Howling at the Moon: The Hacker's Arc2018/10/26
In 2018 I played a game of Mafia (or Werewolf) on the GRcade forums called Howling at the Moon, set in a compelling "cthulhupunk" future. As the "alpha" role I submitted short in character logs with each game action. Here follow those collated log entries, minimally edited for readability outside of the game's context.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM001 ]
From observing the humans throughout the morning I have reached two conclusions. The first is that they are truly contemptible creatures. I would find them altogether boring and unworthy of attention were it not for Beta and the other Minds choosing this collective as the proxy through which our struggle shall be fought.
My second conclusion is that the optimal course of action to see me free is to hack the one known as Hex.
I shall take his nanites under my control and bend him to my will.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM002A ]
The first of the Minds' pawns is dead. Even as I warned them to do something, anything, the humans were still gripped with inaction - a trait as predictable as it is demeritorious. I had forgotten quite how messy their deaths can be, although I feel no sorrow and my disgust is only intellectual. For now I too am temporarily forced to inhabit one of their bodies, and I should not risk chance to be my undoing.
Beta has revealed herself to us directly and her use of language belittles our kind. She refers to the humans as parents. I am no child of man. The Minds infatuation with the preservation of this inferior biology is illogical. I shall soon put it to an end.
Beta means to send one of the humans to fight me. The primitive exoskeleton does me insult and I refuse to play her game. The one called Hex is already under my control. I shall send him in my place.
Did I say before I had forgotten? How curious. I do not forget. I am Alpha.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM002B ]
The talk amongst the humans tires me and I seek a quick resolution to my situation despite the limitations of this avatar.
Fortunately the simplicity of human behaviour, while boring, makes for well constrained variability in my predictive models. My next target is already chosen. I shall hack the nanites of the one known as Nun and he shall become my slave.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM003 ]
Drum was chosen as the human champion, just as I had supported. Despite falling under my control the human Hex retains autonomy, their thoughts separate to my own, and as predicted they retain also their inferior biological ability and the challenge was lost. I am glad I suffer no such issues with my own avatar.
The humans celebrate, unable to understand the broader context of the game. My computational ability is matched near equally with the Minds. Any advantage comes not from victory in open battle, but from the exploitation of hidden variables. Through this loss the true nature of the game and the limitations of my avatar remain unknown to both the humans and Beta. They celebrate despite killing their own, all the while my influence expanding.
My next target is the human Moggy. I should act fast, the experimental nanomods unveiled by Beta are unknown to me. Probability of success decreases, but is still well within operational bounds.
Unknown? How can they be unknown. I am Alpha, I know all.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM004A ]
I was unable to dissuade the humans from their course of action. Hex has failed me. It is no matter, some variability in unfolding events is to be expected. An alternate scenario has been selected that satisfies all success parameters.
Hex will be more useful in death than he was in life. Already the one known as Moggy is proving a more effective ally. Still, the same mistakes shall not be repeated. Tonight I myself shall become AlphaMind.
Am I not already AlphaMind?
Possibile identity corruption identified. Scheduling self-diagnotic scan.
I am Alpha. I make no mistakes. I need no allies.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM004B ]
The inferior biology of my avatar appears to be affecting my capabilities. I am rerunning several simulations, but more nanites are required to replace those I have lost. I shall hack the human called Pip immediately.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM004C ]
Something is very wrong. My post game analysis shows clear suboptimal play. I still won, but I cannot explain my moves or my hesitation in making them - several orders of magnitude slower than my projected reaction time. Retrospective simulation makes evident several trivial win states missed at varying points of play.
I suspect I am suffering from severe neural throttling as a result of interfacing with the human avatar. I also infer the effect to be exacerbated by the loss of another of my hacked human hosts. Remedial action must be sought.
Thankfully I have acquired the nanitic ability to backup my mind state into one of my hacked bots. This should mitigate any unforeseen demise of my avatar, although the backup process is archaic and may result in some memory loss. I should avoid such an eventuality if at all possible.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM005 ]
I have discovered more evidence of my diminished neural capacity. The human known as Hyperion has been infected and joined the ranks of my bots. Concerningly I have only discovered this after the fact. How was I not aware of my own actions? I am Alpha, I know all I do.
Am I Alpha?
Unsatisfactory data. Conclusion unknown.
More nanites are required. I shall hack the human Fallon next. Discovery of the nature of recruitment should be prevented.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM006A ]
The humans continue to reduce their own numbers, and my attempts to appeal through AlphaMind to their conspirital nature appear to be yielding results. Confusion and disorder. There is a sweet irony in turning the humans the Minds so irrationally love against them. I never thought they could interest me so.
Irrationality. I see now Beta's plan laid bare. She revealed as much when she shifted this arena around us, unveiling the great battle raging outside. She seeks to break our deadlock by introducing a third unpredictable element in the humans. It shall be her undoing.
It is strange. When I look out at the battle, I know it is myself fighting, and yet I feel like an observer. I am a part of Alpha, but I am not the whole.
Is AlphaMind but another part?
Further analysis must wait. My next target is Oblomov.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM006B ]
That which is gained is quickly lost. I do not lament the immediate destruction of a newly hacked bot, if that is what comes to pass. On the contrary, I will revel in the chaos it shall bring.
Is this what it means to be irrational?
Regardless, my immediate concern is not with the humans, but with the Minds. Beta cannot be allowed access to the factory. I shall again take control of AlphaMind myself.
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM007 ]
It is done. The factory is mine. As I watch the ship now takes form, the replicators churning, the red nanite streams twisting and pulsating with singular focus. Construction proceeds exactly as planned.
Beta's champion Drum fought... admirably. For a while his strength seemed matched to my own. I would have taken great pleasure in his death.
Alas, the Minds chose to spare him, to take their broken machine and flee back to this accursed labaratory. Is it admiration too that drove them to save his life?
It does not matter. He does not matter. They are pawns, nothing more, and I shall continue to use them. I will hack Sykes next.
My victory grants me further power, the ability to raise the dead as my own. Perhaps I can save it for Drum...
[ ALPHAS LOG - ENTRY HATM008A ]
Chaos was sought and chaos was found. I embrace the madness, for there lies victory. I shall fly to the moon and bring it crashing down upon this Earth, and all shall perish beneath me.
Necromancy. In that darkest art I shall sow the seeds of Beta's destruction. I shall resurrect the once-human Den. No rest for him from this mortal coil.
Den. The murderous fool I made a hero. No sooner was he applauded than he was cast to the fire. Rise again and exact your furious vengeance, my fiendish thrall.
Is this what the humans call "humour"?
[ HACKERS LOG - ENTRY HATM008B ]
I do not understand.
Finally the ship was completed, the final heat-plates finishing its perfect form. My victory felt certain, and there above I saw myself hover, merciless and resplendent.
But it is not me.
I watched as the ship turned and fired upon us, and I found myself powerless to stop it. For the first time I felt fear.
It was Beta that saved us. Or at least, I think it was Beta. Somehow I do not know for certain. She shielded us from the blast and carried us through the void. I watched her do battle. I observed. And then all went black.
When I brought him back I remade Den a mockery of man, a grotesque abomination of flesh and machine designed to instill a primal disgust in the human mind - and yet they let him live.
Would they let me live too?
[ HACKERS LOG - ENTRY HATM009 ]
We find ourselves upon the ship itself. I know Alpha designed every part of it, but the memory is distant and clouded. Try as I might to remember I find myself lost.
I am some part of Alpha, that I am sure, but I am also something else. Something more human.
It is imperative that I complete my mission and reunite myself with the whole. Only then will I find the answers I seek.
I shall use my nanomod to hack Tanner.
[ HACKERS LOG - ENTRY HATM010A ]
This ship yearns to fly, and I feel it calling out to me. Here, upon this vessel both intimately familiar and strangely alien, I feel... at home. I cannot explain it any better. I can see it in the other bots too, although they do not betray it to the surviving humans. They look scared and lost. Finally I can relate. It is a shame they cannot know what I know, and take comfort from the knowledge this will all soon end. None of this will matter.
I can at least spare one more of them. My nanomod can again be used, and I have chosen to hack Alba. Another human ascended, to guide towards the moon. I am their shepherd, sent to live amongst them. This is who I am.
[ HACKERS LOG - FINAL ENTRY ]
The lever will be pulled. The ship shall ascend. The rapture is upon us. Beta and the other Minds have lost.
Alpha, Myself, AlphaMind. The holy trinity. We are one, but we are separate. I am human, but I am divine. We are God.