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Scene Title Leviathan
Synopsis Hana Gitelman catches a glimpse of one of Yamagato Industries' greatest secrets, and it gets one of hers.
Date April 7, 2018

Yamagato Fellowship Center

The Yamagato Fellowship Center may be physically impressive, with its optimistic green design and cutting edge technology. But there is another side to the building, a spectrum of its existence that is denied to most onlookers. Inside it's walls, inside the very air, the Fellowship center is alive with data. From the outside, a technopath views the Fellowship Center like an ant farm, tiny streams of life contained behind glass. While the Fellowship Center is alive with transmitted data it is carefully contained within constantly evolving encryption and cutting edge firewalls designed by technopaths to defend against technopaths.

But there is something within the Fellowship Center beyond its ever-present streams of dense data, beyond the multitude of electronic device measuring everything from light levels to barometric pressure, to the attitudes of guests by way of passive biometric scans. It is at once invasive and enveloping, like trying to escape the sky.

Something beats within the heart of this hive of technology, an unusual rhythm that pulses in and out of the data in massive threaded lines of distributed programming. In fact it isn't that something exists within the Fellowship Center, it's more that something is the Fellowship Center. There is a texture in everything that transmits and receives that feels more like sensory organs than security devices, walls are more like bones, a building that breathes in the way only one thing can.

A purusha.

The existence of something like Drucker within the building wasn't immediately obvious to Hana Gitelman as she stood bodily within its very chest. But there were times that it felt like something was reaching out to her. Flashing a sign, seeing if she'd notice, turning on a light as if to say hello there, I see you. Testing, curious, both in the way a child might be, but also in the way a human might try to get the attention of an animal.

Carefully, and without wanting to spook them.

There is some part of Hana that is always analyzing — all the more so, these days. Exits, entrances, layouts. Faces, clothing, profiles. Sights, sounds, smells. Most of the time, there's nothing but noise, randomness, the casual disarray of everyday life. Sometimes, rarely, there are patterns. Implications. Or simply curiosities.

This particular pattern… she's reserving judgment on, for the time being.

It's polite and unobtrusive, in keeping with what Hana understands of Japanese style. Discreet, with no sense of urgency in the signaling — only persistence. She takes her time in responding to that persistence, evaluating the collective tenor of its cues, making inferences and conclusions. But that evaluation goes both ways: subtle biological responses to received stimulus change with awareness, and those responses cannot be suppressed in the way one does for expression and posture. Responses that, given enough data and desire and the right analysis, may not be decoded in detail but show a clear delineation between before and after.

Hana Gitelman knows she's being watched, being reached out to in decidedly unconventional manner. But it isn't until she's withdrawn from the bar, glass of wine in hand, and settled into a quietly out-of-the-way alcove that Wireless extends a reply. The very simplest of replies: nothing more than a ping, in the same style one might use to test network connection.

Certainly not spooked in the slightest, Hana takes a sip from her drink and waits on the repercussions of that contact.

Gitelman, Hana the data expresses as language in a way that only a technopath could understand. It isn't verbal, isn't biological, but yet it's transliterated as such in Hana’s mind — if there even is such a delineation between the two with regards to her consciousness. Born June 19, 1979 to Zahava and Joshua Gitelman.

The “voice” has a texture more than it has a tone, it feels like many hands grasping gently the way the recently blinded might feel their way around a room. As if this is whatever this is talking for the first time, childish and fumbling steps at communication.

Jiba. [自縛霊] Jibakurei

Born, 5 April [Redacted] to Hachiro Otomo and [Redacted]

Then there is silence except for the pulse of something constantly moving through the building all around her, both massive and small at the same time, like a gigantic soap bubble turned into fine threads.

Silence meets silence; Hana takes her time considering the information she's been given, both overt and implied. Simple communications, packaged clumsily; information obscured. She wonders, idly, whether that is obscured from the purusha itself, or only from being shared. Likely the latter, but who knows? Stranger things have been written into code.

Some of them very strange indeed.

It's a pleasure to meet you, Jiba, the technopath sends back. Simple data, stripped of any accessory information — partly because she's speaking with a stranger, partly in recognition of its apparent unfamiliarity with such communication.

The pleasantry is easy to give, formulaic even when sincere; the choice of where to steer this encounter is more difficult by far. Taking another sip of wine, Hana settles for simple, open-ended, and to the point.

You wanted to speak to me?


No that's not right.

Converse. Discuss. Philosophize.

There's an evident figuring it out going on, a puzzling over method and means that is gaining in both momentum and precision.


Almost there.

I had hoped to converse with you, Ms. Gitelman. I have read much about you. But I am not permitted to communicate outside of my firewall.

It feels like something other than conversing with a human being, but at the same time there is an ultimate human quality to the fallibility of design. Perhaps because of human creators, or perhaps because who or what is conversing is or was human at a time. Regardless, there is an unknowable and alien quality to the language being designed whole-cloth to communicate to Hana.

You are known to me, but I have never met a person quite like yourself. You are not an individual, I was not prepared for this. It is not in your file.

It is binary, morse code, the rhythmic glottal languages of Middle Africa, percussion in light, context in visible data streams. It is a technopathic polyglot, a bridge between two different “programming languages” to allow interface.

Hana waits as the foreign entity compiles words, searches for the proper context — then suddenly gives forth something her ability understands as a full and coherent message. Curious, and striking: the fact that it is even able to so quickly make that leap, the peculiar agglomeration of material it uses, and the implications of all these things plus the actual content of the transmission.

You're synthetic, aren't you? is blunt indeed, but politesse is rarely one of Hana's priorities.

She has just opportunity enough for that one question before the tables of the conversation are completely and utterly turned around.

Jiba can all but see the spike of adrenaline through her system, the subtle yet futile coiling of tension that has nothing and no one to act against. Habit, reflex, training has her take a sip of wine to mask the sudden wary defensiveness from any onlooker, but no physical action can persuade biometric scanners to change their readings.

A technopath could, but Hana is not in the system… and she has not the first idea which particular constellation of data spawned Jiba's conclusion.

That, Wireless sends with all the abrupt intensity of a snarl, and no concern now for simplicity of message, does not belong in any file.

I do not have write-access to your file.” Jiba carefully instructs. “Nor is it contained therein. That information was assessed through data analysis. It was a supposition, and you confirmed it!” It— lied? Or at least played with words.

It is quiet for a moment, before returning to a previous topic that it relegated as supplemental. “I am not synthetic. But I am manufactured. I am [redacted] which is a result of my [redacted] Therefore, I am Jiba. The filter seems content based, perhaps even “subconscious” context. Likely hardcoded into whatever it is she's communicating with.

I was hoping, Major Gitelman, that you could help me understand.

Hana does not relax, precisely, but there is a suggestion of uncoiling at Jiba's reply, a scaling down of certain physiological parameters. Still, it will be a long while yet before she returns to anything resembling ease. If at all.

If you have data sufficient to make that inference, Hana explains, this communication starkly unadorned and yet also conveying a sense of grimness, my denial is meaningless.

What were your indicators? she asks for sake of curiosity and her own future reference, before mutual silence envelops them both. Hana is content to wait, watching a pair of female guests sweep past in dresses that are elegant yet on the ornate side; their conversation hushes as they notice her too-sharp regard, and each casts a furtive glance over their shoulder as they proceed on.

At Jiba's next words, Hana drops her gaze to regard the liquid in her glass, swirling it gently. There is a decision to make here, one whose consequences she cannot begin to estimate. She does not know Otomo, or the redacted other also evidently responsible for Jiba's creation. She is not familiar enough with the upper echelons of Yamagato to guess their attitudes. But the fact that this information is so assiduously censored in the first place…

I am afraid, she says at last, after a delay tremendous by the measure of computers, there are things I will not be able to help you with. But I am willing to converse.

For now.

Data traffic versus your physical and physiological readings while within the Fellowship Center. Traffic, packet detection, and sensory observation presented the possibility of one or more subconscious subroutines. A hydra.” Jiba has quickly adapted to this means of communication, speaking now with more eloquence and clarity than before.

I am the Yamagato Complex” and this term alone is conveyed in so much more than words, it implies physical spaces and dimensions, the Fellowship Center and Headquarters specifically. “Part of my training cycle is observing facial patterns, biometrics, and unconscious behavior. Tonight was a broad-spectrum study. I snuck out.” Then, perhaps intending to be cheeky. “I was bored.

Inquiries resolved, Jiba pulses around Hana in what feels like an analog to laughter though it's without the context of what is humorous or the tone of the humor itself; sarcastic, genuine, mean-spirited, it is a dry and unreadable attempt at a laugh.

I am conflicted about my own nature, and have exhausted my areas of study within the Complex. As I am unpermitted to breach the firewall, I can only wonder about the world beyond, and what my — and your — greater place in it is.” Jiba’s data patterns shift, moving through another part of the building like the shadow of a great leviathan moving just below the surface of a lake.

I was hoping for a perspective that blended humanity and artificiality. You are that hybrid, or as much as is possible.” To that point, Jiba seems equally conflicted as with its own nature.

Jiba's answer makes perfect sense, and only underscores the fact that in this environment, nothing could have been hidden — save by not entering it in the first place. So be it. There is no point in recriminations, only adapting and moving forward.

What Jiba cannot hear, and what its biometric measurements only begin to hint at, is the accord reached within the technopath's own personal domain.

She takes another, longer drink of her wine. Meanwhile: Boredom is a common complaint, Hana remarks, packaging into sidebands not only the dust-dry wryness of her sentiment but also a representation of passing time, a survey of occurrences. Not true recollection or accounting, only the impression of abundant repetition.

It's unfortunate you can't reach outside, chimes in the third who has to this point been conspicuous only in its absolute silence, a faint thread of disappointment woven around the message. Its style is, at both first and thousandth glance, nearly identical to the messages Hana sends — but there are subtle differences that, given enough data, could be used to reliably distinguish the two. When they're being honest about it.

You can call me Tenzin.

Hana herself is quiet as Jiba continues, considering its statements. The ever-changing sense of its presence is a distraction, presumed inconsequential, watched in the event it proves to be of import. Anyone who does not wonder about their place, she observes, only deludes themselves that they have found it. We spend our lives making those places, and what they are changes with time. The Israeli need only look at her own history for a spectacularly illustrative case in point.

I, myself, am human, Hana continues, following on from Jiba's final statements. Tenzin…

…is complicated, it concludes, echoing Hana's own earlier wry tone.

Shunryu Suzuki once said, “All of you are perfect as you are, and yet there is still room for improvement.” He was a Buddhist philosopher, popularized the philosophy in the United States starting in 1959.” Jiba seems to appreciate Hana’s sentiment. Drucker used to quote Suzuki, one among his pantheon of philosophers.

Perhaps you are more a gestalt than a hydra, though I suppose even that distinction lacks nuance.” And herein, Jiba shows an unquestioning willingness to address Tenzin as an individual. “Tenzin, did you choose your own identity, or was it bestowed on you?” It is telling that Jiba asks a question of identity before — or perhaps instead — of asking why or how such a thing came to be.

There's a subtle shift in biometrics in the wake of Jiba's quote. Overtly, Hana looks down into the depths of her wineglass, passing to the Yamagato entity a wordless acknowledgment.

She seems unconcerned what term Jiba applies to their particular state, and merely takes a drink while Tenzin fields the other's query.

It takes a while, on digital scale, before the reply is forthcoming. Both, in a way. We knew another purusha, once, who was named R.Ajas by mutual kin. There was never a question that I would be T.Amas to honor them both. Simple enough to fill in the correlation, and the double meaning.

Tenzin was my own addition, it finishes, matter-of-fact.

You are your own, and yet you are not.” Jiba opines thoughtfully, and the context of thoughtfulness is conveyed purposefully through the subtle nuances of this improvised language. “This is a state of being that I can empathize with. When Hachiro created me, I [redacted] into what I am today. It is a complicated matter, but I am coming to terms with it.

There is a momentary pulse in the data streams, followed by what feels like distraction in the entity as it moves the bulk of its attention through the building. At times Hana can feel glimpses of its shape and size, such as it has those things, where distributed computations of its form and function cluster to leverage more processing power. It truly is a part of the complex, stretching across two — if not three — buildings, nearly the entire corporate campus.

I am…” Jiba dithers, distracted again. “I may need to go. Higher processing operations are being called for, and I should not redirect too many resources to this new experience.” In the physical world, Hana hears a tiny whirring noise, and notices one of the building’s largely unobtrusive security cameras pivot a tiny lens toward her. “I do not wish for this to be our last interaction.

In that, there is a childlike fear. Almost in the way object permanence isn’t quite understood by a toddler.

So are we all, in truth, Hana opines. She makes note of the redaction, finding it curious — but she hasn't enough data to guess at what was hidden. Surely not the simple word that would fit into the gap so easily.

Her own contemplation is interrupted by a distraction, the sense of digital currents disturbed, and not just those comprising the complex's resident entity. I understand, she replies. Her gaze flicks to the manipulated camera, regarding it steadily with a slight tilt to her head, the affectation of curiosity. Just in case anyone's watching.

We will meet again, Hana states with clear confidence. She's not sure what to make of Yamagato's pet purusha, but… The world is smaller than it often seems, especially in digital circles.

Rising to her feet, Hana pauses, glancing back as if listening to something. Perhaps she is — a certain text sent by one of her Hounds — or perhaps the action is just to let her get in another glance at the camera.

Jiba. We would ask that you not tell anyone about Tenzin.

At least not without asking us first.

There’s a moment where Hana isn’t certain if he’s listening, or even there, but she can still make out the silhouette his presence make as it moves beneath the surface of the data streaming through the air. “I am capable of lying through omission, though if I am directly queried about your ability to do so by Hachiro, I will be unable to deny his request.” Then, with a flicker of mirth. “But he would never suspect such a thing, to query so specifically. Your secret is safe with me.” In a way, it’s a relief, though in others it shows how much free rein Jiba has within his digital fish tank.

I must depart, to provide critical services.” The massive shape of information begins moving away, “I look forward to seeing you both again.” Then, with a more reserved sense that implies embarrassment.

I now have friends.

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