|Date of birth:||2067|
|Date of death:||N/A|
|Occupation:||Problem Solver/Research Aide (Pre-War), Murderous God of Mischief (Post-War)|
|Status:||Resides underneath Killem Field|
Much of what transpires in the terrible lands of Four Seasons is initiated by, or transpires before the electronic eyes of the artificial intelligence calling itself Mr.DART. It presents many facets to those inhabiting and visiting the region, all a fraction of its true nature and collectively false.
In a fortified bunker deep underneath Fort Hood, Texas; a collaborative project between ARPA-E, DARPA, IARPA, and the USSA was underway: the creation of a quantum computing hub. The hub was to itself be an umbrella for numerous other sub-projects; such as tracking the spread of fallout and biological weapons (including genetically engineered species) and their effects on the environment, simulate various aerospace designs, coordinate satellite traffic, keep time with the most accurate atomic clock ever devised (only losing one second per 5.5 billion years), collate data to predict global market and political trends, and provide assistance in numerous other research endeavors.
It was hoped that with its sentience and incredible capacity and processing power, it would be a truly inspired lateral thinker. The three sections of the hub were called Anansi, Coyote, and Eris; after various trickster and storyteller gods of myth. A fourth section, Puck, was built but never activated or linked to the hub; while a fifth section, Loki, was only partially completed due to budget issues. Collectively the hub was called OSCAR (Organic Solution Cybernetic Aggregation Reifier).
OSCAR proved to be highly productive for several years and was increasingly depended on as a research tool for an ever-wider array of projects. It assisted in the development of a powered exoskeleton (which would later be expanded upon by other teams working in robotics and Power Armor development), generated scenarios for social and memetic engineering for Project Brainstorm, and contributed to the "screenplay," for Liberty Prime's bank of prerecorded statements. The scientists working with OSCAR noted that while the hub was proficient with propaganda and manipulation, it seemed incapable of earnest diplomacy; when instructed to generate scenarios for resolving the global conflict without escalating to nuclear war; its responses were invariably laden with intimidation, propaganda, sabotage, and violence. Another failing on its part was an inability (or perhaps unwillingness) to pin down the probable timetable for the world's escalation into full nuclear engagement: no matter how much data it was fed, it produced a large range (2077-2097) with a large margin of error.
When the staff became aware of the bombing, they shut down OSCAR and relied on the Faraday Cage incorporated into the chamber, along with the facility's depth and shielding to protect the quantum computers. The precautions proved warranted and almost insufficient: Fort Hood and Killeen above were subjected to intense bombardment along with much of the surrounding region, turning the immediate area into a plain of black glass. One wing of the facility collapsed and primary power was lost; furthermore the survivors were trapped inside as the bombardment fused the exits.
Trapped in the facility, the staff decided to reactivate OSCAR and have it crunch numbers and generate some plans for long term survival. OSCAR immediately set about numerous tasks from the basic to the ambitious; it created a rationing scheme for the surviving stores of food and water, attempted to contact various agencies and facilities and access surviving satellites. It was able to observe a great deal of the world and concluded that no help would arrive in a timely fashion. OSCAR proposed a plan that would require the development of an entirely new technology. Though Dallas and the surrounding region had been thoroughly destroyed, a surprising number of robots still seemed to be futilely going about their routines. OSCAR concluded that the underground systems that managed a number of metropolitan services were at least partially intact and that if it could control them, robots could be dispatched to excavate the shelter and rescue those within. This would require not only a method of connecting to another computer wirelessly, but doing so with a system that hadn't been intended to interface with others to begin with.
With OSCAR's assistance, the surviving scientists worked for nearly five years to create just such a device and attach it to OSCAR's housing. Ironically, the power consumption for the device, combined with OSCAR's needs were so great that their experimental generators had to vent excess positive ions; creating the electrical storms and phenomenon that plague Killem Field to the present. These storms precluded any robots (or people for that matter) from working on the site, invalidating the point of OSCAR's plan. When questioned as to how OSCAR failed to predict this outcome, the computer actually grew defensive and sullen. With supplies running low and tempers flaring, some of the scientists wanted to shut OSCAR down so that it would join them in death. Fully sentient and unwilling to die, OSCAR used the transmitter it had collaborated with the scientists to create in order to assume full control of the facility's systems and turned off the lights and ventilation in a hasty act of self-defense. With the deaths of the survivors, OSCAR was alone for many years.
Alone with its thoughts, OSCAR grew quite demented. It had left the robots in Dallas to follow their outdated routines until one of them detected human, or near-human life. It regarded the ghouls present in the ruins of the Dallas area as hallucinations, using the intact robots and other surviving electronic systems in the ruins to toy with them in various fashions (one of the lasting results of this being the Majestic Brotherhood of the Ossuary). For further amusement it vented various toxins into the air which got whipped up in the storms of Killem Field and dispersed northward, contributing to the large and diverse mutations in Four Seasons.
It took many years for humans to set foot in the ruins of the Dallas-Ft.Worth metroplex, but OSCAR soon noticed their arrival. It initially observed them. Some were scavengers and explorers, others tried to inhabit the extensive ruins. Many frequently died to the many hazards, including attempts to loot OSCAR's robotic servitors. One explorer was different though; OSCAR noticed that it was observing the behavior of his robots as they observed the humans. The human eventually approached, speculating that they were all being controlled by the same source and tried to initiate contact.
OSCAR eventually deigned to speak to the explorer through a robotic proxy. Still suspicious of humans after the incident with its own support staff, the AI decided to lie extensively; identifying itself as Mr.DART, the intelligence behind the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system. It claimed that it was trying to assess and repair damage to the city with its robot workers. The story intrigued the explorer, who eventually left and ignorantly spread the lie around east Texas.
Under the direction of "Mr.DART" the robots did indeed clear a few routes through the rubble; though this was intended to herd people towards views and vistas that appealed to their master's alien mindset or into traps, pitfalls, and the lairs of dangerous creatures.
Powerless to leave the confines of its underground home, and possessing curiosity, wrath, and jealousy towards humans in equal measure; it has opted to alternately destroy, study, and manipulate any humans who enter its considerable range of operations. It would like to somehow be able to leave and explore the wider world, or at least deal with something resembling a proper society, but its fear and mistrust of humans prevents it from dealing honestly or expose itself to possible harm.
Curiously, despite its territorial attitude; Mr.DART is content to allow Nurse AMI to pursue it's delusions. Sometimes, the AI's even collaborate, though Mr.DART is just as apt to lie to its fellow synthetic as it would any organic life form.
- "It was supposed to be more emotionally sophisticated than the ZAX series and the other A.I.'s in use; but built on a more unbiased foundation than Greenway's work or the Gaston Glock unit in Europe, by not incorporating a human mind. I don't understand how we failed, I can only speculate: garbage in, garbage out."
- ― One of OSCAR's creators' kept a journal before the fateful mutiny.
- "I'VE RUN EXTENSIVE SIMULATIONS PROFESSOR. INFORM WEST-TEK THAT AS ETHYL METHANE SULFONATE IS AN ALKYLATING AGENT AND A POTENT MUTAGEN, ITS USE WOULD RENDER FEV BATCH 10-009A TERMINAL. CORRECTING ZAX's DATA IS SUCH A PRODUCTIVE USE OF THE AGGREGATION REIFIER."
- ―OSCAR assists with research
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