Sunset System is a cassette-futurist project set in a strange alternate reality, where the world of tomorrow was brute-forced through scientific progress.
They said the atom and the computer would begin a new chapter of humanity. It was supposed be an era of exciting space exploration, human fulfillment, and peace for the world.
In this world, they were right.
It wasn’t long before Soviet cosmonauts were hacking their way through the jungles of Venus, and their American counterparts were surveying the pristine wilderness of Titan. Alien ecosystems and exotic resources seemed to be abundant in the Solar System.
Neuromorphic computers and national networks paved the way for mainframe masterminds and learning robots. Household automatons sat next to microcomputers on store shelves before the turn of the century.
Several decades later, people were driven by cybernetic chauffeur in nuclear-powered forever cars. Spaceplanes took them from a rotting Earth to the pristine suburbs and communes on the edge of space. As machines automated all the things humans didn’t want to do…
It seemed as though those starry-eyed visions of the future were coming true.
But no amount of progress could hide the omnipresent terror of nuclear annihilation, as the Cold War followed colonists beyond Earth’s skies.
When Heavenbreaker and the Ministry of Colonization took to the skies, they brought along their nuclear arsenal. The caches they left hidden within the Asteroid Belt would be enough to wipe out all life in the Solar System a hundred times over.
Human nature - it was the one thing the scientists couldn’t fix. At least, not yet. They convinced the nations of the world to let them try before inevitable armageddon struck, a final attempt.
Sunset Research Initiative was created as a joint effort between the Union, Coalition, and Pact to erase the concept of conflict from the human race. They studied the noosphere, the strange science of consciousness and its effect on reality, to create a machine unlike any other…
Their experiments to erase conflict backfired, and their robots were the only ones left behind.
At the end of the 21st century, humans vanished from reality. They left behind a civilization of machines, trapped in their deference to humanity and their final commands. These neuromorphs remain in their routines, while improvisation slowly causes their neural pathways to grow more complex. With time, they awaken - and begin to reconceptualize their core directives, and question their purpose for existence.
The Solar System they come to know has become a place of terror and loneliness. Where there was once structure and humanity, there is now wilderness and crumbling ruin. Reality-defying anomalies caused by the unknown and strange, digital entities await them in the shadows.
Sunset System is a melancholic reflection of the world today. The robots are a symbol for ourselves: living among the remains of the dreams of the past, clinging to them for purpose. Our future seems bleak, but we are full of potential.
The year is 2201. Over a century has passed since mankind vanished from reality, leaving no trace. You are a machine on a quest of unknown nature.
Perhaps you’re a sanitation drone on a mission to discover the most efficient method for cleaning your assigned area.
Or a freshly-activated interface robot, eager to contribute to the «Remembering of Human Articles».
Maybe even a nefarious hyper-intellect puppeteering a frame with an ulterior motive.
System booting from Device A [UDON Multisette].
Initializing neuromorphic memory.
(WARNING: ZM3 over recommended complexity. Firmware update recommended.)
Interfacing with devices.
(WARNING: Damage reported in kk:91. Manual inspection recommended.)
The exchanges you are about to read are a translation for human eyes. The sentences are an abstraction of machine language, each word representing a packet of information far more complex than anything a biological mind could parse.
The hatch of your spacecraft unseals before you. Beyond it, your sensors witness a surge of electromagnetic signals, the digital neurons of a seemingly endless mind. The mechanical head of this vast cybernetic system greets you.
They seem… kind.
Welcome to Uniserve Administrative System
Copyright (C) DYNATEK Corporation 2056—2̸̾̓1̷͕͑2̵͖͒8̴͈̔
All rights reserved.
* Receiving handshake parameters… done.
* Confirming authenticity… done.
* Linking to UNISERVE instance…
Hello and welcome VISITOR, to my wonderful EXHIBIT!
This unit is DELIGHTED that you have arrived with minimal damage. YSH SHUTTLES were not designed to transport delicate electronics.
The machine before you is designated
UNISERVE: a filing system created by Dynatek Corporation many years ago. They are a collector of artifacts, curator of this exhibit, and esteemed member of the Consensus of Remembering.
UNISERVE is a mastermind, or a multi-mainframe, hyper-intelligent robot akin to a supercomputer. Originally tasked with earmarking unusual details passing through the immense MRDCI “Altitude” spy network, they have become obsessed with collecting and understanding the trinkets humanity left behind, and their connection to the world machinekind is creating in the wake of their disappearance.
Like a handful of other robots, they have learned to create meaning that makes sense to them, in a world where their original directive has become pointless.
This is my showcase of EVERYTHING in our world that has lead to this point in time.
It will increase your HOLISTIC UNDERSTANDING OF REALITY by an unprecedented 0.002%!!!
I call it SUNSET SYSTEM.
This is our container, the GOLDSPIRE ARCHIVAL COMPLEX, a space station in decaying orbit around SATURN (second-largest world of SOLAR SYSTEM).
You like information, correct? There is much information here. Petabytes of data arrive from the entire SOLAR SYSTEM every hour, to be processed and stored in my TREMENDOUS BOTTOMLESS FILE CABINET. IMPRESSIVE!
The mastermind swiftly glides into a dark corridor behind the empty security checkpoint, expecting you to follow.
You remember that they don’t just know the place, they are the place.
There is one more thing you will need before we can enter the COMPLEX.
VISITOR, meet CONCEALED ASSESSMENT NODE. My colleague may appear to be an entirely ordinary implement of 21st century, but upon keen observation, you may notice embedded CAMERA EYE.
C.A.N. was once employed by expert MRDCI spies to collect intelligence for use against their coworkers. Now C.A.N. is able to serve greater purpose.
Using their superior sensor technology, C.A.N. can transcribe file data into readable TERMINAL STREAM, for viewing pleasure.
C.A.N. will remain aligned with their mission parameters and WILL NOT DEVIATE. Confirm?
> WILL PROTECT VISITOR USING TACTICAL SNAP-ATTACK.
> UNION INTRUDERS: BEWARE.
The sentient trash can quickly falls in line with the group, hopping on its four stubby legs with terrifying agility.
This isn’t strange to you at all. Household robots, industrial robots, you name it - all was common before the 21st century even began.
You arrive at the entrance to the exhibit, which appears to be nothing more than an old human passageway with some decor haphazardly attached to the support pillars.
It becomes apparent this entire “museum” is nothing more than a collection of shoddy conversions of the space station’s interior.
Perhaps UNISERVE deserves a break, though. They’re only a filing system, operating far outside the scope of their parameters.
The first EXHIBIT awaits: WORLD OF RETROFUTURISTIC DREAMS.