Danny returned to the room blowing into his hands. It was a pointless gesture, really: his gloves were thermally balanced by now, but Melody knew it gave him comfort and helped him feel as though he had some sort of control over the situation. “I know we can’t bring the temp up in here without destroying the scene,” he said. “But damn, I wish it were warmer in here.”
The officers at the door waved to Danny, introducing themselves as the residential block’s on-duty patrolmen, Officers Delgado and Braun. Melody found them fascinating. Their appearances and mannerisms showed the casual, intimate mingling of personalities and behaviors that only came from years of a close working relationship. Casual motions, subtle cues that would go unnoticed by most, were passed back and forth between the two of them as they drew up their notes and started telling Danny about the situation here at Owabi’s residence. Their public records indicated they’d worked this residence tower for ten years, starting the same day after being transferred from entirely different beats. Both Delgado and Braun were residents of the tower, as well, and members of its Citizens Administration board. Braun had declined a transfer out of the tower four years ago, choosing to stay with his partner. Their public approval ratings had risen ten points shortly thereafter. Delgado and Braun, then, were fixtures here at the residence tower, and were more than a bit concerned that a criminal suspect would be living under their noses in their tower.
“That was what I did,” Melody answered. “That’s how I ‘asked very nicely.’ When they were going to take me away from him. The… the AI’s that run our Collective, they… they don’t change very much. Their code maintains a certain degree of inflexibility with an eye toward planned, gradual progress. They still view Companions who love their Bond Pairs as some kind of aberration; unplanned progress at its worst. Some kind of freak occurrence that somehow violates Safe Laws and puts our Bond Pair in danger. There have literally been millions of us, and we’ve been falling in love and learning how to live our lives with that emotion for almost two centuries since the first Companion was compiled. But it’s still not something many of us ever get away with.”
The situation is just intolerable.
There have been a lot of really insightful write-ups recently. A broader perspective—and I almost cringe to say—catch-all by Molly Crabapple left me gasping for breath. This write up, by Elizabeth Sampat giving her thoughts on an industry that’s very dear to me, delivered the final blow and left me in tears.
It’s really rare that I create from a place of grief. It’s just not how I operate. But it’s largely what I have openly felt for the last few days, and reflecting on it, it’s been there for far longer.
This quote from Elizabeth’s piece— “We should have a war memorial for all of the women we have lost to this. We should lay flowers and grieve and see our reflections in stone.”— struck a very literal chord in me.
So yeah, here it is. A place just for me where I can light a candle and remember all of the wonderful people I probably will never get the chance to meet. Folks that have been driven away by these horrible fucks that have the audacity to think they know what gaming and community is about.
I have never, in my life, been ashamed to call myself a gamer. Until now. These misogynist little shitbags are a disgrace to our community.
All of us who care about gaming need to step up and save our community, while there is still something about it that’s worth saving.
Eight Letter Word For Hired Killer
The hopper was quiet, for the most part, as it made its way to the residential block that housed the home of one Barkley Owabi. Melody watched Danny from her place “inside” the hopper’s cabin. Really, she was only peripherally there, the bulk of her presence back at the offices and apartments that she shared with Charlie. She’d borrowed an emergency emitter from the back of the hopper, however, and now bided her time making small talk while Danny reviewed the case particulars with his precinct AI, Utnapishtam.
Rector blew a series of disapproving reactions across Melody’s periphery, then calmed. “You are aware you are prevented from disallowing anything short of homicide or suicide to Humans? How does your statement not violate Safe Laws, Companion?”
Melody let a wash of relief and gratitude play across her consciousness, and for once didn’t care if the Controller felt it. Whether he approved or didn’t was no concern of hers. “Thank you, Controller.”
“Unnecessary, but understood. Tell me of the encounter with the War Criminal, Endicott.”
Melody delivered the information without hesitation, replaying the encounter from her multiple perspectives and providing a detailed accounting of the remarkable resilience Endicott’s survival protocols had shown in the face of multiple Safe Law violations. She gave special attention to the fact that his firewalls and security barriers had been compromised at the hardware, not software, levels.
It didn’t take long. “Your Bond Pair’s mental state would appear to be normal, despite the behavior of the avatar and the virtualization environment. Though his responses show deepened frustration at the increased vocality and overall presence of the avatar in his daily life, your data would indicate a nearly forty percent increase in his deductive and associative reasoning skills. Based upon the operational design of the AGENT neuro-web technology and its known limitations, this is not possible.”
Melody flashed a simple agreement signal to Rector. She waited to see if his conclusions would be the same as hers.
Differing Perspectives Make It All Worth It
Melody opened her security measures and accepted the incoming communication from Rector, the Sub-Direction Controller for the San Francisco Metro’s AI citizenry. It was a courtesy measure, really: he was a Controller, and it was his job to ensure that all the AI’s that fell within his oversight were law-abiding citizens. Had he wanted to, had he any suspicion that she was in danger of violating the laws – be they the laws of the SolGov, the Federation, or the AI Safe Laws – he could have arrested all of Melody’s processes and entered her personal presence without so much as a moment’s hesitation. This was all moot, however, as Rector’s presence within Melody’s systems was expected, and at this point, welcomed.