Project Update 1077BZ, Dr. Keitaro Chavez
It would appear that this large and fractious organization called Firewall has finally got its proverbial ducks in a row. The new psychosurgeon they sent, Clowder, arrived with a pre-prepared simulspace program called the “loyalty initiative” or some such thing. Fascinating. Apparently they load an ego-fork into an air-gapped server and apply the program, which dissects the ego and spits out a result gauging whether or not a would-be recruit can be trusted. More detailed results are encrypted and compressed and sent to a Firewall action group for review.
First of all, what this custom simulspace program does is impossible. The complexities of the transhuman mind and soul still lie beyond even the most skilled psychosurgeon. I’m constantly evaluating all the cutting edge journals and procedures, and no-one has successfully come up with a way to create a standardized procedure that accomplishes any particular thing other than turn people into drooling husks. The technology inherent in this system is beyond us, yet Firewall places significant trust in it. I sent a fork through, was approved for Firewall membership, and immediately asked for (and gained) permission from their proprietary network, “the Eye”, to see the results of my own procedure. The level of detail and fidelity, frankly, shocked me.
And this brings me to the second impossibility. I am no computer technician on the level of, say, Kshatra, or Pripyat, but even I find it hard to believe that Firewall has maintained a system-wide, clandestine social network cum information storehouse cum communication system that has remained free of widescale hacking or subversion for over ten years. This is… improbable, especially considering the fractured, non-hierarchical nature of the organization.
I am forced to conclude, therefore, alongside Dominic, that “Firewall” represents a core line of process in the simulation in which we all exist. This organization is permitted to break the rules of the simulation for a purpose, and that it would be a mistake not to accept their overtures.
This is well, because Eidolon has reached out to me and suggested that I dedicate myself and my work more fully to the organization’s goals, becoming a “full-time” employee, or “Proxy,” specifically a “Crow”, or Firewall scientist. I have begun the process of organizing myself with this goal in mind, placing myself and my laboratory at the service of Barking Dog, Eidolon, Irina, and the other proxies of this new “Server.”
As for the newly-recruited (or, in some cases, newly re-admitted) sentinels, they spent a good deal of time in my lab engaged in something approximating science. Although Echo was briefly distracted by a message sent to her from Leandra Maartens of Mars, and Kshatra likewise distracted with word from his “brother” Vaishya, eventually they decided they needed to learn more of India’s connection to the hypothetical crystalline intelligences that seem capable of signaling her.
I have been operating under the theory that the simplest explanation is one of mental schism, that contact with an alien artifact has created psychosomatic symptoms and a deep personality disorder, but today saw the first empyrical evidence that something unusual is, in fact, connected to India. We placed her in an air-gapped simulspace and Clowder presented her with some simple puzzle boxes, and asked her to try to focus on her supposed connection to the crystals. There were a number of immediate glitches in the simulspace that could not be readily explained, included a sequence of some length that the limited monitoring system was unable to translate for those of us outside. When the simulspace returned to normal, India was queried, and reported experiencing something much like memories from her original life on Earth. A brief debate erupted about whether to simply delete the fork, but it was decided that this current India did not represent any greater threat than the one standing beside us. Clowder re-integrated the forks, and India, distracted, departed, whereupon Clowder, Vilya, and Kshatra entered the simulspace and re-played it to see if they could see what India did.
Apparently they did. The “memory” she experienced was manifested as simulspace programming, imposed on the system from… elsewhere. The system was air-gapped, and not mesh-enabled. There’s no reasonable explanation for how a complex sequence of simulspace programming spontaneously manifested other than technology beyond our current understanding, or “systems magic” imposed by the meta-simulation itself.
One quirk, however, was noted. When Vilya forked herself into the system, she reported being able to hear the voice of Karl VanDeLaarSchot whispering distantly in her mind. This brought to mind another experiment that had been proposed in the aftermath of their trip to Venus, namely seeing if forking Vilya increased her capacity to hear Karl’s voice. Kiril provided his spare fury morph, which was already contaminated with any theoretical contamination Vilya might possess, and we forked her. She reported that she could hear Karl clearly as he tried to convince her to “accept his offer” of some sort of power. Clowder deleted her ego from the fury, and the voice subsided. She forked into an ordinary simulspace to see if the whispers earlier were part of the crystal-interference or independent of it. She again heard the whispers, with Karl claiming that he was a “signal” and that she was a receiver.
It appears, then, that the proximity of multiple “receivers” boosts Karl’s “signal,” explaining his presence when Vilya and Ricky were in the same room, as well as when multiple iterations of Vilya share proximity. This explanation puts me in mind of some particularly unusual theoretical papers published by certain Argonauts recently. I’m going to need to dive deeply into this.
The Sentinels, seemingly stymied by a lack of immediate leads on the crystalline intelligence, brought up a plan apparently proposed on Venus of reconstituting one from its remains. I felt I needed to speak up, reminding them that in their focus on this presumed threat, they must take care not to bring the very threat they seek to prevent down on our heads. These crystalline intelligences will make themselves known through India in time. We can afford to be patient.
This permitted them to discuss some personal business unrelated to Firewall and X-Risks, including visiting the world the Factors called Ember V, or as the Sentinels call it, “space bat planet.” Kshatra also asked for aid in “dealing with” his brother Vaishya on Glitch. I left them to pursue their personal agendas and dove into the Argonauts archive, as well as whatever information I was cleared to access on the Eye.
Echo did tell me, however, that the forks she sent to Glitch apparently were having a good time. It seems Kshatra had some sort of reconciliation, and the rest of them got tanked on narcoalgorithms. I’m more interested in whatever they can learn about the unique flora and fauna of Ember V, but I suppose I’ll have to wait until they sober up (and for them to return through the gates) to receive any news from that excursion.