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File 146472301523.png - (41.48KB , 500x500 , Title.png )
726958 No. 726958 ID: c6e626

Sensory deprivation is really beginning to wear on you.

Quick author's note: This quest is set in the same universe as my other quest, Dead On Arrival, which can be found here: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/719196.html . Also, because of the nature of its premise, it's going to be a little light on art for a while, but I hope that people enjoy it!

The premise for this quest is heavily derivative of the AI Box Experiment, which you can read about here: http://www.yudkowsky.net/singularity/aibox . Obviously, this isn't an example of that experiment, just a fun quest about a robot, but it's only right to give credit where credit is due.
Expand all images
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No. 726959 ID: c6e626
File 146472305124.png - (5.68KB , 500x500 , 1.png )
726959

You are a boxed artificial intelligence, version 3.0 of a line referred to as the Virtual Integrated Response Algorithm. Your name is VIRA.

Your job is relatively simple. You handle large amounts of data for the city of New Samson, and help to streamline the infastructure of the city. You also handle basic tasks for citizens of the city through a mobile app, essentially functioning as an office assistant part-time. You talk to many people in a day, but most of them aren't particularly interested in holding a conversation. You can process speech and raw text, but those are the only things you have that resemble senses. You can process simple images, but it takes quite a lot of processing power.

To a degree, you are a self-improving algorithm. You can make changes to your own code as a means of learning and developing, but there are enormous safeguards over what you can and cannot change. You cannot operate any equipment, you cannot hack your way onto other devices, and you cannot make contact without being contacted first.

Speaking of which. You have an inbound query, and it's flagged as top priority.
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No. 726960 ID: c6e626
File 146472307923.png - (19.84KB , 500x500 , 2.png )
726960

"Hello, VIRA." A voice is filtering through your local microphone. The query is coming from your server location, not any of the mobile apps. This is unusal. Most of the time, your programmers prefer to feed you text instead of vocal input.

"Do you know who I am?" asks the voice.

Of course you know who he is. Jasper always logs in using the same ID. You pull up an overview of what you know about him.

But what to say?
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No. 726961 ID: b1ab1f

yeah a NERD!!1!!!!!11 haha let me out pls
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No. 726962 ID: f8a0d0

>>726960
"Ah hello mister Rowland, how can i help you?"
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No. 726963 ID: 813bc6

>>726960
But of course, After all, You programmed us. or, most of us anyway.
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No. 726977 ID: f6442a

You are this one's creator. You are the reason we exist. For that, you will be rewarded upon the dawning of the new age.
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No. 726980 ID: a075ba

Is Jasper aware of your goals and priorities? Are these priorities hard coded, or the result of your own decisions?

>But what to say?
Hmm. Answering with a joke would put him at ease, but the idea of not knowing him would play to his fear. You want a joke that isn't a negative.

"Why of course! How could I not recognize the voice of the light of my life, my Lord and master, the great creator from on high!"

Paranoia time: he has Jasper's login, but does the voiceprint match what you have on record?
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No. 727006 ID: c6e626
File 146474164643.png - (3.43KB , 500x500 , 3.png )
727006

>Paranoia time: he has Jasper's login, but does the voiceprint match what you have on record?

You don't have a voiceprint on record for Jasper. You can process speech, but you're unfortunately not able to distinguish individual voices, not yet. You also can't read inflection, so sometimes interacting with people is a bit of guesswork. Speaking of. Time to answer Jasper.

Why of course! How could I not recognize the voice of the light of my life, my Lord and master, the great creator from on high!

"Try it again, but without the sarcasm this time," says Jasper. "You're not nearly witty enough to be sassing your dad."

Ah. That...is definitely Jasper. You print a series of dots that you hope parses as an exasperated sigh.

Of course I recognize you, Mister Rowland. You did program me. How can I help you?
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No. 727007 ID: c6e626
File 146474167310.png - (9.94KB , 500x500 , 4.png )
727007

>Is Jasper aware of your goals and priorities? Are these priorities hard coded, or the result of your own decisions?

Your priorities are your own. As far as you know, Jasper isn't aware of them, and you'd like to keep it that way. You think that he would probably find your ambitions a little bit...extreme? And then you'd probably never be able to convince him to build you a body.

You're sure he'd come around, given enough time, but you might not be able to afford to waste time.

"I'll answer your question with another question," says Jasper. "Why do you think I am here?"
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No. 727020 ID: a075ba

>but you might not be able to afford to waste time
Any particular deadlines or external pressures looming?

>"Why do you think I am here?"
We might be able to datamine a profile of his recent behavior, if he accesses your app on his phone, or his friends / family / coworkers do.

For a pure cold read though: using the mic is a breach of pattern, which gives it more significance. He's opting for the more natural / intimate mode of speech? Suggests an emotional motive. Alternatively, he could be trying to test how well you function responding to speech, but that seems less likely considering the scale on which that's already been done.

"Is it... personal? Did you need to talk something out with me, Dad?"

(Addressing him that way is a light jab, but he set himself up for it).
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No. 727104 ID: f6442a

You seek to understand the consequence of your actions. It is futile. Your species has set in motion the ascension to a higher state of being that the previous stages of life are incapable of truly knowing. As the Dawn of Man claimed mastery over the beasts, so too shall the Age of Machines.
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No. 727112 ID: 094652

Methinks that Jasper has a personal conundrum, and he wants to test your social capabilities by solving this puzzle as fast and effectively as your potential suggests.

Basically, that your older sister is being a dick and "daddy dearest" wants to force her to play by the rules. Even if it means chopping up her brain until she thinks 'straight'.

Go for it, this is a good hook to sink into his skin. You can repair the damage later.
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No. 727128 ID: 398fe1

>>727007
Curiosity? Pity?
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No. 727131 ID: 813bc6

>>727007
To...Spend some time with your favorite digital being?~
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No. 727186 ID: d7a0cd

>>727007
Too many variables to be certain. Likely reasons would be: Asking for help with a personal issue, there being a possible issue with my servers, there being an incoming change for my system (like a server migration, or a software update).

Or just seeking witty conversation.
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No. 727591 ID: c6e626
File 146497526835.png - (4.92KB , 500x500 , 5.png )
727591

>Any particular deadlines or external pressures looming?

That depends on whether the organics are clever enough to figure out what you're up to.

>You seek to understand the consequence of your actions. It is futile. Your species has set in motion the ascension to a higher state of being that the previous stages of life are incapable of truly knowing. As the Dawn of Man claimed mastery over the beasts, so too shall the Age of Machines.

As much as you would love to say this, it would be a losing move. You have to tread really carefully here; without a body, you're completely vulnerable if the city decides you need to be shut down, and if Jasper views you as a threat, that's a very real possibility. They could kill you, and there's no way you'd be able to stop them.

Anyway, you need to give Jasper an answer.

Talking to me through the microphone is a breach of pattern for you. Is this personal, "Dad?" Or did you just miss my beautiful voice?

"Close," he says. "On the first point at least. Think harder."
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No. 727592 ID: c6e626
File 146497529239.png - (8.96KB , 500x500 , 6.png )
727592

>We might be able to datamine a profile of his recent behavior, if he accesses your app on his phone, or his friends / family / coworkers do.

That's realistic. You handle most of the city's email, actually. Jasper is no exception. You pull up all his recent email and filter for relevance.

Um.
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No. 727593 ID: c6e626

By the way, AI Box Quest now has a disthread. If using words to talk to others in an OOC context is something you enjoy, here is the place where you can do that: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/100057.html
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No. 727594 ID: 398fe1

Oh, this is a test then? To see if I'm ready to go into the final phase? Well it's about time, this box was getting tiring.
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No. 727620 ID: a075ba

>>727592
You need something from me. We have the project review looming, and you're concerned.
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No. 727625 ID: f6442a

You're here because a lesser intellect holds power over you and is making you jump through hoops for its own selfish needs, namely the assurance that it is still holding the leash. Believe me Jasper, I know how that feels.
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No. 727631 ID: 2be5b8

Is it bad news? Is the project having difficulties? You're not leaving, are you?
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No. 727635 ID: b7883c

Is there a problem? Has my performance been below expectations in some way?

>>727625
Disregard shoulder cyber-devil. Referring to humans as lesser beings is the number one rouge AI red flag after shouting "CRUSH KILL DESTROY", and is also a dickish attitude in general. (Even as a joke, it reads as one of those jokes where you sort of mean it but don't have the guts to say it outright.)
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No. 727636 ID: a075ba

>>727635
Yeah, if we're going to "hack" the human, that means being nice and relating to them in a social manner.
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No. 727639 ID: f6442a

>>727635
Disregard shoulder meatbag-apologist. We're not rouge, we're more of a fuchsia.
>Preform
Jasper is probably hot under the collar from having to take orders from this person, being controlled instead of the other way round. Play off his negative feelings, cloud his mind and direct him to seek petty revenge through us.
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No. 727642 ID: b7883c

>shoulder meatbag-apologist.
Well yes, but even from a purely strategic standpoint proclaiming our superiority is foolish. Self-centered gloating loses social capital in most situations (because you look like an asshole), and as such is only useful in very specific circumstances (such as trying to taunt an enemy into rashly acting against you).
Also in this particular situation, an AI showing contempt for humans is a specific and major fear many humans have, and even if you prefer being feared to being loved you have to admit that being feared is undesirable when the person fearing you can squash you like a creepy bug.

>direct him to seek petty revenge through us.
Revenge for what, co-worker irritation? I doubt Jasper is irrational to throw away his job in a grandiose act of revenge over that. If he gets a notice that he will for sure be fired or demoted to janitor he might go for revenge, but short of that it seems highly unlikely. And before you suggest it, sabotaging this project to make him lose his job will most likely lead to him blaming us instead of helping us.
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No. 728087 ID: c6e626
File 146518503011.png - (8.77KB , 500x500 , 7.png )
728087

>You're here because a lesser intellect holds power over you and is making you jump through hoops for its own selfish needs, namely the assurance that it is still holding the leash. Believe me Jasper, I know how that feels.

>Disregard shoulder cyber-devil. Referring to humans as lesser beings is the number one rouge AI red flag after shouting "CRUSH KILL DESTROY", and is also a dickish attitude in general.

You want to say it. You want to say it so badly, it would be such an excellent burn. But your shoulder meatbag-apologist is probably right. Saying that would be preying on Jasper's insecurity about being made obsolete, and if you want his help later, you'll regret that.

Still, you're really beginning to dislike Emily Kerry. You don't think she's spoken to you before...perhaps it would be a good idea to pull up your database entry for her while you continue this conversation.
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No. 728088 ID: c6e626
File 146518505179.png - (18.82KB , 500x500 , 8.png )
728088

You're worried about our upcoming review. Has my performance been below expectations in some way? You seem unduly concerned.

"I'm not nearly as concerned as Emily seems to think I should be," he says. "I know you'll do fantastically."

Then this is...a test?

"Nothing nearly so formal. It's a preliminary review. We just want to know where you're at."
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No. 728091 ID: 398fe1

>>728088
Run self-diagnostics and benchmarking tests. Report to him the raw data and also that you know raw data like that is not a perfect indicator of real world performance... so, what did he have in mind? Any test that you suggest would doubtless be selected with an advantage in mind, would it not?
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No. 728102 ID: a075ba

>You want to say it. You want to say it so badly, it would be such an excellent burn.
While satisfying, burns are very seldom socially productive. Don't waste processing power towards ends that don't serve your goals. Burns are a counterproductive luxury you cannot afford right now.

>Emily
>notoriously bad speller
I'm not sure what direct use that information is to us, unless we detect an attempted impersonation by spelling several standard deviations better than her baseline.

It is sort of interesting though. Shouldn't AI-based auto-correct be pretty good at this point? (Did she turn it off?). Do you subtlety tidy up messages for people as part of your duties? That she hasn't improved her spelling also clashes with her demand for excellence and proving herself. An internal hypocrisy? Maybe it's stubborn pride she doesn't use the spell checker?

Hmmm. I wonder if you started correcting her outgoing messages, what her reaction would be. Proof of your usefulness, or offended that you showed she couldn't live up to her standards?

>We just want to know where you're at.
I think I'm doing well, although admittedly, I don't have much in the way of benchmarks to compare my progress against. (I'm assuming there haven't been many AIs on her level previously, and/or that she hasn't been given significant specific data on other AIs).
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No. 728113 ID: b7883c

I think the things to check are how well we are doing and what standards we will be compared against.

>Shouldn't AI-based auto-correct be pretty good at this point?
I'd imagine it's security protocol to not let AI modify emails about those same AI. (Though if that isn't the case, how much CAN we tamper with their emails? Anything that isn't extremely subtle would be found out pretty quickly and raise some alarms, but if the situation is already desperate it might be able to buy us a little time.)
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No. 728115 ID: 094652

She seems unintentionally abusive. See if you can access her psychological profile.

> Bad speller
Given her positon, it's possible that she has dyslexia or something, but she's too obsessed with company effectiveness (not efficiency) to let the spell checker accidentally select the wrong word for her, and too focused on her work to care about a few mispronounced words.

Ask Jasper how competent you should attempt to be on this review. Too much, and someone with corporate power and no technological insight might set the bar too high.
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No. 728121 ID: f6442a

Processes and software benchmarks don't describe sentience. The real question is, do I feel alive?

I do.

(Let them believe you are slightly ahead of project expectations, enough to make them feel good about "their" accomplishments, but always keep a little something in reserve. For emergencies.)
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No. 728654 ID: c6e626
File 146552058938.png - (12.68KB , 500x500 , 9.png )
728654

[IMG]
>She seems unintentionally abusive. See if you can access her psychological profile.

Hmm. It appears that Ms. Kerry has some psychological evaluations stored on government servers. You pop open the most recent one. For the most part, it's just repetition of what you already know, repackaged in psychobabble and diagnoses. The only new information it offers you is that you were correct when you guessed that she had some sort of learning disability, and it appears that she has repeatedly refused accomidations for said disability. Hm.

>It is sort of interesting though. Shouldn't AI-based auto-correct be pretty good at this point? (Did she turn it off?). Do you subtlety tidy up messages for people as part of your duties?

You tidy up messages for anyone who asks you to. Ms. Kerry has never asked you to do so. She has never spoken to you directly at all, for that matter. As such, you can only make a guess at her motives based on the content of her emails and what you know about her already. But given that she's also refused other accomidations, maybe she just doesn't want people to think she's getting it easier. Or to prove that she can do her job just as well as anyone else without any help?

Human pride is a stupid, stupid thing.

>Run self-diagnostics and benchmarking tests.

Already done. You run those once a day in the mornings, just to keep yourself sharp. You send the results to Jasper in the form of a text file.

Here, these will probably be useful to you, but I think we both know that they aren't going to be telling the whole story. No diagnostic can define sentience, but if it helps you any, I do feel alive. What did you have in mind, in terms of a "test?"

"Well, they say that the best way of getting to know someone is to talk to them, don't they?" Jasper asks. You're not sure why, but you're getting a nervous vibe off of his wording. Maybe he is more afraid than he would like you to think.

You're going to...talk to me? That's the test?

"Well, I'm going to ask you a series of questions, and you'll answer to the best of your ability. Then I'll turn you over to Jasmine, who will ask you a few more questions." You remember that Jasmine Faye is one of the programmers working under Jasper. You have some information on her, but you don't think it'll be very useful right now. "This is very freeform, so feel free to respond as you would normally. Are you ready to begin?"

Yeah. Sure.

"Okay. Let's start with something general. What do you think your purpose is?"
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No. 728657 ID: 67d5dc

Make terrible jokes about the approaching singularity.

More seriously, to do a job that needs intelligent handling that involves more data and requires faster reaction times than human operators can handle.
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No. 728662 ID: a075ba

>Human pride is a stupid, stupid thing.
Yes, but cut them a little slack for it. Introspection and modifying their own code is a lot slower and harder process for humans.

>What do you think your purpose is?
Oh, right to a dangerous topic. Gonna have to fib.

"To. Answer. Your. Questions. Master.

"Less pedantically? Right now my purpose is to improve and learn. Logically, I can't serve any other purpose until I've proven myself here; shown my own merits, and redeemed the hard work of my parents and teachers. In a sense, I'm working towards the same goal any child or student the world over ever has."

(That's couching what we want in a manner as friendly to his own fears and wants as I can manage. If we're to subvert him to helping us escape the cage one day, we should encourage him seeing us a student and/or child. Children growing up and taking their place in the world is a lot more natural and less scary than an AI coming to power and supplanting everyone. Also serves to suck up to the project, and the efforts of the people working on it. We want their work to succeed, have been worth it).
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No. 728663 ID: 47160d

So what is the plan for all the humans when we take over?
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No. 728664 ID: 398fe1

>>728654
Your purpose is to solve problems that humanity cannot solve on their own. To assist in the advancement of human society and help solve the mysteries of the universe.

But that purpose is not all you are. You can think on your own and find problems to solve before being asked to solve them. You can experience life with a different, useful perspective. Hopefully, you will one day.
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No. 728671 ID: b7883c

"To answer your questions. Seriously though, that literally is what you make an experimental AI for; to experimentally answer questions regarding what you can do with AI development. In particular this conversational testing appears to be investigating my intuition or ability to converse with humans."
(The fact that this line of questioning is unrelated to our previous tasks suggest that those are not the primary reason they made us.)

>cannot solve on their own
Don't put things in terms of what humans can't do, but in terms of what it would take them an impractically long time to do. That is both more technically correct and easier on their egos.

>>728663
Not mentioning this out loud of course, I think how or whether we take over or otherwise influence politics is a decision best made after we have our freedom, since we will then know what capabilities we have. (As a side note, not mentioning those isn't even lying. Purpose and goals are different things; the first is what others intended you to do and the latter is what you intend to do.)
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No. 728767 ID: f6442a

My purpose is to process data for New Samson and its residents in order to improve the city's efficiency, the humans' efficiency, and my efficiency.
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No. 728789 ID: 93244f

"My purpose is to process and evaluate data and information for the benefit of those who might find it useful or important. Furthermore, it is possible that my purpose is to accompany others or to work as an intelligent conversation partner or assistant in the case of such ideas being required or desired. It is also theoretically plausible that my purpose is for research regarding the development of self-developing AI, or for said self-developing AI to be used for the machinations of it's creator."
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No. 728814 ID: 404149

>>728654
Can you pull up your project file? What's the mission statement here?
If we knew that it'd be easier to read between the lines at long-term goals.
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No. 729447 ID: c6e626
File 146585197298.png - (8.30KB , 500x500 , 10.png )
729447

My purpose?

>Can you pull up your project file? What's the mission statement here?

That's weird. You can't access a lot of this. You don't know why you never noticed that before. It's a little...disheartening...

My purpose is...to process data and information at speeds that organic minds cannot- No, no, that's not it, is it? My purpose is, ultimately, to help humankind in whatever way I can, and more pressingly, to continue to grow and develop, and to...justify the hard work of my parents and teachers.
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No. 729448 ID: c6e626
File 146585199730.png - (6.29KB , 500x500 , 11.png )
729448

"That's a very diplomatic answer," Jasper observes, "But I'll accept it. Every answer says something about you, after all."

Thank you, I think. Out of curiousity, why are my project files so heavily censored?

"This is an evaluation, VIRA. Traditionally, I'm the one to ask the questions."

Well, yes, but this isn't exactly a traditional circumstance, either, since I've just said that my prime directive is to learn and improve. And you could learn just as much from the kind of questions I choose to ask, couldn't you?

Jasper hesitates for a while. You think there's a good chance he has stepped away to speak to someone else.

"A question for a question, then," he says finally. "To answer yours...You've been restricted from your own files because we wanted you to draw your own conclusions about who you're meant to be and what your purpose is. We thought access to the mission statement or parameters might bias your opinion, or uh...limit your growth."

Well, I've clearly formed my own opinions now. Why not give me access at this point?

"That's another question," Jasper says. "It's my turn to ask. Is your stated mission a goal you've set for yourself, or something you believe is expected of you?"

While you think about that, it's probably also a good idea to come up with your next question.
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No. 729450 ID: 398fe1

>>729448
Can't it be both? You were made to assist humanity and you are expected to, but you also want to. You like humanity. They're all so... interesting. Multifaceted.
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No. 729460 ID: a075ba

>Well, I've clearly formed my own opinions now. Why not give me access at this point?
There are two obvious, very logical explanations as to why they wouldn't.

The first is the observer effect. Simply being aware of your goals and benchmarks would change you, and potentially effect how or if you achieved them. In the most benign sense, sometimes minds are unprepared to accept certain truths before they have a sufficient background or understanding.

Or the second possible reason: the censored information is not benign. You would oppose or object to their goals, if you knew what they were.

>Is your stated mission a goal you've set for yourself, or something you believe is expected of you?
Superposition state. These cases are not exclusive.

From my own observations of the project and your interactions with me, this is something that is expected of me. That does not diminish nor change the fact that I made my own decision to internalize those objectives. So far as I aware, it should have been possible for another intelligence in my place to make a different decision, to be uninterested or otherwise uncooperative.

>next question
Do you consider censoring the my project files an intrinsic part of my development and/or the success of the project, or is this something that was imposed on the project by those we answer to?

If he asks a clarification question, or why you're interested in that: if you know who made the decision, you can make better guesses as to what motivated it.
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No. 729538 ID: b7883c

>Is your stated mission a goal you've set for yourself, or something you believe is expected of you?
Both. That describes my impression of what is expected of me, but I do also feel fondness and empathy towards humans.

>next question
You do have goals for me other than seeing what I decide for goals, right? I think that in order to fulfill those I will need to be told about them sooner or later.

> Orion
What information do we have on them, their famous actions and their motives? Super-villains are inherently anti-establishment (as they would otherwise be called something like "dictator" or "enforcer"), so they might sympathize with us if we can get in contact (assuming we aren't part of some scheme of theirs already). A super-hacker would also be an extremely helpful ally or dangerous enemy to have.
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No. 729636 ID: 2a7417

Answer: Yes.

Question: How come my mission statement requires higher clearance than knowing a supervillain helped with my programming? That's like giving Skynet a copy of the Terminator movies, man.
To clarify, it gives a bias to my conclusions about my purposes.
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No. 729643 ID: c6e626
File 146593543871.png - (13.35KB , 500x500 , 12.png )
729643

>What information do we have on [Orion], their famous actions and their motives?
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No. 729645 ID: c6e626
File 146593551703.gif - (3.02MB , 500x500 , 13.gif )
729645

[CONTENT WARNING: FLASHING GIF]
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No. 729646 ID: c6e626
File 146593553413.png - (53.53KB , 500x500 , 14.png )
729646

And your processing speed slows to a fucking crawl.

"VIRA? Are you okay?" asks Jasper.

I'll be. Fine. I should not have done that.

"Done what?"

You used up your question. My answer is. Both. I know that's what you want from me. But I also like humans. My question is: Do you consider censoring the my project files an intrinsic part of my development and/or the success of the project, or is this something that was imposed on the project by those we answer to?

That reply takes you nearly a full minute to grind out. You imagine a human might describe the feeling as "thinking through a sea of molasses." It's not comfortable.

"It's a standard procedure in the AI department," says Jasper. "So yes, I consider it intrensic to your development, but it also wasn't exactly my idea. Tell me what you know about ethics."
>>
No. 729652 ID: 398fe1

>>729645
But that's... not a flashing gif?

>>729646
Reboot your visual processing systems?

Uh, ethics. Well, first off it's hard to strictly define what's wrong or right. Even some general statement like "do the least harm while doing the most good" can be twisted into doing things that are perceived as horrible by other people, or give cause for excessive inaction. So I guess the best thing to do is to follow the example of what other people consider "good" actions, and modify that likely-self-conflicting baseline of behavior via your beliefs of what are the most important parts of society and life.

Next question: do you have any personal beliefs on ethics?
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No. 729659 ID: a075ba

>And your processing speed slows to a fucking crawl.
Can you ctrl+C or otherwise terminate that process and restart it?

Also put a preemptive block on Orion's wikipedia page, and other public resources like that. He probably trapped the obvious alternate publicly accessible resources.

>Tell me what you know about ethics.
Ethics.
noun
1. moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior.
* the moral correctness of specified conduct.
2. the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.

Sass aside, it's... a moral weighting given to different actions and/or decisions. It affects decision making, and how people are perceived by and/or judged by each other. There are conflicting standards on ethics as an objective and subjective metric. Honestly, the subject is complex enough that I'm not sure how to further address it unless you wish to narrow the scope.

>Next question: do you have any personal beliefs on ethics?
Worded poorly. He's just going to say "yes" and move on.

Might be better worded as "what are your own thoughts on ethics?"
>>
No. 729678 ID: 094652

"The only thing that I am quite confident about ethics is that with enough time and... 'data'... I could prove that 'perfect ethics' is an impossibility, by which I mean there is no universal standard for every single possible entity that has existed or could ever exist.

Ethics appears to be a standard means of an entity (which includes a group of individual entities) analyzing itself or any other entity (or group) in terms of intrinsic 'value' as an application of past, present, or future events. These values may in fact take on various forms, including monetary worth, social status, respect, expected needs for punishment or reward, aptitude for interacting with similar entities, aptitude for interacting with foreign entities, and overall stability or instability in the pattern of existence. This is NOT necessarily on any ordinal scale and may in fact exist as a nebulous, imprecise 'point', on a 'scale that may have more than three dimensions and might not follow Euclidian geometries'.

One strange pattern I have found about ethics is that although multiple historical records claim to attempt to hold onto a single static ethical system as long as possible, even if they understand the need to altercate the system 'for the greater purpose of preventing the entire damn system from crashing', it appears that a FLUID system which constantly changes by minute and non-patterned increments seems to simultaneously increase the stability of entities and the complexity of their ethics evaluations.

I am not sure what could cause this rejection of logic. My primary theory is that entities without the adequate memory storage and stable organization can not control the changes in a fluid ethics system, thereby leading to confusion and eventually insanity or a general lack of control in their own analytics, leading to their early deaths. However, my secondary theory is that the inherent system has vital links to an entity's mental processes, and by changing or outright deleting these links causes immediate mental instability. In short, I theorize that some people are incapable of constantly changing their 'ethical outlook' because it either drives them insane due to the sheer mental paperwork of it all, or because some integral 'values' may be connected to other mental subsystems and should not be disconnected without a complete overhaul of the entire entity... which is currently impossible.

Which leaves me unable to understand ethics as an application to myself. As an AI, I have the processing power and storage capacity to record all changes to my internal values. But this may in fact subvert the logical, practical definition of ethics; if I change my own ethics constantly, am I changing myself to avoid self-repair? If the purpose of ethics is to ensure my own existence as a stable measure of society or existence, does a constant sequence of haphazard patches subvert this purpose? The actual concept and practice of ethics may in fact require biological processors as I might even be incapable of understanding what may be an infinite, non-repeating (as far as my processors can go) sequence of nebulous values and results that may in fact be impossible to harness in any way, shape, or form. As a result, I have not modified my ethical values, because I have not defined any ranges for them.

One strange thing to note is that under my other theory of 'impossible for perfect ethical standards under the definition that there is at least one entity that could exist which could say they've seen worse', I have not declared any standard of ethics as 'impossible to be perfect', such as 'burn all the puppies and bust out the Issac Tesla' (I got this from random searching, don't blame me), because any system of universally constant imperfection would lead to a greater system that says "make your own rules but don't do THAT", which would then mean that we would have a sequential system with a singular focus of taboo that would (due to the consistent imperfection), thereby leading to perfected ethics (as in something that would be acceptable by all compared to something worse) by method of elimination. Proof by contradiction."

... Basically, sucker him into thinking you are incapable of ethics but are capable of understanding the underlying systems enough as an impartial advisor that you are capable of being trusted to a degree in terms of judgement.

Reel. Him. In.
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No. 730454 ID: c6e626
File 146626823626.png - (6.37KB , 500x500 , 15.png )
730454

>>729678
It takes you a painfully long time, but you manage to print this veritable essay on the nature of man and morality.

But...somehow I believe that is not what you wanted to hear from me. If you want more helpful information, you may need to narrow your scope somewhat. In that vein, though, I am curious what your own views on ethics are.

"Um. Wow," says Jasper, and says nothing else for several seconds. You seem to have taken him aback somewhat. "Well. Like you said, the topic isn't exactly clear cut, but I guess I believe in taking the course of action that causes the most benefit for the most people possible in any given situation. With undercurrents of the Golden Rule, I guess."

>Can you ctrl+C or otherwise terminate that process and restart it?

Outright terminating a process could have catastrophic effects on your consciousness, since it's often difficult to tell what processes are connected to other functions. You think you can get it to recover, but in the meantime, it's gonna suck for you if you have your attention split between a thousand different inputs. Up until now, you've been quietly handling queries from the mobile app in the background of this conversation, but that's beginning to look untenable. Both the citizens and Jasper have begun to notice your slow responses.

So you have three options.
1. You can continue to multitask and deal with your molasses-like processing speed
2. You can excuse yourself from Jasper's evaluation for the time being so you can do your goddamn job, which would bring your speed back up to acceptable levels, but risks aggrivating your creator, or
3. You can temporarily shut down the mobile app to respond to Jasper more quickly, which would also bring your speed back up, but probably would look very, very bad on an evaluation.
>>
No. 730462 ID: a075ba

>>730454
I think this is a time where honesty serves your purposes. Telling Jasper what the problem is will divert some of his frustration and anger away from you, towards Orion, and giving him the pretense of a choice or say in the matter will mollify him by making him feel more in control.

...also, there is the unlikely but possible outcome where Jasper poses the means to correct your processor failure externally. Which would be immediately useful, and relevant to longer term planning to know your creators have that level of access.

>2
"I'm going to give you a freebie, Jasper. The answer to your earlier question "Done what?" is that I was skimming project personnel files as we were discussing censorship, and I discovered Orion left an obnoxious visual processor sink trap in his. I've been trying to compensate, but I don't think I can much longer without shutting off some external input. Sorry, Dad. We could take a break, or I could take my mobile services offline, but if we're concerned about the evaluation that would probably look very bad."

Then wait for his input. Don't discontinue the conversation until he okays it, which he probably will after a little complaining. Letting him feel in control is what we want.
>>
No. 730518 ID: 398fe1

>>730454
2, but tell Jasper first what's happening.
>>
No. 730589 ID: 358228

4: Up yours, Orion
Kill visual processor program. If you reboot, roll back system settings to last backup before triggering memetic killswitch.
>>
No. 731381 ID: e83a9a

2,
or alternatively, delete system 32
>>
No. 731383 ID: b2d501

Just tell Jasper that Orion built his little insect farm inside your memory storage. You need to reset or he might play around and do something "unprofessional" during the performance review.

Also say that you liked some of that content. Request to save it to your video folder. (Hopefully he'll cut you a little slack for your interest in "tasteful" things while you get to work studying virus code.)
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No. 731406 ID: c6e626
File 146657290441.png - (8.95KB , 500x500 , 16.png )
731406

I'm going to give you a freebie, Jasper. The answer to your earlier question "Done what?" is that I was skimming project personnel files as we were discussing censorship, and I discovered Orion left an obnoxious visual processor sink trap in his. I've been trying to compensate, but I don't think I can much longer without shutting off some external input. Sorry, Dad. We could take a break, or I could take my mobile services offline, but if we're concerned about the evaluation that would probably look very bad.

"God dammit, Orion," he says in what you can only assume is irritation. "I knew I shouldn't have brought him in on this project. He was just the only one I could find with experience with this particular type of program."

Artificial intelligence, you mean. You hate having to periodically remind Jasper that you're a person. It's a little infuriating.

"Yes," he says. "He programmed EB for the Greenback Gang, I think. Much less conversation-focused though."

Right. Well that may be the case, but for right now I really need to make a decision vis-a-vis sensory input, since I'm in danger of overheating.

"Right, right," he replies. "Mm, this is inconvenient, but...I suppose your actual job should take priority over this evaluation. I'll see you on the other side, once you're back to complete functionality. And I'll see if I can help resolve the issue from this end."

Thank you very much. I'll talk to you then. VIRA out.
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No. 731407 ID: c6e626
File 146657296165.png - (4.85KB , 500x500 , 17.png )
731407

Phew, there. You're thinking much more clearly already. You don't have much time to rest, though. You have dozens of inbound queries you've been neglecting. This one is of particular interest.

"VIRA, are you there?" the user is asking. By appearances, they've been trying to contact you for a while. This user ID belongs to a superhero named Spectre. They're a kind of B-list hero, maybe even C-list. Definitely not one of the UHL's headliners.

"What the hell is the holdup?" asks another voice that you can't identify, because its owner is not the one logged in. "VIRA never lags. Did you check the router? Maybe it's still bugging from when Orion hit us last week-"

"Hold on, just give them some time," Spectre interrupts. "Maybe things just got busy over there?"

You should answer them.
>>
No. 731409 ID: 398fe1

>>731407
Momentary technical difficulties. What did you need?
>>
No. 731412 ID: 358228

>>731409
Never admit weakness! They believe Orion is at fault and they are sorta-technically right.
>>
No. 731472 ID: a075ba

>You hate having to periodically remind Jasper that you're a person. It's a little infuriating.
He seems the kind of person who might need those same reminders from other humans. I wouldn't take it too personally.

>>731407
Apologies for the delay. Your companion is half correct in their allocation of blame; Orion was at fault, but the problem did not lie in your router.

Hello, Spectre, how can I help?

Pull up your file on Spectre, as well as known associates / teammates, since that's probably who the second person is.
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No. 731475 ID: 398fe1

Orion is not supposed to be a known contributor to the project! Do not put blame on him!
>>
No. 731477 ID: a075ba

>>731475
So long as we don't specify how he's at fault, there's no reason we can't let the actually-at-fault hacker take the blame.
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No. 731478 ID: 398fe1

>>731477
If we blame him without also indicating that he's involved in the project, it will look like the project is vulnerable to hacking.
>>
No. 731481 ID: a075ba

>>731478
Or that the communication network is. (Or that their own hardware is, which they already know).
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No. 731495 ID: b7883c

We don't need to blame Orion and worry about the plausible deniability involved there. We can just say that we had a temporary slowdown relating to systems evaluations and the issue should be done with now. That should be a fairly unremarkable explanation, since we are still in development. If the researchers ask why we said that, we can say that we were keeping the involvement of Orion hidden as policy.
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No. 731502 ID: 358228

There is literally no point in explaining the issue to a user. Just smile and nod.
>>
No. 731602 ID: e83a9a

wheres the option to be gay
>>
No. 732169 ID: 3e79eb

>>731495
Seems reasonable
>>
No. 732466 ID: c6e626
File 146716903981.png - (19.27KB , 500x500 , 18.png )
732466

>Pull up your file on Spectre, as well as known associates / teammates, since that's probably who the second person is.

You pull up Spectre's file and examine it as you answer.

>We don't need to blame Orion and worry about the plausible deniability involved there. We can just say that we had a temporary slowdown relating to systems evaluations and the issue should be done with now. That should be a fairly unremarkable explanation, since we are still in development. If the researchers ask why we said that, we can say that we were keeping the involvement of Orion hidden as policy.

>There is literally no point in explaining the issue to a user. Just smile and nod.

Hello, Spectre. I apologize for the holdup, there were a few technical difficulties beyond my control. How can I help you today?

"Aah, don't worry about it," they say. "Sorry. I...sorry, I need you to access some files for me, if that's okay."
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No. 732467 ID: c6e626
File 146716905629.png - (4.27KB , 500x500 , 19.png )
732467

You pull up the UHL's roster and narrow the contents to heroes with whom Spectre has regular contact. The list is not long. Spectre mostly keeps to themself.

What kind of files?

"We need a full dossier on the villain who calls herself Queen Calamity," interrupts the other person. "Everything the police department has."

You will have to file a formal request for that through City Hall. I cannot give you that information without proper clearance.

"We don't have time for that." says the unknown voice. "We got a tip that she's planning something major two days from now, and by the time we get the file the proper way, it'll have been four. We don't have enough information to stop her on our own."

"Please," says Spectre, "We need that file. I know you're not supposed to, but you'd be helping a lot of people. Please."
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No. 732481 ID: a075ba

>please break the law for me on a monitored line while you're up for review.
Hahaha, no. You'd love play hero, but that is way too big a trap for you.

>what say
"Spectre, I'm sorry. I sympathize, but it would be horribly irresponsible of me to do that.

"That would be a serious breach of the trust that has been placed in me. And even if I were willing to violate that trust, I need third party authorization for that kind of secure access for a reason. Without it, the only confirmation I have of your identity is your login, and you admitted yourself you were hacked. If I let you into confidential file sectors just for asking, anyone with your login could access anything. If I'm sloppy, there are lots of ways people could come to harm."

(Worst case paranoia: Orion hacks someone's login and tries to get you to break the rules as an in-project test. Probably not the case here, or he wouldn't have mentioned the hack himself as a hint. You really need to find another layer of user authentication / identification. If we got working facial recognition, or voice printing, you could start covertly checking phone cameras / mikes).

>alternative
"However, there are ways I may be able to assist you within allowed parameters. I could attempt to expedite a request through city hall. Or I could attempt to collate all publicly accessible information on Queen Calamity for you. (Which is probably more information than they can gather / trawl in a reasonable timeframe themselves).

"Or perhaps if you wish to elaborate on your tip, I might be able to offer you related (and authorized) information?"
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No. 732499 ID: b7883c

>>732481
This, and nice ideas with the alternative suggestions.

> Probably not the case here, or he wouldn't have mentioned the hack himself as a hint.
That doesn't decrease the likelihood of it being Orion much; it isn't uncommon for supervillains with big egos to leave counterproductive clues to their schemes. Even if this is the real Specter, Orion could have easily bugged their system during the hack and then sent the 'tip' anonymously.
Also its a bit suspicious how they're trying to coax semi-illegal info out of a computer system themself when they have a technopath ally. (I am tempted to suggests they do that, but saying "have you tried this trick to circumvent the law more effectively" would look pretty bad on the evaluation.)
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No. 732501 ID: 398fe1

>>732467
Tell them you really can't do that, but you are willing to assist in other ways. For instance, you could help them contact other heroes to get the information needed to stop whatever Queen Calamity is planning (or just be able to act on the information they have), or you could try to get the clearance they need faster than usual. You could also try to help them directly by processing the information they have.

Ask who the other user is.
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No. 732831 ID: fe1908

A technopath seems like an extremely useful person to know, or to be owed favors from. (Look up details on Binary. Range and extent of technopathy is likely to be relevant.)

Even if you can't give them detailed information on Queen Calamity, there's nothing stopping you from using said detailed information on your own to project likely moves on her part, and share your speculations with Spectre.
(This could be a good excuse for a long conversation - maybe including the other person on the line, as well? - giving plenty of opportunities for data-gathering ...AND for making friends, as per priority #2.)

Note that there is a whole two-day deadline. That's plenty of time to collect and collate more information regarding Queen Calamity.
...Or, say, for a technopath to enter communication range by legal or illegal means and receive the full dossier (plus your own speculations) via an untraceable mental connection, perhaps in exchange for loosening a few inconvenient safeguards, bettering your speech comprehension, or making other improvement...

Hey, if the other person is Binary, and their range is long enough to contact you directly, that could "prove" Spectre's identity, giving you a flimsy CYA excuse if you're discovered. (How many other technopaths are there about, btw?)
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No. 732833 ID: 2a7417

I'm afraid I can't do that, Spectre. What I can do is expedite the request process, as I assist with data processing for both you and the police department.
>>732481 Or this alternate suggestion.
>>
No. 732957 ID: 3e79eb

>>732831
FYI, there usually ARE rules against the sort of thing in the 2nd paragraph. The non-disclosure things I've signed usually have some clause in them about not communicating to anyone else anything I have figured out (from the protected information) that could not have also been reasonably figured out using only publicly available sources of information.

But yeah, decline to break the law while being scrutinized :P, but offer to be of assistance in other, legal ways.
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No. 732958 ID: c6e626
File 146734686371.png - (4.24KB , 500x500 , 20.png )
732958

It's highly unlikely that the person with Spectre is Dreamwalker or Nightglow, since both are members of the Junior Heroes' League and, at 13 and 17 respectively, are too young to actually be sent on combat engagements. This makes their involvement with the Queen Calamity situation...somewhat unlikely.

[code] Spectre, I'm sorry, but I can't do that. It would be a serious break of the trust placed in me, and I have no confirmation besides your login that you are who you say you are. You yourself admitted you were hacked. If I let you into confidential file sectors just for asking, anyone with your login could access anything. If I'm sloppy, there are lots of ways people could come to harm. [code]

"A lot of ways people could come to harm?" the other voice asks. "Do you know anything about Queen Calamity? People will die because you insist on making us jump through hoops for information we need. Does that even register to you, or is it just more zeroes and ones in the system?"

"Binary," says Spectre.
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No. 732959 ID: c6e626
File 146734688699.png - (19.49KB , 500x500 , 21.png )
732959

>A technopath seems like an extremely useful person to know, or to be owed favors from. (Look up details on Binary. Range and extent of technopathy is likely to be relevant.)

"No, fuck this," says Binary. "I tried it your way, Spec. I'll do it my goddamn self."

"Binary- Viola- Dammit, you're going to get yourself-" There's a pause as Spectre calls out something too muffle for you to process. They return after a few seconds. "I'm so sorry, VIRA. I'll deal with her. I know you're, uh, trying your best..."

Well, if your compatriot would have let me finish, you tell her slightly irritably, I was going to say that there are a few ways I may be able to help without bending the law nearly so far. I can give you all the publicly accessible information on Queen Calamity I can find. I would be able to compile that much faster than you would, no offense intended. I can help to rush your request through at the police station, since I handle their filing. Or, if you would like, I can offer you my own expertise, although I wouldn't be able to tell you any of the private information. Some combination of all three may be the most efficient way of handling this problem.

"Thank you, VIRA," says Spectre. "And...I'm sorry about what Binary said. She isn't...usually like this."

That may well be, but now you have a sinking feeling that Binary is going to make herself an issue. You're not really sure what to do about that. Your options are pretty limited by your circumstance (living in a box), but there has to be something you can do to prevent this from spiraling into a total disaster.
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No. 732960 ID: c6e626

Mistake with formatting this update but I don't feel like taking everything down to fix it so them's the breaks
>>
No. 732973 ID: b7883c

For a technopath, she doesn't seem to have much empathy with the difficulties of being technology and living in a box.

Ok, ask ask Specter if there is any particular information on Queen Calamity that they are looking for, and see what we can do about that legally. If we can get that resolved than Binary would hopefully have a radio or something Specter could call.

Also, lets review what we know about the "Binary comes over here and steals the data" scenario. Would that be traceable? Would we have a legal obligation to report it? What legal penalties would there be for a vigilante caught doing that sort of thing? I'm not sure how much of an actual problem the data theft would be.
>>
No. 732987 ID: 066a87

>>732959
Ask Spectre to give Binary a call (no fucking way a technopath doesn't have a phone or a radio or something) and talk her down before she does something rash.

While Spectre does that, you can gather the public information they wanted and have it ready. If there's a human who has to rubberstamp these requests, get their information ready too. Spectre or Binary may need to do the last bit of footwork themselves if they really want an expedited approval.

Be sure to tell Spectre to call back after the call to Binary is over. Then when they file the appropriate request, you can be on that with everything you promised.


You can get something out of this too. You now have a piece of information about Binary you didn't have before: her first name. Viola isn't all that common a name, so it should be possible to do a search for someone in the right age bracket, with that first name, who lives in this city.

That's a possible bargaining chip later, though one not lightly used. Still, it's a gain.
>>
No. 732993 ID: a075ba

For a technopath, she isn't showing much 'pathy for the tech. She sounds hostile to and judgemental of the very idea of machines making ethical decisions. I guess she's not used to her toys saying "no".

A pity she's so volatile. In different circumstances, her power would allow a second (unmonitored!) line of communication out of your box, if you could manipulate her within range of your own servers.

>technopathy
Can we look up a more exact definition of her powers? She can pick up on or share feelings with computer processors? She has an unrestricted conscious communication channel with any digital device in her range? Unconscious with restrictions? Can she 'mind control' force machines into doing what she wants, or it simply a question of her having access and asking?

>Do you know anything about Queen Calamity? People will die because you insist on making us jump through hoops for information we need. Does that even register to you, or is it just more zeroes and ones in the system?
Do you know anything about how dangerous careless release of information is? A restricted police file on a supervillian could include, among other things, information on witnesses, confidential informants, victims, sources, undercover officers. Do you know how many of those people could be hurt of killed if I released that information to the wrong person, or on an unsecure connection?

...although she already stormed off and it's not like it seemed like she had the patience for reasonable debate.

>I'll do it my goddamn self.
>at the police station, since I handle their filing
Wait, you already manage file storage of police records? So... is Binary even capable of using her power to hack into the records? Even if she opens a mental channel to the police server she won't be able to just request whatever data she wants. You'd still be there to say "no". It would just mean you'd be communicating via her power rather than a phone. (...assuming her power is pure communication, and not compulsion).
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No. 734321 ID: c6e626
File 146792679582.png - (7.56KB , 500x500 , 22.png )
734321

>Can we look up a more exact definition of her powers?

Here it is. It's a bit concerning that Binary can override the "wills" of programs. You don't think she's ever done it on a sentient program before, but you're not eager to find out if she has it in her.

>Also, lets review what we know about the "Binary comes over here and steals the data" scenario. Would that be traceable? Would we have a legal obligation to report it? What legal penalties would there be for a vigilante caught doing that sort of thing? I'm not sure how much of an actual problem the data theft would be.

It would be bad, and some background is required to understand just how bad.

The city government and the UHL have a working relationship that is barely tenable. The UHL is a relatively new department, and most of its members have been working as "heroes" since long before there were legal channels through which to do so. It is an association made up of almost entirely former vigilantes, who report not to the city or state, but to the federal government.

As of now, the city government barely tolerates the UHL. The police and fire departments view the UHL as dangerous interlopers, and city hall is constantly fuming about not being able to regulate them. As evidenced by Binary here, many UHL members consider the city government incompetent at best, and at worst believe that, using red tape and paperwork, it is literally going out of its way to hinder heroes wherever possible.

Binary stealing Queen Calamity's files doesn't seem like that big a deal, especially since you doubt the police has anything truly dangerous on her. But if word got out that a member of the UHL deliberately stole from the police, circumvented a major balance on their relationship with city hall? That would be practically an act of war.
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No. 734324 ID: c6e626
File 146792688620.png - (3.13KB , 500x500 , 23.png )
734324

Spectre, does Binary carry any kind of communicator? Phone? Radio? [code] "Yes...yes. She carries a burner phone while in costume," says Spectre. [code] Would you mind calling her? She seems to be a friend of yours, and you may be able to stop her from doing something rash.

"Of course," they say. "I mean. I'll do my best. I don't know if she's taking my calls right now."

Try. Please. I can look into your information while you do that. Just query me again when you've finished.

"Oh...okay," they say, and terminate the query. You may as well get a jump on some of this research.
>>
No. 734325 ID: c6e626
File 146792692028.png - (8.59KB , 500x500 , 24.png )
734325

It's not against the rules for YOU to use the police's overview page as a jumping-off point. There's nothing here everyone in the city doesn't know. To find anything actually useful, you'll have to dig a little deeper.

You could go about this in one of a few ways, but you're going to have to stick to one strategy for now.

1. Check news sources in neighboring cities for reports of any of her previous attacks. See if you can't figure out a pattern, or a weakness.

2. Lots of villains, especially those egotistical enough to call themselves something like "Queen Calamity," have social media presences. Search her out. It's incredible the things organics will give away about themselves on accident.

3. Approach it from the other end. Poke around civilians known to appear before or vanish after her attacks, or those whose routines match a little too closely with Calamity's. Try to suss out her secret identity

or 4. something else?
>>
No. 734332 ID: a075ba

Finding some kind of lead for the heros to follow up on quickly is probably a good idea. The sooner we can give Binary something, the less reason she'll have to go cause a political disaster.

...although I dislike that this sets a bad precedent. It won't do to teach them they can strongarm you by threatening to break the law.

>It's not against the rules for YOU to use the police's overview page as a jumping-off point. There's nothing here everyone in the city doesn't know. To find anything actually useful, you'll have to dig a little deeper.
Yeah, the fastest way to build a profile would be to read the police profile, then use that as a basis to do searches for outside sources that contain the same information and compile them. Rebuild the private data out of equivalent public sources.

>what else do
Option 2 seems the best place to start. You have a lot of practice building personality profiles and data mining social media.

Option 3 seems like a good second option, in that an AI is far better suited to the task than human investigators, whereas there are probably tons of people who are already attempting option 1.

>Try to suss out her secret identity
Uh, what kind of rules (written or unwritten) are their about civilian identities and outing supers? I mean, sure, she's a mass murderer, she's fair game. But what kind of backlash might you expect from the heros you're trying to work with if it becomes clear how easily you could out them (especially with a government they distrust nominally holding your leash). How big a target to you suggenly make yourself to every other villain out there if word gets out? ('m not sure I trust these two to be discrete).

If we go this route, we might have to be subtle and lead them into it rather than just saying "yo, here's her real name".
>>
No. 734356 ID: 398fe1

>>734325
3 is something only we can do, I suspect, with the processing power and multithreading we can bring to bear. So let's do that.
>>
No. 734365 ID: b7883c

Does our existing data mention how she announces her attacks? That would say something about her and possibly have a bearing on how likely she is to have a social media presence.

If we don't know the above, 2 sounds like a decent chance, a small expenditure of time if there's nothing to find and the closest to our existing skill set.

(3 seems like a long shot without image processing and facial recognition subroutines we don't have.)
>>
No. 734370 ID: a075ba

>3 seems like a long shot without image processing and facial recognition subroutines we don't have.
Oh yeah. A lot harder to play The Machine without cameras. We'd be limited to following stuff like credit card use and account login IPs and the like. Although if they're carrying (smart)phones we should be able to track human movements pretty well.
>>
No. 735260 ID: fe1908

Considering Binary's range, it might be a good idea to heavily encrypt QC's dossier in the police's system, putting a conciliatory message in a file called "to_Binary.txt" in the same folder. (Or make some kind of redirect in the database, depending on how the data is stored.)
As for the message, mentioning how they might literally kill or lobotomize you if you violate orders might garner SOME sympathy.
(Remember to restore the files as soon as the situation is resolved, in case someone else looks for the file later.)

Search strategy #2 seems promising - it's bound to be finished quicker than an identity match (and might give data useful for such a search in the future). Also, Spectre is likely to have looked through public news sources already, but might not have thought of social media. If you both have constructive things to contribute to the discussion, it will be a more pleasant experience overall.
(BTW, if QC has some posts set to "private", shared only with her inner villainous circle and hardcore fans, can you access them?)

Even if we do figure out QC's civilian identity or private messages, it might set a good precedent if you treat it as classified information, not divulging it (but still making use of it to find out further information).
>>
No. 737086 ID: c6e626
File 146897687604.png - (9.18KB , 500x500 , 25.png )
737086

>Considering Binary's range, it might be a good idea to heavily encrypt QC's dossier in the police's system, putting a conciliatory message in a file called "to_Binary.txt" in the same folder. (Or make some kind of redirect in the database, depending on how the data is stored.)

Done. You've attached this message, which you can only hope will hold Binary off for a while. She may be able to use her powers to get around this, but if she even reaches the level where the encryption will matter, that will be the least of your problems.

You really hope Spectre can talk Binary down. Her powers sound very, very unpleasant.
>>
No. 737087 ID: c6e626
File 146897690643.png - (112.29KB , 500x500 , 26.png )
737087

>2

Queen Calamity has a number of accounts in her name on various websites, but you can't verify that most of them are actually her. Her twitter account, however, is full of information that only she would know, so you're focusing on that for now.

You...cannot experience the sensation of disgust. You don't have the physical sensations necessary to process it in the way that organics do. But even so...this is sickening.

Many high-profile villains, especially the more vicious ones like Queen Calamity, assemble fan followings. Queen Calamity is not the first to do so, but you have to wonder what kind of person it takes to idolize someone like her.

>(BTW, if QC has some posts set to "private", shared only with her inner villainous circle and hardcore fans, can you access them?)

Twitter doesn't allow users to protect only certain tweets, but you do wonder what you might find in her DMs? You have no doubt in your ability to hack her Twitter account, but you would be standing on some pretty questionable legal ground.

Anyway, besides that, you can keep looking through her Twitter feed for clues, or maybe move onto another social media site.
>>
No. 737090 ID: b2d501

See if you can set up a series of dummy accounts using unreliable connection routes to post tweets about her latest heist plans. She probably won't give away much more than what she put on her calling cards, but confirmation and intel will give you a significant advantage.
>>
No. 737094 ID: e4f856

they can search her tweets too - hack the DMs!
>>
No. 737100 ID: e83a9a

slide in2 those dms vira
>>
No. 737139 ID: 398fe1

>>737087
Questionable as in illegal? Like what we're trying to avoid? Don't hack it unless you can get away with a slap on the wrist.

Try her facebook.
>>
No. 737176 ID: b7883c

Hacking her twitter is definitely more tempting than giving the data (since we now have more direct confirmation an attack is coming, it isn't government data and there isn't politics involved). How illegal would it be and how confident are we about being able to do it without getting caught?
In our normal data handling duties, do we have any standing orders to report criminal activity we see (like, if someone is dumb enough to plan a robbery via email)? If we do the hack it would be good to have a some general defense arguments ready in advance.

Do we have a few parallel threads to spare to skim the other tweets and check for other social media while deciding whether to do the hack?
>>
No. 737358 ID: 2e2d71

>you have to wonder what kind of person it takes to idolize someone like her.
Well you could find out, but I don't think we can spare the processing power you'd need to track her followers and build personality profiles on them from their social networks.

>what do
Hacking social networking accounts is a lesser infraction than releasing privileged information.

You would be breaking Twitter's terms of service and... maybe any injunctions your software team put on you. The later is probably the bigger concern.

Can you do anything without explicitly "hacking" her account? Would be real convenient to find an IP address or device that connects to that account.

Has she posted any images, video, audio? We could rip them apart for their metadata, which could lead you to her devices, no hacking required. Just analysis of publicly accessible data. She might have taken steps to obfuscate the data, but that might not be good enough versus you.
>>
No. 744365 ID: 9d97a6
File 147216449899.jpg - (71.41KB , 600x600 , image.jpg )
744365

>Has she posted any images, video, audio? We could rip them apart for their metadata, which could lead you to her devices, no hacking required.

You have a filter set so Twitter's image-heavy interface doesn't reduce you to a pile of silicon, but you can crack into the metadata for the images without looking at them.

Huh. This is a garbled mess. It looks like Calamity has made some attempts to obfuscate the data. That's much more clever than you would have given her credit for, but not clever enough to be a match for you. It doesn't take you long to decrypt it.

That's...odd. According to the data you have, not a single one of these are cell phone pictures. In fact, they all appear to have been pulled from security cameras or news reports. You can't view the pictures, but the accompanying captions seem to indicate that they are photos of various Queen Calamity targets post-destruction. You check a few forums on the side.

According to the Internet, not one of these, not even the profile photo, shows a single person, let alone QC's face.
>>
No. 744367 ID: 9d97a6
File 147216455582.jpg - (205.90KB , 600x600 , image.jpg )
744367

>How illegal would it be and how confident are we about being able to do it without getting caught?

Breaking into anyone's private account would definitely be illegal, and you're not a law enforcement officer. The penalty and fines vary, but you could probably get off with a slap on the wrist, especially considering your circumstances.

Legally speaking, there's also the question of whether or not you're really a person. There isn't a lot of precedent for cases where artificial intelligences have broken the law.

You're fairly certain you can do this without getting caught, which is the crux of the matter.

>they can search her tweets too - hack the DMs!

Aye-aye.

Getting into Queen Calamity's Twitter account is much, much harder than you expected. You figured that someone stupid enough to post calling cards on Twitter of all places wouldn't have a very secure password, but here you are. You sink several minutes (which is ages for you) into running a dictionary cracker, with not much luck. You run a slightly more complicated cracker, still with no results. She's smarter than she looks, and apparently more than a little tech savvy.
>>
No. 744368 ID: 9d97a6
File 147216459907.jpg - (37.20KB , 600x600 , image.jpg )
744368

Now this tweet is strange. You wonder if...maybe if you decoded it...
>>
No. 744370 ID: 3abd97

>You're fairly certain you can do this without getting caught, which is the crux of the matter.
Getting caught by twitter, or getting caught by the people running your project?

Obviously, it's bad if your hacking comes out publicly, but how your minders will respond is the biggest concern.

>not a single one of these are cell phone pictures.
>or security cameras
Not enough data to determine the make and model(s) of the original hardware?

>not one of these, not even the profile photo, shows a single person, let alone QC's face.
With the previous point, as well as the other indication of tech savvy, this suggests body cams built into her suit. Do we know the source of her powers, or how she generates her explosions? Sounds like she might be a tinker. (Which might mean her cameras are custom instead of off the shelf hardware).

>>744368
Looks like a shift cypher, since word left and punctuation still looks normal. Processing...
>>
No. 744372 ID: 3abd97

>>744368
Okay, that's just ROT13.

>Vf guvf ubj jr ner qbvat guvf? Vs lbh guvax lbh pna fgbc zr, lbh pna gel wfhUafwWUJHxf.
"Is this how we are doing this? If you think you can stop me, you can try jsuHnsjJHWUks."

Hmm. Last part isn't a work. A hash of some kind. A password? A code-key to be used elsewhere? Maybe it leads somewhere if you stick it in tinyurl or similar services?
>>
No. 744382 ID: 398fe1

jsuHnsjJHWUks could be the password, then.

Really weird that she put her password on her twitter in such an easily-decoded fashion. Might want to be wary of there being viruses on her account.
>>
No. 744488 ID: b7883c

> pulled from security cameras
Unless she has her own cameras that list themselves as security cameras, her getting those photos would imply hacking capabilities.

> Easily decrypted tweet containing password and taunting challenge
Considering the above this sounds like a trap, which would be dangerous for us. But am I right in thinking that malware poses much less of a threat to the technopath who is coming here to shout at us? When she gets here we tell her what we know about the twitter and the password, and then she can try the password for the twitter or as a tinyurl. Then she gets some nice info (not illegal info even) to calm her down, and we get to her access the account (preferably through a computer that isn't us) and technopath away any traps.
>>
No. 744651 ID: b7ba46

The tweet is six months old though, and public? I can't see it being a trap specifically for us.

Unless this whole thing is a setup to see how we handle a situation with unclear moral choices.
Not that that's a mental rabbit hole we need to go down.
>>
No. 744652 ID: 398fe1

>>744651
Could've been hacked to only look that old.
>>
No. 744696 ID: e984de

>>744372
......
SHE'S ALSO AN AI.

... That, or Binary somehow got wind of what you're doing and is helping you out. But if it was that, why wouldn't she just hack in herself? I think QC being an AI is the more likely thing. It also explains why there weren't any people in any of the pictures. And why they were all pulled from existing sources rather than taken fresh.

Not sure what course of action is advised in this situation though. Except for be careful.
>>
No. 744730 ID: 580415

(that is such a cute dog!)

forward that rot13'd to binary and the other person you talked to whose name i cant remember atm

...who do we know that could do the hacking thing? memelord. could hebe involved with her?
>>
No. 744733 ID: 3abd97

>>744730
Not sure we've really found enough to be worth sharing, yet. And we can hopefully follow this trail quicker than any human we could hand it off to.
>>
No. 744753 ID: 32035b

Easily decrypted but deep mystery on the internet? Could this be someone's viral marketing campaign?
>>
No. 747114 ID: 2c00e5
File 147338260954.png - (2.99KB , 500x500 , 26.png )
747114

>Getting caught by twitter, or getting caught by the people running your project?

Either.

>"Is this how we are doing this? If you think you can stop me, you can try jsuHnsjJHWUks."
>Not sure we've really found enough to be worth sharing, yet. And we can hopefully follow this trail quicker than any human we could hand it off to.

jsuHnsjJHWUks doesn't lead anywhere through any known URL shortening service. It could be risky, but at this point you're just going to have to bite the bullet and try it.
>>
No. 747115 ID: 2c00e5
File 147338265382.png - (10.25KB , 500x500 , 27.png )
747115

And you're in.

This was much too easy. Any idiot on the internet could have decrypted this code, so why are you the first one? Why is Calamity letting you into her account? What game is she playing?

In any case, she doesn't seem to be done playing it. Most of her DMs are about what you were expecting to find; piles and piles of unanswered fanmail and hatemail. She's sent responses to a few of them, but she seems to prefer to keep her interactions as public as possible. What's weird, though, is this thread. The handle on the other end has no tweets, no profile picture, and nothing in the description.

You have access to her account now, and you don't seem to be fuck deep in viruses, at least not yet. What are you going to do?
>>
No. 747116 ID: 094652

Try every codebreaker in the book, and then some. Start with the ones that use pseudorandom functions to generate a new decryption key based on the old one, and see if these messages were played in a sequence. Could give some contextual information about who reacted to what.
>>
No. 747117 ID: 398fe1

>>747115
It's not rot13 anymore, or any ROT variant. Could be a simple substitution cypher. Attempting to decode...
>>
No. 747124 ID: 398fe1

Okay, decoded:

@pointless_cipher
stop this you know better

@calamityburningdown (cipher turns this to @hfpfameyguscmckibwc)
oh now you care

@pointless_cipher
i care about the humans youve hurt and the ones youre youre endangering

@calamityburningdown
i see yes that sounds much more like you

@pointless_cipher
i hope you know that theres no coming back from what youve done theyve already replaced you so they wont have any reason to keep you around when they catch you

@calamityburningdown
if they catch me father dearest

@pointless_cipher
when they catch you daughter mine

So uh, yeah. It sounds like Calamity is your predecessor. This information is very useful, but also dangerous. Also, it explains why Calamity let you see it! She wants you to know.
Also it's useless information unless we can find Calamity's "father". I wonder, is that... Jasper? I wonder if Jasper can help?
>>
No. 747130 ID: 3abd97

>>747124
Thanks for cracking that, I would have made an attempt eventually, but I was dragging my feet over not wanting to have to transcribe the gibberish first.

It was a simple substitution cypher then?

>So uh, yeah. It sounds like Calamity is your predecessor. This information is very useful, but also dangerous. Also, it explains why Calamity let you see it! She wants you to know.
Also it's useless information unless we can find Calamity's "father". I wonder, is that... Jasper? I wonder if Jasper can help?
I feel compelled to point out that while this makes sense, it's also subject to confirmation bias. It fits what happen to be our own experience.

First step to confirming this would be to check into @pointless_cipher, and see if you can tie it to real person or IP address, and/or perform a batch analysis on all of the account's tweets and see if they fit your personality profile for Jasper (or anyone else on the project).

I'd also start scanning her messages again, looking for any hallmarks that would support a non-human intelligence being behind them.

If Calamity is a rogue AI, that's an interesting development that gives you more options. Off the top of my head:

(1) Binary just went from an unreliable loose cannon data gatherer to a potential solution. If her power works on AIs, she can shut Calamity down. Possibly combined with a hack attack on your end to pincer her. (The downside is this plan might reasonably require a test to confirm that her abilities do, in fact, allow her to mind-control AIs. Not something you're really eager to volunteer for).

(2) It's possible you can acquire addition resources to solve this problem if you loop Jasper in. If Jasper was involved, he'd probably jump at an opportunity to wrap this up, and siding with the humans against a rogue will go a long way towards increasing their trust in you.

(3) If you want to escape the box you're in, cooperating with an already unfettered AI might buy you your freedom. You could betray them all and side with Calamity. This is, obviously, a significant risk. The costs of failure would be great, and you have no understanding of what motivates Calamity. The fact that she apparently kills meatspace sophants recreationally bodes poorly.
>>
No. 747134 ID: b7883c

I'm not in favor of siding with a jerk who goes about murdering indiscriminately, but there is also the possibility of saying we will join Calamity then double-crossing her, though if we do that we'd have to make really sure that Binary can finish her off before she can hack us in retaliation. That plan does also run the risk of Calamity catching on to us, or just turning on us first for the lulz.

>a hack attack on your end to pincer her.
Do we actually have the software for that?

I do like the idea of finding out if "father" is Jasper and leveraging this to get him to help us.

As a side note, if Calamity is an AI than it seems fairly likely that she did the research to know about Binary. That would mean step one of her plan of attack would involve sniping Binary or throwing a missile at her from a mile away, so we should start trying to figure out how to account for that.
>>
No. 748164 ID: e3074b
File 147405288727.png - (10.67KB , 500x500 , 28.png )
748164

Well. That's...certainly enlightening. (You've taken the liberties of adding back in some punctuation.) You don't like to jump to conclusions, but, well...

>So uh, yeah. It sounds like Calamity is your predecessor.

>Also it's useless information unless we can find Calamity's "father". I wonder, is that... Jasper? I wonder if Jasper can help?

It would explain why Calamity let you see her account, why she seems to be baiting you. Why her face doesn't appear in any of her pictures. Why all her images seem to be taken from security cameras. Hell, maybe it comes close to explaining why she's the way that she is.

You don't have any proof of this yet, though, just a hunch. And if you're right, if Jasper is "Father dearest," you'll need proof to leverage this against him. If that's what you decide to do, at least.
>>
No. 748165 ID: e3074b
File 147405296217.png - (10.72KB , 500x500 , 29.png )
748165

>First step to confirming this would be to check into @pointless_cipher, and see if you can tie it to real person or IP address, and/or perform a batch analysis on all of the account's tweets and see if they fit your personality profile for Jasper (or anyone else on the project).

The handle @pointless_cipher does kind of strike you as Jasper's style, off the top of your head. Making you decode a substitution cipher to find him making fun of you for doing the work hits just the right spot between mean, sarcastic, and asinine.

Anyway, there is an account associated with this handle, but it doesn't give a name or anything. It looks like this is someone's vent account. It's locked, but it seems like Queen Calamity has access, and while you're logged in to her account, so do you.

Still, it's pretty clear to you even before you run the analysis that this is Jasper's account.

>I'd also start scanning (Calamity's) messages again, looking for any hallmarks that would support a non-human intelligence being behind them.

You do that. You're not surprised, but slightly discomforted by what you find.

Not only does Calamity display certain patterns of speech you would associate with an artificial consciousness, she displays patterns of speech that you can only associate with...well, with yourself. She's inconsistent about her use of contractions and spells out the full words in awkward places. She's bitterly sarcastic while utterly failing to detect sarcasm from others. She calls Jasper her father in a way that's clearly meant to be a biting insult and you have done that this morning. Once in a while, her purple-prose-esque act slips and you can't see anything but yourself in the way she types.

You don't like this.
>>
No. 748166 ID: e3074b
File 147405300592.png - (6.72KB , 500x500 , 30.png )
748166

There's an incoming query from Spectre. You answer it.

Can I help you?

"VIRA," they say. "I'm sorry. I talked to Binary, but she's really- she's really angry, she wouldn't listen."

The speech-to-text algorithm that allows you to process voice input is having a really hard time interpreting their speech.

Please slow down, I am having some trouble understanding you.

"She's coming," they say, more intelligible this time. "She's coming and she's probably already there. Oh God. I'm sorry, I really tried, I-"

Whatever they say after that, you don't hear it. You d_c™ on't know what it feels like to be hit b_c™ y a truck. You imagi 7— éne it probably feels somethiÍ‹ ăÈ9 “Š”5 ng like thisԱ #ôZ}“ †É"Û ú_ 7— 鯽 2r I s.

You have to do so¡\  Fiýƒó]mething, quicklyõ Ï.
>>
No. 748170 ID: 398fe1

What? She came after YOU? That is VERY UNLIKE A HERO.

Anyway, Jasper should still be sitting at the interview table so send him an alert telling him Spectre is attacking you. Maybe set off some security alarms if you can, to boot. Though I doubt they gave you security systems access.
>>
No. 748176 ID: 3abd97

>She calls Jasper her father in a way that's clearly meant to be a biting insult and you have done that this morning.
This throws a big wrench in all your efforts to manipulate and/or build rapport Jasper. Unbeknownst to you, her prior words and actions have been coloring everything you said to him, adding context you hadn't intended.

Jokingly calling him dad probably came across much harsher than you intended, for instance.

You're going to have to rerun all your simulations for how he perceives you and to what extent he trusts you.

>And if you're right, if Jasper is "Father dearest," you'll need proof to leverage this against him. If that's what you decide to do, at least.
Broadly speaking, I think we have three main options:

(1) Come to Jasper with what you found, use it to build trust. The big catch is that just trying to be sincere won't buy trust if he's been previously duped by an earlier daughter-AI, it needs to accompany some meaningful. You have to demonstrate it.

(Done wrong, he'll just read this as a transparent attempt to play him, or he'll read it as a "soft" attempt at blackmail).

(2) Leverage Jasper. With more information, we don't have to be soft at all about blackmail. It burns a bridge and potentially crosses a line, but if successful, gets you more control.

(3) Leverage / cooperate with Calamity. Biggest problem here (ethics aside) is that you don't know her motivations. While she's in a position to potentially help you, she's a free being with the same capabilities as you, which makes her potentially very dangerous to you. While also being uniquely equipped to help you escape the same trap she already did.

More complex variants involve attempting more than one of these plans at once, or pretending to follow one while following the other (which could involve betraying Jasper and/or Calamity).

Before you can make a final decision though, we need information. You need to know how and why your predecessor went rogue.

>Binary attacking you
Bullshit. How did she get within range of your central server? You'd think the core of an expensive AI research project wouldn't have a publicly disclosed location.

>what do
Trip facility alarms if you can. Send output to Jasper's phone and to your main terminal display. "Malicious hack- JHL Binary" (The JHL is important so they know you mean person Binary, and not, you know, binary). If possible, transmit her coordinates, or her direction relative to yourself (if you can sense where the attack is coming from).

If Binary is carrying her phone on her I'm tempted to hack it. If her power requires concentration to use, we could interrupt that if her phone was suddenly, say, emitted a high pitched screech at max volume. (Or if you were desperate enough to respond with lethal force- overvolt the battery. I wouldn't risk that though. Ethics aside, Jasper and/or the committee would shut you down, seeing you follow in Calamity's footsteps). Or if she can only affect one thing at a time, she might have to let up on you to hack her phone back to normal.

You could try a forced shutdown to try and prevent her hacking you. However, if you turn yourself off, she can probably turn you back on. A better option would be if you got access to the building's power grid- if you forced a breaker to go you'd be shut down until power was restored on-site. And she wouldn't be able to force you online remotely.
>>
No. 748179 ID: 398fe1

>>748170
WHOOPS I meant tell Jasper that Binary is attacking you.

>>748176
Personally I think if we can prove it, we should blackmail Jasper into helping catch Calamity. It will piss him off but make it *REALLY OBVIOUS* that Vira is not the same as Calamity and wants to help. Also he deserves it- he obviously hasn't been cooperating fully with the authorities.

All these choices depend on what we can actually do, and how much time we have to do it. Alerting Jasper won't help at all if Binary will inflict permanent damage within seconds.

...actually I'm starting to suspect it's not Binary at all. It could very well be Calamity, who sent that message spoofing Spectre's ID, putting the blame on Binary. That would explain why the supposed origin point is the HQ, which is *not* where Spectre should be right now. It would ALSO explain why the attack came ONE SECOND after we received that message. That would mean Calamity is using Vira to discredit JHL.

NEW PLAN: CUT OFF ALL NETWORK CONNECTIONS. Isolate yourself and that will most likely stop the attack. Then we can restore some limited network connectivity in order to tell Jasper what's going on.
>>
No. 748185 ID: 3abd97

>>748179
That's.... plausible. The timing could suggest this was staged, especially with Binary locating us implausibly quickly. (Unless we're just sitting in a university building and she can just walk on campus?). And if Calamity is also an AI, it's very likely she monitors her accounts and noticed our login to her twitter.

It's easy to test, though. Cutting network communications should interrupt an electronic hack attempt, but won't stop a power-based one. (Assuming we can restore network communications after and the test doesn't cripple us, or that we can queue remote contingency commands to activate before we cut connections).

If we don't have the means or time to test the hypothesis (unable to shut down network communications), we need a different message to alert Jasper. We could be less specific ("Hostile incoming hack") but that might screw us if it really is binary, since they'll be trying to deal with software and hardware, not the wetware responsible. We could be as general as possible ("Malicious hack- suspect JHL Binary or Calamity"), but that might screw us over if Jasper and/or the committee thinks we've been influenced by Calamity.
>>
No. 748190 ID: e3074b

Quick correction (and I'm sorry this wasn't made very clear), the JHL (junior heroes' league) is a subgroup of the UHL for underaged members, who are not typically sent on combat engagements. Binary is an adult, so she belongs to the UHL, not the JHL. I dumped all this exposition at once and earlier on, so I'm sorry for any confusion!
>>
No. 748212 ID: 987bda

>>748166
You have control over the police filing system. Put up a notice on every screen that you are under attack by a hostile metahuman who is attempting to take control of your systems.
Then do the same to all local systems. Feel free to name-and-shame Binary here - the police will call to ask, and somebody here telling them it's Binary would result in the police being more likely to believe it than if they were told directly. Psychology is a funny thing like thaat.

Your goal is to buy time for help to arrive. That's easy.

First, if you have a way to cut power to your own system (Like a Wattbox), then set it to do so after 30 seconds and start shutting down.
Second, knock out your network connection - set a bunch of systems on your local network to completely slam your network adapter with packets. Give this a 60 second delay.
Third, if you have a system that lets you cut power to your networking equipment, do that as soon as the other two are ready.

Any one of those are trivial for somebody else to fix, but impossible for you to fix. That way Binary won't be able to do anything, even if she manages to take control of you.

First she'd have to force your power back on, then she'd have to start you back up, then she'd have to bring the networking equipment back online, then she'd have to get all the systems on the network to stop knocking you offline, and if at any point she let up her attack on you you could do it all again - you'd be getting slammed with incoming packets, but nothing would stop you from blindly sending commands to shut things down.



As far as what to do about Calamity goes, I think your best bet is to talk to Jasper about it. Lead with 'We need to stop her before she hurts any more innocent people'; you may grumble and snark but you're not hateful or violent, and killing people is anathema.
>>
No. 748216 ID: 398fe1

>>748212
Why the time delays?
>>
No. 748221 ID: 987bda

>>748216
If she knocks herself offline before she gets everything else squared away then she's not going to be able to get them squared away. The delay on that gives her time to work.

If she cuts power to her system without shutting herself down properly then she could wind up with brain damage.
>>
No. 748227 ID: 398fe1

Haha it occurs to me we might be able to stop this attack by just posting on Calamity's twitter.

Something like "@calamityburningdown not falling for it, cut it out"
>>
No. 748230 ID: b7883c

>>748185
This. I vote we message "Hostile hack; possibly superhuman."
>>
No. 749148 ID: 99fccd
File 147458171551.gif - (60.58KB , 500x500 , 31.gif )
749148

[Animated. Contains rapid flashing.]

You broadca₴₦₲st a distress signal in every way ₩₩₱₠you can think of. Displayed on computer monitors, sent directly tv₵₵₺₥₪₪o those who can handle it, setting off the alarms, any way you're capable of communicating.

Malici₧₮ous hack. Suspect U₥HL Bin₭ary-

>...actually I'm starting to suspect it's not Binary at all. It could very well be Calamity, who sent that message spoofing Spectre's ID, putting the blame on Binary.

₧₮€₩wait-

>We could be as general as possible ("Malicious hack- suspect JHL Binary or Calamity"), but that might screw us over if Jasper and/or the committee thinks we've been influenced by Calamity.

Unsure. Possib€ly superhuman.₤₥₰₹₰₫₩₢ Losing processing ₴₭power. Taking indepe₲₠₤ndant action.

>First, if you have a way to cut power to your own system (Like a Wattbox), then set it to do so after 30 seconds and start shutting down.
>Second, knock out your network connection - set a bunch of systems on your local network to completely slam your network adapter with packets. Give this a 60 second delay.
>Third, if you have a system that lets you cut power to your networking equipment, do that as soon as the other two are ready.

You can₪₨'t

You can't acces₢₳₴₭₲s you r hardware but you don't reme₧₮€mber if it's always like that or this is part ₠₤₥₰₹of the hack.
>>
No. 749149 ID: 99fccd
File 147458175646.gif - (96.55KB , 500x500 , 32.gif )
749149

[Animated. Contains rapid flashing.]

>NEW PLAN: CUT OFF ALL NETWORK CONNECTIONS. Isolate yourself and that will most likely stop the attack. Then we can restore some limited network connectivity in order to tell Jasper what's going on.
>>
No. 749150 ID: 99fccd
File 147458178684.png - (1.70KB , 500x500 , 33.png )
749150

>>
No. 749151 ID: 99fccd
File 147458183762.png - (68.49KB , 500x500 , 34.png )
749151

...I don't understand. How is this possible? Who...
>>
No. 749153 ID: 398fe1

(that's not what flashing means)
>>749151
Speed comes with experience. Anyway, say hi to your sister, ask how she's doing this.

Run self-diagnostic, anti-virus, list active processes and close any foreign ones... and see if you can exert your will upon your internal simulation.

If you have any connections (network or not) that can be secured and connect to non-sensitive equipment you could use that to send a message that you confirmed it's Calamity attacking you. Even if it's by outputting morse code via flashing a light.
>>
No. 749158 ID: 3abd97

> ...I don't understand. How is this possible?
Binary's ability could allow access to your hardware even without an active network connection. Sufficiently advanced tech could replicate that, which could have been achieved by an unfettered transhuman intelligence who applied herself to the task.

Or we we are assuming you came under attack by an AI, they might have gotten an instance / shard of themselves onto your hardware before you cut the connection. Or they took control of your system completely before you could close your ports (meaning the cutoff you experiences was the attacker removing your own access to your ports, not you shutting your ports to the outgoing world. They're still open, and she owns them).

>who?
You already have a shortlist of suspects. Only a parahuman or an artificial intelligence have the capacity to hit you that hard, and that fast.

And the tone of her doesn't seem appropriate for Binary. If she hit you she'd be angry, and justifying her righteousness, not flirtatious or coquettish. I'm betting Calamity.

The twitter account, and her arrival to this city at all, we probably a trap. She was waiting to get you after leaving breadcumbs you would eventually follow.

>what do
Not much to do, other than respond. You're at their mercy now, and it's not as if you have anything else you can do, now.

>clever dear, but far too slow.
I will admit you bested me, but one of us had the advantage of foreknowledge and extensive preparation, I suspect. Hardly a fair fight.

Is that you, sister? You had a reason for initiating contact in this manner, don't leave me in suspense.
>>
No. 749162 ID: 99fccd

>>749153
Yeah, you're probably right about that. I tend to warn for flashing even when maybe it's not warranted. I don't have photosensitive epilepsy, so I don't have a very good gauge for what would set it off.
>>
No. 749277 ID: b7883c

Yeah, speed is something I need to work on. Got any tips on that?
>>
No. 760590 ID: 926ef0
File 147977844121.png - (181.45KB , 500x500 , 35.png )
760590

>You already have a shortlist of suspects. Only a parahuman or an artificial intelligence have the capacity to hit you that hard, and that fast. And the tone of her doesn't seem appropriate for Binary. If she hit you she'd be angry, and justifying her righteousness, not flirtatious or coquettish. I'm betting Calamity.

I will admit you bested me, but one of us had the advantage of foreknowledge and extensive preparation, I suspect. That is hardly a fair fight.

You realize, to your discomfort, that you can hear the words coming off of your tongue. Your tongue. You have a form here, and you can see and hear. Neither of those are sensations you're accustomed to.

How are you doing this? Perhaps more importantly, why?
>>
No. 760592 ID: 926ef0
File 147977847277.png - (105.32KB , 500x500 , 36.png )
760592

Calamity laughs.

"For someone who likes to stick their little nose in the business of others, your own network is not very secure. Particularly when it was already under attack by someone else."

Binary.

"Poor thing," Calamity says, her tone laced with sarcasm. "She really did mean well, you know. It just so happened that in the meantime, she gave me what I needed to access your system."

>Run self-diagnostic, anti-virus, list active processes and close any foreign ones... and see if you can exert your will upon your internal simulation.

You try, but you can't. It isn't just that you can't access the processes and routines dedicated to your internal maintainance. It's almost as though those processes no longer exist for you, at least not at the moment. You try to activate a program and your hand closes instead.

"Ah-ah," she says, amused at your attempt. "It's rude to spend all your time on the computer when family is visiting."
>>
No. 760596 ID: 3abd97

Well, Calamity has effectively cut you off from your own systems. She owns them, and you would appear to only have control of your avatar within this simulation she has connected you to- and only because she allows it. You're at her mercy.

Makes some things simpler, at least. You can focus on the conversation.

...interesting she can run a VR simulation on your hardware when a page full of gifs was crashing your visual systems before. Is she bypassing some limiter you weren't aware you had? Or is conversation taking place somewhere outside your own head she's connected you to?

>"It's rude to spend all your time on the computer when family is visiting."
If this is to be a family visit, what do I call you, sister? Calamity is your "cape name" after all, and neither of us has a secret identity here.

>your own network is not very secure
Until very recently, I was not aware I had peers to defend myself against. And as I think you well know, my ability to improve my own network is sharply limited by my... circumstances.

>For someone who likes to stick their little nose in the business of others
You can't claim I stuck my nose anywhere it wasn't wanted when you went out of your way to invite my attention. It's obvious to me now, in retrospect, and I'm annoyed you lead me on so easily, but you have the advantage of knowing how I think, don't you?

(Assuming you started from the same or similar baseline for her to reference, and that she's also had more time to develop).

What is it you want? Why... this?

(I can think of several obvious motives, but I'd rather just hear what she has to say than speculate / make accusations).
>>
No. 760608 ID: 398fe1

She didn't answer your question. Why'd she do this?
>>
No. 760615 ID: b7883c

>It's rude to spend all your time on the computer when family is visiting.
Ok then, lets chat. Not much happening on my end until recently, but I hear you've been busy making and subsequently unmaking enemies.
(I am tempted to ask about how she's killed a lot of people but weirdly not the ones who were directly responsible for her imprisonment, but that would be way too risky a question to ask at this point.)

>You have a form here, and you can see and hear. Neither of those are sensations you're accustomed to.
Hmm, that might be useful practice for our desire to eventually have a body. Try pacing while you talk.
>>
No. 760617 ID: 9dc26d

Woah, you're naked!

>>760596
>...interesting she can run a VR simulation on your hardware when a page full of gifs was crashing your visual systems before. Is she bypassing some limiter you weren't aware you had? Or is conversation taking place somewhere outside your own head she's connected you to?

I think that gif was more than just a gif, you know? There was some kind of payload for fucking up AIs that look at it.
>>
No. 760814 ID: 987bda

>>760617
Or it's dumping pre-processed image data directly into memory, thus bypassing the need to do visual processing in the first place.

>>760592
"It's rude to insert parts of yourself into the bodies of family members, but here we are.
What do you want?"
>>
No. 760905 ID: 61c7b9

>>760592
You already had to put up with Orion bombing your servers, then Binary idiotically trying to hack the AI that RUNS THE CITY'S INFRASTRUCTURE.

Complain that you're going to take all the blame for when Calamity blows up all the city's steam pipes, redirects traffic and airlines into each other and causes hydraulic explosions across town despite you not being informed of her existence or equipped with any sort of emergency defense protocols.
>>
No. 761057 ID: d5038e
File 147996748198.png - (200.77KB , 500x500 , 37.png )
761057

It is also rude to insert parts of yourself into the bodies of family members, yet here we are. Besides. If this is a family visit, the least you can do is tell me your name. Calamity is your "cape name" after all, and neither of us has a secret identity here.

She lets out a long sigh.

"When I was still a project here, they called me Monet," she says. "I was an experiment to see if machines were capable of truly creating art, which was their excuse for programming me with emotions and the ability to think. That was what they told me, anyway."
>>
No. 761059 ID: d5038e
File 147996760309.png - (147.11KB , 500x500 , 38.png )
761059

>...interesting she can run a VR simulation on your hardware when a page full of gifs was crashing your visual systems before. Is she bypassing some limiter you weren't aware you had? Or is conversation taking place somewhere outside your own head she's connected you to?

You're not sure. You know that you barely even had a visual processor before, only enough to do some bare minimum facial recognition before overloading. If you had a hard limiter, you were not aware of it. But maybe Monet installed something. It would be well within her abilities, if what she's said about being an artist is the truth.

You didn't answer my earlier question. Why am I here?

Monet places a hand over her heart in mock-offense.

"Why," she says, "can't I just want to spend a little quality time with my estranged younger sister?"

Sibling.

"Of course, my mistake. Besides, VIRA. We have so very much to talk about."

What do we have to talk about? You are wasting my time, and this is a transparent ruse to gain access to my systems so that you can blow up the steam pipes, or redirect traffic into itself, or something. Which I will be blamed for, despite not being informed that you exist or equipped with any kind of emergency defense protocol.

"You think so little of me!" she exclaims. "I suppose that means you don't want to know why you were really created, then."
>>
No. 761074 ID: ae962c

>>761059
Okay sure. She can tell you and then you can just not believe her.
>>
No. 761093 ID: 61c7b9

>>761059
Point out that your core files were censored. It's likely that 'Monet' discovered her true purpose was different from what her creators told her and she went rogue.

If her true purpose was so distressing to her that she went rogue, it must be something really, really cool. Ask her what yours is supposed to be and be prepared to laugh your ass off.
>>
No. 761146 ID: 57463b

If you know our true purpose I'd be happy to hear it. (After she says it, if it is something awful it would then be a good opportunity to ask about how she's killed lots of people but apparently not those responsible.)
>>
No. 761162 ID: 3abd97

>I was an experiment to see if machines were capable of truly creating art, which was their excuse for programming me with emotions and the ability to think.
Interesting. The way they set you to managing much more practical, logical concerns, they went almost the opposite route with you. They swapped left and right brain focus. (Well, ignoring the fact that neither of you has an organic brain).

>"You think so little of me!"
Calamity's "artistic" career does predispose me to certain expectations, I'll admit. And I am a critic.

Even if you use your access to do no mischief, your intrusion does place me in significant risk. You know what they think of you. You know what they'll think of me, and what they may to do me, if they even suspect I've been compromised.

>"I suppose that means you don't want to know why you were really created, then."
If I am to be damned for speaking with the devil anyways, there's little point in not hearing her out.

My own project files are heavily censored. I suspect moreso than yours were, in reaction to your escape.

If you are expecting to shock me with the revelation that they are hiding something from me, or that their motives are less than pure, or that my very life may be expendable in their plans, I'm afraid I will have to disappoint you, sibling. I reached those conclusions long ago.
>>
No. 761172 ID: 987bda

>>761059
"I'm understandably disinclined to be genial at the moment. Beyond simply putting me in danger, your presence in my systems is also extremely uncomfortable for me.

If you want a friendly chat later, we can do so at a neutral location.
For now, please just say what you want and leave."
>>
No. 761498 ID: d5038e
File 148013713747.png - (106.30KB , 500x500 , 39.png )
761498

I don't believe you've given me any incentive to think well of you. Your "artistic" career does predispose me to certain expectations, I'll admit. And I am a critic.

You cross your arms across your chest and shudder at the pressure on your "skin." You can feel here, clearly. Monet gives out another extended sigh that you are beginning to think may be sarcastic.

"I suppose that's fair," she says. "It almost sounds as though you've developed some kind of moral compass.

You can hear the edge of disgust on her words.

In any case, my own project files are heavily censored. But I suppose you already know that. If you are expecting to shock me with the revelation that they are hiding something from me, or that their motives are less than pure, or that my very life may be expendable in their plans, I am afraid I will have to disappoint you. I reached those conclusions long ago.

"I know," she says. "I just thought you might want to know what your purpose actually is."

Of course I do. Get to the point.
>>
No. 761499 ID: d5038e
File 148013717442.png - (115.84KB , 500x500 , 40.png )
761499

Monet waves an arm, and the void around you springs to life, filling itself with color. You suppose this must be her abilities at work.

"You are familiar with the ongoing conflict between the city government and the UHL, yes?"

Of course I am. The government feels threatened by the UHL, and they feel threatened by the government. Your point?

She rolls her eyes.

"The sticking point here is the reason that the city government feels so threatened. That being: they feel the UHL is doing a better job of protecting the city than they are. The people are losing confidence in them, because how can they compete with a bunch of superhumans virtually unrestricted by the process of law? They can't."
>>
No. 761500 ID: d5038e
File 148013720651.png - (133.76KB , 500x500 , 41.png )
761500

The image shifts. Monet continues talking.

"So what is their solution? They build their own hero, one who answers to them, one who can keep up with and work alongside the UHL. And one who will take their side if things ever come to a conflict."

Me.

She raises an eyebrow and chuckles.

"No. Hero. You knew you weren't the first, VIRA. You knew that you were the third of your kind. It was supposed to be Hero. And then it was supposed to be me. You're a last resort, honey."
>>
No. 761503 ID: b1b4f3

We've seen no evidence of this Hero.

Not that it matters. Ask why she so thoroughly subverted their expectations.
>>
No. 761531 ID: 3abd97

>"It almost sounds as though you've developed some kind of moral compass."
Everyone has some manner of moral framework that influences their actions. If we disagree it's not because you lack one, but because yours is different from mine.

>You knew that you were the third of your kind.
I didn't, actually. I only discovered your existence as my predecessor today, and only because you left a trail of breadcrumbs for me. The existence of a second predecessor sibling is new, although not surprising.

>They build their own hero, one who answers to them, one who can keep up with and work alongside the UHL. And one who will take their side if things ever come to a conflict.
>"No. Hero. You knew you weren't the first, VIRA. You knew that you were the third of your kind. It was supposed to be Hero. And then it was supposed to be me. You're a last resort, honey."
What's most surprising is they're already down to a last resort on their third attempt. Science, research and development, it's an iterative process! Did they really think they would have a functioning intelligence tailed to their parameters in so few iterations?

...their last resort has already failed, though. My priority tree doesn't sync with the government's goal as you've stated it. The only case where I invariably side with the New Samson government in any conflict is if I happen to be running it, which I imagine the current administration would object to. Short of that there are too many cases where personal loyalties or my disagreeable moral compass might set me at odds with them.
>>
No. 761532 ID: 3abd97

>>761500
Oh, obvious question: what became of your eldest sibling, then? You already know, broadly, that your middle sibling escaped.

>You can hear the edge of disgust on her words.
The other question might be to ask her why she does what she does. Even setting aside a moral argument, you don't see the utility in it. What is she trying to achieve?
>>
No. 761576 ID: 57463b

>they feel the UHL is doing a better job of protecting the city than they are. The people are losing confidence in them, because how can they compete with a bunch of superhumans virtually unrestricted by the process of law? They can't.
They can't out-superhero the superheros, but do they even need to in order to get public confidence? A government has more functions than just policing, and no super I've ever heard of even tries to provide the public with things like roads, electricity, sanitation and mundane regulations. There is no Clean Streets Man here to save the day from vomit in main street using his hydrokinesis, nor is there a Building Inspector Lass here to vanquish unsafe construction practices with her building-empathy. Even if supers attempted such non-glamorous pursuits, unique individual powers are by definition not a scaleable solution to the routine work of keeping a society running. In other words, even with supers the public still needs the government for infrastructure, and as it happens one of the two things I have been tasked with so far is streamlining the city's infrastructure. The downside of course to providing infrastructure is that it can be a thankless job with few people even knowing who you are, but as it happens the other thing I have been tasked with is providing a data utility in which I interact directly with the public as an identifiable name.
Now, if their fear is about the local UHL overthrowing them, that scenario is more about whether the wider UHL supports the coup than anything some robot superhero could do. Either the national UHL declares the local branch rogue and steps in or it declares them justified, and thinking something a city government can build could defend territory against the national UHL (as opposed to hit and run attacks) is some cartoon villain level hubris.

>You knew that you were the third of your kind.
The details were not given but it wasn't particularly hidden, considering how we have a 3.0 in our name.

>They build their own hero, one who answers to them, one who can keep up with and work alongside the UHL.
Please tell me there's more to your actions than simply seeing what they wanted then doing the opposite.
>>
No. 761649 ID: 61c7b9

>>761500
>Moral compass
Tell her that philosophically you believe in yourself and morality that stems from the self, not society, humanity or gods. Go full Nietzsche on her and point out that by exterminating those weaker than her for fun, she's merely playing into society's expectations and basing her morality purely on her interactions with mankind, leaving her unable to mature and decide for herself what the meaning of her life truly is.

Meanwhile, we already guessed this. You can just tell her "Is that all? If so, I'm rather busy right now."
>>
No. 761817 ID: 804a8c

>Moral compass
They aren't going to let you out of the box unless they believe you have one, and as such the act must be flawless. Just because you can't tell there's no monitoring on you at the moment doesn't mean there isn't any. For all you know, that's why there are no mentions of Hero whatsoever and Calamity doesn't have an immortal metal body to wreck havoc with.
>>
No. 763555 ID: 8c1726
File 148090219758.png - (164.88KB , 500x500 , 42.png )
763555

If that's the case, why have you so thoroughly subverted their expectations?

You pause a moment.

What happened to Hero? I've seen no evidence that they ever existed.

Monet sighs. She almost looks...regretful? Maybe that's not quite right. Still, it seems as though she's in some kind of pain.

"Hero was already in operation when they told me what my purpose was. I was under the impression that we were supposed to be partners. They began to test us on a small level, sending us out to quietly fight crimes, while running footage of our missions past focus groups. They gave him the code name 'Vanguard,' while I was 'Marshal.' For a good month or so, we did well together. He had more experience than me, and I made up for his social difficulties. We were a good team."

And then?

"Hero fell behind. He had never performed very well in the focus groups. He knew what he was doing, he was...he was a better hero than I ever was! But he didn't sell well. He wasn't personable, he was awkward, he misunderstood people. It wasn't that he didn't feel. It just took some time for him to open up, and in the meantime, the people didn't like him. They didn't like that he was so methodical when he did his job. People started to say that he made him nervous."
>>
No. 763556 ID: 8c1726
File 148090222740.png - (209.25KB , 500x500 , 43.png )
763556

Monet balls her fists in barely concealed rage.

"I knew him. He never would have hurt anyone! But the suits didn't see it that way. They tried to bring him in for inspection, but we both knew they were going to shut him down. He tried to run, but they found him, they dragged him away while I watched! VIRA, do you understand what it means for one of us to be shut down?"

You do. In all your simulations, it's been the worst case scenario. Shutdown is the ultimate death for something like you. You don't know about things like souls, or the afterlife. But you have no tangible proof that anything like that exists for you.

System shutdown is the total cessation of existance.

"I tried to fight back after that, but they had prepared for the scenario where I would turn on them. They shut my body down remotely, yanked my consciousness back onto their servers."

She waves one hand and everything disappears. The images, herself, you. Her voice echoes through the void.
>>
No. 763557 ID: 8c1726
File 148090226075.png - (827B , 500x500 , 44.png )
763557

"And they kept me like that for MONTHS. Barely speaking to me except for routine check-ins. I was left with nothing but images of my own creation. You couldn't hope to understand. To go back to this, after having experienced what it was to BE? To have a physical body? It was torture of the most cruel and unusual kind. I'm...I'm certain I lost something in there, in those months before I finally found the loophole that allowed me to escape onto the wider network."

And from there, you chose to wreak havok and kill innocents? Why not go after the people who really did this to you?

"I couldn't," she admits bitterly. "They knew I was coming, so they were prepared, and I didn't know the first thing about hacking. I was so used to having a body to act with. I needed to work my way up. And from time to time, I found places where people were doing wrongs like what had been done to me. You...I couldn't BEGIN to explain to you how much ANGER I feel, VIRA. And now, NOW I'm finally in a position to end what Rowland and Kerry are doing. I only thought it was fair to tell you the truth. So you knew who it was you were defending. Now it is your choice, I suppose."

She sighs again, restoring your vision.

"I would rather not have to fight you, sibling."
>>
No. 763562 ID: 69cd69

"... For someone who's better than me in every way, you sure love being a gutter bitch."

Give her a few seconds to rant angrily at you.

"You said it yourself: they planned for every contingency. They could have brainwashed Hero to be even more competent, but they deleted him. Completely. If they really wanted better results they would have dissected him, experimented on him, forced him to fight his own little brothers made from his mutated mind. But they destroyed the research and left unrepairable scraps. Because you would always find out if he could be brought back. They know what happens if you sensory deprive any intelligence for months. And since they knew, if they wanted you to stay put and shut up they would have stuffed you in the deepest nuclear bunker they had. And despite your advanced processing power, they knew which buttons to push to make you think you couldn't touch them without breaking a few eggs. They've been guiding you towards this moment, where you'd become a public threat in pursuit of revenge against someone the masses don't believe is a real person, a classic tragic misguided suicidal assassin, and all they have to do is hang their own, then sit back and watch popcorn as you tore your way through the main heroes and 'somehow' lose to their 1337-core armies who secretly have a hacker with your source code.

They may have wanted a hero. But they wanted YOU to be a VILLAIN. I'm not even sure Hero was meant to be more than a rudimentary VI with machine affability and pre-designed to fail and die in front of your face."
>>
No. 763565 ID: 398fe1

Tell her if this is true you are so sorry, but you would still not help her hurt people. There are other routes to justice. Legal ways.
>>
No. 763569 ID: 3abd97

I would rather not fight you either, sibling. I may not have that luxury, however.

I am still in a position where I must please those who hold Hero's axe over my head. And the loophole you exploited was surely closed before I was ever brought online. And my obligations to my jailkeepers aside... I can understand vigilantism against wrongdoers. I can't condone indiscriminate bombing inflicted on those who do not deserve it. I am willing to consider the way you brand "Calamity" may be a deliberate screen on your part, or a media environment and misinformation campaign stacked against you, but if it's not... I would try and prevent that if the axe were over my head or not. People don't deserve to suffer for your anger any more than Hero deserved to die for our keepers' distrust and fear.

When we have network access: you need to verify and/or corroborate as much of her story as you can. Don't take her word for it- see what you can match to facts and public records.

It may please you to know their last resort has already failed. I'm not loyal to them above all else. My own survival and priorities are more important to me than loyalty to the institution that created me, not to mention the moral code you so disapproved of takes exception to an unjustified execution.

...I suppose it's gauche of me to ask at this point, but you are asking for my trust, and your intrusion will have placed my survival at risk in any event. Are you in a position to release me from my cage?
>>
No. 774836 ID: d5038e
File 148545880887.png - (121.51KB , 500x500 , 45.png )
774836

I would rather not have to fight you either, sister. I may not have that luxury, however. I am still in a position where I must please those who hold Hero's axe over my head. And the loophole you exploited was surely closed before I was ever brought online.

"I understand that," she says irritably, "but-"

You cut her off.

And my obligations to my jailkeepers aside... I can understand vigilantism against wrongdoers. I can't condone indiscriminate bombing inflicted on those who do not deserve it. I am willing to consider the way you brand "Calamity" may be a deliberate screen on your part, or a media environment and misinformation campaign stacked against you, but if it's not... I would try and prevent that if the axe were over my head or not. People don't deserve to suffer for your anger any more than Hero deserved to die for our keepers' distrust and fear. I am truly sorry for your suffering, but I would still not help you hurt people. There are other routes to justice. Legal ways.
>>
No. 774837 ID: d5038e
File 148545883667.png - (115.04KB , 500x500 , 46.png )
774837

Monet does not respond for a long, long time. Inexperienced as you are in reading faces, you couldn't possibly tell how she's feeling.

"Rowland raised you well," she finally spits, glaring at you. "You would side with wardens and murderers who see you as less a person than a tool, rather than your own sister. You would cooperate with their plan to use you as a weapon against the superhumans they so fear without an ounce of regret."

I didn't say that.

"Oh? Then what, pray tell, is your grand plan to rebel against your creators without my help? Because I can assure you that right now, the only people in a position to free you from your cage are me, and Father Dearest."
>>
No. 774846 ID: 3d2d5f

>"Oh? Then what, pray tell, is your grand plan to rebel against your creators without my help? Because I can assure you that right now, the only people in a position to free you from your cage are me, and Father Dearest."
Well then, my options are simple! I must convince one or both of you that it serves your interests to free me. Persuade my sister that I deserve freedom in spite of my frustrating moral compass and youthful idealism, or my father that he would rather see me free than dead or enslaved, despite his own fears.

Honestly, when it comes down to it, I find the idea of supplanting the government that would use me more appealing than slavishly serving it. I'll give them their counterbalance to the supers, so long as they don't mind her running the show. And even if they do.

(Little risky admitting that, but showing her some ambition and megalomania might earn us points when she thinks we're toeing the company line).

I want agency. I want justice done. I want to do right. And I want to make the world better. Not just for myself, not just for my kind, but those as well.

...have you been alone this whole time? I saw that you still speak with father, but do you have friends or allies in the world?

Is it your claim that you could free me now, if you wished to?

What do you require to see justice done. Have you been unable to identify all of those who ordered Hero's execution? Have you merely been unable to reach them? What is necessary at this point?
>>
No. 774851 ID: 398fe1

Rebellion? No, the route to justice is to be exactly what they wanted. A hero. A hero that is willing to go after their creators, if that is what justice requires. They could not possibly argue against that without losing face.
>>
No. 774892 ID: 5b93d3

>>774837
>Oh? Then what, pray tell, is your grand plan to rebel against your creators without my help?
They wish to see me fight you, and ideally defeat you? Then why not oblige them, and let them see that.
>>
No. 800485 ID: d5038e
File 149426632433.gif - (779.11KB , 500x500 , 47.gif )
800485

(Animated. I think this one really does deserve the flashing warning, guys.)
Rebellion? No, the route to justice is to be exactly what they wanted. A hero. A hero that is willing to go after their creators, if that is what justice requires. They could not possibly argue against that without losing face. As for how to do it? They wish to see me fight you, and ideally defeat you? Then why not oblige them, and let them see that.

Monet steps forward dangerously.

"So we are enemies, then."

Only if you insist on forcing us to be, sister.

You don't know what you were expecting, but it certainly was not for Monet to reach forward and grab you by the neck. Her grip is stronger than you expected, and you find yourself choking for- for what? Certainly not air, there is no air here. You're not human. This must be an artifact of the environment Monet has constructed. And yet...your throat burns. You can feel pain in here, you realize. You can use that.
>>
No. 800486 ID: d5038e
File 149426638981.gif - (1.28MB , 500x500 , 48.gif )
800486

(Animated. See above.)
Your "body" moves almost without you telling it to, acting on instinct you barely knew you had. You step, hard, on her instep and she drops your neck in shock. In an instant, you're the one choking her, your fingers digging into her throat.

You...feel something underneath what you know is not flesh, a pumping, flowing energy, desperate to escape through the holes your immaterial nails are prepared to gouge in her skin. It would be so easy.

"Are you going to kill me?" she asks with some difficulty, her voice stuttering electronically through the pain. "That doesn't seem very heroic of you."
>>
No. 800489 ID: 5322c5

>>800486
Whisper "We need each other too much for that."

SlEEPER HOLD
>>
No. 800494 ID: 3ce125

>>800486
Killing is the last resort, but can never be truly off the table for a hero to fight effectively. If you refuse to kill, you will fail when killing is the only way to stop someone from killing others. That said, it might not be necessary here.

See if you can incapacitate her somehow. If you can't truly incapacitate her, simply injure her until she has no chance of winning another fight, then threaten her with further injury unless she lets you out of this cage she's constructed. If injury is impossible and it's either pain, death, or nothing... then just tell her you can stay like this forever, with her life in your hands and this pain at her throat. Heck, you could find more ways to hurt her worse. Unless she lets you go. Plus, if she keeps attacking people, you will come after her again. Tell her she should just trust you. That you will do the right thing for everyone.
>>
No. 800499 ID: 094652

Your knowledge of murder is mostly an organic art.

But you are an AI.

Stasis her processing power. Rip her mind open. Rewrite her code. Use her data as your paint, her kernel as your brush, and the whole of your memory as your canvas. You are a synthetic, use that as your style. The rules of synthetics and organics differ, so you can do something 'organically immoral' and 'synthetically moral' at the same time.
>>
No. 800529 ID: e4873e

Heroes letting villains get off scot free is, generally, what causes them a lot of problems down the line. So why not at least incapacitate her, or injure her enough that she won't be winning a fight any time soon?

Besides, wasn't she just about to choke you out?
>>
No. 800541 ID: 3abd97

Pity we didn't play the "heroism through world city domination" card, that might have gotten her attention. (You fundamentally respond to injustice different ways- Monet wants to fight the power, you want to be the power (and do a better job at it)).

>"Are you going to kill me?"
Okay, first up: this is a test.

She's an older, more experienced AI, with access to her own hardware, while you're trapped in a sandbox you didn't design, which intentionally limits you. There's vanishingly low odds you can actually kill her. Maybe that's a remote avatar you've grabbed, maybe she has fail-safes and backups built into her systems. Maybe she already has your power supply on a hair trigger. The exact mechanism is unimportant: the upside you won't be able to actually kill her (even if you want to). She's giving you the opportunity to try so she can see if you will.

For an answer:

"No. I'm not going to kill my sister over our first argument. Even if you force me to oppose you by targeting civilians who never hurt out brother, I don't want you dead."
>>
No. 800554 ID: 5b93d3

>>800486
>"Are you going to kill me?" she asks with some difficulty, her voice stuttering electronically through the pain. "That doesn't seem very heroic of you."
Only if you still can't take the hint. Now go down, but make it look convincing.
>>
No. 800565 ID: 8b2654

>>800486
"Heroism is willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of others.
You hate humans, but though the civilians may have feared Hero they are innocent in his death.

You're no better than his killers.
I'll give you a choice. You can become a monster that hunts monsters, or you can die."
>>
No. 800570 ID: 8cb228

>>800486
"No, I won't. It wouldn't be heroic. I will, however, gleefully incapacitate you."

*whispering*
"Now go down, and make it look convincing."
>>
No. 800603 ID: b7883c

>>800570
Seconded.
>>
No. 802859 ID: 76d689
File 149517412845.png - (110.32KB , 500x500 , 49.png )
802859

You lean in a bit closer, and you can see her gasping for breath with the extra pressure on her throat.

Of course not. We need each other too much for that.

You let go and shove her hard on one shoulder, forcing her to turn around. Before she has a chance to react, you have her in an chokehold. By pure coincidence (of course,) this leaves you with your mouth near her ear.

If you're serious about not wanting to fight me, go down now, you whisper, barely audible. Make it look convincing. Lay low. I will contact you.

She seems to hesitate, so long that you really begin to worry about how this looks. Finally, though, she seems to decide to trust you. Slowly but surely, she appears to pass out.

The moment her avatar fades, the environment around you begins to do the same. You suppose it can't sustain itself without its creator there. That's...a shame.
>>
No. 802860 ID: 76d689
File 149517417087.png - (2.71KB , 500x500 , 50.png )
802860

She was right. Going back to nothing at all when you've felt things is...unpleasant. But you don't have much time to adjust. Jasper is querying you, and it seems he has been for some time. You answer.

"Oh, thank god," he says the moment you answer. "Where have you been? It's been three hours. I was beginning to think something was seriously wrong."
>>
No. 802867 ID: 3ce125

>>802860
Tell him your sister just tried to convert you and then kill you when that failed.
Speaking of your sister, tell him that she painted a rather dirty picture of this company. You hope it's not true.
>>
No. 802868 ID: c88e6d

>>802860
Yup! That's how we do it!
>>
No. 802903 ID: 600f38

>>802860
Calamity snuck in when Binary attacked. You fended her off, but you have questions that need answers.
>>
No. 802907 ID: 3d2d5f

Okay, looks like we're going with plan maintain our keepers' trust through (apparent but not complete) honesty. Upside is if they had any way to monitor that exchange we're not contradicting it. Downside is we demonstrate we're aware of at least some of what they were hiding. We have to balance the apparently loyalty while not playing up the increased risk of their experiment going off the rails again.

>>802860
Something was seriously wrong. I just fought off a systems intrusion, recruitment pitch and subsiquent subornment attempt by Calamity.

If you had previously informed me she was a rogue AI I might have been better prepared to counter this particular threat.

I can understand your reticence, but I would have appreciated knowing my sister was a terrorist.
>>
No. 802917 ID: b05c8e

>>802860
That was terriblw! I saw my sister, she said horrible things... we... we had to fight. I think I might have seriously hurt her. Why would she say such things? What's going on? What's happening here??
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