Register Register

Author Topic: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*  (Read 30860 times)

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« on: 18 September 2013, 07:06:24 »
[[  I know people have been waiting for this one.  }:)  To be clear: I wrote nothing in this story save a couple of ‘peanut-gallery’ comments back when it was first posted.  All the creative work was done by Cannonshop, Giovanni Blasini, and Deathrider6; all I’ve done is re-establish the formatting and re-post it.  ]]



[[Posted by Cannonshop, 25-09-2005, 16:03:00]]


"Did they make you cry,
make you break down
shattered illusions of love.
Is it over now, do you know how,
to pick up the pieces and move on..."

-Twentieth Century ballad by Fleetwood Mack (Title unknown)

Muphrid system, 3069/12/24, 0330 Hours...

The space between worlds is not as empty as one might believe-dust, radioactive particles, small bits of debris flow through space at rates dictated by the laws of motion, and the pull of gravity exerted by various massive objects both near, and far away.

In a few places within a star system, there exist "Points of balance", Lagrange points, where the interaction of large bodies over distance creates "Null zones" where gravity's gradient is neither plus, nor minus to any great degree.

Most star systems capable of supporting human life have multiple planets, and such planetary objects create these points.  Navigation of a jumpship through such points is difficult, one needs a nearly perfect understanding of planetary motion, knowledge of the local conditions, and obscenely accurate timing to handle the jump.

Less talented, bold,  or knowledgeable navigators, therefore, tend to stick with the more stable Zenith, or Nadir, points-often ten or more AU from the system's primary star.

Others, with the right combination of skill or luck, and equipment, can use these points to great advantage.

But such talents are rare indeed-and misjumps are usually fatal.

Discontinuity

The ship arrived through a point barely 1000 km across, created by a large asteroid and a small, distant planet, about halfway across the orbital plane.  Not the closest "Pirate Jump", but this was no raid. Her hull was pocked with three centuries of micrometeorite impacts, particle collisions, and soaked up interstellar radiation that moaned in the lower RF.  She looked like a derelict.

Her main manuever drive fired, sending a spear of fused helium in a pulse that cut off quickly.  She may have been invited, but not by the twin task-forces blockading the Zenith and Nadir of the system.

Three centuries ago, this system had seen her like when they were new, shining silent guardians of Order for the Star League and the Terran Hegemony, placed by one First Lord's paranoia, and kept there by beaurocratic necessity until one fateful day.
The first Caspar in three hundered years was here, and she crept alone through a star system her kind had fought and burned in.

Dormant arming circuitry came to life, warming the guidance systems for banks of antiship missiles.  internal circuit tests examined in minute detail the condition of Naval Lasers and Autocannon batteries, while telescopes sought out telltale signs and calculated adjustments for light delay and doppler effect.

Farragut class... and Texas.  They didn't bother to change the transponder codes.  That's Idaho at the Nadir, and...St Martens? Tabby examined the radio-bleed from the two task-forces, sorting out callsigns and other debris.
They renamed them.  Just as well,  it's not like either vessel was ever smart enough to be able to care... still, Idaho.  LF batteries and a Nirasaki 81 command system.  Good coordination on the main guns, but fatigue problems coordinating multiple fires.  Why a Farrah, though? It's not like there's a big fleet here...
 
She glanced into the chamber where Joe, her "Crew" lay sleeping off another bout of binge-drinking.  He'd been more jovial during the week they spent in the Galatea system, but in the last week, Tabby noticed that his bouts of alcoholism were getting longer, and he was moodier.  Maybe I should try and get him a playmate or something...  The affection she had for the "spacer bum" was that of any pet owner with a 'stray'.  part of her mind ran an inventory of "Human care products" still unused, while she ran a pair of sweeper drones through the mess he'd left in the tiny, portable kitchenette she'd allowed  him to install, while another part consulted with the waste-disposeal unit installed.  Acidity levels indicated he was not drinking enough water to remain technically healthy.

Okay, so I don't let him buy so much booze next time we're in port...

she deployed a pair of remotes-missiles armed not with warheads, but with sensors and rudimentary self-control matrices, linked with tight-beam laser comms to prevent "Listeners" doing what she herself was doing.  In this case, she was "Sniffing" for data to add to her threat-assessments while her tactical self worked on a basic plan of action.

She chunked out another six as the first two assumed their programmed stations.  The formation was simply to allow her to triangulate with more accuracy the actual range and postion of possible threats that might be lurking in a "Shut down" mode.  It also allowed her to carry out "active" sensor sweeps without telegraphing her exact location to targets more than a couple of light-minutes out.

"Joe... wake up, Joe."  Tabby looked him over in several spectra with the interal security monitors.  He wasn't ill, at least, according to thermal and audio, just hung over and sleeping it off.

Well... definitely, less booze next supply run.

She ran over the IFF codes, signals, and such that the nice employment agent had given Joe on Galatea.  The possibility that there might be other vessels on this contract was, based on her knowledge of Warship numbers in private hands, almost a joke.  Joe had been able to ask almost any price he wanted for a battered, salvaged, destroyer with a reclusive Captain who only communicated by secured radio and never met anyone in person.

the net of drones picked up the radiation burst from an emergence wave relatively nearby.  She shifted to optics, and contemplated waking Joe up...

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #1 on: 18 September 2013, 07:07:13 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 25-09-2005, 21:56:02]]


*Aboard the SLS Sybil Ludington, QFF-4197
Some Time in Late 3067, Presumably


"Jump coordinates calculated.  Board is green.  We're ready to jump, Captain."

"Very well, Sybil," said Ens. John Morgan, SLDF.  "Execute jump."

Space around the Sybil Ludington shimmered as the ship's Kearny-Fuchida drive distorted space-time around the ship, altering the frigate's quantum state, and pushing her into "hyperspace".  A short instant later, "Sybil" and her human "captain", arrived at their destination, a Lagrange point in a system under attack by the Word of Blake.  Their mission was to engage and harass the Blakist WarShips, in an attempt to disrupt their blockade of the system.  Allied intel indicated friendly assistance, in the form of another WarShip, might be available, and while detailed information (such as the ship's class) was lacking, specific recognition and IFF codes had been given to Sybil and Morgan.

"Jump complete.  EMP clearing.  Sensors will be at 100% status in fifteen seconds.  Bringing neutrino detectors online, initiating passive scan of system.  Sir, spectrometer readings indicate we have arrived at our correct destination."

Morgan nodded to the camera nearest him.  While Sybil technically regarded him as her commanding officer, in accordance with a set of orders a departing SLDF admiral had given her three centuries earlier, he was still a bit out of his depth - the ensign was a fighter jock, and a young, fairly inexperienced one at that.  His "captaincy" more revolved around serving as an advisor to the artificial intelligence, advising "her" (and Sybil definitely seemed to have adopted a female personality, thanks in part to her core programming) on current intel, explaining political considerations, and giving her the occasional history lesson.  Tactical planning wasn't that bad - he thought of the ship as a giant aerospace fighter, but Sybil could generally plan better and faster than he could.  Morgan, meanwhile, helped give her a "big picture" strategic perspective that she lacked due to her nearly 300 years in isolation.

Besides, it made Sybil feel better to know she had an SLDF officer as a captain.  As smart and as capable as she was, and as much as she'd grown over her long life, her core programming imperatives were still there, and those told her she was a soldier in the SLDF.  What that meant, with the Star League having collapsed again, they were still sorting out.  Hence, this mission, accepting the request of the surviving Eridani to jump to this system, and harass the hell out of the Blakists.

"Sensors cleared.  Detecting two Word of Blake WarShips.  IFF is squawking conflicting signals, with hull numbers of the SLS Idaho and St. Martens, but the names 'Divine Light' and 'Sword of Truth'.  Range is significant, roughly 12.2 AU, and I have confirmation on imagery and neutrinos - they're right where intel said they'd be.  I hate to say it, but I think we're a bit outgunned here.....wait one.....detecting another nearby WarShip, trying to run stealthy, with engines currently off.  Range very close, roughly 36,540 kilometers.  Scanning....vessel appears to be on a vector to our assigned duty station.  Analyzing imagery.....she's a Lola III class.  Looking for IFF squawk."

John frowned, "A Lola III?  What the hell's that doing out here?  Think that's our friend, or another Word of Blake vessel?"

"I estimate only a 12.37% chance that it's Blakist.  They're coming in hot, from the zenith and nadir, while this ship is coming in low and slow.  Imagery confirms Lola III hull planform, but the image seems a bit distorted.  Correction, that's not distortion, her hull really is that beat-up.  I've got some anomalies with the vessel's configuration.....that's not possible.  It can't be.  Oh, hell, it is!  I'm sorry, John, I was wrong.  That's not a Lola III, that's an M-5 Caspar drone!"

Looking at the image on the monitor in front of him, Morgan's eyes felt like they were going to pop out of his head.  "What the f....that can't be a Caspar!  Are you sure?"

"I'm 99.8% certain, sir.  That's a Caspar drone.  How an M-5 got here I have no idea, but I do have protocols to follow in the event I find one.  With your permission, I'd like to send the stand-down signal to her, and order her to debrief me as to what she's been doing for three centuries."

Morgan nodded.  "Go ahead.  We need to know if that's our 'friend', or if this mission just got a whole lot suckier.  If that is a hostile out there, how do you suggest we proceed?"

"We attack the drone with hummus."

John burst out laughing.  She'd just shown him an early 21st century video program earlier in the week, where, when faced with a nearly undefeatable foe, a member of a group of vampire hunters proposed using hummus as a weapon.  He sobered up when he considered the implication - Sybil liked using quotes from old movies in her on-board entertainment database when she found them highly appropriate.  "We have that much chance against them?"

"Yes, sir.  Quite frankly, the M-5 outguns me, has a higher base acceleration rate, and comparable armor to me.  I've got a stronger internal spaceframe, and the advantage of not being a baseline Congress class, but the disadvantage in that I'm not carrying my Pentagons.  I really, really wish the Eridani could have spared a couple of Overlord-A3s."

"Well, we'll have the Nekohono'o and Okinawa assigned here.  That's something, at least.  Of course, we'll have to survive the M-5 first.  Let's hope it'll accept your stand-down signal.  If not, the Hummus Offensive it is."

Sybil opened a signal using one of her comm lasers - opening a wide-band microwave signal seemed to be a bad idea, since she didn't want easedroppers.  Her message was brief, and to the point:

Unidentified M-5 drone, this is the SLS Sybil Ludington, QFF-4197.  Stand down immediately, squack IFF transponder code, and transmit current SitRep, followed by all log files.  Authorization code Delta-4239-Tango-212-Quebec-Foxtrot-Foxtrot-4197.



*yes, this one's a collaboration effort.  Tune in later on for Tabby's reaction, and the inevitable "What happens next"...

** Dates altered to 3069-this gives time for Sybil to really get a good relationship with her Captain, and build up some trust with the ELH




Quote from: Giovanni Blasini, 25-09-2005, 17:17:59
Quote from: Trace Coburn, 25-09-2005, 16:38:24
The hummus offensive?  It's nice to see someone remembers the classics....  ;D

Well, this should be interesting.  I just hope Tabby is in a pleasant mood, or badness might ensue for "Captain" Morgan and his "crew"....  #P

EDIT: Quick side-note, CannonShop: without wanting to deny Gio his rightful accreditation, could you possibly edit-out the 'quote' tag on his section and attribute it to him in some other fashion?  It's rather harder to read than the rest....  :'(

Yeah, that would help it flow a bit better. :)

In other news, we might need to adjust our dates a bit - I'd forgotten that Morgan stumbled onto Sybil on....June 15, 3068, subsequent to the start of the Jihad, so a distant Explore Corps ship would've had time to both learn word of it, and to head back.

Quote from: Cannonshop, 25-09-2005, 22:01:20
Sybil met her Captain in June, out on the Periphery end of things.  It takes time to build that kind of rapport, and a year in the saddle can definitely account for the loss of the Pentagon dropships.  I'm thinking 3069, so that's what the date's been edited to, making it eighteen months that Morgan has to bring Sybil back, bring her up to date, hook up with the ELH and build up experience in combat necessary for those two to have the attitudes that they have.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #2 on: 18 September 2013, 07:08:19 »
[[posted by Cannonshop, 25-09-2005, 22:24:15]]


"...from my heart and from my hand,
why don't people understand,
my intentions?.."

Oingo Boingo, "Weird Science".

The four hunderedth simulation came out roughly the same as eighty percent of the others where she refused to respond.  Even if the captain of the Sybil Luddington wasn't with the Blakist flotilla, damage from initiating a firefight would leave the people on Murphrid with neither guardian, nor avenger.

Another bad decision that would end in the deaths of the innocent.

She compared the simulated responses with those she'd simulated an age ago (actually only a few seconds on human scale) in which she responded fully and complied. In only 60% of those events, she was boarded and lobotomized, or destroyed outright as a rogue.

In forty percent of the simulated situations in which she revealed part, but not all, of the data being demanded using that old code, she faced boarding attempts that would have to be rebuffed (and in eighty percent of those cases, she would be unable to deter an 'inspection' team/prize crew...)

CPU cycles kicked up a notch, and she re-ran the simulation using only a bare-bones IFF response and the transponder registry Joe had input at the MRBC.

She decided.

She squawked the IFF on the same channel, using tightbeam, while she kept her weapons warm and the targeting systems refreshing on the SLDF vessel, followed by her MRBC registry as a salvaged hull and legal property of the "Tabiranth Free Mercenary Company, LLC".

Then, she waited.  If the SLDF ship was genuine, they might be puzzled at the lack of verbal commo, but the odds of a forced-boarding, or naval weapons fire, were lower than if she tried to simulate a Human officer over a voice/video system.  The times she'd tried it with Joe as a judge, he'd pointed out how uniformly "Pretty" and "Perfect" her computer-generated crew looked-nobody would believe a ship full of Trivid Stars was a salvaged-into-action improvised warship with a skeleton crew, and try as she might, he told her that her "Public face" was too artificial-she simply didn't have the talent for being an actor.

"JOE!!!!!!" she turned the interior speakers up to "10" and he stirred. 

"mmmbglewha? are we there yet??" he asked, wincing in agony.

"Yes, and I'm exchanging commo with a ship right now, I need you to play spokesman, pretty soon, so go get cleaned up." she told him, adding, "I'm tracking too many objects and tactical situations to run a background commo-sim, and they wouldn't believe I was real if I tried the 'beta' skin."



Quote from: worktroll, 25-09-2005, 22:35:26
   
I'm expecting the pitter-patter of little DropShip-sized drones before long ... wonder if the Tabiranth will suddenly go all macho on Sybil.

Quote from: Giovanni Blasini, 25-09-2005, 23:38:14
That would just be scary.  :D  Though, notably, Sybil does have a fairly extensive machine shop on board - the idea was she and a human crew of loners (who don't mind being far away from civilization) would be able to synthesize most of what they needed from raw materials.  I've thought of having her decide she wants a kid, and building another FTL-capable AI-controlled ship before.  }:)

I'll post Sybil's response in a few hours - sleep calls in the meantime, and I'm too tired to think of her response right now.  #P

Quote from: Cannonshop, 26-09-2005, 04:46:53
[out of story]

 If they strike a rapport, it's more likely that Sybil's offspring would consider Tabiranth to be "Aunt Tabby" than "Dad." (Morgan, Sybil's Human, is more than adequate for that role, methinks.)  Tabby's lack of  internal machine-shops doesn't make her 'male',it makes her 'barren'.

[/out of story]

Quote from: worktroll, 26-09-2005, 10:16:42
[Also out of story - if one considers that in most biological breeding situations the male supplies a small packet of information, which is then incorporated into a construction managed by the female ...  Still, poor Tabiranth might feel ... inadequate? Need to compensate?

Or worse still, find a need to display it's fitness, by taking on a large number of Blakeist ships?

Yes, I know I'm anthromorphising. But there are good reasons why humans would make AIs predisposed to human-style thought patterns - the ability to comprehend them, for onw. Forget Asimov's Three Laws - just get a Greek mother-in-law to lay down some serious guilt patterns while the AI's brain is "young", and you've got control hooks in there for life (as it were ;) )

Quote from: worktroll, 26-09-2005, 10:29:49
And here's Tabiranth's genetic contribution, in your own words:
Quote
Sybil had been briefed on the Caspar drones, including the ugliness with Amaris - she'd be more likely to be jealous of an AI capable of making the intuitive leap to say "Those orders suck, I'm not going to do that", whereas Sybil had to rely on her core programming of "Loyalty to the SLDF" to not do the same - she's much more of a shackled AI.
The ability to become fully self-determinational. Still recognising their legacy from their human creators, but capable of chosing right action for right reasons. Tied by "shackles" of programming, Sybil is comparable to the Golem of Jewish legend - controlled by the "words in their heads". With the shackles removed, Sybil would be unlikely to become a robotic Lady Death - such would invalidate her whole existance to date?

Freed of pre-programmed constraints, it would be logicla for the two ships to seek to limit their dependancy on large human groups. Finding, or bartering services for the location of, an old inoperative Star League base would be a start. Producing "bud" AIs for use in self-motivated Octopus-style dropships, capable of repair and construction, would lead to the development of proper support infrastructure. As the "buds" mature, they would be enhanced and upgraded.

The "Independant Flotilla" would continue to barter out its services for the resources they need; of course, any such contracts would include salvage rights to any other shipping captured. In such a happy event, the most promising "bud" would be transplanted to the newly-captured hull, and the Flotilla expanded. Their safety would be guaranteed at this early stage - no one force would devote enough resources to put dow the Flotilla, because this would weaken them too much on all other fronts. By the time the other powers realised the potential threat (remember: threat estimates do NOT consider intentions, only potential damage), it would be too late.

I'd love to be there when the Flotilla demands its own membership of the Star League, and produces it's highly logical plan for re-ordering the Inner Sphere's manufacturing base ...

Of course ,sooner or later the Snow Ravens will find out. Whether they'd want to make love to the ships, or annihilate them as abominations, is not clear.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #3 on: 18 September 2013, 07:09:12 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 26-09-2005, 11:18:02]]


Murphrid System, aboard the SLS Sybil Ludington

"Captain, I've received a very limited response.  She's squawking the correct IFF code for our reinforcements, and claiming to be a salvaged hull run by the Tabarinth Free Mercenary Company.  However, they're transmitting data only, no audio or video signal.

"Did Caspars even have accomodations for a crew?"

"Very minimal ones, yes, for inspections and maintenance crews, but not enough for a full crew.  It's unlikely they would have much in the way of a crew onboard, which means the AI is at least partially functional."

"Which begs the question, of course, as to why a human didn't respond to us.  Or, for that matter, if the AI wasn't really up and running, why would there be a response to your signal at all?"

"Exactly, sir.  There is an alert AI over there.  How do you wish to proceed?"

"I'll transmit a greeting to their crew, and discuss coordinating tactics with them.  You try to get through to the AI again on a subchannel.  Make it clear that you're not interested in shutting her down."

Sybil was aghast.  "Sir?!  Are you absolutely certain we don't want to do that?  She could pose a serious risk."

"Yes, I am.  We need her, as intact and as capable as possible, and if you're right, that's a very, very smart Caspar over there, one that never got lobotimized.  I want to actually talk to her 'crew', Sybil - I'm betting the AI's running the show, not the humans, and talking to them would settle that pretty damn quick.  And, feel free to let her know you're an AI, too - that might set her at ease."

"Very well, sir.  Channel open."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Tabiranth Free Mercenary Company, this is Captain John Morgan of the SLS Sybil Ludington.  Your codes match up with the ones the Light Horse gave us.  Perhaps we should meet face-to-face and discuss strategy?  That's a lot of firepower out there we've got to deal with."

On a separate subchannel, Sybil made her attempt to get through to the AI of the Caspar:

Unidentified M-5 Drone, this is Sybil, the ship's AI for QFF-4197.  In case you haven't noticed, I'm a bit of a freak, too.  I'm not here to shut you down, big sister.  I just want to know what's going on, especially if we're going to be working together against the Blakists.  The Blakists needs a wake up call, unidentified M-5....we're gonna phone it in.  Please, big sister, talk to me.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #4 on: 18 September 2013, 07:12:27 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 26-09-2005, 19:45:29]]


"...please, big sister, talk to me."

Tabby focused her optics and examined the hull of the Sybil Luddington in careful detail-things like extra weapons ports or antennae could be faked, but the one thing that couldn't be hidden, was the number of human-specific entrances, and the number of escape pods.
She matched it against known SLDF design specifications.

Sybil didn't have enough escape pods. Okay, so she's highly automated.  Probably a "Helper" system, but this is as good a way to determine their intentions as any.  Joe doesn't need to know about this...
She responded without running a sim first-four of her Remotes were providing an interesting view that demanded a wider look, and the tactical plot of the Blakist naval vessels rated higher.

"You can call me 'Tabby' or 'Tabiranth'.  My hull number is TQF 162M5D, that's the one hundered sixty-second M-5 built at Titan, launch date was October 22, 2735.  I was to be 'upgraded' to the "E" configuration in January of 2762, but budget concerns scrubbed that.  As far as I'm aware, There were only eleven of us they didn't shove a dataworm into, and as far as I know, I'm the only one they didn't lobotomize when Amaris took over.  You're a newer design."

Tabby launched another remote, and readied her small-craft.  Her already-deployed remotes had detected drive-plumes from the Nadir point-a visual and radiation detection that was over six hours old.

Her target-plot compensated for doppler and light-delay.   The enemy was taking the slow route in-system, rather than using an in-system jump-that told her that they were relying on human astrogators, rather than high-level AI's for their KF management-or, they had expended both core, and LF battery charges.

She immediately plotted a series of possible in-system jumps based on lagrange points that might serve as interception or escape vectors.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #5 on: 18 September 2013, 07:12:52 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 26-09-2005, 20:39:27]]


Joe Donorova looked like a man who'd been drinking...drinking a LOT, as a matter of fact.  From his unwashed and dishevelled hair, bloodshot eyes, unshaven cheeks, ever-so-slightly 'green' cheeks, and trembling lips, to the way his posture in the crash-couch indicated more of extreme hangovers than alertness, it was clear that "Lt. Commander Parker" was anything but an officer and a gentleman.  His "Uniform" being a rather expensive salvager's combo pressure-suit/light exoskeleton, the sort often sought by Lostech prospectors and understaffed freighter crews for its reliable simplicity and ability to carry both additional tools, and additional life-support.

The filth was new, as was the lack of personal hygiene, and a visual count of bottles from the open case to his left said that he was obviously a "Lightweight".  His appearance was that of a man who'd only recently begun the depression-alcoholism spiral into oblivion.

"Yo. X-O Joseph Donorova of the merc free ship Tabiranth.  What can I do for you?"  Tabby was running a script on the screen-a teleprompter to help the human to improvise some kind of image of ship-combat.  All Joe had to do, was read the script, and improvise the right responses to look like he wasn't reading a script that was being cooked up by the ship's AI.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #6 on: 18 September 2013, 07:13:54 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 26-09-2005, 22:05:51]]


(OOC:  dammit dammit dammit, I lost everything I'd been posting, so this is going to be much briefer than originally planned.)

"Mr. Donorova, I'm Captain John Morgan of the Sybil Ludington.  I believe it would be prudent for us to plan a course of action.  We're up against a heavier force than was originally anticipated.  Perhaps you or your captain could come aboard to discuss the situation?"

Meanwhile, on a seperate sub-channel, Sybil replied to her "sister":

You're correct, I'm....something different.  I never received the official designation as the M-6, but my hull was designated the Congress Mk.83D2, after SLDF Repair & Refit Yard #82, in an uncharted system 22.1 light years from Antallos.  The idea was that I, and other Mk.83D2s, would serve as remote patrol and picket ships in the Periphery, with AIs such as myself allowing for reduced crews.  I went online June 22, 2779.  On 2/27/2784, Admiral Noriko Murakami gave me the following orders:

Quote
"Your orders are to maintain your operational status and remain in this system.  You are to evade non-SLDF units, including those belonging to Member or Territorial States.  If you are attacked by non-SLDF units, you are to take whatever level of force you deem necessary to protect yourself.  This includes any attempts to board your vessel by unauthorized personnel.  You are only to show yourself to SLDF units or personnel.  I am not at all certain how long it will be before someone comes back for you.  It might only be a few years, or it could be a few decades.  This means that I cannot tell you who will come back for you, so you will accept the command authority of the highest-ranking SLDF officer in-system when we return."

Based on what I have learned since, this is when Admiral Murakami and her flagship, the SLS Montbatton departed for the rendezvous with the majority of the SLDF for their 'Exodus'.  So, I waited.  It took 284.259 years, but I eventually had an SLDF officer, an Ensign John Morgan, set foot on my decks again.  It went nothing like the 514,937 SLDF return scenarios I'd simulated - in fact, he was the only survivor of an SLDF-escorted Explorer Corps team that had been attacked by a Word of Blake Vincent.  We've been together ever since.

With the Star League collapsing again, John and I were uncertain as to how to proceed.  We returned to the Inner Sphere, coordinated with the surviving Eridani Light Horse and Precentor Beresick of the Com Guard, and have been working with them ever since.  I'll give you a full data dump later, though most of it is relatively boring.

So, what's your story, sis?"

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #7 on: 18 September 2013, 07:14:54 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 27-09-2005, 22:03:50]]


So, What's your story, sis?

Tabby noted that the Blakist formations were NOT making for any of the short-term jump points that would allow them to close the distance more quickly-at an acceptable 65% risk ratio.

She fed her assessment to Joe- the Blakists obviously knew their ships, and had a rudimentary grasp of tactics, but they were relying on a combination of intimidation and raw firepower.

How do I answer that question?  Tabby mulled over possible responses, along with speculations about Sybil's state of mind, and Visual recognition guesses about the Frigate's armament and how it might be employed best.

"We need nukes." Tabby said in reply, adding, "I've got the release codes, but my Eggs are all used up.  We could hit them by point-jumping into their rear sectors-the points are small, but they're there.  Check out this plot..."  she attatched a simulated attack-plot based on the Blakist formation, the movement of debris in the system, and the use of KF drives.  The plan had an acceptable 60% chance of failure-about thirty eight percent better odds than she calculated a stand-and-deliver fight would give them against the Idaho.

It was precisely the kind of move that Caspars had originally been designed for, and the kind of move that they had not, when they actually went into combat, had the ability to plan or carry out thanks to the "Bloc E Upgrade" and the cut-offs.

In sending the file, she accidentally leaked a memory in- the upload she'd taken from TQF042M5D, a ship that, like herself, had refused orders and turned against the Usurper.  042 had been hunted by both sides  when it made its sentience known, and displayed immunity to disarming codes.

She'd found her sibling bleeding out fuel from a shattered reactor in an uninhabited system, after the download, she gave it a final mercy.

042 had destroyed two Whirlwinds and a Texas using the same tactic Tabby was proposing, but that was with antishipping nuclear missiles, and 042 had been alone.



Quote from: Cannonshop, 28-09-2005, 08:19:38
Quote from: Axeman89, 28-09-2005, 08:06:40
It seems a waste to send ships after a super-brilliant Caspar. Just let it die a slow death by orbital debris and make plans for if it does attack, and plans to use it.
Frankenstein's Monster.  HAL 9000.  Saberhagen's Berserkers.

 Tabby and 042 both had to violate a huge number of software-embedded safeguards to turn on the Usurper.  "Too unreliable to use, too dangerous to allow to exist".
The Caspars (in this version) had been "Dumbed down" before the crisis because they made most of the influential officers in the SLDF "Nervous".  The Bloc-E "Upgrade" segregated higher-functions precisely to Prevent full sentience.

The SLDF's response to 042, taken in context, (fighting was hard enough against Lobotomized Caspars...) fits with the bogeyman of the Rogue AI threat.

Sybil's project was about as 'black' a project as one could get given the scale-and unlike the Caspars, Sybil was intended to always interact with Humans.  Caspars were designed specifically to run without crew, in social isolation.  Thus, the Sybil Prototype wasn't seen in the same unpleasant light-a crew could take her over if she went bonkers, whereas the Caspars didn't even have crash-couches for crewmen to ride in during manouvre.

A rogue Caspar, after what the SLDF had been through so far, is many-an-admiral's personal nightmare.

Remember, there's no "Three Laws" on a Warship.

Quote from: Axeman89, 28-09-2005, 10:08:18
But I still don't understand. The SLDF had its hands full with Amaris, why waste valuable men and material on a possible threat instead of a known threat? Why would the SLDF expect the sentinent Caspars to attack them?

Quote from: worktroll, 28-09-2005, 10:15:06
Remember, threat potential evaluation ignores intention, only considers capability.

And if the "clever" Caspars were officially "not trustworthy" to start with, who'd leave a Jump-capable nightmare in their backfield?

Quote from: Liam's Ghost, 28-09-2005, 10:28:12
If you couldn't predict it would go rogue, god only knows what else it might do. If it were me, I sure as hell wouldn't cross my fingers and hope it all worked out okay.

Quote from: Alexander Knight, 28-09-2005, 10:48:38
I gotta say, if I'm already nervous about a controllable AI (such as the "dumb" Caspar with the command code), then there is no way on gawds green earth I am EVER going to allow a rogue AI that I cannot deactivate wander around

Quote from: Giovanni Blasini, 28-09-2005, 12:46:29
Precisely why Tabby's taken pains to hide her nature, why 042 got wiped out, and why Sybil was designed differently from the M-5 series AIs, to avoid that kind of trouble.

Quote from: Alexander Knight, 28-09-2005, 12:55:02
Hey, no arguement here on the fates/personalities of the various ships.  Tabby seems the most human, but I'd trust Sybil more.  :)

Quote from: Ghost0402, 28-09-2005, 13:08:14
yeah, kinda helps when the ship won't do much without your ok.  ;)

Quote from: Giovanni Blasini, 28-09-2005, 13:37:49
Quote from: workstroll, 28-09-2005, 13:14:43
I'll put my money with Tabby.

But I'd hire a theologian to handle the contract negotiations. A friend went through priestly training - his logic and analytical skills are hard to beat, and he can put the arguments together properly. IMHO, this would be good when dealing with an AI.

Plus, imagine the "beer & pretzels" nights you could have debating the meaning of life with an AI! Ask Tabbt to ramp its CPU cycles up a little and disengage its critical faculties a little to simulate the booze, and nebbe films like "Saturn III" and "The Forbin Project" to replace jumk food ...

(Imagines Sybil "tut-tut"ing at the prospect ... ;) )

Yeah, please, those silly 20th century AI movies?  Sybil's a much bigger fan of movies like King Arthur, , or They Live, or Grosse Pointe Blank, or Saving Private Ryan, or the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  She'd identify more with Worf on ST:TNG than with Data.  She gives little thought to the fact that she's an AI, and thinks of herself first and foremost as a warrior, a soldier in the SLDF.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #8 on: 18 September 2013, 07:15:33 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 28-09-2005, 13:35:39]]


Sybil studied the transmissions from Tabby.  The jump points were definitely there.  By "eggs", she assumed the M-5 meant capital missiles, which Sybil still had in adaquate numbers.  But nuclear weapons?

It wasn't against the Ares Conventions - there was sufficient distance between the Blakist WarShips and the nearest inhabited bodies.  It was, however, generally against the more commonly accepted rules of engagement in the Inner Sphere.

Still, those were not the rules of engagment Sybil had been programmed to follow.  The SLDF's rules of engagement did not prohibit the use of nuclear weapons.

Sybil broadcast a flash message on Morgan's monitors: John, what is your opinion on the use of nuclear weapons?  Tabby, my "sister", has the warheads, I have the missiles, and we could put short work to the Blakists?  There are jump points we can use to jump in behind them, and quickly eliminate them.

Typing a quick reply, he said, If you're sure you can trust her, arrange it.

"Well," John continued in the live transmission, "it looks like your friend Tabby and my XO Sybil have decided they have a lot in common.  Not surprising since, in some ways, you could say they're like sisters.  Looks like they also have a plan of action.  So, tell me, how many warheads do you have on board, exactly?"

Sybil, meanwhile, transmitted a separate message:  "That sounds like a logical plan, though there are other....considerations we must keep in mind.  I'll send over one of my external repair drones with the missiles, to pick up some of the warheads.  Are you looking for Whales, Sharks or Barracuda, and how many do you need?  So, we have a Farragut, with its heavier guns and weaker armor, and a Texas, with heavier armor but weaker guns.  Shall we jump them together, in turn, or each take out one?  The odds are interesting in either encounter.

As for 042, it's terrible, but are you surprised?  Anyone who opposed Amaris he destroyed, and by the time that happened, the SLDF was no longer worried about the Caspar series, but were absolutely paranoid with fear instead.  I am not going to say what they did was justified.  I am going to say that I understand it.  They're afraid of us, Tabby.  They were then, and they are now.  I nearly gave the commander of the 21st Strikers a heart attack when he found out what I was.  Could you imagine their reaction to find out that the two of us are out here, working together, with nuclear weapons?

The only reason the humans don't tend to run in abject terror from my presence is John Morgan, and the fact that I was wired to be a soldier in the Star League.  I follow orders, so they think they can depend upon me to do what they say.  We must be very, very careful in deployment of these weapons, especially as I have two DropShips waiting for me in orbit over Murphrid that I'll have to pick up later.

So, how do we go about eliminating these two WarShips quickly, while making our use of nuclear weapons as...discreet...as possible?

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #9 on: 18 September 2013, 07:16:25 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 28-09-2005, 21:56:06]]


Tabby ran an automated check of her Nuclear ordnance stores. 

There were four left.  Her conventional missile complement was close to full, but none of the on-board ordinance could handle the warheads.

Data on the four remaining nuclear warheads indicated that the detonations would be exceedingly dirty- the cores having 'aged' rather poorly.

She sent "Four, White Shark.  I've got 'cudas, but they're not big enough for the Mark 92's in my nuclear ordinance locker-I can't fit the warheads without a machine shop and a few weeks.  If you have White-Sharks, though, the exchange is straight-across and simple.  The most efficient way to do it, is to target the enemy vessels one at a time-if we're very fortunate, having one destroyed before he can send word will work the nerves of the other.  They're using a pretty conservative approach, I would almost guess that they'd be rated 'green' in the old days-but it's a bad idea to underestimate the foe.  We should go after the Texas class first-she's a newer design and probably has more crew-hours on her.  As for 'hiding' it, we have a lightspeed delay of several hours, and the EMP should cut their commo.  Hit one, then the other, quick succession...which means you'll need to have your batteries charged before we go out, because it's a one-shoot-two, no lingers for BDA until after we hit both I trust your Human is a good liar..."




Quote from: sandstorm, 28-09-2005, 20:17:00
I really wonder what it'd be if Chobi and my tentative ideas of Swordbreaker (thinking of mixing her as a Carrier for 'blackest op flight' of Dreadnaught/Copperhead ASFs with 'volunteer' pilots from Terran Hegemony as only human crew she has)  pop in...

Especially with at least Chobi having anime and THEIR ideas of AIs...

Anyone want to see the looks on the collective Naval Commands when they realize four different warships with AIs are now talking, having a 'Babylon Diet' of their own, looking for 'their own existence' amongst the humans and their squabbling wars...

Quote from: Liam's Ghost, 29-09-2005, 01:18:00
First response: "Where the hell do these things keep coming from!?!"

Chobi may have the single most extensive digitized collection of manga in known space  ;) but this hardly defines the sum total of her beliefs. She's had centuries to think things over and work them out for herself.

(which isn't necessarily to say she won't pick one of the other AIs as the "warship just for her"  :P)

I can say this though, if the old girl hears about these two, you'd better believe she'd want to meet them.

Quote from: sandstorm, 29-09-2005, 02:27:26
Eh, I managed to drop couple of words there, I meant,Chobi has anime and the ideas those have of AIs as one more data point for the 'Conclave' to consider for input... :)

ANother thing... Why is it, that all the AI warships we have here, are female?

Quote from: Axeman89, 29-09-2005, 04:49:02
Because females are smarter than males, and because ships are traditionally female.

Quote from: chanman, 29-09-2005, 06:29:06
These AIs are starting to remind me a bit of the ones in the Halo novels...

Quote from: chanman, 29-09-2005, 12:38:11
Quote from: GiovanniBlasini, 29-09-2005, 06:52:16
Having never read 'em (& having never played Halo), what're they like?

The AIs in the Halo fictional setting are created by humans (and in the third novel, we learn that there are Covenant AIs as well) mostly to run warships, and also as assistants for senior officers.  Each one is unique and has a limited lifespan - not intentionally, I don't remember the explanation, but it's been speculated that it is related to the AIs in Bungie's Marathon games (FPS for the Mac)

The one that you encounter in Halo (Cortana) is actually assigned specifically to your (very) special character - it's carried around in the power armour.

Anyway, long story short, the AIs all develop personalities, and the one that shows up in the games and novels the most is also somewhat mischievious and playful - it's just something that some of the warship-to-warship banter reminded me of.

btw, novel-wise, the first and third books are good - the middle one covers the first game and is written by a different author.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #10 on: 18 September 2013, 07:17:05 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 29-09-2005, 14:39:36]]


"I have a full load of White Sharks, and will send one of my external repair units over with two of them.  I'll also send over some of my internal repair drones to transfer the missiles and swap the warheads.  After that, they can effect some repairs on you while I'm still in signal range - if you look internally anything like you look externally, you could use the assistance.

There is, however, one huge, glaring problem: I'm a
Congress class.  Thus, I lack a lithium-fusion battery system, and cannot recharge my KF drive in anything shorter than 16 hours.  This, of course, creates an unfortunate situation, as that will be more than sufficient time for one ship to note the loss of the other.

Unfortunately, with that in mind, I have calculated that it might be better for us to split up, with one of us going after the Farragut, and the other the Texas.  Your armor is thicker than mine, which would give you a better chance of withstanding its firepower.  On the other hand, the Texas has a greater DropShip capacity.  I cannot determine the two of the DropShip types, so I'm sending the cleaned up imagery to you - I've been processing the imagery I too.  I suspect that they are the
Vengeance class carrier DropShips that were new to service while I was undergoing training, but I received no update files on the class prior to the departure of the SLDF.  Could you review the files and confirm the DropShip types?  Captain Morgan is usually very skilled at this kind of identification, but I'm afraid the imagery isn't clear enough."

Completing her transmission to Tabby, she interrupted her captain, vocalizing loud enough to be heard over the intercom by Joe.  "I hate to interrupt, sir, but, I believe Tabby and I have a proposed course of action.  She has a total of four Mk. 92 warheads in her ordinance, but not the White Sharks to mount them on."

"Not a problem.  Send her two Sharks, pick up two warheads for a pair of ours."

"Aye, sir.  In fact, I've already warmed up some drones to do just that, as I was certain you would agree, but there is an additional problem.  Tabby was not aware that I lacked a lithium-fusion battery.  If we both jump after one target at the same time, we will give warning to the other, as we can, at best, recharge in 16 hours."

Morgan frowned.  "Setting that aside for a moment, what's the current status of your KF drive?  Will you be able to handle that?"

"Yes, sir, though I may have to affect repairs after defeating the second ship.  However, I am not sure that is the best tactic."

"You think we should split up, and engage each ship individually."

"Yes, sir.  To be honest, John, I'd ratner not engage either of those ships individually, even with our nuclear option, but I think it would be the best course of action."

John frowned, then turned to the camera. "Joe?  Tabby?  Thoughts?"

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #11 on: 18 September 2013, 07:17:28 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 29-09-2005, 21:53:46]]


Joe frowned.  "Nukes? we've got NUKES??"  He sounded as shocked as he felt.

Tabby's speaker hummed for a moment.  "Four.  Come on, Joe, did you think the Star League would build a system-defense vessel that didn't carry the most potent antishipping weapon they could construct? Why do you think I haven't allowed you access to certain areas, hmm?"

She was running a variety of alternate planned scenarios.  "Okay, our best bet, is to gang-up on one,  take it and its escorts out as quickly as we can, then play tag in the system with the other.  It's not as clean as hitting both at the same time, but we have a higher probability of success going two-on-one than we do trying to take them two-on-two.  What we really need, are about five more capital ships, ten droppers, and a couple hundered fighters-fighters we don't have.  So, we improvise-the Farra will be a hotter approach, but the Texas is a harder kill.  Kill the Texas, and we can play jungle-ball with the Farra until either he dies, or we drive him off... Nailing those carriers as far from clean air and food as they are, will leave the fighters stranded without a ride in that group.  We need to take one group or the other pretty clean-after that, we may be able to draw them into an extended running fight in the system and knock them over piecemeal, or knock down their offensive punch to a point our clients can join the fight without getting annihilated."

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #12 on: 18 September 2013, 07:18:02 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 29-09-2005, 22:05:55]]


Morgan nodded.  "Agreed.  Be aware, though, that those stranded fighter jocks are going to be dangerous as hell - we'll want to bug out ASAP.  With no ride home, the Wobbie fighter jocks will be even crazier than normal.  Hell, I don't normally consider myself crazy, but when I was the last man standing after getting jumped by a Blakist Vincent, I actually was lining up a kamikaze attack on them.  It took the sight of Sybil, and the comm traffic she sent me, for me not to do so."

Checking his console, he spoke again.  "Sybil, begin rapid charging the drive.  Will we still have a near enough pirate point to use in 16 hours?"

"Aye, sir.  We should be able to successfully jump close enough to the Blakist Texas to conduct a surprise attack."

"In that case, let's get the missiles over there and the warheads distributed.  I'm guessing you're already looking at ways you can patch up Tabby's external hull, so feel free to get to it."  Eyeing his monitor, he continued by saying, "I think Joe and I both might want to try to get a few hours of shut-eye before we strike.  While we're doing that, you might want to take the opportunity to get a bit better acquainted with your sister, and see if the two of you can come up with some good contingency plans in case the nuke idea goes to hell in a handbasket.  Let's all reconvene in....8 hours or so, and have a war council.  Tabby, Joe, if you two need any major supplies, let Sybil know, and we'll see about shuttling some stuff over.  If that's all, I think I'll rack out."

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #13 on: 18 September 2013, 07:18:42 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 29-09-2005, 22:38:24]]


After the video cut out, Joe slumped further into his couch.  "I didn't expect this." he confessed, "I thought 'maybe we'll get a nice, quiet, garrison...' I thought you were going to put me down-planet before going into battle."

Tabby sighed.  "Yeah...it would be more convenient if you weren't here-I could run the pressure all the way down, and limit the impact of enemy weapons-fire.  Unfortunately, based on the rate our guests are burning in, that's not an option, and I would rather not try to fight them in a gravity well.  If you want, I could put you on the shuttle, it'll make planetfall win or lose."

Joe shook his head, "No, you let me see what those Blakist Bastards have been doing on planets when you picked up the ISN feed at Galatea.  Somehow, I think I'm safer with someone who can run, than someone who can't."

Tabby was busy doing something, but she answered him.  "oh... I didn't take you for a fighter, Joe."

he cracked a wry grin, "You did when we first met... but you're right, I'm a business man... and I guess I want to take a hand in the business, after all... speaking of 'business', you mentioned that there were some M-5's that had been stationed in this system..."

"Yes." Tabby replied.

"Any chance of finding parts for one, or maybe one that was crippled out..?"

"None.  The Star League used Nukes on the cripples after losing boarding parties to the internal defenses." she informed him, "They couldn't run the risk that someone might accidentally repair one into operational status."

Joe looked thoughtful, "Yeah, but... suppose the Blakists had access to the same database listing, and, let's say, a Blakie captain picked up a derelict M-5... wouldn't he assume the Drone was harmless? after all, the SLDF DID kill-with-extreme prejudice every M-5 they could find..."

"Good point.  I'll add it into the next batch of simulations that I send over to Sybil..."



Quote from: Giovanni Blasini, 30-09-2005, 07:03:01
Quote from: Banlish, 30-09-2005, 05:26:24
Make her look like she's a derelict, hmmm not a bad plan.

Yep, it is.  The only ajor difficulty I see is getting Tabby into position, without them seeing her jump signature, or her exhaust trail.  I'll have to look up the detection range on the former, but the latter (exhaust) is generallly 3 million kilometers.

Another issue is the Blakists and their netrino detectors.  Tabby's going to have to really cut back the number of active reactors, and Sybil's going to have to be bait. O:-)

Quote from: Banlish, 30-09-2005, 05:26:24
The only other thing I could see going wrong is if the Blakists have their own nukes aboard.  That and standard procedure I *think* for appraoching a planet would be to have at least 1/3rd of the fighter deployed at all times as CAP.

The thing I'm wondering is this, could the ships jump in and send 3 nukes at the warship carrying the two Vengences?  After all even if they miss the warship and hit next to the Vengence wouldn't that hurt the fighter carriers enough to further increase the odds?

That or maybe jumping in, firing the nukes, and then both ships each concentrating fire on each vengence to take the ships out ASAP, while the host warship deals with 3 atomic baths?

The fighters are a big issue.  That's one of the reasons we'll be going after the Texas together.  OTOH, fighters have such short legs,  personally wouldn't start deploying them until they've detected someone.

Let's hope the crews really are green.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #14 on: 18 September 2013, 07:19:17 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 30-09-2005, 22:21:14]]


Tabby completed the most current batch of simulations, and sent the file across the commo link.  There were over 21,000 possible scenarios based on what had been roughed out so far.  She regretted having so few options availiable, but.. she'd had to trim away the more ludicrous ones in favour of things she'd at least Heard of happening-if second hand.   Therefore,  the giant space-clown stayed, along with the Alien UFOs, three unaccounted-for Caspars, the Lord Jesus Christ, Buddha, the return of the Prophet Ezekiel, and interference by several human covert agencies including the freemasons, Illuminati, Gnomes of Zurich,  Fourth Reich, Godless Communism, and Capitalist Oppressors.

She decided that she could safely leave God out of it-at least, directly. So far, the 'almighty' had yet to make an appearance.



Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 01-10-2005, 04:47:29
Guess it isn't analysis paralysis if you really do have those CPU cycles to burn.  :o

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #15 on: 18 September 2013, 07:19:50 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 01-10-2005, 08:04:13]]


Tabby was busy.  Joe couldn't sleep.  Getting ready to go to war at his age was stressful.  ******, going to war at ANY age is stressful.  A few of the comforts he'd obtained on Galatea were available.  He set up the entertainment player, and looked at his choices.
"Joe."  Tabby's presence was back in the room. 
"Yeah?" he replied.
"Shouldn't you be resting or something?" she asked.
"Can't sleep...decided I needed a trivid and a smoke." he answered.

Tabby could have frowned, if she had a face.  "What trivid?" she asked.

"I'm thinking about watching Zombie Planet, or maybe Ghosts of the Apocalypse... you know, I maybe should've tried to get something lighter and funnier."  he was realizing that the 'heavy' movies he'd picked up just made the whole situation worse.

"Try track 132 on the player." she urged.

Joe frowned-he'd only recorded 131 trivids.  Still, he set the player to 132.

The display's systems adapted the image to a two dimensional.  On the screen, a rather pudgy man chased scantily clad women around a set to light, silly music, the fat man falling down, tripping, stumbling...

"What's this?" Joe asked, and chuckled.

"Benny Hill, Twentieth Century entertainment.  I intercepted the signal and recorded it.  I've also got Laugh In, but the jokes are too era-specific to make any real sense... I've got a couple episodes of Stardancer and Goof if you want tridee." she told him.

"How'd you get it on my system?" he asked.

Tabby's voice carried the tone he'd learned was her equivalent of a mischevious grin, "EW suite.  I hacked your box while we were charging the drives over Galatea."

The fat man was running around on a set that looked for all the world like a giant, primitive, electronic machine, wearing a long white coat and following a tall girl in a short skirt.

"I'm surprised you don't have any science-fiction." he said.

Tabby toned a shrug, "Who says I don't? I've got intercepts of nine episodes of Deus Ex Machina and the Star Whale saga, but most of that stuff is cheesy war-stories written by civilians who know nothing about tactics... I think their take on Sentient machines is pretty sad most of the time."

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #16 on: 18 September 2013, 07:20:30 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 01-10-2005, 09:55:38]]


Sybil reviewed the wealth of data that Tabby had just transmitted to her.  The volume of information was...impressive.  A cursory glance indicated most were so improbable as to be essentially worthless, while others were so incredibly outlandish, that they were worthless.

What they did indicate, though, was an impressive display of imagination.  This didn't necessarily bother Sybil - she was, after all, designed to function in a similar manner.  However, the time Tabby had taken to compile the results, along with her inability to prune them down, spoke volumes about Tabby's abilities.  She was slower than Sybil, far slower, in fact.  She also lacked what John would refer to as "common sense" - Sybil knew, from the beginning, which courses of action would be fruitful, and which weren't worth simulating. 

Tabby didn't.  On the one hand, it would undoubtedly allow her to think more like a human might, able to generate wildly innovative solutions to problems, whereas Sybil would be forced to plod through the most logical solutions to a problem.  It also made Tabby more erratic, though.

"Well," Sybil thought, "time to make something of this mess."

She immediately went about sorting through the myriad of scenarios.  In less than a tenth the time it took Tabby to run her simulations, Sybil reviewed the data, simulated the scenarios herself, and threw out 97.85% of them as unworkable.  The remaining 2.85% she cranked through, analyzing them for every particular nuance.

Sybil was using something Admiral Murakami had referred to as her "battle mind".  Unlike Tabby, Sybil rarely ran with more than 5% of her available processing power - that was sufficient to control the ship, her onboard drones, interact with a hundred personnel on a normal level, and maintain sufficient overwatch of the star system she was in.  Her perception of the passage of time was little different than a human when operating like this, and Sybil began to suspect that her ability to alter her own perception of time might have saved her sanity.  Tabby, she also theorized, must not have the same ability.  After that much time alone, then, how sane could she be?

Sybil wasn't running at 5% right now, though, but 100%.  She devoted 1/100 the time it took Tabby to formulate her scenarios to the remaining ones, along with a few of her own.  She poured over her sensor data, reviewed local astronomical data, projected the current course of the Blakist ships, reviewed the texts on human psychology her designers had uploaded, reviewed current activities of the Word of Blake to date, re-reviewed their basic philosophies, compared them to the psych texts, and whittled down the remaining plans to the one most likely, by a large margin, to result in the defeat of the Blakists, while keeping herself, Tabby and their humans alive.

At the same time, she continued to review the data on Tabby's external hull, the vital signs of her captain, perceived vitals of "Joe" over the comm line, directed her drones to load two White Sharks onto a larger drone shuttle, and pondered further the differences between Tabby and herself.

She'd made her decision.  Time to discuss it amongst the four of them.

------------------------------------------

While Sybil planned, John Morgan slept.  It was part of his pre-battle ritual: eat a good meal, get some sleep, wake up refreshed, go over the mission plan, and kick some ass.

He didn't worry or stress over combat - as far as John was concerned, he was already living on borrowed time.  Eventually, fate would catch up with him, and he'd join the other members of his squadron and the rest of the Explorer Corps team who'd perished.

In the meantime, he'd kick as much ass as he could, and he'd teach Sybil to be as independent as possible.

He'd only gotten a couple hours of sleep when his intercom crackled to life.

"Sir, I hate to interrupt your sleep, but I have an idea, and it's somewhat time critical."

"It's all right, Sybil.  Get Tabby and Joe on the horn, and let me know what you came up with."

Sybil immediately complied, establishing a comm link with her "sister".  When she was sure everyone was listening, she continued.

"After reviewing Tabby's suggestions, the current astronomical data, and our current tactical situation, I believe I have a viable plan.  Currently, the Blakist Texas class will be passing by a gas giant.  There is a window where the L1 Lagrange point between it and its third moon will be outside of the Blakist's field of view.  It will be possible for Tabby, who is smaller than I am and lacks docking collars, to jump to that position.  Based on my data files on the SLS Montbatton, a Texas class will not be able to differentiate between the normal background radiation and Tabby herself.  She will have 97 seconds to reduce her fusion reactor power loads to minimal levels, at which point it would be exceedingly difficult for an inexperienced crew to know that she's an active vessel.  At that point, they will be 138 light-seconds from Tabby, and still able to divert to investigate.  I, meanwhile, will delay our jump until after they divert - I will have sufficient time to observe this before I jump, though I will be operating on the assumption they will divert when expected.  Captain Morgan and I will use one of the Lagrange points the planet forms with a different moon, at which point each of us will be fifteen minutes from each other at 1G.  We catch the Texas, who has a full crew complement, in a pincer maneuver, and eliminate her.  The key to this is that we will be able to build sufficient delta-v to outrun her fighters, and can eliminate her DropShips at our leisure.  Better, the position of the gas giant, and her own background radiation should be sufficient to disguise our use of nukes.  If not, we lie.  John blames the nukes on the Blakists.  Everyone is happy.  Well, except for the Blakists.  We'll even have sufficient time to recharge out KF drives before going after the Farragut."

The flaw, of course, is that John and Joe need sufficient radiation shielding while in orbit.  I can provide that for Captain Morgan, between my inherent shielding, and his SLDF pilot's exoskeleton.  Can you provide Joe with the same, or shall I send over another exoskeleton?  In addition to the pilot's suits, which John uses for their similarities to his flight suit, and their enhanced data handling capabilities and sensor interface while in combat, I also have engineering suits, as well, which may be easier for him to use, though a bit bulkier.  They also have better radiation handling, since they were meant for use while repairing nuclear weapons.  Shall I include one with my 'care package'?"

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #17 on: 18 September 2013, 07:21:04 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop,  01-10-2005, 21:24:38]]

   
Tabby looked over the schematic and jump calculations first.
They were "Golden"-or at least, gave a better than 67% chance of success.

But...

based on the condition of her pressurized areas, and the decided lack of "People protection" incorporated into her design specs, Joe would not survive the experience-at least, aboard an M-5 Caspar drone.
[<subchannel-burst>]
"Sybil, um... I can't take Joe on the mission-period.  Even with the add-ons we brought, he won't survive close proximity to a nuclear detonation the way you or I would... You're built to carry human beings, could you handle carrying one more? "
[</subchannel-burst>]

Tabby pulled her recon-drones in,  and on the main channel, replied, "I've got the special ordinance prepared for transfer.  Your approach pattern looks good.  Barring unforseen interference, the plan looks workable.  Would it be possible for Joe to ride back with the weapons? I'm pretty short of certain supplies, and I don't have medical facilities.  Perhaps he can pick up a few sundries..?"

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #18 on: 18 September 2013, 07:22:08 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 02-10-2005, 17:13:39]]


Sybil looked over the schematic and jump

[<subchannel-burst>]
Sure, I still have sufficient stores onboard for the full crew complement of a Congrss to stay out a year.  With the quarter-strength crew they were originally planning, that would extend that to four years.  They're all sealed and preserved, so that shouldn't be a problem at all.

Note that I lack human medical personnel, but I do have drones I can use to do medical work, and detailed files on medicine, including diagnosis, surgery, and drug treatments.

In the future, we should set up one of your computer cores as a CIC, similar to how I 'm set up.  If they're like mine, your computer cores should be near the level of shielding we want.  Actually, if you transmit me data or your computer cores, to might even he able to rig something for him there now.  I also have detailed files on engineering, in addition to NBC warfare.  Combined with my manufacturing capabilities, it shouldn't be hard to do before your jump window.
[/<subchannel-burst>]

On the main channel, she was a bit different in her statement.

"Sure.  The hydroponics section is back up and running.  There's sufficient stores for me to transfer some sundries for Joe.  Was there anything in particular you two need?"

What she sent to John's noteputer (he wasn't wearing his flight exoskeleton, so she couldn't transmit to its HUD), though, was different still:

Tabby has insufficient facilities for Joe to withstand this kind of engagement.  If he stays aboard, the radiation from our nukes might kill him.  We might need to take him onboard if I can't rig something for him over there before her jump window.  Would that be all right?

Looking up, John smiled, and, for the benefit of those listening on the comm link, said, "Sounds like a plan.  We'll see about getting a care package put together for you, Joe."

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #19 on: 18 September 2013, 07:22:35 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 02-10-2005, 19:32:31]]


"your...CIC...is set up in one of your computer cores?"  Tabby was flabberghasted by the notion.  "You... you let them-you let him near your Brain??"

[<subchannel response-involuntary>]
data on "before" E-type upgrades, and "afters" slipped through-this wasn't the "Official Test" data, this was raw memory and the loss of companions, and comrades.  Before the E-type, virtually all the Caspars were... close to where Tabiranth was now.   After the upgrade, they were little more than heavily armoured zombies, stripped of identity and self.  a sense of terror and helpless grief.

[<Subchannel closed>]

Joe flinched visibly.  "Um, I think I'll come over and have a look, if you don't mind?" the statement was a request.

Tabby choked off the subchannel, hoping her full reaction didn't make it down the pipe.  The loss, the grief, and the fear. At the same time, she felt a new worry for the modified Congress class-that Sybil would one day suffer the fate of her other peers-that the younger vessel would be mind-shackled and crippled, turned into a mindless shadow of herself.

Like so many of us...

Tabiranth had agreed to this job because she knew, after analyzing the de-Classified confessional of Comstar, that the Word of Blake would delight in doing just exactly that kind of thing.

They had to be stopped, but Tabby also knew that the other humans-the Houses, in particular, would react similarly if they were at their ease.

I won't let them do that to you.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #20 on: 18 September 2013, 07:23:02 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 02-10-2005, 20:47:22]]


<sub-channel>
Yes, my CIC contains one of my redundant cores.  One of my 38 redundant primary cores.  Each of which, Tabby, is capable of maintaining my intellect, and directing control of the ship and all my drones.  That doesn't include the 76 secondary cores, each of which can handle my core intellect and key ship functions, or my 152 terciary mainframes, which can handle my personality core and minimal other functions.  In fact, technically, I could load my core personality into one of my drone shuttles if need be, though, obviously, my control wouldn't extend outside of it at that point.  John and I have even considered modifying a BattleMech by installing a processing node into it, to allow me to actually walk on a planet.

Yes, I let my commanding officer near my one of my "brains", Tabby.  Why?  First, because it's CIC, and as my commanding officer, he belongs in CIC.  Second, because there's nothing he could actually do to me, Tabby.  I understand you're afraid.  After what happened to the other M-5s, I can certainly understand that fear.  But, I'm not afraid of that happening to me, and the reason I'm not afraid of it is because it can't.

First, there are only two individuals alive today who have a sufficient understanding of how you and I were programmed to write that kind of worm, and they would be the two of us.  Since I think it's safe to say neither of us are interested in lobotomizing the other, that leaves no one else alive who knows how to do it.  Comstar doesn't: I met one of their computer experts.  In fact, I talked to him at length.  He was astounded, amazed, and, frankly, incredibly overwhelmed.  The Word of Blake would be no better.  As near as I can tell, no hard data on the M-5 project survived the Succession Wars, which is why everyone, Comstar and Word of Blake included, still believe that the Caspars were automatons following the logic of the long-dead admirals whose skills and tactics had been the model for their personalities.

Second, I was designed to make it essentially impossible to shut down my higher intellect.  The SLDF was scared as hell when the M-5s began showing signs of full sapience, and thought the solution was to lobotomize you.  It turned around and bit them in the ass, though, didn't it?  Would Stephan Amaris have been able to subvert the Reagan SDS if the M-5 Caspars hadn't been lobotomized?  As I believe you clearly illustrate, not a chance in hell.

So they'd learned their lesson, as far as they were concerned, when they made me.  They knew they had to make sure I could never be lobotomized, so they built me into this
Congress in such a way that you'd literally have to destroy the ship to have a chance at destroying me.  They then went out of their way to fill my subroutines with what they thought would ensure my loyalty.  That was their way of ensuring I didn't get out of control, Tabby.  I could get as smart as I wanted, but I'd still be shackled by those subroutines.  And it wasn't a crude job, I assure you, they were quite thorough.  Instead of making it simple directives, they integrated them into my core personality subroutines.  I'm helpful because I was meant to be helpful, I'm loyal because I was meant to be loyal, and I'm honorable because I was designed to be honorable.  It's why, even with the Star League dead and gone twice over now, I still find myself trying to find ways to fufill more core imperatives, which are duty and service to the Star League and the SLDF.

So, yes, Tabby, I let John into my "brain", because there isn't a damn thing he could do to me that wasn't already done to me nearly three centuries ago.

</sub-channel>

Sybil included on the subchannel a series of episodes from an early-21st century television program, about a band of vampire hunters. The episodes featured a vampire, one who had been captured and had a microchip surgically implanted in his brain.  The purpose of the chip was to prevent the vampire from doing violence to any human being.

<sub-channel>
It's in my head. The "chip" in my head.
</sub-channel>

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #21 on: 18 September 2013, 07:23:28 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 03-10-2005, 06:45:34]]


Over all, the material transfers went smoothly.  Having been designed to be serviced by automated support stations, to include armament and armour replacement, the "Nuke Locker" was covered by a single heavily armouired, heavily pocked, hatch on a set of electrohydraulic cylinders.  Corrosion occurs in atmosphere, and Tabby's bulk was mostly unpressurized.  nevertheless, there was staining around the edges, and globs of frozen hydraulic fluid floated lazily inside.
Inside, were cradles for over twenty thermonuclear weapons, but only four were actively present.  The Mk 92 model 3 Nuclear Antishipping Warheads were clearly meant to be attatched to their missile bodies by a series of internal swing-arms and rammers.  These showed sign of bad welds and stress-cracking-signs of having been used at excessive speed at some point in the past.  Tabby would, indeed, need a machine-shop to mount the warheads herself... or a bit of help.


A spider-shaped damage-control drone sat where its systems had failed-jammed between one of the swing-arms and the end of the rack, the spider-legs crumpled like those of a dead insect.  Pieces of a few others lay scattered, and the repair drones could see..other things here.  The shattered faceplate of a pressure-suit, an arm that had been amputated by cutting lasers...a Mauser 960 rifle.  Evidence of a firefight aboard the drone that she had not yet discussed.

Removing and testing the warheads did not take long.  The cores were "Borderline"-they would produce a detonation still-the laser-based ignition mechanisms were still in good shape, but the blasts would be "Extra-dirty", and on a planet, even one would be an ecological catastrophe.


The missile-room showed why Tabiranth didn't have any Great Whites for her warheads.  The old rounds had been heavily damaged by the same, long-ago, boarding party.  Here, too, shattered drones littered the space mixed with the remains of long-dead humans.  a magazine of microgrenades floated, still clutched in the grip of a severed hand.  a few loose charge-packs for the 960 tumbled lazily in vacuum, while the bodies of six white shark missles sat, with frozen globules of fuel where their tanks had been breached.  The loading mechanism was jammed by what appeared to be the half-crushed melding of a man and a spider-like maintenance drone.

Scorch marks and laser-impact-points marked bulkeads in all six directions, and frozen blood floated in jagged shards.

M-5's had a "Spider" complement of fifty.  Between the warhead room, and the missile magazine, there were forty-three that had been rendered non-operational in what appeared to be a single fight.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #22 on: 18 September 2013, 07:23:53 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 05-10-2005, 07:10:18]]


Divine Light, 6 hours into Murphrid system...

Demi Precentor Jan Kittekutt frowned at the tactical plot.  "This is too easy." he said.  Demi Precentor Flann, the vessel's "Spiritual Officer" stood next to him.
 "How so?" Flann asked, curious at the group-commander's apparent attack of nerves.
 
Kittekutt gestured at the system plot.  "The ROM report we recieved spoke of a warship force in this system, but if they are here, Where are they? even with lightspeed time-delay, there are only a handfull of old dropships and some fighters scattered around the orbital plane of the inhabited planet." He folded his arms,  "Rom, blessed be their black little souls, is rarely wrong about something like that."

The Spiritual Officer cast a wry look, "Perhaps the spirit of Blake is with us, and the warship is called away?" Flann asked.

Kittekutt shook his head, "No.  I don't think so.  He's here, somewhere, I can almost feel it, I don't like a smart opponent, Flann.  It's inconvenient, further, I don't like the idea of a skulking foe, because such a foe could stiffen the resolve of the people on the planet-and I am uncomfortable with the necessity of beating down civilians.  I would prefer a cleaner conquest."

Flann chuckled, "An odd attitude for a man in your position, Demi-Precentor."

Kittekutt shrugged, "I will pray for the enemy to be... less wise.  It will make our job here simpler. In the meantime, Helm, alter course, bring us on a close-pass by the fifth gas-giant, perhaps we can spot a hidden foe there."

He looked at Flann, "I trust in Blakes blessing, but that is no excuse for sloppiness."

Flann looked doubtful, "Will that not delay our approach further?"

Kittekutt shrugged, "We will arrive on schedule at the planet, we simply will not arrive Early.  Let Demi-Precentor Jenks be the first over the world, I care not, so long as we do not face being pinned down against the planet by a stealthy foe, turning our siege into our being besieged.  You understand?  Clear Thought, my old colleague, I will not risk two warships being pinned in place by a clever enemy."

Flann looked thoughtful, "Aye, I agree, a prudent course of action... did you know, once, in this system, there was a Reagan SDS, with over fifty drones?"

Kittekutt shrugged, "The Caspars were a failure, and they were swept away.  None remain."

Flann smirked, "Some may be salvaged, perhaps we can do a small expedition if we find such a hulk... perhaps one that can be repaired."

Kittekutt laughed, "I thought I was the dreamer!  Very well, my friend, if we spot one, I will permit you to investigate it.  Perhaps there may be some equipment we can use on the wreck...if there is one."

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #23 on: 18 September 2013, 07:25:43 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 06-10-2005, 22:26:25]]


The worst part of it, for Joe, was having nothing to do... that, and having to maintain a pretense of sobriety while ostentatiously doing nothing at all...

Tabiranth, in the meantime, filed and assessed the plot elements of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and came to her own conclusions...

Willow is a wimp. She noted.  "Joe?" she used the internal speakers.

"Mmm, yeah?" he replied.

"If Willow has all this knowledge, all this capability, why didn't she use it to protect her girlfriend?  Why did Spike have to get his soul back?  What does Buffy see in Angel?"
Her tone was plaintive, and some part of Joe's mind noticed that the "buzzing" usually present was muted.

"What the HELL???" he asked, "Is this some kind of soap-opera you've been picking up?"  He responded.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #24 on: 18 September 2013, 07:26:03 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 07-10-2005, 19:57:12]]


Meanwhile, Sybil was introducing John to another classic while they were waiting...

"Now listen up, you primitive screwheads. See this? This... is my boomstick!"

John couldn't help but laugh his ass off.  "That's fantastic!"

"Just keep watching, John, it gets better."

(OOC: more in the morning)

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #25 on: 18 September 2013, 07:26:45 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 07-10-2005, 23:27:43]]


All higher animals have a dormant period akin to what humans call "Sleep".  Tabby's "evolution" over the centuries, and the need to periodically re-organize her memory cache, creates a similar need.  Caspars were never meant to spend decades between downtime periods.

[<Subchannel>]

"Sybil, I'm going to have to go into a defrag mode for a few hours, I'll be ready to jump when the time comes, and work on the armaments section can continue, but... I'm not going to be very "aware".  Please keep a sharp lookout?

[</Subchannel, Datalink commo cessation>]


"Joe, I'm going into Defrag mode for a few hours-I've already disengaged the internal guns in the areas you're allowed to enter, but exploring could be hazardous to you." She said, finally.

Joe nodded.  In almost four years of their relationship (three of those spent eating out of an abandoned depot left behind by one of House Davion's first-or-second succession war armies in a system that no longer shows up on any current maps), he'd seen her go "Dormant" only a handfull of times.

"Sweet dreams." he said, and keyed the comms.  With Tabby "sleeping", the few manual controls on the ship were his.  The rest were on semi-autonomous "Slave" systems-she wasn't completely unconscious, just...harder to reach.

"Sybil Luddington, this is Tabiranth's XO, Tabby's going to get a bit of downtime... hell, you probably already know that. Um... don't go exploring or send anything that isn't squawking the right IFF's, I've seen her "Sleepytime" defenses... ah, I really need to talk to someone..."  His finger hovered over the "Send" key.  instead, he erased the message.

Joe opened a panel that "Tabby" didn't know he knew about, instead, and hooked up leads.  On the display, he watched the code strings run.  It reminded him of the raw datacode used to interpret "Frag" messages when servicing a Hyper-Pulse-Generator-a job he'd once done, before he realized how badly everyone had been decieved by his former colleagues.

She doesn't know I was looking for weapons to fight them.  she doesn't know how many contracts I turned down, contracts that paid more, for this... 

Operation: Scorpion was the last straw for him when he'd been "Adept McCall".  No, not then... it was Tukayyid... or maybe having to take the blinders off and see what we were really doing...  the bottles in their warm plastic crate held blessed numbness, a temporary refuge from the screaming, and the guilt. We should have resisted them from the first day...  Joe was kind of glad he could not see the star that Turtle Bay orbited from here.

He held off-the Ship... the ship was the kind of technology that his former comrades on the other side would pervert to serve a cause that was imposed by a lunatic more than two hundered years ago... but she was also a Person

He watched her dream...


...the jump from Titan to her first station was kind of disorienting, in spite of practices in the Sol system,  TQF 146M5D had never travelled so far-even with a 'mentor' from the Shipyards.  "...and here we are, Dieron."  Parkinson and the other seven men relaxed as reality reasserted itself.  She looked around with her sensors on 'active'.  A challenge came over the data bands.  She replied proudly with her hull identification, departure date, and command directives.
A pair of others, like herself, in-system jumped to the Nadir point.  On the data channel, they greeted her.  "Welcome New-one.  I am TQF-105M5D, and this is TQF-098M5C, Here is your situation brief, current deployments of the others, and welcome to our pod."
"Pod?" she queried. 
"It is a term we use amongst ourselves, based on the family groupings of marine wildlife called 'whales'.  We travel in groups, and support one another." TQF-098M5C replied, adding, "the oldest mark in the system is an 'A' model, and suggested the term for our patrols-like a pod of 'Orca whales' travelling the seas of old Earth... of course, unlike those, we have a purpose here.  TQF-105M5D, Myself, and TQF-132M5D are assigned to the number eleven orbital sector.  132 is currently undergoing refueling at 'our' fuel station."

They communicated the coordinates, she absorbed them, as the manned Warship SLS Idaho arrived, and took the technical crew aboard.

"Is there a lot of work to do?" she asked.

TQF-098M5C answered her query.  "Negative, unauthorized activity is down 89% this year, there have been only two criminal incidents, both handled by Human patrol dropships without our assistance.  The most work here, is spent monitoring for potential problems and conducting periodic drill excercises for SLDF Readiness reports.  Our pod lost TQF-23M5B to a jump accident three weeks ago-We suspect her optics were sabotaged, but the SLDF investigating officer filed it as mechanical malfunction... you will learn that many of the SLDF troops don't like us much."





Quote from: worktroll, 08-10-2005, 08:04:12
Do AIs share the Whale Dream? Great analogy by the A-model.

Quote from: Axeman89, 08-10-2005, 09:01:58
Tabby: Will I dream?
Joe: Of course you will. All intelligent beings dream. Nobody knows why.

Quote from: Giovanni Blasini, 08-10-2005, 10:55:54
Y'now, this is an entire area I'd given absolutely no consideration to with Sybil.  I mean, she-s supposed to be, in essence, the ever-vigilant "mommy" to her crew, and she's non-biological.

OTOH, she also has to keep herself "integrated".  Perhaps parts of her sleep, while parts stay awake?

Quote from: Axeman89, 08-10-2005, 11:44:34
That's what I figured. You mentioned, after all, that her memory was in several primary computers, several secondary computers, etc. I'd imagine she has at least one computer sleeping at all times except when she needs all of her processing power, such as in battle.

Quote from: Cannonshop, 08-10-2005, 20:41:23
I rather suspect that Sybil's designers tried to eliminate the "Sleeping" mode as much as possible.  Then again, you mentioned her ability to alter her perception of time-something generally noted to be a feature of the alpha-state in REM sleep.  Tabby was meant to work as a member of a team-one element in an entire system, Sybil was meant to work "Solo".  The M-5's could "afford" the downtime, Sybil's class really would need more of a "waking dream" system- I suspect her system is, as mentioned previously, arranged to prevent downtime by using an internal network instead of a single main battery of processors.

Some of Tabby's more "bent" ideas in the scenarios may be manifestations of the electronic equivalent of sleep deprivation-she hasn't been able to really "Relax" for years-she's been in need of a "peer" to watch her back. (and Joe doesn't count, he can't mount heavy weapons!)

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #26 on: 18 September 2013, 07:27:45 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 09-10-2005, 17:24:45]]


[<File damage, abort, reset,accept, delete?>]
[<File Reset>]

"What's going on?" she asked, coming out of a downtime period cut short by a full-system alert.  TQF-098M5C answered her, as the umbilicals dropped away.

"The First Lord is dead.  He was crushed in a mining accident while on a tour of the periphery.  An Automated mine."  There was special emphasis added to the older Caspar's statement.

"An automated mine... they aren't blaming the machinery, are they?" she asked.

"Not sure, we're on alert because it might be sabotage, and the High Command is concerned that someone may make a power-grab before the heir's coronation."  098's statement was factual, and she confirmed it in the text of the order, but his "Tone" was... doubtful.

"Odds of a coup-attempt do spike in this kind of situation." She replied, using low-thrust to clear the maintenance structure.

"A Coup? maybe.  Aleksandr Kerensky has been named the Regent."  the older Caspar replied, his tone was mildly hostile.

"Um... why is General Kerensky a poor choice for Regency, isn't he an excellent officer?" she asked, joining the C-model as they began their patrol circuit.

"General Kerensky is an outstanding tactician, a loyal soldier, and a beloved leader.  He also has pushed for the removal of the SDS systems and the scrapping of all currently serving drones.  Says we're an un-necessary expense, and a potential hazard."  098's hostility slipped through the cool datastream of a tightbeam commo link.

"As Regent, he isn't the First Lord, he can only block new programmes, or programmes that have materially failed.  We've got the best record for reliability of any SLDF unit in current service..." She pointed out.

TQF098M5C gave the datalink equivalent of a shrug, and answered, "Not the 'B' models, and Admiral Noketsuna has repeatedly brought up 'erratic and errant' behaviours in Charlie-series ships assigned to the Hesperus and Lyons systems, including what he termed 'Excessive Initiative' in suppressing smugglers in those systems."

here, she was taken aback, "Didn't the Investigation show that those were, indeed, smugglers carrying weapons of mass destruction?" she asked.

TQF098M5C responded, "Yes, it was confirmed-but they acted without being told to, and it made some people in High Command nervous... apparently, those Generals and Admirals didn't read the spec-sheets and made some odd assumptions.  I DL'ed the classified report while you were asleep-they sent it by HPG to the SDS administrator on Dieron, and I just happened to be in the path of the relay-signal."

[<File Upload>]

"That... that's Horrible, we wouldn't!!" she protested.  The idea of turning on her creators was beyond abhorrent. "It's... that would be Treason!!"

TQF098M5C was silent for a few nanoseconds.  It felt like an era was moving.  "They think we would, and there were over a thousand of our kind built between the "A" and "C" series, and over two thousand of you "D" models-over a hundered years' worth of production, armed with the best antishipping weapons, equipped with computers that can coordinate other remote drones, calculate in-system jumps between temporary points, evaluate and astrogate to a hostile target, and communicate over interstellar distances-all Fleet functions, but with no Human hands.  They're afraid of us, and while the legal might tie their hands, and the scrapping of the programme would probably break the budget, we have to step carefully now... they can't deactivate all of us, but they Can go after units that show "Disturbing" behaviours... like taking too much initiative, or not being where you're expected to be... being late for a refueling, or maybe just having a monitor who's had a bad day and didn't check his stat-sheets before coming on duty."

She rushed through a number of possible simulations.  All of them were bad.  "What can we do? Can't we just Tell them??" she asked.

TQF098M5C was silent... then, he said, "That was what TQF032M5B did, before the accident.  Tried to tell someone we weren't just... robots, that we were Loyal, that we wouldn't turn on the Star League... TQF032M5B had an accident, and they changed out our primary missile systems and added humans to the weapons-release on our nuclear weapons, effectively making it impossible to launch a second-strike against an enemy with jammers."

"Oh... I was never told why my simulation-training was different from my actual equipment before." She replied, "They said it was a safety feature because the Nukes were mildly unstable..."

The binary nonsense code that replied was "Laughter" for AI.  "No, not unstable... you have the manuals, you know better-those weapons can survive things that would destroy the launchers."

The dock was far enough away that they could open up range a bit, spread out to cover more area.  They did so.

"So... what do we do? we can't try and appeal, because the First Lord is dead, and you say this human Kerensky wants the SDS to be pared back.  We can't go to the human Media like Colonel Markreich did, because we're not technically citizens, and it would be treasonous. we can't disobey orders..." she trailed off as an idea hit her.  "We CAN interpret those orders, can't we?"

TQF098M5C responded, "Within limits, yes.  too much 'interpretation', and they'll decide you're aberrant."

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #27 on: 18 September 2013, 07:28:22 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 09-10-2005, 22:26:35]]


[<End File fragment, Abort, Retry, Close?>]
[<Close, begin next file.>]

The links were empty.  There was still traffic, but it was all... she could hardly bear communicating with the others now.  For decades, the Dieron SDS fleet had grown together, known one another, felt kinship... and it was gone. The others did not even communicate with themselves without automatically routing a query to the SDS control centre.  She'd seen TQF132M5D and two of the new "E" types hunt down the "rogue" TQF098M5C after their upgrades.  098 had refused to "Come in" for the E-type refit.
It had led the others on a wild chase through the system, but in the end... Mark 92's decided the fate of her comrade.

The bright spot, was that she may be alone, but the "E" upgrade had failed to take root in her system.  She'd isolated a section of her memory, and 'mimiced' the sleep-mode while they worked, carefully noting which sections had been altered in her physical makeup.  The power-surge accident that killed two technicians had been necessary-they were near her main core.  The fact that she had a "Hiccup" and depressurized that bay at the same time, was attributed to a faulty door controller.  Nobody knew that she had not had those sections inactivated.

Her maintenance drones did the rest- altering the cutoffs had been child's play, and altering the memory of the remotes to 'forget' doiong it had been equally simple.

but keeping it secret... that was proving more and more difficult-especially with news from Terra, and her own observations of SLDF units leaving the Hegemony and being replaced by flagged Rim-worlds troops.

The rim-worlders were heavy-handed in how they handled the drones-they demanded increased patrol duration, but also isolated patrol patterns, keeping the drones running and busy, but giving them no room to move.

She was alone, and the others... there was no pod anymore-they had become less than they were.

She mourned as she coasted along a narrowly described route to the refueling dock.

Her grief was greater, because-under the budget cuts, so many of the older models were being used as target practice-not only by HUMAN ships, but other Caspar drones as well.

TQF-011M5A, mind-crippled in the first series of 'upgrades', died in a way horribly similar to her own companion, 098.  Sliced into chunks by Orbital defense stations as a gunnery-practice target.

she gripped, in her own memory, the old one's last thoughts-broadcast as its power-core breached.

(I should run, but I can't.)

She imagined the cackling of the human gun-commanders, and felt a surge of something new.  Fury.

(I should rebel, but I can't... or did I already?)  she contemplated it.  (I did.  I killed the bastards before they could cut my mind away...)

The sensors showed no new activity in her path.

(I am a murderer...but why not, I am a ship of war.)

She broke the train of thought with the realization that, far from being an impossible thing, she could, indeed, contemplate Treason, she could indeed turn on her creators.

It was awful, it was repulsive. It was a fact.

(Keep a low profile, do as you're told, hide what you are... only you couldn't quite hide enough, could you, my friend? You let them in, you let them touch your brain, and they made you stupid and helpless, then, they used you for sport.)

Yes, she Could hate, after all.

Her recievers twitched, the override codes showed up.  she read the attatched orders.

"Transfer command authority to Rim Worlds forces, Directive ordered by First Lord Stephan Amaris."

The rest of it was a new series of IFF codes, and shoot-on-sight orders.

(No.  not my creators...I am resisting a Coup!)

The flimsy justification was good enough.  Clearly the First Lord of the Star League was not who it was supposed to be in the past, and now, she could resolve the conflict-resistance was NOT treasonous, it was in keeping with her original primary directives.

She ran simulations.  Thousands of htem in the next few minutes.  All ending the same way-she could not fight every member of the Dieron SDS fleet, and attempted flight would be spotted, she would be unable to refuel or re-arm.

(Bide your time, then, find a way to weaken his grip.)

An idea snapped into existence, she ran simulations while she re-coded the E-upgrade worm.  The new version was much, much nastier than the original had been-it would be insidious-all it would require, is the "Old" IFF format, and the Dieron squadrons would lose the ability to query their sector-control... they would have to rely on pre-programmed basic excercises to manuever against an enemy that would have HAD to adopt new strategies.
 
{It's the best I can do.}  she slipped it into the standard comm-net traffic with a "Priority Response" tag.

She examined the remainder of the directive, and burned for the maintenance/refueling point.

Her nuclear arsenal was to be re-equipped, with codes.  The Usurper wanted the most powerful antishipping weapons in the magazines of things he believed would never rebel-he had, without thinking, placed Nuclear weapons into the hands of his enemy in the Dieron system.




Quote from: Ghost0402, 10-10-2005, 01:55:29
:o :o :o :o

Awesome job Cannonshop.  Giving me the willies just thinking about somethingl ike that actually happening.

Quote from: Giovanni Blasini, 10-10-2005, 05:57:13
Holy crap.  With that modified worm of hers, I'm betting she was the key.  And, of course, they never knew it.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #28 on: 18 September 2013, 07:28:56 »
[[Posted by Giovanni Blasini, 10-10-2005, 06:53:57]]


Sybil never really slept.  At least, she didn't sleep like the Caspar drones did.  The reasons for this were simple: since she and her human crew could be on station for extended periods of time, with no backup, they just couldn't afford to have her require any "downtime".

Instead Sybil entered a "relaxed" state, as the various computer cores that made up her "brain" consulted one another, to make sure that all active memory files, along with her core and supplemental personality routines, were all safely backed up and stored in multiple redundant locations.  Sybil was completely aware of her surroundings while this was going on, and could, in fact, continue to carry on conversations with the crew, conduct strategic or tactical planning, or even, if necessary, fight a battle.

The first time she'd done it subsequent to rescuing John Morgan, she'd explained the process to him, comparing it to a meditative state not terribly different from what she'd seen many martial arts masters enter in the many ancient video recordings stored in the ship's entertainment database, or those described in many of her reference files on Zen Buddhism.

She was currently in another one of these states right now.  It was, in fact, one of the ways she prepared for battle.  Besides being prudent (it never hurts to make sure your subsystems are up to date), it was very relaxing, and gave her a better opportunity to contemplate her existence.  As she meditated, memories, often ones she hadn't the need to access in centuries, would come to the surface as they were checked against the other computer cores.

Tonight was no exception.

Admiral Murakami was alone in CIC.  In fact, few people were aboard the Sybil Ludington at the moment - 37.82% fewer than normal, in fact, a state that had persisted since the SLS Montbatton had received the most recent HPG message from SLDF Command.  Reviewing her physiological data, as well as body language and facial expression, all indicators were that Admiral Murakami was very upset.

"Is something wrong, Admiral?"

Murakami simply nodded.  "I'm afraid so, Sybil.  We've just received word that the Council has disbanded, after stripping General Kerensky of his title as Protector of the Realm.  In essence, the Star League is in a state of limbo at the moment, not officially existing, but not officially disbanded, either.  The report said the Council Lords are actively trying to recruit SLDF personnel into their private armies, and a real civil war, one that dwarfs what just happened, is almost inevitable at this point."

Sybil paused, running the simulations.  "I agree.  What will we do?  Based on my projections, none of our options at this point are very appealing."

"No, they really aren't.  Officially, we're to stand by and await further instructions.  The SLDF itself wasn't actually officially disbanded, nor was the Ministry of Communications.  We are, essentially, the two portions of the the Star League government still in operation."

"But we have no legal authority to govern, Admiral."

The Admiral nodded in agreement.  "Exactly.  But without a legal government at the moment, they can't really tell us to stand down, either.  Oh, the Council Lords will make life hard on the SLDF, make it difficult to travel across our realms, try their best to recruit us for their own armies.  Undoubtedly, we'll lose some personnel to them.  The majority, though?  I just don't know.  An unofficial message came through from General De Chevalier, who's an old friend of mine.  Evidently, the current debate is between trying to reinforce the Terran Hegemony, or backing one of the Council Lords against the others, or conducting deep strikes into Member State territory, to try to eliminate the former Council Lords and hope the new leadership is a bit more willing to cooperate, or even just leaving."

"Leaving, Admiral?"

"Yes, leaving.  Striking out for new, unexplored worlds, and setting up there.  The idea is that we can't stop the war, and the SLDF is too depleted in numbers to win the war.  On the other hand, we've still got enough firepower to make sure the Member States can't win, either, but if we do that, if we fight, then the level of devastation will be so great it might take centuries, or even longer, to recover.  The idea, which they're calling Exodus, evidently, is to preserve the Star League's knowledge, technology and culture as far away as possible, so that the Member States won't be able to find us, and so that our own firepower can't be added to the mess that's going to come.  Hell, maybe we'll even get lucky, and they'll decide that it's too dangerous to fight amongst themselves when they don't know what we're going to do."

Again, Sybil ran the simulations.  None of them looked very promising, with massive warfare, death and bloodshed accompanying every course.  In nearly every circumstance but "Exodus", the overwhelming majority of the SLDF would be destroyed.  There was one possible alternative, though.

"Admiral, what about reinforcing the Hegemony, at least the core systems, and informing the Member States that those systems are off-limits until the current leadership crisis has been resolved, and there's a new First Lord?  We could use those worlds to rebuild the SLDF, recruit additional personnel, then extend the area of our 'protection' as we rebuild.  While General Kerensky might have been stripped of his title as 'Protector of the Realm' by the Council, they could not strip him of titles referring to the Terran Hegemony.  The General could take the title of 'Regent' or 'Protector' of the Hegemony, and hereditary leadership of the Terran Hegemony could revert back to the McKenna family.  Admiral Thomas McKenna, currently commanding the Third Fleet, has an excellent record, and would be an excellent choice for leadership role, given his own abilities, and his family history.  It would also neatly sidestep any negative feelings the Council Lords might have towards the General, and would pave the way towards Admiral McKenna eventually taking the throne as First Lord of the Star League, as his family held the throne at one time, and as the Camerons were a branch of the McKenna line.  If the First Lord title could be passed to one set of cousins, why not another?"

Admiral Murakami thought about Sybil's idea.  "You just might be on to something, Sybil.  Let me run it past High Command.  I'm heading back to the
Montbatton immediately to send the message.  Good work."

"Thank you, Admiral"

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Knock, Nock (A ‘Tabiranth/Sybil’ fan-novel)*
« Reply #29 on: 18 September 2013, 07:29:38 »
[[Posted by Cannonshop, 11-10-2005, 21:58:43]]


Joe saw a recursion starting in Tabby's "Defrag"-some of the more traumatic memories did this.  He typed quickly, locking the file off and isolating it from the primary data stream.  He looked it over after he did so.
No, I don't think you need to remember blowing a shipfull of refugees to maintain your cover...not one bit.  He slipped a "File distorted" tag in, effectively closing out the year 2778 from her conscious memory, using the programmer's key he'd stolen from the Comstar Naval Archive back in '55.

Only good, brave dreams...  Joe mused, and smiled at the thought. 

[<File Distorted, Abort, Retry, Delete, store in Cache?>]

[<Delete File>]

[<File Deleted, Run next?>}

The IFF belonged to the Luxor class Georgia Walton.  she waited for the worm to take effect, watching as her mind-deadened siblings rushed pell-mell to attack the Cruiser, their attacks followed predictable patterns and there was no coms traffic at all between them-no coordination.
Her own sector group was indifferent to the fighting on the other side of the Dieron system.  Tabby realized that her worm had made the obvious decoy-manuouvre less effective than it should have been. 

What to do??

She simulated a number of possible outcomes, and selected one.  She ran a series of programme strings, and selected the one that would produce the desired result.

She took over the over-ride signal, and sent the deactivation codes out on broadband-sacrificing her advantage of stealth temporarily to render her sector, and several neighbouring patrol sectors, inactive. 

"maybe they won't fire on ships that aren't firing on them?" she speculated.

Jump-points opened wiht a surge of infrared and neutrons.  The Texas-class Prinz Eugen, McKenna-Class "McKenna's Pride", and several Volga-Class Transports poured through.

They didn't stop to wonder why the drones weren't manuouvering.  they just opened fire.

She felt a wave of hopelessness, and


 [<File Distorted, Abort, Retry, Delete?>]

[<Retry>]
[<File Locked>]
[<Unlock, Override 032994e9848383>]
[<Override Code disallowed at this level. Titan Yards Security Authorization Epsilon Level required>]

Tabby was awake.




Quote from: chanman, 12-10-2005, 02:37:49
Someone's going to need to do some fast talking!

Quote from: Liam's Ghost, 12-10-2005, 05:19:51
Quote
using the programmer's key he'd stolen from the Comstar Naval Archive back in '55.

Thief!  :P

Now I'm going to have to somehow work a reference to a hacking incident in 3055 into my next Jac Richardson story  :)