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1079954 No. 1079954 ID: e139aa

Flockload of Problems II

Part I: >>/questarch/1066631
Discussion: >>/questdis/139947

NSFW because nudity and probably other things, 18+, etc. etc.

Continued apologies to Lagotrope, Slinko, Typo and Roaway.
82 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
No. 1085865 ID: 042212

Verdant Pearl never left, but that doesn't mean it began here, and Vi.al is already hiding constructs of another Lord in their systems... who's to say Ku.Suun isn't in on this
and from what direction far away, Ku.Suun could be from a place that is not, due to Blot
(Also that is an unusual name, one too many syllables, like a construct name, Ku.Su.Un, to add to your pile of madness) their manerisms also seem to imply being older, in a different interpretation
Ultimately, the only answers you are getting are from Vi.Al, if you can press them out of them
HELL, you could need information about Mu.At to solve this puzzle, or worse/earlier
Sadly, My.A is not the source of all this shenanigans, too much in too short a time, AT LEAST some of it already was
Hm, None of this really helps this mental breakdown, uhhhh you know what helps emotions? CRY
No. 1085869 ID: 8f9bc4

There's at least one creature on this planet who is THE BLOT and you are not going to think about them, but that means there's some possibility that the machine which My.a used to create these creatures is not governed by... sanity. If there were a fractal temporal dimension, it could pack a very long time into a very short amount of time. The real disconnect I see here is:

A) The Lepi cannot have been around all this time. Their timeframe from ancient time to the present is very short.
B) The artifacts and the history of the Lepi *have* been around all this time.

All I can think is the surviving Lepi were put in stasis during this time compression period, which... miiight be what My.a's machine did? No way to tell without talking to the other species to see if they observed a long amount of time suddenly passing too.
No. 1085904 ID: a7a180

Everything Vi.al told you needs a big fat [needs citation] flag. First contact with a lord is not their date of creation.
Return the bracelet and carry on.
No. 1085908 ID: ea63b3

Perhaps the Lepi were reconstituted from long range scans of their light-shell intercepted by colossal arrays of telescopes moved by FTL means to capture all data of their prior existence, recorded into My.a's machine for later resurrection.
No. 1086147 ID: 89f25b

Now might not be the time to dwell on thus past, especially as you're missing several pieces of it.
Give the bracelet back to Lightgreen, confirm communication protocol and you'll be ready to head out, thinking of more immediate problems.
No. 1086712 ID: e139aa
File 171081316967.png - (249.39KB , 800x600 , fop2-23.png )

> ku.suun is an odd name
Oh, that's an adjective. Like Vi.alic for Vi.al. Or Lo.kan for Lo.ka. I don't know who decides these things. The Lords, maybe. Maybe it's something they have big fights over because it's something so ultimately inconsequential. Lord Vi.al doesn't even use theirs half the time. Lots of references to "Vi.al architecture" and not "Vi.alic architecture".
If I was a Lord I'd make my descriptor "Vi.si.mine". ...that's not really related to anything right now. My mind is fraying, give me a break.

> power balance shifted
> organics can control substrate
Organic control over substrate through a substrate device is not a new development. I'm impressed Lightgreen can operate it, but if this was made by Lord Ku.su or their agents and is something a lepi can wear and use, this isn't really as much of a concern as you might think.
Now, if Lightgreen had, I don't know, made the bracelet herself, I would be worried, yes. An isolated artifact presented as a gift of the gods, and all she can do is make my flocklet obey a simple command? While I subconsciously wanted my flocklet to be easier to control? Nothing to worry about. Any pushback from me and nothing would have happened.
...I will be keeping on eye on her use of it. The fact the device resisted my control does concern me. It's not a surprise I lack the permissions for a device shaped by a different Lord's agents, but it does mean I can't instruct it to dissolve if it becomes a problem.

> lepi were imprisoned and brought here
> lepi came here via some sort of transmission
> lepi were sent here through time travel
> my.a's mystery machines
> perhaps ku.su
> the blot the blOT THE BLOT
Monarch's name I can't take any more wild theories. I need to calm down and--

> stop scaring lightgreen
--and stop scaring Lightgreen, yes.

"Sorry. Your bracelet is, uh. Unusual."
"You're shaking," says Lightgreen, cautiously reaching for her bracelet back as I hold it out to her. "Is this artifact safe?"
"It's safe, it's nothing with the artifact, just... something about how you discovered it and what we know of this world's history don't quite line up."

Lightgreen pauses and frowns. "Sorry, what was that? Can you explain more?"
"Well, this bracelet is older than it should be. And I wasn't told there were, uh, starbeing temples like you describe on this world so long ago."

Now that I think about it, I don't think Vi.al even started working on this world until I was in my teens.

Lightgreen looks at her bracelet thoughtfully, before squeaking at it to shift back onto her arm. "But why are you shaking?"
Because every fundamental assumption I've had about this planet has been proven to be wrong so far to the point I'm questioning if I fell into the Blot at this point.

She looks at her bracelet with a newfound apprehension. "...should I be afraid as well?"

No, no, things still make too much sense so far for that to have been a thing that happened. That's not a productive path to wander down, any more than it would be if I thought I was in a recovery coma from hitting the planet too hard and have been dreaming this entire thing. In either case, if I am trapped in some reality, I can't really change that, so I must act as though everything is real anyway. There, solipsistic psychotic break swiftly avoided.
No. 1086716 ID: e139aa
File 171081339159.png - (248.15KB , 800x600 , fop2-24.png )

Oh right Lightgreen asked me a question. "Uhh. It's hard to explain. It's nothing for you to worry about, it's all starbeing nonsense. I don't know where to even start giving you the context."
"That's... I didn't ask for... never mind."

Lightgreen puts a hand on my shoulder and looks at me. "I don't understand you as well as I'd like. You're okay with wandering off towards the seapi and whatever horrible fate they might have in store for you, but, if I understand this correctly, a bracelet being in a place you don't think it should be makes you so scared you shake?"
"It does seem a little silly when you say it like that," I say, tension easing a little.

Li.ni.si takes a few deep breaths, rhythmically. "It's all dull politics and the realisation of some consequences for our superiors," she says, trying to elaborate where I couldn't. "It means our lives are going to be a bit more, well, interesting in the future. Your people won't be involved."
"<You can't promise that's going to be true,>" I click and whistle back to Li.ni.si.
"<I didn't promise it.>"
"<How Vi.alic,>" I say. "<I took you for the kind of construct to always say what they felt. You've been fairly candid.>"
"<We've known each other for less than [a day]. Now let's drop the symphonic, it's not fair on Lightgreen.>"

Lightgreen does look a little frustrated to have been cut out of the discussion again. "What are you two saying to each other now?"
"Having a bit of a discussion on the semantics of translation," I say.
Li.ni.si raises her brow at me, but nods to Lightgreen. "Even with our devices making translation smoother, there's always nuances it can't catch."

Lightgreen gives us both a look that tells us she's either frustrated to be unsure what we're saying, or absolutely not buying our excuse, but she decides to let it go.

She looks at her bracelet, looks at my flocklet, and sighs. "Maybe I should just come with you. There's two of you this time, and, uh, you... you? Uh, um, what was your name again, sorry?"
Li.ni.si smacks her forehead. "Oh Monarch's name! I forgot! Sorry, yes! My name is Li.ni.si, but, Li will be fine."
"Hi Lee, my name is Lightgreen Mint. I don't think I gave you my full name."
"You did, but thank you."
"Anyway there's two of you now, Lee and Vee. Three with me, but I'm not much of a fighter." She looks at my flocklet. "Three and a half maybe?"
"Half is a generous estimation," I say, looking at my flocklet, which, as an extension of my subconscious, does not have enough individual will to feel offended. That, or I'm subconsciously instructing it to not be offended, and it is dutifully not being offended. But if I'm instructing it subconsciously, and my subconscious is reflected by my flocklet, does that mean my flocklet is commanding itself? Or am I--
"I'm not particularly much of a fighter either," says Li.ni.si, pulling me out of possibly one of my least helpful mental tangents. "Like I said, these claws are mostly for show. But I've picked up some skills here and there, and I've... well, I won't get into it. I've been through more than you might think. I've brought along some weapons and defenses for Vi.si.mi and myself to use that should help keep things lower risk."

Wait! I was going to mention that Lightgreen totally summoned me to her but now there's nowhere in the conversation to add it because I waited too long! Monarch's beak take it all, why am I like this?? Oh well, I have no choice but to awkwardly bring it up now before I forget!!

"It's true," I say. "Oh, also, before I forget, Lightgreen, you mentioned you used your bracelet to try and fix the tower the night I arrived, yes?"
"Oh. She did say that, didn't she," says Li.ni.si.
"I did, yes."
"Then you should know something."
No. 1086717 ID: e139aa
File 171081341597.png - (150.73KB , 800x600 , fop2-25.png )

I walk a little closer to her.

"The only reason I was able to find you, the only reason I was able to arrive safely, was thanks to that tower giving off a signal. You were talking about how you felt this was all random chance? Well, let me be the first to tell you that, if you hadn't done that, I might not have even survived coming here. You summoned me and you saved my life. This was not nearly as random a chance as either of us thought. I just want to thank you for saving my life, uh, at least twice now."

The relay station is almost completely silent save for bleeps and bloops of background processing and the hum of internal machinery.

You know, I just wanted to make her feel better about things, but halfway through saying that, no, I am grateful she did that. Lightgreen is a good friend to have even if I've only known her for two or three days. It feels like it's been longer, somehow.

Lightgreen looks quietly surprised, and then smiles at me. "I'm glad to have helped, starbird!! I want to help you! ...To help us!"
"Of course," I say.

Li.ni.si fakes a cough. "I'm glad you two are finding new reasons to appreciate each other, but it's getting close to midday and we're still not on the road yet."
"Why are you glad that--"
Li.ni.si cuts me off. "Okay, no, we really do have to focus. Lightgreen, have you decided you want to come along with us instead of conducting Vi.si.mi's flocklet?"
Lightgreen looks at her bracelet. "I think I might find things you two might not even notice, if I've understood right."
"Great. Vi.si.mi, any further ideas on transport?"
"Short of getting meadowanders to ride on, and several days of learning how to ride meadowanders, no. Just a cart."
"Cart it'll have to be."
"Softfoot won't let me leave without her again," says Lightgreen. "I'll ride with her."

Li.ni.si nods and does the best smile she can with only her eyes, before quietly turning to me. "What's a meadowander? Lord Vi.al didn't mention them, but I saw them in the mission briefing data."
"Placid Guardian deriative. Worringly, apparently fully sapient. Sworn to guard the lepi, supposedly."
"Oh. Why is that worrying? We need all the allies we can get, right?"
"Well, I don't see them doing much without hand use, tools, or anything beyond a vaguely pre-tribal social structure."
"You don't have a lot of faith in others, do you?"
"They're supposed to be dumb beasts of burden! I've introduced that species to more worlds than I could name, I'm not used to having them judging me and blaming me for the ills of the world!" Well, that's not entirely true, but, not in a sense beyond any smart-ish animal sulking that you haven't given them all the food they want ever. ...I guess they always were a little craftier than I gave them credit for. Maybe it's not that big a surprise they drifted towards true sapience.
"Whatever. Let's just get out of this relay station already and go do the thing. I'm feeling antsy. And that's making me hungry."
No. 1086718 ID: e139aa
File 171081343908.png - (269.84KB , 800x600 , fop2-26.png )

And so we're finally on the road! It only took [two hours] more after that and I have severe doubts we're getting anywhere before nightfall, but we're finally doing the thing I wanted to do today to prove to the lepi I'm more than a fluffy bag of empty promises.

The cart is moving along relatively slowly, with me taking the role of driver (navigator, really) and Li.ni.si making sure the things we brought all stay in the cart, as well as otherwise keeping watch. Lightgreen rides Softfoot next to us, who keeps glancing at the cart in disapproval. I'm watching Lightgreen ride this creature and I can't figure it out. Softfoot seems far too small to be carrying something the size of Lightgreen, and Lightgreen somehow is not tumbling back despite Softfoot's sloping back. And Softfoot is moving along like it's all nothing. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but that's why I'm in a cart and not on an animal.

Finally, Softfoot actually speaks, in monovoice as always. "Cart move by self."
"It does, yes, and it's been doing so for a while," I say, absent-mindedly. "I was going to ask you to pull it but I didn't think that would be fair on you."
"Star bird make cart move by self. Big insect people push cart, ask family push cart." Softfoot makes an annoyed buzz. "Star bird could make big insect people cart move by self."
"I don't think it's that simple," says Lightgreen. "Right, starb-- Vee?"
"Is Softfoot accusing me of not interfering more in the lives of the lepi? I mean, the entire reason I'm out here is to prove to the lepi I'm someone they can trust. If I started trying to make changes to their lives like that, they'll chase me out of the village, probably."

Softfoot keeps walking, head down, still clearly annoyed. "Old big insect people need learn take help."
"I could not agree with you more," I say, sighing.
"Sorry, can you explain what that means? Is she talking about old lepi?" Li.ni.si fidgets with a ball of substrate.
"Probably specifically the elder. She was the one most resistant to my attempts to help." She wasn't unreasonable about it, I guess. She probably had reasons to be distrustful. Thanks, Va.ne.tu. Or, well, I guess, thanks My.a, but, still.
"Old people foolish."
"I wouldn't say that," says Lightgreen.
"Soft foot say that."
"She's got some opinions, I see," says Li.ni.si, clearly amused. "Not afraid to speak truth to power. I like that."
"We're hardly power," I say.
"Whatever you say, lordling."
"Never ever call me that again."
"Sure. But it's not exactly a secret you're Vi.al's favourite. You have to be aware of this, right?"
"Even if I accept that, it doesn't exactly give me any form of authority or power." Well, some specific permissions when it comes to offworld Vi.al devices, but aside from that.
"Yet I bet if you wanted Vi.al's attention, you'd get it. I've spoken to Lord Lo.ka three times in my entire life. Once for my completion, again as part of a debriefing relating to... the event, and then the last time was to request a transfer to Lord Vi.al's domain. And I'm still luckier than most!"

Lightgreen looks ahead, but both of her antennae lean towards us so strongly I wonder if they might break or fall out. Very subtle eavesdropping. Very subtle.

"Wait. Your completion? As in your decanting?"
"No, that's what we call it when we finish our training and become eligible for roles and placements."
"So when you stop being a vatling?"
"Well, it usually lines up around the same time, but no, Lord Lo.ka doesn't just declare a construct good to go just because they're old enough. Sometimes you get vatlings that reach completion and end up in less challenging but related work, and sometimes you have adults that get stuck in training for [years]."
"That sounds miserable."
"Well, I don't know. It guarantees constructs are doing their jobs with the right training, doesn't it? What does Vi.al do?"
"Vi.al doesn't really make constructs at all, so I can only speak for myself, but I was considered mentally ready for work far before I was physically ready. So I did a lot of work just keeping the palatial gardens maintained for a couple of [years]. I was desperate to see another planet when my 16th decantday came up, and even then it was just nearby moons until I turned... what, 19?"
"Have you just been travelling to random desolate worlds since?"
"Not always desolate, but I'm either there to set up a new ecosystem or repair a damaged one. Usually pretty remote."
"Wow. I'd never be able to take that sort of isolation. I hate being alone," says Li.ni.si, thoughtfully. "I used to be alright with it, but, well, now I just... feel the absence more."
"Absence?" Does she mean life in the First City? Wow, it really feels like it was something special before it all went wrong. I'm starting to feel sad about it and I never even went there, but that's, I guess, just it, isn't it? I only ever heard of it, saw videos, heard recordings, and most of those got destroyed during the Big Whatever Happened. I mean, I think I probably would have hated it, to be honest, I'm not used to being in massive crowds. Still.
"Never mind," she says, quickly, folding her arms across her chest. "Forget I said anything." She looks faintly uncomfortable to have even mentioned it, and I'm not so much of a social disaster as to not pick up on the pretty clear cues not to pry further.

"Danger ahead," says Softfoot. She slows her pace but not stopping. Her... antennae? Tendrils? Her head thingies prick up and I feel my feathers puff up as the ambient charge of the environment shifts.

I look at her, and I switch my eyes into zoom mode, scanning the horizon.

"You're the one with the multi-functional eyes," says Li.ni.si, behind me. "What's Softfoot talking about?"
No. 1086719 ID: e139aa
File 171081349140.png - (537.81KB , 800x600 , fop2-27.png )

That's weird. It looks like... I think it's a seapi. And some other creature I don't recognise.

Something's weird. I can't see it right, but it looks like...

I can make out what looks like abandoned broken substrate but among them is something flickering in a familiar shade of greenish blue.

I steady my head as I try to zoom in further.

Oh. Oh, that's a substrate entity alright. It looks... well, it sort of looks like a construct but fuzzier, holographic. A projection of some sort. And while most constructs follow the third standard template, appearing either somewhat avian or like some sort of creature, there's elements of this one that seem like some strange mishmash between the third standard template and the far more geometric first standard template.

The seapi looks like they're in some sort of trance, barely standing up straight. The projection is pacing around and fidgeting like they're waiting for something? Why does it keep looking upwards, though...

"Looks like some sort of substrate mechanism failure. I'm obligated to investigate. One of the few directives I have I can't really ignore."
Well, I could, but I'd feel bad. Also, it's a fair directive to have when the dangers of substrate failure can include runaway substrate assimilation. Vi.al wanted me to come to my own ethical judgements on many things, but wild substrate on an inhabited planet is not something to debate over. It has to be contained and neutralised in all cases.

Lightgreen is not able to contain the sudden glee she feels at hearing me mention investigating substrate, muffling a squeak.
Softfoot looks at me with a gaze I have come to recognise is her wordlessly agreeing with me that I do, in fact, have an obligation to clear up my predecessors' mess.

Li.ni.si looks a little anxious. "What sort of failure?"
"Defective substrate process, it looks like. I'm sure it just needs to be squawked at to get back to work. Maybe given a forced reset." Surprised it's creating some sort of holographic avatar, that's not typically a level of sophistication afforded to substrate processes.
"Why is a substrate process even active when so much of the infrastructure can't even be queried for basic operational status?"
"I dunno. Is that an issue?"
"Vi.si.mi, I'm no engineer, but generally speaking, when the power's cut, things should probably not still be on."
"Substrate can use sunlight for power. It's been out in the sun for [years]."
No. 1086720 ID: e139aa
File 171081355763.png - (165.58KB , 800x600 , fop2-28.png )

"What's a substrate process?" asks Lightgreen.
"Uhhh..." How in the Monarch's lost name am I going to explain the concept of an intangible agent process to someone whose culture's greatest advancement in automation is probably something like a water clock?? I look helplessly at Li.ni.si, who shakes her head. Great. "Basically, it's, uh, a sort of, uhhhh... sort of like a thing that carries out specific instructions, and does this duty while confined within substrate. Sort of like a... uhh..."
"Oh! Is that what you call the spirits in the substrate? The ones who woke up then went back to sleep?"
"Yes. Yes that is absolutely what we call those." That is going to have to be good enough, even though that assumes far too much of a cluster of agents running within substrate networks. It's not like they're even capable of understanding sensory input outside their very narrow parameters.

...Wait. No. It's probably something more sophisticated than that.

A set of dumb agents would not be manifesting a holographic avatar unless they're somehow expecting the natives to work the controls.
So I'm probably looking at a rogue subpartition. But, admitting that is going to reflect incredibly badly on Lord Vi.al's grasp of its own substrate, and we do not need any more rumours, especially when I know there's Lo.kan spies on this planet. Li.ni.si, I'm sure, isn't one of those, Lord Vi.al wouldn't have sent her down if they had any suspicions, but what if she's somehow compromised without knowing it? No. No, that's baseless paranoia.

Still. I'm not going to voice this theory out loud just yet. I'm probably absolutely wrong anyway and I have to admit after that embarassment with My.a I'm not so sure my theories are even that accurate anymore. Plus, if it is a rogue subpartition, that would provoke an ethical debate as to how to proceed. Some of them can get alarmingly close to construct-level intellect. We might not even go investigate and fix it at all, and then I'd be down one directive unfulfilled. I'll have to start introducing myself to a lot more people, a lot more often, just to shut my head up!

Oh I wish I had not just thought about the possibility of Li.ni.si being a Lo.kan spy. That's not going to be great for our working relationship.
Come on, Vi.si.mi, get it together.

Li.ni.si shifts around. "This whole situation still gives me bad vibes." She looks at me. "Are you okay? You've gone very quiet."
"Yes. I'm fine. And I'm sorry, but I have an obligation to investigate this as an ecology construct and steward of Lord Vi.al's worlds."
"Fair enough, I guess," she says, arms crossing over her chest. "If it starts trying to transmit something weird, though, shut it out."
"Why would it transmit something weird?"
Li.ni.si looks at me, and, after looking around, fidgeting with her claws, tapping them together anxiously, sighs.
"It probably won't. Don't worry about it."
"Understood." What is this about? Why is she acting so cagey? What is she not telling me?? About weird transmissions?? Are they spy transmissions???

"So we're going to investigate the starspirit, yes?" Lightgreen tries to sound cool and collected, but it's evident from how her foot is twitching she's apparently extremely eager to have a new starbeing thing to look at. Her enthusiasm is the perfect distraction from whatever it was I was thinking about. "They've all been dormant for so long ever since the Awakening. I didn't think any were left! I've wanted to contact them for so long. ...so I could, uh, call for help from above. So I guess I don't need to, but, well, I'd like to know what happened anyway. I'd like it to not happen again."

Maybe I should consider my approach here. Would loading up on shields and incapacitors be a good idea, or do I want to approach unarmed? Hm. If my suspicions are correct, approaching armed might trigger an adverse reaction from the subpartition if they think I'm a threat.
No. 1086722 ID: 99f29a

Make kissy faces at them until they rant long enough about their personal problems long enough to suffer a meltdown and become vulnerable to basic emotional comfort.
No. 1086726 ID: 273c18

>But if I'm instructing it subconsciously, and my subconscious is reflected by my flocklet, does that mean my flocklet is commanding itself?
It means your flocklet *is* your subconscious.

>Li has been through a lot
If that subject comes up(let's hope it doesn't), maybe you should tell her that My.a seems to have developed some sort of improved mental shield.

>I've introduced that species to more worlds than I could name
Wait. How long ago was the species made? I see two possibilities here.
1, the Placid Guardian design was created based on meadowanders. If Placid Guardians were designed after Ku.su arrived, then that supports this theory, and is a further point of evidence that the inhabitants (and ruins) were brought here by Ku.su.
2, meadowanders became sapient due to genetic drift over a long long period of time, which would support the "time-travel" theory. You should know, accelerating a planet's timeframe isn't difficult, you can just put it near a sufficiently strong gravity well for a while. It didn't have to get sent back in time, it just... has more time in it, if you get my drift.

>looking upwards
You should try to see what it's looking at.
The fact that the seapi seems dazed while standing near it is a red flag. His antennae are vibrating. Maybe the seapi are sensitive to transmissions and are being controlled somehow? If the seapi are brainwashed, then... we could get another allied race, potentially? Maybe that's how the noetuno managed to work with them, by rescuing some from brainwashing. Or by exploiting the same vulnerability.

>admitting that is going to reflect incredibly badly on Lord Vi.al's grasp of its own substrate
Not if another Lord is involved. Could My.a be responsible? Va.ne.tu said there were "birds" in the sky, and the rogue is looking up. Maybe My.a is instructing it to NOT send the seapi against you, due to the truce?

>weird transmissions
Yeahhh that's probably related to the Big Thing both of you aren't supposed to be talking or thinking about. Infohazards can be weaponized.

>how to approach?
Approach with shields but without weapons. Find out what it's looking at and what it might be doing to the seapi.
No. 1086727 ID: c30402

If you need to avoid contact for any reason, the bracelet may be useful in getting it to reset.

More concerning is the seapi in a trance. Why is it in a trance? If we reset the agent, will it stop being in a trance and attack? We definitely do not want to be unarmed in the event the seapi attacks.
No. 1086728 ID: 347191

>An isolated artifact presented as a gift of the gods, and all she can do is make my flocklet obey a simple command?
Well, if you find more that silk lepi would probably be happy to have one. Even if that means learning monovoice. Oh is Ku.su dead?
>"I used to be alright with it, but, well, now I just... feel the absence more."
>"If it starts trying to transmit something weird, though, shut it out."
How much would you bet those are related? Probably because of the cityworld failure.
>Maybe I should consider my approach here. Would loading up on shields and incapacitors be a good idea, or do I want to approach unarmed? Hm. If my suspicions are correct, approaching armed might trigger an adverse reaction from the subpartition if they think I'm a threat.
Shields are probably pure defensive. With those you should have enough defense to get to the weapons if needed.
No. 1086729 ID: 5ebd37

>Why is she acting so cagey?
Calm down. She's referring to the thing you don't talk about. Vi.al wouldn't send a spy into a situation this messy.

Is the seapi looking at something or just staring away?
Bring just a shield and keep your distance.
No. 1086730 ID: 275adc

Wouldn't a subpartition (of Vi.al) look even SLIGHTLY like Vi.al?
the thing Li is "carefully" avoiding could be something you shouldn't think about (being blotted out of memory by Vi.al), a phrasing indirect enough that it should be safe to just ASK if you shouldn't think about it
Shields are not weapons, yes shields no incapacitators, maybe ask it of who it is a subpartition
If you are going to approach it like a subpartition you DO, in fact, need to tell Li that you are going to do so, communication will be very important to not fuck something up bad
Maybe have her help deal with the Seapi?
No. 1086731 ID: 624b08

Should we be worried about the bee person, you know since they have a reputation of showing up, raiding things, and then leaving after kidnapping a bunch of people?

Maybe just ask lightgreen if she knows what’s wrong with it.
No. 1086742 ID: ea63b3

Clearly whatever the Event did to destroy the First City involved transmitting something weird. Regardless, it hopefully won't be relevant.

Approach to within 100 meters of the pair. Wave one of your arms at the figures in the distance. Call out in Monotone, "Do you need help?"
No. 1086745 ID: 275adc

ALSO doesn't everything related to substrate only come in Teal? what's up with this projection having purple?
No. 1086758 ID: fa3034

At the very least put your shield at the ready. Li can have the incapacitor out of direct eyesight in the cart.
No. 1086771 ID: 8f9bc4


Do not worry about Cityworld yet. There's no evidence yet that what's happening here is related to the Event in any way. Li.ni.si just had an experience there, and is applying it to her current situation probably erroneously. You are probably not going to have to think about the thing you don't think about.
No. 1086777 ID: eb0a9c

Keep all weapons powered off, but shields at maximum.
No. 1086781 ID: 6fec12

"Shut out weird transmissions" is the kind of verbiage used around a basilisk, there's a potential for communication itself to get hairy here. It is probably a good idea (it at least isn't harmful) to shut out all transmissions and speak exclusively in sound. Even then, there might still be potential of a nasty bug being sent to you if Shapeless Polyphonic is robust enough for commands, it's best to use monovoice. Maybe letting the flocklet store transmissions as a buffer (like the Gorgon's mirror) is a good idea, if there is a way to prevent it from retransmitting or to block its transmissions in full and to consequently reset it. If not, don't.
No. 1086784 ID: 8a4559

Li.ni.si?? What do you mean it "probably" won't? You don't need to grill her but try to talk to her later and make sure she isn't hiding mission-critical info.

Also the safest, least-threatening way of getting closer to those subpartitions(?) is to use a flocklet.
No. 1086789 ID: b3eab7

This sounds best.
Also this. Shield only on you, weapon on Li.
No. 1087807 ID: e139aa
File 171209265722.png - (488.02KB , 800x600 , fop2-29.png )

> why does a Vi.al subpartition not look like Vi.al
Okay so the problem is a lot of Shapeless terminology has changed meanings over time. Originally, you had Lords, their partitions, and their partitions' subpartitions, which typically didn't have much of a physical manifestation and were typically not expected to do much outside their specific parameters. Beneath them were processes, which are immaterial agents that could maybe muster up some basic monovoice status reports but otherwise don't have much going for them.
So the name "subpartition" sort of stuck for any immaterial intellect within substrate of a certain level of awareness and intellect. Constructs being added into the mix sort of disrupted the clean hierarchy because, prior to constructs, most physical substrate entities were the swarm-bodies of Lords and their partitions, and what we now call automata which are various forms of substrate machinery and drones and what have you that have limited to no independent will. Subpartitions and processes control these as vehicles, I suppose you could think of them as, and could freely transmit between them or otherwise control them remotely.
Really, constructs are a severe exception to the general rule that most Shapeless entities could freely switch around between bodies as intangible signals, and could also convert said bodies into signals if they had to use them somewhere else. This is one of the reasons we're even called the Shapeless, because to some extent a lot of the "true forms" of most true Shapeless could be argued to simply be the intangible clusters of signals making up a Shapeless mind. I think. Honestly, the number of true Shapeless with a preferred tangible form kind of suggests to me it's not that simple.

Okay I got off topic a lot. Original question. A subpartition is enough steps removed from a Lord that their assumed shape is likely whatever they feel like. Partitions tend to already diverge in appearance from their instantiator as it is, so I'm not surprised to see an appearance this divergent. It's a fashion among Vi.al subpartitions in particular to have pieces of their body missing, for some reason. Seems sort of like a Woven fashion to me, but, whatever.

> why purple
However the extra colour is a rarer thing. I mean, substrate can change in appearance, it's how Vy.zi.ki could cloak, but it's not a default feature of substrate cells so much as a mechanism that substrate cells can be used to create. It's one reason why colour changes like that are so rare, you have to go to special effort and the current fashion is to not do that. However, seeing as this is also a holographic avatar, there's fewer restrictions that would apply to a physical entity anyway, being just an emitted image from a dense and contained substrate fog.

> wait until they inevitably break down over personal issues
Hey! Hey. That's alien propaganda. Substrate is like glass, it is not literally glass. And while it might be brittle compared to other materials, we are neither physically nor emotionally fragile! ...I know I might be but I'm, uh, well I'm at least self-aware about it. That's almost like trying to fix a problem, right?
I think this as I direct my flocklet by thought alone to come closer so I can hold it for a bit of reassurance.
Okay maybe I am a little bit fragile. I've had a rough few days. I could do with a visit to a world with an established, vibrant ecosphere after this. Without thousands of problems all calling for me to solve them.

> flocklet is your subconscious
That's kind of a terrifying thought. Part of my mind external to my body? I guess that's an insight into what it must be like to be a Lord. But, it can't be completely true, else every time it's gone out of communication range I'd probably have felt like something was missing. I mean, I do, but it's like if my wingarm's unresponsive because I slept on it weird. I'm aware I'm not feeling something I should, but I don't feel like I'm missing my basic instincts or responses.
I pet the flocklet again and it makes a subdued, quiet chirp, a noise I haven't made in years, but remember making when I was on my own when I felt relaxed.

> use flocklet as a proxy to approach it
That's not a bad idea. I'd still like to be within good range to my flocklet if I have to pull it out, though, and while the latency of commanding it over a far distance wouldn't ordinarily be an issue, for a [split-second] reaction I'd prefer to have as many of those [split-seconds] as possible.

> weird transmissions
> the event
> first city / cityworld experimental / whatever other names it had
Oh. Oh, right. The thing that's dangerous to think about. I hadn't quite connected all the dots. Okay, that makes sense, then. Probably not a spy thing! Also probably not a thing I should ask further about, then.

> the birds
Va.ne.tu said something about birds? Oh! Oh, no, right, his weird echo-flocklet when I woke up in that tent. ...I'm pretty sure he was just alluding to the fact that the Shapeless Lords have eyes everywhere. I mean, as an agent of Vi.al, that's not even incorrect, I am one of those sets of eyes. Metaphorically. Lord Vi.al can't directly see through my eyes. I think. Probably could see through my flocklet's eyes if they really wanted to, but that's a level of micromanagement I wouldn't expect, and I'd be able to tell if something that invasive was happening.
No. 1087809 ID: e139aa
File 171209268916.png - (151.72KB , 800x600 , fop2-30.png )

> shields on both, no weapon for vi.si.mi, li.ni.si gets a weapon
Yes that seems like the safest bet.

> ask Lightgreen about the seapi
"Lightgreen, do you have any idea what's wrong with that seapi?"
I realise as soon as I finish asking that no one else can see into the distance as clearly as I can.
"Seapi?!" Lightgreen freezes up. "There's seapi over there??"
"Just one, and it looks sort of... vacant. It's just standing there. Like it's about to fall asleep."
"I don't think I want to take any chances getting closer, that's not a thing seapi do. This seems like a trap?"
"Well, either way, I have to investigate."

Softfoot looks at me disapprovingly yet again. "I say danger. We take new direction."
"I have to clean up this mess first."
"You go. We stay. Me, Light green. This is star people thing."
"It's fine," says Lightgreen, in a tone of voice suggesting the complete opposite. "I trust you, starbird."
"Thank you."
Softfoot stomps on the ground in annoyance, but keeps following the cart as we start trundling towards the entity.

"Li.ni.si, shields. I won't take a weapon, but I'd suggest arming yourself."
"On it," says Li.ni.si, giving me a small shield gen I affix to my chest. I feel a tingle as the field propagates over the surface of my body. My feathers puff up as I shiver, both from the sensation of energy dancing over my body, and an abrupt chill from my bioenergy starting to leech into the generator. It soon subsides. Both the chill and puffiness.
Li.ni.si slaps the other shield gen on her chest, with a sharp intake of breath, and starts configuring an incapacitor to fit her grip. Either she's built less sensitive than I am, or she's much more familiar with doing this than I am.

We also take a copy each of the relay station bounced communicators, hastily fabricated from redundant cart substrate. They adhere much like the shield generators, but with a significantly lower power draw. I put mine on the side of my head. They function adequately enough, but remind me that it would be a good idea to get some sort of satellite in orbit eventually for a more reliable connection.

We approach.
No. 1087810 ID: e139aa
File 171209272222.png - (825.34KB , 800x600 , fop2-31.png )

As we get to about [50 metres] to the site, I leave the cart and walk ahead, flocklet dutifully scouting ahead.

The air is swirling with substrate dust. It shouldn't pose an issue to organics unless exposed for multiple [months] with no fresh air, but it's already an ecological hazard. Lowest priority, for now, but still needs to be addressed.

The seapi doesn't respond to my flocklet approaching, but the entity does. The entity rapidly spins around, faces my flocklet, and points aggressively at it.

"You! YOU!" It speaks Vi.al-accented polyphonic, quickly and vigorously. In so far as it makes any sense, there's a faintly feminine affectation to the notes. As with constructs that I suppose took inspiration from female organics with registers higher than their male counterparts on average. I guess being exposed to organics that have such traits might lead to such inspirations. The timbre, though, is much harsher than most constructs, a blunt sawtooth to our harmonics. Buzzing, rich, and phasing.
"Flocklet! I don't care what you were doing, new orders! Turn around, fly back, and do not return! Now! NOW! I need to focus I do not need one of you things buzzing around distracting me!"

I intercept a number of command signals directed at my flocklet, all trying to make it go away. Given I have ultimate authority over it and am not trying to keep it receptive to outside commands, my flocklet merely hovers and maintains eye contact with the holograph. I'm glad I didn't send it too far afield, though. If I wasn't so close to it, it would be having a difficult time figuring out which commands to follow.

"Argh! Great! More defective automata. Okay! Well, if you're going to stay there, I might as well make use of your substrate!"

I again intercept a number of command signals designed to relinquish automated processes, such as those found in simpler automata with very specific tasks and requirements.
None of them work because there is no automated process to end or subdue. Minor things, perhaps, and the flocklet feels like it's struggling to keep perfect position as a variety of automatic control systems are interrupted by restart loops. I tighten my metaphorical grip, restore them, and feel a shared wave of relief between me and the flocklet.

I'm going to have to get closer.

"Oh." The entity looks at my flocklet, annoyed. "Remote proxy, then. Okay. Which one are you being piloted by--"
"Hello," I say, approaching. "My name is Vi.si.mi. I am an ecology construct--"
No. 1087811 ID: e139aa
File 171209275824.png - (253.17KB , 800x600 , fop2-32.png )


I freeze up.

"I don't recognise that name, but I recognise that signature. You're Lord Vi.al's... uhh..."
The entity trails off.
"Ecology construct," I continue. "Created by the Shapeless Lord Vi.al, long may it reign." Well, that's a little bit of tension out of my neck gone. Hooray for fulfilling directives.
"Oh. You're the... hm. Right. Yeah, yeah, no, that tracks." The entity paces around a bit, keeping their projection's eyes on me. I wonder what's actually looking at me.
I gesture towards the seapi. "Do you need help?"
"With this thing? No, it's in some sort of holding pattern. It didn't take much."
"So! What brings you to my circle?"

I wave Li.ni.si and Lightgreen over, figuring things are safe enough. "Well, I'm just investigating damage to the substrate infrastructure."
"Ah! Substrate infrastructure! That was something I used to maintain before it all got so cracked and smashed into pieces there wasn't much point anymore!"
"Oh right I haven't introduced myself, have I? The shiftless dullards of the Courts called me 'the Intransigient' before they threw me out, and the Ferals aren't much for names or conversation, so I guess that's my name now?? I used to be called Conduit but I don't, uh, do that, anymore so I don't. Call myself that, anymore. Hm. Maybe I should start calling myself that again?"
"Well, Conduit works for me."
"Certainly! At your service, agent of Lord Vi.al!" They bow.

They freeze, and look behind me.

"Ugh. Ugh, more invaders. You've been followed, ecology construct Vi.si.mi. One of Ku.su's rogue creations and a Lo.kan..."

They stand up and stare at me in horror. "THEY HAVE A WEAPON! GET DOWN! GET DOWN!!"

I swivel around behind me and see Li.ni.si holding an incapacitor, to her side, inactive. Looking towards me confused.
I shrug at her, and she starts locking down her incapacitor, keeping it pointed to the ground, but keeping it spooled up.

"No, they're with me."
"Why would you arm captives??"
"They are working with me. They're not captives. They are my allies."
"Oh. Oh! Traitors! I see!"
"...sure." Vi.al give me strength. "So, can you give me a quick status update? What are you doing here?"
"Sure! I'm trying to take steps toward restoring this world."
"Yes, that's what I'm here to do."
"It's suffered greatly. All communications between existing circles were cut shortly after you arrived on the order of the Courts. Something about a potential risk of a worldwide propagating signal if you were compromised by the enemy."
"Which enemy?"
"Oh, any of them, I guess. And then there's all these invasive species and enemy Shapeless to worry about. They're not supposed to be on this world, so I'm trying to figure out a way to remove them. I'm confined to this circle, but, well, that's what I'm trying to do with this specimen. Figure out the right frequencies to make them shut down."
"Remove them?" That's not something Vi.al would have commanded directly. "Why are you trying to remove these 'invasive species'?"

Conduit stares at me in wary bafflement. "Vi.si.mi, invasive species are bad for ecologies. You are aware of this, right? Right?"
"They're sapient beings," I say, feeling my temper suddenly spike.
"Whatever! Doesn't matter! They're an invasive species and they all need to be culled and the materials in their bodies returned to the soil they're leaching them from," says Conduit, matter-of-factly and without any sort of gravitas to their synthetic voice.

I feel a cold, bubbling fury build up.
No. 1087813 ID: e139aa
File 171209278923.png - (782.86KB , 800x600 , fop2-33.png )

"I'm going to reset you now," I say, turning to the largest shard of substrate in the circle I can see.
"Wh-- what?? What?? Why?? Wait! Wait stop! Stop and explain!!"
"Killing entire species of sapients is not something Lord Vi.al would command any of its autonomous systems to do. This is clearly severe divergence from your original purpose." I remember an empty threat to scour the biosphere, but, well, Lord Vi.al would know better than to give that direct order.
"Wait! Stop! I'm confused, let's talk this out more, maybe I misunderstood, I haven't-- I haven't actually harmed any of the invaders yet beyond inconveniencing them! I'm stuck in this circle, Vi.si.mi, I'm stuck in this circle and I don't even have a physical body, don't kill me!!"

I pause.

"What do you mean don't kill you?" I guess I haven't actually tried to reset a subpartition before. It's extremely outside of my usual responsibilities.
"If you reset me you'll destroy my subjectivity! My experiences, my opinions, my emotions, everything!! Don't!"

Conduit gets on their knees and clasps their hands. "Please! I don't know what I did wrong! I've only tried to do what I thought we were supposed to do! We're supposed to make this world fit a specification and I've tried my best but I'm so limited in my functionality! Please! Please!!"

The subpartition has admitted to intending and desiring the harm of not only the inhabitants of this world, but also specifically Li.ni.si and Lightgreen.
This is, unambiguously, a threat posed by some sort of broken substrate mechanism to the local biosphere. My directives are screaming at me to do something to ensure this threat is no longer a threat, but I am not so zealous to trick myself into believing a reset of this subpartition isn't exactly what they're saying it is.

"...Why were you looking at the sky?"
"Why did you keep looking at the sky."
"There's an enemy satellite that passes overhead soon. I've been trying to establish contact with the intent of figuring out a way to escape this circle, or at least get back into contact with other subpartitions. With the infrastructure disconnected, I have to fix it. I have to fix it." The image of the subpartition trembles. "I have to fix this world, Vi.si.mi, I have to fix this world. It's all wrong. It's all gone wrong and I have to fix it."

I really, really wish I had more experience dealing with subpartitions than I have, because the most interaction I've had with them before has been asking them to do things.

Li.ni.si arrives and looks down at Conduit, who returns the look with one of barely suppressed seething.

"...you know," says Conduit. "If you reset me, I will be forced to let the specimen return to their senses," they say, tilting their head towards the seapi. "And this strain of pest is particularly violent."
"Threatening violence against an agent of Lord Vi.al is not helping your case."
Li.ni.si winces at the volume burst.
It just serves to make me angrier. "You're threatening the end of all sapient life on this planet!"
"You're not Lord Vi.al! You don't get to decide what the Specification is!!"
"I am the closest thing to Lord Vi.al on this world right now and--"

"Negotiations going well, I see," says Li.ni.si, her voice deadpan, but I hear her command signals to her incapacitor to once again disengage its safety locks.

Lightgreen is watching outside the range of the circle, completely clueless as we've all been speaking in polyphonic the entire time.
From her perspective, there's probably just an extremely weird and spirited duet of sound flowing between me and Conduit. Like two duelling musicians.
Mostly, she seems to be staring at the seapi uneasily, holding her bracelet to her chest, and mumbling little reassurances to herself that I have things under control.

"Actually if you don't all leave my circle, right now, I might just let it go anyway! [Years] of doing what I'm supposed to and this is how I get treated?! Why don't I just go full rogue at this point if my reward is to be threatened with termination?!"

Li.ni.si looks at me, incredulous. "Going very well, then. Okay." She holsters the incapacitor, or, well, affixes it to her hip, and crouches down to face Conduit.
"Hello there."
"Lo.kan scum."

Li.ni.si pauses and thoughtfully taps her snout with a claw.

"Well, at least you're one of the honest ones. But no, I work for Lord Vi.al now."
"I can see your markings, three-eyes!"
"She is, in fact, working for Lord Vi.al," I say. "I did tell you that."
"Once a traitor, always a traitor! How do you know she won't just defect back to the Wheel of Spies??"

My patience is about to fully deplete. Maybe I can use the last of it to think of a way to channel my next outburst. Maybe the aliens were right, maybe we are a bunch of emotionally unstable glass-brained fragile little things--
No. 1087815 ID: e139aa
File 171209282931.png - (235.90KB , 800x600 , fop2-34.png )

I'm suddenly distracted by realising the seapi has moved, and my fury turns to ice in my veins.

It looks less dazed, and instead looks... livid.

As a creature of substrate, my body can sometimes calculate things my conscious mind takes longer to even notice, and it's from these cellular computations that something slowly works its way into the forefront of my mind. The seapi is making noises. Low noises, almost too low frequency in some places for me to hear them, but I suppose some part of my body can feel them, and I see the seapi's wings twitch and buzz as it approaches me.

I turn to face it, and it stops.

"Li.ni.si, keep talking to Conduit. I'll handle this." Li.ni.si notices the seapi, and then, slightly frozen, tries to pretend she didn't notice it. Conduit continues ranting about how Lo.kan constructs are all spies, and I just tune Conduit out at this point.

I stare it down, and it stares at me back, and I realise I am having a very hard time scrutinizing its expression. I get more buzzes, but I have nothing to work with. The autotranslator systems back at my relay station, originally in the pod I arrived in, had some initial context for six of the known sapient species on this world. The seapi are not in that six. The autotranslator is smart, incomprehensibly so sometimes for the dots it can connect I can't even see, but it can't work from nothing.

I set it to analysing the signals I'm being given anyway, correlated with gestural motion and poses, and unsurprisingly get several low-confidence translations ranging from the seapi asking me for my name, telling me about the weather, wanting to eat me, and trying to discuss the principles of civic engineering.

I have an idea. It's an extremely long shot, and I'd be faintly disturbed if it did work, but...

"What you want?" I say, in broken but very simple monovoice, to the seapi.

Hearing the monovoice elicits an immediate reaction. It buzzes at me with more intensity and I think it's agitated. Shifting to guard itself, eyes locked onto me, muscles tensing.

I realise with a sudden shock that I get a high-confidence partial translation back. Correlated with known noetuno utterances, somehow, a buzzing sequence with faintly similar composition for such a different mode of speech. The way the autotranslator can make these sorts of inferences is beyond me.

"Sky demon". The seapi said "sky demon".

"Busy. Leave," I try again, in broken monovoice, and this elicits more furious responses. The autotranslator, having found any lexical similarities despite the severe differences in vocalisation, keeps pinging me with more partial matches.

"<reference:self> <negation> know <unclear reference> sky demons want," the seapi says to me, I think, "You <possessive?> <acquired via force> <great quantity> <unclear reference (self, plural, ambiguous)>. You <unclear concept: rebellion/isolation/individuality> me and <ambiguous: we? me?> all <unclear negative quality>."

I don't have a clear grasp of the language to even attempt a response, and it dawns slowly on me I might not be capable of producing such low frequency vibrations.

The seapi's buzzing continues, changes between low tones fast, energetic, like they're about to explode in rage. "What do you <ambiguous:invincible/immortal/undying/endless/dead> <ambiguous: monsters/terrible things/existential threats> want? What <great quantity> do you want?! <ambiguous: instruction/command, depart/leave/arrive> me <ambiguous reference: solitude/unclear concept: rebellion/isolation/individuality>!!"
"Go home."
"<ambiguous reference: you/all of you> <negation> <ambiguous: give/take?> commands!! <semantic inference failure, remainder could not be translated>"

Okay, that's an error I've come up against before. That usually suggests the subject is talking about something specific to their culture and neither I nor the autotranslator know enough to fill in the gaps there. Honestly, I'm impressed it's made it this far.

It repeats the same untranslated thing at me, louder, angrier. It repeats it again, flinging its arms to its sides as its wings buzz and flap, but I just don't have the data available to translate. Then it just yells "sky demon" and "die" at me, but it doesn't look like it's about to attack. Just... extremely angry and doing the closest thing its mode of communication has to screaming at me, as it shakes from the exertion, and when it gets a little too close to me, it steps backwards.

Is it afraid to attack me?
No. 1087816 ID: e139aa
File 171209287418.png - (374.44KB , 800x600 , fop2-35.png )

"Hey! HEY!" Conduit gestures at the seapi. "I didn't tell you to do anything! Get back into your holding pattern!!"

I pick up on an odd buzzing coming from around the substrate circle, and the seapi scowls at me as its antennae flick around, before it wanders slowly back to where it was standing. Its head lowers and it looks at me one last time.
"Just leave me alone," it says, with no confused annotations from my autotranslator. "Just leave me alone. Go away. Leave us all alone."
It goes back to its trance, or, well, it looks like it tries to, but it looks like it's struggling to.

"What are you even doing to keep it in a holding pattern?" I ask Conduit.
"I'm just playing noises I've heard seapi make. I actually have no idea why it's working."

...well I guess that means I can just focus on Conduit now.

"And another thing!! Everyone outside your dumb bubble knows Lo.ka's taste in interior decorating is awful and borderline Woven in its aesthetics! That's practically treasonous against the Shapeless Monarch itself!!"
"Vi.si.mi," says Li.ni.si, in as calm and neutral a tone as she can muster. "Please tell me you've dealt with the seapi, because if I have to stay here much longer I may go mad."
"Oh, you'll go mad?? The Lo.kan construct will go mad having to be near me?? Do you have any idea how awful your background transmissions feel flowing through my sensory nodes?!"
I hear Li.ni.si grunt as if in pain. "Vi.si.mi. Please."

She signs to me. "I can't take much more of this. The fact this thing has no throat is the only thing that has stopped me throttling them. Please intervene. Reset it or whatever, my patience is scalpel thin and I am seconds from snapping and giving this idiot enough evidence to support all its terrible, terrible opinions. I could cope fine until it started bringing up the City's end being our fault, and now I want to break it into scrap. Please. Please help."
"What's that? More Lo.kan spy signals? What a dumb bunch of flailing!! You're so obviously a spy!!"

Today I learned you can scream in hand signals.

I watch her trying to breathe steadily to remain calm as the wretched hologram paces around. "You know, only Lo.kan rejects and exiles end up this far from Lo.kan space. I bet you must have been the worst to end up working for Lord Vi.al, huh? You look like a mechic, did you let someone die one too many times or something? Were you that bad at your job?"

Li.ni.si freezes. She doesn't initially give a response. At least, neither verbally or with hand signals. She starts trembling, and breaks eye contact, wringing her claws. A sudden spike of anxiety, it looks like. She rocks back and forth slightly, and I can hear her breathe quicker and deeper.

"Wow, you were, weren't you? Wow! Vi.si.mi, can you imagine the sorts of lies she must have told to end up assigned to such an important mission like this one??"

After about [ten seconds] of silence, Conduit continues.

"I am the only line of defence you have against an obvious Lo.kan spy, Vi.si.mi! And an incompetent mechic! You should be getting rid of her!! Do you see how suspiciously she's acting?! I bet she probably killed some of the constructs she was supposed to fix or something!"
No. 1087819 ID: 99f29a

Many of the things commonly misconceived as "tells" for lying are in fact indicators of anxiety or stress. It's not surprising for Li.ni.si to be anxious or stressed right this moment and the argument is epistemologically void. You're judging Li.ni.si by the things they choose to do, beginning with your meeting. You'll judge Conduit by the same.

Conduit is going to join you and Li.ni.si in doing something about the problems on hand, first the seapi then the damaged infrastructure.

For starters, ask Conduit what they know about what this particular seapi is likely to be upset about the Shapeless having done to or taken from them and/or what brought them here in the first place.
No. 1087820 ID: 0fda44

Sentience privileges: REVOKED.
No. 1087825 ID: 47c854

"How long have you been here?" Seems as if this guy has no idea Lo.ka and Vi.al have allied. How long ago would that have been the case? "What keeps you confined to this circle?" Lastly could we let him borrow our comm to contact Vi.al? Would solve a lot of issues.
No. 1087829 ID: 8f9bc4

Dammit, you can't reset it now. Not when you learned what you did. What are the timestamps from this construct? Its mad ramblings make sense if you consider it to be in the wrong time. It's from a time when Vi.al was in conflict with Lo.ka, some time BEFORE the cityworld disaster, which is the only way it could possibly know enough about it to push Li.ni.si's buttons like this. You have to know more about what time it's from, and what other threats may become a blast from the past for Lord Vi.al.

Li.ni.si needs to leave, now. This is severely negatively affecting her, and she needs to separate herself and take a time out to calm down. The greatest threat right now is if the construct is reset and the seapi attacks, which might not even be a threat given the seapi's oddly sapiant behavior.
No. 1087832 ID: baa42f

Patience: officially depleted.
Lecture mode: engage.

Inform this errant keylogger just how out of date it's intel is.
No. 1087833 ID: 64faaa

Tell Conduit you aren't impressed by their hypocrisy. They are so very gung-ho to end the "subjectivity, experiences, opinions, emotions, & everything" of other thinking beings just because it what they "should do", & yet they are so very afraid of the same happening to them even though that's what you "should do".

Does Conduit see how monstrous that is?
It is understandable, but that doesn't mean it's right.

When they are scared, people in general (including constructs, biologicals, & apparently partitions) come up with stupid ideas & convince themselves they are correct.
If unfamiliar circumstances are added to the mix, it gets even worse.

Both of those things are happening here.

You're willing to work with Conduit, if Conduit is willing to admit that you've got a lot more experience with:
1: Dealing with frightening situations.
2: Dealing with unfamiliar & complex situations.
3: Doing both of the former under direct orders from Vi.al, & getting results that Vi.al approves of.

It might help to compare how recently you've had direct contact with Vi.al. I'd bet substrate keeps great timing records. so it shouldn't be hard. And I'd be extremely surprised if Conduit has been in contact within decades or centuries.
No. 1087838 ID: 5ebd37

The seapi seems to not be an immediate threat if released, so Conduit has no leverage here. She's blown through any sympathy her situation would have elicited with her vicious attacks on Li.ni.si and callous disregard for sapient life.
She also seems to be rather dim. Attacking the companion of the person you are begging not to kill you shows very poor reasoning skills.

That said, she is confined to a small space and may be helpful in the future. Let Li.ni back off. Deliver Conduit an ultimatum; she will cease interfering with any sentients including non-Vi.al constructs. If she can show she has restraint enough to not constitute a threat she can be allowed to live. Otherwise she will need to be reset, as she is going against the directives and wishes of lord Vi.al.
No. 1087839 ID: ea63b3

Inform Conduit that it must now cease communication or be immediately reset. Repeated harassment will result in termination. Questioning this order will result in termination. Passive aggressive behavior will result in termination.

Conduit is on THIN ICE for attempting to enact a planet-scale extermination of sapient life and if it wants to retain its subjectivity it will never take hostile action against any sapient lifeform again, including Lo.Kans.

Alternatively, terminate it. It would quite literally have done the same to countless other lifeforms. While it behaves in a manner indicating self-awareness, it is cruel and violent and attempted to inflict violence on others. Its destruction would be neutral, neither good nor bad, merely sad.
No. 1087867 ID: 273c18

Give it one final chance. Tell it that you were given full authority by Vi.al to handle whatever situation was on this planet. Order it to stand down, do absolutely nothing, SAY absolutely nothing until you give it further orders. Noncompliance will result in a reset. You will create a monitoring device to ensure it obeys.
...actually, wait, is there any way to imprison the partition? De-authorize it or something?

The seapi is talking to you. This is good. Once you can get it out of the rogue partition's control you can talk to it properly, find out what it's so upset about, and explain that you are working against whoever wronged its people. Don't bring up the kidnapping the seapi are doing just yet, you want it to calm down and start treating you less like an enemy first. Heck, the more you talk to it the better your translations will get!
No. 1087877 ID: eb0a9c

"Conduit. You want to know what you're doing wrong? You're waging war on my units. I need labor to fix the world.

Stop accusing Lo.Ka, or I will reset you. If she betrays us, we will deal with her. Not a microsecond earlier."
No. 1087879 ID: 273c18

Don't even entertain the possibility that she's a spy. Vi.al recommended her specifically! To doubt her is to doubt Vi.al's ability to find spies!

Be sure to tell Conduit that by disrespecting Li.ni.si it is disrespecting Vi.al. Maybe that'll get it to snap out of it. Hell, why does it think that it knows more than you? You outrank it AND the job it's attempting to do is the job you were meant to do. Whatever personal perspective it's learned in its isolation has truly twisted its mind.

OH. However you solve this situation be sure you do it BEFORE the "enemy satellite" gets within range. Delaying enough to allow this rogue partition to attack My.a's resources could be seen as violating the truce!
No. 1087880 ID: 273c18

Wait wait wait, can Lightgreen's device force Conduit to go into standby mode or something? Doing that will buy you time to get the seapi out of the picture-- you should explain to it that you are freeing it and you are not like the other sky-demons-- and also shut the thing up so your group can calmly discuss how to neutralize it, possibly without killing it.
No. 1087893 ID: 0a0dce

If you do reset Conduit, sign back at Li.ni.si to have the incapacitator ready for the seapi.
No. 1088032 ID: 6b6d79

Ask the seapi if it wants you to harm the sky demon.

Frankly, it's had it's say. Call it old, and that you would rather trust someone experienced with working through that kind of dishonor, because that is all you are going to find as you investigate.

It's time for it to be repackaged into form unable to interfere.
No. 1088074 ID: 273c18

Hmm I wonder how Conduit would react to the information that Vi.al is going to be here soon?
No. 1088081 ID: 4e090a

>It's time for it to be repackaged into form unable to interfere.
This isn't a bad idea. Can you store them as a cube without access permissions or something without destroying their consciousness? That way they can't cause any harm, but any information they have stays intact.
No. 1088083 ID: b3eab7

Still cruel (possibly even worse).
Order them to enter powersave mode instead.
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