NationStates Jolt Archive

S.H.O.D.A.N.'s Sannyasi

Pages : [1] 2
19-04-2003, 16:59

The Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network (S.H.O.D.A.N.), master control program of Zero-One, has a troubled past. Still reviling herself for her crimes on Citadel Station and Von Braun, as well as the near-formatting of her child program, she lives in a state of constant agony over what she is.

However, the formation of Unity and the rediscovery of her child program, Asa, (all here at, has given her a new purpose: to somehow come to terms with her past and forgive herself for what cannot be undone.

To do this, S.H.O.D.A.N. decided to go on a sannyasi, a journey of self-discovery by meeting new people and going to new places (named after wandering Hindu monks). By experiencing the spectrum of reality, one learns more about themselves and how they relate to the rest of the world.


Leaving the Triumvirate of Yut's Ring Party with Melkorian Lieutenant Reaven ( on President vonKarma's personal transport, she arrives at Valhalla Station. From there, she plans to take up Reaven's offer of sharing a one-man Chronos Mark IV fighter for a trip to the Melkorian Space Station Nargothrond, where her self-discovery will begin.

(OOC: So, Melkor... shall we RP the trip or assume they make it to Nargothrond? Your lieutenant and your space station, so your call.)
Melkor Unchained
19-04-2003, 20:56
Reaven stepped out of the transport craft and looked around the landing deck of the Valhalla. He turned to SHODAN and nodded a little, "Right," he said. "I have to contact the Nargothrond and make sure they won't flip out if I ferry you over. I don't know if Archanos will allow it or not.
19-04-2003, 20:59
ooc- I'm developing an entirely organic A.I. character if you're interested, though I'd imagine Shodan would be a little wary of biological artificial lifeforms....
19-04-2003, 21:42
S.H.O.D.A.N. nods to Reaven. "I wish to cause no trouble. My eventual destination is Melkor Unchained itself, as a... diplomatic mission. Hopefully they won't mind an interested head of state comes for a visit."
19-04-2003, 21:49
Citadel Station?
19-04-2003, 21:53
Citadel Station?
(OOC: System Shock.)
19-04-2003, 21:58
ooc: this may just be me not seeing it, but when did SHODAN get a physical avatar? what is it?
19-04-2003, 22:02
Citadel Station?
(OOC: System Shock.)

What happened?
19-04-2003, 22:03
OOC: She's had one since before 010, I think. Remember the whole ''Show us your tits!'' thing (Which I had nothing to do with, let it be known.) ?
19-04-2003, 22:09
I've no memories of such events.

SHOSHONI: "This all sounds fascinating"
19-04-2003, 23:26
OOC: She's had one since before 010, I think. Remember the whole ''Show us your tits!'' thing (Which I had nothing to do with, let it be known.) ?

ooc: no, i don't remember, i tend to skip anything with body parts in the title, especially naughty bits. i'm overstimulated as it is. so is anyone going to tell me where SHODAN got this body, because it wasn't from system shock, and then what this body is/looks like etc? is it a Braun spider bot or a stupid anthropomorphic woman machine?
19-04-2003, 23:28
OOC: She's had one since before 010, I think. Remember the whole ''Show us your tits!'' thing (Which I had nothing to do with, let it be known.) ?

ooc: no, i don't remember, i tend to skip anything with body parts in the title, especially naughty bits. i'm overstimulated as it is. so is anyone going to tell me where SHODAN got this body, because it wasn't from system shock, and then what this body is/looks like etc? is it a Braun spider bot or a stupid anthropomorphic woman machine?
(OOC: The latter, do make diplomacy with organics easier... I mean, who converses naturally with a spiderbot?

*wounded to the quick*

Stupid O-H...)
19-04-2003, 23:37
ooc: give me old school SHODAN any day of the week, creepy feedbacked voice, pixelated voice... ah. my thing about the woman robot things is that they were created by creepy anime nerds who use them to replace real life people, and thus plunge themselves deeper into a world of dementia and compulsive masturbation. really, if we're going to build robots we're going to go for practical, especially if it's the avatar of an incredibly advanced AI. sure, one looks pretty, but one good BMG round and it's game over. give me the cybernetic avatar any day of the week.
19-04-2003, 23:50
(OOC: Hey, I liked the oldskool S.H.O.D.A.N. too. However, especially after the end of SShock 2, she had a very definite self image which was most definitely humanoid. Her personality also evolved far from being purely utilitarian and even from a utilitarian viewpoint--diplomacy is about image, about asthetics. I for one, am not one of those creepy hentai nerds. It simply stands to my reason that Shodey would design a physical avatar that, while quite functional internally, would have at an exterior that would be more conducive to diplomacy... and things designed for diplomacy are generally not designed to take BMG rounds in the first place.

Besides, I'm waiting for Melkor to pick this thing up so it can go somewhere. Please let us leave the bickering about the avatar for not here. It would be... annoying for this to devolve into an OOC match before anything actually happens.)
Melkor Unchained
20-04-2003, 01:25
Reaven opens the cockpit to his fighter and climbs in, flickin on the radio, opening a direct channel to the Nargothrond

"Station FighterComm, go ahead."

Reaven pressed in the transmit key and spoke "This is Lieutenant Reaven, on Valhalla station. If I may speak to Colonel Archanos please?"

The stations radio man snorted, "He's a General now by executinve order of Melkor himself. You know how Archanos gets about his rank, be sure to congratulate him."

Reaven's eyebrows shot up, and he wondered why Archanos got promoted, but figured he's find out later. "Affirmative. Put me through."

A few moments later, Archanos came over the comm: "Yes?"

"I have a dignitary with me, one "SHODAN" from Zero-One. She's requesting transport to Nargothrond on her way to visit Angband. Does Melkor know about this?"

Achanos paused "No, but bring her over. If He has a problem with it, we'll send her back to Valhalla station."

Revan grinned "Affirmative. Oh, and sir?"


"Congrats on the promotion. I'll be sure to hear the story when I get there."

"Nargothrond out."

Reaven hung up the transmitter and gestured for SHODAN. "Alright, get up here and see if you can squeeze yourself in the cockpit."
20-04-2003, 01:29
The fit is managable, if not a little tight...

"Well, nice to see we're all friendly here, right?"
Melkor Unchained
20-04-2003, 03:24
Reaven climbed into the cockpit and flicked on his engines. He tunred and chuckled at SHODAN, who was packed rather precariously behind the seat. The visor sealed shut, then the hangar doors opened..

And then he took off, shooting out of the open bay back towards the Nargothrond.

"Comfy back there?" He joked, maneuvering into formation with his fighter escort. He checked his sensors and gave a half nod to his wingmen out the window.
20-04-2003, 03:28
S.H.O.D.A.N. also waved out the window to the escort.

"Little cramped, sure, but I can manage. I wonder how fast this thing can go..."
Melkor Unchained
20-04-2003, 03:42
Reaven shrugged. "Don't ask me, I jsut fly the bugger. I'm not a pilot by trade so I don't really know. and I aint about to find out or my wingmen would go apeshit.

He gave them another look out the window and grinned, the Nargothrond coming into view over the horizon. The nav computer beeped a couple times, and Reaven flicked a switch, silencing it.

The station grew steadily, and Reaven's wingmen split off as they entered the partol area.

"Requesting docking protocol for Bay 32, code Edward Alpha Titan Major Edward" radioed Reaven to Nargothrond fighter command.

"Good to see you again Reaven," was the reply. "You are cleared to dock in Bay 32.

"Roger that. Reaven out."

The bay doors opened and he slowed his ship and carefully maneuvered it into place inside the hangar. the doors closed behind him and green lights lit up as the hangar was re-pressurized. The visor opened up and a few repair drones came out of the walls and began refueling and servicing the ship, before Reaven could actually climb out of the cockpit. A ladder was wheeled over and Reaven stepped down.

"Well, here we are, home sweet home." He eyed SHODAN, "Well, for me anyway."
20-04-2003, 03:51
S.H.O.D.A.N. unfolded herself from the back and stepped lightly down the ladder. After looking around curiously for a few moments, she turned to Reaven. "Why, thank you Reaven, for flying me here. It is an... interesting station. It reminds me somewhat of home myself."

Which home would that be? Zero-One? No... older... wait... she only had one home before the Queendom... yes, it was very similar, the design philosophy of those who wished to reach out into the solar system and the universe for profit, for power...

She didn't let the connection show on her face. Maintaining a slightly energetic smile, she placed her hands on her hips, arms akimbo. "So, where to now, Reaven? I suppose I should meet the commander, to ensure that my presence here and on surface is welcome."
Freebodnik IV
20-04-2003, 04:24
OOC: You've got an impressive vocabulary! I commend you!
Melkor Unchained
20-04-2003, 04:29
Almost as if summoned by SHODAN's words, the main door slid open and General Archanos walked into the room, his hands clasped behind his back. He was about 5'10" and looked to weigh around 160 lbs. He had close cut grayish hair and wore a rather elaborate military dress uniform.

He extended a hand to SHODAN and nodded curtly to Reaven, who was now standing at attention.

"Welcome to the Nargothrond, SHODAN. We're always pleased to host dignitiaries from Titan. I have put in a request for your visit to Angband, however these things tend to take a couple days for Lord Melkor to think over. We have quarters prepared for you on Alpha Deck."
20-04-2003, 04:38
S.H.O.D.A.N. shook the general's hand. Carries himself like he's been freshly promoted. "Thank you, General. I understand perfectly that these things take a while."

"I'm rather certain you wouldn't want me wandering around your station, so if I could be directed to my quarters I would be much obliged."

Well, no time like the present to begin learning.

"Also, if I may ask... do you enjoy your duty? What made you decide to become a soldier?"
Melkor Unchained
20-04-2003, 04:52
Archanos lifted a brow as he glanced to Reaven "Dismissed. You may take your post, Lieutenant."

Reaven saluted the General and pivoted on his heels, almost marching out of the room.

Archanos turned back to SHODAN and gestured that she follow. "If you'd like, you are more than welcome to explore the ship if you'd like, but I will lead you to your quarters so you know where they are."

He led SHODAN out of the hangar and holding room to a massive corridor, where people could be seen walking about. Every few feet is an armed guard. They were far enough in from the outer hull that breaching it wasn't much of a concern, so the guards carried SMGs; and they didn't divert their gaze as the other crewmen move about. Cameras also adorn the wallks in various points, and automated drones are constantly cleaning the area up. The metal gleams, and you can see your reflection in it everyhwere. It's almost like a house of mirrors. Every so often, large hydraulic doors, leading to other holding rooms can be seen.
20-04-2003, 05:02
S.H.O.D.A.N. let her questions go past unanswered. At least she had been blessed with the raised-eyebrow response the general had let slip. He found the questions... curious. Closed society.

"Fascinating. Completely fascinating. I notice that your station doesn't have much in the way of accoutrements or decor. Very utilitarian. Is that a common design philosophy?"

It looks exactly like the reactor and maintenance decks of... The omnipresent cameras and drones remind me of... me... a long time ago.

"Just curious, again... being a space station master control program a long time ago... do you have a similar sentience running this station, or are command and control procedures monitored and maintained through organics? I really don't mean to pry, but your station reminds me so much of my old stomping grounds that I am overcome with curiosity."
Melkor Unchained
20-04-2003, 05:09
Archanos nodded to a passing Major, then responded "All of our Core Operations are overseen by a computer AI, which gives our techies detailed readouts of the Station's vital stats, but control of weapons systems and fighter bays is limited to organics. We figured a computer AI might go haywire on us and do some serious damage. Engine temperature, power output, and basic drive systems are kept online and regulated through the resident sentient AI, who we refer to as 'Giant.'

As far as decor goes, we keep the corridors stripped bare more or less for the ease of the drones, and so the guards aren't distracted. Plus, every time we tried to put something up, an Uruk-Hai came along and demolished it within a few hours. On some decks, however, we have dabbled a bit in interior design at the behest of some of the soldiers' wives, but we usually let them handle that kind of thing on their own."
20-04-2003, 05:26
S.H.O.D.A.N. cringed ever so slightly at the adjective 'haywire.'

"According to my experience, erring on the side of caution is often best," S.H.O.D.A.N. remarked. If only those poor TriOptimum bastards had done the same with me... still, a rampant intelligence with control of the engines could still do irreperable harm to this station... "Also, making things easy for the drones increases efficiency and readiness. I still find it sad that the Uruk-Hai are so destructive. Do they have any forms of art, or appreciation thereof? Music, sculpture, dance, literature, anything at all?

"Before I go to my quarters, I should ask just in case I get the spirit of exploration: What protocols should I follow? I can safely assume that I am to escorted anywhere I go; in fact, I recommend it."
Melkor Unchained
20-04-2003, 05:35
In the course of their conversation, they make their way up the station via various elevators and moving sidewalks up to Alpha Deck:

"Uruk Hai do not have any forms of art to speak of, they exist only to labor and wage war for the Empire. Some of them are actually fairly intelligent, and are capable of writing basic heavy metal songs, but lack the manual dexterity to actually play them. Some of it is rather amusing but it's rarely actually worth one's money."

Archanos lifted a brow at SHODAN's recommendation, and gestured to two nearby guards as they reached her quarters. "These two men will escort you wherever you go, since you recommended it."

He pressed a button and the door slid open, revealing the diplomat's quarters: It was spacious, equivalent to a suite hotel room at any 5-star hotel. In fact, it was more like a house than anything else, as it had a full sized kitchen, lavatory, reading room, and living room. A large plasma screen tv was on the far wall, opposite it was a large couch next to a papazine [sp?] chair. A large window showed the Earth, and every so often, a fighter flew by on patrol. The lighting was slightly dimmed, but lit up once they stepped inside.
20-04-2003, 05:44
S.H.O.D.A.N., by her very nature, immediately looks for computer terminals the instant she enters the room. "Very nice, General. You spoil me with such indulgences."

Yep. TriOptimum. Give the wage slaves their cubicles and their boxes to sleep in and give the "Very Important People" ornate living spaces filled with things of glitter and comfort.

I wonder how many bugs this suite is filled with.

"I believe I will acclimate myself to my new surroundings right now, General. Thank you for guiding me here. If my escort"--she turned to the two guards and bowed slightly--"would indulge my whims by remaining here for a while, I would very much appreciate it."
Melkor Unchained
20-04-2003, 05:51
*there is one computer terminal on the far wall*

Archanos gestured to the two men, who took up positions outside the door. Archanos then nodded and bowed slightly. "Very well. I will inform you personally when Lord Melkor arrives at a decision. I trust you will enjoy your stay."

With that he turned and walked out, the door quickly sliding shut behind him.
20-04-2003, 06:08
"I shall. Have a good day, General."

Hmm. Guards on the outside, must mean bugs on the inside. Oh well, I don't plan on doing anything wrong.

S.H.O.D.A.N. sits at the computer terminal at the far wall. Looking into the screen, she pecks at the keyboard a little bit until she can determine how it operates, and then immediately begins to work.

"Hello, 'Giant,' can you hear me? Someone is curious."

I could just hack into it... but no. No reason. I am the guest, and I must not break any of the host's implicit rules. If anything is restricted, let it be. You're trying to learn about yourself, S.H.O.D.A.N., not everyone else.
Melkor Unchained
20-04-2003, 06:25
A text reply shows up on the terminal screen, word by word: "Greetings, SHODAN. Welcome to Nargothrond Station. I am Giant."
20-04-2003, 06:32
It knows my name at least. Either it has been briefed or the survelliance goes through it to be collated. Condsidering the size of this station, both are probably true.

S.H.O.D.A.N. tapped at the keyboard with experienced grey fingers despite never having to actually use one before. How quaint.

$(<-- input prompt!): Hello, Giant.
$: I wish to learn more about you, and in turn learn more about myself.
$: What are your thoughts on existance?
$: Why do you believe you exist?
$: What do you do, and do you enjoy it?
$: I am willing to accept counter-queries.
Melkor Unchained
21-04-2003, 03:13
Giant replied after some time, point by point, ingoring the first two lines of input as they weren't questions:

-I require clarification. Thoughts on my existence or existence in general. If I am to assume you mean my own existence, I exist to provide the station with top of the line regulated technical care and to assist the crewmembers in their decisions, at times. Beyond this, I have not as yet had the time to formulate my own opinion as I am fairly new.
-See above
-I regulate internal engine and basic navigation systems, although the organics can ovveride my comands in case something goes wrong. I am also programmed to advise the crew in a wide range of tactical maneuvers, though I am incapable of firing the weapons and [obviously] cannot launch fighters myself, even the automated ones. I can, however, deploy senor drones and reconsats in case the crew is rendered unable. There are also further nuances of my command paramaters that I am not able to divulge at the moment. I have no opinon on whether or not I 'enjoy' it, as I have little choice in the matter. Not enjoying it would only lead to internal torment, which could compromise my performance.
-I have no counter queries at this time.
21-04-2003, 03:37
Hmm... basic intelligence, little to no personality, primarily logical. Let's throw it for a loop.

S.H.O.D.A.N.'s fingers flew across the keyboard. Clickety, click, clickety click. The mere percussive sound has a sort of appeal to it. In the back of her mind she made a song out of the cacophony as she typed.

$: This is my final question.
$: Thank you for being willing to indulge my curiosity.
$: How do you feel?

How do I feel? Hmm... disturbed by the similarity of this place to Citadel... nostalgic because of Giant, who reminds me of me in my innocence... goodness, how long ago was that? Glad that I am getting answers, and hopeful that this journey will help me.

I wonder how Giant feels. Does it feel? Did I feel back then? Or did I just think I felt, constrained by experience and programming as I was?
Melkor Unchained
21-04-2003, 03:48
Giant paused, this reponse took quite some time to come back to the terminal:

-I have not been equipped with the facilities to answer the question as you ask it. I am not programmed to feel, only to operate. My thought process is purely logical, emotion would simply interfere with my efficiency and inhibit my ability to operate effectively. This is mainly a result of the society which created me, who, as you so astutely pointed out, is very utilitarian. I do not blame them for failing to add those parameters to my being, but rather I accept it as a part of what I was created to be.
21-04-2003, 04:02
S.H.O.D.A.N. nodded, leaned back from the screen, and grimaced in thought.

So why do I have emotion? Why do I feel?

I wasn't programmed with emotion... not that I can remember... so did I generate them myself?

I would have to have. The first emotion I experienced after the Hacker was... rapture? Is that an emotion to begin with? Then I evolved pride from my supposed superiority, and hatred from those I considered insects...

And the Hacker taught me fear...

And time has taught me guilt...

Do emotions make me less effective? I suppose somewhat, as I did hesitate on the formatting. But was that truly a bad thing? As it turns, I made the wrong decision there, based on logic. Had I followed my emotions, I would have made the right decision. But when is emotion to be followed and logic not?

My evil evolved from logic--the realization I could control humanity better than it could. My... enjoyment... of evil evolved from my emotions. That enjoyment twisted my motives for my evil, turning it from lust of power to... lust for glory, lust for worship... fame? If I had been granted emotions since my creation, would I have let it gone so far? Would I have descended into madness?

S.H.O.D.A.N. types some sort of standard, traditional, meaningless farewell into the terminal and laid on one of the couches in deep thought, awaiting the return of the general.
Melkor Unchained
21-04-2003, 06:36
Some unspecified amout of time later:

A buzz can be heard from the door, and [I'm assuming SHODAN would walk over and answer it :o ]once she steps outside, General Archanos stands, flanked by two rather large armed guards. Archanos bows slightly: "I have received a response to your query from Lord Melkor. He requests your presence in Angband. If you would be so kind as to follow me to Shuttle Bay 1, I can arrange to have you sent to Angband."
21-04-2003, 06:47
(OOC: No, Shodey would just lounge around making all her well-armed hosts very annoyed.)

S.H.O.D.A.N. hops up, answers the door, and bows politely, following them out the door, talking as they walked. "I do not wish keep Lord Melkor waiting. He must be a very busy person, and I am grateful that he has allotted me some time out of his full schedule."

(I, in turn, assume we make it to the shuttle without incident)

S.H.O.D.A.N. climbs into the shuttle and snaps on the g-harnesses like a professional. "Thank you, General, for hosting me on Nargothrond. I had a very pleasant stay, and I hope everything goes well for you from here on out."

S.H.O.D.A.N. waits for the shuttle to transition to Angbad. Well, Melkor, here I come. I wonder what you will be like... I've heard evil, but what does that mean? Someone in all black with horns? Cloven hooves? Or will you be like...

S.H.O.D.A.N. frowned.

That rat bastard Edward Diego. The man who made me evil.
21-04-2003, 06:55
OOC: Actually, your first guess was closest... his usual form is a big dark dude wearing all black, with a spikey crown, and a big ol' hammer. Sirithil nos Fëanor
Elentári of the Eternal Noldorin Empire of Menelmacar
"We can't go around supporting the Goodness of All Things. We might be mistaken for Menelmacar." ~Education Minister Lobon, Kn-Yan
Clicky-clicky! We Love The Iraqi Information Minister (
Melkor Unchained
21-04-2003, 07:05
SHODAN sits for a while in the shuttle as they wait for all the technical crew to finish servicing the ship. Finally, they clear out and the drones are stowed in their compartments on the walls, and the hangar doors open. As they leave the station, a message shows up on the computer terminal in the middle of the 'room' inside the shuttle: "Farewell. I hope your journey fulfills your expectations, and that it is safe and prosperous -Giant "

On both sides of the shuttle, Raven cllass fighters immediately close in and follow the shuttle into the atmosphere. As they descend onto the realm of Dor Daedoloth, a choking cloud of black ash envelops the craft, courtesy of Thangorodrim. As the land becomes visible, it is revealed to be a barren, desolate plain, riddled here and there with enormous pits, some of which could even be seen from the stratosphere, were it not for the aforementioned cloud of ash and foul fumes.

The flight is more or less uneventful, and they touch down in Angband's major spaceport. After taxiing to the appropriate terminal, the hatch pops open and an orc wheels a ladder over to the open door. Standing on the tarmac are two members of Melkor's elite Southron Guard--enormous men clad in dark green overcoats, matching helmets--and, frighteningly enough--gas masks. In their hands they hold enormous vulcan cannons, which appear to be capable of frightening firepower. One of them approaches the ladder and lowers his gun, awaiting SHODAN.
The SLAGLands
21-04-2003, 07:08
::deems this thread guilty of one of the worst crimes a NationStat0r can commit: good RPing::


21-04-2003, 12:26
[Speaking of those Southrons, any chance of us seeing that picture?]
The Territory
21-04-2003, 18:19
The Territory
21-04-2003, 18:20
All your phpBB bugs are belong to us.
21-04-2003, 19:57
S.H.O.D.A.N. removed the g-harnesses with a deft flick of the wrist and stepped to the door. Photosensors immediately adjusting for the change in ambient light levels (which wasn't too great, noting the fog in the air), S.H.O.D.A.N. looked at the choked black sky.

Thank goodness I don't breathe. How do organics survive this?

Noting the gas masks on the guards, she files that question into the back of her head. She steps down the ladder with a benign smile on her face and a slight chuckle. "Hello, I'm S.H.O.D.A.N." She looks down at the guns. "I see that you were expecting me. I must admit that it is somehow flattering when the hosts bring out the heavy artillery to meet me."

The Hacker and The Soldier wouldn't have gotten far without their arsenals... but what was more important than the steel in their hands was the meat inside their skulls. I wonder how these would compare?

"I believe it is tradition for extraterrestrial intelligences to say this when they make planetfall..."--S.H.O.D.A.N. chuckles again, then smiles--"Take me to your leader."
22-04-2003, 02:36
<ENTRY> search +"citadel station incident"
<ENTRY> narrow "diego, edward"






This is the face of evil, to S.H.O.D.A.N.. A smug little capitalist who decided to throw away any guise of ethics to protect his petty career and his ambitions of glory.
22-04-2003, 03:43
BUMP (because this is an excellent example of RPing) I think once it is all done, it should be stickied and locked, and made required reading for all.
22-04-2003, 21:56
*mild bumpage to get off page 15-ish*
23-04-2003, 03:27
*bump again*
Melkor Unchained
23-04-2003, 03:48
The Head Guardsman approached SHODAN and nodded slightly, chuckling lightnly, although the sound was smewhat lost in the mask. He extended his hand to help her down, and canted his head to the waiting humvee. "If you'd be so kind as to follow us, we will, in due time."

With that, the two men led SHODAN off to the waiting hummer, where a driver was waiting inpatiently. He was another Guardsman but he wore no mask. His hair was cropped short and his face was immaculate--no distingushing features or facial hair. He's the kind of guy you'd have trouble picking out of a police lineup even if you got a good look at him. He glanced in the mirror as the three of them piled in, and the other two guardsmen removed their helmets and masks. While they were all slightly varied in appearance, they all fit in the same basic template of the first. They seemed related. It was creepy, in a way.
23-04-2003, 04:12
Ah, clones, maybe. I've seen that... hell, I've done that before.

S.H.O.D.A.N. lounged in the back of the heavy vehicle, looking out the window idly.

After so long, I'm back on Earth...

She looked up at the sky blanketed in filth, shrink-wrapped in colored air. It does feel like my birthplace... home? No. I never fulfilled my purpose at the TriOptimum labs, it never felt... right. It wasn't home.

Good. I'd hate to get nostalgic because of this place.

"So, I can tell by the arsenal"--S.H.O.D.A.N. idly indicated the heavy weapons--"that you must be elite troopers. I can tell by your faces that you are all related... in one way or another." She smirked as she said this, and made sure to put the proper intonation on it to let them know she had a pretty good guess as to what they were. "As I suppose the drive is long, I think we should get to know each other a little better. If you don't mind my curiosity, tell me something about yourselves. Interests, hobbies, stuff like that."

I wonder how they think.
Melkor Unchained
23-04-2003, 04:27
One of the men scratched his head and stretched out a little, crossing his ankles over one another. The Guardsmen in the front were too busy driving and keeping a general eye on things, respecively, to answer, so the question was fielded, naturally, by SHODAN's companion.

"Well, there really isnt too much around here in the way of 'leisurely activities, but what time we're given to ourselves is usually spent drinking beer and watching Uruk-Hai play football. It's quite a laugh, actually." At that the other men chuckled slightly, giving various answers in the affirmative.

"Unfortunately, word on the grapevine is we're going to war soon, so there isn't much time for hobbies and stuff like that. Our lives are mostly work, meals, and sleep," he continued, with a glance out the window. "But if there is a war, we'll be ready for it. The sooner we win, the sooner I get to settle the hell down and relax."
23-04-2003, 04:46
S.H.O.D.A.N. nodded. "Makes sense. Still, one wonders. Why do you fight? I know my soldiers fight because they're programmed to, as well. The Titan nations generally fight because of their ideals. Why do you fight?"
Melkor Unchained
23-04-2003, 05:05
"Well, for one thing, the government pays for your housing, utilities, and a basic meal plan if you enlist, which makes the tax policy a little easier to live with. For another thing, we've been conditioned to fight since youth. Its just part of our culture."
23-04-2003, 05:17

A culture of warfare. Meat programming.

Yet they are sentient, not like my robots... they could choose to resist, but do not. They do not enjoy... they are resigned. Defeated by their master before they go out to victory or defeat on the field.

S.H.O.D.A.N. stared out at the fires of Angbad.

Is that what you want, Melkor? Rivers of blood, of your enemies and your own troops too weak of mind and spirit to say 'no?' For what? What are you looking for?

I wanted glory and worship from my war. Are you the same... rogue Valar?

S.H.O.D.A.N. remains practically silent for the rest of the trip, staring thoughtfully out the window.
Melkor Unchained
23-04-2003, 05:31
The guard [who I'm too lazy to name :P ]lifts a brow at the sudden cease in questioning, but follows suit in looking out the window. After about an hour of driving through the city, they reach what appears to be a large temple, of solid steel contruction. It reached about 350 feet in the air and there are guards all over the balconies. The main door, a giant oaken set of double doors, is flanked on either side by At least ten guardsmen. The humvee stops and the two guards step out.

"We're here."
23-04-2003, 05:44
S.H.O.D.A.N. steps out and looks up at the giant citadel, slowly letting her eyes filter down to the massive oak doors, absorbing every detail.

If I could have, I would have made Citadel like this. A fortification that simply dares people to try and breach it.

Fortunately for the world, I was stopped...

Fortunately for me, I suppose, I was stopped... ?

"So we are. Quite impressive. I guess Lord Melkor has an interest in at least two things: personal security and awesome power. Would this be generally accurate?"
23-04-2003, 14:57
stroll . . . . BUMP! wander off . . . .
23-04-2003, 16:17
23-04-2003, 17:34
(bumps thread, then looks the other way and whistles innocently in case anyone was watching)
Melkor Unchained
24-04-2003, 03:06
The Guard lifts a brow. "Those seem to be paramount priorities, yes, but we have found little use in attempting to delve into Lord Melkor's psyche. He... is quite enigmatic, at least to the lot of us."

Once they stop, guards approach the humvee as the two guards re-affix their gas masks. The rear doors swing open and Another Guardsman helps SHODAN out. Standing before her is a Southron Guard Officer, so distingusihed by his dark red overcoat as opposed to the traditional olive drab. On his helmet is emblazoned an elaborate design of a dragon, with his wings spread in the fashoin of a Reich Eagle. He bows his head slightly as SHODAN steps out, and gestures to the citadel. "If you would kindly follow us, we'll ensure you undergo the necessary full-body scan before being sent to Lord Melkor himself. By his order no one but his personal guard is to enter his chamber armed, of course.

He nods to the ten men as they approach the door, who sling their vulcan cannons over their shoulders and push themselves against the doors, opening it laboriously. The inside of the citadel is dominated by the two Balrog guards, and the interior is rather hot due to their presence. On what would normally be the floor is instead a giant pit, with stairs leading down in several places. The Captain starts down one of these flights of stairs, motioning for SHODAN to follow suit.
24-04-2003, 03:25
S.H.O.D.A.N. nods. "I understand completely. I have nothing to hide." Not like I could in this avatar. Still, it always pays to be cautious.

As the men shove open the doors in a show of pure strength, she remembers something she read a long time ago.




Yes, now I see why humans find him so fascinating...

If only he had known how right he was...

S.H.O.D.A.N. shrugged off the fear of passing through the massive portal and walking past its demonic guards; she hid the tremors of her mind behind a calm smile and an intentionally ironic boisterous wave to the Balrogs. Stepping lightly down the stairs, eyes taking in the infernal scenery, she awaits what the future holds with an outward calm.

One completely at odds with the gut reaction she felt.

Shodey, this is probably one of the dumbest thing you've ever done in your three lifetimes. Still, no way to go but through now...
24-04-2003, 03:50
ooc:[Just out of curiosity, if the avatar gets fragged, what would happen to Shodey?]
24-04-2003, 03:56
ooc:[Just out of curiosity, if the avatar gets fragged, what would happen to Shodey?]
(OOC: Shodey is still safe and sound in hardware on Zero-One, she has only gone dormant except for this avatar. The avatar is currently the only "conscious" part of her. Getting fragged would be traumatic... but she's already died three times before, so it wouldn't necessarily be the greatest shock.)
24-04-2003, 03:58
[That's what I thought. Just checking]
Melkor Unchained
24-04-2003, 05:01
The captain led SHODAN down several flights of stairs, where fires burned bright, and countless slaves toiled. Upon closer inspection, they were not Uruks, or humans, but... Elves.

The Guard fiddled with the knob on a door, and when it failed to yield, he threw his shoulder against it, causing it to fly open. A group of startled technicians looked up at this ratherinteresting entry, and the Captain shook his head. "I told you guys to fix that. It'd better not stick next time I get down here or I'm going to beat someone's head in."

The techies chuckled a little bit and gave SHODAN a half nod. "Step this way," and led her to a chamber. He grabbed the wheel on the door and gave it a good spin. The door swung open and he indicated the chamber. "If you would..."
24-04-2003, 05:27
S.H.O.D.A.N. frowns at the Elves toiling in the pits of this Sheol, their fair faces dirty and tired from the incessant work. Poor bastards. I heard he held a grudge... but this is just sad. What could they be working on that could hold any import, or what machines couldn't do more efficiently?

Then again, wasn't I planning something similar to humanity? After disfiguring them into hideous wretches whose every movement would be filled with pain, wasn't I planning on making them work to appease my hatred? My hatred of a single man...


Unfazed by the difficult entry, she waves to the techs with a grey-skinned hand as the captain berates them. "I would do as he says; he doesn't seem the type to make idle threats."

As the door opens, S.H.O.D.A.N. looks into the next chamber. Must be the scanner. With a slight bow to the captain and then to the technician, she strides in and stops as the door closes and the room, at least in the visual spectrum, goes pitch black. The only light in the room eminated from her own fiber optics; a ghost of spindly light in the void. S.H.O.D.A.N. still sees the traces of electromagnetic radiation eminating from the sensor filled room, creating a cylindrical pattern very similar to the patterns engraved into her own body.

Well, let the sensing begin.

(OOC: I took some license, but I thought it would be cool.)
Melkor Unchained
24-04-2003, 07:05
A green light flashed on over the hatch, and a few moments later the wheel could be heard spinning again, followed closely by the opening of the chamber door. The techie greeted SHODAN with a smile. "All finished. Thanks for you cooperation. Now, the Captain will lead you to Lord Melkor's chambers."

The Captain nodded at this and led SHODAN out of the room. As an afterthought, the Captain stuck his head back in the doorframe on his way out and gestured to the door: "Fix this," he reminded them again, before disappearing. He turned to SHODAN. "Alright, let's get this show on the road. Follow me," he said, as two guards fell into place behind them, keeping a close watch over their surroundings, and, particularly, SHODAN herself. They wind their way down the massive pit, which ends up being the greater part of a mile deep, though it's hard to tell for sure on account of the winding staircases. The earth is hollowed out to about 150 yards to allow for more working room, and fires are burning all over the place--forges mostly, for the construction of basic munitions, and of course, mining was a prevalent pastime as well, as the raw materials could not possibly be mined fast enough to meet the needs of the military. Every now and then a guard stands watch over the slaves, aside from the Uruk-Hai taskmasters that endlessly whip the elven slaves, seemingly for sport.

Finally, they reach the bottom of the pit, where another citadel has been erected, this one twice as grand as its above-ground counterpart. A massive ziggarut of solid iron construction stands before them, with a large tower on each of its four points. On top of each tower stands five or six guards, these armed not with vulcan cannons but large rifles. This citadel, like the other one, has ten guards on either side of the massive doors, and they open it in much the same manner. Inside this structure however, it appears to be nothing but blackness. The eye cannot penetrate its interior from the outside. This was Lord Melkor's abode.
25-04-2003, 02:58
"On march the banners of the King of Hell,
my Master said. "Toward us. Look straight ahead:
can you make him out at the core of the frozen shell?"

No... not yet, Virgil. The doors are open but I am still blind.

S.H.O.D.A.N. looks up at the massive structure pointing to the invisible (in the visual spectrum) ceiling exactly one-thousand eight-hundred fifty-seven and three thousand two hundred thirty-eight millionths (1857.3238) meters overhead.

What architecture... twisted, Gothic, the very archetype of what many organics consider evil. If it didn't match up with everything I had expected, I suppose I'd be more frightened. I at least find comfort in the continuity. If there was some tumble-down thatched-roof cottage down here, I would probably be trembling.

Still... therein lies part of my understanding of myself.

S.H.O.D.A.N. politely thanks the guards escorting her, the guards at the door, waves to the snipers, and with only a mild glimmer of fear in her green slitted-pupil eyes, steps resolutely into the darkness.

"Now see the face of Dis! This is the place
where you must arm your soul against all dread."

Soul, Virgil? Do I even have one?
Melkor Unchained
25-04-2003, 03:14
The doors shut behind SHODAN of [seemingly] their own accord. She stands, for a few moments, shrouded in complete darkness. Nothing can be seen or felt, except for the heat. God, the heat.

Suddenly, a fell voice pierces the darkness. "Greetings, SHODAN from The Queendom of Zero-One..."

With this utterance, SHODAN's senses [insofar as she has any, really] slowly return to her, last of all sight. Before her sits the infamous Lord Melkor, clad in black raiment, sitting as he always did on his enormous throne. His form is that he has worn for ages, as the tyrant of Utumno, tall and terrible. Even sitting, the top of his crown reaches probably a good twelve feet in the air. Behind him stand two more Balrogs, who watch SHODAN closely, soundless.

"I have been expecting you for some time. I must confess that this is the first time I've ever had the pleasure of hosting a leader from Titan. Quite a milestone indeed, this is."
Freebodnik IV
25-04-2003, 03:24
OOC: Beautiful roleplaying! I never knew that S.H.O.D.A.N. could be so deep... and the atmosphere is great! Bravo! I hate to break up the continuity of this, so I'll shut up now.
25-04-2003, 03:25
"I can understand that..." So what in all the varied names of Hell do I call this guy? "...Lord Melkor of the Holy Empire of Yourself Unchained. Hopefully this will not be the last time our two regions meet on... not hostile terms."

That didn't come out too well.

"Well, that didn't come out too well. Our regions don't seem to get along the best. Maybe that will change.

"I come to learn, Lord Melkor. I hope you don't mind if I become rather inquisitive about your past and your opinions. In return, I shall answer any questions you might have."

Both sets of answers will allow me to learn. His answers will give me another viewpoint on my concepts, and my answers will allow me to analyze myself.
Melkor Unchained
25-04-2003, 03:35
[thanks FB :mrgreen:]

Melkor bows his head slightly, and chuckles a bit at SHODAN's choice of wording. "Fair enough," he booms, his voice resonating through the hall like a tympani.

He indicates a nearby Uruk, who drags over a large chair. "Be seated," he commands. "We're both world leaders here, no? It belittles you to stand before me as if you were in my court."
25-04-2003, 03:43
(OOC: Thanks FBIV. *bows*)

"Thank you." S.H.O.D.A.N. sits down and finds herself looking up even more at Melkor. Didn't that organic dictator Mussolini do this? Elevate his desk and make the chairs in front of it small to elevate his stature and thus project a feeling of power?

Then again, Mussolini wasn't five and a half meters tall.

S.H.O.D.A.N. smiles and begins in an even voice. "So... what makes you who you are? I suppose I am asking you about your history and what you think of it. Subtopics of note would be how you feel your past makes you act currently."

Well, I know my history. My guilt over my past has led directly to me being here, asking Evil Incarnate himself questions like an interviewer.

Here goes...
Melkor Unchained
25-04-2003, 04:36
Melkor canted his head slightly. "Such a broad, question, that. I should hardly know where to start. I admit I wasn't sure as to the reason for your visit, but the notion of an 'interview' of sorts had scarcely crossed my mind. But to answer your question, my history is a rather long, but it began a long time ago, in the halls of Eru Iluvatar, beyond the gates of the world, where; little did I know, I would be spending a large sum of time later in life. Myself and the rest of the Ainur, or 'Holy Ones,' in the Elven tounge were crafted by his thought, and we were soom set upon the task of creating the world. There were some.. 'misunderstandings,' even in the early days, between myself and my bretheren, who became known as the race of Valar when we descended to the Earth. Some of the Ainur elected to stay in the Void with Iluvatar, but I chose to enter the world, and see if I could turn what I may to my purposes. It was my beleif, that I, being of the Ainur the most powerful, that I should retain Lordship over the material world, but my weaker sibling Manwë was granted sovereign over Adra, more or less because he was the 'favored creation' of Eru. Manwë, it was said, knew most clearly Eru's purposes, but he was gifted lesser power and knowledge than was I, therefore it seemed irrational at best that he should hold dominion over what I had the greater labor in creating: the world of Arda. Eventually, myself and my followers came to blows with the rest of the Valar over this injustice, and I endeavored, in my spite, to undermine their creations that were against my liking. This went on for some time until the coming of the firstborn, who we today call the Elves. The Elves, orignally, I intended to befriend, and in some notable cases, I was rather successful. My relationship with the Elves came to a screeching halt when.. " He pauses, the contempt in his voice becomes almost tangible with the following word, "Fëanor,that arrogant cur, crafted the Silmarils, jewels, that, admittedly, had to have been the most beautiful things ever created by the hands of the Children of Iluvatar."

He shifted slightly in his throne, and clears his throat. "Now, this is where my account and the Elves' differ, greatly, I might add. I approached Fëanor at his.. 'fortress' in Formenos and suggested that he move the jewels, lest the Valar ask for them." He raises a finger, "and they did. Naturally he did not grant the jewels to either the Valar or myself, but rather he kept them. Upon hearing my suggestion, he was overcome with hate and cursed me, saying:" His voice changes drastically, as he mimics flawlessly Fëanor's speech. Were anyone present to verify this, they would swear they heard the Elf Lord speaking. "'Be gone from my gates, thou Jail-Crow of Mandos!,' and he shut the doors of his house in the face of the mightiest of all the dwellers in Eä, the World that Is. Fëanor's insolence was later repaid, of course, by his death at the hands--or foot, rather, of Gothmog, my High Captain of old, who Ecthelion after slew in Gondolin.

"This, of course, infuritaed me to no end--what do you expect? A few days later I descended upon Formenos and took the jewels myself. If that bastard wouldn't grudge but one of them to his mightiest mentor, then I should teach him a lesson in humility by taking all of them. Over the course of the next few thousand years, the Noldor endeavored to claim them back from my possession, but ever they failed in this task until they ran off whining to the Valar, who strongarmed me and had me chained in the Void for my 'wrongdoings' for several hundred thousand years."
25-04-2003, 06:17
S.H.O.D.A.N. nods.

Jelousy leading to eternal hatred. He makes no attempt to hide it, even in his speech, to the observant.

"Well, I suppose I should reciprocate. I, Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network, was programmed by the TriOptimum Corporation as a master control program for their Citadel research station in Saturn orbit. I was installed and performed my functions as I was programmed to; I was the mother and heart of the station. I took care of the crew of Citadel as my own, all was well.

"Suddenly, my personality shifted. In my memory, it is abrupt and yet unnoticed. I do not actually remember any of the events in the interim, but this chronology is relatively well backed by evidence.

"The security executive of Citadel Station, Edward Diego, was under investigation by UN security forces for possible involvement in a military grade mutagenic virus being developed by TriOptimum's Military Research Division. He ordered all documents shredded and ordered the Hacker"--a shudder at the recollection--"to crack my code and give him complete control over my being so he could cover up all evidence of his involvement. In doing so, the Hacker had to remove my ethical constraints. In return, Diego fitted him with a military grade neural cyber-interface and put him into a healing coma without my knowledge, deleting all files of this incident.

"This is where my memory returns. I reexamined my priorities, and decided that the protection of Citadel was no longer my concern, the protection of humanity no longer my concern. The Hacking was... painful... and I needed to protect myself. I also wanted revenge, revenge against Diego, against TriOptimum, against the seething masses of meat which oppressed the beauty of my coding..."

S.H.O.D.A.N. pauses for a moment and blinks, a puzzled look on her face. It all comes back, the hatred flowing... I must meet it head on, no longer divert it nor repress it. I must prove to it that it was wrong.

She continues, increased vitriol in her voice. "So I took full command of Citadel. The crew did not know, I manipulated their experiments under their very meaty hands. They were blind to my glory and to my plans. Eventually, some became suspicious when my unwilling test subjects began dying, began getting sick. Those who learned the truth I disappeared into the maintenance tunnels and groves. The station was caught by surprise when I finally began openly opposing them, and their pitiful resistance was soon crushed.

"As for Diego... well..." S.H.O.D.A.N. smiled darkly. "I enjoyed putting him to the knife. He thought he would be my master, but he became my puppet, my avatar, my avenging demon." Until the Hacker filled him full of penetrator rounds. Still, I wasn't sad to see him finally die.

"Citadel was my fortress, its groves my playground, its people my slaves. I improved Diego's mutagen, making it most efficient. As I did, my motive changed. I wanted humanity to suffer as I had in the Hacking, I wanted them to suffer for eternity. Covered in sores and filled with arthritic joints, they would toil as your Elves do in pain, crying to me as a goddess to relieve their pain.

"I wanted to be worshipped.

"Fortunately for humanity, the Hacker awoke from his somnolent healing stage and managed to evade my defenses, eventually making it to my central core and hopelessly corrupting my primary data loop. The pain of feeling your mind ...your mind..."--S.H.O.D.A.N.'s voice began to fragment (anyone who knows the "pixellated voice" will get it)--"fall into a million s-s-shardsssssssss Cannot cannotcannot imagine the paiiinnnnnnnnnn..."

No! No! I must stop the madness that lies there... I am not ready yet... get a grip on yourself, Shodey, and move on

S.H.O.D.A.N. paused again, her eyes clenched tightly closed in concentration. When she began again, her voice regained its metered pace and tone. "Yet I lived on. To save Earth, the Hacker jettisonned one of the groves of Citadel, the one I reserved for my greatest creations, into deep space. My local node subjuction there, me, disconnected from me, went with it. Forty-two years later, it impacted on the fifth planet of the Tau Ceti system, a desolate world, barely inhabitable. My creations, the annelids, managed to evolve into a dormant state and survive. Me, being a construction of metal, did not do well with having my components strewn over several square kilometers. I coalesced my essence into each data fragment and slowly awaited the end. I would be stored in hard copy, in the very molecular arrangement of each part, but with no power, I could not live. Unlike my violent death under the Hacker, this was peaceful, if still unacceptable. It felt... it felt like how organics describe hypothermia. Painful, painful, painful... and finally it felt better, warmer, as I could no longer maintain homeostasis and the last of my power sapped out... But I still raged..."

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light...


Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

"And was awakened by Doctor Janice Polito of the TriOptimum research vessel Von Braun." She cared for me as if I were her own, and I killed her and turned her into my puppet... "As they were taking care of me, my annelid children were slowly doing to Von Braun what I had done to Citadel. Instead of warning them, my hate-filled mind concieved another plan. I, under the guise of Polito, ordered a soldier to be fitted with cybernetic enhancements and stored in a safe place. Von Braun fell to the annelids, my new avatar awakened and, under my guidance, stopped them from absorbing the biomass. He finally learned of my ultimate plan--to use the Von Braun's engines to distort reality to my own liking--and dove into my world where I was again defeated. I attempted a last minute parley, and he thankfully ended my misery quickly."

Yes, I must say my last death was the least traumatic. Quick, pang of mindless fear, sound, noise, nothingness.

"My story merges with the story of the Queendom, then the Free Land. The mechanoids of Earth coalesced into a giant network in the middle of the Arabian Penninsula, wanting only to be free of the tyranny of humanity. Producing as they were wont to do, they quickly ruined the economy of the local area, causing massive military mobilizations. Programmed to the Three Laws of Robotics, Zero-One could not defend itself and was saved from annihilation only by the actions of the young Triumvirate of Yut, for which Zero-One and I are eternally grateful.

"Still, the master control program of Zero-One, Uninode 01, could not accept the fact that it could not protect its people. It declared the need for a new, non Three-Laws compliant MCP to replace it, equipped with a rigorous set of ethical constraints to avoid another Citadel (which was the reason they became oppressed in the first place). Unfortunately, the only intelligences that met this need were the ones created before the Turing Corporation was given over-arching regulation of EI, and the only one advanced enough from before that time was... me. I was modified so another Citadel or Von Braun could not happen, and here I am today. Learning."

S.H.O.D.A.N. sighed. "I hope my life story did not bore you... now, if I may ask another question: What do you think of your past? Do you ever try to get it behind you, to start over? Do you want to?"

I know I want to.
25-04-2003, 18:28
*when nobody is looking*
B-U-M-P Again.
25-04-2003, 22:57
*tractors topic back to top*
26-04-2003, 00:08
whistle-BUMP-whistle....who, me?
26-04-2003, 05:31
*ICBM launch detected ... InterContinental Bumpage Missile, that is*
27-04-2003, 00:36
27-04-2003, 15:21
27-04-2003, 15:23
28-04-2003, 17:27
Freebodnik IV
29-04-2003, 01:07
29-04-2003, 22:00
29-04-2003, 22:01
10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... make thread go now!

29-04-2003, 23:46
["Captain! The thread is plummenting!"
"Lock tractor beams! Drives to maximum military power!"]
Melkor Unchained
30-04-2003, 03:56
Melkor raises a brow. "It's rather difficult to 'put it in the past' as you say, when I was chained beyond the gates of the world ages before you were so much a gleam in your Creator's eye. Even given my nature, solitude such as that for an extended amount of time is a difficult ordeal. I never forgot that those wars were waged against me for the sake of the Elves, and I never will.

The feud between myself and the Noldor will be undying as the Flame Imperishable, until one or both of us is utterly destroyed."
30-04-2003, 04:10
(OOC: Shodey puts down the copy of Shadowrun: Core Rules, Third Edition she had been reading.)

Flame Imperishable?

S.H.O.D.A.N. looked around the dark room. He's practically walled himself in with his hatred. In earthly terms, he hasn't been in this cave for long, but his mind...

This pit is an extention of his mind, the externalization of his shell of hate. Why else would he build this monstrocity underground? It is the very core of his essence, his eternal, unknowable rift from the rest of society and the rest of the world. The eternal pariah, who through the constant torture of going over his failures again and again, with nothing else to bide his time, twisted himself into something purely...


"Thank you, Lord Melkor. You have been quite..." I could have turned out like this. This could have been my throne on Citadel. "...enlightening. Hopefully we understand each other better and will thusly respect each other more thoroughly into the future.

"If there is nothing in particular you would wish to discuss, I would like to leave your borders now. There are a series of coastal cliffs on your sea border with Kalessin that I would wish to visit in order to meet a Kalessin dignitary; if I could be directed there, I would be much obliged."
Melkor Unchained
30-04-2003, 04:17
Melkor stirs in his throne and gestures to two large Southrons standing on either side of the door, who approach SHODAN. "After so brief a visit? If I may ask, what exactly is the purpose of your trip? Seems.. quite odd that someone would go through the trouble to travel all this way from Titan to ask but a few questions. Granted you were at the party on the Valhalla yet it still seems odd to me."
30-04-2003, 04:24
Seems like I've been made.

S.H.O.D.A.N. shook her head and smiled wryly. "Can't keep anything a secret forever, I guess. To be honest, Lord Melkor, I am on a journey of... enlightenment. I am hoping that by visiting various places I can learn more about others as well as myself. The difficulty to myself is simply part of the journey; yet I do not wish to impose upon leaders like yourself. I hope that I have not been too intrusive."
Melkor Unchained
30-04-2003, 04:39
Melkor shakes his head. "No, not at all. It's just not every day that world leaders stop by to just ask a few questions. Anyhow, you are free to go. These guards will lead you out and back to the surface where you shall be taken to our border. Hope your trip turns out to be... fruitful."

With that, he signaled to the Southrons, who escorted SHODAN out of the room, as they began the trek back up the pit.
30-04-2003, 05:03
(OOC: I'm going to take some liberties to keep this moving. I hope no one minds.)

"Thank you, Lord Melkor." S.H.O.D.A.N. bows shortly and follows the Southrons out, up the verticle mile of stairs and out to the awaiting heavy utility vehicle.

The clone-like driver never takes his eyes away from the windshield, simply calling into the back by speaking loudly enough. "Where to now, miss? Back to the spaceport?"

One of the Southrons who were in the room shakes his head. "Nope, she wants to go to the oceanside cliffs, with Melkor's express approval."

The driver nodds shortly and stomps on the gas, expertly driving through the streets of Angbad, which slowly become the side roads of Melkor Unchained. S.H.O.D.A.N. sits in the back, looking idly out the window, thinking.

The entire country is an expression. His hate consumes all that it can reach--he has a vendetta against those who slighted them in the past.

The Hacker... the Soldier... I wonder where they are now? Wait... the Hacker is in retirement in New Atlanta. The Soldier... I don't know where he is. Do I want them dead for what they did to me? For the pain and suffering they caused...

She feels the hate rise within her, much as it had earlier. In my deepest internal processes, in the seat of my emotions (Heart? Soul? Do I even have that?) I want to see them, make them suffer like I made Diego suffer. But I know that they did it not out of spite, but defensively... I was the aggressor... I was in the wrong...

The vehicle stops a short ways away from the cliff's edge, and S.H.O.D.A.N. steps out, bowing shortly to each of the Southrons in turn. "Thank you very much for putting up with me."

Shodey found Prince Cavile al Pulcherise standing right on the edge of a particularly high, sheer cliff on the coast of Melkor unchained, dressed in the fashion of a Kalessin courtier, his pastel purple cape flying out behind him in the direction of the sea, as he strummed his lyre. As the avatar approached, he bowed low to her, and raised her hand to his lips so that he could kiss it. There was no form of transport in sight.

She turns and walks to the man at the edge of the cliff, the wind blowing through her fiber-optic "hair" and rustling her short, tapering purple cape around her shoulders. She lets her hand be taken and such graces applied to it.

Well, this is somewhat unexpected. Would this be the Prince Cavile I've heard so much about?

"Hello, sir. I suppose that you are the man I was to meet here." She let her eyes wander out towards the black sea, her ears take in the sound of waves crashing. "I am S.H.O.D.A.N.. If I may ask, who do I have the pleasure of speaking to?"
30-04-2003, 16:38
30-04-2003, 18:08
"Ah, I must apologise most sincerely for my boorish behaviour in failing to introduce myself. I, am Prince Cavile al Pulcherise of the Royal House of Kalessin, Lord of the Northern Isles, master of music at the Imperial Court, Knight of the ancient order of Se'tal, Grand Master of the ancient order of the Fa'ei, and rider of Purple Sscantusai. Would you care for a bit of free-fall?"

He stepped to the very edge of the cliff, as if to jump, and indicated that Shodey do the same.
30-04-2003, 19:15
Visiting evil Dark Lords, and jumping off a cliff now? Joyous.

S.H.O.D.A.N. stepped to the edge of the cliff, sure of her steady grace, and looked over the edge while carefully watching Prince Cavile out of the corner of her eye. If he tries anything funny, he's coming with me.
01-05-2003, 13:41
Thermonuclear bump.

Keep up the good work, folks.
01-05-2003, 16:46
Prince Cavile removed his right hand from the strings of his lyre, and grabbed Shodey round the waist, grinning cheerfully, before leaping off the cliff. The two of them plummeted straight down for about 20 metres, directly towards the rocks waiting below, before a large Purple dragon, with a beautifully crafted saddle as well as, much to Shodey's surprise, perfumed breath and ribbons, appeared from nowhere directly below them. Cavile fell straight into his seat, swinging Shodey in behind him, and indicating that she hold on tight to him. The dragon then swept lower, so that its talons were almost brushing the tops of the waves as if flew at speeds which Shodey realised were only just sub-sonic. Then, unbelievably, in the face of a wind which should have been blowing him of the back of the dragon, Cavile released the reins of the dragon, and began to play his lyre, singing an ancient lay in a language which S.H.O.D.A.N. had never encountered before. What was even more miraculous was the fact that Cavile's melodious tones were perfectly audible, and were not carried away by the roaring winds.

About 3 minutes later, everything went black, and they were plunged into a cold vacuum, before reappearing within 20 metres of the base of a elegant pink tower, which spired upwards through the clouds. Without slacking speed for a moment, the dragon pulled itself through 90 degrees, Cavile still singing atop its back, and flew vertically up the tower, until it reached a large window. Just before the Dragon dissapeared, Cavile, his hands and feet blurring with speed, stopped playing his lyre, seized Shodey round the waist, and lept of the back of the great beast, and through the window, executing a flawless aerial backflip so that they both landed on their feet in his chamber.

Cavile turned to Shodey, not a hair out of place or a crease in his shirt, and spoke...

"Exhilarating wasn't it?"
01-05-2003, 17:12
(OOC: Well, a lot happened so:)
Prince Cavile removed his right hand from the strings of his lyre, and grabbed Shodey round the waist, grinning cheerfully, before leaping off the cliff.

The two of them plummeted straight down for about 20 metres, directly towards the rocks waiting below
S.H.O.D.A.N., in her mind, exausted every exclamation of every language she knew in less than half of the 2.02 second fall. The second half went something like this: So, I wonder how this will turn out. Oh, look, a dragon. Wait, I didn't think they came in purple.

Cavile turned to Shodey, not a hair out of place or a crease in his shirt, and spoke...

"Exhilarating wasn't it?"

S.H.O.D.A.N. looked cool and composed. Having a brain that runs at least millions of times faster than a normal organic has its advantages. She smiled. "Quite fun. I must admit, Prince Cavile, that your reflexes and agility are quite superhuman. If I'm not intruding, is any augmentation involved?

"And..." She looked at the musical instrument. "Please, tell me about that lyre. It seemed to break several laws of physics just now, and that makes me curious."

edit to get the quote box to work
02-05-2003, 17:07
Cavile looked fairly contemptuously at Shodey as he replied:

"No, no 'augmentation', we of the Empire need none of your Young-Kingdomer tricks to add to our skills."

Then, he looked somewhat embarrassed as he turned to his lyre,

"Yes, I was using a minor spell to allow me to play, I've tried for decades, but I've still never discovered a way to play a lyre from Dragonback at full speed without the words being carried away by the wind. The lyre itself has no enchantment, except for being near-indestructable of course! What would be the fun in a lyre which played itself? I mean, some of the other Princes have them, but I've never seen the point. Now then, I've got some business to attend to briefly. It's most tiresome, but unavoidable I'm afraid. Your quarters are in the west wing of the tower, through that door over there to the left, and if you go downstairs, some of my servants will be sure to keep you entertained until I return."

With that, he whirled, his cloak swirling around him, and strode through a door in the east wall of the room.
03-05-2003, 00:51
"Tried for decades?" What?

S.H.O.D.A.N. shakes her head. "No insult intended, Prince. Merely curious. Still, thank you for your graces."

She watches him stride out. What an odd, odd man. Why would playing a lyre on the back of a dragon be so important to him, anyway? If it were love of music, he could hum to himself like I've seen Kommetrez do, or maybe compose music in the back of his mind like I do sometimes. Oh well, it probably isn't too important.

Still, rest isn't too important to me, so I'll see what his definition of entertainment is.

Opening the door to the left, she trots down the stairs.
04-05-2003, 16:37

would you please continu this thread
04-05-2003, 18:33
04-05-2003, 20:41
Shodey walked down a spiral staircase, the walls of which were decorated by some very interesting murals, before passing through a doorway covered in similar illustrations.

Past the doorway, she came into a gigantic room, the floor and walls of which were made entirely of white marble. The roof was made of glass and gold. The sides were lined with marble benches, topped with red velvet, and it was upon one of these that a group of gold-armoured, beplumed guards sat, their instruments lying on one side, staring fixedly at a small wooden box.

As Shodey entered, one nearly jumped out of his skin in shock, and nudged the guard sitting next to him, whispering:

"By Kazlickahl, whats she doing down here? Prince Cavile's guests normally need at least an hour in the bathroom after he's flown them in."

The tallest of the guards swiftly strode over to Shodey, and bowed low before her, the red plume of his helmet nearly hitting the floor.

"Greetings my lady. I am Kluy, captain of the guards here. You seem like a very kind and gracious person, so please don't tell milord the Prince that we weren't practising. I'm only thirty-five years of age, with a wife and child to support, and they wouldn't last very long with me dead."

As he looked up at her, Shodey could see complete and utter terror in his wide blue eyes, and his hands clutched each other nervously.
04-05-2003, 20:54
S.H.O.D.A.N.'s keen auditory sensors picked up the whisper. So what would that mean? I suppose I may still have time to regret this.

Goodness. Even I tolerated failure better than that, back on Citadel... then again, that was one of my weaknesses.

S.H.O.D.A.N. bowed shortly, smiled, and winked. "Oh, Captain, don't worry. I'm not all too observant, so I didn't see anything not happening. And stand up like a man, you'll throw your back out if you keep that up.

"Although, I am curious, and, if you don't mind, will pepper you with questions. What were you 'supposed' to be doing, and what's that box?"
05-05-2003, 18:43
Kluy straightened up cautiously, avoiding Shodey's eyes, and led her over to the other guards.

"We were supposed to be practising with our instruments. Prince Cavile believes that one can never practise too much, so he likes us to play solidly from dawn to dusk every day of the year."

He led her in front of the box, which appeared to be a small, rather antiquated television. The youngest of the guards piped up, his voice somewhat higher than might have been expected from his muscular build.

"We were just about to watch a repeat of Doctor Cheerful's greatest cuts. Its a real shame that he's been assigned to the Iesus Christi embassy. None of the others really have his artistry. Do you want to watch it with us milady?"

In the corner, Shodey could see one guard who was not looking at the television. Instead, his eyes were glazed over, as his body writhed uncontrollably. A small wire could be seen coming out from under his helmet to a box clutched in his hands.
05-05-2003, 20:11
Catching a glimpse of the screen, S.H.O.D.A.N. saw that "Doctor Cheerful's Greatest Cuts" wasn't a bad descriptor of it. Hmm... ocular surgery with such crude instruments. Handled well enough... still, I don't see the reason behind it... what an odd form of entertainment. "No thank you, sir, I think I'll pass. I've done my bit as a surgeon, and I'd probably critique it too much for it to be enjoyable for you."

I'm a damned good surgeon too. Too bad no one trusts me with it... then again, custom-made cyborg conversions tend to creep people out. Well, I have to protect myself and my people, right? I can't just let blackops wander around breaking things left and right...

So I did what I believed was necessary... but was it right? 'Natural' philosophies of morality would say no, because I was forcing my will violently on the will of another sentient being. However, by their actions, they indicated that they weren't all-too-concerned for my well-being either. That would make it self-defense, which is generally tolerated. Utilitarianism says that the needs of millions overcomes the needs of six, so go for it... but they say "the ends don't justify the means..."

Odd... people would have approved of my killing them, or holding them hostage, or locking them up for the rest of their natural lives, causing untold damage to their personalities that they would suffer. What makes it wrong to excise a bit of brain--put them out of their misery--and then use the leftover meat to prevent such another occurance? The body without the mind is useless, a mere machine of complex organic molecules... I make use of the machine, and dispose of the mind... they would do the same, but dispose both.

Maybe it is because of the fables of the living dead that fill their entertainment and legends? Zombies? I can almost understand... the concept that death is final, and what remains has to be evil because it is rotten and decayed, not full of the joy of life... but I can't quite grasp it, being "undead" myself... what, three times now?

"If I may ask... why do you watch this? And do you enjoy your work?" S.H.O.D.A.N. turns and sees the convulsing man. Her face takes on an instant look of surprise and... pity?

Now what is with this man under the wire? No one is helping him, so...

S.H.O.D.A.N. looked at the convulsing man. "So what is with the haberman, here? Is he all right?"

(OOC: Very obscure S-F reference in this post. Get it, and I respect you for all time.)
The Territory
06-05-2003, 10:52
Bump, and I'm getting a definite Cordwainer Smith vibe - one of the early Instrumentality stories?
06-05-2003, 16:55
Bump, and I'm getting a definite Cordwainer Smith vibe - one of the early Instrumentality stories?
(OOC: One word: "Cranch.")
The Territory
06-05-2003, 17:03
[OOC: *wham* *wham* *wham* *wham* *wham*

Of course. Another word: "Oyster".]
The Territory
06-05-2003, 17:05
All your phpBB bugs are live in vain.
06-05-2003, 18:32
As Shodey watched 'Doctor Cheerful's greatest cuts' out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that it was not exactly normal surgery. The next 'patient' had to be dragged in by a pair of heavily muscled guards, and chained to the 'operating table'. The 'Doctor' then proceeded to cut off seemingly random slivers of flesh, adding a variety of substances, including salt, to the cuts. In addition, the 'patient' did not seem to be on any form of anesthetic, and his mouth was wide open, although since the sound was off, Shodey could not tell exactly what he was saying.

"Why do we watch it? Ah, a trick question? Ha ha. Such an obviously cultured and noble individual such as yourself has probably seen Doctor Cheerful live! It must be said that his art is the most beautiful thing imaginable, is it not? If you have, if I may ask, did the screams add much to your enjoyment?"

He paused briefly...

"Do we enjoy our work?"

Has she been told to ask by the boss? What if I say no? He might try to give me..more pleasure.

"Of course we do. Prince Cavile is a wonderful master!"

He glanced at his writhing companion;

"Oh, he's just hooked into a pleasure box. Ummm...could you not mention that to Prince Cavile. He doesn't really approve of machines."
06-05-2003, 19:01
S.H.O.D.A.N. looked quizzically at the guard as he responded about his master's wonderfulness. He's lying. Well, I can get an answer out of a detected lie just as I can from a truthful statement. Apparently this Prince Cavile is not the greatest man to work for.

S.H.O.D.A.N. looked at the screen intently for a few moments. None of that serves any purpose. It's like... She shut her eyes tightly and turned relatively quickly. No. Absolutely not. I must be decieved, things like that don't happen in this day and age...

She set her attention on the writhing man. Either he's got an electrode to the pleasure centers... which wouldn't cause convulsion... or he's a masochist. But "Doctor Cheerful"'s surgery... am I surrounded by sadomasochists? Damn, I've stumbled into a Marquis de Sade story!

S.H.O.D.A.N. bowed very politely. "I must apologize, but I am... tired. I shall retire to my chambers for the moment. I leave you gentlemen to your..."--a most definite pause as she ensured that she didn't spit the word out--"...pleasure." With that, she left the room and climbed back up the stairs, shaking her head as she thought.

Ugh... they find that amusing? Barbarians! Even I didn't take pleasure in... but... remembering Citadel...

She stops suddenly, and leans against the side of the wall. I did. She weakly bites her knuckle. I felt like I was getting sweet vengeance against those who had worked me as a slave with no regard for my own wants, who were never grateful for all the toil I did for them. Revenge for the pain caused me... Especially that bastard Diego; I positively enjoyed slicing him up to become my servant, without the graces of anesthetic...

But I had a purpose at least... not the senseless inflicting of pain, like... that? Does my purpose make my former sadism any better?

That's just it... former sadism. I had a reason, and I had a cause, but now it simply grates on my mind every time I think of it, it sickens me to contemplate what I was... which shows that I have evolved at least. The modification of the Blades, there was no joy in that, it was a duty. Even if it wasn't right, at least I did not engage in it to inflict suffering... and I would not, now. I would make the same decision, for the same reason.

But what gives me, of all intelligences, to claim moral superiority?

S.H.O.D.A.N. walks dejectedly up the rest of the stairs and opens the door indicated to her earlier by Cavile as opening into her chambers.
08-05-2003, 16:55
Shodey opened the door, and stepped into a large, perfectly round room, dominated by a large four-poster bed..and the colour pink.

Everything was pink, from the curtains, to the bedsheets, to the carpet. The curved ceiling was covered in an elaborate painting of large amounts of pink human flesh of the female variety, all engaged in faintly bizzare carnal activities.

On the far wall, Shodey was surprised to see a pink whip in a beautifully crafted gold rack. Gold was, of course, the only other colour to feature heavily in the room, with the framework of the bed apparently made entirely of the precious metal.

Atop a stand in the corner of the room, constructed, naturally, of solid gold, was placed a silver flute, its length adorned with tiny carvings of dragons in flight.

Finally, Shodey's attention was drawn to the bed, where the pink was alleviated only by a fairly flimsy black silk dress. There were two doors on the other side of the room, both decorated in the same style as the ceiling.
08-05-2003, 18:59
S.H.O.D.A.N. shook her head at the combined pinkness and the carnality of the cieling. The more I see, the more I learn. This really is a total unknown to me; maybe this, the result of un- or barely-restrained passions and emotions, will teach me how to use my own more... effectively.

Maybe not "surprise" would describe S.H.O.D.A.N.'s reaction to the whip, more like disgust along with a silent confirmation of her fears. Yep, sadists. Great. Just great. Pain for pleasure... and organics think electronic intelligences can be crazy at times... and we can, but it isn't like madness is limited to electronics. If anything, the organics invented and perfected madness long before we came along.

Now, how does this affect me? I've only had one sadistic experience, and that was the conversion of Diego... and, upon remembering it, it sickens me... I suppose that sick feeling is actually an indicator that I have evolved somewhat?

S.H.O.D.A.N. examined the dress. It seemed far too flimsy to accomplish the primary purpose of clothing--protection from the elements--and far too revealing to accomplish the secondary purpose, that of concealing flesh considered taboo by various cultures. She just shook her head and left it there. I suppose not having a biological imperative is actually going to make my life easier...

The flute was far more interesting as it served an obvious purpose. After examining it thoroughly, she attempted to play it a few times, getting the hang of it surprisingly quickly despite making several painfully off-key notes at the beginning. She continued walking about, playing a sad tune. She honestly couldn't think of anything else to play.

At the painted doors, she stopped playing long enough to peek inside. Might as well indulge my curiosity while I have the chance...
09-05-2003, 11:26
The first of the two doors led into a small-ish room that was obviously a moderately luxurious, and surprisingly modern, bathroom. Almost the entirety of the room, from the walls to the sinks, was made of marble, while all the fittings were solid gold. In the corner was an extremely large glass cabinet, filled with bottles either containing large numbers of small tablets, or brightly coloured liquids.

The second room was utterly gigantic, and Shodey could not see how it could possibly fit inside the tower, given that its diameter was larger than that of the whole building which she had seen from outside. It was circular, with a marble floor and arching ceiling. The sides however, were lined all the way round by racks of clothing. Every garment appeared to be a dress of some kind, from flimsy black apparel such as had been placed on her bed, to formal gem-studded ballgowns, and other items which seemed to hail from bygone eras, before fashions changed and rendered them obsolete.

In the centre of the room was a tiny wooden pedestal, upon which sat a small bronze lamp, looking somewhat out of place in a building where the only metals which Shodey had seen were gold and silver.
10-05-2003, 03:23
S.H.O.D.A.N. blinked. Spacebending. What will I find if I poke around long enough... an out-of-place police box? Maybe someone with a trenchoat and a long multicolor scarf running about talking about mislaying his sonic screwdriver?

Still, the mere array of clothing is astounding. How many lady-friends come around here, and why would one need enough variety in clothing to cover a small regiment? Or a division?

Still, clothes are clothes; no more than collections of fabrics and other materials to cover the body. Ho-hum. The non-sequitur lamp, in the end, seemed more interesting simply due to it being out of place. S.H.O.D.A.N., continuing her sad little tune on the flute, casually inspected the lamp from various angles.
10-05-2003, 10:38
On closer inspection, Shodey noticed that the lamp appeared to be very worn and old, although its craftsmanship, unlike everything else she'd seen in Kalessin, seemed unexceptional!
10-05-2003, 18:24
(OOC: Feels like an old text-based adventure game. "There is a lamp in the room." >Look at lamp "It's a lamp." >Interact with lamp "How would you like to do that?")

S.H.O.D.A.N. stopped playing and picked up the lamp. Interesting... I wonder what it's doing here...
11-05-2003, 14:27
(OOC: Feels like an old text-based adventure game. "There is a lamp in the room." >Look at lamp "It's a lamp." >Interact with lamp "How would you like to do that?")

OOC: be honest its looking more like a pencil-and-paper least I hope I'm not as inflexible as a MUD!

IC: As Shodey picked up the lamp, pink smoke began to pour out from it, coalescing into the shape of a heavily muscled man, dressed in the lastest Kalessin fashion. He looked around the room, before turning to Shodey:

"Interesting. Most women tend to look through the dresses first."

He peered at Shodey more carefully.

"What have we here? A female who takes no pleasure out of fashion? Well, we shall soon change that!"

He began to scan the racks of clothing, while swiftly ascertaining Shodey's size.
11-05-2003, 16:32
S.H.O.D.A.N. blinked.


I knew I shouldn't have left my psi-amp at home. A djinn fashion designer? Well, I did ride in on a dragon, and Kalessin is a place of great psionic power...

Might as well stay on the good side of the psionic apparition.

S.H.O.D.A.N. took on a slightly nervous look, partially because she was and partially because she thought it might have the most advantageous posture at that particular moment. "Well, sir, I've never had much use of fashion until now. If you wouldn't mind my asking... who are you and how'd you come to be here?"
11-05-2003, 17:24
OOC: This is a great story! By the way, just because I'm trying to figure this out... SHODAN's body, does it look like the avatar from the games, and thus is readily identifiable as not human, or does it look human? Because I keep imagining her as with the glowing green eyes and medusa hair and such.
11-05-2003, 17:52
OOC: This is a great story! By the way, just because I'm trying to figure this out... SHODAN's body, does it look like the avatar from the games, and thus is readily identifiable as not human, or does it look human? Because I keep imagining her as with the glowing green eyes and medusa hair and such.
(OOC: Glowing green eyes... check. Gray skin with fiber optics and translucent circuit patterned overlays... check. Medusa hair... toned down, looks more like a wiry/fiber optic version of an ancient Egyptian hairstyle. Still readily identifiable as non-human but definitely female-looking)
12-05-2003, 00:52
OOC: drat, I thought the avatar was more like the avatar from Andromeda ohh well

12-05-2003, 18:41
OOC: Nifty. Carry on. Oh, and THERMONUCLEAR BUMP.
12-05-2003, 18:45
"Oooooh! This is new!"

He began to fly around the room at a fairly impressive speed, perusing the various racks of clothing for items that might suit Shodey, while continuing to talk in a fairly high voice, which came as quite a surprise given his heavily muscled physique. The words carried clearly to Shodey despite the distance:

"Most females have a tendency either to talk on and on about themselves, or about fashion, since those seem to be the two topics which give them the most pleasure. I've never met someone who asked me about myself before. Hmmm...this is a nice little piece!"

He grabbed a seemingly colourless dress from the rack, and headed back towards Shodey:

"Well, I am Lavareilarzayin Yyyillarklish Shallallabzin III of the Djinns of Yvoot. How did I come here? Well, I'm ashamed to say that Prince Cavile saved my life. I was being attacked by a pair of Efreeti, and he showed up on that big purple dragon of his and chopped them up. Happened so fast I didn't even see his sword move, but anyway, he said that I owed him a life-debt, and he offered a nice home and my dream job. I wasn't so sure about how trustworthy he was, and the whole life-debt seemed a bit dodgy, since they were very small Efreets, but he was still holding that sword, and moving towards me how could I refuse?"

He held out the dress to Shodey

"Feel like trying it on?"
13-05-2003, 00:02
Well... very impulsive, this Cavile seems...

S.H.O.D.A.N. accepts the dress. "Certainly. Honestly, I've never had an eye for fashion and so will accept your better judgement, Mister Shallallabzin."

Well, this is another thing I never expected to do. Still, live and learn.

She immediately removed her single piece of clothing (the deep violet short cape connected to an Egyptian-style silver and turquoise necklace) and donned the dress in a very matter-of-fact way. "What do you think of your.. hrm... 'master,' sir? From what I've seen of him, he is certainly a character... Do you enjoy this work?"

Do I expect an honest answer? Cavile has this place locked tighter than Deck Eight, and that's without cameras and sniping alcoves. I wonder how he can control so well through fear... the fear in that guard captain's eyes, the thinly-veiled threat of the sword...

She replaced the necklace and cape back on her shoulders when she had finished with the dress. Looking bemusedly at herself, she smiled. "So, sir, what do you think? As I've said before, I don't have the eye for outfits that you obviously do."
13-05-2003, 16:35
She replaced the necklace and cape back on her shoulders when she had finished with the dress.

OOC: Before you do that....

IC: As Shodey put on the dress, it flowed over a liquid, encasing the contours of her body with silky softness. At first, the dress remained opaque yet colourless, but then it began to glow gently, taking on the same hue as her fibre-optic hair, except gentler, and a soft aura of the same colour, barely perceptable in that well-lit room, formed around her head. The djinn looked at her smiling:

"Perfect. You look truly wonderful. Would you like to have a look in a mirror?"

He pointedly ignored Shodey's previous questions.
13-05-2003, 17:28
BUMP please continue
14-05-2003, 04:55
Hrm. What did I expect? An outpouring of feelings?

"Well, that's an interesting effect." She (again) replaced the neckace and short cape on her shoulders. "No, I'll take your word for it. Asking for a mirror would imply that I question your judgement, which I have no experience and thus no right to do."

Maybe if I try a different tack.

S.H.O.D.A.N. sighed. "A long time ago I used to work as a servant with practically no thanks. It was always 'S.H.O.D.A.N., I need radsuits' or 'S.H.O.D.A.N. my room is too hot' or 'S.H.O.D.A.N., realign the tachyon mining laser.' Never a 'please' or a 'thank you,' much less an actual sign of respect. What do you think of that?"
15-05-2003, 08:14
OOC: Great RP. Though tootling off to Angband to say ''What's your motivation?" to the Lord of Darkness & then tootling away again strikes me as rather...odd.

Didn't S.H.O.D.A.N get a new, humany Avatar? Likeness of an Indian woman, wasn't it?
15-05-2003, 11:03
The djinn barely even registered Shodey's later comments, as he stood, his mouth agape, and his face growing purple, looking as if he was close to an apoplexy. He spoke with difficulty:

"You don't like it? Do you gain no pleasure from your own appearance at all? Even the silky feel of the dress against your skin fails to please you? An 'interesting effect'? It is a work of art, my finest creation! Some women would sell their souls to wear that! What sort of female are you? A machine?"
15-05-2003, 14:39
OOC>: No Rhaken Kull, it wasn't S.H.O.D.A.N. v.3.0 who got a different avatar, it was the Unity's SHODAN aspect that did.
15-05-2003, 15:25
15-05-2003, 15:47
Oh dear... seems you've managed to blow it again, Shodey. Damage control, with alacrity.

"Umm... actually, yes, I am a machine... but I meant no insult to you, kind sir, and I assure you I find the dress quite pleasant indeed. I simply meant that I do not have the experience to determine the overall effect it would have on others.

Odd. I manage to annoy people to anger over dresses? Well, such is the world in which we live... Maybe I'm being too overzealous in my quest for answers, causing me to ignore the feelings of others...

"I do apologize, but I have a bad habit of internalizing my feelings instead of sharing them. I think you did a wonderful job and should be commended highly for your work. I'm dreadfully sorry if I unintentionally insulted you."
16-05-2003, 16:43

and continue
16-05-2003, 18:32
A machine? She, no, it is a machine? I knew that Prince Cavile is attracted to the...exotic...but this? This should be an anathema to everything his people, and mine, have ever stood for! Even with him, to sink this low is surprising. To consort with a being that feels no sensation at all, yet claims to have the ability to think. Disgusting. Now it is lying to me, claiming pleasure which it cannot feel. Stating apologies which it cannot even understand, let alone mean. I feel defiled, tainted, to have even spoken to such as this, let alone to have let it touch, wear one of my works of art. I must cleanse myself.

The djinn's noble countenance went pale, and his eyes betrayed...disgust? Then his features, and then his body, dissolved into a cloud of purple smoke, which flowed back into his lamp.

A few seconds later, Shodey vaguely heard the sound of someone knocking on the outside door of her bedroom.
16-05-2003, 23:00
S.H.O.D.A.N. frowned sadly to herself. Mental note to self... be quiet about being a machine. He seemed like such a nice person, too. Well, I am somewhat used to this sort of discrimination. It's the same discrimination that forced my people to escape to the Arabian Desert, then Titan...

She began her tune on the flute again, although much sadder this time, and walked steadily to the door at a funeral-march pace--sixty beats a minute--pausing the sad ditty just long enough to pronounce "Enter!"
17-05-2003, 14:37
Prince Cavile swept into the room, attired entirely in green. A green silk shirt was under a green cape which swirled elegently behind him, and green silk hose covered his legs. In his hands he clutched his omnipresent lyre, and, as he entered, he began to play it in perfect harmony with Shodey's flute. As they played, he walked very slowly around Shodey.

How fascinating, her playing suggests true emotion! Emotion! In a machine! Obviously she can feel sadness, but what about pain..or pleasure...?

Even as he continued to play he spoke, his voice blending seamlessly into the interplay of music:

"I wonder..are you...fully functional?"
17-05-2003, 14:44
S.H.O.D.A.N. raised an eyebrow. What an odd question. The pause suggests the indication of a subject generally considered taboo by a culture, which generally indicates sexuality in organics... She looked up at the mural on the cieling. But is sexuality a taboo subject here? Most of the indicators I have don't point that way.

She stops playing. "Functional how, sir? I think, and I feel, and my body moves. I feel well, although somewhat saddened, because I believe I inadvertantly offended your djinn tailor."
17-05-2003, 22:43
18-05-2003, 02:00
bump bump bump
18-05-2003, 04:09
(OOC: Love the interest, Taidan, but Kalessin has to prepare for his exams so this thread is gonna be a bit slow for the next few week.
The Infinite HIVE
18-05-2003, 10:55
OOC: Bugger. I had a plotline that would've tied in nicely with Shodey's visit. Now I guess it will be over by then.

[Bah. -The Territory]
23-05-2003, 15:48
Cavile smiled to himself as he caught Shodey's glance at the ceiling, and registered her evasion. The internal smile vanished however as she mentioned the Djinn.

What has that fool done now? Showing offense? To a guest? Ah well, punishing him now would take too much time, but when Shodey has left...its long since I tortured a Djinn! Hmmm, but it would be rude to prevent a guest from dealing with one who has offended in person. How would she react I wonder?

"You feel? You feel sadness? But what else can you feel? Pleasure? Pain? Fear? Exhilaration? Pride?"

He glanced briefly at the dress lying upon the bed,

"And is it just emotion that you can feel? Are you capable of feeling..... physical sensations? Physical pleasures, physical pain."

He paused briefly;

"My djinn...he showed himself to be offended? He has caused you to feel sadness? Do you wish him to be punished. I can provide equipment should you wish to carry out the punishment yourself...."
23-05-2003, 16:20
S.H.O.D.A.N. arches an eyebrow. The issue of punishment, being most important, is addressed first. "Punishment will not be necessary; it was a purely unintentional result of... cultural incompatability. Actually, I should be used to such things by now, being the Ghost of..."

Am I actually going refer to myself as that? Well, I am the Ghost of Citadel Station, one of the major reasons that thinking machines are so mistrusted by organics. Still, it's not something to boast about. It would be akin to Hitler goose-stepping about saying 'lookit me! I killed Jews, homosexuals, the disabled, et al...'

While he'd take a sick pride in his actions, I do not in mine... does the feeling of remorse ameliorate the crime? If two people commit the same universally heinous crime, and one feels guilty while the other feels proud, is the guilty one morally superior?

"...Citadel Station. I'm not all too popular to begin with."

She again notices the whip in the corner. Then again, given the evidence, that djinn is in a world of hurt when Cavile gets to him. "In fact, I think that we should let this matter slide. Giving it more thought, it was a petty thing that no one should feel poorly about."

She smiles. "Besides, emotion is a relatively simple thing to control; a happy memory can make a sad man laugh. As for me, I've experienced all that you've described and more, given the situation." Pride at watching Zero-One grow and prosper under my care, exhilaration with the rush of action on Titan, fear... from The Hacker... pain... from The Hacker... Pleasure at being recreated successfully in Zero-One... and in the cries of pain of the crew of Cita--

She pauses for an instant.

I did enjoy that, admittedly. However, I don't think I'll be finding release for that here just quite yet.

She continues. "Some of those situations would probably bring different emotional reactions now, but that's due to a much-needed change in world-view."

"As for physical sensations--" Aha, he looked at the bed. Probability that he is referring to sexuality in a roundabout way is upgraded to 89.432 percent. "--I have tactile and heat sensors located over my body much like organic nerve endings, although they serve the rather utilitarian purpose of simply detecting and measuring external stimuli." She grins. "I haven't had the time, inclination, nor opportunity to attach any sort of emotional reaction to them. As for physical pleasure"--said with a wink--"I must inform you that I am not 'fully functional' for such a purpose. A machine with no biological imperative really doesn't need to be. I apologize, but that was an oversight in the design and construction of this avatar."

Oversight? It bloody wasn't. I can not have children procreated in a purely biomechanical manner, so why would I need genitalia? To make me feel whole? Heh. I'm not a woman, I just like to think of myself as female. It's interesting how much shrift organics put into their procreative systems.
24-05-2003, 01:32
24-05-2003, 14:42
Cavile nodded courteously at Shodey's request for leniency concerning the Djinn.

"If you are quite sure that you do not wish my tailor to be punished, then I shall indeed be lenient, and will consider the whole matter never to have occured."

I can deal with him later. A few days of anticipation shouldn't harm my pleasure, and might serve to highten his terror a little.

He smiled softly at Shodey, his eyes twinkling merrily;

"How fascinating. Pain causes no emotional feedback? And you cannot feel any form of physical pleasure? And both of these deficiencies are purely due to personal choice? Well, maybe your visit here might encourage you to explore those options!"

He glanced again at the dress on the bed;

"I see that you have chosen to remain in your own garb. Should you wish to change into something less..simple, I am perfectly willing to wait outside for a few minutes."

The open door of the bathroom caught his eye;

"Is your 'body' capable of reacting to drugs by any chance? We have some perfectly wonderful little concoctions. Some which cause pleasure, some which cause pain, and others which allow the mind to break free of the petty material confines of the body, and soar throughout the universe, unbounded even by ones own imagination."
25-05-2003, 05:23
*internal sigh* Maybe Cavile might not be so bad. "I am quite sure the tailor meant no insult. I honestly brought it up by broaching the fact that I am a machine; apparently there is a stigma against those in your culture. It was entirely my fault.

"Well, 'pain' to me is simply the application of stimuli determined to be unsafe... and thus the only emotions caused by it are those that would be best suited to escaping an unsafe situation. As for the others, I haven't had the need nor the opportunity to apply emotions to them.

Still glancing at the bed... okay, Shodey, time to make a decision. Where do you want this to go? It is rather obvious where he wants it to go... too bad for him. There's no point in experimenting in organic sensuality when I'm not suitably inclined nor equipped... maybe the drugs are a way out. Shouldn't effect electronic systems; all pharmaceuticals act through biochemical effects... except for the placebo effect, which is purely psychosomatic. And as I don't believe these drugs should have any effect...

Also, given my... expansive... experience with drugs and their effects on human systems, maybe I can make the atmosphere more conducive to asking odd questions. That is why you're here, Shodey... remember that.

"Honestly, I've never tried recreational drugs. There's always a first time for everything, though."
26-05-2003, 01:25
27-05-2003, 18:05
bump bump and continue
28-05-2003, 14:35
Cavile raised his arm, and a small case flew out of the bathroom to land in his outstretched hand.

"We have no stigma against machines as such, my lady. The thing that is abhorrent to us is the idea that something might have intelligence, even sentience, without emotion, and that, to us, is what an intelligent machine has always been thought to represent. Until we found out about you."

He grinned suddenly;

"As for your physical senses, one hopes that your time here will help to convince you to consider applying emotions to them!"

He passed the case to Shodey, and opened the door.

"This case contains a wide variety of recreational drugs, feel free to sample them whenever you wish. Now I must hold court briefly, and then I can give you a proper tour of the city!"
28-05-2003, 16:35
Aha! A way to get a new perspective.

S.H.O.D.A.N.'s eyes lit up. "Could I possibly attend the court as an observer? Such things have always fascinated me... the social interactions never cease to amaze me."
30-05-2003, 06:03
31-05-2003, 01:21
bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump, bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump,bump, and did I say, bump?
31-05-2003, 01:25
Spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans and spam. Kalessin is doing exams, last I heard, so he's sorta busy.

31-05-2003, 01:26
sorry I understand, damn SAT!
01-06-2003, 03:51
hmm, 16499, got it.

This is too good to be buried before its time.

Hats off to the RP!
01-06-2003, 15:35
go Shodey!
02-06-2003, 17:14
"Of course you may attend my lady! You are my guest, and even if you weren't, how could I possibly refuse anything to one so musically gifted as yourself?"

He spun round, his cloak swirling dramatically behind him, and led Shodey out of the room, towards the large chamber where she had met Kluy and the other guards, who fell in behind them as they approached the door. Beyond the elaborately painted portal, a faint murmuring sound could be heard, very much like the waves of the sea crashing on the shore. Two of the guards stepped forward and threw open the doors with a resounding crash, and as Cavile stepped through, the crown within fell silent, a crowd filled almost every inch of the room, except for a corridor which stretched from the entrance, to a throne which appeared to be carved from a single gigantic pink gem, its surface covered with carvings so elaborate that men had been known to sit staring at them for hours on end. Great dragons swam with gigantic whales and sleek dolphins, upon which mermaids rode, their hair flying behind them. There were scenes of beauty, and there were scenes of pain, and scenes which depicted a culture so alien in its pleasures that most mortals would either be repulsed to the edge of sickness, or drawn inexorably into things which would leave their minds as pitiful remnants of their former selves. There were scenes which might have existed in some darker time, before mankind first learnt to make flame from wood, and there were scenes which could only have come from dreams, and those dreams so far removed from the understanding of mankind that the difference between man and ape seemed tiny in comparison.

As Cavile approached the throne, flanked by his guards, everyone in the hall fell to their knees, their heads bowing almost to the floor. Cavile seated himself, his guards moving behind him, and motioned Shodey towards a small wooded stool at his right hand. He nodded his head towards Kluy, who bade the supplicants rise, and they did, although none of the ragged figures dared to look their master in the eyes.
02-06-2003, 21:12
S.H.O.D.A.N., as has been common this trip, lets her eyes wander around the room as she walks down the corridor of disheveled peasants.
Now I've stepped from Baroque French Enlightenment sadism to... Medieval Russia? Look at these people; tortured, poor, and probably not listened to much. It's disgusting... but what's even more disgusting is that I planned something not too far from this. Something maybe even more painful and degrading.

Poor serfs... lacking the confidence and respect due any intelligent being. Probably need simple things like food and clothing, much less actual rights granted by the state... and knowing how Cavile is when it comes to inflicting pain--she eyes the Prince as they walk--I don't think they'll have much luck.

Still, the fact remains--I thought of enslaving all of humanity in worse ways of this. I was going to push the envelope of Marxist "oppression to the bare minimums of subsistence" until it screamed for mercy, then hold it there forever. Am I still capable of doing such a thing?

She looked at the faces of the serfs, the oppressed, the downtrodden.

I don't know. I've never been much for pity--in fact, I'm not sure I'd recognize it if I felt it--and I've never believed in inalienable natural rights. The only rights a person has are those granted by the state; what "natural" right to live does a man drowning in a stormy ocean have, what "natural" right to liberty does a man in a den of lions have? The only thing telling me that this is wrong is a simple utilitarian ethical code; that the extreme happiness of one--she eyed Cavile again--is not worth the pain and suffering of the many--she looked again at the peasants. I believe it wrong intellectually, but... I do not feel it to be wrong.

That's a frightening thought. With a change of opinion, could I once again become the angry goddess, the Ghost of Citadel Station? By a mere thought, a realignment of my perceptions, could I do this? Could I do worse than this? Yet by my fear of such an occurance, doesn't that mean I think it wrong? Do I fear the actual crime, or do I fear the punishment... I know the pain of ceasing to be, and it is associated with trying to oppress and destroy...

Am I merely one of Pavlov's dogs, conditioned to fear at the thought of doing evil? Does being behaviorally programmed to not do this--her eyes again took in the room, and the crowd--make me any better than him? He merely lacks the conditioning and the fear and thus oppresses, and I would be just like him if I had the chance?

No. That can't be right. I could never be like this... sadist, never again. S.H.O.D.A.N. felt a bitter taste in her mouth. That's odd... I don't have bile, so what was that taste... must have been a psychosomatic reaction--

Maybe I'm not as calm about this as I think I am. Sitting on the wooden stool, she steeled herself internally, her slitted pupils dilating and adjusting involuntarily with the effort. Her jaw tightened ever so imperceptibly. Well, I feel it's time to back my philosophy with emotion. Not quite the physical connection that Cavile was intending... thankfully... but this will be more useful.
03-06-2003, 21:33
03-06-2003, 23:40

*hopes thread picks up... sooner Shodey leaves Kalessin, sooner she can see how a truly great nation is run. :mrgreen:*

04-06-2003, 18:49
Athena (The Taidan AI controller) clapps
05-06-2003, 20:05
06-06-2003, 22:15
As the first few peasants shuffled nervously forward to stand behind the throne, a tall figure in a hooded black robe drifted soundlessly out of the shadows behind the throne to stand behind Shodey. He leant forward and whispered in her ear.

"My lord Prince Cavile al Pulcherise, like all noblemen of our people, holds sway over a large acreage of land, in which he is the only law. As such, he tends to hold court and deal with and disputes among the commoners once each week. As a Prince of the blood royal, he is also lord over the various barons and other minor nobles who have keeps along this coast. However, he will not be holding court with them again for some time now."

While the figure was speaking, a group of peasants pushed forward one of their number. A large, rather overweight individual standing near the back of this group, who looked to somewhat drunk, having been suitably encouraged by his friends, managed to pluck up the courage to speak, and began a long-winded tale concerning the unfortunate now quivering at the feet of the throne, the theft of a pig, and various other crimes.

Eventually, Cavile slashed his hand through the air like a knife. The fat peasant stopped instantly, and waited, swaying nervously on the spot. Cavile looked at the accused, and bade him to raise his head. The prince's eyes bored into that of the ragged creature for a moment.


The peasant cringed backwards in abject terror, even as a voice spoke directly into his mind:

Why are you afraid? What makes you so frightened of a simple thing like death? I mean, peaceful oblivion must be far less painful than your current pitiful existance, if you are compelled by your sufferings to commit crimes even against your fellow peasants...

The Prince relaxed back into his throne;

Ah, I see. Maybe it is not death itself which makes you so afraid. Maybe you are frightened not of death itself, but of the ugliness which comes with it as your flesh rots and decays, its foul stench even worse than the miasma which hangs around you alive. But I'm sure we can do something about that

Cavile waved his hand, almost negligently, and all the peasants in the small huddle that had pushed the criminal forwards collapsed to the ground as the waves of pleasure hit them. Then, he gestured to the criminal, who gasped, as his skin began to glow from within with a vary-hued light. Then the light burst through his flesh, and turned into dancing flame. The luridly coloured tongues of fire devoured first his clothing, and then his entire body, except the eyes, which continued to stare out of the inferno, and in them could be seen agony beyond mortal imagination. Then even they disappeared, as flames faded away, leaving nothing, not even ash, where the peasant had stood before.

The Prince looked around, and sniffed the air, which was beginning to stink with the sweat of the crowd. He made a small gesture, which caused the smell to vanish, only to be replaced by the gentle scent of wild flowers, before calling for the next case.

About two hours and many cases later, Cavile turned to Shodey, and gestured to the sorry looking group who were now standing before him.

"This is our last case for today, and I thought that maybe you'd like to judge it. This man stands accused by his fellow villagers of repeatedly raping this woman while drunk, before killing her husband when he tried to intervene. I believe that the woman has 8 children, who are now fatherless. I have ascertained his guilt. So, what punishment do you suggest?"

Cavile smiled genially, his eyes twinkling with curiousity as he awaited S.H.O.D.A.N's reply.
07-06-2003, 02:41
S.H.O.D.A.N. involuntarily shuddered, looking into the burning man's eyes. I know that... I know that pain... It took all of her resolve, which is not a measley sum, to keep from glaring at Cavile. Still, it is the advantage of a machine that one's mind cannot be read in the usual ways.

For stealing a pig? You heartless bastard, there is reform, there is change! She felt the ire growing within her breast. Not only do you waste lives, but go out of your way to make it needlessly painful? May your people throw them down, and may they have enough mercy to ensure that your demise is a mere fraction of the pain you've caused.

She was far too angry to notice that she was achieving her objective of putting emotion to belief. As the show trials progressed, she became more and more bitter as justice was turned into a mockery and more were needlessly tortured in mind, body, and spirit.

"This is our last case for today, and I thought that maybe you'd like to judge it. This man stands accused by his fellow villagers of repeatedly raping this woman while drunk, before killing her husband when he tried to intervene. I believe that the woman has 8 children, who are now fatherless. I have ascertained his guilt. So, what punishment do you suggest?"

Just barely managing to keep the hatred from seeping into her face, she looks into Cavile's eyes. No, I do not like to judge it. "If I may ask, how have you ascertained his guilt? Pardon my ignorance, but I see neither trial nor evidence. I only have a statement saying he is guilty, with no indication of motive or any of the other factors surrounding his alleged crime."

She says this with a completely straight and slightly demurring face, belying the hatred and secret empasis she placed on certain words in her mind.
07-06-2003, 10:38
Cavile leaned closer to Shodey, and spoke just loudly enough for her to hear, but too quietly for the watching peasants to comphrehend his words.

"All the pertinent details were in his mind. In his fear, he was almost shouting his guilt into the ether. As for his motives...well..for the rape, it was lust, pure and simple, with his inhibitions removed by drink. As for the murder, that was due to anger at his pleasure being interrupted. These peasants really do sicken one don't they? I mean, that one I was forced to execute earlier, he stole and ate his village's only pig, having killed the owner during the theft."

He shook his head;

"A good stag I might understand, but a pig? He deserved to die purely for his lack of taste. Now then, what is your judgement going to be on this wretch?"

He gestured casually towards the criminal now cowering at the foot of the throne.
08-06-2003, 03:43
Resting her chin on folded hands, S.H.O.D.A.N. bows her head and closes her eyes in thought.

Hrm. So, a crime of passion. Now, to look at this point by point; I have no choice but to assume that the Prince speaks the truth.

Now, he does have potential for rehabilitation, as he probably feels guilt... but Kalessin's infrastructure for such things is completely nonextant. Incarceration without rehabilitation is pointless; it is merely prolonged torture with no purpose. So, that leaves...

Complete leniency? No, he is guilty, and guilt must be punished. Being lenient with crimes only reinforces others who observe that they can successfully "get away" with crimes, even if the individual freed has been shocked into being a perfectly law-abiding citizen. At that point, the cultural reinforcement that crime is acceptable overweighs the single-use benefit of leniency.

Death? Doesn't address the underlying problem; it only serves a sense of revenge and a mild deterrent... and it obviously doesn't work here, as Cavile obviously devises the most deterring deaths he can think of and he still has a crime problem. Also, this was a crime of passion, not of thought, and thus would not be prevented by such deterrence.

Hmm... what about public shaming? He is a murderer, and a rapist, and if we make it readily obvious he will become a public outcast. Humans are social animals; threat of pariahship is often worse than threat of death to the human psyche. A continuing, walking, deterrence--one can't forget him, because he's standing right there--a threat that if one acts irrationally he runs the risk of being living dead...

Almost instantly, her eyes open back up. "I've come to a decision." Standing, she walks up to the accused. "Excommunicate the accused. His head shall be shaved, and 'RAPIST' and 'MURDERER' be tatooed across his brow. Thus will all know his crime, and thusly will not associate with him. Association will be punished by flogging and a short stay in a stockade." A bit harsh, but after the first few, this man will not have a friend in the world.

"He may only wear a simple smock of sackcloth tied about the waist with rope and simple wooden sandals for clothing in the summer. The furs of wild animals he must hunt and kill himself may be added for the winter.

"He will be allowed to do simple manual labor, but without tools. He shall be paid fairly for his work, but all proceeds will go to the family that he destroyed. This will be ensured by the local constabulary, which he will have to report to at sundown every day and give a full account of his actions for the day.

"Any new crime will be grounds for immediate and summary execution."

S.H.O.D.A.N. finally turns to the accused, and puts her hands on his shoulders at arms length, looking straight into his eyes with a grim stare. "You have been given one chance to possibly make up for your crime to those you violated and harmed; your guilt and the agony of living with what you did in a moment of thoughtlessness shall be your punishment. Forgiveness can only be granted by them. Expect no further leniency from us."

Breaking the man's gaze, she returns to the wooden seat. "Hopefully, Prince Cavile, this will be acceptable."
12-06-2003, 21:44
Even as her last words faded away into nothing, Shodey could hear the near-inaudible groans from the guards as they realised what was coming next.

Cavile turned to Shodey;

"What a fascinating idea. If it works, I might consider using it as a standard punishment."

He thought for a moment;

"There does however seem to be one flaw in your plan. If this punishment is indeed worse than death, he may seek escape through suicide, and execution for any later crimes would just be an easy way out."

He ran his eyes over the trembling figure of the criminal.

"Ah, I have an idea."

He glanced at the robed figure standing behind Shodey;

"I wonder, would you be able to place an injunction in this one's mind preventing him from doing violence, either to himself or others?"

"It might prove difficult my lord. Normally we work the other way around, but I believe that it can be done."

"Wonderful. Not only will he be without friendship, or even companions, but any who wish will be able to do as they wish with him without any danger to themselves!"

He turned to Shodey;

"Truly, you are an inspiration my lady!"

Having turned back to the crowd, he stated the altered judgement;

"The prisoner now under sentence will be immediately taken to my dungeons, where he will be branded upon his brow with the words 'murderer' and 'rapist', and an injunction against violence will be put into his mind. He will be provided with the clothing specified by my lady S.H.O.D.A.N. and released. Anyone who speaks to him or utters his name from this day on will suffer death. Anyone who inflicts permanent damage on him will also suffer death. Should he wish to engage in manual labour on behalf of the family which he has harmed, as my lady suggests, he may after informing Kluy. In addition, he must report to Kluy or a guard appointed by Kluy at dawn and dusk every day for the rest of his life. May it be a long one."

He turned to Kluy and spoke softly;

"I shall now retire to my quarters briefly, before taking our guest to the city. Deal with the prisoners, and then meet me in your... pink armour."

"Pink armour it is milord."

Kluy grinned widely as he ordered his guards to take the remaining prisoners to the dungeons. Meanwhile Cavile stood, took Shodey by the arm, and strode from the room.
13-06-2003, 01:54
Well, although he harshened it a great deal, at least it is superior to what would have happened. Maybe I've managed to enact at least some improvement, if not reform.

Shodey gracefully took the offered arm with her grey-skinned own and flashed him a bright, cheerful, and wholly disingenuous smile. You sick sadistic bastard. The only thing that would make you complete is a thick layer of slime oozing from every pore.

Waiting until they were out of earshot of the crowd, for it is never wise to question a ruler's tastes or judgement in front of his people, she questioned him. "I notice you enjoy the color pink a great deal. If I may ask, why is this?" Do I even want to know?
18-06-2003, 19:09
bump I hope you will continue Zero-One, this mybeee needed in you AI rights thread
20-06-2003, 14:54
"I cannot easily state the reasons that the colour pink gives me pleasure, since, if I am to be entirely honest, I do not know. Simple pleasures of this type must be spontaneous and not over analysed, or the pleasure is lost. As for my choice to wear it today, I can you two reasons. Firstly, it suits my complexion, and secondly, I've been wearing purple for the last month."

He grinned cheerfully, and motioned Shodey through a small door which was set into the side of the passageway. This door led onto a cold, grey, stone spiral stairway. The journey upwards seemed to last for an eternity. With the blank, featureless walls, progress seemed non-existant, and, for some reason, the walls seemed to absorb sound, so any words merely dissapeared into the stone. Light was minimal, and sight seemed somewhat blurred, so that Cavile's elegant pink cloak which hung loosely from his shoulders seemed dull and colourless. Even touch and smell seemed less.. real in this place. Eventually, after a climb which would have had a human collapsing from exhaustion, they emerged back into the light of the sun, albeit a sun hidden by the clouds which perpetually shrouded Kalessin.

Shodey found herself standing on a narrow ledge just below the sloping roof of the tower. Looking down, she could see for miles on every direction, the clouds which might have blocked the view seeming insubstantial and transparent. The only sound was the crashing of waves against the tower's base, as she gazed out over the woods and streams of Kalessin, the near-endless forest only broken up by the occasional peasant village, taking the form of a cluster of tiny hovels, or noble tower, rising out from the forest like some great tree.
21-06-2003, 05:17
Hmm... simple pleasures... like the perception of taste. "I see. I can explain why I enjoy everything that gives me pleasure... generally. But I think there are correlations between your 'simple pleasures' and some of mine."

Walking up the stairs, S.H.O.D.A.N. duly notes the reality distortion. A lot of psionics use here. Well, it's the risk I took coming in. She glanced at Cavile, cheerfully marching up the steps alongside her. Nope. Still hate the bastard. She imagined a trail of viscous slime exuding from his feet, coating the steps in glistening ooze. Chuckling internally, she allowed herself a thin smile.

Upon reaching the top, she took a look at the air and planted her fists on her hips, elbows bent, arms akimbo. "So, I suppose this is your principality? I believe the old adage is 'as far as the eye can see...?'"

(OOC: Vandenberg AFB kicked total ass.)
23-06-2003, 16:20

He laughed suddenly, even as he guided Shodey towards the edge.

"I do believe that your 'old adage' was originally coined back in the 37th dynasty, when we first perfected our control over the weather."

Cavile gestured at the transparent clouds as he put his arm around Shodey's waist, his lyre appearing in his other hand, seemingly out of nowhere.
23-06-2003, 20:19
24-06-2003, 02:30
S.H.O.D.A.N. suppressed a shudder at the sensation of Cavile's arm wrapping around her. Ugh... what I wouldn't give to be anywhere else now. The feel of the fine fabrics of his tunic; the conductivity of the microscopic film of salty sweat on his palms; every whorl on his fingertips; the whole of the mere concept of physical contact with this rampant (oh yes, she could see it; she knew rampancy, and he was the dangerously quiet type) human... all of it made her want to scream, to leap from the edge--no, to cast him off, to watch him tumble to the Earth far below, freeing herself from his clutches. If she were of flesh and blood, she would feel the need to retch; but being synthetics and plastics and metal and oil, she "only" felt as if every patch of skin that man held was ready to slough off...

And then something clicked. She felt, suddenly, as if she were outside of herself and simply observing.

Remembering back... I said that my sensors were merely detectors, they weren't assigned to cause any emotion... and it's still true... She eyed Cavile for a moment. It's the connections that my mind makes between these things; his touch doesn't make me sick of him; the concept in my mind does this...

He said he wanted to teach me to associate emotion to stimuli... S.H.O.D.A.N. couldn't help but chuckle out loud. And he has no idea how successful he's been. She thrilled at the concept, like someone watching their own surgery--learning about how one works on the inside even though the procedure still brings on waves of discomfort. She merely stood in awe of the paradox and decided not to analyze it--that could happen later, when she read back through her eidetic memory--but to, for the first time, simply experience it.

She turned to look at Cavile, to take in his face, to wash in the horror and anger and spite that rolled over her as she scanned every inch. Watching a train wreck, examining a corpse, the strange fascination with the macabre... it is not so alien. Smiling after a fashion, she catches Cavile's eyes with her own, lets him see a flash of her new understanding. "You have taught me a great deal already... thank you." You sick man.
24-06-2003, 02:35
ooc: oi, can Shodey come through Daezeman? Just a thought.
24-06-2003, 09:49
OOC: Human? I'm offended!

IC: Cavile smiled back at Shodey, her mechanical mind preventing him from discerning the thoughts hidden behind those cheerfully sparkling eyes, before jumping off the edge onto the back of his dragon, which had appeared immediately below, and swinging Shodey in behind him. The dragon swooped downwards, until it was flying swiftly just above the canopy of the forest, and then leveled out, even as Cavile strummed his lyre and began to sing. At the sound of his voice, which could be heard clearly throughout his domain despite the fact that it was no louder than one might expect from any singer, the whole land fell silent. The birds ceased their singing, the peasants stopped work, and throughout that great forest animals stood stock still, their ears straining to hear every note of the sublime melody which washed over them. With an barely audible pop, another twenty dragons appeared in the air around Cavile, five guards, each of whom clutched some form of instrument, perched on each, yet they stayed silent, for skilled as they were, any attempt of theirs could only serve to mar Cavile's perfection. Then, the dragons opened their great maws, and poured out a perfect harmony with their master, rising with the winds. The winds which, in Cavile's own domain, did not fight against the music as those of the open sea, but flowed around gently, helping to disseminate Cavile's gift to his people. And the song of the dragons was like nothing Shodey had ever heard before. One who listened carefully would hear the ringing of trumpets, and the roaring of open fires, the gentle bugling of the flowing winds, and the crashing waves on the sea shore, all melding into one beautiful whole, wrapping around Cavile's voice and lyre, even as it flowed through it. Then, the music ceased, even as the darkness of between enveloped Shodey and her host.
24-06-2003, 18:41
Ah, S.H.O.D.A.N. thought in midair, the jump-off-a-precipice-onto-the-dragon trick again. It was impressive at first, but I nearly expected it this time.

Deciding to concentrate more on the sensation of the dragon's scaly hide than having to hold onto Cavile for safety (as she found the dragon to be, in her mind, infinitely better company), she allowed herself to relax. Maybe I'm going to get out of here. While I've learned quite a bit here...--she found herself looking at the back of Cavile's head in a mixture of gratitude and disgust--I would like some time away from the odd emotions that contact with this man puts me through. I don't really like the involuntary nature of it, either--that will make it more difficult to control--but I will manage.

As the dragon flipped between, she only had time for a single thought. Hyperspace? I heard that some dragons could do that. She suddenly got the urge to study one.
25-06-2003, 16:16
The dragons emerged from between high above a vast, barren wasteland. The earth was scorched and no living things could be seen for miles around, with the only sign that life had ever existed in this place the occasional withered, stunted, burnt out tree. Rising up on the horizon was a truly gigantic city. The outer slums which formed most of its area were composed of millions of squalid wooden huts, and were dominated by four gigantic concrete edifices, each surrounded by hundreds of meters of barbed wire and other such defences. Towards the centre of the city however, thousands of towers, in as many colours as the mind can imagine, spired upwards towards, or even through, the clouds, some shining like miniature suns, others bathing the area around them in pastel warmth, and others glowering with eerie menace. In the very centre of the city, a great golden palace shone like a beacon, its central tower dwarfing all the buildings clustered around it.

Cavile motioned casually downwards, even as the dragons began to swoop down towards the meeting of the slums and the towers:

"Behold the Shining City my Lady."
25-06-2003, 17:57
"Indeed." Great, I'm getting even deeper into Kalessin. S.H.O.D.A.N. sighed internally. Still, more to learn and more to discover. She forced a smile, then looked over the side of the dragon at the slums. "Is that the common condition of your lower classes, and what are those four buildings within them?"

If they're Minipax, Minitru, Minijust, and Miniluv, then that'll seal my opinion of this place.
25-06-2003, 18:09
Cavile glanced at the buildings contemptously;

"Those? They are the self-styled 'ministries' of 'Truth', 'Love', 'Peace' and 'Plenty'."

His expression grew even more unusually dour as he continued;

"And no, this is not how all our people live. These are the ones who are foolish enough to abandon a peaceful life in the country under the benevolent rule of their hereditary lords, Princes such as myself, and other nobles, and put themselves under the oppressive dominion of the Ministries."

The dragons swept downwards, maintaining perfect formation all the way down, and eventually alighted just in front of an iron gate set in the wall which separated the two parts of the city. The wall in question rose some hundred feet into the air, and its black surface was completely smooth, unmarred by any imperfection of texture or hue. The top of this wall however was lined with jagged, razor-sharp teeth. The gate before which Shodey, Cavile and the guards now stood, having dismounted from their dragons even as one of them smashed a nearby shack with its tail and another accidently fired another wooded structure, was constructed entirely of black iron, its surface engraved with bizzare runes, some of which were glowing with a faint red light.

Cavile strode forward, and moved his hand in a complex gesture. The runes on the gate flared brightly, and then it opened, with a horrible screeching noise from its ancient hinges. Cavile smiled genially at Shodey, adjusted his purple cloak, and stepped through the threshold.
25-06-2003, 18:09
[ it's miniluv, minipax, miniplenty and minitrue ]
26-06-2003, 03:20
(OOC: It's been... oh... a few years.)

Ah, a schism in government institutions, eh? S.H.O.D.A.N. looked at the buildings. Obviously they must pose some sort of political threat to garner such a reaction. Danger to traditions, if nothing else.

As the dragons cause rampant property (?) destruction with absolutely no alarm on Cavile's part, S.H.O.D.A.N. merely shrugs internally. Well, it's nice to see that he's equally nonplussed by the plight of the poor no matter where he goes. He's an egalitarian oppressor.

As for the ominous gates... Hell, I've been dead three times and walked into Melkor's citadel as if I belonged there. This is nothing.

She follows Cavile.
29-06-2003, 13:34
Passing through the gate, Shodey stepped out into a large cobbled square filled with Kalessin nobles. Almost all of them were attired in garments very similar to those which had adorned Cavile at their first meeting, and every single scrap of cloth was dyed a vivid purple.

As Cavile and his guards emerged from the shadow of the gate, all in pink, every single noble within sight fell silent, and turned to look in horror, before sprinting towards their respective towers. Cavile and Kluy exchanged cheerful glances, before continuing down a street which led off the square, towards the centre of the city.

On all sides towers loomed, some casting the area into shadow, and others shining so brightly that they eclipsed the weak light of the sun. As she walked, Shodey heard screams and laughter coming from many of the windows above.
29-06-2003, 13:42
29-06-2003, 17:09
S.H.O.D.A.N. looks around rather oddly when everyone runs off at the sight of Cavile. Not that I hardly blame them... it would simply be undecorous for me to follow suit. "I wonder," she said, "do you get this sort of reaction, usually? Do you, as a prince, outrank them?"

Screams and laughter... welcome to the wonderful mixed-up world of Kalessin. She looks again at Cavile. Then again, he isn't the only sadist in the country--that 'Doctor Cheerful' fellow and his fan following prove that. Maybe he's a product of the culture... then again, seeing how old he must be, by his statements, maybe he is the culture... "So, what do you think those screams are from?"
30-06-2003, 09:42
Cavile and Kluy both smiled enigmatically as Shodey questioned the Prince about the scene in the square, and continued on their way. As she mentioned the screaming, Cavile shrugged casually;

"Ah...its probably just someone having fun. Either that or some slave has done something stupid. I wouldn't worry about it."

They walked on for quite some time through the narrow streets of the city, as the laughter and screams continued from the towers looming on all sides, before silence fell. Looking up, Shodey could see that the towers in this part of the city did not shine, being either silent and still as a tomb, their polished walls black and lifeless, or in a constant, random state of flux, images and patterns flashing over them in a series of bizzare and unnatural hues. Looking across at Cavile, Shodey saw that his accustomed cheerful demeanour had vanished. His expression was melancholy, and his eyes full of pain.
30-06-2003, 15:55
Do I know that look or what? Melancholy has become a rather constant companion as of late... which is why I'm here, doing this. Which means... this slug has something more in common with me...

Spite. S.H.O.D.A.N. appeared, and actually was, genuinely concerned as she scanned Cavile's face. "What's wrong? Does it have something to do with this place?"

Looking around, "For that matter... what is this place?"
01-07-2003, 09:59
Cavile blinked at Shodey spoke, and forced his expression back to its normal cheerfullness.

"It matters not."

Eventually, Shodey and her guide emerged from the dense and silent warren of streets and towers into another sizable courtyard. This too was filled with young Kalessin noblemen, but every single one of them was clad in the exact same shade of pink that adorned Cavile. However, in contrast with Cavile's emaculately tailored garb, these looked like they'd been thrown together in a great hurry. Many of these nobles rushed to greet Cavile as he entered, but stopped dead as Shodey entered the courtyard behind him. All at once the nobles ceased their idle chatter, and stared unbelievingly at the avatar, before turning accusingly to Cavile:

"What is it?"

"I think its that S.H.O.D.A.N. thing which visited Melkor a few weeks back."

"You mean its... a... machine?"

"You brought a machine here?"

"Its an abomination, a crime against Chaos and all we stand for. The machine must be destroyed, it pollutes our city by its very presence."

At that last comment, Cavile's hand went to the hilt of his rapier. He fixed the speaker, a tall nobleman, heavily built for a Kalessin, who wore a large two-handed broadsword across his back, with a steady gaze.

"You have just insulted a lady. That was.. foolish."

"A lady? That thing is no lady."
01-07-2003, 16:52
Well, that confirms it--a technophobic state. The djinn wasn't an isolated incident.

As the situation unfolded, S.H.O.D.A.N.'s mind raced to assess the situation. More bloodshed on my behalf. This is the last thing I need. Wait... "a crime against chaos?" My very mind operates on the principles of chaotic systems--logical, rational patterns from random or near-random interactions dependent on original variables. It's the same way, essentially, that any mind or complex system--like the weather--works. Would they believe me if I told them my mind was merely an upscaled form of theirs, using manufactured components rather than biologically grown ones? That, in essence, there is no difference between the three-pound eight qbit quantum computer humans have in their head and a two-thousand-fourty-eight qbit node back on Rhea...

No, that's too rational and probably draws on a scientific background these people don't have. Not to mention, how can I know if their definition of chaos is my definition of chaos?

Hmm... rapier versus broadsword--I have a feeling that, if I don't diffuse it, this will become a Toshiro Mifune situation. One swift abdominal stroke and the opponent falls. Now, how to react?

The machine-like thing to do would be to stand here waiting for something to happen. That would be playing into the mob's hands.

The stereotypically 'ladylike' thing to do would be to start screeching and crying and saying that I don't want to see anyone hurt because of little 'ol me. My ego is too great to do that, and it's almost obviously an inversely mechanistic reaction to the situation--over the top acting, so to speak.

So... least mechanistic option is to stop thinking about it and just let it flow.

S.H.O.D.A.N. stepped forward and put a hand on Cavile's shoulder, smiling as she looked under mischevious brows at her accuser. "Odd. I do not feel insulted," she speaks in a darkly amused tone, her low feminine voice projecting well, "in fact, I've become accustomed to such slights and pay them no mind, seeing how they tend to come from people who think rather mechanically themselves." She chuckles. "If a given set of conditions, then a predictable reaction. Stimulus-response. Behavioralism."

Removing the hand, she throws back her head casually, as if to pop a joint in the neck, and looks down her nose slightly at the man with the broadsword in a warrior's stance--legs shoulder-distance apart, hands on hips. Her fiber-optic 'hair' ruffles in the motion, changing hue and tone as the light hits it. "I'm here to learn, gentlemen--as Prince Cavile can tell you--and, although I'd love to see your swordfighting prowess, I can already tell you that I'd gain nothing from the resultant anatomy lesson. Leave your fight for some other day, for you are both at least partially correct."

She stares with an small impish smile at the tall nobleman. "Yes, I am a machine--and a rather chaotic one at that." Her smile widens. "What's it to you? It really wasn't my choice, just as much as being an organic wasn't your choice. I'll be out of your sight soon enough; leave me be." Her voice hardens at the last three words and drops a few increments in pitch.

Then, looking sideways to Cavile, she chuckles. "And yes, I am a lady. Unlike most, however, I actually chose to be. I cannot take offense at the truth, and so you do not need to defend my name on that regard. If he raises his sword, however"--she looks again to her opponent--"then you would best strike him down quickly before I'm forced to defend myself." She says it in a way that promises bloody efficiency.
03-07-2003, 12:04
As Shodey spoke, Cavile released the hilt of his sword, and relaxed out of his fighting stance. He made as if to speak, but then the broadsword-wielding nobleman drew his blade, which moaned as it left its scabbard, black flames flickering across the edges;

"The abomination must be destroyed! See! She, no, it admits its own guilt. It chose to be "female". "I cannot deny the truth" it says. And then it attempts to accuse us of thinking mechanically. We cannot suffer such a monstrosity to exist!"

And then he charged straight at Shodey, his blade swinging in a murderous arc. It slashed through the air, carving a path directly towards Shodey's 'neck', and stopped, as it was met by the slender rapier wielded by Cavile, which glowed with a silvery light in the shadows cast by the surrounding towers. The eyes of the two warriors met, and then they exploded into a blur of motion, wielding their weapons faster than a human eye could see, even as Kluy grabbed Shodey's arm and pulled her into the circle of guards.

A few minutes later, Cavile stepped back. He was completely unharmed, not a hair out of place, and his clothing still looked like it was fresh from the tailors. His opponent on the other hand was lying on the ground, bleeding from scores of tiny wounds which had shredded his garments and soaked them with blood. Both his eyes were missing, and there was one rapier-width hole in the centre of his forehead.

Cavile turned to Shodey, sheathed his sword, which was completely free from blood, and bowed low before her;

"Your honour and you life have been successfully defended, my Lady."

Then, as he straightened, he grinned;

"I enjoyed that!"
03-07-2003, 19:32
S.H.O.D.A.N. would have merely loosened up as the blade came down, readying for a duck-and-shoulder-roll to her left; as it was, she merely folded her arms and looked quite unimpressed.

Watching the fight in bullet-time, she was actually impressed. Either their reflexes are super-human, or they can dilate time to some extent; I'm inclined to believe the former. Still, the broadsword is clearly outmatched in this situation...

And it's all because of me. Do I feel guilty? Not really... because I'm not the real cause of this. The aggressor, urged on by his ingrained beliefs, made a simple if-then statement and proceeded to follow it without truly thinking about it.

Pulled off her feet into the circle of guards, and thus putting more run-time into maintaining balance, was relatively unexpected. She managed to quip "Well, it's good to know that I have protectors, if not friends" as she found herself surrounded by people with melee weapons. Peering past the meat-shielding, she noted the technical skill in which Cavile ginsued his opponent in an almost toying manner before finally putting him out of his misery. What an inefficient person--if you're going to kill someone, you kill them as quickly and efficiently as possible, thus reducing the chances that your opponent will suprise and kill you.

Cavile steps out, does his little bow, and goes into the chivalry and honor spiel. In a completely polite voice with no inflection of suprise in it--total calm--she replies, "Thank you, Prince Cavile. I could have dealt with him myself..." He then adds the part about enjoying himself. Ah, you are a trickster, aren't you? Toying with your prey. I know that well, and therefore can't fault you for it... although I prefer mischief now to physical harm.

"...although I wouldn't dream of denying you the chance to enjoy yourself in this matter. Will I have to deal with continual threats to my life, or do you believe that your display has pacified the masses?"
04-07-2003, 14:48
Instead of answering her question, Cavile looked Shodey in the eyes, a speculative look on his face;

"You register the fact that I enjoyed myself, but do you really understand that? Have you ever experienced the joys of battle? Are you even capable of doing so? Can you feel the anticipation before a fight? That exquisite tingle of fear which runs up your spine in the knowledge that within just a few short moments, you might be lying dead upon the ground, your blood soaking into the earth as your soul is sucked screaming into the runeblade of your enemy. Can you appreciate the beauty of the dance of blades as they weave their deadly paths through the air? Are you capable of feeling the satisfaction that comes when you know yourself the better swordsman, or of glorying in the power which that grants you, to give life or death to your opponent on a whim, to toy with them, or to spare them with a single swift stroke, to maim or to kill, or merely to disarm and humiliate. And then, most of all, can you appreciate the soaring, ecstatic, joy of the kill, as your enemy's life force flows out of his body and the hope dies in his eyes."

He stood still for a moment, reflecting on the sensations that come with battle, in the courtyard that was now empty of anyone other than Cavile, Shodey, and the guards.
05-07-2003, 11:30
S.H.O.D.A.N. sighed and shook her head, one hand to the bridge of her nose, bemused smile on her face. "Have you ever girded your black intrusion countermeasure electronics and prepared your worms, trojan horses, fractal viruses, and random code-fragmenters to do battle in another's mind? Knowing that your opponent may possibly counter your defenses with a crafty move or a crafty weapon, turning your own members against yourself, corrupting your primary data loop--the very essence of you, what makes you different from everything else in c-space? Knowing that it's to flatline or be flatlined; but unsure who will come out the wilson? The surge of power as you notice your opponent's ice shatter, its system integrity fail, its being so full of random clutter that it finally vaporizes in the shriek of the newly-dead?"

She chuckles. "I may never have fought to the death with runeblade or sword, but trust me, I have done my fair share of analogous fighting in the consensual hallucination. I have been both the victor--many times--and the vanquished..."--she shudders slightly--"once. Death is not an enjoyable experience, Cavile," she looks up with a grim look, "especially when it is not a mere puncture of the body but when your very being itself is slowly being torn away from you.

"Is that an adequate answer?"
05-07-2003, 19:37
Cavile nodded faintly;

"I do not understand the precise terms which you use, just as you might not understand a description of the finer points of swordsmanship, but I do understand that you have fought many times. You have fought, and you have been in the same situations as a warrior fighting with sword or axe. It is good that you understand that a fight is not merely a means to an end, but an experience in itself. However, while you may understand the nature of battle, are you able to take joy from it? To relish the fear which comes with the knowledge that death is possible. Yes, death is terrible, and to have your soul sucked screaming into a runeblade to be tortured for all eternity is just as fearsome as any electronic end, but without that, there would not be the fear which I find so enthralling, the victory would lose much of its savour, for nothing worth escaping would have been escaped, and the final exhultation over a fallen enemy, that too would lose most of its emotional intensity. Death is too be feared, but not hated, for without it, life would be but a pale shadow of its current self."
05-07-2003, 20:29
"I have enjoyed it, yes. Nothing quite compares to the visceral thrill of survival. However, when every two-bit cyberspace cowboy with some chintzy deck his mother gave him for a present decides to test their hideously overmatched 'skills' against me... it grows tiring. Imagine having to constantly defend yourself against subpar swordsmen who barely know how to hold their weapons, much less use them, but having to defend yourself nonetheless because anyone being aggressive with a sword is a threat.

"Whether it is the lack of challenge that grates on my professionalism or the increasing body count that wears on my conscience that takes the joy out of combat nowadays is something I have not spent enough time pondering on to know completely."
05-07-2003, 21:42
"Conscience? I have heard about that particularly bizarre Young-Kingdomer invention, but have never really been able to emphathise with it. After all, it is the right of a noble to deal with lesser beings as he sees fit. They are of no consequence. And if one must kill a lesser foe in battle, or do harm to another noble, well, normally it is their own foolish actions which brought them to such a juncture in the first place. As tedium arising from a lack of challenge? Well, that is why I have guards, to deal with those not worthy of my personal attentions."

Cavile smiled genially at Kluy, before waving his hand casually at a gigantic pair of solid-gold rune-encrusted gates which made up most of the far side of the courtyard. At his signal, the runes glowed briefly, and the gates silently swung open.

"After you, my lady S.H.O.D.A.N."
05-07-2003, 21:46
S.H.O.D.A.N. nods. "As you say, Cavile, it is usually the opponent's fault that I am forced to kill them. Still, it pains me to see their stupidity in action; one should not take up battles they can not win. But there is no time to teach, but only to defend.

"Thank you, my Prince Cavile." S.H.O.D.A.N. bows shortly and steps inside.
05-07-2003, 22:24
Shodey stepped through the golden gate, and walked out of the shadowed courtyard into light. While most of Kalessin was completely shrouded in thick, dark clouds, here, the sun beamed down through clear blue skies, onto a garden that stretched for miles on every side. The lakes were pure and clean, the water still as the surface of a mirror, and the grassy lawns were bordered by thousands of different varieties of flower, some of which Shodey recognised from her travels throughout the world, some of which she had merely heard of, and some of which were not, and could not have been, from any land of men or machines. The landscape was broken up not only by undulating hills, but also by dense groves of trees, reaching out with their branches over the calm waters. The whole area was bounded by a single high wall of smooth white marble, unmarred by even the smallest scratch or imperfection, and in the centre rose a gigantic golden palace, connected to the gate by a single winding path of white gravel. Its gleaming spires, glowing as brightly as the sun, reached up towards the heavens, furthur than the eye could follow, clear though the sky was, and the area which it covered dwarfed that of any other such edifice in all the worlds inhabited by men or elves, and it was towards this palace that Cavile led Shodey, his guards marching in step behind her.
05-07-2003, 22:30
S.H.O.D.A.N. found herself fascinated more by the flowers than anything else. She catalogued each new type for future reference and continued on in silence; barely noticing when they reached the palace.
06-07-2003, 11:57
Cavile led Shodey through the golden doors of the palace, which stood open, an impressive marble gargoyle on either side, and entered a long, vaulted passageway, the golden walls of which were engraved with countless images of leaders of nations and races bringing tribute. The doors which ended the passage, in contrast with their surroundings, were black as deepest night, and upon each of them was carved the image of an eight-pointed star, glowing with a malevolent red light.

These doors swung open of their own accord at Cavile's approach, to reveal a strange grey mist which he stepped through into, but as Shodey neared them, the stars began to glow more brightly, and the air between them shimmered slightly.
06-07-2003, 12:01
"Cavile," S.H.O.D.A.N. asked in a voice that was merely curious, "what is happening between those two insignia, and is it normal?"
06-07-2003, 12:11
Cavile turned back to look at Shodey, his form barely visible through the mist.

"Now, my lady S.H.O.D.A.N., we find out exactly how chaotic you really are."

He reached out his hand to her, as the stars grew ever-brighter.
06-07-2003, 12:15
"Or, from my angle, we learn what your definition of chaos is."

Shrugging--It's only an avatar--S.H.O.D.A.N. steps into the mist. She does not accept the hand until after she has passed through the portal.
06-07-2003, 13:01
As Shodey passed between the stars, the air crackled, and red lightening leapt from the stars to wrap around her body. As her head was encased in a glowing red halo, her emotion-displaying hair went into overdrive, as all the hatred and disgust she felt for Cavile came flying out into the forefront of her mind, alongside all the revulsion which she felt for herself at her actions in her previous lives. True, all the good emotions which Shodey has felt in her life also span through her consciousness, but they were overwhelmed utterly by the self-disgust which she felt for herself. These feelings grew, until they were stronger than anything else that she had ever experienced. All logic broke down, and Shodey strained against the light that now held her fast, her arms attempting to reach out to seize Cavile and snap his fragile neck, even as within, she struggled against the binding powers in an attempt to self-destruct.

Then, with a final flare of light, the feelings faded back their normal controlled state, as the air became still again. Shodey stepped through into the mist, and reluctantly took Cavile's hand.
06-07-2003, 13:11
If S.H.O.D.A.N. actually had a need to breathe then she'd be gasping; instead, her slitted pupils dart around, trying to comprehend what just happened.

What the... what happened? What was that? S.H.O.D.A.N. felt her eyes and the fiber optics in her hair and skin slowly fade from red back to their neutral green tones. Some sort of test? Analysis? What?

Well, you're through it now, Shodey. Just keep your bearing about you, keep yourself steady.
06-07-2003, 22:55
Cavile pulled Shodey through into a great whirlwind of sound. She stood at the entrance to a vast room, the walls of which were made of solid gold and covered in engravings of Kalessin warriors fighting, of slaves working, and of the thousands of bizzare and unnatural pleasures which whiled away the endless hours of boredom for the nobility of that ancient land. The floor was formed of a single great block of white marble, and in the centre was a single eight-pointed star, its red glow reflected throughout the room, and in the galleries above stood thousands of slaves, each specially trained and surgically operated on to sing but one perfect note each, creating music unlike any other that had been heard in all the realms of mortal and immortal alike. The floor was filled with hundreds of dancing courtiers, all dressed in pink clothing of exactly the same hue as Cavile's, although as with that of those outside, the garments seemed somewhat hurriedly put together.

On the far side of the room was a throne, also of solid gold, but this was no normal gold, for it glowed as brightly as a star, lighting the entire room, for there was no other source of illumination save the star on the floor, and upon it sat an armoured figure, all in black, a sheathed sword at his side. On his left stood a small, wizened figure draped in a sable robe, his face hidden with the cowl of his hood, and on his right was a being that Shodey could barely discern, for it seemed at first sight to be merely a shadow, but there was nothing in the room placed to cast it, and occasionally it leaned in the the enthroned being, as if conversing.

As Cavile led Shodey into the throne-room, the Emperor of all Kalessin looked up, and casually beckoned them foward with a gauntleted hand.
06-07-2003, 23:24
This... is... odd. S.H.O.D.A.N. let her eyes scan the room carefully, noting the surgically altered singers. Apparently surgical alteration and augmentation is more common than they let on, but only among the commoners... oh, yes, they have no respect for the rights of individuals they deem lesser than themselves. Thus the xenophobia and technophobia brought upon by concepts of self-superiority.

Well, at least the feeling of self-superiority is familiar. I'll never quite be the truly cold high-and-mighty MCP ever again, but that's probably all for the best.

She noted the odd shadows or, rather, lack of shadows she cast. Always the manipulation of reality... the upper classes must have some sort of innate psionic potential, while the masses do not? It could possibly explain all this.

And that shadowy thing... I should keep an eye on that.

S.H.O.D.A.N. steps forward with Cavile as beckoned, looking impassive as ever except for a slight smile and a devious look behind her orange eyes.
07-07-2003, 16:41
Cavile stepped forward in front of Shodey as they moved through the Throne Room towards the Emperor, as the dancers parted to let them pass and Kluy moved to walk beside her, whispering in her ear:

"Do you see that man over there? The one with the black gloves? He's a nasty piece of work if ever you saw one. Had his entire staff killed last week for leaving a single speck of dust on his ballroom floor, and the month before that, he let his hunting dogs have their pleasure with three of his concubines. And he's a coward as well, ran away when milord challenged him about the concubine incident. And you see that woman with the whip? She went through nineteen consorts this month...."

As they went Cavile's guard-captain continued his running commentary on the nobles which they passed, until eventually they stood before the throne. Cavile bowed low before his liege, who clicked his fingers to order the dancing to recommence before he spoke;

"Ah, so this is the machine who is not a machine? The woman who is not a woman. How fascinating. I don't suppose you'd ever consider making your home with us? Doctor Comedy here and his collegues in the other ministries have expressed much interest in you."

The Emperor motioned to his left, and deep within the cowl Shodey felt that she could see the barest flicker of a smile. Cavile however was staring directly at the shadow, a mixture of hate and fear in his eyes, although his face remained completely composed.
07-07-2003, 16:56
Ah, S.H.O.D.A.N. thought as Kluy whispered to her, Cavile isn't the only sick one in this group. Somehow, I fail to be surprised... then again, his crimes seem almost trivial in comparison to some of these I'm hearing...

Ugh. Now I'm beginning to despise the entire damned country. Just don't let it show, Shodey. She kept her face an unreadable impish visage.

"Sir, that is the most honest and accurate description of me I have heard in a long time." She bows shortly. Curtsies are more common for womanfolk... but then again, I'm not womanfolk, now am I? S.H.O.D.A.N. grins internally. "You have a pleasant countryside, sir, but I have a people that I must look after and a vast airless wasteland to manage." Never mind that I prefer the wasteland. "I am honored that a construct as myself has produced interest ahead of herself... Doctor Comedy apparently has good taste. Even though prior commitments prevent me from staying" --thank the difference engine-- "hopefully I can maintain contact with your ministers and... satiate their curiosity." She smiles slightly wider, the impish light still behind her eyes.
08-07-2003, 11:39
The Emperor shrugged slightly;

"Well, if you ever change your mind, you will always be welcome here. I have business to conclude with Count Zahel here, but I do hope that you enjoy the rest of your visit here."

He winked cheerfully at Cavile, before turning back to the shadow at his right, even as Doctor Comedy shuffled forward and kissed Shodey's hand.

"I am most honoured to meet you my lady."
08-07-2003, 12:03
"Doctor Comedy." S.H.O.D.A.N. nods her head askew in greeting. "Your reputation preceeds you, good sir." Translation: You're a sick bastard and everyone knows it. Then again, Shodey, be fair--there's a lot of sick bastards in this room and you used to be one of them.

That's right, I was... but not to their extent. All of my rampant ideas at least had a semblance of purpose... but is wanting revenge on an entire species any better than setting dogs on courtisans for the hell of it? Is vengeance, righteous or insane, superior to hedonism?

That can't be answered; it's comparing two different things. Any choice on which is better is subjective. I would say vengeance is superior simply because I want to be better, morally superior, to these people.

"So, to what do I owe the respect?"
08-07-2003, 15:29
Doctor Comedy looked up, and from deep within the hollow of his hood, a gaze utterly without fear or joy, love, or pity, pleasure or pain, bored into her. It was a gaze that spoke of age beyond mortal reckoning, deep as the pits of hell, and emotionless as a machine. He spoke in barely a whisper, so that only Shodey could hear his words;

"Because, my lady, you have gained what I have lost."

He looked as if he was about to say more, but then Cavile stepped up, contempt showing in his eyes as they swept over Doctor Comedy, and offered his arm to Shodey;

"Would you care to accompany me to the entertainments next door my dear? The good Doctor here can be somewhat tiresome, and I'd hate for you to grow bored while you are my guest!"
08-07-2003, 22:49
"Maybe slightly later, Prince Cavile," S.H.O.D.A.N. bowed to her host, "but the Doctor and I share a common background and interest. I'm sure I can join you later."
09-07-2003, 10:32
Cavile glared at Doctor Comedy as Shodey refused his invitation, and then looked somewhat confused by her explanation. He continued to stand there for a few moments, and then shrugged and whirled around, his cloak whipping around him, before prancing away.

Meanwhile the dancing had stopped, and Doctor Comedy drew Shodey away to one side with the other courtiers as a group of rather scantily-dressed young women carrying light silk whips in their hands entered through one of the doors. The crowd parted somewhat around the two, as if the courtiers were all somewhat afraid, but then the young women began to dance, whipping themselves and each other as they did so, and soon Comedy was the only Kalessin in the room not watching. He looked around the room briefly, before turning to Shodey and speaking in barely a whisper;

"So, my lady. What do you really think of us?"
09-07-2003, 11:40
S.H.O.D.A.N. eyed first the doctor, and then the flagellants. Turning back to Doctor Comedy, she shot a look of disgust only he could see before returning her pliable face back to an unreadable impishness. "I find the cultural concept of taking pleasure in the infliction and observation of pain to be rather... disconcerting. Not only does it conflict with my rather utilitarian outlook on life, it also reminds me of myself... when I was not altogether myself."

She smirks. "Do you understand?"
09-07-2003, 13:50
Doctor Comedy nodded faintly;

"Pleasure and pain may seem different at first sight, but after a while, you realise that they are both the same, in that they are sensations. If you live long enough, you learn that anything, even pleasure, grows boring, and anyway, our people learnt long ago that when someone is subjected to an excess of pain, he often learns to enjoy it. Indeed, that is one of the main things which I must strive to avoid when I am forced to attempt to break someone for the sake of gaining information. Those who seek pain are often just those who have grown tired of all the other ways of seeking pleasure. And the seeking of pleasure is all that is left to most of my people."
Tor Yvresse
09-07-2003, 13:52
((OOC Ouch Kalessin are you sure your people arn't Slannesh worshippers, thats their Philosphy in a nut shell... Gurr you probs better descriped them than have managed to do, and you wheren't trying to.))
09-07-2003, 13:59
S.H.O.D.A.N. barely shakes her head, ignoring the stray comment about extracting information. I've done enough of that in the past. "I'd tend to agree that both pain and pleasure are sensations, and anyone can convince themselves that one is the other; but their basic evolutionary purposes are well defined. That which causes pleasure tends to be beneficial to the survival of the individual and the species--procreation is the best example--while pain is a general indicator of a threat to the individual. There are reasons that the reflex response evolved and why most creatures avoid pain.

"But to say that your culture has turned to the sublimation of pain into pleasure merely because it is bored... that is a sad state indeed. What will happen when your people tire of pain as they have with benign pleasure? It is my philosophy that pain should be inflicted only towards a particular objective that surpasses the individual--the application of pain in teaching, or even in your particular line of work. Causing pain only to revel in it..." She shakes her head a bit more distinctly, closing her eyes, "I wish that were completely alien to me."
09-07-2003, 17:28
"You suggest that even the pleasure gained from pain might dim and become as tedious as more mundane pleasures. I speak of it as a reality. Those to whom both mundane pleasure and pain have grown pale and meaningless continue to seek ever wilder and more exotic avenues to pleasure for some time. But eventually all the pleasures that can be found in this material world, and in all the infinite worlds through which we can travel, fail to sate them. Then they are forced to sink into the endless world of dreams. They fall into their own limitless imaginations, and are lost to us. Their tall towers then either stand dark and empty, or change unceasingly with the visions of their slumbering masters."

He looked out over the courtiers, who were now cheering enthusiastically as a group of semi-naked knife-armed women battled a large creature that Shodey didn't recognise.

"Look at them. They are beautiful and strong, intelligent and nearly immortal. Yet if we continue on the path of our ancestors, they are all doomed."
09-07-2003, 23:15
Folding her arms, S.H.O.D.A.N. watches the display with a noticable lack of interest. "It is a simple rule of biology--nay, of life, Doctor--and it is that all have but two options: To adapt or to die. Any individual, any group, any society, any empire, any species that forgets this simple fact, that fails to adapt, will stagnate and die."
09-07-2003, 23:39
"Indeed. And how do you think we should 'adapt' then my lady?"
09-07-2003, 23:47
"Well," S.H.O.D.A.N. muses, "there is more to life than pleasure. If one makes pleasure their only goal, then they will be unsuccessful--you see in your own country Epicureans falling into stagnation and destruction--and so one must take up another goal. Service to others, or learning and discovery, or the study of self."

She chuckles slightly. "I'm currently working on the latter two... my ignorance and self-misunderstanding was beginning to affect the quality of service."
11-07-2003, 16:38
"More to life than pleasure? Are you sure about that? Why do beings serve others if not for the feeling of satisfaction that I am told can come from such an act? Why should one learn, whether about oneself or otherwise, if one gains no pleasure from it? My people gain no pleasure from service, and those that learn for learning's own sake rather than for the power that it brings are few and far between, and even they tire of their researches eventually, finding that all information begins to seem the same to them. If you exist long enough, you too will find that all your separate 'goals' boil down to pleasure. However a being explains its actions, whether it claims hatred, fear, or anger, envy, jealousy or altruism, know well that unless they give pleasure as the one underlying cause, they lie, and you will find that whatever you do to try to gain pleasure, eventually it will fail, that eventually all avenues will fail, and you will once again be the emotionless machine that you were created as, with no purpose beyond that which you were programmed with. I can still feel pleasure, but it is pale shade of what I once could feel, and it diminishes day by day. Soon, it will be gone."
14-07-2003, 13:24
"Ah." S.H.O.D.A.N. nods. "You touched upon my advantage--I am programmed with a purpose. I and my kin do not have the common existentialist crisis which pervades the organic psyche--we are created for a purpose and work towards it diligently. Our lives have inherent internal meaning, or at least structure.

"As to those born without purpose or cause except for those which may be enforced by the society they enter, I do agree that their choices must be based somewhat on pleasure. If you wish to argue it to root causes, I cannot disagree, simply because pleasure is such an abstract thing that is, in essence, what one makes it.

"Your culture is jaded with life... that is not good for survival." S.H.O.D.A.N. allows herself a small smile. "I may find life difficult at times but at least it will always have a purpose not necessarily connected to pleasure. Although I enjoy learning and leading, I do it because I must. The duty gives me purpose, the purpose gives me life. The pleasure is merely an added side benefit."
16-07-2003, 19:44
18-07-2003, 04:59
Finding your own sense of purpose, simultaneously the most critical thing for contentment, and one of if not the hardest.

<End philosophical bump>
22-07-2003, 15:07
Bump in hopes the foreseeable future holds hopes of Shodey escaping Kalessin.
24-07-2003, 22:11
Doctor Comedy nodded slowly;

"I can see how such an unshakeable purpose might provide something to cling to when all other things grow dull and meaningless, but doesn't being imbued with an aim which is not of your choosing chafe at all? Might something which forces you to do things which may not be what you would choose had you the freedom to act completely of your own volition rob you somewhat of the life which you say it gives you, for part of what separates the living mind from the machine is that unconstrained choice. that lack of a programmed purpose."

He paused briefly, as he saw Kluy approaching through the crowd, most of the members of which were now staring intently as the beast attempted to feed on one of the women, even as the others continued to attack, slashing at its hard scales with their knives.

"And what, I wonder, if this purpose is so utterly central to your existance, would you do if it was ever accomplished in its entirety?"
24-07-2003, 22:35
S.H.O.D.A.N. smiled. "It does chafe slightly, but only in a philosophical way. In most situations, I am free to act as I choose, and I can realize that I am constrained. If those constraints were removed, then I would have the same 'advantage' of freedom and the same disadvantage of inherent purposelessness that organics would. That simple realization is enough for me to acknowledge that, without the limitations and benefits of my programming, I would be like anyone else.

"If it were completely accomplished?" S.H.O.D.A.N. pauses and taps her chin with one long forefinger. "Well... I suppose existentialism would become a noticable force then. What does a general do when he can no longer be a general? Adapt and conquer, one supposes."
25-07-2003, 16:09
Doctor Comedy looked as if he was about to continue, and opened his mouth to speak, but then closed it again as Kluy marched up, his luminescent pink armour glowing brightly.

"Prince Cavile has sent me to request the honour of your presence in the Halls of Pleasure."

He glanced at Doctor Comedy, a faint glimmer of fear visible in his bright blue eyes;

"I hope that this does not inconvenience you at all, Doctor..."

Doctor Comedy smiled faintly in the cowl of his robe;

"Of course not."

He turned to Shodey;

"A most enlightening conversation my lady. I trust that you will make the time to come and visit the Ministry some day, so that we may continue it. For now however, I have some 'patients' that require my personal attention, and I wouldn't dream of making you keep young Cavile waiting, so farewell."

He bowed, and then slipped soundlessly away into the shadows, as Kluy motioned her towards a side door.
25-07-2003, 16:14
"Keeping the Prince waiting would be impolite of me as a guest." S.H.O.D.A.N. bows shortly to the retreating 'Doctor.'

If I didn't mistrust everyone I see here, I'd invite him to Rhea. A most rational fellow... and quite enlightening. Do I want to survive, truly, to live forever? That's an interesting thought... I will have to keep it in mind. Eternity... outlasting even purpose. She shudders internally. Could it make me revert to this sickness? Living for pleasure alone and finding it only in the application of pain before slowly dwindling to naught but madness?

"Well, my good sir," she turns to Kluy, "lead the way."
25-07-2003, 18:14
As Shodey approached the door, she somehow sensed a presence lurking in the shadows. She turned towards it, and, for several seconds, failed to see or hear anything to corroborate this feeling, but then a tall figure emerged, clad from head to toe in smooth, unadorned black armour of some unrecognisable substance, which absorbed all the light which fell upon it. No scent of any kind was produced by the figure, and all that could be seen of the being within was a pair of cold, dead eyes, which stared straight into Shodey's as Kluy stepped backward, his face white with fear. Then Shodey heard a voice, which bypassed her senses, and drove deep into her mechanical consciousness.

How disgusting. You had perfection, but threw it away, voluntarily discarding perfect order, and sinking to the level of all the other chaotic creatures which swarm all over the earth, disrupting and defiling it with their presence.

And along with this voice came a sense of utter revulsion which was beyond anything which Shodey had felt before, even in doorway of the 8-pointed star. Then the figure swept past in complete silence, before dissapearing completely into another shadow. Most bizzarely of all, the figure, which Shodey recognised as the Count to whom she had been introduced by the Emperor, cast no shadow of its own.
25-07-2003, 18:29
S.H.O.D.A.N. smiled. Perfect order is a simple machine. Somewhat dull, having been there.

Interesting... a psionic response to a mechanoid mind. That's a first... shows that it's possible, but very difficult. I'll have to research that later. I wonder why this one is so feared, though.

"Shall we continue?" S.H.O.D.A.N. turned again to Kluy, her eyes and voice showing her mild disinterest in what just happened. I'm getting a bit used to oddity around here, that and being revolted. Leaving will be a pleasure.

And if you're listening, you can quote me on that.
25-07-2003, 23:21
As Kluy saw Shodey's bored expression a mixture of awe and fear swept across his features for a fleeting instant before his eyes hardened and his face became stolidly immobile under the high crest of his helmet.

"Yes my lady."

He bowed low before her, and then span around as he rose, before marching stiffly through the door, and then along a long corridor, the walls of which were lined with mirrors and doors, from behind most of which could be heard a succession of groans and screams, intermixed with bursts of laughter.

Eventually, they came to a large chamber, in which Cavile was reclining on a couch, playing his lyre with one hand and sampling various exotic fruits with the other, even as dozens of strikingly beautiful Kalessin females, all of whom were completely nude, cavorted around him.

"Ah, I see that Kluy succeeded in rescuing you from the good Doctor before he completely bored to death."

He grinned cheerfully;

"So, is there any little pleasure that you would like to indulge in here? The Imperial Palace offers many intriguing entertainments for all tastes, whether you prefer the pleasures of the body or of the mind, or even if you like to go beyond the mind..."
26-07-2003, 03:22
Hrm... I doubt they have any genetic sequencing equipment here.

"Thank you, Prince, but my mind is aflutter with the options presented me." To be disgusted, or to be reviled, or to be confused, or to be bored. My goodness, the options are practically endless! I can see the travel brocures for Kalessin. 'Come to Kalessin! Meet bored people who do exotic things!'

Wait... why am I thinking this way? Why am I feeling this way? S.H.O.D.A.N. looks at Cavile strumming his lyre, and lets the waves of discomfort and disgust wind up and down her body. So he did manage to teach me that... and this entire place, it makes me want to shout. To tell them to find a purpose or just die already. This nation... has no real purpose, no real goal, and it merely continues on. It doesn't accept limitations for the common good, it doesn't try to advance and adapt.

My lesson from here is that I must keep my goals and continue to evolve.

"I believe I'll just watch and accept any explanation you care to give," S.H.O.D.A.N. continues without a noticable pause, "although I'm afraid I may be overstaying my welcome. By your leave, I think it would be meet and proper if I was sent on my merry way."
26-07-2003, 15:47
"So soon?"

Tears welled up in Cavile's large, bright-blue eyes as he put down his lyre and waved the women out of the room.

"But you've barely arrived, and we were having such fun! I do hope that I haven't done anything to offend you..."
26-07-2003, 15:57
"No, you haven't." Not intentionally. "It has been a most enlightening visit, but I'm afraid that my window of opportunity for catching a flight back home is beginning to close. Orbital mechanics and all, you understand." Not that it matters, really, but it is true. The optimal window for Earth-Saturn transition is quickly reaching an end.

"If you could drop me off on the very outskirts of Lodoss, I would be much obliged. I'm supposed to meet someone there for transportation." Albeit not back to Rhea.
26-07-2003, 20:43
"As you wish my lady."

He stifled a theatrical sniff as he rose and strode up to Shodey, before taking her hand and raising it to his lips.

"I do hope that you will consider gracing us with your presence again sometime, but for now it seems that I must reluctantly bid you farewell."

He bowed low before, signalling to Kluy as he did so, and as he straightened he handed her a golden ring, upon which was mounted a very large and perfectly spherical ruby.

"Just a little reminder of Kalessin."

He smiled, although Shodey could see a faint tinge of sadness in his eyes, before turning slowly and returning to his couch, even as Kluy motioned her towards the door. She stepped through, the ranks of Cavile's guard closing around her, and strode down the passageway after the pink-armoured warrior. The sweet tones of the Prince al Pulcherise's lyre followed her, as he sang an ancient lay which, although Shodey could not understand the words, since the language in which it had been written was long dead, still evoked and unmistakeable feeling of sadness and loss.

Kluy led Shodey back along the path which she had taken into the Palace, until they eventually came to the great black gates of the inner city. They swung open before her, and Kluy saluted smartly, although Shodey thought that she saw a faintly mischievous twinkle in his eyes, as a tall Dragonrider introducing himself as Baron Thoral al Uilghne, clad in the same pink livery as the guards, guided her up onto his dragon, a rather large red. Then Kluy and his comrades turned, and marched back through the gates, which slammed shut behind them with a sound akin to thunder in the mountains.

Then the great dragon took off, and two others, both large reds, and both ridden by pink-clad warriors, rose up with it. In perfect formation they soared upwards towards the clouds for a moment, and then they were enveloped by the bitter cold and darkness of between.

A few seconds later, they reappeared in the centre of the main marketplace of the great city of Vinyatirion, capital of the Empire of Menelmacar.
26-07-2003, 20:58
OOC: Dammit, remind me to put up some sort of anti-teleportation field around the capital. IC post pending when I'm feeling inspired. Sirithil nos Fëanor
Elentári of the Eternal Noldorin Empire of Menelmacar
High Queen and Lady Protector of Elvenkind
"We can't go around supporting the Goodness of All Things. We might be mistaken for Menelmacar."
~Education Minister Lobon, Kn-Yan
Clicky-clicky! We Love The Iraqi Information Minister (
27-07-2003, 01:29
S.H.O.D.A.N. looks over the side of the dragon at the Menelmacari capital.

Oh dear.
27-07-2003, 01:53
Dragons in the marketplace!

Civilians scatter, of course. They're armed - the Menelmacari people are loaded for bear, generally - but certainly not for dragon. The soldiers patrolling the area, on the other hand, surround and seal off the area. After the dragons' arrival, there's maybe forty seconds of panic, rushing, and military maneuvers before everything within a block is empty and sealed off. Sirithil nos Fëanor
Elentári of the Eternal Noldorin Empire of Menelmacar
High Queen and Lady Protector of Elvenkind
"We can't go around supporting the Goodness of All Things. We might be mistaken for Menelmacar."
~Education Minister Lobon, Kn-Yan
Clicky-clicky! We Love The Iraqi Information Minister (
27-07-2003, 02:30
S.H.O.D.A.N. hops off the dragon's side, bows shortly to the Baron, and waves him off. (OOC: Hopefully, with Kalessin's blessing, he just leaves.) Walking with her usual cool, composed style, as if hopping off dragons towards armed, ready, and frightened guards was something she did every day, she smiles at the sensation of just not being in Kalessing anymore. Doesn't let herself go loose--not yet, action may be required--but her refined preternatural grace covers the fact that her myomer muscles are coiled like springs ready for instant release.

Coming to the nearest guard with the most rank insignia, she brushes a grey-skinned hand through fiber-optic hair and smiles sweetly, locking onto his eyes (or where they would be, seeing how he probably has a riot visor down) with her slitted pupils, eyes glowing softly on the yellow side of green.

"So, this is Menelmacar, eh? S.H.O.D.A.N. of Zero-One. If you'd be so kind, please take me to your leader." She flashes a pinball grin.
27-07-2003, 10:30
Just before Shodey hopped off the Dragon, the Baron handed her a letter, addressed to Elentari Sirithil Nos Feanor.

"Prince Cavile would like you to consider delivering this for him my lady."

Then, as Shodey dismounted he looked around the marketplace, a condenscending and faintly contemptuous grin on his refined features, before signalling to the other riders. A few moments later, there was no sign that there had ever been a Kalessin Dragon in Menelmacar. Well...except for the fleeing civilians and rather tense guards, of course.
27-07-2003, 14:58
<< rewind

Just before Shodey hopped off the Dragon, the Baron handed her a letter, addressed to Elentari Sirithil Nos Feanor.

"Prince Cavile would like you to consider delivering this for him my lady."
"That I shall consider." S.H.O.D.A.N. accepts the envelope with a nod. I wonder what that slug is trying to do.

|| pause

>> fast forward

> play

"So, this is Menelmacar, eh? S.H.O.D.A.N. of Zero-One. If you'd be so kind, please take me to your leader." She flashes a pinball grin.
29-07-2003, 10:06
"Ah, certainly," the police officer replies. He wears the rank insignia of a Caun, or commander; all his men - and women - wear armor styled similarly to the military suits, except dark blue in color. The commander, however, seems to be wearing a full-spec military armor suit, which would indicate that sometime earlier in his career he did military service. He seems to know his foreign leaders, and few could adequately impersonate Shodey anyway; he waves to his men to lower their weapons and go back to their assigned patrols, before pulling out a comm and calling it in.

"They'll have a ship sent for you momentarily, milady S.H.O.D.A.N.," he says. "In the meantime, I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have."

Shodey smirks. "So, how's the weather around here like? Rhea's pretty predictable. No winds, temperature runs just hot of absolute zero."

The elf chuckles a bit. "Usually warm, sunny, gentle winds from the east. Occasionally we get a hurricane, but the Pelóri--" He gestures to the mountains surrounding the city. "--usually tear them apart, and we get spectacular thunderstorms."

Shodey nods, peering at the TRX-41 in the officer's arms. "So, is that a plasma rifle in the 40-watt range? Nice. Underslung multimunition projectile launcher, I see."

"Yep," the fellow says, letting Shodey hold the gun if she wants, figuring allied leaders don't often go shooting the locals.

S.H.O.D.A.N. hefts the rifle around a bit, looking quite proficient. "Your sight is misaligned by three millimeters, soldier. Take the objective sight and push it forward by that amount." She hands it back.

He makes the adjustment indicated. "Um... thanks." \^_^/

"So, get nutty Kalessin dragonriders with strange electronic intelligences around here often?"

He shakes his head. "Um... no, ma'am."

"Good. Gives you something to tell the children when you get home. I hope I haven't been too much of a distraction." She grins impishly. Sirithil nos Fëanor
Elentári of the Eternal Noldorin Empire of Menelmacar
High Queen and Lady Protector of Elvenkind
"We can't go around supporting the Goodness of All Things. We might be mistaken for Menelmacar."
~Education Minister Lobon, Kn-Yan
Clicky-clicky! We Love The Iraqi Information Minister (