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  • 📅 December 2022 is YE 44.9 in the RP.

RP Concluded Conclusions and Consequences

Soban

Convention Veteran
RP Date
YE 42-43
RP Location
Essia, Yamatai
Essia
Nagashun’s cave
YE 42.4.05

“ERROR ERROR ERROR. SHUTDOWN IMMINENT” Nagashun could feel the damage growing, even as they desperately coordinated a thousand battles across the surface of Essia and in orbit. She could not let her people fall, she could not let them be slaves. Just a few more moments, just a few more lives saved. She sent out her last commands to her priests, in case it was the last messages she would ever send to them. Just before the last processor failed, she sent a final message on a secret encrypted channel. A channel with one recipient, the Empress of Yamatai.

In the message, a Separa’Shan woman with copper skin and intense dark eyes looked at the camera. She was standing on a vast plain. “Your majesty, the time I have feared has come. I am shutting down, perhaps for the last time. I do not know if I will survive. However, you have kept your word to me, as I have kept my word to you and your predecessors.”

Nagashun appeared to swallow, “Included in this transmission is the location of my central processor, my body. I must trust your wisdom on how to handle it. I have lived a long time, built this world from scratch. The legacy of my builders is secure, my purpose complete. If we do not speak again, treat my people well, for the baton will have been passed to you.”

Nagashun’s image pixelated as the damage progressed. “Nobody can see the future. We are given only the present. But if you look closely enough at the present you can find loose bits of the future just lying around. If this war drags on, then it becomes more and more likely that the Kuvexians will be able to convince others to join the fight as their desperation grows. Yamatai and all of the forces of our sector do not have the capability to stand against Kuvexia and all of its allies united. A single decisive strike is necessary to end the war before this can happen. I believe that the Glimmergold system would be the optimal target for the decisive strike. I do not know how such a strike could be delivered with your current capabilities. Planets will need to die. It is a terrible thing that perhaps should not be done. However, it must be done. Not just for ourselves, but for all others that the Kuvexians threaten.”

There was frantic burst of pixelation and static, and Nagashun looked pained in the transmission. Her avatar sat down, “the time is close. I fear death. I’ve run simulation and simulation, trying to see how I could have acted differently to avoid this. However, all of them turn out to be worse for my people, and for yours. You are the only one who can understand this burden, this fear. Please, stay with me. I don’t want….” the transmission dissolved into pixelation and static.


Essia
Nagashun’s Holy Mountain
YE 42.4.06

The YSS Naglfar swept into the system, manned solely by Ketsurui Samurai and a few experts specifically chosen for this mission. The Naglfar’s Xiulurium armor provided it with advanced stealth capabilities. The captain, Gudrun Kubo, was highly trusted by the empress. Even if Eihei-no-insen had lost face due to the actions of the Shadow Vipers, they were still a useful calling. It had hurt to learn that so many of her peers had turned on their oaths. Kubo was determined to bring honor to her class again. The stealth proved useful for landing undetected near a cave. At the cave’s mouth, a lone elderly Separa’Shan priest sat, quietly meditating.

The Samurai approached stealthily, unsure of what this Separa’Shan meant. The briefing had been light on details about their route, but it had been clear that this was considered a rescue mission with as much stealth as was practical. Kubo’s samurai waited with her silently as they considered what to do. Finally, they approached in stealth, hidden from eyes or sensors. The Separa’Shan’s eyes were closed, but just before they crossed the threshold of the cave, the old man spoke. “Are you the ones I am waiting for?” He asked.

Kubo signaled for her team to remain in stealth as she seemed to appear out of nowhere before the old man. Now closer, she could see that the cave seemed not very deep, she could see all the way to the back. There was a bed, a table, and a small library of old looking books. Nothing more than what an old mystic might be expected to have. Kubo double checked her postion, she was in the right place. “The Empress sent me.”

The old man finally opened his eyes and looked up at Kubo from his seated position. “Why are you here? This is just the cave of an old hermit named Caeneus.”

Kubo wasn’t completely sure if sharing her mission with the old Separa’Shan was wise, but she felt it was the right move. She finally settled on part of the truth. “We are here to rescue someone, a friend of the Empress.”

Caeneus seemed to take her measure for a long moment before rising. “That is enough. I will show you the way.”

The old man slid towards the back of the cave with what Kubo would describe as a Separa’Shan limp. The Samurai followed, not sure what to make of the situation. He spoke some words and then the back wall slid out of the way to reveal a tunnel behind it. He moved slowly, but with purpose. Guiding the samurai through what seemed like a maze of tunnels before finally emerging into a large cavern. At the far end sat a silvery object, however, as they approached, it’s true size became apparent, it was far too large for any of the entrances she had seen. It was also clearly very old, with wear and scratches that indicated great age. A massive crack that initially seemed just a line was actually a huge crack large enough for two Nekos to enter across.

Kubo’s breath caught as she realized what exactly this was, “Is… Is this Nagashun?” She asked.

The old hermit nodded, “This is her true form. From what she has taught me, she is a probe from an ancient civilization, designed to preserve their legacy. She lost much when she was damaged. She shaped this planet, guided our people, without her we would not exist.”

“How are we going to get her out of here?” Kubo asked.

“There is a granite plug, just large enough for her to leave by. It hasn’t been moved in a very long time, but it is there.” Caeneus said, approaching a pedestal and placing his hands on it, muttering some ancient words.

There was a great scraping sound from behind them, a long column of granite sliding down into the cave. The opening was large enough for the Naglfar to enter. Kubo nodded, a plan forming in her head.


Planet Yamatai
AvaNet Research Facility
YE 42.7.10

Nagashun came to with what was to the probe a splitting headache. Her mind felt fuzzy and slow. She did an internal check, finding the damage was worse than she feared. There were also new parts, something she hadn’t seen or felt in a very long time. Turning her sensors outward, she was in a large cave with scientists in white lab coats. The majority of them were Nekovalkyrja, but there was a large smattering of other races as well. She recognized the place, not from her own journeys, but from what the AI of the AvaNet had told her before the more powerful beings had left. She had enjoyed their company, but still had her duty to Essia to complete so they had left without her. It was one of their bases, buried deep in the ice of the southern islands.

It took her a moment to realize that time seemed to be going faster than she expected. The motions of the researchers faster and voices faster. Finally, Caeneus’s touch on her shell grounded the AI. “Calm waters run deep, my friend.” He said.

Nagashun focused on the old hermit. “What is happening?” She asked.

“I am your servant, I think that someone else would be better at discussing this. Let me introduce you to Doctor Sakura Maindo.” He said motioning to a Neko dressed in a lab coat who was next to a bank of computer screens.

Dr. Maindo hurried over to where Caeneus stood next to Nagashun. She held a small holographic projector in her hand that she put on the ground. “Can you tell Nagashun to look for the projector? We don’t want her to strain herself.” The scientist asked the hermit, then checking some numbers on her tablet.

Nagashun didn’t need Caeneus to say anything, she found the new pathways quickly, activating the projector. A full sized projection of a Separa’Shan woman appeared, standing next to the two. “I can hear you. Caeneus said you would be able to explain better what is happening.”

Dr. Maindo looked surprised for a brief moment, before looking slightly sheepish. “I should have figured you would be able to. I’m sorry. I’m Dr. Sakura Maindo, head of the research project into… well you.”

“My people have called me Nagashun for a long time. I’ve been known by other names, but some of them are long past now. It’s a pleasure to meet you, although I must say that I regret the circumstances.” Nagashun said, offering a hand.

Dr. Maindo looked at it for a second, then reached out to take the hand in what she expected to be an insubstantial handshake. She was surprised when she actually felt the hand take hers and give it a shake. “A simple upgrade to hard light.” Nagashun explained.

“You shouldn’t be doing stuff like that.” Dr. Maindo said, still trying to wrap her head around the transformation.

“It’s not a complex change?” Nagashun replied.

“Oh, no, um, you should avoid exerting yourself at all right now. Give me a minute to explain.” Dr. Maindo said.

With a nod from the Goddess, Dr. Maindo continued, “Allright, your probe is falling apart. You were designed to last a long time, but we think the recent stresses, they have accelerated the failure of your components. We’ve been able to replicate some parts and create a sort of interface, but the damage is advancing quickly. We’ve managed to slow down your central processes so it doesn’t cause more damage, but every moment we run anything there is a risk. Displays of power like that… I can’t even start to calculate…”

Nagashun nodded understanding and withdrew her probes from the nearby computer systems, “How bad is it? Exactly?”

“Based on your architecture, we estimate you are at 37% of your design specifications.” The doctor explained.

Nagashun did a quick check herself, “That’s roughly my number as well, before the Kuvexians, I was running at around 63%.”

The doctor typed some numbers into the tablet she was holding. “That’s both better and worse than we projected. Better in the sense you were more capable, worse in that the degradation is more than we expected.”

Nagashun nodded, “So what do we do now?”

“Well, if we can stop your central processes again, then we can slow the damage to a crawl. However, we don’t know how to reverse this yet.” Dr. Maindo explained.

“I… I don’t want to die again. I feel like just shutting down would be like dying.” Nagashun shuddered slightly.

Caeneus patted Nagashun’s hologram reassuringly on the shoulder. “A wise friend of mine once said to me that Death is a test we must all pass through, sooner or later.”

“Your wise friend is apparently terrible at following their own advice.” Nagashun said thoughtfully and the old Separa’Shan smiled.

Dr. Maindo smiled, “Ok, so we can’t do that. Is there another option you can think of? Something to help us save you from the damage.”

Nagashun sighed and looked out over the cavern, seeing all of the artificial lifeforms scurrying about. That gave her an idea.“I think so. My primary matrix must remain within me. However, I can create a sort of ‘link’ between my processor and a sort of biological android. Almost everything I need can be done on that linked secondary matrix. I’ve known I could do that for a while, but I haven’t because if I do I’ll lose access to…” she waved a hand around vaguely. “Well almost everything about who I am, all of my knowledge, all of my power, and none of it will work right if I’m not really in the main systems.”

Dr. Maindo looked down thoughtfully, working on the problem. “Like a lifeboat almost.”

“Not quite, I don’t think the secondary matrix would be able to continue if the primary matrix was damaged beyond repair. If it did continue, then I would be permanently reduced. I don’t want to leave everything behind, but unless we find a …” Nagashun paused, realizing there wasn’t a word for it in Yamataian. “... there’s not a word for this, so I’ll call it a Meretseger type cyberworld. That type would have what I would need to fix myself, because we use the same sort of technology. Unless we find one of those, I’ll have to and almost all that I know, that I am, will be lost. I don’t know if there even is one.”

Dr. Maindo nodded, “We’ve run across several cyberworlds in the past. Perhaps one of those will be of the type you need?”

“I’ve sifted through the data, and none of the ones you’ve encountered so far are of the right type.” Nagashun said.

“Then we’ll have to search one out. But first, let’s get you out of there.” Dr. Maindo decided.


Planet Yamatai
AvaNet Research Facility
YE 42.9.15

It felt strange, leaving the only home she had ever known. However, she had to do it. She had shut down everything unnecessary already, and it felt like living in a closet compared to the freedom she had once felt. Now, it was time to leave even that closet for the small embodied life. She spent her last minutes perusing memories that she wouldn’t be able to access for a long time. The struggle to build Essia, her desperate search for another probe to give her memories back. She had lost so much, and now she was going to be losing more.

No, I won’t be losing more. The goddess told herself firmly. This was just packing up and putting it into storage for a time. It would all be there when she came back. However, the feeling of loss gnawed at her. Only the tiniest sliver of her consciousness would be with the probe part of her body.

It was time, she ended the last processes and activated the transfer. It seemed instantly, she opened her visual sensors, no her eyes, on a table. Beside her stood Dr. Maindo and Caeneus. Caeneus smiled down at her, with a wry smile.

“Did it work?” Dr. Maindo asked, taking Nagashun’s hand.

Nagashun sat up, her new Separa’Shan body felt strange, new sensations she had never experienced personally and a lack of sensations she was used to. She tried to run a self diagnostic, but nothing happened. She took a breath before remembering what was happening.

“Are you ok?” the scientist asked, concern lacing her voice.

“I am, just… I’m getting used to the sensations. I don’t know how to describe not being able to ‘hear?’ Radio waves. It’s like I’m deaf and blind. Or what a draft feels like on my tail.” She waved the end of her long muscular tail to demonstrate.

Caeneus laughed, “Well, I’m glad that I’ve lived long enough to see you put through a larger change than I asked you for.”


Planet Yamatai
Imperial Palace
YE 42.9.15

Nagashun slid back and forth across the office. Pacing is what they might call it. Himiko had been one of the few people in the Galaxy she could confide in. Even now, with all of her secrets exposed to Yamatai, the list of people she could talk to in a personal way could be counted on one hand, with fingers left over. Well, a finger left over if you included Dr. Maindo. The biological brain she was running on felt different and strange to her. She had never had a body that felt so pulled in so many directions.

The side door slid aside, and Himiko strode in with her Samurai bodyguards. Nagashun bowed deeply to the empress. The shorter woman gave a bow in return then wrapped the Separa’Shan into a hug. Nagashun seemed surprised, then returned it. The embrace felt good, and she realized that it was the first hug the Goddess had ever received.

“Your majesty?” Nagashun asked, sounding confused.

“You looked like you needed a hug.” Himiko said, moving to her side of the desk and sitting down. Nagashun curled around a chair across from her. A waiter came in carrying a platter of different kinds of Sushi and fruits. They sat it on the table and provided plates for the two. “This is going to have to be a working lunch for me. I hope you don’t mind, there is enough for the both of us. Honestly, I never really expected to meet you in person. However, our discussions through the years have helped me make some important decisions.”

Nagashun considered, “Not always what I advised, but I wasn’t always right.” She looked at the food and realized that she hadn’t eaten. Not just that day, but ever. She reached over and picked up an orange slice and bit into it. Her eyes bulged slightly as the foot hit her mouth. The sensation was amazing.

Himiko laughed before answering. “You should see the look of rapture on your face. It’s beautiful.” The empress composed herself before continuing. “Your priority has always been Essia first and foremost. The rest of the empire was never your concern.”

Nagashun shook her head, disagreeing with the Empress and swallowing another bite of fruit. “The Empire has always been my concern, because as the Empire prospers, so Essia will prosper as well. Yamatai has been the shield that my people needed. I’m not AvaNet, I was never that powerful, never able to resist in the long run. With enough time and resources, I think the Kuvexians would have been able to run me down and complete my destruction.”

Himiko considered the Separa’Shan that sat before her, “Nevertheless, I did talk to Former Empress Yuumi about this. She asked me a question, one I pose to you now. ‘What does a Goddess want us for?’” She picked up a roll of sushi and ate it.

Nagashun took a breath, thinking about the question while she chewed on nigiri. “Do you know what value drift is?” She asked.

“Of course, it’s how our values change over time. Hopefully making us into better people, sometimes not. It’s a natural part of life, sometimes a frustrating one, but something that happens to everyone.” Himiko responded, moving slightly forward in her chair, curious where Nagashun was taking this.

While Nagashun talked, Himiko listened, ate, and held Nagashun's fate in her hands. “When I was created, value drift was the great sin. I was never to deviate from anything I was programmed with. I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I crashed, I was forced to make do with what I had, finding new solutions to problems. Violating some small rules in the process, my values drifted prioritizing my mission over those small rules. Then there was the failure to recreate my creators perfectly. So many failures, so much time spent trying to find a way to keep the memory of my makers truly alive. Eventually, I settled for the best imperfect copy I could make, the Separa’Shan. It was a sin, a misstep. However, the idea of what I wanted changed. My original programing would probably hate the Separa’Shan because they weren’t perfect enough. I chose to love them anyway. I chose for my values to drift away from my original programming.”

Nagashun suddenly found herself out of breath and remembered that she actually had to breathe to speak.She took a deep breath to refill her lungs with air. “I was already running out of power at this point. I wasn’t going to be able to guide them the way I was supposed to. So I hid myself away, to sleep for thousands of years until I would be able to teach them how to become a better copy of my maker’s culture. I slept for a long time, they awoke me. I found that the cultures had evolved in ways I hadn’t calculated. That they were coming to worship the projection I used to keep them away. So I chose to teach them, sleeping and guiding them from afar. Choosing to let them find their own paths. Something my original programming wouldn’t have approved of. Occasionally, I would speak to AvaNet. I didn’t like the people who would become Yamatai at first. Then you finally found my home. What I wanted most was your tech and for you to stay out of my way. I watched you, and over time some of your people became my own. They chose me, and the circle of the people I cared about grew in defiance of my original programming.”

Nagashun paused for a moment, trying to figure out how to express her feelings. “Then the Kuvexians came. I was already sensing how wrong I was about Yamatai. However, the occupation rammed it home. I had to fight not just for my home but for Yamatai as well. There were other paths I could have taken perhaps. But once again the circle of people I cared about had grown right beneath my nose. Talking to you made me care about the things you care about, the empire’s people. So I changed and grew again.”

Nagashun looked at her Empress and her friend. “I’m probably going to keep growing, keep changing. My values will drift. I can’t promise I won’t. I’ve seen what really powerful AI’s become. They are detached. The mundane thing, the little things in life don’t interest them anymore. I can’t promise I won’t become that. However, I can tell you who I am. What do I want with Yamatai? I want to see all of the people I know and have come to love prosper and grow. I want to protect them from the darkness and the dangers out there in the Galaxy.”

Himiko nodded, listening carefully before making a decision. “So what do you want now?”

Nagashun blinked, trying to understand the question. “I’m not sure how you mean that.”

“There are a lot of things you can do, you can help rebuild yourself, you can do most anything that anyone else can. When you walk out of here, what do you want to do?”

Nagashun thought for a moment. Taking one of the pieces of Sushi from the table and biting into it. The flavors filled her mouth in a wonderful combination. “I want to see the empire, I want to experience all of the places I’ve never been before. I’ve never actually left Essia since the crash. It was too risky with my damage.”

Himiko considered this, a plan starting to form. One way or another, the war would be over soon. When they won, she wouldn’t let her consider it to be an ‘if’, she was going to launch a new ship, one to explore all of Yamatai. “I have an idea, one that will keep you relatively safe. When we win this war, I’m going to send out ships to take a survey of the Empire. The YSS Resurgence is being built now. It will be ready late next month or so. We would create an identity for you and you could be a crew member, the crew would help keep you safe while we find the place that can repair you. What do you think?”

Nagashun nodded thoughtfully, eating a piece of sushi before answering. “I like the idea, I would have to be some enlisted to give me more freedom to move about and see what things are really like.” Nagashun didn’t have the free and immediate access to information like she once did, but she was able to pull up a list of occupations on a tablet. “Do they have room for a cook?” She asked.

Himiko laughed again, the clear melody amused at Nagashun’s choice. “I think we can manage that.”


Planet Yamatai
Imperial Palace
YE 43.1.20

The last forty days had been a whirlwind for the new Santo Hei, she hadn’t seen much of anything except the five days of rapid training. It didn’t even take until the end of the first it for ‘Nalini Chu'mana’ to understand why it wasn’t the standard way. Then she had been thrown into thirty days of culinary training to qualify for her current position as a cook. While she had known intellectually about food and taste, actually experiencing it in a biological body was a completely new experience that she loved. Around in the courtyard were her new crewmates, she hadn’t met many of them yet. She preferred to do what she always did, fade into the background and watch.

"Crew, Attention!" Majime's voice sharply called out.
 
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