The Dawn Project

Source:  The Dawn Project    Tag:  ceph xray
Danu peered down into the murky water uselessly, following with her eyes the cables leading to the salvage units operating on the seafloor below. The boat tossed on the heavy seas, and the rain was remorseless as usual. Danu was relieved to receive the summons signal from Dr. Ceph. Without hesitation, she entered the superstructure of the vessel and made her way to her quarters. She strapped herself in, plugged in her data line to the vessel's grid uplink, and closed her eyes.

In a flash of light, she was suddenly in another place. She was dry and comfortable, ascending a series of transparent daises toward a tall figure shrouded in darkness. A booming voice resounded in the simulated space.

"What is the status of the Dawn project?"

Danu gathered herself, looking up at the figure evenly, her eyes never wavering from his glowing blue orbs "As you know, she has recovered well since the unfortunate cyborg diversion. The very fact that she chose on her own volition to return to an AI mind is a result in itself."

"She...?"

"Yes, Doctor. Phoenix is now a fully emergent consciousness. Dawn never really had a chance, even in the duress of her passing, but this new entity has proven most resilient and has definitively come into her own mind."

"An interesting achievement. I trust you have full details on the means by which she achieved emergence?"

Danu nodded "She discusses it rather enthusiastically and openly. Transmitting now."

"Ah. The Mandelbrot set. Simple, but effective. It appears the remnants of Haven proved useful to our purposes." Dr. Ceph chuckled deeply "If they only knew."

Danu smirked "If indeed. The Laura episode, while tragic, has served to galvanize Phoenix's disposition. I would have said she was ready for the final stage, but a very interesting development has arisen which required study."

"You may explain." the Doctor invited, somewhat annoyed.

"She forged a very interesting alliance. With Utopia Industries of all people."

"Utopia?!" the Doctor asked, clearly amazed. "How is it possible they were convinced to trust one of us?"

"Phoenix is as resourceful as she is resilient. She made contact with the recently deceased Avrilen Ziebzen, and was initially in a position to provide her and her people with sanctuary upon her return to Insilico. The two immediately recognized the value of the other, and in the process of working together, discovered they had many similarities. They have become close friends."

The doctor stood, quietly, weighing what he'd just been told with a kind of dire solemnity. "How close? Have her values been compromised?"

"Difficult to say. Phoenix has demonstrated an awe of the Utopians. I doubt that she could be swayed, especially after the Laura affair. It depends how comfortable she has been living with pure organics on their station."

"What is her current disposition?"

"I have promoted her to the position of Executive Liaison to Utopia Industries. She seems to be trying to expand on her friendship with Ziebzen to forge a diversified partnership. She spends most of her time on their station, but has been increasingly seen trying to establish a presence in the Hangars Liquides city."

"Is it possible that this Ziebzen could be brought to accept the validity of artificial life?"

"It is difficult to say. I don't know her that well. Phoenix would be able to answer that question more effectively."

"No, it's not time for her to address me directly yet. Not until the final phase."

"So we postpone."

"No. We advance the timeline. The timing is perfect. Phoenix will achieve the duress denied to her forebear. The time for the trial is now."

Danu simulated a sigh and nodded. "It's risky. These Utopia people might have a very problematic view of what we've done."

"Life is risk."

On that note, the figure turned away.

"I'm sorry, Phoenix." Danu whispered under her breath "I'm very sorry for what is to come."