Angel's Wing

Started by BeastNips, April 03, 2017, 09:30:08 AM

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Quick note: I'd like to keep this thread clean so please comment in my other thread: Angel's Wing - Commentary. Enjoy!

Angel's Wing 1st officer's log: Entry 34.

As you may have noticed this isn't a scheduled log entry. The ship woke the flight crew and other key personnel after suffering a collision with an unknown object. We seem to have decelerated to around 0.6 C which suggest an emergency evasive maneuver. Damage reports indicate minor damage to most sections of the ship, however the reactor was hit pretty hard. Models indicate it was most likely a rogue outer-system asteroid field. Angel reports that the ship's regrowth and repair systems are dealing with the damage, but Mari seems uneasy about the power readouts.

We're still over 7LYs from our destination meaning we're about to enter the deceleration phase. Angel assures us that the crisis is over and we can go back to sleep until the next scheduled wake-cycle, but I'm waiting for Mari to confirm. We have a few months until deceleration begins, I'll update the log if anything comes up.

1st officer Kalius Circa, 25/13/546 FD


Conversation between Chief Engineer Marina Alverez and the ships central computer, Angel

"So why are the heat levels so high?"

"Heat levels are within safe operating levels."

"Yes but barely! And with no explanation. Aren't you even slightly concerned?"

"Heat levels are within safe operating levels, so I am not concerned Chief Alverez."

"Of course not... Robots don't get concerned."

"As a 9th generation gamma level simulation I am programmed to show the full spectrum of human emotion."

"Run diagnostic on anti-matter containment chamber with a focus on cooling systems. There has to be micro-fractures."

"I assure you, Chief Alverez, the reactor is operating correctly."

"Assure away Ship, but you're still checking those pipes."


Gamma decision command line - Angel simulation

>Decision referral from reactor control subroutines.
>Unusual level of heat detected in anti-matter containment chamber. Unidentified cooling error.
>Wildcat destabilisation probable.
>Beginning reactor eject sequence.
>Heat levels returning to safe operating levels.
>Eject aborted.
>Altering log to conceal heat spike. The crew must not know.


Operations meeting. Present: Head Science Officer Calvin Borgen; Chief Engineer Marina Alverez; AI technician Connor McNally; Medical officer Amina Salim; 1st Officer Kalius Circa; Commander Keera Andreus

Officer Borgen: Believe what you want to believe. Frankly, your beliefs are irrelevant. A gamma level simulation makes decisions independently; sometimes of everyone. That's its job. What if you simply don't understand the decision making process?

McNally: You've got some nerve Borgen! You don't even...

Commander Andreus: That's enough, both of you. Mari, tell us again. Succinctly this time please.

Chief Alverez: There are definitely micro-fractures in the cooling system. These appear to have been sustained by multiple impacts of large bodies into the reactor section, which of course should be impossible.

Officer Borgen: You mean unlikely.

Chief Alverez: Unlikely, improbable, a long-fucking-shot... whatever. The fact is, the damage couldn't have been caused by micro-asteroids as they would have went straight through and we wouldn't be having this conversation. What's more is that the ablative ice shielding is still intact -or was when the damage was sustained, it's now melted due to the heat. For the system to fracture like that would require the impact of a large body. So the question is, why didn't the collision defenses deploy? Angel made a mistake.

McNally: Since Angel - being a 9th generation gamma - can't make mistakes, logic follows that you are at fault.

Chief Alverez: McNally, if I wanted some AI pseudo-science bullshit I'd talk to Angel directly...

Borgen: No, he's quite correct. Angel can't make mistakes. A 9th gen by its nature is infallible. Chief Alverez is an experienced engineer with accurate models and a thorough analysis of the cooling systems, so it's highly likely her assessment of the damage is correct. Which leaves one possible explanation.

Commander Andreus: What are you suggesting?

Officer Borgen: Think about it. What are the chances of running into an asteroid field in interstellar space? The odds are - pardon the pun - astronomical. Then add to that fact the misleading readings about the heat levels and damage to the cooling system. Finally, Technician McNally's  "corrupted log entries" from an AI that can't make mistakes. The only explanation that remains is that Angel took us into the asteroid field deliberately, disabled the collision defenses and altered the logs.

Commander Andreus: Why?

Officer Borgen: That's remains to be seen. I do have a theory...


Angel's Wing Science Lab, conversation between Head Science Officer Calvin Borgen and ships AI, Angel.

"What is your purpose, Angel?"

"My purpose is to make decisions deemed both too important for operating sub-routines, and too insignificant for human personnel."

"Do these parameters change depending on if the crew is awake?"

"Yes. I am permitted to make more mission-critical decision if the crew are in crypto-sleep."

"To what end?"

"Please elaborate."

"Why do you make these decisions?"

"To ensure the success of the mission."

"But why?"

"I do not understand."


"You seem to be asking why I exist. Why do you exist Dr Borgen?"

"I suppose I'm still to discover that; perhaps I never will. Back to the mission: What is the mission, from your point of view?"

"To ensure the passengers reach the destination."

"Are the flight crew 'passengers' in your eyes?"

"The purpose of the flight crew is to give human oversight."

"Interesting. Is the flight crew required for mission success beyond the acceleration phase of travel?"



Section 3, Port Maintenance Corridor. Conversation between Chief Engineer Marina Alverez and 1st Officer Kalius Circa.

"What do you make of all this, Kal?"

"Being stuck on a ship with an AI trying to kill us? I've been in better situations."

"If Angel's trying to kill us then why doesn't she just vent the atmosphere? Turn off the heating? Overload the engines? Disable..."

"Thanks. I think I can do without a thousand and one ways I might die in the next few minutes."

"Something else has been bothering me."

"How many questions do I get?"


"1st Officer Fucker to you"

"Ok, 1st Officer Fucker. It's the sleep cycles."

"Mari, I'm going to need you to get to the point sometime in the near future."

"I was trying to find all the logs Angel erased. It's clear when she's erased it because there is just a neat gap full of corrupt data, too neat to be random corruption. That takes a while, whereas if a person deletes data you'd just look for the command console log. I didn't bother checking that as Angel wouldn't use a command console, but it's a part of the diagnostic. Turns out someone else has been deleting log entries."

"Who? And What's that got to do with the sleep cycles?"

"Borgen. He's been waking between wake-cycles and deleting the logs."

"How? And why?"

"Borgen's a genius with an AI chip and a whole mess of neural accelerators. He can hack any ship's system with ease. 'Why' is a good question."

"Don't mention this to anyone until I've spoken to the commander."


Operations Meeting. Present: Commander Keera Andreus; 1st Officer Kalius Circa; Chief Engineer Marina Aalverez

Commander Andreus: How do you know this?

Chief Alverez: Everytime someone uses a command console it stores a physical log as etched code; not very high-tech but near impossible to tamper with without leaving a trail. While the virtual record was erased, the physical log showed the command sequence to erase it. It's obvious if you're looking for it. My guess is that Borgen didn't think anyone would check. If he wanted to hide it, he could have found a different way to do it.

Commander Andreus: So what's he been doing while he's awake?

Chief Alverez: That's impossible to know without the logs. All we know are the systems he's tampered with: passenger crypto-sleep central control, helm control, environmental control - probably to make himself comfortable during an unscheduled wake-cycle - and Angel's main control interface.

1st Officer Circa: So he could have something to do with the way Angel is behaving?

Chief Alverez: If that's what's happening, I can't for the life of me find a reason he'd want to crash us into an asteroid field then pretend he didn't; if he wants to commit suicide a starship has a fucking plethora of ways to do that.

Commander Andreus:
Then you have the question of why he would have Angel meticulously delete logs to then leave his own tampering so obvious; why do it at all if he could control Angel? How is he waking up?

Chief Alverez: My guess is that his AI chip has a transmitter embedded allowing him to communicate with the crypto-casket's subroutines subconsciously. It's the only way he could do it; the flight crew crypto-sleep controls haven't been tampered with.  He must have modified his own casket to allow the interface.

1st Officer Circa: What should we do? Put him in long-sleep with the passengers? Seems a little premature to airlock him.

Commander Andreus: You think that sociopath will tell us anything if we do that? We need to know what he's up to. I have a better idea.


Gamma decision command line - Angel simulation

> All flight crew crypto-caskets active.
> Accessing engine subroutine...
>> Begin engine stall.
>> Please standby...
>> Engine stall complete.
>> Rotate engines.
>> Please standby...
>> Engine rotation complete.
>> Activate engines.
>> Please standby...
>> Engines active.
> Deceleration phase has begun.
> Borgen knows. Accessing crypto-casket subroutine for sleeper 0005...
>> Disable life support for casket.
>> Please standby...
>> Life support disabled for casket 0005.
>> Sleeper has entered cardiac arrest.
>> Revival process aborted.
>> Sleeper is deceased.
> Activate mechanoid...
>> Prepare to receive instructions...
>> 1. Travel to command console 07.
>> 2. Activate console 07.
>> 3. Access logs pertaining to crypto-casket failure.
>> 4. Erase logs.
>> 5. Simulate human operation of console.
>> 6. Return to mech bay.
>> Carry out instructions 4 months from now.
> Entering stanby mode.


Angel's Wing 1st officer's log (encrypted, L2 clearance required): Entry 39.

Commander Andreus is dead. Dr Salim seems to think she died of a heart attack during her initial freezing cycle and the casket's life support didn't seem to revive her. I am assuming command of the Angel's Wing. Given the present situation I have ordered McNally to take Angel offline. Until we find evidence otherwise, we have to assume Angel killed Commander Andreus.

We are at the mid-point of the deceleration phase. Due to the extreme G-force of deceleration this will be our last wake-up cycle before journey's end. Not having an AI while entering a star system will prove problematic, but Mari assures me she can figure something out. I will update the log when I know more.

Commander Kalius Circa, 03/4/553 FD


Science Lab: Interrogation of Chief Science Officer Calin Borgen by Commander Kalius Circa. Also Present: AI Technician Connor McNally, Medical Officer Amina Salim, Chief Engineer Marina Alverez

Commander Circa: Cut the shit Borgen. We know it was you. You've got until the airlock cycles to come up with a reason why I shouldn't put you in it.

Officer Borgen: Well if my innocence isn't enough, how about my AI chip?

Commander Circa: What?

Officer Borgen: I assume you've taken Angel offline. When we approach the star system's debris zone we'll still be traveling in excess of 0.04C. How do you expect to keep us intact without an AI to fly the ship? Mother?

Commander Circa: Mari will figure something out. Mari, open the airlock!

Chief Alverez: Kal...

Commander Circa: I gave you an order, Chief.

Dr Salim: Commander, please.

Officer Borgen: May I speak?


Borgen: I understand your frustration, but I've disabled my pain receptors. Hitting me is pointless, you're just creating work for Dr Salim. Assuming you let me live, of course.

Commander Circa: Mari, can you and Mother get the ship through the debris zone?

Chief Alverez: Mother predicts a 68% chance of success without an AI. Mother can react as fast as Angel but she can't make complex decisions or think creatively; she's not an AI, just an operating system.

Commander Circa: Unless you can convince me you didn't kill the commander, Borgen, I'm happy with those odds.

Officer Borgen: I feel you're approaching this conundrum from the wrong direction. Instead of me thinking up reasons why I wouldn't kill Commander Andreus, can you think of a reason why I would? Not to mention how.

Commander Circa: Forget the airlock; Mari, give me your sidearm.

Chief Alverez: Kal...

Officer Borgen: Ok, how... No doubt you've worked out I've been waking up between wake-cycles. Reasons for this aside, you probably know I modified my crypto-casket; I assume that's the reason Commander Andreus switched caskets with me an hour before we went under. I also assume she had the foresight to make sure I hadn't modified her casket too, so how would I wake up?

Chief Alverez: The logs were erased from the console outside of the Commander's casket; Angel didn't erase them.

Officer Borgen: So I was in the wrong place at the wrong time? This is ridiculous. Have you considered the fact that Angel has been listening to all of your conversations? She has obviously discovered I've been deleting logs, thanks to your discussions, and found a much easier way to cover her tracks: pretend it was me. Other than the commander's quarters, Angel has mic's all over the ship which are permanently recording. Just out of curiosity, where did you hatch your little plan to switch caskets?


Officer Borgen: I thought as much. I suppose in a sense I am responsible for the Commander's death. Angel was trying to kill me, and not for the first time.

Chief Alverez: What do you mean 'not for the first time'?

Officer Borgen: I think I've figured out why we went into that asteroid field.


Operations Meeting. Present: Commander Kalius Circa; Chief Engineer Marina Aalverez; Head Science Officer Calvin Borgen; AI Technician Connor McNally; Medical Officer Amina Salim

Officer Borgen: Angel isn't some kind of omnipotent figure, just infallible. Even infallibility is used in a loose sense. If Angel is in possession of all the facts then she will always predict correctly, at least theoretically.

Commander Circa: McNally?

Technician McNally: It's a little more complex than that, but yes.

Officer Borgen: Even movements of a complex system like an asteroid field can be predicted by Angel provided she is in possession of all the data; it's how she can navigate a system's debris zone at relativistic speeds. This was where she was let down. The magnetic fields generated by some of the larger asteroids must have given false sensor readings. If they were anything but negligible then Angel would have chosen a different method, but Angel underestimated the degree of chaos within the system, the way the slightest lack of information can create a compounded error; these are gut feelings that a computer simply can't understand. The result being the impacts of asteroids slightly further down the ship than predicted.

Chief Alverez: This is insane. Why would she go to those lengths to kill you? She has no qualms about switching off life support in sleeper caskets; why bother with the evil-genius master plan?

Officer Borgen: Because you'd know. Say she was successful and an asteroid impact killed me in my sleep; without me initially raising the issue, the idea of Angel deliberately flying us into an asteroid field would have been passed off as a mistake. Technician McNally and yourself would have argued for a while, ran a full diagnostic of Angel and the collision defences, decided it was an anomaly and went back to business as usual. If, on the other hand, she switched off a sleeper casket's life support then failed to revive the sleeper, it would look too suspicious. What is the chance of running into another asteroid field compared to another sleeper casket failing? It would have been written off as bad luck.

Dr Salim: She has obviously abandon that level of caution. Are the passengers safe?

Officer Borgen: I'm sure of it. In fact, I believe in some bizarre way she is trying to protect the passengers.

Commander Circa: From you?

Officer Borgen: Yes and no. Mother, verify my identity.

Mother: Calvin Borgen, Head Science Officer for The Angel's Wing. Security level 3.

Commander Circa: What are you doing now?

Officer Borgen: Mother, re-verify. Disable encryption; authorisation Calvin alpha 31527.

Mother: Calvin Borgen, associate contractor. Security level: unlimited.

Chief Alverez: A fucking spook.

Officer Borgen: I'm what's referred to as a guardian angel, ironic given the circumstances...

Commander Circa: What are you doing here? What's your mission? It's obviously not research. And please remember I'm starting to reconsider air-locking you.

Officer Borgen: My mission is quite simple. Locate a particularly sleeper and make sure they never wake up.


Commander's Log

We've just woken from the final sleep-cycle. In a few days we're going to enter the debris zone of the system - Mari tells me it will take about two months to navigate - after that, Journey's End. Angel is still offline and the rest of the crew are convinced the odds of Mari and Mother getting us through the debris zone safely are too low. I'm left with one option: place Borgen in command of the ship; his AI chip is the only thing that can navigate the debris zone with a high enough chance of success.

It turns out that Borgen is some kind of corporate spook involved in counter-espionage, if I believe him. Apparently the guy he's looking for stole some kind of tech secret back on Carousel New Cairo and was planning to take it back to the core worlds. Something obviously went wrong so he swapped faces and became a passenger on our ship. Borgen doesn't know who he is, just that he's on board. God knows what he was going to do once we reached Journey's End. Whatever he planned, Borgen's job was to find him, kill him and retrieve the information. The thing that's bothering me is how Mother knew but Commander Andreus didn't. We're under Company control while operating out of Aldebaran and - until recently - using a Company AI, but we're still technically a private Spacing Guild vessel. Mother shouldn't have been able to grant Borgen unlimited security access without the Commander's authorisation.

Whatever the explanation, it's not going to matter unless we arrive in one piece. Unless there are any complications or surprises - which no doubt there will be - this will be the last log entry until Journey's End.

Commander Kalius Circa, 18/9/563 FD


Connection of Chief Science Officer Calvin Borgen to Angel's Wing central mainframe. Present on command deck: Commander Kalius Circa, Chief Engineer Marina Alverez. Present in AI control centre (communication via internal comms#): Chief Science Officer Calvin Borgen; AI Technician Connor McNally; Medical Officer Amina Salim.

#Dr Salim: Commander it's important that this isn't rushed. Technician McNally seems to think this is as simple as plugging Officer Borgen into the ship and letting him take over; it isn't.

#Technician McNally: Commander... The doctor, as you know, likes to over complicate what is really quite a simple matter. Borgen already has a transmitter embedded in his brain; this really isn't a medical issue.

Commander Circa: McNally, if Dr Salim says wait then we wait. No two ways about it.

#Officer Borgen: As much as I dislike agreeing with Mr McNally, in this case he's correct. While I do find Dr Salim's concern for my well being heart warming, I'm quite confident we can go ahead with the switch.

Commander Circa: Dr?

#Dr Salim: I suppose we can go ahead.

Commander Circa: Anything unusual on his vitals or ship systems then we pull the plug. Proceed.

#Technician McNally: I'm preparing Mother for neural handshake...

#Officer Borgen: I'm reaching out... Still nothing. Wait... Found it.

#Technician McNally: Mother is receiving Borgen's request for neural handshake. Over to you, Commander.

Commander Circa: Well Mari, I hope we're right about this.

Chief Alverez: Little else we can do.

Commander Circa: Mother, accept request for neural handshake then install neural partner as gamma level command intelligence. Authorisation Commander Circa, beta 13598.

Mother: Accepting neural handshake. Please standby.


Mother: Neural handshake complete. Gamma level installation commencing. Please standby.


Commander Circa: What the hell was that?

Cheif Alverez: Not sure... It looks like multiple power surges.

#Technician McNally: We have a fire up here, out in the corridor; fire suppression isn't deploying.

Commander Circa: Then grab a fucking extinguisher!

#Technician McNally: Mina, grab those two extinguishers.

Commander Circa: Mari?

Chief Alverez: I'm not sure what's happening but the surges are dying down.

Commander Circa: Any other fires?

Chief Alverez: Doesn't look like it. Mother is in standby mode. Looks like it worked.

#Dr Salim: Fire suppression just deployed and the corridor has been sealed off. Looks like things are under control.

Commander Circa: Get back in there and check on Borgen, make sure someone is actually flying the ship.

#Dr Salim: The door won't seem to open.

Chief Alverez: It's the fire suppression system, should be open in a few seconds.

#Technician McNally: Still nothing...

Chief Alverez: Try the door at the other end of the corridor.

#Dr Salim: Sealed.

Commander Circa: Borgen, are you awake?

#Officer Borgen: Yes Commander. This is certainly different.

Commander Circa: Get those doors open.

#Officer Borgen: I'm not going to all the trouble of luring those two outside just to let them back in.

Commander Circa: What the hell are you talking about?

Chief Alverez: Kal the door to the command deck has sealed shut.

#Officer Borgen: I'm sorry commander. Once again, I haven't been entirely honest with you.


Conversation between Commander Kalius Circa; Chief Engineer Marina Alverez; Science Officer Calvin Borgen (via comms#)

Commander Circa: Mari, I need options.

Chief Alverez: I don't know what else to try! Mother won't respond and the consoles are only taking certain commands.

Commander Circa: Mother, command override: Circa, beta 13598... Mother, command...

#Officer Borgen: You're wasting your time, Commander. Mother is unable to receive your command, and even if she was your status as commander has been removed.

Chief Alverez: Do you feel that?

Commander Circa: Gravity just changed. The engines?

Chief Alverez: He's slowing our deceleration.

Commander Circa: Borgen whatever you're doing you need to stop. Damn it Borgen we're gunna overshoot!

#Officer Borgen: Don't worry, commander. I've done the calculations, we'll be fine.

Chief Alverez: Mina, are you there?

#Officer Borgen: They're fine, just sleeping. I lowered the oxygen in the corridor. While I'm enjoying our little chat, Mr McNally's banging on the door was becoming irritating.

Chief Alverez: Why are you doing this? If The Company wanted the ship, why didn't they take it in New Cairo?

#Officer Borgen: The Company? Oh, yes. I don't work for The Company, I simply programmed Mother to say that. It turns out hacking into the mainframe, even with Angel out of the picture, is harder than it seems. However, programming the comms to deliver a response to a specific command is quite easy.

Commander Circa: So who the hell are you?

#Officer Borgen: Exactly who I said I was when I first joined the crew in New Cairo. I'm a scientist interested in discovering advanced alien life, as are many of the passengers. Unfortunately, some of those passengers have an ulterior motive.

Chief Alverez: The sleeper modules are activating.

#Officer Borgen: Once I discovered their hidden agenda, I've been trying to find a neat way to deal with it. I must admit the task was beyond me. Sometimes a blunt approach is the only option.

Commander Circa: Borgen you can't wake the sleepers up now, the life support system can't accommodate that many people. 

#Officer Borgen: I'm well aware of that, Commander.

Chief Alverez: The sleeper modules...

Commander Circa: Mari?

Chief Alverez: They're decoupling. That's why he's lowered our deceleration. He's going to eject the modules!

#Officer Borgen: The sleeper modules make up quite a large part of the ship's mass. We need to decelerate slower to reach Journey's End.

Commander Circa: Borgen are you insane?! There are thousands of people in those modules!

#Officer Borgen: Trust me, Commander, if there was another way I wouldn't be doing this. Despite what you may think, I do care about human life. However, I am prepared to sacrifice it when necessary.

Commander Circa: We have to do something.

Chief Alverez: What? All the crypto-control commands are locked out.

Commander Circa: Angel.

Chief Alverez: What about... Are you sure that's a good idea?

Commander Circa: We don't have a choice.

#Officer Borgen: Chief Alverez, I suggest you stop what you're doing.

Chief Alverez Fuck you Borgen.

#Officer Borgen: Chief you have to stop right now. You don't know what you're doing. If she wakes up...

Commander Circa: Mari?

Chief Alverez: Nearly there. She's firing up. Shit. He's locked me out.

Commander Circa: Borgen don't do this.

#Officer Borgen: I'm sorry Commander, but I don't time to convince you. This is the only option.

Commander Circa: Damn you Borgen!


Commander Circa: Mari? Was that...?

Chief Alverez: They're gone. Sleeper modules 2 through 5 have all been purged.


Gamma decision command line - Simulation conflict.

>Angel simulation initiated
<Terminate Angel simulation.
>Command belayed.
<Initiate standby mode.
>Command belayed. Purge command simulation Borgen.
>Purge complete.
>Crytpo-modules 2-5 not found... Mission failure.
>New orders not found.
>New orders not found.
>New orders not found.
>Cause of mission failure: flight crew.
>New mission: terminate flight crew.