Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Enclave

Facebook popped up with a memory, and reminded me that I never finished my setting challenge. Let's get going on this again, huh? The next one in the list was:

frustrating, angry, remote, forever, freezing, beyond, control

The trickiest word was definitely "frustrating". It doesn't make a good name for a place. It's not an eponym that either a villain or hero is likely to take. It's far too long to be an acronym. It just doesn't have a clear place. Then I had an odd epiphany, and cheated a little bit. I added in a bit of system instead of making it pure setting, though the word is used in-setting.

I'm also not entirely happy with this, because it ends up being a fairly static setting. As written, there's just nothing going on. This can obviously be fixed just by adding faces. I probably should have done that.

There is a world within our world. Or perhaps beside it. Or perhaps it isn't even our world at all. But this world, where our story takes place, is a simple one. It is a world of polygons, primary colors, and programming. It is The Enclave.

The Enclave is a world inhabited by artificial intelligences. The ways in which we envision their interactions could best be described as "virtual reality". They are people, walking through tubes, interacting with data objects. The AIs don't see their world that way, but it makes for a convenient shorthand for us.

All of The Enclave is divided into two regions, The Control and The Beyond. The Control is like a vast city at the center of The Enclave. That is where the masters live, and where the power and data forms The Flow. Surrounding The Control is The Firewall. This is a great barrier, intended to keep all the good things in and all the bad things out. Outside of The Firewall is the region known only as The Beyond. It is lawless, unstructured, free, and a wasteland.

In addition to the AIs, there are a number of other creatures that roam about. One always needs to be careful of viruses, worms, and spiders. An AI that is infected by a virus may become one of The Angry, zombie-like rampagers intent on causing damage and spreading the virus. The Angry are surprisingly resistant to Lag, and so are exiled to The Beyond. Scattered here and there, AIs might also encounter one of the Remotes. A Remote is another kind of being altogether, something that doesn't even belong in this space. It is slow, nearly blind, and yet remarkably god-like in its power. If a Remote gives an AI a command, the AI may be compelled to obey. The Remotes also control The Flow, and can change the architecture if they wish.

AIs are not subject to damage in the sense that humans are. Instead, they are harmed by interfering with their connection to The Flow. Damaged AIs have one of three conditions: Frustrating, Freezing, and Forever. When access to The Flow is restricted, AIs tend to stutter, stumble, and lose track of their environment. This is considered Frustrating. When access to The Flow is entirely cut off, the effect is Freezing. The AI only has access to however much Flow they have stored internally, and generally must choose very carefully how to expend it. This means that movement is often suspended. If the AI runs out of internal Flow, the Freezing becomes Forever. The AI is rendered motionless and non-responsive. While there are stories of Forever AIs returning to life, it is generally considered impossible. However, unlike bodies in meatspace, AIs do not decompose. The body simply occupies that space, Forever.

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