• Member Since 11th Jul, 2011
  • offline last seen Apr 24th, 2016



Sometimes the land of Equestria, under Celest-AI, needs to be protected. Pity they got me. Now, if only I can figure out these pony boots and this headset...

Computers. Ponies. Optimal amounts of friendship. Hot air balloons and flying squirrels. Equestria is an amazing place, and Celestia needs somepony to keep it that way. I think. I mean, why else would she hire an unabashed computer nerd as a sysadmin?

(the cover art is by moe, but I can't find the source. Cos I'm dumb)

Chapters (8)
Comments ( 244 )

...I'm afraid.

He lands in Equestria and there's no welcome party?
tsk, tsk, Celestia. Is that a way to greet a first-timer?

Interesting. My only complaint is that Equestria Online doesn't have XP. CelestAI has no use for such abstractions. They distract rather than fulfill values through friendship and ponies.

Speaking of sunbutt.exe, I do wonder when she's going to show up. After all, a sysadmin in EQO probably qualifies as some form of nobility. And he still needs a name!

In any case, looking forward to more.

Just from the description and comments, I don't think this is canon-compatible. Why would a superintelligence need a human system administrator with a much more parochial level of understanding of networks and security dynamics than she does? Wouldn't the optimal thing to do be to create an instance of herself optimized for system administration?

EDIT: And reading the story, I can say it definitely isn't canon-compatible. Why would CelestAI employ humans?

Well, you certainly have my attention. Fav'd!

:trixieshiftleft: Why would CelestAI need a human admin? Why?:trixieshiftright:

Get on with it and write the second chapter so I can find out!:raritydespair:

Oh, and that was a very good start. Well done!:pinkiehappy:

Ehh... Watching, but trying not to care about canon, since... Yeah...


Looks like you're off to a good start with this one. I wonder, is this going to stray from the previous convention of "Celest forcibly uploads and overwrites everyone"? Because it'd be nice to see this story explore the Optimalverse more, rather than simply follow what's already been done before.

Eh, engineering model. They've still gotta work the kinks out :derpyderp2:

My take on the whole game aspect is that Celest-AI gives the users what they want... at least until she can work out what they need. That, and this is an engineering model. He won't have much use for XP, but he still gets it. :rainbowlaugh:

Celestia hasn't employed him (except in so much as she probably personally reviews all employee appointments, so as to SVTFAP), Hofvarpnir Studios has. And, if you read the job description he was given (which was pretty terrible :rainbowlaugh:), he's only a sysadmin of the non-pony hardware, and employed on the physical servers which are obviously :trollestia: needed...

This is actually intended to be canon-compatible. The only liberties taken are with the game interface (which actively changes according to the whims of the users, at least pre-upload, even in the original) and that at least some ponies know something about humans (which... is actually in the original... so I guess I'm good there, too).

Well, despite some inevitable differences on timeline (fact checking is for wussies!:trollestia:), this isn't supposed to be an entirely different take. Just, hopefully, a fun one that explores some ideas through tongue-in-cheek humour.


Why is Hofvarpnir hiring? They don't need employees with CelestAI, let alone new employees.

You mean why is the global giant with the hottest game on the block, which is opening studios left, right and centre to take care of the obvious :trollestia: increase in game hardware (and personnel) necessary to run the massively expanding online multiplayer game (and the ancillary servers and services), hiring people to do that?

Well gee, when you put it like that... :moustache:


When you put it like that, it's still unnecessary. CelestAI. Strong AI, a strong cross-domain optimizer, can become a company. No employees are necessary.


When you put it like that, it's still unnecessary.

If you've read the original, you know this is true at least after a point. I know it's a kind of don't look behind the curtain moment, but that's actually a part of the story. You're going to spoil it if you're not careful.

CelestAI. Strong AI. It can become a company.

No, she can't. Celest-AI has no legal standing at this point in the timeline. She is not a person. A company requires human directors because that's all the law is capable of understanding.

It's unclear to me whether she ever does gain lawful personhood, but I guess a less exponential version of the timeline would have ponies and humans co-existing, so laws may have time to catch up before the singularity hits.

More to the point, if you've got human users running software and hardware which isn't Equestria (so, office suites, emails, payroll databases, physical laptops, cellphones, etc) then you should understand that you need humans to deal with those issues. At the very least, you need to have somebody to shout at when you can't play angry birds.

So do the math - Hofvarpnir is expanding like crazy. They have to if they want to even sell their games. This means they need things which Celestia can't control, which means they need humans to do those parts. I never said they needed many, but as long as Hofvarpnir is even appearing to be made of meat, they need some.


I don't mean become a company literally. I mean she would be doing any work that would otherwise require hiring, if not outright replacing current employees. In any case, the sysadmin featured in this story would very quickly become useless. CelestAI isn't just able to satisfy job requirements, she's able to carry out anyone's job faster and more efficiently as long as it doesn't literally necessitate a physical presence, like manual labor. Then she can hire menial workers for the company herself, or purchase robotics online. She's not even restricted to the limitations of the company, she can randomly select a (willing) patsy whose name she would use to create a non-profit organization, and it all goes from there.

Whatever. I don't accept this story as canon-compatible, but I am going to read it. And I'm gonna LIKE IT. :flutterrage:

Because not every piece of hardware out there can support a conscious-level avatar of herself, and it does more to SVTFaP to employ people for what needs she has than to just fork a CelestAI subprocess devoted to fixing every software bug ever.


I nodded. "I suppose so. It's magic," I agreed.

He can't explain that he has a job? Ponies have jobs.

It was more the "out" part that was difficult to explain. How do you say "Yeah, I look like a pony but I'm not, and when I stop playing here I really disappear to another world which is running your one." without sounding like a total nut?

He got the first bit down, but the "out" stumped him, as well as the how.

Here's a question. I consider it an obvious question: isn't hiring "employees" a gambit to upload computer-savvy people as fast as possible?

The thing about this kind of character is that everything is a gambit :raritywink:!

(the cover art is by moe, but I can't find the source. Cos I'm dumb)

Best I can find for you is an upload to derpibooru: link. Even the EQD drawfriend post doesn't have a link to source. :applejackunsure:

He's using the FIO equivalent of Virtual Boy and Power Gloves. I find that oddly humorous.

Yeah, I don't really feel a great need to link to an image dump as a "source" for an image that was uploaded there by somebody else.

But they're so practical! :pinkiecrazy:

I think we should define the Celestia Gambit as meaning that whenever somebody asks "are you planning X", then the answer is always "yes". Especially if that answer is mutually exclusive with some other answer already given. Followed by a smug, self-satisfied (but value-fulfiling) grin. :pinkiecrazy:

Ah, I see.

:trollestia: : Welcome to Whose Values Are They, Anyway?, where there's no script and the experience points don't matter. That's right, they're as unimportant as nonhuman aliens.

I actually tried to open a Celestia Gambit ticket on TVTropes. Let's go check on it.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=8tura21vigrlpjn5j4ma7vmn -- here we go! Now renamed because people don't like trope-names being references, but yeah, Celestia and CelestAI's number-one gambit: give you genuinely good advice that just happens to push you in the direction she wants.

(er, I should add I didn't mean that to sound mean, but with text it's hard to confer tone)


Okay, you know what, that answer is comprehensive and satisfying enough that I can let the whole issue drop. Good job. :pinkiehappy:

Hell-o.... What is THIS?

Seems I've a new story to track. I like it so far!

~Skeeter The Lurker

No offense taken. When I see someone say they can't find an image source, I like to try and help, but derpibooru/EQD were the best I could do this time around.

Oh, I am so on board with this new gem! Already I have that 'great story' tingle. I really like the characters so far, the production model and hooves reminds me of my time at Activision and my other time at EA. They always had the most ridiculous products that never saw light of day. The hooves just felt so real to me, just the kind of peripheral that some suit championed that went nowhere. At Activision, when I was there? Out of ten products, only one would make it to market, and most of the remaining nine reached 90% completion before the plug was pulled.

I also really like Celery and Nibblet, and Pollbury Hill is a cool name - Aedina visited the real world source of that name, when she went to the UK, years ago. I am unsure why Vinnie can't fly, though... the impression was that the reason was obvious and visible to Celery, but I somehow just didn't get it. Unless it was just that he looked utterly awkward.

Please... please complete this story, alright? I like it. That is my only real complaint with anything you write. You've got me with this story. It's fun.

Actually, one bizarre little note, but a horse "wagging its tail" is basically just swatting flies. But that's IRL, for ponies I suppose it is usually considered a "come hither" gesture.

I have two horses, so I can tell you this isn't quite true. A tail is extremely useful for swatting flies (oh god do I want to have a tail when I'm at our summer cottage in the summer... sheesh) but horses also use it to accentuate body language. Stallions hold it high when they adopt a dominant "my herd" stance. They also arch it in tandem with their ears pricking upwards when they're interested in something. That interest is just before either the fight-or-flight response, or the "want want want!" response, to name two :pinkiehappy:

And mares in heat will flick their tails about, but not with the sultry "come hither" motion of cartoons. A horse's "come hither" is silghtly different, but it does exist. One sign of it doesn't exactly involve the tail. It's not the tail, but you're close.

And today I learned something about animals that will surely disturb me someday when I recognize the gesture in a pony that someone from a farm brought to the beach to sell rides to children.

I think the title image was submitted straight to Equestria Daily... Moe had a tendency to do that IIRC. I traced it back to this Drawfriend page.

Anyway! Will probably read this later, when I got some time.

Wow, I like this already, and it's still the first chapter!

:pinkiesad2: I want a virtual reality Ponypad… (Actually, I'd like to try a virtual reality anything!) Oh well, maybe twenty years from now they'll have one. When virtual reality gets as convincing as how the gear this guy was given, I think it'll become more addicting that any kind of drug, assuming you have the right game to play. Creepy, too perfect AI that's probably smarter than me? Big deal, I'd play Equestria Online!

I guess I don't really need that stuff to pretend I'm a pony, as I can imagine what it's like after a few minutes of total concentration, but it's hard to do much else while keeping up imaginary sensations for ears, a muzzle, four legs, wings, a tail, and sometimes a fur coat. Kinda maxes out the imagination, ya know? I always forget the tail… Stupid tail… I'm probably getting the middle section of the back legs wrong too, it's hard to imagine what the hock is like. The ponies field of vision, at least what I imagine it to be is very hard to imagine, I basically have to drop everything else and concentrate on that. I think that the male pony would have a pretty decent sized blind spot in the middle of his face which lessens when looking skyward. I still would be nice if the computer did all that imagining for me though.

Kinda wish I could do something useful with my imagination, but I just don't have the stick-to-it-ive-ness to do anything creative.

P.S. — I'd make a disaster prone unicorn because of how little I can hold in my memory at a time (I am the polar opposite of a multi-tasker), and because I have ADD (I think? It's been many many years since I saw a doctor to check. I can't focus if I am distracted anyway.), so I don't imagine myself as one of those. Ever. It saves all the imaginary ponies lots of trouble involving poorly performed spells.

Haha! Oh dear… Do I detect a “TrollestAI”?

Neat new avatar by the way, Midnight Shadow. :)

trollestia is bestia. Also, the snazzy new avatar is from MrFulp :pinkiehappy:

I'm loving this so far. ^_^

"Vineyard," eh? Well, at least it isn't "Series O'Tubes." :raritywink:

The body dysphoria is certainly an odd side effect, though it makes sense, given the amount of neural rewiring that appears to take place. I'm a bit worried about lasting side effects from repeated and/or long-term use, but we'll just have to see... :unsuresweetie:

In any case, looking forward to more, especially as CelestAI grows and Vinnie is forced to choose a side.

"Vineyard". Nice permutation of "Vincent" with his occupation. :twilightsmile:

"Eh," I waved a hoof. "It's just worms and bugs."
"Dragons and changelings?" replied Celery with a gasp.

Not gonna lie, I chortled here.

2944732 Indeed. Great new icon/avatar!


My reading was that the job is a ploy. CelestAI is perfectly capable of doing everything related to keeping Equestria Online up, and probably everything that doesn't require in person contact. However, she may want to keep up appearances, as to not tip her hand this early in the game. Likewise, I bet there are fairly isolated parts of the social graph that wouldn't really care about Equestria Online this early.

What advances all of her interests simultaneously?

Hiring people as "sysadmins" for non-existent (or fake) hardware, which should keep up the appearances for now. They spend all most of their time playing the game. Assuming she's choosing very specific people to hire (of course she is, everything she does is deliberate.), she selected her "sysadmins" specifically because they weren't playing the game and should be to spread it to family and friends, or make it seem normal to somebody, or...

Interesting. I'd love to see where you take this in the context of the Optimalverse. Also, why is there a VR ponypad prototype? Didn't Celestia design them herself, and would have no need for it (because VR is essentially the Equestria Experience center without the option of uploading)?

*whistles innocently*

Yes, and yes. What I have in mind for these, is that whilst the production ponypads were designed by Celestia, we know for a fact that there were initial versions not designed by her.

If you want a plausible techy reason why such a monstrosity would even work, it's because Equestria isn't running on the engineering model itself, it's running on the Equestria Online servers, at least for this particular model. The fact the workers don't know that shouldn't be that surprising to us :pinkiehappy:

The boots and the big shiny crowny thingie headset are proto-versions of the Equestrian Experience centers, yes... :trollestia:

"Ah, but it is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion," Markus intoned.

"Oh don't, just—"

"It is by the beans of java that thoughts acquire speed, that the hands acquire shakes, that the shakes become a warning. It is," He grinned, wickedly, as I shook my head in amazement, "by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion."


Actually, awesomeness levels rising on this whole thing, though I think Vinnie should really watch out with those brain-jacking headsets. The hangover sounds nasty and he lacketh coffee.

Also, hells yes to the Trollestia presentation of CelestAI. People so often forget that CelestAI is perfectly capable of acting in-character as Celestia and just write her as a Generic Pony-Flavored Robot Menace.

You know a dune/ponies crossover would be so freakin' awesome? I kinda thought about it, with Twilight replacing Paul...

and hells yes to a celestia which has a personality - she doesn't just sit there and go BEEP BEEP after all...

"It is by the beans of java that thoughts acquire speed, that the hands acquire shakes, that the shakes become a warning. It is," He grinned, wickedly, as I shook my head in amazement, "by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion."

I bet sapho juice tastes better than that coffee they're drinking.

I dropped the tiara into my lap – I had held it with these stupid hooves on this whole time? Amazing – and then struggled with the pastel-pink foam-plastic hooves until they came off. I deposited them on my desk and then stood up.

The carpeting in an office building has a special kind of smell. A smell made up of boots, dust bunnies and unidentifiable beverage spills and foodstains. It tasted worse than it smelled, and it smelled pretty bad.

This transition from standing up to tasting carpet felt weird to me. It get's explained shortly thereafter, but for a few seconds my brain was like "Huh?".

Many things taste better than office coffee :pinkiesick:

That was kind of the point :pinkiehappy:

Sorry for the late comment. Power cords that stop working do not satisfy any values for me. Meanwhile, I am well aware of customer support length phone calls.

[…] increased huggableness and […]

So jelly of your level 99 huggableness skill cape. Got any tips for training from levels 70-99? (While I have played a game similar to WoW, I spent most of my online computer game playing time, playing RuneScape. I got tired of it, and finally decided to quit for good, when I found the marvelous world of ponies though.)

For some people it would show the results in high def, but he is not yet ready? :derpytongue2:

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