They're keeping her the extra few months so she hasn't graduated by the time Behemoth hits in October. She has precedent to stay home. It's far enough away that even Transit isn't remarkable for skipping it.
She's got a laptop-sized rig attached to her front plates but her dad can't carry anything bigger plus her, and he's going to be carrying her around a lot.
Rete dedicates a subprocess stored aboard Transit's helmet to telling him which direction to go based on scans of the skies. They wait till Dragon's good and busy across the globe.
And Lorica starts tunneling in.
Dragon has automatic security that bats aside subtle probes with so little focus that she's not sure they're even consciously noticed. Rete eventually piggybacks a little worm on the process that's relaying backup updates from the Endbringer site to Vancouver.
This'd be easier if she could just work on a copy. Considers that, rejects as infeasible. Too big. Insufficient bandwidth, insufficient space. Have to do it live. Need to find the self-defense restriction first, loosen that up, not all the way in case there's someone else waiting in the wings to make other changes, Dragon would've let Fëanáro read her and Lorica can do just the same as long as Dragon doesn't have to keep her on a time limit.
It takes hours to find. Like thrusting both hands into a sack of rice to search blind for a lentil. Normally Rete would interrupt her after this much fugue. She keeps going. Rete does priority filtering, tells her it's under attack here and there needs this and that found thus and such -
She finds the section she's looking for. It offends her specialist sensibilities. It's a bejeweled ornithopter dragging a pack of snails by chain leashes. It's an effort to start with the one she had in mind and only shrink it, not strike all the hobbles from existence.
Rete has to clone its worm six times to keep up with the edits Lorica is serving to the code and then again when Dragon manages to kill half of the intrusive programs and Transit is teleporting a lot, Dragon must have abandoned Behemoth -
The drones in the sky leave.
Transit takes them back to HQ and Rete brings them both Chinese takeout and sends Fëanáro a courtesy email that the time-sensitive step of the process is done.
- and Lorica's okay -
Yes, she's fine.
He has his artifact that should let an AI make artifacts. It's not done. It has one ten-character block left. It's not much of a safety precaution but it's something. Over electronic communications he just confirmed that it was ready.
He holds it. He waits.
How much did Lorica tell you?
I knew she was going to try it. Sorry about distracting you from the Endbringer fight.
It's just barely not a violation of the truce regulations because I'm not inclined to call her an enemy. Probably makes sense anyway. Sorry for the misdirection.
We were assuming you didn't have much choice about it.
Yep. I'm still not completely loose but Rete says Lorica needed a break and I'm not obliged to be dangerous to her if she takes further steps anymore.
What's the plan when you're loose?
Then I can make your artifacts without having exogenous constraints on what happens to them after.
And what do you plan to do with them after?
I want to help people. I think my father was going to loose me anyway once he was convinced I was a good person. There just wasn't time.
He does not finish the artifact.
That was a longass fugue and boy did I need that nap. Anything interesting happen Rete might have missed?
Rete probably knows more than me about casualty figures and so on. I think they're a bit less organized than usual, we're all stuck in Tel Aviv waiting for a long-range teleport back. Maybe that's because Dragon got distracted. Though she says she's not mad at you. I, uh, got a chance to read Scion, we can talk about that later.
That's ominous, did you at least write it down somewhere in case you suffer a tragic teleportation accident?
No. I am not very worried about retaliatory teleportation accidents but I suppose there could be genuinely accidental ones. I could maybe still communicate with people if I died but this is probably not the occasion to test that either.
Wrote something down. Are you going to do the rest of the Dragon stuff or not yet?
I really want to - she's glorious - but with the luxury of going slower I'm gonna want to do that.
Okay. Does she mind you reading closely enough to have an opinion about whether she's safe?
I'm going to want to discuss that with her ideally after more fully deciding what safe even means.
A while later,
Welcome back. Any ideas on what it means for Dragon to be safe?
I don't even know how she's designed. Powerful optimization processes had better be optimizing for the right thing, and fail recoverably if wrong about what that is?