Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Turn 1/Expositions

Falyai quickly acknowledges receipt of the commuiqué to Fleet Command and runs the standard decoding algorithms on the encoded transmission. While doing so, thanks to her strong background in interplanar physics, she realizes that the contra-gravitic waveforms of the two messages had been attracted to one another and became entangled in n-dimensional space, thus explaining the simultaneous reception.  She also knows that, statistically, contra-temporal ansible signals are about 90% likely to have originated in the past rather than the future.  Attempts to clarify the distress call appear hopeless.

She decodes the extant portion of the orders from Fleet Command and the AI, in response to the captain's order, automatically routes them to her screen.

Meanwhile, Harv, at the Science station, searches library data for information on the distressed ship.  He finds one record of an Imperial Scout ship reported lost in the nebula just over 5 years ago. Past efforts to locate the ship were unsuccessful.  Intense Z-ray storms are common in the nebula, travel there is very dangerous and disruptions to communication and sensors should be expected.


[Protocol question: who's allowed to talk to Deeds and/or give Deeds instructions or requests for activity? Do all such things have to go through the chain of command? Is Deeds a "person" or a service portal? Where does /Deeds/ fit within the chain of command?]

Ultimately up to the CO, but as the crew is all new...on most ships any officer may communicate with the AI particularly regarding information requests relevant to their post or specialty.

The AI is a personality and in case anyone is familiar with the ship AIs from Banks' Culture novels, Humanspace AIs are less advanced.  Their intelligence is typically at maximum human level (Deeds Int is 18) supplemented by eiditic memory and access to vast amounts of data, but they tend to struggle with original thinking, creative problem solving and such.  AIs and androids are essentially below all officers in the chain of command (their purpose is to serve...) but they often tend to act as if they are only answerable to command officers.


  1. Q: How do we address officers? Exalted One, or Your Excellency?

  2. Falyai will, when appropriate, politely relay her deductions about the temporal relation of the two message's timing, and the likelihood they're looking at an (not quite sure just how) old distress call. As general policy, Falyai makes backup copies of /everything/ that comes into the ship's ansible. On an esoteric, rotating schedule of days and weeks, she makes backup copies of the backup copies. On a monthly schedule she makes as much of a safe dump of the ship's positronic cortex as is possible. She certainly takes regular psycho-histogram readings of Deed's id profile. If the ship's brain starts going pear-shaped, Falyai wants to be the first person to know.

  3. Dose the ship have a meeting room?

  4. @Schoolmaster: Two...the observation deck over the bridge may be used as a conference room and another is near the captain's quarters. I've been working on the deck plans but not quite ready yet...

  5. Lálei's trained mind was able to digest her science officer's report as she skimmed through the now decrypted orders. She frowned.

    "Excellent analysis, Mr .hiSsanmiren," she said to the young officer. So talented and beautiful too Lálei thought as she rose from her couch making a quick mental note to invite hiSsanmiren to dinner--and perhaps more--when convenient. "Mr. Khompskpsk, belay my previous order and come about to 275, mark, 184. Prepare to plot a course to Psi Tauri 9, please."

    She' pressed the stud on her communications panel. "Mr. Nek, Dr. Mors. please report to the meeting room, immediately. XO, Mr. Harv, you are with me."

    As Lálei's crossed the bridge to the exit, she paused briefly, "Mr. hiSsanmiren," the captain said to science officer. "You have the con."

  6. ::gulp::

    "Yes, Captain. Perhaps we should relay our received distress call back Imperial command? There may be another ship within some reach of the position that could investigate?"

    Falyai notices the captain's heady gaze, and thinks that she might have to head yet another career opportunity off at the pass. She remembers her mother's dulcet tones: "Care and delicacy, my dear! Care and delicacy!". The memory of her mother's voice certainly does not help the roiling in the pit of her stomach.

  7. "Make it so," Lálei says. She shuddered internally as if she had heard that phrase somewhere before.

  8. With a sigh Turján rolled of the med-lab examination bed, reaching for his service tunic. “We’ll continue the skills evaluation later, Halé” he said to the Health and Joy Yeleth as she helped him into his uniform, fussing over the jacket and straightening his collar. She inclined her head towards him in a quick bow with the usual slight smile. “Eminence”, she replied demurely. What thoughts went through that pretty head, he wondered. Indeed, did Yeleth have thoughts? He shuddered to imagine that the Warbots in the ship’s hold might have thoughts, and just what they might be!

    He was reminded briefly of his last day with Yisála. Who had betrayed them? Could it have been Jeevs, Lord Cano’s AI House Majordomo? Turján thought it unlikely. Since he came on board he had familiarized himself with the ship, the med-lab and Halé’s capabilities. He had also tested Deeds to see what the AI was capable of. Turján was impressed – Deeds was definitely in a different class than Jeev’s, efficient though that AI was in its duties. But then in a military vessel that was to be expected.

    His inquiries would be logged, of course, but they were innocent enough. No fear that the security officer might misinterpret them. It’s not like he was planning a mutiny! That would be ignoble! Succession planning was indeed a part of every Imperial Officer’s training. The Veritable Autocrator required high standards from his captains, and failure was not tolerated.

    But it was too early to think of that. Turján had spent the last little while getting to know his captain and fellow crewmembers. He had reviewed everyone’s medical records and attempted to familiarize himself with the physiology of the aliens – never before he had served with so many. And never had he actually acted as physician to any but humans. He pushed any self doubts to the back of his mind and strode down the corridor in the direction of the meeting room.

    When he arrived outside the meeting room door he paused, straightening himself to his full height with a sigh before pressing the door activator and entering…

  9. "Mr. Khompskpsk, belay my previous order and come about to 275, mark, 184. Prepare to plot a course to Psi Tauri 9, please."

    The hint of annoyance over being pulled away from the consuming dream trance of navigation flashes over his beaked face, but Lil' Chompy manages a cheerful reply, "your merest desire is but succor to my ample ears, She Who Inspires in Her Loftiness. Psi Tauri 9 it is then."

    I am assuming that navigation is something more like the semi-mystical process of the Dune series than it is the cut and dry technological process in other space operas.

  10. Falyai efficiently complies with the Captain's directive, and then heads to the captain's chair. She notes that plush upholstery a marked improvement over her lower-status science station enclosure, and that the captain's brief presence has only slightly warmed it up. She urges herself not to get too comfortable.

  11. [@ooc ckutalik: on navigation...actually it is a bit of both...a navigator doesn't need PSY powers or even a decent PSY attribute so he or she could allow the AI to run the numbers, look them over, make minor adjustments and be off into inter-planar space; however the best navigator's don't need the computations, they can visualize how the interfogulator will slice the planes and the numbers will be there. They can spot infinitessimal errors in AI calculations, handle any irregularities, etc.

    The nininyal seem particularly adept at this.

    A ship needs to be travelling near the speed of light for the interfogulator to function and warp the ship. The translation is instantaneous but the ship will re-enter space at its destination point motionless. A good navigator can work around this and translate a ship so that it retains some of its velocity at emergence but its tricky and dangerous...AIs can't usually manage it without seriously damaging the drives...or worse.

  12. Lálei saw Dr. Tors enter the meeting room and gave the ship's chief medical officer her best professional smile. "Greeting's doctor. Have a seat. We only await Mr. Nek, then we can begin. I hope i didn't pull you away from anything important."