[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.