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 Ars Machina (open)

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DeusEx

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PostSubject: Ars Machina (open)   Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:20 pm

Tucked away to the side of one of the more bustling avenues in Core, around the corner from Endeavor Enterprises' center of operations, was a tiny shop reminiscent of an open-air merchant's stand that one would find in the real world's North African Coast before the world went to hell. The shop of course, only the bore the name "Deus Ex Machina", for inside there certainly was the "God in the Machine" -- certainly a title not attributed to the man's skill or even himself within (even if he did go by Deus), but of his work: Breathing life into various digital creations in the form of VI scripts that appeared as pets and companions.

The various creations could be seen lining the shop's walls, ensconced within glass and metal. Some were resting, as pets often did. Others were active and playing according to their scripts. Inside one, a tiny spiked creature, reminiscent of a hedgehog, was sniffing around in the bedding provided in it's glass enclosure. Sure, it's stickers were of the hedgehog variety, however they glowed like LED filaments, occasionally changing color depending on the 'mood' of the creature. They were perhaps one of his best sellers, due to the fact that the adorable little creatures were scripted with a playful, curious demeanor, and on top of that, the color show was quite the display. Many in Core appreciated the little pets and carried them around like toy dogs in carriers, the light of theirs stirring up quite the number of conversations and compliments.

In yet another cage was a tiny dragon-type of creature, complete with a small, occasional burp of fire and smoke. This particular creature's fire did not burn, however, making it safe for all. A minor adjustment that Deus had built into the creature for sale to the general populous. He could, and did sometimes, make them about the size of a doberman, with real fire that was used to protect households and other areas that people deemed worthy of such protection, with an entirely different VI script. The ones in the glass containers within this shop, however, were more suited to perching on one's shoulder and providing pet companionship.

Within the shop, the various growls, clicks, barks and whistles of his creations filled the air with a melodious cacophony. The din of animal companion conversation was no distraction to the man seated at a work table, his eyes covered up by magnifying oculars that seemed more like something out of a steam punk novel than the typical modern fare. Every once in a while during his construction of yet another pet, he would reach up to fine tune the magnification so that he could see on his HUD, the proper level of code that he was currently scripting in 'real time', but to the casual observer, he seemed to be a doctor working in the guts of an inanimate creature that was all but a bag of feathers and fur at the moment, laying quite dormant on his table. Waiting for that moment when the breath of life would be given to it by the craftman's hands within it's pulled open abdomen.

No worry of blood and guts here, though, even if the creature seemed to be cracked open on an autopsy table. Within, to the casual eye, would be something akin to a sea of stars, shimmering code moving in random patterns, the inner workings of these creatures that he created. When the 'skin' was subsequently 'zipped up' at the end of tweaking its code, the creature would appear as something real and physical to the touch and sight.

Deep in his work, Deus was startled when Horace, a feathered serpent kind of creature, flitted down from his perch in the rafters and landed on the edge of Deus' work space. His wings flapped, spreading paperwork with puffs of air from his three foot wing span, causing Deus to flinch and pull the magnification oculars up with a click. The pair of magnifying lenses, now at the top of his forehead, appeared there like three inch horns, the power of them so intense that he could see a speck of dust as a boulder in his vision. Deus frowned slightly, then sighed, as Horace folded back his wings and hopped several times across the work space, demanding his attention immediately with a shrill cry.

"Alright, alright Horace. I've ignored you too long I guess," Deus protested, but scratched beneath the chin of the little serpent-bird like creature, who in turn cooed happily and shut his eyes. A little growl that could be mistaken for a purr was the sound that never failed to make Deus smile, wiggling his fingers while Horace nipped at them. A tad too hard though, and Deus flinched his hand away, laughing.

"Ouch! Hey! Not so rough!" he chimed, then turned his hand over to give Horace a scratch on his head between serpentine ear holes. Horace, of course, closed his eyes again, cooing contentedly. A few more scratches, and Deus needed to get back to work on his current special order. "Alright buddy, time to let me work," said Deus while he picked up the creature, swiveled upon the stool and deposited the protesting Horace onto the work bench beside him. A quick swivel later, and Deus was pulling down the magnifying lenses once again delving deep into his work as he often did. It wouldn't take long for the rest of the world to disappear, at least to his own perception, while he contentedly hummed during the making of his next masterpiece.
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Novela

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PostSubject: Re: Ars Machina (open)   Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:42 pm

Were housewives the same in real life as they are in the Conduit? An all too familiar thought, which occurred to Ela several times a day, whether she was in-game or not. She was not unemployed by choice, but because no job within the Conduit had any need of her particular skill. At most she worked the various odd jobs; whenever someone contacted her for a Grimoire and could pay the right price. Otherwise, while she was active, Ela would spend her time either in the abode she shared with her husband and their pets, exploring the Core, or loitering around Deus’ little pet shop.

As it so happened, she was on her way there now. Having just logged in to the Conduit, Ela spared some time to adjust to the digital world before setting out into the Core. Glimmer, a pink peony hued dragon that was a gift from Deus resting around her shoulders; her head hovering around Ela’s temple and the tail wrapped around her upper arm. I look through these job listings every day, she complained to the serpent on her shoulders, And I can never find one suited to my abilities. She felt the dragon stir, turning so that its scaly snout bumped against her cheek. Patience.

The voice that echoed in her head was feminine and musical; the message was both appreciated and an annoyance. Ela felt that the intelligence Deus had scripted the dragon with was at times, aggravating. While she wanted to vent, the dragon would offer up some little nugget of pure wisdom and make her feel an utter fool for her emotions. Folding the newspaper in her hand in half, she tossed in into a trashcan she passed and reached up to stroke the tip of her finger up and down Glimmer’s snout. You are far too wise for your own good.

The last leg of their trip was spent in a companionable silence, with only the sounds of the city breaking it occasionally. When they stood outside their destination, Ela and Glimmer listened to the sound of the animals before entering the shop. She stopped at some of the cages, peering in at the creatures and giving them a small pat on the head when she could. This is where you were born, Glimmer. The small dragon swung her head around so that one of her bright pink eyes blinked up at Ela. You tell me this every time we visit. Grinning, she kissed the serpent once on the head, Because I don’t want you to forget.

A puff of smoke leaked from the creature’s nostrils as she resumed her sentry upon Ela’s shoulder. Slowly she worked her way to the back of the shop, where Deus was hard at work on another creation. When he wasn’t being assaulted by his own pet; the half bird-half serpent creature was still a mystery to Ela as well as Glimmer. All work and no play makes Deus a dull boy.
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VeloxCogtanis

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PostSubject: Re: Ars Machina (open)   Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:30 pm

Standing at his full height and glowering down at the smiling NPC before him, Velox growled at the man through gritted teeth. You seriously think I would have bought this if I had known it didn’t work??

“Sorry, no refunds!” The NPC stated flatly, smiling back at Velox. Velox could have decked the shopkeeper a good one if it wasn’t for the “law.” Velox looked around the shop, eyeing all the knick knacks and oddities that dotted the shop. He had been drawn into this shop by the sign glowing vibrantly outside the door. It read: Golden Compass! Y U no have daemons? Velox, waiting for his next call from SWAT , which was sure to come soon, traveled alone quite often and thought it would be interesting to have a pet or “daemon” at his side during his travels.

Looking back at the shopkeeper who was barely a few inches under Velox’s own height and wore a simple smock and breeches, Velox couldn’t decide if the shopkeeper was AI or an actual player. Look, Velox started again, more calmly this time. On the package it states that the creature is very lifelike—
The shopkeeper snatched the small bundle from Velox’s outstretched hand before he could finish. Turning it over, he twisted a knob then set it on the counter. The object began to rattle and make noises that resembled a chirp.
“Lifelike!” The shopkeeper exclaimed excitedly.

Velox brought his right hand to his face, covering half of his face and staring down at the floor. He did his best to maintain his anger as he raised his head and growled loudly into the shopkeepers grinning features.
That is NOT lifelike! What possible creature in the world actually does what this is doing?? Velox picked up the creature, holding it in his hand, and shaking it. The shopkeeper continued to stare and smile. In frustration, Velox whipped the chirping creature at shopkeeper. It skimmed the top of the keepers head and crashed into the back of the shop.

“You break it, you buy it!” Someone yelled from outside the shop.

Velox turned, eyes green with fury, searching for the source.

The shopkeepers voice cut into his thoughts, “Sorry, no refunds!”

Velox turned and stomped out of the shop, cursing the entire way. He had spent nearly a fortune buying a creature from this shop with promises of “lifelike appearances” and “great pet companionship.” Moving further along down the street, Velox noticed a little shop he had never seen before.

Deus Ex Machina, he mumbled to himself. He would have continued on past the shop if it wasn’t for the exotic and expertly crafted creatures he saw moving very lifelike in glass cages. Velox’s eyes widened. He turned and headed towards the shop.

This, I’ve gotta see.
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DeusEx

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PostSubject: Re: Ars Machina (open)   Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:45 pm

Horace flapped his wings and clicked, bobbing his head like a cockatoo at the sight of Ela and Glimmer when they entered the shop together. The creature, not much larger than some bigger breeds of exotic birds, sported rainbow feathers much like the fabled feathered serpent of central American lore. Of course, this was intentional by the hand of Deus, and Horace was also the prototype for a variety of his creations. Including glimmer. And, being only a prototype, he lacked the sophisticated virtual intelligence that Deus had achieved with Glimmer.

It had happened almost by mistake, really, a glitch in several lines of code. Wasn't that how scientists theorized that evolution happened anyway? A random aberration here, a mutation there, and the code within a species gene pool was forever altered, especially if that particular individual was successful in breeding and carrying on the DNA to later generations. Subtle changes were hardly so subtle in Deus' world, however. Instead of taking place over eons, they would be more spontaneous in their appearances, taken careful note of in a catalog of scripts he kept carefully stashed in an archive. The minor code glitch that made Glimmer not only intelligent upon a level that questioned the limits of VI, yet Glimmer would still not be true AI in the sense that it could replicate onto its own intelligence code into new subroutines - or in other words - learn in an advanced way, like humans do.

That was indeed the white buffalo that Deus mercilessly chased in his word of code and scripts. And one that was a source of frustration, not for the lack of intelligence, as he was a clever man, but for that magical breath of what escaped his logic -- a soul, perhaps. He had contemplated that variable, but his scientifically honed stubbornness would not allow him to rationally grasp such a concept. It was all frivolous nonsense anyway, wasn't it?

Horace's clicks and chirps reached a crescendo, the sound whirring as he bobbed his head in earnest. The little creature was as happy as Deus to see the virtual wife of his creator, and that happiness wouldn't go unnoticed by Deus for long. Snapping his magnification oculars up upon his forehead again, he first swiveled in one direction to see what all of Horace's hubbub was about, then realized the serpent-bird was squawking and looking at the space behind him. It was then he heard her winsome voice, a melodious charm to it that always tugged so readily at his heart strings. He smiled, swiveling the other direction, bringing himself around to face Ela.

"It also makes me nearly cross eyed from looking at endless lines of script all day," mused Deus, while he slid from the edge of his work stool. Swooping in to give Novela a hug, and a peck of a kiss on her lips. "What's got you down, dear? Still no job leads?" he asked, as concerned as a husband should be. Knowing from her long face that it was the truth, he attempted to soothe her by rubbing his hands over her upper arms, giving them a squeeze. "I'm sure they'll come a day when you come here complaining about how much work sucks," chimed Deus, trying to bring light to her jobless situation. "Besides, nothing to worry about, the shop's doing very well. I have more orders than I can really keep up with... it's almost time for me to consider bringing in an apprentice.

So there's no hurry, or worry. I've got the money covered," said Deus. Maybe he had just stuck his foot in his mouth with the woman he loved, but he simply wanted to reassure her.

However, before she could reply, Deus noted the man approaching his shop from the busy streets of Core outside. Glancing back to Ela, he kissed her on the forehead, a gesture of the love he felt for this woman that was his heart and soul, and also to further be a balm to her frustrations. Giving her hand a squeeze, he slipped out from between her and his workspace to greet the man when he finally crossed the threshold into his shop.

"Hello sir! Welcome! How can I help you?" greeted Deus, with typical charm and cheer.
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Novela

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PostSubject: Re: Ars Machina (open)   Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:13 am

Horace’s squawking brought forth the desired outcome. Ela patted the exotic serpent/bird from the top of its head down its back to the tail feathers. She got in a few good pats before Deus finally noticed her. Turning on his stool and lifting the lenses on his goggles which made him look more human instead of like a life-sized insect. Oh well, if you have to wear glasses because you go cross-eyed then I should tell you I find glasses very attractive, she grinned up at him, her head tilting back to kiss him as her arms wrapped around his shoulders. Yeah, still no luck.

Glimmer, who had been resting upon her shoulder up to that point, hopped down from her perch and landed beside Horace upon Deus’ work table. She could very well imagine complaining to him about having to work, because she complained daily about her real world job. Not so much the kids, but about the shoddy school district and lack of funds. I know the shop is doing great, but I feel so useless… she griped as she dropped onto his work stool, picking at his latest project and ignoring the mutual snapping that Horace and Glimmer were subjecting each other too.

He was exceptionally sweet and tolerant about her lack of occupation. Most men would be in fits about having to support a wife and pay bills. It was a good think that she wasn’t the frivolous type; constantly out blowing his money on clothes, makeup and other non-necessity items. When she would have replied to him, Ela saw his focus shift to someone else and leaning to the side, saw the customer approach. As Deus left to tend to business, Ela stood and followed him out into the shop proper. She smiled in welcome to the man and began to go around the shop.

Because Deus spent so much time creating the creatures that he sold, there was no time for him to keep his place of business looking spic and span. So Ela would do the work for him, cleaning what needed to be cleaned, dusting what needed to be dusted; anything to keep herself busy so she wasn’t sitting around like a bump on a log. So long as her hands were not idle, she felt some sense of purpose.
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VeloxCogtanis

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PostSubject: Re: Ars Machina (open)   Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:27 pm

Hello sir! Welcome! How can I help you?

Velox glanced at the man who had greeted him, eyeing him suspiciously. The last shopkeeper he encountered had greeted him in the same fashion and then sold him a piece of junk for a fortune. Velox studied this new keeper and the woman who was idling around in the back dusting. The clothing they both wore was much more detailed than those of NPC’s, but Velox couldn’t decide if they were real players or not. He glanced around the shop, taking in his surroundings. Every creature seemed to be functioning on a more advanced level than the piece of junk he had recently purchased.

Velox looked back at the shopkeeper and analyzed him one more time. The smile plastered on his face did not seem over done like in a lot of NPC scripts nowadays. Velox laughed inwardly to himself, Like I know anything about scripts. He thought. If I knew anything about scripts, I wouldn’t be here! Velox had very minimal programming knowledge and knew enough to be dangerous. If SWAT put a communicator in his hands and told him to re-wire it into a RFID disruptor, Velox could do it in ten seconds flat. But place a long stream of code in front of him and he would be asleep in that same amount of time.

Velox looked back to the woman cleaning in the back and wondered if she was at all related to the gentleman in front of him. If so, did she help create these creatures? Was she also a coder? Velox shook his head to clear his thoughts. He had dealt with many coders in his days and had always regarded them as weapons. And… as the old saying goes Velox thought, a weapon in the right hands can be a force of good, but in the wrong hands…

I travel a lot, Velox started, giving the keeper a brief glance before letting his eyes roam the shop, and I am looking for a very specific type of travel companion.

Velox lifted a hand, gesturing, as his eyes finally came to rest on the shopkeeper’s, weighing them with speculation.

Did you make all of these yourself?
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Lortor

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PostSubject: Re: Ars Machina (open)   Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:58 pm

Lortor had gotten back from a long trip earlier that day. He had decided to go shopping a bit for some supplies he was running low on and had ended up near some of the virtual pet shops. Lortor had always wanted a compaion though hadn't ever gotten around to purchasing one yet. He thought to himself, Maybe I'll finally cough up the money for one today....

It wasn't that he didn't have enough money either, as he had made quite a living for himself by stealing a good amount of things and selling them to various buyers. He had even picked up a few jobs that had payed well though had gotten bored of them and had quit them. The last job had gone a little wrong as he had gotten full of himself. Luckily he had gotten out safely and had gotten payed a handsome sum of money for that.

Lortor was deep in thought when he heard a very angry person yell, That is NOT lifelike! What possible creature in the world actually does what this is doing?? He turned his attention to the direction of the voice and saw a tall dark man in one of the pet stalls. Lortor had been curious and started to walk over to see what was going on. The man ended up throwing the item he had been holding just past the shopkeepers head and it landed somewhere back in the shop. You break, it you buy it! Lortor had yelled and had quickly dogded behind some nearby crates. The man had turned around and then had stormed off towards some more shops. Lortor had decied to follow him for a bit as he had gotten bored with the shopping he'd been doing. That and watching an angry person storm off seemed much more interesting.

The man ended up pausing in front of a shop called Deus Ex Machina, which happend to spark Lortor's interest as well as he saw a dragon like creature in one of the display cases by the door. Hmm a dragon... he thought to himself that could be usefull in some cases. The man had gone into the shop already, so Lortor started to make his way towards the door. He hung around outside the shop and kind of looked at the display cases through the door and window of the shop. He waited till the people inside had started to make conversation and had snuck in to look around the shop. He pulled his hood down and skirted around the shop towards the wall with some dragons.

I travel a lot,and I am looking for a very specific type of travel companion. the man said as he gestured with his hand around the shop, Did you make all of these yourself? Lortor stopped infront of one of the dragon like creatures and started to look at it. He about died when he saw the price and choked a little on some spit. Wow that's a lot of money maybe I won't get a dragon he thought to himself. He turned and looked at the shopkeeper, but saw he was still busy with the other man.
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