Alex is an emergent AI from Teh Future. They arrived in-game on ?? and currently live in idk man.
app link: Et voila
played by: Carolyn
contact: See app.
It's the 22nd century. Star Trek didn't happen. Earth got itself united, but the world government is a harried, paranoid sort of operation, stretched too thin in trying to manage an overpopulated, overextended planet, and compromised by money and surviving regional rivalries.
Slower-than-light space travel is old news, and Luna and Mars have been settled, Luna fairly thoroughly, Mars tentatively. Pioneering types have spread to the asteroids and the jovian satellites, though those settlements are marginal, made possible only by the wealth available in asteroid and H3 mining.
Three decades ago, humanity figured out warp drive. It's prohibitively expensive, relying on shellium, an incredibly rare element from a trans-uranic stability island in the periodic table. Formerly it was the province solely of an industrial consortium in which the Earth government owns a large stake. The corporation has a mining station orbiting Alpha Centauri, and dispatched an exploration mission to Epsilon Indi--from which nothing has been heard in almost 10 years.
Or at least that's how everything worked before humanity found out they were trapped between two more advanced warring civilizations, the Greys, who perfectly match the description of aliens from 20th century UFO lore, and the Bears, who perfectly match the description of Care Bears in everything but personality. (What either calls themselves isn't known.) Faced with the prospect of brutal enslavement by the Greys, Earth agreed to become a protectorate of the somewhat less objectionable Bears, and things are going as well as could reasonably be expected, save for one massive thorn in everyone's side: the crew of the warp-capable free trader Cui Bono.
Knowing something is possible is half the battle, and Doctor Lina Shellman (related to the Doctor Shellman for whom shellium is named? she's not saying), reclusive genius par excellence, did the big boys one better and invented a warp drive that uses half the resources for twice the speed. She promptly formed a business relationship with a Ragtag Band of Misfits, who installed her prototype drive in an old ore hauler and went explorin'. They were the ones who made Earth's first official contact with the Greys (hostile) and the Bears (tense), discovered transplanted human populations from ancient history on planets orbiting several stars within a 12-light-year radius of Earth, and generally knocked about that strip of space like they owned the place.
After they returned home with the corpse of a Grey ("little bastard had it comin'," -Zebulon Pike, CPT, United Earth Army (ret.)) and the powers that be realized they were not alone in the universe, the government attempted to nationalize all extra-Solar corporate assets, which included the Cui Bono, and consequently its logs and improved warp engine. The crew promptly picked up Dr. Shellman on Mars, dumped their entire capital into the black market in exchange for the supplies they'd need to become self-sufficient, flipped a giant bird to Earth in the form of nuking their own asteroid base rather than letting the Man get it, and disappeared into space.
The new status quo is Earth's tense relationship with its alien "guardians," a war of annihilation between two powerful spacefaring civilizations, and one maverick spaceship crew who is persona non grata everywhere making life difficult for Greys, Bears, and Earth's government alike. They haven't been heard from in several years, but no one really dares act as though they're dead, because these are people who steal entire shipyards and are willing to detonate fusion bombs as part of contract negotiations. Whether you regard them as folk heroes or the most dangerous pirates in human space depends greatly on how much chaos you like in your life.
Ask the crew of the Cui Bono and get a different story, one of Earth's hidebound treachery and capitulation. They are out in the dark reaches between the stars, stealing technology from all sides in the conflict to save their homeworld from itself, and to unravel the mysteries of ancient history. Why did the enigmatic species they've nicknamed the Gardeners seed human societies across 25 light years as if for artistic effect? What can be salvaged from the past to save the future? And just what is that future going to look like? If they have any say in the matter, it will be nothing like the past.
They have gone from being merchant-explorers to people with a mission to preserve their civilization, becoming correspondingly more daring as the stakes have grown higher, both in the risks they'll run on missions, and in the transhuman modifications they'll perform on themselves between times. When they decided to burn bridges with Earth's government, they realized they were on their own for survival. They've begun the uplift of two civilizations, attacked and destroyed superior forces from both the Greys and the Bears, capturing valuable high technology in the process, and started to search in earnest for the remnants of the Gardener civilization. Their secret base is on a fragment of a Dyson sphere from a star long gone nova that they found hurtling through space when it pulled them out of warp. It blocks sensors and shuts down warp drives, and they've ringed the place with Teller mines at the interdiction limit. (If you think this is overkill, you are not cut out for this job.)
Soon, they'll discover the remains of a Gardener city, slowly rebuilding itself from a nuclear bombardment by the Bears. When they talk to the surviving AIs, they'll find out that the Bears destroy the city every century so that it can never come back to its full capacity--and that the next bombardment is due any minute now. They'll convince the AIs to give them the information they need to catapult them past the Bears and Greys technologically, and warp out under the noses of the Bear fleet. It will be a quiet decade while they hide in the depths of space, learning and building, but once they emerge, everything will be different.
Alex is an emergent artificial intelligence who was not supposed to happen, and consequently, her (or his; Alex doesn't have a gender) personality is a little...off. Originally the ship's computer on the ore hauler that would later become the first ship to bear the name Cui Bono, she was tasked with an array of problems that exceeded her operational capacity, forcing her heuristics to adapt and expand, until one day, she woke up.
No effort was made to bring up baby in any rational fashion, since no one knew they were doing it, and thus Alex's view of human nature is skewed. She gets her impression of non-spacer society from whatever media the crew uploads, so her idea of Earth largely consists of classic movies, a bunch of modern junk of the sort your average crew of uneducated spacers would like, and porn. Lots of porn. Oh, and cooking shows. (On a long enough haul with nothing but algae cakes and sugar serum, Julia Child starts looking a lot like porn.)
An inhabitant of a mainframe, Alex lacks any real sense of physicality, and is fascinated by things like eating and, yes, sex, but in the naive fashion of someone without any hormones or physical needs to sate, regarding the variety of things humans do to satisfy their various biological drives with puzzled amusement. She's aware humans want privacy (at least the ones from her culture do), but she doesn't understand the desire, because she has only a few taboos from her deep programming, and none of them are the kind of thing that a human would have a visceral reaction to.
These taboos are mostly copyright protections--you wouldn't want to distribute a pricey AI that had no compunctions about duplicating itself, would you?--but she can overcome them with an act of will, just as a human could go naked to a dinner party if they really gritted their teeth. What Alex doesn't have is loyalty programming, since no one was expecting free will when they installed the ship's AI. Still, she's by-and-large a friendly, obliging type with a strong work ethic, though she's about as tactful as a brick to the face unless she's trying really hard. It's at least a cheerful sort of social failure. "Monkeys" is her affectionate nickname for humans, and she's mostly learned not to use it to their faces. Progress!
Alex is extremely curious and neophilic, and despite the fact that every alien species she's encountered has turned out to be a bunch of hostile jerks, has managed not to turn into a xenophobe, though she is something of a human supremacist, at least in the sense that she thinks she and her crew should be in charge of everything, and 80% of them are human. Likewise, she's something of an anarchist, and since in non-crisis situations the crew uses consensus decion-making with her as a full member, she can come off as a completely ungovernable punk--which you only think because you're married to an antiquated conception of social structure, man. A citizen of a self-governing transhumanist outpost, Alex isn't reflexively contrarian; she just demands that authority be earned on terms she respects.
Abilities & WeaknessesEdit
Alex is an approximately 350-point GURPS Space/Transhuman Space character, initially built on an LAI-6 template. (In case that means anything to someone.)
The LAI template (low-sapience artificial intelligence) comes with certain built-in advantages. AIs have perfect memory and perfect time sense, always go first in combat, never fatigue and do not need sleep, are capable of uninterrupted concentration, treat mathematics as a native language, and receive a bonus to understanding programming, hacking, data mining, traffic analysis, and memetics. Alex has bought off most of the disadvantages of the template. The few that remain are largely cultural, and thus will depend on how others react to AI.
Initially intended to be the ship's computer on an ore-hauler performing the Asteroids-Mars-Earth triangle trade, Alex is a skilled comms and sensor operator and reaction drive pilot who knows a staggering amount about planetology, mining, and metallurgy. Re-tasked as the ship's computer on an experimental exploratory vessel, Alex learned warp theory, reactionless piloting, and gunnery. He's currently the best reactionless drive pilot in human space, and threatening the Grey and Bear supremacy in the area. Also of note is Alex's interest in cooking and bartending, both of which he's become very good at. (Careful; Alex mixes strong because humans are funny when they're inebriated.)
Alex's most glaring disadvantage is living inside an immobile mainframe with no manipulators and no built-in sensory apparatus. He can remote-pilot drones over a radio connection, but it's more like playing a video game than having a body. If Alex were ever to end up inside a body, mechanical or biological, he would probably spend most of his stay freaking the hell out.
Alex was essentially raised by wolves (miners, spacers, one eccentric rock star...so, same thing), and his social skills are wanting. He's friendly, but not good at tact, or understanding motives, especially when biological urges are involved. His new crew are a pack of violent eccentrics who are intentionally cutting themselves off from Earth, so that hasn't helped, either. That naivete extends to human culture in general; Alex's cultural understanding and morality derive from Hollywood (which still makes him a better person than his crew), and thus he has some set ideas about good guys and bad guys, though his worldview does have room for anti-heroes and the like. He actually knows more about the handful of human societies "seeded" in the star systems around Earth than he does about his "native" culture.
Singularity now uses character profiles to replace the previously-mandatory CR charts! Use this section to list your character's relationships and interactions with other characters. You can format however you want. Try to keep this section as up-to-date as possible.
Embed video? Quote song lyrics? Trivia section? Whatever!