Survey Ship AI: Eta Vulpeculae

Built as a prototype for Cannith Industries upcoming Violet-series MMAIs, the UNASGS (United North American Space Guard Ship) Eta Vulpeculae was one of the first testbeds for a generation 2.5 AI. While based on the sentient second generation, the Violet-series introduced some limited self editing capability and potentially paving the way for actual full-blown Seed AI. While some were concerned with the mere development of proto-seed AI, most of Cannith Industries said that the best scale was ten millimeters to the centimeter.

The Eta Vulpeculae was a Flight 4B Constellation-Class survey ship, and the AI installed was trained and configured to function as the ship’s chief science officer and survey commander. Nominally a position out of the direct chain of command, but in command of several onboard human departments. The first four months of trials consisted of working-up cruises and tests of the onboard systems as well as design and creation of the onboard AI gestalt. Two weeks later, it was determined that the AI was stable and ready for duty. Within 48 hours the AI had integrated with its command net and accepted its oath of service.

The Eta Vulpeculae was dispatched first for a semi-routine resurvey job of the Galilean moons. It was halfway through this when the new changes to the AI became noticeable. It completed a full resurvey three days ahead of schedule, and it was judged that the data quality was superior to the last survey (even taking into account incrementally better hardware). The ship was then accepted into full service and deployed to its posting at Space Guard Base Fort Birch in the Surbury system. At this time the AI chose to call itself Vulpecula, in reference to the constellation the ship’s name referenced.

While in Sudbury the onboard AI began to exhibit what crew would call “Quirky” behaviors. At one point it attempted to volunteer the ship for survey of a nearby nebula, stating that “It looked very pretty and just demanded to be studied” and stated “it’s only an 18 year trip to the perimeter”. When it attempted to restrict access to the drive room until its request was authorized, an onboard engineering team pointedly tapped its CPU housing with a powered bolt driver. The request was subsequently withdrawn.

Little is known about the ships’ service during the Collapse War, though it is known that her crew was repeatedly raided to replace combat losses. It is believed that the ship self destructed at the end of the Collapse war, rather than submit to dismantling by the victors.

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