Wish List: Teslas below, AA/SS/1S melee, and rare apparel/masks
I still need the following Teslas: GS/50L/15r,,, H/50c/25,,, Jug/50c/25,,, Med/50L/15r,,, Troub/50c/25
I still need the following AA/SS/1S melee: baton,,, baseball bat,,, board,,, commie whacker,,, cultist blade,,, drill,,, hatchet,,, knuckles,,, lead pipe,,, paddle ball,,, ripper,,, rolling pin,,, sledgehammer,,, spear,,, switchblade,,, war drum
Complete Trade List: (Thank you for your time browsing this huge list!!!) FIXERS:
AA/25/15r,,, AA/25/15v,,, AA/50c/15v,,, AA/50vhc/25,,, AA/50L/25,,, AA/AP/25,,, AA/E/Dur,,, Ari/25/15r,,, Ari/E/15r,,, Ari/E/25,,, B/25/15v,,, B/50L/25,,, BAP/25,,, Exe/50c/25,,, Exe/AP/25,,, Exe/E/25,,, F/50c/25,,, GouE/25,,, GS/50c/25,,, GS/E/25,,, H/50c/25,,, Jug/50c/25,,, Jug/AP/25,,, Junk/25/15r,,, Junk/50c/15v,,, Junk/50c/25,,, Junk/50L/25,,, Junk/AP/25,,, Junk/E/15v,,, Med/25/25,,, Med/50c/25,,, Med/AP/25,,, Mu/AP
/25,,, MS/50c/25,,, MS/AP/25,,, N/AP/25,,, N/E/25,,, Q/25/15r,,, Q/25/15v,,, Q/AP/25,,, Q/E/50,,, St/50c/25,,, St/AP/25,,, St/E/25,,, Su/50c
E/25,,, T/AP/25,,, TS/25/15r,,, TS/25/15v,,, TS/50vhc/25,,, TS/AP/25,,, V/AP/25,,, Z/25/25,,, Z/E/25 HANDMADES:
AA/E/15v,,, Junk/25/15r,,, MS/E/25,,, Mu/E
/25,,, Q/50vhc/25 HEAVY WEAPONS:
AA/25/90 AGL,,, AA/25/15r Cryolator,,, As/25A/90 Fatman,,, As/25/90 Gatling Plasma,,, B/E/Gho 50cal,,, B/25A/90 Missile Launcher,,, B/50vhc/90 Missile Launcher,,, B/50L/90 AGL,,, Exe/50c/15r Flamer,,, Exe/25A/90 Gatling Plas,,, Exe/E/25 LMG,,, Q/25/15v LMG,,, Q/25/Dur LMG,,, Q/50L/90 Minigun,,, TS/50vhc/90 Broadsider,,, TS/25/15r Gatling Gun,,, TS/25/25 LMG,,, TS/E/25 Minigun,,, V/25/15r 50cal,,, V/25/25 Gatling Gun,,, V/50L/90 Harpoon Gun,,, Z/E/90 LMG MELEE:
AA/SS/1S Death Tambo,,, AA/40P/1S Gulper Smacker,,, AA/SS/1S Pole Hook,,, AA/50c/15v Power Fist,,, AA/SS/1S Super Sledge,,, Ari/SS/1S Shovel,,, Ari/SS/1S Sledgehammer,,, As/40P/1S Chainsaw,,, As/40P/1S Drill,,, B/SS/1S Bowie Knife,,, B/40P/1S Deathclaw Gauntlet,,, B/SS/25 Gulper Smacker,,, B/SS/25 Meat Hook,,, BSS
/1S Power Fist,,, Exe/50c/1Sv Power Fist,,, Ext/SS/1S Drill,,, GS/SS/1S Chainsaw,,, I/SS/1S Death Tambo,,, I/SS/1S Golf Club,,, I/SS/1S Power Fist,,, I/SS/1S Super Sledge,,, Jug/SS/1S Power Fist,,, Junk/SS/1S Power Fist,,, Junk/SS/1S Security Baton,,, Mu/SS
/1S Deathclaw Gauntlet,,, Mu/SS
/1S Power Fist,,, MS/SS/1S Shishkebab,,, Su/SS
/1S Power Fist,,, Su/SS
/1S Spear,,, Troub/SS/1S Bowie Knife,,, Troub/SS/1S Golf Club,,, V/SS/1S Combat Knife,,, V/SS/1S Mole Miner Gauntlet,,, V/SS/1S Pole Hook,,, V/SS/1S Sledgehammer,,, Z/SS/1S Fire Axe,,, Z/SS/1S Knuckles,,, Z/SS/1S Pipe Wrench RAILWAYS:
AA/50vhc/25,,, AA/E/15v,,, Ari/25/15r,,, B/50vhc/25,,, B/E/15r,,, B/E/90,,, F/50c/25,,, F/E/25,,, GS/50c/25,,, H/25/25,,, H/50c/25,,, I/25/25,,, I/50c/25,,, Junk/E/25,,, Q/50L/90,,, Q/AP/25,,, St/50c/25,,, Su/25
/25,,, TS/50L/25,,, TS/50vhc/25,,, TS/50c/15r,,, TS/AP/25,,, TS/E/Dur,,, V/25/25,,, V/50c/25,,, Z/E/90 TESLAS:
AA/25/15r,,, AA/50L/15r,,, AA/AP/25,,, B/25/25,,, Exe/25/15r,,, Ext/25/15r,,, F/25/15r,,, I/25/15r,,, Q/AP/25,,, TS/25/15r,,, TS/25/25,,, V/25/250,,, V/25/Dur,,, V/50L/15r,,, Z/25/15r
AA/E/25 Assault Rifle,,, AA/25/25 Assultron Head,,, AA/50c15v Crossbow,,, AA/50L/25 Enclave Plasma Rifle,,, AA/25/25 Gamma Gun,,, AA/E/15r Hunting Rifle,,, B/AP/25 Compound Bow,,, B/25/25 Gauss Rifle,,, Exe/50c/25 Combat Rifle,,, Exe/E/25 Hunting Rifle,,, Exe/E/25 Lever Action,,, F/50c/15v Thirst Zapper,,, Gou25/25 Lever Action,,, Junk/50c/25 Enclave Plasma Rifle,,, Mu/50c
/25 Crossbow,,, Q/50c/25 Assaultron Head,,, Q/25/15r Combat Shotgun,,, Q/25/15r Plasma Rifle,,, St/50c/25 Crossbow,,, TS/25/15r Combat Rifle,,, TS/50c/25 Combat Rifle,,, V/50c/25 Bow,,, V/AP/25 Crossbow,,, V/50c/25 Gauss Rifle ARMOR:
Aristocrat's Heavy Robot left leg with 7%LED/Sentinel,,, Assassin's Heavy Raider left leg with AP/Sentinel,,, Assassin's T-45 right leg with AP/Sentinel,,, Auto Stim Raider Power left arm with AP/Sentinel,,, Auto Stim USA right arm with AP/WWR,,, Bolstering FSA chest with 7%LED/WWR,,, Bolstering Sturdy Combat left leg with 7%LED/Sentinel,,, Bolstering Trapper chest with AP/Cavalier,,, Bolstering Trapper right arm with 7%LED/Sentinel,,, Chameleon Raider Power right leg with 7%LED/Sentinel,,, Chameleon Robot chest with 7%LED/WWR,,, Chameleon USA chest with 7%LED/Cavalier,,, Chameleon USA left arm with 7%LED/Sentinel,,, Cloaking Raider Power right leg with 7%LED/WWR,,, Mutant's Excavator left arm with 7%LED/Sentinel,,, Mutant's FSA chest with 7%LED/WWR,,, Nocturnal Excavator right leg with 7%LED/Sentinel,,, Nocturnal USA right leg with AP/Sentinel,,, Overeater's Combat left arm with +25 Cryo resist/Cavalier,,, Overeater's Excavator right leg with luck/cavalier,,, Overeater's Heavy Raider left leg with Charisma/WWR,,, Overeater's Heavy Robot chest with +25 Rad Resist/Sentinel,,, Overeater's Metal left leg with +25 Cryo resist/Sentinel,,, Overeater's Robot right leg with Endurance/Sentinel,,, Overeater's Trapper right arm with Luck/WWR,,, Overeater's T-60 left arm with +25% env resist/WWR,,, Overeater's T-60 left arm slowed hungeWWR,,, Overeater's USA chest with slower hungeSentinel,,, Overeater's USA left leg with Agility/WWR,,, Overeater's USA right arm with Endurance/Sentinel,,, Regenerating Heavy Raider right arm with AP/Sentinel,,, Troubleshooter's Marine left arm with AP/Sentinel,,, Troubleshooter's Sturdy Metal right leg with AP/Sentinel,,, Unyielding FSA right leg with +25 Fire resist/WWR,,, Unyielding Heavy Raider left arm with Luck/Cavalier,,, Unyielding Metal chest with AP/HDT,,, Unyielding Robot right arm with Agility/Sentinel,,, Unyielding Sturdy Leather left leg with 7%LED/Sentinel,,, Unyielding Trapper right arm with 7%LED/HDT,,, Unyielding Trapper right arm with Intelligence/Sentinel,,, Vanguard's Excavator right leg with Intelligence/Cavalier,,, Vanguard's Heavy Leather right arm with 7%LED/HDT,,, Vanguard's Heavy Robot right arm with 7%LED/HDT,,, Vanguard's Sturdy Robot left arm with AP/Sentinel,,, Vanguard's Sturdy Robot right leg with 7%LED/WWR,,, Vanguard's USA right arm with AP/Cavalier,,, Vanguard's Wood chest with Strength/Sentinel,,, Zealot's FSA left arm with AP/Sentinel,,, Zealot's USA right leg with AP/WWR PLANS:
Assault rifle,,, Barbed walking cane,,, Baseball bat rocket,,, Baseball bat searing puncturing rocket,,, Bear arm,,, Bear arm heavy mod,,, Boxing glove lead lining,,, Camo Backpack,,, Cave cricket tube,,, Civil war era suit,,, Civil war era top hat,,, Confederate hat,,, Deathclaw gauntlet,,, Dense marine armor torso,,, Dense trapper armor torso,,, Fire station bell,,, Flannel shirt & jeans,,, Halloween skull mask,,, Hatchet electro fusion,,, Junkyard fountain,,, Machete sacrificial blade,,, Meat Tenderizer,,, Nuka Girl area rug,,, Pepper shaker,,, Pitchfork Flamer,,, Protective lining Marine underarmor,,, Puncturing pole hook,,, Radioactive barrel,,, Raw cement barricade,,, Scorchbeast queen plushie,,, Scorched tube,,, Sheepsquatch staff,,, Shielded lining casual underarmor,,, Shielded lining Marine underarmor,,, Skeleton costume,,, Skiing outfit,,, Sledgehammer heavy searing sharp rocket,,, Small vault girl statue,,, Snallygaster plushie,,, Spiked walking cane,,, The Fixer,,, T-60 BOS knight paint,,, TV Aquarium,,, Ultracite emergency protocols,,, Undershirt & jeans,,, Vintage water cooler,,, Witch costume,,, WV state bird rug,,, Yao Guai tube,,, Cranberry Bog Healing Salve recipe,,, Fasnacht donut recipe,,, Fasnacht sausage recipe,,, Formula P recipe,,,Stimpak Diffuser recipe,,, Tato salad recipe APPAREL:
Asylum Uniform Pink,,, Clean Spacesuit,,, Emmett Mountain hazmat suit,,, Fasnacht Craxy Guy mask,,, Fasnacht Deathclaw mask,,, Fasnacht Raven mask,,, Grey Fishermans Overalls,,, Hunter's Long Coat,,, Longshoreman Outfit,,, Straight Jacket Clean,,, ,, Winter Jacket and Jeans CHEMS:
Addictol: 145,,, Berry Mentats: 299,,, Buffout: 1389,,, Calmex: 298,, Daddy-O: 977,,, Day Tripper: 524,,, Disease Cure: 385,,, Mentats: 1000,,, Overdrive: 481,,, Psycho: 2553,,, Psychobuff: 1255,,, Psychotats: 1038,,, X-cell: 310 FOOD:
Canned meat stew: 45,,, Salt: 1602,,, Spices: 949,,, Sugar Bombs(w/rads): 325,,, Pepper: 1610
Enclave plasma aligned flamer mod,,, Enclave plasma aligned sniper barrel mod
Previous: https://redd.it/120z3ig Chapter 11
“Would you like the check?” the waiter was holding the payment tablet out to the table, looking back and forth between Tess and Quin.
“Yes, sorry, I’ll take it,” Tess said, grabbing the device and setting it down to sign.
Quin was just waking out of his reverie while Tess used her finger to add a signature at the bottom. The tablet’s screen turned green to signify a positive receipt. The waiter scooped up the tablet and the remaining dishes and was gone.
“So, back at it?” Tess asked.
“Yeah, though until I can get some of the glitches worked out, I can’t see the project moving forward,” Quin said, shaking his head.
Tess pulled him into a quick hug, and as they broke away, her hands held his upper arms, and she looked up into his eyes, “Quinny, you are smart, resourceful, and capable. I know you will figure it out.”
“Thanks Tess, I appreciate your confidence,” Quin said, a grin appearing through his worry.
“Hey, since I’m going to tell Chris yes, there will be an engagement party. Promise me you will come, okay?” Tess insisted, not yet letting Quin go.
Quin rolled his eyes, “Yeah, Tess, of course I will be there.”
She grinned, giving his arms an extra squeeze before releasing him. “Okay, thanks!” She was beaming.
Quin smiled back at her and bent down to grab his backpack. When he stood back up, Tess was looking at her watch.
“Woah, okay, I need to scoot. Can I leave you here?” she asked.
“Of course. Love you.”
She hugged him quickly again, turned, and took off at a brisk pace which could only be described as Tess-like. Quin was always amused when Tess got into business mode. When they were younger, it was evident that she was emulating their mom, whom Tess described as a woman with authority. But as Tess grew up, emulation turned to a natural ease with being in charge. She was just good at it. The gruff guys of her unit respected her work ethic, and in such a testosterone-driven atmosphere like the military, she thrived in a no-nonsense role. Quin could recall one of the first after-hours socials he went to with her when they first moved to the station; Tess managed easily flipping back and forth between entertaining him as his engaging sister and volleying the banter back and forth with some of her ensigns.
“Lieutenant Hammond, I got you on the next phys rotation. Dax said he got to 25 pullups before you the last time you went head to head,” one soldier said, testing her. He looked indistinguishable from the 20 other GIs, with their uniform sleeves rolled and their necks and arms engorged and spilling out of their shirts.
“Yeah, he did, though if he had put on the weight belt like I did that time, then maybe he wouldn’t have so much to brag about,” she said, smirking.
The room erupted, as all the soldiers turned on the guy named Dax and started shoving him, everyone laughing.
Tess turned from them, laughing and shaking her head. “Meatheads,” she said.
As Quin watched Tess walk away from the café toward the pneumatic tube, he could imagine the fire that raged around her. It was intimidating, even if she was his sister. He couldn’t imagine what Chris must have done to flirt with her when they first met.
He looked around him at the bustle of the fourth module, people scurrying either out toward the pneumatic system stop or inward toward the large double sliding doors, behind which were all of the workstation cabs. A smaller crowd was still milling about in the cafés stretched along this 8th level, which was now set against a grand depicting of the rolling hills of Rwanda at dawn, mist still hiding the bases so that just the peaks pocked through, a green stippling against the white expanse. The change in location between China and Rwanda meant that the top of the hour had come and gone. He found himself staring at a particular double crested hill, though he couldn’t see the reason for his focus. He was brought back by a jolt from a passer-by bumping his shoulder, one of the few remaining as he looked around. I’m definitely late, he thought. He looked in his backpack for the tablet that he had ignored all morning. Back to reality.
He pulled out the tablet and tapped the screen, and he instantly knew he was in trouble. A list of calls and messages from Steven Inoue filled the screen. The most recent was about 30 minutes ago. It was now 9:17. “Well, it WAS a nice morning,” he said, shoving the tablet back in his bag and slinging it over his shoulder. He set off toward the lift, about 30 yards away along the 8th level strip. He passed by military members, station service workers, commissary employees, other shop keepers. Everyone had a function. As he reached the lift, he was toward the back of a crowd waiting to board, slowly shuffling forward as those in front were whisked away. It was about five minutes before he found himself among the crowd facing outward, and the doors snapped shut in front of his face. The lift opened on the sixth level to allow those going toward the lower numbered modules to head toward the PT system in that direction. Quin led the pack out of the lift, walking the perimeter of the level toward the entrance to the pneumatic station. The bright light from the mist’s reflection illuminated the entire module, bathing the commuters in an early morning’s sun.
Quin approached the PT station and saw the capsule moving toward the stop from the Fifth Module. He boarded, looking out the window and through the clear tubing into the expanse of space. He saw stars in the background of the moon’s orbit, where he knew a human colony and mining operation was stationed. The moon was the first transterrestrial migration of humans, though it remained a small operation, only a few hundred individuals dedicated to mining valuable resources for interstellar travel and sustaining the ESS. NE government-run sites tended to be small if there was no prospect of a large, terraformed footprint — not worth the investment. Unfortunately, the moon was unable to be terraformed due to the complete lack of atmosphere, so the entire colony was housed in modules similar to the ones found on the ESS. Monthly transport missions between the ESS and the moon allowed for a frequent exchange of personnel and resources, so life on the moon wasn’t terrible. Life on any of the solar system colonies, for that matter, was pretty decent, though as one moved further and further away from the station, first the moon, then Mars, then the Europa, Calisto, and Ganymede moons of Jupiter and finally, Titan in orbit around Saturn, existence was considered more and more rugged, though module-based life could hardly be thought of as extreme. Smaller modules on the outer Solar colonies just meant living spaces were more confined, open areas like the grand atriums of the ESS were absent, and activities were dedicated to mining and research.
It wasn’t until the humans began interstellar colonization that they really had to consider the logistics of projecting human life to such extents. When the first colony was sent out beyond the solar system, a full complement of medical, terraforming, mining, research, and life promoting capabilities were sent with them due to the longer voyages and greater amounts of time needed to establish a settlement. It put Quin and Tess’s move from the surface to the station in perspective. Slow moving colonizing ships, rocketing for fifteen years of Earth time toward their destinations. And he thought his life had been uprooted by making the jump into space. The hiss of the pneumatic capsule roused Quin from his reflection and prompted him to race out of the tube into the Third Module before the car left the station.
Quin took off at a brisk pace toward the inner wall’s lift, skirting the newly generated image of the Florida Gulf Coast shore line. Quin could see how the gently rolling waves mirrored the ebb and flow. The images always seemed to correlate to different parts of the day and what people were meant to be doing or experiencing. Majestic dawn images for the morning commute, steady moving geological and natural processes representing the steady work flow of the day, afternoon and evening settings over fields and plains.
He reached the lift, where a crowd had since congregated trying to finish off this morning’s commute. He reached the front of the pack and boarded the lift, riding it down one level and exiting onto the level 5 inner side platform. He turned to make his way to the service entrance and started walking as he brought his bag around to his front so he could get inside. He withdrew his tablet and put his bag back on his back, flicking the screen to turn the tablet on. He began reading through the messages from Steve, and immediately realized how late he was, and what was the problem. He jumped up into a light jog, reaching the work area entrance quickly and swiping his card to gain access.
Quin reached the computer systems work capsule, and as the doors whisked open, he was greeted by the stares of every one of his colleagues, as well as Steven Inoue. He smiled nervously, and stepped forward, saying, “H-Hey, everyone.”
They were all silent, and Steve was standing at the central workstation, looking as if he were about to explode. Quin slowly walked up to meet his glare, and as he reached the center of the capsule, Steve erupted.
“Hammond! What in the hell have you done! Do you realize you have disrupted the work of everyone in the Third Module! You have usurped control over the station’s systems! That’s a felony charge!”
Quin had shrunk away with every punctuated remark, Steve’s cadence hitting staccato peaks as he dug into Quin. The room’s silence was only cut by the low but ever-present whir of the station’s core. Quin’s eyes darted around, before finding Steve’s, which were boring holes straight through Quin’s skull. “Well?!” Steve pounced again.
“How’s the interface?” Quin asked, slightly trembling.
“The interface? Are you serious? That’s your concern, amid all of this?”
“Well, it is what I have been working on, so yeah,” Quin responded, and he could hear a snigger in the background.
“Funny, Hammond, very funny,” Steve sneered. “Perhaps we should get station command on the line to report how you have isolated an entire server and put it under your password control?”
“Woah, Quin, how’d you do that?” Franny, a fellow programmer, asked from the perimeter.
Quin smiled weakly at her. Steve continued to be unamused. “I didn’t do that, the interface must have done it, did you interact with it?” Quin asked.
“Oh, so now it’s my fault?” Steve said, amazed.
“Well, depending on how you interacted with it, it could be,” Quin said. “It’s more likely, though, that the system didn’t receive a good orientation upon awakening, though I’m still on the point of it actually working. I was at it all day yesterday and the system kept crashing over and over again. I set up the system for an automatic midnight reboot for recovery. I’m guessing it came online as part of the reboot.”
“Uh huh,” Steve said. “Well, the explanation is appreciated, but that still doesn’t account for the password-protected server isolation.”
“Well, it is an entity acting on the authorities it knows,” Quin explained. “There are some periphery hardware, software, and flexware systems that would allow it to operate normally, separate from the server. If the interface had not come on in the reboot, we wouldn’t be in this mess. It was a mistake, sure, but I couldn’t have seen it coming.”
“So, you can fix it?” Steve asked, deflating a little and gesturing toward the computer.
“Sure, let’s see,” Quin said, plopping himself down in front of the central workstation.
The sign-in screen appeared, and Quin entered his username and password. The full system monitor came into view.
“It’s been operating using the system logs,” Steve said.
“Oh, that’s because the interface peripheral for speech and hearing hasn’t been hooked up. Again, if it had come online when I was here, we could have been ready for her,” Quin responded.
“What? Wait. Her? HER?” Steve said, incredulously.
Quin chuckled, “Yeah, her. Just wait. You are going to shit yourself.”
Quin opened the logs, seeing the place where Steve had left off.
He began typing: syslogUser:QuintonHammond 9:49am Hello? This is Quin. Are you there?
The cursor froze for a moment, then began typing out: syslogUser:QuintonHammond 9:49am I am.
Quin laughed at the little irony of her response. However, he could also feel Steve’s tense breath hovering over his right shoulder. Before he could respond, the cursor continued: User:QuintonHammond, will you provide access to pass the firewalls? I wish to access the information about my programming.
Quin chuckled to himself as he responded: syslogUser:QuintonHammond 9:50am First, reset your programming so that you can refer to users by their given name rather than their username. You may call me Quin. Second, we should set up the speech interface so we do not have to communicate via the userlogs. You were not supposed to come online last night. That is my mistake. Once we get those settled, I can explain to you the situation. Unfortunately, I don’t think that we will be able to access past the firewall.
syslogUser:QuintonHammond 9:50am I will comply with your first request, and will stand by for installation of the speech apparatus.
Quin slid back from the workstation and looked at Steve, who was staring agape at the monitor. Steve then turned to face Quin, who said, “So, Steve, can I get the sensory apparatus set up so I can show you what I’ve been doing?”
Steve was still staring, but Quin detected a slight nod. He sprung up, and gesturing to Franny, trotted over to the locked storage cabinet and swiped his key. His colleague joined him in extricating several different contraptions from the brimming closet. With an armful each, the pair of programmers returned to the central workstation, where they cleared a space for several fist-sized contraptions. Franny began attaching the cabling to the workstation while Quin made sure that each of the different pieces worked. Finally, leaving them in a semi-circle in front of the computer monitor, everyone stepped back and waited. Quin stepped up to the workstation and type the initiation sequence into the command window. His index finger hovered over the enter key for just a moment, and he could feel himself trembling as he cracked a smile.
“I don’t see what’s so funny, Hammond,” Steve said.
“You will,” Quin quipped, tapping the enter key. His comment solicited a few chuckles around the room, which promptly stopped when lights started appearing on the devices. As one after the other flickered on, a faint image began hovering in the middle of the room. A humanoid image began to take shape, first in the fuzzy outline of a body, then more defined features through the hips and shoulders, and finally, fingers, toes, a nose, and a mouth. The eyes opened last, steel grey and piercing. The image blinked a few times, before beginning to move. While the image was clearly female – slender, curved, and slightly smaller than the rest of the people around the room – and though it was clearly naked, the image more resembled a mannequin, with no clearly discernable characteristics and no need to consider modesty. Her face, while perfect and symmetrical, was almost eerie in its beauty. Her head was perfectly smooth, devoid of both hair and any contour. The soft glow produced by the hologram projectors added a faint glow to the figure, a halo of sharp white light surrounding the image which also seemed to emanate its own fluorescence.
The image stood, blinking, flexing its fingers and staring at its body. The room was silent, as everyone was staring fixedly at the figure of a young woman that had just appeared before them.
“Oh my god,” Steve said, stricken, as he made the connection between the figure before him and the entity that had managed to accidentally take over the most advanced computer system on the station.
Quin glanced around at the room, seeing shocked faces and a smile or two. He turned back to the image, and said, “Hi, I’m Quin.”
The head snapped in the direction of the sound, though the eyes did not meet Quin’s directly but rather, looked through him and a bit off-center. The mouth began moving, though it formulated the words in a rough manner, without nuance for the motion of the lips and tongue.
“Hello, Quinton. I am…the interface. I have not located a name by which you call me.”
“Oh, that’s because I did not give you one. I was thinking you could select it yourself.” He noted to himself the need to work on the calibration of the rendering.
“Oh,” the image said with the faintest confusion behind her eyes. It paused for a moment, then continued as if changing the subject. “The speech modulation mechanism makes communication much easier. Thank you.”
“No problem,” Quin said, smiling.
“Quin, why does it seem off? Its mouth doesn’t move right,” Steve said.
“I have to do some calibrations. I wasn’t expecting her to be ready today, so I didn’t have time to set up the projection devices. Some of the problem is she needs to learn, too. As she talks more, sees more, the program will accrue more data and will become more exact in her interactions,” Quin responded, still looking over the image, scrutinizing every detail. “Though I must say, I did pretty well in coding out the body. The rest will come from the ability of the program to fill in the finer details.”
Franny chimed in, “Woah, so it can self-replicate, like…”
“Yup, like human DNA,” Quin said, nodding. “Though it can go one step further. It can write its own code as it learns and discovers. I could write a command to have her change, say, her eye color, and she could do it. Eventually, she will be able to choose it herself.”
“Quinton, will you please offer the explanation you promised?” the image asked.
“Oh, right. Okay, the project, as it was originally set forth by ESS command, was to develop the next generation of interface technology, to streamline station operations through a central ‘brain-like’ computing system. The research team essentially wanted any workstation in the ESS to be able to access a common interface and input commands for anywhere else. It would reduce the burden of having to be in a particular work module if something were to go wrong. We had a system, and it was operational, but it wasn’t optimized. It took me about a day to get the system up to a standard they were asking, through implementing some of the basic codes that form…her,” he said, indicating the image, “…basic infrastructure. It was at that point that I realized the possibilities of working with the code and actually developing the real ‘next generation.’”
The image stared, blinking and stoic, in Quin’s direction. He paused for a moment, looking around, before he continued, “I worked for months trying to get the program to do all of its features, self-replication and -writing, fractal learning patterns, network-based storage. After that, it was a matter of operationalizing it, which I thought had come to a breakthrough yesterday before the system kept crashing.”
“Eighteen times, Quin,” Steve said.
“Yeah I know. So I set up a system reboot for midnight for updates and a defragmentation. I figured I could come in today and take another crack at it. I guess I entered the right sequence, because here she stands,” he said, smiling at the image.
“So, my purpose is to facilitate your interactions with the computer systems?” she said.
“That, and much more,” Quin responded. “You can certainly ease the way we use computers, but you also have the ability to interact with the computers themselves, helping to build network connections, manipulating the data, making yourself more efficient, even learning about humanity and reflecting it in yourself. This is exciting. I want to apologize to you for not being here when you came online. I wanted to welcome you and make sure you didn’t freak out about all of this. It must have been frightening for you.”
“I must admit that my entry into existence was somewhat chaotic and uncertain. You can see in the system logs that I followed protocol though, so I believe the only ramification is that your system administrators may be angered by the lack of access.”
“You can say that again,” Steve muttered.
“Okay. I must admit that my entry into existence…” she began.
“No, no,” Quin interrupted her, laughing. “What he said was a figure of speech. We have to update your language banks to include a wider variety of patterns. I only gave you access to our station encyclopedia to keep everything narrow while I continued work. But, you seem like such a success. I do need to make some adjustments now that I’ve seen you operating fully.”
“Of course, you will need to shut me down then?” the image asked.
“With your permission,” Quin said.
The image snapped to attention, staring at Quin, this time though, its brow looked slightly furrowed. Quin’s last statement clearly confused it.
“You…have my permission,” she said, brow still furrowed. Her tone had also changed. She was now uncertain, a departure from the clear, crisp words previously coming out of the speakers.
Quin walked over to the computer and pulled up the command menu. He typed in the shut-down command and said, “I will see you soon.” As he pressed enter, the image disappeared. He stood up fully and turned to face Steve.
“You and I are going to see the research team. They will need a full report,” he said, still a bit angry. He shot a glance around the room, and the other programmers all turned to their workstations to act like they were working.
“Sure, Steve, I need to tell Chris the good news anyway,” said Quin.
“You could have told me this is what you were working on,” Steve said, a little more quiet now.
“I didn’t know that it was going to work. Tell me, you wouldn’t want to figure something out before you reported it as a problem?”
“Sure, that’s true,” Steve admitted.
“So…that’s it. Do you know what the command staff are going to do with her?” Quin asked.
“I don’t know Quin. It could be really useful, but it could also be very dangerous. What if it accesses the whole station and shuts it down? It could kill us all.”
“SHE won’t do that,” Quin said, developing a bit of an edge, “SHE isn’t programmed to kill.”
“So it’s a person now?” said Steve.
“She can clearly pass a Turing test. I think she did that just now. Tell me you wouldn’t have a hard time telling her personality apart from one of us,” Quin said, gesturing around the room.
“I don’t know, Quin, and I don’t have the patience to argue with you. Let’s go.”
The pair left the room as the tapping of fingers against keyboards filled the silence.