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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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912788 No. 912788 ID: 06095b

Can a machine dream?

It’s an odd question, one the prewar scientists often debated when the midnight oil was burning low but the actual work ahead of them was too daunting a prospect to consider. Could a machine, insomuch as it was a being whose desires were derived from dozens upon dozens of algorithms, ever understand that natural state of blissful, protean nonsense that took the human mind beyond the realm of logical limitations?

Even with the dawn of the first AIs or perhaps because of that inciting incident, the question only seemed to grow more muddled over time. As machines learned to think, to plan, as they took on ambition and personalities of their own, the question of what constituted the final, impassable bridge between what was human and what was artificial, that most sacred of lines, was an ever-shifting topic of speculation.

In the end, dreams became a common subject. Could something that was wholly logical, whose perceptions and responses could be reduced to lines of code: could such a thing as never even needed sleep to begin with, enter a state of unknowing and yet somehow revelatory unconsciousness? Even if it could, at that point, would it be a dream in truth or merely a simulation, something inherently bound to a perfect and rational order?

Perhaps, in the end, the creators feared what they had forged in their own image. Perhaps that is why, when the technology was there to create hundreds if not thousands of artificial intelligences, a virtual army that mimicked the intellectual prowess of the greatest scientists of their age, they limited themselves instead to what they could reliably hold in the palms of their hands.


You stir from your thoughts and the floor all at once, gently nudging the still-dozing Overseer by your side from his unknowable reverie as you stand and prepare to undertake your final preparations before returning to the Metro. At this point, evening has come, and it weighs heavily on your mind that the following dawn will bring bloodshed, a fate you can no longer hope to avoid. All you can hope to do at this point is to ensure that the weights fall firmly in your favor after the dust has settled.

> The question is, how do you wish to proceed?
> Write-in
Expand all images
No. 912794 ID: 080aaf

Calculate how long it will take you to enact repairs and get back to the Metro without rushing, so you know how much time you have to spend marshaling your furry troops.
No. 912869 ID: 70b0c4

Ask Theodore if he is willing to part with some PipBoys left behind by the humans, and if at the very least we could download the VATS program so that it can be uploaded to the PipBoy-equipped allies we have.

And there's the option of finding the raccoons who have that suit of power armor. Even if we don't have Lucius break it down to reverse engineer it, the raccoons inside it can still cause a lot of disruption among the Lurkers.
No. 913243 ID: ca480d

Get a copy of VATS and see if Theodore is willing to part with any Pipboys.
Find that power armor and negotiate for it.
Bring another Eyebot online for the Major to use.
Let Aria play a bit with the puppies.
Examine the Vault mainframe and optimize the running processes and see how long they have until the water chip fails. Look in our memory banks for locations that may have a water chip.
Ask Theodore which way the humans went when they left the Vault; note it as something to follow up on if we survive this.
Get to know the dogs that will be coming with us to aid the Metro, and examine the system architecture of the Pupboys so we can communicate orders to them.
No. 913699 ID: 06095b
File 154452961841.jpg - (177.70KB , 669x404 , pipboy_3000_inspired_pepakura_by_ilikecheezes.jpg )


Now, what to do next? At least when you were sifting through the Vault records, you found a copy of the VATS system which, with Theodore’s permission, you downloaded. Now for the bigger question.

“Theodore?” you ask the canine overseer presently scratching behind brain case and ear as he attempts to ready himself for a long night.


“I know that you’re looking for human residents in the future to help with upkeep, but do you have enough standard issue PipBoys that I could distribute to some key human allies back in the Metro?”

“Well, you’ll understand if we aren’t replete with them,” he responds, servos whirring as mechanical limbs push him to his feet. “There were precious few spares we had on hand that weren’t distributed throughout the course of experiment and fewer still which didn’t subsequently leave with the Vault residents. Most of what are left are the control models, and for obvious reasons, I’ll want to limit access to them.”

“Control models?” you question.

“Why, yes. You see, to properly coordinate units across the battlefield, it only makes sense that a team of human operators would need some way to issue complex commands through the PupBoy network. As a machine intelligence, you can likely do the work of several at some processor expense. However, you’ll likely still need the specialized transmitter built into the device, as we’re running out of time to integrate an effective surrogate into your mainframe.

“Beyond that, I’d say I have maybe two standard issue PipBoys that I can spare right now, leaving two for myself in the event that you can send aid along to help with the Vault upkeep. I’d offer more, but frankly, the diagnostics instrumentation built into them is essential for any would-be occupant seeking to make a sizeable dent in our ongoing issues.”

> Try to coax the two remaining PipBoys out of him.
> [] Yes
> [] No

> The other actions you've proposed are in queue.

Also, apologies for the delays in getting updates out, but I've been busting my butt on overtime at work and not getting much sleep to compensate. It's taken a toll on my creative brain meats.
No. 913708 ID: edd5c6

>ask for other PipBoys
> [x] No

>Other queued items
Ask about the waterchip, if they have any leads on a new one, and where the humans who left had been heading towards.

Then we find the raccoons with the power armor.
No. 913734 ID: 080aaf

> [] No
One for you, one for Rex, one for Sandra.
No. 913790 ID: 012f1b

Sandra already has one. We could give the extra one to Lucius, or to some new character from the Metro.
No. 914442 ID: 13110b

Thats probably a good idea. Theyre also radios as well as being handy for VATS, so they might be good as a means of squad coordination. We could have an eyebot survey the field from above during the battle and send info to whomever is going to be leading in the field through the Pipboys?
No. 914824 ID: 06095b
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“We’ll make due,” you assure him, following the old dog to a utility closet and collecting your gains.

Your own model is a fair amount bulkier than the others, you note. Though not enough to be unwieldy, the transmitter technology and added processing power are physically evident in the construction. At least as you plug yourself in, the new code appears to have been written in such a way that establishing an open command channel isn’t an agonizing task. Now, you just need to get some troops on the other end.

“I can spare sixty toward your efforts,” Theodore chimes in, seeming to read your thoughts. “More than that might be difficult to manage and draw unwanted attention back toward the Vault. Of those, I should be able to equip two squads of six hounds apiece with the stealth-boy technology for infiltration purposes. As for any limits, I simply ask that you bring as many back alive and in good health as is possible and that you consistently bear in mind the limits of their intelligence.”

“What exactly are those limits?” you ask incredulously.

“While the experiments weren’t a ‘full’ success as defined by the original science team, you’ll find that the Vault residents (such as they are) can understand instructions about as well as your average child of seven or eight. Unfortunately, they are nearly as rambunctious and prone to losing focus. So, I recommend keeping your directions as simple and concise as possible.”

“Wait. So, they speak English?”

“More that they understand how to interpret English that’s being spoken to them,” Theodore corrects. “It seems a nitpicky point to make, I know, but I think it has to be emphasized that they aren’t so much fluent in the language as they are aware of several key phrases and what they mean. Anything abstract tends to fly completely over their heads, but they can actually understand a series of highly specific orders so long as they’re decomposed into several simple tasks.”

“I think I get it,” you tell him. “Now, let’s take a look at that water chip of yours.”
No. 914825 ID: 06095b
File 154554163306.png - (395.89KB , 743x550 , water_chip.png )


It’s just a short elevator ride to get to the agricultural level Theodore had described before, a vast expanse of tilled earth and healthy stalks nestled peacefully beneath an artificial sky and ringed by a circulating water enclosure that ripples with the glint of silver.

That would be the fish, you realize, and not an inconsiderable amount of them. You would guess the farm must be operating at near maximum capacity given the way the scaly hides roll together in the water, slippery bodies vying for space. All the more reason to ensure that this place continues to thrive, you suppose.

Unfortunately, the water chip, while easy to locate, doesn’t tell a pleasant story in that regard. Not, as you might expect, because the chip itself is overtly damaged. Rather, it seems that the apparent damage was just symptomatic of a far more troubling situation.

In short, one of the uplinks to the diagnostics mainframe seems to have been what was shot some time ago, and as you rummage around through wires trying to put your ear directly on the derelict system, you immediately begin realizing just how far in the red the vast network of pumps and filtration systems beneath your feet has become.

If it weren’t for that short, alarm bells would no doubt have been ringing for some time now, warning that the oxygen regulator for the tanks was about to give out, among several other key subsystems. As for substitutes you could conjure, it seems the systems originally came from an associate of Greenway Hydroponics, one of the child companies of Poseidon Energy. If you just search further back in your records for any major shipping manifests from that company and follow it out…

Vault 37, of course, the Vault which may or may not have given birth to the aquatic, seemingly humanoid lifeforms you’d spotted on your way out.

> How do you want to report your findings to Theodore?
> Write-in
No. 914826 ID: 3674e7

Be straight forward with him, say something like "I'll be blunt here and say that your [insert list of broken or damaged parts here] are either damaged beyond repair or on there way to being so, this means that soon things like [Insert eventual system breakdowns here] will soon start to stop functioning. At this rate this place will likely become unliveable if we cant get replacement parts soon."
No. 914932 ID: 5f089f

Be straightforward, concise, and don't sugarcoat it.
But include that there is another Vault that might have the needed parts, IF we can negotiate with its inhabitants, who may have already started their exploration outside their Vault. We may need to take down the Valkyries and commandeer the Coast Guard Assaultrons, as they may be waterproof and allow us to get to the Vault's inhabitants.

We'll also see if any jury-rig repairs can be made with RobCo parts from Jeremy's stores.
No. 914974 ID: 080aaf

We'll make do all right. Inform Theodore that he needs to start preparing for winter. He should cull as much as he can from the school and preserve them for long term storage to lighten the load on these failing farms, as well as tightening belts on the vault's rations. A possible source for replacement parts exists but you can't mount an expedition there until the crisis with the Lurkers is resolved.
No. 916560 ID: 06095b
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“I won’t sugar coat it,” you begin, trying not to strike a callous tone. “Nothing down below is in peak condition by a long shot, and the part of the network that’s been cut off is in even worse shape.”

“Is it the pumps?”

“The water pumps, air pumps, and the filtration systems,” you explain, noting the creases of concern on the canine’s face. “Give it a couple more weeks, a month at most, and I think at least one major sanitation and oxygen filtration system out of three will probably be down for good. The subsequent increase in strain across the remaining network will probably mean complete lights out within the next two months.”

“What’s worse is that those systems must be the ones that are only accessible from inside the tank,” he conjectures with a whine. “Otherwise, I likely would have found the damages during my external sweeps.”

“We might be able to selectively shut down parts of the tank for cleaning and maintenance,” you suggest. “The bigger problem we’d have to solve first though, is just getting the actual replacement hardware. Vault-grade construction for self-sustaining aquatic ecosystems isn’t exactly common.”

“Then what do you propose?”

“Fortunately, there is a silver lining in all of this, and it’s that there is another Vault that I know of that could potentially have replacements for your systems. The only issue is that it’s near a major body of water…”

“Where the Lurker’s presently hold dominion, which would make any sort of bulk supply transport inadvisable,” Theodore finishes with a sigh.

“Even if I could make them magically disappear, the salvage job would require either human labor or some aquatically adapted robotic bodies, and the only models I know of that would fit that moniker.”

“Are in the hands of the raider cult with a penchant for brainwashing.”

“There might be solutions that I’m not seeing,” you admit, “but those are the cards on the table as I see them. For now, at least, I’d start preparing for the worst. Start rationing and selectively downsizing the fish population, stockpiling reserves for what may be lean times ahead. In the meantime, I’ll try to wrangle some eggheads to take a second swing at this and bust a few skulls back home to make some headway.”

“Gods preserve us,” Theodore murmurs.
No. 916562 ID: 06095b
File 154683073285.png - (97.07KB , 400x382 , FoS_Mister_Handy.png )


Understandably, the news puts something of an end to idle conversation, Theodore becoming wrapped up in his own thoughts as he begins plotting a course toward the ever-more turbulent future. You leave him to it, praying for your own part now that you’ll have some good tidings to share on the return trip.

To your surprise, your return to the upper levels (while lonesome) does find you face-to-face with your sortie, the groups of hounds all fit and formed up around the elevator door with tails held rigidly at attention.

“At ease,” you order through the Pup-Boy, relieved as they immediately respond. “Meet up at 20:00.”

Again, they seem to have no difficulty understanding at least that much, the ordered masses quickly breaking back down into an uncoordinated horde of wagging tails that scatter to the four winds. As convenient as it would be to begin running drills with the group and figuring out the exact limits of their understanding, there is still just so much to do.

“Aria,” you call through the network, tapping into her live feed just long enough to see a pair of Mr. Handy arms fussing over a pile of warm, writhing lumps. “I thought you were going to see about repairing the other Mr. Handy’s.”

“But I did!” she insists. “I reprogrammed the functional repair automata with some of Jeremy’s subroutines and maintenance presets before leaving the job to them!”

That… That’s actually surprisingly competent.

“Given current parameters, they’re pretty sure they can get Vault operations back up to 47%, at least with regards to machine staffing. Of course, that would require hacking up all the other junk they have on hand, including all the other robots. Otherwise, they’ll need parts we can get from RobCo. I figured I’d leave the call up to you.”

> What to do…
> [] The Vault isn’t hurting for staff right now. Best not to break down a bunch of machines to get a few of them working.
> [] A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush…
> [] Other
No. 916602 ID: 080aaf

> [] The Vault isn’t hurting for staff right now. Best not to break down a bunch of machines to get a few of them working.
That uptick in Vault operations is going to be temporary if we don't outsource their problem.
No. 916613 ID: 4b8ea5

> [] The Vault isn’t hurting for staff right now. Best not to break down a bunch of machines to get a few of them working.
The immediate problem is getting Vault-Grade parts, not in more machine staff.
No. 916743 ID: e3e99e

Sounds like they need to delve into some vaults.
It's a pity they don't have somebody around who knows where the vaults are. Some sort of immortal AI who knows where all the bodies were buried.

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