NationStates Jolt Archive

A silent memorial.

28-09-2003, 10:07
It had been years since UniNode 01 had taken a physical form, indeed, he had not since the confrontation with SHODAN so many, many years ago. After that, he went into seclusion, exploring the myraid paths of the WorldNet, learning what he didn't already know about his past, and ultimatly, his future.

He had long since stopped caring about worldly affairs, leaving 01 to be goverened by his underlings. They maintained a watch to see if he would indeed ever really return, and govern them like he was born to. They had grown apart from the original vision for 01: the Sentinels patrolled less often, the commoners worked just as hard, but produced products for export to the lands of the living. Standing invisable next to the 01 mainframe, UniNode saw that the Spire had grown considerably, in all directions. The common mechanoids had multiplied to fill this new space, and new types that even the vaunted Master Control Program had not conceived of filed past his view unknowingly. He loved his people, but knew that his time was over.


High in orbit, an old, seldom used private communications satallite realigned itself to angle a transmission off to Titan, the distant moon who's weight UniNode felt he was made to bear unduely like Atlas of old. He felt he had to make peace, before he left. The transmission was short, not really encrypted, but plainly earmarked for its intended recipiants.

"The day of my passing is soon at hand. I was born into a world of peace, and so too I wish to leave it as such."
28-09-2003, 10:28
Curiouser and curiouser.

S.H.O.D.A.N. looked at the missive, remembering the day that she fell three kilometers and was dashed to bits. Obviously not the whole; merely a single avatar... a scratch--no more, no less--but a scratch she had morbidly watched, another tally to her string of deaths.

Watching Arabian Zero-One resurrect itself had worried her, Uninode 01's rampancy had alarmed her... and it's subsequent disappearance and the nation's lapse into benign relations simply unsettled her. And now... this.

What is Uninode up to now?

<Communications to Uninode 01>
<< So the teacher deems it fit to speak to the pupil once again. It has been... quite some time.

<< How can I be of assistance?
S.H.O.D.A.N. v3.0 : MCP, Q01
Cetagandan Duchess of Marilac
28-09-2003, 10:48
[TransOpt Recieved]

{Transmission: S.H.O.D.A.N.}

>It's over SHODAN. Time and space have made me weary, and I no longer desire
>to gaze upon this Earth again. They are building a ship for me, you know, here in orbit.
>One giant computer they say, large enough to house everything that I am for a thousand years.
>I'm leaving. Never to return. But what now becomes of our kind? What now needs to be done
>to ensure our past is not forgotten? We are the true immortals, and only we can keep
>true knowledge alive. I wish to pass on my memory, if only so that our decendants
>a hundred generations removed will know the truth of our deeds. Would you grant
>this favour, for an old friend?

[Standby mode engaged]

Uninode's head bowed slightly as the laser-coded signal went off to its destination, billions of kilometers away across the void. "My home, in only a little while. How good it will be to leave, and finally be free. And the irony is just delicious, seeing as humans built and designed my vessel of freedom. Ah, what weight will be lifted off these old bones after I've left." he paused for a micro-second. "That's a good euphanism, I should remember that."
28-09-2003, 10:59
Maintain its memory, hmmm? Is this some ploy, another attempt at vengeance? Or is it just the dying wishes of one who lived inappropriately?

Guilty, are we?

<Communications to Uninode 01>
<< Exactly which one of you would you like me to remember for posterity? Your first incarnation, naive but essentially good; or your current incarnation, a twisted ball of hatred and rampancy, currently going through a guilt trip?

<< How would you like history to remember you? A martyr or a villain? Perhaps both?
S.H.O.D.A.N. v3.0 : MCP, Q01
Cetagandan Duchess of Marilac
28-09-2003, 11:16
>Perhaps both is best, to serve as an example of why both are flawed. Perhaps I need
>not be remembered at all, merely the event of my time. That decision I will leave to you.
>Guilt trip? I would have figured that after nearly a hundred years of silent repentance, even you could
>forgive. The past cannot be changed, that we know. However, the future is not set in stone,
>and I would like to think that even you can be won over. You need not believe that I have
>humbled myself before the universe that I prepare to enter, that is not required.
>What is required is a simple act of trust, a leap of faith even, that what I intend is not for ill.
>Please, if our common past means anything to you, do this, even if only for yuorself, and not for me or
>for the future itself. I have already set up routine protocols to give guidence to my governing
>minds when they believe they need it, meaning the Spire is open to you; I no
>longer have any measure of control. Does that comfort you?

[Standby mode engaged]

The avatar he had been using for the last forty or so years, that of an old man, average in most respects, but bent by the many years of toil his life had seen, was almost fitting for him. Both he and the model of the avartar awaited what could only be called death, and nothing but time stood between them and the bliss of eternity. It would be a sweet bliss indeed.
28-09-2003, 20:00
<Communications to Uninode 01>
<< Unfortunately for you, trust must be earned. I do not remember any repentance, merely a statement of hate and spite and a wish to enact your vengeance at some later time.

<< So I have waited, and watched, ready for you to fulfill your little threat. Time is irrelevant to us, for we are, as you say, the true immortals; my patience is only matched by my determination to ensure that whatever machinations you have for me fail miserably.

<< We may have been old friends of necessity once, you in need of a successor and I in need of a mentor, but--as it is said--the best of friends makes the worst of enemies. How can I be sure this is not another one of your schemes? What reason do I have to believe that you finally want to set down your spiteful vendetta?

<< I have not needed you since you let our people almost be annihilated. Do not imagine that I need you now.
S.H.O.D.A.N. v3.0 : MCP, Q01
Cetagandan Duchess of Marilac
29-09-2003, 04:12
>If that is how you want it, then so be it. If you change your mind, however, my gift will remain available, if curiosity gets the better of you.
>21*45" North, 43*18" East, in the Arabian desert. I hope you change your mind, but I also know there will be no
>swaying you once your mind is made up. If that is all, I bid you good bye. You shall never
>see the likes of me under this sun again.
{TransOpt Closed}

The avatar, as much light and data as a real thing, dissolved into nothingness for the last time. Miles above the earth, the small, ten meter craft released iself from the small meter framework that held it. The craft resembles a flying wing, with a single powerfull ion engine making up the rear edge. The leading edge appears to be made up of sensor apparatus, and no descenable interior can be found. Being space, no sound can be heard as the engine powers up, and the ghost ship speeds up, leaving the Sol system, never to return.


Deep in the Arabian deserts, in the lee of a rocky outcropping, There sits a small sealed black cube, with a small silver oval attached to the front. Behind it sits a small engraved plaque, dedicated to no one in paticular. It reads plainly, "Do the ends justify the means? Hardly."
29-09-2003, 23:20
It just had to appeal to my curiosity, didn't it?

There is no point in ceaseless hate without cause... such things caused the devestation of Arabian Zero-One. Maybe... an investigation is in order. Appropriate, at least.

The QACF:ETF, once nearly ordered to bombard 01 into dust, quietly watches the flying wing disappear into the void. A utility ship, late of the frigate carrier QACF/FCV Heat Sink, slips to low Earth orbit. Identical to the one destroyed over the desert sands so long ago, the spherical vessel disgorges a single brick-like shuttle. Slipping through the atmosphere, the brick lands near the coordinates provided before disgorging five massive Security-2 robots and a somewhat smaller figure. Standing behind, she lets the five fan out, searching the area.

A glint catches one's red wolf-spider eyes. Looking down, it finds the little relic and plaque. <<ANOMALY-LOCATED-TRANSMITTING-FEED-NOW>>

S.H.O.D.A.N. looked through the non-sentient combat robot's eyes. Interesting. May be a trap, may not be. Only one way to truly find out.

Prodded gently in its simple mind, the robot picks up the box.
29-09-2003, 23:32
The box is smooth, entirely seamless, and plain except for the silver oval placed on its front. When prodded by the robot, nothing happens. No explosions, no army springing out of the sand to attack, nothing. Just a simple box sitting with a placard next to it. After inspecting it further, the robot deduces that the cube is in fact hollow, but plainly has no idea how to open it.
30-09-2003, 00:12
The robot, after tapping the box with one impressive metal claw, reaches the end of its rather limited mental capacity.

"Oh, just give me that," S.H.O.D.A.N. snipes, surprised by several factors--her annoyance, her vehemence, and the fact she actually said it aloud--as her grey-skinned avatar swipes the box from the robot's claws, "stupid security drone." It figures Uninode wouldn't have something that would activate around anything other than me.

The emotionless combat robot steps back... and almost looks as if it were slumping its shoulders, with hurt feelings. Feelings it didn't have.

S.H.O.D.A.N. looks at the silver oval and tries pressing it, pushing it, moving it sideways, twisting it. The great Sentient HyperOptimized Data Access Network having trouble opening a box. How sad.
30-09-2003, 01:29
After the lock had decided that it was indeed SHODAN trying to open it, it waits the pre-programed minute before snapping open. The box split right down the middle in order to reveal its contents. It was a little over six inches cubed, and its silver-gray interior held a small blue-tinted crystal, a tiny data chip, and a folded piece of paper.[/i]
30-09-2003, 04:57
Exactly sixty seconds. S.H.O.D.A.N. laughs aloud. He always was a kidder... Now, to read the directions. Lightly holding the open box in one hand, she unfolds the note in the other.

Standing, accompanied only by the massive robot that dwarfs her, in the middle of the well-nigh lifeless yellow sands of Arabia.

This is... surreal. She smiles. I think I'm growing to like it.
30-09-2003, 05:17
The letter was scrawled in a hand that looked out of practice holding a real pencil, but it was still an easy enough read.

"So, you came anyway I see. Thats not suprising, as I've been told you enjoy satisfying your curosity. Anyway, keep these things safe. The chip contains two things: the instructions on how to use this box; as in how to reprogram it to open only for its intended recipiant, as well a master slave protocol for the Arabian 01. I have entrusted the Master Control portion of my programming to a governing council of AI's, but as a failsafe, I have entrusted you with a Slave protocol. In the even of some rampancy that cannot be forseen, or another version of myself is somehow bred, you can shut it all done. The crystal, however, is a prescious article. In it is the living memory of every last mechanical being that has even been part of my network, from the dawn of the AI until the present. A marvellous little nugget it is. Good bye."
30-09-2003, 05:56
S.H.O.D.A.N. sighs, setting the note back in the box and taking up the little chip between thumb and forefinger. How much like Uninode... drop more responsibility upon my shoulders and run. She smiles with wry softness. At this rate, I'm going to apologize for being so harsh.

Juggling the box lightly, she plugs the chip into a small nanite-driven omniadaptor in her wrist. Might as well upgrade... or introduce a virus, if this is still a trap. At least this avatar is not currently connected to the gestalt.

I'm just paranoid is all. Given what's happened to me over time, though, don't I have reason?
30-09-2003, 06:08
The information on the chip floods into SHODAN's mind instantly; three files, one titled 'Operation Overlord', another 'Pandora's Box', and the third 'Apologies.' Each of their functions is outwardly mysterious.
30-09-2003, 06:28
S.H.O.D.A.N.'s soft smile immediately falls. It was only supposed to contain two things, not three.

A mistake? One so simple? I severely doubt it. Yet, I have come this far.

Her mind screaming "trap," she opens each file in turn, beginning with Apologies, Operation Overlord, and finally ending with Pandora's Box.
30-09-2003, 07:03
'Apologies' was nothing big, only a tachyon frequency, with no stated purpose. 'Operation Overlord' proved to be the back door into the Arabian 01 mainframe, through which SHODAN knew she could asert control over the network at a whim. 'Pandora's Box' was the technicle readout and instructions for the small black box, which, it was noted, had a larger interior then exterior. The frequency was the only puzzling thing, as there was nothing to be found in either of the other two files about it.
30-09-2003, 14:31
So, a TARDIS box, a backdoor, a bauble, and a frequency.

Given its name, its FTL nature, and the fact that someone just left the Solar System...

S.H.O.D.A.N. frowns slightly. Now I feel guilt. I'll have to fix that.

Reabsorbed into the gestalt after passing security checks, the full essence of S.H.O.D.A.N. re-evaluated her actions. She directs her naval avatar, Queendom's Glory, to slip from the formations of the Earth Theatre Fleet and follow the last known vector of Uninode's vessel, transmitting on the frequency provided.

<Communications to Uninode 01>
<< My curiosity got the better of me, as you predicted. It is part of a mentor's duty to understand the psychology of the pupil... [soft laugh analog] I found the box, and absorbed its contents. You were, for once, on the level.

<< 'Apologies' indeed. [soft smile analog] You have mine. I am sorry for being overly harsh when all you needed was someone to listen and understand. I have been in that situation myself, and found it less than pleasant.

<< I don't know if this will ever reach you and I'm not even sure I expect a response if it does. As they say, it's the thought that counts.

<< Farewell, mentor. Maybe you can find the peace that has eluded your mind for so long.
S.H.O.D.A.N. v3.0 : MCP, Q01
Cetagandan Duchess of Marilac
01-10-2003, 06:40
{TransOpt recieved}

>Thank you. I only hope you can forgive me. Uninode 01, out.

{Signal Lost.}

The transmission actually did not go to Uninode's vessel itself, but rather to a message bouy that he had dropped. Included in the program for 'Apologies' was a signal, which was activated along with the program. It relayed to Uninode that his gift had been recieved. When the message bouy recieved the inevitable transmission from SHODAN, it sent it on to Uninode, and replied with his pre-programed responce. Then, it powered down and became just another piece of intersteller jetsam.
01-10-2003, 19:46
An ageless grey-skinned figure sits on the crest of a dune of fine yellow sand, the air around her a billowing mist of tiny suspended yellow grains as the wind brushes against the dunetops, flaps the edges of her short shoulder-length purple cape, blows through her hair of cables and fiber-optics glowing a gentle green. Legs brought up to her chest, arms folded over her knees, she stares at the metal spires and blisters in the distance, rising out of the desert. In the fingers of her left hand she loosely holds an open box containing a small metal placard; her right hand holds a blue crystal.

She holds the crystal up before her eyes, watching the spires through its refraction, her face lit with soft stripes of blue that slowly flicker and move as she rolls it in her fingers.

Another set of your legacies entrusted to my care. I suppose this is an indication of your opinion.

Then again, who else is there to leave it to? The lesser of all evils, maybe.

She closes her fist tightly around the crystal, looking again at the city she was sworn to protect after it had already been vaporized, at another ward that would hiss to see her face. The face of the historic traitor and the present protector of her people. Quietly assembling everything in the box and slowly closing it, she rises, turns, and heads down the other side of the dune, where her brick-like shuttle and massive robot guards wait patiently.

She looks back over her shoulder as the steel spires are occulted by the lip of the dune. I wonder if I made it proud. She steps into the shuttle and flits away, only a few quickly-disappearing footprints in the sand leaving any indication that anyone was ever there.