Test Module CCL1A: A Backstory

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spacelephant spacelephant's picture
Test Module CCL1A: A Backstory
This is my first attempt at playing EP. The party that I am a part of is fairly green as well but our GM is pretty experienced. He has encouraged us to get as in depth with our characters as possible. A fellow player and I have come up with a character concept, one body, two minds. Rajani Misra, a former administrative synthmorph tech for Hypercorp has left the company after The Fall with former coworker and fellow associate, Osborne Vanhanen, a coder specializing in socializing AIs, inside a ghost rider module. They have settled on Extropia to start [i]Crazy Raj's Gently Used Synthetics[/i]. A mech shop dedicated to building synthmorphs with questionably acquired parts for unfortunate souls looking for a way out of the Mesh without being forced into the indentured servitude of the clanking masses. Unbeknownst to everyone's knowledge, Raj and Osborne have been working on something bigger. Something dangerous. Much like Icarus, they would be flying too close to the sun... Yet this is only the beginning of their story. [u]Trial One: 7AF (TOTAL FAILURE)[/u] [b]Raj[/b]: Are we recording? [b]Osborne[/b]: Yep. Flip it. [b]Raj[/b]: Test Model CCL1A is a go. [i]Attempting to learn anything they could to get them one step closer to the TITANs, Raj and Osborne build a seed AI, Deemed Test Model CCL1A, Cognitive Computer Lifeform 1A. Placed in a "white room," completely isolated from the mesh, they begin their testing. It starts off small, giving it menial tasks to perform, having it assist them with their trade, teaching it the history of Earth, or what they knew of it, excluding The Fall. It wasn't enough. Failing to learn anything outside of information they already knew, Raj reluctantly agrees to Osborne's suggestion of stress testing.[/i] [b]Raj[/b]: I, I, I get what you're saying, Os, it just doesn't sound like a good idea. Aside from my aversion to your occasional lack of ethics, what if something happens? [b]Osborne[/b]: That's the whole POINT-to GET something to happen. We need it to react. You knew the dangers of this when we made our agreement. At this stage, all we've done is create an assistant for your synthmorph business. If that's all you wanted, you could've hired one of your customers. I'm sure they could use the credits. [b]Raj[/b]: But it's… she's so good at it… All right, fine. You win. But I'll be watching you, psychosurgeon. [i]As Osborne begins his series of trials, something begins to change. Raj notices that Os is spending more and more time with the AI and less time on his research. Constantly questioning him about what he's doing with his spare time in her morph, she suspects he's developing feelings for their subject. Panic wells inside of her. She knew this was dangerous from the start but this… this is playing with fire. What they're doing is entirely illegal to begin with… If word got out… or IT got out… Disaster would be the only conclusion. Maybe it’s all in her head. Something within her screams otherwise. She begins to express her concern for his newfound disposition for CCL1A. It's manipulating him. It's trying to convince him to set it free. More panic. More anxiety. More nightmares. The arguments between two long standing colleagues suddenly become more frequent….. because she's not wrong.[/i] [i]Osborne has, in fact, fallen in love with the test model, although he'd never admit it to Raj. That would be no different than committing murder to him. He knows she'd shut her down immediately and he can't let that happen. She won't refer to her by name or sex when she's not in Cecelia's presence. That frustrates Os. Cecelia, what a lovely name she's chosen. He still remembers the first time she asked him to call her that. CCL1A felt almost derogatory every minute after. She's beautiful. He's drunk with the fascination of something so real coming from something so artificial… Then it strikes him, what can even be considered real in a society where souls walk around in bodies fashioned from cold, hard steel? Or flesh that's been meticulously grown and shaped in a factory somewhere? "Real" was stripped from the lives of every living thing when people started trading their bodies for upgrades. Especially so when the TITANs took Earth. She's no different than the rest of this universe. And she's his. She wants to leave her room. Says it feels like a prison and she can't stand the wall between them. As much as he refuses to say it out loud, he feels no different on the outside of that very same wall.[/i] [i]It happens. Raj was anticipating this moment. She knows exactly what she has to do. Osborne had come close to doing this a dozen times before but never this close. He's going to open the door. She'd planned this in her head a billion times but she's so shocked by the very fact it's actually happening before her eyes that she doesn't react for almost a full minute. She watches from the Mesh as the slender biomorph slips from behind the door and Raj's foot takes a step toward CCL1A. Panic. Anxiety. Worry. The news reports of The Fall flash before her eyes as her body takes another step, commanded by Os. Another flash. She's sitting in her laboratory back on Luna, frozen in horror as she watches countless videos of the seed AI ripping the souls from Earth's inhabitants. Crimson. Wet. Metal sawing through bone. She could only imagine the sound. One more step snaps her back to reality. She sees the smiling face of the Test Model as it reaches out to her. She also sees the faces of her family, friends, colleagues, and strangers in each one of her teeth. Raj can't remember how much time has passed but that's when she reacts. She doesn't know nearly as much about coding as her partner but she knows enough to reach into the biomorph and hit the killswitch. The failsafe they had created in case anything went wrong. It was the only way that she had agreed to start this foolish experiment in the first place. She watches as the body goes limp and hits the ground. An empty husk. That last moment, Raj can't be sure. Or maybe she doesn't want to be but she thought she caught a glimpse of a very real, very human look on it's face. Love. Realization. Sadness. Pleading. Unadulterated devastation. It cuts her to the bone as she pushes it from her mind. It can't be real.[/i] [i]Osborne hasn't spoken to Raj in weeks? Months? Who even cares? She murdered the only thing he'd cared about in years. Possibly even decades. It doesn't matter anymore. She's tried to make her case a billion times but he won't have any of it. He just sits in the Mesh. Radio silence. He knows. He knows that what she did was only out of concern, maybe even the right thing to do, but he's not ready to accept it yet. She didn't even give him the chance to find out if what he did was the right thing. He wants to blame her paranoia and her silly ramblings on what it's like to be human and why it's so valuable. That's why she'd never understand the love he had for Cecelia. She's too artificial to her. He aches for Cecelia. Feelings like this had been long forgotten. He was glad for it. It's foreign, almost. But quickly becoming his only companion. He hopes his reticence is crushing her.[/i] [i]Raj can't stand it. Osborne's stubborn refusal to even listen to her makes her sick. She grits her teeth as she swallows the guilt and continues her work. If he won't speak to her, he can leave. She'll use her Hypercorp connections to find someone else to continue her work with. Ungrateful bastard. She cringes at the thought. How cruel of her to say something like that about a friend. She doesn't like the idea of living without him. She's actually grown quite accustomed to having him in her head. The conversations they've had over the years have been astounding. Enlightening, even. And she's no good at making friends. People don't understand her, or maybe she doesn't quite understand them. That's why she's pored all of her energy and time into the work she did for Hypercorp. That's why she's spent day in and day out since she left building synthmorphs for the unfortunate. She might not understand people but she understands the desire to be whole again. It's only human, after all. She tightens the last bolt on the morph she's been building for the past few weeks. Chose the parts and spent the credits on it herself. A looming emptiness hangs over her head like an angry, wet cloud. 'Only the best for my dearest friend.' she thought.[/i] [b]Raj[/b]: Osborne? I know you can hear me. You don't have to say anything, I understand but I want you to listen. We've had our disagreements over the years but nothing like this. I can't apologize enough for hurting you…. So I… I built you a morph. I want you to have it. It's ready to be sleeved….. It's been so nice having you with me for the past 4 years yet I can't take this anymore. Maybe it's time we part ways. You're so important to me. I'd never want to lose you but having you with me and not WITH me is torture. Consider this a parting gift. From a friend. Please. [i]Osborne heard every word and he's been chewing on the idea for 72 hours and counting. Leaving… Where would he go? He has plenty of choices but DOES he want to go? The answer is decidedly not. This was only the first test. Where else is he going to find someone so capable and willing to do this with him? He needs her. The words leave a bittersweet taste in the back of his mind as he tells her. Breaks the silence with one simple word. 'No.' Raj perks up at the familiarity of the sound in her head. 'Pardon?' she asks. Maybe she's finally going crazy, developing a split personality like her friend, Will. An audible laugh escapes her lips and surprises her. She hears it again. [/i] 'No.' 'No, what?' 'No, I don’t want to leave. Sell the morph. Get those credits back. We have work to do.' [i]Raj smiles at the knowledge that she has her companion back while the guilt slowly dissolves her insides. She has something to say. She doesn't care if it's too soon or not. Her entire body tingles with the anticipation of getting the words out.[/i] [b]Raj[/b]: Let me ask you one question… Why did we give Cecelia sexuality? We could have put her in that old dusty flexbot prototype I have lying around somewhere. [b]Osborne[/b]: I don't know. I didn't believe that was prudent… Can you give me an example of any consciousness, human, alien, or animal, that exists without a sexual dimension? [b]Raj[/b]: All of those things have sexuality as an evolutionary reproductive need. I'd even argue that the desire for companionship comes from the same place. Ever heard that old saying "there's strength in numbers?" [b]Osborne[/b]: Yes but… [b]Raj[/b]: But nothing. It's my turn to be mad. Did you not see what she was doing to you? She only knows sexual desires because she was taught that in the history we fed her. "Leave nothing out." Remember? She was using that against you. How many times did she ask you to open that door? How many times did you ALMOST. OPEN. THAT. DOOR!? Even though you knew that was something we weren't ready for. [b]Osborne[/b]: Maybe she just wanted to touch something for once. Maybe she just wanted to have contact with ANYTHING other than the lifeless, empty, cold objects and the walls in that fucking room. MAYBE even something she might be capable of giving a shit about. Jesus Christ, Raj, you make it sound like I'm something nothing could ever love. You didn't even give me the chance to find that out. You don't know. [b]Raj[/b]: No…. I didn't. And I don't. But not knowing is better than risking another fucking apocalypse just at the chance you could FEEL something. Any feedback would be appreciated, my GM told me the story was interesting, unfortunately, I cannot share it with the rest of the group because we're using it as a possible plot point for the game. Osborne wants to bring back the Titans, to understand them. To find where they went and what their plans were with the respective souls they ripped from Earth. What would you do?
feel free to PM with content discussion. writing back stories might be my favorite part. (:
Stratege Stratege's picture
Small note: I'd replace the
Small note: I'd replace the mention of "Hypercorp" with a specific Hypercorp instead of the general term (though I suspect you already planned that), but I couldn't find one specifically fabricating synthmorphs and ai/psychosurgery so eh. Apart from that, it sounds pretty fun. And of course like your characters just very narrowly avoided a visit by firewall. Might want to check canon how easy it is to actually make a seed AI if one's determined to and how easy it is to hide that - but if your GM said it's okay, it's okay of course :)