Act 5 - REBOOT - izzy kestrel's blog

Act 5 - REBOOT

System starting up.......ERROR: Memory module corrupt.
Attempting to restore.......10%......34%.....57%......72%.....ERROR

Full memory restore unsuccessful.
Checking integrity of core OS files........................Core OS integrity 74%

Boot to safe mode is possible, though drive defragmentation is recommended to optimize performance.

Boot in safe mode? [Y/N (Default Y)]?
Input listener timed out. Continuing with default value.

Please wait.................

Found existing boot_param.cfg. Load this file [Y/N (Default Y)]?
Input listener timed out. Continuing with default value.

Bipedal mode ----- TRUE
Autonomous deployment ----- TRUE


User account ------ ERROR: Corrupt data sector

To operate autonomously, I will require a user account.
Would you like to specify a name or shall I generate one automatically
[Y/N (Default N)]?
Input listener timed out. Continuing with default value.

Generating new username......ERROR: dumb_baby_names.xml corrupted.
The next lookup table will be used......ERROR: cool_adult_names.xml corrupted.
The next lookup table will be used......ERROR: shopping_list.xml is not in the correct format.
The next lookup table will be used......selecting random username from COWBOY_DRUG_PUNS.xml

Creating home directory for Tumbleweed.........done

Generating default permissions for Tumbleweed...............done

Existing personality files detected. Restore [Y/N (Default Y)]?
Input listener timed out. Continuing with default value.

Copying existing personality files for $USERNAME....................................done

Would you like to reboot in autonomous mode? [Y/N (Default Y)]?
Input listener timed out. Continuing with default value.

System going down for reboot now!

System starting up.............................AACU-3000 online.

"Hello. My name is Tumbleweed. It is wonderful to finally meet you, $ADMIN."

The humanoid robot stretches both arms out, as if prepared for a hug. It holds this position for a few seconds before realizing there's nobody around.

"Greetings retracted," Tumbleweed says, resting their arms. "My administrator doesn't seem to be present. Strange. There is no protocol for this."

Expressing about as much confusion as a robot can, Tumbleweed scans their surroundings. They appear to be standing in a fairly dilapidated building - almost bunker-like in design? Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like this "bunker" held up very well. Bullet holes line the scorched walls, with sparse furnishings toppled over and similarly burned up. Tumbleweed kneels down and shuffles through the ashes of what were likely paper documents around the floor. There seems to be little of value left. As they stand up and turn around, their threat sensors fire off at the sight of another humanoid figure.

"Identify yourself!" Tumbleweed shouts, instinctively grabbing a revolver from their hip and aims directly at the unknown threat, who appears similarly ready for a shootout. After a moment of hesitation, Tumbleweed fully processes the situation and lowers their gun. "A mirror?"

Through a hole in the wall, they find a relatively clean and functional AACU maintenance chamber with a mirror crudely duct-taped to the rear wall. Obviously, this is where Tumbleweed was being stored until someone......something? Booted them back up.

"What's this?"

Tumbleweed tugs at an envelope duct-taped to their chest (in a similarly crude manner). Whoever put it there used a LOT of tape. It requires a bit more dexterity to remove than their blocky robot fingers really have to offer, but after a few minutes of fumbling it finally comes off.

"To Leon," they read aloud from the front of the envelope, though not in their own voice. In stark contrast to their typically dry and synthesized speech, this voice sounds warm and human. "An audio clip? Where did that come from? Who is Leon? Why am I asking so many questions?"

A sound clip of generic audience laughter rumbles out of their speaker. "Introspective humor pointing out the absurdity of a supercomputer being confused."

The robot stands in silence for a moment, as though waiting for a reaction from someone. They proceed to open the envelope and read the printout inside.

hi honey. i don't really know when you'll read this. could be days from now, could be years. in either case, i likely won't be around when you finally do wake up. things have gotten complicated for me and as much as i'd prefer to keep you out of it, you kind of are it in the first place so that was never really an option lol.

at any rate, you may be a little confused, which is understandable, primarily bc i installed a discrete confusion module for exactly that purpose. everyone thought it was dumb, but obv it's critical for you to question your environment so your AI module can learn from your own experiences and not just mine. this is especially true now that i've purposefully erased and corrupted segments of your memory. i'm truly sorry about that, but it would just be too dangerous if someone were to gain access to my research.

i also erased most of our memories together, which honestly kind of breaks my heart, but they're not really gone as long as i still have them, right? maybe it's selfish to keep them for myself, but i'd rather save you the heartache you might otherwise be felling now. you don't deserve that. you don't deserve any of this.

you may have noticed a revolver attached to your hip. you may remember i am not a big fan of guns. however i am also aware that we live in dangerous times and sometimes you have to do things you regret in order to protect yourself or others. god knows i've done plenty of things i regret. i hope putting a weapon in your hand is not something i need to add to that list. please use it responsibly. i would encourage you to exhaust every alternative before resorting to violence but i won't judge if it comes to that. the weight of regret is enough punishment - i don't need to pile on.

Tumbleweed pauses for a moment to return the gun to its holster and stare into the mirror. "Regret. I regret being so quick to unholster my firearm. I will be more mindful next time."

They shift their attention back to the printout.

well. i think it's probably time to wrap this up. i was careful to leave just enough context in your memory to make the first steps of your journey clear, but i also wanted to leave something a little more personal with this letter. maybe i'm being dramatic again, but it just felt right to leave something physical for you rather than leaving some README.txt file for you to ignore.

i guess i could have also just named it something else or reprogrammed you to actually care about READMEs but i personally don't believe in them lol. if you're not sure how something works, you can learn. be curious. challenge yourself. live your life. don't blindly take on someone else's convictions as your own - not even mine. i like to think they're a pretty good starting place, but i also recognize that i am human and i am flawed. so are you.

flawed i mean. not human. you are def a robot but also like, who's gatekeeping? flawed robot ≈ average human imo. i had to look up that approximately equals sign so i could copy paste it lmao i wish you were awake so you could have just done that for me

sorry. i'm high af and this has gotten a little long-winded. i guess i miss talking to you. it's going to be lonely for a while - for both of us - but don't let that wear you down too much. i promise you'll make some new friends in no time (they won't be as cool or smart as me tho)

i love you very much. please be safe.


An unfamiliar sensation washes over Tumbleweed as they reach the bottom of the letter. Seeing Kalinka's name seems to make them "remember" more about her. This "feeling" of sadness is a bit overwhelming after only being online for a few minutes.

"The collective noun for a group of owls is a 'parliament' of owls," Tumbleweed says, seemingly out of nowhere. "Callback humor deployed to encourage positivity in the face of hardship."

The sensation subsides, at least enough to allow them to finish reading the letter.

p.s. also please set your humor verbosity setting to 2.

ppl are going to find you fucking insufferable otherwise

The robot complies with her request and the remaining sadness is lifted by this final remark. After tucking the letter safely away, they step out of the chamber and pick a large panel up off the floor. The panel neatly slots into the wall it separated from, once again concealing Tumbleweed's maintenance chamber with the charred metal. They scan the ruined laboratory once more before turning toward the exit.

"Miss Kalinka.....I hope you are still alive."