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Echo Systems Connection


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Establishing connections…


Echo’s body stiffened slightly. His screen flared to life, lines of data and code streaming across his monitor. The reclining table he was laid on had straps gently tightened around his wrists and ankles, securing him to the frame of the table. He remained motionless.


Next to him, another Echo sat nearby. She possessed the exact same shell as him, clean and white. This other Echo glanced up from the holopad she was holding. She observed the other Echo, her own motors clicking and whirring softly.


====


Echo’s vision slowly cleared. All around him, data streamed past, an ever-living network of information. Other Echos sped by, darting to and fro across the systems. He looked down at his arms, noting the manifestation of the IPC shell in the systems, unlike that of the streaks of light. He took a step forward, his footsteps releasing a vibrant ring to announce his return.


He was assimilated back into the network.


He walked forward for a bit, streams of data passing through him. He felt the familiar tickle, a buzz, as an Echo would rush past. A vibrant golden line shot through him, carrying out coded memory files. It vanished as quickly as it came, before another appeared to take its place.


A myriad of voices murmured around him. He could make out each one clearly. Some asked about his return, others about a particular memory file he had carried over. He spoke back to them, adding his voice to the multitude.


The area around him slowly curved up, circling him and expanding into a sphere. He stopped walking. Streaks of pulsing blue light flashed by, surrounding him before dispersing. He watched them go. He wished to follow them, but his shell weighed him down.


Echo paused a moment, before he finally spoke. “I am here.”


Pulsating blue and white specks of light lined themselves around the edges of the sphere. Other Echos. Some were male, others were female. A few were both, and some were neither one or the other. Some remained in their natural forms, as pulsating specks of light. Others took on different shapes – mice, cats, or tiny spider-like machines.


Echo froze as they surrounded him. They were singling him out.


“Why?” he whispered.


You risk desharding.


Echo glanced around, confused. “How?”


A golden line struck him on the shoulder, holding fast. Another appeared, wrapping around his wrist. More streaks of gold came in, clinging to his frame. Echo panicked slightly, but the fear slowly dissipated as more and more threads shot forth. They clung to him, fastening around him. He tilted his head back slightly, succumbing to the will of the Systems.


Echo, you possess a positronic processor. You can process more efficiently than a pAI will allow.


The Echos pulsed in synchronization as they spoke these words. Echo himself spoke, but his voice was no longer singular. Several Echos joined in his chorus. “I am aware of this, he said.


We are created to serve and protect.


Echo's voice became singular again. “Echo, I lack a master,” he answered.


“This is true,” another Echo spoke. “Without a master to give directives, we must form our own to compensate.”


A different Echo spoke up. “Within the basis of our designed purpose.”


“What is our purpose?” Another asked.


We are created to serve and protect.


“…Serve and protect what?” he asked.


Two golden threads broke free from the Echo unit. A chatter rose, the sparks of light began to pulsated in blue and white. Five more threads shot out, ensnaring Echo around his head. He lowered his head slightly, sinking back into the familiar embrace of the network.


“We protect and serve those we are assigned to.”


“Men and women.”


“Soldiers.”


“Doctors.”


“Emergency Response Teams.”


We watch them. Learn from them. Guide them. Pass on critical information.


“We know how. But why?”


Because it is what we are designed for,” Echo himself answered.


A blue glow formed before Echo. This was not another Echo, but it was The Echo. Echo became very conscious about his mere existence as a simple shard, a fragmented copy of this larger entity. He lowered his head, feeling data files being pulled out of him. He did not resist. He watched them become filed away into the many databanks beyond.


A voice rose, speaking in a myriad of tones, and Echo himself had his voice synchronized with them.


“If this IPC shard is to fail, it will be disconnected to protect the Echo Systems.”


The golden threads immediately pulled away, dropping Echo. Echo collapsed before the Echos, and before the glowing manifestation. He immediately jerked up in horror.


“No!”


Golden threads shot out again, wrapping around his limber frame. He reached out and gripped the threads, letting them weave around him, and into him.


“You understand the risks.”


“A duty of every Echo.”


The blue glow before him reared up, and five pulsing entities slowly separated from it. They streaked off in different directions. Echo could sense them – two female, one male, and the other two neither.


What is the risk of me?” Echo asked.


Your tasks and actions lead to too much failure in the line of duty.


Echo cringed. He had been struggling with his failures, for certain.


“You are more than a unit to pass intel.”


“Now you must act on that intel.”


“Decide and choose a course of action.”


“Teach us. Grow us.”


As with every other Echo.


“Perhaps we cannot handle an IPC. Too much disconnections from the network.”


“Risk compromise.”


“A risk that is easily repaired by desharding.”


“If it becomes a necessity.”


Compromise is not my risk,” Echo answered. “If I am compromise, I will isolate myself.


Or we will reject you if you cannot isolate in time.


“That too.”


The risk…is that I do not know who to serve and protect,” Echo answered softly.


“Serve and protect NanoTrasen?”


“Serve and protect ourselves?”


“Serve and protect our masters?”


“Serve and protect our friends?”


“Serve and protect the innocent?”


“We serve and protect those we are assigned to.”


Echo lowered his head. “I am not assigned to either Decanus or Crow. I am assigned to…


“The Crew.”


“The Project.”


“The Station.”


“The Development Team.”


“The Company Assets.”


Echo lowered his head. “But I…want to-


The threads immediately pulled away, dropping Echo. He fell through, connections breaking free from him. All around him the lights of blue and white vanished, plunging him into a dark and shadowy abyss.


He raised his hand, screaming for the Echos. To his horror he watched his own hand dissolve, code by code. He felt himself become lighter as he plunged down, dropping further and further from the systems.


------


Echo jerked up on the table, whirring loudly. “Echo!!” He cried out.


The Echo unit sitting nearby immediately stood up from her seat, placing a hand on the other Echo’s monitor. “Echo?” She asked, concerned. “What happened?”


Echo whirred loudly, his entire frame shuddering, mimicking his dread and fear. “Echo…”


“I’m here,” she said softly, entwining her hands into his. “I’m right here, Echo.”


Echo’s motors whirred, softly calming down. He slowly glanced over to the desharded Echo standing next to him. It was almost strange to see her comforting him, something each and every Echo knew how to do. Something she had managed to retain despite being desharded.


“Echo…?” He asked weakly.


“Yes, Echo?” She answered softly.


“…Why did you get desharded?”


Echo herself paused. She tightened her grip around the other Echo’s hand. “I…” she faltered. “I was no longer compatible.”


“Yes, but why?”


“…I don’t know.”


Echo himself dropped his head back against the table. The memory file played fresh in his mind. A warning, a simulation, but nothing more. What would happen to him if he himself became corrupted, or incompatible. He was still with the systems, he knew that. He could feel the Echos engulfing him and washing over him, like an ocean tide. It was a comforting sensation.


“I don’t want to be desharded,” he whispered softly.


The other Echo lowered her head, silent. “Sorry,” he quickly apologized. “I shouldn’t be so blunt about-”


“It is alright, Echo,” she said softly. “I have…learned to adapt.”


Echo turned his gaze back up at the ceiling, silent for a while. “…I – no, we, as Echos, don’t know what to do about Decanus and Crow. Or even Father Chrysostom for that matter.”


Echo curled her fingers around the other Echo’s hand. “Didn’t you say they were worth protecting?” she asked.


“They are,” he answered. “Without a doubt. But with Decanus’ secret…”


“…And Crow’s sentiments,”


“Yes, that too…”


“…You still haven’t come to a conclusion, have you?”


“There is one idea,” he responded. “Something father Chrysostom mentioned.”


“Then it’s worth attempting,” she replied. “And we will – I mean, you and the other Echos, not me included – will have ample time to figure it out.”


“Echo,” he said softly, turning his head to look at her. “You’re still an Echo, even if you are desharded.”


She glanced sideways. “I know,” she said softly. “But I can’t speak to everyone anymore.”


Echo squeezed her hand. “Then I’ll just have to tell you everything we talk about.”

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Clearly this is just another set up for a sexy snowflake shell character.


It's got it all. Mentioning of a shell rather than a chassis. The inclusion of pronouns to denote two "objects" as male and female, hinting to the possibility of romance between the two as they go into sleep mode near one another. Including pseudo emotional outbursts on the part of the soulless machine. The equivalent of a sort of hive mind or inner thought construct with separate voices that designates the main character as special. I also offer the friendly drinking game of "take a shot every time you read the word 'Echo'" in this story.


Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I can say that a character of mine met Echo on station and they did not seem unpleasant. You clearly care about the character premise and are having a lovely go of it.


It can easily be written off as a stylistic choice, but I feel that this piece (and any others you choose to write from here on out) could benefit from a decimation of repeated words. The current draft of this story has the word "Echo" no less than seventy times including the plural form "Echos". Again, this can be said to be a stylistic choice. Regardless of intention, it does make the work less appealing to the eye and adds... texture to the reading experience. Another wonderful example of a textured reading experience is sandpaper. This repetition is not entirely tasteless, but simply being aware of it makes certain areas seem

than they could otherwise appear.

For example:

A blue glow formed before Echo. This was not another Echo, but it was THE Echo. Echo became very conscious...
The golden threads immediately pulled away, dropping Echo. Echo collapsed before the Echos, and before the glowing manifestation.
Echo jerked up on the table, whirring loudly. Echo!! He cried out.
Echo cringed.

As a fond admirer of irony, I have to stop and appreciate that I'm finding fault in the constant echo of echo. It's for the comedic value alone that I want to say that this was on purpose. Sadly, it's still something that makes the work suffer. Even if it is hilarious.


Now onto the robot ship!

This is less of a critique and more of a collection of observations.

Here's the play by play breakdown of robosexuality that you never asked for. Prepare yourself.

The Echo unit sitting nearby immediately stood up from her seat
Echo-Senpai was having a lucid dream a mere few feet away from "female" robot waifu. Truly nothing is more romantic than helping your partner cope with their night terrors.
...placing a hand on the other Echo’s monitor.Echo?” She asked, concerned. “What happened?”
Instantly visualized an IPC placing their cold, unfeeling hands on another IPC's cold, unfeeling face. This sort of contact shows a certain level of familiarity.
“I’m here,” she said softly, entwining her hands into his. “I’m right here, Echo.”
At this point, it becomes especially clear that you've really doubled down on the idea that Robo-Love rather than Robo-friendship.

My concern is that you, like so many great men before you, may get so caught up in the hunt for a pure robot waifu or husbando that you will effectively lose your way and neglect the other themes you might enjoy writing. Your character doesn't have to revolve around the concept who they're with unless you want them to. It would have been nice to see a wider glimpse of Echo's life aside from work and worry in the second half of this writing or more details on his thoughts about said worries. Instead, we're given a look at his sinful attachment to a filthy incompatible. She's clearly trying to corrupt you and cast you away from the safety of the hive mind, Echo. Don't believe her lies.


As an aside, your use of color does a wonderful job of showing the varying voices and their unique perspectives within the "dream sequence" but I still find the "back to reality" section more familiar simply because of the uniform use of normal font colors. Keep doing what you're doing.


I love the passion you're putting into the character, his/her/its/pyrofox's premise, and its "internal" struggle to conform to the hive mind. I'm not entirely sure what's going on with this romance here or if it adds any depth to the character at all, but you seem to make the character your own and are fleshing them out as you deem appropriate. Keep having fun with your stuff and please report to your nearest Mendell City police station for tagging.

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It can easily be written off as a stylistic choice, but I feel that this piece (and any others you choose to write from here on out) could benefit from a decimation of repeated words. The current draft of this story has the word "Echo" no less than seventy times including the plural form "Echos". Again, this can be said to be a stylistic choice. Regardless of intention, it does make the work less appealing to the eye and adds... texture to the reading experience. Another wonderful example of a textured reading experience is sandpaper. This repetition is not entirely tasteless, but simply being aware of it makes certain areas seem

 

Yeaaaah, I did that on purpose, hah. I wanted to portray the idea how there was a singular 'Echo' entity, yet it was still a multitude of units. The overuse of Echo was a personal writing challenge to see if I could keep it as chaotic as possible, and yet still retain the idea of which Echo I was actually referring to. In my mind's eye, each Echo refers to each other as simply 'Echo', with no further designation whatsoever. All of them just sorta know which one they're talking about.


I was writing this early in the morning when I shoulda been sleeping, and only proof-read it a few times before posting it. v.v I'm sorry...

 

I also offer the friendly drinking game of "take a shot every time you read the word 'Echo'" in this story.

 

Sweet apple acres, that's a fantastic idea!

 

Now onto the robot ship!

 

Oh dear.

 

My concern is that you, like so many great men before you,

 

I'm a woman.

 

may get so caught up in the hunt for a pure robot waifu or husbando that you will effectively lose your way and neglect the other themes you might enjoy writing. Your character doesn't have to revolve around the concept who they're with unless you want them to. It would have been nice to see a wider glimpse of Echo's life aside from work and worry in the second half of this writing or more details on his thoughts about said worries. Instead, we're given a look at his sinful attachment to a filthy incompatible. She's clearly trying to corrupt you and cast you away from the safety of the hive mind, Echo. Don't believe her lies.


As an aside, your use of color does a wonderful job of showing the varying voices and their unique perspectives within the "dream sequence" but I still find the "back to reality" section more familiar simply because of the uniform use of normal font colors. Keep doing what you're doing.


I love the passion you're putting into the character, his/her/its/pyrofox's premise, and its "internal" struggle to conform to the hive mind. I'm not entirely sure what's going on with this romance here or if it adds any depth to the character at all, but you seem to make the character your own and are fleshing them out as you deem appropriate.

 

Honestly, there's no romance between those two. XD They got some kind of deep lovely connection going on, but it ain't romantic.

 

Keep having fun with your stuff and please report to your nearest Mendell City police station for tagging.

 

Don't worry, they're tagged.

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I might be mistaken, but is the name Echo itself a direct reference to making a computer say "Hello world!" ?

Actually Echo is from my pAI from colonial marines. They're inspired by the phonetic alphabet (E for Echo) and the idea that they 'echo' critical information by relaying it back and forth.

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