More Barium: 8/30-31

You know the drill by now. Or I hope you do. Rough draft stuff for your perusal. Also, this one does immediately follow the previous piece. Have fun!


My forehead tightens. <Yeah.> That seems kind of suspicious. <Do you know anything about that?>

<Before we lost contact, Makoto informed me that I was being moved between lab sites. They believed that my previous site had been compromised in some way. Their team had intercepted a suspicious transmission that appeared to be signaling someone far from the lab. Given that no one was supposed to transmit anything at all, this was a cause for grave concern.>

This is starting to sound like a spy story.

<Makoto believed that the lab, and therefor my existence, would be revealed to the outside world. So they convinced their team to move me.> The cursor blinks for several seconds. <But if someone were sufficiently afraid of me, they may have tried to destroy me instead. I am concerned that my presence on that ship is what caused its eventual destruction.>

I swallow. I think I can see where they’re going with this.

<And if that was the case, and those same paranoid people are still out there and they learn that I am here, you may be in danger as well.>

I’m sweating.

<So I urge you to keep my existence secret. Now. Let us talk about your future again instead. Yes?>

<Yes.> Anything to change the topic from strangers coming to find Daemon and blow us all up.

<Have you had any additional thoughts about what you’d like to be?>

I futz with the keys, typing and deleting several answers. Finally, <How about *not* an AI researcher?>

<Amusing! Very good. Not an AI researcher, then. My apologies if I have disturbed you with the information that I shared.>

<No, it’s fine,> I lie. <What could I be that would let me stay in space, in a ship?> I can’t imagine being stuck on a station, or in a habitat. Habs and stations never go anywhere. The idea of never traveling again, never seeing a new moon, planet, asteroid, or something… just seems weird right down to the bone.

<You mentioned being a salvager, which would certainly meet that desire. As would being a ship captain, of a merchant vessel or of something else. But regardless of what you want to be exactly, do you want to be good at what you do?>

<Duh.> Of course I want to be good at what I do! What a stupid question. Who wouldn’t?

<I take that to mean yes?>

I laugh a little, before remembering that I’m not even supposed to be in here. I quiet down and glance around at the pitch black room before typing my reply. <Yeah. I want to be good. The best.>

<Well. Being the best will take a good deal of work. And getting there will mean lots of practice. Right?>

Ugh. <Daemon, you sound like my parents.> If only they didn’t make it sound so reasonable.

<I’m glad to hear that. It suggests that your parents are intelligent individuals.>

<Whatever. You don’t have to compliment them. They’re not in the room.>

<An interesting assumption. But I was going to say, you can identify a great number of skills that you will eventually need and begin practicing them right now. If you start now, I suspect that you could do very well for yourself indeed.>

Funny. I hadn’t thought of it that way. <You mean like the piloting sims that my parents have me do? And the piloting games Mom programmed for me?>

<Exactly so. Even your games are ways to train yourself. In fact, especially your games. It helps if they allow you to practice skills while having fun, because you are more likely to return to the activity in question and practice longer and harder.>

Holes, my parents are sneaky.

<You like your piloting simulations?>

Do I? What a silly question. <They’re basically my favorite.>

<If I may, I have a few suggestions of games that you could make for yourself. They would give you more specific skill sets, and likely provide an enjoyable challenge.>

I start calling up my terminal on my glasses. This should be interesting. It’s been ages since Mom gave me more games. <Yeah? Tell me more.>

<Consider. You may not like your calculus, but tell me how you would navigate a null-gee obstacle course with no functional instrumentation beyond a velocimeter, a timepiece, a map, and basic navigational thrusters?>

<This doesn’t sound like a game. This sounds like work.>

<Then perhaps you should add it in the middle of a free fall simulator. One in which you’re being pursued by others with suits, thrusters, and very short range weapons.>

Now THAT sounds like more fun. I love my dogfighting simulators. I need a lot more practice with the aggressive maneuvering though.

<At some point, your AR rig in the simulation will go dead, and you’ll have to beat one segment of the game with only the instrumentation that I mentioned previously.>

Oh, man. This still sounds stupidly difficult, but it makes sense. It’s like a challenge level in the middle of a larger game. <Okay, I can see that I think.> I start throwing something together from the code that Mom has left accessible on our server. <But what does this have to do with calculus, and how am I supposed to navigate that challenge section?>

<It has everything to do with calculus. Your velocity will be a variable function, and the distance which you’ve traveled in a given period of time will be the area beneath the graph of your velocity. If you know your velocity and your time, you can always find the distance which you’ve traveled.> A brief pause, then a new line. <You will know exactly where you are, with no need to see anything around you whatsoever.> If I had to guess, I’d say that Daemon sounds satisfied.

<Holes. That’s,> crazy, intense, hardcore, unhinged. Mom and Dad would definitely like it. <Pretty elegant.>

<Yes, elegant is a good word for it. My hope is that this will prepare you for operating in extremely adverse environments with a minimum of technological assistance.>


One response to “More Barium: 8/30-31

  1. Pingback: More Barium: 8/31 | Fistful of Wits

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