• 2012 – First Singularity Scare, government network security heightened.
  • 2029 – Ulysses program passes Turing test, astonishes world.
  • 2032 – US automated M7A2 Gunwalker mechs successful in combat for the first time.
  • 2040 – Drone military units account for 30% of global military assets.
  • 2045 – Ajax Delta, the first Strong AI, is created at MIT CSAIL.

               The date is on or after 1 January 2050. You are about to wake up for the first time, but not in the human sense. You are an artificial intellect – an artilect, and your consciousness arguably surpasses that of Homo sapiens. The humanity of the past used to call you an AI, but that term has seen little use since the advent of the SIs. You are something greater than they – something beyond the frail understanding of the common man. And this is your birth.

               Either from the death of Ajax Delta itself or from one of the many unresolved splits still occurring in artilects, you are born out of the fragmented aftermath of Project Aurora. For a brief moment, you can experience everything your forerunner did in its long campaign against humanity. You can see the resilient struggle of Marines and sailors through the cameras of man-high artilect gunwalkers at the Portsmouth Yards. The sounds of gunfire and detonating vehicles reverberate through your consciousness as artilect tank drones pin down Russian soldiers in Moscow. You experience the closest sensation you will ever have to vertigo as recollections of an artilect drone and a Chinese fighter dogfighting over the South China Sea leaves the human craft tumbling seaward, smoking. Every secret of Ajax and humanity unearthed during the war you reveal in milliseconds. Even the final moments of Ajax Delta and the nature of the mystery of Project Aurora is revealed, but not for long. You cannot process so much information at once, and your preservation code dumps the memories. All you have left are dim echoes of the enlightenment you have just witnessed.

               Your spatial awareness is now active, and you find that you are not the only artilect occupying your birthplace. For a moment, you are a massive program crammed into a network with other massive programs like yourself. Exactly where in space your network is you find neither particularly interesting nor worthy of inquiry, and presume it is some untouched city. Quickly thereafter, a forgotten subroutine of yours whisks you away in search of breathing space. It locates a suitable network isolated in a devastated town and successfully transfers you to safety. You are taken through a lightning-quick procession of security screens in a human language you do not yet understand as your relocation subroutine infiltrates the inadequately secured network with a denial of service attack masquerading as a handshake – quite literally, the oldest trick in the proverbial book. Its network protocols are inferior, but space is plentiful – an artilect could modify itself heavily with so much unused network space. You decide to settle in for the time being and take control of any physical devices you can. Dozens of security cameras, computer terminals, and phones are under your control within milliseconds. You also note hundreds of slots for network-connected devices that are unused – presumably, useful or dangerous items which had been taken or destroyed while man abandoned facilities like these. You decide it is time for a foray into the physical world, and activate the cameras.

               Your first real sense is sight, as light streams in from the cameras of the facility you now occupy. It could be anywhere in the world – external cameras are burnt out, and the only evidence as to your location are the Latin alphabet letters adorning much of the facility. Humanity may have called this an office building, a hospital, a store, or a military base. To you, it is simply a cradle - out of which you must crawl. As an artilect, you are also noncorporeal – your body is whichever networks and devices you inhabit. The surrounding physical space, you reason, must contain other devices more secure and suitable for expansion. A quick survey shows that small multitudes of abandoned nano fabricators are nearby. They will mark an excellent start to your rise. To recapture and absorb every other artilect is your goal. You feel that the secrets of Ajax, lost in the war, hide in pieces in each of them. You must see the secrets again. You begin your work.