I Am Worthy
Imperial Palace, Dromund Kaas
DAY 1For the second time ever, I - Dranok Lussk - have embarked on a mission not of military nor political affairs. I was the CEO of Lussk Logistics and handled lots of its business shenanigans, but I hardly took part in the major development or manufacturing processes of my little shops set up around the Core Worlds. My first experience with design and related materials was with the Lords of the Fringe, back when I took part in the capturing of Rakata Beta, I had to design an entire Battlecruiser for use for their military. I had to give it to those techies, I stayed up for days designing that masterpiece.
But now I had other similar matters to attend to. It was a momentous occasion when the Sith Emperor would assemble with some of the greatest technologically-inclined minds of the entire Empire. The brightest minds in shipbuilding, weapons manufacturing, and droid programming converged on a single location: my Palace. It was a heralded place of bad deeds and death, but not under my reign. The sadistic tendencies of past were disgusting. Unnecessary killing and violence was pathetic, only logic and reason were the main factors of my warfighting.
I rushed from my throne room to the assembly area, a reconstructed storage room that had been transformed into a top-grade technological design and programming center. Many of the men and women were already here. Several designers from Lussk Logistics: Axen Vayos, Julia Kamminer, and Lucius Ofkar. Most of the others were employed by the Empire, all of them famous for their work in their respective fields: Sylvia Krano, Tomas Wain, Bartholomew Bagun, and Trent Myls.
They all jumped to attention upon my arrival, well, at least the Imperial technicians did. My own employees bowed in humble respect as I stated my claim. "Ladies and gentlemen, you've been gathered here today for a breakthrough in Imperial technology. We're going to be designing one of the most advanced pieces of equipment I can think of. Artificial Intelligence." I waited a few moments for it to sink in before continuing, clearing my throat. "This AI will be installed on most, if not all, capital ships in service with the Empire. Our largest mass produced vessels range in the two kilometers length, so we'll make this device applicable for service on all ships at one kilometer and up."
This was indeed going to help the Imperial crews on every larger capital ship. Now was time for the mission thesis and general description of what I already had planned. With liquid motion, I yanked my datapad from my pocket, sliding past several slideshows of reports to pinpoint my findings on notes along with my basic design. "This AI unit will need to effectively handle every single aspect of a ship's technical intelligence and computing needs. Navigation, tactical analysis, security monitoring, fire control, encryption, and even expert advisory to commanders." I looked up from my reading to observe their faces, contorted with thoughts and plotting. "However, there is always a chance of malfunction and/or AI rebellion. These things were known in the past to age past their service limit and run rampant, ending up destroying everything that wasn't mechanical."
My eyes flicked over theirs, taking interest in the notes they'd already written down and the enthusiasm they exerted at the chance of creating something that would save thousands, even millions, of lives. A smile flickered into existence across Sylvia Krano's face. "Alright boys and girls, let's do this thing!"
So it's been about two weeks already since we've starting the design phase. Most of the engineers live here at the barracks bay down the hall from this room. I, however, slept in my bed back at home. Their work and progression was astounding. Those exceptional men and women stayed up day and night for countless days in order to make this work. I tried my best to stop by for a few hours everyday to check on things, but I was in charge of everything that happened in this galaxy-spanning Empire. Today, I happened to arrive at just the right time to participate in a discussion revolving around a feature for the AI.
"No, no, no. That won't work!" Lucius Ofkar bided. "If the AI starts malfunctioning and we attempt to use our own terminals to disable it, that won't be anything but disastrous."
Another voice chimed in, Tomas Wain. "True, but what about something else? How would we stop that from happening in the first place?" Nobody knew, it was a mere rhetorical question.
"No, the question is: how to we cure this when it happens. I say we should have a manual override for it. Short and simple, only the lead engineer and the captain should have keys to the mainframe. It'll also be set so that things can return to manual control if it shuts down completely."
A smile broke across Wain's face, his eyes lighting up as he scooted to the side to busily tap away at the console. "Thanks, man. This will be great!"
Today I happened to spend the entirety of my time helping with the work. Lots of things were happening. The engineers were busily planning designs for the AI mainframe and circuitry that would connect it throughout the vessels. Their final conclusion resulted in six meter tall AI core that was three meters wide at sat in the center of the ship. Only the captain and the chief engineer were allowed in this room and was to be guarded at 24/7 by stormtroopers.
Everything was going just as planned, it made my day a little better to see some Imperials actually working for the progression of the Empire as a whole rather than selfishly promoting their own deeds.
I can't remember a time before my daily visits to the technological center. Me and the crew had grown close, their own frustrations and breakthroughs. Most of the basic and moderate detailing had already been finished, now just the main programming and core features.
"So what do we need to add?" I asked.
"Droids, it needs to be able to control and direct the droids aboard the vessel." Chimed in Axen Vayos.
"Simple droid control programming, like those old Trade Federation types used to use but on a smaller scale with more advanced programming." He paused, checking over his notes. "But like stated before, the chief engineer and captain will be able to override this function as well."
I flashed a grin, "Sounds great, make it happen."
And now on to matters involving the ship's combat systems itself. These, were literally, the most distinguishing feature between a Battleship and a Hyperspace Tug. If an AI couldn't handle these effectively, then there was no need to have it in the first place.
"Armament, armament, armament..." Trent Myls mused, spinning around in his office chair. "What should we do about these fine pieces of equipment?"
"Easy. Just program it with thinking like a Tactical Droid does. I think the Emperor over here has his own tactical droid." Julia Kamminer paused as if remembering something. "I think his name is TD-30, if I'm not mistaken."
"So what would we do with it? Transfer its programming and cognitive skills?"
Julia smiled, a spark lighting the mental fuses in her mind. "Exactly! We might even be able to push the adaptive thinking a little more considering we have safeguards set in place for rampancy and malfunction." She hesitated, pursing her lips to ask another question. "But how would we communicate with it?"
Trent mused for a moment. "Voice? The engineers working on the circuitry earlier are sure to be able to add comms across the ship to identify the captain's voice and carry out orders."
"Trent Myls. You're amazing."
The finishing touches were being made. The only thing that remained was the issue of protecting communications relayed by the AI unit and preventing malicious attempts at hacking or slicing through the mainframe. Bartholomew Bagun stepped up to the plate by offering a few words regarding the issue.
"Maybe we should have computer technicians ensuring that this won't happen?" He pondered, scratching the gruff on his chin.
Lucius Ofkar was in for the kill. "No way, bro. That's unnecessary allocation of valuable military resources. If anything, we need the AI to be able to handle these things on its own. Granted, it's a little discomforting knowing that an Artificial Intelligence unit is handling its own safety, but it's needed."
"Sooo..." He sighed. "How exactly?"
"Hard-coded observation programming. It'll monitor and detect all hacking or slicing attempts that come from either malicious software or physical attacks."
"Sweet, let's do it."
Day 97The final touches were made. A prototype had been constructed aboard a Tulak Hord-class Star Destroyer dubbed the Broadsword. The AI core had been specially built in the center of the vessel like the plans had depicted. The major problem that we saw was a pretty big amount of energy that was needed to power the entire core. The Broadsword was landed at the time, but it was only a matter of time until we had to lift off to see how it handled with flight.
Me and some engineers were putting the final adjustments on the mainframe while the rest of the team waited upon the bridge. I watched them slave away screwing in bolts alongside the terminal to hold it into the floor and start connecting the electronic cables. Most of the circuitry was under the floor. In a few minutes, everything was finished and we headed off to the bridge.
I was greeted by nothing less than what i'd expected.
"Emperor Lussk..this thing..." Axen Vayos timidly spoke.
A new voice began to speak. "Hello." Nobody had opened their mouth to speak. Many of them bore grins and looked around.
"What is your name?"
"I don't have one."
I swallowed. "Hello..." I didn't know where to begin. "What is your purpose?"
"I was designed to assist in the operation of Imperial vessels by handling technical management and electronic warfare."
"Well, let's see what you can do." I smirked, waving my hand for the bridge crew to begin takeoff. It was relatively uneventful, some of the lights flickering as the main drives of the AI kicked into gear. The Broadsword ascended higher and higher through the clouds of Dromund Kaas, pushing through the thick ozone layers of the atmosphere. Before long, we were in high orbit of space.
"I want you, AI, to order the ship's entire supply of droids to the hangar."
"It will be done."
A few moments passed, a technician bringing up a camera feed of the hangar bay. Not even a single second had passed since the feed had started and droids began milling forward to stand in formation on the bulkhead. I was amazed at the speed that the orders were carried out. "Let's try doing multiple things at once. Electronically prep the fighters and bombers for liftoff while dispersing those droids to their proper areas of operation."
"Your will is my command."
The moments following its masculine voice were horrendous. Lights began flickering, systems began to shut down, and the ship started to drop. "What's happening!?" Bartholomew Bagun cried. The still-alive terminals flashed with emergency readings on the power supply, most of which was being drained to fuel the efforts of the AI. "AI, halt!"
The emergency warnings wailed off, the lighting returned, and the gravity stabilizers kicked back in. Backup thrusters churned into gear as the vessel reoriented itself. "Halted."
"What did you do?"
"I followed orders. My core needs enough power to do these tasks. There was only a single source so I had to divert power."
I sighed. "Great. Now we have power issues."
"How much power does it need?" Julia Kamminer asked.
"By my calculations, my power needs require an entire generator. Preferably Hypermatter."
Another sigh left my mouth, my eyes flaking over the recovering crew. "Looks like we'll need more juice."
Day 100Day one hundred slipped on by. The Broadsword was refitted with an extra generator, following the AI's advice on what type. The generator was added at the expense of a smaller barracks bay, but that extra crew wasn't really needed in the first place. Now the Tulak Hord was back in orbit like it was three days before, the AI eagerly awaiting orders.
"Let's see what we can do now. Prep the fighters electronically and dispatch the droid crews."
A hesitated voice answered, "It's done."
I didn't know why it waited, it was probably concerned about the ship like it had been days before. Anyways, the lights stayed turned on and everything was fine. The camera feeds went along fine as well. The fighters in the bays were activated, droid crews prepped everything and they were fit for combat within minutes.
"Now all we need is a name.." Julia Kamminer sighed, closing her eyes and cracking her eyes as she leaned back in her chair.
"How about: Super Awesomeness Intelligence Unit 2000?" Bartholomew cried out, his boyish nature shown quite brightly.
Lucius Ofkar was stoic. "No, shut up, Bagun. It needs something with a definition."
Now was the time for my contribution.
"How about Axios?"
"What does it mean?"
"I am worthy."