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File 129991884421.png - (108.69KB , 500x500 , 21710634.png )
287815 No. 287815 ID: f123de

I: http://quest.lv/kusaba/questarch/res/187952.html
II: http://quest.lv/kusaba/questarch/res/219350.html
/dis/: http://quest.lv/kusaba/questdis/res/326920.html



I've been banished from our civilization. Trapped inside my brain by a virus that threatens the foundations of our society. Quarantined.

Since I awoke on a slab I wondered who I once was and why this happened to me.

Now the answer is staring me in the face.
Expand all images
No. 287816 ID: f123de
File 129991890297.png - (132.49KB , 500x500 , 21710635.png )


[You don't want to do this, Lyan.]
No. 287817 ID: 3e6377

You do want to do this, right? I mean it's not like despite all the hardships faced this entity has completely been behind everything that's caused you grief and-


Oh, I see. Carry on. Aim for the centre of mass and hope your sword figures something out, but for the love of Murphy make sure you get some ANSWERS before making any final blows. Like "who the fuck is 'Lyan' to this ancient molten guy" would be a good start.
No. 287819 ID: 08b18e

How about "Who am I? Really?" That would be a good start.
No. 287833 ID: 2563d4

Not really, no.
No. 287835 ID: 1c19ec

Do what, kill the other you in some sort of "There can be only one!" rampage style killing?

Some answers would be nice to have before stabbing through the damn thing in search of the cognitive unit though. Like, what the fuck is going on here? You decide to make illegal copies of yourself and write a virus that can wipe out society, why? And why did Sal not feel like it could trust you. Shit like that would be nice to know.
No. 287848 ID: d6ae01

So. Given the resources at hand, two questions immediately present themselves:
1) How likely is it that decapitation would kill Salyan?
2) How likely is it that you could, in fact, rip out the answers you're looking for afterward?

Oh, right. Nothing vital's in the head these days. Well, do it anyway. Gotta show you're serious.
No. 287850 ID: 2563d4

(By which I mean give Lyan a chance to explain.)
No. 287854 ID: 672aa7

You may be stuck, Lyan.
Sal has disassembled and reassembled your body, altering it several times, and even hijacked your clothing before. Sal knows you inside-out. Sal may have implanted contingencies to prevent you from actively trying to harm him, subtle or insidious enough that even when they trigger you may not realize, save for the fact that Sal will survive it somehow.

Talk for now. Get answers.
No. 287875 ID: 00d3d5

"The. Fuck."
Assuming you COULD beat Sal, trying it would just leave you without any answers.
No. 287880 ID: a33914

Right now is a time for information. Try to stab Sal in the chest, and then hold it over the lava. Don't drop it, but make it clear you want answers. ALL OF THEM, AND NOTHING LESS.
No. 287922 ID: 1854db

"Oh, but I do."

We can fight while we talk. Advance slowly and keep in mind that Sal has fuckin' knife hands.
No. 287926 ID: 8f0734

a) There's no reason to really think you CAN kill Sal at the moment, unless you know of some critical spot to hit with your sword. Even then as noted you'd be gambling that Sal doesn't have any backdoor access to interrupt you.
b) That said, there's no reason to let Sal do anything MORE you don't want it to.
Talk, try to get some answers, threaten to attack or something if Sal starts to do anything suspicious.
No. 288047 ID: f123de
File 130001487978.jpg - (73.44KB , 500x500 , 21710642.jpg )

Do I?

I don't know.

I want blood. I want answers. Could I kill Sal? Caladbolg is capable, of that I'm sure. But what could this... THING have done to my head while I've been dead?

The sword is heavy in my hand. Sal crouches a few meters away. I take a step forward.

"Oh, I do. Start talking."

[For the love of Murphy! I don't know why, but Ara is playing us both! Switch to tightbeam and we can talk!]

My claws dig into my palm as my fist clenches on the hilt.

[Lyan. Please. I can't do this alone. And neither can you.]
No. 288050 ID: 00d3d5

Tightbeam it is!
"Start talking. Truth, please."
No. 288054 ID: 2a799d

Don't do shit that thing asks you for. So no switching to tightbeam unless you're more than 100% certain that it can't hack you through such a communication line.

You want some fucking answers and not excuses. Answers like how many of you are there out there, what have you been planning and where does this you fit into the plans of the original you. There is some shady shit going on here.
No. 288067 ID: 1854db

No tightbeam. We know full well that Sal can hack your brain. Ask Ara- without taking your eyes off Sal- what he knows about the red Lyan.
No. 288073 ID: 2563d4

Stick with the Sal.
No. 288074 ID: 1854db

Oh! And be sure to tell Ara that you are Lyan's illegal pirate copy. I don't think that is currently obvious.
No. 288079 ID: d6ae01

Even if Ara is playing you both, it seems that it was telling the truth; Sal isn't claiming to NOT be Lyan here. Any talking that needs to take place can happen right here, right now, in the open.
No. 288086 ID: 8bdb6a

Ask Sal if it trusts you.

Then chop it in half.
No. 288095 ID: 8f0734

Why not just talk out loud? Why shouldn't Ara be in the conversation? We want to figure out what's going on first and foremost, so getting as much input as practical seems the best option, even if we're going to have to sift through what's said to figure out what's accurate.
Well, actually, ideally we'd want a private conversation with both of them at the same time, but I kinda doubt that option's available to us. Is it? (and also no tightbeam if it would somehow be susceptable to hackery)
No. 288100 ID: 672aa7

If you were both the same individual at one point, then perhaps it should be that way again. If you two were to merge completely, there would be no more deception.
No. 288130 ID: f123de
File 130006811820.jpg - (76.04KB , 500x500 , 21710653.jpg )

"No. No more excuses. WHY, Sal?"

[You're throwing away any bargaining power we had.]

At least now it makes sense how Sal was able to penetrate my cortex so easily. Switching to a private broadcast back doesn't measurably increase the risk. I could shut down the connection completely and force Sal to vocal. I could also attempt to speak privately to Ara - but hearing Sal's reactions seems useful.

"I suppose I am." I keep my eyes on Sal and call out to Ara. "What exactly do you know about - Lyan? How did you recognize it? Why would it have made me?"

"We last spoke several hundred years ago." Years? I run a quick conversion. 10Gsec, perhaps? "We talked at length about my work on the Network. He was quite interested." Nothing about how it knew?

[What are you doing?]

"We do this right here, right now. In the open." I level my blade at the center of mass and smile... or at least bare my teeth. "Do you trust me?"

[Damnit, Lyan! You're not the only copy being fucked here!]
No. 288136 ID: 3e6377


Seems odd it just totally ignored your questions there. Try asking them again. Or asking why it ignored your questions, actually.

Also ask on a private connection for more details on what Sal meant by that "not the only one fucked here" comment. Surely now is not the time to mention your former trysts?
No. 288140 ID: 1854db

Wait. Did Sal just claim to be a copy TOO?

That would be... somewhat reassuring. If switching to tightbeam is not risky, do so.

Can you talk in tightbeam without the third party knowing? We could check facts against the other...
No. 288148 ID: f5c7b6


Well, if tightbeam isn't all that much more risky then might as well, right? Inquire about the whole 'not only copy being fucked here' thing as well.

No need to be hasty, right? Sal's had plenty of time to fuck around with your head - if it wanted to do anything it'd have done it when you were dead, not when you had it at swordpoint near lava, right?
No. 288270 ID: fe1c1a

WHAT is that thing ... is it actual lava or just glowing goo?
No. 288279 ID: c71597

That's probably Ara.
No. 288301 ID: 8bdb6a

Cut 'em up! Now, before they disable you with a trick they left in your body!

You could tell Sal that this is its last chance to come clean, but it knows that already.
No. 288312 ID: 305c63

No. 288487 ID: f1520e
File 130021441237.jpg - (80.09KB , 500x500 , 21710670.jpg )

Surely that doesn't mean...

I reopen the link to Sal. Tightbeam is short-range, but has the benefit of being the most secure form of communication I know of. At worst, Ara will be able to tell that Sal and I are communicating. It's also much, much faster than speech.

[Oh, that got your attention?]
You already know this is your last chance to come clean, Sal.
[I woke up about 22Ms ago with a Gsec missing and obvious signs of someone tampering with my head. Something crude overlaying something subtle... couldn't dig it out. I thought that if it was in my head, it would be in yours.]
So you...
[Set up an identity to jump into? Faked my death? Yes.]
And wiping my memories?
[I... needed a clean slate to compare against.]

Did laws even enter into its mind? Ethics? And it's still leaving something out, I'm sure of it. I need a minute.

Waiting patiently no more than 10m away is Ara. Lava. Both. I don't know how it works, or why anyone would chose life as a free-floating nanite swarm within a pool of molten rock. I do know it's over 55 near this caldera and I'm in severe danger of overheating. Physical activity is going to be out of the question soon. "You avoided my other questions, Ara."

It replies. "I thought you both enjoyed playing this game. It's my turn to ask a question. Why have you returned?"
No. 288514 ID: 342f16

Can't he see you're having a moment here? How rude! Tell the guy you may need his help with a little something something.

Be all like "I'd tell you the details but SOMEONE HERE obviously knows them far better." Make sure to intonate it as a teenager would have.
No. 288537 ID: 1854db

Well, Sal decided it wanted to FUCK you, a CLONE OF ITSELF. That's not exactly normal.

Also, if it's got a basilisk too- possibly the ORIGINAL basilisk- how come they're not affected by it?

Oh. Ask Sal if it's using 'your' assets. ...wait why did Sal give you your sword and the tablet? THIS CAN'T BE RIGHT! Also the timing of Sal faking your death is Very Suspicious considering it was right after the Lethe Center finished analyzing you. You realize Sal just admitted to blowing up that party, right?
No. 288666 ID: c71597

Tell Ara that one of you has some problems that you need a bit of help with.

It was more than just the party that blew up. The entire habitat went down the drain with that.
No. 288738 ID: 3735db

Can we check the swords inertial memory to determine if we've actually been here before?
No. 288779 ID: d6ae01

Blurt out a rapid summary of how fucked things are. "Yeah, we've got this thing in our heads that will end civilization and we need help getting it out please don't kill us or anything."
No. 289371 ID: f123de
File 130057795852.jpg - (106.21KB , 500x500 , 21710671.jpg )

Did I really know this thing? Suddenly, inspiration. I can trust my sword. Pull a map of all assemblers in this habitat, find matching start and endpoints for all paths from inertial data during a time period of... Murphy. It was created under 4Gs ago. No records.

But that leads to further questions. I exchange another subsecond burst with Sal.

Thanks to Dylan for a small number fix in the previous update
No. 289377 ID: f123de
File 130057817780.jpg - (111.22KB , 500x500 , 21710683.jpg )

Sal, why did you leave me the sword and tablet?
[The sword was a link back to me. Couldn't afford to keep it. The pad... didn't work out.]

I knew it. It was a trigger.
[It was made to keep whatever was inside your head in your head. I botched it.] There's a microscopic pause. [Listen, I had no way to test, no way to know what I was up against, and one shot through your defenses to install it. It backfired.]
[The easiest way to your head was through your kilt.]

A seed of doubt is starting to grow. If Sal was willing to manipulate a copy like that, surely it wouldn't hesitate to... the timing matches up.
You destroyed the party, didn't you?
It laughs a moment, a static-y buzz across the link. [Take a moment to think about it. I did. It was you, Lyan! The habitat CRASHED when it finished putting together your mind. My safeguards killed you, and the Lethe Center committed suicide repairing you.]

It's... possible. Maybe. The timing is suspicious at best. I wish I had a way to be sure. But Sal wasn't the only person that might have answers.

"I'm sure my progenitor could explain better than I could." The bitterness creeps into my voice. I pause for a moment, expecting Sal to interrupt, but it remains silent. "We need your help. There's a virus in my head. Possibly both of our heads. If it gets out, it could be the end of civilization. We need your help removing it."

"Tell me," Ara asks, drawing closer to the caldera wall. "Are your backups likewise infected?"
No. 289396 ID: 3e6377

Well, now you know for certain Sal has been manipulating and abusing you as some sort of test subject. For all you know, it intended to use your head as a sandbox for the virus before it could unleash it at an opportune time.
I'd say "don't trust Sal ever again" but this would appear to be so completely obvious that it doesn't bear mentioning.

ARE all of your backups infected? As far as I recall, the only existing ones you have most definitely are, and I'm not sure you have access to any prior to that with the destruction of your habitat.

Tell the gloopy mass of molten rock that yes, your backups are similarly infected, and you have no idea where to go from there.

Ask Sal if it has the virus as well. You can't trust what it says, but it just might tell you the truth! There's a non-zero probability, after all. It might be an infinitesimal probability instead.
No. 289414 ID: 252e1b

Does Lyan even have any back-up now? I thought it was lost when the Lethe center crashed.

Anyway, if you say no then she'll just kill you here and dissect your brains.
No. 289436 ID: 1854db

The tablet being all fucked up isn't that far fetched. Yes, Sal's story seems to fit fairly well, although the manipulation really sours our relationship. Oh well.

No backups but the one we just created, as far as we know. The previous backups are destroyed... So just say 'no.' I'd prefer it if it didn't know you had a backup... On the other hand it might just KILL you to get rid of the virus if it thinks it would be permanent.

Hard question to answer safely. Very hard. Perhaps you should simply say that you don't know when the virus got shoved into you and where other backups might be. The only way to be sure that the threat is over is to remove it safely and then spread that information to the other habitats.
No. 289447 ID: 00d3d5

You want to say yes and specify that you have backups that are outside of your control.
When help arrives to the destroyed habitat they're going to attempt to recover people from the Lethe center's storage, and we can expect that storage to be designed to withstand the habitat's destruction.

This is a race against time, and him killing you would only serve to make the problem worse, not instantly fix it.
No. 289465 ID: 91f1d1

Arah just gave you a loaded question. If you reveal that you have no backups, his solution, and easily the safest solution, might be incinerating you both.
No. 289481 ID: 8df9db


Seconding this. It's both true and gives Ara good reason to not just kill you.
No. 289525 ID: f123de
File 130060989183.jpg - (92.08KB , 500x500 , 21710705.jpg )

I think that question is exactly what it sounds like.
A quick message to Sal: You're also-
[YES, Lyan, it's inside me as well. Finagle's balls, did that scanner not reconnect the neurons properly? I've probably had a latent copy since this began. That's what YOU were for. But now it's active and I have autonomous loops dumping 90% of my cycles into failed self-repair. I'm having increasing difficulty holding together a synchronous personality and all YOU have to worry about is staying away from assemblers.]
[All right, I may have been wrong back at the party. But there's a chance that I was right. If I am - if there IS still someone that wishes to see this spread - then they'll try to kill you and start over with the next copy.]
It pauses a moment. [It's what I'd do, after all.]

I turn back to Sal's dangerous 'friend.' "Yes. Automatic restoration is outside my control. Killing me would just accelerate the problem."

To my surprise, Ara laughs. "This is one of the things I like about you, Lyan. You always have such interesting problems." The mass stretches into a pseudopod that extends above the lip of the crater and twists toward Sal. "I expected you to be the one doing the speaking." It withdraws slightly and the heat decreases.

"What exactly is your goal, Lyans? If you are sanitized, what will you do then? If you tear down the Network, what will you build in its place?"
No. 289527 ID: 00d3d5

"Replace it with something that has better sandboxing, quarantining, IO sanitization, and isolation between systems.
The infection in the Lethe center blew up the habitat; that shouldn't be possible."
No. 289538 ID: e973f4

I'm interested in Sal's answer, but I don't think you can honestly say you've given it much thought.
No. 289541 ID: d6ae01

"Well, getting a less confusing body would be nice. I've been stuck like this long enough that even a floating mass of nanites on a caldera sounds like a vacation."
No. 289574 ID: 8f0734

>"What exactly is your goal, Lyans? If you are sanitized, what will you do then? If you tear down the Network, what will you build in its place?"

uhh, don't you think that last question is kind of what the original Lyan, assuming he programmed this virus to begin with, would be thinking about?
It sounds a bit like Ara is trying to get us to think about that, not to hear our opinion, but to figure out what we're up against. Which makes the second question more interesting too.
No. 289591 ID: 1854db

If we're sanitized, we need to get a UNIQUE identity. Then we can find our friends again.

If the network goes down despite our efforts... well, I don't know what we can really do about it. Try to fix it?
No. 289671 ID: 2563d4

Shut up and let Sal field that one.
No. 289719 ID: 1854db

Seems like a good idea here.
No. 290311 ID: f123de
File 130087033054.jpg - (65.50KB , 500x500 , 21710745.jpg )

...I have no idea. It's so far beyond anything I had a hope of achieving that I hadn't even given it a thought.

I glance at Sal, who surprises me by speaking. "Start with revenge."

If that's all I wanted, it's just an arm's length away. Right? I clear my throat. "This isn't about us, is it?"

"On the contrary. It is entirely about you."

"In that case, I want an identity of my own. I want to stop this, and create a system immune to this virus." Tear down the Network? Is that what this was for?

"Is that all? Consider the costs, Lyan. Altering the machinery of the Network as you suggest will cost, at a rough estimate, the loss of computational power sufficient to simulate 1 times 10 to the 16th human lifetimes' worth of experience each second. Preserving the Network maintains a system that has resulted in the silent extinction of three alien cultures and dozens of additional life-bearing planets."

[Sounds almost like you want to put an end to it yourself, Ara.]
No. 290322 ID: 2563d4

...nobody thought to make the Von Neumann probes check for existing life? :|
No. 290323 ID: 252e1b


What do you call life, anyway? How do you tell something with really weird and exotic biochemistry apart as being sapient life? You'd need each of your probes to be able to carry the equivalent of a full xenobiology team with a panel of ethics doctorates to be reasonably sure that you've correctly identified real life and not just a cluster of VN probes that belong to someone else (alien or competing known faction). Since there's no way there're as many of the required specialists as there are probes (carrying them is no problem, let them be virtual constructs aboard the probe's CPU) you need to xox them. Which is illegal, not to mention socially distasteful thanks to early conditioning most people would get. Not many experts would even want to be xox'd, and the powers that make the probes wouldn't want to let them aboard anyway since letting xox's out into the wild to be repeatedly xox'd on a massive scale is a recipe for social anarchy if some of them realize how fucked up the Network is.

From a cost/benefit point of view it is better to send low-sapience probes that are just smart enough to fight anything that's already in the system. It saves on problems from xoxs, and on problems from alien memes (not to mention alien military forces).
No. 290327 ID: 2563d4

(The same way we look for life now, plus the advantages of getting up closer and having future science: atmosphere, emissions, etc. There are enough planets in the universe to allow leaving false positives alone until human researchers can look it over, you know.)
No. 290329 ID: 252e1b


Getting verification is resource and time expensive, since at the very least you'd need your probe to build a transmission array, report back, and wait for people to arrive by transmission to perform the analysis. In the process the probe could potentially tip off anyone in the system who was paying attention and capable of responding to its presence. They could attack and destroy it, or worse suborne it, and either leave your researchers hanging in the solar wind as a waveform or have a good long time to dissect their brains and learn what humanity is all about.

Either way, it's a big risk to take with the only benefit being that you get a chance to decide if the aliens are, or are not, threatening enough to merit destruction at your hands anyway. Basically, if they're djur, varelse, or hostile ramen it would be irresponsible to not destroy them. Hell, if they're even hostile framlings it may be wise to just destroy them; they'll be polluted by cultural mores that may prove to be infectious memes, something that's incredibly hazardous to any regime.
No. 290336 ID: 1854db

It has?

Well shit, we can't let that keep happening.

Where are you getting all this lingo? What the heck is 'xox'ing?
No. 290340 ID: 252e1b


A xox is a copy of a fully sapient brain image or program. It's a term from Transhuman Space by David Pulver, one of the few settings where the writer saw fit to create a short and easy to remember term for the condition of being an active divergent branch of the same brain tape. Other authors have explored the idea in fiction, but usually it's not common enough in their settings to merit its own word. In some cases the authors chose to use older words that have negative connotations and baggage, like "doppelganger."

Xox is a new word, a truncation of the root "Xerox," and only has connotations of being a perfect or near-perfect copy of the mind in question. It's useful enough to be worth using in a setting that involves transhuman concepts like brain taping and mind editing.

Djur, varelse, ramen, and framling are degrees of recognized alieness, from Orson Scott Card's Hierarchy of Exclusion, an idea he explored in his novel Speaker for the Dead.

Djur are indiscriminate monsters, think tyranids or the Von Neumann probes from "Von Neumann's War." They're smart enough to be able to destroy everything, and too alien to give a fuck that they're doing it.

Varelse are other species who are so weird that no communication is possible. Think of the xenomorphs from Aliens. It's obvious there's something going on there, that they're too smart to be animals, but it's equally obvious that they're not capable of communicating with humans. Varelse are too weird to be able to talk to, let alone negotiate with. Their idea of happiness is so different from the human concept that they may be actively inflicting harm when they try to share a happy moment.

Ramen are aliens that are capable of learning to communicate, and thus are also capable of learning how to coexist with humans. These are the aliens most prominently featured in fiction. All of the client species in the book Eon, by Greg Bear, are ramen. Tau and Eldar from WH40K count as ramen. Even obvious enemies like the Klingons in the original Star Trek series were ramen, as evidenced by their ability to communicate threats to the crew of the Enterprise (they of course went from being hostile ramen to cooperative ramen).

Framlings are outworlders. People of the same species, perhaps even of the same common heritage, but who have developed on a world that is not the observer's, and thus will have a different cultural background. For the purposes of the Network, we can consider everything in the Network to be one world. Lots of ideas and people migrate between the habitats and planets that make up the entire Network, and they do so freely. Those worlds that Lyan mentioned ages ago, the ones that aren't connected to the Network? They're where this setting's framlings live.
No. 290346 ID: 3735db

If Ara is being honest, we should do something about the network. The network supposedly has been around for about 50G sec, and if it's destroyed 3 separate cultures in that time it's averaging about one extinction every 533 years. (1600 years/3)

I don't think we should totally crash the network with whatever is in Lyans head, as it would probably lead to many citizens of the network dying. Remember when the old habitat crashed Sal mentioned a decent portion of the populace simply refused to believe what was happening.

I suggest we attempt to stop the networks expansion, which would both protect the existence of outside alien cultures and allow the people living in the network to avoid the catastrophe of a total shutdown. Possibly establish borders on "Network space", allowing continued expansion within but halting further growth.
No. 290347 ID: 2563d4

When you're writing an order of magnitude more words than the damn author, it's time to move it to /questdis/.
No. 290463 ID: 252e1b


That would mean chasing down every extant VM drone, and crippling the Network's ability to make more of them (which is going to be impossible, as we've seen just how easy it is to hide rogue assemblers).
No. 290581 ID: 0d9cc4

Its true that we can’t do anything about the probes the network already has sent out that are on their way to other systems. Regardless of what choices we make now those probes will eventually reach their destinations and start new nodes. However they will eventually automatically join the network once they mature from probes to colonies or however that works. At that point we can deal with them as we see fit.
We don’t necessarily need to shut down all assemblers, just stop the network from automatically sending out new probes. Getting rid of the assemblers entirely wold destroy the inhabitants of the network anyway, how would they get food?
As it stands, doesn’t the network count as a Djur type alien? It’s basically causing a grey goo apocalypse for the rest of the universe.
No. 290816 ID: 252e1b


A key point of the Hierarchy of Exclusion is that it is completely subjective. Ratings are assigned from the point of view of the observer. The Network would only count as djur to anyone unfortunate enough for one of its VN probes to arrive in their system.

An interesting effect of this is that species change position by either changing themselves enough (through genetic modification, technology prosthetic, or philosophy breakthrough) to make themselves understood by the observer, or by the observer changing enough to be able to communicate with them on their terms.

>However they will eventually automatically join the network once they mature from probes to colonies or however that works. At that point we can deal with them as we see fit.

It depends on when in their life-cycle they link up to the Network. The smart way for the Network to have solved the problem would be to make sure a system was sterilized before establishing an up-link, and to send out the next generation of VN probes as soon as possible (before the system is sterilized, since the attempt to wipe out the natives may fail and you'll need eyes outside the system that can report back home about the failure).

>Getting rid of the assemblers entirely wold destroy the inhabitants of the network anyway, how would they get food?

I wasn't talking about getting rid of all assemblers. I was talking about reprogramming all the assemblers to not make VN probes programmed to berserker against lifeforms. How will you be sure you got to all the assemblers? How will you be sure that the hardliners who believed in sending berserkers out in the first place won't get hold of a hidden unrestricted assembler? It's too easy to hide assemblers, since they can be built so small.
No. 290890 ID: 00d3d5

How about a counter-basilisk? Something that infects systems and evades attempts to remove it, but has the function of inoculating them against other infections, destroying the basilisk, and altering all probes to terminate all assemblers assigned to colony expansion if anything animate is detected, then bubble-up the colony and make that habitable while attempting to undo environmental changes?

That should cover almost all possible cases.
No. 290920 ID: 28e94e

No. 291061 ID: 252e1b


>How about a counter-basilisk? Something that infects systems and evades attempts to remove it, but has the function of inoculating them against other infections, destroying the basilisk, and altering all probes to terminate all assemblers assigned to colony expansion if anything animate is detected, then bubble-up the colony and make that habitable while attempting to undo environmental changes?

That'd have to be an incredibly brilliant piece of code. Probably impossibly brilliant. The basilisk Lyan has only worked because it was designed to attack hardware destructively, it had no goal beyond wanton destruction.

If the administrators who built these probes in the first place are half as paranoid as they'd need to be to get control of the expansion project in the first place, they'll have hidden assemblers that are not hooked up to anything in redoubts all over the entire Network. As in, physical access only. No radio, no FTL relay, no hardline.

Attacking any assembler that is networked will just tip them off that they need to turn on their war factories and dump brain images of themselves into the next set of outgoing VN probes. In a war none of the normal rules apply, and you can bet there are at least a few of them who are ready to take the xoxing plunge.

You'll need to figure out who those individuals are first, and infect them before they realize they're being attacked.

If we're unlucky, the loss of Hab 58 already tipped them into fight and flight, and we'll be looking at spending the next terasecond or worse chasing them down and keeping them from killing off ramen civilizations (this is in addition to fending off attacks from them).
No. 291097 ID: f123de
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I could probably create a counter-agent that worked with existing hardware. Maybe.

The basilisk has it easy - all it needs to do is destroy the hardware. As soon as it gains a foothold, it spreads outward from the point of infection. Creating something to counteract it, that can avoid efforts to oust it by an active network, will not be the work of a single diem. Tens of Megs is a more reasonable lower bound. It's a long-term plan that may be worth pursuing.

For now, though...
No. 291098 ID: f123de
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"We've destroyed a sentient species every 15Gs?" I exchange a quick burst with Sal.
Did you know about this?
[It never came up.]

"Closer to every 25," Ara replies.

"Did no one think to make them check for existing life? We need to stop it."

"Lyan, I have been alive since before the diaspora. I was in the first generation of uploads. I still remember a time where the human species was in danger of exinction. The Network's primary goal is to perpetuate the survival of the human race."

"Surely that doesn't mean..."

[It does. The potential threat is judged to be too high of a risk.] I glare at Sal, who simply shrugs. [Never said I agreed.]

"It can't keep happening. We don't have any reason to expand like this."

"Then what will you do? I will make no move against the Network without a plan."

I'm glad that people find this interesting enough to talk about but please - if you are not posting an actual suggestion, move your conversation to the discussion thread linked in the OP.
No. 291171 ID: 15b51b

Well, we can't just sit down and write a computer virus that will spread through the entire Network and rewire the entire interstellar operating system while inoculating it against the basilisk on the fly.


So that rules out everything!


...Angry sex?
No. 291182 ID: 8c73c8

for alien containing solar systems put them under quarantine. eat all planets except the life holding one and put a doomsday gun pointing at it at all times. and then watch them. you could make them grow up thinking humans are star gods pr something and when they finally make a space ship. hurting humans would be the last thing they would ever want to do.
No. 291189 ID: 252e1b


It just means we need to break the plan into chunks that can be tackled individually. The problem will be ensuring we have enough time to do it all.

The priority is, and must be, stopping the basilisk before it eats Sal and Lyan alive. We have 8 to 12 Msecs before Lyan's brain starts to fall apart from the basilisk.

1) Excise the basilisk from Sal and Lyan in the next 5 Msecs or so. If Sal succumbs before we're done, freeze his brain. If Lyan succumbs, we'll have to build a new Lyan from the back-up, explain the situation to him, and let him try to finish the work. If Ara is willing to risk herself (having backed up and collected all required resources prior to starting work of course) she's welcome to help.

1)a. Since we're racing against the clock, we should xox and parallelize Lyan and Sal. The container hardware should be disposable (literally, as in it should be destroyed if they can't solve this).

2) By this time we should know if the basilisk was simply a murder weapon or a general attack on the entire Network. Either way, as soon as the basilisk is excised, the solution should be used as the basis for the counter-basilisk.

3) Spread the counter-basilisk.

4) Hack new identities for Lyan and Sal. Even if they're not held culpable for the destruction of Hab 58, they're both still xox's and thus illegal at present.

5) At this point we'll have a chance to start fighting for goals that require changing the entire Network. Right now we're too pressed for time.
No. 291190 ID: 252e1b


Permanent imprisonment is less repugnant than xenocide, but it's still pretty ugly. And what do you do about xenos that already have assemblers and are capable of building their own VN probes? Even without assemblers, a culture could build a Dyson swarm and have already utilized most of their local system for building habitats. Do you murder billions to cull them to the point where they can be contained?
No. 291213 ID: 2563d4

Angry sex.

...prrrrrobably not with Ara.
No. 291233 ID: 1854db

Let's not fuck our own clone again. We've established it was doing it only to get into our head. Sal's lost MAJOR POINTS, okay? (besides guys don't forget about Mika; let's move on to greener pastures heheheh)

Anyway, if the Probes need to be stopped, first we find out if the Basilisk is doing that for us while we sit around on our thumbs. If so, then we simply cut off part of the Network, so that the Basilisk only destroys the bits that are still propagating probes. Humanity survives, the probes stop killing. Both goals are achieved.

Another possible route is to find out if the Basilisk has a shutdown command or something. If it does we can just turn it off when it gets into the habitats we want to keep around.

Another plan of action would be to look into how the probes are going so damn fast. They're advancing faster than they should, correct?
No. 291258 ID: d6ae01

Before we do anything, I feel it very important that we punch Salyan in the face for dropping a goddamned UNIVERSE-SAVING quest in our lap with no prior warning.
No. 291308 ID: 28e94e

Good plan.
No. 291391 ID: 252e1b


No, they're going slower than the mean time for kills per gigasecond would suggest, which indicates that the kill events are happening in waves (which is normal, since VN probes propagate in waves). The problem is just going to get worse as the VN probes propagate.

We need to know more about the VN probe architecture and life cycle before we design plans of attack against them.


That's really not productive. Sal, even crippled from the basilisk, is mostly utility gel. She'd just shift around your fist. You've got many reasons to be angry at Sal, but you still need her at the moment. Plan on killing her suddenly, perhaps with the basilisk counter-measure, because you're not going to have many good chances otherwise.
No. 291500 ID: 3735db

Now that we’ve answered Ara’s question about what we’d do with the network lets see if we can get more information out of it.

Can it provide any assistance with the immediate problem of the basilisk?

Does it know who administers the network?

What did we speak about when we were last here?

Where did we go after the conversation was over?
No. 291650 ID: 252e1b


Those first two questions are practical. The latter two are mostly irrelevant. It's been hundreds of years since their last conversation, and while the structure of the network probably hasn't changed much since then, that's going to be one dead lead. It happened way, way, before Sal's missing chunk of time (when she was xox'd from the original Lyan and edited for whatever purpose).

Remember that from Sal's point of view, you're a branch of Lyan that's been wiped clean of memories so that you can provide a useful baseline for comparison and a test bed for her basilisk repair tool (which failed). If Sal doesn't trust herself to not be edited in other significant ways, that would explain why she's letting Lyan do the talking here.

If Sal were being thorough in her attempt at solving the basilisk, she would have infected the earliest state vector of Lyan she had available run her tests on that. Actually, it'd be worth asking her if that's what she did. We might not be a Sal-branch at all, but a branch from an early Lyan.
No. 291654 ID: f123de

I think I need to repeat:
I enjoy the discussion. Thanks for being interested! However, if you are not suggesting an action then please do so in http://quest.lv/kusaba/questdis/res/326920.html
This goes double for replying to other posts to tell them their suggestion is incorrect.

Work has been murderous, but there will be an update tonight.
No. 291809 ID: f123de
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"Sal, before we go any further I think I owe you something."

[What's that?]
No. 291811 ID: f123de
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[Very mature, Lyan.]
I'm also withholding sex until further notice
I add.
No. 291812 ID: f123de
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I just don't know right now. The heat is seeping into my brain and making it hard to think.

"Who runs the Network? What's responsible for the creation of the probes?"

[Don't waste a question on that. It runs itself. It was designed to have no need for direct human intervention.] If I were to choose an enemy, going up against an intelligence has some minor advantages. Mostly, though, it's terrifying to consider what an entity with the full resources of the Network could do.

"Fine, then. Ara, can you do anything about this thing in my head?"

"Little that you yourself could not do. You have always been my superior at applied theory, and my resources are limited by the nature of the problem - no more than a fraction of the mass of this habitat. Of course, I would require a full copy of your state vector to assist you."

[It MIGHT be necessary, but I don't like that at all] Sal beams across to me. As angry as I am at it right now, I'm inclined to agree. It switches back to broadcast. [Do you really think we have the time for a project like that? There's still someone behind this.]

At Sal: DO I have time? How long do we have?
Until the basilisk shuts me down again.
[What kind of successful pathogen kills the host? You... we... were made to be an infection vector. Trying to shut that off is what killed you last time. Now that I know more about it I have some ideas I could try - but if we managed to isolate it from a deep scan I don't think it would still be YOU that stepped out of the assembler.]

Back to the sophont. The lava ripples in an approximation of a shrug. "It is your decision. If you wish to leave, I can offer only limited aid."
No. 291816 ID: 07416a

...Create another copy, this one uninfected. It won't be you, but it might have some of your skills. Think of it as a child with a particularly nice inheritance.
No. 291842 ID: 2563d4

Have you tried reversing the polarity of the tachyon flux?
No. 291853 ID: 15b51b

This puzzle couldn't be simpler. All you need to do is resplange the fleegle with the wharzig.

I dunno, man. Sal brought us here to get help and now he doesn't want the help. If you don't think it's a good idea, then I guess it's probably not a good idea, but it's the only one we had... Which is to say, it was the last most recent idea Sal told us to have.

To be honest, this sounds like it's secretly Sal's plan to replace everyone in known space with Lyan clones.

Grab Sal and jump in the lava to help halt the spread of the virus. If the Network's as robust as you claim, hopefully it can resist the virus on its own, as long as there isn't a certain someones spreading it around.

If you don't think that'll work, give Ara your mindstate.
No. 292585 ID: c128cf
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No. 292586 ID: c128cf
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Thanks for reading!
No. 292590 ID: 2563d4

No. 292603 ID: a33914

Reload last save :<
No. 292893 ID: d6ae01

Oh, this is nothing. Just bust back out of that lava, like a true
No. 292895 ID: d6ae01
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No. 292953 ID: 57397f


Thanks for reading, everyone.
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