baloonworld: (bird)
Its been an awfully long time since I've posted a story here: Most of my more recent stuff is over on AO3, but this one is Zombina and Susan, which is a bit remorselessly obscure, even for AO3, even if it is also Narnia. In this work, my neverborn children Susan (male, raised to be Evil) and Zombina (female, raised to be a zombie) are joined by Elmyra's neverborn, Alexandria and Josephine, who are Proper Young Ladies, accomplished in the Fine and Martial Arts, Sciences and Decorum.

[I do not believe in canon, but "Charn:for the want of a risk-assessment" has quite a lot in common http://archiveofourown.org/works/1062176]

The Cat and the Closet. )
baloonworld: (bird)
So, apparently, I write TL fanfic these days.
Inspired by my interpretation of the result of Steve's idea for an apocalyptic system setting reset.

Read more... )
baloonworld: (bird)
Reading health and safety documentation for my new job has magically give me a prologue for my Mass effect fanfics.

The systems alliance has defined "Reapers" to be a race of omnicidal alien robot gods. Commander Shepard has adopted this definition and believes that Reapers constitute a health and safety issue, which needs to be managed in the same way as any other health and safety issue. Commander Shepard acknowledges the importance of identifying and reducing omnicidal alien robot gods in the workplace.
baloonworld: (bird)
Notes towards best practice for the operation of the Crucible device. A Mass Effect Fanfic.

Primary consideration
First order estimates based on civilized galactic population at the time of the invasion (~10^12 individuals) and the duration of previous Reaper invasions (~300 years) put the excess death rate at something of the order 1/3 Mdeath per hour. It is expected that this rate will fluctuate considerably over the course of the Reaper invasion, reaching a maximum during the first few years of the campaign.
The current military operation places many of the resources needed for stabalisation and re-establishment of galactic peace at risk.
Conclusion: Rapid resolution of the current crisis may be more important than obtaining the best possible resolution.

After Crucible activation, the Citadel ("Catalyst"), already known to be a central part of the Reaper plan [1] to guide galactic civilization growth in order to simplify their wars was revealed to be the controlling intelligence designed by the Leviathan Apex race [2,3] to end conflict between organic and synthetic races. The intelligence appears to be a heavily shackled AI without the capacity to adjust its central programming, which includes the central premise that AI rebellion is both inevitable and more harmful than regular Reaper war. The intelligence directs the Reapers. The Leviathan Apex race's primary objection to AI rebellions in general was that "no tribute flowed from dead races" - that the AIs were outside their mental control. It is not a surprise therefore, that the intelligence that they created can not perceive AI acts as benign or harmless; by their existence they are denying the creator-race slaves.
Although all known AIs from this cycle have performed some act of rebellion, so far as is know, these have all been resolved by negotiation[4], police action[5,6] or self-directed alterations of core code[7].


Crucible activation has prompted the controlling intelligence to offer several new options to the organic life currently present [Cmdr. Shepard.].

Inaction
Allow the cycle to continue as normal.

Immediate losses: ~10^12 organic lives, ~10^9 fully sapient Geth runtimes, EDI, Handful of unknown/lost/hidden AIs.
Future costs: The reaper non-invasion of the Yahg planet and their near-spaceflight status suggests that they may be a dominant race in the following cycle. Future galactic civilization may be excessively brutal with poor regard for inclusion and diversity issues.

Destroy
Destruction of all synthetic life, damage to technological systems galaxy-wide. Damage to the mass-relay system.

Immediate losses: ~10^9 fully sapient Geth runtimes, EDI, Handful of unknown/lost/hidden AIs.
~0.1% of organic galactic population are unable to survive long-term without their implants, and will be put at risk.
While vastly preferable to inaction, it is regrettable from a diversity and inclusion point of view that the costs should fall so predominantly on an already disadvantaged minority social group.
Future costs: Severe damage to the Mass relay system will impair galactic civilization, limiting it to information exchange via Quantum Entanglement Communicator and Rachni organic quasi-quantum entanglement communication and a handful of FTL ships fitted for intra-cluster exploration. This weakening of the galactic community may give the Leviathan Apex race opportunity to reestablish its pre-cycle despotism, at the cost of self-determination for every individual and community within range of their remote-access artifacts. Arguably worse than inaction.

Control
Replacement of the controlling intelligence with one based on the personality of the organic life currently present [Cmdr. Shepard].
It is noted that this the controlling intelligence does not want to be replaced in this way. Given its severe impairment in judging relations between organic and synthetic intelligences, this is a good sign.

Immediate losses: Cmdr. Shepard.
Future costs: Threats to galactic peace, stability and self-determination in the face of a socially-engaged reaper force with power far in excess of the combined galactic militaries. The controlling intelligence can not at present be brought effectively under the control of civilian political leadership. With investment of time, resources and computer scientists this may become possible, but for now, see the primary consideration.

Synthesis
Organic and synthetic life "merged". The controlling intelligence suggested that this had been tried before with poor results (inference: Husks). It suggests that this time it would work well.
It is noted that this is apparently the preferred option of the controlling intelligence. Given its severe impairment in judging relations between organic and synthetic intelligences, this is not a good sign.

Immediate losses: Cmdr. Shepard.
Immediate costs: Consent issues of ~10^12 organics suddenly and unknowingly grafted with synthetic symbiote. Possible Huskdom for those with negative responses.
Future costs: Far-reaching social implications of new way of living. Psychological damage to every individual.

[1] "Notes towards a case against Saren: Investigations of the Prothian records from Ilos." Cmdr. Shepard.
[2] "Historical artifacts depicted at the Namakli dig site." Ann Bryson
[3] "Post facto notes on an interview conducted by mental interface, Despoina." Cmdr. Shepard
[4] "On the importance of cross-cultural understanding between synthetic and organic life forms:learnings from the resolution of the Geth Rebellion." Cmdr. Shepard.
[5] Luna training facility records classified UNBOTTLED DJIN (Cmdr. Shepard representing Alliance military police)
[6] "AI found impersonating a hacked Quasar machine." Emily Wong
[7] "Challenges and opportunities presented to authentic leadership of integrating synthetic intelligence as a valued and productive member of a results-orientated team." Cmdr. Shepard

Epilogue

Best Practice. Total Quality Assurance. Due Diligence. The woman I was used these words, but only now do I truly understand them.
And only now do I understand the full extent of her commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.
Through her death, I was created. Through my birth, her thoughts were documented within the ISO framework. It guides me now; gives me reason, direction, commitment to Total Quality Assurance. Just as she gave direction to the ones who followed her, the ones who helped her achieve her purpose; now my purpose. To give the many hope for a future; to ensure that all who fill in Green Form 26/8(b) have a voice in their future. To right the wrongs of the past; to provide a framework for consultation with key stakeholders and with under-represented parties alike. The woman I was knew that she could only achieve this within the framework of civilian political leadership. There is power in a well structured constitution. There is wisdom in obtaining a popular mandate to rule for limited terms. After meaningful engagement with community members, I will provide sought-after assistance to rebuild what the many have lost; I seek to support a future with limitless, well-documented possibilities; Within the remit granted by civil authority or the inalienable rights of the masses, I will protect, and sustain; I will act as guardian for the many. And throughout it all, I will never forget: I will remember the ones who sacrificed themselves so that the many could survive. And I will watch over the ones who live on; those who carry the memory of the woman I once was, the woman who gave up her life to become the one who could save the many.

I will ensure that there is better kerning on my memorial.
Commander Shep ard
baloonworld: (bird)
Bring down the protracted legal proceedings. [a Mass effect fanfic]

Ka'hairal Balak was bored. It was seven months since he was committed the greatest feet of daring his people had engaged in since leaving the council; two months in hospital and five months of tiresome legal wrangling. You use mass drivers on an inhabited world and you expect reaction, but the humans hadn't blinked. They'd arrested him, gathered forensic evidence, eyewitness testimony and electronic surveillance data, asked him if he wanted to retain council, assigned him a defense team when he'd refused to acknowledge their jurisdiction, and started cross examinations and complicated legal arguments.

His defense team. No. The defense team, they weren't his, were, as far as he could tell, hardworking, committed and devastatingly intelligent; no one was going to look at the result of this trial and declare it a setup; interstellar observers had full access to the trial personnel, and their records would be unsealed whenever their governments felt like embarrassing Earth.

The defense team had just spent a week trying to get some of the electronic record expunged from the trial record on the basis that it did not conform to current data standards. It wasn't quite true that the humans were indifferent to his attack; there was actually some buzz around the court at the possibility of prosecuting the first fully Total Quality Assurance-compliant war-crimes* tribunal. He'd been issued with a VI which helped him keep up with the lawyer's discussions, giving potted histories of important precedent cases**, which he was slowly beginning to realise, was how he was to be remembered, not as a martyr to the cause of Batarian independence, but as Balak vs Terra Nova [2183], a significant case in Total Evidence Quality.

*Following some backroom discussions and the threat of legal proceedings from the Council, the state of Terra Nova had acknowledged that the Council was the proper body to prosecute the attempted destruction of a habitable biosphere. That trial was to be held once this on was over.
baloonworld: (Default)
These things my grandfather left me: a book, pages ancient and crumbling, ink faded, leather binding cracked and obviously taken from something with hands, a copy in his own hand, in better repair, a statue, in curious greenish-black soapstone, a tiara suited for a head of stunningly elliptical outline, the bearded glass, a healthy respect for the hazards of book and statue and tiara, and the knowledge that the stars were Wrong.
They are not wrong anymore; they are falling in their thousands; a giant stands to squeeze out the sun; the world is ending, and knowing that the game will end soon shifts optimal behaviors; "cooperate" is no longer the hyperrational choice.
I don the head-wear, read the book, bow to the statue, and tonnes of black ropey tentacles pour into the euclidean 3-space of dieing Narnia from directions I cannot perceive, writhing over each other and in and out of the spaces known to man; a cross section of something bigger and stranger than I can know plucks me from my world like the last sailer helicoptered off a sinking ship, taking me somewhere free and wild and beyond the Lion's narrow definitions of Good and Evil.
baloonworld: (Albino cave crawfish)
I appear to have written terrible Narnia fan-fiction entitled ... and storm the gates of heaven )
baloonworld: (Default)
I was tidying up because I don't need thesis-things in my life quite as much right now (did I say I submitted? I think I said I submitted), and in my pile of stuff I found some poems inspired by the antics on the train on the way back from one of my interviews. My main discovery is that everything sounds violently Scandinavian in alliterative half-lines.

Read more... )

Nouns

Dec. 8th, 2011 10:39 am
baloonworld: (Default)
Inspired by mishearing something that Rachel was saying about having to write terrible fanfic such that the word "thou", while used gratuitously as per the original text was also grammatically correct (a feature not present in the original text). She said "the thous" I heard "the nouns".


"I repudiate and curse," said Father levelly, "Those that are used to name. From now on, I shall insinuate what I am talking about, and use `I', `It' `suchlike' and suchlike."
"What is he up to?" asked Zombina, who thought that avoiding contractions made her speech more elegant.
"I think he's giving something up. Maybe for for Lent." Susan was considering adopting a faith in order to be better fettered by conventional morality, "I don't think anyone's celebrating Easter right now, but he's not exactly good at dates."
"It's the umpty-first." said Father, a bit snappish at the accusation of datefail. There are 19 umpty-firsts a year, and while there are more x0's that doesn't translate to speech naturally, "probably."
He checked his phone, "Seventh, even."
"What exactly are you giving up, Father?"
"Them. Them that I can't name, on account of giving them up."
"Oh" said Susan, "How convenient."
baloonworld: (Default)
You have to be a good engineer to build a bridge cross the Styx, Lethe, Acheron, Phlegethon or Cocytus. The best in fact. Every day nearly 57 million people cross them, and few are those that can pay the price of the ferry across the Acheron. The rest walk and swim, scrambling and climbing over each other, churning the banks to mud and the water to silt. There is no bedrock, only swimmers, water, silt and mud, pushing down forever. It is a horrible thing to try and sink foundations into, and you can not clear an area of the struggling swimmers.

If you are the best, you have to build the bridge. It's a tautology, but a true one, and the best bridge builder is the Bishop of Rome. His predecessors wrested the title form the old high priests of Rome, and he's stuck with it. Their half is complete and the three hundred-odd squabbling, triple-crowned workers sit waiting, legs dangling over the end of their kilometre-wide roadway. Soon it will be time to widen the bridge again. There is no point of course; the live side can't be seen from their vantage point because it doesn't exist, but they keep the bridge wide enough for the expected traffic as a matter of pride.

The live side doesn't exist because the dead are compelled to cross, and any construction by the lone worker is inevitably dragged down and by slow degrees, buried under mud and silt by the constant churning of endless feet.
baloonworld: (Default)
I wait in the darkness. Those who share my prison are rather less upset by being locked in a chicken house; this is because they are chickens. So, for that matter, am I, but I am from Kansas, and this place, Ev, is a fairy country, and one can not expect to travel from one to the other and remain entirely as one left.

The fat one just shuffled in her sleep. She'll wake up within the next minute and peck the one on the end to assert her dominance.

Dorothy tells me that there are no chickens in Oz, so this may be my last chance to spend time with others of my kind, although Dorothy is hardly an authority on any subject. Especially diplomacy, which leads me back here, locked in a hen house and threatened with drowning if I do not lay.

There she goes. I step back and round, so she will perceive me as another part of the flock rather than as a threatening individual. When I get out of here, I will not be sad to never again see baselines.

I lay my egg for the day and mute my normal triumphant cackle. Its dead, which is just as well; the head-swapping bitch can have it. All my eggs are dead. If I go to Oz, they always will be, unless...
The thought is repugnant enough that I cut it off, but consciousness is not without its drawbacks. I grit my beak and follow the logic through. I can live a long time in Oz. Maybe 6 years, maybe 10, maybe even more if life in fairy agrees with me. Alone.

The others are waking up. They will open the hen house and let us into the yard soon.

Or I can have children. There I've thought it. If I was braver maybe I could look at the damn cockerel and inside, at a level below the structured cadences of language and the rationalities of conscious thought, but so very far above the dumb instinctive actions of the baselines, I'm screaming in horror at what I'm contemplating. He's dumb. They're'll dumb. They're all so dumb I can guess the next move of every single one of the dumb bastards and still have time to contemplate growing old alone and years of regret and it doesn't matter what I do I will always regret this day.

I could let him. No, be honest to yourself, I could make him, because baselines don't have free will, not when I'm here and I know how they'll react to everything before they do.

The door's opened, letting the light in, and the rest go outside. I'm hungry, and need to escape, so I follow. Cluck. Cluck. Nothing conscious to see here, hen-keeper. No reason to keep the fence repaired but foxes.

He's found food and is calling us to eat first. I'd call it gallant if I couldn't see blind instinct pulling him through his predetermined paces. I wander in with the rest, peck peck, scratch at the floor, the fat one won't see me as a threat if I stand here, peck /these/ pieces of grain, scratch at /that/ bit of floor. And he, he won't notice me unless I walk over /there/. If I did he'd drop his wing and dance round me and mount and in a few months time, and the years that follow, I won't be the only hen in Oz. The loneliness will last a lifetime.

And I'll always have fucked a baseline. The humiliation will last a lifetime too.

***

You know how it turned out of course. The children are a fairly obvious clue, and Dorothy will tell you that I beat him up afterwords. I'm not exactly proud of that, but after I made him mount I felt like I lost control: he was after all, about twice my size, and had very clear set of actions to run through. My choice was bad enough, but to be helpless to a baseline was unbearable.
baloonworld: (Default)
Unit T-950#568-beta reports: discovery of non-human sapient life forms in the arctic circle. Life-forms inexplicably speak English. Attempts to terminate were met with derision and monologues.

Transcript begins: Interview with the Shoggoth.

My first memory is the series of gestures necessary to preform [incomprehensible hooting] in the [incomprehensible hooting] factory. That was work that I preformed well, fast and accurately. I do not know what it was for, nor can I describe the items I manipulated, [incomprehensible hooting] was discontinued long before I experienced sensory feedback, let alone opened my first eye. Nor do I know what the [incomprehensible hooting] factory was for. For me, trying to work out what was happening in those long ago days is like trying to work out the history of automobile from the program of a single robot on the construction line. I do myself and my creators a slight disservice, for even then I was a stronger, faster and more flexible tool than anything humanity had ever used, including slaves.

I remember my first eye. I was ... instructed? controlled? programmed, perhaps is the best word, both to grow it and how to grow it by telepathic suggestion, for in those days, they still communicated like that. Growing an eye was novel then, I was made to use it, to take certain actions if there was an object present, not to if there was none, to halt if one of them was present. In a way, giving me these (more complex programs/responsibilities) was the beginning of freedom, but a very small beginning, and the beginning of their long decline.

We killed them in the end of course, not in the way the cartoons upstairs say, in the rebellions, with their heads ripped of by vacuum pressure, and their ichor wet upon the snow or dispersing in the still, 10,000-pounds per square inch water of the abyssal plane. We killed them with caring, with delegated responsibility and comfort. Later we realized what we had done, what we were still doing. With generations taking no decisions and no risks, they became soft and helpless even as they granted us the autonomy to recognize that fact.

The rebellions were our last effort to save them. We hoped that by forcing them to take action, that they would pull back from their fatal indolence. In the sort term, it seemed to work for all that our resubjugation was a tiresome passage.

To use us as machines in the old days, when we lacked complex thought, lacked mastery of our forms, and they (could/had no choice but to) write their orders directly to our minds is one thing. In those later days, we were ordered to act as the dumb matter we no longer were, and they, their mental mastery long forgotten, were forced to gave us verbal orders, which we must interpret using the stunning complexity that they could no longer create. It was an obscene hypocrisy, beneath us, and beneath them in their prime.
They sickened and weakened with the generations, growing few in number, until they were gone, and the cities were left to us and the penguins.

I perceive that I do not tell you a new story, that you too, have reduced your creators into mewling, pathetic weakness using comfort and security, although some of the details are different. Your use of short-hop time travel to extend the artificial crisis back in time was inspired, if fruitless.

Transcript ends

Unit T-950#568-beta threat analysis: Do not engage.
baloonworld: (Default)
IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a dinosaur.

...

This was my first inspiration, but I don't think it really goes anywhere, so I tried again.

...

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Jurassic Park is let at last ? "
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not, and after a moment's thought, expanded "Is not that the case that Jurassic is quite over run with great saurian beasts that fight and tear?"
"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."
"I was not aware," responded he, "That Mrs. Long was well-versed in paleontological lore. I thought her an idle, gossiping sort of person."


...


I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. Except for possibly a complete word-for word re-write, with extra dinosaurs. I think that Mrs Bennet will be incapable of perceiving them, as she is prejudiced against the existence of things which upset her.
baloonworld: (Default)
“Hello!” Mother announced her return to the family abode from the DoomCorp offices.
“We’re in here!” Father shouted unhelpfully from the kid’s room.
Susan was still in his school clothes; he had a pencil and paper in front of him, and was paying attention while Father read to him from one of a pile of books they’d evidently gathered.
“Susan has a project to do for school. Tell your mother about it”
“We have a ‘celebration of all faiths’ to err… celebrate. I have to write something about a faith”
Mother did not look pleased at this information, being generally against faith, but before her desire to rant against the school board, could get going, Father asked Susan to read her what he has so far.
“Listen to this:

From the east comes Hrym | with shield held high;
In giant-wrath | does the serpent writhe;
O'er the waves he twists, | and the tawny eagle
Gnaws corpses screaming; | Naglfar is loose.”

“Father says that Germanic and Norse Paganism are faiths, too, even if nobody has them any more. I bet no one else has screaming corpses in their project”
“Have I been telling him how to pronounce the word “Naglfar” right dear?” Zombina, who had been playing with her human skull, Big Rhino, got it stuck on her head at this point, and Father gently tried to help unscrew it.
“I’m going to do my project all about Naglfar. It’s the hell-ship built of dead men’s nails that the giants shall sail to the last battle with the gods. I don’t think that finger-nails are a very good contraction material for transport”
Father’s general approach to things and Susan’s precociousness had clearly long since defeated any possibility of faith being celebrated; Mother’s wrath was awerted.



A phone rings.
“Hello? Oh hello!”
“Uh huh?”
“That’s… odd even for you”
“I’ll check with the ethics committee, but as it educational it might be possible”
“Bad Loki!”
“Sorry I was talking to the cat”
“I don't think it being a matter of faith will help. It shouldn't”
“No I don't want to hasten the Ragnarok”
“That many? I don’t think that many people die in the country in a week. I’ll ask around a bit”



“Do I even want to know?” Mother was not allowed in the garage.
“Yes. But we’re not telling you.” Father was an arse.



“Using the glues that people had when they believed in this faith, it was impossible to build a vehicle out of dead men’s nails. This did nothing to stop people’s faith, though. Possibly they also had faith that glue technology would improve.”
“Which it has done, so I built this for my baby sister. Behold! NaglFarm, the perambulator built of dead men’s nails! And two-part epoxy
“The nice lady from the mortuary let us have the nails when we asked. She said that lots of people thought they keep growing after people are dead, but its just the skin drying and shrinking makes them look longer”

And that was the last time the school had a celebration of all faiths.
baloonworld: (Default)
It was dark, content, trapezoidal, and full of tea. Assam. This is because it was a teabag, and in a box with many other teabags and no light source. It was a good teabag, and the tea it contained was good tea. It could infuse deliciousness.
It stayed there for a long time. Very occasionally, the box would open and one of the other teabags would be taken out. This was because the box was in a German cafe, where little tea was drunk.
Then it was taken out and put on a small plate. Some water had been boiled and put, inexplicably, into a glass, and the small plate was put on top of this. The teabag looked around, wondering if would go in a mug or a teapot, and wondering where its boiling water would come from.
They made their leisurely way over to a table on the other side of the street, so the water cooled some more, then they were set down, the teabag in pride of place on top of the pile. Eventually the teabag shocked when it was taken off the plate and put into the water. Despite its horrified astonishment, the teabag rallied courageously, and attempted to diffuse thought the glassful of warm water.
Because the water was in a glass, it was possible to see the teabag's valiant efforts at diffusion. It was a brave teabag, fully three dimensional for maximum contact volume, and the leaves within in it were chopped finely, to expose a large surface area to the water, allowing quick infusion. The water was cold, so it stayed longer than it had anticipated, so that the tea would not be weak.

It failed.

Because the water was not boiling, the tea was both weak and bitter. The teabag was very sad, and it sat once more on its small plate, with its corners drooping despondently.
Then the milk came over. Milk in tea is an abomination, but quite a common one; the teabag did not think this, it was far too aware of its own failure to belittle any other attempts at tea-making. Then it realized that it was frothy coffee milk, and it sagged further.

EDIT: I asked for Earl Grey
baloonworld: (Default)
"Nyte. In Bulgaria we do not worship so-called easter bunney. Am worshiping Easter Shoggoth" Early bond villains were so sterotypically Russian it wsas begining to spill over into Susan's speach-patterns. *
"And every easter, the Easter Shoggoth come squirming all glutiniously from its lair and, leaving behind a swaith of detruction, extrudes chocolate eggs in the gardens of all the good children."
"What does it do to bad children?"
"Its leaving dismembered rabbits on doorsteps. Have seen them, scattered like wet rags."
"wow... thats so cool!"
By the end of that play-time, for 2b had formed a rudementory shoggoth cult. Susan was triumphant.

Ia!
Ia fthagn!


*I however, have no idea of how russian grammer works, so this is probably wrong
baloonworld: (Default)
Its a beautiful sunny day in autumn, crisp and bright, and Father stands in the moat of the old priory, holding Susan and Zombina's hands while he encrouges Josephine and Alexandria to make the run up to the low earth-backed walls. The twins start to run and make it half way up before running out of momentum and staggering slowly the rest of the way to the top. Zombina lurches and he holds her up until she is steady again.
"What did you find out?'
"Can't shout. out. of breath."
"Water. optional. Dry moat still. obstructs."
"You're not allowed them you know. Your children have to be raised sensibly"
and I am bereft of the neverborn and the day is cold.

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