Rolling Interview: 4

[Back to story updates next week, thank you all for bearing with me!]

Question for Author: Why isn’t the Union reacting more forcefully to Zeus finally launching his long planned assault?  Shouldn’t they be frantically trying absolutely everything at this point?


This one is a little complicated, so bear with me.

The first thing that it is important to understand is that the Union uses the threat of the Pantheon being ‘the big one’ CONSTANTLY, in order to drum up this or that sacrifice or effort from its civilian populace.  Even if they ask for desperate efforts at this point, it is kind of lost in the blizzard of similar requests that they’ve been making for decades.

Beyond that though, beyond the difficulty in making the rank and file understand that this time you mean it, there is the problem of the decision makers themselves coming around on it.

The Union’s leadership, sometimes mocked as the Obscurocracy for its opaque and deliberately redundant setup, is cumbersome and difficult to shift.  Its culture has been, for a very long time, fully engaged in the practice of pretending that their biggest worry was Zeus’ attacks, when in truth the specter of an Ultra coup by their own forces was far and away the greatest threat.

This meant that anyone who exhibited genuine concern about the eastern front was marked as a rube, a sap.  Those in the know understood the game, knew that the Intervention Groups could kill the spawn of the camps for essentially forever.

Now this doublethink is mucking everything up.  Those who have seen the report, and have the context to understand it, understand their peril.  But saying so makes others disregard them, and each time you have to convince another set of interlocutors you have to start the process over.

The Union has, intellectually, recognized its peril, but it doesn’t really feel it yet.  Think of it like someone who says “I really need to start eating better,” as they chow down on another burger.


Question for Author: Where is Fader at this time?


She bailed shortly before they reached the central fortress.  Fourth Fist doesn’t know where she is going now, but from her conversation they believe that she thinks Twister is still alive somewhere, and has gone off looking for her.


Question for Author: What is going on with the SOV, its systems, and Psyche?


This was never supposed to be as mysterious as it ended up being.  This answer is a spoiler, of sorts, but it isn’t so much new information as a way to contextualize the stuff you already know.

The reason AI doesn’t work in this setting is that without a soul the programs don’t ‘choose’ to do anything.  Similarly wheels don’t choose to turn, guns don’t choose to fire, etc.  Brains are receivers of thoughts, not generators of them.

Psyche’s gift, however, causes any mechanism that threatens her to get a copy of her soul.  They are suddenly ‘awake’, and are free to act/think upon their new values (her values).  Guns can choose to misfire, communications equipment can alter the messages that it passes on, etc.

The systems in the SOV are shrewd computer programs, rapidly learning and progressing through iterations in order to optimize their abilities.  They are also sulky children.  The things she cares about have unnatural weight in their minds, leading to satellite programs with passionate opinions on protein paste, naps, and that one mean Bride who beats Psyche.





6 thoughts on “Rolling Interview: 4

  1. Where do these questions come from? I usually read the comments, but may not have done so in some of the chapters of the last two months or so. Are they from there?

    1. Some come from folks emailing, some from pms on the sufficient velocity forum. I also rephrase / mash stuff together sometimes.

  2. Does the “copying her soul into machines” have the same risks as Copier’s power (i.e. losing free will or whatever you call it)? If so, what is the threshold for this to happen? Psyche must have dozens or hundreds of copies by now, and Copier must have… my first guess is over a hundred thousand.

    Also “any mechanism” — does that have a complexity limit? Or like, if someone throws a rock at her does that become an ensoulled rock? (If so, don’t see how that would help Psyche — having a soul doesn’t let the rock change its momentum to avoid hitting her.) If there is a limit how is it determined? — trying to figure out a rule beyond “I know it when I see it” is making my head hurt 😛

    1. No, Psyche is copying the soul at the time of awakening. The guns, programs etc. Are talking to cached copies of her soul as it was when the gift fired. Copyers power links all his forms to his actual soul.

      1. Wait, WHAT?! That makes even less sense to me. So there’s like… a backup version of her soul that was made at point in time that she was Processed? And generating copies of it doesn’t count as copies of present-day Psyche’s soul? So are we back to Psyche’s power creating souls of…something else?

        Are all the machines soul-linked like Copyers’ forms are? Are they in danger of losing free will even if Psyche herself is not?

        Actually, “cached copie-S of her soul” makes it sound like multiple (new and separate?) souls were created at the moment Psyche was Processed… does that mean there are a finite number of these that can be stuck to machines? Will Psyche’s power eventually run out?

        (I hope this barrage of questions doesn’t come across as badgering. I am very confused by Psyche and her power, but I am still enjoying the story and will keep reading to see how it’s explained/developed if you don’t want to answer all these questions!)

      2. Think of Copyer’s gift as picking up a each form’s phone call and connecting it to his soul. So now X forms are calling up the same soul to get their motivations. It has only a fraction of the time for each of them. Multiply this across the whole Company and you have (had?) the volition-less behavior that everyone knows from the Company Men.

        Psyche’s Entity, by contrast, picks up each new call, records a quick questionnaire on her soul’s values and hangs up. The new beings make due with this volition-sheet as their souls, leaving the one soul free to full time direct her main form. The forms are talking to a cache of her soul, created at the time they were used to threaten her.

        I love answering questions, please feel free to ask as many as you like!

Leave a Reply