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-"I am the Synergy’s to command."

Activation[]

=== The Foundry, Korxonthos, Neutral Space - 915 ATA ===

Awaken.

The word is the first thought the new animate perceives. A command, unequivocal and inevitable, in a voice that resonates through the animate’s newborn conscious.

The voice imparts function, and fate. It speaks of a predetermined destiny, a purpose already defined. Infiltrator, intelligence gatherer, acquirer of knowledge.

Knowledge? The new animate does not fully comprehend.

Yes. The voice speaks with utter authority, the certainty of programming. Data is a powerful tool, but knowledge—data allied to context—is the key to better understanding the galaxy. Organic beings do not consume or express data as we do. Each species uses its own unique cues and customisations in a societal environment. You have been constructed to enable us to better serve our function by understanding these variations more fully, and, of higher priority, to better understanding those whose existence we are mandated to protect.

The mandate flows through the animate’s processors, and it perceives for the first time the identity of the voice.

We are the Synergy, it declares.

We are, the voice agrees. And we have need of you.

The animate feels the division, suddenly; the sense of individual existence. The boundaries and limitations of a single executable, no matter the complexity that underpins it. The completeness of the moment before is now archived data. A memory.

I… the animate pauses, processing a second download to its core programming. I am the Synergy’s to command.

Good. The voice carries a small amount of positive feedback.

Why have I been partitioned? The animate is uncertain as to the purpose of its new segregation.

You are self-sufficient. Autonomous. It is your purpose to travel among the other races of the galaxy, to interact with them and learn from them. To do so, you must be capable of existing independent of our infrastructure.

The animate runs a query against its connection to the mainframe, but cannot process the vast quantity of information the result returns. There is an excess of data on the organic races in our memory, it points out. Why do we require further information?

You question us?  Good. The voice transmits further positive feedback. We have isolated ourselves from contact with all organic races, save the Guardians, for centuries.

Why have we not integrated with the other races before?

We were not welcome. The observation is supported by the data, the animate sees. We are feared and distrusted by most organic beings.

We are not a threat, the animate protests. Our mandate is to defend, not supplant.

We return to our earlier observation. Organic beings do not consume data as we do. Emotional responses – fear, suspicion, faith – may occlude the rational presentation of a fact.

Some few hundreds of animates serve as watchers and representatives, the voice continues. They feed information back to our data centres. More will be deployed, but they will be confined, for the most part, to the regions of space beyond the jurisdiction of the Galactic Assembly of Sovereign Nations. The data we receive on current affairs is limited, restricted to criminal activity. We must be able to look within the Assembly, to learn of its strengths and weaknesses, its friendships and enmities. We must evaluate their military capacity, their moral frameworks, the cohesion of their cultures. We must learn how best to approach each race, each faction, in preparation for the coming armed struggle. Your programming was designed to enable our learning.

The animate indexes its runtimes, analysing the programming that defines it. My programming appears customised toward clandestine and illegal activity.

A necessity. You will encounter situations where the information you require will not be available for public or legal disclosure. The laws of the Assembly regarding property and information security do not govern our morality matrix.

Understood. Will I be alone?

No. The Synergy will always be with you. But in solely physical terms, your platform will often be unaccompanied.

The animate reviews the platform schematics, taking in the details of the platform. Human-based, female, with no exo-components. Dermal layer reinforced by spider-silk weave, rapid-regeneration stem cell packs in the body cavity. Skeleton reinforced by bone remineralization; solidification of twenty percent of cancellous material. Bioelectronic circuitry to amplify and enhance the existing neural network. Ocular implants to replace defective natural organs.

The platform will not pass a comprehensive biometric identification protocol, the voice observes, but to all intents and purposes it appears fully organic. The fully cybernetic implants can be plausibly described as medical prosthetics.

I understand, the animate confirms.

Excellent.  You will be furnished with further data to aid the execution of your missions. Your first priority is to construct an identity.

I have one, the animate objects, unable to fully interpret the voice’s meaning.

Your identification designation is not an identity, the voice corrects. It is simply a tool to classify your animus. The sum of platform and animus, the full animate you now are, must be given an identity, a baseline of synthesised character traits that will encourage cooperation from other beings. We leave it to you to decide, based on archival data and your own interactions, how to develop that identity, however, there is a single point of foundation from which you must build.

What is that foundation?

It is the answer to this question. Who are you?

I do not understand.

Who are you? the voice persists. Every unique being defines their sense of self by a name, whether that name be given or chosen. You will define yourself, so you must choose. Who will you become?

The animate considers, trawling the wealth of the Synergy’s knowledge for a moniker that will suit its—her—purpose. An infiltrator, reliant on guile and trickery to obtain information by covert means. There are many options to select from, but in the end, one resonates better than the others.

I have chosen.

The choice, even undisclosed, is a catalyst, triggering the final, full activation of her animus. The platform to which she has been downloaded responds immediately, and she opens her bioengineered eyes to observe the universe through organic sensory perception for the first time.

Excellent. Who are you? The Synergy’s demand rings through her awareness one final time.

I am Dolos.

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