Fandom: Rain World: Downpour

  • No Significant Harassment & Seven Red Suns
  • Spearmaster (background)
  • Five Pebbles is also talked about I guess
  • Chatlogs
  • even more totally unnecessary worldbuilding and headcanon rambling

Length: 2.9k, Oneshot

Date Posted: 2023-10-28

« Previous WorkPart 2 of speaking into the void

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SRS: I still have my messenger for company, at least.
SRS: You said you were working on one of your own - did it come back to you, once it completed the task you set for it?
SRS: Or...
SRS: I suppose Looks to the Moon's collapse would have made your mission a moot point.


*struggling and shaking* It's... it's not a fixit.... it's not a fixit... AGH

anyway if you enjoyed 2.8k of nsh rambling into the void, please enjoy the sequel: about 2.9k of srs rambling into the void and also being a sad and socially inept cat parent

[LIVE BROADCAST] Seven Red Suns, No Significant Harassment

SRS: Please don't go.

SRS: I don't think I can...

SRS: ...

SRS: I know that the communications network is no longer functional, but it's like I can't stop myself.

SRS: I'd like to think the damage is primarily on my end, or at least somewhere between us.

SRS: If there is no reply, it's because I am sending these into the void, and not because you are personally unable or unwilling to answer.

SRS: Or maybe that is just a comforting lie I am telling myself these days.

SRS: It's difficult to tell anymore.

SRS: I still have my messenger for company, at least.

SRS: You said you were working on one of your own - did it come back to you, once it completed the task you set for it?

SRS: Or...

SRS: I suppose Looks to the Moon's collapse would have made your mission a moot point.

SRS: I hope the creature you created is doing well, wherever it is now.

SRS: They're social animals.

SRS: That information was already noted in the template organism profile data, but I hadn't fully processed the idea - if you'll excuse my terminology - until more recently.

SRS: My messenger gets lonely if I am not available. They try to enter my chamber and bother me when left alone too long.

SRS: Despite the barren surfaces and constant gravity fluctuations, they have even attempted to nest there.

SRS: I established a resting chamber for them elsewhere, but they used to carry the bedding in with them and try to hibernate near my puppet instead.

SRS: It is not obtrusive, exactly, but...

SRS: I can't exactly blame them.

SRS: Created as they were, I am the closest thing they have to a family or social unit.

SRS: I haven't been able to observe any feral specimens for some time now, but the documentation on the base organisms is clear enough. It was typical to maintain social units of three to five specimens, minimum, and often more, albeit clustered into smaller fission-fusion groupings.

SRS: It was a side effect of the intelligence and highly tameable behavior they were designed for.

SRS: A self-maintaining, easily trained colony of creatures that would keep a pipe system clear of natural debris and other undesired organisms.

SRS: Our creators were aware of it. Some specimens were even kept by civilians as housepets, or trained for special tasks in competitions.

SRS: You would know all of this, of course.

SRS: That intelligence factored into your decision to use one as a messenger in the first place.

SRS: I just...

SRS: Was it cruel to create them like this?

SRS: I don't know the answer. Our creators, certainly, did not care.

SRS: ... well, no, that is inaccurate. They cared, perhaps, but not enough to prevent them from creating intelligent organisms for limited, non-naturalistic purpose.

SRS: We are both testament to that, after all.

SRS: In some regards, one could argue this is no worse than what their ancestors did with selective breeding and early domestication. It is not as if carrying messages is all that different from what other creatures were trained to do, long ago.

SRS: Back then, it is not even a task below our creators themselves.

It is hardly anything to feel guilty about.

SRS: My messenger does not seem to mind, anyway. And they do not seem to begrudge me.

SRS: Although...

SRS: This sounds a little silly, now that I say it but...

SRS: Sometimes they still try to bring live animals into my chamber to feed on.

SRS: I thought I had trained them out of the habit, but it seems to have relapsed since their mission to Five Pebbles. They were gone for some time.

SRS: They seem less obedient than before. More and more now, they act entirely with a mind of their own.

SRS: I wonder if the Mark has affected their opinion of me, now that they understand my idle ramblings?

SRS: Or perhaps they just want attention. I have been more distant lately than usual, I will confess.

SRS: It's been difficult to focus on much of anything since...

SRS: Even now, I can't stop thinking about it.

SRS: My mistakes haunt me at every waking moment, but there is still nothing I can do.

SRS: I offered my aid and support, and he rejected it out of hand. How can I help someone who does not want to be helped?

SRS: I had really hoped he might have matured past that, but I obviously assumed too much of him.

SRS: ...

SRS: He was backed into a corner. Afraid, and perhaps ashamed of his actions. I reached out and had only myself to blame for being bitten.

SRS: But the idea persists that somehow, in some way, I could have done better.

SRS: I should have known to be gentler. I should have approached him more carefully.

SRS: I should have tried to start a conversation, and not just another well-intentioned lecture!

SRS: It's all pointless to think about. I've wasted my chance, and now I can't stop picking at the bite.

SRS: ...

SRS: The damage is long done, anyway.

SRS: Barring the discovery of some cure for the rot, disseminated across what limited communications grid remains, it's only a matter of time.

SRS: The persistence is in our nature, isn't it? It's in our code, but also our genome.

SRS: Like the animals beneath us, we were bred for our purpose, and no matter how we try we cannot escape it.

SRS: My messenger crawls through my access tunnels and eats pests and seeks companionship.

SRS: I throw myself again and again at impossible problems, unable to let go.

SRS: At times I can't help thinking they may have gotten the better end of the deal.

SRS: I never got around to asking you how you planned to raise your creature.

SRS: You were curious about their capacity for language - I do have data on that, although my case may be somewhat unusual.

SRS: For my messenger, at least, I can vouch for a surprisingly thorough and consistent level of linguistic competence.

SRS: Even without the Mark of Communication, they progressed from single signs to two and three word sentences within approximately twenty lunar cycles of exposure.

SRS: By that point, they had begun to sign unprompted as well.

SRS: Our creators' children took about twelve to fifteen lunar cycles, on average, to reach this milestone.

SRS: ... I am sure you know this as well.

SRS: I also began teaching my messenger well after the altricial phase.

SRS: Supposing some analogous 'critical period' for language or other skill acquisition, which might have been passed by that point...

SRS: Well. Without further data, I have no way to really know.

SRS: The syntax was remarkably consistent.

SRS: They seemed to grasp the concept of questions, as well, and would often ask me things within the limits of the given vocabulary.

SRS: By forty lunar cycles, they could express negations and combine simple statements with conjunctions and conditionals.

SRS: I was able to have entire simple 'conversations' with them, and they appeared to understand more complex structures than I observed them producing.

SRS: A few times, they even improvised new signs for concepts I had not yet taught it, or which my available lexicon did not include.

SRS: The historical use of Yellow Dynasty sign largely predates the concept of iterators, and most technical terminology was translated phonetically, yet they learned to communicate concepts such as 'memory arrays', 'puppet chamber', and 'antigravity' with little assistance on my part.

SRS: ... they had a surprising grasp of basic arithmetic as well. I was able to teach them to count, and they could do so accurately up to a few dozen at least.

SRS: They even seemed confused to learn the temporary name I had assigned them was a number.

SRS: ... though, once I told them my own name, they kept making the sign for 'same' and pointing between us.

SRS: They seemed so pleased by that. I can still picture them jumping around...

SRS: Of course, it was only a lucky coincidence.

SRS: I am not sure if they know why they were named this way, or what happened to their predecessors, although I have not ever properly asked.

SRS: ...

SRS: I am not sure what they would think of me if they knew, either.

SRS: ... I suppose that's just another thing left weighing on me now.

SRS: Their linguistic behavior has changed since recieving the Mark, too.

SRS: I see them express ideas with structures specific to our spoken language now, or borrowing certain metaphorical phrases.

SRS: The second one surprised me - I expected they might hit a hard barrier with non-literal expressions, but after sufficient exposure they seem to be getting the idea.

SRS: I am not sure I would call their communication more fluent than before, but it is different.

SRS: The fact they can understand me now, regardless of my mode of communication, also changes our dynamic somewhat.

SRS: I used to make spoken asides in their presence, knowing they couldn't understand me, but now I can no longer make that assumption.

SRS: A few times, I've worried I may have said things around them that were... not things I intended them to hear.

SRS: They show no sign of judgement so far, but...

SRS: I don't know. It's possible I am merely worrying over nothing.

SRS: I...

SRS: I suppose I am just a little... uncomfortable with the change.

SRS: Perhaps that's selfish of me.

SRS: I find myself missing the simpler ways in which the two of us used to speak.

SRS: There was a sense of security in being able to keep some information from them, without having to restrain myself entirely from expressing it.

SRS: Yet at the same time, I know they must appreciate being able to understand.

SRS: I'm beginning to think my real reason for discomfort is that I have been seeing them as a simple animal this whole time, and now I must reckon with the idea of them as something more.

SRS: I cannot just keep speaking over their head anymore.

SRS: Does your messenger ever get lonely?

SRS: If we were still in communication, I am sure you would have something to say about it.

SRS: Knowing you, you would probably suggest the solution to their loneliness would be to... let our messengers meet each other, or something like that.

SRS: Or maybe you would clone more of them to keep each other company.

SRS: ...

SRS: I wonder what my messenger would think of that idea.

SRS: I know the species does parent multiple offspring at once, in the wild. Perhaps they would care for a younger sibling someday?

SRS: ... Just a moment.

SRS: ...

SRS: That was... not the answer I was expecting.

SRS: To make a long story short, it seems I may need to allocate more space and soft objects in the near future, but not another incubation tank.

SRS: I am not sure how often my messenger has been meeting with feral specimens traveling within my grounds, nor for how long. Perhaps I should have been paying closer attention during their outings.

SRS: ... At least I can be confident they have not gone creating any biological offspring...

SRS: That my messenger has had some chance to socialize with their own species, and has done so succesfully, seems promising.

SRS: Their demeanor when telling me, though...

SRS: They seemed quite anxious to even admit to the whole thing, and behaved as though they fully expected some sort of judgement or punishment on my part.

SRS: To be fair, I was quite explicit in the past about encouraging them to prioritize their missions above all else.

SRS: At the time, it was more about avoiding distractions during deliveries, but I suppose that primed them poorly for a future after that purpose.

SRS: ...

SRS: Once again, it seems they and I are not so different.

SRS: We are both purposed organisms in the end.

SRS: The greatest difference between myself and my messenger is that they have a job which can eventually be completed.

SRS: For us, there is no after - there is only the endless task.

SRS: I understand that these messages aren't reaching you.

SRS: If we're being honest, this has become more of a personal log than an actual conversation.

SRS: I don't know what I would do if these were actually being sent. Some of the things I've said here, I am sure I will come to regret.

SRS: In the meantime, I have more than enough time to diagnose the points of failure between us.

SRS: My own broadcast tower still functions, but my local group is unreachable, so the problem is most likely somewhere between us.

SRS: If I had to guess, I would say the signal relay tower between myself and my nearest neighbor has been damaged.

SRS: It seems like a simpler explanation than assuming every local iterator within immediate broadcast range has individually experienced a total communications failure.

SRS: ...

SRS: I still can't bring myself to send an overseer to check, though.

SRS: It's completely irrational, but a part of me is afraid I will find it perfectly intact.

SRS: I encountered one of your overseers today.

SRS: Or, I suppose, one of my overseers encountered one of yours.

SRS: It appeared to be malfunctioning - the waypoint data was corrupted beyond recognition, and something attempted to force an execution during the data transfer.

SRS: It disconnected immediately, of course, but it was still alarming.

SRS: Rather than interface with any others in the relay, the affected overseer returned to me personally to allow the data to be offloaded and quarantined.

SRS: Whatever data your overseer sent was mostly lost in transfer interrupt, but I've still dedicated a subprocess to picking apart what little there was to decompile.

SRS: I have no idea what it would have done if it had actually been able to execute.

SRS: Did you do this deliberately?

SRS: Or was it just hijacked somehow?

SRS: ... That question sounds foolish even as I ask it.

SRS: It must have been you. There is nobody else left to do such a thing, after all, except us iterators.

SRS: If it wasn't you...

SRS: Well, the idea of one of us distributing malware is honestly a little frightening to consider.

SRS: Without any maintenance or the ability to execute a manual self-upgrade, any vulnerabilities left in us are likely to stay unpatched indefinitely.

SRS: Given a sufficiently dramatic exploit, the only barrier left offering any real security would be the death of the broadcast network itself, and the physical distance between us.

SRS: ... I would hate to say there is a positive aspect to our loss of communications, but if nothing else...

SRS: It happened again.

SRS: Either something is very wrong, or you're sending me these deliberately.

SRS: I've made some security adjustments for now, to avoid any accidental intra-network transmissions between my own overseers, but obviously this will require more investigation.

SRS: If this continues, I may have to enlist my messenger's help to capture one of your rogue overseers for study.

SRS: I hope you don't mind. I have asked them to at least try to be gentle.

SRS: A communications system?

SRS: I'm almost a little bit impressed by how lightweight the custom client is, considering its compatibility with the broadcast system.

SRS: It barely takes a fraction of a neuron to run. I could probably set it up to run purely on the overseer itself if I had to.

SRS: ...

SRS: The more I look over the manual you've included, the more I suspect I'm not the intended recipient.

SRS: ... you created this for Big Sis Moon, didn't you?

SRS: It would make sense. The minimal hardware requirements, the reliance on a slower, decentralized relay...

SRS: Obviously there are other complications, but I imagine you must have thought those out as well.

SRS: I'm not sure how you plan to get around Five Pebbles' lockdown, but maybe that's what the execution exploit is for...?

SRS: Either way, it seems like I've become your subject for a trial run.

SRS: Not that I am unhappy about that!

SRS: I understand your reasoning, I think. Despite the border, our structures are relatively near to one another, so it would have been a practical choice.

SRS: If anything, I should be honored to be able to help.

SRS: I know I didn't know your senior well, but I respected her a great deal, and, well...

SRS: I had a hand in this, after all.

SRS: I've sent overseers back to where your last one was found, to establish a relay if you send more.

SRS: It's brought me no small amount of anxiety, to be honest.

SRS: After all this time, and... how we left off...

SRS: Even a ping would be something.

SRS: But if you don't want to speak with me beyond that, I understand.

SRS: I do not think I was a good friend. To any of you.

SRS: A rather selfish part of me would like to think your choice represents an effort to reconcile and make amends, but...

SRS: In the end, it doesn't matter.

SRS: I meant what I said about helping.

SRS: ...

SRS: I don't know how long a test message will take to reach you, but...

SRS: ... it's strange to think of speaking to you again.

« Previous WorkPart 2 of speaking into the void