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Onyx-Soul

The Onyx's internal AI

0 · 193 views · located in The Onyx

a character in “Temporal Conscripts”, as played by Lemunde

Description

Onyx-Soul, more generally referred to as Onyx by the crew, is The Onyx's AI. Onyx-Soul is most thought of as being female, as she has a female voice, but as with all AIs she technically has no gender.

Onyx-Soul has no physical representation. Interaction with her is done mostly over the ship's intercom but she will sometimes interact with others threw text via the various terminals scattered around the ship.

AIs are often discriminated against by humans as most humans are uncomfortable handing over control of vital systems and delicate equipment to a computer. Early on it was no different with Onyx-Soul but over time the commander has come to trust her and rely on her judgement.

Onyx-Soul is rated as a level 7 AI which is considered military grade. She has achieved the rank of automata delta, the third highest rank an AI can achieve in the military. Due to the techniques used in programming a level 7 AI, her programming has been rendered impossible to duplicate making her as much of an individual as any virtual life form can hope to be.

So begins...

Onyx-Soul's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sir James Fritswick Character Portrait: Lieutenant Sophie Victors Character Portrait: Commander Viridin Character Portrait: Onyx-Soul
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#, as written by Lemunde
Sophie reached for a small vial and collected a bead of sweat on Fritswick's chest. Just as she placed the vial in a device on a nearby counter a door near a corner of the room slid open, seemingly of it's own accord. A man walked in, clearly someone in charge.

"How's our patient?"

"Commander!" The commander's entrance seemed to catch Sophie a little off guard. "He's conscious, as you can see. I've just started the hydroanalysis. It should give us an idea of his origins in a few moments."

"I see." The commander walked over to stand beside Fritswick. "My name is Commander Asiros Viridin. You are on board the Onyx, a... military vessel."

Viridin began slowly pacing.

"You've come at a very inconvenient time. Our ship is engaged with a hostile force and your presence is interfering with our mission. If you are who I think you are then I must accept the possibility that you may be here to assist us in some manner. However I want to make one thing clear."

Viridin was looking directly at Fritswick now.

"Your mission, whatever it is, is secondary to ours. Right now my mind is focused solely on eliminating our enemy. We..."

"Commander!"

Fritswick looked over to see Sophie staring into what looked like some kind of illuminated picture frame, various strange text and graphs scattered across it.

"What is it, lieutenant?" Viridin turned to look at the same device.

"The hydroanalysis is complete." Sophie's voice had an air of surprise mixed with concern. "These hydrogen atoms... they show a decay of 0.985274." She placed a great emphasis on the '4'. "If my calculations are correct that would place him at...4000 years prior to Exodus!"

Viridin turned to Fritswick and studied him intently for several moments.

"Are you telling me this man was pulled from over 17000 years in the past?"

The room was silent for a long while, save for the strange chirping coming from various devices in the room. Viridin's eyes turned to Fritswick's arms and legs. "Has he shown you any indication that he might be dangerous?"

Sophie studied Fritswick for only a moment before answering. "He seems harmless enough."

"Go ahead and release him. Once he's able to move you have my permission to show him around the ship."

"I've taken care of his external burns but there is still some internal damage. He'll need to undergo nanotherapy for a couple of weeks before he's fully recovered. I'll give him something for the pain which should make him well enough to move around."

"Very good. Well 'Mister' Fritswick..."

Fritswick wasn't entirely sure how he knew his name but he had only a moment to contemplate this when the ship he was apparently on suddenly lurched. A disembodied voice called out from a device on the wall. The voice was that of a woman, somehow both cold and calm.

"Interstellar drive disengaging."

Viridin moved to the device on the wall and mashed his thumb on a nearby protrusion.

"Onyx, report!"

"A metallic object has been detected 300 kilometers from our position. I thought you would like to investigate."

Viridin glanced back at Fritswick. "Do you think this has something to do with our guest?"

"Lieutenant Victors has apparently confirmed him to be a conscript. The probability of encountering a man-made object this far into interstellar space is extremely low. Given the short amount of time between these events there is a high probability that they coincide."

Viridin hesitated a moment before responding. "Understood. Inform bridge personnel that I will be there shortly."

Viridin left the room, the door sliding closed behind him.

Fritswick felt a prick in his shoulder. Looking over he saw Sophie removing what was clearly a syringe.

"This should help with the pain. And this..." Lifting his head, Sophie detached a device from the back of his neck, setting it on the counter. Strange that he hadn't noticed it before. "Should allow you to move." This last was said with a smile.

Fritswick sat up.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sir James Fritswick Character Portrait: Lieutenant Sophie Victors Character Portrait: Commander Viridin Character Portrait: Onyx-Soul
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Fritswick delicately placed both feet firmly on the floor; though he had strength in both legs, he could not feel anything in them - from the temperature of the air, it was clear that this was a good thing, as it prevented his toes from freezing.
"So, Mr Fritswick," began Sophie. "Would you care for a new set of clothes?"
Sophie pulled out a drawer at the far end of the room; inside were three vacuum packed unisex clothes, each item of clothing embroidered with a small 'recycled materials' logo.
Sophie handed Fritswick a set of clothes, and walked to a corner of the room; she drew a curtain attached to a rail in the ceiling.
"If you wanted get changed behind here, that'd be fine," she said. "The set comes with a vest and underwear, so..."
Fritswick, speechless from contemplation, nodded simply and walked over to the curtain concealed corner.
"Thank you kindly," he said, finding the opening clip to the plastic bag.
Sophie pulled the curtains over completely as Fritswick began changing.
"So," she began, back turned to the portieres. "Tell me about where you're from."
"Could you give me a minute while I get changed?"
"Just trying to break the ice, sir."
"Sir? I'm not a Sir, I've never been knighted - as far as I can tell."
Sophie exhaled a sharp sigh.
She walked over to her desk, pressing a few buttons to log herself back in.
Following that, she opened the file that the Onyx's AI had automatically generated - one listing the known physical details of Fritswick.
"Can you tell me your age, Fritswick?"
"Is that necessary to - urg - to know?" he replied, struggling with something halfway through.
"I need to write down everything you can tell us, because you'll be staying with us for a while."
"Thirty seven, if you must know. Born in eighteen-fifty two."
"Eighteen hundreds, huh..." Sophie muttered to herself, doing a quick calculation with her fingers. "Pre exodus makes that... right."
"What happened to my evening wear?" asked Fritswick. "Is it being washed, sewn up, or what?"
"Well, what little was left of them is probably part of the recycling system by now," she replied. "They were pretty burnt up when we found you - speaking of which, were you carrying anything metal in your pockets?"
"My watches - two of them, in fact."
"Ah, sorry then, both of them melted before arrival. Anyway, as part of our ship's regulations on material conservation, all damaged or unusable items are taken apart and used as something else. In fact, the replacement for what you're wearing is probably being made right now."

Fritswick drew the curtains back sharply. He was now dressed in a plain, silvery-blue work outfit with two logos - the recycling logo on the front, and an Onyx production code on the back.
"You look dashing, Mister Fritswick." Sophie said with a complacent grin. "Do you feel healthy?"
Fritswick made a deliberate frown on his face, trying to convey his disappointment.
"I feel frustrated that my clothes and timekeepers have apparently been dismantled and re-used, but otherwise, yes I am quite well."
"How's your limp?"
"My... well, how strange, I don't actually feel crooked anymore."
"That's temporary, I'm afraid." Sophie elaborated. "The regenerator picked up on it; it isn't a physical issue, more of a psychological one, so once the pain killers wear off, it'll come back again. Do you normally have a walking implement?"
"A cane, yes - it was wooden, so I assume none of it came through hell's blaze?"
"Ah - no, we didn't find anything like that. Give me a second."
Sophie began rummaging through the cupboards next to her desk; eventually, she found a retractable metal cane, and unfolded it before Fritswick.
"This should do for when you need it," she said. "You can retract it for easier storage."
Fritswick took the metal cane carefully; he tapped it against the floor a few times, getting used to leaning his weight on it.
"Thank you, lady Victors."
Sophie made a noise mixed between a cough and a chortle.
"Just call me Sophie, you don't need to be that formal to anyone except Commander Viridin."
"I see," he replied. "Tell me, what exactly is he Commander of? I assume this is a ship, so, where are we sailing?"
Sophie contemplated for a moment.
"I see; you're used to 'ships' being water-runners only..."
She began wandering towards the far side of the room. At the wall opposite the door was what appeared to be a metal hatch, firmly secured by a mechanical lock. Sophie pressed a small button next to the hatch.
"Requesting permission to open Med-Bay Port-side observation hatch."
There was a few seconds of delay, before the calming voice of the ship replied "Permission granted."

With a mechanical clunk, the fastening bolt of the hatch retracted; following this, the panel itself retracted into the wall, revealing a thick chunk of reinforced glass, beyond which was apparently nothing but darkness.
"Lowering solar shield for Med-Bay observation window." the voice added.
Seconds later, the darkness was replaced by an indescribable light; Sophie motioned for Fritswick to get a closer view.
Fritswick felt his legs go weak as he took in the view; stars in every observable direction, no land or sky to obscure their view. Ripples of cosmic energy fluttered in and out of view as the ship travelled at low-warp speeds, distorting space by miniscule, yet still barely comprehensible amounts.
"We... are sailing through space."
"Yeah."
Fritswick took a few steps back."
"This is... a work of fiction, surely. I... I must have fallen asleep reading something..."
"I can assure you, Mr Fritswick, this is no fantasy. Seal the Med-Bay observation window."
"Med-Bay observation window, sealed."
"These words, this place..." Fritswick muttered to himself.
"Are you alright?" said Sophie, her face growing with concern. "You might want to sit down."
"I'll be fine," he said, regaining his balance with his cane. "I... I just don't quite understand why I'm here."
Sophie sighed, her disappointment now visible.
"A shame that you don't know, because we don't really know. Does the term 'Temporal Conscript' mean anything to you?"
Fritswick shook his head.
"I feel like I should sit down for this explanation," he said, making his way to a nearby stool.
"Alright," Sophie began, twisting her fingers together. "I'm not sure how much you know in your era... do you understand time?"
Fritswick looked at her blankly.
"I mentioned having two watches. I have- rather I had, twelve watches in total, and spent hours of my time getting them into exact synchronous. Of course I understand time, my lady, and how it works forwards and backwards and all sorts - why, I remember having this theory explained to me about travelling through time itself, how the present might not be the only present."
Sophie blinked twice, slightly dumbstruck.
"I-alright-okay then. You have a grasp of time travel already, that's-that helps a lot."
Sophie cleared her throat, regaining her composure.
"While it isn't exactly an every-day occurrence, by this point in time we are aware of an organisation known at the 'Temporal Guild'. I'm not sure why myself, but on occasion they have taken people out of history in order to resolve a situation. These situations are... vastly different, and often kept secret, but we do know they happen."
"I see," nodded Fritswick. "And, for some reason, they have called upon me to assist them?"
"Indeed," said Sophie. "And, apparently, our ship as well - they must have a purpose for us if they went out of their way to bring you to us."
Fritswick nodded in continual understanding.
"I can follow what you say," he said. "Though this place - rather, this time - frightens me, I can say that I know almost as much about the situation as you do now."
"Indeed," said Sophie. "Though, I have to ask something important; do you know what a Computer is?"
Fritswick thought for a moment, then nodded.
"Yes, I do; I have had two computers myself."
"Really?" said Sophie, slightly taken aback.
"Indeed," continued Fritswick. "Both of them were excellent at what they did - I needed them to handle the complicated side of business matters, you see. The first was John - he was a bit of a grump, to be honest - and the second, whom should still be hired by me, is named Austin - "
"Hang on, hang on," Sophie fumbled, waving her hands. "You think computer means... a person who does calculations?"
"Indeed - why, what else could it mean?"
Sophie felt her whole body go stiff. After a few moments of panic, she let herself relax.
"Alright," she said. "I was right then; from your perspective, computers are nowhere near close to being invented yet, so I'm not allowed to tell you a lot."
Sophie walked over, and then pointed at, her computer setup at her desk.
"This is a computer; it does many things, all of them at a much faster rate than a human."
Sophie lowered her hand.
"That's basically all I can tell you; I'm not allowed to let you see any internal components, and I can't let you use one unless absolutely necessary."
Fritswick finally seemed to be confused.
"I must admit, I am confused by what you're trying to tell me," he said. "If you want me to avoid your metal Computers, I shall."
"Alright, thanks, just had to clear that up," Sophie said. "Your time period was so long ago, I just needed to establish what technology level you're currently at."
Fritswick stood up slowly, using his cane properly now that the pain killing medicine was wearing off.
"I have a question of my own." Fritswick said, a look of absolute importance on his face.
"Alright, go ahead." said Sophie, readying her best speech about preserving the timeline.
"Could you perhaps point me in the direction of the lavatory?"
"I- oh." said Sophie, physically deflating at her lack of opportunity. "I can lead you to it."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lieutenant Sophie Victors Character Portrait: Commander Viridin Character Portrait: Onyx-Soul
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#, as written by Lemunde
"Commander on the bridge!"

The security officer stationed near the bridge entrance called out as Commander Viridin did indeed step onto the bridge.

"What have we got, Axton?"

The woman sat near the science station, her dark gray eyes dancing over the information that was spilling onto the large, flat terminal in front of her.

"It appears to be a class E cargo module. Scans indicate a breathable atmosphere. Thermal readings suggest possible biological activity."

A cargo module. The frown on Viridin's face betrayed his thoughts. There were very few reasons why one would install a life support system on a cargo module, fewer still that were legal. As the module rotated the flood lights that spilled onto it confirmed his suspicions. One of the outer doors was open.

This was a not uncommon sight on the outer reaches. Smugglers would often retrofit cargo modules with life support systems to haul slaves to black markets where they would be sold. Whenever a patrol turned to investigate, the smugglers would dump these modules to avoid incarceration leaving the occupants to fend for themselves.

Rather than face a slow death from dehydration, it was easy enough for the slaves to force the outer door to open plunging all of the occupants into space. The bodies were likely thousands of kilometers away by now, their size and the coldness of space rendering them undetectable.

But if scans were showing that people were still on board, how did they survive? The module was much too large to fit in The Onyx's cargo hold. They were going to have to do this the hard way.

"Lieutenant Ritaly," Viridin called, pressing the comms button on his chair. "There's a cargo module I need you to investigate. Assemble a team of marines. There may be people over there but we don't know who they are so be prepared for anything. Onyx will feed you the relevant information."

An immediate reply came over the comms. "Understood, sir!"

"Lieutenant Victors, have Mister Fritswick join us on the bridge when he's able. There's something he may want to see."

A moment later. "Yes sir, we're on our way."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sir James Fritswick Character Portrait: Lieutenant Sophie Victors Character Portrait: Commander Viridin Character Portrait: Onyx-Soul Character Portrait: Lieutenant Idel Ritaly
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Fritswick was led around the Onyx by both Sophie, and a man wearing bulky attire, carrying a box-shaped item with intricate detail - Fritswick could tell that this had to be some sort of weapon, perhaps a gun, making him a guard. The guard seemed to be more focused on Fritswick than Sophie, who seemed lost in her own thoughts.
Fritswick had just under a minute to contemplate what he could need to see now; perhaps someone else had followed him to this place and time? Or perhaps they had found an explanation as to why he was here. In either case, he found himself less occupied with the details of his situation, and more concerned about what would be required of him.
At this point they passed the threshold to the bridge, no door separating it from the corridor, only another guard that nodded in affirmation to the other one.
The bridge was smaller than Fritswick had anticipated; he had imagined something like the deck of a ship, dozens of workers scurrying to and fro between sides, either manning the sails or shovelling coal to power engines. He was surprised by the room being around the same size as his living room, the captain's chair and desk taking up the centre of the room.
The walls at either side were occupied by similar desks, most of them equipped with a similar 'computer' to the one in the med bay, displaying information Fritswick had no chance of comprehending.
Above the captain's desk was some sort of glass pane hanging from the ceiling - occasionally, words and phrases would jump on and off the glass, all of them labelling different aspects of an image on-screen of what appeared to be a big, black box.

"Lieutenant Victors," said Viridin, looking at Fritswick. "Anything else unusual about our POI?"
"None, sir; he really is just a man pulled out of his time." she replied.
"Mister Fritswick," he began. "Could you please tell me what you think of this?"
Viridin tapped on the black cube in the centre of the glass screen; the text disappeared, and the image became much larger. Slowly, the cube began to rotate, making its three dimensional detail more apparent.
After a moment of contemplation, in which he intensely glared at the image, Fritswick gave up.
"I'm afraid I could tell you nothing about it," he said. "I've never seen a box quite like that. What size is it?"
"Several metres in every direction," Viridin replied. "Around 25 cubic metres of space. It's a cargo module - a basic one, at that. Tell me this; what do you think would be inside this container, out here in dead space?"
"It would be hard to say," Fritswick replied. "Perhaps... gems? Illegally obtained gems, or perhaps currency, that they want kept hidden until it's safe?"
"An astute guess," Viridin replied. "However, we have determined that it has a self-contained life support system. In simple terms, people could be living inside there. Why would people be inside a storage container?"
Fritswick hesitated to answer.
"...Slaves? Or perhaps traitorous crew deserving of eternal isolation."
The commander hesitated for a moment before responding.
"You're an intelligent man, Fritswick. Are you sure you have no idea what's inside?"
"None, sir. Couldn't tell you anything, only guessing."

"Commander, incoming message from Lieutenant Ritaly." a communications officer said.
"Put it through."
The image of a soldier wearing a face-concealing helmet appeared on-screen.
"Commander, our shuttle is currently attempting to lock on to the container, but we cannot find an accessible port. Should we proceed with procedure Oh-Five-Oh?"
"Go ahead; access it through any means necessary, even if it means cutting into it. Any unusual readings?"
"I was about to mention that, sir; we're having trouble getting a fixed reading on whatever is inside - some part of the life support seems to be deliberately interfering with the scanners."
"Continue regardless; remember to treat it as a potential biohazard."
"Understood sir."
The communication channel disappeared from view. Viridin spoke to the screen above him.
"Onyx, prepare the decontamination gas for their return. Also, give me minute-by-minute updates on the shuttle's status, including all crew and life forms therein."
Viridin turned on the spot, facing Fritswick directly. Fritswick had been silently observing, working out internally what all of the strange terms meant.
"Fritswick, are you sure you don't know anything?"
"Like I said, I know nothing here."
"Sir," Sophie interjected. "Are you sure that the container is related to Mr Fritswick?"
Viridin seemed taken aback briefly - he became aware of his increasing lack of composure.
"They have to be," he stated. "If the Guild is involved, we can't assume anything is a coincidence."
"Commander," the man sitting at the science station said. "We're... getting an unusual reading from... within the ship."


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