Template:PostIn CatH Post 33, Clear is resting in a park in Llyth on the planet Tangris. After attending a meeting with the Æon Lords in CatH Post 32 at the Skytower Temple, Clear believes that they will go back to Oeurwoud. Clear, for now, meets with Pully and Green so that they might purchase a new A.I. for The Hopeful. A Grey mechanic, named Bibby, investigates the systems from the Command Centre. He reveals that the ship was originally meant to use an Organic Intelligence system, a body literally plugged into the machine, and that the ship's former A.I., Note, was not the ship's originally intended A.I. system telling him that the ship must have been commandeered in its past. He decides to install twenty A.I.s, which run on a tiered system with most A.I.s performing sub-routines while Clear with interact with the A.I.s through a single main interface A.I.. She doesn't want the A.I. to have a personality but does choose its appearance. While Bibby and the ship's droids fix the oxygen systems, Clear introduces Pully to the new A.I., who has the appearance of a salmitton and looks a lot like Clear. She calls it Mother.
Clear sits and stares up at the distant yellow sun. The sky is faintly pink now that the dual dwarves are out of the way, lit only by the very distant star. The air is much colder now and Clear had to be given a big, fur-lined robe by Lord Koo Celli. She's sitting at the edge of a park. Many of the flowers of Tangris are sensitive to the cold and will close up during these colder hours. When the red dwarves are out they will open up again to soak in those rays. So now the park is looking a little lifeless. Even the Tangris grass sucks itself into the dry soil until the suns are back. The cold air causes Clear's breath to puff from her mouth in small clouds of mist. Some of the sky's stars can be seen in the low-light of the distant yellow and she wonders if any of those stars are even close to Mars.
Ffion and Kokoro had remained at the Skytower Temple to continue engaging in discussions. Clear isn't sure why they bother to have such long meetings. It's clear everyone agrees they have to investigate Oeurwoud again so why not just go? She suspects this is more politics of the region.
Finally Green and Pully arrive. They're wearing thick coats too. Pully manages to be quite fashionable with delicate fur-lined clothes and smart cut to her cold-weather coat. Green, on the other hand, looks like an oversized melon in her big, puffy, green jacket. She grins at Clear who can't help but smile back, half laugh at the state of the girl. She even has a small fluffy green cap on her head with big white earmuffs. Pully shrugs helplessly and gestures to Green's appearance.
Clear: "Looks like you enjoyed shopping, Green."
Green: "I did! When the suns went down I was very disappointed. The sun rays here are wonderfully delicious!"
Clear: "Probably not how I'd describe them but whatever. We have more shopping to do."
She hops to her feet and tries to shake the stiffness from her legs.
Pully: "A new A.I.?"
Pully and Green lead Clear towards town. While making small talk Clear observes the people around her. There are less civilians wandering around in these cooler hours than there were earlier. To Clear it seems most people are taking this time to either sleep, relax or, in the field of business, do their restocking and the like. The buildings are mostly quite small. Tiny when compared to those of Dacato. They are usually domed with shiny white material while the walls are commonly grey or blue - though there is still plenty of variety. Simplicity and subtlety seemed to be the key words the people of Tangris employed. Clear also discovered some time ago that the people of the world didn't consider themselves to be Tangrisian. Few are born on the planet and therefore they all refer to themselves by their race or their former homeworlds. The Æon don't even use the term and refer to themselves solely as Æon. This makes it impossible to think of the citizens of Tangris as one people and yet they seemed more at ease with each other than those on Dacato.
A chill wind brushes against Clear's cheeks, causing blood surface and colour her cheeks and the tip of her nose blue. After tolerating jests from Pully about this they arrive at a large department store that Pully believes will contain decent A.I. technology. It doesn't take long before they are shown around the store at all of the latest gadgetry and, eventually, the various A.I. models on offer. In the end Clear has no idea which she should choose and the salesman decides it would be best to choose several models and ask the fitter to install the model best suited to The Hopeful. Clear agrees.
Hours later Clear is in the Command Centre watching the fitter. He turns out to be a squat grey alien, just like Jeb the Æon student that Clear met earlier. He's very friendly and likes to gossip about his friends, family and the weather of Tangris. Clear mostly nods and smiles when she feels it is appropriate. She realises she finds it easier talking about a menacing black wave or an incoming deadly spacecraft than discussing such trivial things. Before her mission across the stars began Clear had known she was socially awkward. Yet she hadn't felt so awkward until this moment. Everyone on the ship seems to be locked together by tragedy and they have such epic events to discuss. Banal information about the kids next door barely registers in Clear's mind. He revealed his name as Bibby. The only information that Clear found interesting was the discovery that he was called a Grey in English and his people are from the Mirare System. She wonders why he named the system and not his planet but she doesn't have time to probe as he quickly changes the subject to the task at hand.
He falls to his knees and starts skirting along the edge of the circular platform.
Bibby: "This is pretty exciting! I haven't seen one of these in years!"
Clear: "A gold circle?"
Bibby grins a big toothy grin.
Bibby: "Ah. You don't know what it is! That explains why you're looking for an A.I.."
He shuffles along until he finds a panel that lifts open. Clear walks over and stares down at the new discovery. She had no idea the gold pad was anything but decorative. At most she had guessed it was the best position to engage in communications with other ships. Now she sees a few small switches and buttons.
Clear: "What does it do?"
Bibby: "It's the control system for your O.I.."
Clear: "... and what's an O.I.?"
Bibby: "... you didn't steal this ship did you? I'm not looking to get into trouble..."
Clear: "No! I was born here! The ship has never been in complete condition ever since I was born."
Bibby nods and presses a button.
The circular ridge around the golden pad illuminates softly and from above a machine slowly lowers.
Clear: "What is that?"
Bibby: "For your O.I.... if you had one."
He switches it off again and the machine slinks back into the ceiling. Clear is a point disappointed that he didn't show more of what it could do. Instead he explains, as he gets to his feet.
Bibby: "An organic intelligence. Unlike your A.I. an O.I. requires a living being to act as the ship's director. It's not a pretty thing by any means. Certainly far more effective, but a bit... barbaric. You're probably better without one. Not a lot of ships use this kind of thing now. We're more civilised in this day and age."
Clear: "So I could interface with the ship directly and control its systems?"
Bibby: "Whoa! No! Only if you want to become a vegetable! It manages your brain. You'll wind up nothing but a computer in living form. Every single synapse of your brain melds to one purpose - the ship. Our brains, believe it or not, are still the most powerful computers in the universe if they can be fully utilised. When everything else is removed you have even more processing power available. All that power pumped into your ship. It makes for a very impressive ship intelligence. But like I say, I haven't seen one in years and even then it was scrap. Yours is fully working. It's a marvel, I tell you. Your ship is certainly old so I believe it when you say you were born here."
Clear: "Could you guess how old from this technology?"
Bibby: "Centuries. At least. Even then they were becoming rarer and rarer. So if your ship was built then it was an expensive project. If it's even older than that... well! You're walking through a museum. A goldmine of a museum at that. I could spend all my days here..."
He sighs wistfully.
Bibby: "But I have a wife and kids. Still! I'll remember this beautiful old bird, I will! Instead it looks like you'll be needing our best A.I.. Lucky I brought it with me."
He starts tampering with the console and checking systems. He tuts and comments that everything is a real mess.
Bibby: "Alright. You'll be needing... a lot of A.I.s..."
Clear: "More than one?"
Bibby laughs and shakes his head in disbelief.
Bibby: "You really have no idea do you? This monolith is quite probably one of the most incredible monstrosities I've ever encountered. Nay, ever heard of. It reminds me of something the Empire would have cooked up at the peak of its power. I know you said you had one A.I. before and I have to say, it's amazing your A.I. was able to keep the damn thing running at all."
Clear: "Okay... when you say a lot you mean, like, six?"
Bibby: "I was thinking twenty."
Clear: "Oh wow! Twenty!?"
Bibby: "Your system was set up to work via a tier system. Originally The Hopeful probably had at least a hundred A.I. systems managing everything. But for your basics, twenty should do. I do suggest adding more as time goes by though..."
Clear: "How am I meant to deal with twenty A.I.s!?"
Bibby: "Relax. Like I said, tier system. You'll have many A.I.s that run on basic algorithms. Performing functionary tasks like maintaining the flow of oxygen - which I can also fix for you by the way, it's certainly stale in here. Anyway, atop of your basic A.I.s will be governing A.I.s that manage the smaller A.I.s either in specific fields or in regions of the ship. We'll set it by field. Those A.I.s are answerable to your main interface A.I.. You only interact with your interface and all the A.I.s will cooperate on the task at hand."
Clear: "Right. I understand. I think my last A.I. alluded to something like that being the original set up. I think he said he was originally a basic A.I. that had to be uplifted to run everything when the other A.I.s were shut down or whatever. I don't know what actually happened to them."
Bibby: "Incredible a basic A.I. managed to run everything. Then again maybe that makes more sense. An interface A.I. probably couldn't do the actual tasks itself. It can only act as a go-between. So only a basic A.I. could actually keep things running for so long. Strange that a basic routine managed to develop interface routines... the universe works in mysterious ways, right!? Let's get all of this set up. What kind of personality would you like for your A.I.? And any preference on its appearance?"
Clear shakes her head.
Clear: "I don't really want it to have a personality. The last A.I. developed his own very unique personality that didn't work out so well in the end. Can't it be... simple?"
Bibby raises his eyebrows but then nods.
Bibby: "Surprised but sure. Thought you'd be all for having some A.I. cracking jokes all the time. Oh well. You'll still want an appearance. Want me to show you the generic body composites?"
Clear: "Actually... can I request my own design? Based on a picture perhaps?"
Bibby: "Costs a bit more because it'll take time to render, but sure I can do that. I tell you what I'll do. I'll give you the rendering process for free while I fix that oxygen filter of yours. A gift from me for showing me this astounding ship."
Clear: "Wow. Thank you!"
Clear: "Sounds perfect. Thank you, Bibby."
Bibby: "This is a great opportunity. Working on such a wonderful creature. Actually, one more thing you may like to know..."
Clear: "What's that?"
Bibby: "The A.I. system in place... is not the original system meant for the ship. I mentioned that O.I. Usually O.I.s do have A.I.s working for them, but this entire console right here... not the original equipment. This system I recognise. It was standard equipment a couple of centuries ago. Lots of larger empires of the time used this equipment because it was so functional and easy to install. This tells me that your ship has been commandeered at least once in its lifetime..."
Pully: "All done?"
She steps back from the console. Bibby is now off fixing the oxygen systems of the ship. One of the droids is in the command centre replacing a vent before it hovers off into the next room. She's unsure how many of the filters would need replacing and she doubts the man is willing to do the entire ship so she pointed out key zones that the current staff would frequently use.
Pully: "What did you name the thing?"
Clear purses her lips together as her cheeks blush. This time not from cold but embarrassment. Pully looks at Clear with surprise and curiosity. Finally Clear decides to just come out and say it.
Clear: "I know it's going to seem strange to you and when I did it it seemed like a great idea. Now I kind of regret it because it's weird..."
Pully: "Don't tell me it's a naked bloke with a gigantic c--"
Clear: "No no no! Nothing like that. Probably weirder really... The A.I.'s name is Mother."
The A.I.'s face appears on screen. She's a pink-skinned Salmitton with short-bobbed hair, yet it's much longer on one side of her head than the other. She has the same rounded cheeks as Clear and wears an enigmatic smile across her thin and pink lips. Those lips are a lighter pink than the skin, but could still be lost at a distance because they are so thin. Although Clear's lips are fuller and her complexion more youthful Clear knows Pully recognises the relation between Clear and the image of the woman hovering before them...
Mother: "Hello Cassra Terrin-Pullista."