#76. Talk about the drone.

18th Nov 2018, 6:37 PM

Talk about the drone.
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Mochi on 18th Nov 2018, 6:37 PM

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Taiki gets up and walks over to where you and Trin are. "What are you two doing?" he asks.

"Considering drone," Trin replies, "I am wondering if it is being benefit to us to attempt to place drones in safe mode, to see if it is making them less hostile."

"That means turning it on, right?" Taiki asks.

"Yes," Trin says, "I would be needing to power it."

Taiki is quiet for a bit, as are you and Trin. The silence is broken by Pythia.

"I have found some communication between Nikhila and Dr. Calloway," she says. She seems to hesitate before saying more. "It... appears he was working on Daisy."

"So I guess that means we have Vince Calloway to thank for the shitty day we're having," Taiki mutters.

"I'm not so sure it's entirely his fault," Pythia says, "It seems like there were flaws in her programming. The last email from Dr. Calloway is him thanking her and saying that, unfortunately, Daisy was to be shut down."

"Shut down?" Taiki asks, walking over to look at the screen.

Pythia nods, and reads a section of the message. "'Unfortunately, due to issues that keep cropping up in our simulations, management has decided to end the Daisy Bell project. I'm going to try one last time, but I'm afraid my first attempt at artificial life might be a failure, after all'."

"Is it saying what issues were being?" Trin asks.

"No, he doesn't say," Pythia replies.

Trin hums thoughtfully. "It is not being uncommon for AIs to fail. Sometimes. things just go wrong. Is like brains. Sometimes something in brain is just... broken, or wrong, and there is no fixing. Sometimes, problem is small, and having funtioning AI is still being possible in spite of problem, but sometimes is much bigger issue."

"What do you think Daisy's issue is?" Taiki asks.

"I would not be even beginning to know," they say with a shrug.

You bring people's attention back to the drone. You ask if, maybe, Pythia could take over one. Not put herself in the drone, just bring it under her control.

Pythia's gaze turns to the drone, and lingers as she thinks. "I don't know," she says, "but it might be worth a try. They're largely meant to be autonomous, aren't they?"

"Yes," Trin says, "but they accept commands, to small extent. They are having very light virtual intelligence, simple programming."

Pythia walks over, and looks down at the drone. "I'm willing to try," she says, "it would be good to know. I'd like to take control of them from Daisy, if possible. It would make things easier for us."

"Plus, if we can sent it ahead as a scout, it'll be less dangerosu for us," Taiki says.

Pythia thinks for a moment, then nods. "Yes. Let's try. Can you disable it's weapon?"

Trin nods. "I can."

They set to work, pulling their tools from their Tim. They open up a panel on the arm and begin fiddling with it. It takes them a few minutes before they're satisfied, and they close it back up again.

"Disabled," they say.

"Does it power on automatically when you put a power cell into it?" Taiki asks.

"No," Trin replies, "ideally, it should be in standing by mode."

You look at Taiki and suggest that the two of you take aim with the two plasma guns you have while Trin and Pythia work, just in case. He nods in agreement. Once the two of you are ready, you tell Trin to put in the power cell they picked up.

Once it's connected, the lights on the drone's CPU come on. It doesn't move, though, not even twitching. it's a bit unsettling to be standing so close to something that has almost killed you several times today while it's alive, even though you know that it's gun arm is disabled.

"Where are the ports?" Pythia asks.

"Back of head," Trin says, "if we are pushing it to sitting position, it should be staying."

Pythia nods and lifts it up, easily shoving it into a seated position with her considerable strength.

"Under little panel," Trin says, reaching up and opening said panel. "you should be being able to plug in and interface with CPU."

Pythia nods, and pauses. If she were human, you'd think she might be taking a deep breath before she plugs her finger into the port on the back of the drone's head. When she does, she goes completely still and silent, the lights on her shell the only indication that she's still powered. She stays like this for at least a minute.

You and Taiki look from her, to eachother, to Trin.

"What's going on?" Taiki asks.

"I'm rewriting parts of it's code," Pythia replies, startling you both. "I'm trying to make sure it doesn't want to kill us, and I'm cutting it off from the building's network and strapping it to mine. I want to be thorough."

Trin smiles. "Is what I figured."


"Wait, you're connecting it to yourself?" Taiki asks, "isn't that dangerous?"

"Not if I do it right," she replies, "Now, please, I need to concentrate. You can ask me questions later."

Taiki looks like he's about to ask another question, but you cut him off and suggest that he take a look at the cameras on the floor below and figure out what it is you'll be dealing with down there. He frowns, but doesn't protest.

"Fine," he says, focusing on his Tim again.

It takes a bit longer, but eventually Pythia disconnects from the drone. "You can power it on now," she tells Trin, as she steps to the side of the table.

Trin hesitates, but reaches to the nape of the drone's neck and presses a small button that, had you not seen them press it, you wouldn't know was there. The drone makes noise like a boot up chime from an old computer and sits bolt upright, turning it's head to face Pythia.

You wait to see if it will do more, but it doesn't. It just sits there.

"Is it... safe?" Taiki asks.

"Yes," Pythia replies, "It's completely under my control. It won't do anything I don't tell it to do."

"Out loud, or, like... through your network?"

"Both," she responds, "I should hope."

She turns her attention back to the drone. "Get off the table."

It complies, stiffly turning to slide off the side of the table and stand at attention. Pythia's shoulders sink in an almost relieved way.

"Looks like we have a scout, then," Taiki says.



>user comments

Mochi on 18th Nov 2018, 7:44 PM

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hi guys! this is just a reminder-slash-heads up that updates might be a little slow until after the holidays. i work in retail, so this is kind of the hell times for me haha. i'm still going to try and update every day, or at least every two days, but i'm not going to push myself. i don't want to have comics burnout on top of my standard holiday burnout.

thanks for understanding, and also for enjoying my comic!

Chaostraveler on 18th Nov 2018, 8:29 PM

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I feel your pain Mochi, I'm a pharmacy tech and I've done several years of retail too. Take the time you need and don't overdo it.

As far as plans go, I think that we should decide if we want to head down, up or out. Was Daisy trying to breach the ultra-secure sections of the facility and is it worth trying to stop her? Should we get while the getting is good? Or should we try to hunt down Daisy's phylactery? I like the idea of the last, if we can get rid of Daisy it will make dealing with most everything else easier, even if the drones are still hostile they won't have any guiding intelligence. So I guess we should use the drone to scout the way to the good doctor Calloway's office to see if there is anything useful left there.

Anonymous Coward on 18th Nov 2018, 10:33 PM

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+1 for finding the phylactery and shutting Daisy down, assuming that Daisy hasn't found some way to escape their brain box to be exclusively on the company network.

Guest on 18th Nov 2018, 9:02 PM

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Question. How strong is it? Can it do melee combat any?

Guest on 18th Nov 2018, 9:02 PM

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Question. How strong is it? Can it do melee combat any?

pkrankow on 18th Nov 2018, 9:42 PM

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It cannot walk stairs very well
It has poor sensors
Mediocre cameras
Decent microphones

I doubt it can do melee. It will be a mule.

Mister on 18th Nov 2018, 10:35 PM

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So, we need a way of disabling other drones, without damaging them, so that this process can be repeated.

Turn the tides as such. Especially if the only way out is frontal assault on the front entrance, or frontal assault on Daisy's location. You can bet that she has body guards (rig guards?).

Question: Does this neck button need to be tapped to shut down, or is it a long press? (or simply an on only button.)

If it's a tap to shut down, we could get some sort of low velocity projectile launcher that Pythia could shoot and aim for this button.

Limrix on 19th Nov 2018, 12:24 AM

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If we're leaving, we might as well stash anything that's not nailed down into our Tims, unless there's some kind of storage limit.

1977 on 19th Nov 2018, 4:39 AM

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Yes, the first rule of any adventurer, take averything that isn't nailed down then equip a clawhammer. :)