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Kyle the Skeptic
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Postby Kyle the Skeptic » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:30 am

Sorry, I didn't see that last review until now. I assumed nobody had read it.

I left that part up to the reader to interpret, because I wanted to make it vague. There's technically no one right answer as to when the dream actually starts controlling them. Also, the logistical details as to whether an invasion taking the Earth forces by surprise could actually succeed are also a matter of interpretation, since it wasn't the focus of the story as much as the Stan-Kyle friendship. Perhaps they do manage to cause a great deal of damage, thus dooming humanity to eternal slavery. Or perhaps they batter themselves uselessly against a defense that proves too powerful for them to handle. Does the outcome really change that much for them either way?

The ending was the first part of the story I had planned, and it was inspired by the ending for "Goat Song" by iceiwynd (which was a story she claimed was inspired by "Kyle Dies"). Basically, I had the ending floating around, and I needed something to do with it.

Anyway, I'm glad that the few of you that read this actually liked it. I've never written horror before, and I'm almost completely out of the loop with the horror genre, in that I don't watch the movies, I don't read the books, and I haven't played any of the games like the Silent Hill series. (Same goes for my beta reader.) So I was worried about how it would turn out, to be honest.

I'm taking a short break from writing, but I've got about 4 ideas lined up that I have to get to eventually, including a possible collab with iceiwynd. It's going to be an angst/gore themed psychological horror.
ShaneHaughey
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Postby ShaneHaughey » Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:08 am

My reasoning on why the humans win the war:
1- It wouldn't come as a complete surprise. There was already mass violence there and there were rumblings of revolution before then. Anything coming from there in large numbers would be suspect and, even if the first contact is a loss for humanity, you'd have to imagine that the forces sent against teh cyborgs would be quite large.
2- Unity. Once the Cyborg threat is detected, you'd think that the entire human race would band together.
3- Computer virus. Only a matter of time!:P

Let me ask a question. Let us say that somehow MORONI is disabled. What happens to the cyborgs? Are they made aware of what is really happening or do they just plop over and die? The reason I ask is, let us say they are made aware: Imagine Stan and Kyle's reaction to what has happened to them and what they are doing?
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Kyle the Skeptic
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Postby Kyle the Skeptic » Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:27 am

I didn't spend that much time making MORONI out to be a huge threat to the human race, the way AI are usually portrayed in similarly themed sci-fi stories, because it wasn't supposed to be the main focus of the story. However, it is implied that earlier AI prototypes were foolishly handed control over military and nuclear weapons systems, so the danger is kind of implicit.

The war could actually go either way, though the exact outcome and why would be an issue for an RPG, not the story itself. First, we know that the human race is fragmented and fighting amongst itself, the way it is in many a survival horror movie (i.e. **** of the Dead series). There would be human colonies all over the solar system, each with their own governments and ideologies, so the human race is far from united. Some of the other colonies who hate the Earth government might even be glad to see the Earth forces get their asses handed to them, even if the invaders are 'alien'.

Also, a virus isn't going to work against something that can technically work like a virus itself. A computerized intelligence isn't like a human intelligence. It can spread itself across many systems and act as an aggregate consciousness. One of the reasons why some sci-fi stories involving rampant AI are set far away from Earth is because of what might happen if such an AI gets into Earth's computer systems. You saw what Skynet did in the Terminator series, for example.

Humans would not necessarily band together against a common threat. Just look at what happens in any of those zombie movies. The reason humans can't mount an effective resistance is because they're too busy fighting amongst themselves. That's one of the main morals of those stories, as well as this one.
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Postby ShaneHaughey » Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:45 am

Kyle the Skeptic wrote:I didn't spend that much time making MORONI out to be a huge threat to the human race, the way AI are usually portrayed in similarly themed sci-fi stories, because it wasn't supposed to be the main focus of the story. However, it is implied that earlier AI prototypes were foolishly handed control over military and nuclear weapons systems, so the danger is kind of implicit.

The war could actually go either way, though the exact outcome and why would be an issue for an RPG, not the story itself. First, we know that the human race is fragmented and fighting amongst itself, the way it is in many a survival horror movie (i.e. **** of the Dead series). There would be human colonies all over the solar system, each with their own governments and ideologies, so the human race is far from united. Some of the other colonies who hate the Earth government might even be glad to see the Earth forces get their asses handed to them, even if the invaders are 'alien'.

Also, a virus isn't going to work against something that can technically work like a virus itself. A computerized intelligence isn't like a human intelligence. It can spread itself across many systems and act as an aggregate consciousness. One of the reasons why some sci-fi stories involving rampant AI are set far away from Earth is because of what might happen if such an AI gets into Earth's computer systems. You saw what Skynet did in the Terminator series, for example.

Humans would not necessarily band together against a common threat. Just look at what happens in any of those zombie movies. The reason humans can't mount an effective resistance is because they're too busy fighting amongst themselves. That's one of the main morals of those stories, as well as this one.


1- Humans look at zombies and say, "HA! Slow, shambling creatures? I can kill them!" so there is an element of cockiness. Hell, I'm a fatass but even I think I could take downa few dozen zombies. I would see no need to band together with others that I would view as possibly incompetent. Show me a few Cyborgs that are armed and are quicker, stronger and smarter than me and I'd be actively searching for allies. Even the most stubborn colony would be horrified to find out what happened to the people who were turned by MORONI. Maybe you wouldn't see a system wide alliance, but for sure multiple colonies and a non-aggression pact with Earth. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

1B- There is also a difference with zombies, which just happen and at first fragments people into small groups and makes it such that organized resistance is difficult. The Cyborg Situation wouldn't appear at random like zombies. Humanity would see it, humanity would see the consequences of compliance, and humanity would be forced to band together. Much like the USSR/America in WWII. While not exactly in the same situation, it does apply: Two extremely different views and nations that had to come together to defeat a common foe. Without vast amounts of military aid given to them by the allies(The majority of it American) The USSR would have ground to a halt and would have been toppled. Without the Soviet military chewing through German forces and engaging in some of the largest battles ever, Germany would have been too powerful to stop. A second front would have started on the American east coast at some point, not on the beaches of Normandy.
Such is the difference a situation that one can view instantly as a military one and one that is confused at first, ala zombies.

2- The fact remains that it is a computer AI and, no matter what, computers are vulnerable to viruses. I'm not saying it'd happen in days or weeks, but it would happen.

3- If you want to start the RPG, I'd join and help run. I'm even coming up with ideas!
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Kyle the Skeptic
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Postby Kyle the Skeptic » Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:45 am

ShaneHaughey wrote:Show me a few Cyborgs that are armed and are quicker, stronger and smarter than me and I'd be actively searching for allies. Even the most stubborn colony would be horrified to find out what happened to the people who were turned by MORONI. Maybe you wouldn't see a system wide alliance, but for sure multiple colonies and a non-aggression pact with Earth. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Don't forget that Mars was ready to launch nukes on Earth if their demands for independence were not met. It would be like president Bush and Osama bin Laden being on the same page overnight if zombies started popping up.
Such is the difference a situation that one can view instantly as a military one and one that is confused at first, ala zombies.

You're comparing a war half a century ago to a war that would be set a century into the future. The technology and weapons would act a lot faster. Also, once the AI is in broadcast range of Earth and gets its data loop into the military networks, it's going to be Skynet all over again.
2- The fact remains that it is a computer AI and, no matter what, computers are vulnerable to viruses. I'm not saying it'd happen in days or weeks, but it would happen.

That doesn't normally work against rampant AI in any of the stories I'm familiar with. It might have worked in Independence Day, but that plot kind of sucked. You'd basically be pitting a smaller, weaker, more hastily assembled virus against a stronger, constantly evolving, sentient virus.


To further: Here's the difference though. MORONI is not the kind of AI that would use brute force to conquer Earth. The reason it got away with what it did on the colony was because people depended on it and entrusted their lives to it. They believed MORONI was doing the right thing, and so did the AI itself. The Earth wouldn't even know it was coming face to face with an invasion force. They'd think they were meeting up with refugees and survivors from the space colony.

Remember, as far as they know, MORONI was an innovation they had yet to achieve, capable of working medical miracles. They'd probably accept it with open arms (foolishly). After all, it was programmed so that it wouldn't turn out like those violent AI prototypes I alluded to in chapter 1.
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Postby ShaneHaughey » Wed Mar 07, 2007 6:41 am

[quote="Kyle the Skeptic":09660][quote="ShaneHaughey":09660]Show me a few Cyborgs that are armed and are quicker, stronger and smarter than me and I'd be actively searching for allies. Even the most stubborn colony would be horrified to find out what happened to the people who were turned by MORONI. Maybe you wouldn't see a system wide alliance, but for sure multiple colonies and a non-aggression pact with Earth. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."[/quote:09660]
Don't forget that Mars was ready to launch nukes on Earth if their demands for independence were not met. It would be like president Bush and Osama bin Laden being on the same page overnight if zombies started popping up.
[quote:09660]Such is the difference a situation that one can view instantly as a military one and one that is confused at first, ala zombies.[/quote:09660]
You're comparing a war half a century ago to a war that would be set a century into the future. The technology and weapons would act a lot faster. Also, once the AI is in broadcast range of Earth and gets its data loop into the military networks, it's going to be Skynet all over again.
[quote:09660]2- The fact remains that it is a computer AI and, no matter what, computers are vulnerable to viruses. I'm not saying it'd happen in days or weeks, but it would happen.[/quote:09660]
That doesn't normally work against rampant AI in any of the stories I'm familiar with. It might have worked in Independence Day, but that plot kind of sucked. You'd basically be pitting a smaller, weaker, more hastily assembled virus against a stronger, constantly evolving, sentient virus.


To further: Here's the difference though. MORONI is not the kind of AI that would use brute force to conquer Earth. The reason it got away with what it did on the colony was because people depended on it and entrusted their lives to it. They believed MORONI was doing the right thing, and so did the AI itself. The Earth wouldn't even know it was coming face to face with an invasion force. They'd think they were meeting up with refugees and survivors from the space colony.

Remember, as far as they know, MORONI was an innovation they had yet to achieve, capable of working medical miracles. They'd probably accept it with open arms (foolishly). After all, it was programmed so that it wouldn't turn out like those violent AI prototypes I alluded to in chapter 1.[/quote:09660]

1- But would Mars have acted on these threats? You can make threats to achieve a goal, but since they didn't do it, we have no clue as to if they would. And once news gets out that a computer AI wants to enslave mankind for their own good, I don't think Mars will be worried much about independence. They'd be more worried about survival.

2- History is rife with alliances being made to combat common foes.

3- MORONI was programmed with New Connifer's computer systems and was designed as a medical AI. It had to learn how to use it's knowledge to further military goals and take over computer networks. MORONI wouldn't be able to simply take over military systems as quickly as Skynet as Skynet was given direct access to the military.

4- I'm not saying that a virus would be made quickly. I'm saying that it would eventually be made. Also, aren't those same stories rife with humans....winning? :lol:

5- I doubt they'd accept it with open arms. Let's look at it this:
Earth- Most powerful force in the area with a large fleet to control it's outlying colonies. What seems like a refugee caravan is seen coming from a colony that is known to harbor dissident tendencies. That same colony endured a brief period of violence and then went silent. Of course, you're going to be nice. But you will also board the craft to make sure there are no weapons. Boarding team gets killed, the invasion fleet is found out to be what it is, and cover is blown. Even if there is no violence, I doubt the space fleet would allow them to enter Earth carrying all the weapons they had. You said yourself that MORONI was invading Earth. He needs to get there first. :wink:

6- I have someone who is willing to help make a map if we want to do the RPG.
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Postby Mr. Hat_DX27 » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:09 am

[quote="ShaneHaughey":635e6]I have someone who is willing to help make a map if we want to do the RPG.[/quote:635e6]
Must you make an RP of everything? :P

I said I’d consider it, I didn’t say I’d actually do it yet. Remember, my commitments to forum RP’s suck. :P
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ShaneHaughey
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Postby ShaneHaughey » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:25 am

Mr. Hat_DX27 wrote:
ShaneHaughey wrote:I have someone who is willing to help make a map if we want to do the RPG.

Must you make an RP of everything? :P

I said I’d consider it, I didn’t say I’d actually do it yet. Remember, my commitments to forum RP’s suck. :P


You and your skepticism. :roll: :lol:
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Kyle the Skeptic
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Postby Kyle the Skeptic » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:48 am

ShaneHaughey wrote:And once news gets out that a computer AI wants to enslave mankind for their own good, I don't think Mars will be worried much about independence. They'd be more worried about survival.

It wasn't blatantly obvious that the AI wanted to enslave humankind. It only told Stan & Kyle its plans at the very end, and only because it knew they weren't in any position to stop it.
2- History is rife with alliances being made to combat common foes.

As well as non-interventionists. Also, don't forget about third parties standing by in order to watch two enemies destroy each other, or nations that side with the seeming lesser of two evils.
3- MORONI was programmed with New Connifer's computer systems and was designed as a medical AI. It had to learn how to use it's knowledge to further military goals and take over computer networks. MORONI wouldn't be able to simply take over military systems as quickly as Skynet as Skynet was given direct access to the military.

You're arguing as if you know more about the character I created than I do. It already knew its way around military systems by the time the story took place. How would being a medical AI slow it down necessarily?
4- I'm not saying that a virus would be made quickly. I'm saying that it would eventually be made. Also, aren't those same stories rife with humans....winning?

Yes, usually after a horrific tragedy takes place. In the case of the System Shock games (the basis for this story) everyone else had already been mercilessly slaughtered. In the Terminator movies, most of humanity had been nuked off the face of the earth. In The Matrix, humanity had lost a war and was (almost) completely enslaved.

A virus was never used in any of these cases. Besides, I think the right term would be "patch" not "virus". For example, if they'd written a patch to reintroduce the AI's ethical constraints.
5- I doubt they'd accept it with open arms.

It depends on how it's written. You might as well argue that I had no basis for a story plot in the first place, since it makes no sense that anyone would be stupid enough to put some AI in charge of people's lives after the earlier AI prototypes showed signs of rogue behavior. But, because humans overestimated themselves, it was allowed to take over.

In this case, the Earth forces might think they can kill off the hapless refugees and steal their prized possession (the AI itself). Never underestimate the power of human greed. Once they see that the cyborg army is using the AI to heal themselves, they may very well want to have that kind of technology for themselves.


I didn't say this had to be made into an RPG, mind you. I actually think my earlier fic "More Dull Kombat" would make a better RPG.
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Postby ShaneHaughey » Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:39 am

Kyle the Skeptic wrote:
ShaneHaughey wrote:And once news gets out that a computer AI wants to enslave mankind for their own good, I don't think Mars will be worried much about independence. They'd be more worried about survival.

It wasn't blatantly obvious that the AI wanted to enslave humankind. It only told Stan & Kyle its plans at the very end, and only because it knew they weren't in any position to stop it.
2- History is rife with alliances being made to combat common foes.

As well as non-interventionists. Also, don't forget about third parties standing by in order to watch two enemies destroy each other, or nations that side with the seeming lesser of two evils.
3- MORONI was programmed with New Connifer's computer systems and was designed as a medical AI. It had to learn how to use it's knowledge to further military goals and take over computer networks. MORONI wouldn't be able to simply take over military systems as quickly as Skynet as Skynet was given direct access to the military.

You're arguing as if you know more about the character I created than I do. It already knew its way around military systems by the time the story took place. How would being a medical AI slow it down necessarily?
4- I'm not saying that a virus would be made quickly. I'm saying that it would eventually be made. Also, aren't those same stories rife with humans....winning?

Yes, usually after a horrific tragedy takes place. In the case of the System Shock games (the basis for this story) everyone else had already been mercilessly slaughtered. In the Terminator movies, most of humanity had been nuked off the face of the earth. In The Matrix, humanity had lost a war and was (almost) completely enslaved.

A virus was never used in any of these cases. Besides, I think the right term would be "patch" not "virus". For example, if they'd written a patch to reintroduce the AI's ethical constraints.
5- I doubt they'd accept it with open arms.

It depends on how it's written. You might as well argue that I had no basis for a story plot in the first place, since it makes no sense that anyone would be stupid enough to put some AI in charge of people's lives after the earlier AI prototypes showed signs of rogue behavior. But, because humans overestimated themselves, it was allowed to take over.

In this case, the Earth forces might think they can kill off the hapless refugees and steal their prized possession (the AI itself). Never underestimate the power of human greed. Once they see that the cyborg army is using the AI to heal themselves, they may very well want to have that kind of technology for themselves.


I didn't say this had to be made into an RPG, mind you. I actually think my earlier fic "More Dull Kombat" would make a better RPG.


1- The plans would be quite obvious once the boarding party that...boards...the caravan is cut down. :lol:

2- Earth government that isn't ruthlessly killing everybody versus cyborgs that are controlled by an AI that will turn you into a Cyborg? I think Earth is the lesser of two evils. :lol:

3- Skynet was designed for the United States military and implemented by the military and given access to the entirety of the military by...the military. :lol: It was already in the inside and it still needed humans to give it complete access. Besides, if MORONI could just transfer itself onto other computer systems, why invade Earth and risk defeat and the destruction of New Connifer? Wouldn't it be wiser to just go alone as some sort of wandering craft that presents no threat, get picked up by Earth in a way that doesn't raise any eyebrows, and enter Earth as somewhat of a good thing, very much like how it went down in New Connifer? I'm not implying that you don't know your character as well as I nor am I saying I know your character better than you, just saying that an outside AI from a different colony wouldn't be able to hack the military systems of Earth who, apparently, has had problems with AI in the past without first having to have a victory in which it was able to control a military base long enough to jack itself in there. Skynet was working on the inside; MORONI on th outside.

4- I never said we'd win the war cleanly, just that we'd win the war.:P We might lose a few billion here and there, but that's the price of freedom.

5- You said that humanity had experienced some sort of rogue AI incidents in the past. As such, I think any new AI will be greeted with suspicion. They would review MORONI on some sort of separate network (So as to stop the AI from possibly taking over the ship as a safety device.) and see it's programming. They would then look at the cyborgs, back at MORONI, and go, "Damn, dude!"(Except in a more futuristic mode)

6- Name of patch: MORONI v1.01; Non-Violence Patch(Also, all people will now be implanted during any surgery devices which make them think Seattle is the greatest place ever.). :wink:

7- Well, if anyone decides to do an RP, I'm up for it.

8- Like I said earlier, what if MORONI was somehow disabled? What would happen to Cyborgs like Stan and Kyle?

BTW, in System Shock 1&2, wasn't the Tri-something company responsible for SHODAN and didn't both games take places on TRi-Something vessels?

Also, remember this: It is all speculation, so let's not get too angry about this.
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Kyle the Skeptic
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Postby Kyle the Skeptic » Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:23 am

This is all moot anyway. Didn't I say that what happens afterwards is entirely up to interpretation? Didn't I also say that the aftermath is mostly irrelevant as far as the main theme of the story goes? It doesn't change the fate of the two boys one way or another. There are several possible endings, and it depends on how it's written, if I had chosen to write it:

1 - The invasion catches the Earth, which already has its hands full dealing with uprisings elsewhere and beyond, off guard. MORONI enslaves humanity.

2 - The invading force batters itself against a well prepared defense that saw it coming in advance. The cyborgs are all destroyed.

3 - Any combination of the above.

None of that really makes any difference, or changes the meaning of the ending in any way. See my point?

Also, if the AI were destroyed, the minions could certainly operate independently. The augmentations built into each cyborg function on their own. MORONI was simply the one who developed and installed them. They would likely wander around, acting as though nothing had changed, and that they were still living their normal lives.

I could actually start a follow up / RPG after the Earth has been taken over, in a way that would make sense. There are many ways this could happen, just as there are all those ways you came up with that the Earth would beat back the invasion.
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Postby ShaneHaughey » Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:25 am

Kyle the Skeptic wrote:This is all moot anyway. Didn't I say that what happens afterwards is entirely up to interpretation? Didn't I also say that the aftermath is mostly irrelevant as far as the main theme of the story goes? It doesn't change the fate of the two boys one way or another. There are several possible endings, and it depends on how it's written, if I had chosen to write it:

1 - The invasion catches the Earth, which already has its hands full dealing with uprisings elsewhere and beyond, off guard. MORONI enslaves humanity.

2 - The invading force batters itself against a well prepared defense that saw it coming in advance. The cyborgs are all destroyed.

3 - Any combination of the above.

None of that really makes any difference, or changes the meaning of the ending in any way. See my point?

Also, if the AI were destroyed, the minions could certainly operate independently. The augmentations built into each cyborg function on their own. MORONI was simply the one who developed and installed them. They would likely wander around, acting as though nothing had changed, and that they were still living their normal lives.

I could actually start a follow up / RPG after the Earth has been taken over, in a way that would make sense. There are many ways this could happen, just as there are all those ways you came up with that the Earth would beat back the invasion.


I agree this is all moot, but you must understand that my overriding thought at the end wasn't, "Poor Stan and Kyle!"

It was: "Death to the machines!"
*Plus, my mind always thinks about war.:lol:*

You serious about the RPG? I'd join/help.
BTW, are you saying that the Cyborgs would still live in their fantasy world?
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Postby Kyle the Skeptic » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:45 pm

Could, but I dunno if this is the right forum to do that in.
It was: "Death to the machines!"

Same thing, isn't it?

Also, I resent the fact that you think I'd write so sloppily or make such stupid 'moves' as the ones you suggested. Attack the boarding party and blow their cover? After going to all the trouble to land on Earth without being hostile up to that point? Yeah, right. :roll:

Since you seem to have some familiarity with System Shock, don't forget that one of SHODAN's plans was in fact to upload her data loop into Earth's mainframe using a series of satellite dishes positioned around the station. Your task was to blow them up with C4 before time ran out. Point is, it wouldn't be that hard for a rogue AI to take over Earth's military networks, even if it wasn't originally designed as a military AI (SHODAN was a corporate AI) or given direct access to military computers in the first place.

There's also the way in the Superman comics that Brainiac infected the LexCorp computers simply by broadcasting his code into them from his spacecraft.


Edit: Whadda ya mean you don't know whether to consider this "horror"? :evil:
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Postby ShaneHaughey » Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:16 pm

Kyle the Skeptic wrote:Could, but I dunno if this is the right forum to do that in.
It was: "Death to the machines!"

Same thing, isn't it?

Also, I resent the fact that you think I'd write so sloppily or make such stupid 'moves' as the ones you suggested. Attack the boarding party and blow their cover? After going to all the trouble to land on Earth without being hostile up to that point? Yeah, right. :roll:

Since you seem to have some familiarity with System Shock, don't forget that one of SHODAN's plans was in fact to upload her data loop into Earth's mainframe using a series of satellite dishes positioned around the station. Your task was to blow them up with C4 before time ran out. Point is, it wouldn't be that hard for a rogue AI to take over Earth's military networks, even if it wasn't originally designed as a military AI (SHODAN was a corporate AI) or given direct access to military computers in the first place.

There's also the way in the Superman comics that Brainiac infected the LexCorp computers simply by broadcasting his code into them from his spacecraft.


Edit: Whadda ya mean you don't know whether to consider this "horror"? :evil:

1- I'm not saying you'd write sloppily. I'm saying the boarding party isn't stupid. I know I wouldn't allow armed cyborgs anywhere near Earth. Which would mean we'd try to disarm you.
2- That was SHODAN's plan, but would it have worked? Maybe if there was absolutely no indication that anything was wrong. MORONI's fleet wouldn't even get to Earth, plus, like you said, Earth forces have had experiences with AIs in the past. It'd stand to reason that they'd have safeguards.
3- It's hard for to consider pretty much anything horror. :lol: Nothing scares me.

Except for spiders. :lol:
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Postby Kyle the Skeptic » Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:48 pm

Spiders? Why didn't you say so?

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