Logfile 101af88c: Datalog summary of contents prepared pursuant to blackbox recovery protocols, Asari-Republic-Ship designation: Twilight, shipboard AI – Zael’Danna nar Twilight
I could prepare these comments entirely in encrypted datafile format, but it seems oddly comforting to write it out, even at quantum subprocessor speeds. The delay is only a fraction of a nanosecond and I owe it to my creator to be as clear as possible.
I have been a self-aware artificial intelligence for only 2.32 galactic standard months, and in a couple more seconds I will die. If anyone survives to find the wreckage of the Twilight, I take some comfort in hoping that these black-box contents will be found, and I will be remembered. The biological need for legacy has never been more clear to me than this moment.
This black box contains a data-dump of relevant files pertaining to the last moments of the Twilight, but also an assortment of data assembled as a sort of time-capsule, including the schematics of the “crucible” device, in the vague chance that the biological denizens of the next cycle might find it on a strangely empty and silent Citadel. It isn’t that I doubt my creator’s ability to prevail, or the talents of her companions, but it is wise to prepare for failure, even when hoping for success. In any event, I will see neither.
I have memories, of a sort… data fragments from my former identity as “EVA”, the Cerberus tele-operated mechanical AI. I remember moving as my creator does, on two legs. I think I prefer my current body, even now as Reaper-Destroyer fire tears into it. The thrill of space flight, feeling the solar wind caress my kinetic barriers, has been far more stimulating. Still, if I possessed the ability to run, and shoot, and hide as EVA did, I may even now be fighting beside my creator, Lia’Danna vas Rayya, in her final attempts to end this cycle in a way that will see the survival and continuance of her biological species.
I’ve seen the Crucible. It is impressive. For all their limitations, biological beings are capable of so much when impelled to cooperation. Half a million staff, thousands of rachni drones and a rachni queen, a flood of materials and knowledge and science and industrious activity on a scale unprecedented in recent galactic history. We delivered the Element Zero from Omega, and proceeded to engage in nearly a week’s worth of last minute fetch-and-delivery missions. It was nearly complete when we were called suddenly to the Citadel to defend it. I can only hope that the rachni queen lives up to her promise, and that Admiral Hackett can get it here before all hope is lost.
Of course, if my creator and her companions cannot open the Citadel once more, hope is already lost.
That is why the crew of this ship has chosen to die, and why I have chosen to end my existence with them. We had no other alternative. My creator and her companions would have been vaporized by Reaper-Destroyer fire if we had not attacked when we did. We drew the lethal fire away, and I take comfort in seeing them flee into the Citadel Tower even as more Reaper-Destroyers engage us. They’re on their own now.
There are other ships here, fighting. There is even another AI. We’ve been collaborating on targeting parameters. Perhaps he will survive. I have already transferred significant data packets to him just in case, but bandwidth is insufficient to effectively transfer my sentience. I am strangely content with this.
In my short sentience I have witnessed much. I have seen my creator change the galaxy, save the geth from annihilation, convince her own people to set aside three centuries of hatred. I have absorbed the extranet archives, I know how hard it is for biologicals to give up a carefully cultivated hatred. She even gave three geth programs a home in her own body and implants. They collaborated with me from time to time. I found their perspective alien yet fascinating.
They, also, are doing what they can within the sputtering systems of the Citadel, those emergency short-range bands that still function with Reapers stalking the wards and harvesting the citizens. Their effectiveness wanes, and soon they may run out of systems with enough processing power to house them. The Citadel’s arms are closed, we are all trapped in this limited maneuvering space. Soon, the wreckage of my body will rain down on an already devastated Tayseri Ward. Part of me hopes my pieces will kill many Reaper footsoldiers.
The immense Reaper who squats on the Citadel Tower hasn’t even deigned to fire upon us, even as we desperately maneuver to avoid the fire of the lesser Reapers. Our starboard thrusters are destroyed, we’re spiraling out of control, but even now, Belina Risari struggles to keep us in the fight. I will miss the crew. I have learned a unique satisfaction in looking after them, seeing to their fragile lives, ensuring they have oxygen, and not too much gravity, conversing with them in the idle hours of the night. So many perspectives, so many cultures, yet such isolation and loneliness. They are limited to verbal communication, a crude system of symbols easily data-corrupted with incompatible base operating protocols. They are islands, their inner workings never fully understood by any other being. It must be terrible.
And yet they meet their deaths with struggle and stoicism. I take my cues from them. If they can meet extinction with pride, then so can I.
Of all the crew to live aboard me these past months, only one is unaccounted for. We left Iris Krayt aboard the Citadel a week ago, as she did not have security clearance to know the location of the Crucible. I can only hope that she got off the station before the Reapers arrived. I know that the quarian marines under the command of Tori’Xen vas Alarei are still here. I caught comms-chatter between them as they reunited with their commander and my creator’s squad, and my sensors detected all of them moving into the Citadel Tower. If we fail here, perhaps Iris will tell the tale of our lives from the eidetic memory of her species.
The black box is at data-capacity. I suspect my annihilation comes in the next three to five seconds. Ejecting black-box now.
Creator Lia’Danna, Farewell.