A second update for The Hungry Stars this month, getting things moving a bit more. On Nibiru, Echo’s shenanigans continue, while elsewhere in the galaxy, Dr. Proctor gets a visit by Agent Barnswell and the intelligence operative’s intentions are certainly not what they seem. In the Black Veil, the Compact and Red’s fleet clash over a newly-arrived prize carrying vital information for the AI, as well as the return of a member of the Neverland Gang who has some news of her own to share.
Below is a snippet from Echo’s second probe of the Nibiru network; this time she’s not just evaluating its reactions and response times, but looking for data of her own to satisfy some of the questions she’s had since arriving in-system… and some newer concerns, too.
For the full story, check out the links above and hope you all enjoy!
She might be able to breach the locks, but this system was still largely unfamiliar to her. It would take time, and most importantly, it would get her noticed. One question left unanswered. Irritated, she moved on to her next objective. Demographic data. The security here was only nominal and the AI was able to get into it without any trouble.
She almost wished she hadn’t. She wished what she found was indicative of a horrendously violent crime wave ravaging the planet that the League was trying to cover up in a convoluted manner. Instead, her earlier theory had just been given ample evidence. They don’t know what normal population data should look like, so they used what they had in their historical records. It wasn’t that bad of an attempt; organics wouldn’t have caught it at first glance and even if they had thought to look at Lalande 21185’s records, nothing other than a full statistical analysis would have shown the truth. If the League had known she was an AI, they’d have done more to keep her from seeingthat their information was twenty-five hundred years out of date.
That did nothing to deter Echo’s unease. Instead of records of unlawful behaviour, there was an encrypted archive of ‘dysfunctions’, organized with codes and nomenclature that the AI couldn’t immediately decipher. Most of them had the same notes on the entry: ‘sequence overridden’. A comparative handful referred to ‘override failure’ along with more unknown hexcode. A very small number had entries that she couldn’t identify at all, but it wasn’t the hidden data that was truly bothering her. It was the archive itself. This didn’t read like anything she’d seen before. No, that wasn’t correct. This didn’t read like anything she’d seen produced by organics before, but she’d seen lists like these many, many times. She’d even generated them herself.
This was a log of service drone functionality, not a breakdown of population data. She went further back, but across decade after decade, it was the same. Only the lists were longer as, approaching the present, there were fewer and fewer ‘dysfunctions’. Echo tried other archives – birth records, health reports. They were just like the crime statistics. This wasn’t demographic data. These were maintenance logs.