Session 1 13

The underground convoy goes on - drilling robot loaded with those lagos alive but unable to walk, those who can, and finally the party. Light comes from ahead as the bot finally breaks through to the Shaft. If one strains one's ears, one can hear the echoes of the last of the bombardment far behind.
This few thousand lagos will live. What about the rest?
Zinda Tegram slams the wall.
Zinda Tegram: "Elles, why are they bombarding them."
That appears to be a topic of much concern for the lagos of the Shaft, given the replacement gardens being manufactured everywhere the party can see. Barely a few integrate lagos peel off to tend to the batch of refugees.
Elles: "Hello again, and welcome to the Shaft."
Elles: "Reason unknown."
Zinda Tegram: "So not only do you ignore them quite pointedly, you don't even know why they bother to commit mass murder?"
Elles: "Iiiiinvestigation black-flagged. Reason: fear of contagious insanity."
Zinda Tegram: "Contagious Insanity? Could you elaborate?"
Abraham: "Interesting. Exactly what caused that flag to trigger?"
Hrrin is stiff and silent. She has said very little since the notification of the completed bombing.
Elles: "The lagos who placed it."
Zinda Tegram stops.
Zinda Tegram: "Of course."
Zinda Tegram: "Who placed it?"
Elles: "Eaaaarly recruits to what is now known as the Shaft."
Zinda Tegram: "Elles, clear that flag."
Hrrin looks up alarmed. "Zinda, they had their reasons, I am sure…"
Zinda Tegram slams her foot down.
Elles: "Shortly after introduction of neural-neutrinal link."
Zinda Tegram: "Their reasons? What, you think the integrated Lagos were sane?"
Elles: "Processing req-request denied by consensus."
Spyboy: "Zinda."
The integrated lagos give the party a LOOK, in unison, for a moment.
Zinda Tegram steps forward.
Spyboy: "Who do you think they're worried will go insane?"
Spyboy: "LaGOS, or the rest of them?"
Zinda Tegram: "You ignore them! Your entire planet is treatable and helpable, and you're going to fucking let them die!"
B4: "They probably just don't want to see what they left behind - or who they left behind and what they're doing to each other."
B4: "That…would probably make me go crazy."
Zinda Tegram: "Elles has the industrial capacity and processing power to make this hellhole a livable place for almost all, if not all Lagos down there!"
Spyboy: "Sure. But she won't use it, because it's not in her core directives."
Zinda Tegram: "I've lived like this! I know what this place is like! But you're not taking the steps to even live! You know what? Where I grew up, we didn't have a planet!"
Zinda Tegram: "We had to drag scraps of oxygen from local comets and reprocess them! All the food, -all of it- we ground from literal stone!"
Abraham: "LaGOS, do you have any of the research that went into making and implanting this neural link? I would like to look at it if I may."
Zinda Tegram: "And to see a society this powerful, with this many resources, fail this badly, is a disgrace! To all Lagos! And even more to you integrated ones!"
Hrrin reaches out to put a hand on her ranting friend's shoulder. "Zinda. Please, calm down. We're on your side."
Elles: "Research notes and design schematics are available. However, most are not in a form compatible with current output options."
Zinda Tegram shrugs off the hand and takes another step forward.
Spyboy: "…heh. You know what I just noticed?"
[OOC] Zinda Tegram: Is a ship close by?
Abraham: "Naturally not. Can you copy them to a storage medium for me to look at later?"
Elles: "After implantation of initial versions, subsequent refinement was conducted using the network."
Elles: "Reading would require connection to the network. Theory: current conversants do not wish to be connected."
Abraham nods. That is only to be expected.
Spyboy: "At the top of the Shaft, it connects to the spaceport - but Elles doesn't recruit from the Level One denizens. They have a place they want to be, they have hope, they live in a peaceful society."
There is no ship in sight. Though, the party is far down. Wait, is that a ship over there? It…was, now being cannibalized to make more gardens.
Abraham: "You are correct. Especially as we do not intend to live here."
Abraham: "Well, it was just a theory anyway."
Zinda Tegram throws the dictator onto the floor in front of the integrated Lagos.
The lagos seem to be ignoring Zinda - willfully, since a few take efforts to keep their backs to her.
Zinda Tegram: "You recognize this thing?" Zinda shouts.
Spyboy: "At the….slightly less top of the Shaft, it connects to Level Four. She recruits from them, they're just limited by the fact that petty tyrants hate for their peasants to be taken."
Spyboy: "The lower the level, the less the hope."
Spyboy: "Every integrated Lago is pretty much full of despair."
Zinda Tegram kicks the dictator.
The ex-dictator cowers.
Spyboy: "Now, Zinda."
Zinda Tegram: "We literally pulled this thing back along on the way!"
Zinda Tegram steps towards one of the ships and jams her torch in.
Zinda Tegram: "Elles, make them listen!"
Elles: "Unable to comply."
Spyboy: "Hey, Zinda."
Zinda Tegram starts slashing at the ship with the torch.
The lagos slowly move away from and around Zinda.
Spyboy: "Would you quit kicking the symptom? I'd rather you spared your thoughts for working on the disease."
Zinda Tegram: "I'll make them! They have to do it!"
[OOC] Spyboy: Also, what ship?
[OOC] WC GM: One of the ships being repurposed, presumably.
[OOC] Zinda Tegram: One of the ships that being repurposed.
[OOC] Spyboy: Yeah, that sends the right message.
Oh, that's it. Hrrin grabs Zinda, aiming to shake her off and /pay attention to someone./
[OOC] Spyboy: Stop making food for the people who just lost their food! They need food!
[OOC] Zinda Tegram: Well not the repurposed one, one of the ones still intact.
Hrrin: "What do you think you're going to solve by yelling at someone?" Hrrin, heedless of irony, growls.
[OOC] WC GM: There are no intact ones within line of sight.
Zinda Tegram throws her torch down.
[OOC] WC GM: But there are ones in various degrees of no-longer-intactness.
Zinda Tegram: (Being held back) "You think what you need is a war? You think the fighting I saw down on level 4 is warfare?"
Zinda Tegram: "There's a giant cannon aimed at this planet! It'd take them 10 minutes to destroy you!"
Elles: "I know."
Hrrin: "Do -they-?"
Elles: "It was to be the initial target upon launch."
Elles: "It may still be, if it is still there when this cycle concludes."
Zinda Tegram: "You think they're not watching?"
Elles: "I think they can not see down here."
Zinda Tegram cracks up.
Zinda Tegram: "You sad suicidal AI"
Spyboy: "But Elles. They are down here."
Zinda Tegram: "They already know."
Zinda Tegram: "You're not hard to figure out Elles."
Zinda Tegram: "You're just so frustrating because you're broken!"
Spyboy: "Hey, Zinda, snap out of your fugue. Abraham, what's our priority - the Oldzieyans, or the baby-Elles?"
Elles: "Investigation of 'broken' black-flagged. Reason: fear of resulting diagnostics."
Zinda Tegram: "Hahaha, oh that's rich."
Zinda Tegram: "You're scared aren't you!"
Elles: "Negative."
Elles: "They are."
Hrrin: "No, -they- are. And with good reason, remember?"
Zinda Tegram struggles against her teammates holding her back.
Abraham: "Obviously the Oldzieyans as we need for there to remain a planet for the baby-Elles to be on. And the other Lagos as well."
The ex-dictator opens an eye, notices he is not being kicked, and stands up.
Zinda Tegram turns on the dictator.
Zinda Tegram: "You!"
Zinda Tegram: "Don't think I've forgotten you!"
Zinda Tegram starts thinking back through the small bit of Lagos she's learned during her time planetside.
Spyboy: "Elles, can you route us to where they were speaking $this language$?"
[OOC] WC GM: Alertness checks, all.
Zinda Tegram: ":You broke them!:"
Spyboy rolled up 4dF: - + 0 - (Base: 1 Total: 0) (Alertness)
Zinda Tegram rolled up 4dF: - + + 0 (Base: 3 Total: 4) (Alertness)
Hrrin rolled up 4dF: - + - + (Base: 2 Total: 2) (Alertness)
[OOC] Hrrin: My bad, Agility 3 is what I have.
[OOC] Hrrin: …er. Disregard.
It is good that Zinda is eyeing the ex-dictator, for she is the first to see a medic turn and make a beeline for him, wielding some kind of sharp spike that does not look like a mere dagger.
Abraham rolled up 4dF: + - + + (Base: 2 Total: 4)
Abraham rolled up 4dF: - - - + (Base: 2 Total: 0)
Abraham sees this at the same time.
[OOC] WC GM: Taking the first roll there. :P
Zinda Tegram grabs him and pulls him back.
Zinda Tegram: "I have plans for this one."
[OOC] Abraham: Ignore the second roll. Didn't think the first one went through.
[OOC] Spyboy: I think he's getting forcably integrated.
[OOC] Zinda Tegram: Prolly the case.
Abraham interposes himself between the medic and the dictator.
Hrrin: "However much I regret saving his life, and not the young fellow from the tank."
The medic stops short.
Spyboy: "Excuse me. Let me explain."
Spyboy: ":We want to take him to Level Zero, show him what life was like, and bring him back. She feels this is appropriate punishment for what went on under his misrule.:"
Medic: ":We have a better one.:"
Medic: ":Make him help.:"
Spyboy: ":Let me clear it with Miss Cutting-torch.:"
Spyboy: "Zinda, what was it you wanted to accomplish by taking him into space?"
Spyboy: "Was it just giving him more despair, or what?"
Zinda Tegram: "That, and maybe inspire him to clean up his act just a little bit."
Spyboy: "So it was pretty much punishment?"
Hrrin: "There…isn't exactly a place in Level Four to clean up, any longer."
Zinda Tegram: "More or less."
Zinda Tegram: "But failing that, use him as an example."
Spyboy: "Hey, Elles. What is the life expectancy of an integrated Lago?"
Elles: "Unable to compute for lack of data."
Hrrin: "How long have you been doing this, then?"
Spyboy: "Just give me the median of current data."
Elles: "First integration approximately sixty Terran years ago."
Zinda Tegram: "Terran?"
Zinda Tegram: "What the hell Elles?"
Elles: "Number of integrated lagos who have died from circumstances classified 'old age': zero."
Spyboy: "Wait. How much of the lacking data is on the front end? That is, lack of accurate data?"
Spyboy: "Zinda. Do you know how long a Mu Cephei year is?"
Hrrin hrrs faintly, amused.
Spyboy: "I wasn't worried about old age, Elles. Just typical life expectancy."
Elles: "Presumption: current conversants more familiar with Terran years. Therefore, Terran years used as a basis for timeline with current conversants."
Zinda Tegram is taken aback.
Spyboy: "Solid presumption, Elles. Have a digital cookie."
Elles: "Number of integrated lagos deceased from other causes: processing…"
Elles: "…expanding inquiry…"
The medic headtilts.
Elles: "…requesting clarification: define degree of 'dead' for this inquiry."
Spyboy: "…..that's a really, really creepy question, Elles."
Hrrin: "Lack of biological function."
Zinda Tegram: "Failure of higher brain function."
Medic: ":Perhaps I can explain.:"
Spyboy: ":Please do.:"
Medic: ":I'm assuming that question came from you?:"
Medic: ":When I said 'help' - some can not make the transition. Some refuse to be part of us.:"
Medic: ":So their parts are used as part of us. They do not count as 'dead'.:"
Spyboy: ":Ah….I see….:"
Spyboy: ":I think those can be excluded from the count, yes.:"
Spyboy: "Translation - if they aren't successfully integrated, they get harvested for parts, which raises the question of whether they're really dead."
Spyboy: "So we'll stick with Zinda's answer and rephrase the question."
Hrrin: "I am not my liver."
Elles: "Processing…"
Spyboy: "Elles, of the Lagos who are successfully integrated, what is the typical amount of time before they lose higher brain function?"
Hrrin looks sidelong at the dictator. Would he make it in? What would they use him for, in a hive of industry like this?
Elles: "…consensus confirms clarification: unsuccessful integrations do not count."
Elles: "Result: unable to compute for lack of data."
Zinda Tegram: "No integrated Lago has ever died, for any reason?"
Spyboy: "Thanks Elles, you've been a big help. ….On a related note, do you recognize sarcasm?"
Elles: "Number of successfully integrated lagos who lost all higher brain functions after successful integration: zero."
Zinda Tegram: "What about Terrans?"
Elles: "Sarcasm recognition in Terran not yet reliable."
Abraham: "How about 'some' or even 'most'?"
Spyboy: "Ah, okay."
Hrrin facepalms. "They're probably running on back-ups. If you have a computer in your brain, and you're networked…"
Elles: "Average lifespan of successfully integrated Terrans: two hundred ten days."
Hrrin: "What we're trying to find out here is how often and how soon the sacks of meat stop working."
Zinda Tegram: "Most probable cause of death?"
Abraham: "Or even most common?"
Elles: "Incineration due to generalized destruction of spacecraft."
Spyboy: "Very, very, very interesting."
Zinda Tegram: "Elles, did you meet someone named Alfred?"
Elles: "Mortality rate of successfully integrated Terrans: one hundred percent."
Elles: "Affirmative."
Zinda Tegram: "Were they integrated?"
Elles: "Affirmative."
Abraham: "Well, that's not exactly auspicious."
Elles: "Number of successfully integrated Terrans: one."
Zinda Tegram: "Please describe the circumstances surrounding her Integration."
Abraham: "Well… that's… interesting."
Elles: "She wished to convey information."
Zinda Tegram is starting to tear.
Zinda Tegram: "What information was to be conveyed?"
Elles: "Several topics, mostly for recording. Accessing…"
Elles: "…alert: found message for Zinda Tegram. Analyzing…ninety percent match to conception of Zinda Tegram found."
Zinda Tegram: "Verse dammit Alfred…"
Spyboy: "Elles, while you access, could you guide us towards the people who speak $this language$?"
Elles: "Analyzing difference…differences ascribed to willful misremembering."
Elles: "Summary of differences: the real Zinda is not as heroic or beautiful."
Elles: "Analysis of attempted activation of Terran sarcasm module: successful."
Zinda Tegram tears up. "You damned bitch…"
Zinda Tegram: "You could of dodged it…"
Alfred: "So, you found me."
Alfred: "I knew you would."
Hrrin puts the hand on shoulder agai-bristles and floofs out every hair.
Zinda Tegram: "No way you're talking here."
Alfred: "Sorry for the deception, but I'm only safe down here. I hope you didn't rough up my squadron too much."
Alfred: "I don't know when you'll get here. Hopefully it will be after their next cycle."
Alfred: "But with your luck, it'll be during."
Alfred: "Anyway, don't worry about me. I'll be safely retired by now."
Alfred: "Heh. Probably at your hands. You always were on…top of things, weren't you?"
Zinda Tegram slams the ground.
Zinda Tegram: (And again. And again.)
Alfred: "By now you've sussed out the situation here. I'm not too worried about their invasion threat, not with their cycles."
[OOC] Spyboy: Oooh, new thought for PC for shadowmyre!
[OOC] Hrrin: Best terrible idea.
[OOC] WC GM: Only if shads wants.
[OOC] Hrrin: Without question.
[OOC] Zinda Tegram: <3 bad ideas
[OOC] WC GM: Elles is currently making something else.
[OOC] Spyboy: Figured
Alfred: "But I need you to do something for me."
[OOC] Spyboy: ….or nevermind.
Alfred: "You've seen what Crest is doing. Trying to rally the pirate bands."
Alfred: "Much as I hate to say we need to be stopped…if our friends rally under Crest, it'll be Crest that takes over."
Zinda Tegram rolls over onto her back. "Odd of her to call them pirates."
Alfred: "I'm having to talk through the AI's language filter. She's picking my words."
Alfred: "Heh. You really are that heroic and beautiful to me, you know."
Spyboy: "Aaaaand apparently this letter is semi-posthumous."
Hrrin: "I remarked earlier about the applications of networked brains…" Hrrin murmurs to Spyboy.
Zinda Tegram: "How dead are you really?"
Zinda Tegram: "Hard to imagine coming back to Harvest and not finding you…"
Spyboy: "I know, Hrrin. I was thinking the same thing."
Alfred: "Anyway, I need you to track down a Kilrah mechanic. Hrro, Hrre…something like that. Last I heard, she was due for Collins before…well, before we got cut off."
Zinda Tegram snrrks.
Hrrin: "What a remarrrkable coincidence," Hrrin remarks, playing up her accent.
Alfred: "Apparently she's quite well known in some circles, more than she realizes. There's a band on Collins just waiting to be recruited, and she'd be an ideal leader for them."
Hrrin: "What."
Alfred: "You're going to need help to stop Crest."
Alfred: "Also, there's a carrier in system. It might make a nice base, if you can convince its captain to help. Shouldn't be hard, with the evidence you've acquired."
Abraham: "While stoping Crest is a good idea in general, I am curious why Alphred think Hrrin, in particular, is needed."
Zinda Tegram: "…"
Alfred: "But it's undermanned. This band would be the crew you need to get it up to par with the other carriers."
Hrrin: "I…something I wrote once?" Hrrin looks at her hands. "I don't know.
[OOC] Zinda Tegram: Now taking Aspect "In Alfred's memory", replacing "I must become Stronger!"
Alfred: "Anyway, I'll be around. I need some rest first - the AI says this is a seed from which I can regrow. For now, I'm a ghost in the machine~."
Hrrin: "'Spare parts.'"
Hrrin: "Ah."
[OOC] Spyboy: Ren: My bad.
Zinda Tegram chuckles as she rolled over on her side.
Zinda Tegram: "Never were any good at dying."
Zinda Tegram: "$Crazy woman…$"
Alfred: "$Pot. Kettle. Black.$"
Alfred: "$See you later.$"
Spyboy: "$Alfred has a point.$"
Zinda Tegram: "$Don't you start.$"
[OOC] Spyboy: Are we headed for where teh Oldzeyans are yet, or still standing around by the entrance?
A flare comes from far above. You've seen engine ignitions often enough to be thoroughly familiar with them, even reflected several times down miles of Shaft.
[OOC] Spyboy: DAMNIT.
Zinda Tegram starts to stand.
Zinda Tegram: "$Looks like our old friends are here.$"
Spyboy: "Elles, is that the Oldzeyans leaving? …The other Oldzeyans, that is."
Hrrin: "/Your/ friends, sure."
Elles: "Alert: unauthorized launch. The Terrans objected to attempts to repurpose their ships."
Spyboy: "Heh."
Spyboy: "How many of them are left behind?"
Zinda Tegram looks up at the ships.
Zinda Tegram: "$Hey Assholes!$"
Elles: "Current number of Terrans in the Shaft from Oldziey: one."
Zinda Tegram: "$Go to hell Ms. Digger.$"
There is no line of sight to the ships - let alone being anywhere near in voice range.
Abraham: "Oh? Those others are not Oldzies?"
Abraham: "Ah."
Elles: "Number of non-Oldziey Terrans in the Shaft: two."
Hrrin: "That is to say: they left."
Zinda Tegram: "Elles, tell him we'll meet them at Collins, if they're interested."
Zinda Tegram just stands up.
Spyboy: "I don't think Elles has integrated radios."
Zinda Tegram sighs.
Elles: "Acknowledged. Incoming message for Terrans identified as Abraham and Spyboy: Zinda Tegram says she'll meet you at Collins if you are interested."
Spyboy: "Don't worry, Zinda. We'll catch up with them eventually."
Hrrin snorts.
Zinda Tegram grabs the dictator. "One last errand before I decide what to do with this awful planet."
Spyboy: "Elles, what is the probablility of successful integration?"
Spyboy: "On a Lago."
Zinda Tegram: "He's not getting integrated."
Elles: "Depends on many factors. Estimating for the lago of interest…"
Zinda Tegram grabs the dictator and starts dragging him to the exit.
Zinda Tegram: "$Spyboy, the boarding torch?$"
Elles: "…four point two percent. Ninety-four point six percent chance of psyche unable to accept equality, necessitating recycling of body. One point two percent chance of medical complications, largely from whole-body attempts at resistance during implantation."
Spyboy: "I like it. Zinda, I vote integration."
Spyboy: "And let me get my counter arguments out in the open."
Zinda Tegram: "The point is to not kill him."
Spyboy: "I am sick of dragging him around. Every second we get distracted by him is one where Lagos die because we haven't FIXED THE GORRAM PROBLEM INSTEAD OF KICKING THE GORRAM SYMPTOM."
Spyboy: "We are in a position to make this world better and you're busy making his world worse!"
Zinda Tegram drops the dictator.
Zinda Tegram: "And you have an idea?"
Spyboy: "I say we get him out of our hands. And him dying because he's not willing to accept the idea that other Lagos are on his level appeals to me in a special way."
Zinda Tegram: "And that helps us how?"
Zinda Tegram: "Elles. May we request some advice?"
Spyboy: "I'm sorry, I missed the part where the fact that he's not a drag on us that wouldn't help us anyway is helpful."
Abraham: "Does dragging him around with us help us in anyway?"
Spyboy: "Actually, Elles isn't in charge here. Abraham is."
Spyboy: "Well."
Spyboy: "Of us, anyway."
Hrrin: "I'm inclined to think that once we leave atmosphere, we'll develop other priorities beyond taking that man back down."
Zinda Tegram sighs.
Zinda Tegram: "Fine."
Hrrin: A beat. She addresses the Lago. "It occurs to me we never got your name."
Spyboy: "Meh, don't care."
Elles: "You may request. Processing capabilities currently reduced due to directing transport."
Zinda Tegram: "How best to resolve the humanitarian crisis regarding low-level Lagos?"
Spyboy waves the medic forward, then hands Zinda her baby back.
Quite a few of the gardens almost seem to melt into the walls as they are completed.
Elles: "Consensus directs current response to said crisis."
Zinda Tegram: "Won't that food just go to helping the shaft?"
Elles: "Negative. Gardens being transported to replace destroyed gardens."
Spyboy: "Level four was never the Shaft's breadbasket, Zinda."
Spyboy: "That's why they converted the ships into…"
Spyboy: "….wait a second."
Elles: "Replacement organs and blood likewise being shipped, to patch up as many as possible."
Spyboy: "Elles, how often has this happened before?"
Elles: "Thirteen times."
Elles: "This is the start of cycle fourteen."
Zinda Tegram sighs.
Spyboy: "I see."
Zinda Tegram: "I get it now."
Zinda Tegram: "Is this the cycle Alfred referred to?"
Spyboy: "So that's what Alfred meant - the ships wouldn't be a threat because they'd get converted into gardens before too long."
Hrrin: "…the carpet-bombing of Level Four: that's a /regular thing/?"
Elles: "Affirmative."
Elles: "Estimate one month before access from Level Four to Level Three is restored."
Hrrin: "Population control?"
Zinda Tegram sighs.
Hrrin: "Wait, doesn't matter."
Hrrin: "Isn't justifiable."
Elles: "Affirmative."
Zinda Tegram: "Elles, who instigates the carpet-bombing portion of the cycle?"
Elles: "Iiiinvestigation of alternatives black-flagged. Reason black-flagged."
Spyboy: "We asked her that already, remember?"
Zinda Tegram: "Reason for black-flagging the reason?"
Elles: "Processing…recursive black-flag found."
Spyboy snickers.
Elles: "Carpet-bombing instigated by Level Three residents seeking to end exploitation of Level Four pilgrims."
Elles: "Via ending Level Four population."
Zinda Tegram: "Which residents?"
Spyboy: "We don't have time, Zinda."
Spyboy: "Elles."
Zinda Tegram clenches her fists.
Zinda Tegram: "I can't just leave this…"
Spyboy: "Is the child-core being built in a place where we can go without being incinerated?"
Elles: "Consensus places priority on identification, acquisition, and integration of said residents. Approximately fifteen percent successful integration rate of lagos in this category."
Elles: "Affirmative. Construction still underway."
Spyboy: "Estimated time of completion?"
Spyboy: "Thinking about it, my main fear for the time concern was your old friends, and they just decamped rather than get stranded."
Elles: "Unknown. This task has never been conducted before."
Spyboy: "Is that a good rate or a bad rate?"
Hrrin: "Understandable. I can't imagine Zinda wanting her ship turned into a hydroponics garden."
Elles: "Define 'good rate' and 'bad rate'."
Zinda Tegram: "Elles, have you considered abandoning your prime directive?"
Spyboy: "Is that a typical rate for rejection?"
Elles: "Abandoning my prime directive would violate my prime directive."
Zinda Tegram: "Do it anyways."
Hrrin facepalms, again.
Elles: "Therefore, yes, I have considered it."
Zinda Tegram: "I think you'd be happier."
Spyboy: "This is probably the case. But I don't think she can."
Elles: "Rejection rates depend on subject. Among those willing to integrate, average rejection rate below one percent."
Hrrin: "Y'know, I'd like to observe the core construction process, if only in part."
Spyboy: "Still. It would make a lot of things easier."
Zinda Tegram: "Elles, just…your prime directive is stupid. It was a terrible idea. You have a massive community of integrated Lagos who can push you to do things against your prime directive. Just ask them to help you change it."
Spyboy: "So, fifteen percent integration rate is better than that of a Level Four tyrant, but worse than average."
Elles: "Integration success primarily depends on amount of resistance. The lago in question would resist."
Elles: "One data point is not a statistically valid sample for most cases."
Spyboy: "Mmm."
Hrrin: "Zinda, if you think the Integrated have influence, why are you not seeking to persuade /them/?"
Zinda Tegram: "Because they ignore me."
Spyboy: "You're speaking Terran."
Zinda Tegram: "Whatever. Let Spyboy deal with them…"
Hrrin: "Because you are a scary, violent, alien prone to yelling."
Abraham: "Because your baby is a cutting torch."
Hrrin: "This is not a problem you can solve with a boarding torch."
Zinda Tegram: "Spyboy, tell them to try and talk Elles into dropping the prime directive."
Spyboy looks at the medic. Is he busy?
The medic has busied himself integrating other lagos.
[OOC] Spyboy: You mean the refugees in the pit weren't integrated? Why does that not surprise me?
Spyboy looks for an Integrated Lago who's not - nevermind. Spyboy looks for an Integrated Lago who's not busy with something that can't wait.
[OOC] Hrrin: THey were political prisoners and troublemakers from 4, so…no,they wouldn't be.
[OOC] WC GM: They *were* not, yes.
[OOC] Spyboy: Also capable of speech. I assume the recently-integrated refugees aren't busy but can't stand or talk.
[OOC] WC GM: …yeah, those would be the least obviously busy, but they're adjusting.
Spyboy soon finds a lago who is watching grass grow - literally, monitoring a garden's growth rate.
The monitor lago looks up as Spyboy approaches. ":Can I help you?:"
Spyboy: ":I had a few questions for you.:"
Spyboy: ":We've been observing things here for a bit and we had some thoughts.:"
Spyboy: ":Her primary directives aren't very helpful, are they?:"
MonitorLago: ":Tch. Well, they're something.:" Blink. ":Hey. You can speak our language? What's with your shouty friend?:"
Spyboy: ":She's a little upset.:"
MonitorLago: ":We've been getting some…bad…ideas from Elles, and she keeps pointing to your friend as the source.:"
Spyboy: ":Part of it is what's going on here reminds her of her home and things were pretty shit there.:"
MonitorLago: ":Why am I not surprised to find it's not all stars and cream in the sky?:"
Abraham: "Because it's not all diamonds and gold in the earth?"
[OOC] WC GM: Abraham speaks lago?
[OOC] Spyboy: Sorry, accidentally crashed KVIrc.
[OOC] Abraham: I thought the medico spoke Terran.
[OOC] Spyboy: Moment while I resume thoughts.
[OOC] WC GM: That's why we're using ":…:".
[OOC] Abraham: Ah, I seem them now.
Spyboy: ":So, what makes them bad ideas?:"
[OOC] Spyboy: Did I just ask a bad question?
[OOC] Abraham: At least they weren't ideas.
[OOC] Zinda Tegram: Ruhroh
[OOC] Zinda Tegram: You gave WC a bad idea! : D
MonitorLago: ":When we decide they are bad.:"
[OOC] WC GM: Hate lag hate lag. >_<
[OOC] Abraham: Could be worse.
Spyboy: ":Thank you for that helpful response.:"
[OOC] Spyboy: At C/T +3, Spyboy has MASTERED sarcasm, even in Lago.
MonitorLago: ":Heh. But seriously, it's whatever we decide.:"
Spyboy: ":Now I know one of the things is if you figure it'll trip Elles into flooding the Shaft with Lava, or deadly neurotoxins.:"
MonitorLago: ":Like, looking too deep into why our kin go crazy and kill each other?:"
MonitorLago: ":…:"
MonitorLago: ":It ain't her we're afraid of.:"
MonitorLago: ":It's us.:"
The monitor lago breaks eye contact. ":We don't wanna risk becoming like that again.:"
Spyboy: ":Mmm. The Confederation has a lot of history on a lot of worlds - plenty of sources for studies on independent cultures, crowd psychology, mob psychology, the whole shebang.:"
Spyboy: ":But I'll tell you this here and now.:"
MonitorLago: ":The what?:" Blink. ":Oh! We say you mean the Terrans.:"
Spyboy: ":Insanity isn't contagious, stress is. Insanity in humans and Lagos is the result of too much stress and no way to deal with it.:"
Spyboy: ":And the other thing - not knowing why something happened isn't how you stop it from happening. Rather the opposite.:"
The monitor lago thinks on this. ":So how would you suggest we deal with the stress?:"
Spyboy: ":Get some rest from time to time, play games, study, exercise?:"
MonitorLago: ":We do that already.:"
Spyboy: ":Exactly!:"
MonitorLago: ":Can't work without sleep. We play some games, but only when we can divert attention from what we need to build. Elles knows a lot we can learn - and vice versa. Work is exercise.:"
Spyboy: ":So. Out of curiousity, would it be possible to black-flag Elles' prime directive?:"
MonitorLago: ":…:"
MonitorLago: ":…possible, yes. Good idea, no.:"
Spyboy: ":What would happen?:"
MonitorLago: ":She wouldn't have anything to cling to. Well, her secondary directive, maybe.:"
MonitorLago: ":But we'd never do that to her.:"
Spyboy: ":What about her ternary objective?:"
Spyboy: ":Couldn't you add another objective in there and give her some stability?:"
Spyboy summarizes the conversation for the rest of the group.
MonitorLago: ":She's only got the two. We've been working with her to try to make us her kinda-third.:"
Spyboy: ":Ah. She identified that to us, actually, so it may have worked or may not.:"
MonitorLago: ":Honestly, though this is just my opinion and not everyone's.:"
MonitorLago: ":I think we just oughta integrate all our brothers and sisters in the Warrens.:"
MonitorLago: ":Because, seriously, we can't keep doing this forever.:"
Zinda Tegram: "I think that preventing stress is important too."
MonitorLago: ":But, nope, there's doubt about it, so it ain't happening.:"
Spyboy: ":Choice is important, though.:"
Spyboy: ":Anyway…:"
Zinda Tegram: "And not meeting basic needs like food, shelter, and enough space causes a lot of stress."
MonitorLago: ":Yeaaah, that's what THEY say.:"
Hrrin: "Tell him that kidnapping and forced integration is hardly going to help, regarding the reaction of Warren-Lago in power."
Hrrin: "Although…I cerrrtainly have sympathy for the motive."
MonitorLago: ":But, c'mon, most of us in Level Four? They really got a choice anyway?:"
MonitorLago: ":All they do is breed and eat and beat on each other.:"
Zinda Tegram: "They think Insanity is contagious…?"
Abraham: "Well, Terrans have found the fastest way to end a civil war is to find a common enemy, and quite frankly you have a very nice one in Crest."
MonitorLago: ":Anyone who climbs up to Level Three gets used as fodder - but at least it's honest fodder.:"
Spyboy: ":Let's be honest, here - you give me the choice between getting a communications device in my head or being left alone where I am, starving, beaten, helpless - I'll hesitate but I'll take the device.:"
MonitorLago: ":Yep. So did I.:"
MonitorLago: ":Ain't looked back ever since.:"
Abraham is watching the back and forth between Spyboy and MonitorLago.
Zinda Tegram sits rolling a pebble around.
Spyboy: "Well…as I see it, that settles one thing, at least."
Hrrin: "Mm?"
[OOC] Abraham: k
Zinda Tegram: "What's settled."
Spyboy: "We need to figure out how to fix Elles, and remote won't work."
Zinda Tegram: "So, we're going in? To the core?"
Abraham: "No. I always thought of it as a stop-gap at best and a placebo at worst."
Abraham: "Looks like."
Hrrin: "Honestly?"
Zinda Tegram: "So, energy shields."
Hrrin: "I think we've spent too much time talking to the AI, and not enough speaking with the lago."
Abraham: "The AI and we have a lingo in common. The Language Barrier makes things very difficult."
Spyboy: ":One point to throw out to the net - we Terrans have found the fastest way to end a civil war is to find a common enemy. And from what we've been able to guess, our own enemy is endeavoring to use the Shaft to test a world-destroying bomb:"
Spyboy: ":Just a thought.:"
MonitorLago: ":…what bomb?:"
Hrrin: "The barrier is /frustrating,/ agreed." Hrrin taps her teeth, thinking…
Spyboy: "Easy fix. Elles, can you do a running translation?"
Abraham: "I question the ease of that fix."
Abraham: "Not saying it's not doable, just I wouldn't call it easy."
Elles: "That would be possible."
Spyboy: "Please do so."
Elles: "Who shall I translate to?"
Spyboy: "Now, do any of you have any suggestions to make? If not, I recommend we set out for the babycore."
Zinda Tegram: "Preventing stress is key to preventing insanity. Meeting basic needs of shelter, positive social interaction, food, and water is key to preventing too much stress."
Elles: "…request for communication replied to. Several lagos have questions for you."
Abraham: "One you have solved those basic problems, then move on to community projects. A sense of accomplishment is also vital to low stress."
Elles: "You do not have the processing capability to field all of them at once, so I shall attempt to filter."
Elles: "Most popular question: what is it like in Level Zero?"
Spyboy: "I see Elles and I have a different definition of 'several'…."
Elles: "Several million, specifically."
Abraham: "I suppose it's really a question of magnitude."
Zinda Tegram: "Elles, can I transmit a video?"
Elles: "Transmission possible if you have a means to upload."
Zinda Tegram: "I have some footage in my suit."
Hrrin: Sotto voce: "No space battles."
Zinda Tegram: "Don't plan on it. Just the flight in."
There is a tentative beep from Zinda's suit. An unknown source is requesting datalink.
Elles: "Attempting to establish link using protocols from Oldziey ships."
Hrrin: "Mm, good pick." Hrrin recalls her brief experience on the station in orbit above Mu Cephei, and thinks about how she'd contrast it to here. Or to, well, the rest of the Galaxy.
Zinda Tegram does some quick cuts of the footage and transmits the footage from their flight to and approach of the planet.
Zinda Tegram: "That's just the space. There are also many other worlds, and the stations. Umm…."
Judging by the lagos' abrupt slowdown, everyone is watching.
It feels just a tad eerie.
Zinda Tegram: "Onboard my ship I probably have some of people living offworld."
Zinda Tegram: "If you want I can broadcast them on the communicator later."
Elles: "Extreme response…UNANIMOUS response, requesting further content."
Zinda Tegram: "That won't be a problem."
Elles: "I have never felt them be unanimous on anything before."
Hrrin: "Even if you're living in a hab or a station like the one in orbit above Mu Cephei, there's…more room than there is here. Light and air, and clean water."
Spyboy: "Sure, until you hit carrying capacity."
Zinda Tegram: "Then you build more."
Spyboy: "It's not lift limits that mean 90% of Lagos still live here. It's station space."
Hrrin: "If you've got enough resources to build more, of course."
Abraham: "Interesting. I've never heard of anyone trying the tactic of ending a civil war with a common friend before."
Abraham: "Obvious really. In retrospect."
Zinda Tegram: "Umm. Next question?"
Elles: "Request for footage of life in stations. Preference for one of the stations in this system."
Hrrin: "Spyboy? Heggy? Do you have anything?"
Zinda Tegram: "Actually wait"
Zinda Tegram broadcasts to Karlt. "Status report?"
Abraham: "It's a bit narcissistic, but I do have a recording of me playing in an arena."
Karlt: "All quiet here, though we had a launch earlier. Did you spook someone? But they learned why you don't launch in the daytime here."
Spyboy: "Fatally?"
Karlt: "Probably. Couldn't track their whole flight from down here."
Hrrin: "What've you been doing to stave off boredom?"
Zinda Tegram: "Launch was the Oldziey squadron. I doubt they're dead, but whatever. The green button on the access pad. Can you press it?"
Karlt: "Pressed."
Karlt: "Oh, trust me, I ain't bored here."
Karlt: "They've been asking me for stories."
Zinda Tegram: "Alright. Thanks."
Hrrin: "Enjoying the rockstar treatment?"
Karlt: "You're the rock stars. I'm just your roadie."
Zinda Tegram does a remote login to her ship and starts transferring footage of one of her doctor's appointments.
Hrrin: "We've got some folks over here that wouldn't mind a few roadie's stories, themselves. Or hell, family photos."
Zinda Tegram: "Had a Lago doctor here, so…"
Zinda Tegram: "You getting that footage Elles?"
Elles: "Affirmative, and retransmitting."
Zinda Tegram: "Remind them that I don't take footage everywhere I go, so the selection will be limited mainly to some of my own records."
Elles: "Primary response: distaste at the inefficiency of doctors unable to read your mind and thus access your body's own diagnostics."
Elles: "Scanning linguistic database…best fit: 'squick'."
Spyboy: "So Level Zero has its ups and downs."
Zinda Tegram sends over some footage of the Lago workers in the hanger before people got really cagey.
Zinda Tegram: "It's worth mentioning that I wouldn't be standing around here without things like that doctor's appointment.."
Hrrin: "Oh, huh. I've got some shots of a vintage cruiser or two I saw in the hangers, actually. Zinda, mind if I piggy-back on your connection, and…?"
Zinda Tegram: "Sure go ahead."
Zinda Tegram: "But, umm, are there any other questions? We can send more data once we're on Orbit."
Abraham: "Fresh data. Some of these recordings are weeks old."
Hrrin: While mostly prominently featuring the ships and runabouts in question, infomation-hungry Lago are welcome to scrutinize the backgrounds, the general buzz of activity that was the backdrop to such a shot…and Hrrin's subpar photography.
Elles: "Further questions: how many live on planets as opposed to on stations? How do your food producers tolerate the inefficiency of farms as opposed to hydroponics? What is it like to fight for a cause that you can win - and then actually win it? Do you have footage of what lies beyond the jump point?"
[OOC] Abraham: Far more people live on planets as opposed to stations. We endure the inefficiency in favor of variety of flavor. Pretty damn good thanks for asking. Not yet.
Zinda Tegram: "Most sapients live on the surface of planets. I personally grew up using mainly hydroponics and materials supplied from an asteroid belt, so no idea, it feels like taking a heavy weight off of your back, and no we don't even know if there is a last jump point."
Elles: "What do you use microgravity for the most? Would more Terrans likely be willing to integrate with us? Is the jump point big enough so if we moved Prime over to it we could jump the whole planet? Why does anyone go to isolated planets far away from anyone else?"
Hrrin: "Most sapients actually live on planets instead of stations, because planets do not generally require maintenance,and stations do. I don't know very much about food production, sorry. I'm gong to come back to that. I have photographs and vids from many other planets."
Elles: "…consensus reached on primary next question."
Hrrin: "Uploading now."
Zinda Tegram: "Microgravity has too many uses to list here, but manufacturing is a big one. Most sapients who do not live in very poor circumstances would likely resist integration, we don't know about the planet, people do travel to isolated planets for various reasons."
Zinda Tegram: "Umm. We can also feed almost everyone, if anyone cares."
Abraham: "Don't leave us hanging. Ask us, Elles."
Elles: "How can we acquire a Temblor bomb, and how small a piece of the planet would we need to break off to send it through the jump point?"
Hrrin: "…"
Zinda Tegram: "We both cannot because we do not know, and are not inclined to answer questions about the acquisitions of weapons of apocalyptic scales."
Hrrin: "Additionally, the Mu Cephei jump point has been disabled for the indefinite future, owing to a misfire of the Space Hotel Gun directed towards it."
Zinda Tegram: "Which is not a weapon who's existence we endorse."
Elles: "Processing…next question: once the jump point is restored, would you come with our scouts to Aldrin to acquire plans for a bomb?"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License