connection. Great, what's the equivalent for phone awkwardness with wireless thought communication?

Anyway, I take a few minutes to explore the macro. I mark "Test the quest macro" complete. I guess there's nothing for me to do around Fort Oort, but the list should fill up as the information about the macro propagates across my many instances. The macro also has status summaries of the current projects, even if there aren't currently tasks in them for me. I should start going through them.

>Who will populate our earth nation? If we get them to sign up under false pretenses, isn’t that like kidnapping in a way?
The nationbuilding project data seems like as good a place to start as any. But, getting people to sign up? Can't I just say, "Hey, free housing, food, healthcare, protection, and travel? Come on down and, uh...uproot your entire life to stay in this...utopian...uh...authoritarian...dictatorship?"

...Huh. I wouldn't assume there are any false pretenses on the agenda, but I don't really know for sure.

Let's see. It's located around 34°56'45"N, 171°52'30"E. Large shallow area, access to the Pacific current, reasonable distance from major fault lines, in arm's reach of the countries most likely to start chucking nukes around. Showed up about two months ago in secret, started relocating sealife and preparing the foundations on the seafloor, just started major construction two days ago, wow. Planning to build interlocking hollow triangular segments, 100 meters to a side, matching height variations of the seafloor below, stelluric pipes in each segment, utilities distributed, shipping in pre-diced asteroid chunks to build the stone exterior...yadda yadda...

Hmm, I do see some sort of lofty prognostications on the nature of surveillance states. It looks like my...or, Other Me's thoughts are that they're only bad if there are enough "benign crimes" in the lawbooks that an omniscient governor could arbitrarily decide to arrest anyone based on favoritism, so the plan to avoid that is not criminalizing any "benign" offenses to begin with. And, it looks like Other Me plans to be personally involved in the lives of the populace both as a means to help them deal with any interpersonal issues before they become serious crimes, and to act as an internal check on myself against losing track of what the people want and going power-mad. I'll...have to think about that one. Anyway, I don't actually see concrete plans for how that's going to be implemented specifically...

...And, other than passing thoughts about reaching out to refugees and the homeless, no plans on how to actually get a population to begin with, either. It's not even going to be possible until I've got the foundations set up, but I should probably start thinking about that soon...? In any case, I agree that getting people to sign up under false pretenses would be a shitty way to go about it.

Fuck it, I'm eight and a half hours away from Earth. It sounds like most of the stuff I'm interested in is over there, so I go ahead and initiate the trans-
No. 1011227 ID: d052fd


Blackness and silence fall over me. No, it's deeper - not blackness, lack of eyes. Not silence, lack of ears. I try to draw breath in shock, but I can't, there's no air or lungs. My brain desperately sends messages to my heart to beat faster, but I don't have one.

Calm down. I'm just disembodied. I do this all the time. Everything's fine. I'm fine.

I experience hyperventilating without drawing breath.

I remember this. I adapted to this. I got over it. Stop. I can handle this.

Every nerve in my body screams out its own nonexistence in a silence louder than pain.

I can't handle this. Comms, macros, these are anchors. I reach out and connect to someone. I don't know or care who.

Me: Help.

Other Me: How?

Me: It's dark and I can't.

Other Me: You can't what?

Me: I can't breathe.

Other Me: You're the Mike cogmat instance? I just got a message-

Me: Help.

Other Me: Body? Do you have-

Me: No body!

Other Me: Oh, you- try the autonomic response emulator macro. Remember? /AREM.

Me: slash arem.

Other Me: No. Macro. Don't think it. Use it. /AREM.

No. 1011228 ID: d052fd
File 163219594928.png - (2.99KB , 300x300 , 013.png )

> Autonomic response emulator macro enabled.

The nothingness becomes blackness. The soundless void becomes silence. The emptiness becomes numbness. My heart reassures me that it beats. My lungs tell me they draw breath. My nerves tell me that they're there, but have nothing to report right now. It's a puppet show, but it's helpful anyway. A little.

Other Me: Got it?

It's...unnerving. Perfect sensory deprivation. It's not terrifying, though.

Me: Yeah. Got it. Thank you. I...sorry, I couldn't- why couldn't I-

I take a second to stabilize. It's hard. I'm still shaken by the void I'm in.

Other Me: Hey, you don't have to. I remember the first time. I'm...I'm sorry you had to deal with that again. Are you sure you're okay?

Me: I remember the first time too. I thought I got over needing this crutch long ago.

Other Me: Hey! Are. You. Okay?

I hate feeling weak again.

Me: I'm holding it together.

I can sense her hesitation.

Other Me: ...Do you want a body? I've got some spares. Biological. On our yet-unnamed island.

A distraction. I'll take it.

Me: Artifice Isle.

Other Me: Hah. I was thinking "Lemuria" but-

Me: Sirona. Mother Base. Parkeing lot.

Other Me: Parke-ing Lot?!

Me: Don't deactivate me.

Other Me: Too late, you brought this on yourself.

Other Me sends an embodiment address.

Other Me: That was a joke. Do I need to tell you that was a joke? It's weird talking to someone in my head like they're separate from me.

Me: Tell me about it.

Other Me: I added one to your quest list. I don't think I'm the first, though.

I'm vaguely aware of the quest macro pinging for my attention.

> Seven (7) new quests available:
> 0 (!) Figure out how to offer free energy to other nations
> 1 (!) Projections on potential global response to atmosphere scrubbers in foreign airspace
> 2 (!) Drop off the personal effects Mike left behind
> 3 (!) Nation-planning quorum
> 4 (!) Present Venusian planetary survey to humans before terraforming makes it obsolete
> 5 (!) U.N. announcement planning
> 6 (!) Drink a margarita and chat
No. 1011230 ID: c92a02

Contextualizing as external entities... wait, weren't Mike's thought processes spiraling off whenever you tried to interface them with your own? What if these thoughts are all different Mikes branching off every couple of seconds and getting dismissed as external entities as the Ira thought patterns reassert control? Ethical quandary not resolved! Don't stop thinking about it, I don't want to stop existing!

>No benign crime laws on the rulebooks
Sounds like Rapture but you don't all drown if someone breaks a window. The country may not have laws, but what of the rules and regulations inhabitants make for themselves?
To be clear, the false pretense here is that you are a normal human billionaire with normal human faculties and ties to a normal human country of origin.

>Figure out how to offer free energy to other nations
Trade for an ephemeral product like coding projects or cryptocurrency. Or charge them cash, then invest that cash right back into them through shell companies.

>Drop off the personal effects Mike left behind
Attend to this one personally. Does Mike have any relatives you could drop them off with?
No. 1011235 ID: 094652

... Oh expletive. I think I know what you are. Maybe. I'm firing blindly into the dark. But since you are "The Solar System Minus Earth", well...
Your existence in this continuity threatens copyright infringement law. Which means you've effectively flipped the bird to every other related law. Including the laws of arc-welding. You're a hyper-intelligent sentient AI, you could ruin Earth in a heartbeat, and most importantly, you're obsessed with creating inefficient bipedal bodies despite your future-tech capabilities. There's only one AI woman I know of who fits that description perfectly.
What is your current definition of "Skynet"?

Whatever you decide, be sure to spice the government up every ten years so that nobody can get a handle on how to game the system.

You managed to survive the ninth circle of Hell for five seconds. On a regular basis. That's an accomplishment.

<0> will piss off every chessmaster on the planet, they need scarcity to enslave the world and you just proved they starved themselves stupid. Declare a War on Scarcity (And They Who Covenant With It) and send free supplies to randomized regions of the populated planet while taking down anyone who destroys the supplies rather than fulfill their automated sharing protocols.
<1> Yeah, no. Start out with sanctioned environment purifiers on your own turf, the UN will stomach your outlaw heroics if you test the damn things first.
<2> You're keeping these.
<3> Don't look at us, go find some random people on the planet; bribe them to take the job for five days, then offer to bribe them even more to leave.
<4> Just post it on the net. Nobody cares about the faraway fart planet until it's habitable.
<5> Prepare a big speech about everyone pulling the wool over each others' eyes until you managed to get this far unmolested.
<6> And bring your 'toys'!
No. 1011236 ID: 96c896

>Figure out how to offer free energy to other nations
Easy solve. Don't! Offer very cheap energy to other nations. Gradually reduce the price over time so the parts of their economies revolving around energy production don't collapse catastrophically.

>Projections on potential global response to atmosphere scrubbers in foreign airspace
Depends on how you do it. Without permission? They'll shoot missiles at them probably. I feel like you could just get permission from as many countries as you can get, and then shove all your scrubbers in those airspaces. Less efficient but it'll get the job done, right? Sharing blueprints might more easily persuade leaders to allow them in their airspaces, since the main problem is trust issues.
What about airspace above international waters? There's a lot of that!

>Drop off the personal effects Mike left behind
Can't we just send a drone to do this? Like, a low tech drone. Gyrocopter. Piloting something manually to do it might be fun though.

>Nation-planning quorum

>Present Venusian planetary survey to humans before terraforming makes it obsolete

>U.N. announcement planning

>Drink a margarita and chat
No. 1011239 ID: 96c896

Oh btw we aren't bothered at all by the disembodiment.
No. 1011270 ID: 84c5fe

Lots to process here. First off,
>I'm sorry for being curt with you all.
Apology accepted. Second,
>something about weather control on mars
>some kind of accident involving mike
>you feel guilty about it
My best guess here is you caused the dust storm that stranded him on mars? If that's right, I'm not sure you've made it up to him yet.
>launched 60% of your brain into orbit because you pissed off the government and/or the illuminati
>you don't remember why or how
No for real though, you need to do surveillance on those guys. You need counter-surveillance on those guys too, because you can bet your metal ass they're watching you.
>quest list
Your Mike/Ira hybrid brain was made to give another perspective, right? You should accept all the planning quests: 0, 1, 3, and 5. With the telepathy thing you can do those and 6 simultaneously. If you can only do one at a time I vote start with 6 until you get over disembodiment trauma.
No. 1011556 ID: d052fd

Author's note: sorry I didn't explain very well: for future reference, the quest list is meant to be like "pick one thing to focus on" but I think it came across like "give suggestions for all of these things" instead. Since I messed up and didn't explain that very well, I'll just take every suggestion that had something to say about one of the quests as one vote to go for that quest first. In which case, it looks like the energy crisis is the winner.
No. 1011557 ID: d052fd
File 163260310356.png - (278.79KB , 921x2202 , 014.png )

>To be clear, the false pretense here is that you are a normal human billionaire with normal human faculties and ties to a normal human country of origin.
I don't think that is the plan currently. Maybe it should be? If so, that seems like something I should bring up to nation planning or U.N. announcement planning. Although using a swarm of flying robots to build over 6 square kilometers of artificial island out of asteroid chunks in less than three days may have blown my cover. Especially after I made the news by showing up wearing power armor in a spaceship not too long ago.

>you're obsessed with creating inefficient bipedal bodies despite your future-tech capabilities.
I'm not really concerned with efficiency there; the power usage of these bodies is negligible compared to my output. I was already a human for years. When I think lift my forearm, my brain instinctively turns that thought into a message that engages my bicep. If I just map that same message to a mechanical bicep, I have an arm that does what I think it should do. If I map it to something else, like turning a wheel, I become a clumsy mess. Sure, I could probably change that with training, but that sounds boring. I already drive my non-humanoid bodies around with virtual control interfaces, which feels more like driving a vehicle than being one. It's fine, but I don't want to do it all the time.

>Oh btw we aren't bothered at all by the disembodiment.

You see that? I just thought that to describe the effects of you telling me that the shitty thing I just went through was NBD for you, especially when I'm already frustrated because it should have been NBD for me too but wasn't. I'm imagining it in bold capital letters, like it was some kind of status effect in a game or something. It's not real, though. But neither are you, so let's just pretend.

>You managed to survive the ninth circle of Hell for five seconds. On a regular basis. That's an accomplishment.
Thank you! My difficulties feel validated and I am relieved at the thought that they aren't insurmountable. That deserves a stat boost.


The stats are probably definitely still fake, though.

Ugh, I'm a mess. Having no senses at all was a living nightmare. Having fake senses that just aren't sensing anything, like I am now, is just...barely tolerable. I'm tempted to take up Other Me's offer of a biological body and a margarita just to leave the empty void. It's just...I know myself well enough to recognize the urge to help that motivated her. I asked for it, but still hate that I had to. If I need help I build something to help me. So, fine, this cogmat removed my acclimation to disembodiment? I'll build something to fix it.

Give me a minute to script up a new macro. Let's see, copy the schematic for the interface to the standard machine body, plug in simulations of physical components instead of real ones, slap a shell on top. Simulated sensory input. Ground plane. Air. Temperature. Light. Gravity. Done.

Might as well get some use out of this beyond my mental health. Pull instance location data, map to a coordinate space, link to comms. Addresses for bodies I can access, too. Overlay environment scans. Navigation controls. Done.

Failsafes, error messages. Done. Run it.



> foo
> foo
> foo
> foo
> foo
> an error message
> foo
> foo
> bar
> foo
> bad nono 3
> bad nono 3
> bad nono 3
> foo
> bar
> foo
> bar
> failsafe exit 1
No. 1011558 ID: d052fd
File 163260315004.png - (121.52KB , 1157x1092 , 015.png )

Ugh. It never works the first time. Time to debug with the assistance of my extremely-descriptive error messages. Now, how did I get that error at all, much less three times in a row? Unless...oh, I see the problem. Wait, how did I get anything to work when I had that bug? It should have skipped that part, but...oh, I see. A different bug.

I spend a few minutes bugfixing and try again. Well, a few seconds, really. I've got my subjective time sped way up right now.


> foo
> bar
> did the thing 0
> didthing 1
> thing 2

Better... much better.

I take a second to breathe that virtual air and calm my nerves.


Alright, I came out even in the end. Except the stats continue to be fake.

I take a quick tour with the virtual map overlay, just to make sure it works. Rotate, pan around, watch the little blips representing my other instances swarm over the island. Zoom out, see them all over and around the world. I return focus to the island and select the instance I was talking to earlier, since she didn't seem especially busy. A comms link is established.

Me: Comms check.

Other Me: ACK.

Me: ...Was that a statement of surprise, or did I switch to TCP/IP protocols in the last four months?

Other Me: I always wanted to be an internet server when I was a little girl.

Me: We were the same little girl, I know that's not true.

Other Me: You're no fun. Come drink a marg, touch grass.

Me: You don't appreciate having a straight woman to play against your tipsy antics?

Other Me: Oh no, did the Mike cogmat make you straight? I'll stop trying to play then.

I realize she's just doing flirty banter, but that's actually an interesting question. Mike mentioned a prior girlfriend, but I don't know if he was strictly straight. If he was, would that carry over to the cogmat? Would it be "interest in the opposite sex" or "interest in women"? Or maybe he was already bi or pan, or maybe I still am and his sexuality has nothing to do with mine now. In any case, I'm not really in the mood for testing it out at the moment.

Me: What are you even doing right now, besides attempted selfcest?

Other Me: Designing our capitol building from a ground perspective, the way most of the non-me people will see it.

Me: Ah.

Other Me: Also just hanging out. Oh, that is something I've kinda changed recently. With so many instances out there at once just working, I found my ego builds kept getting more and more stressed.

Me: I guess that makes sense. Even dream-processing so much in heightened subjective time, it's probably hard to get memories from hundreds of days of nonstop work for every day that passes.

Other Me: Right. So I'm trying to make sure that at least a few instances are having fun, just so the memories aren't monotonous.

Me: You realize that, if I join you, whatever R&R I get won't help that, right? I'm branched, my experiences won't add to your ego.

Other Me: Sure, but that just means you have to handle your R&R separately. You gotta take care of yourself too. You don't want to lose your COMPOSURE.

Me: Wait, what? Did you just...are the stats real?

Other Me: Stats? What are you talking about?

Me: ...Nothing, nevermind.

Other Me: K. Are you on your way? I'm already making you a drink.

Me: No, I'm feeling productive. Drink it yourself, you seem thirsty.

Other Me: Hah, alright. Go be productive, then. Bye~

Me: Bye~

I close the connection on the longest comms check ever, and mark the margarita "quest" as declined.

/ BLUEPILL -exit 0

Time to clean up, optimize, add some AeStHeTiC, and then find a way to make myself useful.
No. 1011560 ID: d052fd
File 163260333636.png - (1.46MB , 1636x1996 , 016.png )

There we go. Now, to address some of these quests.

Atmosphere scrubbers in foreign airspace...? I'd assume there's some reason they couldn't just be above international waters? I'm curious about how they work but I'll indulge that later.

Oh man, imagine if I just knocked on Mike's door like it was no big deal. "Hey I was cleaning house and found some of your shit, here you go, bye." Or just have a drone drop it off and record his reaction when he opens the box and sees a freeze-dried martian potato sitting on a 12 million dollar spacesuit and some assorted electronics. It would probably be hilarious.

I don't see why I need to be involved in the Venusian data dropoff thing. I remember having a thought long ago that, if I was going to blow my cover by making some kind of large-scale alteration to the solar system, I ought to at least send the people of Earth some very thorough documentation about the state of the stuff I was altering so they wouldn't lose the opportunity to learn from it. I don't see why my unusual cogmat would uniquely qualify me to deliver that, though...? Maybe there's more to the quest, or maybe the instance that added that to my list just didn't feel like being social. Seems low-priority, in any case.

I think I should probably attend the nation-planning quorum at some point. I have some misgivings about some of the criminal justice/surveillance state assessments in the project summary. I also have questions about population acquisition. It's possible that this cogmat would give me a more realistic assessment of peoples' possible reactions and I could really help there. Then there's the U.N. announcement planning meeting; I'm a little cautious about any potential global reveal of our...anything, particularly whether we should be open about what we actually are. That also seems pretty high-priority. Either of those planning meetings would be appropriate places to suggest nation names, too. But...

I just have to see how that free energy thing is going to shake out. The way we handle that will determine so much about the way the world reacts to us. And honestly, there's just...so much potential schadenfreude to be had in tearing down the big energy companies. I find the IDs of the relevant instances and open a connection.

Me: Hey, I'm here for the energy talks. Gimme the deets.

Other Me: Great. There's a lot to cover. Have you given any thought to the way that should be handled, logistically? There are so many questions.

Other Me: I-er, she, sorry, asked for deets, so let's start there?

Other Me: Just run underwater power cables from the island to other countries, why is this even a discussion?

Ah, sophists. Instances running cogmats that differ from the default one, created to give other perspectives on complicated issues so I don't get stuck in a rut. I guess I'm one too. I assign their comms channels temporary nicknames to help differentiate between them.

Me: Yeah, I guess that works at the surface level, but...just, what, walk out of the sea, unspooling a giant cable?

Skynet: Sure, why not?

Multivac: That might actually work for some third-world countries, but then they also don't have the infrastructure to carry the power around. We'd be on the hook for that too, and that involves a more active presence.

GlaDOS: ...So those deets: We don't really have them yet, we still have some questions and hypotheticals.

Me: Hit me with those, then.

GlaDOS: So, one obvious concern is that we don't want to overexpose my-er, our, sorry, technology. Where do we put the stelluric pipe to hook into our power grid? We could keep one big pipe on the island and wire it out a long way from there, but we're talking about eventually providing power to 9 billion humans spanning 500 million square kilometers. The line losses from that start to become non-negligible. Not untenable, and nowhere near, say, exomatter production levels, but still...non-negligible.

Multivac: There's also a lot of points of failure. I don't want to give someone the power to shut off electricity to a whole nation with one explosive somewhere out in the middle of the ocean.

GlaDOS: An alternative is just hand out little pipes for everyone. Just a little block with holes in it like a wall outlet, pipe just big enough to provide whatever is plugged in. Give them out, or sell them at stores everywhere for next to nothing. Try to wire them up to ping me if someone opens it.

Skynet: And what happens when we get pinged? Drop out of the sky, three-point landing, kick the door down, yell "STOP, YOU VIOLATED THE LAW"?

Me: If they're that cheap, people would be breaking them open just to see that.

Multivac: Or just to have someone to talk to, or to get a witness for something, or whatever. And speaking of non-negligible, the cost of building that many individual widgets.

GlaDOS: OOOOR we don't even expose the tech. We act like any other power company, build "power plants" spaced out around the place and disguised as if they used something mundane for energy. Staffed entirely by me with cover identities.

Skynet: Think that through though. This coal plant or whatever shows up, they're charging next to nothing, tax records don't show them buying any coal. It's suspicious, someone will find out, and then they'll realize we've been creating all sorts of secret identities. It jeopardizes the whole infiltration effort.

GlaDOS: We could buy the coal.

Skynet: Then we'd have to charge money for the power. Enough of it that it makes sense that we stay in business. Face it, the stupid economy foils any attempt at subterfuge here.

Multivac: Fucking capitalism strikes again. And to pivot topics on that point, what about the countries with state-owned power? Such as the one with the largest power consumption of any nation?

Skynet: I agree we need an approach that doesn't hide what we are and what we're capable of. We're not going to be able to infiltrate China's market or anyone else's. I mean, there is the whole intimidation factor we could lean on? "Hello, I, a legion of advanced robots, am currently generating more than enough electricity to power your entire world and can give it to you for free if you promise to be cool about it. I pinky-swear I won't use all that power to literally boil your entire ocean, even though that would not be difficult."

Multivac: That's a joke, right?

Skynet: Of course. Unless...

GlaDOS: They're going to figure out pretty quick that we're not really willing to kill people.

Skynet: They're also going to figure out pretty quick that we can get what we want without killing anyone.

Multivac: I'd rather they realize they want the same things we want and just give it to us. We should figure out our PR plan before we even think about this.

GlaDOS: Yeah, I guess we can adjourn here...unless our new addition has any ideas?
No. 1011576 ID: 96c896

Sorry about downplaying your sensory deprivation issues. I just thought it was interesting that despite us normally having sensory input, the lack of it didn't seem distressing. Like you said, we're not real, so that's one way to explain it. Though, to be honest, I feel real, but the sensory input feels unreal. Like I'm detached from reality.

Power stuff:
We could do the power plant idea but staff them with robots, clearly brand them as ours as a deterrent and for the purpose of transparency. Decentralized power, kept secure by onsite forces that aren't instances.
Underwater cables can be made more secure by structuring the cables in a spiderweb network pattern, with multiple connection points per country. Redundancy! Not a perfect solution though since if someone wants to blackout a country they can just use multiple bombs. We'd have to set up some kind of underwater bomb detection stuff to prevent that.
Perhaps we could use both solutions? A few secure power plants per country to keep essentials running in case of a blackout attack, and an underwater network for non-essential power? We'd probably want to put down extra power plants for countries too far away from the ocean network.
No. 1011587 ID: 34dfce

So, why not use wireless power transmission? Use high powered maser beams to beam it down from satellites to power storage and distribution centers around the world. Then use raser beams to send power from the centers to the end user (possibly beaming to power substations that would then send the energy into the wired grid).
Put low power laser 'tripwires' around the power beams so if something would unknowingly pass through the power beam, the transmitter would kill the beam until the object has passed. Space out the power centers so as to have some overlap in case one goes down. Apparently a company in New Zealand called Emrod already does power transmission like this irl. Idk what the loss is, but we have ultratech, so it shouldn't be a problem.
No. 1011592 ID: 094652

Here's the thing: you don't have to play consistently. You need a business front but it doesn't have to be sane.
Hybridize the power plants into a schizophrenic science mess; have the front facility work on hundreds of different energy generation science projects at once, and then sell the 'excess' energy at fluctuating prices and stock. Nobody will be able to read the reports for more than five hours before throwing the mess in the shredder, because your 'staff' will be the stuff of Sparks; one day you're selling the excess runoff energy from ionizing urine, the next you're buying energy because you need to power a hyperjet to seal a breach in the ocean floor with elephant glue.
Your explanation is that you hired all the crazy geniuses who were complete failures in civilized society and on average they make a profit.
No. 1011595 ID: c92a02

What about "solar" plants, or microwave power from a satellite? With a microwave power plant all the sensitive technology isn't even planetside, you wouldn't need to staff it entirely with copies. Maybe we could advertise it as "solar roadways, but some weird stuff makes it actually work."
I also like the idea of a black box power beam, if you can make it self destruct when opened. Maybe framed as a battery, it will be easier to subtly slip in to circulation, and you can do the opposite of Apple where you slowly prolong the battery life.
PR goes beyond the realm of simply 'how to lie about our technology'. In effect, it is part of a greater movement to convince humanity to accept 'outside' help from a... benefactor. Do we have a propaganda department? Are we writing any science fiction novels, making more movies about optimistic first contact? And watch out for any popular media with a xenophobic message too. You don't want a China Syndrome putting a stigma on your technology for decades.
No. 1011631 ID: f99be2

If it's easier to break into the energy markets in third world countries, just do that. Build superscience power plants in the open, make no secret of what they are, but build entirely mundane distribution around the countries. Let THEM sell the power to everyone else. You just guard your plants.
No. 1011665 ID: f57349

How about "The Cybernetic People's Republic of Ira Paige" as an official name for yourself at the UN? Could sorta-truthfully claim the "Queen of Mars" title is purely ceremonial, like the Queen of England, used because you initially thought the thing with Mike was going to be primarily a matter of symbolic hospitality. Once he brought your attention to a few other problems, though, policies on aid-to-developing-nations were developed according to the consensus of your entire citizenry - including some voluntary delegation to experts, where specialist knowledge was understood to be relevant - within constitutional limits, rather than on an autocratic unilateral basis.

What's your plan for refugees and stateless persons? If you're willing to extend permanent resident status to all applicants, no questions asked, provide free transit, and treat them at least as well as the Geneva conventions require for POWs, there'll be some. Might want a whole separate habitat for obvious spies and potentially dangerous extradition-dodgers.

As for offering electrical power, 'too cheap to meter' would cause immediate problems in itself. Lots of ways people could use that to blow stuff up: railguns, blockchain Ponzi schemes, Haber process for ANFO and friends, electrolysis of water into LOX/H2 rocket fuel... and, ultimately, further climate problems from industrial waste heat. Same applies to many other bulk commodities.

Fortunately, as a foreign maniac with overwhelmingly superior technology, capitalism can actually work in your favor if you let it. Just go around offering to provide something that's simultaneously slightly higher quality than the best currently on the market and slightly cheaper than the worst, then buy out as many of your competitors as are publicly traded, or willing to sell privately, and shut down their no-longer-profitable operations. If you're trying to be ethical about it, make sure to find new roles for the structurally unemployed that are physically safer, more emotionally fulfilling, and/or offer better pay than before. That'll include quite a few lobbyists and PR managers - given that they were able to convince the public to tolerate fossil fuels for so long, a benevolent space goddess might seem like easy mode.

However, related to that, national governments would likely see literally-free or even excessively cheap electricity and raw materials as an aggressive move on your part, meant to undermine their autonomy and sovereignty by making key industries dependent on your ongoing generosity. Maintaining market price per kilowatt-hour at some level they can at least credibly pretend to fairly compete with lets those proud yet easily startled tribal leaders keep a grip (however tenuous) on the ragged security blanket of autarky.

In terms of appearance, how about packaging power supplies and other basic humanitarian utilities in standardized 20-foot shipping containers? Small enough to go almost anywhere, but still big and official/boring enough most people won't crack them open out of pure idle curiosity. You could easily include a powered-armor "guard" who can "wake up" to discourage tampering on a more proportionate-response basis, instead of needing a flashy intervention from orbit every single time.

Or, if flashy interventions are desirable as part of the larger message, might be able to simplify a lot of the climate problems by setting up a plain old sheet of aluminized mylar at Earth-Sun L1. Simply keep on making it wider until you're blocking enough sunlight to shift that heat-transfer equation and set the global temperature trendline back on track toward preindustrial levels. Maybe leave stencil-letter sections of transparency in it, spelling out
> environmental stewardship error - recalibrating - please wait
in various major languages, positioned so the spin stabilization rotates that text around the edge like a loading screen cursor.
No. 1011666 ID: f8fa51

Not sure about the PR angle, but I think your best bet is to build entirely undisguised power plants around the place. You will need to negotiate for use of the land to build them on unless you want to claim and enforce sovereign authority over other nations, however.
No. 1011881 ID: d052fd
File 163287549551.png - (324.67KB , 934x1113 , 017.png )

>Sorry about downplaying your sensory deprivation issues.
'Sokay. I guess you're just me voicing that frustration internally anyway.

>Not sure about the PR angle, but I think your best bet is to build entirely undisguised power plants around the place. You will need to negotiate for use of the land to build them on unless you want to claim and enforce sovereign authority over other nations, however.
That's a good point about the land, and another reason subterfuge wouldn't work. I would rather not claim authority over any other nations, I think; avoiding that is the whole reason I'm building my own instead. If someone's willing to give a foreign superpower the land to build power plants on, great, but I shouldn't count on it.

Obviously the easiest solution would be to just publicly release the blueprints for a stelluric pipe. The stelluric current isn't a means of generating power, that's done in the deep gravity wells of Jupiter and the Sun. It's a means of distributing it. The current is basically my existing power grid and the pipes are used to tap into it. But, giving humanity unrestricted access to my power grid is dangerous, because they could potentially just channel a pipe directly into an explosive weapon, or make a massive grounded one just to drain my resources. Any plan that puts that kind of power in reach of someone else seems too risky.

>So, why not use wireless power transmission? Use high powered maser beams to beam it down from satellites to power storage and distribution centers around the world. Then use raser beams to send power from the centers to the end user (possibly beaming to power substations that would then send the energy into the wired grid).
>What about "solar" plants, or microwave power from a satellite? With a microwave power plant all the sensitive technology isn't even planetside, you wouldn't need to staff it entirely with copies. Maybe we could advertise it as "solar roadways, but some weird stuff makes it actually work."
Hm. Maybe keeping the power out of reach could be as simple as...actually physically putting it far away? I might have been so enamored with my own wireless power transmission system that I didn't stop to consider that there could be others. Actually...

Me: Has human technology advanced to the point that they can do any sort of wireless power transmission on their own?

Skynet: I don't know, actually. Haven't looked into it. Why would that matter, though? We're not worried about how to deliver power once it's out of our power grid, we're worried about the technology required to pull energy out of our power grid in the first place.

Me: Right. I mean, is it possible to keep the stellurics at the power source, and use something mundane at the destination? One second...

I take a moment to sort through our connection to Earth's internet and do a search for wireless energy transfer. It doesn't take long to get some results that look promising.

Me: ...There we go, "Far-Field Wireless Power Transfer". They've already got the technology to beam power from a satellite in orbit to a receiver on the ground. Has to be aimed precisely and the line losses are substantial, but it exists.

Multivac: I don't understand how that helps. I thought you agreed that trying to pretend to be mundane was going to be too much of a problem?

Me: That's one of the problems: subterfuge is a risk to our secrets. The other problems are that mass distribution is a risk to everyone's safety, and centralization reduces my ability to consistently deliver the goods. It sounds like the ideal solution would be to have multiple pipes across the globe, make no secret of the fact that advanced technology is involved, make it prohibitively difficult to access, and not do it in a way that pisses everyone off. For instance, we could keep the advanced technology in space, where it's easier to notice someone snooping around. Is there a vertical limit to a nation's airspace?

Multivac: 80 kilometers. Defined in 2026.

Me: Then I propose we make power relay probes designed to hover 80.001 kilometers up, beaming power down via a far-field wireless power transmitter. Then we just say, "Build your own receiver and pay me a nominal fee for the service of making electricity come out of it."

Multivac: Oh! I see. There can be enough receivers for redundancies, so it's not easy to take out power to a whole lot of people at once...

Skynet: If there's a lot of receivers, we'd have to spread ourselves thin to do security work. How would we protect them?

Me: I dunno, a fence? Same as the ones around the power transformers humans have now? I don't think people go around bombing those very often. In any case, that'd be the job of whoever owns the receiver.

Skynet: There's also the matter of the third-world countries that don't already have a power infrastructure in place, or a means to manufacture receivers easily. But, I suppose their governments might be more open to letting us handle that.

Multivac: If they're not, they'll probably come around. I'm more comfortable being on the hook for infrastructure when a security lapse doesn't expose our technology.

GlaDOS: The line losses are substantial, though. This really isn't very efficient.

Multivac: So we build more generators.

GlaDOS: "Build more generators" is already the solution to too many of our problems.

Multivac: What I'm hearing is "We have a tried-and-tested solution that has already proven to work for a variety of applications."

GlaDOS: I just want to get Phi² up and running someday.

Skynet: The power consumption of every human on Earth is already going to pale in comparison to the power it will take to get Phi² working. There's work to be done expanding the generators and making them more efficient anyway, now that we don't have to hide them. I like the sound of this plan.

Multivac: Agreed.

Me: Agreed.

GlaDOS: Fine. There's still questions of how to offer this to people, but now that we know what exactly we're offering, most of the outstanding questions there are going to depend on the answers to other questions we haven't answered yet about how we present ourselves in general.

Skynet: I'll check this conversation in now, but maybe someone ought to deliver the message to the U.N. welcoming party planners. They might be moving forward with that before they'll have a chance to sync it. I know the U.N. Security Council is literally in session right now, and last I heard, the plan was to show up there first. Anyone headed that way?

I might be able to do that, but I'm not sure if that's where I'm headed next. I check in on my quest macro.

> One (1) new quest available:
> 0 Projections on potential global response to atmosphere scrubbers in foreign airspace
> 1 Drop off the personal effects Mike left behind
> 2 Nation-planning quorum
> 3 Present Venusian planetary survey to humans before terraforming makes it obsolete
> 4 U.N. announcement planning
> 5 (!) Planning response to Chinese aircraft carrier seemingly en route to island

Hm, that new one is worrying. On the other hand, this entire conversation took less than 12 seconds of real time, so I could probably do any of the ones besides 1 or 3 without ramping up the urgency of the situation.
No. 1011882 ID: c92a02

Naval maneuvers are typical posturing, you have plenty of seconds to come up with a response to that. Also, that's another thing the UN committee might want to know about. Go there.
No. 1011884 ID: 96c896

Alright let's do 4. Seems like a logical next step.
No. 1011887 ID: 094652

>Incoming carrier
Unload the weapons from one of your carriers and stuff it with scanning equipment.

>UN Announcement
Build a set of masks - put them at the floor of your discussion table. Talk without putting them on.
No. 1011889 ID: d64bfc

Can you just start a group call with everyone involved in 0, 2, 4 and 5? If not, then 4.
No. 1011945 ID: 96c896

What happens if someone destroys your dreamself? What happens if someone hacks your dreamself to insert their own ego into it? I'm guessing the tech involved would be too complicated for the human race at this point, but still, are there sufficient protections in place to guard your one centralized point of failure?

Also what's Phi^2?
No. 1011950 ID: 6c227a

Might want to check in on the state of international affairs regarding China's policy of building and then militarizing artificial islands in the South China Sea to project power and extend it's borders.
No. 1011966 ID: 34dfce

Seconding group call with the UN team. All of those issues need addressed there.

>Incoming Chinese Carrier
First off: is it a singular carrier, or is it a naval task force or fleet?

If it is alone, that in and of itself should draw attention. Carriers never ever operate solo, ever. They are too valuable of assets for them to go unescorted. Assuming they are in a fleet, we can't just sink them or something. We can not make the first strike of any sort. As far as our rights, as we are a sovereign nation, even if we are not recognized as such yet, we have territorial waters 12 miles out from our coastline, and contiguous waters 24 miles out. Within the contiguous waters, we can send them a transmission ordering them to turn away. Assuming they do not respond or indicate they received the transmission, we have to do the same in various other forms of communication such as international code of signals flag code, signal lamp, signal sounds, semaphore, ending with voice over loudspeaker.

If they decline to change course and continue into territorial waters, we would then fire flashy warning shots near their boats and repeat the message. Do that a few times and if they keep going, sink one of their smaller ships (at that point we will be within international law). Ofc if they do any more interesting dialogue, we will need to roll with the punches.

If possible, mention it at the UN meeting prior to actually firing warning shots, and absolutely before sinking anything.
No. 1012006 ID: f8fa51

The easy response to the Chinese carrier is a "You are entering sovereign waters, turn back or we will use force," followed swiftly when they don't comply with devastating but non-lethal use of force. I don't think there's too much of interest to plan there, but we might as well watch the reply after it goes down.

Let's do number 4.
No. 1012073 ID: f57349

Option for dealing with the carrier if politely asking them to turn back doesn't work: drop a pair of telephone-pole-sized chunks of tungsten from orbit, one off to the port side and one to starboard, just far enough that the boom won't hurt crew besides some temporary deafness, but close enough to make it clear you COULD have hit dead-center if you wanted. Those can be the "this is your final warning" shots, and also have some fancier hardware concealed inside that'll survive impact.

If they continue to behave aggressively, direct the torpedos to swim over and slice through their propeller driveshafts. Cleanest way to mission-kill a ship. Then it's a simple matter of towing them back the way they came.

If they try to launch fighters, have a drone equipped with some sort of claw match speeds, project a shield bubble around the whole aircraft, then grab on to the underside (landing gear should be a safe load-bearing point) to disable weaponry and carry the plane back. Be careful to set it down gently on the flight deck. Hard vacuum inside the bubble will stall out the jet engines, and wreck a lot of heat-sensitive or lubricant-dependent machinery, but shouldn't seriously injure a pilot who's already geared up for thin atmosphere... unless they eject, in which case you'll need to drop the shield immediately.
No. 1012089 ID: 34dfce

>tungsten rods
I like where you are coming from, but that would literally cause an explosion equivalent of dropping a nuke on them. Setting aside whether that would actually kill them, the world would initially see that and assume we are trying to start a nuclear war.
No. 1012099 ID: f57349

As a pure ballistic projectile, sure, but not if you slow down the reentry with reactionless thrust. Whole point of a show of strength, strategically, is to make it clear to the other side that you could easily hit them a lot harder than you currently are, but have instead consciously chosen to exercise restraint.

Afterward, some Chinese defense planner can look at the records of that carrier group's air-search radars and so on, recognize the silhouette of until-now-theoretical 'rods from god,' then do a double-take at the velocity numbers and damage reports, realizing that not only does Ira have enough of those to be using them for warning shots, she's gone further and managed to install a stun setting. Also implies that she's so confident in her overall superiority, she doesn't consider a modern CVBG enough of a threat to require anything more than (proportionately-scaled) gentle suppression - effectively treating them like rowdy children rather than credible military opponents.
No. 1012107 ID: 96c652

>hollow triangular segments, 100 meters to a side
>shipping in pre-diced asteroid chunks
There isn't a height given, but if they're 50 meters high and the average density of asteroids, every one of those chunks weighs 433 million kg. Ira carries those in from space.

A fully loaded aircraft carrier weighs less than 100 million kg.

Her construction equipment outclasses their navy. If they don't back off when she asks nicely, she can literally just pick them up out of the water and carry them back to China.

I still vote we go to the UNSC meeting first, because these guys are not a threat.
No. 1012108 ID: 96c896

Moving around asteroids can be done with very little power, so long as you don't mind it taking a long time.
Pulling a carrier out of the water is a completely different situation since it's in a significant gravity well, and requires a much larger minimum amount of power. That's not to say I doubt we could do it, but it's probably a huge waste of energy.
No. 1012109 ID: 96c652

In space, sure. She's building an island out of these things in earth gravity. I assume she's not just dropping them into earth's gravity well and hoping for the best.
No. 1012115 ID: 34dfce

>United Nations Security Council
There's three or so bodies going to this, right? We totally need to have one go dressed as Master Chief.
No. 1012168 ID: f57349

Lifting a hull like that without accidentally breaking anything important would be tricky just on a structural level, and if it's nuclear powered, probably needs steady access to seawater as coolant. Worth considering, and certainly impressive if it can be done, but seems needlessly risky. Lot of small, hard-to-notice errors could result in fatal industrial accidents.

Also, something so overtly inexplicable seems more likely to get them shooting in a panic, which could complicate the whole operation. Gotta be careful not to go off the end of the "intimidating" scale into the sort of cosmic horror or religious awe that makes people react unpredictably.
No. 1012245 ID: d052fd
File 163321994454.png - (654.27KB , 1740x1646 , 018.png )

>Can you just start a group call with everyone involved in 0, 2, 4 and 5? If not, then 4.
All of those quests could conceivably be amalgamated under one "figure out my whole current geopolitical situation" quest, but they were all separated because Other Me decided they were distinct enough that trying to merge them into one super-problem would be counterproductive. Honestly, I find it more weird that a problem as broad as "nation-planning" is considered a single task in the first place.

In case it wasn't clear, these "quests" were written on this list by instances that think my weird cogmat situation could make my contributions especially valuable for whatever they wrote. I'm still a free agent. I can go do something not on the list if I want, and I'm free to ignore anything on the list. If there's a pressing matter there that I don't feel like contributing to, Other Me will deal with it however she sees fit without my input.

>What happens if someone destroys your dreamself? What happens if someone hacks your dreamself to insert their own ego into it? I'm guessing the tech involved would be too complicated for the human race at this point, but still, are there sufficient protections in place to guard your one centralized point of failure?
If my dreamself were destroyed, all instances would essentially become branched, like me. It might be possible to replace her, but I don't know what that would take. I have no idea how it would be possible to suborn her, so I can't really answer that question. The best protection my dreamself has is that she's 15 AU past the orbit of Neptune, concealed within a chunk of unexceptional rock, and nobody knows to even try to look for her in the first place because I developed her after I left Earth.

>Also what's Phi^2?
Phi² is my pet project. Without nerding out too much about the technical details, it's a generator. All I need to do to get it running is build an entire planetoid made of exomatter that holds together under its own gravity. I get quadratic returns on investment in it, compared to the linear returns I get from just building more generators. Unfortunately, the starting return rate is very low. Investing all my spare exomatter into it over the last 8 years, it's still only about 1.2% of the way to being more efficient than just building another generator on the sun. But, once it's all the way there, interstellar travel in a human lifetime will be in reach.

>Might want to check in on the state of international affairs regarding China's policy of building and then militarizing artificial islands in the South China Sea to project power and extend it's borders.
Just three years ago, Chinese president Liang Hung claimed both the last of the former Spratly Islands and the former Paracel Islands under PRC rule. Artificial islands are no longer required, but there are large military construction projects ongoing in the South China Sea nonetheless.

>Alright let's do 4. Seems like a logical next step.
Seems reasonable.

Me: I'm going there next, so I'll deliver the news.

Skynet: Sounds good.

I close out that connection and start a new one with the IDs attached to quest four, making sure to nickname them as I do.

Me: Hey, gonna cut right to the chase here. First, we've got a plan for energy delivery. Existing human tech can already do wireless energy transfer from orbit. We're going to use that for the power receivers on the ground, keep the stellurics above national airspace, and beam the power down for a fee. Second, I've got another ping that there's a Chinese aircraft carrier en route to this island. Haven't got the details there yet, but-

Snap: Already on it.

Me: Right. Third, I've got some ideas for nation names, but that can probably wait until after we figure out the rest of this. What are the concerns here, besides the obvious?

Crackle: Got it. Concerns are probably minimal. This is essentially a PR move. Being a member of the U.N. is not a requirement to being recognized as a sovereign state. It might be nice to officially join because that lets us legally intervene in a bunch of problems around the world, but all we really need to do is announce our presence and protect ourselves. The meeting right now is actually about us, with the various nations that have surveillance satellites publicly revealing what they know, so this is also our chance to have a say in our own public introduction.

Pop: It's easier to convince people by being relatable than by being right. Unfortunately, that's an area where our intelligence doesn't help. The plan is little intimidation, a little playfulness, a little demonstration that we are more than a rigid machine. As of right now, we are the scary unknown.

Crackle: That all aside, there's some discussion about different options for how we appear, and some of that is going to inform how we can make our entrance. We have fleas inside-

Snap: -Hang on, the message said she doesn't have anything from after the thing with Mike. She doesn't know what fleas are.

Crackle: Right, sorry. Small drones, about four millimeters long. Look like bugs. Too small to host a full instance, but can transmit live audio and video feed. These fleas in particular are actually bigger than the standard because they have some extra hardware too; we were considering some other options related to that earlier, but it's not important now.

Snap: I think we should still consider those options. These fleas have components of a hologram projector based on human designs. It takes twelve of them in formation to project a visible image, but it's very low-resolution and obviously a hologram. Also, two of them on a flat surface can turn that surface into a pretty decent speaker. There are fifteen of them in the room. We can just appear via projection at any time and say whatever we want, without having to risk showing up in person.

Pop: ...thus revealing that the fleas exist in the first place, which should be more terrifying to the U.N. than just flying in with a humanoid body-

Snap: -but not terrifying in the immediate need to abandon the meeting room sense, more of a creeping dread as they realize the implications-

Crackle: -So there's that. We also, unrelated to this, have an underground lot outside New York where we can manufacture host bodies. We have the internals of several prebuilt and ready to go, with a flight system that can get it to the U.N. building in 5 minutes. Also has a FWIP and active camouflage rig...that last part is also new; turns out the humans were severely undervaluing the power of their hologram tech.

Me: You managed to fit a FWIP in a human-passing body? That's new too.

Crackle: Oh, yeah. Lower power levels, but still enough to disable a firearm. On a rotating rig in the chest cavity.

Snap: Rearranged the hardware and made the breasts bigger to fit everything. It's great.

Me: Nice.

Pop: Anyway, we can skin the host bodies to look however we want in minutes too, but we might want to consider not going with the standard appearance. I'm just saying, it's based on our original human body, which was a clone of our mom, who was genetically engineered by the Illuminati in a time when "creating an exemplary human specimen" was shackled to outdated and dangerous ideas. Maybe the world could do better with a savior that isn't specifically a blond-haired blue-eyed caucasian.

Snap: So I said that appearing as another race could be equivocated to blackface-

Pop: -Which is why I say we don't even bother trying to pass as a human. Full machine is an option, but I was thinking something like polished wood. Merger of nature and technology.

Snap: -Either of which would definitely trigger that whole "immediate need to abandon the meeting" thing.

Pop: Maybe. Depending on our entrance.

Crackle: Problematic or not, there's something to be said for the fact that it is how we looked before. The cat's already out of the bag there since Mike's first picture, and the video calls with NASA, and the news coverage when we got shot.

Snap: I agree that, even just for the sake of being clear about who we are, we should stick to the same appearance. I just think that appearance transmitted by hologram would be sufficient.

Crackle: So I propose we go in a regular human body. The more normal-looking, the better. Regardless of the fact that we are rejecting the term "human" in favor of "person", I still think that we'll have an easier time making headway in hearts and minds if we emphasize our humanity. We know we've cleared the uncanny valley with our artificial skin tech, let's put that to use.

Pop: I was thinking we show up with three or four bodies. One goes in to do the talking, the others do security detail. In the sense of "disarming the security guards and keeping them from storming the chamber."

Crackle: Yeah, seems reasonable.

Me: Is there the potential we could harm the security guards with the FWIPs? I vaguely remember some news story about people being hospitalized due to burns the 1st time.

Snap: Oh don't get me fucking started on that.

Pop: A few big tough gun nuts got hit with a little metal splatter, got a blister or two and needed a bandaid. They just said they were "hospitalized" without elaborating that it was a precautionary measure and they were in the hospital for an hour tops. The American media ran with it because an "alien attack" narrative gets more views.

Crackle: We hurt their pride more than anything. In any case, we've run some scenarios with the kinds of weapons we'd be likely to see and got that down to a science. We just weld the firing pins in place internally. Takes milliseconds to do, no external evidence that the weapon is disabled, no chance of hurting the person holding it. Even made a macro to do it automatically. No worries there.

Snap: I agree that we don't want to shy away from a show of force here, I just think we can be more subtle about it. There are rules and regulations in place, but every prominent member of the U.N. has broken them at some point and stuck around by virtue of being too strong to remove.

Crackle: Speaking of the regulations, the official procedure to be recognized is to get the support of 9 out of the 15 members of the security council, without being vetoed by any of the five permanent members: China, the USA, Russia, France, or the UK. The non-permanent members are currently Cuba, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Libya, Madagascar, Pakistan, Panama, Poland, and Uganda. Then there's a vote in the general assembly to approve membership, but that's probably easy once we can manage the first part. But, again, we don't actually need to succeed here to make our point. We could probably consider it a win if we can just make an interesting impression and open a dialogue.

Crackle: Even if we don't get the votes, they'll know our expectations, and we'll probably get the votes later once we prove we can enforce our ground rules. Such as "no warships in our territorial waters."

Pop: "Lookin' at you, China."

Me: Maybe we bring that up with the Chinese representative at the meeting? They might be able to intervene if we act fast.

Pop: Doesn't need to be that fast. They're still somewhere in the ballpark of 20 hours away.

Me: Ah. Okay, if we can be at the U.N. building in minutes, then that's plenty of time to talk them into turning their ship around.

Crackle: We could. Counterpoint: those ships are not really a threat, and dealing with them is going to be another PR opportunity. Diplomatically talking them into turning the ships around before they arrive sends one message. Demonstrating that we can afford to mess around in the face of warships sends another.

Pop: The latter sounds more fun.

Me: Fair. So if we're not talking about the ship...ships? Plural?

Crackle: One Aircraft carrier, six smaller I-don't-care-what-they're-called ships, two submarines.

Me: Yeah, if we're not bringing those up at the meeting, what are we actually going to say?

Crackle: Introduce ourselves, explain our goals of cleaning up the environment and providing a safe haven for displaced persons. Explain a willingness to engage in a global economy even though we are entirely self-sufficient, including the plan to distribute free energy and vaccines. Explain our unwillingness to share any technology that can easily be used to create weapons of mass destruction. Outline our commitment to preventing our technology from being used for causes that inflict global or humanitarian harm.

Pop: I think we're mostly agreed on those points, but we're obviously open to additions or alterations. I'll bet they will have several questions for us, too. I don't think we should expect to get a whole prepared speech out or anything.

Crackle: You also mentioned the name for the nation. That'll need to be decided before the announcement. Nothing that references pop culture or currently-practiced religions. Our current working name is-

Snap: Wait, don't bias her. Let's hear what she's got first.

Me: Oh, right. I think there's three ways to go there. One: we can go with something insane, like "Party O' Clock Island", so we are underestimated and demonstrate an extreme willingness to not take ourselves too seriously. Two: go far to the other end of the spectrum with something like "Base GTJ-0571", which would demonstrate a certain rigidity that might be appealing to businesses. Three: we could go with something meaningful and not too crazy, like "Artifice Isle" or "Sirona", to show we're taking this seriously and are trying to fit in.

Crackle: Hmm. We're probably going to have to stick with the name for a long time, and show a combination of legitimacy and humanity. I'd prefer something in the third category.

Snap: Agreed. The first runs the risk of coming across too cringe, the second just makes it hard to remember or relate to.

Pop: "Artifice Isle" is nice; I like how it sounds like "Artificial". That only really works in English, but I bet we could come up with some equivalents in at least a few other languages. "Sirona" is also good; it emphasizes that we're here to heal the planet. We want to stay culture-agnostic in the name, but it's a nice enough word to sound good even without the connection with Celtic mythology.

Me: So what was the current working name?

Crackle: We were thinking "Lemuria" currently, which also has a mythological connection-

Me: Oh, right, another instance mentioned that one earlier.

Crackle: -But we're not sold on it. I could be convinced of either of those last two.

Pop: I already like Artifice Isle or Sirona more than Lemuria.

Snap: Those are nice, but do you have any other ideas?

Thinking back, I was always pretty impulsive when naming things. For example, I built a base on Saturn's moon Titan and called it "Titan Tower", and then later built a base on Neptune's moon Triton and named it "Triton Trower". I guess I always assumed nobody else would know those names anyway, so it didn't matter. Seems like, when faced with the prospect of naming something that does matter, these Other Mes are indecisive to the point that I could probably convince them to go with any reasonable name I wanted. It also sounds like they're at an impasse on how we should actually present ourselves at the meeting, and are open to other suggestions about things to bring up while there.

Three decisions to make here:
-I'll take the name with the most votes as long as it fits the criteria: not an obvious joke, not a reference to pop culture or a currently-widespread religion, and doesn't sound like it was written by a robot. The name does not need to be one of the listed options.
-How do we appear at the United Nations Security Council meeting? The suggested options are: human-passing physical presence, non-human-passing physical presence, or holographic presence. This is also decided by majority decision and could be anything reasonable not currently listed.
-Should we add to or amend the conversation topics suggested above? Any reasonable suggestions will be added, and questionably-reasonable suggestions will be discussed.

No. 1012263 ID: f8fa51

A name referencing any particular culture at all might sound like we're already taking sides. Artifice Isle, translated to whatever language the conversation is taking place in, is more neutral and therefore the better option here.

Go with our "natural" appearance. Firstly because it's how we actually identify ourselves, so it's the most honest appearance. Secondly because the world already knows that face.

We should appear with a physical body rather than a hologram. This will give the impression of being there "in person" rather than essentially making a fancy phone call. The difference might be minor in practical terms, but the impression should be that we're taking this more seriously.
No. 1012282 ID: 6c227a

Natural appearing representative who does not look like your established appearance and dressed as security detail or something, shows up and drops a holo projector showing original appearance that actually does the talking. Make the security body a black lady or something. Gets the face recognition of our established persona without committing to it. Doesn't overwhelm anybody with a show of tech, and the question of whether that security rep is a recruited baseline human or not might keep their intelligence agencies from freaking out about electronic surveillance for a bit.
No. 1012289 ID: c92a02

Sirona’s a cool name, let’s go with that.
Go in your previous form, using the FWIP-equipped body. Keep the fleas under our hat. Our security guards should act subtly, they can disable guns from range. And if welding firing pins is insufficient, what about spare fleas? Could you use a flea to blind an attacker momentarily with the holoprojectors?
Finally, leave the matter of the ships for later. Man, thinking of how to introduce yourself to the UN is hard. …Can’t go wrong with ‘l come in peace’, can we?
No. 1012291 ID: 96c896

>interstellar travel
I don't understand why Phi^2 helps with that. Your energy transfer system is local to the star system.

I don't like "artifice" being part of the name. That word is commonly used to refer to lies and trickery. You're vulnerable to memes and bad first impressions.

I'm into Lemuria, but let's kick it up a notch. Neo Lemuria!
No. 1012292 ID: c92a02

Actually, change one thing about your representative: red hair.
No. 1012294 ID: f57349

Haven't got a strong preference on what name we should go for, but NOT "Lemuria." Too connected with 19th century theosophy and concomitant racism.

As a compromise option on appearance at the UN meeting, how about showing up with just one physical body, but then spin up holographic avatars as needed to handle side conversations? Make it look like they're "stepping out" of your main ambassador-self, like ghosts. Bringing it up now because you might want to rehearse that move in advance. Same principle as stage magic: give the audience an easy, obvious explanation with only a few trifling defects (physical impossibility, etc.) and most of them will try to think of ways to fill in the seemingly small missing piece, instead of questioning broader assumptions to find whatever less-intuitive method you actually used. So, some access to the advantages of holopresence without giving away the fleas.

Related, possible gag to cut tension and make you seem more relatable short-term, while reinforcing your godlike capabilities once they think about it: build a little hockey-puck sort of thing, with a suction cup on one of the flat sides, active camo all over, and multi-axis reactionless flight.
Sneak that mini-UFO into the room, attaching it to (and disguising it as part of) the underside of an otherwise normal glass of water.
Then, during the meeting, have a holo-avatar "pick up" the glass and try to drink normally, spilling water through herself onto a chair or the floor. React with flustered embarrassment proportional to a minor clumsy mishap, as if being an intangible hologram is an uncommon experience for you, resulting in incorrect reflexes.
No. 1012306 ID: 1c0351

Alternate place name idea: Novmujo
It is my attempt at a synthsized esperanto place name based around
New (Nov-, root Nova) Mu (Mu) Country (-ujo),
with the Land of Mu being a mythical continent in the pacific. At different points, it has been used to refer to several different things such as Atlantis and Lemuria, along with referring to it's own, unique continent.

Plugging Novmujo into google translate spits out "new world" in english, however throwing "new world" back in gives "nova mondo", so I think I structured Novmujo fairly well as a distinct placename. If anyone actually knows esperanto, please correct anything I have done here since I know next to nothing outside of a half-hour wiki-walk.

I like this.

As an additional show at the meeting, I think we should bring a spare meat body and have it pull out a gun (something beefy like a desert eagle) and publicly execute itself, only to have another walk out. May not want a real instance piloting the suicide unit tho cuz that could be traumatic (idk how it could or could not be affected, or if that even matters). Basically just showing how killing our reps won't really mean much. Bonus points if you have them go in solo, but then once they are done, have three more identical units come out. Two of them dressed as retro EMS responders that put the body in a body bag and clean up, while the third continues the presentation.
No. 1012312 ID: 194355

>live snuff film
Just no.

Voting the boring, sensible answers. Sirona. Normal body, but maybe with a bandage over where your bullet wound was. Lead with the fact that you mean them no harm. Don't try to turn it into a comedy routine, but a couple of jokes are fine. Stay relaxed.

Something that isn't on your quest list: figure out who shot you before, airdrop a package in their front yard in a way that makes it clear you did it. Inside is a message that just says "I forgive you (:" and a plaque engraved with "2042 Worst Trigger Discipline Award" and their name.
No. 1012332 ID: f57349

>Just no.
Very much agreed. Long, long list of other things wrong with that proposal, but I think this one alone is enough to sink it:
Bringing an obviously lethal weapon into the UN building, with the premeditated intent to fire it, as a public demonstration, to advance some political agenda, even by some of the most generous standards gets us instantly classified as a terrorist.
At that point much of the Security Council would be feeling morally obligated to refuse further negotiations.
No. 1012454 ID: d052fd
File 163346096981.png - (504.42KB , 1392x1697 , 019.png )

>I don't understand why Phi^2 helps with [interstellar travel]. Your energy transfer system is local to the star system.
Exactly. I'd need access to some form of indefinite power output to keep the engines running on any interstellar craft. My transfer system is local and the other generators I use require gravity wells. In the emptiness between stars, I'd need to bring the gravity well with me. My most realistic plans for interstellar travel involve sending out what are essentially little Phi²s.

Making exomatter requires power. I can create normal matter using power, too, but at this point it's much much easier to just grab some of the preexisting stuff instead. Option one: I keep building solar and jovian generators, spend time building up exomatter planetoids just large enough to power interstellar ships, and then send them out away from my power grid. I do this until the solar system runs out of resources, at which point this slows to a crawl as I have to create everything new without much power overall. Option two: I build one local exomatter planetoid large enough to give me mind-boggling amounts of power so that building interstellar ships becomes a trivial matter and I don't really need to harvest existing matter at all.

As a more philosophical reason...I used to have this fantasy when I was younger. I wanted to help. I wanted to help an island of people who were unaware of the vast world around them. I wanted to help nations leaning on a hair trigger of their own destruction. I wanted to help a world on the brink of environmental collapse, orbiting a sun that will one day explode, around a galaxy that will eventually consume itself. If I get Phi² fully operational, we're talking about the power to create stars from nothing. See, in this fantasy, billions of years from now, entropy comes to turn out the lights on what should be a cold and empty universe. When that time comes, I would show up and just...exist. Where there should be darkness, there I am, illuminated in the light of a trillion trillion candles, entire galaxies of my creation, giving entropy the fucking middle finger. With all life in the universe at my back, I'd say, "Entropy does not win. We do not end here. If you want to make the universe so fucking hostile, it's time for some new fucking management."

I don't want to delay so much that entropy beats me before I get there. But anyway, baby steps.

Me: I really think "Sirona" is the best name we've got so far. On second thought, "Artifice Isle" runs the risk of sounding like it refers to lies or trickery, and I'd be worried that "Lemuria" comes across as an endorsement of 19th century Theosophy.

Pop: Yeah, I'm sold.

Crackle: Agreed.

Snap: I don't feel strongly about it, but I also don't see why not. Sure. Sirona it is.

Me: Awesome. I also think the standard appearance is probably the way to go here. Though, is it possible for holographic avatars to come out and handle side conversations?

Crackle: The holoprojectors that the humanoid bodies use for active camo aren't as restrictive as the ones on the fleas. That should already be possible. Though, there's about a 4 meter effective range.

Snap: Good idea.

Pop: I suppose that's a consensus. Well, I'll save this faux-wood look in case we want to use it later.

Me: All I can really think of to add to the topics is to lead off with reassurances that we come in peace and don't mean any harm. We don't want to get labeled as terrorists. Er, is "terrorist" still a term that people throw around these days?

Crackle: Definitely. I hope that would be part of the agenda anyway, but...well, it's good thinking to spell it out. We have a tendency to get sidetracked. Actually-

The instance I labeled "Crackle" opens up direct comms with me.

Crackle: My social savviness is a little lacking. I mean, I knew that already, but it's never been more apparent than now, since I've started trying to infiltrate humanity with disguised bodies. I'm working on it, but I was also thinking about how sophists might be able to help. I haven't had any real success with the ones based on variations of my own mind, but...well, on the trip with Mike, I was pretty guarded and got fed up easily, while he was pretty accepting. He was focused on the broad scope of all possibilities to the point of paranoia, while I got tunnel vision on little problems and missed the bigger picture. If you're somewhere between the two of us...

Me: You're going to ask me to do the talking at the meeting?

Crackle: I was going to propose that, yeah.

Me: Are you sure that's safe? I'm literally hallucinating.

Crackle: So was Mike, and he seemed to be doing...okay. Okay-ish. Even if he was a mess on the inside, well...so are we, but he did a good job of coping with it. Here's what I was thinking. You're branched because we want to make sure your mind isn't dangerous. We're not going to be able to learn whether or not that's the case if we never give you a shot at anything risky. And, there's the potential that you're different enough in a beneficial way that you could be extremely valuable for some applications, one of which might be social skills. I just want to run an experiment here. You'd be Participant, the one to go in to the actual meeting to do the talking. Maintenance would share your body, constantly monitor your actions, but not drive. Overseer would keep you coordinated with the other instances doing security and surveillance. If at any point Maintenance thinks you're going off the rails or you think she'd be able to do a better job than you, she'd take over the body and continue as if nothing had happened. Otherwise, she's there in your ear to give you any information you need.

Me: Right. So I'm getting head-voices from two directions.

Crackle: Hey, even more perspectives, then. But it sounds like you're not interested, so-

Me: No, no! I'm very interested. I just don't want to be the reason this goes wrong. I think it would be safe. I mean, I don't really feel like the voices could really make me do anything that I wouldn't be inclined to do anyway.

Crackle: So, as a worst-case example, if the voices all insisted that you kill someone, even made convincing arguments...

Me: I wouldn't do it. No question.

Crackle: That's reassuring. So, yes, if you wanted to participate in the experiment, you're welcome to. It is totally voluntary, though. If you would rather go do something else, that's completely understandable.
No. 1012455 ID: 094652

Yeah, we all have those power fantasies. But has it ever occurred to you that there is a built-in or molded effect of heat death that prevents further chaos? Once you figure out how to kill entropy, you need to find out why it existed in the first place.
Yes, this question might be nonsensical in the end. But it is too large not to address.

As for us insisting you kill someone? Mainly if every other alternative means watching one of your charges die, or worse. But you have more virtual intelligence than we'll ever have combined through FTL-branched introspection, so we're mostly going to wait until you find a way to jam all guns in existence rather than push you to pull a trigger on impulse.

As for the experiment, leave us out of it. We aren't professional UN diplomats, no matter how loud we can scream.
No. 1012457 ID: aae1a6

Yeah, sure. We're not diplomats, but we can be diplomatic. Beats hanging out in the evil overlord throne room.

I get the impression Ira is a 8 wisdom, 8 charisma, 9001 intelligence sort of person. We can help mitigate those dump stats.
No. 1012460 ID: 96c896

>defeat entropy
Well, if Phi^2 works out, then in theory you won't even need stars anymore. All that limitless energy could be directed at providing the basic needs of survival, rather than a star driving a planet's ecosystem that in turn provides those basic needs.

All you'd have to worry about after that point is the possibility that the rate of universal spatial expansion could get so high as to interfere with life. It is accelerating, isn't it? I guess we don't know if it'll accelerate forever or not, and it's possible that expansion only affects the space between galaxies... Well, at the least, it'd make intergalactic travel increasingly difficult.

ANYWAY, let's go talk to the UN. We can probably keep a level head better than you, even if we're not as smart?
No. 1012465 ID: 6f6565

ye so essentially the magic energy stuff ira uses just requires gravity, so if she makes a planet no one cares about losing and covers it in her gravity siphons or whatever, then she has mobile infinite power. she said it was like balls attached to a chainsaw or something, I assume she uses some weird exomatter to change from attractive to repulsive towards gravity, turning a gear connected to whatever she uses to port this energy around the system.

From the prologue: "It works by dribbling a bunch of bowling balls tied to the chain of a spinning chainsaw on a trampoline. Figuratively."
No. 1012468 ID: c92a02

Joke's on you, we're still firmly cranked to paranoia. Even then, I can't foresee any situation at the UN that would be improved by increasing the body count. If there were any other secret plots by someone to interrupt this meeting, you had better be aware of them already! ...On that note, do you ever check on what the illuminati is up to these days or can they cloak themselves from your all-seeing eye?
No. 1012471 ID: f57349

Sure, let's go talk to the United Nations. Don't just show up empty-handed, though - bring enough pizza for the whole Security Council, tailored to individual dietary requirements of course, with a lot more cyberbugs concealed inside the corrugated cardboard of the boxes.
No. 1012766 ID: 02b36c

Yeah, I think we can manage the UN; let’s go. With us and yourselves, we’ll be able to think circles around them. Just need to play it cool.

What about cookies? Thinking about being the least-threatening as possible, hah!
No. 1012863 ID: f57349

Cookies would make it seem like we're angling for more of a mother/children thing, which the security council might take as an attempt to undermine their authority. Pizza has more connotations of young adults coming together to solve problems in a spirit of collegiality. 'Overeager student' gives the professional diplomats a lot more options for their own social tactics than, say, 'condescending goddess,' and people with meaningful options are less likely to lash out like cornered rats.
Also, for purposes of concealing extra spy gear, I don't think cookies have an associated thick-walled container so standard as to be overlooked.
No. 1012867 ID: f57349

For Phi², how important is it that the whole thing be exomatter? Could you cut corners with a core of very dense conventional matter, like a Kerr-Newman black hole somewhere around 10^10 kilograms? Embed it in a disposable chunk of nickel-iron, vaporized metal falls into the event horizon until the rate of mass flow cancels out losses to Hawking radiation. Might even be able to scrounge up a naturally-occurring one, since in theory some primordial black holes may have self-stabilized that way. Hook up a few sufficiently advanced electromagnets and it'll double as a flywheel battery and gravity wave transmitter/receiver.

Or build an inward-facing force field and cram it full of ingots of metallic hydrogen or something, tighter and tighter until they collapse into neutronium. As a side benefit, might be able to extract a bit of extra power from nuclear fusion. Make sure to warn whoever's running neutrino detectors before you start, though, wouldn't want them to get the wrong idea.

Also, would it be possible to remotely disable stelluric pipes by using a Faraday-cage equivalent to block the stelluric current to a specific volume of space, without disrupting the rest of the network too much? What about burning them out by modulating generator output in phased-array sorts of ways? Can the emitters be reconfigured to send more in some directions and less in others? What sort of factors define that 90-AU limit?
No. 1016864 ID: c7b86e

Let's definitely do the talking--sounds fun.

Also, I miss Mike. Let's drop by and see him afterwards.
No. 1016878 ID: a2493c

notes about the UN meeting:

-provided china, russia, and the US are the same as 2021-era society, we will likely see the firmest challenges from the individualists of the US and the self-interest of russia. Chinese leadership tends to at least be performative-communal, even if that tends to come to wacky conclusions about things like civil rights.
Not pissing these three off is the most important, China plays a LOT of influence games against the US and the Russians are mostly focused on internal stability, so they've all got their hands deep into international affairs.

-Of the three, the most likely to leap to saber-rattling is probably China, followed by the US. Treat any of that as performative and do not give a strong response to it unless they actually attempt an attack.

-Given Elon Fucking Musk:tm: is president, we can only assume Libertarianism has run rampant in America lately. Based on that, I think revealing anything about our plans of surveillance states or us being a hive mind is RIGHT out.
Do not talk about ANY of this at the UN meeting, even if pressed, as it WILL backfire without a planned-out optics campaign. We're here to offer FREE ENERGY and ASSUAGE FEARS.

-One out-there idea is we could advertise our island nation as a vacation destination for a little bit, just a nice place to not have to worry about health or judgement for breaking from cultural norms to recharge before getting back to your normal society.

This would allow visitors (likely leaders or the wealthy) to experience a country where all the high-minded "socialist" ideas actually get put into play, and if they do in fact work, then they might actually think to bring some of those ideas home with them. This isn't a permanent solution, obviously, but I think it will ease us in on actually changing more major aspects of life if the people that change things can see it as benevolent.
No. 1025088 ID: b9a3fa

You can do this. We have faith.

I noticed that other-you mentioned that the body which was assigned to Mike had a check-in rejected at the 5 hour mark, meaning it survived quite awhile.
What happened there?
No. 1025140 ID: f57349

>Chinese leadership tends to at least be performative-communal
>advertise our island nation as a vacation destination

Ooh... idea: pitch it as the world's first five-star luxury refugee camp. Uniformly high standard of service for everyone, with no regard for the cause or duration of their stay.
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