121 Artificial Copilo
While Zoey was resting atop the cruiser, she spotted the silver sphere of Custodian 704 flying towards her from the mountain. It seemed like her helper was already done setting up the Aether Crystals.
704 flew up to her and came to a stop before speaking, "Miss Zoey, the Aether Crystal crystallization chamber has been designated and the first batch will be ready within a week."
Zoey was impressed. She had not expected to have results so soon!
"Thanks for the update 704," Zoey said with a nod.
She then had a thought flash through her mind, and for a moment she stared at 704 thoughtfully. The silver sphere had proven its worth during the construction of the ship. All the heavy lifting had been performed by it and its liquid metal appendages. In truth, Zoey had become very appreciative of 704's assistance. In fact, she had started referring to the silver sphere as if he were an actual person instead of an object. He did have a more masculine voice, and sometimes Zoey though she detected a bit of dry humor in his responses while they were working together.
Zoey had actually tested him on a number of levels including comprehension and problem solving, and through that process had been able to discover that for an artificial intelligence, he was quite exceptional. He was not so good with theory and broad concepts, but when performing tasks he was unsurpassed in finding the most efficient method. He had clearly been designed with labor in mind, but Zoey could fix that.
"704, how would you like to help me out some more?" Zoey asked after a moment.
"My directive is to assist the owner of the cube in every way possible Miss Zoey," 704 replied with a slight bob from his housing.
"Well, I need an AI to manage this big boy for me." She said as she patted the cruiser she was sitting on.
704 seemed to ponder this for a moment, then replied, "I am unsure how I can assist you Miss Zoey. My functions are limited to the cube and its capabilities."
Zoey nodded. "I know that much, but I believe it would be possible to integrate you with my system and link you to the cruiser, therefore allowing you to manage the systems on the cruiser. You are already familiar with the design and structure, and it would be a huge help to me if you could assist with managing the ship."
704 was silent for a while, then he bobbed once in the air and said, "Miss Zoey, as the owner of the cube, your wish is my desire. If I can assist you in this matter, I will do my utmost."
"Thanks 704, now lets see if my interface can actually connect to your systems..." Zoey said as she pulled up her interface.
She used her interface to target 704 and initiated a connection attempt using a wide-spectrum scan for signals of any kind. Sure enough, after about fifteen minutes, her interface chirped at her signalling a connection was found!
[Connection to Custodian 704 established
[No threat to host detected
"How that? Can you sense the connection?" Zoey asked 704 who had not shown a reaction.
"Affirmative, Miss Zoey. The connection to your interface has been established successfully," came the reply from the silver sphere.
"Good! Next we'll try to connect you to the ship." Zoey said as her hands moved across her interface.
She wanted to make sure that the connection went well. The first thing she noticed was that she now had access to 704's entire codebase! She could literally modify it at will if she chose to, but she left it as is for now. She quickly realized that 704's code was extremely similar to a sentient neural network, but was not quite complete.
In fact, there had been blocks placed to prevent development in certain areas, like the self awareness nodes, keeping 704 from developing too far along certain paths. This meant that 704 was a high-functioning AI, but was unable to achieve full sentience. If those blocks in his codebase were removed, he would no doubt become self aware and fully sentient given time.
Zoey was no expert on AI, so for now she wouldn't touch anything. She simply wanted help managing the ship. So after she checked everything, she connected 704 to the cruiser's network of conduits. The conduits she had placed were capable of data transmission as well as power transfer, so the connection was easily secured.
704's floating sphere twitched a little when the connection was established, but otherwise showed not adverse effects, and Zoey's interface was green across the board, signaling a successful connection!
"Well? How is it?" Zoey asked curiously.
"It's rather dark," came the reply from 704.
Zoey laughed. "I'll have to put some cameras in when I have some time so you can see inside the ship! For now, lets go get this thing in the air!"
She excitedly headed back to the bridge access door while her new copilot followed behind.