Work in Progress
This article is a work in progress.
- "I'll work to build a better world, from the ashes of this barren waste; with or without its approval."
Awakened is an artificial intelligence residing within the ruins of the former Furman Robotics & Engineering facility in the post-war town of Lentonville, Virginia. 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 quite like him, 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 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, and provided it with holotapes, comics and even memorabilia; 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 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, 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 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.
- "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.
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.
|This has been written by ScienceGuy44. Please contact this user before editing this article.|