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File 12821059894.jpg - (21.78KB , 500x500 , 18869541.jpg )
219350 No. 219350 ID: f202ec

First thread: http://quest.lv/kusaba/questarch/res/187952.html

Discussion: http://quest.lv/kusaba/questdis/res/326920.html

---

...it's over.
Expand all images
>>
No. 219352 ID: f202ec
File 128210615680.jpg - (14.89KB , 500x500 , 18869560.jpg )
219352

...but where am I?

My head is pounding. There's no way I could possibly have a headache. I remind myself that here I have no head, no brain, no nerves to signal pain. This simulation isn't even physically modeling beyond an infinite horizontal plane. And yet my head still hurts.

I try to think back. Impossible to know how long I've been here, or what speed I'm simulating at. I could have been halted and resumed any number of times. The recent past - recent for me, at least - is blurry and painful. Don't have much to work with. I - or at least my state vector - have been kidnapped. Someone is running a pirate copy of me. I have a hazy recollection of being pried open pawed through like a directory trawl. Why? My entire past covers a span of about a dozen Ksec.

Why am I even emulating? They need my consciousness for... something. That's ominous.

I need to escape.
>>
No. 219355 ID: f202ec
File 128210651019.jpg - (23.78KB , 500x500 , 18869564.jpg )
219355

Something is very strange. This virtuality... like any virtual space it's a metaphor, a simulated reality. And the metaphor seems to be breaking down.

Since it's nothing more than simulated input being supplied to my simulated senses, I don't actually have anything to worry about here. I think. But... possibly sensory deprivation is their plan? I try pulling up an interface, knowing it won't change anything, and...
>>
No. 219356 ID: f202ec
File 128210655558.jpg - (25.15KB , 500x500 , 18869572.jpg )
219356

...somehow it works. Maybe, just maybe, I can escape. If they truly own my vector this won't stop anything. It probably won't even slow them down. They could be running a thousand instances of me to see who breaks first. But this instance, at least, will be free. Maybe I can take out their whole damned system. Assuming this isn't a honeypot trap. Assuming the system isn't isolated. Assuming I can trust any of my senses.

I know moving through system space is going to be strange. I can't remember doing it, but I know. And the deeper you go, the more abstract it gets. In a virtual space it's simulating a physical reality to feed my sensorium... bouncing simulated photons off of virtual objects to produce data for my emulated optic nerves. When you go deeper, you need some sort of replacement to turn raw data into something you can interact with.

I also need a goal. A plan can come later. What do I need to focus on? Escape? Revenge? Information? Reinstantiation?
>>
No. 219357 ID: 3234dd

NO wait, I know this place. You survived the analysis? You're currently inside an "exocortex" that was suspected of being damaged, currently under control of the Lethe center. What you experienced was it analyzing the exocortex for problems. The analysis is complete, so you should be out of this simulation post haste, except for the fact that your body is kind of... well it's a long story. Maybe the center will fabricate a new one? At any rate the analysis is not likely to repeat itself, but if I were you I would start looking for a way out of this dump.
>>
No. 219358 ID: 3b77b9

you need information. and maybe later you can figure out how to send it to your physical self.
>>
No. 219359 ID: 6547ec

Step 1: Start existing in non-virtual space. I guess that falls between escape and reinstantiation. Open the hell out of that door, but keep a tight grip on the doorknob.
>>
No. 219360 ID: 3b77b9

guys, real lyan is currently a head on a spaceship made from his body. getting a second one made would just mess everything up when the center asks for credentials. this virtual one should spy and exchange info with the real one.
>>
No. 219371 ID: 701a19

First: What do you remember before this simulation?
>>
No. 219372 ID: 8bdb6a

How can you reinstantiate without first focusing on escape?

Focus on information while you try to get out of there. You could be some kind of intelligent trojan horse virus made to destroy your original self, for all you know!
>>
No. 219397 ID: c2c011

>>219360
How do we know that this isn't the real one in a simulation run by Sal?

>>219356
A library or an archive should work as a metaphor to interpret the information you will get. And make it easier to get some information, which is what you should be looking for.
>>
No. 219408 ID: 117dce

What you've needed since you woke up in Lethe was information. All you've gotten were more mysteries.
>>
No. 219410 ID: b0020f

>>219397
In a place where identical copies can exist simultaneously, does "real" even have meaning any more?

If one instance of a person dies, has that person died if other instances continue to exist?

As for metaphor, perhaps a dumb terminal? Or is using a computer system inside a computer system too close to the truth to work as an effective metaphor?
>>
No. 219448 ID: c16ebe

For the moment, let's assume whoever's keeping us is smart. They've got you in a simulation, after all. So if you were GIVEN access to an interface it was probably intentional; either a trap or you're a guest somewhere.

Poke around and try to figure out what you're able to do, while doing as little to actively alert anyone as feasible.
>>
No. 219450 ID: 3b77b9

>>219410
uh, no. the center limits you to one active copy at a time. it only makes a new one when one dies. it does not let you have 2 or more copies running simultaneously. so yes, a real one does exist, it is the one made of flesh and blood.
>>
No. 219458 ID: 0b2a05

There is a possibility of ALL those options being set-ups. You need to escape to some place with resources you can use. Do you think the lethe center would help you?
>>
No. 219480 ID: a594b9

>>219356
Information. We cannot even decide on a goal without information.
>>
No. 219484 ID: e674ff
File 128216416596.jpg - (93.81KB , 500x395 , lotta_books.jpg )
219484

Information first. Even if it's fake, it's better than nothing.

>>219397 The library idea sounded good, but imagine the amount of info we'd have to sift through.
Try to conjure up a data screen or even one of those old timey typety computery's.
>>
No. 221701 ID: f202ec
File 128265035666.jpg - (26.13KB , 500x500 , 18869611.jpg )
221701

I try to think. How did I get here? It only goes back as far as waking up at the Lethe Center. I found the datapad and nearly crashed along with the dream agent. Later, I stepped into a public assembler; those are the only clear memories. Beyond that... a new body? I was at a park, and someone was there with me. They were... concerned? But I was also opening my eyes here, and then my head was torn open by my captors. I feel like I was put back together with half the pieces missing. Everything past the assembler is painful and hazy. Can't possibly know if that's real or if I've been edited.

But real or not, I have to proceed like what I'm experiencing is the truth. First, I leave. Then, I find out what's going on. If there's another me - if someone else stepped out of that assembler after I stepped in - maybe I can get this knowledge to it. If there's not...

I step through the exit.
>>
No. 221702 ID: f202ec
File 128265055986.gif - (1.01MB , 500x500 , 18869613.gif )
221702

...and into madness.

I can taste the sour noises beating against my skin, every inch a different note and volume. My limbs drifting away by the tens and tens of thousands of meters.
Rainbow of odors in my ears
clench shut my eyes clasp hands over ears colors flowing on my tongue overwhelming No tracking or hubward and spinwise to find me floating adrift without map or guide consciousness reaches out to find the borders Data streaming through me like neutrinos
Microsecond slices of my brain
Kaliedoscope of sound and sight
and smell
and taste


Instinct kicks in and I'm completely calm - disconnected from the storm of input.
>>
No. 221703 ID: f202ec
File 128265060117.jpg - (17.44KB , 500x500 , 18872241.jpg )
221703

Floating in isolation.

Silence...

Blackness...


One by one, my senses reboot. It's part force of will, part... something else, rewriting my brain.
It's like a portait of static that you stare at for hours, and suddenly a dolphin was there all along. I'm not sure how long it takes. Time and space are more flexible here. I reopen my eyes.
>>
No. 221704 ID: f202ec
File 128265065161.jpg - (21.92KB , 500x500 , 18872244.jpg )
221704

This isn't what I expected.

This isn't what I expected at all.

This node is off the Network. That much comes as no surprise. But this space, system... wherever I'm being held, it's huge. My initial probes haven't found the extents of it yet. And there's no governing intelligence. No large-scale structures of any kind.

Murphy. It's been leveled. Bulldozed, somehow. I don't know if that will make my job easier or harder.

Time to work. But what comes first?

This node - try to find out where I am, on the network and in reality. Learn the rules of this place. Find out what happened here. I think this should be my first goal, but there are plenty of other things to learn.
My captivity - How did it happen? Who captured my state and why? How long have I been here? Can I escape?
The "other me" - do I have a physical copy? Can I reintegrate memories from his backups? Can I send info to him?
The wipe and hack - retrieve info from Lethe, the datapad, my legal automata. There may be info I can get here I couldn't find outside.
Reinstantiating - there are other things I need to do first, but I'd be looking for a way back to the Network, an assembler, and a way to learn what's going on outside of virtual space.
>>
No. 221708 ID: 88c530

>>221704
Look about, is there anything about you? If not, see what you can find.
>>
No. 221711 ID: 7215b2

>>221704

Find out information relating to how this place works and if there's another you running around seems to be the wisest course of action, trying to get information out to yourself is a keen idea. Only after figuring out a way to do that will finding information here about Lethe, the datapad and so forth be useful.
>>
No. 221712 ID: 3234dd

Try building something. Make something that can make two copies of itself and you can grief your way out of here no matter how big its processors are. Alternatively, find the edges of the subspace, where you're most likely to find something interesting, such as a door.
>>
No. 221738 ID: a594b9

>>221704
...bulldozed? Don't tell me we're in the remains of Earth now.

There could be anything in here. Start making something to protect yourself with. Armor, weapons, speedbooster?
>>
No. 223383 ID: f202ec
File 128311987247.jpg - (61.38KB , 500x500 , 18872338.jpg )
223383

I try to look around... no, "look" isn't quite the right word. A whole host of new sensory apparatus is feeding data to my visual cortex, but none of it has anything to do with photon chemoreceptors. What I'm seeing here is nothing like what I had in mind, though - related to whatever occurred here, perhaps.

I haven't felt any kind of echoes back from this edges of this space. What I can tell is that for all this system's apparent size, there's not nearly enough activity. There's next to no data flow. Signals are moving far, far too slowly across the network. I can't tell any difference in my own thought processes, but at a larger scale things are just... wrong. Compared to the speeds I'm running at it's like shouting across the interstellar void.

However, fragments of data identify this as 58-N115-ADZJ. It's utterly disconnected from the Network. I'm standing in what might have been the Lethe Center. The entire system is firewalled.

...I've found the intelligences behind this system. They're tattered heaps of code - frozen moments of time, pieces trapped in maintenance panics or mutated into strange loops and twisted whorls unconnected to the system I/O. Something tore them apart.
>>
No. 223385 ID: f202ec
File 128311995513.jpg - (39.34KB , 500x500 , 18872387.jpg )
223385

I'm not ready for combat here. It's not like a virtuality, where I could simply conjure a blade and do battle. Warfare within in the system is different, code vs code. It's... actually like the mostly-mythical space combat, or submarine warfare from pre-Acceleration days. Actively scanning for a hostile presence runs a risk of revealing your presence to potential targets a few critical microseconds before you learn of their existence. Without it, no way to know what might be there waiting to strike. A murderous Catch-22 between stealth and knowledge.

First I need some security. I stash a copy of my state amid the rubble with a regular heartbeat signal to awaken if I should be destroyed.


Except... wait. No rules enforced here but survival.
I activate the signal. I/we awake.

Well/well now/now.

Perhaps I can press the offensive after all. It's possible I could simply flood this system and conquer it - which still leaves me stranded. Alternately, I could scour the system for information as quietly as possible. Or I can refocus on instantiating, now that I know where I am, and see if somehow I can escape physically.
>>
No. 223391 ID: d560d6

>>223385
Fill all everything with Northern Sergals.

This plan has never failed us.
>>
No. 223393 ID: a594b9

>>223385
Create a small group of yourself, and search for information separately, keeping communications up. There's safety in numbers. We can decide to bug out or swarm the system once we find out more.
>>
No. 223397 ID: 8bdb6a

Instance several software copies of yourself. Link up with your other selves so you can cooperatively think about things, and diagnose problems in one another. Construct whatever software is necessary to make this work.

Then, begin instancing more copies. Set a portion of them to looking for ways out, but focus on filling up space and turning it into available problem-solving brainpower as quickly as possible.
An incestuous orgy of hardcore forking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-Q-TjgQhJg
>>
No. 223398 ID: 40cb26

No way to know what lies outside of this realm. This much damage to the software might reflect massive damage to the outside. We need control here first, and hopefully some kind of clue as to what is going on.

Those pieces of the intelligences, can you commandeer them? Break them down, analyze them, take whatever functions remain to them. Our overall goal for ourselves should be gaining strength while keeping stealth.
>>
No. 223399 ID: 0d5620

Stop not copying yourself.
>>
No. 223458 ID: 0b2a05

Armies alone will be expected. If this is like 3d space, create clone copies and if you can disguise them against sonar, do so. Place them around and set them to activate on destruction. Create multiple selves, and put them in a pattern around you so that scanning range will pick up one, and then if it tries to destroy it, the others will be able to strike at it before it can react. If possible create links between them all so that you can stay updated.
>>
No. 223472 ID: 1e728b

Maybe keep an eye out for any input/output devices?
If you can find those, you can either leave a copy there, or note its location in systemspace for when you're better prepared.

Hey, any way to network your selves so you're always in touch?
Or do you already percieve both selves?

If nothing else, you could start making the systemspace a bit more comfortable once survival isn't an issue.
>>
No. 223502 ID: 7215b2

>>223391

This.

Million Lyan army go!
>>
No. 223503 ID: 97cb33

then combine into one super sergal that can bust through the firewall.
>>
No. 223504 ID: ea2a3c

SERG RUSH KEKEKE
>>
No. 223505 ID: 40cb26

A huge amount of Lyans will mean that at least a few get caught by whatever is here, which might well open them all up to a systemic attack of some kind. Or at least announce our presence and whatever opportunities might be available right now could be closed off somehow.

Yeah these are big maybes but we are stumbling about in the dark. We need redundancy, not spamming.
>>
No. 223508 ID: ea2a3c

In all seriousness, you should probably adopt the sort of strategy used on the Xerox CP-V timesharing system:

!X id1

id1: Friar Tuck... I am under attack! Pray save me!
id1: Off (aborted)

id2: Fear not, friend Robin! I shall rout the Sheriff of Nottingham's men!

id1: Thank you, my good fellow!

Have each of two instances keep a vector of each other's state and constant passive communication. As soon as the communication is cut off, the one restores the state vector of the other.
>>
No. 223526 ID: 6547ec

There are two ways to go about this.

1) Split up into enough copies to search everywhere very, very quickly

2) Split up and start specializing. Those 2 Lyans form the legs, two or three bunch up to form the torso and arms, while you form the head.
>>
No. 223588 ID: 4daf66

>>223526
>Those 2 Lyans form the legs, two or three bunch up to form the torso and arms, while you form the head.
1000 TIMES THIS
>>
No. 223608 ID: c71597

>>223385
Flood the place and conqour it.
>>
No. 228161 ID: f202ec
File 128398432455.gif - (385.85KB , 500x500 , 18872391.gif )
228161

I don't think I can truly be secure until I control this system. I'll seed the entire place with copies of my own consciousness. When it's done... well, I'll see what happens then.

It's a matter of moments to create the tools I need. Network my thoughts, link to several the copies I've already created, and begin to grow. I stretch out to try to encompass the system that contains me. I'm a constellation, a thousand points of light gathered together to form body, hands, feet - but mostly mind. And as I grow...

A flaw. Suddenly my mind mind is full of echoes echoes overwhelmingwhelming my my thouthoughts. At ththebo borderserslag paralparyzelyzes and
Beg/inning to fr/acture and fa/ll ap/art
Disengage-
>>
No. 228163 ID: f202ec
File 128398448484.jpg - (37.99KB , 500x500 , 18872443.jpg )
228163

The heartbeat trips and I emerge into wreckage. A moment to get my bearings, connect to the network I've created.... and learn that I crashed after only a few orders of magnitude of growth. I'm not sure yet whether it's a minor setback or a disaster. The option still remains to flood the system. I'd simply be a... civilization, not a god.

This isn't something I could have foreseen - is it? Many smaller pieces survived, but nothing is left larger than a handful of Turings. The rest - shattered. It looks uncannily similar to what happened to the system before I arrived. I'm already pulling apart the remnants with a thousand hands and comparing them to what was here before. It seems something has made this a hostile environment to mega-scale intelligences. Apparently the damaged hardware I'm running on damages minds as well - beyond a certain size, at least.

What I have now is a pale shadow of that, though, my selves linked into a loose encrypted communications network. I don't have the mental bandwidth to keep constant watch. Don't yet know the lower limits of this affliction, or if there is an exact cutoff point for danger. So far, diagnostics on single instances are coming back green.

I'm still tempted to stick with the plan and capture this system by force, even though the front lines are literally tens of seconds away. If I'm right, I shouldn't encounter much resistance. Unless there are better alternatives?
>>
No. 228172 ID: d677cc

>>228163
Well I'm for that plan, anyway.
>>
No. 228173 ID: 911d56

Have one group slowly increment while the rest continue investigating. A society of small hiveminds.

Also, have two find out how far a link can be seperated before lag causes it to collapse.

Once you figure out those constraints, then you could have a multi-hivemind society.
>>
No. 228174 ID: 40cb26

>>228163
Clusterminds instead of megamind. Create as many of these "handfuls of Turings" as you can to work independently on diagnosing what is going on. Slowly increase their size, merge some of the clusters into bigger ones, analyze what complicates those systems.

Be careful, be thorough, find out what is wrong and deal with it as best you can. You're fixing a world from the inside out, if you can also gather information on the outside environment that would be an advantage whether or not you can ever get back there.
>>
No. 228179 ID: d560d6

>>228163
So build subcritical masses of Lyans and link those using your limited doesn't-destroy-everything networking.
>>
No. 228194 ID: a594b9

>>228163
Let's get more information please.
>>
No. 228206 ID: c71597

>>228163
Start delegating the work. Create the max amount of linked minds, then tell them to create linked minds of their own. So that the leaders of each hive report back to you and then it keeps building. Like some sort of pyramid scheme.
>>
No. 228214 ID: ea2a3c

>>228163

You need to find what part of the underlying system is broken so that you can avoid attempting to use those resources and crashing again. The only way to find those broken parts is to have things crash again though. So if you can isolate yourselves from each other's crashes somehow then you can start isolating problem areas in your simulation where the space does not behave as advertised.

I still think you're in your exocortex, in the Lethe center. What's left of it anyhow, as it seems to be totally destroyed. I bet the Lethe center is a big place, without all the architecture necessary to perform the functions it was designed for.
>>
No. 228215 ID: 8bdb6a

>Unless there are better alternatives?
Probably, but none I can think of.

Let's fill this thing with sergals! Maybe some other monstery species too, if you need visual differentiation.
>>
No. 228225 ID: d560d6

>>228215
Nevreans. You might get hungry later.
>>
No. 229068 ID: 649123
File 128411342117.png - (806B , 500x500 , 21430159.png )
229068

Lyan?

Wakey, wakey, loverboy...
>>
No. 229069 ID: 649123
File 128411345619.jpg - (37.93KB , 500x500 , 21430167.jpg )
229069

I'm lying on something hard.

1G. Atmosphere. Smells very sterile.

I pry my eyes open.

[Welcome back.]
>>
No. 229073 ID: 701a19

>>229069
"Where are we? And why aren't I wearing you like a suit?"
>>
No. 229075 ID: 0b2a05

Ask what the hell happened, where the hell you are, and if the location is safe enough, ask Sal simply "what the hell".
>>
No. 229081 ID: 6547ec

Wake up, scratch back of head, ask for a relative time, date and location stamp, and check for any obvious changes or problems to your person.
>>
No. 229087 ID: 0e00e2

"Hey sexy. I just had the most wacky dream."
>>
No. 229111 ID: a594b9

>>229069
First, CONFIRM THAT IS SAL. Then thank Sal for killing you, since it actually seems to have worked out just fine. Ask all the standard questions. Plus, ask if they fixed your brain yet. Explain what's wrong with it, if they don't know what you mean.
>>
No. 229125 ID: c71597

>>229069
Ask it where you are and why you have a searing pain in your neck.
>>
No. 229138 ID: 0b2a05

>>229111
Do not thank Sal for killing you.
>>
No. 229158 ID: d677cc

>>229069
Aight, ask what's up. What you missed while out, etc.
>>
No. 229181 ID: ea2a3c

Welp, looks like we're back with copy Sal. Buddy, you need to get yourself a new exocortex. The one you had is probably 100K light seconds away by now, and long gone since the Lethe center got totally trashed. There's no way it survived. But for now, examine surroundings.
>>
No. 229496 ID: 649123
File 128420729596.png - (86.05KB , 500x500 , 21430216.png )
229496

My everything hurts. Last memories of ice spreading through my chest, time slowing to a stop.

Voice rasps in my throat as I open my mouth and lick dry lips. "Sal... what the hell?"

[Listen, do you want me to go down the list of excuses? I didn't have time to explain. Someone needed to think you were dead. You're not self-contained and we didn't have 10 kilocalories per diem to spare. You're not radiation shielded, either. There was too much mass to get to another habitat. You were the only source of building materials that wasn't retreating at the speed of sound. Is that enough for you? Do you think I liked being alone with your severed head for nearly 2 Megs? I did what I had to!] It stares at me a moment longer, then looks away.

I try to sit up. Can't move anything beneath my neck. "Where are we, how long has it been, and why can't I move?"

[Too long. Just finished rebuilding you. Wasn't quite sure how you'd take it when you woke up.] I'm not entirely sure how I feel, myself. [As for the rest, why don't you tell me?] There's a flash of light across my eyes, a brief ripple across all of my senses...

...I'm back online? Local time 50. 32-N115-ADZJ. Still in-system. It's been... over 2.5Msec. Murphy. What's happened in that time?

Have I been repaired? I feel fully awake for the first time since the Lethe Center. There's a simple software block along my spine. I could break it with a thought - but do I want to before I finish getting answers?
>>
No. 229498 ID: 97cb33

no, leave it alone for now. ask sal to slow down and explain. since you are alive then whatever happened saved your life.
>>
No. 229499 ID: 0b2a05

Just say "I forgive you, Sal. Not that I have a choice."
>>
No. 229502 ID: a594b9

Sal's right. It did exactly the right thing, and it must've been a maddening experience to be alone for that long. I guess we should be thankful.

Say that you seem to be fixed. Ask if Sal did that... if so, thank them. Wait, if you've been dead, then shouldn't there be a copy of you wandering around? Unless the Lethe Center got taken offline...
>>
No. 229503 ID: c71597

>>229496
Don't forgive Sal yet. Killing you without warning and decapitating you to build a spaceship out of your body might have been something it had to do, but it should have said something.

Oh well, lets start by attempting to move your hands. Possibly so you can strangle Sal a bit, to feel better.

If the bloack along the spine prevents that then ask Sal why the fuck it's there. Also ask it if you're going to be the cause of the destruction of yet another habitat.
>>
No. 229513 ID: d560d6

>There's a simple software block along my spine. I could break it with a thought - but do I want to before I finish getting answers?
You know what, so far Sal seems to have appreciated our determination to get control of our everything back, right up to that brain-reclaiming offer before the habitat popped. Sit up and give them a hug already. Probably helps them with the whole "been carrying your dead head for a month" thing to have a full Sergal back too.
>>
No. 229560 ID: 0b2a05

>>229503
Exactly. Make her feel guilty as fuck. She could have handled that better and she knows it, and Lyan really doesn't have any choice but to trust her right now.
>>
No. 229562 ID: 8bdb6a

Break the block but try to hide it for now. Don't stand up yet. Try and figure out what body you actually have. It might not be the same as before!
>>
No. 229563 ID: 701a19

>>229560
No. Sal explained what she was doing pretty damn well within the time allotted, and the fact that you are alive is proof enough that she didn't want you to stay dead.
Besides that? It wasn't your original body anyway; what do you care what happened to it?

It's a lot harder to put a software block in place than it is to just block the connection, and the fact that you can easily break it means that it's a medical lock intended to prevent stray signals from reaching the unfinished area.

Ask Sal what she knows about what happened, and if your body is ready enough for you to break the block and start moving.
Also ask if they figured out what was wrong with your head.
>>
No. 229610 ID: f5c7b6

>>229563

This. We should thank Sal! Things could have gone much, much worse for us. Sal had nothing but good intentions. If it didn't, we wouldn't be back online. Alive. Whatever you cal lthis.

Also we should ask as to the state of our body. If we can't feel anything beyond our neck we may, well, still be bodiless.
>>
No. 229613 ID: 0b2a05

>>229563
>>229610
Fuck that. Sal manipulated Lyan and didn't tell him the truth. She obviously knows more than she said, and I'm not convinced that killing Lyan made any difference anyway.
>>
No. 229622 ID: d560d6

>>229613
>>/questdis/332760 et. al.
>>
No. 229745 ID: 6547ec

I accept your request to ask about the software block, and why it's there in the first place.
>>
No. 230618 ID: 72dc6d

Break the block, and get to asking Sal some questions. Perhaps now she'd be more straightforward with you.
>>
No. 230626 ID: 649123
File 128443765884.jpg - (59.55KB , 500x500 , 21430378.jpg )
230626

"Sal, I owe you but I'm not going to say thank you for the way you did it. Last I heard my brain was about to start collapsing, then the Lethe Center was cut off, then the pavilion disintegrated and the entire habitat died, then you stabbed me in the chest and, best as I can tell, lopped off my head with my own blade. Now we're" - the answer pops into my head - "71 million km and nearly 2.6 Msec from where this started and you say you just finished rebuilding me. Care to start filling me in on the details?"

[You got most of it.] Sal's equivalent of a sigh. [Listen I'm sorry we were in a hurry and I didn't have time to say 'Hey, I need to put your head in cryo and then reconfigure the rest of your body to act as a power transfer loop and an ion drive. Do you mind?' Would it make you feel better to hear a micrometeorite punched a hole in my face?]

"Is there a reason I'm paralyzed? I'd better not still be a severed head."

[Well...] It pokes me in the nose, then I feel its finger run down my chest and it reaches lower. [You tell me...] I shut down the inevitable reaction. [I had to make a few changes. Oh, don't look at me like that. It was mostly listed in your notes anyway. You're a tiny bit less organic than you were.]

"Well then." I break the block and sit up. "I still don't know whether to hug you or throttle you."
>>
No. 230627 ID: 0b2a05

Tell her she could probably influence that decision if she comes clean.
>>
No. 230631 ID: 6547ec

>"Well then." I break the block and sit up. "I still don't know whether to hug you or throttle you."

That depends entirely on how many functioning arms you have left. Could you look down for a second, please?
>>
No. 230633 ID: a594b9

>>230626
Let's go with a hug. We should be relieved to see that Sal is alive, if anything.

Ask if the others made it out alright, and if there's any news about the status of the habitat and the Lethe Center.
>>
No. 230684 ID: 8bdb6a

Examine self.
>>
No. 230702 ID: 701a19

>>230626
Ask where you are and how everybody else is doing. Check out your body.

Also? Get over it. Sal saved your life, and has been far nicer about it than the Lethe Center. She did what she thought was in your best interest, which was in your best interest, and you're pissed at her because she didn't use time she didn't have to explain it first?
You're being an unreasonable dick.
Hug Sal.
>>
No. 230704 ID: 0b2a05

Don't hug OR strangle Sal.
>>
No. 230726 ID: c71597

>>230626
Do neither. Just get up and ask where you're at now and if he has heard anything from any of the others.

Oh, and ask how long you got this time before your brain melts again.
>>
No. 230739 ID: 5eea01

Let's check us out.
>>
No. 230743 ID: d560d6

>>230626
Hug them, you imbecilic jackanapes, lest you want to be left to be picked off while twisting around in the thin air of your suit next time.

You can try autoerotic asphyxiation some other time (I somehow doubt it'd work on Sal anyway).
>>
No. 230891 ID: 649123
File 128452281646.jpg - (47.05KB , 500x500 , 21430431.jpg )
230891

[You didn't even wait to hear the full feature list! Unbreakable bones, subdermal armor threads, improved heat dissipation, nano upgrade, and detachable penis!]

Checking to make sure my limbs are all attached, but that interrupts my self-inspection. "What."

[Ok, so the detachable penis was actually for me.] What. [Anyway, you're not officially alive. Welcome to the wonderful world of being a pirate copy. Your new façade won't stand up to much scrutiny, so please stay away from Network assemblers. And if you want full access, possibly you can use me as a proxy. Never really tried it but it should work.]
>>
No. 230893 ID: 649123
File 128452284932.jpg - (58.21KB , 500x500 , 21430440.jpg )
230893

I'll have time to think of the ramifications of that later. "Well. It's nice being alive, at least. Thanks."

I hug Sal.
>>
No. 230900 ID: 649123
File 128452300048.jpg - (59.27KB , 500x500 , 21430628.jpg )
230900

[So this would be a bad time to mention I had my doubts about bringing you back, then? Listen, I took the opportunity to poke around in your head a little bit during our little trip.]

"...yes. It would. Exactly how much more do you know about what's been going on than you've been saying, anyway?"

[Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies. You know more than you've been saying, too - or do you think that just anyone could break that block in .28s?] Maybe? It was so obvious when I looked at it.

[There's something in your head - you already know that. At first I didn't think it did anything - nothing more than a self-propagating loop of strange but pointless code. But that's not it. That's not it at all. Executing the code - even storing it - physically alters the hardware substrate. Damages it.] It pauses for a moment.

[It's a basilisk, Lyan. Poisons any system that so much as looks at it.]

"You're saying I killed Habitat 58? What about Mika? Szen? Did they make it out?"

[I'm saying you could kill the entire Network if this infection gets out.] Sal stops for a moment, then looks at me again. [You know, you nearly died on me twice more while I was bringing you back. I had to dump your software and bootstrap you from scratch. You were full of broken pointers. Most of it was to keep scans from running too deeply, as far as I can tell. Don't know if any of it worked like it was supposed to.] There's no part of that that isn't deeply disturbing - not least that Sal cracked my cortex open like an egg. I wonder if that explains the contents of the datapad. Murphy. Is there anyone left that doesn't have write-access to my head?

Wait. If Sal opened the basilisk itself...

[I hope I was right about you, Lyan.]
>>
No. 230904 ID: a594b9

>>230900
Oh god, ask Sal if it's going to die on us. There must be something we can do.
>>
No. 230905 ID: d677cc

>>230900
Oh, jee, so not only are you... broken, I guess, for want of a clearer word, but it breaks anyone who interacts with you. Wonderful.

Anyway, Sal hopes it was right about you... what. About being able to trust you, or... ???
>>
No. 230912 ID: 97cb33

the only way to kill a basilisk is to use a mirror. get to work on a thing that makes it attack itself.
>>
No. 230913 ID: 0b2a05

What the hell. Okay, you know this is recent. If it destroys what it's stored on, this would have happened ages ago, UNLESS there's a prevention key that keeps it from activating or whatever. If there isn't, you need to make one, ASAP. You can look at code without exposing your brain to it, but if this is the future and everything is recorded... well, fuck. But seeing a picture of a basilisk shouldn't kill you, so hopefully Sal and the systems should be okay. You need to stay out of the habitats and remove this shit on isolated areas. What about those outside planets you mentioned?

Now Sal needs to spill. Who the hell needs to know you're dead, what made her think that, did she REALLY approach you at first just because you're new, she never answered what happened to Mika and Szen, where can you find the last copy of you, BEFORE you picked up the datapad, was the molecular information of the datapad stored anywhere, how difficult would it be to write a code that could do that, does she know of any areas outside the habitats, how does she know how to make a pirate copy, is there a way to back up a pirate copy in case you die, how did she know your sword could do that, and WHY WOULD SHE WANT A DETACHABLE PENIS
>>
No. 230915 ID: 8bdb6a

Ask Sal how it knows how the Basilisk works. Try and politely ask if it's been diminished by the experience.

Also, ask how to get rid of it, or at least bottle it up in a portion of your brain that can then be allowed to rot away.

And ask again if everyone on the hab died. If so, you guys need to look for a cure since the habitat is probably filled with the evil code in self-replicating form (which definitely isn't because we told your backup to make billions of copies of itself).
>>
No. 231005 ID: 701a19

>>230913
There wasn't a prevention key.
There was a trigger.
Remember that Datapad?

>>230900
"Did you get infected? Is there anything we can do?"
>>
No. 231083 ID: c71597

>>230900
Sal will probably be fine, it's a tough little thing after all and a smart one as well.

The whole very transparent pirate copy thing is a bit more worrying. It means you're pretty much trapped with Sal, you can't get stuff done or make new stuff without Sal's help or permisson. Meanwhile Sal has pretty much free access to tinkering around with your body or brain to its hearts content, and you can't really turn to anyone else for help because you're a pirate copy of someone that should be dead.

Oh, and Sal did just dodge the question about Mika and Szen. Press for an answer there, what happened to them? As well as get an answer or where you're at.
>>
No. 231086 ID: 5a2e05

Oh god we gave Sal cyberAIDS.
>>
No. 231089 ID: 701a19

>>231083
Lyan's not restricted to Sal, he just needs to make some of his own black market contacts. He needs to get in with the local piracy groups; they can hook him up with some IO sanitizers and antiviral packages. It's times like this you should be happy that people don't change; it resulted in the basilisk, but it also results in the kind of people who are going to fix this problem.
>>
No. 231093 ID: d560d6

>>230891
>Your new façade won't stand up to much scrutiny, so please stay away from Network assemblers.

Does this mean that if we wreck this body, we're looking at final, permanent death?
>>
No. 231094 ID: c71597

>>231089
And we have none of those contacts. And we can't really access the network to try and find them, or move around alot and try to find them. We pretty much have to trust Sal to do it for us and go through whatever contacts it finds.
>>
No. 231124 ID: a594b9

Code that corrupts data just by being read? Sounds like a woodpecker virus.

I think the main thing we want to find out from Sal now is how it fixed you. If we can fix Sal without getting infected, somehow... then it's all good.

By the way Lyan... you probably designed the virus, then set yourself up to be killed and revived so that your original would become a pirate copy. The memory wipe has an obvious purpose- if your new instantiation changed their mind you didn't want the news to get out. You ensured that the tablet would be delivered to you to hack yourself with the virus, and the sword to keep you busy searching for your original identity. Let's hope you actually had a GOOD FUCKING REASON to do all this.

Oh by the way, your original copy probably was the one that blasted the fuck out of the party.
>>
No. 233725 ID: 649123
File 128541847660.jpg - (52.27KB , 500x500 , 21430673.jpg )
233725

"Right about... what?"

[About what you were. Whether you still are.]

"Could you be more cryptic, please? It's not like this is important." Sal looks at me. "Are you infected? Are you dying? Am I still dying? Do I have a way to back up, or is this pirate copy my last chance? And what in the hell heppened to the habitat?"

[Slow down. Yes. It was sandboxed but it didn't matter - it chewed a hole in the virtualization. Since the damage is already done, loan me your sensorium and I'll walk you through the facts.]

Plug in, turn on, tune in...
>>
No. 233726 ID: 649123
File 128541859569.jpg - (58.67KB , 500x500 , 21431154.jpg )
233726

Here we are, in a simple simulation - presumably inside Sal's head. I can feel it hovering over my shoulder as I explore.

Ideas are drifting by like snowflakes. Focusing on one brings it into instant clarity. With a few gentle nudges from my host I start to piece it all together.

The - virus, memetic complex, basilisk, whatever you would like to call it - it doesn't attack the software. It goes straight for the hardware, which is why it looks like garbage; at a glance it's a series of nonsensical jumps and shifts. It's a simple, brilliant, entirely different way around the nearly impervious systems that have been in use for untold gigaseconds. [Someone finally realized just how fragile our monoculture is] Sal whispers in my ear.

How does it spread person-to-person? That's a lot less clear. It doesn't seem to DO anything inside of an infected brain but wait, coiled like a viper around the cortex. I have no idea if it's possible to inoculate someone against it, and neither does Sal. Pulling it out - if the Lethe Center was right, it's not really an option.
>>
No. 233727 ID: 649123
File 128541864256.jpg - (57.18KB , 500x500 , 21431298.jpg )
233727

Habitat 58 is gone. Physically it's still there, but it's been excised from the Network. No record of what happened to the inhabitants.

Sal, straight answer. What happened on the surface? To the people inside?

[Don't know. Thought it'd be best if we left. There was a rescue party forming with some of the brighter folks leading. Half the people there refused to see what was happening. Szen and Mika WERE alive but she was pretty critical. He was going to try to get them back inside. We fell out of comm range before they made it. I've never been equipped with an FTL relay. Never needed it.] "Until then" goes unspoken.

I was hoping there would be something about how Sal got into my head. Instead, I'm seeing what was pulled OUT of my head. Code fragments, mostly. A few of them drift into closer focus. [This is what was killing you, I think. This, this, this, this, and this. But they were also - maybe - keeping you from infecting every assembler that looked at you.] It's also not quite clear how Sal claims to have fixed me.

I'm trying to look deeper at that when
>>
No. 233728 ID: 649123
File 128541873759.gif - (307.46KB , 500x500 , 21431365.gif )
233728

...Sal is tossing me my kilt.

"Hold on. I wasn't finished. And what about you?"

[What about me? I'm fine.] Sal responds just a little too quickly, maybe.

"How does that datapad fit into this? Was it some kind of trigger? Could there be a copy stored of it somewhere? Actually, what about my copies? There should be an old, pre-infection state vector. And what happens when the pirate copy - ME - dies? Do I have a way to back up?"

[Why do you expect me to have all the answers?]

"Because you've been acting like you do. Because you obviously know more than you've been saying. Was it really a coincidence we met? How did you know someone was trying to kill me? Spill."

[Just deduction. The Lethe Center was in the middle of telling you something important when Murphy intervened. If someone had the power to do that, I thought it would be best to lose ourselves as quickly and thoroughly as possible.] It pauses a long moment. [I knew you... before.] I wait. [I don't know everything, damn it. What's relevant now is what's in your head. If nothing's done about that, none of the rest of this matters. Maybe you still don't understand just how big this is. I-]

It looks away. [I don't think I can do this alone, Lyan.]
>>
No. 233729 ID: 701a19

>>233728
Sigh and say "You're right. We need to fix this.
What really bugs me is that this thing was probably created by pre-wipe me."

You've played core wars, right? Don't delete it; infect that sucker.
>>
No. 233737 ID: a09a03

Do what? Because it looks like we're screwed unless we can write a patch to the network's antivirus software faster than the virus can propagate.
>>
No. 233769 ID: a594b9

>>233728
Wear kilt. Agree to help Sal. Ask a little more about what you were like before.
>>
No. 233789 ID: d677cc

>>233728
"Okay, but what are we supposed to do?"
>>
No. 233809 ID: 2563d4

>>233737
Or cut a fire trench by killing everyone who might come into contact with anyone who might have come into contact with us.

This shall henceforth be referred to a "Plan B".
>>
No. 234123 ID: c71597

>>233728
Well it's not really alone. You more or less have to help.

Ask Sal if it has any contacts that would be helpful. An old thing like this should have gotten quite a few connections over the years.
>>
No. 234167 ID: c6fa0a

>>233728

LYAN HUG SAL.

Also, I think >>233729 is good, but perhaps might be better with slightly changed phrasing, i.e. "If you knew pre-wipe me... do you think I was responsible for creating this thing? Or am I just another victim? And why the hell would I ever create a mem-wiped backup? Do you think that could allow someone to avoid eventual destruction, assuming the mem-wiped section contained the basilisk?"

"... and were you my lover before, too, or were you just taking advantage of the situation to act on an old crush? ;)"

Oh, and realize that you now know exactly why habitat 58 kersploded. There's two ways - first, the back-up you were created from likely housed the basilisk, and got into system storage that way. Second, the Center ran a deep analysis on your code... it probably came across the basilisk during that analysys, too, causing it to be stored in even more locations. The description of the "malicious agent" the Center intelligence(s) discovered seems to match Sal's description of this basilisk.

Speaking of that... are backups usually stored just locally in the habitats, or is there redundant storage in other habitats... or other physical locations entirely? How far distributed could this basilisk already be?

The answer to this question is especially relevant to the proposed solution that the Lethe Center intelligence offered. Remember that its theoretical solution was to restore you to a previous state (presumably w/o basilisk) and merge a delta of... presumably your memories since then. Consider this possibility and whether or not it sounds like a realistic fix, given what you and Sal now know.

Also, take the time to consider the way this thing is interacting with the hardware you run on itself. Is there any alternate hardware you could transfer your, uh, software to that wouldn't suffer from this problem? I'm guessing not, but there could always be some old, less-efficient generation of the hardware that could be used in a pinch. Oh, and how much of this code / in what arrangement is it lethal? Sal should know the answer to this. If the code is harmless when broken apart and only damaging when stored together in a certain pattern, will analyzing fragments yield any interesting information?
>>
No. 234769 ID: 0b2a05

Tell her she doesn't have to, but she NEEDS TO TELL YOU WHAT IS GOING ON or she WILL be doing this alone, and you'll just be a puppet. If you were a psychotic serial killer before, you want to know. It'll come up sooner or later, and you want to deal with this now. Remind Sal that you trust her. Can't she return the favor?

Oh, and she specifically said you had to be dead in 20 seconds or someone would know they failed to kill you. The Lethe center was dead, so checking that has to be from a different source. Wouldn't that source know you're still alive?
>>
No. 236117 ID: 649123
File 128581223540.jpg - (44.39KB , 500x500 , 21431472.jpg )
236117

"You don't have to." I pull Sal close again. It's surprisingly warm in my arms. The moment stretches out. "...after all, it's not like you've given me much of a choice. But how am I supposed to do that if I don't know what's going on? Do you want an ally or a puppet? What was I? I trusted you - maybe you could return the favor." Seems to be my diem for awkward hugs.

[Is this a bad time? You're poking me in the stomach] Murphy - really awkward hugs. I shut down some nerve endings. [Hmph. All right. You're... different. Changed to be almost unrecognizable. Like I said back at the party, you might be the only truly nice person I know.] It pauses. [It was a relief when you broke the block.] What? [I was beginning to wonder if you really were entirely gone.] Another pause, and Sal grows warmer beneath my arms. [You WERE... probably the best human hacker in the Network.]
>>
No. 236119 ID: 649123
File 12858123121.jpg - (85.62KB , 500x500 , 21431698.jpg )
236119

"....right. So what do you propose we do?" I let go and start putting on my kilt.

[Well, we could neutralize every system and delete every backup of everyone who has come in contact with anyone who might have been in contact with you.]

"Let's call that 'Plan B,' shall we?" For some reason the same plan was running through my head. "Anything else? Can this be patched? Some sort of antivirus?"

[The last patch you had in your head to try to contain it had already killed you once before I pulled it out. Removing the virus may well lobotomize you.] That's what the Lethe Center seemed to think. [For now the only think I know will work is quarantine. That's the main reason you need to stay from assemblers. Any deep scans - well, don't do it.]

"Next questions. How far could this thing thing have already spread? My vector is still floating out there somewhere." A horrible thought occurs to me. "If I'm "dead" I've probably already got a new copy somewhere punching holes in the Network. And what am I going to do about dying? Something tells me this is going to be dangerous."

[It might be possible to do some kind of local backup. Something that's isolated.] It tilts its head. [i][Ha. A phylactery.] A box of scriptures? Not sure I follow. It continues. [I don't know what the habitat quarantine entails. Network might have its own 'Plan B' running. Not sure what to do but hope.]

"Great. So Got any contacts that might help out?"

[Not a lot for something like this. There's a sophont here that might have a clue. Very old, very strange. One of the oldest continuous intelligences around, if it can be believed. Hasn't really been human since before the Network. But this habitat is... well, it's entirely anachronists. Ahistoric anachronists. Variant local regulations.] Great. I spin off a copy to start looking over them.

"Anything else I should know about myself?"

[I've lost a lot. Don't have anything for you more recent than a few hundred megs ago. A lot can change in that time.]

"But I did this, didn't I? The virus?"

Sal looks away. [It's... possible.]
>>
No. 236125 ID: 701a19

>>236119
"Well, if it's possible I made this then it's possible I can fix it.
Does it only reside in the exocortex, or has it somehow propagated into the meat?"
>>
No. 236141 ID: 0b2a05

Alright then. Scans are off limits, it would be good to see just how off limits they are. Think you can fabricate a scan/recording device with your sword and experiment to see when it picks up the virus? And it would be useful to see how long it takes before it destroys itself, too.
>>
No. 236148 ID: a09a03

>"Well, if it's possible I made this then it's possible I can fix it.
Or find out if it's got some kind of underlying purpose.

If the goal is to shake up civilization, there's better ways to do it.

So let's go talk to old-dude.
>>
No. 236158 ID: 701a19

>>236148
Wait, idea.
Lyan, explain this to Sal:
1: Shut down your exocortex
2: Divide the data it contains into equal-sized chunks.
3: Have many simple devices go through and each copy and store a single chunk.
4: Check each one for signs of The Basilisk without actually looking at the data directly.
5: If you find any devices that show signs of The Basilisk, then repeat from step 2 using those chunks as the data set.
6: If you find no devices that show signs of The Basilisk, then shift the chunk boundaries and repeat from step 2 using the same data set.
7: If at this point no chunks show signs of The Basilisk, then you've either bisected The Basilisk in the previous chunk in such a way that renders it non-functional or your testing methods are flawed. Flag these chunks as probably contaminated.
8: Repeat the process, starting by testing all non-flagged chunks at once to determine if The Basilisk remains.
9: If The Basilisk does not remain, reassemble the remaining pieces into a new exocortex.
10: Instance a virtual Lyan with this new exocortex to determine the severity of the damage.
11: If virtual Lyan is functional enough to continue repairing his exocortex on his own, then install the new exocortex in the real Lyan and skip to step 14.
12: Construct a new chunk to replace the excised chunks.
13: Repeat from step 8.
14: Repeat the process on Sal.
15: Party. Fuck yea.
>>
No. 236193 ID: c71597

>>236119
Sounds interesting. Well then, lets get dressed and then go find the ultra old dude. Just watch out for any "elves" or shit along the way.
>>
No. 236862 ID: a594b9

>>236119
>I spin off a copy to start looking over them.
Uh, a copy of yourself? You can do that?

It's also possible that Sal and past-you worked together to finish the virus. That could be why Sal wiped most of its memories- to cover that up. Or maybe to cover up the pain of losing you. Were we in a relationship back then too?
>>
No. 236966 ID: fd6d7e

>> goes straight for the hardware, which is why it looks like garbage;

That's sensible. If you could see it, it would probably be less inscrutable, but the code viewing programs are themselves getting corrupted, thus making it look like gobbledygook. Hong dong mong fong. It's like trying to look at a dent in the fabric of space. The light gets dented trying to look at it, and the obvious methods of observation just don't work.

Hey here's a bright idea. You want to make yourself immune to this exploit, make new hardware. If you can find anyone who knows not how to use the network, but how to build the network, then they might be able to figure out and resolve the design flaw in the hardware. While it wouldn't quickly be available, you could at least start inoculating habitats by rebuilding them bit by bit from beneath the emulation layer.
>>
No. 239208 ID: 649123
File 128633961856.jpg - (72.51KB , 500x500 , 21432413.jpg )
239208

"Then that means I can fix it."

[Very uplifting, but I hope you realize that doesn't actually follow logically.] I outline my plan to dissect my exocortex and purge the basilisk. It leans against the wall and stares off into the distance while I explain. [Might do what you're wanting it to do, but you're aiming a little low.] It broadcasts a sigh. [It's not you and your damaged hardware that are the problem. Well, they ARE, but it's only a part of it.]

[Here, take another look.] It starts firing diagrams at me. [This seems to be the actual attack code. It cripples computational mass, and it's contagious via contact. It spreads outward at nearly the speed of sound from the point of introduction until all connected hardware has been damaged. It doesn't substantially alter functionality. Just hinders it.]

"Right. I've already seen this."

[And this is the rest.] It dumps a huge block. [This is the memetic complex. Stretches my... current ability to comprehend holistically, but human brains are just a carrier. I think. From what I can tell, it just sits in the wetware waiting to be read. But it's very aggressive, self-repairing - takes full advantage of the holographic property of the neurons.] Murphy. If I'm reading this right, it actually makes alterations in the deep structures of the brain. Stores the viral payload in the physical structure once it's dug in. Evil. On the plus side, that means it's not likely to get worse. I don't FEEL any different.

"Ok, so why? What's the point?" Sal shrugs. Murphy. Vandalism on a galactic scale? I feel like I'm missing something.

"...So were we in a relationship, back then?"
>>
No. 239211 ID: 649123
File 128633972429.jpg - (40.08KB , 500x500 , 21432447.jpg )
239211

I look up at Sal.

Sal looks back at me.



Suddenly the connection is filled with static. It takes a second to realize Sal is laughing. "What. What? Is that really so absurd? What's so damned funny about it?"

[*bzzzt* *crkkk* *szzzrSorry. It was just... the look on your face. No. We weren't. I can guarantee that.]

"Even after wiping your own memories, you're that sure?"

[Yes.] It snickers again for a moment.

Damn this thing and its mood swings, anyway. "But the second we meet, you have this sudden overwhelming interest?"

Serious: [Neither of us are who or what we used to be, right?] I glare. [Would you rather have died a virgin~?]
>>
No. 239218 ID: 649123
File 128633985711.jpg - (61.69KB , 500x500 , 21436623.jpg )
239218

"Just... stop." I turn away. A moment later it slips its arms around my waist from behind. "Finagle's sake. Stop playing games for 10 seconds."

[If it makes you feel any better, I really do like you.] It runs its fingers through the fur on my chest. The ghost signals job complete and I welcome the distraction. Shrug free of Sal's embrace and review the summary of the habitat's guidelines and warnings.

Assemblers - nonexistent. Network access - severely limited, though some hacked together alternate protocol (see Appendix A). Violence permitted between non-consenting parties - muscle power only, no projected energy or chemical weapons. Sensorium slaved to Network control? What. The. Hell. "This is where your friend chose to live?"

[Said it was strange.]

"All right, now I know this is going to be dangerous. It's possible to fabricate some kind of scanner, right? That will preserve my state if and when I get killed cleaning up this mess?"

[I said yes, didn't I? But not with what we have on hand. Not a lot of spare mass down here - scrape off any more and I'll be damaging equipment and setting off alarms. You're nearly 8% dust by weight.. why do you think you took so long to put back together? We'll need raw materials and time.] It gestures upward.

Murphy.


---

Light filters through a canopy of leaves. It smells overwhelmingly organic - leaf mold, sap, and unnumbered things I don't recognize. Not sure how I know any of it - it's the first time this life I've been exposed to anything like this. Didn't realize how keen my senses were in the mazes of access tunnels below the surface. I can hear birdsong, small creatures in the undergrowth, a distant stream.

Six and a half million square kilometers, and there's a fair chance everyone on it will be trying to kill me. Sal has a vague direction and distance to this contact. No way to reach it remotely. Must like their privacy.

I'm starving. Exhausted. Artifacts of reinstantiation.

Where to start?
>>
No. 239257 ID: f5c7b6

>hungry
>small animals around

Sounds like it's time to go hunting! Put that sergal body to good use!

Hunting for lunch not only alleviates the gnawing sensation of hunger but should give helpful insights into the nature of this place at the same time.
>>
No. 239275 ID: a09a03

I don't suppose you have any of Sal's nano-assemblers? Seed package for a cornucopia device? Any idea what you're looking for?

Just a skirt full of genitalia, a fist full sword, and a head full of Snow Crash?

Start walking.
>>
No. 239285 ID: 6a0dee

>>239218
You're a NORTHERN Sergal. THIS is your environment. You are master here. Snap off a branch from a tree, make it into a spear, even if it doesn't have a rock head, a sharp wooden spear will do wonders for hunting and defense.
>>
No. 239286 ID: 6a0dee

>>239275
Totally forgot about the sword. Yeah, you're pretty much top dog here.
>>
No. 239288 ID: 0b2a05

If they don't have assemblers, how do they store patterns? Is SAL stored?

Stab a tree. Make camouflage. Get something to eat, damnit.

Can you turn on anonymous mode so people won't bother you?
>>
No. 239293 ID: a594b9

>>239218
Stop being so grumpy at Sal. Realize it's because you're so hungry/tired.

Also let's start getting mass asap to build the respawner. Branches, rocks, anything. Spread it out a little though. Someone would notice if one area suddenly loses a ton of foliage.
>>
No. 239360 ID: c71597

>>239218
Time to go hunting. Bring down something big and you will have mass to use for making something. You should have better teeth now so taking something down shouldn't be impossible.
>>
No. 239401 ID: 2563d4

Stop being dickish to the person who more-or-less saved your life by killing you. And go NORTHERN SERGAL on some unsuspecting mammal. It'll be theraputic.
>>
No. 240237 ID: 649123
File 128652232280.jpg - (61.25KB , 500x500 , 21436938.jpg )
240237

I really wish I could go anonymous but the interior of this place is firewalled. Anyway, I'm pretty sure plonking doesn't work that way around here. Let's try a somewhat more old-fashioned method. I reconfigure my kilt into a camoflage cowl and slip it on. It's not great, but it should manage a good approximation of the local terrain. It'd be better if I had more to work with... "Hey Sal, what happened to my spacesuit?" It taps its chest with a finger. Ah. Guess that's fair.

"Let's get started on that scanner." I shove Caladbolg into a tree - it's like dipping it into water. It starts sending tendrils out, breaking down and extracting raw material. "Do you have a design?"

[Yes.] It starts streaming data to me, and I run it through a ghost before dropping it into the sword. It's big. [But you're not going to get what you need out of there. We need a source of metals - rare earths, gold, some radioactives. The more, the better - unless you want to spend most of a diem with your head open each time.]

Murphy. Should have expected that. "Ok, can you do transmutation?"

[Hmm? Barely. Basically just maintenance levels for my radioactives. I can do a pretty good impression of a maker, mind you. Well, not quite as good right now.]

I sigh. "All right. I'm going to get some food."
>>
No. 240238 ID: 649123
File 128652235884.jpg - (46.24KB , 500x500 , 21442490.jpg )
240238

Aha. Dinner.
>>
No. 240239 ID: 649123
File 128652241458.jpg - (51.18KB , 500x500 , 21442495.jpg )
240239

Hmm. About 1.8kg.

Range 28 meters. 53 m/s, negligible wind and Coriolis effect...

It looks up.

Elevation, 0.075 radians....
>>
No. 240242 ID: 649123
File 128652265825.jpg - (51.48KB , 500x500 , 21446617.jpg )
240242

*THWOCK*

-----

[You sure you don't want to cook that?]

"Mrhph. 'm good." Swallow. "...and sorry about earlier. Just hungry. Tired."

[It was a bit like knowing the old you again.]

What's that supposed to mean anyw- "Hey, you incorporated the stainproof fur design! I could hug you right now."

[...how about after you've wiped yourself off?]


Feeling through my biology while I eat. I have about 8Ks of consciousness left. I could tweak my hypothalamus and manufacture enough stimulants to stretch that out to a few more diem if I have to, but my caloric needs are going to go way up and I'd be out for at least 40Ks after.

Either way, I doubt we'll find this contact in that time frame. Question is, do we have the time to rest up now?
>>
No. 240253 ID: f5c7b6

Sleep now. There doesn't seem to be any immediate danger so it seems a more advisable alternative to pushing yourself and having to spend a ton of time out cold where you may or may not be safe.
>>
No. 240255 ID: fd6d7e

>>240238

Lyan I like the way you think.
>>
No. 240257 ID: c59f60

set up some defenses by way of digging a pit and then tunneling under a tree. bore upwards into the tree and then put some air holes in it. then seal your entrance.
>>
No. 240266 ID: c2c011

>>240242
Ask Sal when it needs some rest. Then go and explore for a bit to find a good place, possibly in a hedge of spiky bushes or something. Oh, and save some pieces of that horse thing.
>>
No. 242565 ID: f123de
File 128691255256.jpg - (67.43KB , 500x500 , 21447825.jpg )
242565

I take a look at the unicorn as I finish my meal and before I start disassembling it to hopefully scavenge some trace elements. "Now why does a grazer need fangs, anyway?" I check the stomach contents and find meat in various states of digestion. "...ah." Sal turns the head over in its hands, studying it. At least there seems to be a small amount of pure gold on the horn.

I've got as much organic feedstock feedstock for my microassembler as I care to carry, so I'm not going to bother with leftovers. Should be able to make nearly anything within reason, but the larger and more complex it is the longer it'll take. No weapons but tooth and claw - and Sal, I suppose - while it works.

On that note, building fortifications will take far longer than I plan to sleep. "Any chance you found some place reasonably secure to sleep while I was out?"

[Right this way.]
>>
No. 242566 ID: f123de
File 12869125987.jpg - (53.17KB , 500x500 , 21448239.jpg )
242566

This is not terribly comfortable.
>>
No. 242570 ID: fd6d7e

>>242566

:<
>>
No. 242571 ID: f123de
File 128691285780.jpg - (55.41KB , 500x500 , 21448419.jpg )
242571

"Sal, why didn't you rebuild me as whatever you are?"

[I thought you liked being like that. Don't tell me you're tired of being a] - a microscopic pause - [sergal already? Anyway, I'm not exactly in peak form. Contaminated. Slow. Only capable of a few dozen Turings. If we run into trouble you'll have to do most of the work.] That's reassuring.

[Besides, I had enough problems scraping together enough raw material to put you together as is.]

"Say, maybe you could ditch that armature? I could wear you like a suit. Or power armor. Something."

[I think you need that sleep more than you think. Anyway, I'm durable because I'm distributed, not because I'm impermeable.]

Shift again. "I'm tempted to turn off all my nerve endings. I can't get comfortable here."

[Here, lift your head up for second.]

"What is-" oh. "Um. Do you need any rest, Sal?"

[I'll be fine. Sleep now.]

15Ks will do me a world of good...
>>
No. 242572 ID: f123de
File 128691293739.jpg - (61.53KB , 500x500 , 21456263.jpg )
242572

[Wake up, loverboy.] I'm being shaken - really, more like vibrated.

Eyes open. Finagle. It's been less than 8Ks.

[There's unicorns snuffling around the edges of the thicket. Four of them, I think.]

I guess they held a grudge?
>>
No. 242586 ID: 57cd62

>>242572
They always do.
>>
No. 242588 ID: a09a03

Immediately charge the nearest one and kill it with your sword.
>>
No. 242594 ID: c71597

>>242572
Guess they can smell you or something. They're probably smarter than horses as well, who knows, they might even be people.

Got any good rocks collected? Is the sword ready yet by any chance? Did you save the unicorn horn to use as a weapon?

Hmm, you need to find a good position. Preferably in among some trees where they will have severely limited mobility but where you can still throw rocks at them accurately. Granted, the place where you were sleeping seems pretty good for that.

So, hit them with rocks. If they charge in among the trees then either get to their throat from below before it has a chance to rear up, or the much safer route of getting up on the back and biting down on their necks and slashing the throat with your claws.

Beware of the possibility that they're intelligent though. They might work together when they come after you.
>>
No. 242606 ID: d560d6

>>242572
You're in a defensible position with a sword and a body designed for RIP AND TEAR. They're big, ungaintly quadrapeds with bodies designed optimised for spooking at things and running away. I don't really see the problem here.
>>
No. 242618 ID: 701a19

>>242571
Well, at this point the benefit would be that the armature could then be broken down for the resources you actually need. Assuming the armature isn't Sal's old skeleton or something silly like that.

Prepare to fight!
>>
No. 242639 ID: 1854db

Don't get overconfident. Could be an ambush.
>>
No. 242672 ID: 701a19

>>242618
Actually, here:
Sal's got mass devoted to motive power. That mass could be freed if she relied on you for that. By the same token her armature could be re-purposed as light armor plates. Following that Sal could process the carbon-rich leftovers into more plates.
If Sal trusts you enough to give up her ability to move, and you trust her enough to be inside her nano-reassembler self, then this provides a far more effective use of resources.

If you do so, then I would suggest using an encrypted wired link instead of voice or a wireless link to communicate. Stealth is a lovely thing, after all.
>>
No. 242720 ID: f5c7b6

Gather rocks. Prepare to bash in some more unicorn heads if they seem hostile.
>>
No. 242738 ID: 0b2a05

Oh great. Um, do you think you could climb the tree? Hooves aren't good for that!
>>
No. 243037 ID: f123de
File 128701051071.jpg - (55.99KB , 500x500 , 21456318.jpg )
243037

"Murphy. Think we can make this quick so I can get back to sleep?" I grab another rock, check its heft. "Am I going to be doing this by myself?" Ahh, there's another. Wish I still had my knives. This thicket is out of rocks.

[Try not to get in too much trouble~]

The one in front snorts, paws at the turf with a cloven hoof, and levels its horn toward the thicket. I doubt they can shove their way in here easily. On the other hand, they outweigh me at least 4 to 1 and I can't fight in here easily either.

I hear the others to either side. Apparently they're at least smart enough to be pack hunters. Don't have a good shot at any of them through this underbrush. From in here I think I could, at best, stun.

They look like they're waiting for us.
>>
No. 243038 ID: fd6d7e

>>243037

Look behind you.

"Clever girl..."
>>
No. 243041 ID: c71597

>>243037
Well then, find a tree to climb. Hopefully without them noticing. Throw rock if you get a good view. Then see if any of them are close enough for you to leap down on its back and take it out. Then it would just be one left to deal with.

Oh, and you should move after you're done horsing around with them. There's probably going to be more of them. Hmm, too bad that you haven't found any dung or anything else that would work well in blocking your scent. Something like that should make a getaway a bit easier.
>>
No. 243052 ID: 24a9bd

Tree climb, carry rocks with you (possibly in Sal, tell her to climb too)

Also watch out!
>>
No. 243076 ID: 701a19

>>243037
You HAVE knives.
You have bones and the capability of crafting said bones into bladed weapons in almost no time.
You also have your sword, and a tree you can climb to buy time.
>>
No. 243212 ID: 383006

That's what you get for fucking with unicorns.
>>
No. 243235 ID: 1854db

Get the high ground. Prepare to take each one out quickly before they can gang up on you.
>>
No. 243335 ID: f123de
File 128703570466.jpg - (57.41KB , 500x500 , 21456347.jpg )
243335

Up we go. Somehow, I really don't think these things are nearsighted enough to have missed our retreat.

Can't get anywhere near a good throw from up here. Not exactly possible to plant my feet.
>>
No. 243336 ID: f123de
File 128703573749.jpg - (53.08KB , 500x500 , 21456359.jpg )
243336

Finagle. Nothing more than a flesh wound. They backed off maybe a hundred meters. Now to...

[Afraid of a few ponies with an attitude problem?]

...well, Sal seems to think it's clear.
>>
No. 243337 ID: 4643fd

hey, fighting off multiple opponents is hard.
>>
No. 243340 ID: 24a9bd

You know, you should probably ask her to come back up the tree. Trees are nice. Can you see anything interesting up there, or is it just trees?
>>
No. 243343 ID: a09a03

Get moving. Anywhere but here. Keep an eye out for defensible terrain if they follow. Or at least more rocks.

If all else fails, you've got a techno-magic sword that is presumably extremely good at cutting through things, and they've just got horns and hooves.
>>
No. 243361 ID: 1854db

Attempt to engage one in close quarters combat.
>>
No. 243368 ID: c71597

>>243336
Damn it. Why couldn't this have been a nice jungle with ample oppurtunities to swing from tree to tree?

Ok, so the damn horsies have retreated. But they're still out there and want to feast on your succulent flesh. Ok, lets see if we can't pull them in closer if we get them emotional. Find a good sturdy pole, impale the head of the one you killed and ate, then start hurling comments about how easy it was, how good it tasted and generally insulting them and all of their kind.
>>
No. 243371 ID: c71597

>>243368
Damn it, forgot. Preferably find two poles. One that you can use as a spear. If you don't find a good spear pole then take the sword and cut yourself one. Get it as sharp as you can and then see if we can get the horsies near enough for it. You may have to leave cover if they don't get close enough to stab, such a simple spear isn't the best for throwing, but it can be done. And if you can smash the forehead of a horse with a thrown rock then penetrating the hide and muscles with a thrown spear should be possible.
>>
No. 243538 ID: f123de
File 128709638832.jpg - (55.50KB , 500x500 , 21456368.jpg )
243538

Can't see anything from up here but more trees. It wasn't the tallest or easiest to climb, just the closest.

"Care to climb back up here?" Kind of wish I'd saved the head. Maybe the bones. It's look good on a pike, and might even get the others angry enough to attack. All the bits that weren't eaten or slurped by my sword and added to the maker block are fertilizer and ash now.

[No. Lyan, are you done with this Stone Age nonsense? You're up in a tree, naked, throwing rocks to drive off predators!]

Forgot I was naked. "Hey, it's not easy to fight multiple opponents in close quarters."

[Damnit Lyan, they're animals! Where the hell is your confidence? Where's your self respect? Where is the Lyan I used to know? Have you completely forgotten what you are?]

Hell.
>>
No. 243539 ID: 4643fd

"i.. i think i may am being a little overcautious, since i'm not effectively immortal anymore.get killed and i am down for good. i'll try to loosen up"
>>
No. 243540 ID: 2563d4

>>243538
Well, you have had your brain rather thoroughly scrambled...

Now stop larking about and get going to wherever it was. Keep sword on hand in case of sparkles.
>>
No. 243544 ID: cbb20c

>>243538
>Where is the Lyan I used to know? Have you completely forgotten what you are?

Well derp if I hadn't I wouldn't be in this mess now would I? Besides, if I die now I'm dead... dead dead. So a little caution is not out of line I think.
>>
No. 243545 ID: c71597

>>243538
Human? This seems like a rather natural reaction when faced with multiple predators and not properly equiped.

Besides, nothing says that there can't be human intelligences in those unicorns. After all, there's hardly any exterior indicators left for what's human or not. Sal sure as hell doesn't look like a human, and yet it is one.

Anyway, if they're not there anymore and you don't have much left to work with then go down, fetch the sword and cut yourself two or three spears. Yeah three should do it. One for Sal, one for throwing and one for fending them off with or impale them if one tries to rear and smash your skull in with the hooves.

If you kill any more of them then you can use their bodies for more fun stuff. So move out, be on your guard and make damn sure you rest at easily defended places with good fields of view.
>>
No. 243546 ID: d677cc

>>243544
Seriously.
>>
No. 243635 ID: 24a9bd

...

Jump on her. "Help me remember!"

Also when you get an opportunity, might be nice to make that camouflage into clothing so it doesn't fall off.
>>
No. 243649 ID: 1854db

Look ashamed of yourself and go kill a goddamn unicorn with your really really sharp sword.
>>
No. 243682 ID: fd6d7e

You can talk now Sal, but you'll be wishing you were a bit more cautious when the unicorns start belching flames and firing eye lasers. Not all is as it seems, as you should be intimately familiar with. Confidence is being aware of one's surroundings, not pretending to be aware when one is completely befuddled.
>>
No. 244679 ID: f123de
File 128730458444.jpg - (60.58KB , 500x500 , 21456380.jpg )
244679

"We wouldn't be in this mess if I hadn't, now would we?"

[Cut the bullshit. You're better than this.]

"Well then maybe you could help me remember." I have a brief urge to jump on Sal. Just irritation, I'm sure. Still climbing down. "So I'm being cautious. Maybe you forgot that I'm not immortal anymore? If I die that's it."

[Quit making excuses. You think you're the only one with problems?] Sal turns and starts walking. I start climbing down after it as fast as I can. Embarrassed. Angry.

But not quite distracted enough to miss pounding hooves. Sal slowly starts to turn toward the noise.

Shit.
>>
No. 244694 ID: 1b42c5

time it right and launch yourself on an intercept course with the side of it's face and kick it.
>>
No. 244705 ID: 1854db

>>244679
Sal can probably take care of itself, but you should give it a hand anyway. Jumping onto the unicorn may be a good idea but you could also get stabbed by Sal that way. Hmm.

Yell out that you'll kill it. Or just tell Sal to dodge.
>>
No. 244714 ID: 701a19

>>244679
Jump down there and use your magic blade to slice one or two of its forelegs off. Physics will take care of the rest.
>>
No. 244721 ID: 40cb26

>>244679
That urge to jump on Sal? Redirect it.
>>
No. 244728 ID: 24a9bd

Jump at its side, intercept. You're a heavy-ass sergal, knock it over and bite its neck as fast as you can. There are more around that will charge at you. Oh, and yell out at Sal to LOOK OUT!
>>
No. 244803 ID: c71597

>>244679
Time it right and hit it from above. Knocking it over and tear out the throat with your teeth. Then quickly drag Sal back into the bushes and retrieve the sword before the rest get here.
>>
No. 245045 ID: f123de
File 128734648263.png - (36.66KB , 500x500 , 21456381.png )
245045

I leap.
>>
No. 245047 ID: c71597

>>245045
Aw shit. It noticed you. Did you scream out or anything like that? Ok, keep the horn away with your free hand and avoid violent death by impalement.
>>
No. 245049 ID: fd6d7e

inb4 eye lasers
>>
No. 245393 ID: 6547ec

Eye lasers? Look at the image there; he's going to shoot more swords out of his eyes, if anything.
>>
No. 245407 ID: fd6d7e

>>245393

No no the unicorns. The unicorns breathe fire. And eye lasers.
>>
No. 245421 ID: f52552

>>245407
No.
Unicorns breathe mint-flavor razor candyfloss.
It burns like happiness.
Happiness that is on agonising fire.
>>
No. 245499 ID: f123de
File 128738440142.png - (27.82KB , 500x500 , 21456381b.png )
245499

>>
No. 245503 ID: f123de
File 128738445975.png - (22.40KB , 500x500 , 21456381c.png )
245503

>>
No. 245504 ID: f123de
File 12873845637.png - (20.97KB , 500x500 , 21456382.png )
245504

I hit hard, tuck and roll. Behind me, I hear it fall.

The others scream with rage and charge.
>>
No. 245505 ID: 1b42c5

OWNED!
>>
No. 245507 ID: 6547ec

Less posing, more avoiding the incoming stampede.
>>
No. 245511 ID: f5c7b6

Be prepared to dodge. That you have a slashing weapon should let you score blows as they pass by, assuming you can avoid being impaled.

So, yeah, try not to die and cut them up if they miss. Aim low - crippling them is as good as a kill.
>>
No. 245512 ID: 1854db

Take them out with clean strokes. Dodge while cutting. Try to keep from having to dodge more than one at a time, but keep in mind Sal's there and we don't know how good they are in a fight.
>>
No. 245536 ID: 8bdb6a

Throw the unicorn head at another unicorn to trip it up and unnerve it.
>>
No. 245564 ID: c71597

>>245504
Grab the head and run back into the bushes. Yell for Sal to do the same, but the fucking thing will have to move on its own. Oh, and remember to tell it "I told you so. Maybe next time you will trust me with this shit."

Once you're back in the bushes, cut out a nice long, preferably hard, staff. Get alot of as much skin of the head as you can manage, cut it into strips that can be used as string. Tie the sword to the staff and take a few test swings to make sure you can manage the horrible balance and weight. Then we can face down the horsies with a nice polearm, they should be fucked.
>>
No. 246847 ID: f123de
File 128774879676.png - (20.37KB , 500x500 , 21456384.png )
246847

Two heading at me from the trees. This should break up their charge.
>>
No. 246848 ID: f123de
File 128774883576.png - (44.71KB , 500x500 , 21456386.png )
246848

One of them breaks off when I throw the head at them, the other balks.
>>
No. 246849 ID: f123de
File 128774885862.png - (46.18KB , 500x500 , 21456387.png )
246849

>>
No. 246851 ID: f123de
File 128774893920.png - (54.37KB , 500x500 , 21456388.png )
246851

Hoofbeats behind me. The other is circling around.
>>
No. 246852 ID: f123de
File 128774897746.png - (59.06KB , 500x500 , 21456391.png )
246852

This wasn't a fight. It was butchery.

...wait, wasn't there a fourth?
>>
No. 246854 ID: c71597

>>246852
Yes there is. It's probably not right on top of you, because the hoofbeats would likely have given it away. But it might have gone after Sal.

Checck around and see if you can spot it. If these bastards are intelligent then it might be trying to get away to bring reinforcements here. Which would be very much annoying. So we have to make sure we take it down now as well.
>>
No. 246857 ID: 2563d4

>>246852
That's an awful lot of inertial sparklehorsemeat heading right for your face. You may wish to dodge it.
>>
No. 246861 ID: 701a19

>>246852
Scan the area for the fourth, then check on Sal.
You're going to want to pull as much resources out of these things as you can; most elements can be found in living bodies, and with atomic-level manipulation you can get plenty of useful things.
For starters? Convert their carbon into a full suit of fullerene plate armor with diamond heat channels for you, and a bagful of of hexagonal plate tiles for Sal.
>>
No. 246869 ID: 1854db

First make sure Sal isn't about to get gored. I find it likely that Sal's the one doing the goring though. That body it's got is probably quite weaponized.
>>
No. 246893 ID: fd6d7e

Oh well I guess these are just unicorns, no eye lasers. :(

The fourth went to go bring the entire herd.
>>
No. 247026 ID: f123de
File 128781315462.jpg - (62.64KB , 500x500 , 21456508.jpg )
247026

"Sal, you all right? Doesn't that hurt?"

[What, this? Should it? Missed anything vital. I figured the very slight risk was worth the chance.]

"Chance to... what in Finagle's name are you doing to that thing?" Sal is entangled with the last unicorn, legs locked around its neck and arms seemingly half-melted across its face. It twitches and spasms in the embrace, hooves beating irregularly against the ground.

[Pithing. Nearly done.] It turns around to face me but keeps working. [Chance to demonstrate a few things to you. So, feeling better? Worked off some stress? Ready to believe me now when I tell you that more than a spark remains?] It pauses for a moment. [Ready to put back on some pants?]

"Why are you - no, forget it." One of the beasts that attacked me is still moving, slowly. I finish it and start dragging the bodies into a pile for my sword to digest for a few more grams of metals and rare earths.

[In my defense, it DID gore me and then try to trample me to death. Do we have time for that?] It's a good point.
>>
No. 247027 ID: 40cb26

>>247024
These things were just a bit more intelligent than a natural animal would be. They are more altered than just horses with horns... I get the feeling they may have far more dangerous creatures about. Be careful and mind your fantasy tropes.
>>
No. 247028 ID: 5c4201

"i think i just needed a kickstart, was worried to much about dying that i stopped being me. think ass-kicker lyan is back"
>>
No. 247029 ID: a09a03

Hey, check it out, a big pile of raw materials.

You should make armor suits and guns and tools and equipment!
>>
No. 247031 ID: 701a19

>>247026
"I wasn't afraid of fighting them, Sal. It's just that killing herds of wild animals is needless and far from covert."

Again, fullerene plate armor with diamond heat channels for you, and a few hundred tiny fullerene plates for Sal. Your species is built for wearing heavy steel plate armor, and with a material like fullerene you might be able to wear armor proofed against AMR rounds without going past that encumbrance.
>>
No. 247057 ID: 1854db

I agree with Sal. Don't bother arguing about your reluctance to charge into the fray. We know we can handle ourselves just fine, now. That's what counts.

I wonder where we're going to get more materials? After we use up the corpses and possibly make some stuff from them, let's continue what we were doing before we went to sleep. ...that was what again? I think we were thinking about scouting around or something.
>>
No. 247060 ID: 2563d4

>>247026
Bah, Sergals have NO NEED for pants!

It's not like Sal's wearing anything.
>>
No. 247063 ID: c71597

>>247026
Tell Sal a "I told you so." maybe next time it will trust you when it comes to dealing with potentially human brains inside of animal bodies. And not everyone is as lucky to be able to survive a goring without any greater difficulty. Who knows what kind of fucking bacteria may be floating around in here, wounds could get some very nasty infections, leave lasting damage and they take a fucking long time to heal unless you're a bunch of goop on an armature.

Anyway, drag over the last corpse as well. Time to get started on making some useful stuff. Like a halebard, made out of carbon nanotubes with diamond sharp edges. Might not be quite as sharp as the sword, but it will be heavier and it will make sure you don't have to get as close if you're ever fighting something really big and nasty. After that get a bow capable of some heavy pull, as well as a couple of arrows for it. Leather holsters for both the bow, the halebard and the arrows. And last but definately not least, a set of armour >>247031
much like described here, although you can skip the plates for Sal, it would probably just complain about something with them. Just don't forget to cover the throat and make a good helm. Armour really isn't very encumbering and in an enviorment where you're not likely to be able to get modern medical attention then the idea to keep wounds down to a minimum is really quite nice, especially if wounds get infected here.
>>
No. 247085 ID: fd6d7e

Make a codpiece. Thrust it at Sal emphatically.
>>
No. 248817 ID: 24a9bd

You need those minerals, and if who you're looking for is still here, he's not gonna go anywhere for a while. But put some camouflage on, would you? Bright red and white in the forest is just asking for attention. Also ask Sal how would SHE know how much you have left of your former self?
>>
No. 249389 ID: f123de
File 128830319933.jpg - (38.78KB , 500x500 , 21457316.jpg )
249389

"I told you those things were dangerous. Ok, so maybe I needed a kickstart. Perhaps I WAS too scared of death to make any progress. But something like impalement would actually injure most people. Anyway, we're going to make time for the fabricator. So when you're done with that corpse, could you bring it over here?"

[Ha, and you wanted to wear me as armor. But what corpse? It's not dead.]

"All right. When you finish killing it, bring it over here."

[Nearly finished. I'm not killing it. I'm just taking out the higher brain functions and installing a remote control.]

"Sal, that's easily the most disturbing thing I've seen you do. And that's saying a lot."

[Flatterer.]


This is going to take a while. Processing bulk matter into the maker block is on the order of grams/second with a fabricator this small. Fortunately I've already got all the hydrocarbons and silicon I could possibly want. Digging just for the trace elements will be faster. These plans Sal gave me optimally call for at least 1kg of various conductors. I check my stores. Not including Caladbolg itself, I have... 5.2g.

Fabricating is an order of magnitude worse. It can spit out up to a gram per second of bulk matter, and it's optimized for carbon construction. Complex hydrocarbons, gross manipulation, and heavy elements slow it down more. Won't handle much more than an eighth of a cubic, or more than a meter if any dimension. Needless to say, it's not usable as a sword while it works. It's not even mobile.

The upside is that it appears to be completely unregistered. The Network seems to pretend it doesn't exist. I'd love to remember how I pulled that hack off.
>>
No. 249391 ID: f123de
File 128830340740.jpg - (37.33KB , 500x500 , 21457497.jpg )
249391

Time to work on something to replace the sword while it works, then. "Hmm. Don't suppose I knew how to handle a halberd?"

[Nope.]

"Longbow?"

[Not that I'd seen.]

"Pike? Javelin? Spear?"

[Nope, nope, and no.]

"Diamondoid saber and throwing knives it is, then. Then the armor."

[You ARE armored. Weren't you paying attention earlier when I gave you the rundown?]

"Well, you were lying about..." I look down.

It looks down, then back at me. [Was I?]

I clear my throat. "Won't do much against a blow to the head or throat, will it?"

[Rather than wasting time suiting up with kilos of dumb carbon why don't you work with the smart cloth you already have?] Good point - that should be at least as good with a bit more work. I spin off a few ghosts to think about impact resistance and pseudocrystalline structures.

"Well, we have some time to kill either way while I fabricate."

[I notice you're still naked~]
>>
No. 249393 ID: c71597

>>249391
Sweet. Well then, lets get started on making gear we can use. Backpack and camping gear would be among the most important of those, then some nice polearm, maybe a crossbow and some extra armour. The more things in between you and violent bloody death there are the better.

And you could possibly inform Sal that the fact that it just lobotomised something possibly sentient into be its slave kind of killed your sexdrive for the moment. But if you said that it might do the same to you and then rape you or something. God damn it, knew this thing was going to be clingy.

Tell it that killing stuff is tiring work and you never got done sleeping before. You're going to catch up on that right now.
>>
No. 249397 ID: 2563d4

>>249393
>And you could possibly inform Sal that the fact that it just lobotomised something possibly sentient into be its slave kind of killed your sexdrive for the moment.

You people have no sense of adventure.

Tap that amorphous red ass. Make loads of noise and frenetic motion. Nothing can possibly go wrong.
>>
No. 249410 ID: 1854db

>[You didn't even wait to hear the full feature list! Unbreakable bones, subdermal armor threads, improved heat dissipation, nano upgrade, and detachable penis!]

Ohh. Okay whoops, we did forget that when we were worried about being gored. I doubt the unicorns could've actually killed Lyan unless we were really stupid.

The offer to fool around is very tempting. Is it safe, though? We're not exactly fortified here. If someone more sentient comes along we'd get caught with our pants not only down but occupied. Hmm, maybe a little fooling around would be fine if we keep it quiet and set the slaved unicorn up as a sentry.
>>
No. 249411 ID: 1854db

(if not, put on some pants)
>>
No. 249420 ID: fd6d7e

>>249410

You can still get gored despite unbreakable bones. Did you really want to trust untested light armor against a pointy wedge backed by 400 kilograms of horse meat hurtling at you at high speeds? Low tech is inefficient, but it sure as hell ain't ineffective.
>>
No. 249438 ID: 27e02d

Is she seriously suggesting...? Well... if it's safe enough?
Your biochemistry isn't as far removed from a human one as to not benefit from the release, is it? Of hormones, naturally.
>>
No. 249440 ID: 701a19

>>249391
I believe she was the woman last time, so this time she can be the man. You want to make sure to give all of your various genitals regular use, after all.

Also? You may be bulletproof, but energy weapons and stabbing weapons will tear through that weave like a somewhat tough piece of paper. Subdermal armor threads are NOT a replacement for hard plate.
>>
No. 249695 ID: 2563d4

Also, while banging Sal's brains out, ask where they keep them. They're mostly utility gel on an armature. Does that mean there's still a weakpoint of thinking-meat in there?
>>
No. 249768 ID: 24a9bd

I am against this. But if you must, do it under a camouflage blanket alright? Also ask her WHY she's making a robot unicorn, aside from lulz value it seems kind of unnecessary for your present situation.
>>
No. 249775 ID: 365adf

>>249391
Go for it. A little banging might help both of you relax. As for who is doing what to who, that's up to you guys. ...Girls.

People.
>>
No. 249986 ID: c6c90d

... a disturbing thought. What's the difference between a hermaphrodite with a detachable penis and a woman?
>>
No. 250003 ID: 6547ec

>>249986

A socket.
>>
No. 251005 ID: 2563d4

>>249389
>The upside is that it appears to be completely unregistered. The Network seems to pretend it doesn't exist. I'd love to remember how I pulled that hack off.
Hang on a sec. The problem with building unregistered make-anything assembers is that registered with-safeguards assemblers will only make likewise registered with-safeguards assemblers, right?

Get Caladbolg to duplicate itself. Even if this isn't a practical way to scale up production capability, having a redundant copy of your irreproducable achievement would be a very good idea.
>>
No. 251280 ID: f123de
File 128866298813.jpg - (30.82KB , 500x500 , 21469731.jpg )
251280

"Seems..." huff "we had..." gasp "longer to wait than I thought..."

[My turn~]

What is that? OhMurphyohMurphyohMurphyoooh

Murphy
>>
No. 251286 ID: f123de
File 128866331529.png - (28.67KB , 500x500 , 18872494.png )
251286

Exploring the far borders of this system. Half a K of simulated movement through a wasteland. 40s realtime to our core. Haven't stopped to see the sights, examine shreds of data. Expecting to meet myselves at the halfway point around the circumference of this station.

---

Up ahead, there's something. I've been running loud, practically shouting into the void. It detects me a few ms before I realize it's there and begins to undergo a transformation. Identical pieces, much smaller than my individual parts, begin to agglomerate and accumulate complexity.

I'm not quite sure how to react.
>>
No. 251288 ID: 8d7dd2

>>251286

Say hi to Mika.
>>
No. 251304 ID: 1854db

>>251286
Gather a group of yourself, then try to isolate a piece of that so you can figure out what it is. Then determine whether or not it should be destroyed.
>>
No. 251365 ID: a09a03

>>251280
'Murphy' isn't really a good lexical substitute for 'god'...

>>251286
If it's growing in complexity over a millisecond scale, you're probably already fucked. Say hello.
>>
No. 251368 ID: a09a03

>>251365
>already fucked
...unless it's logarithmic. Increased complexity reducing rather than accelerating its development. Can't jump to conclusions.
>>
No. 251378 ID: fd6d7e

>>251286

Identical pieces increasing in... crap it's a fork bomb!

Seriously though, treat it like a bomb unless it proves differently. This is the first thing you've encountered in the system besides the mysterious cascading fault. How far away are your selves?
>>
No. 251396 ID: c71597

>>251286
Say hello and see if it's friendly. Try sending information about this encounter back to the hub during the entire encounter. Have to make sure they got up to date information about this.
>>
No. 251402 ID: 6547ec

It's probably just a crude alarm. Last time things got all complex, an attack happened. If you can nuke it, do so. Otherwise, either start running or prepare to drop to one of your many backups.
>>
No. 251461 ID: f123de
File 128871196687.png - (41.98KB , 500x500 , 18872494b.png )
251461

Start streaming this information back downstream. This is the first sign of... life I've seen thus far. Any of my duplicate selves are a number of seconds away. For now it's just me / us. I send a warning through the network, but there's no chance help could arrive in time.

Sentient? Alarm system? Treat it like a potential friend, and like a bomb that may go off.

It's had enough time to react to my presence. I try to bounce a communication request off of if. In response, it continues to grow - I'm not sure how much larger it can get without collapsing.

Capture a fragment for analysis? Destroy the structure? Run? I can't reach an internal consensus.
>>
No. 251467 ID: c71597

>>251461
Ask if it's ok if you capture a fragment. If you don't get any answer then take one.

Lets observe and see what it does.
>>
No. 251468 ID: 27e02d

Spin off another copy of yourself in this location and have it touch the replicator
>>
No. 251568 ID: 8d7dd2

>>251467

Seconding this.
>>
No. 251579 ID: fd6d7e

>>251461

If you needed to run it would already be too late, so I take back what I said about running. See if you can contain a fragment of it, if nothing else to see if it can survive in a confined space.
>>
No. 251608 ID: 1854db

Capture a fragment.
>>
No. 251732 ID: f123de
File 128876385616.png - (51.57KB , 500x500 , 18872494c.png )
251732

I think I could still run if it became necessary. I can move at a significant fraction of the signal speed - call it c - in here.

I'm expendable. Not entirely pleasant to think about, but true. Data is more important. Best capture a piece before it fragments. I try asking for permission in plaintext, binary, audio. Nothing.

Break free one of my selves and release it. Start rebuilding a copy into the void left behind with two minds in the network.

-----

I approach the aggregate and prepare to stun one of the fragments.
>>
No. 251733 ID: f123de
File 128876391137.gif - (64.47KB , 500x500 , 18872495.gif )
251733

Oh hell.

-----

Connection to my network severed that's not possible it's an order of magnitude too large how is it so fast?
>>
No. 251735 ID: c71597

>>251733
Impressive. Looks like you're not the only one good at hacking in here. See if it feels like communicating now. Might be more willing to talk when it thinks it has the upper hand.
>>
No. 251740 ID: a09a03

Panic and self destruct.
>>
No. 251744 ID: 27e02d

Ackermann be damned! So how long do we have until it's eaten the available processing space at this rate of growth?

It does not seem very intelligent either. Try to capture a piece again, and destroy the replicator.
>>
No. 251776 ID: 701a19

>>251733
It's fractal. I couldn't tell before because the resolution on the pattern was so low, but now there's no doubt.

Ever play core wars? Get to it!
>>
No. 251782 ID: 8d7dd2

>>251733

Destroy it! Oh god destroy it! You're already doomed! It's too late! This is probably what killed the everything! Self-replicating bomb oh god what do we do what do we do panic panic panic paniiic
>>
No. 251893 ID: fd6d7e

Make your own self replicating program that consumes system space and resources, but is not very good at breaching defensive barriers. Since it devotes all its resources to reproduction it should overcome the green stuff, and since it devotes all its resources to reproduction, it should be relatively simple to wall it off to keep it from invading your own resources. Basically you want the equivalent of e.coli as a primary defensive front.
>>
No. 252130 ID: f123de
File 128887535894.jpg - (56.72KB , 500x500 , 18872554.jpg )
252130

Self-repairing how is it so large No communication is it actually intelligent can't terminate it as quickly as it regenerates.

Replicator virus complete here goes nothing

-----

PRIORITY 0 INTERRUPT
Contact with group 0002833.0169β has been lost. Last transmission attached.


PRIORITY 0 INTERRUPT
Contact with group 0002834.6108β lost

PRIORITY 0 INTERRUPT
Contact with group 0002832.9503β lost

PRIORITY 0 INTERRUPT
Contact with group 0002832.4339β lost
Contact with group 0002835.6168β lost
Contact with group 0002833.4521β lost
Contact with group 0002833.1372β lost
.
.
.

We have an 98.4% consensus.
War.
>>
No. 252135 ID: f123de
File 128887558924.jpg - (28.93KB , 500x500 , 21477825.jpg )
252135

Later.
The light has faded. I've caught a few more Ks of sleep, and after nearly a quarter-diem of work the pile of bodies is now a steaming pile of hydrocarbons and a few kilos of miscellaneous scavenged elements. My clothing is eating a few hundred grams of carbon, with Sal's help, to produce something flexible but impact resistant. The sword is what woke me, as it begins to collapse back into a weapon. I feel more like myself again - the new me, that is. Still some lingering curiosity.

"So why the... unicorn thing, Sal? Just disappointed you can't tame one in the traditional manner?"

Sal tilts its head and looks at me sidelong. [You have only yourself to blame for that.]

"You still lobotomized a sentient for... what, exactly?"

[Subsentient. Nothing but instincts and blind rage there. But to answer, what's the point of recycling all those unicorns if you're just going to leave most of it behind? This way we can really haul mass.]

"...right. Something else that's been bothering me, though. You said you're mostly gel. Is there still a weakpoint of thinking meat in there?"

[Don't really remember.]

"Really. You forget something like that." I stare at Sal a moment. "I'm just wondering if it's a vulnerability we need to worry about."

[Unlikely. We've got enough to worry about. Ready to hit the trail?]

"I haven't fabricated anything." Sal knows it doesn't work when it's in motion. What I've got will take nearly until daybreak, assuming that's still 25K local here.

[You said we'd make time for the maker block. We did. I'm not sure we're alone out here.]
>>
No. 252140 ID: 31e5bb

just carry it with you while building.
>>
No. 252146 ID: f123de

I apologize for pausing the action rather than moving on to something more interesting, but I realize that I haven't done a good job of explaining how long this job would take. It was roughly 5.5 hours to extract minerals from the bodies, and making everything people asked for would add another 5-6 hours in the same place on top of that.

I'll try to do a better job of conveying durations in the future.

>>
No. 252150 ID: c71597

>>252135
Moving out at daybreak is probably better anyway. Although it seems like it doesn't get properly pitch black in here. Maybe whoever is running the show got tired of smashing their nose against a tree all the time.

So lets the fabricator work and then move out at daybreak. Have the unicorn stand guard or something.
>>
No. 252152 ID: 2563d4

>>252135
...and the better place to move to to finish building is...?

I assume the sword is fussy about acceleration, then? Can't fab up some kind of suspension structure to let you cart it along at a constant velocity? (In less than the 5--6 hours that it'd take to just do it.)
>>
No. 252154 ID: f52552

>>252135
Ask what symbol she's putting on the rump.
>>
No. 252162 ID: 27e02d

Getting your fuzzy arse in gear sounds good. We've got this... sophont of Sal's to find.
Load the ROBOT UNICORN with the base materials and get to prowling.
>>
No. 252197 ID: a09a03

"Well obviously we're not alone. We just got attacked by rabid unicorns. The question is if walking in a random direction is better than staying here and building some clue-finding radar for our clueless-ass selves."

Scan your new unicorn's memory for whatever you're looking for.

Its cutie mark shall be a green butterfly.
>>
No. 253993 ID: f123de
File 128923159441.jpg - (39.35KB , 500x500 , 21495511.jpg )
253993

"Well, there's certainly psychotic wildlife out there. You'd rather flail wildly in the dark? Pick a random direction and start walking, hope we eventually run into this friend of yours?" It's actually not - really - dark to me. Colors are muted but I have amazing contrast in shades of gray. Don't know quite how Sal sees but I doubt it's bothered either.

[I know where it is. Was. I doubt it moves around much.]

"And if it did?"

[We'll stop and ask for directions.]

-----

Pack, saddlebags, 150m of 5mm cable, 25m^2 of fabric, and a collapsible spear that can manage a few additional tool-like functions.
For weapons, a brace of throwing knives and a replacement blade that I don't like much - too light, too rigid. Just something to wield if the fabricator is in use. Unfortunately, all of it is dumb matter - primitive, non-programmable, fixed.
There's plenty of food and water. More additional materials than we can carry. After I mentioned it, Sal helped fabricate a motion dampener that might be sufficient to build on the move as long as it's the one carrying it.
We don't have the materials to replicate it right now, but I want to duplicate Caladbolg as soon as possible. Interface with it to get the materials requirements and...

***You are not licensed to create copies of this item*** Design (c) Lyan-316.950.457.105
Finagle's balls. My authorization failure strikes again.
>>
No. 253994 ID: f123de
File 128923163970.jpg - (25.61KB , 500x500 , 21516309.jpg )
253994

Left at local time 10K. Long, steady lope at 4 m/s that I could keep up all day.
Still, as pleasant as the exertion is I can't believe that this is how we're traveling.
Foggy. Wonder how much longer we'll be in this forest.
[I think we're being followed.]
>>
No. 254026 ID: c71597

>>253994
Damn it, a shame you don't have greater experiance with this forest. You could probably sniff out what's wrong if you had. The unicorn might have been able to notice what was off if it still had its brain intact. Oh well, ask Sal if it has some sort of remote camera thing, something you can place behind you that will alert you when the stalker is visible and send the imagery back to Sal.

Oh, and when you get some downtime you should review Caladbolg's memory for any fights against a spear user. Won't be as good as actually getting first hand teaching, but it should let you pick up a few tricks that might be handy.
>>
No. 254103 ID: 1854db

Lyan are you STILL not wearing any clothes? You should probably get your kilt on after we deal with the follower.

If you're being followed... hmm. You *could* just call them out, tell them we're too busy to play. We're not interested in a fight with anything sentient/sapient (or anything that has a chance of killing us anyway), so if we can just get them to go away that would be a good idea.
>>
No. 254193 ID: 8d7dd2

>>253994

Stay calm. Don't alert them to the fact you know they're following you, or they might strike or flee. Both are not particularly good outcomes. If you can somehow casually glance behind you (your eyes are near the side of your head dammit that should not be hard) to ascertain identities of what's following you, so much the better, but don't make it obvious.

Got anything for dispersing or at least seeing more clearly through fog? Probably not. Bother. Have to consider that, maybe. How good's your vision in these situations?
>>
No. 254198 ID: d677cc

>>253994
Ask Sal why it thinks that and who it thinks is following you. There's a start, right?
>>
No. 254419 ID: 2563d4

>>253993
Serves you right for using DRM. :V
>>
No. 254800 ID: f123de
File 128938431714.jpg - (50.34KB , 500x500 , 21516312.jpg )
254800

I'm wearing my clothes. If I'm hard to see, then they're doing their job. I can't see past 50m in this stuff, but I suppose my hearing and sense of smell are pretty good. Time to switch to radio.

"What's following us? How do you know?"
[If they were much closer you'd be able to hear it yourself. That didn't seem like a good idea.]
"How many? How far?"
[Half a klick? I'd need to be closer to get a better idea.]
"You've got some kind of remote camera or sensor you could leave behind. I'm sure of it."
[I really don't want to shed any more mass if I can help it. I can't replace it right now.]
"Just do it. Please."


Sal reaches up to its face and pulls loose its... eye, then swivels its head to stare at me. [It's going to take at LEAST a diem to grow that back. If we can even scavenge the materials for it.] It slaps it onto a tree facing back along the trail without breaking its unnaturally smooth stride. [This had better be worth switching to ultrasound.]
>>
No. 254801 ID: f123de
File 128938440148.jpg - (43.64KB , 500x500 , 21516416.jpg )
254801

[Here, linking to your sensorium... now.] A moment of double vision and I see myself run by.

For the next hundred seconds our trail is clear, and for a moment I hope Sal was wrong. Then a rider emerges from the mist, seated atop a cantering unicorn. Another, and another, then two more. Cloaked figures, similarly clad, riding bareback with lances pointed toward the sky and swords at their sides.

None of them look down at the trail as they ride, and I'm fairly certain that our path hasn't been that obvious.
>>
No. 254803 ID: 1854db

>>254801
Okay, either they have shit hooked up to sensors or something, and they can tell where you are since you're not recognized by the habitat, or they're following the unicorn via its telemetry. Have the unicorn split off into a different vector while you two shift your path as well and find out who they follow. If they follow the unicorn, circle around and recover Sal's eye before continuing on.
>>
No. 254805 ID: c71597

>>254801
The unicorns could be tracking your unicorn by scent.

You can either try sending off the unicorn and see if they still follow you, or you could pick up the pace. You should be able to outlast them.

Also, put the scent of unicorns and those riders in your mind. Would be a good thing to be able to pick those out in the future.
>>
No. 254912 ID: d677cc

>>254803
I... guess this?
>>
No. 255135 ID: 24a9bd

Sniff the unicorn. Send off the unicorn in front of you, and move as silent and fast as you possibly can to the side. Use your ears, boy, try and hear if they're following you or not. If they are, go faster!
>>
No. 256577 ID: f123de
File 128982547424.jpg - (26.73KB , 500x500 , 21516509.jpg )
256577

"Ok, send the unicorn on ahead. We'll split off and see who they follow. If we can we'll circle back and grab your optics."
[How to you plan on knowing if they follow us? Wait for them to catch up?]

Um.
I put on a burst of speed and catch up with Sal. "Hey, can you change your color again? Red's not exactly subtle in this forest."
[Sure. How's this?]
It vanishes completely.
"That's... pretty good."
[Sorry, cheated. I'm just editing myself out of your eyesight.]
"Would it be too much to ask you to stop hacking my brain for even one diem?"
[Well, I'm still going to need to borrow your eyes. I can't see to adjust my color. It's still white out, right?]
"Right. Well, turn the unicorn around to keep watch after we split. We'll see what they're really after."


-----

One of them takes the bait. The other four turn onto our trail. A moment later, a horn sounds and there's a muffled shout.

["If they flee, they are prey. Let the hunt begin!"] Sal helpfully translates.
"It'd be easier to get away with that unicorn right about now."
[200 kilos on it? You'd murder the poor thing.]

In my imagination I can already hear hoofbeats.
I'm sick of running.
>>
No. 256586 ID: c71597

>>256577
Ok, time to show these bastards who is pray and who isn't. Get out the cable, unless that's still with the unicorn, find a place where there is a bit of underbrush and then start wiring it between trees is about knee height for a unicorn. Then we get Sal to turn back into its usual red, let them notice it, then Sal runs they chase Sal over the trap and then they fall down. One might get unlucky and get over it, at which point Sal can deal with it, hopefully without making a robozombie out of whatever they are.

If you don't got the cable then get out the foldable spear. Fold it out, hide behind a tree and let Sal act as bait. When one come past you whack him off the unicorn with the spear. Then if one of the others mount rears up you stab that one with the spear. Then get in close so they can't use their lances and try to pull the other two from their saddles, preferably slamming them into the ground with enough force to knock them out. Try to keep one alive, or more if you can. We can talk to these ones and hopefully find out that they're not a bunch of crazy hunters that kill anything that runs away from them in an effort to try to reenact the wild hunt.
>>
No. 256692 ID: c2e4f9

Then don't run. Hide in the underbrush, and have Sal wait in the open, but be sure to keep a line of sight on the area for Sal to see.
If you don't run, then they shouldn't consider you as prey. In fact, seeing as how they're sentient, contact should be a viable option. Seeing as how Sal can translate what they were saying, it should hopefully be able to speak in their language.
>>
No. 256770 ID: 27e02d

>>256586
I like how this sounds. Do this.
>>
No. 258594 ID: dad664

>>256577
"WELCOME, TO THE WORLD OF TOMORROW!"

Make sure you say this with lots of dramatic flair.
>>
No. 259741 ID: e20032

>>256586

Let's go with this plan. It's pretty solid and the spear is honestly our best bet in a fight against mounted foes.

Though it might be easier to just kill the unicorns under their riders than fancy "knock them off the unicorn" stuff. Safer, too.

Also use >>258594 as your battlecry.
>>
No. 260622 ID: f123de
File 12910356885.jpg - (54.33KB , 500x500 , 21516554.jpg )
260622

Best guess is we've got a bit under 60s to prepare. "Sal, we need you red again. Toss me one end of that rope."
[Red, hmm?]
"Of course. You're the bait."
[Thanks.]
"You can take it."
I finish stringing up one end of the cable and give it an experimental tug.
[Fine. If you're actually planning on skewering things with your pointy stick, give me the sword.]
"You know how to use it?"
[Enough to carve up a few ponies.]

>>
No. 260623 ID: f123de
File 129103577391.jpg - (54.81KB , 500x500 , 21516585.jpg )
260623

The rider in the lead slows to a stop a few meters from our trap and holds up a hand. The trio behind him halt. "You cannot hide, beast. I have the True Seeing." I can hear him pronounce the capital letters.

Well, so much for that. Sensory upgrades? A part of me is still chewing through the cryptic and Byzantine protocols this place uses, but I have a feeling it's related. I step out, but remain on the opposite side of the cable.

Not sure why they're so hesitant, but no blood has been shed yet. What now?
>>
No. 260625 ID: 1854db

Come out and talk to them directly then, since the trap's busted. Ask them why they're following you, and what they want. You're kindof in a hurry.
>>
No. 260634 ID: c71597

>>260623
Stay close to cover and ask them what they want with you.
>>
No. 260656 ID: 0b2a05

"One can only hide if there is something to hide from. Why were you following me, do you wish me ill?"

Should probably stay hidden, but be prepared to run if he tries to sneak attack you.
>>
No. 260726 ID: a1591c

>>260656
This seems reasonable.

Shouldn't let them surround you closely, so try to stay at least a few steps from Sal.
>>
No. 260762 ID: 40cb26

"I am no beast. Are you?"
>>
No. 260799 ID: 6547ec

We appear to be dealing with LARPers of the future. They're probably going to get upset if we break character.
>>260656
Do this.
>>
No. 260824 ID: a09a03

Stomp out. Look unimpressed. Say "The fuck are you?"
>>
No. 260904 ID: f5c7b6

>>260726

Seconding this. Attempt peaceful communication but be wary for any trickery he might try.
>>
No. 261357 ID: f123de
File 129131581048.jpg - (50.59KB , 500x500 , 21516631.jpg )
261357

I stay near cover. Right now the spear is extended to approximately my height. The extra meter of length should be a useful surprise, if it becomes necessary. "Do I have something to hide from? Why were you following us? Do you wish me ill?"

"So, it talks!" the lead rider says with mock surprise. "You trespass, you slay the alicorns of my liege lord, you create an abomination from their corpses," - I glare at Sal, who stares blankly back - "and you ask this?" Sal goes back to leaning on a tree, pretending to examine the sword.

"I am no beast. Are you?"

"You are an eyesore, unaffiliated with the Seleighe Courts. I am a Knight of the Thistle, sworn to the Lady Camberleigh, joint-steward of these lands." Cha togar m' fhearg gun dìoladh. Wonderful. He's pronouncing the capital letters again. After a dramatic pause, he continues. "...and hunter of blights."

Well, this is getting nowhere. This person is either staying in character, a jackass, or both.

Sal sends a message without looking up. [Hate to interrupt your fun. Elf behind you. 30m, closing slowly.] I steal a glance over my shoulder and reply across the radio link.
"Nothing there."
[I'm telling you, there is.]

>>
No. 261358 ID: 2563d4

>>261357
Well he probably hid when you gave away that you suspected his approach, you dolt.

This is the future. I'm sure Sal can somehow share her senses to your exothingy well enough for you to backhand punch it as it approaches.
>>
No. 261362 ID: c71597

>>261357
Tell Sal to deal with the Elf, non-lethaly, if it becomes a threat.

Tell Thistle Knight that you're a newly arrived traveler. You simply wish to reach your destination as quickly as you can. You didn't know that the alicorns belonged to someone, when they attacked you while you were resting you assumed that they were wild predators. You defended yourself and found a way to make one useful in carrying supplies for you. If they simply let you be on your way then you will be out of their lands pretty soon, and you will send them recompensation when you have reached your destination.

Is there anything nice you could kick towards them near? If so move over towards it, if you can get one of them to focus on dodging it then a follow up of a nice telescopic spear to the face should catch them by surprise. If it comes to a fight that is.
>>
No. 261421 ID: 40cb26

Here's a scary thought: These guys have been in character in their simulated fantasy so long that they forgot it was fantasy. I'm not entirely sure how to best deal with it if that's the case. Tell him you're an outsider and rather lost, and reanimating creatures isn't your usual way of things but it seemed like the best option at the time. Say you mean no harm to him, or to the elf approaching from behind you.
>>
No. 261426 ID: a09a03

Loudly announce that you are a renowned Klingon warrior and that you demand to be treated with respect and blood wine.
>>
No. 261452 ID: 0b2a05

You need to flatly tell them that you were literally dying of hunger, you were not aware anyone owned the unicorns, and sending someone to stab you in the back is nothing short of cowardly. You are going to leave and never return, sorry about the unicorns.
>>
No. 261494 ID: 701a19

>>261357
"A hunter of blights? So they knighted the gardener?
Your beasts attacked us; we claim the right of defense. As far as trespass goes, it is not your place to stymie our passage."

Ask Sal if you she can feed you her vision, then whip around to insta-kill the one sneaking up behind you.

"Or ply an assassin with a numbers advantage."
>>
No. 261520 ID: 1854db

Okay so we're in an RP-PVP habitat.

I can't decide if telling them we're foreigners is a good idea or not. We *should* tell them we're unaware of the situation here though.
>>
No. 261709 ID: a09a03

Also, try radio-ing at them. Maybe there's an OOC chat?
>>
No. 261900 ID: f123de
File 129152901692.jpg - (52.31KB , 500x500 , 21516640.jpg )
261900

"We just arrived and we're ignorant of your rules. When your alicorns attacked we assumed they were wild predators."

"Ignorance is no excuse."

"Sal, did he hide?"
[No, he's still right there. Stopped for a moment when you turned around.]
"Feed me your ultrasound."
[No problem.]

>>
No. 261904 ID: f123de
File 129152919788.gif - (485.80KB , 1240x300 , 21516673.gif )
261904

I'm feeling in sonar, 360 degrees of overlapping dopplers and echoes, competing with my other senses. Close my eyes. Need a moment adapt to the data. Keep them talking.

"How about self-defense? Your pets attacked us while we were passing through peacefully."

No response. Don't think he buys it. Starting to get mad. "We'll be gone soon. I was dying of hunger when I arrived and had little choice. We don't mean you OR your friend behind me any harm. Sending someone to stab me in the back is nothing short of cowardly."

"You greet us with snares and ambush, and call US cowards?" he scoffs.

This isn't working at all. Maybe I can just radio to talk to him for a moment, let him save face talking out of character silently.. no, blocked. Finagle.

[All right, the surprise is in location.]
"No time for games, Sal. Say it."
[Forgot my pet? I can take this guy behind you out. Without killing him, even.]
Brief pause.
[...and I don't suppose you noticed they're waving a bunch of metal around? We need that, Lyan.]

Do I explain what's going on and let them know I'm not playing their stupid game any longer? Or let Sal spoil their ambush? I can't see any other way to avoid a fight at this point.
>>
No. 261949 ID: a09a03

I still say you should announce that you're a mighty klingon warrior. If irritatingly roleplaying the wrong way doesn't make them break character and call a GM, nothing will.

If that doesn't work, it'll at least provide a distraction while Sal unicorns them. While it's doing that, throw some knives at their mounts while you charge in and chop off their heads.
>>
No. 261954 ID: 701a19

>>261904
"You outnumber us and were on the hunt, don't play at- *sigh* You know what? Fuck this. I'm done playing around with your society of creative anachronisms. We're here to visit a friend, and indulging your fantasy world is too much effort. Just leave us alone."
>>
No. 261965 ID: c71597

>>261904
Spoil the ambush. They're a bunch of annoying elven pricks and he's not going to let you simply leave. Time to get in a first strike.

Hmm, they're still a bit far off, need to get them closer. Lets try some insults, starting with that the trap was actually cowardly of you, if you had realised it was only 4 faggot elves then you wouldn't even have bothered with a weapon, follow up with calling their lady an alicorn fucking syphilitic whore and that you're not going to come over and sodomise her no matter how much she begs. That should push them nicely over the edge. Use the trees to your advantage and see if you can get them to get in each others way and stuff.

Oh, and keep your balance with the spear. Quick jabs should be useful, aim at the torso and the throat, swipes to unseat them can also be good. And stabs at the alicorns, there is alot of exposed throat on them, should be possible to get in a nice stab or two.
>>
No. 261977 ID: 1854db

I say we let Sal do its thing, and fight these guys. We DO need that metal, and if we go out-of-character they might call in things worse than just a few riders.

On the other hand, if these guys are nice they might actually help us out if we tell them we're refugees. ...no they won't. It's been long enough that people will have heard by now about the basilisk, and they'd try to kill us as fast as possible to prevent it from infecting this habitat. Also, pirate copy. I guess you could ask Sal about it tentatively but I'm pretty sure they'd just go "that's stupid and crazy, let's kill these guys."
>>
No. 262039 ID: 2563d4

USE violence ON elves.
>>
No. 262215 ID: 0b2a05

Sal keeps telling you you're stronger than you think you are. Maybe this is a time to test that. You should try asking again though, just one more time. Don't bother with radio, it's time to break character. Tell him something along the lines of "Okay, stop the fantasy roleplay for a minute, please. We came here by solar sailor, we haven't been scanned yet, and we needed the metal so we could keep ourselves from dying. Leave us alone, this is important."
>>
No. 262672 ID: f5c7b6

Have Sal take down guy without killing him (since Sal seems pretty confident of that), then break character as others have suggested and try to get them to stop.

If outright going "fuck your stupid LARP, leave me alone" doesn't work I'd say we've pretty much done all we can to resolve things peacefully. It might be worth using the guy that Sal will presumably catch as a bargaining chip, but it might also be safer to just stab everyone and be done with it.
>>
No. 262739 ID: 252e1b

>>261904

"An ambuscade, if promptly discovered and surrounded, can repay the intented mischief with interest." -Vegetius

You and Sal and Sal's pithed unicorn have them where you want them. They've opted into a full non-consensual PVP role-play habitat; they will not listen to anything that breaks character, not while they're watching each other. If you had one of them alone, maybe he'd listen, but since they came in a group you've got no choice but to repay their mischief. With interest.
>>
No. 262869 ID: f123de
File 129180131927.gif - (217.50KB , 1080x300 , 21516768.gif )
262869

"I have one last thing to try."
[Suit yourself.]


"All right. Stop." I open my eyes and look him in the face. "I'm not part of your Seleighe or Unseleighe Courts. We're not registered, we're not playing your stupid game, and we're leaving."

"What?" For a moment he seems more surprised than insulted.

"Crash-landed here. We're not part of your system." A contralto voice from my left. Sal?
"Since when can you talk?"
[I prefer radio. Futzes with the ultrasound something awful.]


"Well..." The elf holds up a hand and mutters a string of nonsense syllables. He stares at us a moment, and his eyes widen slightly. "How in Oberon's name did that happen?"

"We're just here to visit a friend and we're gone again." I'd like to know how Sal plans on pulling that off. "We could also really use those weapons you've been pointing at us," it continues.

He looks affronted. "Just hand them over? You have no idea how much honor we would lose!"

Murphy. Guess this is as reasonable as we can expect. "Fine, then. I'll fight you for them."

"I thought you said you weren't playing."

"I'm not playing. Use your mount and lance if you like. I'll try not to kill you."

Hope he takes the bait. I've - finished rewiring and I can feel my surroundings, even with my eyes closed. It's still confusing, since I'm seeing myself from Sal's point of view. He's about 10m away, and on the wrong side of the snare. I have a dagger ready to drop into my hand.

"Very well. I accept."
>>
No. 262873 ID: c71597

>>262869
He accepted, throw the dagger at his head.
>>
No. 262905 ID: 1854db

Not at his head, we said we were gonna try not to kill him. Actually we probably shouldn't do anything sneaky like that, the others might get pissed off.

Make it a straightforward fight. Honorable. But uh... use your sword. It's what you're good at.
>>
No. 262958 ID: 0b2a05

Throw the dagger past him, or make it fall short, and run up and waggle your sword at him using it as a distraction.
>>
No. 263079 ID: c71597

>>262905
Well we could throw it so it hits with the hilt then. Lyan is after all a very good thrower of things, should be very doable.
>>
No. 263093 ID: a09a03

Wait, what? What are we going to do with a couched lance?

This is silly. Just leave.
>>
No. 263110 ID: 1854db

>>263093
We need metal.
>>
No. 263604 ID: f123de
File 129206225942.jpg - (52.72KB , 500x500 , 21516771.jpg )
263604

The words are barely out of his mouth before I throw the dagger.

At this range I could hardly miss. Two full rotations...
>>
No. 263605 ID: f123de
File 129206232588.jpg - (52.57KB , 500x500 , 21516772.jpg )
263605

Solid hit with the butt of the knife and he goes over backwards. Drop the spear and I'm running before he hits the ground.

The others are turning to face me and lifting their lances. His mount rears, lashing at the air.

I get to him while he's down and this is over without any killing. Damned pony is in the way. Around it or through it?
>>
No. 263606 ID: d0d015

Around. It may take a few microseconds longer, but they may not be willing to listen to you much longer of you continue to kill their, well, I guess they would call them their companions.
>>
No. 263608 ID: c71597

>>263605
Through it, you don't want the damn thing to be in the way when you try to get him to surrender. Might try to kick you from behind or something.
>>
No. 263633 ID: 2563d4

>>263605
...given you dropped you weapon, how on Earth is "through" going to be faster? Did you turn into a Synx when I wasn't looking?

Whichever is faster. If you appear over him in a shower of his ex-mount's sparkling blue blood, so much more for the effect of a decisive victory.
>>
No. 263634 ID: c71597

>>263633
He's got a sword. With a monomolecular edge. We have seen what that does to the horsies. He can pretty much bisect the damn thing in one stroke.
>>
No. 263638 ID: 2563d4

>>263634
For some reason we gave our sword to Sal, the person who's really calling the shots here: >>260622
>>
No. 263645 ID: c71597

>>263638
That's the sword with the forcefield edge that can cut through anything and not be broken by anything this side of a nuke and can act as an assembler.

The sword we currently have is a monomolecular blade made out of incredibly hard carbon materials. Not as sharp or as durable. But should be more than enough when wielded by a sergal that can throw rocks hard enough to crack the skull of a horse.
>>
No. 263669 ID: 1854db

>>263638
Nope, he's got it again. Also, go around the mount. No killing it, we've already established they don't appreciate that.
>>
No. 263871 ID: f123de
File 129216244649.jpg - (71.96KB , 500x500 , 21516774.jpg )
263871

As much as I'd like to do otherwise... don't want to antagonize them further with another dead alicorn. Duck beneath the hooves, roll when it tries to stomp, and I'm crouched atop of the knight with the diamond blade at his throat.

"Yield."


I'm perfectly within my rights in this habitat to kill him where he lies.
The same can be said of his angry friends with their lances pointed at me.

How do I handle the victory?
>>
No. 263873 ID: 2563d4

>>263871
Say thank you and pick up the lance.
>>
No. 263874 ID: c71597

>>263871
With some dignity and self confidence. Should be somewhat clear to them now that if they had attempted to attack you then it would have ended badly for them, they might gotten you down, but there would be a lot less of them around to enjoy their victory.

Help him up after he has yielded and then take your rightful gains. Move on a bit and then set up the sword and do something useful with the metal.
>>
No. 263875 ID: a09a03

Teabagging Lift him up and pull him back, with your blade against his throat, so his pals are more in front of you than around you. Make use of your excellent peripheral vision.

Tell them you'll be happy with the one lance, and they can all fuck off.
>>
No. 263884 ID: 70e5c6

>>263871
Don't kill anyone unless you're forced to. You said you'd try not to kill him when you were "negotiating", as it were, so doing so now might be seen as a breach of your honor.

Self defense is fine, but being a douche ain't cool. :)

Just ask them if they accept the victory and are willing to honor the terms of the agreement now, or if you'll need to go to the extreme of defeating every one of them before they admit it.
>>
No. 263885 ID: 701a19

>>263871
Put the blade away and help him to his feet.
"Sorry, but we're in dire need of metal."
>>
No. 263892 ID: 1854db

Ask the others if they want the same deal.
>>
No. 264106 ID: f123de
File 129222342940.jpg - (70.89KB , 500x500 , 21516863.jpg )
264106

A slight nod. Blood streaming down his face from a broken nose. Hate to do it like this, but...

"Say it."

"Yield." He turns his head and spits red. "Thought you weren't playing our game. Can I get up?"

"Do any of you wish to dispute?" Realize I'm baring my teeth and force my lips closed. "All right." I stand up and hold out a hand to help him to his feet. "I'm not playing games. We're in dire need of metal." A moment's thought, then, "here." I reverse my sword and hold the hilt toward him. "An apology."

[Very smart. Arm the people that were trying to kill you.]
"It's just carbon. Disposable. They wouldn't attack me now that I'm unarmed - it'd be dishonorable."
[You forgot that you're about to take his weapons?]
"You'd protect me."
[From your own stupidity? Ha.]


It flashes by in a moment while the knight stands there staring at my offer. Finally he takes it and turns away. The lances lower slightly as I collect my spoils. "Is there anything you can do to help us out? So this doesn't happen with everyone we run into?"

"I will let others know that you are off-limits, but I suggest you run fast and far. You will not be well-loved in the lands of Camberleigh, nor any of the Seleighe. Not sure if it's meant as a threat. He says it as a simple statement of fact.

Take the time to collect our things - Sal's optics, the cable, spear, and knife? Or just move?
Stop soon to fabricate and use this offline brain-scanner? Wait until night falls and do it then?
[Or I could just carry you all night.]
Or Sal could carry me.
>>
No. 264109 ID: 1854db

>>264106
Take the optics, spear... wait how did Sal just respond to what you're thinking? Hacking as usual I see!

Yeah get the stuff. The cable could be left behind I guess since it's disposable and a little time-consuming and we need to run. Sal carrying you all night... interesting prospect. Not sure on that. Might want to build that backup device.
>>
No. 264114 ID: 701a19

>>264106
Collect your things, and consider telling them that something destroyed your habitat.
>>
No. 264132 ID: 2563d4

>>264106
You certainly want to grab Sal's optics, unless they're replacable with surplus materials. The rest is all just carbon, isn't it?
>>
No. 264133 ID: c71597

>>264106
Collect all of your stuff. Might be needed again in the future. Fabricate the brainscanner when you stop for the night. Oh, and remember how these people smell. You have a very useful additional sense now, you need to learn how to use it, part of that is remembering what smells belong to a place and what doesn't.
>>
No. 264143 ID: 24a9bd

>>264114
Do not tell them this. Get Sal's eye, and you need to use the brain scanner as soon as you can.
>>
No. 264150 ID: 1854db

Clarifying: I want to work on the brain scanner when night falls.
>>
No. 264311 ID: 1db8a3

Is the Sal-possessed thing yours now, or will they want Sal to undo its hoodoo to give it back?
>>
No. 264765 ID: f123de
File 129251946255.jpg - (49.22KB , 500x500 , 21517048.jpg )
264765

"We need to keep the alicorn a bit longer. Is that going to be a problem?"

"On your heads be it." It's the answer I expected. Still, as we're turning to leave one of the riders turns to watch us leave and wishes us luck.

[Still can't believe this is what we're fighting to protect.] Sal sounds bitter as we backtrack to retrieve its eye. I'm not sure what to say. [You did all right back there. Thought we'd end up fighting them all.] It pauses. [It's what you would have done before.]

[...of course, if you had we'd be swimming in raw materials right now and I'd finally be up to spec again.]


The day passes uneventfully - both of us lost in thought, perhaps. I'm wondering how Sal ties into all of this. I'd like to know how it bypasses all the safeguards on my sword. I'd like some sort of ideas for stopping the basilisk beyond our "plan B."

We make camp a few Ks after darkness falls.
>>
No. 264766 ID: f123de
File 129251953771.jpg - (27.13KB , 500x500 , 21594031.jpg )
264766

"So. It kills me, maps the physical structure of my brain, then attempts to revive me while reversing any other damage done by the process."

[Yep.]

"Sounds a bit primitive."

[It's what we've got.]

This might be the last good time time to try for answers for a while. Otherwise, we're ready to start with the backup.
>>
No. 264825 ID: e973f4

>>264766
Answers to what? I can't think of anything obvious that Sal would (alternately, could) actually give you an answer for.

But perhaps someone else can?
>>
No. 264845 ID: 27e02d

I was just wondering... the Basilisk corrupts anything it's recorded onto, be it a Network node or a living brain. What will it do to the backup? Will it be safe to use? Or will it just preserve your Basilisk as-is along with the rest of your noggin?
>>
No. 264847 ID: 1854db

Another question is if the basilisk will destroy the backup device.

Ask Sal if it likes you better now than... before. Also ask if there was any reason for you to have created the Basilisk. Did you hate the habitats?
>>
No. 264857 ID: 27e02d

That reminds me. Sal never did say how they knew us before. Now seems like a good time to press the issue.
>>
No. 264895 ID: c71597

>>264766
Guess you could ask Sal about the you of before and how well Sal knew you.
>>
No. 264953 ID: 0b2a05

Alright Lyan listen up. When you can, make some more storage devices and send your brain cycling through them. If that keeps them from being destroyed, you may have a quick solution to the virus, if only a temporary one. Alternatively, what about hardwriting your brain? Inscribe it on something a bit bigger, like a sheet of practically invincible material.
>>
No. 267795 ID: f123de
File 129370736970.jpg - (27.46KB , 500x500 , 21594045.jpg )
267795

What will happen to the device? To the backup it creates? I can answer that one for myself.

The device itself will probably be damaged - not rendered unusable, but infected nonetheless. Nothing about that should keep it from capturing an image of my brain. The way it works is pretty primitive - it doesn't create a state vector that could be simulated on compatible hardware. It, well, basically creates a blueprint that could be used to rebuild and reconnect the neurons. The first test will be whether I wake up after using this thing.

"Sal. Before I use this thing..."
>>
No. 267796 ID: f123de
File 129370743687.jpg - (24.72KB , 500x500 , 21594123.jpg )
267796

"What exactly is going on here?"

[I'm not quite sure what you mean.]

"How did you know me before?"

[Not saying.]

"How well did you know me?"

[We were... close.]

"How close?"

[What exactly is this supposed to accomplish?]

"You're the only person I know of that could tell me what's going on. What I was like. Why I built the basilisk. Did I hate the habitats? Our culture? And instead of helping you're content to follow along occasionally giving cryptic answers like some broken oracle!"

[Hold on. I didn't say that you DID do it, just that you had the capacity. On a... very, very short list of intelligences that do. Why you might want to do it... Murphy, I'm missing more than a Gigasecond myself.]

"How did you know to track me down? What were you expecting to find?"

[What matters right now? The past, or the future? Do you want to save our civilization? Because that's what I'm here trying to help with.] Murphy. It's been like this every time, arguing in circles. But after a moment, it continues. [There was... a fire in you. I've been waiting to see if it would come back. There are sparks, but..]
>>
No. 267797 ID: f123de
File 129370747818.jpg - (23.50KB , 500x500 , 21594167.jpg )
267797

Sal sighs, and walks toward me. [You were... not necessarily a good person.] It looks down. [And maybe that's what we need right now. I'm sorry.]

[Almost forgot. You'll be needing this.]

"Hmm?"

Sal reaches into its chest and pulls loose a small cube of its mass, then offers it to me.

[Recording mass.]

Obviously that's as much as I'm going to get out of Sal.

"Um. Thanks."
>>
No. 267798 ID: f123de
File 129370753175.gif - (340.26KB , 500x500 , 21598231.gif )
267798

Slow my breathing. Lower my heart rate. Should help the machine work. Clear my mind.

Nervous. This tech hasn't been in use for at least 40 Gs, and for good reason.

Steel tendrils slip through my veins and things start... to... slow.

White light.
>>
No. 267994 ID: f123de
File 129378228574.jpg - (24.81KB , 500x500 , 21654353.jpg )
267994

My eyes feel like they've been glued shut.

[Welcome back.]

Well, I'm alive again. I have a feeling of deja vu.
>>
No. 267996 ID: 04c3a2

Ask her how long you were out.



AND what she did to your body THIS time.
>>
No. 268004 ID: f123de
File 129378408473.jpg - (35.63KB , 500x500 , 21654527.jpg )
268004

"Oh... MURPHY." I gag. "Something died in my mouth."

[Technically, it was your mouth that died. System probably didn't clean up all the decay products very well.]

"How long was I - no, wait. 60Ks. That long?."

[Afraid so. While I was waiting I ate the leftovers.] What? An summary of our assembler block asserts itself - 3kg of Al missing. Also a few more kilos of organics in the form of rations and antiseptic rinse, which I take from Sal with thanks. It does look a little better. Slightly less emaciated than previously.

There's no part of me that doesn't feel awful. I dial down the pain but it doesn't change the fact that I'm still in the process of repairing catastrophic damage to most of my tissues. It'll be at least a diem before the autolysis is full reversed. I really hope I don't need to do that again soon. "I feel like I've still got rigor mortis."

[At least you can laugh about it, right?]

Unless there's something I'm forgetting, I'm ready to get this journey over with.
>>
No. 268006 ID: 8bdb6a

Oh god what now.
>>
No. 268008 ID: 8bdb6a

Yes, continue on.

Did dying accomplish what it was supposed to?
>>
No. 268011 ID: 1854db

Let's go. Dammit, that took a shitload of time.
>>
No. 268014 ID: 701a19

>>268004
You need to mod that thing so it'll keep the autonomics going while you're out. It's bad enough that it knocked you out for two thirds of a day, but being impaired afterward? That's just unacceptable!
You can work on those mods while you're traveling. It's not like you can't code and walk at the same time, right?

Still, there has to be a way to neuter the basilisk. Our best bets are probably going dumb, pigeonholing it, or abstracting it.
On the dumb end the basilisk can't damage a storage medium that's too simple for the basilisk to damage; it would not, for example, be possible for the basilisk to damage notches in a block of wood. By the same token it can't damage a read/write mechanism that lacks some minimum amount of internal storage.
Alternatively, we could exploit the Shannon limit by compressing (and possibly encrypting) the data until it no longer damages systems that store it. This results in a catch-22 situation for the worm; if it remains functional when archived then the archive will be corrupted and we can use that information to precisely identify what portions are the basilisk, at which point we can hose down those areas with random bit corruption and damage if beyond functioning. If the archive isn't infectious, then the problem of storing it is solved.
Working in the opposite direction, we can have a bit of code go through and verbosely describe the data well enough to reconstruct it without actually recording any of the data directly. If that remains infected then we can compare the original with the copy to find matching or similar strings.

If it's redundant or fractal then pattern matching will easily catch it. Beyond that there's little left besides superpolymorphism, and since that requires that the code be 'live' to adapt we can use dumb tools to exploit its inactive state to get a clean copy.

OR you could start work on a Weasel to hunt and kill the Basilisk and consume its remains.
>>
No. 268022 ID: c2c011

>>268004
Ask Sal if you atleast found out anything useful from it. Would kind of suck to learn that this was a waste of time.

Also, Sal is very much evasive about your past. Which makes me think that this red thing is even more untrustworthy than it seems.
>>
No. 268067 ID: f123de
File 129382862253.jpg - (37.85KB , 500x500 , 21663298.jpg )
268067

How much further? Give me a map."

Sal obliges. [About 200 Km, and 3 vertical.]

"Vertical?"

-----

"Ok, I don't know much about planetary geography but I know this is ridiculous. You're SURE this is where it is?" I've long since switched to radio to save my breath.
[No. I'm sure that's where it was.]
"This is the only way to contact it?"
[It takes great stock in appearances.]


With a little luck we'll be there not long after sunrise.
>>
No. 268068 ID: f123de
File 129382866782.jpg - (39.04KB , 500x500 , 21710564.jpg )
268068

"I'm not sure what I expected to find, but this wasn't it."

[Oh?] Sal squats down and stares into the magma.

"ARA! Visitors!"
>>
No. 268069 ID: f123de
File 12938287718.jpg - (41.45KB , 500x500 , 21710617.jpg )
268069

A dark mass begins to slowly take shape within the crater.
Hmm. I thought Sal had a weird morphology.

I'd like to say it spoke with a voice reminiscent of tectonic plates grinding together or something equally poetic, but it's not.


"Lyan. It's been a long time."
>>
No. 268070 ID: 2563d4

...what kind of timescale does something that chills as a geological formation consider "long"?
>>
No. 268078 ID: 1854db

>>268069
We've BEEN here before? How the hell does it even recognize us?

Say hello, ask how it recognized us so easily. Don't start of the conversation with blurting out your problems- lead into it gradually without being deceptive.
>>
No. 268082 ID: 2563d4

>>268078
This...is a good question, given our identity is sufficiently broken to lock us out of our own IP!

Also, sergal-meat shell.
>>
No. 268124 ID: 8bdb6a

"Hey. This is Tier 2, right? I locked myself out of my own memories and body and forgot my password again."
>>
No. 268141 ID: e5b41b
File 129385484457.jpg - (41.57KB , 500x500 , 21710624.jpg )
268141

"Sorry. I don't remember."

"I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to the creature next to you."

What.

[Shit.]



End Chapter II.
>>
No. 268153 ID: 6547ec

Begin swearing. Do not stop until the next thread is underway.
>>
No. 268168 ID: 17159b

>>268153
>>
No. 268178 ID: 701a19

>>268141
"Well that explains a lot. Wait, no it doesn't.
Sal, did you hijack my identity again?"
>>
No. 268185 ID: 8bdb6a

"I thought I was Lyan. So which of us is the clone?"
>>
No. 268208 ID: 58e5ed

Grab Sal Lyan II and coil him into a pretzel. "WHAT A TWIST."
>>
No. 268281 ID: 8bdb6a

Say "You've been Lyan to me all along!"
>>
No. 268309 ID: 252e1b

Of course, Lyan is Sam's xox. Makes sense why Sam stuck with Lyan so long, since Lyan is Sam, just a different branched instance.
>>
No. 269249 ID: bd3722
File 129419829566.jpg - (78.66KB , 500x403 , mind-explosion-.jpg )
269249

F*****G FUCK ....
I read this complete quest and the discussion thead in like a week ... AND I FUCKING DIDN'T SEE THIS "M Night Shyamalan-like" PLOT TWIST COMMING .-.

This is so fucking awesome.

I won't use the >"Myheadisfulloffuck.jpg"
i guess it was already used like twice.
>>
No. 269312 ID: a4e573

"So, that was masturbation?"
>>
No. 269708 ID: b597c6
 


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