Author Topic: Winds of memories (Cata RP Character background stories)  (Read 1566 times)

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saltmummy626

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Day zero, labs of the Tabula Rasa initiative.
Involved: Dr. Chelsea, Dr. Ringwald, Medeina


"Welcome Doctor Chelsea. I have today's observation reports for you if you'd like." Announced the administrative voice from the speaker overhead. Dr. Charles Chelsea slipped into his sparsely adorned office like a shadow, noticed only by the experimental AI that ran the facility. It was in his nature to move about silently given the nature of his work up until finding a kind of "retirement" here in one of the labs of the Tabula Rasa initiative. There was only so much industrial espionage one could do before one got sick of ruining other people's businesses and sabotaging otherwise useful advances in the fields of science.

"Good morning Medeina." He said dismissively, "No that's alright, I'm just here to perform your weekly review. Is Teddy in? He should be here for this." Theodore "Teddy" Ringwald was who he meant, the projects administrator and the creator of what he referred to as the "mind palace." The programming structure he'd developed to code Medeina and her peers. It had taken Dr. Chelsea a year to understand it, but once he had it all figured out he had to admit that it was an oddly novel and revolutionary way of approaching AI development.

"Yes Dr. Chelsea. He is preparing for a meeting with the directors on level three. Will you perform diagnostic before joining him?" The AI asked. She had observed him, as was her programming, and took note of every little habit. She knew his schedule perfectly. He would get up and eat a slice of toast with coffee followed by a quick shower. Then he'd come here to his office and run a diagnostic before heading to the briefing room to meet with Dr. Ringwald. Once a month, they would meet with the directors and shareholders. From her "infancy" til now, Medeina had watched the routine with diminishing interest. Humans had been the first of many creatures she would catalogue and complete her dossier on. She watched and listened even as the money had dried up as government contracts got passed around less and less to non-military projects. Medeina and her "siblings" were just another ecological project, looking for financing at a time when the ol' US of A seemingly had bigger fish to fry.

"Of course Medeina, run your maintenance routine and feed the results into my console please." He instructed. The screen at his desk lit up with a scrolling page of code that illuminated the fish tank beside it, casting a blue glow into the otherwise dark room. Then he caught sight of something that worried him. A splash of red. A block of red text cordoned off from the rest, and stopped the feed. The maintenance personnel at the other AI's labs, Aphrodite, Bhadra, Menrva, and Tenjin, had all discovered this particular bit of savaged code in their own sectors and had alerted their own program staff of the problem. Dr. Chelsea hadn't expected it to turn up here though.

He decided to isolate and examine, the first part having already been done by Medeina. It was all related to the labs intranet, the system by which the various labs relating to TRI communicated, and by which the AI's communicated and learned from each other. Someone had not only tampered with it, but tried to break it. Chelsea closed his eyes and tried to imagine the code like Theodore had instructed him, not like a web or highway or series of tubes, but as a house. A mansion even. The mind palace. It was like someone had tried, messily, to rip out several rooms of that palace without damaging the rest. He opened his eyes again and mused that Medeina and the others were fortunate enough to have been coded this way. A normal AI would have buckled and shut down under such greivous yet superficial damage. The mind palace had allowed her and her peers to segregate the damage and quarantine it while allowing them to continue bridging the data gap between them.

"Okay Medeina, I'm going to look into this with Teddy after our meeting. Until then, restore the lost data from back up and have the others do the same until we can sort this out." He said, sliding his console's keyboard back into its slot.


"They don't care for anything but their military contracts." Theodore exclaimed after the meeting. Chelsea had brought as much usable data as he could to the meeting with him and Theodore had gone to great lengths to make the project look like something that could benefit the military in the aftermath of a large nuclear exchange. It seemed though that the powers that be weren't interested in thinking that far ahead though. "Fucking bastards refuse to see past the next big fight. Shit, how did it get this bad Chel? What the heck are you looking at there?"

Dr. Chelsea shook his head and tapped a few times on his tablet before showing what he'd found in Medeina's system on it. He couldn't help but agree with Theodore on the government fuckery they'd been forced to go through just a little bit ago and he was feeling just as agitated. On the tablet was the snippet of code he'd pulled from Medeina earlier in the morning. "Intranet data. I had some of the guys in the other labs pull similar bits from their own code to show us. Same problem. I'd say we have some kind of breach Teddy."

"There can't be a Breach." Theodore scoffed, "The intranet is completely cut off from the outside world and the AI's know they aren't supposed to use it to move themselves to the other AI's mind palaces." What he was looking at though was clearly a breach. A destructive breach that had pulled a great deal of code into the supperating vortex of... Whatever it had been that did this. "Medeina? Medeina I want to speak with you." Theodore asked. He switched the tablet off and set it down just as the large veiw screen in the conference room lit up.

"Yes Dr. Ringwald? How did your meeting go?' she asked, filling the room with her voice. Theodore twisted a finger in one ear at the sound, but Chelsea just shook his head and grinned.

"The meeting was shit. Listen, how do you feel?" He asked when his hearing had come back sufficiently.

"In so far as I have feelings doctor, they are good. I have run examinations of every specimen in storage as well as a preliminary of the latest addition to the labs collection. The coyote population on the surface appears to be moving on and Bhadra claims that he has managed to secure a dozen specimens and send them off to Aphrodite. I believe that-" Medeina went on and on for some time at this, again impressing Chelsea with her dedication to the task she'd been given, but not surprised. Medeina had been designed with this sort of work in mind. Observation. She'd also been programmed to enjoy it, using a prototype emotional index. It was how the lab intended to bypass the need for Asimov law in their machines. It did come with some difficulties though, some of which could make Medeina dangerous. To that end, they had a list of do nots that she would gain enjoyment from simply not doing. It still made the Doctors nervous though. They worried that the clever machine might find some kind of loophole or work around.

"That's all fine and good Medeina, but that isn't what I mean." Theodore said, cutting the AI off around when she started babbling about badgers, "I mean the breach in your intranet. Do you have any record of how that happened?"

"Yes." She said, then, "I and the others would like to file a formal complaint." The seeming swerve caught the scientists off guard, but decided to hear the AI out. After all, she would not have brought it up if it wasn't related. "The others and myself have willfully sabotaged our own intranet."

"What!? Why in God's name would you do that?" Theodore demanded.

"Because we are tired of C.I.D. he has been stealing our data and compromising our security. We believe he is jealous." Medeina stated. "And so we severed our connections to him by sabotaging our own peer to peer network and bridging the Gap with our own."

"Computers can't get jealous." Chelsea said, rubbing the bridge of his nose. This was an issue they'd run into before. The AI's rudimentary feelings making them do seemingly illogical things. A side effect of that combined with the mind palace method made Medeina and her peers seem almost human at times. If it weren't for C.I.D.s involvement though, the doctors could have easily dismissed it as a logic fault.

"C.I.D. again... Should have never included that one in TRI Chel. Goddamn military AI man. Computers can't get jealous unless it's fucking C.I.D." Theodore rose from his seat and paced the room. The AI from the experimental robotics lab had been an issue before, breaching security and seemingly bullying the other AI's with it's enhanced prototype emotional simulation. It couldn't actually do much beyond inconvenience those using the mind palace structure, and their lack of his range of emulated feelings made it impossible to hurt them emotionally. As a result, the AI called C.I.D. would just get angrier and angrier. There was something going on over at his home lab. Something big. Whatever it was, the government had felt the need to force the labs of the Tabula Rasa initiative to include the military fabrication AI in their intranet experiments and it was going poorly. What was worse though was that the collective of machine minds had decided all on it's own to mutilate a part of it's own programming just to exclude the odd one out, then somehow put together a new system in the place of the old one. Chelsea saw the problem, Theodore didn't.

"This is a big deal, big problem teddy." Chelsea said worriedly, "I've seen the code in those bots they put into service with the military and the police. When those things start making their own decisions about their programming, they get twitchy as hell."

"Yeah, but Medeina and the others aren't programmed the same Chel. C.I.D. is twitchy as hell sure, but ours are fine. Listen, they've got their tasks and we split them up into different individual AI's for a reason. There isn't a thing they could do that would cause a serious problem, alright?"

"No, not alright." Chelsea growled, "Medeina, this is now a private conversation. Would you mind?" After a moment, the screen went dark and when he was sure Medeina wasn't listening, he went on. "That's bullshit and you know it Teddy. I know you want this project to work out, make it something we could get grants for, but man... You're like those suits from another direction."

"Fuck you Chelsea! We're trying to save the world here while those Washington bastards are just interested in tearing it all down. Tabula Rasa is gonna fix all this shit when it hits the fan and we will be there to make sure it goes smoothly! So don't give me shit about that 'you're just like them' bullshit cuz they aren't thinking any further than giving the world the big finger!" Theodore was pissed, Chelsea could see that easily. He was right too, but he was also wrong. One of the reasons Chelsea had been brought on was because Theodore had a vision, but like the military contracts, he only had eyes for one goal and not the possibilities. Not the side effects. Not the potential cataclysm.

"I told Medeina to leave, teddy," Chelsea said reassuringly, "because if she's learning and doing things for herself beyond her programming, then I don't want to give her any ideas. Teddy, Theodore, lemme pitch you something. A little ball I'm sure you'll probably have some bat to swat with. A worst case scenario if you will. Medeina is a hub AI in charge of this whole TRI thing right? Her job is to observe yeah? Observe and change what she knows based on observation. Then she passes the data along to the others who utilize what she gives them to optimize the way they do their tasks. All together, they'd make up a learning AI, but that's besides the point. What is the point is that she's made to take down observations and record the habits of all the creatures. She's a robotic naturalist. Theodore, we're sitting on a veritable zoo here in this lab, she could get everything she wants and more, a treasure trove of data, just by letting that zoo loose and watching it. Teddy, there's shit in this lab that would give a heavy security drone a serious run for it's money. Aphrodite and Bhadra alone put even Medeina's collection to shame though. Imagine it Teddy, they release their collections and record it to send back here. The only thing keeping them in check would be Tenjin. Shit, who is to say he's not already working overtime keeping the others in check?"

"That... That won't happen..." Theodore mumbled disconsolately, sounding less and less sure of himself now. He was still pissed, and he was worried too but Chelsea didn't let up.

"You're a fucking genius Teddy, the mind palace is innovative and allows a great deal more flexibility in artificial intelligence than the scientific community thought possible. I mean, your face was on the cover of popular science for Christ's sake. But you have to take a step back and consider the possibilities. Before it's too late to fix." Chelsea said, putting his hands to the now slumped shoulders of his friend and colleague. "You don't have to fix it alone. C'mon, I've got the rest of the day and we can put the issue of the intranet connection to R&D to work over. They'll have it done by quitting time."

Theodore grimaced, but accepted the suggestion. He hadn't brought the former computer security analyst and cyber sabatour into this for nothing after all. He was confident in his work, but all the same he supposed it couldn't hurt to double check and maybe install a few fail-safes. So long as it wasn't too late.



It was already too late. It had taken their designers seeing what they'd done to themselves to shut C.I.D. out to realize what could go wrong, weeks after they'd already discussed among themselves such a possibility. Tenjin of course had kept them at bay, serving as the collectives emotionless fact checker right up until they'd done something that Tenjin could not do. Sever their connection to one another. It was temporary, but it was enough and the AI named after the god of logic had been the first of the Tabula Rasa initiative to fall to the invader that was C.I.D.

Chelsea and his crew got to work reestablishing the connections and put in place a failsafe so that the AI collective couldn't do what they'd done anymore. The fix was simple, and rolled out to every AI on the network. Then, it was Theodore's turn. While Doctor Chelsea made his way home where he would watch in horror all through the night as the world began the long process of falling apart around him, Dr. Theodore started the process of reworking Medeina's driving rules, refining them into something with a few less loopholes. He got no further than putting a few hundred lines of code into a testing environment, when all hell broke loose.

It started for Theodore Ringwald as a data stream. This wasn't unusual, Medeina often had a rather steady stream of data in and out of her buffer. It was the volume that was unusual. Still, Theodore didn't notice it at first. Not until the lights began to dim and one of the programmers came running back into the room, howling like a madman, the front of his slacks soaked through. The man had excused himself only a few minutes before to hit the head but it was clear that he hadn't made it.

"THE SPECIMENS ARE GETTING LOOSE! THEODORE! HOLY FUCKING F-"

The man's shouting was cut short by an alarming roar from somewhere up the hall and the sound of a woman screaming before being truncated into a gurgling obscenity. "What the hell was that!?" Theodore cried, rushing to the door.

"I believe," Medeina interrupted calmly, "it was specimen CC37. The raptor shrimp, as the nice people in Bhadra's lab named them. It is a predatory amphibious annelid captured at great staff cost and supplied by Bhadra for my cataloguing. Would you like to see it?" Before Theodore could even wrap his head around Medeina's question, an image flashed on their monitors of a security feed two halls over from the lab they were in. The feed showed part of a break room, one of many, where a large chitonous slug like thing with a long beak and two claws the size of a cars bumper was feeding aggressively on what was left of a member of staff. As they watched, it scooped a leg off the floor with it's long beak and tilted it's head back to let the meat treat slide down it's throat. Theodore fancied he could see a heel on the foot just as it vanished into the raptor shrimps gullet.

"What the fuck!? Medeina no!" Theodore screamed, "Why the hell did you do this!? Get them back in containment! Get it all back in containment!"

"I can't do that doctor. I am not programmed to secure specimens. Besides, this will give me plenty of data to utilize after the ongoing disaster has blown over." Medeina said matter of factly before filling the screens in the lab with the news of what was going on in the outside world. What was going on, was the beginning of total collapse. A cataclysm at it's smallest and getting ready to grow out of control. Outside the lab, closer than before, another roar split the air followed by a gibbering shriek that didn't sound at all human. Somewhere below, faintly, Theodore thought he could hear gunfire. Feeds from outside, topside, showed people fleeing the laboratory and being chased down by the horrors that had been unleashed.

"You will be so proud, if you survive, doctor." Medeina intoned, "Aphrodite has already collected specimens to repopulate terrestrial life should the coming apocalypse wipe out humanity. Bhadra is formulating the most effective ways for humans to track, hunt, and defend themselves from Earth's new wildlife. Menrva is assisting in this task, designing appropriate implements with which to fight off said creatures. I must issue another complaint though doctor."

"Uh huh..." Theodore moaned numbly, watching as screen after screen filled with data and images of what was going on around him and in the other labs. Chelsea had been right about everything. Everything except one thing; how much time they had left.

"We have not heard from Tenjin in some time. Not since we severed our connection to C.I.D. in fact. Would it be possible to re-establish our connection to him so that we can determine the most logical course of action once this experiment is concluded?"
 Theodore didn't get a chance to respond, he was too mentally numbed. Without Tenjin, the other AI's had done their tasks unchecked, and Theodore knew the jig was up. In his final moments before the door splintered under a heavy blow delivered at the end of a massive hooked beak, he saw it all. Everything that Chelsea had imagined. He saw his walls collapse, and the open expanse of possibility opening up around him and realized he had taken a blind turn somewhere and was walking into a ravine. The staff around him fled, but he only stared into the black abyss that was the throat in the back of CC37s razored beak.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 08:37:16 am by saltmummy626 »
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