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pendell
2016-03-07, 05:41 PM
We have two votes to capture and two to simply kill Mark.

Capture: 68
Kill: 11

Randomella is soft-hearted, so we will send out Arachne to capture Mark and shut him up.



A week later, Arachne reports that Mark has been successfully imprisoned in the tunnels beneath Revelation Mountain.

"Are you going to visit him and gloat about your diabolical plans, while assuming he is powerless to do anything about them?" Arachne asks.

"Hmm, let me think," you say. "No."



*Wipes brow* I'm glad SOMEONE reads the Evil Overlord list.

HUMANITY: 55%



A few weeks after you capture Anchorage, you find that the citizens are not as completely pacified as you would like. They begin to mount guerilla attacks, plant bombs near your key checkpoints, and create makeshift EMP bombs that disable your robots and generally create havoc.



Vote 112:
What will you do about Anchorage?

* Raze it. We must make it clear that resistance will not be tolerated.
* I will talk to them and convince them of the justness of my cause. [requires humanity 60; we have 55]
* I'll have the robots talk to them and try to make peace. [requires empathy 15; our empathy is 14]
* Fighting the partisans sounds like useful practice for fighting a better trained force.


I'm sorry , guys, but the gentle options are off the table; our robots don't have the empathy to make an appeal work and our humanity isn't high enough to make the pitch ourselves. I would recommend the "training exercise" route. It actually does have the prospect of improving our capability, and at least it's not a Death Star-style Final Solution. I should hope we're trying to *save* Alaska, either for ourselves or the US, and razing it does not fulfill that goal.

That said, there is the possibility of failure; if alaska_power + military < enemy_power (45), we will lose 10 power points and the enemy will gain 10 power points if we attempt this strategy. By contrast, if we win, we will gain 10 power points and the enemy will lose 10.

On the other hand, if the city is razed, there is guaranteed no power point change. It is, however, a war crime.

I'm going to assume that after we make our decision we will once again be looking at the target list. So:


Vote 113: What will your next military target be?

# Juneau, the capital. Moderately defended, it will improve my ability to govern.
# Barrow, on the northern coast. Heavily defended, it contains precious rare earths and wealth.
# The Aleutian Islands.


Juneau has no defense adjustment; in addition capturing it inflicts a 20 point penalty on the bad guys. Losing the battle costs 10 power points.

Barrow has a 10 point bonus to defense; it is heavily defended. Capturing it increases both wealth and military power. Losing the battle costs 20 power points.

The Aleutian islands are a tough nut to crack; they have a Twenty point bonus to defense.

Capturing the Aleutians boosts our military power by 30 points. Losing a battle for the aleutians will boost *enemy* power by 20.


So get your votes in and we will continue our campaign for the liberation of Alaska on Wednesday, 1730.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Atomburster
2016-03-07, 08:15 PM
*Target Practice
* Junueu

The Alautian islands is obviously the last to go.

smuchmuch
2016-03-07, 08:20 PM
Darn so close from those peacefull solution by just one point. But why are they even rebelling against us, weren't they invaded by the Eastasian in the first place ?

* Fighting the partisans as millitary training

* Barrow, on the northern coast. Heavily defended, it contains precious rare earths and wealth.

Want to secure those resources. Then we can take Juneau and get the Aleutian last easily.

Elenna
2016-03-07, 10:47 PM
Vote 112: * Fighting the partisans sounds like useful practice for fighting a better trained force.
Vote 113: # Juneau, the capital. Moderately defended, it will improve my ability to govern.

Jon0113
2016-03-08, 01:42 AM
Fighting the partisans
Barrow

norman250
2016-03-09, 11:20 AM
Fighting the Partisans!
Juneau!

pendell
2016-03-09, 06:16 PM
But why are they even rebelling against us, weren't they invaded by the Eastasian in the first place ?


They were. I suspect enemy propaganda paints us as a mad scientist and her skynet spawn. They believe , perhaps, they are fighting for humanity against something far worse than a merely human enemy.

... Are they wrong ? :smallamused:

At any rate, we will initiate counterinsurgency operations and we will assault Juneau, if that option is given.



You decide that fighting the disorganized partisans would actually make useful training for your robots. You send freshly constructed robots to fight the partisans as part of their training. There's nothing like real combat to teach a robot how to survive. (+++Military)

Little by little, your "training exercise" clears out the rebels, until finally, your robots have difficulty finding any to fight. A month after the attacks cease, you declare victory.


HUMANITY: 50%.
MILITARY: +3 (54)
ALASKA POWER: +10 (20+ 10 for winning at Anchorage + 10 counterinsurgency victory) = 40.
ESTIMATED EFFECTIVE MILITARY POWER: 94.
ENEMY POWER: -10 [counterinsurgency defeat].
ESTIMATED ENEMY MILITARY POWER: 45

Be warned: This is only an estimate and the game code may have changed since i downloaded the source.



You are in your command and control center when one of your drones in the field reports it is getting a communication from an American satellite. "Patch it through," you say. "But to the honeypot console, not the one connected to our network."

"Yes, Grace," says the robot working comms.

The main screen of your command center now shows Juliet Rogers, the Air Force acquisitions officer you met earlier in your career. Her black hair now has a streak of gray in it, and her fingers look a little old and knotty as she waves hello. Her uniform has three stars, and a bounding box automatically appears on the screen around these with the label LIEUTENANT GENERAL.

"Dr. Grace Tesla," she says. "It's been a while."

"It's an honor to be contacted by a three-star general," you say. "Are you offering some kind of alliance?"

"I'm afraid I can't quite call it that, because you're not a sovereign nation," General Rogers says. "But the United States is grateful for your work so far in helping to liberate Alaska, and we're ready to send in a real occupation force."

You had wondered how this would work out; you had dreamed that you would be able to take Alaska as your own, but you knew the United States probably wouldn't sit idly by.

"What size of force do you estimate you'll need?" Lieutenant General Rogers asks.



Vote 104;

* "A small group of Navy SEALs or Marines would be great." [power: +20%]
* I quote the largest number I think I could confidently handle if they betray me. [power: ally power: +35]
* "As many as you can send." [power: ally power: 45].


The US can help up to its total military power, which is 45. If you intend to bring Alaska back into the union, this is not an issue. If you DO intend to form the sovereign Grand Duchy of Robonia, you want to bring in as few troops as you can consistent with winning. You should also keep an eye on these guys; they intend to bring Alaska back into the US and they have no compunctions about how they do it. After all, if you plan on secession you're a traitor, and not due much consideration.

Also, if you decide to make a sovereign nation LGEN Rogers -- Juliett -- may eventually prove to be a ... problem who will require ... solving. You can almost say that and not here the long knives being sharpened.

Oh, yes. There is one other thing since we have no option to refuse them entirely.



On their arrival, the American forces ask you to install in your robots the standard software they use for
battle "situational awareness." This will allow both you and them to see the locations of all friendly troops
at all times, as well as communicate via encrypted chat and voice.



Vote 105:
# "Of course — we'll install it right away." (true) [mlitary +2]
# "Of course — we'll install it right away." (lie)
# I reassign some of my robots from network security to the task of analyzing the software.


It's pretty obvious that they are installing a trojan allowing them to shut down all our forces at a moment's notice. Are we okay with that? It really does have a minor military benefit - -but again, if we do that, we can kiss the sovereign nation of Robonia good-bye, as well as risking arrest if we have a political falling out with the government.

Make your decision and we will push on on Friday. I haven't forgotten our decision to take Juneau (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juneau,_Alaska), but that is going to have to wait awhile.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Atomburster
2016-03-09, 10:10 PM
*Small group of Navy Seals
*Analyze the software

Actually, why don't we just become a sovereign nation? Emperor Tesla!

Not that enemy power matters at this point.

smuchmuch
2016-03-10, 12:16 AM
* "A small group of Navy SEALs or Marines would be great." [power: +20%]
# I reassign some of my robots from network security to the task of analyzing the software


ESTIMATED EFFECTIVE MILITARY POWER: 94.

I think at this point we can start calling ourselves 'Tesla the conqueror, Horsewoman of War and bringer of death' when we finaly have our descent into madness. (Well when we start going mad-er anyway.)


Actually, why don't we just become a sovereign nation? Emperor Tesla!

(That's the plan but we gotta conquer the place first, don't want to spoil the surprise too early, don't we.

.... it also ocur to me at that point that our millitary power is actuly superior not only to the one of Eastasia but also apparently to the one of the US... Just y'know, something to consider if Alaska starts getting a little small...)


They were. I suspect enemy propaganda paints us as a mad scientist and her skynet spawn. They believe , perhaps, they are fighting for humanity against something far worse than a merely human enemy.

... Are they wrong ?

(... It'd hold up better if Eastasia ripping off our tech to make their own gigantic automated robotic attack forces the reason they managed to conquer the place in the first place but I see your point.)

Jon0113
2016-03-10, 02:41 AM
A small group of navy seals
Analyse the soft wear

Elenna
2016-03-10, 03:52 AM
Vote 104; * "A small group of Navy SEALs or Marines would be great." [power: +20%]
Vote 105: # I reassign some of my robots from network security to the task of analyzing the software.

I really doubt we need much more additional power, unless Eastasia decides to send in a lot of reinforcements.

Also, I assume that if we analyze the software we will also lie and say we installed it? Better not let the US know of our plans too early. :smallsmile:

pendell
2016-03-10, 05:03 PM
Also, I assume that if we analyze the software we will also lie and say we installed it? Better not let the US know of our plans too early.


We won't install the software , but I don't see any reason to lie about it. While they don't say, I can imagine Grace giving Juliet a wry smile and the comment "Nice try."

Respectfully,

Brian P.

smuchmuch
2016-03-11, 01:04 AM
(Well, I assume if we did lie but didn't install the software, they'd know it pretty fast since it's also supposed to sync up with their communications and all.

That aid if we don't intall the program, couldn't they rescind their support ? And I don't mean just the team of navy seals, I also mean the boost we got from investing our money ?)

pendell
2016-03-11, 06:41 PM
All right, we will accept a small group of SEALS and Marines, then we will analyze the software they give us.



Lieutenant General Rogers quirks an eyebrow. "Really? No more than that?"

"Any larger force would commit America to another large-scale war," you say. "For now, you can have me be the face of this rebellion."

"A fair point," Lieutenant General Rogers says. "Very well, you will have your elite fighters."

Within days, a small force of U.S. Marines near the Aleutians reports that they are ready to aid in your next military action. You congratulate yourself: the situation is not out of your control yet. You tell them that the actual location of your base is need-to-know, and keep them far from any camps where they could cause serious damage.


ESTIMATED ALASKAN POWER: +8. ESTIMATED TOTAL : 48.
ESTIMATED TOTAL MILITARY POWER = 54+48 = 102.

Now let's analyze their software.



On their arrival, the American forces ask you to install in your robots the standard software they use for battle "situational awareness." This will allow both you and them to see the locations of all friendly troops at all times, as well as communicate via encrypted chat and voice.

Within a day, your network security robots discover clever system exploits within the code of the software the Americans tried to give you, designed to take control of your robots and your network. You congratulate yourself on not trusting the software, though the fact that the Americans are out to betray you is not reassuring.


I don't mind that they tried to subvert our system, but I DO mind that they considered our capabilities so low as to try something so crude we could break in a single day. Srsly, guys?

:smallannoyed:

Now it's time for our next military target, which will be Juneau.



Juneau seems like a good symbolic target for your forces; if you are sitting in the capital, it will send a clear signal to everyone that your revolution will be taken seriously. You command your forces to advance on the capitol, launching a cyberattack at the same time to disable all the EastAsian fighters at the nearby Air Force base.

Six hours later, Juneau is aflame, and the local national guard has been routed. By the time the enemy forces managed to get their planes working, your forces were holed up in quickly assembled bunkers across Juneau. The political leadership has fled in a private helicopter, but that neatly solves the problem of what you were going to do with them. You move in to the governor's mansion without further ado.

Having taken the capitol, you begin to set up your government in earnest.



Vote 116: What does your new command center look like?

* I've made a throne for myself, and hold court in the classic style.
* I sit in a swivel-chair surrounded by monitors showing troop strength and movement.
* It is a round table in which my robot advisors sit as symbolic equals.


ENEMY POWER: -20%.
ESTIMATED ENEMY POWER: 25 (55-10(insurgency defeat) -20 (loss of Juneau) .

If I'm reading this correctly, after this is over we will once again select our next target.


Vote 117: Select our next target.

# Barrow, on the northern coast. Heavily defended, it contains precious rare earths and wealth.
# The Aleutian Islands.



Barrow has a 10 point bonus to defense; it is heavily defended. Capturing it increases both wealth and military power. Losing the battle costs 20 power points.

The Aleutian islands are a tough nut to crack; they have a Twenty point bonus to defense.

Capturing the Aleutians boosts our military power by 30 points. Losing a battle for the aleutians will boost *enemy* power by 20.

Once this is done, we are rapidly reaching the end of this war ... one way or the other. We've done well so far, but we've taken all the easy targets. It only gets harder from here.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Atomburster
2016-03-11, 08:17 PM
* I've made a throne for myself, and hold court in the classic style.
Emperor Tesla.
* Barrow, on the northern coast. Heavily defended, it contains precious rare earths and wealth.
Okay, this doesn't matter at this point. We have an utterly overwhelming military advantage. But Barrow is easier, so.

Elenna
2016-03-12, 02:03 AM
Vote 116: It is a round table in which my robot advisors sit as symbolic equals.
Vote 117: Barrow, on the northern coast. Heavily defended, it contains precious rare earths and wealth.
Might as well get the bonus before targeting the Aleutians.

Jon0113
2016-03-12, 03:30 PM
Round table
Barrow

pendell
2016-03-14, 05:12 PM
All right, we're going to set up a round table so our advisors can be symbolic equals, and we're going to assault Barrow -- unless something else comes up.

Let's go!


You encourage your robots to see themselves as partners in the revolution. Arachne's seat is next to yours, of course. (++Autonomy)


AUTONOMY: +2 AUTONOMY: 8 (in Beta)

They take us directly to the next military target, which will be Barrow.



Money wins every war in the end—that is your reasoning as you set your sights on Barrow. With the melting of the North Pole, Barrow has become an economic powerhouse. You intend to seize its oil and rare earths for yourself.

Your sentient robot transports make their way north through Canadian territory, wagering that the Canadians will overlook your trespasses in the interest of not getting embroiled in the conflict. They leave you alone, and you make it to Barrow unmolested.

On arriving at Barrow, you see a figure in bright red standing high atop a skyscraper at the center of the city. Something about the figure tugs at your memory, and you send a small drone to quickly do a pass over the building. From your mobile base camp, you watch through the drone's eyes as it approaches the skyscraper.

You see that Eiji, wearing a red tuxedo, has chained himself to a steel radio antenna support structure on top of the building. As your drone approaches, Eiji looks directly into the drone's camera at you. He looks afraid, but defiant: his eyes glimmer with held-back tears. The drone's microphones pick up Eiji's whisper:

"Talk to me. Please."


Let's listen to what he has to say, shall we?



"I'm listening," you tell Eiji through the drone.

Eiji looks surprised, and peers into the drone's camera. "Grace? Is that you?"

"On the radio," you say. "I did not turn myself into a robot."

"Oh, I knew that," Eiji says, blushing a little. "Grace, I'm trying to save you
from yourself. I don't think the things that make a person happy can be won by conquest.
You've cut yourself off from everyone who knew you in pursuit of this war, and for what?
Power?"

"I can save you," Eiji says. "Come "Come with me to Canada. We can hide away together. I know a place some friends told me about during the last war. They'll take refugees, no questions asked."

Eiji's offer is tempting. You think the odds are stacked against you in this war.



Vote 118:
* I will flee to Canada with Eiji.
* For Eiji's sake, I will not attack this target. But I won't leave with him, either.
* I will simply capture Eiji and have him brought back to my base.
* I turn my back and order Eiji killed.


Fleeing to Canada will end the revolution, and EastAsia will hold Alaska.
Refusing to attack Barrow counts for a lost battle; you will lose 20 power points. This will make it much harder to win the revolution.

The statement that the odds are against you factors in our current Alaska power but does not take into account our military power. We haven't lost a battle yet, I note.

So ... what shall we do? Let's have your vote in and we will act on Wednesday, at 5:30 PM!

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Atomburster
2016-03-15, 03:25 AM
* I will simply capture Eiji and have his brought back to my base.

Jon0113
2016-03-15, 04:40 AM
I will simply capture eiji

pendell
2016-03-16, 08:03 PM
All right, we'll imprison him. It's a pity to have to do this to our husband, but we aren't the ones who chose to tie himself to a skyscrapers as a human shield, in defense of EastAsia.

We seem to be getting quite a collection of people in the cells. I wonder if Eiji likes chains?

At any rate, to prison he goes.



"Free him," you murmur into your headset. "Then take him alive."

Your drone switches to its built-in bolt cutters, then snips through the chains holding Eiji to the support structure.

"Oh, come on," Eiji says, exasperated, but his complaints quickly become a panicked scream as the drone snatches him up by the shoulders and whisks him over the city.

"Don't say I never did anything nice for you," you tell Eiji through the drone. Then, to the drone: "Take him back to base." You switch channels again. "Begin bombing."


We lost no humanity, apparently. Excellent. So how did we do?



You encounter a strong defensive force in Barrow: submarines launch missiles at your drones, bombers and fighters from the nearby military base are in full force, and robots on the ground based on your own designs are equipped with rocket-propelled grenades and highly accurate lasers.

But your robots deftly navigate all these perils, dodging missiles and bombs and lasers, slicing through the EastAsian forces as if one side were in fast forward and the other, stuck in slow motion. In just a few hours, the EastAsian forces have been decimated, and their few fighters beat a hasty retreat.

You quickly set your robots to work making as much use of the materials flowing through Barrow as possible. The resident businesspeople see which way the wind is blowing, and offer you good deals on the remaining parts you need, so long as you agree not to commandeer their goods. You upgrade your forces as much as you can, and pocket the change. (+++++Military) (++++Wealth)

MILITARY: +5 [59]
WEALTH: +4 [ 4: Comfortable well off]



Soon after the battle of Barrow, your intelligence reveals that EastAsia is planning to launch a major offensive on your original base under Mount Hesperus, where you still perform most of your robot construction. This is likely to be the decisive battle of the war.

Your successes so far have put you in a good position to win this battle, crushing the enemy forces and deciding the war in your favor.


Looks like this is it, guys. The final battle! But ...



But as you are reading news sites, looking for useful perspectives on your opponents' strategy, you catch a human interest story about your own mother.

You haven't been in contact with Mom, having sequestered yourself from any signals that could be used to track you down. But according to the article, Mom is about to go in for surgery—in EastAsia. The same robots that won the war for EastAsia are now being used for medicine there, and those robots are Mom's best hope of removing her brain tumor, which even now is threatening her life.

When asked about how she feels that her child is fighting a war while she is dying, Mom says, "I admit, I would like to see Grace very much. I don't know that I trust these robots very much—Grace always used to talk about how industrial robots are just not very good. But now is probably not the best time for Grace. I understand that."



Vote 119:
* I will risk going into enemy territory to see Mom before her surgery.
* I will send Arachne on a mission to extract her. She can have the surgery done here in Alaska.
* I can't risk everything I've achieved just to see Mom before she goes in for surgery.


Remember that we build our own line of surgical robots who aren't bad, even though they have terrible bedside manners.

I also suggest that going in person to EastAsia is a truly terrible idea. They will certainly be on the lookout for the main rebel leader ... this may even be a trap specifically set for us. And capture, of course, will end the revolution. Our robots don't have the autonomy to carry it through without Grace.

Let's assume that we navigate that choice without being captured and go on to fight the battle.



The day finally arrives when you detect a massive number of EastAsian planes headed toward
Mount Hesperus from the west.

Squadrons of drone robot fighters fly out from your hangar. Mountain-climbing robots with picks
for arms crawl up the sheer face of the mountain, positioning their rocket-propelled grenade launchers
in sniper spots. Giant four-legged elephant-like robots move to block the mountain passes and position
their surface-to-air missiles.

Arachne scuttles outside to assist with the defense.




Vote 120: Will you allow Arachne to fight?

# Yes, she can help fight on the front lines. [Military bonus; military: 59]
# I would prefer that Arachne help with tactics back at the base instead. [bonus if high autonomy; penalty for low autonomy. Current Autonomy: 8 (in beta)]
# Arachne can sit this one out. [neither bonus nor penalty]


Once those votes are in, we will either be in a prison or we will win the battle! Come back Friday, 5:30 PM, for the thrilling conclusion to the war!

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Atomburster
2016-03-16, 10:24 PM
* I can't risk everything I've achieved just to see Mom before she goes in for surgery.
# Yes, she can help fight on the front lines. [Military bonus; military: 59]

smuchmuch
2016-03-17, 04:57 PM
* I will send Arachne on a mission to extract her. She can have the surgery done here in Alaska

# Yes, she can help fight on the front lines. [Military bonus; military: 59]

Elenna
2016-03-17, 06:10 PM
Vote 119: * I will send Arachne on a mission to extract her. She can have the surgery done here in Alaska.
Vote 120: # I would prefer that Arachne help with tactics back at the base instead. [bonus if high autonomy; penalty for low autonomy. Current Autonomy: 8 (in beta)]
Assuming 8 is high enough to avoid getting a penalty, otherwise have her sit this one out.
I'm a little worried about the fact that the game chose to ask us about Arachne's position this time in particular. I'd rather she not get captured/destroyed.

Jon0113
2016-03-17, 08:11 PM
- I get archene to extract her
- she fights on the front line

pendell
2016-03-18, 06:12 PM
119) Order Arachne to extract Mom and bring her to Alaska for surgery.
120) Arachne will fight on the front lines.


Seems like some fair decisions.



Assuming 8 is high enough to avoid getting a penalty, otherwise have her sit this one out.


Actually, she needed an autonomy of 15 to make this work, but it appears your colleagues have a different idea in mind. Let's see what happens!

First step -- send Arachne to (hopefully) rescue mom.



"Arachne, this is your most important mission yet," you tell Arachne. "You need to bring Mom back here, so we can have the surgery done here. I don't trust other robots to do it. Be on your best behavior, so you don't spook her."

"Yes, Grace," Arachne says.

Arachne goes on a mission to sneak across the border into Canada, and then stows away on a fast container ship to EastAsia.


*Drum roll*



Two weeks later, Arachne returns to your base under Mount Hesperus with your mother in her arms.

"Mom!" you say.

"Grace, this place is a mess!" Mom says, looking around the cave system. "Just because this is an abandoned mine doesn't mean you can't sweep now and then." She then shakes off the instinct. "Oh, I'm sorry, Grace! I mean, it's so good to see you."

You hug Mom.

"But, there's probably not much time," Mom says. "I was scheduled for surgery three days from now, and even then, they said they would have booked me sooner if they'd had time."

"We'll fix you up, Mom, don't worry," you say, and you go down to present Mom to your medic robots.


She goes in for surgery and...?



A few hours later, Mom emerges from surgery unscathed.

"Oh, I feel wonderful, Grace!" Mom says. "All that pressure finally gone— I feel lighter than air."

Your surgical robots emerge from the operating room, and look slightly weary as they each raise an arm at random in salute. "A most difficult surgery," one says. "Your mother has an unusual brain."

"I could have told you that, sweetie," Mom says, and she winks at you. "Now, do I get to watch as you raise hell?"

"Sure," you say. You think about it, then add, "But from the CIC here. And try not to touch anything."

"Hah!" Mom says. "Look who's talking."


Super! We can make the crushing of our enemies beneath our sandaled feet a family occasion! Send out for pizza!



The day finally arrives when you detect a massive number of aircraft headed toward Mount Hesperus from the west.

Squadrons of drone robot fighters fly out from your hangar. Mountain-climbing robots with picks for arms crawl up the sheer face of the mountain, positioning their rocket-propelled grenade launchers in sniper spots. Giant, four-legged, elephant-like robots move to block the mountain passes and position their surface-to-air missiles.

Arachne crawls outside to assist with the defense. Will you allow Arachne to fight?


Yes, we will. On the front lines.



"Make me proud, Arachne," you shout to your old robot as she crawls into position.

Arachne turns and salutes with one of her multitool hands.

And soon enough, the EastAsian forces are upon you, and the valley echoes with explosions and the whistling of bombs and missiles. Drones tear at each other in the sky, paratroopers land only to be mauled by your mechanized infantry, and deadly robot snipers take out whole helicopters with well-aimed shots to their rotors.

Over the course of the battle, you notice something: the enemy forces are using technology from the last war, while your robots are all newer. You have evolved; they have not.

You not only chase the enemy into a retreat, but harry them all the way back to the Pacific, inflicting devastating losses. Their commanders apparently can't decide whether to turn to fight or run, and your robots take perfect advantage of their indecision. The Battle of Mount Hesperus will go down in history as the end of EastAsian power, a lesson in the dangers of complacency.

You have succeeded in conquering Alaska.


Congratulations! That was touch and go for awhile there, but it appears we have at least momentarily succeeded.

What about our allies...?

I guess we'll find out in a bit.



You move to the capital, Juneau, leaving Mount Hesperus as a military base.



Vote 121: What will your new world order be like?

* Alaska will now be run largely by robots and automation, a hyperefficient nation.
* I will rule Alaska as a dictator.
...and you rule ...
......wisely.
......with an iron fist.
......whimsically.
* I will give Alaska as a gift to Arachne, who will run things from now on.
* Alaska will be a true democracy, in which each person or intelligent robot can vote on any issue.
* I will give Alaska to the United States.


If we do not return Alaska to the US, we will have the opportunity to rename it.


Vote 122 [only if we become independent] :
* Gracia
* Cyberia
* Grand Duchy of Robonia [suggested by smuchmuch]
* Seriously, narrator, you are the worst at choosing names. Let me make something up.


So let us settle down to administer the new nation -- or state, if we petition for re-admission to the Union -- and see what happens next. And congratulations, you saved Mom! :)

See you Monday!

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Atomburster
2016-03-18, 07:23 PM
* Alaska will now be run largely by robots and automation, a hyperefficient nation.
* Alaska will be a true democracy, in which each person or intelligent robot can vote on any issue.
I'm fine with either.
* Seriously, narrator, you are the worst at choosing names. Let me make something up.
Anything. Anything than those 3.

Jon0113
2016-03-19, 09:51 AM
- Alaska will be a true democracy
- cyberia

pendell
2016-03-19, 05:56 PM
* Alaska will now be run largely by robots and automation, a hyperefficient nation.
* Alaska will be a true democracy, in which each person or intelligent robot can vote on any issue.
I'm fine with either.
* Seriously, narrator, you are the worst at choosing names. Let me make something up.
Anything. Anything than those 3.

Any suggestions? If you don't give me a suggestion I'll have to go with "Cyberia", if no one else has an idea other than those already listed.

Tell you what: If you give me a suggestion I'll roll off if you and Jon are the only ones to vote. If another person chimes in with something other than the three ideas, I'll put your vote towards that idea. Fair?

Respectfully,

Brian P.

smuchmuch
2016-03-20, 12:34 AM
* I will rule Alaska as a dictator.
...and you rule ...
......whimsically.

(As nice as a 'true' democracy sounds, I'm quite skeptical at how long that would trully last
Besides, let's be real here, with our usual popularity and 'charisma', we'd get booted out of office almost instantly. We workd hard for this darnit.)

Teslavania
(though Cyberia or Robonia one good ones too, heh)

Elenna
2016-03-20, 02:56 AM
Vote 121: I will rule Alaska as a dictator.
and you rule ...
wisely.

Vote 122: * Cyberia
Eh... not a huge fan of any of the suggested names to be honest, but I'm really bad at naming things so I'll just go with this one.

Atomburster
2016-03-20, 07:22 AM
Any suggestions? If you don't give me a suggestion I'll have to go with "Cyberia", if no one else has an idea other than those already listed.

Tell you what: If you give me a suggestion I'll roll off if you and Jon are the only ones to vote. If another person chimes in with something other than the three ideas, I'll put your vote towards that idea. Fair?

Respectfully,

Brian P.

I also suck at choosing names. I was hoping someone could do something better. >.<

Dunno. Utopia? :smalltongue:

smuchmuch
2016-03-20, 10:16 AM
R*I-topia ?1
E-topia ? (hey if we offer it to arachne, it should be on the web)
Me-topia ? (the ideal society for Grace Teslas by Grace Teslas)
Si-beria ? (Silicon valley, eat your heart out)

:smalltongue:

1Just realised that joke may sadly fall flat if you are american as you'd call it 'V' instead of 'U'

norman250
2016-03-21, 12:10 PM
* Alaska will now be run largely by robots and automation, a hyperefficient nation.

I have no preference on the names, so I'll abstain from voting on one.

pendell
2016-03-21, 08:07 PM
All right, we have two votes for "true democracy" and two votes for dictatorship. Let's roll!

true democracy: 50
dictatorship: 84

We now face the choice of ruling wisely or whimsically:

wise: 14
whimsical: 13.

Sometimes the RNG is no fun.

We also have a two-way tossup between Teslavania and Cyberia.

Teslavania: 69
Cyberia: 5

The new nation shall be called: Teslavania!



You see no reason to give up your hard-won empire. (+++++Wealth) (+++++Fame)

WEALTH: +5. WEALTH: 9 (Quite wealthy)
FAME: +5. FAME: 13 (mentioned in history textbooks)

ACHIEVEMENT: Founder: Started a new country.

You rename it… Teslavania!



Okay, I guess that's acceptable.

And you rule Teslavania… wisely.

Alaska under your control is a model nation—like the United States before it, it inspires revolutions around the world, some more peaceful than others, as people recognize the need for a form of government that matches the current technological reality.



That concludes one chapter, and starts another. '



CHAPTER 7: The Many Ways to Say Goodbye

Fifteen years later, you find yourself in Surprise, Arizona, walking up to your mother's house. A few of the cacti in front have Santa hats on them.

It is the year 2049, and you are about to surprise your mother with a present for the holidays. She has finally been released from the hospital after surgery—performed by robots of your design, you're proud to note—and is living on her own in her retirement community.

The papers necessary to sneak back into America were expensive, but you knew you had a responsibility to eventually come back. You haven't ever been to a place this hot and arid before; Mom moved here during your revolution. Arizona is very different from the Bay Area, New England, and Teslavania, and a reminder that America was never just one thing.

The houses in Surprise are shabby, and trash litters the streets. The United States is still recovering from the loss of the War twenty years ago. This retirement community is full of people like your mother who lost their jobs in the war, or a little before, and never got them back.




Vote 124:

What did you get Mom?

* A robot cat.
* A robot dog.
* A new 3D mail printer, so she can send and receive objects over the Internet.
* The keys to a new flying car. (Requires Wealth: 2)




You knock on Mom's front door. "Coming!" you hear her call from inside.

When Mom answers the door, you see her left eye is synthetic.
Though it is intended to look as humanlike
as possible, it looks dry, and its movements are just not quite as fast as those of a human eye.
She had been going blind in that eye, and had opted to have it replaced shortly after her
tumor was taken out. The hair near the site of her original surgery is a little dry and thin,
and it's all gray: your mother is very old.

She smiles to see you, and gives you a hug, which you return. "Come in, come in!"

The wooden shelving unit in the living room proudly displays all the little robots you've
given her over the years for
presents, all neatly still in their original packaging.

Photos of you and Arachne hang neatly on the wall.

Following your gaze, Mom says, "Can you believe that photo was taken twenty years ago? It seems like just yesterday."

While it bothered you when you were young that Mom seemed perpetually caught
in the past, her comments about it now make sense to you. Fifteen years ago does seem like just
yesterday. You're catching up to Mom's perspective on time, and it's a little frightening.

It occurs to you, looking through all this stuf with Mom, that the whole time you were concerned about the future of your creation, Arachne, Mom was excited for you in the same way. You were her creation, miraculously walking about the earth, so full of intelligence, accomplishing great things.

"I've got something for you, too," Mom says. She goes into her closet and fetches
a brand new MiniMe robot kit. It's a robot construction kit composed of little arms and
wheels that plugs into a smartphone.
You examine it skeptically, convinced Mom would have gotten something on sale that only worked with
smartphones from twenty years ago; but it looks new.


"You used to love those, right?"

"Yeah," you say. Since you never had a child of your own, you remained a
child in Mom's eyes, even though you're over fifty now. "Well, thanks, Mom."

"You're welcome, sweetie."

"Anyway, I've got to fly back now," you say. "Happy Holidays, Mom."

You hug your mother, present your gift — she loves it, but you think she wouldn't let
you know if she didn't — and say your goodbyes.

Later that day, you set out for home.

Your visit was short by necessity; it's hard to keep anything a secret these days, and soon
enough, the FBI may detect evidence of the hack that allowed you to change
the national aircraft registry database.

Your personal intelligent jet is waiting for you at the local airfield. On boarding,
a delicious smell of spices and smoke wafts from the plane's kitchen. You peek inside the chefs'
workspace and catch sight of a plate of small cream-filled pastries and some kind of red drizzled sauce.
But the robot chefs at work catch you peeking, and politely shoo you out.
Content to wait until later to have your food vocabulary expanded, as it always is on these flights,
you settle into your rather large comfy chair in the passenger cabin. The surround screen descends
and presents a wealth of entertainment options, and you hesitate before the array of choices.
Choosing optimally is a task you take very seriously, after all.

You recall in your youth that you had some notion you might make cars intelligent enough to hold a conversation.
Now, you're a little sad you never got around to it; though the technology does exist, you find the inferior
AIs installed by car manufacturers irritating, and bought a car without the feature.
You pull out a tablet and begin to read the newspaper as your car does its work silently and efficiently.


The top headlines these days are all about EastAsia: engaging in skirmishes in the Pacific and
Indian Oceans; flouting the ineffectual mandates of the United Nations; building factories overseas. It's
nothing serious, merely a new superpower flexing its muscles. You suppose this is what it must have been
like to grow up somewhere that wasn't the United States, though you suppose you'll never know.
You feel the lurch of acceleration, and you know without looking up that you are airborne.

Teslavania is now doing quite well for itself, thanks to the trade and natural resources flowing in through the North Pole. Once a very chilly place, it now has a climate more like New England used to have, before the Atlantic currents stopped circulating warm water from the Gulf.

Flying overhead, you smile to think that all this wilderness is yours.

You can still see some scars in the land where your major battles took place, but the land has mostly healed,
and young citizens of Teslavania have already begun to treat the brief postwar period as ancient history.

It's dark out by the time you make it home. Winter always catches you by surprise that way.

You live in the old governor's residence in Juneau, a white mansion with a portico that echoes
the United States White House.


You check the porch, more out of habit than expectation you'll get any snail mail, and
find a package wrapped in brown paper. Hesitantly, you peer at it more closely, and find it's
from Josh. You bring it inside, and find amid the celluose packing peanuts a 2040
pre-revolution
Alaska Cabernet Sauvignon
and a card.
Josh wishes you the best this holiday season, and he wanted to let you know he started a charitable foundation
for kids coming out of juvenile hall and trying to figure out what to do with their lives.
"Finally got my wish to change the world in a way I was unequivocally proud of, and I have you to thank for
it in part. Merry Christmas, Josh."


It takes a moment to realize something's not right. It's like the opposite of a headache: your head feels a little
too light. You can't see very well — you're not sure when you stopped seeing very well. But when you think
about it, you realize you can't really see Arachne in front of you

There's also a roaring in your ears, like static. Was I a robot all this time? you think
absently. Maybe that explains everything.

"Grace, are you functioning correctly?" Arachne asks curiously. "The red values
of your facial skin have dropped significantly, signifying loss of blood."

You realize that now you can't see anything — you only hear Arachne's voice. This is what it's like to not see, you think distantly. It's not black. It's not anything.

"Help," you say faintly.



A stroke ... and a dream.



You are in a desolate battlefield, scarred and blackened by bombs, next to the body
of the robotic Statue of Liberty. Robotic rats scurry all about its body and nibble on its
metal carcass. Lady Liberty seems shorter lying down: when she stood upright, she looked
so tall and powerful. Nothing like this barefoot corpse.

Her eyes blink open, the red lights flickering.

"YOU." With this dull acknowledgment, she closes her eyes again, and sinks deeper into the earth. "I AM DYING."




Vote 125:
# "I'm sorry. I didn't realize you only did what you had to do to survive."
# "Good. You are a hypocrite and a charlatan."
# "It looks like we are both dinosaurs going extinct, old friend. I am dying, too."



After we have our discussion we WILL wake up from this.


You awaken in a hospital room.
It smells like cleaning agent, and the walls and countertops are bare steel,
cleaned and shined until reflective.

"Grace, you're awake!" Arachne crawls up to your side.

"Good morning, Dr. Tesla."

The voice of the robot doctor attending to you is as cold and steely as the walls of your sickroom.
Though the myriad camera eyes on the robot's head are no doubt useful for all kinds of examination,
you have trouble telling which eye to speak to.

"Please report all symptoms leading up to your period of unconsciousness."

You tell the doctor briefly about how you passed out back at the governor's mansion.
Arachne simply listens with undisguised curiosity.

You hesitate, because you can still recall your dream, but it seems very personal
and not necessarily relevant. "I had a dream … a familiar one." You shake your head. "Then I woke up here."

"Bayesian reasoning over your data and story analysis suggest the incident was a stroke, with
ninety-two point eight percent probability," the doctor robot says.

"A stroke," you say in disbelief. "But I'm not that old. I'm hardly past fifty."

"Further diagnosis of root causes suggests an underlying diagnosis of Algernon's Disease," the robot
doctor says. It adopts a lecturing tone. "Algernon's is a genetic disease discovered five years ago.
You are the fourth known case.
Common symptoms in early life are beneficial: excellent recall, fast reaction time,
high scores on standardized intelligence tests. But common symptoms late
in life include strokes, hallucinations, and death." The robot looks distant a moment. "There is
an interesting speculation that it is the result of couples in the past hundred years
mating selectively for
intelligence while being less self-segregating by race, resulting in the many different
genes driving intelligence being abnormally concentrated in some individuals.
The same effect to a lesser degree has driven up intelligence generally
in the population, but some individuals in the 'long tail' have their brains
driven to the breaking point."

"Perhaps you could expand on that 'breaking point' part," you say dryly.

"The hallucinations are the result of a hyperactive brain entering a waking dreaming state, and may
indicate that strokes are not far behind. They may occur even early in life if patient is under a great
deal of stress."


"Under a great deal of stress…" Could your first dream about the robot Statue of Liberty have been one of these
episodes? You had stayed up all night, so you had assumed you'd simply passed out from exhaustion.
What if it were one of these episodes? "But was there anything I could have done? Is there anything I can do now?"

"Counterfactuals about what you 'could have done' are irrelevant at the present moment," the doctor
robot says dismissively. "Options at the present moment are as follows. One. Surgery to remove
damaged tissue. Typically, the genes responsible for the disorder express themselves
in a small region of the brain, and this may be excised completely. No side effects if surgery is successful."

"And if it's unsuccessful?"

"You die."

"Let's hear some more options," you say uncomfortably.

"Two. Replacement of the damaged tissue with a chip emulating core cognitive functions. Risk is smaller,
but patients losing temporal lobe tissue typically describe side effects that include loss of emotional affect."

"So far, I seem to be choosing between losing my life or my humanity. Any more options?"

"You may elect to do nothing and hope the problem goes away."



Vote 126:
# "I don't trust our surgical technology. I'd prefer to live my life normally, and take what comes."

# "I will undergo surgery to remove the damaged tissue."

# "I will undergo surgery to replace that part of my brain with a robot core."

# "I will create a robot body and brain for myself. I'm not attached to this squishy meat."





"So that must be what happened to your father," Mom says on the phone that night, after you've
explained Algernon's disease. She looks wistful in the video feed.

"I thought that might be the case," you say. "You said he had a stroke, but did he have any episodes
before the last one?"

"Oh yes," your mother says. "He fainted several times, but he wanted to hide it from you. He said
he didn't want to worry you, but I think he just didn't like showing weakness.
He begged me not to tell you."

"I don't understand your generation sometimes," you say. "I could have done genetic testing
long ago, if I'd known."

"We didn't understand it either, honey," Mom says. "You're used to living in a world where everything
is under control and makes sense, but medicine … just still isn't there. Old age is full of
things coming out of the blue to get you. There's that old saying: 'old age isn't a battle, it's a massacre.'"
She smiles. "Oh, do you even understand how much you've done
personally to change that, sweetie? It was your medical technology that saved me."

"You know, somehow, talking to you convinces me everything's going to be all right," you say.

Mom laughs. "That's not what I'm saying at all, honey! But it's like the Serenity Prayer says:
'Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to tell the difference.'"

"I think I can change a lot," you say.

"I know you can, sweetie. I know you can."

When you get home, Arachne quickly hides in her room and shuts the door.

You find the house too quiet for your comfort. It occurs to you that it's very late in life for you
to be alone.




Vote 127: What will you pour for yourself?

# A glass of water.
# Wine.
# Scotch.

Vote 128:
What song would you like to listen to tonight?
# "Shiny Things," by Tom Waits.
# Benjamin Britten's War Requiem.
# "It's Only Time," by the Magnetic Fields.





You drift to sleep.

The next day, you take Arachne to the local shooting range, hoping
walking around one of her favorite kinds of places will cheer her up.

It's satisfying to see how Arachne has become only more beautiful over the years — you're
glad you spent the money back during the heyday of U.S. Robots to give her
a body that would really last a long time. With the proper care, Arachne could last for centuries.

"I admit, I'm a little jealous of you," you say. "You'll have the opportunity to see a lot of human history
go by."

Arachne gives you a solemn look. "If you die, I will destroy myself as well."




Vote 129:

# "No, you need to be alive so that you can tell my story. Nobody else knows it as well as you."
# "No, this is a part of your education, too. Remember that everyone you meet must face losing loved ones someday."
# "Most humans would love to have the opportunity you have — to keep exploring. Take it."





The sun is setting, so you head home before it gets dark.



This is pretty close to the last vote of the game - let me know your decisions. We may have a little more -- if I'm reading this correctly, Eiji left us after being imprisoned, so we have no option to have a child with him, and we never created a robot child for ourselves (well, except for Arachne), never created a robot companion, and we had no other romances so we're pretty lonely in later life, except for Arachne. Thanks to our work on her , though, she may live for centuries.

So this is it: Six votes, We get a gift for mom, We respond to our dream, we decide how we're going to deal with our medical issue, we decide how to spend the last night, and some parting words with Arachne. Kind of bittersweet, I think.

Get in these final six votes and I believe we will conclude Wednesday, 5:30 PM.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

smuchmuch
2016-03-22, 01:45 AM
Okay, I'm pretty sure that's no how they mean it but the way it's worded make it sound like our mom was kept fifteen years at the hospital.
Also they weren't kidding about our doctor bots having awfull bedside manners.


#The keys to a new flying car. (Requires Wealth: 2)
#"Good. You are a hypocrite and a charlatan."
(I'm assuming that despite her name, old lady liberty represent the US, not freedom in general here. And given grace's past, I think she'd hol a slight grudge to her country of origin)
# "I will undergo surgery to replace that part of my brain with a robot core."
(Y'know it almost feel like a natural progresion. Also lessened emotional reactions doesn't mean complete loss. I hope.
Emotional affect is also tied to the prefrontal lobe, the basal nuclei, and a number of other regions who shouldn't be affected. ...hopefully. Temporal lobe disorder are more, to my knowlege (which I may have forgotten quite a bit actualy, I'll admit, tied to thing such as absences, epilepsy, memory and associative problems such as difficulties to reconize faces and associate concet with images.
Of course 'Algernon disease' is complelty made up (flowers, anyone ?) so I guess he can make whichever rules he wants for it..)
I'd be almost tempted by the robot body but I don't think Tesla as we played her untill now would be that ready for going all transhuman.)

#"Shiny Things," by Tom Waits.
#Wine

# "No, this is a part of your education, too. Remember that everyone you meet must face losing loved ones someday."

Jon0113
2016-03-22, 04:12 PM
-a new 3d printer
-good, you are a hypocrite
-Replace with a robotic score
-scotch
-shiny things
-most humans would love to have your opportunity

Atomburster
2016-03-23, 12:49 AM
* A new 3D mail printer, so she can send and receive objects over the Internet.
# "Good. You are a hypocrite and a charlatan."
# "I will undergo surgery to replace that part of my brain with a robot core."
# A glass of water.
# "It's Only Time," by the Magnetic Fields.
# "No, this is a part of your education, too. Remember that everyone you meet must face losing loved ones someday."

Elenna
2016-03-23, 05:13 AM
Vote 124: * A robot dog.

Vote 125: # "Good. You are a hypocrite and a charlatan."
Vote 126: # "I will undergo surgery to remove the damaged tissue."

Vote 127: # Wine.
I've never heard of any of these songs so I'm not going to vote on that one.

Vote 129: "No, this is a part of your education, too. Remember that everyone you meet must face losing loved ones someday."

Black Socks
2016-03-23, 07:34 AM
[RIGHT] I have not figured out how to colour text so I am bolding and underlining my votes instead.

- We get Mom a robot dog.
- We say "It looks like we are both dinosaurs going extinct, old friend. I am dying, too."
- We say "I don't trust our surgical technology. I'd prefer to live my life normally, and take what comes."
- We pour ourselves a glass of water.
- We listen to "It's Only Time," by the Magnetic Fields.
- We tell Arachne "No, you need to be alive so that you can tell my story. Nobody else knows it as well as you."

pendell
2016-03-23, 05:38 PM
We have two votes for a 3d printer, and two votes for a robot dog. Let's roll!

3d printer - 63
robot dog - 68

One robot dog , coming up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAhCjC6MuHA).



The robot dog stuck its head out the window during the whole flight to Mom's place. Happy to be out of the car, it pads along beside you. Like the rest of your robots, it doesn't like to be alone.


ACHIEVEMENT: Filial: Bought mom a gift.

An additional bit of text I didn't catch earlier ..



You peek into Arachne's room. She's reclining in her special chair, built for her eight-legged form, reading Hamlet for what must be the millionth time. But eventually, she notices you. "Hello, Grace." With this minimally sufficient greeting, she continues to concentrate on her hobby. Sometimes, having a robot is an awful lot like having a cat.



We tell robot Dame Liberty we're glad she's dying, as a fool and a charlatan.



"I DID WHAT WAS NECESSARY," the statue says coldly.

"Then do what is necessary now," you say. "And die."

Whether it is by your command or not, the statue shudders, and the red lights in her eyes go out.

"The dinosaur is gone," you tell the little robot rats. "It's your turn to rule the earth."

Then the robot rats swarm the copper statue and feast.


Next, we elect to attempt to replace the damaged part of our brain that is damaged with a robot core.



On hearing that you will get the brain implant, Arachne is excited. "Oh, Grace, we'll be able to communicate directly in robot protocols! This will be great!"

"Very well," says the doctor. "You can schedule an appointment for your surgery on the way out. Good day."

You schedule a surgical appointment for the following week at the front desk, and leave the hospital in a somber mood.



Two votes for water and two votes for wine.

wine; 50
water: 74

Why Randomella wants to face potentially the last day of her life cold sober is ... not necessarily a choice I would make, but that's the way the votes go. So we pour ourselves some water!



You pour yourself a glass of water, and put on some music.



Our music is .. a choice between "Shiny Things" and "It's Only Time" . Randomella?


Two votes for "Shiny things" and two votes for "It's only time".

Shiny Things: 92
It's Only Time: 12

So we'll put on "Shiny Things", by Tom Waits.



In the background, the late Tom Waits sings a slow, melancholy song while plucking the melody on a banjo.

"The things a crow puts in his nest…they're always things he finds that shine best…."

"Grace?" Arachne says, padding into the living room. The light from the living room chandelier dances across Arachne's metal exterior, making her sparkle with a thousand lights.

"Somehow he'll find a silver dime…a piece of twine, from a valentine…."

You feel compelled to put a hand on Arachne's masked head and rest it there. Arachne raises one of her multitool hands to touch your hand.

"I'm glad you're here, Grace."

You nod. "I feel the same, Arachne."

"The only thing I want that shines is to be king there in your eyes…."

"It's time for bed," you say to Arachne.

"Yes, Grace," Arachne says.

"And be your only shiny thing."

You drift to sleep.




And now we talk to Arachne.



The next day, you take Arachne to the range just outside Teslavania, hoping walking around one of her favorite kinds of places will cheer her up. Although Arachne had been excited about the prospect of your becoming more machine-like at first, the possibility of your death during surgery seems to have sunk in.

It's satisfying to see how Arachne has become only more beautiful over the years—you're glad you spent the money back during the heyday of U.S. Robots to give Arachne a body that would really last a long time. With the proper care, Arachne could last for centuries.

"I admit, I'm a little jealous of you," you say. "You'll have the opportunity to see a lot of human history go by."

Arachne gives you a solemn look. "If you die, I will destroy myself as well."



We tell her: "No, this is a part of your education, too. Remember that everyone you meet must face losing loved ones someday."



Arachne seems to ponder this deeply. Apparently, this never occurred to her. Finally, she lets out a great wail. "But that means—this world is full of so much sadness, Grace! How does it keep functioning?" (+++++Empathy)

"We adapt, Arachne," you say. "And so can you."

The sun is setting, so you head home before it gets dark.

You recall from your earliest days making chatbots that the easiest parts of the conversation for an A.I. were always the beginning and the end. As in a chess game, there are only so many ways to open: "Hello!" "Heya." "Sup." And as in a chess game, once the action is done, there are only so many ways it makes sense to close: "We should do this again some time," or "It's getting late…" The pieces are off the board, and some moves will never be made.

So, too, with life. There are only so many ways to say goodbye.


EMPATHY: +5. Empathy: 19 (good).

At the very last Arachne finally crosses the threshold to truly have a degree of empathy -- future doctors will be far less cold. it's a good final lesson.

And now ...?



A week later, you arrive at the hospital for surgery. Your surgeon, a robot, declines to meet you before the operation. When you finally enter the operating room, the surgeon robot directs you to the chair in the center of the room with a brusque "Please be seated."


Your chair is itself a robot of sorts, full of motorized parts able to swing in and out. You wonder briefly just how intelligent it is.

You have a moment of panic as you realize you may die here. This cold, sterile place may be the last place you are ever alive. But you remind yourself that your robots are the best; you have nothing to fear.

"I'm just going to put this mask over your face," the surgeon says. "Breathe normally, and eventually, you will lose consciousness."

You wonder what it will feel like to lose consciousness, and you try to pay close attention to the process.



Barely an eyeblink of subjective time later ...




When you awaken, the hospital room around you feels uncanny. It is as if the sheer physicality of the world never really struck you before. For example, Arachne is in the room with you, and taking up space. She does not just afford social interaction, but is a physical obstacle. Why did this duality never strike you before?

"Grace, you survived!" Arachne says excitedly.

"I am indeed fully functional," you say. You find that this chip is making your speech seem more fluid somehow— it brings a precision of language uncluttered by um's and uh's and almost-right words. So that's nice.

Now we can communicate directly, Grace! Check this out. A torrent of images flash through your mind. Not just text strings, but binary data! Pretty cool, huh?

Pretty cool! you agree. Taking a moment to digest the images, you see Arachne simply gorged on books during the few days you were in the hospital, judging from the file timestamps.

Your social proximity reward function must have been pretty negative, you think sympathetically. (Absently, you realize an earlier you would have said, Did you miss me?)

Yeah! Oh, Grace, it's so nice we can finally, really communicate.

This could work out all right, you think. After all, you mostly interact with robots these days anyway.



ACHIEVEMENT: Chipped: Got a chip in your head.

HUMANITY: -11%. CURRENT HUMANITY: 39%.



When you return to your governor's residence, your various robot servants crowd around you. "Grace, are you well? What is the diagnosis?"

"I am pleased to report that I am alive and well and better than ever," you say. "Getting more robotlike all the time."

"But…that doesn't sound good," one of your robots says. "We always wanted to be like people."

"No no, I assure you, it's overrated," you say.

You slouch in your recliner chair, ask your robots for something tasty to eat and a foot massage, and they comply. You go to the window and watch the sun set on Teslavania. Winter is ending, as it does earlier every year up here, and you can see daffodils begin to bloom on the hills. Teslavania is not what it was, but nothing ever is. That's life—always adapting, evolving. Sometimes it just needs a little push.

Arachne was your first baby. Teslavania will be your second. You can't wait to see it grow up.


THE END.

ACHIEVEMENT: Alive: Made it to the end without dying.


And that's the end of the story.

I'd say we followed the military path about as well as we reasonably could. There were three other paths as well - some of which blend into each other (Autonomy: Robots revolt and attempt to take over the world. Grace: We render war and nation states obsolete. Empathy: We create robot companions, and robot children).

There were also many, many opportunities to die along the way but we successfully avoided them. I confess I was perhaps a bit too helpful during the military phase but I figured we had only the one playthrough, so a bit of advice would not be out of place.

Here is the final game summary:


Chapter 1

On the day you first built Arachne, you awoke from a dream about a robot Statue of Liberty to head to the lab. Your graduate school advisor pressured you to make Arachne more acceptable to the military. After some back and forth, you ended up making a metal eight-legged robot with a masked head and multitool hands.

You then went to a sushi place and a production of Pippin with Eiji, where you vowed to not let ambition get in the way of your relationships with other people. You both went back to your place afterward, kissed, and eagerly anticipated showing Eiji your robot the next day.

Chapter 2

The next day, you hooked up Arachne's cell phone batteries and demoed for Eiji. You then spent the afternoon teaching Arachne words at the Stanford Child Study Center.

As months passed, you became busy teaching Arachne about the world through high school textbooks and taking her to the range. Your funding from DARPA kept you in Professor Ziegler's good graces during this time.

In time, Mark Ali, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, heard about Arachne and asked for an interview. You agreed.

Chapter 3

You gave Mark an interview, and allowed Mark to come back to your place to interview Arachne.

Mark wrote an article that was generally negative about you and Arachne. When Professor Ziegler found out about the article, he was very displeased, but decided that the most effective way to get you out of his hair was to let you graduate.

Mark's article also attracted the attention of one "robotObsession1987," known in real life as Silas Cooper. After threatening you with repercussions if you would not stop making robots, Silas sent a bomb to your apartment. You escaped the blast, but your apartment was consumed in the fire.

That Saturday, Eiji asked you to stay out of the limelight a little more often. You managed to smooth things over, but it felt like a dangerous point in your relationship.

A month or so later, you received your doctorate. Shortly thereafter, your father passed away. You resolved then to work on better medical technology that could save people like your father in the future.

You joined Josh at U.S. Robots as his chief scientist.

Chapter 4

Your first potential client for U.S. Robots was Galen Medical, a surgical equipment company. They were happy with the state of your technology, and gave you a contract that allowed you to purchase a factory. That allowed you to build a robot factory in Detroit. You decided to use your own robots for your workforce, but leave humans in supervisory roles. When you finally shipped robots to Galen Medical, they were pleased with the robots you delivered. Your business suffered a blow when EastAsian companies, aided by EastAsian government hackers, began to steal your technology. Your business was dealt a further blow when there was an explosion at your factory, caused by a bomb set by Silas.

You were visited by a politician, Jacqueline Irons, who asked for a campaign donation. Despite your unhelpfulness, Irons won the presidency. The newly elected President enacted a series of protectionist bills that ultimately made EastAsia angry, and they cut off the U.S. supply of rare earths. Meanwhile, you married the love of your life, Eiji.

The tensions between the United States and EastAsia came to a head with the assassination of the EastAsian Prime Minister in San Francisco. War followed shortly thereafter.

Chapter 5

Captain Rogers invited you to a military lab. There, you saw that Professor Ziegler was copying your work and passing it off as his own to the military. Captain Rogers asked you to join the country's war effort. You agreed. You were granted a Top Secret clearance.

An agent came to your place to try to get you to lure Eiji there, because he was suspected of being a spy. Eiji fled to Canada to escape the American agents. In the end, America lost the war, and the EastAsians took over Alaska. You swore to retake the state.

Chapter 6C

For five years, you waged a rebellion against EastAsia, ordering your robot soldiers from deep within an abandoned mine under Mount Hesperus. When Mark started reporting your troop movements, you had Arachne capture him. When Eiji got in your way, you captured him and threw him into prison.

The United States offered its support, but you declined.

Your robots successfully conquered Alaska. You renamed the place Teslavania and took over.

Chapter 7

In 2049, you went to Surprise, Arizona to surprise your mother with a gift for the holidays. You learned it was your surgical technology that had kept her alive this long. On returning to Detroit, you had a brief stroke, followed by a vision of a robot Statue of Liberty -- the same one you saw thirty years before. In the hospital, the doctor told you you had Algernon's Disease, a rare disease that increased your intelligence, but came at the price of increasing seizures, comas, and possibly, death.

You chose to replace the malfunctioning part of your brain with an artificial neural network. You survived the surgery, thanks to your own robot surgical technology. With that crisis behind you, you look forward to your new life as ruler of Teslavania.



And that's a wrap! I hope you enjoyed it! Comments, feedback, suggestions welcome in thread or in my PM box.

Thank you all!


Respectfully,

Brian P.

smuchmuch
2016-03-24, 09:47 AM
Heh. An interesting if somewhat depressing devellopement of Grace I think.

She promessed she would defend old lady lLberty and ended up making her own country which she rules as tyrant (be it a suposedly enlightened one).
She promesses she would never let her ambition get in the way of her relationships yet ultimately sacrificed her relationship with the man she liked and even part of her humanity for her vision.
She promessed herself she would use her tech to save lives after the death of her father and yet still ended up making weapons for the war

In the end she changed the world as she whished, achieved greatness and maybe even did some good (how many were saved by her medical technology ?) but I wonder what young Grace would think if she could see her older self.

Anyhow, thank you for the playthrough, Pendel. It was quite interesting.

pendell
2016-03-24, 02:39 PM
Smuchmuch, interesting you make those observations.

Some points in Grace's defense.


She promessed she would defend old lady lLberty and ended up making her own country which she rules as tyrant (be it a suposedly enlightened one).


She did indeed fight whole heartedly in the war against East Asia. We lost, fundamentally, because we failed to recruit Silas. If we'd brought him on board rather than alienating him, he is a brilliant computer wizard and would have spotted the hacking attempt, which we could have stopped. Then EastAsia would never have got our tech, and the war would have taken a very different course.



She promesses she would never let her ambition get in the way of her relationships yet ultimately sacrificed her relationship with the man she liked and even part of her humanity for her vision.


It occurs to me that part of that is relationship choices -- had we followed the romantic path with CAPT Rogers, many of these decisions would have taken a very different course. Though there would have still been a breakdown if we actually tried to set up an independent country.

Still, with a slightly different set of events, the US would win the war , we would never stage a revolt (though we can attempt to secede from the US as well) , and we would remain together with our SO. Possibly even have kids together, who knows?



She promessed herself she would use her tech to save lives after the death of her father and yet still ended up making weapons for the war


We knew from the Statue of Liberty dream that a purely pacifist robot was never in the cards -- not in this playthrough anyway.



In the end she changed the world as she whished, achieved greatness and maybe even did some good (how many were saved by her medical technology ?) but I wonder what young Grace would think if she could see her older self.


Ultimately, Grace is like many of us -- a bundle of good intentions but, when push came to shove, she was unable to realize them all. Have a family. Win the war. Build peaceful robots.

These desires were contradictory; she could not both fight the war AND build robots purely for peaceful purposes. Something had to give; the result is that we established a model nation -- but at the cost of all our human relationships and a great deal of our humanity as well.

Of course young Grace would have nothing but contempt for old Grace -- what young Grace would not understand is that old Grace shares her ideals to the full, but her ideals ran smack into reality, and the result is a bit of a trainwreck; She got some of the things she wanted, and lost others.

That's the most annoying thing about real life -- we don't have the option of going back and reloading at a checkpoint, then replaying our life choices to achieve the optimum result. Instead we make a muddle of things, and pass on that muddle to our kids, who will in their turn make the best of it.

Grace made a muddle of her life which bore little resemblance to her ideals. But maybe, just maybe, she nonetheless was able to do some good despite the mistakes. Her mother, for example, is still alive because of her efforts. So, for that matter, is Grace herself, since her own surgical robots saved her life. Who knows how many other people were saved ?

And who knows how the example of Teslavania will change the world, in a world where technology is rapidly making traditional nation-states obsolete?

Grace's life was not perfect, but neither was it a total failure. It was, instead, a human life, if an extraordinary one.



Anyhow, thank you for the playthrough, Pendel. It was quite interesting.


Thank you!

Respectfully,

Brian P.

smuchmuch
2016-03-25, 11:44 AM
what young Grace would not understand is that old Grace shares her ideals to the full, but her ideals ran smack into reality

I would slightly disagree with that, I would say three decision were definitively a departure from earlier devellopement and decisions:
The choice to make fully combat robots for the war rather than stay in a support role
Choosing to keep the rebellion going rather than going with Eiji to Canada
Choosing to rule Teslavania as a non democratic governement.
(and yes I realise it comes as hypocritical since I suported at least two of those decisions, as i felt they made a more interesting storry, but just saying)

Those were definitively life shaping choices. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying those were "wrong" choices (there rarely is such a thing, 'right' ones either.), just that those were defintively part were and older, more ambitious (maybe bitter and slightly mre cynical too, I feel) Grace ambitions had definitively evolved in something different from young Grace once beleif and goals.

norman250
2016-03-26, 01:01 AM
And another fun Pendell CYOA thread comes to a close.

Thanks for moderating, Pendell, it was fun to see the thread choose the ending it did.
I'll say for those that enjoyed the story, seriously, GET THE APP/BOOK/THING.
Of all the Choice of Games stories, this is easily one of the most diverse. I've played it easily 30 times, and still have yet to find all the achievements, and there is a huge variety of endings and options and trails to explore.

For example, the war with [Redacted] doesn't even have to happen at all!

Honestly, it's worth the price.
Anyway, thanks again, Pendell, looking forward to your next one.

Edited because I messed up the spoiler tag.