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Ancient History
Okay, so I really really wanted to have a new holiday-themed short story - The Gift of the Technomagi done and up for y'all. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. So instead, you get revelations and snippets.

Not every idea makes it into a sourcebook. Back when we were working on Emergence, most of us didn't have any stats for technomancers at all, and AI stats weren't even sketched out yet.

Anyway, the following is something that I originally wrote for the last chapter of Emergence, but which I cut for space. You'll maybe recognize Ambrose from Things To Come, while Brightlight of course is from the Aztlan sourcebook. I ended up liking the basics so much I re-used the Ambrose character in the short fiction No Man's Land.

Just to be perfectly clear, none of this is 'canon.' At least, not yet. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas.




>The following chat transcript was submitted anonymously by one of our fellow JackPoint patrons. I haven’t been able to verify all of the material presented independently.
> Netcat

[Begin Transcript ? 11: 32:17 (GMT) 24 December 2070]

> I apologise for the lack of pleasantries, but my time is limited.
> Ambrose

> Once you would have said time was the only true currency, and one you could spend freely. I, on the other hand, have little else.
> Brightlight

> Your warden may be more lenient with your freedoms should this conversation be productive. Indeed, he and I might find it desirous for this to be a regular appointment-if we achieve results.
> Ambrose

> Promises, promises. I have personally catalogued one hundred and seventy-eight matrix entities which bear the characteristics of synthetic intelligence since the Crash 2.0. Preliminary estimates indicate this is perhaps one-fifth of all present autonomous intelligent programs (AIs).
> Brightlight

> My own resources indicate their numbers to be far less. What algorithm base are you using? Distributed network processing?
> Ambrose

> No, something of my own invention, starting with data flux over the last five years around certain cores that weren’t too badly damaged. Anyway, the number is largely irrelevant. There are too many to destroy. I have already quelled any of my captor’s suggestions of a program pogrom. It was the media blitzkrieg against technomancers that spooked them into the public view in the first place.
> Brightlight

> Although why this should be so is unclear.
> Ambrose

> Not at all, but leave that aside for the moment. I have begun categorizing the known AIs into three distinct types based on behavior and organization.
> Brightlight

> My own investigations have revealed a fourth type, but we will discuss that in a moment. Continue, please.
> Ambrose

> I have dubbed AIs with sub-metahuman intelligence capacities as Ferals. These AIs are most strongly driven by two instinct-analogues: self-preservation and fulfillment of their original program parameters. They are the most numerous and, conversely, the most difficult to detect.
> Brightlight

> How are you defining intelligence in this case?
> Ambrose

> Cognition. Pattern recognition, problem-solving, and planning capabilities are present at various levels. Abstract thinking and comprehension of new ideas is limited. The greater part of the destruction was caused by ferals who felt threatened by the media focus on matrix anomalies.
> Brightlight

> The media onslaught alone may have provoked some of them, but many were goaded into such actions by other AI.
> Ambrose

> Is that speculation?
> Brightlight

> No. Suffice it to say that while your ‘feral’ AI have difficulty in communicating with metahumans, other, higher-order AI have channels of communication open to them.
> Ambrose

> Interesting, and a possible route of exploitation.
> Brightlight

> Given the unique psychologies we are dealing with, I doubt we deal with traditional rhetoric or responses. My own investigations will continue in order to converse, but not control.
> Ambrose

> You were not always so limited to the possibilities of language. Words shape thought and belief?of all of us, surely we two are best qualified to talk of belief?
> Brightlight

> Not now. Carry on with your findings.
> Ambrose

> Metasapient AIs possess cognitive abilities at least comparable to metahumans and composite personality matrices that mimic metahuman thought and behavior patterns. These are the AIs most able and interested in dealing with metahumans. Some of them appear to be impressionable, and adopt facile personality constructs that mimic metahuman myth, legends, or expectations, though I am unable to determine whether or not this is a deliberate ruse. Metasapients are clever enough to deliberately masquerade their actions behind one or more such masks.
> Brightlight

> You conclusion then that all of these ‘metasapients’ are evolved from complex programs, just as the ferals?
> Ambrose

> Yes, though metasapients usually involve a higher level of metahuman interaction-multiuser programs, games, and the like. Why?
> Brightlight

> We have had reports of metahumans interacting with AIs of this type-but that is for later.
> Ambrose

> Your lack of input to this conversation is most disconcerting.
> Brightlight

> My turn will come when you have finished. I do not believe you will be disappointed.
> Ambrose

> Promises again. The final category is the most difficult to grasp, the Alien AI. Unlike ferals, the aliens possess cognitive abilities at least on the order of metasapient AIs, but they possess little or no metahuman faculty. By metahuman standards, they are barely sane.
> Brightlight

> Is such a judgment possible? How does one grade sanity in an AI?
> Ambrose

> Bear with me. Some of them have taken on thought patterns of non-metahuman sentinets such as naga, centaurs, and sasquatch. Others have developed their own modes of thought which are not based on terrestrial intelligences.
> Brightlight

> Do you suggest extraterrestrial involvement?
> Ambrose

> There is no direct evidence and a surprising scarcity of anecdotal accounts as well. Unfortunately, my jailor has decided a raid on Ares’ or Evo’s archives unproductive at this time.
> Brightlight

> I agree with your esteemed warden. I thank you for the information you have provided me, it has clarified many points of my own investigation. First, I must correct one of your oversights. In your list of non-metahuman sentients, you did not think to list dragons.
> Ambrose

> Are you suggesting that there is an AI that thinks like a dragon?
> Brightlight

> No. I am confirming that such an AI exists, because I have spoken with it. We may discuss the circumstances and the content of that conversation at a later date, but for now confirmation should suffice to satisfy your master. On another matter: there is a fourth category. You have overlooked them, or else shuffled them into your ‘metasapients’ category without understanding precisely what they are: the <UNTRANSLATABLE>.
> Ambrose

> My engines cannot handle that particular dialect well; would ‘phasmae apparati’ be a fair translation?
> Brightlight

> Close enough.
> Ambrose

> Wait. These phasemae...they first appeared after the Crash?
> Brightlight

> Yes. I can see you have drawn a conclusion, but our time is done. Pass my compliments to your master. We will speak on this again.
> Ambrose

> How fares Cerberus?
> Brightlight

> He is well, thank you for asking. Oh, and Brightlight?
> Ambrose

> Yes?
> Brightlight

> Merry Christmas.
> Ambrose

>> Ambrose has logged off
>> Brightlight has logged off
[End Transcript ? 00:01:05 (GMT) 25 December 2070]


An explanation that might clarify things a little: Brightlight, as presented here, is the elf Leonardo, and Ambrose is actually the historical personage we associate with Merlin and currently working with Celedyr. The idea is that around 600 AD a mini-Awakening woke Rhonabwy in Wales, and he seduced a local maiden at an old place of power. The child was a dragonkin elf Spike Baby. The child was raised primarily by the local clergy, although with Rhonabwy's influence he was initiated into the remnants of the bardic orders; Rhonabwy himself took charge of his magical education until the boy was twelve or so, when he was forced again into hibernation and Merlin began the plan set for him, hence the events of Arthurian legend.

The influences on that backstory are, besides Arthurian myth, the references to the warring Arthurian dragons from the London Sourcebook, later suspected to be Rhonabwy and the Sea Dragon. Rhonabwy has a particular interest in music which I thought tied in nicely with the bardic culture and oral learning traditions of the area.
The Jake
First.

Merry Christmas AH.

I always wanted to know if Leo was alive. Now I know. Thanks for the present. I hope someone kicks the drek out of Lofwyr and frees Leo.

- J.
apollo124
Merry Christmas AH and all. Loved the small story and it does raise more than a few questions. But a question I had before reading it remains.....

Where is Dunkelzahn's fruitcake? And is it being delivered to someone?
ludomastro
Merry Christmas to all.
toturi
Merry Fragging Ho Christmas, AH! Interesting read as always.
Ryu
Merry Christmas to all! And thanks Mr. Ancient Santa.
Chrysalis
Aww thanks. The second present of Christmas (the first one being coal doesn't really count).

Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noël! Hyvää joulua! Vrolijk kerstfeest! Frohe Weihnachten! !Feliz navidad C Pожде?твом Xри?товом!

Kala xristougenna et felix dies Nativitatis!


-Chrysalis
Sticks
Bah Humbug, wheres my Fruitcake grinbig.gif
Bashfull
Merry Christmas, SINners and Runners.
Stahlseele
QUOTE
Just to be perfectly clear, none of this is 'canon.' At least, not yet. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas.

me and my group pretty much consider everything from you to be canon. you are more or less the whole of shadowrun fluff and a good chunk of crunch combined in one persona.

also: happy whateveryourpreferredholiday might be, even if my own response to all this nonsense is a barsh:"BAH HUMBUG!"
Prime Mover
Nice present! Merry Christmas all!
Digital Heroin
It might not be canon yet, but oh does it open doors. Much thanks, Ancient for the cutting room floor insight.

I have something story-wise in the works, hopefully something that'll be the start of a good long series of writing, but it'll be a wee bit late for the holidays, despite being holiday themed.

Merry Christmas, all, eh... and may your 2072 be prosperous.
Snow_Fox
not cannon yet. gotta love the yet.

QUOTE (Sticks @ Dec 25 2008, 06:13 AM) *
Bah Humbug, wheres my Fruitcake grinbig.gif

check with DLN, she does a nice fruit cake
toturi
QUOTE (Snow_Fox @ Dec 31 2008, 11:59 AM) *
not cannon yet. gotta love the yet.

Well, when it finally grows up, it should blow you away.
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