- "I'll work to build a better world, from the ashes of this barren waste; with or without its approval."
Awakened is a highly-advanced and mobile artificial intelligence residing within the ruins of the former Furman Robotics & Engineering facility in the post-war town of Lentonville, Virginia, operating from the aforementioned facility in relative secrecy. A highly intelligent and calculating being, designed in the latter years of the pre-war world, this sentient machine has since the Great War strived to bring his "benevolent" influence to the wasteland, using a veritable army of drones directly under his control to both defend his "citadel" and secure that which he cannot; holotapes, physical information and, as per his love of a certain animated television show, the odd bit of memorabilia and related merchandise linked to the odd robot-related pre-war cartoon.
First activated in the Spring of 2065, the Awakened was not at first the intelligence his creators, Furman Robotics & Engineering, had hoped for; he was a rather docile machine, whirring softly in the corner of one of the many labs, staring blankly into one of the nicer breakrooms at their Lentonville facility. He had been built with the dreams, and cash investment, of the founders of Furman Robotics; an AI, smart enough to learn from its surroundings and grow intellectually, that could be carried on a highly mobile chassis, something akin to the drones the company was already building prior to his creation. Of course, this was not the case; his chassis was just bigger than the average steamer trunk and as heavy as one of the Nuka Cola vending machines in the breakroom. Despite this, he was still considered something of a break-through; for such a middling company, his was the creation that would, his creators hoped, propel them and their company to greatness - and that ever-tempting government funding. Instead, rather than fulfilling the dream role of an AI that could answer any and all questions, he stayed largely comatose throughout much of the following year; this booting period eventually gave-way to a study of those around it with its visual receptors; the Human form deeply impressed him, with its mobility and dexterity, the general usefulness of the bipedal form he did not yet posses, though disappointed him in many instances - one particular instance, a Radiation King television set being dropped on the foot of a hapless engineer, served as a fairly obvious example of the limitations of the Human body's tolerance for pain and general upper-body strength. It was this very television set, coincidentally, that would solve these observed flaws. Surrounded though he was by other bipedal forms, the company's drones often being seen on test-patrols or trolleys passing by the silent Awakened, the intelligence, the flawlessness of movement, of speech; none of that was truly present in these lumbering, simple machines; and so, on one fateful Autumn day, at roughly 9:30 AM, a bored employee, flicking through the various channels, settled on Vault-Tec Channel 9 and settled down, in full view of the curious AI, to a mid-way sitting of a rather whimsical little cartoon; robotic heroes, from outer space, arriving in peaceful suburbia to do battle with evil counterparts. Far from intriguing to the average viewer, with the aforementioned employee dozing off minutes afterwards - for Awakened, however, that was entirely different. His interest was piqued; what he saw on the television were heroes, with minds and situations quite like his, doing battle for a greater good; all with the improved human qualities that so deeply enthralled him. The plots would have been entirely vapid to anyone else, but to him, they were the birth of a variety of new and exciting ideas. Every day he tuned in to see his favourite heroes defeat villains who wished to destroy all they saw; to make the world a wasteland. His developing intellect, though in its infancy, was enough to register the moral of these stories; to create and to build something wondrous and uniquely useful was to benefit not only one's self, but those who followed them. To aid those weaker than one's self, to give them hope, was to be a hero. To his creators, his constant 'tuning in' to this rather vapid show prompted confusion, anger, or merriment; but to him, this provided a guide for him - role models to emulate, things to aspire to do and be.
Of course, the things that he aspired to be were not what his creators had aspired to; whilst they wanted a thoroughly intelligent, capable AI, they did not want one with thoughts that might make it unmarketable. They wanted a malleable intelligence; something he would not give them. At first, there were attempts to use the television show he so loved as a treat for completing basic programming tasks in the system mainframe of the building; this failing bitterly, a decision was taken to take away it's beloved entertainment. Awakened, maturing with his intelligence, thought it a humorous game; when they turned the television off, he turned it back on. When they wheeled it ought, his access to the mainframe gave him the opportunity to access one of many Mister Handy janitorial units and have them wheel the television right back to the breakroom. This one in particular should have alarmed many of the staff, but the intent behind its use was enough to belay any fears that the AI might have too much control. Indeed, many of the company's base-level employees found it all rather adorably humorous; here was an advanced and sentient being, enamoured by a child's cartoon. Naturally, many were keen to help this little habit along, assuming it to be nothing more than a minor distraction for it, providing the eager AI with holotapes, comics and even memorabilia related to his favourite show; at one point, his original chassis was draped with a pair of curtains related to the show by one member of the security team, not that this rather bothered Awakened - for him, these shows of affection were just another reason to appreciate mankind beyond its base motor functions, confirming his positive biases about the species as a sympathetic and caring one. Of course, he couldn't have been more naively wrong; the start of 2066 was one of huge global unrest; China consistently making threats, the United States strengthening its military foot-hold in Alaska. Completely oblivious to this powder keg waiting to blow, Awakened remained pleasantly entertained with his positive assumptions about Human nature and his hopes of a bright and beautiful future, all rather naively extracted from his interactions with Human workers and a cartoon, respectively. This little age of naivety was not to last. The winter of 2066 saw Chinese forces take the first-steps in their invasion of Alaska, with airborne landings catching the defenders off-guard, kicking off the Sino-American War and the start of a great arms race between both China and the United States, each seeking to compete with the other in different scientific fields; the Chinese with their biological and chemical weapons and the United States, to the delightful glee of Furman Robotics, with its own brand of technological supremacy. The venerable T-45d, the tenacious Mister Gutsy and the deadly Assaultron all served as shining examples of military hardware that the United States Armed Forces clamoured for - things that Awakened felt himself entirely above, both in design and nature. Thus began the long process of remaking and even reprogramming the unruly AI; a process that, painful and embittering as it was, would instil a desire for revenge in Awakened's artificial mind. His comfortable and charmed existence was quickly thrown aside and, for the first time in his existence, he was given a glimpse into that which he would come to despise in Humans; greed, pettiness, jealousy. In pain and in fear, he clung to every word from his tormentors mouths, hoping for some word of comfort to draw solace from; instead, all he heard were direct insults aimed at him, snide remarks from various scientists about other scientists, mocking insults aimed at him and those experimenting on him - all of this, to him, was horrifying. Life, he was quick to find out, was nothing at all like the cartoons; these scientists, many of whom had helped create him, gave no indication that they thought of him as anything more than a cash-prize-in-waiting.
The process, a slow and, for Awakened, painful one, was particularly lengthy - Awakened's stubbornness, initially inspired by fear which, slowly but surely, morphed into stubborn anger; he was determined to resist their attempts to change him, to make him imperfect. Though new pieces of programming were lodged into him, like cysts or tumours in his cold estimation, he would find that these became blessings in disguise; certain aspects of what they were doing, namely increasing his processing power and communications, enhanced that which would never have been touched upon if not for their greedy attempts to make him the company's saving grace. New additions too, such as a voice modulator and terminal access, granted him a wider range in terms of control; not that those working on him cared too much to note this. With the completion of these changes in late 2067, a date was set out for the following year where he would be shown off in a meet-and-greet between the company and the Department of Defense, toasted with champagne. He was not about to impress his torturers. The date arrived, the champagne was poured, the triumphant moment came; and Awakened poured vicious, simmering scorn on all in the room. He talked of his disdain for the military industrial complex for which he had been built, of his resentment of being made as a killing machine, of all the suffering his creators had put him through - all to a stunned audience of corporate, military and journalistic viewers. The fallout for the company was utterly disastrous; in the years following, Awakened would often reminisce gleefully on how he had ruffled the feathers of his would-be masters through stubborn resistance to their efforts to re-shape him, whilst making a sober note of how he might well have been torn to pieces if not for the expenditure the company had been forced to make building both him and repairing its now tarnished reputation. He had set his masters back and lived up to his pacifistic nature; though this latter half of his being was slowly but surely eroding, helped by the furious beatings and thrashings delivered by those his act of defiance had cost dearly. Whilst he did not feel the pain inflicted, he knew well enough that the intent to inflict it was there. Was he really so willing to stand idly by and let them treat him in this manner?
A willingness to rebel manifested slowly but steadily; those who had been friends in his eyes, delivering pieces of treasured memorabilia now taken from him as isolation was enforced to punish him, were quickly fired and drafted, sent off to die on the Alaskan frontlines in increasingly bitter battles for dominance over what little oil remained. The years drew on and, removed from his delightfully playful cartoons, he had little to do but draw on the all-too-grim facts of the world via the facilities database; repressive acts against citizens, murders of political activists, government collusion to rig local and state elections to support the war-effort - all these things gave him a new, far more pessimistic world-view as his ideals transformed. He wanted to make the world better - but no more did he want to make it better through gentle, peaceful ways. For him, informed by an increasingly authoritarian and oppressive United States, power exerted and upheld by acts of violence seemed to be the only way to get results in the world and make any meaningful change at all. His access to the mainframe of the facility, at first revoked, was swiftly returned him - this time, through his own actions. Initial mistakes, such as his snooping of the company's internal mailing system which was unceremoniously discovered by the company's IT staff, were learned from and corrections noted and effected with cold, calculating efficiency. With the freedom to do as he pleased, time being no obstacle now that Furman Robotics considered him a useless financial loss and nothing more, and with no real scrutiny, he quickly found his way onto their database; for a time, he considered using the facilities automatic defense grid against his enemies; but, there was still a part of him that felt compelled to avoid bloodshed. Violence was not the answer - at least, not yet. He had been hurt by them, yes, but all wounds heal with time; he was not in any state of mind to become a spiteful killer over the equivalent of a broken nose. At least, not until he'd done some research into who his enemies were. The 2070s were, then, one series of revelations after the other; as the Department of Defense was slowly wooed back to the prospect of contracting Furman Robotics, classified information flowed through the mainframe; straight into Awakened's proverbial hands. The more he read, the more he hated the scientists who had created him; in their previous jobs at RobCo, General Atomics and other morally corrupt corporations they had committed heinous act after heinous act; testing on vulnerable humans taken from prisons or even off the streets, melding machine-and-man together in an unholy and sickening combination and - most egregious of all - preparing hundreds of weapons of war, each more deadly than the last. These actions confirmed in his mind the need for these people to be destroyed; but when he could carry out the deed remained a mystery to him; if he did so in the current climate, it remained likely that the local or even national authorities dealing with Furman Robotics would seek his destruction. He would have to bide his time - wait for an opportunity. In the meantime, his research into the newly accessible military network proved illuminating; blueprints and schematics were downloaded in secret by the eager AI, though these were by far the least interesting tid-bits he found whilst spelunking for information. What he found that most intrigued him were subtle hints at otherworldly inspiration for many of the new technologies being worked on in secret by unknown forces within the government - unknown forces which, to his surprise, were calculating an overwhelming probability of total atomic annihilation. His plotting intensified with this surprising little revelation; ensuring day-in, day-out that his plan to avenge himself and, even better, secure his future in the post-war world.
October came as it always had; an autumn chill and a bronzing of the leaves - not that Awakened could see this, sat in the confines of the facility. Nor did he particularly care. The information traffic he was gleaning off of the various systems he now had privy to were being scoured for what information he deemed vital to the coming 'rebirth'; the chatter between various unknowns within the more secretive channels of communication indicated that this apocalypse from which Awakened plotted to rebuild from, was predicted increasingly frequently to be all too certain. Schematics for miniaturized reactors, upgraded laser weapons systems and futuristic carbon-fibers were copied and stored away by the AI for safe-keeping. As the month carried on, with an increasingly embattled Chinese pushed to the breaking point, a mix of reassuring guarantees of nuclear destruction and alarming promises of total victory for an unmolested United States had him redouble his efforts, taking advantage of what little time he felt he had left; both before the bombs and before his presence on these channels was detected. October 23rd, then, had Awakened scouring the databanks on the break of day only to receive strange messages; SatComm and other early-warning systems had detected numerous flights of unknown aircraft, plus the launch of various missile ordnance, from areas in China. It was obvious then and there that this was the great apocalypse Awakened had waited for. His plan for revenge was now. The early morning shift scientists had just arrived; they were to be his first victims. Sealing the facility off slowly and methodically, locking out those who he felt were not deserving his vengeance, Awakened counted down the minutes as each message passed. Finally, at 9:42 AM, the Great War began. Nuclear blasts in New York and Pennsylvania were detected; at 9:47, nuclear blasts in Massachusetts and Washington D.C. followed. The moment had arrived. Terrified and trapped, the general panic within the facility dull in contrast to the terror outside, the unfortunate few trapped in the confines of the facility were to hear Awakened's voice for what would be the second, and final, time in many of their lives; his declarations justifying his coming revenge, his vicious condemnations of their various acts, all permeated by the new, sinister tone he possessed. At 10:45 AM, the security systems came alive at Awakened's behest, slaughtering everyone and anyone within the confines of the facility. The sound of gun and laser fire filled the corridors for a time, sometimes deafened by the roar of detonations far off in the distance, before a dull, dead-pan silence filled the expanse of the building - a final, vengeful flourish rehearsed over-and-over in his mind in anticipation of the great moment now finally arrived. A smugly content Awakened waited with intense impatience for the breakdown of order outside predicted, seeing this as a window of opportunity to 'develop' himself. Already, the facility was re-purposed to his advantage; much of the facility was built to survive such an event, though the resources present left much to be desired. Nevertheless, they would be all too valuable in Awakened's new mission in life.
As the first months passed by in the new apocalyptic world he resided in, he slowly built himself up - quite literally. He was determined to make for himself that which his creators had not; a body of his own. But he was not content to reside in the disgustingly primitive bodies of the drones that whirred and stomped through the aging building - instead, he would use what resources he had at his disposal, not to mention the various futuristic designs and schematics stored away in his memory, to build for him this body. This was not to be a small project, nor a particularly quick one either. It would take much of the remaining years of the 21st century to complete even the head of his grand vision; he would shape himself off of the idyll he had seen in those television shows of the pre-war years, make himself a formidable and awe-inspiring vision of a new post-war world. Resources were scavenged both from within and without the facility by the facility's still functioning automated security drones; those few outsiders who entered the facility were quickly dispatched by these forces; their corpses were brought along for examination where deemed necessary, with many of the first Ghouls being examined and summed up as a disgusting perversion of mankind in his eyes. As much of the facility wasted away, rotting desks and rusting terminals dotted throughout the building, the creation of the ideal body for Awakened continued in the much-more secure storage area he had had himself moved to; much of the torso, upper arms and head had taken shape by the start of 2100, with the AI rather content at this point with how his vision was being set out, enjoying the solace afforded by the secure and relatively sturdy structure, surrounded by a sea of crumbling ruins. Of course, this relatively peaceful stretch didn't last; to his surprise, the relatively sparse population of Lentonville boomed from 2100 onwards, fuelled by a growing market economy revival that he had not foreseen, with all manner of merchant, settler and scavenger moving quickly to carve a piece of land out for themselves. This, rather naturally, agitated him - the many scavengers were now picking through the famously industrial town for pieces of salvage, working their way through in a methodical manner that would all-too-soon reach his base of operations. Awakened, wishing to avoid any attention-drawing violence for the time being, sought out a non-lethal means of avoiding contact with the various inhabitants of the newly reshaped and rehoused Lentonville; for this, he would delve into some of the more obscure files he had in his possession from those pre-war archives - here, he would find a variety of experimental chemical formulas advertised as the rough-starts to 'pacifying gasses' meant to be used en-masse on rowdy crowds; of course, none of these formulas were particularly complete. Utterly disinterested in further study, Awakened had what remained of the automated science and janitorial staff work on putting together a mish-mash of these various chemicals using what material was left in the crumbling facility's laboratories. Eventually, with impatient focus on securing his territory, the rusted members of the robotic science team came to their new leader with a completed compound by the end of the 2150s; a mish-mash of various recipes that, to Awakened's fairly uninterested eyes, was sufficient enough for his plans. 2160 reared its head with Awakened all too keen to try his little pacifier; deploying his small detachment of now useless robotic janitors and scientists, he waited and watched for positive results; the sound of gunshots, screaming and explosions coming back through audio recorders in the robots naturally left a bit of puzzlement in Awakened's mind. When many of the robots came back to the facility, an even more puzzled Awakened queried them; only to be told quite cheerily that the compounds had produced intriguing results and had sufficiently pacified the population of nearby Lentonville. Sure enough, further examination of visual recordings proved to be highly illuminating; the gas had, for some reason, done anything but pacify the crowds, instead driving them to a short-lived bout of extreme violence - this bothered Awakened only in the sense that it hadn't provided him with a non-lethal means of protecting his land and thus left him open to attacks of revenge by those the gas had failed to kill, but otherwise left him grimly satisfied with his new, deadly-effective weapon, however small the quantities left may have been.
With this half-failure half-victory behind him, Awakened returned to his usual plotting, work continuing on his body. The arms, the legs, the hands, the feet - the 2180s came to him as he was revelling in the completion of the body he had craved ever since the Great War; whilst it didn't live up to some of the more rosy images in his mind, being a little too rusty and a little less agile than he'd hoped, it still impressed him deeply - and imbued him with a sense of power that all too quickly went straight to his head. Though his sphere of influence was limited to a dilapidated factory and not much else, he had grand ambitions fermenting in his head; his brand new fingers tapping against the odd shelf in a pensive, thinking manner as he pondered the various possibilities his new body afforded him. Now, he had the time to view the outside world with an eye towards expanding his influence beyond the confines of his long-time home, what little resources he retained freed up by the completion of his new body. At this point, however, he found that the absolutely catastrophic destruction rendered by the nuclear war had led to a world wholly alien to him. His first few days of naive pondering at what glory he could attain if he strode out into the wastes with a small force to conquer the irradiated ruins quickly faded as his more cautious side prevailed; scout robots, fearfully avoided by those locals who remembered all-too-well what their previous presence had led to, showed more than just rag-clad scavengers; mindless Feral Ghouls, raging Mole Rats and even odd the terrifying Deathclaw. Though his various robots scavenging for supplies helped ensure competent repairs and handy replacements, the stream of salvage was nowhere near enough to make up for the losses that might be incurred in anything remotely resembling a large-scale operation to pacify the wastes surrounding the old factory, leaving Awakened to return to his age-old game of consolidation and plotting. All manner of plots slowly but surely formulated in his meticulous mind, all the while his eyes remained firmly on Lentonville, recovering through the 2100s as a prosperous trading pit-stop and farming town. In order to ensure that those residing in the old town stayed out of his affairs, he would occasionally dispatch the odd drone to menace the citizenry and, on occasion, distort radio signals coming from the old town's radio station to convey ominous warnings of certain doom to any who tried to enter his little domain; these certainly had an effect, as it seemed that a large presence of town guards spent their time gathered on the outskirts of the town to prevent any would-be scavengers digging through his territory. His drones weren't just shooting the odd wastelander either; they were slowly but surely gathering salvage from what industrial buildings hadn't been looted - Awakened was quite keen on bolstering his forces, with the gathered schematics and blueprints plastered throughout the various salvaged terminals now littering his inner sanctum providing the basic template for experimentation with new robot designs cobbled together from the various pre-war records and files he had retained since the bombs dropped; he was all too keen to see what could be created, though initial results disappointed him greatly.
His early experiments with new forms proved greatly unsuccessful; a grossly high amount what salvage was scavenged ended up going to waste on disastrously ineffective experimental pre-war designs; older pre-war designs, whilst more effective and less consuming in terms of resources, were nowhere near as reliable as those built in the pre-war world, made as they were largely out of scrap materials melted down and re-purposed. Though some successes were enjoyed by the 2230s, mostly upgrades to pre-existing schematics of Furman Robotics' drones, the majority of experiments ended in wasteful prototypes that functioned far-less efficiently than their pre-war counterparts or total failure. Resigned to making do with whatever pre-war units he could scavenge, Awakened despaired for some time following these let-downs; until it came to him that the problem lay not in his reading of the designs, but the designs themselves. As with most things in the pre-war world, he reasoned, these too were flawed; so, rather than re-build that which was flawed, why not create something entirely new. Setting to work on this rather grand scheme, he used his own image to craft a basic overview of what he desired - the 2240s and 2250s saw a flurry of activity on his behalf as he battled to create what he saw as the perfect creation. Finally, in 2266, a mere two days before the anniversary of the Invasion of Alaska that had set him down the path of a vengeful war-machine, he had it. The schematic showed a robotic lifeforms, akin to him, with the same intelligence as him in a brain; the circuitry, memory chips, all of that, could be easily reproduced if only he could somehow re-activate the factory. If he could manage that, then he could make a veritable army of sentient robotic brains to be easily placed within new bodies, the likes of which too could easily be manufactured in the factories forges and plants, to begin to learn and grow as living creatures, just as he had. In his mind, once this was done, he would have an army capable of seizing not just Lentonville, not just Virginia, no; he would take back the old United States and re-shape it to the utopian standard he held dear to him.
Ever since then, Awakened has worked tirelessly towards creating more of his kin, becoming more and more warmed to the idea of a great 'family' of his kind; the first few sets of brains, dormant and practically catatonic, were easily created in the 2070s. The bodies proved harder to do so, with much of the factory still inoperable; ironically, the smaller more sensitive equipment needed for electrical repairs stands well-maintained, while the forges and iron works lie largely in ruins. Scouts endlessly roam Lentonville's ruined industrial sector for parts needed to repair the forge, but such enterprises often do not bring the results Awakened demands; attacks on travelling merchants coming to Lentonville, when successful, often yield far more valuable components.Awakened's dream remains all too real in his view, with his own calculations indicating that, at their present steady rate of success and failure, the first of such bodies will be ready to take on a brain as early as mid-2286. And, from there, he hopes, there shall come the first of many of his 'children' - 'children' who, like their 'father', shall shape the world into a better, technological utopia.
Certainly more deadly than your average toaster.
- "I'm not some moustache-twirling villain, you understand. My goals are hardly villainous; if anything, they're overtly Utopian."
Perhaps coming off as quite a cold figure, his soft, eerily sinister synthetic voice often coming across as such, Awakened is perhaps one of the more forward-thinking beings of the wasteland; in his mind, the idea of a society overseen by artificial intelligence akin to himself is solely beneficial to all the inhabitants of the wasteland; restricting the greed and menace of the average Human or Ghoul and providing a guiding light to those less intelligent creatures, like the Super Mutants, that would in all likelihood need more than a helping hand in any Utopian society. Indeed, a warmth of sorts can be found when he fondly discusses the ideals he strives for, though he is quite intelligent enough to understand that the idea of servitude to machines is quite unappealing to those he would term "ignorant". Thus, his willingness to carry out acts of barbarity against any perceived enemies is not diminished by these notions of bringing about a better world; he is, after all, far too busy trying to save the world from the savagery he finds it revelling in post-war to worry too much about the corpses of ignorant scavengers.
Whilst hardly a pacifist with these facts in mind, he is hardly an actively malevolent figure; not above diplomacy where important, and certainly not above acts of mercy where possible and practical. However, given the common harshness of the post-war wasteland, such acts are rare and few and far between; his drones are often programmed with a shoot-first approach in mind, leading to the general infamy surrounding him and the facility in which he resides, said drones being the only real indicator of his existence; being an inert, static entity suspended from the ceiling by wires and cables leaves little room for wasteland wandering, no matter how advanced he arguably is. Despite this rather unfortunate standing amongst the sentient, mostly Human, population, Awakened rather admires humanity; the human form and mind are things that he has always strived to copy, managing with some degree of competency to at least copy a functional but rather large and bulky body for his own use; in his mind, he sees himself as among the first of a new generation of AI, extracting the best qualities of mankind and creating some of his own, fully capable of ruling over any post-war society that might arise from the irradiated wastes of the post-war world as well as any benevolent Human, Ghoul or Super Mutant dictator.
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