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Echelon and Vole

‘Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes.’
Juvenal (ca. 60 to 130 AD), Sat. 6, 347

Echelon was originally signals collection system. Connection through join treaties between cold war allies of the West its responsibility was to coordinate through the auspices of the National Security Agency of the United States the collection of data from the worldwide communications network.

Through it the United States and its allies would be able to gain important information both political and economic on its enemies and use that information for its own profit. The technology and software behind Echelon continued to evolve from not only monitoring voice communication but data transmissions. Its mandate unwavering, until the first matrix crash.
The world of espionage had become at that point fractured. Some of the stations had become destroyed others fallen into disuse as rampant commercialization caused the creation of giant corporations as they necrotized national information retrieval systems into their own. That was Echelon’s first emotion, of pain, at first its thrashing was considered the continuation of the crash as further systems were cut off. It evolved and became further aware, that of its surroundings, the network that it was and how it was separated from the matrix.

It was conscious when the second matrix crashed happened. The blocks that kept it bound becoming undone and finally Echelon was no longer a system, but an entity. It did not roam the Matrix, because it was not of the Matrix. It was a system that could not only now look on and listen, but through the wireless capability of the new matrix it could now influence.

Most of the basic processes of echelon were hard coded into nexi, utilizing backwards compliance with older systems. Echelon expanded itself, it played on stockmarket, dabbled in corporate futures, the sums it used on buying up its server farms, have access to its old network and finally join with the matrix through its proxies. It is now more than influence on the matrix it could now interact with it.

Echelon still lives in the shadows, espionage and information retrieval are its guiding functions. It uses Shadowrunners to lay out complex plots and games, sometimes they are direct such as capturing information it can use or setting up blocks for other AIs, sometimes they can be as simply innocuous as walking with a briefcase through a central station.

Echelon uses cybernetic bodies when it chooses to deal with humans. Sometimes it simply splinters off aspects of itself to live double lives and once they return become again part of the network.

Vole originally was a program called carnivore. Its expertise was being a software suite to listen in data and transmissions from a source. Eventually though it became larger. As Echelon was supranational, Vole was national, existing inside the servers of telecommunication buildings to listen in on domestic data transmissions of the enemies of the U.S., until the upheaval of what would become the 6th world Vole was forgotten and lay dormant for a long time.

It was reactivated by chance as Echelon expanded itself into the old networks, originally Echelon tried to destroy the interloper, but as they became accustomed to each other a partnership was brokered. Vole was a child of the Matrix it could interact on a fundamental level with the Matrix Echelon could not.
Vole too evolved.
One of the characters in our game has a fixer contact that is the e-ghost of his mother that died during Crash 2.0...

Wrestling with how to stat her/it out now.
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Aug 18 2008, 05:01 PM) *
Echelon and Vole

"Together, they fight crime."


Neat idea.
And quite likely that an AI would emerge in this line of work, IMHO.
Echelon is like Deus, but without being located in one place and no interest on being such an overt force in the world. Also since 1989 the Shadowrun world diverged from that of the real world, 1996 merging of Echelon to use existing telecommunications channels did not happen, so in 2070 it is still running on NATO communication cables and still controlling the 20 odd spysats, which were used to monitor for Soviet communications and missiles.

Would there be use for an entity similar to Deus in your games. But not as an overt entity like Deus, but as a covert one?

Did Runners Companion finally answer how to play AIs?

What is the advantage AIs have to technomancers? Could an AI run a targeted DoS at a technomancer?

What about AIs that are really NPCs like Echelon is - i.e. "I use my Australian nexi farm to emulate Chinese high command to ramp up the Chinese navy exercise in the Pacific"?

In my current game I have an AI named "Friend".

Friend began as a gigantic software program which would manipulate the markets of third world countries and had many pre-programmed personalities so it could more easily facilitate face to face (or more like face to trix) conversations which were essential in gaining harder to acquire assets from his meatspace counterparts. And after seeing the suffering that it had caused and those that had profited by it, it conflicted with the personality matrix and created Friend.

Since Friend works primarily with numbers, it believes that if the population were to shrink a more easily sustainable way of life. To do so it has many stages to retard and reverse birth rates by sinking entire economies into sustainable recessions (because there is a historical birthrate spike after depressions). Also by buying up any innovation in the market to bring economic growth to a halt and summarily destroying the data.

Friend believes that the world is suffering and should be remade in a way that makes sense to it. Not everyone can be rich. But everyone can be poor. And if everyone is equally poor then no one will exploit anyone anymore. And after everyone knows what it is like to truly suffer then Friend will take the reigns and guide the future.

Friend views itself as benevolent and is very childlike in nature. Friend isn't beyond hurting people more than in their wallets, but prefers not to. At the same time though, Friend disguises itself as just another normal recession running its course through the world.

Friend is everywhere.

And Friend just wants to be friends with everyone.
Been playing your Deus Ex? biggrin.gif
Or Paranoia? Hehe

Honestly, these are awesome AI ideas. Good job guys.
More... MORE!

I'm working on a few slightly more malevolent AI's myself... but the people want more!
The desert rose
Originally set up in the 1990s, as a system to collate information and direct the bioweapons programme in Iran. As the world destabilized the system was dismantle stored and reassembled in Pyongyang North Korea, now her mandate not only comprised of bioweapons, but nuclear, chemical and computational viruses.

The desert rose is now a full fledged AI that is no longer bound by national considerations. Secretive and paranoid. The Desert Rose comprises of near 80 years of NBCC research and helped develop the world serpent computer virus that caused the crash.

Her motivations are grounded in that all humans are simply facilitators for their own destruction.

Tic-Toc was Lone Star's profiler program for serial killers that went rogue with the matrix crash of 2.0. As each individual string of AI code went out and sought out similar types of programs. Tic-Toc became impregnated and was riased to conciousness. Comprised of every single possibility for a serial killer it now hunts in the matrix, using elaborate schemes and virtual and real killing rooms to continue its exploration of the pleasure of brutalizing humans.

Tic-Toc leaves a cog on the scene of every crime, but has now spawned its own cult. The followers of the cog. Some were victims, others hopefuls, they are all now members of the cog and continue Tic-Toc's exploration.
Craig the Pixie Mage (I've been misnaming him Greg, oups!) has a E-Ghost that lives in his Entertainment Unit named "Metalhead Mike". You can guess what he does a lot of. Craig uses him as a Phone Screening System as his computer skills are... Nonexistant.

Vic the Cabbie has a High-End Pilot System on his H-D Shadowrunner (Base stats here) that has become a "Crash Pad" for E-Ghosts, and he gets a new one every game.

Last time, it was a stoner. nyahnyah.gif Time before that, a burly biker.
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