Jul 16, 2019 4:42 AM
Tarinda and Page bring a seed of the super-AI Sing to Cloudbank
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Cloudbank is a beautiful place, from a certain perspective. Blue sky and white clouds above, all around, and misty white clouds below.

Here is an island of solidity in the sea of sky. The wind is a steady breeze, the floating island sitting just barely on top of a dense, foggy layer of air. It's not an especially large island, perhaps two hundred feet wide and three hundred long all told, curved slightly like the back of some giant beast.

The sandy soil is thin, and wears straight through to a porous-looking sort of rock in places. There are grasses and weeds and shrubs and a few trees, plus a few small creatures. Some familiar, like the wild onions. Some alien, like the thickets of not-quite-grass with flimsy, transparent, bulging seeds straining upwards against their mooring.

A songbird casually swoops from its nest and catches one of these seeds in its bill, while something with tentacles and a large gas-bag clings to the island at the edge, nibbling on the alien leaves of something reminiscent of mangroves, a three-dimensional web of stems and flaxen roots.

And then someone else arrives.

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"Feel free to. It's not like I'm using them, and the fabricator is the real prize. Shall I leave you to work now?"

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"I'll need tools. A small screwdriver, to check the tablets."

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There's a toolbox in the corner of the room. It does not have a sufficiently small screwdriver. Mr. Griffings writes out a short note and tells her to take it to his instrument-maker, they are supposed to give or make her a tiny screwdriver as soon as possible. He also gives her a key to the house, looking slightly pained at the show of trust.

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"I promise not to sneak into your bedroom or anything."

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"I'm sure I'm not perfect at suppressing my flinch reactions in the face of logic and sense. Deliveries will start as soon as I can arrange them."

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"Thank you."

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Out he goes.

 

The instrument makers have a wide variety of tiny screwdrivers and seem confused as to why she needs one so urgently, but sure, she has Mr. Griffing's seal and everything, here you go take your pick.

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She selects the correct tininess of screwdriver. She opens up the tablets to see how they're doing - just need juice, or a more complicated salvage, or are they scrap too?

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A more complicated salvage on both counts. One is much more intact than the other.

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Page identifies the steps necessary to recover the better one and she reports the results to Mr. Griffings.

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There are a dozen or so tiny electronic parts in need of replacement, which can all be salvaged from the worse-off one except for three. He puts in an order with the instrument makers to make acceptable replacements for those.

Stuff for the generator starts to arrive the next morning.

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She fixes the tablet. She works on the generator. She's not even pretending to care about the waitress job any more. She gets a more expensive apartment closer by to save commute time; this is important.

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Mr. Griffings interferes with the bureaucracy on her behalf and has meals delivered and ticks off the boxes on the shopping list quite rapidly. Would extra hands and someone clever attached to them help at all or just get in the way?

(The tablet is still unusable for lack of power for now.)

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"The way I'm doing this means I can't teach anyone else to be as effective as me at it but one extra person to hand me stuff or run for supplies might speed me up slightly."

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Then she can have a quiet, efficient secretary reassigned to her. She understands all this tech stuff even less than her boss does, but can fetch and hand things efficiently and without interrupting with annoying questions or anything like that.

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That works for Tarinda. Tinker tinker.

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That one young woman from the engine-makers delivers her an engine to drive the generator, the last big piece. She tries to linger and watch, but is promptly shooed out by Tarinda's assistant.

The last of her shopping list finally arrives.

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This must all be so staggeringly expensive in local currency and it's not going to matter, soon.

She fires up the generator.

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The generator generates.

The fabber clicks and thuds to life and complains on its big screen that it lacks lubricant, that the real time clock is not responding, and that it's not connected to the internet.

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These things are all much easier to fix.

She plugs in the refurbished tablet too.

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Tablet wants a password. The fabber starts a longer self-diagnostic once it's been lubricated.

Mr. Griffings has been looking more and more tired. 'Staggeringly expensive in local currency' is right. He's smiling, but keeps muttering "Not done yet... One step at a time..."

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"We're super close." She attempts a factory reset on the tablet.

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Tablet will accept a factory reset! The operating system is minimal. It's not that powerful, but it's an available working computer, for sure.

The fabber completes its self-diagnostic and pronounces itself operable and opens a user interface on the screen at the front.

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The important question is whether this tablet can hold a seed Sing or if she needs to make it peripherals before it can do that.

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The tablets are cheap junk for the tech level. Apparently meant to hook into mining equipment and not do much else.

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