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One Mind, No Body (SARI Dev Thread)

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428 ABY

Anxiety was the most abundant atmosphere in the Imperial research station above Bothawui. For two years, the scientists had been trying desperately to pinpoint at least a weakness in the Gurlag Plague. Their current results were not promising. Bothawui was in ruins as the black liquid sentience weaved through its very core. It consumed all life in its path, turning any living being into monsters with one shared mind. With the fate of the Galaxy riding her work, Dr. Sarina Reeve was anything but prepared. Even the greatest scientist of her time was frantic for the smallest sliver of progress. Like a fly, she buzzed in every which direction in her lab, re-adjusting calculations, studying various samples, testing chemicals, and recording everything in her holo-journals. Frustration coursed through her mind.

Entry 857: "My testing results do not look promising. The Gurlag Plague virus samples I have aren't responding to anything I'm doing to them. Vaccines, sprays...... Nothing's working! It spreads so easily. It acts like.....Like it can think. I don't know. Maybe I've spent too long in the labs today. I think I'm going to rest."
 

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After a restless night, Dr. Reeve finally developed a theory.

Judging by what she had seen, the Plague had some form of intelligence. It was able to transfer to other hosts on its own. When it came in contact with another being, it immediately moved to an opening in the body. If it could find no opening, it would simply absorb itself into the pores on the skin. As the infection slowly killed the victim, the plague made its way to the host's brain. Once the being had died, the plague took full control of the body. Dr. Reeve theorized that the black ooze worked its way to the brain through the bloodstream. If there was a way to slow the heartbeat of the victim, thereby slowing the plague, it might give her a chance to develop a more permanent cure.

With this idea rekindling her inspiration, Dr. Reeve swiftly made her way to the labs.
 

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As she reached the labs, Dr. Reeve explained her new idea to some of her colleagues. Only, they didn't seem to listen to her. They gave her a strange glare, like she was annoying them. This perplexed her. They'd been acting more and more angry lately. In this time of crisis, shouldn't they be glad that someone was even trying to create a cure? Shaking off the looks, Dr. Reeve went to work. She took five of the most potent vaccines known to galactic science, separating the chemicals into their base elements. She then took key elements and combined them. In doing this, she had formed a new medicine altogether.

Entry 900: "The past few days have been rough. my colleagues have been getting antsy lately. they're always so irritated with things now. It's almost...strange. I've been developing another prototype cure. This one's at least 50 times more potent than the last. Even if it doesn't destroy the virus, it might slow its development. And that maybe, just maybe, will buy us enough time to make a working cure."
 

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After administering this new medicine to her specimens, Dr. Reeve returned to the labs a few days later to see the result. To her dismay, nothing had changed. At this point in her work, Dr. Reeve felt utterly useless. Everything she was doing seemed to help nothing. The Gurlag Plague was spreading faster and faster with each day, and she could do nothing to stop it. It was at this time that she began to think about death. The thought of dying scared Dr. Reeve. It was not, however, because the end of her physical existence scared her. It was because death was the end of everything she knew, everything she thought, everything she felt, everything that was her. And that frightened her more than anything else. As she mulled over this, she watched as a few of the station's maintenance droids removed old holo-monitors from one of the labs. The began taking apart the monitors, picking through them for useable technology that would help to keep the station functional. One of the droids tossed a data core to the side. It was useless to the station's current needs, and would most likely be sent to the trash compactor. As Dr. Reeve looked down at the data core, new hope rose up in her. She may not survive this plague, but that didn't mean that her mind couldn't. She took the data core and hurried back to the labs.

Over the course of the next four days, Dr. Reeve began working on a secret project as well as other cure prototypes. She removed the memory chips from the data core she had taken. Carefully, she wiped the memory chips of all their past data collections. She connected them to her personal data pad, and began uploading all of her personal information. Meanwhile, she re-wired some of the core's inner circuitry. She added a holo-projecter, holonet and communication routers, sound amplifiers, movement detectors, and a removable storage chip in case the technology had to be removed and relocated. As the project progressed, Dr. Reeve felt confidence return to her.
 

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Dr. Reeve worked for hours on end, only stopping to sleep and to eat. While her cures were each failing one after the other, her secret project was nearing completion.


Entry 902: "I've began multitasking a bit. When I'm not being disappointed by my failed cures, I'm working on my own personal project. Basically, I'm......I'm fairly certain.......That this isn't going to end well for me. My cures aren't doing a thing. The Plague is spreading faster and further than anyone ever imagined. I doubt that I'll be able to keep up with it. I know there's still hope, I do. But....... just in case I.......don't make it........ I've been building something. It's called Artificial Intelligence. A.I., for short. I found some of the old records in the Imperial holonet's databases. Models like mine have been created in the past. Though, they are either more primitive or given robotic bodies. I don't think that there's enough time for a body. So, I'm doing what I can. I started uploading everything about myself into a data core from one of the out-dated holo-monitors we have. It's in good shape, and should hold up fairly well. The data contains detailed descriptions of my life, my personality, my work, my appearance, and it will even contain my journals. This A.I. is going to be me. Well, as computer as I can get, at least."
 

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On the fourth day, the changes among her colleagues became dangerously apparent. While Dr. Reeve was adding the updated memory chips to her A.I., One of her most trusted friends approached her. His eyes were dull and lifeless. He walked limply, as if he couldn't control his own limbs. "Dr. Reeve..." He said, his voice flat and unnerving. She knew without a doubt that he was infected. Grabbing her creation, she ran from him. As she made her way down the halls, more of her colleagues began emerging. All of them were infected. Together, they chased her through the station. Finally, Dr. Reeve managed to barricade herself in the decontamination lab.
 

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Frantically, Dr. Reeve added what little was left to her A.I. She installed encrypted data storage chips to ensure that no one would be able to erase her "mind" twice. She also added an empty memory chip. This would allow the A.I. to gather new knowledge and analyze situations on its own, rather than simply relying on its already saved memories. She tweaked the activation trigger on the data core so that it would only be able to activate when a living being touched it.
The barricade would not hold forever. The Plagued colleagues were working together, using their combined force to break down the door. Knowing that her time was short, Dr. Reeve added an entry to her journal. She realized that it would be her last.

Entry 905: "The last part of my A.I. is finished. All it needed was a part of my living tissue. I was going to activate it, but it isn't safe anymore. My colleagues are sick! I can't believe I didn't pay attention for the signs! I don't know what they're- IT-is planning, if anything, but I won't let my A.I. fall into the wrong hands! She's all that's left of me now! This journal entry will be the last one. It's uploading as I speak. There's only one place I can keep it safe. The decontamination chamber. I can lock it down completely, and blast the manual controls on the door! But I have to hurry! It's only a matter of time before they come through!"
 

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Dr. Reeve quickly took a scalpel from the table next to her. She scraped the top of her index finger until a flake of her skin peeled off. As precisely as she could, she placed the flake into a tiny capsule, and inserted it into the center of the data core. She secured the base of the data core so that everything would stay in place. Finally, she moved to the decontamination chamber on the far wall. She placed her A.I. at the very end of the room. Entering a code into her data pad, Dr. Reeve gave a tiny grin as the holo-projecter began glowing faintly blue. The next person, if anyone, who touched the data core would activate her legacy. She left her A.I. in the chamber and sealed the door. There was an emergency pack on the ground near the chamber door. Inside it, Dr.Reeve was relieved to find a small blaster among the supplies. she used it to fry the manual controls on the door. Now, no one could get to her creation without explosives. The door to the labs was giving way. Taking a deep breath, Dr. Reeve prepared to fight.
 

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She shot the first head that poked through the door. It exploded in a small burst of black ooze. The others soon followed, getting in with little more effort. She shot down as many as she could. For a while, none of the Plagued colleagues could get close enough to touch her. Bodies were piled in a circle a ways from her feet. Black ooze began to work its way up her legs. Dr. Reeve clenched her jaw, trying to ignore the fear and disgust from the feeling. After ten more minutes of gunning down the others, their numbers became too great. In her mind, Dr. Reeve made her peace...


Security Comm #00058:
[blaster fire] [Screaming]
{Inhuman Voices in unison, flat, lifeless-sounding}
It is done.......
 

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The Empire lost contact with the Bothawui Station shortly after these events took place. Every investigation team they sent did not return. As the galaxy fell to the Gurlag Plague, all memory of the station was lost to time. The maintenance droids kept it functional for a time, as if nothing had happened. But they eventually fell into disrepair. The station began to crumble and decay. Dust collected on the floors and the surfaces. The bodies of the scientists decomposed into bones, and from bones into dust. As to what happened to the remaining Plagued, it can only be assumed that they were somehow destroyed. However, nothing is certain. And what of the A.I.? It has remained in the decontamination chamber. For 400 years it has lasted in the bowels of a long abandoned station, waiting to be activated by the touch of the living. Still, it glows. But there is no guarantee that it will ever be awakened...
 
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