Session 7 12

Thanks to Spyboy, the comms are still set to party-only. The Nephilim seem to be taking this sudden silence in stride.
Spyboy delivers that line to Zinda, then pauses.
Heggy looks back at Spyboy and speaks aloud.
Heggy: "You know, the only evidence of 'Zinda hates the Confederation' is her asking Abraham to not tell them that Chandley is traversible, right?"
Spyboy: "I'm, uh, hoping she doesn't pick up on that."
[OOC] Abraham: Actually, she has a mural in her quarters that is 'I hate the confederation' written on her walls. You can tell she was serious since it was in pastels.
Zinda taps her foot pointedly.
Zinda: "The Confederation is a perfectly fine organization, so long as it keeps its navy out of *my* systems."
Spyboy: "…And now that's plural."
Zinda: "Yeah. It is."
Spyboy: "And just what systems are you annexing, pray?"
[OOC] Zinda: David was the abandoned one right?
Zinda: "David. Perhaps Mahavier, depending on the locals socialize."
Spyboy: "Mmhmm. And then maybe Armstrong, depending on relative strength of naval forces."
Zinda: "No. Mahavier and David are because of their lack of significant Confederation population centers."
Spyboy: "'Significant.'"
Zinda: "Yes. Significant."
Zinda: "It has planets and the confederation is hardly using it. And Oldziey's not known for having much livable space."
Spyboy: "In any case…"
Spyboy: "Admiral, your opinion regarding Elles?"
[OOC] WC GM: David was the one with almost no population.
Abraham: "You've heard the joke 'It's what I asked for, but not what I wanted'? That's Elles in a nutshell. She is working exactly as her parameters say she should be, but those parameters were poorly thought out. Meaning that ultimately any damage she does is not her fault, she is literally just following orders. The ideal fix to the 'Elles problem' is to adjust her parameters. Incidentally, it's also a very compelling object lesson for when humanity starts making sentient AI."
Abraham: "Which, of course, is inevitable, like it or not."
Spyboy: "I completely agree, sir, but my question was actually regarding whether we should bring her along with us to the Nephilim homeworlds."
[OOC] Abraham: And refresh my memory on what the point of that would be other than to have her eat the Neph homeworlds. Unless the point /was/ to have her eat the neph homeworlds.
[OOC] Metis: Because a lot of the stuff they attribute to 'the Abrahim' was done by Elles, and the worst case scenario isn't that bad.
Zinda: "Well, if you have a smartass idea to reprogram her be my guest."
[OOC] Spyboy: Many of the things the Nephs have asked for - brain uploading and sentient AI in particular - are things that Elles has produced as a matter of course.
Zinda: "But have fun diving into a planetary core."
[OOC] Spyboy: WingedCat, how conclusive were my tests, when I tried to 'reprogram' Metis?
Zinda: "Sure, we'll just let her have access to the most advanced technology known to man. That seems like a good idea, right?"
Spyboy: "She already has access to the most advanced technology known to man."
Spyboy: "She IS the most advanced technology known to man."
Metis: "Was."
Zinda: "Thank you Metis."
Abraham: "I would be inclined to leave her behind. Also I would say the wormhole technology /just/ barely squeaks past Elles in terms of advanced."
Spyboy: "…Fine, the most advanced technology known to man aside from Metis."
Metis: "Thank you."
Zinda: "Metis…if Elles got loose, then…incredible amounts of data would be destroyed."
Zinda: "Gone, before you ever got to observe it."
Zinda: "OK?"
Spyboy: "Yes, all those underground tunnels which would suddenly be mappable."
Spyboy: "Cuz, the dirt that was there before is so important."
Zinda: "Forget the tunnels. Think of what she'd do to ecology? To atmospheres? To tectonic systems?"
Spyboy: "Not much?"
[OOC] WC GM: Test results PMed
Spyboy: "Let's be honest here. Ecology only occurs in the upper tenth of a percent of the planet's surface; Elles' primary directive is to dig holes, which are defined by their surroundings, in that they have surroundings."
Spyboy: "So if Mu Cephei had not expanded on schedule, Elles would not have been the one to destroy Mu Cephei Prime's surface."
Zinda: "Data isn't just Volume, Spyboy."
[OOC] Abraham: Why do I have to be such a goody two shoes? I should be egging them on. DANCE! DANCE FOR MY AMUSEMENT PUPPETS!
Spyboy: "The data that is contained in Elles' holes is just volume, Zinda."
Spyboy: "Besides, it's not like you have a solution for the Elles problem."
Zinda: "…I do, actually."
Spyboy: "In any case, Admiral, even if we aren't picking up Elles, I do need to swing by the Roland before we go. If the jump nodes are stabilized, then it'll probably have advanced into Grissom."
Spyboy: "I'm out of recon drones."
Abraham: "Do share, please. Because altering a program when it's running is difficult enough, I have to assume it's exponentially harder when the program is sentient."
Zinda: "It's pretty simple. When she tries to squirt herself at the jump point after we temblor the planet, we knock her off course."
Zinda: "She goes flying into the black, loses pressure, and then falls apart."
Abraham: "…that's not a fix. It's not even percussive maintenance."
Zinda: "…It's a solution to the problem."
Zinda: "I have a second one, too, if that's not good enough."
Abraham: "No, it's passing the buck. It is literally kicking the can so someone else has to deal with her. What's your alternative."
Zinda: "I have the designs for the volcano thrusters from Mahavier. I can build one, and knock Mu Cephei into the sun."
Abraham sighs. "Well, to be fair, it's not that far from my current best solution, which is to emp her into a temporary offline state long enough for us to adjust her parameters. Slightly less property destruction in my plan, probably the best thing going for it really."
Spyboy: "Well, consider. If we offer to reprogram her and transport her to other planets that she can dig holes in, she'll have to accept in accordance with her primary and secondary directives."
Zinda: "…I believe we tried that."
Zinda: "She said no."
Spyboy: "Did we? In any case, moving her cores to separate worlds would definitely meet her objectives - it's her current short-term goal - and us transporting them would allow for time to reprogram without interference."
Zinda: "…You realize how many there are, right?"
Spyboy: "Do you?"
Abraham shrugs "I don't."
[OOC] WC GM: Metis would know: there are a lot.
[OOC] Metis: Technically, there are enough.
Zinda: "We're talking about a few million cores. At least."
[OOC] WC GM: Actually, the party was told a while ago: approximately five million cores.
[OOC] Metis: Almost enough.
[OOC] WC GM: The exact number changing on the order of minutes or faster.
Spyboy: "Yeah, well, I'm sure the Nephilim have enough places to put them."
Zinda: "…When this plan goes horribly south, just remember I told you so."
Zinda: "Kali? You're with me on this right?"
Abraham: "Well, there's always the super elegant, fancy, needlessly difficult way. A virus to rewrite Elles. Of course, assuming it does anything at all, it's orders of magnitude more likely to permanently crash Elles than it is to fix her programming."
[OOC] Zinda: 'Don't bring me into this.'
Zinda sits down.
Spyboy: "My results with the virus approach have been inconsistent at best."
Zinda: "Oh? Have you actually been trying?"
Abraham: "And Zinda, we have absolute faith that should any plan go horribly south, we won't need to remember. You'll chipperally remind us."
Metis: "Was not altering an organic's programming deemed an 'unethical' solution?"
Spyboy frowns
Spyboy: "When? Depending on the method of alteration, it's often considered the most ethical."
Abraham: "It is, but marginally less so than 'permanently crashing them'."
Abraham stops.
Abraham: "Wait. It's only unethical if it's done against their will. If it's done with their cooperation… with out them fighting it…"
Spyboy: "Or though the gradual approach of punishment and reward."
Kali: "…yes. You have told them so. I suppose I can agree with that."
Abraham: "Can we convince Elles that her programming is flawed and that we can help fix it? Assuming of course, we even can."
Zinda: "…Somehow that's not the support I was hoping for, Kali."
Spyboy: "I find the fact that you keep looking to Kali for support to be hugely comical."
[OOC] Zinda: I do too, OOC.
Abraham has been a very good admiral and not commented on it.
Zinda: "Fuck off."
Spyboy: "Admiral, our attempts during our first encounter with Elles were largely unsuccessful - but we were also blocked by the Lago hive-mind, since they were actively maintaining additional secondary directives for Elles."
Spyboy: "With the reasons for those secondary directives removed, we may have better success, or we may not."
Spyboy: "The fact that Elles ejected the Integrated…both bodes well and poorly."
Zinda: "…You mean, once the warrens launch, the Lago may turn on elles?"
Spyboy: "The Warrens are irrelevant to Elles. There are no Integrated there."
Spyboy: "The Integrated were dispatched to Mahavier, and then carried back home by the Roland."
Zinda: "…I'm not dropping a temblor until the warrens launch."
Zinda: "Alfred's down there."
Spyboy: "Obviously. Don't be ridiculous, Zinda, we wouldn't ask you to."
Spyboy: "…Of course, the continued survival and relative well-being of the Lagos in the Warren…if the Integrated hive mind is no longer maintaining those directives, bodes well."
Spyboy: "I'd say the persuasion…has a chance of success, at least."
Abraham: "Then we should at least try it."
Spyboy: "Before we go to the Nephilim homeworlds, or after?"
Zinda: :Let's do this now. "
Zinda: "I have too much hardware down on Mu Cephei, and I don't want that *thing* assimilating it."
Spyboy: "I absolutely hate to do this, but I agree with Zinda. If we can make Elles an unambiguous ally, she'd be very useful in Nephilim space."
Abraham: "Then we are all agreed. Because I would definitely rather not leave her… unattended."
Spyboy: "Last two questions. Should we get the Nephilim started on repairing White, or wait?"
[OOC] Abraham: Now all that's needed is for Kali to agree with Spyboy and the circle will be closed.
Spyboy: "And should we head strait back to the Roland, or detour via White to ensure the survivability of Chandley is still believed to be lacking?"
Spyboy: "…Actually, we established at Grissom that we had shields capable of sustaining Chandley's radiation, so…"
Zinda: "Let's go back through White."
Abraham: "Yes."
Zinda: "I don't want people asking why we're jumping through the Chandley gate."
Spyboy considers. Given that the people of Grissom saw his last drone jump back through the gate, operational but damaged by what looked like conventional weapons…well. Genie's probably already out of the bottle.
[OOC] Zinda: Just go.
[OOC] Spyboy: I'm gonna assume that Abraham's response was 'get the Nephilim started on White.
Spyboy: "…Well, radiation issues aside, I suppose we had best warn the Dakkas that we're going to be letting the Nephilim open the gate at White."
Spyboy readds the Nephilim workers to the datanet.
Zinda: "Uh"
Spyboy: "I apologize for the silence. We were conferring amongst ourselves and had some spirited discussions."
Zinda: "We still don't have a solution for the gravity spears…"
Spyboy: "I believe the Nephilim turned them off."
Spyboy: "Am I correct?"
Spyboy: "And with the White stabilizer intact and then some, they are not needed."
Zinda: "Just…make sure they don't come back."
StarWorker: "These spears as you say, were turned off by your say."
[OOC] Spyboy: "You see, Zinda? The Nephilim aren't 100% bad, only 99.8%."
StarWorker: "That which generated them heeded your behest. At least, we are told it was your request."
StarWorker: "They will not soon return, unless your orders you overturn."
Zinda: "Alright. Michael, just make…do the thing."
Spyboy blinks
Spyboy: "Admiral, by your command…"
[OOC] Spyboy: Consider that buck PASSED.
Abraham: "Do it."
[OOC] Spyboy: Damnit.
Spyboy addresses the Nephilim… but hesitates first.
Spyboy: "What do you call yourselves?"
StarWorker: "Like all Nephilim, we call ourselves Nephilim."
Spyboy: "Copy that. Nephilim, we recommend that rather than building a wormhole stabilizer from scratch here, you instead proceed to the system there, which has a wormhole stabilizer with some damage due to entropy and a set of inhibitors on it."
StarWorker: "But…our order is to transform this star, not to wander off so far."
Spyboy: "Do the Abrahim's orders not supersede those others?"
Abraham: "I admit to being a bit curious about that myself."
StarWorker: "At last, you give us an order. And so you embrace your rejected order."
Spyboy: "…I see."
Abraham: "I wouldn't say I was 'embracing' anything."
StarWorker: "Abrahim you are, though we are told you hesitate. Now please can you do what else you must do, without more wait?"
The workers cease causing the star to pulse. It starts settling back to what appears to be more natural behavior.
Spyboy: "…We can get started, anyway…"
That done, they begin heading for the jump point to White.
Spyboy: "Admiral, I recommend we preceed them."
Abraham: "Right."
Outpacing the workers in combat-capable fighters is about as difficult as, in atmosphere, supersonic fightercraft outpacing cargo jets.
[OOC] WC GM: Presuming you do head to White now? Or is there anything else first?
[OOC] Abraham: To Wight!
[OOC] WC GM: And now to write your trip to White…or it is now time to turn off the autorhyme.
White is as you left it, at first glance. No major activity is immediately detected; where to head is up to you.
Spyboy: "Admiral Dakka, this is Admiral Bounty's party, do you copy?"
Dakka: "We copy. What's the situation?"
Spyboy pauses.
Spyboy switches to the local communications network.
Spyboy: "Admiral, should we transport the Dakkaclan to somewhere else where they can gather sufficient material to rebuild their carrier?"
Spyboy: "We could use the backup…"
Spyboy: "Depending on what happens."
Abraham: "Yes. I very much like the idea of 'backup'. It appeals to me."
Spyboy: "Copy that."
Spyboy switches back to long range radio.
Spyboy: "Admiral, what would it take to transport you to a place where you could finish rebuilding your carrier?"
Dakka: "More than those fighters. Can you get the Roland in here? That would do it."
[OOC] Abraham: Yeah, it's gotta be obnoxious when you're talking to two admirals in the same room.
[OOC] Metis: Isn't it three? Doesn't Kali count?
[OOC] WC GM: And how many Dakkas?
[OOC] Spyboy: Spyboy wouldn't count Kali.
[OOC] Metis: Only Dakka Prime received a commission, I would expect.
Spyboy: "We'll arrange for transport, then. In the meantime, be advised, that…alien technical experts are going to be reactivating the Ring. We…"
Spyboy: "We will be attempting diplomacy."
[OOC] Spyboy: What's the name of Dakka's ship?
[OOC] Metis: The Waterloo, I think?
[OOC] Spyboy: Good enough.
Spyboy: "We would like the Waterloo's assistance if things do not go as we hope."
Dakka: "We'll need a new power source to make a new Waterloo."
Dakka: "The last one didn't take anyone out, fortunately, but it's resting in pieces."
Spyboy: "I'll set up a data link and you can send us the requirements. We'll be making a pass through Armstrong, so we should be able to get whatever you need."
Zinda volunteers to escort the transport.
Spyboy switches back to local
Spyboy: "Really, Zinda? You'd rather escort Dakka than help us neutralize Elles?"
[OOC] Zinda: Derp derp
Dakka: "Standard build list? Been a while. Here, here's the recipe we started from."
[OOC] Zinda: Thought we were just picking him up from the ring.
[OOC] Spyboy: Alas, no. If no transports are on the ring, we'll have to send one back from Grissom…if available…and from the Roland if not.
[OOC] Spyboy: And…did Dakka just give me a data connection? MUAHAHAHA…
The transmitted list is remarkably similar to what a shipyard would need to build a Yorktown, assuming it had the ability to fabricate the subcomponents from scratch.
[OOC] WC GM: Yes. Connecting to a trusting theoretically-ConFed terminal.
[OOC] WC GM: What exactly do you do with it?
[OOC] Spyboy: 'sokay. The important thing is I have his passwords. But then, I picked them up from the last Waterloo, so whatever.
[OOC] Zinda: You should accidentally slip those designs to Zinda
[OOC] Zinda: She can make use of them.
[OOC] WC GM: The password on the list is "Waterloo". But then, it's only nominally encrypted, practically meant for anyone able to listen in to crack. The trick is, only the party and the Dakkas are known able to listen in.
[OOC] Spyboy: She certainly can. But Zinda has been doing everything she can to get herself listed in Spyboy's book as 'enemy of the state,' since he is still a Confed officer.
[OOC] WC GM: It was a broadcast to the party. Zinda has the list if she wants them. This is not quite the same as the designs, though…but then, Zinda has designs for the Roland.
[OOC] Zinda: Zinda collects designs.
Zinda saves the design for later reproduction in Oldziey shipyards.
Spyboy slightly alters Zinda's copies to ensure some hidden-yet-exploitable weaknesses
[OOC] Zinda: Ruuuuude
[OOC] Spyboy: I gotta play Jade Empire again.
[OOC] Abraham: Oh come on Zinda, every decent superhero has to have a weakness. On the Comic Book Code Authority.
[OOC] Spyboy: "I am honored that you have kept to the fundamentals I have taught you. INCLUDING THE FLAWS."
[OOC] Zinda: Hahaha.
[OOC] Abraham: Ouch. Salt in wound. Still sore they never made that sequel.
[OOC] Spyboy: Yeah. =/
[OOC] Zinda: Well, it's not a big deal. Her stunt is called 'highly iterative design' for a reason.
[OOC] Spyboy: To wit: Spyboy knows that there's a strong chance that any Yorktowns that Zinda builds will quite possibly be used against the confed navy, hence the weaknesses he adds…but will quite possibly be used against the mutual Nephilim or other enemy…hence the hidden.
[OOC] Metis: Zinda doesn't want to make a Yorktown. She just wants to add the Yorktown schems to her list of achievements.
[OOC] Abraham: I had no idea Zinda was so concerned about her Steam user score.
[OOC] Metis: Zinda annex all.
[OOC] Zinda: Basically yeah
[OOC] Zinda: They're for use as a reference for a future capital fleet.
Spyboy: "In any case, Admiral, if we can't transport you with what we have, we'll be proceeding on to Grissom. Are there any other messages you need us to relay?"
[OOC] Spyboy: Also, how easy/hard will it be for us to provide Dakka with the power plant he needs?
Dakka: "Nah. We'll get our messages through when we're there."
[OOC] WC GM: If you're going all the way back to Armstrong? Trivial.
[OOC] Spyboy: I suppose it was too much to hope that Dakka would just give me his private messages as well, but so be it!
[OOC] WC GM: He knows better. And/or he might not have any.
Spyboy: "Understood. Task Force Bounty, clear."
[OOC] Metis: But probably, he knows better.
[OOC] Spyboy: Have to pass through Armstrong to get to Mu Cephei.
Abraham waits until Dakka is off the channel "Task Force Bounty?"
[OOC] WC GM: Actually, spoilers: he doesn't have any message traffic to tap. Abraham could guess as much.
[OOC] Spyboy: Not really a surprise, given that he only talks to himself.
[OOC] Spyboy: And he's all local.
[OOC] WC GM: He talks to himself, with all the sanity that implies.
Spyboy: "…I suppose you're right, Admiral. With three fighters, we're a flight, not a task force."
Zinda: "Pfft."
Zinda: "I'm a task force."
Abraham: "Yes. That is definitely why I asked."
[OOC] Abraham: He just has a penchant for intelligent conversation.
Spyboy: "I wouldn't call you a task force, Zinda, so much as tasking."
[OOC] Abraham: We seem to be winding down. Logend soon?
[OOC] WC GM: Since we're about at time - logend as you head back Grissom - Armstrong - Mu Cephei? Do you send the Roland to pick up the Dakkas, or take the Roland with you?
[OOC] Abraham: Roland comes with us
[OOC] Spyboy: Taking Roland with us, sending shuttles back to pick up the Dakkas. Seems to be the biggest concentration of parts to build a Yorktown would be a Yorktown. Plus the Roland has a lot of secrets we don't want Dakka seeing.
[OOC] WC GM: Alright. Shuttles ferry the Dakkas all the way back to Armstrong, then?
[OOC] Abraham: Yeah. I don't want to give Dakka any chances at my Gmail password.
[OOC] WC GM: Or if not, where do you drop the Dakkas?
[OOC] Spyboy: If Grissom will work for them, that will work for us; if they have to ferry Dakka and can't do it in one run that seems like a lot of trips.
[OOC] WC GM: They can salvage what they need on Grissom.

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