• Member Since 25th Mar, 2015
  • offline last seen 37 minutes ago

The Hat Man

Specialties include comedy, robots, and precision strikes to your feelings. Hobbies include hat and watch collecting. May contain alcohol.


Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose...

Your Familiar: She's your robotic best friend, made just for you. She will love you, care for you, and live every moment of her life devoted to you. But when all that she lives for is suddenly gone, one Familiar must find a reason to go on living anyway.

In a world where technology has freed everypony from toil and strife, the Eternal Carnival goes on. Posing as a normal organic pony, Turing Test is a freed Familiar who joins the Carnival to seek out new meaning in her life without a master.

Based on the "Familiar" universe created by GaPJaxie, who helped critique and edit this story. Also featuring characters from The Iron Horse series. No prior reading is required.

Cover art by Colby "Greenfinger" Green of Snailbunny Designs.

Chapters (11)
Comments ( 190 )

"...and a rock feels no pain,
and an island never cries..."

In Turing's case, wishful thinking.

Wish I could say more, but...damn.

Oh dang I'm hooked.

I mean, it's Turing so I knew I would be, but still.

One chapter and I already adore this. Very well done.

I can't help but hear "People like us" running in the background here. (Doom Patrol version)

Ooh, I haven't heard this before! Most enjoyable, thanks for sharing!

And yeah, I see some overlapping themes there. Perhaps more than might be obvious at this point...

ow! nice chapter but ow! also odd choice of owner but I'm sad in this one that Maud is dead.

Off to an excellent start as always. This will be interesting, and part of me wonders if Turing might accidentally start something among the other Familiars. Can’t want for more :pinkiehappy:

Something tells me you're going to like the third chapter, then. :raritywink:

It might have been Twilight, but in the Familiar-verse, that wouldn't work because Twilight is Rainbow Dash's Familiar.

Thanks for all the nice comments, and welcome to the story! It's nice to see people enjoying it despite its different tone compared to the canon "Iron Horse" stories.

It makes perfect sense to have Starlight be Sunburst's possessive Familiar.

Easiest. Casting. Ever. :ajsmug:

So if a Familiar's master dies does the Familiar cease to exist?

The chances of delight are 100%! Interesting how this chapter has changed from the first draft you showed me way back when. :D

Uhhh, might have missed this in chapter one, but no. Turing Test is a Familiar after all, but her master has passed, which means she is essentially free. Next chapter will have more explanation about this topic.

To me it seems as though Turing is not like the other Familiars. In the same way that Andrew was not like the other robots in his series (the other NDRs) in the Bicentennial Man (both story and movie). And if this is the case it would definitely explain why she thinks so differently from the rest of her "kind".

Or I could be thinking too much of the Turing I previously fell in love with. I guess only time will tell.

Keep up the great work and I'm anxiously awaiting more.:moustache::pinkiehappy::twilightsmile:

...poor Turing...she was genuinely trying to bond, and...

This was so sad. You write mechanical minds so much better than anyone I've ever seen.

Also, the choice of what characters are Familiars to which ponies is interesting to me. Coco being stuck with Suri was sad, and I was genuinely surprised that Starlight was one.

Ok so basically, every time a part is released, I go onto YouTube and look up the title.



Or just check the author's notes where I've conveniently left the song in reference. :raritywink:

Orrrr I could do what I just said, and listen to the song while reading!

I’ve no complaints grammatically; your prose is smooth and sound.

I do hope to see more of Turing figuring out things that make her care. Constant dismal introspection is a turn off; if I want to be depressed I’ll watch the news. I’m glad to see this hasn’t fallen into that pit at this point.

Yeah, that would get old, but fortunately there's more to the story coming up. These first two chapters are just to establish an ongoing pattern of behavior. Next time, we'll delve a bit deeper into this world and its workings.

Ahhh, I see what you mean. Treating it like a playlist is certainly an option. Enjoy! :twilightsmile:

Dang it Starlight. That moment really showed why Turing keeps herself disguised. Especially the whole ‘report you and your master’ shows that ponies don’t really encounter free Familiars very often, if at all. Part of me wonders if that is by design.

Such a coincidence, last week I went to Bletchley Park. Perhaps there's a code to crack somewhere.

It's clear that Turing Test is unique, perhaps built and programmed differently to her other familiars. I wonder just how far this difference will ripple out.

Checking for new chapters each morning. :twilightsmile:

And got to this, at last! And enjoyed it, unsurprisingly; I'm looking forward to the next chapter! :)
(Though I did skip most of the video in the author's note in this chapter, after finding that the particular combination of sounds used seemed to be making my head hurt; every now and then I've come across a piece of music that does that.)
Thank you for writing!

Ah, the master wordsmith rises once again to grace us with a story of Turing Test. I especially love the very natural way the setting was introduced through Coco. World-building infodumps are alway finicky to get right.

Wow Starlight sure is an a-hole. Sunburst is gonna be real surprised to discover she is free to try and be a faux organic.

Wow, this story is awesome!

It seems they usually voluntarily “retire” themselves. However with Turing for whatever reason she decided not to do this and is now a masterless familiar trying to make a new connection in this world but finding only hardships instead.

Does Starlight have the right to leave? Sure.

...But she doesn't have the ability. :ajsleepy:

i meant Turing when I said "she". sorry for the pronoun confusion.

Absolutely hooked , looking forward to see where this goes ; other than her 'command' to go out and live , this sentient hyper competent robots only real joy is frustrating ponies ? Sounds like a supervillain origin story to me.

This chapter makes me think there's a civil rights case about to happen.

And also the end, and really a lot of this story is just:

God, this is such an amazing story. It's really rare that one pulls on the heartstrings like this.

That was lovely. I haven't heard that before, but it really does capture a feeling I was trying to express here. Thanks for sharing. :heart:

You're welcome ;3 I felt it was worth sharing.

Also, all I can think of the way the familiars are being treated is just "Do you want a robot uprising? This is how you get a robot uprising."

I guess you could say, Turing is a bit of a deviant.

I think it is time for Turing Test to do something I speculate no Familiar has ever done on its own: Petition Celestia directly, advise her of her thoughts and feelings, and ask for advice. For instance, 'Why is it allowable for a master to harm a familiar in any way at any time?' or 'How real is our ability to live? Are we like masters, or perpetual second-class citizens, only provided for the masters amusement?' or 'Are we not sentient beings like the Masters... or you?'

-Intelligence is the ability to solve problems. Sentience is the ability to create problems.

"“That’s what I thought,” Grace said, resuming her circling. “As I was saying, you machines had one purpose in all your existence. But now that it has ended, you’re still here. ‘Why is that?’ I wondered. Glory informed me that he, like most Familiars, couldn’t live without his counterpart. He even said so again a few moments ago. Isn’t that right, Glory dear?”

“It is, mistress,” Glory said. “A good Familiar understands his purpose and his place. When my mistress finally takes her leave of this world, I will also do the right thing and exit it as well. Any Familiar of integrity would do the same.”

“And yet,” Grace said, casting her gaze at them all, “you lot… haven’t.”

They stared back at her, none of them daring to respond.

“You,” she said, her tone turning grave, “persist.”"
Well now, if Grace appeared to be acting in good faith, I might point out that, as familiars are crafted to suit their masters, as she herself said, and those masters can have a wide variety of desires in a companion, it isn't that surprising that, out of the massive population of ponies, some with have desires for their companions that results in those companions having personalities leading them to persist for some times after those masters' deaths.
If she appeared to be acting in good faith. But... Well. I find I'm now wondering just what rules govern a familiar's ability to act in defense of themself and others, against a master having some sort of issue making them a danger.

"You are simply a pyschopath"
"You are simply a psychopath"?

Annd then that earlier wondering was promptly addressed! Though I think that, perhaps, we have not seen the last of it...

Damn. I figured there would be some crazies here, but that was more severe than I was originally thinking. Still loved the chapter, but the fact that Turing was about to go further than necessary shows me that there is something different about her.

Is it wrong that part of me wants her to just lose her cool and start screaming at someone? Maybe the anger portion of grief that she is clearly still experiencing? I kinda hope she does charge a master with crimes as a way of breaking the system rather than just letting things continue as is.

I eagerly await more.

Why do I get the feeling this may soon go down a similar route to Detroit: Become Human?

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