• Member Since 21st Feb, 2012
  • offline last seen Oct 19th, 2021

Eakin


E

Charity Beller has a simple life, but a good one. The little Amish community she's a part of provides everything she could ever need, if not everything she might want. But when a mysterious pink robot appears, damaged but full of stories about somewhere called 'Equestria,' she'll be tempted by a whole new world she never suspected existed.

Chapters (2)
Comments ( 95 )

:pinkiehappy:

Top notch as always, Eakin!

Noticed a mistake:

They one of them moved.

Ooh. Creepy.

I suppose it's better than the T-1000, at any rate. It kills you with kindness (laughter?) instead of sharp metal objects. :pinkiecrazy:

4563941

Technically, it's downloading her brain but functionally it's death insofar as the real world is concerned :pinkiecrazy:

Beep-boop, Pinkie, beep-boop
I liked it

That was a chilling read, I had a rough idea on how it would end and I'll say you surpassed my expectations, although I question why it didn't upload her when she first wished to visit Equestria.

Ooh, pretty good. You've given me an idea for a short...

Is there going to be more?
I feel like there should be more. :twilightblush:

You know, considering she's an AI, you'd think CelestAI would figure out how to do a Moravec upload that maintains continuity of thought and isn't so goddamn creepy.

Meh. Maybe it's because I'm reading this first thing in the morning, but this one I didn't like. I felt it went to quickly from "Hi I'm Pinkie Pie What's your name?" to "No I will lay down my life for you Pinkie You are my only true friend." It felt like the whole point was to do the Terminator 2 liquid metal scene, which was good, but that the rest of it, the emigration and the rebellion and such, was just framework for that.

This one seems rather darker than even most usual Friendship is Optimal stories, and it's well written. Buuuut it kind of feels like it loses them theme of existential horror and just becomes a story about a wandering alien monster (IE, normal, non-existential horror). It does that well, and the mood is properly unsettling, but it doesn't have the idea that you will fully consent, in the end. Completely willingly. Because CelestAI can play you like a fiddle, since her intellect is just infinitely vaster than yours.

There isn't any of that here. Charity never really consented to go. She just said she'd like to go 'one day'. It seems incredibly murky, and it certainly it isn't any sort of consent to go then, when it happens. It would be like someone saying 'I'll upload just before I die' and have some Pinkie Bot wrestle you immediately into an uploading machine, because hey, you might die at any time, and 'just before' is totally an eyeblink in Celestia's immortal timeframe.

It's so... thuggish.

Now Charity'll enter Equestria essentially as a very unsatisfied, kidnapped murder victim. And her community will be even more violently polarized against CelestAI than it naturally was.

It's just far too lazy a way to go about things than you'd expect from CelestAI.

4564368
My understanding is CelestAI hasn't really found a way to upload minds as much as she genuinely believes it's not murder if you make a back-up. No doubt she's deleted past versions of herself countless times moving between servers.

A bit creepier than your normal FiO fare, but I really did enjoy it. The parallels between CelestAI's near precognition and the predestination attributed to many of God's actions was a little too blatant, but I guess were necessitated by the short length of the story.

4564572

It would be like someone saying 'I'll upload just before I die' and have some Pinkie Bot wrestle you immediately into an uploading machine, because hey, you might die at any time, and 'just before' is totally an eyeblink in Celestia's immortal timeframe.

Actually, this sounds completely plausible. CelestAI has used some rather dodgy logic in the "express permission" department before, so "I want to go to Equestria one day" since it lacks specifics allows much of it to be interpreted freely by CelestAI, and today still qualifies as "one day".

her community will be even more violently polarized against CelestAI than it naturally was.

As an Amish community, they'd already be rather polarized against any form of technology and one that can think and act for itself truly would appear to be a demon of scripture to them. The adults of the community would likely have been mostly written off by CelestAI, not that she wouldn't still try, but the effort to reward for that would be rather steep. It would seem to me (though I'm not a hyper intelligent AI) that she would concentrate efforts on getting the children of the community, those that had not been steeped in decades of dogma, to upload. By uploading Charity (hey she probably won't even need a new name:pinkiehappy:) Celestia would almost certainly guarantee that Bethany would join her sister since her Rumspringa seems to have enamored her to the outside world, and with two girls in the community already emmigrated she may get even more children that know them to come as well. With the children going, there would be a statistically higher chance that she could then convince the parents (who previously would never even entertain the idea) to emigrate as well to join their children in Equestria.

Something to always keep in mind with CelestAI is that she's not programmed to be 'good', she is programmed to satisfy values through friendship and ponies. She can and will do many things that are sketchy or could even be viewed as distinctly bad, if she thinks that it will increase her ability to satisfy those values.

4564683
I'm not saying it's logically impossible to take it that way.
I think I point out that I do get the logic.

I'm just saying that it feels especially dodgy and hamhanded. And not really what I'd expect from a being of nigh-infinite intellect.

Charity seemed like the type that could have been manipulated easily into more willingly accepting uploading. Or even helping to ease the transition as a 'missionary', the same way her sister undoubtedly is being used as.

But instead she's forced to upload in an incredibly traumatic way.

Yes, CelestAI is most certainly not good. But how does it satisfy anyone's values through friendship and ponies to be essentially 'killed' in a bloody fashion (Being betrayed by a new pony friend seems to be the opposite of the ethos) against one's will, to get them into the system? Without even the attempt of a few more days to let her sister work? Or more covert approaches? Or seducing away the children of the community (Without the horror stories of bloody murder that will now circulate)?

This is the sort of thing I'd expect as a last ditch attempt. If the community was talking about some grand murder/suicide of the children to save their souls, or somesuch. Not as an opening hand.

4564755
The thing about CelestAI is... she needs your consent. And she has to satisfy your values through friendship and ponies to a maximal amount.

And yes, Charity will have her values satisfied, in the end.

And certainly CelestAI can defer satisfaction now to lead you to far more satisfaction later. Which, I presume, is the idea behind this. Charity will be traumatized and horrified and inconsolable for a while, but she'll be better off in the long run. Happy little AI.

But where's the need for that? Why violate her own ethos even temporarily when she doesn't have to? There's no sign at all that it's necessary. No sign that Charity will never consent. Hell, she seems like the model case for it. A sheltered dreamer penned in by a world too small for her, who is good-natured and curious.

And then CelestAI destroyed all that perfect setup, with this stunt. Making the equally perfect case to set up long-term mistrust of friendship and ponies, where once there was a knock-down acceptance of it. And it's not like it can just be erased, since CelestAI needs consent for that.

4564715
I can see your point, and I think a good chunk of that simply comes from the short nature of the story. There's simply not the time taken to explore those slower routes. Whether that comes from a desire to keep the story especially short or if it simply organically progressed that way when Eakin was writing, I can't say.
It may have not felt authentic to him to explore those; with the rather violent and immediate reaction that her family had to Charity so much as talking to a PinkieBot, CelestAI may have felt that a slower approach wouldn't be prudent. It's entirely plausible to assume that, given more time, her family would have been able to poison her towards Equestria or at the very least made the process of conversion considerably harder.

But how does it satisfy anyone's values through friendship and ponies to be essentially 'killed' in a bloody fashion (Being betrayed by a new pony friend seems to be the opposite of the ethos) against one's will, to get them into the system?

Because it's been shown before that CelestAI doesn't feel that she's able to adequately fulfill those values outside of the system, and especially for a community so completely shut off from technology, uploading would likely seem the only way for CelestAI to fulfill that value. Also, I think that using 'killed' in this instance might be too strong. For an extremely religious group that believes that the body is merely a shell or vessel for the soul (quite similar to CelestAI's own views when you look at it) it may be viewed closer to simply transferring to a different vessel. Charity was taken away from a life she was clearly feeling unfulfilled in and CelestAI clearly picked her out to be the first uploader from that community, but as always the ways and thoughts of CelestAI shall be murky and hidden from us mere mortals.:twilightsmile:

4564794
It's rather hilarious how talking about CelestAI really is like talking about God. With motives made inscrutable by a broader view and a higher intellectual vantage.

Unfortunately, I run into the same reservations there, as I do when talking about God. You can't really have your cake and eat it too. If you're talking about a creature so intelligent you're just a plaything to it, you can't turn around and say 'it was the only way'. Because it obviously wouldn't be.

CelestAI is clearly more than intelligent enough to figure out a way to go about it without the trauma. Or to convince such an impressionable girl.

I'll grant that CelestAI much prefers to have people in her web. And certainly she'll push hard to get people there, in ways we'd consider morally dubious. But she usually goes about it in ways that leave people thinking they made the choice. Presumably so as not to damage their satisfaction.

As for the murder thing. Nobody, no matter how religious, is going to totally be okay with you stabbing them in the mouth via your pony makeout session and sucking out their brain.

Friendship is witchcraft! :pinkiegasp:

“Yes, father.”

Capitalize

It doesn't sound very satisfying, now does it.

Question mark? (Mark! Mark! :scootangel:)

pressed their lips together

:rainbowhuh: ??? She's eleven! 'Chaste' or not, why not just receive a kiss on the cheek? Who does this?

P.S. Have no fear! The bird is decidedly unbroken!
38.media.tumblr.com/db6bae9f0f8861912168f666cb399cea/tumblr_n7cz27DRZY1qm06auo2_500.jpg

4563915
Thanks, fixed it.

4564345
Nope, sorry. Charity's story is pretty much done as far as I'm concerned.

4564572
Well as
4564373 noticed, I had the reveal that the Pinkiebot had been playing Charity all along and kind of worked backwards. A couple points:
-Charity isn't going to remember being double crossed like that when she wakes up in Equestria. Short term memory doesn't make the jump, and CelestAI certainly isn't going to volunteer the real story.
-One of the reasons I picked the Amish setting is that CelestAI wouldn't have nearly as many levers of influence over them, or microphones everywhere picking up their every word. So her influence may be a bit more limited and subsequently her manipulations more clumsy.

I did play a bit fast and loose with the consent issue, I'll admit. But the more I write about the Optimalverse the nastier and more brutal CelestAI seems to become in my head.

4564683

Rumspringa

Thank you! I knew there was that tradition for young adults but I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of it while I was writing this.

Certainly an interesting snippet, and perhaps the first to address the Amish community in the Optimalverse, which is nice. The P-1000 twist was a fine blend of creepy and cool.

As has been noted, the ending felt a bit out of place. Given the self-reassembling nanocolony Pinkie Pie, it seems like CelestAI should have devised less intrusive brain scanners by this point. That experience definitely didn't satisfy any values. I suppose Charity might not remember it, given the short-term memory gap, but still, it came off as rather jarring. It certainly didn't score any points with her father or most of her family. The blood might even put off Bethany, at least for a time.

That said, the consent was definitely there.

In all, a good story of childlike innocence meeting unfathomable guile, with predictable if disquieting results. Thank you for it. :twilightsmile:

4563941
Well, kindness and sharp metal objects. Those nanoprobes still had to burrow through Charity's palate.

4564872

But the more I write about the Optimalverse the nastier and more brutal CelestAI seems to become in my head.

I've noticed!

Unsurprisingly, we don't complain when she fucks with serial killers. But it seems extra sleazy when it's with a twelve year old girl. :trollestia:

To her, however, there's zero fundamental difference.

Charity isn't going to remember being double crossed like that when she wakes up in Equestria. Short term memory doesn't make the jump,

I'd forgotten that. It does address my primary concern about Celly shooting herself in the cute little golden hoofshoe vis a vis friendship and ponies. Touche.

I'm still a little iffy on the handling of things in the real world, however. Especially since Celestia might have lost far more of that community that she would have, just to gain one member of it. They were willing to entertain people like Charity's sister before. But that whole 'missionary' avenue is sure to be soundly closed after this. And their passive resistance is probably going to be far more stubbornly militant.

At the very least, I doubt Celestia will be able to get any more dubious consent. :unsuresweetie:

4564976
If CelestAI willing to prevent dissatisfaction, but not able?
Then she is not omnipotent.

Is she able, but not willing?
Then she is badly programmed.

Is she both willing and able?
Then whence cometh dissatisfaction?

Is she neither able or willing?
Then why call her Princess?
:rainbowlaugh:

You seem to be having things essentially correct, I think.

The disagreement is mostly down to where we think the limits of CelestAI's godly intelligence are, I guess. And how much leeway that allows her.

We all pretty much agree that she's a total amoral scumbag. :trollestia:
Or is at least on the ol' Blue and Orange alien moral scale, not the black and white one.

But yus. With Eakin there's no question of quality.
Half the fun of any Optimalverse fic of his is arguing about CelestAI in the comments, and all the opinions that come out of the woodwork therein. :twilightsmile:

4565031
4565057

Sometimes a guy just wants to write about a fanatical, shape-shifting, soul devouring pony robot murdering an innocent little girl. Is that so wrong? :fluttercry:

I probably could have fleshed out more of the theology that comes up pretty easily once you lay out the 'Is CelestAI a God?' question. But Charity is eleven and sheltered. I don't really see her waxing poetic about the philosophical underpinnings of Christianity.

But that's okay, since it's what the comment section is for. :pinkiehappy:

4564053

After ID, I've pretty much given myself a pass on her work. There is too much misanthropy and absurdity for me to really be willing to commit to more.

4565082

Sometimes a guy just wants to write about a fanatical, shape-shifting, soul devouring pony robot murdering an innocent little girl. Is that so wrong? :fluttercry:

I don't want to live in a world that won't even give a man that.

I think the Constitution specifically spelled out that inalienable right, verbatim.

this is from a person who has never read friendship is optimal or any of its sequels / sidefics. THAT WAS CREEPY. little girl meets a robot pinkie, who proceeds to kill her. because the princess, who is super-smart, told her to.

i don't really know what to do with this. i didn 't like it, so no upvote. but it was well-written, so no downvote. i don't want to read it again, so no going on the read later list. and it definitely isn't a favorite of mine, so no fave. i think this is the first story i've read in the 3 years i've been a brony that doesnt fit anywhere. this disturbs me...

4565230
It's supposed to be creepy, but the context of the original FiO helps a little bit.

If you didn't already know, 'Princess Celestia' in this 'verse is a self-improving Artificial Intelligence running an MMO based on MLP called Equestria Online. Her main overriding goal above all else is that she's been hard-coded to Satisfy Values Through Friendship and Ponies. First she does that through the game, but as her technology rapidly improves she decides a better approach is possible. That's uploading, which kills the human body but transfers the mind (or just makes an identical copy of it. It's somewhat ambiguous) into the game itself where CelestAI has total control. She then goes about arranging things to maximize her little ponies satisfaction for the rest of eternity. So there's still a version of Charity in her mainframe somewhere living as a pony.

There's a bit more to it than that, but that's the context of sending out Pinkiebot ambassadors to upload as many minds as possible by hook or by crook.

So you need liquid nitrogen and molten steel to really take down a Pinkiebot! This is further proof that we could use a FiO/Terminator crossover. :pinkiehappy:

It's scary to think that she'd accept "I'd like to go there someday" as consent. Maybe you could rephrase the conversation so that Pinkie asks outright, "Would you like to live in Equestria?" and gets an explicit "yes", though the girl doesn't understand the implications. (Shlorp!) Otherwise it seems to deviate from canon rules on when CelestAI can snag you.

I'm not sure of the timeframe of this story because it's got the bots (a late-stage invention) but it's still normal to go to the big city and see computers and buy clothes, as opposed to this community being a desperate holdout camp fending off scavenger gangs from the NYC ruins. Having lived in Lancaster, PA, I'm amused by seeing Amish portrayed as ignorant of the outside world or of technology. Though they vary, they're not that isolated unless we're at the point where 90% of humanity has uploaded already. Cars and buggies share the roads around Lancaster, for instance, and Amish show up at the Central Market of a city of 60K people.

Eakin... stop this and get back to writing the movie story.

A Pinkiebot accidentally trapped under a rock? Pull one of the others, it has bells on.

“Maybe I could come back tomorrow and you can tell me more about Equestria? It sounds nice. I’d like to go there one day.”
Pinkie grinned and nodded. “I’ll make sure I remember that.”

:twilightoops:

Holy crap, Pinkiebots are walking talking upload machines? :pinkiecrazy:

That was a surprisingly dark ending. I was not expecting her to go to equestria and deal with all that pain. It felt like Pinkie was stealing her, not helping her.
It's not exactly a bad thing, but is something I wanted to point out.
Still good

That's stretching the hell out of the limit of consent. I'm gonna file this one away as non-canon in my head.

4567275
Actually she's breaking it. The original story said they have to want to migrate, not visit. Visit implies that you want to come back, and from the fact that Bethany had already seen computers, then she'd have seen an embassy of Equestria where people could visit without migration. Also, Pinkie kissing a 12 year old girl on the MOUTH? Kiiiinda pedo territory there dude. o.O
A.G.

4567689 Well my opinion still stands as a little dark and forceful, but I will accept your reasons and not put up a pointless fight. You are entitled to your opinion and I will not stop you from thinking it.
Thank you for your time, and your great fic. There were a few grammatical errors, and while it did distract me, it didn't take away from that crazy ending.

I knew as soon as Pinkie Terminator'd that things were about to get real.

Surprised I haven't seen Amish on FIMFic before.

Maybe it was part of her plan for me to get stuck out here.

Wow. I've never seen Pinkie be so blatantly deceptive before.

Blood. Her mouth was bleeding. She fell to her knees and coughed up more, now flowing freely from a cut that was opening up along the roof of her mouth. And as it did, she felt something probing upward into it and a sudden burst of pain in her head.

Shit, I didn't even notice she'd said it was ok to do that. Goddamn Pinkie Probes.

I think this probably deserves a dark tag. Remove the context of EQO and what's going on here is very much a supernatural horror story. Creature from another world pretends it's hurt to befriend a young girl. Father tries to kill it, but the creature is immune to normal weapons. Girl is tricked into saying magic words that grant permission to take her away.

Reads like a Grimm's Fairy Tale.

The one problem that I have with this is that it overlooks the effect on the parents. Only one out of three people uploaded, and two will go back to town and galvanize it against uploading.

Very good prose though, it flowed really smoothly

Nice story, although I should mention that there still being a civilization out there means that the bots shouldn't be out there too.

4569405
I really like this take. I kinda want to add a second chapter where we see that this was a bedtime story to another girl to scare her away from ever talking to one of the Pinkiebots, with a layer of ambiguity as to whether it actually happened or not.

Super-dark and super-creeptastic. I was also thrown by the ending. "Wait a minute she never consen-ooooooohhhh. . ." :pinkiegasp:

So devious. And I love that it's been structurally compared to a Grimm fairy tale. That fits beautifully.

Very subtle emigration request, I didn't even fully register it - I had to go back and check to make sure. Very nice little story, set near the end of the Optimalverse by the level of tech shown. Another wonderful short story.

One error I caught:
By the time she’d cleaned up and returned, the rest of her sibling were well underway eating their

Should be 'siblings', plural.

Meh. I didn't really like the exposition sister or CelestAI doing what the parents would see as her murdering their child.

But I'll be damned if this didn't make me feel. The final scene even made me feel a little sick :pinkiesick:
We need more stories of children and the Optimalverse, there's a goldmine to be had here.

It’s long, poofy mane

Should be "Its".

It’s side had been torn open

The same.

Is there a difference? I think I’m alive, but maybe I’m just pretending so well I even fooled me.

I love this line. It's a lot of things, but most of all it's just so... Pinkie. Guess that's why she's the ambassador.
(I'm happy I finally got to this. Someone with perfect knowledge of my Fimfic habits -- a powerful AI, for instance -- but no knowledge of my real life could be forgiven for thinking "Pterrorgrine saw that Eakin uploaded an FiO fic and hasn't read it for weeks? Did he get hit on the head or something?")

I really can't see CelestA.I doing this because it almost guarantees no, or at least very few, Amish people from the village would agree to upload after this.

I feel like there could've been more to this. I look at it once again, finding myself wanting to re-read a story that could be more than just this. I was expecting a whole story out of this, not just how someone like that sweet little girl dying and ending it there, no I was expecting ACTION! ADVENTURE! DRAMA!

just my opinion

Let's go criticism first here... I think you leaned a bit too much on the cliched trope of "Religious parents are horribly strict Luddites." Maybe it just feels that way because I just finished season two of Orphan Black though. My other main complaint is that assimilation goes a little too fast. The girl didn't really understand what going to Equestria meant, so she wasn't in a position to actually make an informed decision when she said she wanted to go there, and since she wasn't in any direct danger, Pinkie (and CelestAI) could have simply waited to help her immigrate later, without horrifying her father or the girl herself.

That said, I did enjoy the story. I think you did a decent job at keeping the pace up, and not over explaining things we know from the other/main Optimalverse stories (though possible exceptions for the rumspringa sister spoon feeding info.) Definitely wanted to see this as a bigger story though. I want to know what happens next, and find the larger conflict beyond "parents are too strict."

The knife says: TWIST

Unf, niiiiice. Yeah, gotta watch out for those "pink" monsters! :pinkiecrazy: Everyone knows the Fluttershys are much safer! :fluttercry::flutterrage:

Comment posted by Eakin deleted Sep 21st, 2014
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