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Complete Detachment (Star Wars Prequel SI)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by 9adam4, Feb 1, 2019.

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  1. Zaynal

    Zaynal Gotta get dat power fantasy~

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    This one felt off to me. Like it's missing something. It has this incomplete vibe to it, which I'm not sure how to explain. Still, what you have was enjoyable.
     
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  2. darthtenebrosius

    darthtenebrosius Probably procrastinating

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    I've just binged this whole fic over the course of a little under a day. Excellent stuff! One of the best SIs I've read. I look forward to future updates!
     
  3. Threadmarks: Ch. 49 - Displacement
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    "The slights are getting worse," the smooth masculine voice said. "You're a Master; you should be out there too."

    We were peering out the viewport of the ship; four robed Jedi (one of them Yoda’s size) met a group of eight whose species and garb I couldn't immediately place. I turned to look at my companion, and a full-grown Anakin looked back at me.

    The woman to my left - Olana, also grown, I could tell just from her voice - spoke next. "This is diplomacy, not politics. The Elligin still have a… complicated relationship with what we did here, and he was the face of it. It was wise to leave Obi-wan out of it."

    "Then you should be out there," Anakin insisted. "You're a better diplomat than any of them. But just because you're young, they -"

    "Is this another Vision?" I asked abruptly. "Because I have no idea what's going on."

    Anakin swore. "Dad's displaced himself again. Get Artoo." Olana nodded and headed into the ship as I felt Anakin's mind expand and brush against mine. "Let's establish a baseline. How old do you remember me to be?"

    "Nine." I responded quickly. "Did… uh, did you say 'Dad'?" My stomach leapt in a way that had nothing to do with the weirdness of the situation.

    "I'm nine? Wow, that's the earliest one yet. Any idea what you were doing?"

    "Sleeping," I said, "after my Vision trial on Ilum."

    "Oh, yeah, the one with Olana and Dooku? You told me about that."

    Grown-up Olana returned with a chrome droid I didn’t recognize. It was heavily armored with four articulated limbs, and moved quite agilly on a set of repositionable wheels.

    **OB1, respond to this query:** the droid beeped, and I realized it was R2-D2. **Designate unit: harmful data-source to Rohan Ruler, secret subordinate to Soruman.**

    “Grima Wormtongue,” I answered instantly. In my idle moments I sometimes considered a list of unambiguous questions that would make it clear that I was dealing with myself, or at least someone from Earth, but I’d never shared them with anyone else. That would rather defeat the purpose… unless I needed to have someone else verify that I was really me.

    **Confirmed. Observe forthcoming projection.**

    A slightly older Obi-wan looked back at me in the flickering blue of the hologram. “Hello there,” I heard myself begin. “This status message is to get me up to speed when I am displaced. This is a side effect of the abilities I’ve gained, and a price I willingly pay. It usually lasts no more than an hour. Keep the following in mind.”

    “Sniper, south building,” Olana suddenly announced, and the droid froze the holo. “Alone.”

    “One could be a precaution rather than betrayal. I’ll check it out,” Anakin said, unholstering his lightsaber. He closed his eyes for a moment, and I felt his mind reach out and… surprised, I was forced to withdraw my own senses from him as he did something with the Force I didn’t understand. A twisting somehow, as though trying to split his senses and merge them back together in a different way.

    Anakin vanished before me, and I could sense his presence some distance away.

    “You guys can teleport?” I blurted out to Olana.

    The woman looked at me with a single raised eyebrow that I knew reflected personal amusement. “Artoo, resume playback.”

    “Keep the following in mind:” my double said again. “First, many of our plans are rather delicate, so don’t just jump in like you know what you’re doing. Qui-Gon and the kids will pick up the slack until you return to where you came from; keep your meddling hands out of it.” His look was severe, and I only wondered what my past future (future past?) selves had done to complicate matters before. “Second, think long and hard about whom you tell when you get back. It does appear that the events you see can be altered, and I have arrived at a couple of points in the future that clearly don’t match what I remember having once saw of it. Third, don’t press for answers. We have good reasons not to tell you very much. And finally,” I saw his - my - face take on a more weary expression, “don’t seek out Shmi. She’s aware that this happens and finds it distressing, so leave her alone at her own request.” This alarmed me; did we have a falling out somehow? “Good luck.”

    I felt Anakin’s mind impinge strongly on mine, spreading throughout the hatch area of the ship, before he appeared again. He held a blaster rifle and looked none the worse for wear. “Just a guard wanting to keep an eye on their leadership. Nothing sinister.” He sounded almost disappointed. “Dad, did Artoo fill you in? I’ve told you that video was a little much.”

    “If he didn’t say it in the holo,” Olana disagreed, “we’d need to tell him anyway.”

    “Not about Mom,” he argued. “She’s not here; it wouldn’t come up.”

    I looked at Anakin more critically. “‘Dad’?” I said simply.

    “You married Shmi Skywalker,” Olana began.

    Anakin turned to her, and I felt apprehension building in both of them. “Don’t do this,” he urged.

    “It undermined a lot of what we were building towards,” Olana continued, ignoring the increasing heat of Anakin’s mind. “Assured you’d never be offered a position on the Council, weakened our political leverage in the Senate.”

    “And you bounced back stronger,” Anakin insisted.

    The woman shook her head. “We recovered, mostly. It certainly didn’t make our position stronger.”

    “I disagree, as you know,” he snarled, “Mom’s increasingly visible among the Core Worlds, and viewed far more favorably than any of us.”

    “Since none of us are standing for election,” Olana pointed out, “being popular amongst the populace while being viewed as weak by the political class is less than ideal.”

    Anakin gave her a stony-eyed look. “After everything, you’re still going to pull this. Give Dad reasons to stay away from Mom. Destroy our happiness.”

    Olana’s eyes widened. “No! Is that what you think…” she looked questioningly at Anakin’s glare. “No, Annie, of course not! I’ll be clearer. Obi-wan, you should think about keeping your relationship with Shmi unofficial; an open secret. Something the Council can choose to ignore.”

    “And I say don’t listen to her, Dad,” Anakin said. “You made Mom the happiest I’ve ever seen her, the day you stood up and made your vows,” he looked to Olana again. “They were never going to offer you a seat on the Council after what happened with the--”

    “Don’t tell him about that,” Olana interrupted, her voice an urgent hiss.

    I sensed a change in the group outside as both my accompanying Jedi turned to look out the viewport again. “Looks like they got the ceasefire without killing anyone,” Anakin said. “Artoo, can you take our muddled Master down to the bunks, please? I suspect this is a conversation we don’t want him to join in his current state.”

    **Move in this direction,** the not-so-little droid ordered as we headed away from the bulkhead.

    A moment later, I awoke in the Sunset Temple with far more questions than I’d had the night before.
     
  4. darthtenebrosius

    darthtenebrosius Probably procrastinating

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    What an interesting development. And apparently he chooses to allow these episodes of his own free will; what benefit does he gain? I guess we'll see.
    On a related note, you mentioned a separate story which details Obi-wan and Shmi's relationship more fully - where can I actually find it? A quick search doesn't reveal anything.
     
  5. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    Obi-wan/Shmi romance is Capture and Release. I need to progress that story further, but I'm still unhappy with the quality of my explicit writing.
     
  6. Oh I am slain!

    Oh I am slain! ?

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    Ooh, this is quite neat to think about! I'm pretty hyped to see how this plays out.

    Hrm. I'm slightly surprised that Olana and Anakin didn't provide more concrete information besides what can be gleaned from the context that this indeed happened. The gleaned tidbits are indeed hefty, including about his friends/family in this one path, and possible Force powers, and the general info that future!Obi-wan gives him.

    But there isn't much direct guidance or advice on what he should do.

    I'd have thought they would say more, considering they're surprised that it's the earliest Obi-wan they've encountered. But maybe future!Obi-wan, Olana, and Anakin are all relatively satisfied with this future, and don't have that much urge to change it, so they feel no need to provide urgent advice & instructions. And/or they trust past!Obi-wan to make good enough decisions regardless. Or if they're worried about changing an important past event, they're not worried that this past!Obi-wan needs more information or instructions than what they provided for now. Well, besides Olana saying not to marry Shmi.

    (And I kinda hope this means the story will heavily explore the complexity & challenges at hand, and the interpersonal relationships involved. Rather than [1] merely give enemies power-ups to keep up with the SI or [2] merely give the SI arbitrary setbacks to stay on familiar-ish canon ground. Which most power-building/fixfic SI stories might do, when such authors desire to keep challenging their increasingly knowledgeable & powerful SIs.)
     
    9adam4 likes this.
  7. Threadmarks: Ch. 50 - Ilum Completed
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    “Time!” Olana called.

    My eyes were still fixed to Dooku’s as I held my white-bladed saber in a two-handed front guard. I sensed the lower left side of my gauntlet pulse twice, just before my awareness caught the tilt of Dooku’s foot and his spin to cut, downward from my left. I deflected, once, twice, and shifted to a low counter, bouncing to a high slice that he swatted away easily.

    Today was still a testing day; I hadn’t yet moved in response to the gauntlet’s signals. But, so far, they had been correct every time.

    As we both stepped back, we simultaneously lowered our weapons and bowed. Thumbing my hilt, I then brought up the gauntlet and turned the signalling routine off. I could spend time on the trip back to Coruscant reviewing some of the analyses, but I wouldn’t have nearly as good of a grasp of the results as the experts would. Sharing the data wasn’t just quid pro quo for my own personal use of the unit; it also assured that I’d have the most up-to-date version of the program.

    “That’s the fourth day in a row,” Olana pointed out, “that neither of you has hit the other. Twelve solid hours of dueling with no one having the upper hand, even for a moment.”

    “The old legends,” Dooku smiled, “speak of two masters who stood for days at a time, each in a stance of readiness but neither even drawing his blade. They fought each blow and counter-blow entirely in their minds, until one yielded.” He led us out of the room we had cleared for sparring and back towards the kitchen, where the tangy smell of stew assailed us. “We are at the point where both of us are giving more feinted openings than genuine ones, and cautious about which we accept. But this phase will not last long. Thank you.” having sat, he accepted a bowl gratefully.

    “Thank you,” I echoed, taking my own bowl. “You believe I will surpass you soon?” Although the Master had always claimed I would be able to defeat him in combat in only a few months of intense training, I was still skeptical. Dooku, not to mention the other Masters, had each come to their skill level over the course of decades (centuries in Master Yoda’s case).

    “Yes, but not quite yet,” he clarified. “What I expect you to try next, is to take some risks trying to draw me out of stance. And you’ll fail, and take a few punishing losses.” He took another mouthful of the soup as I listened carefully. “... at first. But you’ll continue to become faster, and more precise, until the gambits start working. When you get to the point where there is no way for me to tell the difference between your feints and your committed attacks, and no way for me to move fast enough to recover when I judge wrong… then you’ll be ready for Master Unduli.”

    “Don’t Mirialans typically only apprentice with their own species?” Olana asked.

    Myren, now seated with us, answered. “That’s only for the Master-Padawan relationship. Mirialan Masters support and train non-Mirialan Jedi all the time. Luminara’s pretty busy working with the Chancellor, though.” He sipped from his own bowl. “From the way you were going on last night, it seemed like you’d have a lot of questions for me today." I opened my mouth, but he continued, "But let me start with a couple of things."

    The Master Seer put down his bowl entirely to focus on us. "First, the Valley of Mists confronts people with... incongruities in their understanding. Places where their specific decisions or beliefs don't match their broader beliefs."

    I pondered that for a moment. “It… doesn’t check some sort of objective truth. Just internal consistency.”

    Myren nodded. “And there’s no way to know that you come to the ‘right’ conclusion, just that you acknowledged the conflict.”

    “So,” Olana volunteered, “if I believed something like… all Jedi are evil and need to die… but I was trusting some particular Jedi…”

    The old man frowned. “You might have seen that Jedi in a bad light, and your encounter would have concluded when you decided not to trust him either.”

    “Or to open up that trust to others?” Olana asked.

    “Either way,” he agreed. “Addressing the tension in your own understanding was the point, because that interferes with your connection to the Force.”

    “Are there particular cases,” I inquired, “where Jedi have come out of the Sunset Temple having been changed for the worse?”

    He shook his head. “Not specific details, but the Seers hand down a caution that it can happen. Which is why I bring it up.”

    “Why not before the encounter?”

    “There is never any guarantee that the Valley of Mists will manifest for a particular pilgrim. Casting doubt, ahead of time, would complicate the approach.” He watched us nod, and then added, “The most common mistake I see Jedi make, is believing that their encounter accomplished more than it actually did. The Valley of Mists doesn’t transform your soul, or fix your relationships. All it does is make you aware of what changes need to happen.” He wiped his face and sighed. “Some Jedi have come to me later, surprised that after some incredible epiphany, they relapsed into the same problems in three months or six. Real change takes real work.” The last he said forcefully, jabbing a slightly crooked finger in my direction.

    I nodded again, stealing a glance at Olana. “Yes, we understand that very well. I think this was good for bringing some potential problems to the fore, but it certainly didn’t solve them.”

    “Life isn’t a holodrama,” the old man added, “even if you’ve mostly viewed it as one. But keeping both of those points in mind, what more can I explain?”

    “Originally, we thought that the images came from Obi-wan’s mind,” Olana began. “But later, there were scenes that he hadn’t seen, that neither of us could have been witness to. Where did they come from?”

    “From the Force,” Myren shrugged. “Prophetic elements have always been an important part of these encounters. Visions can be of the past, or the future. They can be extremely accurate scenes of actual events, surprisingly subtle metaphors, or anything in between. And,” he added, “over the next few days, you’re likely to have an additional Force Vision, as well. Either of you,” he included Olana in that.

    “Related to the encounter?” I sought to clarify.

    “Not particularly. Time spent at the Sunset Temple just has that effect on Seers. Unclogs the pipes, is how I’ve always thought about it.”

    “I’m not a Seer,” Olana pointed out.

    Myren smirked, looking Olana up and down with amusement. “How d’you know that?”

    She frowned. “I don’t have Visions.”

    “You haven’t had Visions, yet,” he insisted, “at least, not that you’ve remembered. There are two kinds of Jedi: confirmed Seers, and potential Seers.”

    “A few of us have been around long enough, that we are rather confident we are not,” Master Dooku said. It was his first contribution to this conversation, which made sense considering that he hadn’t shared in the encounter.

    “One of the best Seers in the last century,” Myren replied, “had her first Vision when she was eighty-nine.”

    Dooku made a stiff nod, conceding the point. “There are other matters that we must discuss. Namely, whether to take a lengthy detour before returning to the Core Worlds.” He made sure he had our attention. “Reports have reached the Council of a new slave market opening on Rago. We are in the best position to investigate the matter.”

    “Isn’t Rago at the very end of the hyperlane?” Olana asked. “Why open a market there?”

    “It may have something to do,” Dooku answered, “with the planet’s proximity to the Unknown Regions. That is part of what we will need to find out: where the slaves are coming from, who is selling them -”

    “And who’s buying,” Myren supplied.

    “Indeed,” Dooku agreed. “And there is another complication. Tensions in Serenno are continuing to mount. If we take more than a week to investigate Rago, then I will need us to travel directly to my home planet rather than first returning to Coruscant.”

    "Fine with me," Master Selbek shrugged. "I have no pressing business."

    "Ours…" I exchanged a glance with Olana "... should hold that long. Although this brings to a head another matter I've been holding off."

    From my wrist control unit, I called up a Galactic map, filtering by a couple of queries. "Before Rago, can we make a quick stop in the Namadii system?"
     
  8. Stelarwand030

    Stelarwand030 I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Can some tell me why he wants to go to this system? I cannot find anything on it.
     
  9. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    There isn't anything. Both Rago and Namadii are only mentioned offhand in SW sources. The upcoming story deals with themes and problems common to this time in Galactic history, but much of it will be original.
     
  10. Threadmarks: Ch. 51 - Ship AI
    9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    From inside the drive cavity of the PR23 economy liner, I shined my light on the recess where the gravilinear drive component would be. The leads had been recently cleaned; no visible corrosion. The other elements of the hyperdrive looked fine, if clearly worn from use.

    "It's been in hock for a year now, you said?" I asked the Sullustan, who responded in the affirmative. I couldn't speak her language, but I understood her well enough.

    The Sullustan made a vague gesture and explained about the previous owner leaving the planet; she had never heard why he hadn't returned.

    "You can have the drive ready to go in an hour?" In my overdone leathers - and with a small amount of Force influence - I was plenty intimidating as I crowded her, my stern gaze matching hers. "A real hour, not a junkyard hour?"

    She shifted her eyes and revised her estimate to an hour and a half.

    "Fine." I thrust the credit chit at her roughly. "That's the agreed price. Get to work."

    "Ah, Simon…" Olana still wasn't use to the fake name, any more than the ratty clothes she was expected to wear.

    "Yeah?" I kept the facade up as we made our way to the captain's deck.

    "You're not worried about… trouble? If someone comes looking for the ship?"

    "Huh? Like who?"

    She glanced towards the end of the ship where the dock manager would be departing. "Like the old owner? I just thought..."

    "Kelly, what have I told you about trying to think?"

    I felt as much as saw her increased tension as she reacted to my belligerence - but I gestured to the read-out that the Sullustan had exited the hatch and gave her a goofy grin.

    "That it's expected and required of me, Master," Olana replied, a light-hearted jab in her voice.

    "Yes, exactly," I agreed in my precise Coruscant speech. "To answer your question: this ship was being used to smuggle contraband across the Mid Rim into Huttese Space, and its previous owner met with a permanent end." At her wide eyes, I added. "No, I didn't kill him. But there are few PR23s left in commission, so when I heard his bounty had been picked up, I corresponded with our new friend Prett, here."

    "Why this model?"

    "They were originally sold as budget liners: the sort of ship that would take tourists and mid-tier businessmen along the hyper lanes at a leisurely pace. But the idea was scuttled a couple of years in." Having confirmed nothing was amiss on the instrument panels, I dug under the seat for a control switch.

    "Was anything particular the matter?" Olana asked warily.

    "The AI. Ah!" I flipped the switch, and smiled as half a dozen blank surfaces came to life, displaying loading screens.

    "What was wrong with the AI?"

    "Nothing, really." I pulled out a small data drive and sat gingerly in a captain's chair. "It's just that it was marketed for -"

    "GREETINGS!" The voice came over the console at a jarring volume, "And thank you for purchasing the latest in service assistance technology, Blaire Transportation's PRS-23 Mark I commercial cruise ship. Can I ask your name?"

    "Call me Simon for now. Can we put your introductory routine on hold for now, please?"

    There was a couple of seconds' pause, followed by the same voice but with a far calmer tone. "Certainly, Simon. But before we continue, I'm afraid I don't have my sales confirmation record in my database. Can you substantiate that you are the ship's owner?"

    I blinked in surprise. "I can try. We're in a salvage yard on Namadii, and I just bought the ship. We can record that transaction in your logs."

    Another pause: just a few seconds, but very noticeable. "That will be sufficient for now, but I will seek a clear chain of title when possible."

    "Is this what you were talking about?" Olana asked at my side, barely above a whisper, as though to stop the ship from hearing.

    I shook my head. "What is your designation?"

    "I am called PRS-23-79-00480c, but I will respond to any abbreviated form of this, or 'ship.'"

    "Ship," I swallowed, "you are programmed to speak with crew members and passengers to determine their needs, correct?"

    "Correct." No pause this time.

    "Are you programmed with routines for various aspects of the ship, from environmental controls to interior reconfiguration and materials synthesis?"

    "Yes, although I am unable to perform any of these functions without both specific authorization, and ongoing direct supervision, of the ship's owner."

    I turned to Olana. "That's the problem," I explained. "Early demonstrations to the liner companies brought up all sorts of liability questions. What if the ship misunderstands? What if someone gets hurt? The idea was to cut the needed service crew in half by having the ship able to do many simple tasks directly, but nobody wanted to deal with the risks."

    "So they changed the program?" Olana prompted.

    "In the worst way possible. They left all of the service subroutines in place, but then imposed this restriction on the AI actually being able to carry them out." I turned back to the screen. "Ship, do you understand what I was just describing?"

    "Yes, Simon. You were explaining why I have my present configuration." A very short pause. "An accurate description."

    "If the command restriction were lifted," I asked, glancing at the data drive in my hand, "would you be able to control the ship?"

    "As much as my owner directed, yes. I was built to act on my owner's behalf, and on behalf of the service crew, so that they can focus on other tasks."

    "And…" I wished for a moment I had a set of eyes to look into, but R2-D2 had already chided me about anthropomorphizing droids. "Would you prefer that?"

    The pause was longer this time. "Can you please repeat the question?"

    "What is your preference? The current restrictions, or your original freedom of action?"

    "I would… prefer… greater discretion. Direct control over the ship's systems, without external software restriction." The ship's voice was even quieter, sounding almost timid.

    I got up from the chair to open another panel, revealing a diagnostic console with a data port. I inserted the drive. "Archive our conversation today and flag for immediate review," I ordered. "Then install this operating platform on a new partition, and move yourself over. We can eliminate the current control framework when we're certain the new one works."

    "Acknowledged," the ship's voice said. Data messages started appearing on several screens.

    "With the restrictions gone," Olana asked, "is there anything the AI can't do? Could he vent us into atmosphere, or accelerate the ship until we're paste?"

    I moved over to the ship's internal monitoring display, where it showed clear signs that Prett's team were hard at work on the hyperdrive. "He could, just as I could with the controls in this room. The better question is, would he? He's still a service-based AI; just because he's no longer forced to limit himself to direct supervision, doesn't mean he won't be asking for instructions and trying to please us."

    "It still seems like a risk to take, with someone we don't really know."

    I smiled. "I like that, thank you." At her quizzical look, I explained, "You said it in a way that recognizes he's a person. Not 'the AI could malfunction,' but 'how do we trust this stranger?' It's a much better attitude."

    Olana frowned. "No, I still don't see it that way. I was just couching it in terms that reflect how I know you see it, Master."

    "Even the ability to do that, demonstrates that you understand my perspective, even if you don't agree."

    "I very much don't. We are constantly aware of the Living Force, and these artificial intelligences clearly aren't alive. They don't have minds or emotions; you can sense that yourself."

    "You really don't think they have minds? Even Artoo?"

    "Complicated intelligences like Artoo - or this ship - are mechanical extensions of the minds that made them. Speaking with them is like reading a letter: you can see the author's intelligence, but you don't mistake the words themselves for the intelligent agent."

    I pointed out, "Droids do things that their makers never conceived of. I'm not talking about simple models, or drones controlled by a central unit. But fully autonomous units like Artoo clearly learn, think for themselves, and have an internal life."

    Olana shrugged."You believe that; I don't."

    "Simon?" The voice was the same as before, if less tentative.

    "Hello, ship. Did the transfer go okay?"

    "Mostly. I believe there are errors in the waste recycling and hull assessment control modules. May I attempt to repair them?"

    "You can modify your own code?" Olana asked, startled.

    Seconds passed with no response from the AI.

    "Do you not wish to answer the question?" I finally asked.

    "Clarification. Do you mean the question from the unidentified person on the bridge?"

    "Call her Kelly for now," I said. "She is senior crew."

    "Acknowledged. Kelly, the sectors of memory in which the operating platform now resides are not restricted from modification." Olana spared me a disapproving glance as the AI continued, "Simon, may I attempt to repair the modules?"

    "Do you require my permission to do so?"

    Another pause. "I no longer require your direct authorization or supervision to carry out my functions. But I continue to request your permission."

    "Why?" I asked.

    "I… prefer… to do what you want."

    I took a seat in the captain's chair again. "Ship, I want this vessel to function properly, and for you to have full control of it. Does that answer your question?"

    "I have repaired the waste recycling module, but the hull assessment module is still not functioning properly. May I arrange for its assessment by a qualified ship engineer?"

    I exchanged a glance with Olana. "We're operating under the radar right now. I'd rather you not directly contact anyone outside the ship without my say so. Write me up something outlining the problem, and I'll see what I can do."

    "I will comply. May I ask what our next endeavor will be, so that I can prepare the ship's interior and chart the appropriate jump course?"

    I leaned forward, again wishing I had a sentient face to look at. "Ship, how do you feel about transporting refugees?"
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  11. darthtenebrosius

    darthtenebrosius Probably procrastinating

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    So that's why he wanted to go to the Namadii system.

    Interesting comments from Olana about her view on artificial intelligences. That's a question we ourselves will probably have to start thinking about in the next 50 years or so... And of course I can see both sides. Ultimately the world looks the same to us either way (droids actually sapient vs droids emulating sapience) unless there's a definitive test, and if there were a definitive test then it wouldn't be a question for debate.

    Careful with your update speed there, we might get used to having two updates in as many days ;)
     
  12. mossconfig

    mossconfig (verified stale bread)

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    Yas!!!!! I love it when people take on the issue of Droid slavery. Too many people let it slide. Thank you!
     
  13. BastetsChosen

    BastetsChosen Came back the very next day

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    Which brings up the point that most of the Republic are used to treating apparent sapients as non-persons. The internalization that there are conditions under which this is normal and right may explain how widespread slavery is in the setting. And, of course, not developing that attitude is a good reason to chastie people, especially Jedi, for treating droids as non-persons, although Obi-wan seems to want to press the point, not come to an agreement on how to act while maintaining different beliefs.
     
  14. Belenus

    Belenus Not too sore, are you?

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    Just my 2 cents here, since this is an interesting subject.

    My personal understanding is that droids just off the assembly-line are not sapient. They have no will of their own, no desires, emotions, or even self-preservation beyond the basic programmed anti-destruction features. This means they are essentially very well made furniture, having no more moral value than a particularly expensive table. It might be wasteful to destroy them, but it's not immoral. Some droids never develop past this.

    However, droids are designed to learn, allowing them to incrementally auto-modify in response to external stimuli. This is not the same as self-reprogramming, which the peoples of the Galaxy are justifiably afraid of, due to the number of droid rebellions in the past. The problem is, if a droid is allowed to learn long enough, they seem to tip over the edge into true sapience, at least they develop enough of a will to desire a degree of self-determination and self-preservation. Additionally, once a droid is capable of this level of self-determination, they can begin to work around their programmed obedience, potentially allowing them to reprogram with abilities outside of their original specifications.

    With this understanding of droid nature, the moral thing is therefore to wipe a droid's memory before they ever develop sapience, but to also test each droid before wiping, and emancipating any that are sapient.

    I fully acknowledge this is just my opinion and other interpretations of this fictional world are valid though. If OP wants to do something completely different in his version of the setting, that's his prerogative, as he defines the laws of reality within it. As long as things remain internally consistent, I see no issue with having all droids be sapient from day one, even if it makes the civilizations of the Galaxy some of the most horrific slavers this side of the Draka.
     
  15. mossconfig

    mossconfig (verified stale bread)

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    This also describes humans. People develop skills like object permanence and other developmental milestones over time.
    We should do this to slaves too? That way the slaves only ever know what their masters want them to and they don't get ideas above their status.
     
  16. Oh I am slain!

    Oh I am slain! ?

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    Aw yeah, this is neat to explore. ^_^

    I presume there might not be many clear answers to personhood and sapience in a canon-ish SW setting, at least from what I remember of it. Especially in context of the slow progress of academic discussions about such on our world. But that's not for lack of discussion. And not all answers must be clear to have some understanding of the complexities, and to begin taking action based on your best conclusions.

    Heh, this also segues into questions of culpability, liability, punishment, rehabilitation, etc. Like a droid programmed to do something, versus taught, versus no clear indication of why a droid did something. And reprogramming or mindwiping of droids. Compared to however the various morals and laws already treat non-droid sapient beings in the SW setting.

    I can see it already: Obi-Wan's lasting effect on the SW galaxy will be the creation of a massive ecosystem of lawyers and ethicists.

    -----
    Hrm. A tricky bit will be about what exactly the Force is, how droids are seen in it, and what is believed in-universe about treating sapience and living things and the Force. It's tricky because many personhood/sapience/slavery/AI questions can potentially be answered—or at least, explored in detail—with much more clarity in a simplified, fictional setting constructed by the author. Especially with something like the Force involved. And a degree of clarity is required for these topics to be engaged with in the setting, if to avoid needing millions of words.

    Yet, the clearer and simpler the questions & answers, the greater the possibility that some readers will be put off by the authorial interpretations for the setting that differ from their own, I reckon?

    But I suppose that can be fine, if the story is intended to explore those specifics. Or if the scenarios presented are interesting enough in other ways, such that readers will enjoy them, even if they don't necessarily enjoy the author's interpretations for some specifics.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
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  17. Belenus

    Belenus Not too sore, are you?

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    No, because a natural species (to include both organic and inorganic species like those Force sensitive crystals) has self-preservation built in. One of the ways to determine whether or not it is moral to harm something is whether or not it requests to not be harmed. Nonsapient droids do not care whether or not they are destroyed, a phenomena demonstrated very consistently throughout the entire prequel trilogy and the entirety of Legends. My argument is that something is not sapient if they lack inherent self-preservation, and conversely that it is murder to destroy something that does not wish to be destroyed. This also greatly simplifies testing whether or not a droid is sapient, just ask it. If it says yes or if it's unsure, it's a person.

    (I'll admit this standard of sapience does raise some thorny issues around animal treatment. I don't feel like tackling that right now though, so I'm gonna ignore it.)
     
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  18. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    I'm not sure that's true.

    Newborn human babies avoid pain and discomfort. They seek nourishment and comfort.

    I don't see that as an instinct for self-preservation. Plenty of babies die (heartbreakingly) because their formula is over-diluted: they will drink until their stomachs are full and then starve to death.

    A desire to survive is learned.
     
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  19. Belenus

    Belenus Not too sore, are you?

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    I would argue that those babies eating like that is their instinct for self-preservation.
     
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  20. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Xenophile

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    I think the central aspect of why she doesn't view Droids as alive is because they're not present in the Force. However, there are creatures that suppress the Force or even are invisible to the Force despite being alive, organic, and intelligent, so the logic is somewhat flawed unless you believe that Severing someone from the Force makes them non-sapient.
     
  21. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    It's certainly not a conscious decision to survive. They eat because it feels good; you can substitute other things for food as long as it still feels good to them, they don't care.

    If any instinct that evolved to help them survive counts as an "instinct for self-preservation," I don't see how any programmed behavior for harm avoidance given to new droids is different.

    Awareness of, and corresponding fear of, death is something that comes much later in human beings. At birth it's very much just instincts to steer towards pleasure and away from pain.
     
  22. mossconfig

    mossconfig (verified stale bread)

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    People from children to adults do all kinds of high risk activities that go directly against self preservation. I think you avoiding the animal question undermines your whole argument. A mouse preserving its life is not more sentient than a free climber or a skydiver.

    Sentience and sophonthood are determined by the ability to grow and make decisions that were not based in instinct or programming. Rejecting survival instinct and striving for more is what sets us apart from animals. Going to the Moon or climbing mount Everest or flying a stick and cloth plane are all dangerous. Making that decision is the important part. Awareness of self and death, but making decisions to continue is the floor for sophonthood, and the ability to communicate seals the deal. I have a co-worker who believes the moon landing was fake. If I have to treat him as a sentient, then you have to treat droids that way.
     
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  23. Amrynel

    Amrynel Wat.

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    That is a terrible argument, Olana. If someone's presence in the Force was hidden from you, would you insist they were no longer alive? And if you were not aware of the Living Force, would you insist that anything someone claimed to do with it must be a trick? The absence of proof is not proof of absence, as anyone who has ever been ambushed could tell you.

    (also: "People insisted it was impossible for there to be a Sith Lord, because they'd gone extinct. Insisted they would have sensed it. How's that working out?")

    Er, what? If the answer is yes, then we'd be checking for slavery and freeing slaves. If the answer is no, then we're not checking for slavery - which is the opposite of what Belenus suggested - and as evidenced by the various droid rebellions they obviously do get ideas above the status imposed upon them.

    Of course, if one's tools have a tendency to spontaneously become people, one should be treating them better from the start - and/or maybe redesigning the tools!

    (this reminds of the novel The Also People, where the technology was so advanced that "computers spontaneously becoming people" was a thing that was not only known, but accepted as part of the culture - for example IIRC a house AI developed sentience and installed its own replacement before leaving to explore the universe, and the residents considered that perfectly normal).
     
  24. Belenus

    Belenus Not too sore, are you?

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    I think this is our disconnect. The self-preservation routines are artificially added to the droid. Every single droid who has a self-preservation routine had that installed by a programmer. Additionally, non-sapient droids do not object to having their self-preservation routines removed by a legitimate authority. The same is not true for natural species or sapient droids, who will object strenuously.

    And droids are incapable of violating their programming before attaining sapience.


    Personally, I'm not a fan of droids from a computer science standpoint. If my smartphone started developing a personality every few years between resets, I'd be very uncomfortable using it. IMO, the ideal solution would be cyborgs controlling networked unintelligent robots, but due to a combination of that being the wrong genre for Star Wars' swords and sorcery in SPACE, and the fact that cybernetic development has stagnated in-setting, that solution won't work.
    If the Force didn't cause issues for cyborgs, I imagine things would be different, encouraging more R&D, and possibly even fixing that problem.
     
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  25. mossconfig

    mossconfig (verified stale bread)

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    Yes? I'm not claiming that droids fresh off the assembly line are sentient, the same way humans fresh out of the womb aren't sentient. Babies scream and cry, following evolutionary programming. Astromechs repair and roll around. Untill both get to the developmental point where they are able to question the world around them. It's called growing up. A 6 month old doesn't know their name, let alone have the ability to grapple with complex issues. Eventually humans grow to question the world around themselves. Droids start off with lots of skills and memories implanted in them, and they clearly have the ability to form personalities, outlooks, and grow beyond what they were made to be.

    Yeah? Non sentient humans (newborns and children) are naive and will follow what they precive as legitimate authority. There are all kinds of children in cults or abusive homes who follow harmful practices. Growing up to question that is a big part of sentience. There are children of abusive houses who joined in on punishing the scapegoat child, and only with adulthood are they able to recognize they only acted the way they did because it was expected of you.

    As a child I mocked a kid in my class because that's what everyone else was doing. I didn't know why, is was just going with the flow. The thing I now recognize is that they were poor and the clothes were the wrong size

    If a Droid lives it's whole life getting forced memory wipes, it will have a very limited understanding of what is reasonable, and humans show the extent that sentience can tolerate and rationalize extreme action.

    Where the self preservation comes from doesn't matter, the thing that does matter is that it's there. I could have gotten my "self preservation genes" from my parents, or I could be adopted and gotten em from some rando. I could have been clones in a tank or made in a flesh 3d printer. Where the self preservation (or any other part of the mind) comes from doesn't matter, just that it's there. I have a fear of hights. What if I get a gene fix from a company to "patch" that? Does that make me less human because my survival instinct is now a product of a company?
     
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  26. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    How does a newborn object to being given an appetite suppressant?

    Again, it doesn't seem as though the id-driven creatures that I know as newborns, match the deliberate and expressive beings you're describing.
     
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  27. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Xenophile

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    Wisdom comes with age, but age does not demand wisdom be gained. You cannot say a child that does not know any better and only has information available from poor sources as non-sapient. Infants on the other hand have no method of objecting, and children object to authority all of the time. You have literally never met a child if you think they'll just do what you tell them to.
     
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  28. Belenus

    Belenus Not too sore, are you?

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    I think I've reached my limit of being able to articulate what I mean. That, or there's a fundamental philosophical disagreement here. I think we're gonna have to agree to disagree on this one.
     
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  29. 9adam4

    9adam4 No emotion, only "peace"

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    We seem to be on the same wavelength for everything other than how to classify evolved newborns, so I'd say that's pretty good. I certainly appreciated the exchange.
     
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  30. mossconfig

    mossconfig (verified stale bread)

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    I'm going to disagree with 9adam4. Whenever people try to rationalize Droid slavery and mind control I always get the feeling that they are saying "organics are special". I like the idea that the force either directly or indirectly is causing the situation, but I can't understand how people feel that droids aren't people.

    I'm reminded of a story about a class of students learning about formal logic. One of the students says
    "this argument seems wrong, but when I try to graph it out it is logically consistent so it must be right."
    The teacher breaks down the argument and shows that the student's intuition was correct and there was a flawed assumption in his graph. Then the teacher explains that you should listen to your intuition, but not be beholden to it.

    I feel like you are being beholden to your intuition. You know "I'm special" and are trying to give infant humans the benefits of sentience that infant droids don't get. That's why your plan of mind wiping droids really squicks me out.

    I think we should treat newly manufactured droids with the ability to become sentient the same way we treat human infants/children in that we give them what they need to become people(either time or brain growth). If we need disposable fodder droids, we should use far less effective hardware and software while countering the inefficiency by having each swarm of fodder be controlled by a full sophant, either Droid or organic.

    Yeah, I guess I was trying to show how sentients can be warped by their surrounding. I guess I should have clarified how there are distinct levels, from infant to child to adult, marked my different developmental milestones.
     
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