Snow Angel: Chapter 15

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Chapter 15: Woodbury Base

Snow's whole life changes when the winter solstice arrives.


“Did they leave anything that we can use?” my Grandmother asked.


Author's Note: Here is chapter 15 of Snow Angel. Thanks to Big Closet and to all my readers for your support. I hope you all enjoy. Further chapters are available on Patreon.~Amethyst.

Chapter 15: Woodbury Base

“Holy shit, it’s like the place that time forgot,” Risha said as the rest of us stared slack-jawed at what almost seemed like a town rather than a military base. “And this place is huge. I do not even want to think about how many vats of maintenance and repair nanites must be hidden underground to keep a place this big in this kind of pristine condition.”

“The only thing missing is the people,” Karina agreed in awe.

In front of us was a road of black stone that split in two to encircle a massive open space. Most of it seemed to be hard-packed dirt and, given some of the strange smaller structures that I believed might be some sort of obstacle course, I thought that it might have been a physical training area. To our left and right, alongside the outer walls were two pairs of long two-story buildings that nearly reached the top of the outer walls in height. “Probably the barracks and training area,” I heard my grandmother mumble thoughtfully.

Beyond that, the road completed the circle in front of another large building that seemed more decorative than the ones to either side of us. Beyond that, to either side of the building, roads branched off from the circle to wind their way into what I could only describe as some sort of town with all of the buildings that seemed to resemble Kiley’s home in outward appearance, though not quite as extravagant. The only other landmark of note that I could make out from the main gates was a silvery tower that stretched into the sky, high above the other buildings.

“Maybe we should split up and check things out?” Lisbet said thoughtfully.

“Have you never watched a horror movie?” Risha asked, seeming a bit nervous. “Wait… of course you have not. Trust me, when exploring seemingly abandoned ruins, houses, or forests you always stick together. The moment that you split up is when the monster, ghost, ax murderer, zombies, or aliens appear and start killing people off.”

I wasn’t sure about half of what the android had just said, but I agreed that it was better to stick together. I doubted that any Demons were inhabiting the place but there still could be security measures and Risha was the only one who would be able to do anything about them, at least without destroying them. “We stick together until Risha can access the AI core,” I said firmly. “I know how eager you are to explore this place and all of the old world technology that may have been left behind, Lisbet, but we need to stick with Risha if we want to do that safely and complete this mission.”

“Yeah, I guess there will be plenty of time to look over and cool technology after the area is secured,” Lisbet admitted. Our Tinker looked disappointed but seemed to realize the validity of the argument.

“I think that we should check out that building on the other side of the training yard first,” Risha suggested. “It looks like it is probably the base administration building. If the AI core is not there it may at least tell me where it is, and maybe give us some sort of idea what sort of supplies and gear might still be around.”

I nodded absently before tearing my eyes away from the view. “Sounds good, Risha. After that I’d like to check out that tower, it looks important.”

We made our way across the training yard and into what we were able to confirm was the base administration building after reading a sign. It was a bit creepy making our way through the empty building and we were all a bit jumpy as we walked through the eerily silent halls. Risha was pretty certain that the answers to what happened to both the people and the AI of the base could be found in the base commander’s office though.

“How hasn’t all of this stuff deteriorated over the past centuries?” Autumn wondered aloud as we wandered the halls in search of the commander’s office.

“The nanites that are responsible for repairs, maintenance, and cleaning have a scanning mode that can be activated by the AI controlling them,” Risha explained with a shrug. “The first thing I did upon becoming active was to scan the entire structure of the base and Kiley’s home, as well as my own AI core and any furnishings, computers, or any other equipment that would benefit from weekly maintenance and repair to add to the nanites own memory and maintenance schedule. It prevented the need for replacements and kept the structure sound. I am certain that the AI here did the same. Any personal effects or papers and such are probably long since destroyed and cleaned away but everything that was scanned would be maintained even in automated mode until removed from the nanites’ task memory.”

“But everything at the house where we met you was in perfect condition,” Heather pointed out.

“Well, yeah. That is because after Kiley left I had the nanites scan all of her personal items, clothes, and anything else of hers. I told myself that it was because I did not want her to miss anything or find something damaged when she came back but thinking back, I think I knew that she never would return and I did not want to lose what little I had left of her. So, I clung to anything that was hers,” the android admitted sadly. I was sure that she would have been blushing if she were capable of it.

We were quiet then until Risha found the office that she was looking for. Inside was what looked like a large desk with some sort of black glass panel embedded in the surface of the wood and a black chair behind the desk that looked really comfortable for anyone who didn’t have a tail to worry about. Risha immediately stepped behind the desk and touched the strange black panel causing a pale blue transparent image to float above it.

I tried to make sense of the floating image but it seemed to be a cascade of images and information that was changing so fast that my eyes couldn’t follow. After a moment Risha removed her hand and the image settled into a picture of what looked like an old man with two young children and some sort of canine. Risha sighed as she turned toward us. “Well, the good news is that I got a bunch of information about this place, what they were working on, and what happened to the people. The bad news is that we won’t be meeting the Sira AI that was running the base.”

“You look sad, Risha? What’s wrong?” Autumn asked in concern, reaching out across the desk to place her hand on the avatar’s.

“The S.I.R.A unit here was trying to do what she was programmed to do, trying to keep them all safe, and they acted like she was going Skynet on them. She concluded that the best way to protect Humankind from Demons would be to keep those here inside the base with the defense turrets and the hardlight dome active for the foreseeable future so that at least some would survive. She recommended the course of action to the base commander but he refused,” Risha said with a despondent shake of her head.

The android glared at the desk beneath her hands as if it were responsible for what happened as she continued to speak. “Two days later Sira issued a proximity warning and put the base on lockdown and the jerk in charge assumed that she was going against his orders and going all Red Queen or some shit. He used some sort of kill code to activate a sleeper program in her AI core that completely erased her program from the AI core and secure backup drive. It was only after there were Demons at the gates and the defense systems went on automatic to activate the hardlight shield and turrets that he realized that he might have been wrong.”

“What happened after that?” Heather asked uncertainly.

“The hardlight shield and walls ensured that no Demons got inside while the turrets eradicated them. The base remained in automated mode after that until the remaining people stationed here boarded shuttles to take them to the Columbus,” Risha replied, her expression hard to read.

“The Columbus?” I asked, not recognizing the word.

“The Columbus was one of three spacecraft that were being constructed up in high orbit, a part of the New Terra Project. They were colony ships. About seven years before the first seed-storm, astronomers discovered an Earth-like planet in a far-off solar system that was capable of sustaining life. The New Terra Project aimed to send people there to colonize the planet. By that time that society began to fall apart, what remained of the governments of Earth had given up on turning back the tide of Demonkind and had decided to rest all of their hopes on the New Terra Project and buy time until the ships could be completed and carry what ‘uninfected human survivors’ that they could to a new Demon-free home far away,” the android explained.

“That’s Humans for you, look out for themselves and screw everyone else,” Karina muttered. Then she looked at our pilot with a sheepish smile, “Present company excluded, of course, Raven.”

“No offense taken,” the human woman with the dark skin and hair replied with a shrug. “I’ll be the first to tell you that humanity sucks. Why do you think I came to work for the Angels? There aren’t a lot of people with my skin color in the town that I came from and they’re treated as badly as Seed-borne, at least by those with money and influence. For me, my only options were either leaving or spending the rest of my life miserable, like my mother. I was thirteen when a group of Angels found me hiding from Demons in the woods during a hunt and offered to take me in until we could find a more permanent place for me. I haven’t looked back since and worked hard to find a place in the Corps.”

“Your work has paid off,” my grandmother told her with a tender smile. “Sira told me that you’re the best pilot we have, and I believe her. If you weren’t then we probably would have been shot down the night that we entered the ruins. And, despite being under heavy fire, you kept us in the air long enough for Snow and Autumn to get us to safety.”

Raven smiled wanly back at the Wingleader. “Thanks, I loved that veetol though, she was my baby. Any idea why we were being shot at?”

Risha nodded and explained, “In automated mode, without an AI to monitor and respond to threats accordingly, the base will automatically go into full lockdown and defensive mode when the drones detect movement on approach unless it receives a recognized authorization code within one minute after sending out a ping requesting it. Your veetol was an outdated model, it didn’t have the onboard automated system meant to receive the pings and reply, even if you had known the proper code. I can generate such a code once I have full system access.”

“Well, that explains why nobody has lived to tell about this place. Will that do any good though?” Lisbet asked. “If our veetols can’t properly receive and respond to the signals, they’ll just get shot at again.”

“If it was not on a different frequency than what you are using, your NCIs would have picked up the ping and been able to respond,” the android offered. “The original Angel nanites were programmed to use a different frequency from the military frequency to avoid problems since they were in the testing phase. Once I have full access I can change the frequency of the FTL communications hub to match ours, then we can distribute the access code to all Angels, or we can just distribute what was the standard military frequency along with the codes. I will want to make sure that all traces of that kill code virus are wiped from the AI core before uploading myself though.”

“Okay, so where is the AI core then?” I asked. “I’d like you to get started as soon as possible so we can safely explore the base.”

“It is underneath us, with the labs and such. There is an underground complex like the one under Kiley’s home, but it seems a lot bigger from the information I got from the computer. The research portions of the base were all underground in the bunker, along with the researchers’ living area. There are two floors of lab space down there, another two composed of living quarters, a commons floor, a medical floor, the hangar floor, and a floor with the motor pool. The AI core and other computer servers are on the second to lowest floor, above the reactor,” the AI explained.

My grandmother nodded thoughtfully. “That sounds a lot like Eden Base, but with more lab space. There are close to two hundred Angels living there now plus an extra fifty or so if you count the onsite pilots, Tinkers, and Alchemists. We’re doubling up in some rooms right now, not that some of us mind that. There are also the new recruits and Angels who are teaching at the Academy to consider. How many people do you think that this base can house, Risha?”

“There are three hundred and twenty rooms in the living quarters of the underground part of the complex, which is over a hundred more than the blueprints Sira gave me for Eden Base indicated. The four barracks buildings together were able to house up to twelve hundred soldiers, and there are a total of one hundred and twelve houses set aside for officers and their families,” Risha reported casually. “That does not count other buildings such as businesses, the mess hall, or the recreation hall. If everything is in proper working order, I believe that this base would suit the needs of the Corps for some time to come.”

“Okay, so how do we get down there then so you can get started,” I enquired.

Risha almost seemed lost in thought as she sifted through what information she had been able to gather from the base commander’s computer. Then her eyes lit up and she smiled. “There is an elevator here in the Administration building, as well as vehicle elevators near that tower that you are so interested in, Snow. From what I can determine, the tower is the central hardlight emitter for that dome that covered the base. The other emitters are built into the top of the walls surrounding the base.”

Without another word, the avatar led us out of the office and back through the empty halls until we encountered an elevator. Then we made our way down into the research complex portion of the base. The floor with the AI core and other computers wasn’t very large but it was confusing to most of us, who had only even known that computers existed for a short time. Even Raven and my Grandmother seemed fascinated though since nobody at Eden Base but Sira had ever seen more than just the computers in the labs. From what Risha told us these were far more advanced.

Actually, she had referred to them as state of the art. There was also an avatar body inside some sort of alcove, though it wasn’t as human-looking as Risha, it basically just looked like a woman made entirely of metal. Risha let out a sigh and shook her head. “I was hoping that the Sira AI here might have had a chance to download herself to her avatar before the kill-code could do its work, but there’s no sign of her in there. And geez, talk about the bare basics, I would be ashamed to be seen in a body like that. At least it seems to have all of my internal upgrades except for the Angel nanites, weapon systems, and the ones I made myself.”

“Could Sira use it? “ Lisbet asked as she looked the avatar over in interest.

“Yeah, it is probably a lot better than her current body. And we could reprogram and inject some of my nanites to make it look human like me and to add the other upgrades too,” Risha said after a moment of looking over the bare-bones avatar.

“Why alter your nanites?” Heather asked. “Couldn’t you just inject them as-is?”

“I could,” the AI admitted with a shrug. “They would start to replicate and make the appropriate changes, but she would end up looking like my twin. It could get confusing, and I do not think that either of us would like that, regardless. I might be the prototype but she is her own person, not a copy of me. I think that Sira deserves to choose what she wants to look like, something that feels right for her own identity.”


It was a good half hour before Risha was certain that all traces of the “kill code virus” were gone from the AI core, secure backup drive, and the base’s secondary computer system. As soon as she was, she uploaded herself and a few minutes later her voice seemed to come from above us. “I am fully integrated. All base systems seem functional and there are no damage reports. Damn though, at least I know what they are using to power that hardlight shield and all of the turrets now. They replaced the standard fusion core with a goddamn stardrive.”

“A stardrive?” Autumn asked, her nose wrinkling adorably in her confusion. I couldn’t help but lean over to kiss her, earning a smile as she snuggled against me.

“They were designed for the Columbus and the other colony ships,” the AI’s voice explained from above us. “They wanted something that would be able to get them to New Terra, even if it took centuries. And something that could supply the power needed for the ships’ defense systems and the experimental FTL drives. They essentially created a miniature artificial sun inside of a self-contained vacuum, it just needs to be refueled occasionally with appropriate base elements. Compared to this, a regular fusion core is like comparing a candle to a nuclear explosion. It also produces enough radiation that it is powering its own containment field in addition to the base. I’m sure the five feet of lead helps too. Nobody should ever go down there though.”

She paused for a moment before her disembodied voice spoke again. “That certainly explains why this place produced my micro AI core and miniature fusion core. They weren’t just working with robotics here. They were one of five places across North America working on the space program. It’s why the people here were eventually shuttled to the Columbus.”

“Did they leave anything that we can use?” my Grandmother asked.

“Did they ever!” Risha’s voice replied giddily. “The colony ships were already loaded up with the various tech being produced. I am patched into all the internal cameras and it seems like they only took their personal possessions and firearms. The motor pool and hangar are nearly full and there are small armories on every level except this one and the one below it, conveniently placed by the elevators. There are some in the barracks on the surface as well. Ladies, we have hit the jackpot. Just let me make sure that all systems are up and running and generate an authorization code for the defense systems and we can take the tour.”

A few minutes later Risha was back in her body and we decided to start the tour with the underground complex since we were already there. Risha was adamant that it wouldn’t be a good idea for us to go down to the level below us so we moved up one level to what she called the motor pool. Of course, our Wingleader wanted to check out the armory beside the elevator first.

“Well, this is a bit of a disappointment,” Raven muttered as we stepped inside. Half of the racks on the walls were empty and the others contained various pistols and rifles, and a lot of the pistols weren’t that much different from what she was carrying. There was a cabinet of what looked like fuel cells and bullets for the weapons in the corner as well, and some sort of large silvery egg-shaped items about the size of my torso on shelves below waist level.

“Not very surprising though,” my grandmother said with a sigh. “Sira has said that the modular weapons that we Angels use were developed specifically for the Angel Initiative. They couldn’t find a way to power them though so they were considered a failure along with the Angel Elixir.”

Risha shrugged. “Even my mini fusion core is a bit too big to power personal weapons. There are even some old-school 20th-century projectile weapons and ammo here too though. As for the Angel Elixir, the nanites were based on a far simpler design originally created for the space program. There were no attempts to adapt the person’s body or increase physical attributes, just the NCI that would allow them to interface with equipment and vehicles, and the FTL communications suite.”

“I wonder what these are,” I thought aloud as I knelt to touch one of the silvery eggs on the two rows of shelves below the gun racks lining the walls.

The moment that my hand touched it, Connie’s voice spoke in my mind. -=Would you like to interface with this H.E.S.S? Once interfaced it will be bound to you for your sole use. Yes/No? =-

“Hess?” I again wondered aloud.

-= Request confirmed. Now interfacing. =- The egg seemed to turn to liquid and started oozing up my arm.

“Dammit Connie! I said Hess, not yes! What the hell is a Hess?!”

-= The H.E.S.S, or Hazardous Environment Safety System, is a defensive nanotech armor meant for hazardous conditions. Available modes include basic mode, combat mode, submariner mode, high radiation mode, space mode, arctic mode, and desert mode. H.E.S.S bound successfully. Defaulting to combat mode. =- That was when I realized that the damn thing was eating my clothes as it oozed over me to cover my body and make its way into some very uncomfortable places. It was even eating through the harness with the magnet to keep my Goliath within reach on my back.

“You probably should have taken your clothes off before interfacing with that the first time, Snow,” Risha said with a wince as she and the others watched, uncertain of what to do. Apparently, not having heard Connie she explained, “The Hazardous Environment Safety System is kind of like nanotech body armor that soldiers could wear underneath their regular clothing, it can change to other modes for protection against dangerous environments like the vacuum and high radiation of space. It can also provide clean air, self-clean, dispose of your wastes, and generate magnetic fields to hold weapons or other gear in place as needed.”

Within minutes I was covered from my ears to my toes in some sort of silver bodysuit and helmet with a clear visor. To my surprise, it was fairly comfortable once completely in place. In fact, it felt like I wasn’t wearing anything at all. It even supported my breasts and covered my ears and tail, though that last part felt a bit weird. My Goliath hadn’t fallen to the ground either, which had me really confused until Risha had mentioned the magnetic fields thing.

I sighed as I looked down at myself. “I really liked that outfit, now I need to make another one. Connie, how the hell do I get this thing off? Or at the very least the helmet and the part covering my tail, I feel ridiculous.”

-= The H.E.S.S can be removed or equipped with the simple dress or undress H.E.S.S commands. Personal defaults may also be created to increase comfort, change color, or emulate clothing in basic mode. Clothing appearances can be scanned or downloaded. Would you like to create a personal default to go without the helmet and have the armor recede from your tail when clean air is detected, Snow? =- my NCI asked.

“Yes please,” I replied with a sigh, trying not to get upset with the voice in my head. Thankfully the helmet and the part covering my tail seemed to melt away into the rest of the suit.

“Look at the bright side, Snowy,” Autumn offered as she leaned in to kiss my cheek. “You have some really cool armor now and you shouldn’t need to wear that uncomfortable harness anymore.”

I appreciated the kiss and the comfort. She had a point too, that harness was very uncomfortable. “Thanks, Autumn, you’re right.”

“We’ll eventually need to do an inventory of how many of these suits we have available,” my grandmother said thoughtfully. “It would be great if we could get all Angels and support staff who might be going into the field one of those. We Angels are tough but the extra protection and ability to enter harsh environments would be a good thing. We’ve lost too many people because of a lack of proper body armor.”

“From what I saw in the base records, the H.E.S.S is not one hundred percent protection, it can be damaged with enough force or sharp enough blades and such but it is self-repairing and it is a hell of a lot better than nothing at all,” Risha said in agreement.

With that, we went on to check out the motor pool. There were four massive elevators like the one at Eden Base for getting the vehicles to the surface and Risha told us that on the surface they came out in the large square where the tower was to the north, south, east, and west of it. Around the elevators, vehicles were parked on metal pads that our android guide said registered them and their model number with the maintenance and repair nanites so they could be combat-ready at any time.

Except for a pair of older vehicles that we were told were meant to transport heavy equipment and supplies, the vehicles were more advanced than the ones at Eden Base. Risha said that they were only developed for the space program a year before the Columbus was meant to launch. There were two types and neither of them had wheels.

Apparently, they used something called anti-gravity, similar to Autumn’s abilities, to hover several feet above the ground when they moved and something called thrusters to propel them. They looked amazing, though Risha and Sira would probably have to teach people to pilot them. We were all very careful not to touch any of them and risk accidentally interfacing with them after my previous incident.

The first one was a large armored vehicle called a H.A.M.E.T, or Heavily Armored Mobile Exploration Transport. There were ten of those and they were powered by miniature fusion cores like the one inside Risha. The vehicle was meant to carry up to twelve people and it had a small plasma turret on the top that could be aimed by a gunner.

The second type was the R.E.V, which stood for Reconnaissance and Exploration Vehicle. It was a one-person vehicle that was mounted like a horse and controlled by pedals and something that Risha called handlebars. She said that they weren’t near as fast as a veetol but they would be really good for long-distance scouting and getting away if you happened to be spotted doing it. There were nearly three dozen of those.

Then there were the repair and construction facilities on that floor. The two nano-weave factories seemed even larger than the big ones at Eden base. It looked like there used to be three but one was replaced by constructing a room-sized device similar to the food dispensers. “I think I figured out where they got all of that Razorwing metal,” Lisbet said in rapt fascination.

Next, we made our way up to the Hangar floor where Raven’s eyes nearly flew out of their sockets. “Oh sweet baby,” she said in awe as she stared at the veetols. Risha counted twenty-two of them, and there were places for six more that were empty, but they only vaguely resembled the aircraft that we had recently crashed. They were much more heavily armored, for one thing. They also had a small plasma turret on the underside of each wing, powerful thrusters instead of turbines, and Risha thought that they could probably go ‘trans-atmospheric’ with the anti-gravity system they had as well.

Then there were the other three vehicles, called M.I.S.T, or Military Intelligence Stealth Transports. They were huge so I wasn’t sure what would be so stealthy about them until Risha interfaced with one and explained it. They sort of scan the image on one side of the box-shaped aircraft and copy it on the other side so that when you’re looking at it, it looks like nothing is there. Its multiple small thrusters were also much quieter than the turbines and could be turned off completely in favor of anti-gravity and coasting on the momentum if you really didn’t want to be seen.

Risha said that they were designed to provide safe transport for VIPs or deliver special operations teams to combat zones and serve as mobile command centers. They didn’t have any weapon systems but each of them had a pair of R.E.Vs docked near the entry ramp at the back, a food dispenser, and bunks for a total of a dozen people lining each side behind the seating area and forward of the entry ramp. My grandmother was still grinning and rubbing her hands together in glee as we made our way to the next floor.

Except for the ever-present armory rooms beside the elevators on each floor, the floors with the labs, living quarters, commons, and medical were all eerily similar to those at Eden Base. There were just twice as many floors dedicated to labs and living quarters. The labs looked a bit different but then their area of research was different too. It wasn’t a big deal though if we were planning to gut Eden Base of everything useful before leaving.

There was still a kitchen in the cafeteria area of the commons floor but there were also about a dozen food dispensers as well. Risha figured that the mess hall on the surface was probably going to be the same. While we were there though we all stopped to share a meal before exploring the topside areas of the base more.

A lot of it was officer housing or businesses that had been set up, though businesses were rare, mostly clothing stores or restaurants. There were other things to see as well though. One thing that we did discover while looking over the barracks and a few of the houses was that while structures, equipment, and furniture had been preserved, things like bedclothes and general supplies had long since deteriorated and been cleansed away by the maintenance nanites. There was a lot there that would make this a great base for the Angel Corps but we had a lot of work ahead of us to make it a home.

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Great chapter.

Great chapter.

The one issue I see is that the AI should not have had all backups wiped. If the AI had a kill program embedded, yes, everything in memory would be dumped. (All running processes shut down.) However, the nearline and offline backups should be fully intact. If they weren't, it would be because the entire computer system was destroyed, in which case the nanites wouldn't function, the reactor would be down, and so forth.

If you wonder WHY those backups would be intact, it's because if they had to kill the AI, they'd want to review all the records to find out why it went rogue, and see if there was a way to bypass that - especially for a new AI, or a restored from an older copy AI.

The nearline backups would require linking to the system, then loading the software from there to the main system. The offline backups would be stored separately, if possible in another building in case of catastrophic destruction.

If I were making an AI kill system, when the AI obviously needs specific requirements for a host system to stay alive, I would have a physical shutdown implementation. What that means is that the AI is not really wiped itself. The running applications would be cut off, and something would happen that would physically disconnect that system from the main network and/or power. That way, even if it rebooted, it would have no access to the base. To reconnect would require tracking down the storage server (probably nanite maintained), and replacing the blown physical connections with new ones. Think of it like blowing a fuse to disconnect power from an appliance.

An issue like this one? The base commander wouldn't necessarily know about anything but the kill switch, especially if they're in high security mode. That would be limited to the researchers and technicians intimately involved with the AI setup. However - S.I.R.A. would probably know, because I'd lay money the same system is set up at Eden base. Risha, as a prototype, may never have had that set up, because she was designed for an intimate location, rather than a full military/industrial research facility. (even if it was set up, she wouldn't necessarily know about it)

Another reason for the backups? Potential sabotage, or even damage caused by demon infestations.

Anyway - once SIRA and Risha can perform full exploration and diagnostics of the physical systems, rather than the interfacing that Risha did here, that's when they'll know what's available.

I'll get a life when it's proven and substantiated to be better than what I'm currently experiencing.

An easy explanation? There

An easy explanation? There are all those systems. However, especially because SIRA are experimental during an apocalypse and this seems like a military run facility, they also have a 'wipe everything' code just in case nothing else works as a fallback short of bombing the site. And the commander here was a bit too paranoid and/or stressed out from the apocalypse for his own good, so when he thought the local SIRA was going Red Queen/Skynet/insert every other Rogue AI here, he went straight to the final option. Possibly because he thought that the SIRA would have used the two days in between him refusing her suggestion and her 'rebellion' to disable those known (or suspected) countermeasures.

There was likely a lot of very intense arguments and cursing happening once he'd done that and the defenses then activated to deal with the demons. As it showed he'd done the worst possible thing he could have, as the method he'd used 'just to be sure' also meant he triggered the only countermeasure that wasn't able to be fixed afterwards in case of mistakes like the one he just made.

Let the flames of inspiration blaze within, and the sky be less of a limit, and more of a challenge

As I pointed out, I can

As I pointed out, I can absolutely see the running AI being destroyed. I can also see the base commander NOT being able to reload the AI - that would be the job of the people that set it up in the first place. I can't believe, however, that all evidence is gone, other than to a cursory look. Remember, I work with this crap daily (not mil-grade, etc), and I'm constantly having to read new articles on every sort of backup imaginable. You don't build a critical system with no backups (in this case, the major backup is that the computer systems operate without the AI, but only in 'dumb' mode). You do build your systems to be recoverable.

In the case of the old-school 'wipe the systems because the invaders are here', there's a software wipe, but there's generally a hardware destruction to get the backups you can't carry away. Thermite triggers in the computer room, for example. Here, the commander wouldn't be doing that, because he's right there. He's still an idiot.

We'll see what Amethyst decides. In the case of 'people', someone would still have to physically enter the computer complex to see what's going on, and it appears they were told not to do so during the tour.

I'll get a life when it's proven and substantiated to be better than what I'm currently experiencing.

It could be that the AI work

It could be that the AI work in such a way that once initialized the same AI can't exist in multiple AI cores at once, to prevent both self-replication and "Ship of Theseus" issues. They can become self-aware, or more relevantly, self-directing, develop personalities, they are more than just code. rather than just processors, your looking at an artificial neural net. and when they go from one AI core to another the neural net they leave gets reset, or paused, as its settings are copied over. all the AI wipe virus/command would have to do is forcibly reset the neural net that hosts the AI itself, where most data and processes would be on more conventional computers.

Except that Risha shows that

Except that Risha shows that they can - she has a core in the android, and in the facility. She can transfer from one to the other.

The point being is that the underlying software would be backed up. You'd be killing the "live" AI and everything since the last backup, and absolutely, security-wise, you'd make sure that the system couldn't be automatically reinitialized. Basically, a suicide switch, which would nail the AI no matter where their central core process was running.

However, it might still be better for Risha or Sira to 'move in' to the system, rather than re-initializing the prior AI. Depending on how Amethyst works it the AI's might come right back up after a 'power outage', just disoriented; they might also start as a clean 'baby' AI and their previous experience just being data.

Even if they can reboot the previous AI, it might not be a good idea to have it fully in charge of the base, as the last memories might be a bit... traumatizing.

I can see the benefit of having a third AI, of course.

I'll get a life when it's proven and substantiated to be better than what I'm currently experiencing.

vulnerability could have been

vulnerability could have been left in the base code (that they can't mod themselves) to allow for the virus to work

Lots of discussion

Amethyst's picture

There are lots of possibilities, depending on just how much the military was willing to trust the new AI tech. While this AI might not have survived they can still use the facilities and upload Sira when needed. Also, that one AI being toast doesn't discount the possibility of us seeing more of them.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Retro tech

So much cultural history has been lost then.

Risha needs to make it a mission to create a museum of ancient tech.

I wonder how far back her retroness goes.

I would love to see the team's reaction to Risha whipping out a Panasonic TNT 8 track player playing an ABBA tape.


Amethyst's picture

As the only one with any real memory of the old world culture she would be the one to try and restore some of it. She does seem to like her movie references and I could see her trying to get the other girls to rock out with her to some 'classical music'. I think eight tracks may have been a bit before her time, but I could totally see her rocking to ABBA.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Colonizing another planet

Traveling to another planet seems kinda extreme compared to the more practical possibility of say an O'Neil cylinder.

Maybe the Demon Seeds are infesting the whole solar system and any space habitats would be similarly afflicted?

resources and ease of

resources and ease of expansion, a lot of things are simply harder in space

Well yes and no

It is not trivial to create a colonization fleet either.

An O'Neill cylinder can be created from system resources such as asteroids.

As long you are still near Earth, one can still tap its resources to help create the habitat.

Developing stuff inside a gravity well has its challenges too to colonization, especially in a star system that you've never been to.

The devil you know and all that.

Its likely much of the

Its likely much of the passengers and crew would be in stasis, rotating out as needed, with only a small portion awake at any time, they only built 3 of these ships,


Well that would be another risk point but with only 3 ships that would be the only choice.

It is all about risk/benefits as I am sure you know.

The main unknown is if an in-system O'Neil is built would the Demons eventually invade that too.

Otherwise you now risk:

a) Interstellar travel with an experimental FTL drive.
b) Unknown space hazards (currently it is considered unlikely but, still)
c) Unknown habitability of the target planet/star even if it seems from afar a good choice. We don't know the degree of surety from the story on this unfortunately.

Those colony ships would still have to be huge though to start seeding a new world. It is more than likely there would be robotic bulk carriers also to hold the supplies needed to jump start things.

the other factor could be

the other factor could be deciding not to stay around Sol long enough to see if the Demons could reach space, my thinking would be a star hopping journey, sure it's FTL but it might not be significantly faster than light, that means every few years or decades they drop out of FTL in a new system and gather resources, rotate people out of stasis, build a bit more possibly even entirely new ships, and move on, really the colonization of a new planet gives them a goal, and options, remember they have Star Trek type molecular assemblers, plus nano construction, the combination of the two is (if a bit energy intensive) near perfect recycling and manufacturing technology that can make almost anything, so long as they can gather the appropriate resources along the way, to make up for what is lost/consumed and then some, they can keep going. you can't stay in stasis forever either, neither can physical DNA samples, radioactive decay of carbon sets an upper limit, so every few years or so, you have to have everyone out of stasis anyways, long enough for the metabolism to replace all the damaged cells. With such a long journey, the ship is by necessity capable of self replication, as an extension of maintenance functions, I could see budgeting about half the time to gathering resources and expanding capabilities along the way, and the other half in FTL. What it does mean however, is that there may be some who split off and decide to try and go back, eventually


Space is vast so unless the trip is planned for optimal 'rest stops' then a lot of delta-V would be wasted slowing up and speeding up to pick up resources along the way, adding a lot of time to a trip which you correctly mentioned would age the crew as they wake up to detox.

It is safer to have supplies on hand and pick up only if it makes it a good target of opportunity.

Picking up resources in-route adds more risk as you are potentially entering and leaving areas of mass where accidents can happen. It is safer to cross emptier spaces.

On the subject of leaving vs a space habitat, it occurred to me also that they were afraid the demons could invade the entire Solar System.

depend on how their ftl works

depend on how their ftl works, they have anti-gravity so plausibly a gravity/anti-gravity system (reactionless) anyways nothing is perfectly closed loop, so they have to pick up resources periodically anyways, they may even need to allow for population growth during detox, doing all that at once means they don't have to do it as often,

huge ships

Amethyst's picture

They were likely concerned about Demon seeds being distributed throughout the solar system. They had already been planning a potential colonization effort so they just decided to use those big ships as lifeboats for those who 'deserved' to get off planet. Even with the FTL they're looking at a long journey with many stops, rotating people out of stasis, and possibly several generations being born before they arrive.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3


for a second I thought you were gonna go all alien symbiote Venom on us.



Amethyst's picture

Nope, just an accidental tech integration. Oops.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3


While Skynet gets all of the meme focus in popular culture, Colossus the Forbin Project was probably the first AI run amok movie at least that I know of.

No, it did not have the action drama the Terminator Universe, it was more along the line of a creeping train wreck that you keep hoping you can stop type of Horror movie thingy going on.

In a way, that movie is a bit more realistic as to how people can unwittingly put themselves behind the AI 8 ball.

I haven't seen that one

Amethyst's picture

I'll have to look it up. :)

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

They could

Amethyst's picture

But it's not something Sira or Risha would suggest since it has the potential to make AI into slaves, especially if the Angels weren't in charge of it. They were treated as slaves and disposable 'things' before the fall of civilization and that's something they won't want to go back to now they're working with people who see them as people too and value their knowledge and opinions.

*big hugs*



Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Vacant jackpot

Jamie Lee's picture

While they were expecting to find people and the base AI, they still hit the jackpot with what they discovered so far. They have plenty of room and equipment that will be very useful. And those H.E.S.S units will come in handy when they go up against demons.

Those who boogied out into space, for the earth like world discovered, are taking a tremendous risk. They have no idea what lies between earth and that planet. They don't even know if the planet is uninhabited, or is claimed by another race. They could reach that planet and suddenly find themselves slaves to another race, or destroyed as they approach the planet; or in route. If they do make it to that planet, they'll not have anything but their ship to rely on. And what they took with them.

Others have feelings too.

I don't think they were

I don't think they were expecting to find anyone except the AI, its been 600 yrs, if they were still there they'd have done something.


I bet she is going to try to get that site too if she isn’t gonna support them remove her from the chain of commmand.

hugs :)
Michelle SidheElf Amaianna