Illuminae, p.7

Illuminae, page 7



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  Mason, E, LT 2nd: they’re just trying to avoid a panic, Kades

  ByteMe: I for one am not feeling super calm.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: you should leave it alone. You could get in real trouble.

  ByteMe: We’re already in real trouble. I want us to at least be in it together.

  ByteMe: Ezra? You there?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Yeah, I’m here.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: though I’m kinda wishing I was on Hypatia right about now

  ByteMe: I am fearsome, but I’m not quite that good. I’ll try and get a line up tomorrow. You’ll be here?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: As you wish

  ByteMe: If only THAT were true. Keep your head down. Don’t do anything too noble.


  CitB: sooooo u talking to ur boyfriend again?

  ByteMe: not my bf

  CitB: u talking to him?

  ByteMe: 7 min burst no sign of detection so far

  CitB: he know what going on over there?

  ByteMe: not spilling

  CitB: he know about the AI?

  ByteMe: it’s down, not spilling more than that

  CitB: so work some magic

  ByteMe: not as simple as that. u don’t just jump into law breaking with a guy like Ezra. don’t even know if i want to involve him yet.

  CitB: then why do it?

  ByteMe: to see if i can. now have to decide what to ask him to do. not safe for him.

  CitB: not safe for anybody. get it done


  As of 11:00 hrs, an assessment of the Alexander Artificial Intelligence Defence Analytics Network (AIDAN) has been completed by myself and Senior TechEng Specialists Major Nico Lassinger and Major Lisa Barker. Junior staff were excluded to preserve confidentiality of our findings. Status report and recommendations follow:

  Current Status

  During the battle at Kerenza, AIDAN suffered significant physical damage. Due to losses of key personnel in the TechEng department, we have been unable to carry out a full diagnostic, but most obviously, we cannot generate a jump gate, and AIDAN’s computational speed is reduced. However, damage to AIDAN’s neural network may also be worse than first realized.

  As per your orders after the destruction of the Copernicus, AIDAN remains in shutdown mode, carrying out only essential functions, including recyc, climate moderation, and artificial gravity control. AIDAN is essentially the equivalent of a human in a coma; breathing and heartbeat continue, but no conscious thought or decision-making is possible. As a result, the AI has been unavailable for active questioning. However, in the opinion of my team, it is likely that AIDAN’s decision to destroy the Copernicus was resultant of its directive to prioritize the safety of fleet members.

  Our review indicates that, over the last month, AIDAN has accessed Copernicus medical records with increasing frequency. As a matter of routine, all data the AI accesses is backed up to the Alexander’s servers, however, AIDAN seems to have taken steps to ensure we cannot locate these particular reports.

  We believe AIDAN formed a view that the illness aboard Copernicus had reached a tipping point and posed a danger to the fleet. Nevertheless, we are concerned at AIDAN’s decision to (a) take such drastic action without consulting senior command and (b) shut down comms between senior command and the Alexander’s Cyclone squadrons, despite your direct orders. AIDAN’s design parameters prioritize the preservation of human life but allow the fleet commander almost unlimited override. We believe the damage to AIDAN may have impacted its willingness to factor in your commands and preferences.


  The halt at Kerenza VII(a) for water will have eroded our lead on the Lincoln. Without AIDAN online, main drives are inoperative, and we are left to reaccelerate on slower secondaries. It is increasingly likely we will need to engage the Alexander’s weapons systems, which cannot be done with AIDAN offline. Therefore, we propose increasing AIDAN’s operational level without restoring full independence. If you will permit me to continue the analogy, we propose bringing our coma patient back to consciousness, but under considerable restraint.

  Potential Hazards

  The Copernicus incident demonstrates we are not fully aware of AIDAN’s current operational capacity. On revival, AIDAN may not respond to restraints as anticipated, or the restraints may not function as expected. Danger exists for both Alexander and Hypatia personnel. This must, however, be weighed against the danger of doing nothing.

  Revival scenarios will be run over the next 24—48 hours. We will aim to establish a scenario with a better than 90 percent chance of full control, and recommend AIDAN be revived if this is achieved.

  If you have any further questions or wish to discuss options, we are available at your convenience.

  Sanchez, E, Col: Nico, I’ve done the memo, can you proof it for me?

  Lassinger, N, Maj: Printing it, hold on.

  Lassinger, N, Maj: …

  Lassinger, N, Maj: So basically what you’re saying is we’ll do our best to wake it up without it going loco, but our best promise is a 9 out of 10 chance it won’t kill us all?

  Sanchez, E, Col: You know what the chance is if the Lincoln catches us?

  Lassinger, N, Maj: Point. Okay, send. And pray.

  Sanchez, E, Col: Sent. Praying.

  Lassinger, N, Maj: I think I’m going to go see if Lisa needs any help getting the grease off. Climbing around the quantum core like fucking spanner monkeys is below our paygrade and our dignity, I say.

  Sanchez, E, Col: Are you dusted? You ask her if she wants her back washed, you won’t NEED to worry about the AI blasting us into the next system.

  Lassinger, N, Maj: It’s the end of the world, Eva. Nothing left to lose.

  ByteMe: 7 mins starts now. u there?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Always :)

  ByteMe: Wish that had been true, Ez. How things on your end? Tense here.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Things here? Confusing, tbh

  ByteMe: They’re still saying no comms b/c we’re hiding from the Lincoln.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Oh, u mean how are things on the *ship*

  ByteMe: Did AIDAN crash or did we take it offline?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Um. Bit of both. Why?

  ByteMe: b/c the Copernicus is gone and I’m scared, why else?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Hey, at least we’re scared together. Ish.

  ByteMe: This is not how I imagined us reunited. There isn’t any more gen than that on your end?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: (Shrug) I just fly the cyclones ma’am

  ByteMe: I can’t believe you do. Not the future I imagined either.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: At least I got off world, right? If only BeiTech had shown up a day earlier. Might have saved you some shouting. And me some hangovers :p

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Sorry that wasn’t funny …

  ByteMe: No, but to be fair, don’t think anyone’s found a joke that works yet.

  ByteMe: Next time we’ll have to time our drama better.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Well, practice makes perfect, as they say

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: I miss you

  ByteMe: You too.

  ByteMe: 4 min left.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: You’re a poet, Grant

  ByteMe: Hey, I’m talking to you. One step at a time.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Talking is better than not talking. And infinitely better than shouting :p

  ByteMe: Sorry there was so much of that. Should have got the msg sooner.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Did u ever consider the possibility I just think ur cute when you’re angry?

  ByteMe: Did you ever consider that I might not laugh at a joke about you breaking my heart?

  ByteMe: Gotta cut. If u leave this window open and type in messages I’ll get them when I connect. Like a mailbo


  Subject: wondering

  Date: 07/25/75


  I wonder how my mom knew my dad was the guy for her.

  Why didn’t I ever think to ask that?

  ByteMe: U there, you tragic, tragic creature?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Always :p

  ByteMe: All ok your end?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: They got me on scrub duty and VR flight sim. Bored brainless and slightly sweaty

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Am i turning u on?

  ByteMe: Ez, u do not want to start another fight.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: I’m just trying to make you smile. You should do it more often. Did u get the flower?

  ByteMe: Yes. Just … come on, Ez. U made ur position clear. not going to embarrass myself now.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Did u smile?

  ByteMe: yes

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: pls excuse me a moment while i do a small victory dance around the room

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: k back

  ByteMe: this was a terrible idea. I think I miss u more now than when i wasn’t talking to u.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: So this must mean you’re not still mad at me. Amazing what six months and a few thousand kms of vacuum will do to make the heart grow fonder

  ByteMe: and terrifying danger, don’t forget that

  ByteMe: but Ez u are the one who didn’t want to be with me, not vice versa. I’m just the one who said the words.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: You wanted to go offworld. I didn’t want to hold you back. That means I CARED, not that I didn’t.

  ByteMe: u could have come

  ByteMe: and now here u are, but it’s not b/c you want to be. it’s b/c I’m more interesting than a ship full of sweaty soldiers

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Im not sure u appreciate the dire peril i placed myself in to have this conversation Kades

  ByteMe: i think i quite like the idea of you in dire peril. do go on. details?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: I stayed up half the night making your ASCII flower just so you’d talk to me again. That knowledge in the hands of certain Alexander crew members would have … unpleasant consequences

  ByteMe: ur courting behavior was always ridiculous

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Hey, don’t knock it if it works :)

  ByteMe: not that we r courting. aughdeletedelete

  ByteMe: u should probably rest in case we come under attack from that ship that is nowhere near us, u know.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: Lincoln might be closer than u think. We had to reaccelerate without main drives once command shut down the AI at Kerenza VII.

  ByteMe: then WHY aren’t we getting it back online? not knowing anything is terrifying.

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: see previous *shrug* about me just flying the cyclones

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: I guess they’ll bring it back online once we’re safer with it than without it

  ByteMe: guess so. Coming up on 7 mins. talk again soon?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: not too soon. You don’t want me to start thinking you’ve forgiven me or anything

  ByteMe: wouldn’t want that, you’ll get ideas ;)

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: cya

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: oh say hey to your mom for me


  ByteMe: what kind of voltage do you think it takes to kill the average human?

  CitB: dare i ask?

  ByteMe: trying to splice my deck into Hypatia’s virtual grid. jack their processor speed

  CitB: take it from ur elder. Can’t brute force this. u need work done on the Alexander end

  ByteMe: brace urself for this but i am not on the Alexander end so i will have to try and wire from here

  CitB: do i really have to point out the obvious?

  ByteMe: i am not dragging him into this they’ll shoot him. info is one thing this is another

  CitB: then what the fuck are you cultivating him for if no info and no wiring?

  ByteMe: it’s not like that

  CitB: it’s special

  ByteMe: bite me

  CitB: there’s a lot on the line here. u have to find a way to get him to unlock for you from his end

  ByteMe: he wouldn’t know how

  CitB: then teach

  CitB: stakes are high. If ur not chasing him for this then why

  ByteMe: none of your business

  CitB: stay on task, grasshopper. we let the Alexander burn us out of the sky, your red hot love will be subsumed by a bigger, hotter flame

  ByteMe: how do you even function in society?

  CitB: it’s a struggle

  Date: 07/25/75

  Text: Without a compass

  Today, said our poor, beleaguered counselor, We Are Going To Try Something New. We are going to focus on the fact that despite our personal losses, Life Goes On, and There Is Still A Future.

  Frankly, I think whether or not we get a future is still hanging in the balance, but I figured expressing that opinion wasn’t going to add much to the session, so I stuck to Being A Surly Teen. (Huh, the Inappropriate Caps are catching.)

  The present is my problem, right now. My brain won’t stop buzzing, scrambling, trying to hook on to something that will tell me which way is up. I lie strapped into my bunk at night, and it all presses in on me. The bed’s so narrow, the blanket smells like the huge laundries they have here, and it itches, and I’m so not at home.

  Nothing’s where it’s supposed to be, and without my north, how do I know what to do?

  My throat closes when I think about it, and a part of me wants to crawl under the covers and stay there. Wait for someone to tell me what to do. Wait for a grown up. But nobody’s coming.

  So do I drag Ezra into danger? Isn’t he in more danger if I don’t keep trying to work out what’s happening?

  Everyone here wants to believe the guys in charge know exactly what they’re doing, but of course they don’t. There’s nothing in their rules and regulations for this. They’re wounded and limping for safety, and they don’t know how to get away from the Lincoln. So why should I trust them, especially when they’re lying to me?

  There’s no clear path ahead of me. They never taught this class in school.

  I remember there was this teacher called Ms. McElroy back at McCaffrey. Taught junior tech. She used to go on and ON at me about fulfilling my potential, and I used to roll my eyes, and my mom would tell me to listen to the lady.

  She died in the first wave. She looked really surprised.

  I don’t mean to make a joke there, though I know it sounds kind of sarcastic. I just mean, that wasn’t the facial expression I would have expected.

  She used to talk a lot about how to make decisions, as well. Like, she had this idea around exploring your own moral system, but then applying it to a grid to work out what to do. Marrying ethics and technology.

  Why didn’t I listen to that? I could really use her system for working out the right thing to do around now.

  I only know one thing for sure.

  Whatever they don’t want me to see, that’s where I’m digging. I need to be where the secrets are.

  I’m more interested in ensuring I have a future than they think.

  McNulty, J, Sgt: ezra

  McNulty, J, Sgt: mason

  McNulty, J, Sgt: ANSWER BITCH

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: shit internal comms back on?

  McNulty, J, Sgt: they testing

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: ah

  McNulty, J, Sgt: Dorian pinged me to check if my internal messager was working. I am his test monkey. Watch me monkey

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: and of everyone you could’ve picked to IM, you pinged me. Flattered, you may color me

  McNulty, J, Sgt: don’t be, ur the only one I knew who’d be awake
at this hour

  McNulty, J, Sgt: thinking about Miss Thing

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: eat me

  McNulty, J, Sgt: first, a kiss from your cherry lips

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: maybe if you warm me up a little

  McNulty, J, Sgt: k wut are u wearing?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: nothing. Your sister was just here

  McNulty, J, Sgt: …

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: OH BURRRNT?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: flew face-first into that, son

  McNulty, J, Sgt: FUCK YOU CHUM

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: too tired. Told you, ur sis just left

  McNulty, J, Sgt: look at you, all sprightly and shit. Big switch from mr Mopey, all “bloo bloo, my troubles have water wings” couple of days back

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: cold, chum. cold

  McNulty, J, Sgt: thought you’d be all sadpants with no ship 2 ship. No more sexies from Miss Thing to keep you warm

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: she’s not like that

  McNulty, J, Sgt: ah, she special

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: she is

  McNulty, J, Sgt: u got pix of this astro-princess?

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: no sexies, I told u

  McNulty, J, Sgt: clothed, fool

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: I got school pics

  McNulty, J, Sgt: send me

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: no chance

  McNulty, J, Sgt: SEND

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: en oh bee eye tee see haych

  McNulty, J, Sgt: Mason, if u no send, I will make it my mission in life to teabag you while you sleep

  Mason, E, LT 2nd: 0_o

  McNulty, J, Sgt: Shipboard security have master access to all areas, chum

  McNulty, J, Sgt: I know where you lay thee down

  McNulty, J, Sgt: And you WILL wake one night to feel a pair of slightly sweatysomethings tickling your prettyboy chin

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