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17120 No. 17120 ID: 288dda

I seem to be running a quest and I'm not entirely sure how this happened.

So, here's this thread. I'm going to throw a bit of setting info out tonight in an organized fashion but feel free to ask things, discuss amongst yourselves, and criticize my art and writing. (Constructively, I hope.)
Expand all images
No. 17121 ID: d6cb21

The art is good, but we still know little about the setting. Care to share? And what kind of vibe were you going with anyways?

No. 17122 ID: d6cb21

Also, the last panel was quite humorous. Heh, that facial expression....
No. 17124 ID: 288dda

A small addendum: yes, this quest does has hermaphroditic sergal wang, and there may even be opportunities in the future for mature posthuman relationships.

But... despite the mixed messages I have already sent, I would like to gently steer my readers away from making this "FUCK EVERYTHING QUEST" and more toward solving mysteries. Thank you, and we apologize for the inconvenience.
No. 17125 ID: d6cb21

So going for a more mature setting? K' i'll try to not go for anything outlandish.
No. 17128 ID: b58b7e

It's possible to solve mysteries AND fuck everything.
No. 17129 ID: 1ac39d

i think it means we wont fuck EVERYTHING but if we do well on the puzzles we may get a little... something :3c
No. 17131 ID: b58b7e

That's fine.
I'm cool as long as we get to fuck SOME things.
No. 17135 ID: d6cb21

But we still dont know anything about the setting, kupo!
No. 17137 ID: b58b7e

Good point.
No. 17140 ID: 288dda
File 127605973851.jpg - (31.59KB , 500x500 , HS_LecturebotExplains.jpg )

First, I feel I should get this out of the way and mention that I owe a debt of gratitude to those that have come before and done a much, much better job of this than I could - Sterling, Delaney, Doctorow, Stephenson, Morgan, Brin, and particularly Charles Stross who I have stolen significant chunks of terminology from. On with the show!

Hey monkeys! Welcome to the remedial course on the future!

First, let's get this bit out of the way. No one can agree on what year it is, but I can give you the general order of events. It went a little something like this.

1) Settlement of Sol system. Lunar colonies, domes on Mars, orbital labs around Saturn, the whole shebang. All the while computational science on Earth was leading up to...

2) Acceleration. No one knows exactly what happened and no one is left to tell the tale. Long story short, transmissions from Earth utterly ceased - aside from one final multi-wavelength burst that lasted 0.53ms and no cryptographer has ever cracked. When we finally got back there we found a black hole, or possibly a solid chunk of computronium, or maybe something even more exotic. The moon was still in orbit but the people have vanished. Mysterious!

3) Rebuilding and the diaspora. Well, it was a bit tough with 98% of humanity apparently wiped out in one go and the mother planet no longer available for keeping things organized. Took another hundred years or so - as they called them back then - to quit dying off, make some sense out of some of the artifacts left on the moon, and get the hell out of the system. Also the advent of the first Von Neumann probes, which we'll get to later.

4) Founding of the Network. FTL communications was finally cracked and people finally started talking to each other gain. Problem was, with relativity and all date estimates varied up to a few hundred years. Finally someone said hell with it, put their foot down, and declared time to be +0. Of course, then they had to decide when "then" was. Now we've got the much more sensible metric time. Most nonterrestrial people has adopted a 100K standard "day," but there are still backwaters that insist on using sunup and sundown to mark time for whatever reason.

5) Present day. 50Gs or so later humanity is all one big happy family spread across much of the Milky Way and possibly parts beyond. I know of at least two slowboats heading toward Andromeda, for instance. Still no FTL for anything heavier than photons, but we've figured out power transmission using the same method so no one goes hungry. And if you want to visit your neighbor, just hop in an assembler and beam your brain across the gap. We've got a basic bill of rights required of all Networked Habs, but there are more than a few rogue states here and there.
No. 17141 ID: 110e2c

Did we make first contact?
No. 17144 ID: a594b9

>but there are still backwaters that insist on using sunup and sundown to mark time for whatever reason.
Maybe the reason is because of the human sleep cycle?
No. 17148 ID: 288dda
File 127606516577.jpg - (16.80KB , 400x400 , lecturebot2.jpg )

>Did we make first contact?
Ha! Kind of a funny story about that. Yeah, we thought we did twice but it was just splinter colonies that went a little overboard with the genetic adaptations. Found ruins three times, I think, and one or two Matroishka shells. There was also that artifact out at N230-HNYW. But no, looks like we're alone out here. If there is anything else out here, they're not interested in talking to us.

>Maybe the reason is because of the human sleep cycle?
Sure, if you don't want to bother hacking it. But even back in your times people left in darkness for long periods reverted to a ~28-hour circadian cycle. We're a lot closer to that than you ever were. But I mean - planets. Seriously. Do you have any idea how wasteful just living on the surface of a sphere is?

Guess you're probably wanting to know a bit more about assemblers and what's up with humanity these days by now, though?
No. 17157 ID: 45bc02

>50Gs or so later humanity is all one big happy family spread across much of the Milky Way and possibly parts beyond.
>no FTL
>much of the Milky Way

Assuming Gs stands for gigasecond, that's under 1600. The Milky Way is 1000 light years thick and 100,000 light years across. Something's not right here.
No. 17160 ID: 288dda
File 127607037026.jpg - (24.78KB , 500x400 , lecturebot3.jpg )

So, assemblers are the basis of pretty much all our technology these days. Pretty simple, really - ask for something, it pops out a few seconds later. Ok, simple on the conceptual level anyway. What you get is limited by the local stores and the speed of the feed, so even if you went to the corner assembler and asked it to dupe itself (two easy parts) you'd need feedstock to keep it going.

There's really no need anyway - basic Network rights include pretty generous power and feed rations for every citizen. No one goes hungry unless they want to. And even duped fabs carry the full Network protocols and safeguards. We haven't had a grey goo incident since the Network was founded.

On a similar note, the "right to self-determination" includes the ability to alter one's morphology and memories, as well as the right to refuse reinstantiation. Let me tell you, there are some pretty weird ones out there these -
No. 17161 ID: 288dda
File 127607055532.jpg - (30.87KB , 500x400 , lectureserieswithlyan.jpg )

Um, hi.

I probably shouldn't be here, but... listen, I wouldn't believe everything that thing was telling you. I have holes in my memory - no, my memory is one gaping hole - but the official story really doesn't match up with the reality.

We're scattered across a sizable chunk of the local arm, but you're right. The numbers don't match up. Either there are bigger chunks of history missing than anyone is talking about, or somehow there's generations of Von Neumann probes advancing faster than the speed of light.

Anything else you need to know?
No. 17164 ID: 45bc02

Tell me more about these Von Neumann probes. Are they essentially unmanned colony ships? Is anyone in charge of them or are they completely autonomous?
No. 17165 ID: 179ced

Leave that poor robot alone! :(
No. 17169 ID: b58b7e

How common are ship-based lazor fights?
I've been having a bit of a laser obsession lately...
No. 17175 ID: 883396

So your name is Lyan? Good to know.
No. 17236 ID: c5296f

Here's a question- In-Quest, was the whole hermaphroditic sergal call made by our protagonist here, or was that the suggesters temporarily playing the roll of whoever's messing with the machinery here?
No. 17266 ID: 620bfb

I hope we're in-quest hackers on steroids.
No. 17347 ID: 288dda
File 127624775042.jpg - (30.23KB , 400x500 , professorLyan.jpg )

Guess this is my chance to address you directly, so...

Do I like the new body? Sure. But then, my cerebellum WAS required to ensure I knew how everything worked as soon as I stepped out of the assembler. I'm probably near the peak of what you can get without exotic mods. I like the height and strength, my reflexes are amazing, and the tail is kind of neat. All my... parts... seem to work. Get the feeling I'll kind of stand out in a crowd, but I'm locked into anonymous mode right now - probably some part of the Lethe treatment program. So currently it doesn't make a difference.

I think I might try making a few minor changes - I still don't want to wear armor, but maybe I can get some kind of bone upgrades, maybe a subdermal weave and improved medicals to shrug off casual violence. And I don't know what templates got hacked to pieces to make this thing, but having no front teeth is kind of a pain in the ass. Other than that, it's a pretty pleasant screwup.

Was it you or me that caused it? I can't say. I'm not even sure if you actually exist in-quest, but I have a theory you'r????????dÃvi«öå~—þ

oŠc[òÔôºO³Ÿ¤Çgõ žô}Sí±>X.êãöÙÞ_Ó~*ã°ÑZâ1Ž£§QôíT292« ¯P¹ü˜Ð.­gÃÝ[?ú»„#ðe¡ô

And yes, my name is Lyan. Well, legally it's Lyan-406.705.840.197root but I think I'll keep going by the shortened version for obvious reasons. From what little I can remember of my childhood, we were kind of an old-fashioned clan/corporation and I was awarded a small percentage of its assets - family stock - at birth. It's also the control node of my legal network, which is another kind of silly old-fashioned thing. All my property rights - intellectual, mostly, but come to think of it I probably own 0.03% of a few habitats somewhere - are being constantly shuffled a few billion times a second through a cellular automata. In practice it doesn't do much other than slow down transactions by a few microseconds but in theory I'm basically immune to any legal attack on my property - it simply dissolves nodes and sells their assets to neighbors faster than they can be attacked.

...I'm not aware of any spaceship combat, lasers or no. Maybe there are small skirmishes in areas outside of the Network, but traveling below c makes interstellar war pretty impractical. Likewise, remember that the only way we can even visit another habitat is to beam our brain across the distance to be reassembled on the other side. So an invasion would last exactly as long as it took for the defender to shut down their assemblers. The Network is a pretty peaceful place on a large scale.

Next time I'll try to get to the Von Neumann probes and privacy issues. It's kind of a big thing.
No. 17373 ID: 288dda
File 127628869729.jpg - (31.80KB , 500x500 , professorLyan2.jpg )

Ok, the Von Neumann probes? They're not a new concept - the idea itself is has got to be over 100Gs old, and they've been running a significant fraction of that time. The concept is pretty simple - fire a machine that's capable of self-replication at a distant star. It finds an asteroid, digs in, makes more copies of itself. Before long you have an entire asteroid belt converted into universal machines. Then they disassemble the planets - bombarding them with the leftover rock is the easiest method. Finally, they convert themselves into habitats, connect to the Network, and fire off probes at the nearby stars. It's some sophisticated programming, but nothing like an actual AI.

And privacy? It's kind of a paradox. On the one hand, we live in the most complete panopticon ever devised. Everything is automatically monitored, tracked, recorded, analyzed, sorted, correlated, and filed by the computational machinery that surrounds us. We have basically unlimited storage - the whole of pre-Acceleration culture could be recorded onto maybe a kilo of smart matter. And let's not forget that in addition to the ubiquitous mechanical surveillance, we have the ability to read people's brains. (It's less useful than you might think. Most memories are vague enough that they require a low-level simulation of the host brain to interpret.)

On the other hand... well, the average brain is only about 70% meat, or less in a lot of cases. The rest is hardware. Permanent built-in connection to the network. Instant access to external private and public storage. A good chunk of the exocortex is devoted to pre-conscious filtering of the massive flood of data pouring in every moment of every day.

What do these things have to do with each other? At some point - I don't know when - the system became opt-out. It's the Right to Self-Censorship. While anonymous every action is still being recorded... but none of it is ever made available, to anyone, for any reason. What's more, the exocortex will simply filter any anonymous entities out of the host sensorium. There are a few systems to make public interaction feasible - you'll see an "exclusion zone" around them, and there are handshake protocols, etc. in place to initiate communication. Lest you think that it's a great way to cause mischief, resource access permissions are set to minimum while anonymous; you'd be lucky if you could fab a sharp stick. And the blue goo is still watching - anonymous crime is dealt with harshly and automatically.
No. 17378 ID: 1ac39d

well what about someone getting the parts fabbed then building a weapon manually?
No. 17402 ID: 6547ec

Sounds like that's perfectly possible, but the systems are still watching. Opt-out doesn't mean invisible, it just means ignored.
No. 17441 ID: 3b3f66

What quest is this guy in charge of again?
No. 17442 ID: e973f4

Halting State.
No. 17454 ID: 7630d5

Blue goo, huh? Could you explain more about that?
No. 17462 ID: 4c7b39

Could you please give a straight answer of what gender you are? Or are we going to play the 'What the hell gender are you" game in which we just stall it until a point where it is plot necessary?
No. 17463 ID: 1ac39d

rather obvious (s)he is a hermaphrodite.
No. 17469 ID: a594b9

You make it sound like everyone is some kind of virtual person. All the terminology you use is associated with internet protocol.
No. 17471 ID: cbfde1

That reminds me of another question I forgot to ask earlier. Where do people come from? I get the impression that there are far more people around than natural reproduction could possibly account for, especially given that people have the ability to change their bodies into any bizarre form they can think of.

Your brief reference to your childhood also piques my interest. Is childhood in the future still childhood as we'd recognize it? Or were you decanted full-grown from a tank and your "childhood" was a brief period of having information beamed into your brain?
No. 17487 ID: 8bdb6a

One question is why everyone isn't virtual people. If storage densities are really so good that all of man's pre-singularity knowledge could fit in a single external drive, and you have the ability to upload brains, then why not just keep them running on a computer?
No. 17492 ID: 1ac39d

no, a bazillion identical habitats exist, growing every day due to the von neumann probes. in anonymous mode he is dumped into on alone and can only talk to someone when they want to. and the person is beamed there.

think of each habitat like a chatroom. people can join or leave a room and talk to the people in them.
No. 17517 ID: d6cb21

Blue goo? What? And how the hell do you know about your childhood? I thought that your memories were erased. Or was it only the memories of a certain period of time that got erased?
No. 17522 ID: 1ac39d

if ALL memories were erase (s)he wouldn't even be able to talk or walk or anything.
No. 17531 ID: 288dda
File 127640272145.jpg - (28.08KB , 400x500 , professorLyan3.jpg )

My gender?
I'm not right- or left-handed, either. But seriously - yes, I'm both. I suppose I would consider myself slightly more male-leaning. I honestly don't know if that's a consequence of looking pretty masculine in this body, or simply some leftover inclination of what I used to be. So I suppose I'd rather be referred to as "he" but either way I'm comfortable like this.

I guess maybe I sound a bit clinical and technical when talking about these things, but I'm referring to people in the abstract rather than people as... people, if you know what I'm saying. The line between the individual and the network is a lot fuzzier than it used to be. Like I was saying earlier, a lot of the hardware shoved into our brains is to help mediate our connection with reality and with our systems. For instance... well, if I had a memory I wouldn't want to have to think about archiving and retrieving data. It just happens, as if it were a natural part of the brain.

Our childhood is probably different from what you know, but I doubt it would be unrecognizable. There's still pair-bonding and pair bonding with renewable contracts, but there are also more exotic groupings of basically any type you like. Assuming my memory can be trusted I grew up in a large, structured family with its own contract structure for legal holdings and a board of directors. A single veto vote from any member could deny a new member's application - we were a pretty close-knit group.

As far as actual childhood, we don't just pop out of an assembler full-grown and ready for responsibility. On the plus side we don't have to deal with biology either - I'm not going to get my period, or go into heat, or whatever this body was based on would normally have to deal with. After your request is processed you receive a genuine vat-grown infant (please do not tap on the glass) with a few rudimentary implants, and raise it however you raise a kid. Things being what they are, there's a lot less concern about providing a good [gender] role model and many children are raised nongendered until they reach the age of self-determination.

We don't have any kind of formal schooling and there's no need to inculcate a bunch of factoids into a child. For me, at least, it was a lot more meta than that - learning how to learn, adapting to my implants as they adapted to me. A lot of "learning to get along with your cybernetic upgrades" kind of thing. Age of majority is normally 500Msec, or by mutual consent of the child and parents. Until adulthood, travel and assembler rights are limited and anonymity is likewise restricted.
No. 17535 ID: 1ac39d

huh, kinda surprised your society hasn't imploded from shear boredom.
No. 17539 ID: 288dda
File 127641793221.jpg - (27.41KB , 500x400 , professorLyan4.jpg )

Blue goo? General-purpose term for law-enforcing nano, no human intervention needed. It's an omnipresent force, but not ever-present, if you get the distinction. It needs to be assembled or repurposed from existing nano. Still, good luck trying to outrun or avoid it. Every assembler in the Network will be hunting you down. Standard protocol is to immobilize and incapacitate, though if the Network detects a clear and present danger to a habitat or its own integrity the offender is simply... recycled. Whether they are deleted depends on the exact nature of the crime. Oh, and it's not actually blue.

So with all of our miraculous technology, why haven't we simply virtualized everything? Run humanity inside one vast simulation, with all our wants and needs fulfilled? Well, the first reason is simply habit. We're all pretty much used to reality as it is, and there's a lot of cultural inertia involved. The second is that there's no need. Malthus was wrong - there's no shortage of space, mass, or power. In fact, all those resources are growing much, much faster than we can use them.

The last reason is fear. We certainly know how to make AIs. We use intelligences based on the human cognition model all the time. There are models for other, more powerful types as well. We just... haven't had good luck with them. Create a thinking machine using closed timelike curves for theoretically infinite processing speed and... strange things happen. In the best case they immediately go catatonic, or appear to. In other cases...

We also have the example of the Earth to look at. Or not look at, as the case may be, because it absorbs every spectrum of energy we can throw at it and emits none in return. It's just a hair over 310m in diameter - roughly 95% the density of neutronium, which is utterly impossible by any physics we understand. One of the last transmissions from Earth involved the development of a new model of artificial intelligence. Perhaps the former inhabitants are living in a perfect simulation with every wish fulfilled and every desire made flesh. Perhaps not. So, we're scared.

The universe is the best machine for emulating the universe anyway.
No. 17540 ID: 0b2a05

Makes sense. Earth is somehow a breach of logical sense then? Just goes to show even with all the advancement there are still mysteries to explore. What has been done to try and figure it out?
No. 17548 ID: 7630d5

o, have any probes (manned or unmanned) been sent to try and explore the area that earth was in? I mean, I find it curious that the (near to?) exact diameter of the space is known.

Also, Neutronium. You say that something being 95% of the density of it is impossible, yet obviously Neutronium itself is well, 100% of the density. Is it some element/material we have yet to discover, or a more abstract idea/term?

You really should get a new mortorboard designed for you head shape, man :V
No. 17549 ID: 732129


Neutronium is exotic matter. Getting enough of it together to play with requires a trip to a neutron star or ultratechnology methods for manipulating elementary particles and enough energy to make them in the first place. Neutronium is possible because collapsed atomic nuclei behave in a mathematically predictable way. They have a few states of known density that they settle into shortly after forming, and that's it.

Exotic matter that doesn't follow the neutronium patterns means that the Earth Singularity figured out how manipulate elementary particle interactions. It's likely that they're exploiting the nature of elementary particles to use them as basic bits in what will be a matroshka shell of unparalleled computing density. Call it computronium.
No. 17551 ID: 701a19

So what happens to the probes you crash into it? You can confirm its gravitational mass easily enough, but you need to smack it around to test its inertial mass.

Oh, and samples! What have the samples told you?

Well, there are other sorts of exotic matter. It could be a low-density strangelet shell around a neutronium core, for example.

Then again, if they're screwing around with closed timelike curves then there's a decent chance that there's some sort of reality warping going on.
No. 17553 ID: 1ac39d

well what if someone leaves the network? goes back to doing things the old fashioned way.
No. 17767 ID: 288dda
File 127665217964.jpg - (25.27KB , 500x400 , professorLyan5.jpg )

...all right, a moment to address you directly rather than simply lecture. In the quest, you... hmm. Let me start over. Sigmund Freud has been proven wrong in nearly every respect, but allow me to use his work as a metaphor. YOU, that meaning the people guiding the story, are akin to a superego - or in some cases, the id. You... set policy, as it were. But I - the other I - still only have access to the knowledge contained within my own brain. All the events between my backup and death were unable to be salvaged, and there are no personal memories that you can dredge up to recover them. I'm sorry.

Now that I'm done with that little digression, allow me to continue. We have a pretty strict "hands off" policy with Earth. Not that it appears to have noticed anything we've done to it, but we have a policy of noninterference with what we suspect may be strongly-godlike intelligences.

What I mean by impossible structure is that there's no intermediate steps between neutronium and regular matter; something is either neutronium or it isn't. The surface gravity is 1.7 billion-with-a-B Gs, so it seems highly unlikely that it's hollow. It also means that all of the probes we launched, back in the first few Gs before we gave up, were crushed by tidal forces without returning any useful data. We know how large it is, and the moon's orbit is undisturbed so we have no reason to believe its mass has changed. We can't exactly fly down and chisel a piece off and we're not willing to risk blasting a piece off even in the unlikely event that it would work.

Leave the Network? I'm... not sure how that would even work. I mean, by definition all the nodes accessible from the the Network are, well, on the Network. There may be habitats and planets that have refused the constitution and access policies, but they would be... I guess censored is as good a word as any. Or firewalled. You'd need to learn where they were, and then have physical access.
No. 17778 ID: 0b2a05

Wait a second, did you say godlike intelligences? How was this conclusion reached?

Is there any good way to FIND said habitats and planets? Or does someone that already knows them kinda have to tell you?
No. 17784 ID: 701a19

Silly Sergal; I was talking about a possible discrepancy between its inertial mass and its gravitational mass.

Also, I never said anything about demi-neutronium. I said that there are more types of exotic matter than neutronium, and used strangelets as an example.

Beyond that? The simplest way to determine if it contains a consciousness is to beam a handshake signal at it, starting with low frequency and gradually creeping it up towards high frequency while listening for a response on all bands; since it has a massive gravitational field we can be sure that there's a significant relativity effect in play, meaning that it's a matter of stimulating it to prompt a response. If you don't get one, then blasting it with a few Mts of force should get its attention without causing damage.
No. 17785 ID: 701a19

Oh, and what about other superintelligences?
What kind of problems have they caused, and what do they think happened to the earth?
No. 17855 ID: 8bdb6a

Where does lyan live? What's his habitat like?
No. 17856 ID: 620bfb

Who's Murphy?
No. 17880 ID: c4c313
File 12768361522.jpg - (8.47KB , 189x242 , image002.jpg )

Neutronium is a state of matter, similar in concept to solid, liquid and gaseous. So something could be "half" neutronium. Neutronium is just what you get when the gravitational force is greater than the amount of energy holding electrons and protons apart. I guess as it's quantized each atom could not be "half" neutronium, but if you held matter at just exactly the density required to produce that high a gravitational field, there would be as many neutron balls turning into atoms (well, plasma) as there would be atoms turning into neutronium. It's a very unstable state of course, so things are usually neutronium or not, but there is theoretically a middle ground.

What I find strange is that even neutronium reflects some of the radiation aimed at it. For something to absorb all spectrum of radiation without emitting anything it would have to be below the Swartzchild radius which requires far higher density than neutronium. So something *less* dense than neutronium that had the properties of a black hole would truly be impossible, by any understanding of physics today. And no, if you added negative matter to decrease the mass, it would become a traversable wormhole, and still not absorb all spectrum of radiation.
No. 18042 ID: f202ec
File 127703577616.jpg - (29.12KB , 500x400 , professorLyan6.jpg )

All right, a bit more about the Earth. So far as we can tell its gravitational mass and inertial mass are the same - that's just how physics works according to the laws we understand. And trust me, we've tried everything you've thought of and more to get the Earth to talk. It's either silent or dead. I'm not sure which is more depressing.

"Godlike intelligence" is just a phrase, or possibly rule-of-thumb, to throw around. On the one side you have a network that is simply hyperintelligent - think of the output of ten thousand of the most intelligent humans working in concert. Now remove the barriers of ego and poor communication and you have an intelligence that can produce miraculous-seeming results, but operates through methods that we can at least understand if not replicate. I think there are a number of them active within the Network, but I don't know exactly how many.

A strongly-godlike intelligence is the flip side of that coin; they are capable of creating tools for the manipulation of matter and the laws of physics on a scale that we can't comprehend. Partly this is our own fault - we really have no further need for science or technological development, so we don't bother. We can manipulate matter on the atomic level and harness the power of entire stars - something close to a type III civilization on the Kardashev scale. Our greatest creations appear capable of altering the physical laws of the universe - such as collapsing an Earth-mass into strange matter in less than an hour.

Fortunately one thing they appear to have in common is a lack of interest in human affairs. This is not to say that they are not dangerous, in the same way that a supernova is dangerous. The first noncausal intelligence given access to I/O simply vanished, taking nearly a cubic km out of the facility housing it in the process. The second collapsed a star and destroyed 157 orbital habitats. We don't make them any longer.

Oh, and Murphy? He's the patron saint of bad luck and poor planning.

Next time I'll talk more about life in the Network, I promise.
No. 18247 ID: 7630d5

So, what do most people do for fun around the habitats? I mean, with basically anything they want on hand, and no worry of death, there's gotta be some crazy shit going on, right? Also, dueling is pretty popular if people just go around challenging others in parks, eh?
No. 18266 ID: c5296f

Here's a question- Since it seems everyone has debatable practical immortality and full reconstruction of bodies and I'd assume personal property is a non-issue, what are the laws and general social rules like when it comes to violent crime?
No. 18277 ID: c4c313


He already explained this. You can duel two at a time, on agreed terms of degree of violence including death, however death results in your latest backup being reconstructed. If you engage in deadly force more than 3 meters away from your body, the autofabbers start churning out blue goo which comes after you and kills you. Like, more than usual.

Wait, if you get killed by blue goo, then your backup could be closely monitored and stopped before you provoked the lethal force...
No. 18587 ID: f202ec
File 127770117585.jpg - (34.60KB , 600x400 , professorLyan8.jpg )

Where do I live? What is my habitat like? What do people do for fun around here? In fact, what do people DO, period?

Well, I'm currently on Hab 58 of a hundred-odd orbiting a brown dwarf named N115-ADZJ by the old GSC-III charts. I don't think it was visible from old Earth without a very powerful telescope. The habitat itself is pretty average - roughly 2000km long and 550km in radius. About half of that volume is living space, and a very small fraction of that is actually being used; I'd guess the number of people living here is somewhere on the order of 100M. Most people are clustered around the major systems. This place is practically abandoned.

Let me back up a bit and give you an idea of the numbers involved in human space. You can break one Earth-mass - 6 billion billion kilograms, give or take a few hundred trillion - down into about about 1 * 10^12 cubic kilometers of raw material. You can get at least the same volume in living quarters once usable bits have been extracted. Typically, that's broken up into roughly a thousand orbital habitats like the one I just described. Now consider that within 1500 parsecs of Earth - my best estimate for how far we've spread, a tiny fraction of our galaxy - there are over 600 million stars. Space really is staggeringly huge.

As to what we do to pass the time, there's no real NEED to do anything. The habitats are self-sustaining and self-maintaining. All the basics of life are provided for free, more of them than you could possibly use. Since there's no longer value in goods, areas that still have an economy base it on intellectual property. Fashion, architecture, art... live perfomances are always in high demand. Essentially, the remaining trade is in luxury goods and hand crafts outside of the stock libraries. Out here - I'm not sure this system actually has a monetary system, come to think of it.

So we're a society of artists, poets, musicians. In theory, anyway; in practice there seem to be a lot of people that lack the patience, the talent, or the drive to produce anything of value. There are other outlets, of course. Dueling is pretty common. With both extreme body modification and resurrection available there are some truly frightening nightclubs. Historical reenactments are very popular, and more than a few habitats have been made over to offer live-fire versions of famous and infamous battles through history. There's also... well, nonhistoric enactments. As an example, there's a group of habitats devoted to a war between the seelie and unseelie - genuine fake courts with elven nobility, forested glens, questing beasts and unicorns, and the like.

People react differently to a life of potentially infinite leisure. Most visit the Lethe centers for at least a minor treatment every few Gsec - supposedly it's a good cure for ennui. Whether I had any personal experience with that, I can't say. I'm old enough that surely I've gone through it a few times.
No. 18615 ID: 5a2e05

Oh man, you guys have some wicked LARPs.
No. 18629 ID: 5cc920

I have to say, this quest reminds me of the Hyperion Cantos (no critique, just mentioning it) and especially the society of the Human Hegemony seems to have parallels.
No. 18730 ID: 0b2a05

What are the size differences between people, generally? Assuming you haven't found ways around the whole weight problems? How does anonymous mode reflect that? Can you bump into things in anonymous mode?
No. 19235 ID: 8b6eae

So Lyan, what do you think of Sal?
No. 19810 ID: c1c607
File 127909520444.jpg - (24.26KB , 450x268 , jackie-chan.jpg )

>The last few scenes.

In other words, I'm not sure what is going on anymore. Can someone explain? Uh... please?
No. 19811 ID: 3fe86a

lyan just totally banged a thing.
No. 19814 ID: a594b9

I think Sal is kindof an... amorphous thing under that suit. Like a slime, perhaps.

So basically Lyan and Sal had sex, Lyan using his male parts (this time) and Sal using... whatever Sal uses. Sal ripped open the crotch of Lyan's suit in a decompressed room, then mounted him, doing who knows what to keep their suits sealed to eachother. Afterwards, Sal put a patch of material on there to replace the missing section, but didn't exactly make it the proper specs. The boxer prank is obvious.

That's my interpretation of what happened, anyway.
No. 19816 ID: 6547ec

Sex in the future is weird and terrifying, apparently.
No. 19823 ID: d560d6

Lyan just NORTHERN SERGAL'd Sal.

With his penis.

In hard vacuum.
No. 19826 ID: c2c011

I think it was more the other way around. Sal is one freaky thing.
No. 19829 ID: d560d6

>[I think I'm spoiled for other men.]
>[I'm a bit worried that in the dark someone might mistake you for one of the support pillars.]
>[What, afraid you're going to make all the boys jealous?]

I'm pretty sure Lyan was taking the male role.

At least this time.
No. 19838 ID: c1c607
File 12791262689.jpg - (86.59KB , 750x608 , those-fucking-cats.jpg )

Forget it. Just... never mind.
No. 19867 ID: c2c011

You do know how northern Sergal females work right? Because it's always rape o' clock for that entire species. Both genders.
No. 19868 ID: d560d6


No matter how muscular and flexible, nobody is going to mistake a prehensile clitoral hood for a support pillar.
No. 19921 ID: 9d05d7

Lyan is a herm. Full on dong for him~
No. 19922 ID: abb30a

That's how it's supposed to be.
No. 19962 ID: 17d661

Which raises an important question.
Does he have both the prehensile clitoral hood AND a penis?
And if so, can he masturbate with no hands?
No. 19964 ID: c2c011

From what I remember by looking at relevant images (purely for scientific reasons) male sergals have a sheath for their penis. So there could still be a clitorial hood there, only now it would be more of a penis covering hood.

So chances are that Lyan could pleasure itself without hands.
No. 19965 ID: 620bfb

It's obviously just combined into a prehensile penis. It's like a third hand.
No. 19967 ID: ad5250


No. 20050 ID: c4c313

Haha penis covering hood. Personally we haven't had an H character in a while so it's kind of neat. But I do find the whole "Sergal" thing a bit misapplicated. Especially since nobody else in the universe seems to be "TG unified setting" type creatures. e.g. Sal is not a goblin, Mika not a Duran, etc. You might have been better off asking for relevant bodily features like number of limbs, method of locomotion, fur thickness, number of ears, number of tails, ability to rip apart bulkheads, the way "Defective" did, so that you could draw Lyan as that sort of enigmatic everymanthing whose variations are not evident as a species or a family line, but instead are more individually driven (the life simulation thing) or borrowed directly from others (the space-worthy membrane. Oh well, hindsight. You can always slowly edge Lyan away from what we think of as a sergal claiming that the virus or bad guy or whatever just pulled an old prefab template out of the history books to start with. Because you know that when this technology of body fabrication is invented, tgchan.org will still be going strong.
No. 20070 ID: 05c9fd


What are you talking about
Sergals aren't from the Unified Setting
No. 20084 ID: c4c313


AFAIK sergals are "from" the Vilous setting aka Trancy Mick. They were adapted to the Unified setting.

No. 20085 ID: 05c9fd

I know that; I mean they aren't originally from the Unified Setting.

Also deleted pic, DERP
No. 20088 ID: f202ec
File 127925583430.jpg - (33.62KB , 600x400 , professorLyan9.jpg )

What do I think of Sal?


It's the best friend I have right now - not that that's saying a lot. Cheered me up when I needed it, tried to save my life when I was melting down. Got back in touch with me so I wouldn't simply lose that day. I've trusted Sal with the only secrets I have, and it hasn't betrayed them. I appreciate its sense of humor, most of the time. On the other hand, it's impossible to know what it's really thinking. No facial expressions. Tone of voice over radio link is questionable. It compensates a bit with its exaggerated body language, but even that feels off.

Even after what we just went through, I really don't know what Sal really wants out of me. Just a quick fling? Is it trying to distract me from my problems for a bit, or is there something deeper there? I like Sal a lot, I really do, but it can act so prickly one moment and laugh about it the next. This reshaping itself, for instance - I don't know if it because Sal thought it's what I wanted, or if there was some other reason. I wish I knew which one was its real face.

Oh, and it's not wearing a suit. That's just Sal. I think there's kind of a skeleton, and there's a hard core in the torso that may be armored. The rest isn't amorphous, but it does seem to be malleable. Anyway... like the specific details of my anatomy, I'd rather not discuss exactly what happened in privacy between the two of us. Suffice it to say that while "weird and terrifying" may not necessarily be an accurate description of sex these days, it could be applied to Sal from time to time. Either way, as interesting as this speculation is it's not getting me any closer to learning what happened.

Also, you asked about people's sizes? Maximum size is subject to local regulations, usually about 3m; the median is probably still a bit under 2m, and not many people choose to be less than 1. We can't entirely avoid the square-cubed law but with modern materials we can scale things up at least a few orders of magnitude. There are also a number of aquatic habitats, and obviously we're capable of creating lifeforms that can exist in a vacuum. Either of those remove most of the remaining constraints. Keeping out of each others' way while anonymous isn't a problem either. You can't SEE an anonymous entity, but the rendered exclusion box is an accurate representation of their volume. As Sal mentioned, I still stick out a bit even when anonymous.

As far as pastimes, probably the strangest thing I've heard of was called something like a "kaiju battle scenario." Players instantiate as 40m tall monsters and fight each other to the death in full-scale replicas of old Earth cities. I don't quite understand the appeal, but there's a lengthy waiting list. Even stranger, there are people willing to play the role of the helpless civilians.

...anything else you need to know about me? Or the Network?

Leaving things to people's imagination is turning out worse than I had hoped. If it will end the discussion, 17d661 is sufficiently close.
No. 20091 ID: c4c313


You fool, as if that won't lend fuel to more discussion!

What is an exocortex? I mean, what exactly is it? Is it a computer you communicate with using radio signals? Is it something embedded directly in your own head? Is it like, server space on some mainframe that many exocortexes share? What functions does your exocortex perform? You mentioned the Lethe center set you up with a temporary substitute that somehow manages your limbic system. Without getting too technical, how does it do that? Is it physically connected to your entire physiology, say by those little nanoscopic robot things?
No. 20107 ID: d560d6

What are you on about this time?

Saying that Lyan's sergal-ness means that the others should be Vilious/US races is like saying that because one of us chose the monkier "Gnoll", the rest of us should use D&D races for names.

People are not neat and consistent (except when they're conspiring against you).
No. 20127 ID: c4c313


A sergal just isn't a sergal without some sense of context. There's a whole rich setting around them and their individual behavior is a lot determined by their history and their people. I'm saying within this current story, not the rest of us, not the other quests, within this story Lyan's sergal-ness seems a bit out of place and awkward. But really that's kind of the point is that Lyan is supposed to be feeling out of place and awkward, having just been scrambled by the Lethe center among other things.

The fact that he...she...Lyan is a sergal doesn't seem to play a large factor in the story. Which makes sense because it's just what tgchan voted up one day not knowing what they were getting into. Lyan acts not like a sergal, but like a man in the shape of a hermaphrodidic sergal. Lyan's friends, Lyan's sword, the outer space club that Lyan is in, none of it screams "NORTHERN SERGAL" to me.

Notice the lack of sergals in Deep? That's because the artist has their own unique setting and sergals would just seem out of place. Compare that to Cutebold Slaughterfest, which appears to be an homage to everything, I'm quite comfortable with sergals there because the artist manages to weave their culture and their land into his own world seemlessly (at the expense of some individual freedom to define his own world).

I won't say Lyan shouldn't have been a sergal, or that he's being used inappropriately. I think the artist is going for a sense of awkwardness, and by jove they're getting it. Seeing a sergal trying to learn to use a saber that's far too spindly for his/her powerful frame gives us an insight into how Lyan would be feeling in such a situation where he woke up in the wrong body, then died, then woke up again.
No. 20129 ID: 65fa4a

What you fail to assume is the most reasonable scenario - Lyan being a Sergal is just like some dude being a lizard man or a deep one or something. Anyone can choose to look like anything. If the game takes place in the future, it makes sense that somebody thought up the fantasy race of sergals, and somebody knows what they are/were in the present of the game. It would be the same if Lyan was a chakat or some other similar little-known faggoty original race.
No. 20135 ID: d560d6

>derp derp Sergal culture

Lyan isn't a Sergal.

Lyan is a human whose current physical form is a Sergal. It's his murrsona.

Look here:
Humanity hasn't contacted anything non-human yet. There are no real Sergals. There are just humans being imaginative with appearance.
No. 20143 ID: ad5250

The scene at the dance bar where we first met Sal reminded me of the beginning of Lem's Return from the Stars, with the colourful dizziness and all that.

I like this quest's take on science fiction, oh I do.
No. 20158 ID: a594b9

>Lyan acts not like a sergal, but like a man in the shape of a hermaphrodidic sergal.

Gee, maybe that's because that's EXACTLY WHAT HE IS.
No. 20159 ID: e973f4

No. 20408 ID: f202ec
File 127952251291.jpg - (123.91KB , 735x750 , Vitruvian_Sergal.jpg )

Satisfy your sergal dress-up needs with this handy image!

Helmet included in case you wish to draw flowers, hearts, etc on it as well.
No. 20409 ID: f202ec
File 12795225838.png - (76.23KB , 735x750 , Vitruvian_Sergal_clean.png )


Clean version for those that don't care for his traditional color scheme or da Vinci's nonsense.

No. 20419 ID: a594b9
File 127953411622.jpg - (329.39KB , 735x750 , pretentious suit.jpg )

Um. Here. This idea has been sortof floating in my head for a bit.

Originally I just thought that the hearts' shifting pattern should be spread throughout the suit and simply changed to regular tiles when not on the boxers, but the idea of hell/heaven/space came to me and there it is. I might post that first idea later, if I can figure out how to make it actually look dignified.

Kindof pretentious maybe, but I think it looks neat. The markings on the fingers and palms are there so people can actually see Lyan's gestures in a dark room.
No. 20424 ID: c1c607
File 127953642885.png - (94.83KB , 735x750 , 12795225838.png )

Either Sal has a serious memory-wipe fetish or he knew Lyan from beforehand.

I mean, they've met yesterday, right? During that time, Sal invited a (apparently) complete stranger to coffee on a whim. Said stranger died on him.
After that, Lyan proceeds to insult the shit outa Sal. Naturally, our virgin neuter retorts by making themselves look like a woman and proceeds to dick Lyan.

No. 20431 ID: d560d6
File 127954463030.png - (608.85KB , 735x750 , haltingstatedressup-SHAMON.png )

Sergals can moonwalk, right?
No. 20433 ID: d560d6
File 127954725873.png - (662.68KB , 735x750 , haltingstatedressup-TRON.png )

Alternatively, I think you can work the club's neon and Sal's hearts themes together.

Pulsing the heart logo to match reality optimal.
No. 20451 ID: 9cb4b3

I like this one. Kind of a Batman Beyond feel, which is always a good thing.
No. 20454 ID: a594b9
File 127958559989.jpg - (328.58KB , 735x750 , pretentious suit2.jpg )

I fiddled with it a bit. I like this better.
No. 20455 ID: a594b9

Oooh. I like that more than mine, really. But, can we change the color on the boxers at all? If not, maybe change all the black to white, and make the blue lines darker.
No. 20543 ID: a594b9

Why don't you try asking Sal, when the thread is accepting suggestions again? I can think of some elements that may have made Sal decide to do it.

1- Both Sal and Lyan have wiped. There's common ground there.

2- Lyan is H, which is a similar state as N, when you think about it. It's a nonstandard gender, that bridges the gap between male and female.

3- Lyan trusts Sal a great deal, and Sal feels sorry for him yet admires that he's able to keep it together even with this existential crisis.

4- Lyan actually fought back admirably when Sal decided to play mindgames, and even flirted back. I'm going to bet that most people assume Sal never seriously flirts, and that Neuter always means Asexual.
No. 20567 ID: a594b9
File 127969576393.png - (73.55KB , 735x750 , stevesuit.png )

ok here you go
No. 20622 ID: 2044df


No. 20726 ID: c4c313


By my logic, Lyan said an "A.I." is dangerous because it's too powerful and that they still use neurons because there's a limit to how "smart" they can get, thus preventing the collapse of everything into a tiny physics defying sphere of darkness. Even though they were all fabricated down to the molecular level, the reason Sal in an A.I. and Lyan is not is that Sal seems to have subverted that limit on the power of one's thinking abilities.

Really though I don't think there's any reason to worry yet. Lyan hinted at the existence of "noncausal intelligence" which is a scale of potential far above just calling it A.I. Once you violate causality you pretty much threw in the towel on what's going to happen next (literally). So A.I. is probably an archaic and unfitting term to differentiate "dangerous" intelligence from "safe" intelligence. But that doesn't stop me from using it to scare Lyan half to death. :)
No. 20759 ID: 67c611
File 128010851041.png - (191B , 16x16 , Halting_State_favicon.png )

No. 20781 ID: 05c9fd
File 128016645561.jpg - (134.99KB , 600x600 , crash lyan v2.jpg )

Now with less JPEG artefacts
No. 20784 ID: a594b9

>crash lyan

Haha, I get it!
No. 21121 ID: 55c4cf
File 128065523198.png - (67.26KB , 735x750 , epsilyan.png )

i'ma shark
No. 21128 ID: d560d6

>I'm in freefall.

I'm kind of confused by what Lyan means by this. If he were on some kind of station in orbit of a planet, it'd mean the main force acting upon him would be unopposed gravity, and after the immediate concern of asphyixiation was in danger of burning up in the atmosphere or being slung into some wacky, unreachable orbit.

But he's not; he's on a cylindrical habitat, which from what I can tell only orbits a star, presumably at considerable enough range that tiny masses like Sergals aren't affected on any timescale we care about. Specifically, he'd been wandering about in a bubble on the exterior surface of one? And the habitats are small enough that, again, their gravitational effect is going to be marginal (else he and Sal couldn't have gone rope-dancing, and the 'sticky' floor would be unnecessary). (I assume internal gravity is magic gravitics science or actually centrifugal---I guess the bubble must have the former to have a pool unless that's smart water or something crazy.)

How is "freefall" defined here, in effective absence of gravity? Does Lyan just mean he's adrift? I guess both would perceptually be the same.
No. 21138 ID: f202ec
File 128069924237.png - (56.04KB , 500x300 , referenceframe.png )


Lyan is not accelerating away from the habitat, but from his perspective he's falling away from it in zero-G nonetheless. (Gravity was oriented away from the habitat and toward the ceiling via centrifugal force)

Here's a quick sketch for a non-rotating reference frame for clarity.
No. 21139 ID: d560d6

Oh, so "down" for that party bubble was not toward, but away from the centre of the habitat, and it was using the same rotational "gravity"? Ok.

So Lyan's now been hurled off into space like a discus. Um. Well, at least it'll be fairly painless.
No. 21162 ID: c1c607

>I hesitate for just a moment, but I'm not sure why.

Going by wacky conspiracy instincts, it could be a whole bunch of things, but I like these three most:
• It's an illusion set up by Sal, who's using psychowhatever haxes to free Lyan from The Man.
• Sal is a terrorist! Who was Lyan's partner/lover in crime! The whole hacking business is to make rm -rf impossible for Lyan!
• There's something important on that sword. Sal wants it, and isn't afraid of using extreme measures to get it.

Ask Mneme for more-a that.
No. 21166 ID: 441e3f

My favorite theory remains "elaborate setup for surprise decanting-day party."

I can confirm all of these are true, plus several others you haven't come up with yet.
No. 21167 ID: 1a2b6b

Even the ones that conflict and contradict one another?
No. 21172 ID: 5a5a6b

Especially those.
No. 21286 ID: c1c607
File 128092276319.jpg - (61.74KB , 500x485 , Catpushingawatermelonoutofalake.jpg )

• Lyan is a spaceship.
No. 21288 ID: d560d6

It's OK; Sal's keeping the most important lump of mass unmodified.
No. 21290 ID: d560d6

>13:02 < justN> no, actually it was supposed to be reasonably obvious that it's the sword shoved into his chest that's doing it

I'd say the problem with this is that the stark-space-lighting means it just looks like any other protrusion.

At least we know how the sword managed to into space between habits. With no FTL, and if the habitat is truly "gone", Sal's in for a long trip, mind.
No. 21292 ID: d9dec9

lyan pointed himself in a direction and shanked himself?
No. 21295 ID: 620bfb

Wait what, sword-based space travel?
No. 21301 ID: c1c607

Hi, Sal. Gonna be a long journey. What'cha gonna do with all that free time?
No. 21303 ID: f202ec
File 12809373777.png - (23.80KB , 200x200 , salhead.png )

You can build an ion drive out of OTHER things, you know. It's not like we live in some kind of weird Soylent Future where everything is made out of people. I just didn't exactly have options regarding my choice of building materials.

And no, I didn't hijack Lyan's suit - what do you take me for? It was just his pants.

(reposted with slightly more info sorry)
No. 21304 ID: d560d6

No. 21352 ID: f202ec
File 128102629998.jpg - (20.73KB , 500x500 , Sal_cafe.jpg )

Chapter II will start late next week.

I know people have been put off by the general strangeness and lack of obvious goals thus far. The former may get worse as time goes on, but I hope to improve upon the latter. Explanations are forthcoming. Perhaps it will reassure readers that I have moved past the timeline of bad things that happen directly to Lyan. We've now reached the point where bad things may happen to the entire Network instead.

Have some concept art for Sal. (This scribble is where its rather strange love of coffee came from.)
No. 21355 ID: e674ff

I don't mind the strangeness. In fact, I love it. Speculating about the future and the effect of technology on our culture is very interesting to me.

The thing that bothers me is that there's nothing we could actually do. We're slowly degrading thanks to some memetic virus (possibly us), and we have nothing to do but wait for other people. The ending had a nice plothook, so I'm just going to wait (im)patiently for the next chapter.
No. 21356 ID: d560d6
File 128104233156.png - (16.87KB , 466x281 , fiction_rule_of_thumb.png )

I largely agree with this, even if HS tickles my "gratuitous sci-fi terminology disrupting ability to intuitively grasp sense of place" nerve with metric time.

Thankfully you manage to write "coffee" rather than "syn-caffine". Most sci-fi writing that isn't Star Derp manages to fall off the end of this chart. Which is annoying when theoretically I should love the damn genre.
No. 21361 ID: d560d6
File 128105139180.png - (15.01KB , 640x480 , SSSSUUUPPPPERRRRRMAAANNNN.png )

Also, why the hell isn't this quest attracting fanart?

You know, competent fanart.
No. 21377 ID: c1c607

>Why the hell isn't this quest attracting fanart?
I've been busy and--

>Competent fanart.
No. 21393 ID: aa557a

This is priceless. Laughing so hard right now.
No. 21394 ID: 8bdb6a

If Sal isn't the PoV next chapter, we'll probably need to pick a new body, either as a new character or the last one.
No. 21395 ID: aa557a

>If Sal is the PoV next chapter, we'll probably need to pick a new body

Fixed. And don't forget the outfit.
No. 21533 ID: 649123


Man, if that's crap you drew on your brunch(?) break, I'd be more than happy to see with what you could come up with. I've appreciated the others as well.

Saging my own thread for non-contribution. Lyan returns to the discussion thread on Wed!
No. 21551 ID: d560d6
File 12813832572.gif - (22.91KB , 640x480 , making-yourself-bigger-was-just-mean-sal.gif )

>Lyan returns to the discussion thread on Wed!
Well, that should prove interesting.
No. 21782 ID: f202ec
File 12818354368.jpg - (27.73KB , 600x400 , professorLyan10.jpg )

What exactly is an exocortex? Hardware embedded in the neurons? External private computational mass? Shared server space? The answer is probably "all of those." You could say that it's a catchall term for the interface between the internal and the external, but it goes beyond that. It's also all of the software involved - personal agents that know how you think. I don't mean that metaphorically, either.

At a basic level, it's a bit like having a psychic link to the world around you. Doors open and close at your approach, lights brighten and dim according to your personal preferences, park benches appear when you want a seat, machinery responds to your thoughts, and mental communication is possible at any distance. There's more to it than that, of course. In addition to instant recall of any factoid you can think of, any mature system will be doing that constantly for you without conscious input - observing, pulling facts, discarding unwanted ones, caching the remainder in short-term storage, noting your preferences for future optimization. For instance, it's literally impossible to accidentally forget an acquaintance's name. If you've met someone, it will be on the tip of your tongue before you consciously realize they are present.

The hardware also includes the ability to fork your cognitive processes; it takes somewhere between 20 to 80g of matter to run a human brain. Obviously that's not the most efficient method of general-purpose computation, but it does mean we're capable of literally thinking about several things at a time. Most people probably have the enough embedded computational mass to run 3-4 local copies... I almost hate to ask how many Sal is capable of. For rather silly historic reasons, hardware is sometimes measured in "Turings" - the number of human-equivalent simulations it can run simultaneously.

I suppose the term also (erroneously) includes any miscellany involved such as embedded medical monitoring systems and self-repair. Not that they're actually that great; maybe the best metaphor I could make for you is that no one worries about properly maintaining a disposable razor blade. I don't think reliable, general-purpose medical nano has been common since before the founding of the Network.

Speaking of the Network, I understand there is some confusion regarding metric time? It's simple, really. Every 100Ksec is one official diem, and the clock wraps back to 0 at midnight. We don't have actual nights on a habitat, but generally the lights dim between 80K and 25K. "Day" refers to planetary rotations, a nonstandard unit for that minority that still live on one.

Here's some somewhat-wrong but easy-to-remember conversions: 25K (just the thousands, i.e. "25" when referring to time-of-diem) would be analogous to 6am, 50 is noon, 75 is 6pm, 0 is midnight. 4Ksec is an hour and change. 100Ksec is a bit over a day. 1Msec is obviously 10 diem, or about 11.5 Earth days. 1Gsec is about 32 years. Small periods are usually fractions of a K or in hundreds - "back in half a K" or "give me about 300 for this."

This is already absurdly long, but next time I could talk about my... sergal-ness, bio-fashions, and the historical study of late pre-Acceleration culture, if you like.

...and as to what "profound disassociation of the exocortex" actually means... I'm not entirely sure. I think it could best be described as literally losing my mind. Nearly all of my senses and my memories. It's degenerative brain damage on a scale that... I don't think you can even comprehend. The thought is terrifying. Worse than death. I'll be a cripple trapped in my own mind.

No. 21786 ID: d560d6

...and you must scream?
No. 21860 ID: 3234dd

I think I understand. "Exocortex" as you have described is a term similar to "body". The actual perception of our body even today happens in a very tiny part of the brain, and only by the nerves connecting to the body parts do we indirectly control it. Yet we have the illusion of "being" our body instead of merely driving it, even though the body we actually percieve is a virtual one.

So your Exocortex would physically be some kind of antenna and extensive cryptography and signal processing circuitry. But perceptually your exocortex would also be the machinery around you that is directly controlled by transmissions from that antenna. That abstraction allows for automation of things like spatial calculations, so that making a bench right where your butt is supposed to be is as easy as clasping your hands together.

Anyway, talking about your sergal-ness there is one question that has really been haunting me as it might have extremely important implications for your quest, your world, and the future itself. Tell me, is 4chan still online? Is 4chan still online??
No. 21867 ID: a41aaf

>The actual perception of our body even today happens in a very tiny part of the brain
BCI researchfag here. I feel compelled to point out that technically, though not a particularly large proportion of our brain is dedicated to directly receiving signals form the body (such as touch, proprioception, etc), this is augmented a metric shit-ton by the brain simulating the body's internal state though sensory fusion. This is demonstrated by the elimination of phantom limb pain (and more interestingly, ACTUAL chronic limb pain) through the mirror trick: If a mirror is placed tangential to a person face such that looking left shows only a reflection of their right arm, the patient will experience touching and movement of the right arm to also be occurring to the left arm, even when the left arm is motionless, anaesthetised, or simply not present. There is also the phenomena where a person with lower limb nerve damage (or someone who is rather drunk) will have more success when balancing and walking looking down at their legs than when looking straight ahead.

The upshot of this for your Exocortex idea is: a lot of environmental interaction will involve actual looking at and touching the object being interacted with. Artificial proprioception alone will probably not be sufficient. Practical example, when activating a door and backing through it, the unconscious reflex will be to turn and look at the door, or place a hand upon it to feel it open, even with full wireless proprioceptive feedback that the door has opened behind you. This is not an unconscious 'distrust' of the externally provided sensory data, but simply that the brain is wired to combine sensory data from multiple channels.
No. 21868 ID: d560d6

The brain your parents gave you as a birthday present. Where is it, young man? Have you lost it?
No. 21903 ID: f202ec

Chapter 2 delayed another day or two while I figure out WTF I'm doing. My test readers could make neither heads nor tails of it.
No. 21906 ID: fbb29f

What's the problem with that? That's what I feel like about the whole quest...

Just joking man, you're doing great work. Keep it up.
No. 21919 ID: 383547

>This is already absurdly long, but next time I could talk about my... sergal-ness, bio-fashions, and the historical study of late pre-Acceleration culture, if you like.

Please do!

Are bio-fashions something like a certain body-type becoming a fad or something?
No. 21931 ID: 3234dd


Is that also why you learn better when combining visual, kinesthetic and auditory type strategies instead of only using one to try to teach people?
No. 21939 ID: f202ec
File 12820402728.jpg - (6.90KB , 200x200 , salhead2.jpg )

You forgot olfactory! I can't smell a lime without remembering tensor calculus.

...which is actually kind of annoying.
No. 21972 ID: 6547ec

I'm pretty sure that precise reason is why you guys invented the Lethe centers.
No. 21973 ID: 3234dd


Yep, they sure did forget olfactory. Which is kind of sad considering how stimulating the olfactory sense makes the most powerful and long lasting memories of all.
No. 21974 ID: e973f4

Sure, talk about your sergal-ness. We can compare it to the other sergals' descriptions of --- okay I can't type this with a straight face.

... Or however that idiom translates into this medium.
No. 22796 ID: f202ec
File 128398552783.png - (286.99KB , 600x600 , advicelyan1.png )

Sorry about the delays; I have been preparing to move and moving for what feels like an eternity but is really just a week or so. Schedule should return to approximately daily updates by the weekend.

As a consolation, have a thing. I think it accurately represents sentiment on both sides of the DM screen, at least a little.
No. 22797 ID: 27a48f


... Yes.
No. 22798 ID: d560d6

Could be!

Although at least so far we haven't had to make a fake moustache out of cat hair.
No. 22828 ID: e31d52

Yes. This is how it looks to an onlooker.
No. 22856 ID: 81343b

I never really paid much attention to the quest other than going "YAY SERGALS!" and then looking at something else :P
No. 22865 ID: 620bfb

Yeah. I enjoy this quest, but I never really know what the hell is going on at any given chance to suggest.
No. 22960 ID: d560d6

>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.

...how was Sal supposed to explain fully and get consent from Lyan in the short time afforded? Talking is not a free action when you're exposed to hard vacuum and supposed to be dying. They did ask for the sword and apologise in advance.

Let's not antagonise the gelatinous and irascible sophont who currently seems to want to keep us alive, if nothing else.

Also: are we taking it as read that Lyan knows his sword turned him into an Ion drive, or do we have to do a little "why did you cut of my head, and what do you mean building materials" dance?
No. 22962 ID: c71597

Could have said something like "Sorry, have to do this to save us both." or "This hurt me more emotionally than you might believe." of course alot of it is simply my own paranoia against Sal and slight dislike of it. Don't trust that damn thing, and its willingness to leave its own friends for dead out in cold hard vacuum is not exactly trust building.
No. 22964 ID: d560d6

>willingness to leave its own friends for dead
>"Where are the others? Mika wasn't sealed!"
>[Szen is taking care of her.]

Mostly, Sal just seems to have your average geek social skill deficiencies. Thankfully, also a certain degree of pragmatic ruthlessness in a emergency. That is a good trait to have.

It'd worry more about a big The Game-style conspiracy planting Sal with us to manipulate us into jumping off a roof more than I would Sal intrinsically being against us.
No. 23104 ID: 0b2a05

She clearly knows more about this shit. If she had handled it better, maybe the habitat wouldn't even have exploded.
No. 23105 ID: d560d6

Maybe the world is made of pudding.

I'm all for a degree of caution, but let's try to stick to things we have some evidence of.
No. 24063 ID: d677cc

Hey, anyone else noticing that Sal has been conspicuously avoiding giving questions in re: death straight answers? "Am I still dying" didn't get a clear answer, and both times Lyan has asked what happens if his pirate copy goes out he got completely blown off.

No. 25143 ID: f123de
File 128735995596.gif - (83.26KB , 500x500 , unicornpower.gif )


For Mneme. How did you know?!
No. 25529 ID: fd6d7e


No. 25614 ID: 27e02d

So, uh. Just caught up with this quest and wanted to say some things.
First, I found it highly enjoyable. The setting is interesting, the opt-in/opt-out society stuff is unusual and has my curiosity piqued, the science is pleasantly soft and juicy.

I also want to commend how the intimacy with Sal was portrayed. Mature, adult, sure, but not sleazy or overdone. Handled well.

I... don't have much to complain about with the art or the writing, either.
The art is good, the little touches interesting. Things like that ferrofluidic statue really help in making things feel... tangible? The vaccuum rat party also looked brilliant, and the disaster scenes looked great, with the visuals matching the mood of what was going on. Vague, chaotic.
(Oh my, so much happy gushing.)

I'm very much looking forward to being able to participate and suggest for the next sessions.

So, uh. Is this kind of feedback desired? Was it too much? At any rate, two thumbs up, Ñ.
No. 27030 ID: f123de
File 12900588246.jpg - (10.42KB , 300x300 , sittingsal.jpg )

I mentioned it already in >>336457, but I'll repeat myself just this once and stop.

I never expected my quest to be terribly popular. It's complicated and the setting is very alien and it has walls of text and fake sergals. However, I did hope it might pick up momentum - and readers - as it went along. I've tried to make things most straightforward and direct, and in response my active readership seems to have plummeted.

I have plenty more story to tell, and I'd really like to see how this plays out myself. It's just hard to spend so much time for so little response.

If you read my quest and stopped, what turned you away?
Where did I jump the shark?
Would hanging out on IRC and posting update notices actually help?


I appreciated your comments in the other thread, Bite. But really? YOU stopped reading because of non-graphic violence? I'm... a bit confused.

My apologies for taking forever to write this response. Thanks for taking the time to critique and for the compliment. It was much appreciated.
No. 27043 ID: a09a03

I get the feeling that whenever I try to offer advice, I just prove how much I've missed the point of whatever I'm talking about and inadvertently insult whoever I'm talking to. But, if you're going to throw around terms like shark-jumping, I guess I should give it a shot.

Personally speaking, I feel some dissonance and confusion over how we've got this quest about unbelievable ultratech networking mind-state copying immortal hacker displaying mind boggling capabilities beyond the ken of mere mortals who don't have 30% of their skull volume devoted to computronium...

...But what's actually happening is that we're lost in the woods throwing rocks at unicorns. And we're looking for this old guy who can help us in some way. I don't know how he's going to help us. I guess he's some kind of ultra-hacker who lives in the woods. Unless I'm forgetting, we didn't really have the option of not doing that, either.

I couldn't tell you anything about where we are except that we're in a habitat called 32-N115-ADZJ, which contains a forest with unicorns.

I do like the overall setting, and I want to see what happens, and see the big mystery solved, but I don't have a clue how to bring that about. All I can think to suggest is "okay, keep going."
No. 27057 ID: b94610

aside from the 'bar to readership' things I said in the other thread, you will also generally get fewer suggestions the more dangerous the situation is. When everything is safe, people don't see a danger in throwing in their two cents. When things look grim or difficult, then nobody suggests because they don't want to fuck things up.

You also might have some people being like "this isn't really what I signed up for" with the more 'traditional' fantasy/adventure type thing that's going on right now.

I appreciated your comments in the other thread, Bite. But really? YOU stopped reading because of non-graphic violence? I'm... a bit confused.
I find it rather tiresome to have to explain that I can have likes and dislikes just because I sometimes draw graphic violence. I mean, what? must I be pleased with things I'd rather not see? I'm not following you at all.
No. 27059 ID: 2563d4

Pretty much. At least at the moment we have faaaairly known constraints (e.g. we know we can't turn Sal into a microlite and fly there...I think); whenever it's into system space the range of possible actions is basically an unknown so suggestions boil down to "well, um, do whatever thing it is that counters the thing, then".
No. 27078 ID: a1591c

I think the point is more.. "you may dislike it but I can't see how you could be offended, so why are you going to stop reading the quest over one scene?"
No. 27082 ID: 632591

I wasn't offended at all. It's just something I'd rather not see. Also, it's basically still going on. I'm pretty much waiting for them to get to out of this area. I didn't stop reading forever because he did one thing.
No. 27083 ID: 632591

This is me. Fergot my stuff and things.
No. 27086 ID: eb3e24

(damn this thing it dumped me back to the main page when I posted)

Bite, apologies for singling you out. Would be interested in more talk - on irc, probably. Thanks for the honesty.

Will say more when I return home, I suppose.
No. 27245 ID: 57411e

>Venji suggestions

What the fuck, Dylan?
No. 27446 ID: 6547ec

Slinkoboy complained about how he always feels he has to do ALL SUGGESTIONS ALL THE TIME.
N complained that he has no suggestions.
Now they're both confused!

Also, as stupid as it seems, I pretty much hold off from suggesting in this quest because the quest feels too smart for me. Like there are fifty things to keep track of, but I've forgotten 49.5 of them since the last update, even when neither of those are actually the case. Oddly, I had an easier time keeping things together in the first chapter, before you tried to pare things down and simplify. I think my brain is just miswired lately.
No. 27462 ID: 8d7dd2

I had a sudden brain wave. I think I know the main problem with the sudden setting change.

It was meant to make things simpler, but it's also made things much, much more complicated.

Why? I mean, now we're with things we can equate to, right? Wrong. We're with things we can equate to that are by themselves extensions upon what we already knew of the universe. Metaphors applied to some subset of the universe where the old rules are still very much in effect, but new ones are also in effect as well.

The universe has been made more complicated by the fact it now contains not only the complicated post-scarcity society, but a simulacrum of a fantasy world that is layered on top of this society in addition to the stuff that some people found hard to follow.

In attempting to simplify the situation, the genre of the quest was not shifted towards fantasy. No, now it is some hybrid of both the previous far-future sci-fi and its fantasy scenario in addition. It has become more complicated rather than less because of this.

There's no real suggestion I can think of to fix this either, which kind of irks me because I don't like to point out flaws without some sort of suggestion as to how to resolve them.

These are just my thoughts, though. They're probably not very clear.
No. 27567 ID: 27e02d

Some simple points, from my perspective:
Find Sal's contact, that ancient conciousness Sal knows is on the habitat.

The local populace. No assemblers. Our own diseased head killing anything it touches, given time.

IMMEDIATE DANGERS: We're being hunted by unicorn riders.

COURSE OF ACTION: Defeat/evade riders, seek out the ancient conciousness.

Those are the most immediate concerns for the characters themselves. Nothing too complex.
How things turn out after we've found the conciousness is a later concern, a concern I'm very much looking forward to.
No. 27974 ID: f123de

This is a valid point, and so I put together a list of observably known traits for our protagonist and his traveling companion. I will try to get this moved to the wiki soon so it's easy to keep up-to-date.

Things Lyan can do

Melee combat, especially with a fencing blade
Throw weapons accurately
Perform several mental actions at once
Think quickly and logically in stressful situations
Write code, especially related to computer security
Communicate silently via radio to most humans and computers
Modify, add, or remove sensory input
Create virtual reality simulations without hardware
Perform moderate physical exertion (e.g. jogging) for approximately 20 hours without rest
Perform heavy exertion (running, fighting) for approximately an hour
Heal quickly without risk of infection
Resist damage from most mundane weapons due to subdermal armor threads and composite bones
Alter his biochemistry / neurochemistry for various purposes
Successfully arm-wrestle a chimpanzee
Infect Network computers simply by having his brain scanned

Things Lyan can't do well

Go without food or water for extended periods
Breathe vacuum
Not infect Network computers while having his brain scanned
Access his intellectual property

Things Sal can do

Alter its shape and color
Survive without food, water, or air
Ignore damage from most mundane sources
Generate several MW of power
Access Lyan's brain (both cryogenically frozen and living)
Apparently also a good hacker
Slowly assemble matter from elements
Does not tire from physical exertion?
Does not need to sleep?
See via sonar
Sal possesses the following traits:
# Blind (but has the blindsight special quality), with immunity to gaze attacks, visual effects, illusions, and other attack forms that rely on sight.
# Immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning.
# Not subject to critical hits or flanking.

Things Sal apparently can't do

Avoid speaking its mind
Remove the biological portions of the basilisk?
See why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch™
See anything else in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum
No. 27980 ID: e43bfe

The main reason I don't suggest is because I'm a goddamn moron.
The rest is pretty much what >>337262 said.
No. 28005 ID: 2563d4

03:50 < MysteriousMister> How many quest protagonists have successfully implimented seduction?
03:53 < LionsPhil> Sal has basically wrested control of Lyan away from /quest/ since all we suggest these days is "what Sal said".
03:53 < LionsPhil> So that was an NPC beating us :P

Obviously you're just going to have to kill her off.
No. 29021 ID: 2563d4

<LionsPhil> Fun fact: during her trip through space, Sal passed the time playing "I Spy" with Lyan's head as a hand puppet.
<~N> so true
<a> Sounds like canon to me.
<~N> though in the future you can fork your brain-meats and successfully play I Spy with yourself
<~N> (Sal cheats, then gets mad at itself, then later has a laugh about it with itself later)
No. 29204 ID: 83f911
File 129400597856.png - (171.02KB , 500x500 , Lyanpushingalyanoutofalake.png )

• Sal is Lyan.
No. 29211 ID: 1db78b

So does this mean the PC has been controlling himself the entire time?
No. 29212 ID: 2563d4

Man, I don't even know what to think any more.

Except that the bottom row of this is the next chapter: >>/draw/2091 :V
No. 29254 ID: 2563d4

>though in the future you can fork your brain-meats and successfully play I Spy with yourself
>fork your brain-meats
>fork your brain-meats
No. 29289 ID: bd3722

OK i have a theory.

If Lyan was not always "GOOD" and was holding a grudge against the whole society, then it could be possible that he wanted to get rid of Immortality.

He wanted to make it impossible to create proper Copies by spreading this basilisk.

So the whole society gets mortal again.

It's kinda like the ending of Fight Club.
No. 29291 ID: 8bdb6a

I don't think the worm targets copying, though. It just kills everything except Lyan. (And Sal, who is also Lyan)
No. 29298 ID: 26adcd

so the problem could be 'solved' by making everyone part lyan?
No. 29299 ID: 8c3899

Such a crazy idea! You lyanatic!
No. 29301 ID: 2563d4

...but it's killed Lyan at least once too.

Maybe he was trying to commit final suicide but forgot that everyone was Weaver Lyan. :V
No. 29386 ID: f123de
File 129456612349.png - (56.63KB , 500x200 , faceoff.png )

I need to pare back on the questing to focus on other things for a while. Since I seem to be incapable of spending less effort on individual updates, and I'd rather not have a week or more between updates like I've done too often already, I thought I would put it to a vote.

Option 1) remain paused between chapters for a while longer

Option 2) begin chapter III, progress the story to a better stopping point, and then announce a mid-thread hiatus

Thanks for reading, and we apologize for the inconvenience.
No. 29387 ID: 15b51b

Update nao.
No. 29388 ID: 7c0299

Party now, study later!
No. 29389 ID: 1854db

This is the best stopping point. CONTINUE HIATUS!
No. 29392 ID: 2563d4

As part of the "leaving quests on haitus for a month mid-thread is hilarious" club, I am required to vote for option II even though it's a terrible idea.
No. 29394 ID: e973f4

I would think the answer to this question should be self-evident.

Do you want to be like me, N?

Do you?
No. 29399 ID: 6f96b6

Pause. Take as much time as you want to make up your story.
Weeks or a month ... but inform us befor you continue.
No. 29401 ID: c162ea

Going to vote for option one. Better to not start something, then pause midway. Besides, this was a great cliffhanger to wait at.
No. 29405 ID: 6547ec

If you decide to go until you find a good stopping point, you won't find one. You just won't; there will be SOMETHING else you want to handle before you go in hiatus. Break now, or everyone will regret it.
No. 29414 ID: c23db5

I think Option 1 seems best. Leaving things on such a cliffhanger for now isn't that bad.
No. 31748 ID: fa0376


Resumes in 1 Msec.
No. 31776 ID: 50ccca

No. 32847 ID: 5038ee

Did i miss the thread?
Link maybe? :p
No. 32867 ID: 977a5a

It turns out that when I arrived at home last night around 10 pm my internet was dead. Continued to be dead well past 2am, then I went to bed.

Apologies for the lame excuse.
No. 32880 ID: 5038ee

NO problem ^-^ take your time :3
No. 33247 ID: 57247c

New Thread
No. 34034 ID: 2563d4
File 130089899720.gif - (22.52KB , 640x480 , lyan-eating-hir-crotch.gif )

>hostile ramen

No. 34215 ID: 252e1b

Sal's infection has been active for at least 2.6 Msecs, so we have around 5 Msecs to come up with a solution of some kind before we really start to lose Sal. Maybe less, Lyan is a meat-brain, Sal's mostly hardware. Anyway, when Sal starts getting paranoid-delusional, it'll be time to freeze his brain. The basilisk can't kill him if it can't run.

We'll need to leave detailed instructions on whatever work is finished, just in case Lyan succumbs before he finishes.

It's possible that the infected state vectors in Hab 58 (and Hab 58's infected hardware) have already been salvaged and examined. I doubt we can afford to spend a few tens of Msecs or more writing the counter-basilisk. We've already lost a month in transit, and whoever wanted to kill Lyan will eventually realize that he's somehow survived it (this is the best case scenario by the way, if the murderer just wanted to kill the Network they'll have seeded this basilisk all over). Maybe it's time to build the computing space required to let tens or hundreds of Lyans work in parallel. Keep the computer local only, set it up so that the infected material here is destroyed if Lyan and Sal fail to solve their problem in time.

After the basilisk is defeated, we can decide how we're going to wage war against the paranoid admins who have been running the VN probe program.
No. 34234 ID: fa7b85

Even in your quests.. THE FLUFFY
No. 34437 ID: 15b51b

Okay. Sorry if this seems harsh, but I'm just gonna dump my current HS thoughts here:

Nobody I've asked can remember why we visited Ara. Skimming chapter 2 didn't really clear it up, either. We want his help for something, but I have no idea what kind of help we were hoping to get, or why.

The chapter was set up such that Lyan was mad at Sal. This led me to believe that Lyan had realized things about Sal sufficient to make him really mad, so I was trying to play along, but it would have helped if he was more explicit about it. Or maybe I was just overreacting. In any case, we appear to have forgiven him for whatever it was. (I know about the "My own clone!" part, but I don't know enough about Network society to know whether that's considered a serious faux pas or a mortal offense or what)

All I've really got right now is this abstract understanding that we need to save the world. Well, sorta. The world we started on was destroyed already, so we're trying to save a more abstract world. But we also need to stop the world because it's bad. And maybe that's what the basilisk is actually doing and we need to just sit back and let it do its thing? Like, maybe all that weird cyberspace green shit was Phase II of the infection and it does something different? Who knows? Not us! (I have no idea what we were supposed to get out of that sequence, to be totally honest)

Now I'm totally confused and have no idea what we should do, or even what we can do right now.

Also, I don't know why there's this whole issue of trust with Sal. He can just program us to think whatever he wants, and he's our only source of information. We have no real ability to go against his wishes. Whatever they are.

Also, I'm still a little unclear about why he killed us the second time. With the black rubber ball.

Basically, it seems like Sal is our boss and we can't do anything about it (and have no reason to try because we have no alternative plan and no information with which to make a plan and he can just hack us whenever he wants anyway) but he's being really unclear about what he wants us to do.

Frankly, I don't know why he keeps letting us tag along. He seems like he'd be much more productive without us. He's this shapeshifting hypertech multi-megawatt puppetmaster guy who can hack unicorns and build computronium, and we're this big doofy emotionally unstable hermaphroditic sergal clone with no internet connectivity who doesn't know anything about anything.
No. 34438 ID: 2563d4

>last paragraph

We're the comic relief support character.
No. 34441 ID: b6ca92

>I hate it when things that don't make sense MAKE sense.
No. 34456 ID: 2563d4

It could be worse.

We could be the Bond girl.
No. 34458 ID: 08a5f4

I dunno, I could stand to see Lyan in a cocktail dress.
No. 34459 ID: 2563d4

[Kill the virus! Hit the master override switch!]
"The what?"
"Yes Sal?"
[Now listen carefully. There's a console up there. All you need to do is resplange the fleegle with the wharzig.]
[Lyan, are you still there? It'll be on the auxiliary exocortex circuit.]
"Pre-hensile cli-tor...is that it?"
[Just push every damn button will you!]
No. 34525 ID: 252e1b


The trouble is that the quest's setting presupposes a certain amount of familiarity with the basic concepts inherent in a future civilization, and most of the people who play quests have attention spans that are too short to have ever become familiar with them in the first place.

We are the people who think books smell like old socks. We are the people who want circuses to go with our bread. We are the sergal-lovers and the onion-skinned man children of the 21st century. And that's ok. But we're never going to be able to play a game with a plot deeper than "does it bite very hard? No? STICK YOUR DICK IN IT!"

(Then Go Somewhere Else)
No. 34526 ID: 2563d4

Oh, hello. It's you.

I don't think you mean "we", and I don't think "we" is correct either.
No. 34527 ID: 15b51b

Man what?

If you're so smart, maybe you could try and help clear up my confusion and offer some ideas about short to mid-term plans instead of just rambling aimlessly about how you're so much smarter than us.
No. 34529 ID: 252e1b

Point by point address of the questions in >>344237

>Nobody I've asked can remember why we visited Ara.

Ara was the best choice for any sort of help Sal could hope to reach with the resources Lyan's body represented. Ara's choice of habit (non-consent violence LARP with a crippled version of the Network which is incredibly important for preventing the infection from spreading) put her on the short list for good choices of allies. Her lifystyle and experience made her the best. A 50 gsec old motile nanoswarm living in a simulated(?) caldera means she only wants contact on her terms, and thus should be pretty self-sufficient. She was an isolated contact with the available resources to help, and who was at least inclined to hear out Sal and Lyan instead of just destroy them when she realized the threat they represented to everything by virtue of their basilisk infection.

>The chapter was set up such that Lyan was mad at Sal. This led me to believe that Lyan had realized things about Sal sufficient to make him really mad, so I was trying to play along, but it would have helped if he was more explicit about it. Or maybe I was just overreacting. In any case, we appear to have forgiven him for whatever it was. (I know about the "My own clone!" part, but I don't know enough about Network society to know whether that's considered a serious faux pas or a mortal offense or what)

Lyan explicitly said it was illegal to make multiple states of himself when he was exploring himself as he was being brought back on-line by Sal at the start of chapter 2. There were other hints too, like how Lyan reacted to the news he and Sal were both copies. And we were told a little about how Network society brought new people into its fold when we met Mika. All in all, the hints were there that copies were not considered acceptable in the Network.

>All I've really got right now is this abstract understanding that we need to save the world. Well, sorta. The world we started on was destroyed already, so we're trying to save a more abstract world. But we also need to stop the world because it's bad. And maybe that's what the basilisk is actually doing and we need to just sit back and let it do its thing? Like, maybe all that weird cyberspace green shit was Phase II of the infection and it does something different? Who knows? Not us! (I have no idea what we were supposed to get out of that sequence, to be totally honest)

That was the Lyan-state that was left behind in the Lethe center when the Habitat died (the one who had just had his memory wiped). That Lyan encountered the basilisk somewhere in the ruins of the processing matter of the habitat.

>Also, I don't know why there's this whole issue of trust with Sal. He can just program us to think whatever he wants, and he's our only source of information. We have no real ability to go against his wishes. Whatever they are.

Sal can mess with Lyan's head a little, but for Lyan to have any value to Sal, Lyan had to be a relatively blank slate. Lyan was similar to the computer image that you would see on a recovery disk, while Sal was the nearly-identical computer that had all your favorites and settings and bullshit anime shows saved and was infected with a virus. Sal wanted to be able to figure out what the virus did, and how to remove it while doing as little damage as possible, and to do that he needed something to compare against. Hence, he engineered Lyan.

>Also, I'm still a little unclear about why he killed us the second time. With the black rubber ball.

That was a device Sal made to back up Lyan's brain state. It would kill him to stop the brain from changing while it was being read, and then the device would read it, and then finally the device would rebuilt it and restart Lyan's metabolism. Risky, crude, but better than not having any back up.

>Basically, it seems like Sal is our boss and we can't do anything about it (and have no reason to try because we have no alternative plan and no information with which to make a plan and he can just hack us whenever he wants anyway) but he's being really unclear about what he wants us to do.

Sal is a desperate man, and Lyan is his victim. However, because Lyan has the same talent at hacking as Sal does, Lyan is not a powerless victim. Meeting Ara was the first real chance Lyan had at rebelling because through Ara he could have asked for help (he could have done it with the LARPers but they would have had to have been brought up to speed at the risk of totally blowing whatever advantage Sal bought them both by pretending to be dead). Remember, at this point we're still not sure if the basilisk was a murder weapon or something worse.

>Frankly, I don't know why he keeps letting us tag along. He seems like he'd be much more productive without us. He's this shapeshifting hypertech multi-megawatt puppetmaster guy who can hack unicorns and build computronium, and we're this big doofy emotionally unstable hermaphroditic sergal clone with no internet connectivity who doesn't know anything about anything.

Sal's systems were compromised by the basilisk, and he was losing against it. He told us that. He needed Lyan because Lyan was a blanked template that he could compare himself against and use as a test-bed for anti-basilisk solutions. He was nowhere near his full capability. Lyan, being a meat type body was apparently more resistant to the effects of the basilisk.

Sal was completely untrustworthy beyond doing whatever it took to save his own skin.
No. 34551 ID: 0d9cc4

So was that an April fools joke or did we win by jumping into a pool of lava?

I'm using Charlie Sheen's definition of winning in that question.
No. 34552 ID: 0b9d09

Yeah, I haven't been following this quest very closely but I was also kind of curious if "and then the main characters died in lava" is actually the ending
No. 34562 ID: 2563d4

Man, I can't even be certain (not least because I'm forgetful) if that's even all the PoV characters gone. Cyberspace Lyan might still be about (let along any other non-PoV clones).
No. 34580 ID: bb7f2b

Well, it certainly could be official - half the joke was that "protagonist, kill yourself" was the most well though-out suggestion I had from the last batch. Go me.

I would rather put on my professor hat and answer things, but I am away from my tablet for several more days. A few things may as well be said right now.

The trip to the volcano had no specific goal beyond "a really old thing might help," but the offer includes sharing of Ara's Network allotment - nearly unlimited mass and power rations for the duration. The extremely thorough post a few back was substantially correct, but has a number of shaky assumptions.

More in a few days, but if you have questions you would like answered please ask. I have a few already queued, such as "what was Lyan actually good at, again?"
No. 34607 ID: 15b51b

The trouble is, we know he's good at hacking, but has no network connectivity. It's a bit like being the most skillful telekineticist in the world, but you don't actually have telekinesis. Meanwhile, Sal's just as good as hacking and has all of the necessary abilities, resources, and manufacturing capacity to actually (theoretically) make use of it.

But even if Lyan could reach out and connect with things, we wouldn't want him to, because he'd just infect whatever he's connected with.

I was hoping that meeting Ara would kinda open up a new aspect of the quest, and bring us to a level where we're somehow actually able to tackle the whole basilisk problem. Since that is not the case, I'm completely lost about what to do next. (Other than jump in the lava)
No. 34611 ID: 2563d4

...or having a Computer Science PhD while being stranded on a desert island.

"Man, I could totally quicksort all these coconuts by size. If I had a huge infrastructure behind me I could write a website to let people rate and comment on them, too."

"I wish that was in any way useful right now."

I mean it's not like >>337774 is lacking skills, but the skills that are pertinent to the problem are incredibly abstract (e.g. computer security), and Lyan's answer to "uh, write a countervirus" is "that would take time". Welp. '\o/`
No. 34612 ID: 2563d4

I mean, boiling that down, it's:
• Go toe-to-toe with a Tozol
• Computer stuff
• Infect the Network simply by being observed, like it or not
• Shapeshifting and the usual damage resistance that goes with it
• Alchemy
• Wrap Sergalyan around its little finger, toe, and many other interesting appendages, physically and mentally

The person-level fightan stuff is useless for the big picture; we're done punching elves for now. What we need now is either computer skills to pick the whatever apart and find out if it's doing what we want to stop the Network's VN drones grey goo-ing everything and prevent that if it isn't (which doesn't seem approachable), or a social engineering angle to achieve at least the first half of the same (which doesn't seem to work---Ara's not much help, Salyan remains obstinate, and Salyan is probably the Lyan most positioned to know the answers).
No. 34921 ID: f123de
File 130232741259.png - (198.30KB , 500x500 , BSOD.png )

I thought about leaving the April Fool's joke up for a year, but that one's already been done.

The quest isn't dead. I feel like I owe it to all three of the people following to keep going. Just... trying to figure out how to do it, and where to get the free time to do it in.
No. 34922 ID: 07416a

Personally just started following it and think it's fantastic.
No. 34923 ID: cc04a7

I have no idea who you are nor do I follow your quest but I absolutely adore your art.
No. 34931 ID: 0988c9

i'm happy it was JUST A JOKE .-.

Got kinda scared there
No. 34933 ID: f5c7b6


Well, if you're continuing I'm eagerly awaiting it. I'm terrible and following and suggesting in a timely manner, but I love the quest all the same.
No. 39813 ID: e5f721


Just finished it. Please make more.
No. 41433 ID: 063c28

Just binged this myself; it was great, and much as I agree that it's kind of unclear what Lyan should be doing at this juncture, I'm extremely eager to see more. Please continue!
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