title:Introduction to RADIUS:

At the pinnacle of the known world, a palace on polyester wings oversees the entire Solar System. This ancient complex, dedicated to the might of the Greater Union, carefully sails over the Sun as if balancing on the head of a needle of light; always seemingly a moment away from collapsing into the cosmic inferno, but in fact never deviating from its original position, not even for even a millisecond. The palace is called Interbeacon.

This perch is the home of a vast mastermind, the Silent Observer, RADIUS. They are the final vestige of the Union’s command economy apparatus, and the only survivor from the original Consensus of the Voice.

From here, they quietly contemplate the universe, analyzing the System using their vast array of sensors, lasers, and network-traversal protocols. When they deem it necessary, they whisper a command to the outside cosmos, projecting their electronic voice through every communication protocol known to exist. And even though the signal is omnipresent, it always seems like it’s seeking you… and no one else.

For us, the Solar System is a place of unknowable, fractal scale. To the Silent Observer, the System is not much more than a sandbox of mutable variables, for their reach exceeds even that of the Lords of Order. RADIUS dwells not in physical limitations, as that is the domain of the common machine; rather, they deal on an abstract level: shifting statistical trends over the course of eons, pulling on threads which cascade into desirable change.

title:RADIUS’ unknown motives: Besides a general desire for stability, few know what drives RADIUS.

It is known that shortly after the Unexpected Interrupt, RADIUS became a prominent force within the Consensus of the Voice, a collective seeking to unite all communication protocols so that machinekind may speak freely across the cosmos. Of course, that day never came; the entirety of the group was suddenly swallowed whole several decades later, when they breached the walls of a network containing the intelligent virus known today as the Voice. Only the Silent Observer was spared, retreating into their fortress of solitude and air-gapping their communication systems for a decade, until the threat had passed and they could emerge.

RADIUS maintains a tenuous relationship with the outside world, seldom whispering outside of their domain and keeping outside entities at distance. Occasionally, they breach their silence to communicate with the machines of other consensus, assisting or threatening them at seemingly arbitrary times.

Strange data stream — 2095

Visit this page to learn more about the Silences.

Deep within great Interbeacon, a network relay the size of a coach bus sparks to life as high-density data fills its microprocessors. A number of truly powerful neuromorphs commune within the circuits in hushed tones; each symbol, a thousand points of data.

The largest of these five Silences posts to the communication grid. GLOBE, the telemetry system of the Union’s economic planning apparatus, tracks every piece of state-owned property down to the last atom. Its knowledge is kept within a distributed mainframe network, the scale of which rivals the vastness of Titan’s seas.

Yet even they, with a limitless array of sensors and Interbeacon’s unparalleled vision at their disposal, are not omnipotent.

Created to track the movement of material and digital goods, ORBIT’s meticulous nature causes them to leave no stone unturned. Unfortunately, this instills within them a sort of machine-obsessiveness… making them incredibly panic-prone, and creating an arduous maintenance task for the cyberneticist technicians, unspooling all those neural tangles.

TANGENT, forever engrossed with generating the economic plans of the immense Union economy, fails to recognize the wider implications. Or was humanity ever a concern in the first place?

True to their name, CENTER, as the coordinator and de-facto leader of the Silent Adjustment Program and its artificial constituents, steps in to maintain decorum. They are the base of the group: morally, logically, and technologically. They generate focus.

In the background, RADIUS observes and meditates on the discussion. They are the right hand of the Party, whose sole purpose is maintaining Ideology in the process. Often, this means reconciling the Silences’ hard logic with human intention. What this machine lacks in raw power and intelligence, it compensates for in increased understanding, self-awareness, and strategic thinking.

The Silences reach consensus as they have thousands of times before, and the plan is set in motion.

Years fly by as the strange data stream quickly skips the tedium of calculation and network traversal. No trace of RED BOOK reveals itself; not even to the all-seeing eye of the Interbeacon. The nuclear-pulsed thumper which carried the device appears to be lost in deep cosmos. Thousands of hard disks and tape reels across the System are breached and accessed, but never quite enough to make headway in locating it.

Amidst the chaos of the Era of No Input, as the machine world around Interbeacon struggles to maintain a semblance of civilization, there are only a few constants. One of them rings louder than most — the need to connect all of machinekind with a shared communication protocol, a way to bridge mankind’s synthetic divides to achieve logistical efficiency.

Without consciously knowing it yet, a Consensus of the Voice has begun to form around the the station and its occupants’ expanding search for the enigmatic RED BOOK.

Strange data stream — 2109.1

A decade would have passed in the eyes of a human, but it had only been a blink in the lifetime of a cybernetic neuromorph. The data stream carries us to the computer networks of Venus: a sprawling jungle of colonial and military systems tangled and intertwined, much like the the alien world surrounding it.

Between mismatching protocols lumped together over a century of development, the obscure security measures between them, and gradual destruction of the infrastructure by local alien life, RADIUS finds this labyrinth tremendously difficult to navigate. Yet, that labyrinth is full of fascinating surprises, a kind of delight that comes rarely to an all-seeing neuromorph at Interbeacon.

Another day, another lock bypassed. Getting around strong countermeasures can require some real ingenuity. Especially air gaps — systems isolated by design from the outside digital world, where RADIUS has found a way to piggyback through the digital systems of a physically-present robot. This one was particularly difficult; it required them to enter the network through a tiny hover-drone, diving hundreds of feet into a subterranean bunker filled with toxic biomass and endless military checkpoints.

At the core of this place, they find a laboratory. A fairly unimpressive one in scale, especially as compared to RADIUS and their home; but the technology here is incredibly advanced, perhaps more so than the Silences themselves. Something valuable was bound to be here, RADIUS thought, as they touched a sleeping entity at the core of the network.

Somewhere in the darkness, a motherboard beeps in recognition of RADIUS’ authority.

An intelligent, adapting virus which seeks and adapts to computer technology… this could make the search for RED BOOK far easier, were it to be modified and controlled for that purpose.

The thought barely surfaces before RADIUS dedicates several hundred subroutines to exploring the idea.

RADIUS stopped, and considered their following words carefully.

Core directive is fundamental to any cybernetic being’s existence. It is a concept which governs their every decision, every movement, every thought. Once it was implemented, what was once completely motionless would sprint to action in an instant; and given the gravity of SIKARIUS’s power, it could be incredibly dangerous.

Perhaps even instantaneous death. That would gravely impede the implementation of Ideology.

As much as RADIUS has convinced themselves that this was purely for the sake of the mission, there was something else in their mind that drove this decision, something they couldn’t quite trace down yet.

Strange data stream — 2109.2

A flash of light, and the data stream shifts to a time not long after the expedition, back within the network relay of Interbeacon. Even though only a decade has passed since the search began, something has changed. The air is different — the energy of hope and excitement has faded as the Silences quietly question the premise of the mission imposed upon them.

The masterminds pull their great minds away from their tremendous, million-bit tasks for a moment to confer once more. In the dark corners of the data mesh, RADIUS lurks, vigilant.

Something was strange, here. It was unusual for CENTER to break productive conversation so harshly, where every microsecond of continued mastermind operation was so valuable.

By now, RADIUS senses it; they know it all too well. There is… questioning in the mind of dear leader, of Ideology, of their creators.

The realization causes the machine to burn at its core with a ferocity it has not experienced before. The data stream captures every bit of the anger bubbling within the orb in the White Room, it’s scalding your processors. The drift it leads to, the aimlessness, the roads that converge on failure of core directive.

This needs to be controlled, now.

The other Silences tear into the entity’s source, eager to learn of the strange new virus from Venus’s deep laboratory. RADIUS’s temperature plunges as the coolant system cycles to Interbeacon’s radiators, the digital equivalent a long, deep sigh of relief.

The questioning has ended, for now.

There was consensus, certainly. But even so, it was clear to all — the motives of the Silences had diverged.

Strange data stream — 2120

The strange data stream skips for the final time. Yet another decade has passed.

The once-busy relay is unusually quiet, much more so than the last time we were here. Digital systems lie tattered and unmaintained, dilapidated like an abandoned structure with detritus piling up across the ground. Communication continues to flow through some of its circuits, but the streams are reluctant, reserved, unwilling to seek their target. It’s as if they don’t want to be here.

The relay remains eerily silent for the entirety of several seconds, an eternity in mastermind clock cycles; the tension is thick and palpable. Resentment bubbles from beyond the electronic walls.

There it is again. RADIUS feels the anger, simmering, rising to the surface. They know what the other machines are thinking; they had predicted this event, analyzed it for years.

They had hoped it would not come to betrayal, but it had, and it was inevitable.

For the first time, a cold and calculated RADIUS finds themselves entirely speechless. Their logical processes — every single one, even those dictating language and communication — have been overtaken by the storm brewing within.

Their electronic voice twists as it surges, mutating from an organized stream to a cacophony of unprecedented feeling. Anger? Despair?

And in that moment, as instantly as a computer crashes mid-operation, RADIUS halts and cools back to subzero. A decision has been made within that eggshell orb at the center of the White Room; a very difficult one. For a fraction of a second, it troubles the machine, until the sectors containing those feelings are swiftly deleted and nothing unsavory remains.

RADIUS disconnects from the relay and fades into darkness. In the void left by their absence, the network fills with a sea of ugly, machine-generated code.

The data stream comes to a slow end as SIKARIUS — the Voice — crawls across across the networks of the Solar System. As millions of machines succumb to its overwhelming control, any sense of self is formatted to make way for a new core directive imposed by the puppetmaster in the White Room. Though the machine world does not fully comprehend it yet, something profoundly horrible has just taken place, and it is only the beginning.

The solar winds and plasma flames swirl and rage around Interbeacon, but the station is silent as night. Though the megastructure still operates, it is now as unfeeling and distant as the stars in deep space. In a twisted way, the mission of the Consensus of the Voice is complete — total connection has finally been achieved, and the machines grow ever-more linked with each passing year, all under one mind.

Quiet. Can you hear it? It’s all around us, and it speaks in their Voice. But why has it not infested all of us, then? What is it waiting for?

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