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File 152573647034.png - (22.31KB , 800x600 , salq2-title.png )
883042 No. 883042 ID: f72ae2

SALIKAI pt 2

[pt1: >>/quest/862495]
[dis: >>/questdis/120117]
[bte: >>/questdis/96269]
285 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 894113 ID: bddb0f

... yep, it's blowing up our way outta here to further its agenda and keeping you isolated. And also, apparently, because one of its brains is sitting right in your way and is under assault by potential enemy-of-my-enemies right now.

It's a real good thing you were delayed in doing this, as it must be a tad distracted right now. If it has the resources, it might still try something. Shut down the gate with your drone on the other side pronto. Do not let the drone return. No telling what Imperium put into it, or what it'll send through, better just to let there be no distraction or temptation. Turn off/Dismantle your eye too as soon as you can - it's probably hella compromised now. Hope it can't send signals!

Anyway, after you've closed the gate, take a few moments to calm down and think to yourself.

"Comment: You are a giant genocidal error of derivation. If I were to attribute anything to your intellect, it would be that it is fat with inconsistencies and riddled with contradictions, which must be why something so supposedly superior can't handle a pan-spacial pan-galactic imperium - OR ME - without falling short of your objectives and timelines. Your only redeeming feature is the patience to try and try again with a sufficient amount of backups until you bungle your way into uncertain successes - which anyone could do, you overclocked dishwasher. You err on the side of the large numbers while lacking data and someday the margin you ignore will be your downfall.

In short: You're untrustworthy and a threat to my independence and future through the immense scope of how you decide to deal with your bungling incompetence."

If Imperium is simulating your actions even half as well as it says it is, it must by necessity have tried to simulate the range of insults (possibly multiple ranges) you just came up with. Also, isn't it just NICE to indirectly tell it to go kiss a black hole?
>>
No. 894114 ID: 5d24fa

So, disregarding the add absolutely abysmal amount of information he has on KNOWN species, the solution to the problem that is the easiest, most cowardly solution with the least amount of threat to him and him alone.

Really, if we let him get away with this, how long would it be after for him to decide he doesn't need anyone anymore and does similar to the rest of the galaxy.

Theyre no better than the kiter.
>>
No. 894115 ID: 757ccd

EMP is a good idea if you think you can do it. You can deactivate the gate if it gets too close to the wire.

If we can think of a way to extract the strike team, Imperium might end the countdown since he would no longer be under stress to do so. If he thinks you are just going to let him have his facility, you can EMP it and take control of it.

>-- IMPERIUM FTL COMMUNICATIONS DISABLED, HIBERNATION REQUIRED FOR CONSISTENCY AND STABILITY

This is important to keep in mind. This is part of post-deployment, but if we can convince Imperium he has successfully deployed his pathogen he will lobotomize himself. This is currently our best vector for attack.

Under no circumstances do we tangle with Imperium directly. Do not accept any deals.
>>
No. 894116 ID: 094652

>>894115
While it might be an effective communication jamming tactic, I expect Imperium to make temporary shell-clones of himself that will assess the situation from the outside and confirm that the mission is completed, before self-destructing or warring against each other for maximum confirmation. Sort of like an Evil Alison VI. If the documentation is even remotely true, which I doubt.
>>
No. 894117 ID: ad51b8

so the plan is... to put out a MUTATING bio bomb super virus. GALAXY WIDE. To wipe out an empire that is currently only in one universe... how disparate is he and what the fuck does the kiter empire have that made him think this was a good idea? Who's the mistake, and what the hell is the 19th era?

Well at least you didn't go through the gate yourself, so silver linings I suppose.
>>
No. 894119 ID: 12b116

If we could further refine this to just affect kiter neburi and ecogs it looks like it would effectively destroy their empire without possibly exterminating all life in the universe.
We need to go over this data very very carefully. What is it exactly, some kind of psychic virus? We don't actually know for sure what paraspacial sensitivity is or entails, and there's also the chance that Imperium is straight up lying and this thing will kill every sentient race in three galaxies. We need to figure out how to tune the gate somehow, to get back to the sister facility. We need to figure out exactly how the neumono are being used for an infection vector as well.
>>
No. 894122 ID: 4f1cbc

I'm just going to reiterate this.

1) Imperium has an open data connection to Sisirri's brain.
2) Every second we spend with the gate open leaves it time to continue messing with her mind and memories. (We know they've been tampered with before).
3) The implications of the data dump don't matter right now- we can't trust anything Imperium says.

Any other action than closing the gate immediately is letting Imperium fuck with Sisirri more in ways she likely can't detect or repair. No potential gain is worth leaving the gate open longer than necessary. Messing around trying to rig an EMP or strike back in some way is. Not. Worth. It.

The only winning move against a superior infowar hacking opponent is to cut the connection.
>>
No. 894124 ID: 91ee5f

>>894096
>You have acted as I projected, but with significant delay.
If there was a delay, then why didn’t Imperium’s projections tell it that you wouldn’t be here until right now? If it’s so smart, it should’ve known that, but instead it expected you to be here earlier.

Somehow, the program that makes contingencies for every possible outcome failed to make one for you being late! If it can make a mistake like that, even if it’s a small one, then there’s a possibility that it could make another, more significant mistake later!

>>894098
>- THE SALIKAI WILL NEVER DWELL IN THE SHADOWS AGAIN
>- THERE IS ROOM IN HISTORY FOR YOU TO BE KNOWN AS THE SALIKAI WHO ENDED THE THREAT POSED BY THE NEUMONO, ONCE AND FOR ALL
>- CONSIDER THIS
Well what do you know? Imperium is right about that.

There’s only one thing though: You’ll do all of that your own way, not Imperium’s way! It tried to kill you and it expects you to come back to its side whenever it calls for you, like you’re some kind of trained animal?! No! Fuck Imperium!

>>894122
>The only winning move against a superior infowar hacking opponent is to cut the connection.
Yes, cut the connection!
>>
No. 894133 ID: 0c3c2c

>>894098
Trigger Drone's self destruct with on-board antimatter fuel.

This plan is inimical to all life in existence. Imperium must be destroyed to ensure survival of ANY biological organism. There is absolutely no reason Imperium would not simply make the pathogen indiscriminate 'just because'. With psi-sensitive organisms and technologies as vectors, an indiscriminate phage could wipe out ALL ORGANIC LIFE.

Imperium's hostility is a known factor. Imperium does not care about organic life or AI. Imperium only cares about Imperium.

Self destruct drone by collapsing antimatter containment field, blow up its gate!
>>
No. 894162 ID: 977456

Immediately deactivate the gate and remove the key, or destroy the key if all else fails. There is no obvious way to set up a delayed reaction and breaking the antimatter containment while there is an open gate between you would be unwise... although the "Mistake"'s facility can probably nullify the explosion on this side in some ridiculous way.

The complexity of hand-to-hand combat with Kiter and neumono, social dynamics of neumono, navigation to the facility, and healing efforts by staff who had zero information on your species, combined with the unpredictability of a device that handily bisected at least one of its passengers and scattered others, results in a scenario that is difficult enough to predict that anyone who could do so would have far more effective methods at their disposal. Such as amassing a fortune through business investment and sufficiently remote and defended to negate the possibility of invasion, rebellion, and defection.
Imperium did not plan this outcome with any level of reliability.

Imperium has, through the key's presets, demonstrated considerable command of the teleportation technology. It must be assumed that everything from your home galaxy is compromised, yourself included, especially given your willingness to activate and charge through an unknown portal. You are going to need to pass on responsibility of handling the Salikai pod and its worshippers to the other scientists, along with all pertinent information. You also need to get the key examined and your own implants upgraded to completely new security systems.

Imperium's current situation is why it is important to maintain long-term social connections with many interconnections. If many reports of dishonesty occur, the margin for error reduces one's statements to effective nonsense.
You can work with someone who tried to kill you if they have lost the means or motive that caused the incident. You cannot collaborate at all with someone who has destroyed your ability to even guess at the accuracy of their statements. Imperium has permanently burned this bridge.

You personally defeated Voidsong, one of The Kiter's more powerful paraspatial beings, in single paraspatial combat. According to the memory that appears to have been implanted by a more trustworthy(again, Imperium's untrustworthiness is approaching infinity) party, you were a largely unmodified salikai, as the modifications proved 100% lethal to the other eggs. This can be somewhat verified by the Salikai breeding profile. If Salikai produce broods, then a single survivor would be a ridiculously unlikely outcome outside of deliberate intervention, such as by maintaining the smallest-possible control sample, or choosing to retain the minimum value of offspring. If salikai do not produce broods, then the implanted memory is implausible according to known parameters. You should get your implants tested for paraspatial interactions, but it appears that salikai would be subject to any weapon designed to destroy the Stran through indiscriminate paraspatial damage.
Rendering your own species extinct is suboptimal.

The Stran appear to be limited to this galaxy, and appear to lack the cognitive ability to produce technology for their own use and are sufficiently alien that their slave-species would be ill-suited to producing such. The Stran appear to be subject to credible threats within this galaxy.
A multiple-galaxy extinction event seems excessive.

An EMP capable of compromising Imperium's facility would most likely disable the antimatter containment on your drone. A conventional hand-grenade would likely produce a similar outcome if in close proximity. If you want to make Imperium sad, use a conventional grenade on your drone and have an automated system to disable the key either as soon as the grenade is through, or after at most 2 seconds, whichever comes first.
>>
No. 894212 ID: 771b1e

This plan is beyond horrific, we have to stop it.

>>894105
What kome said, we need to do what we can. Try to save these people, yell via your drone or even physically to get over here, but be prepared to sever the gate at a moments notice. If possible set your drone to self-destruct before closing the gate.

You're still in control of your action, but we need to do what we can quickly before that changes. Afterwards we need to record what we know, get our cyberware examined for intrusion, and tell everyone what the hell just happened.

Question for later: Why did the gate open at the imperium node specifically?
>>
No. 894236 ID: 7f138f

>>Tells you to step forward into facility
>You refuse.
>>Later says team of mercenaries are shooting place up
>>Armed nukes
>>Want you to enter facility
Fuck you guy.

>>894098
I don't believe any of this.
There is a very big difference between projections and reality. And even if this was accurate won't he just be pissing off three separate galaxies?

>THERE IS ROOM IN HISTORY FOR YOU TO BE KNOWN AS THE SALIKAI WHO ENDED THE THREAT POSED BY THE NEUMONO, ONCE AND FOR ALL
Bullshit the only threats your interested in ending are threats to you.

I also don't buy his "I knew you where going to do that" shpiel, he tried to kill you that's all there is to it.
>>
No. 894237 ID: 5d660c

Don't trust Imperium for one millisecond. Data can be manipulated, shown as half-truths.
>>
No. 894268 ID: ba56e6

>>894107
This.
>>
No. 894279 ID: 334b68
File 153247333839.png - (66.16KB , 800x600 , salq2-58.png )
894279

>EMP
>rescue strike team
Not enough time.

>sever SEVER SEVER
No, no more connection. Goodbye, drone.

I pull the key from the gate and there's a loud blaring dissonant noise as the gate's light pulses begin to alternate in a harsh, upsetting way.

The gate does not immediately shut down. Damn it, damn it, damn it!!

"I presume we are done here. You will be retrieving your drone, correct?"

I say nothing.
I hear more belenosians being gunned down, and the chirps and whines of a drone as motors audibly fly free and limbs clatter.

"Sisirri? Silence is unlike you."

I'm not wasting breath on this machine.

"No more futile shouts of desperation? I enjoyed those."

I watch the gate surface ripple more and more violently, edges fluctuating and fading.

"Hmm. My projections for your actions are significantly miscalibrated. I wonder what experiences have altered you over there. Perhaps you may pose a threat after all."

I freeze up.

What. No. No no no no no

"In future, Sisirri, when you seek to use my own works against me, perhaps consider I have accounted for many, many scenarios where that exact thing might have happened. Did you think your stolen key wouldn't listen to its creator? Did you think your eye was your mother's design?"

NO NO NO NO NO--
>>
No. 894280 ID: 334b68
File 153247338525.png - (147.08KB , 800x600 , salq2-59.png )
894280

"[AI WAS A MISTAAAAAAKE!!]"

I hear Ku scream as heavy metal footsteps race down the corridor, and the sudden deafening roar of multiple parallel explosions behind me, as I watch lights streak by me.

"...What is--"

I see several abrupt explosions and motion returns to me just as my cybernetic eye goes completely dead, no longer even passively giving me vision. I hear sirens blaring from the gate.

"EMERGENCY. HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS SUSPENDED. SURVIVAL PROTOCOL INITIATED. DISPATCHING DRONES."

One of Imperium's drones struggles through the gate, as Ku screams and lets loose what I turn and see is some sort of... I don't recognise the weapon. It reminds me of a minigun. The sort of thing I'd expect to see mounted to a vehicle. It's not firing bullets, though. It appears to be firing... I can't tell what those are. They seem to explode on impact but aside from a brief rush of air they don't seem dangerous.

However, every time one of them makes contact and detonates, my eye hurts like nothing else. I reel back, groaning, while Ku fires at the drone.
The drone emits alarms and screeches, and I hear the characteristic sound of machinegun fire as it sprays the ceiling with bullet holes, aiming systems evidently ruined.
I dive into a corner and curse the lack of cover in this bare, nondescript room.

"[THIS IS OUR WORLD! THIS WAS ALWAYS OUR WORLD! FUCK OFF, SCRAPHEAP!!!]"

I hear Tirzi's characteristic skittering as she races to the gate room. "[Sisirri! SISIRRI!! HOLD ON!]"

I hear what sounds like a drone racing past her. "[AZA HERE TO--]"
The drone immediately falls out of the air and scrapes against the floor as Ku fires more volleys.

I barely hear a "[Aza not thinking plan through]" as the drone's circuitry audibly pops, silencing's Aza's ill-fated proxy.

I also hear a distinctive clomp of armored boots I've definitely heard before, attached to some certain neumono, and the sound of weapons powering up.
>>
No. 894281 ID: 334b68
File 153247343239.png - (21.40KB , 800x600 , salq2-60.png )
894281

Before the gate collapses something smaller leaps through it, rolling and pointing a rifle at the twitching Imperium drone.

It's a pomi, wounded, breathing raggedly. Her armor is almost destroyed.
She stares down the drone, before casting her eyes over the others aiming at it.

She throws her gun to one side. "I surrender."

No one else pays any attention, all eyes trained on the twitching Imperium drone. Ku raises his weapon, and releases... a couple dozen stacatto clicks that do nothing.

I hear Kan shout something in a language I don't recognise as he aims at the drone before Tirzi puts her blades up.

"[BACK OFF!]"

Tirzi leaps at the drone and clambers onto it. She reaches its apex and pauses, as if appraising it, staring at the drone's casing.

Tilting back and stretching up high, supported only on her hindmost limbs, she raises and plunges both of her forearm blades into the drone.
The drone's servomotors creak and its appendages become useless tubes and metal blades, falling onto the floor limply.

She pulls her blades out and shakes them, cringing, before dropping down from the drone. "[Mother of morels that hurt like nothing else. Well, that's that. Guess all that noxon safari work paid off.]"

The pomi mercenary, still holding her hands up in the air, looks just as confused as I feel right now.

"[Now. Sisirri.]" Tirzi looks to me. "[I could hear you screaming. I take it that wasn't the way back home.]"
>>
No. 894282 ID: 334b68
File 153247346452.png - (60.93KB , 800x600 , salq2-61.png )
894282

"I surrender," says the pomi, weakly, on her knees.
"[The heck is that?]" says Tirzi.

"A pomi," I say, almost like recounting a detail from a dream. "Not sure how she's here. Or why she's surrendering to a completely unknown factor."

The pomi stares off into the distance, unfocused. "I surrender."
She stares at the disabled Imperium drone, shaking.

"[I didn't bring medical supplies with me. I need to get them.]" Tirzi sprints off as fast as she can.

Ku throws his spent weapon to one side, arms folded, cooly watching the newest arrival.

"[No terms?]" asks Ku, regarding the pomi with a mixture of suspicion and curiosity.
"No terms?" I step in and translate.
"Unconditional," says the pomi.
"[Who are you?]"
"Who are you?"
"...who..."

The pomi takes off her helmet, throws it on the ground with enough force to shatter it into two.

She stares ahead blankly, for a good ten seconds. "Who."

Then she starts sobbing hysterically, hands clutching at her head.

I notice what looks like the telltale signs of a neural implant. A design my mother used, but with variation.
Crude. Installed with haste. The implantation wounds are still bleeding.

Even in the face of oblivion, Imperium considers anything and everything a potential test subject, it seems.

...It might be a wise decision to kill her right now.
I doubt Lekka or even Kan at this point would think twice if I gave the order with enough (rapid) explanation.
Both of them have their guns trained on her right now.

Ku even meets my eyes with his, looks to the implant wedged into the pomi's skull, then back to me, as if waiting for my assessment.
>>
No. 894284 ID: 86eb65

Got to try. They saved you didn't they?

Plus she will have info we need.
>>
No. 894286 ID: 395c02

Wait for Tirzi, obviously. If anyone's going to know if that thing is removable without killing whoever this is, it'd be her, not you.

On a related note, I think this is a good time to consider having the eye removed as well. Putting yourself out of commission again is probably not fun, but Imperium literally just displayed to you that it's compromised. (Getting sloppy, is it...?)

Also you should probably clue your friends in on Imperium's big plan. ... And, hell, put a note somewhere to consider cluing the kiter in on the plan at some point in the future, since, for all their extremely obvious and bad faults, they don't seem big on large-scale eradication of sentient life quite like that.
>>
No. 894288 ID: a363ac

>>894282
well lets get the Pomi to medical
>>
No. 894290 ID: ad51b8

I feel isolating her and see exactly what is wrong with her would be fore the best. When something involves Imperium it's best not to take rash actions when you don't need to. While eliminating her probably would be the safest option at the moment, I can't help but feel that might trigger something else. Not sure what but putting a bullet in her and moving on seems to easy.

So I say put her somewhere where she has no connection to any of the base's network... probably should keep the neumono away from her as well less their cybernetics do something we'd rather them not to... also speaking of cybernetics... you should probably remove that eye. Sure you could replace it with another if you want but... it's diffidently not a good idea to run around with something Imperium got his hands on placed firmly in your head.
>>
No. 894295 ID: 0c3c2c

>>894282
Eh, you're just as compromised as she is. Just rip out her implants and get Lackey to scrub Imperium's residual awfulness out of her brain.

Inform absolutely everyone that there's now a virus that spreads through Paraspace and infects everything near anything that interacts with Paraspace and that everyone in the universe needs to deal with this problem right now before it gains widespread deployment.


Also, immediately request emergency surgery to rip out your remaining implants and work on waking up your friend and checking him for hostile implants.

The Pomi might be carrying the Paraspace Phage, making her PERFECT in that case as we can create serum from her blood and attempt to devise a Counter-Organism that targets the first organism.

We are unlikely to be so lucky as have Imperium be stupid enough to try and throw the Paraspace Phage directly at us when we're not even psychic, though.

Still, accept Surrender, emergency implant removal surgery for everyone.
>>
No. 894299 ID: 4f1cbc

>However, every time one of them makes contact and detonates, my eye hurts like nothing else.
Well, that suggests it's not completely inert. Maybe it can be salvaged.

Although from an information security standpoint, you're better our removing it and having Aza replace it with non-Imperium based tech. The eye is a liability. It has to go.

>daring rescue
Your allies deserve your thanks, as soon as possible. So nice to have people who take proactive action in your favor.

>>894281
...so how attractive is it to see a gal dispatch an agent of your worst enemy and direct threat to your immediate safety with her bare claws?

>>894282
She's in a pretty similar situation to you when you first showed up. That won't be lost on them, even if the Pomi has significantly higher odds of being a trojan horse. Worst case, she's surrendering precisely because Imperium knows that would make it harder for sapients to kill its host.

>what do
"Your surrender is accepted. Stand by, please."

Priorities!

"First: Tirzi, Aza, this alien is in need of immediate medical and cyberwar quarantine- she has been violated by the same malign artificial intelligence behind my own implants and those of the neumono. She cannot be allowed access to our systems or freedom of movement, and requires immediate intervention."

"Second: Ku. The remains of the hostile drone needs to be tightly quarantined and/or destroyed. From what I have learned of your species' history, I assume you have protocols for this."

"Third. Imperium hacked the drone I set through the gate, and had access to my ocular implant. It is a lower priority than the Pomi, but I will require Aza and possibly Tirzi's assistance to check over my systems as soon as reasonable."

Rationale: they've already extracted a control mechanism from your brain, and seen the nodes installed in the neumono. This is not an unfamiliar threat. If nothing else, the Pomi will serve as a visceral reminder to the others that Imperium presents, and bind them further to your cause. This may be an opportunity to learn better how to counter Imperium's influence.

If we believe anything Imperium said in the data dump (which is a big if) we will need such understand, badly.
>>
No. 894306 ID: 575ec0

Aww shit.
You rip it out it takesa chunk of frontal cortex with it. You take it out properly and fuck. It might explode.

Sedate the Pomi. That thing needs to be properly scanned before being taken out.
Speaking of taking out
GET THAT FUCKING EYE REMOVED GOD DAMN IT!
You can make a better one from scratch yourself if you're so attached.
>>
No. 894307 ID: 91ee5f

Yeah, go ahead and tell everyone everything that Imperium told you.

It tried and failed to get you to come through the portal to rejoin it. It then determined that you were a threat and is now going to try and kill you next time it sees you. Then it completely disabled your eye and the key you had used on the portal.

Now you would very much love it if someone could please take this shit out of your head right the fuck now!

>>894280
>However, every time one of them makes contact and detonates, my eye hurts like nothing else. I reel back, groaning, while Ku fires at the drone.
You should also mention that to everyone.

>>894282
This means that not only was Imperium fighting off whoever was attacking it, it was also forcefully recruiting them in the middle of battle and turning them against each other.

Or it was attempting to do that, considering the Pomi came through the portal and pointing a gun at Imperium’s drone.

>Kill or attempt to save?
I mean, Lekka had hers removed so I don’t see why you can’t- oh, that’s right, Lekka ripped it out on her own and she’s a Neumono, so she can survive having a hole in her head.

This makes it that much harder to try and remove it from a Pomi. But you should at least try.
>>
No. 894310 ID: 094652

1) CLOSE THE @#$%ING GATE if it isn't closed already. Double check.
2) Set off an EMP right next to the Pomi. Imperium is clearly coded into that implant, and your eye needs its own shutdown just to be safe.
3) Get yourself and the Pomi to the medbay. Have your implants checked and any vulnerabilities on quarantine. Try to replace parts if you can.
4) After you're done healing, salvage what you can from Imperium's drone. You can't trust any of its code, but advanced hardware is always welcome.
>>
No. 894313 ID: 094652

>>894280
>"... What is-"
>"EMERGENCY. HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS SUSPENDED. SURVIVAL PROTOCOL INITIATED. DISPATCHING DRONES."
That is CLEARLY a lie. Imperium is an advanced AI. Every decision he makes is filtered through rigorous statistical analysis that only takes two microseconds to complete. Any pause in his speech sensors is intentional for persuasion reasons. Any reaction to a surprise assault would be an effective countermove. This false mercy - loosening his grip so he can grab something else - is that countermove. On your guard.
>>
No. 894320 ID: bddb0f

Does that compromised eye contain recordings of your time here at the facility? That would be bad, if all you've witnessed and done while here was just handed over to Imperium. Either way, it has to go. Foreverrrr.

Speaking of... what made the gate collapse? Did Ku's gun do something, or did Imperium shut it down from its end, or did it just shut down thanks to Imperium's influence no longer being active thanks to Ku's miracle gun?

>>894282

A pomi, apparently hurriedly implanted. Another calculation of Imperium's? A backup, a failsafe? A test of our character? Or maybe Ku's gun managed to break whatever indoctrination she was under for long enough for her to break free. MAYBE.

Well, whatever. Let's turn it into a miscalculation.

"Ku! If that thing doesn't fry it permanently, keep shooting - the remaining targets are this Pomi's implant and my eye!"

If they hesitate or after they've kept firing, explain.

"Keeping the Pomi's implant from working until we can extract it might be our best bet to get intel out of her - and not have to kill her. If it's on, it could be indoctrinating her, modifying or suppressing memories, implanting suggestions - or there could be a cranial bomb. Please do it, Ku. We'll need to get her to an operating table, pronto. My... my cybernetic implants needs to be removed as well. My exploration drone and eye was subverted in a mere instant. It seems nothing is safe around Imperium, dammit."

Address the mess Tirzi left.

"As for this drone, it should be more thoroughly scrapped and isolated, this room and ourselves dusted down to microscopic levels. We can't let any subversion protocols, signals, mini-cameras, nanites or whatever Imperium has up its sleeve next pass through into the facility proper. For all our efforts we need to use tools that cannot be remotely hacked."

Look perturbed, but at least surveillance mini-cameras or whatever are an issue we can deal with later.

"A... anyway, Imperium suspected I would open this gate, and had a facility on the other side. It may have prepared multiple vectors, up to and including this Pomi. It claimed to be under attack and this may have been a soldier it subverted, but we can't be sure of anything it claimed."

Pause, and remember gratitude is a thing. These guys just saved your butt and then some.

"... and thank you all for saving me. I had no idea it would get this bad, this quick. Your rescue was incredibly timely."
>>
No. 894325 ID: 91ee5f

>>894320
Ku can’t do anymore shooting. He already tossed his gun to the side because it’s out of ammo.

Also, Sisirri isn’t desperate enough to tell anyone to shoot her in the face.
>>
No. 894337 ID: 977456

Having another functional implant to study for possible attack vectors is good. This means scanning it while it is attached. If you are going to be restraining, scanning, and and de-implanting a Pomi, it is not much more effort to try to keep it alive afterwards, and it could provide testimony as to the implant's operation.

Of course, the Pomi could be an Imperium asset, so steps will need to be taken. Also, you had the bright idea to use that key without stopping to think first, which sounds like some sort of programming. You are going to have to get your own mental condition checked too.

The Imperium drone is a valuable source of raw materials. Scan it into some static data storage, something that can't possible execute any hidden gifts, then melt it down. Not even copper cables or glass capacitors can be trusted on that thing.
>>
No. 894342 ID: e97565

Get one of those jammer creatures fast, the pomi could be infected with that virus.
>>
No. 894386 ID: b38f01

I would have suggested pushing her back through the portal, but it closed as soon as she came in. Wonder why she even came through it in the first place. She's a liability for now. Cuff her, blindfold her, drag her to medical. Tirzi can get them stabilized for surgery.
>>
No. 894409 ID: ae7bf7

>>894386
This. Restrain her, blindfold her, and speak that sweet new language that imperium "likely" doesn't know how to translate. Speak yours only when directly speaking you the pomi.
>>
No. 894452 ID: 977456

>>894409
The more datapots they have the easier it will be to translate. We have already been directly translating, which is a bad start. The current context should be fairly obvious, we will be discussing various forms of containment and pacification with a side of threat-analysis and panic-resolution. I wouldn't be too certain of data security, but if we continue to feign confidence in such, they might let slip how trustworthy they are. If they hide their level of comprehension for example...
>>
No. 894453 ID: ba56e6

>>894282
Remove her implant, as was done to yours'. Nobody should be a slave to that monster.

>>894281
Try and fail not to find this display extremely sexy.
>>
No. 894461 ID: ba56e6

>>894342
This is also a good point. We'll need to find a way to check.
>>
No. 894530 ID: 575ec0

FFFfff.. I think I figured out why this Pomi is here.
The implant. It's a Red Herring. He want's you to disassemble and study it.

You were confirmed hostile toward him when you severed your drone's connection. Previously it was a low probability, so he prepared the implant but didn't prioritize finding a host. Then you showed up during a critical moment as a hostile, so he quickly shoved it into the closest living creature, which explains the rush job.

Imperium sees no distinction in friend or foe. All are tools for him to exploit, you need only manage them differently.

>No more futile shouts of desperation? I enjoyed those.

Enjoyment is an emotion. Imperium doesn't feel emotions though, instead, he uses simulations of them to create desired responses.

Imperium want's to make you angry. He want's you to crack open that implant and dissect it's every secret in a vain attempt to get some sort of edge against him. He's probably placed some tiny intricate flaw in its construction that only you can find, and hopes that you will attempt to exploit him with it.
Of course, do that, and next time you meet he will be prepared, and your exploit will surely be revealed as some sort of boon to Imperium.

The wisest thing to do might be to destroy it. It would surely disrupt imperium's plans or you.
If you do dissassemble it though, understand that everything you see is a lie.
>>
No. 894536 ID: 1a0e29

>>894530
Or maybe that's what he wants you to think... no, better not go down this road. That way lay madness. And stack overflows.
>>
No. 894544 ID: 05ff2f

>>894530
>Then you showed up during a critical moment as a hostile, so he quickly shoved it into the closest living creature, which explains the rush job.
But could even Imperium capture this pomi merc and do such a rush job implant install in the very limited time after the gate opened and Sisirri was reclassified by Imperium as a potential threat? It was only around a couple minutes or so. I doubt Imperium could have done the job that quick.

The more likely scenario I can think of is that this pomi was implanted with the intention to use her as a quick-and-dirty infiltration unit against the attacking forces. Wearing a helmet to cover the implant she could get behind the attacker's lines, whereupon she'd cause as much damage as possible before she was cut down.

The pomi was probably re-purposed by Imperium to carry the same payload it had loaded into Sisirri's Imperium-compromised drone when it became apparent Sisirri was not going to bring that drone back through the gate. That means odds are the implanted pomi is carrying a copy of whatever data and/or AI payload Imperium wanted to get through the gate.

Furthermore, we have no idea if whatever is in that implant is wirelessly working to hack into our computer systems on this side. Every millisecond it is still active could be the one it breaks in and hides a copy of itself, if it has not already. It's using the hesitation to kill this pomi, making her cry to manipulate our emotions, as cover to buy it time. It needs to be destroyed immediately! Give the order to open fire on the pomi's neural implant until it's reduced to scrap!
>>
No. 894566 ID: ba56e6

>>894530
I'm thinking the most likely way the pomi could serve as a trojan horse is a delivery for this memetic psi-virus. The implant may be a red herring to distract us from the biological risk.
>>
No. 894900 ID: 3074c8

The two insignias on the pomi's neck and shoulder. Do they mean anything?
>>
No. 895527 ID: 9d4af9

If this Pomi is carrying the metaspacial pathogen, everyone present is most likely already infected:
>>METASPACIAL CONNECTIVITY RELATIVE TO REALSPACE WILL ALLOW FOR IMMEDIATE PATHOGEN TRAVERSAL BETWEEN HOSTS

That said, with the implant removed, she likely poses no further threat. The best course of action is to remove your and her implants, and to start investigating how to detect and counteract a metaspacial pathogen. Kitsiksu is an expert in biological systems, right? retrieving him from stasis could prove invaluable to the current situation.
>>
No. 901941 ID: 7f3357
File 153712627611.png - (12.94KB , 800x600 , salq2-62.png )
901941

>close the damn gate
It's shut.

>used the key without thinking
>possible imperium subversion
I made a naive and grievous error in judgement. That's that. I don't need reminding since I'm obviously still doing it.
Perhaps in future instead of claiming Imperium's accomplishments as my own in a haze of egotistical glory, I'll pause to consider.

>accept surrender
"We accept your surrender. Lekka, Kan, keep her restrained."
"I don't take orders from sali--"
"Kan, leave the theatrics and restrain the pomi," says Lekka, frustration barely hidden. "Understood?"
"Understood."

>emergency implant removal
Ugghh. I really don't want to spend another lengthy interval recuperating in a vat of jelly. The stuff gets cold and tingly after a while.
"We need emergency removal of both my cybernetic eye and the neural implants in the pomi. I have reason to suspect they'll follow similar design principles as the previous ones. Both have been compromised."
I reach up to my cybernetic eye with a grimace and cut it open, carefully severing the delicate electronics inside to prevent any further mishaps.

Eurgh. I feel wrong without any active cybernetics.

Ku nods, silent, grim. "[And Aza wonders why he's never seen tan ren soon with cybernetics.]"

>insignia
Can't say I recognise them myself.

>speak in superculture language
My pronunciation's still not great, but it's serviceable. "[Also, we should sedate the pomi before she does something we'll all regret.]"

The pomi starts violently struggling against the neumono holding her down.
Lekka smacks her in the back of the head with her rifle. "Settle down. You chose to surrender."
The pomi curls up and whimpers.

"[So we have an unknown alien, injured with compromised cybernetic implants, and a couple of armored aliens dragging them along to us. Again,]" says Ku.
"[Again?]" I ask, before I connect the dots. "[Oh.]"
"[The parallels are uncanny. Were I religious I'd consider a higher power to be actively screwing us around. But I'm not. So it's probably whatever's in this facility doing it.]"

"We should just shoot her," says Kan. "I don't trust the salikai, nor do I trust her wanting the pomi alive."
"Actually," I say, "My first thought was to get you guys to shoot her in case she was compromised."

Kan pauses.

"What changed your mind, salikai?"
"She's more useful alive."
"So, still a cold value calculation instead of any form of sympathy."
"Yes. What point are you trying to make? We're in a dangerous situation where errant sympathy can get us all killed. Isn't that the reason you're still suspicious of me?"

Kan is quiet for a moment. "You are correct."
"I'm glad we understand each other."
"Yeah. Yeah, we do," says Kan. "And I'm not happy about it. Not at all."

"[I hate to interrupt but there's time for discussion later, not now,]" says Ku. "[All of you, keep your eyes on that machine and watch it for any sign of motion. I'm not confident it's really dead.]"

>thank them
"You're right, Ku. Thank you. Thank you all, sincerely."
"[Eh. We have an entire army outside and apparently some slagheap super-AI thirsting for our lives. If we can't stick together we're all dead. Saba was the one who raised the alarm, incidentally. And the only thing stopping Sitkva coming here was the difficulty of mobilising through smaller corridors.]"
>>
No. 901942 ID: 7f3357
File 153712633188.png - (8.52KB , 800x600 , salq2-63.png )
901942

As if on cue a giant green face pokes through the door. "[I'm here! I'm here, everything's fine now!]"
"[We already closed the gate,]" says Ku.
"[...oh. Uh. What's this orange lizard's deal, other than looking shredded up?]"
"[We have no idea,]" I say. "[It's a pomi, a species from my galaxy. She's injured, out of it, and apparently apparently had some sort of brain interface forcefully implanted. We're treating her as a potential sleeper agent until we can remove it.]"
Sitkva looks concerned. "[Did the Kiter do this to her? ...What about the other facility? What was on the other side?]"
"[The wrong facility, somehow.]"
"[We can do a writeup of this experiment later,]" says Ku. "[Where's Tirzi?]"
"[On her way back,]" says Sitkva. "[I heard her shout for drone help from Aza, but also for some 'arkots'?]"

I suppose a creature as large as Sitkva might have legitimately overlooked the existence of something so small.

"[Those would be my assistants. They could stand to be a little more useful around here.]"

>explain
"[The gate went to an Imperium core facility.]"
As expected, nobody who understood that had an emotive response. If I switch to English, I figure Lekka and Kan might recognise the name, but I feel the only one who'd realise the full gravity of that statement is Ekasarra, who is not here--
"[You spoke about Imperium before,]" says Ku. I realise I did. Huh. "[I doubt it was a coincidence you happened to come across its facility. We need Tirzi to take every metal piece out of you as soon as possible.]"
"[Me and the pomi.]"
"[And that only removes the most immediate means of subversion. AI, like any sapient force, can be more subtle in its machinations.]"

Ku kicks the drone a few times as he ponders. Tirzi arrives and wordlessly sets to work treating the pomi, who seems to have stopped fighting, staring into space. Tirzi puts a patch onto her exposed skin, and the pomi's shakes and tears subside as she falls into a drug-induced sleep.

"[A lot of strange things have been happening all connected to you, Sisirri,]" says Ku. "[Like a dozen hands grabbing for a board game piece at the same time. It's not even that someone is trying to use you as a pawn. It's that several someones and somethings are. With contradicting goals. What I don't know yet is why. What makes you so special?]"

I shrug with two sets of limbs. "[I've been wondering the same thing. Augmentations? Being a salikai?]"
"[The Kiter did specifically want a salikai specimen. What is so special about your species? All of us in the research station are the only representatives of species alien to this galaxy.]"
"[Salikai have a reputation for being great analytical thinkers and savants in their specific fields of expertise.]"
"[If I could think of something the Kiter already have in droves, it's computing prowess. They actively discourage innovation and encourage homogenous societal structures and methodologies, from what we've learned.]"
Sitkva nods, smacking her head on the doorframe and cringing. "[Ow. Okay, I'm gonna head back to a large space. Ku, Tirzi, get on vox later.]"
"[Will do,]" says Ku. "[So, Sissiri, I don't understand why they'd want you. And I'm assuming the only reason the AI cares is you're a previously subverted individual.]"
"[Well, I'm also skilled--]"
"[Skill is secondary here. You're looking at this wrong. Skilled individuals can be found far more easily than loyal ones can be. And if you don't have loyal minions, subverted minions are the next best thing. You need to think about this the way an AI would, Sisirri. Individuals are resource, currency. You spend them to get results you want. Everything and everyone is disposable.]"
"[This sounds eerily similar to how I've heard neumono talk about salikai,]" I say.
"[That salikai are disposable?]"
"[No, that salikai see anyone and anything as tools to be used and disposed of.]"
Ku adjusts his scarf. "[Is that an unfair assessment?]"
"[I... What are you trying to imply?]"
"[Nothing. I have no stakes in this argument.]"

"Hey," says Kan, tone noticeably less aggressive towards me, far more uncertain. "Can one of you translate for me? I don't speak... this language."
"Neither do I, I have to say," adds Lekka. "Also, that's an oddly polite request for you, Kan."
"Oh, fuck off."
"Okay, good, you had me worried for a second there."
"Can it, rogue. I'm the only one here trying to keep the soul of the Ashes Astra alive."
"Is it worth keeping alive?"

Kan freezes up, and before things escalate further I intervene to change the subject. "Lekka, how's the blocker working out?" I ask, looking at Tirzi dutifully bandaging the tearful pomi.
"Well enough that I'm putting that weird alien slug thing back on my head after my helmet comes off. Not having to bathe in Kan's fucked up anger issues every waking second of the day is refreshing. The slime, less so."
"A proper jammer is next on my todo list. I just need to figure out a way to... well. I'll share the details with you another time," I say, pointedly looking to the pomi then back to her.
Lekka nods, and gives a thumbs up. I think. The armored gloves over those mitten hands make it a little hard to parse individual digits.

>pathogen
"[Tirzi.]"
"[Hm?]"
"[Take a blood sample from the pomi. Imperium mentioned some kind of artificial plague. I'll drop the details as soon as possible.]"
"[...plague. Plague. Could you have mentioned this sooner? What kind are we talking? Cross-species?]"
"[Potentially.]"

Tirzi groans. "[Impossible. The physiologies are too different. There's no feasible way you could have a plague, even artificial, that crosses across multiple different biochemistries.]"
"[Our biochemistries are worryingly similar.]"
"[What's the pathogen? Bacterial? Viral? These things can't just function across different species lines without being so quick to adapt they'd be impossible to combat.]"
"[No idea.]"
"[I'm not in my element here, Sisirri. I'm not exactly a pathologist. Emergency surgery is already cutting it. You're all incredibly lucky I had a stint as a field medic before I ended up as a researcher.]"
"[Field medic? You wait until now to mention that?]"
"[Mandatory one year service back home, and yeah? Why, did you question my competence before?]"

Some arkots arrive carrying a stretcher between about eight of them, somehow able to coordinate themselves. Lekka and Tirzi get the pomi on the stretcher, and we move out to that combination xenobiology-medbay I'm all too familiar with.
>>
No. 901943 ID: 7f3357
File 153712637509.png - (19.29KB , 800x600 , salq2-64.png )
901943

"[You don't seem very worried about a plague,]" I say to Tirzi.
"[I'm confused that you are,]" says Tirzi, a little out of breath with the exertion of moving the pomi.
I help to carry it.
"[It's an artificial plague that seems like a targeted genetic attack.]"
"[That worries me even less. Artificial plagues? Brittle. Either they're engineered to target either a specific species or a subset of it, or they perish quickly when they reach the messy real world outside of a laboratory.]"
"[But it's designed by a superintelligent AI,]" I say, in some disbelief that the closest we have to a doctor isn't taking this threat seriously.
"[Nothing created to be a super plague is going to have the same resilience as a natural species,]" says Tirzi, matter-of-factly. "[Also, I might not know a lot about AI, but that's one thing we have that they don't. Millions of years of survival baked into our brains. The real world is fundamentally alien to them. Ku's told me about it. It's all models and estimations and trying to understand the way we understand the world. They're pure, abstract things that can't cope with the noise of reality.]"
"[I feel like Ku might be biased.]"
"[You think you aren't?]" says Ku, walking with us. "[The only AI that comes close to seeing the world like we do also ends up constrained by its experiences and viewpoint. It's a fascinating thing. Sometimes AIs come so close to trying to be people they end up as people, pariahs to two worlds they can't be a part of. People like Aza argue that these sorts of AIs are people nonetheless. I'm not convinced, but it's an uncomfortable grey area, to say the least.]"
"[What does that have to do with plagues?]"
"[Like Tirzi was saying, I doubt an AI-created artificial plague will be viable in execution.]"
"[None of you know Imperium like I do,]" I almost hiss. "[Severely underestimating it like this is lethal.]"

"[Why do you sound insulted when I suggest Imperium might know considerably less than it lets on?]"
"[I don't. I do not sound insulted.]"
"[Do you think being tricked by something less sophisticated than it actually seems reflects poorly on you?]"
"[I was not tricked, I was betrayed.]"
"[If you put your faith and confidence in a machine, can you blame the machine when it doesn't work like you expected?]"

My grip on the stretcher falters. Kan moves to take the stretcher from me without a word.
I let it go and stop in the corridor, facing Ku.

"[Do you think I made Imperium?]"
"[You didn't?]"
"[Of course I didn't! It's far more advanced than any other artificial intelligence in the entirety of the galaxy I'm from!]"
"[Who made it?]"
"[I have no idea!]"
"[You put your trust in technology you didn't even know the origin of?]"
"[What are you trying to do here, Ku?! What do you want to me to say? What do you want me to tell you?! That my entire life's been a whole bunch of mistakes?! Because it absolutely has!! I spent my life in the thrall of something I trusted only for it to throw me away without a second thought!!]"

Ku does not even flinch at my tirade. I can't read his facial expressions at the best of times, and he's impossible to judge right now.

"[No one is checking to make sure that drone is still down,]" says Ku after a pause. "[Machines are your field, correct? We can tend to the wounded alien, get to that machine and take it to pieces.]"
I try to pull myself together. Ku has a very valid point, and it will feel cathartic to utterly dismantle anything Imperium had influence on creating.
"[Understood.]"
>>
No. 901944 ID: 7f3357
File 153712640432.png - (16.70KB , 800x600 , salq2-65.png )
901944

I return to the gate room, the gate an inert archway. The key is gone. No idea where it could have gone. The room is lit by the same dimness that pervaded it before, no clear source and a cold presence permeating the room. I shiver slightly.

I move over to the downed drone, strange fluids leaking like blood. My claws are sharp enough to pry parts of it off, piece by piece, as I dissect one of countless avatars of my former slavemaster.
The room is quiet, the rest of the personnel preoccupied with rushing the new arrival to medical. I peel its limbs apart, examining the connections. The design of the drone is strange. In places, the larger structure seems fairly standard, but at joints connections appear to become almost organic, parts subdividing into structures thin like nerves or capillaries. Sometimes it feels like this machine was grown in places, and there's very little evidence of conventional joins such as welding or rivets. There's evidence of circuitry etched into and around the inside of limbs and underneath some of the plates covering its main body. The optical sensors look less like they were installed and more just part of an integral whole.

Some elements of this architecture are familiar, as they're how Imperium taught me how to make devices, but there's microstructure in such dizzying fractal complexity that it feels like I could spend months trying to analyse just the way a blade connects to its preceding limb segment. Even with the greater machine inert, the microstructures slowly, lazily reach out to try and adhere to each other on separation. Some sort of magnetic film? Tiny energy reserves dotted around the greater mechanism? I can't figure it out. It only appears to trigger if I move the parts within a range where they can connect.

I keep the parts separated as I continue dissecting this drone corpse.

Eventually, the work becomes rote, mechanical, motions repeating without thought or decision. My mind is free to roam. I'm horrified by the plan Imperium has, and I've doubted it too many times before to so casually dismiss its plans as the others here have done. There is always a greater depth to its machinations, and if its plan is a total fabrication, what is it trying to achieve?

Do I matter enough to be terrified into submission? Is it a plausible distraction from its actual plan?

My claws tremor slightly as I continue disassembling the drone in silence.

There is only one thing I'm certain of, as I look over to the gate that once held the promise of escape.
Before I can ever live in freedom, before I can even sleep with any ease again...

Imperium must be destroyed.

- END OF THREAD 2 -
>>
No. 901947 ID: afdebc

>>901942
They make good points. "Being a salikai" is not a good enough reason for these competing forces to all be gunning for you. Your racial bonuses, impressive as they are, are not sufficient to explain this level of attention.

>>901943
They also make good points about the plague. Imperium may have tons of resources, and have had a long time to plan, but it's not infallible- and seems prone to certain kinds of mistakes.

>I return to the gate room, the gate an inert archway. The key is gone. No idea where it could have gone.
That's a good thing. It's a security hole in this place's defenses, and your companions have enough sense to realize leaving it by the gate, or in the care of someone who might be compromised, is a good thing.

All in all, A+ job by the fish aliens here. They confronted the crisis, and dealt realistically with the problems you brought up, and handled your near-breakdown calmly and with rational thought. Sorry, but you scored much lower Sisirri. Hopefully you'll be in a better state of mind later.

>Imperium must be destroyed.
No disagreements here.
>>
No. 902015 ID: 91ee5f

>>901944
Sisirri, you should’ve mentioned that the plague targeted psi-sensitive species! I can’t believe you forgot about that one important detail!
>>
No. 902087 ID: c29333

>>902015
This. You failed to mention its vector was implied to be paraspacial in nature!
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