Strelka Bar

"Well, that's a difficult question to answer... Of course, there are a fair number of navigators that have had their battle routines either entirely removed or replaced somehow, as they were meant for specialized purposes," said Harke, glancing over to his PET and Rogan's. However, his focus was stolen by a drunken giggle across the table, causing his expression to turn to flatly shown exasperation. Karen was squirming in her seat as Rogan adjusted his own posture, pulling his arm down to her thigh a little more forcefully. Somewhat surprisingly, however, she was mostly keeping quiet otherwise, save for a wide, dumb-looking smile on her face, and the occasional giggle.

After a few moments, he turned his focus back to Rogan, before raising his finger for a moment. "Uh, what was I saying earlier? Ah, right. It would be odd, to say the least. For the most part, navigators are mostly trusting of humans, save for the odd quirk. You might even say it's to the point of being subservient. It's some function of the Hikari AI model that we don't quite understand, unfortunately. That said, it would be hard-pressed to find a navigator whose system functions didn't match its own AI, as they're very tightly coupled."

"As for the, er, excessive detail in your navigator's functions, I feel like it does make some bit of sense. Most navigators today have a limited set of human simulation, but not to the extent of yours--at least as far as I can tell, female navigators don't have that kind of function. Some might have the simulated parts, but they are, for the most part, vestigial. The only reason I can think of to simulate the human body so closely in a navigator is to create one was created purely for companionship, which seems to be what your navigator's creator intended."

Then, Harke's eyes lowered and he covered his mouth with a hand for a moment in thought. He then directed his narrowed eyes up towards Rogan. "What did you think she was made for? It sounds like you've been using her for things other than what she was intended for, at least."
Rogan found himself pausing, under the boy's suddenly thoughtful glare. It wasn't the first time someone had suggested that Lyntael wasn't intended to engage in combat, but the only other person prior to this had been Eric himself. Every other person who had learned of her condition had just tried to encourage him to care for her better, or not to push her too hard. It was strange hearing someone other than Eric flat out suggest that she shouldn't be placed in hostile situations at all. His fingers continued to coast slowly back and forth on Karen's thigh, while, above the table he made a visual point of attempting to ignore her squirming and giggles.

"Lyntael isn't built from the Hikari standard." He shrugged softly. "The one who made her built her... quite meticulously, from the ground up, and if you gave him the chance would probably spend hours enthusing to you about whatever strange blooming seed intelligence something-or-other that she's supposedly his masterwork of." Rogan sighed and shook his head, closing his eyes briefly. "An AI is an AI as far as I'm concerned, personally, and all he really seems to have made is one that suffers all the flaws and detriments that real people do, and few of the perks you'd expect from a properly functional AI." He breathed out a small chuckle, more a single, short exhale than a laugh. "If she was obedient or subservient then she'd do as I instruct her, when I instruct her, instead of melting down, crying, or telling me she's scared." He knew what kind of reaction those comments would usually provoke from people, however, and relented with a sigh.

"But you're right at least in as far as I'm sure her designer intended for her to be a companion more than anything else. Unfortunately, I don't need a companion or a friend, in my line of work. What I need for the jobs that I do, is a navigator that can follow instructions, make reliable decisions, and work in tandem with me while we are separated." He knew, of course, that Eric's intention had been to saddle him with a navi that would 'keep him human' or something asinine and prosaic like that... but he wasn't going to 'be friends' with an inanimate string of code. His eyes darted momentarily across to Karen. And she certainly couldn't provide the kind of 'companionship' that real people could. For the briefest of moments, Rogan felt unfathomably slimy for thinking about Lyntael in that manner, before the sensation vanished.

"But as I said, I can't exactly return her, or get rid of her without incurring her creators very great ire, which I would rather avoid, so I am attempting to train her to fulfil the functions I need, despite her flaws. Would you recommend I do otherwise?" He tilted his head to one side and raised an eyebrow to Harke, letting his fingers circle and tap lightly in unseen silence under the table.

At Rogan's mention that Lyntael wasn't built to the Hikari standard, Harke's eyes widened slightly. Certainly, there have been many attempts to construct an AI model fit for Navigators that did not utilize the black box that was the Hikari AI model. Many of them were successful to some degree, yet they were not as prevalent as the original model--users often reported them not feeling quite as 'alive'. Experimental models out in the wild was not unheard of, but to construct one all by themselves was another level entirely. "Sounds pretty... impressive," said Harke, with a bit of flair on the last word, subtly indicating that he wasn't thoroughly convinced of the man's words. "If he's the real deal then I'd say I'd have a pretty good time talking with him."

The rest of Rogan's spiel was as he'd expected--he had no use for something akin to a 'companion Navi'. The concept wasn't entirely unheard of, certainly. However, he'd never heard of anyone constructing an entire AI model from the ground up simply to create such a type of Navi--if the man Rogan was talking about actually did do the work he had indirectly boasted about, they would certainly be at least partially insane to undertake such a mammoth task. He stopped himself from wandering down the path his stray thoughts laid out, and posed the obvious question.

"Sure! Sounds perfectly logical to me. If you can't use your current Navi, clearly tailored to be a purely companion-model Navi, can't you just procure a standard, mass-production Navi? You're not exactly married to one. There's no law against owning two personal terminals in any country that I've heard of," he said, raising an eyebrow. "If your companion Navi is so crippled such that they're unable to perform basic Navigator duties, then surely a standard model would do a much better job at it. You don't exactly have to throw her away if you're afraid of your eccentric friend, and another terminal shouldn't be a massive expense for someone who travels across international waters for jobs under the table. Hell, I'd wager they even be grateful to you for keeping her out of harm's way." Harke shrugged slightly.

Next to Rogan, the drunken woman that had locked his arm in her embrace perked up slightly every time he traced his finger on her thigh, but her armlock was growing gradually weaker and weaker. The weight on his shoulder indicated that Karen was clearly getting drowsier by the minute, and soon he would be left with a dead weight.
Rogan allowed himself a short, quiet laugh as Harke made his suggestion. He didn't fault him his scepticism, certainly — Eric was mad devoting as much time and effort to the things as he did, after all.

"He would at that... the man seems to half way think of Lyntael as his daughter, more than a program. The way he fusses, I'm more surprised he insisted I look after her, rather than keeping her in his own home." He relented with a shake of his head and sat back again, leaning against the back of the bar room setting with a small shrug. All things said, Hake had a valid enough point, after a fashion.

"I do prefer to keep my traceable evidence to a minimum. I mentioned that before I was saddled with Lyntael, I didn't keep a navigator at all? I use her for the work I have, and to assist me in taking on tasks I would normally not approach, because she is a tool that should be of use, and one I will have to hand regardless. If she cannot be of use, I would prefer to simple return to my usual run of jobs which don't require the extra pair of internal hands." He spoke the words, and kept his features smooth, but even as he answered the young man, Rogan found himself pushing aside the less helpful thoughts: It was too late to go back already; he was in far too deep to just drop easily out of sight again, now, at least where it concerned Varda's Family. Stopping just wasn't a viable option at this point, and more than that, he found he didn't want to let the threads go now that he was pulling on them. There was something very big going on, and he was too curious to leave it be, even if he could have. After a moment of thought, he glanced back towards Harke, a small grin creeping over one corner of his lips.

"Of course, I suppose if that would be your recommendation to me, then attempting to train her to handle herself better in conflict situations would be pointless to continue and I should just extract her now..." He paused, with a slight turn of his head, watching Harke with the corner of an eye rather than straight on and the curl of his smirk growing. "But of course... I suspect she's not been engaged in any kind of fruitful training exercise for many, many long minutes now, if I'm not mistaken... What do you think, Harke?" He'd left alone the idea that the boy hadn't been operating in the normal fashion, but their conversation made it fairly clear that it wasn't to restrict his own navigators. Rogan was beginning to suspect that the navis hadn't been seeking battles at all, during this time, or Lyntael would have certainly made more complaints. He resisted the urge to actually reach over and retrieve his PET from under his shoulder bag, and see for himself immediately, instead quirking an eyebrow at Harke.

Alongside him, Karen was getting decidedly more weighty, and unless she perked up soon, her night was probably finished. A shame; he hadn't actually expected the woman to go down quite so hard, given her earlier confidence. unless she was in the habit of drinking and passing out... a worrisome concept... then it really must have been a case of drinking to impress. Idly, he lifted his free hand to prod gently at her shoulder, and then at her cheek, to see how aware the woman still was, and to gauge whether she was likely to rouse properly and recover her clear head before the night was done.

Rogan's comment made Harke start for a bit, realizing that it had entirely slipped his mind. "... Huh, you're right. They haven't sent out anything about being in danger or the like, though," he said, muttering to himself. Perhaps they were blocked by some kind of communications blocker, he wildly theorized as to explain the radio silence, as he flicked open the screen to check on what they had been doing. His off-base worries were quickly proven as such, as an image of a scenery that was distinctly not very reminiscent of Sharo popped up. He was a bit stunned at the scene, where the entire team seemed to be partaking in some barbecued meat skewers on a seaside retreat, rather than beating off polar bears and their ilk.

"Eh... yeah, they're not really that occupied with battling at the moment, seems like. Looks like they picked up on my Navi's earlier suggestion to go to Beach Net instead," he reported, suddenly feeling slightly guilty that he was 'outing' the group as such. Then again, it wasn't like Rogan wasn't catching on to it himself, so it might have been better for him to 'discover' it, as it were. Shrugging, he added, "Guess they're done with the training?"

Meanwhile, Rogan's idle poking on Harke's somewhat incapacitated sister roused her back to being slightly wakeful, as she jerked in her seat at the prodding. "Oh, sorry, heh," she slurred out towards Rogan, a dopey smile still on her face. Looking slightly disoriented, she rose to sit up slightly, unconsciously also extracting herself from the man's side, before catching sight of Harke. "Mm, is it time t'go back now? Think I could, hic, go for a lie-down," said Karen, before laying her head on the table in front of them, preempting any sort of answer by closing her eyes then and there.

Scratching his head, Harke looked slightly puzzled towards his sister, before turning back to Rogan. "Sorry, it's not that this is strange to me or anything--I'm usually the one who has to pull her back home, she just... hasn't passed out straight off the bat like this. She's usually a lot more feisty," said Harke. Then, spotting his PET in front of him, he remembered the point that they were on before. "Oh, right, yeah, the training in conflict situation thing. Um, yeah, my recommendation would be that it'd be best if you called back your Navi and retire her from combat and the like now... though it seems like my Navis have got a head start on that already. Seems like a shame to interrupt them like that. That is, unless you'd like to head off for the night--preferably without my sister in tow," he said, a half-hearted smile on his face.
While Harke checked his PET, Rogan knocked back the remaining ice cubes in his glass and crunched them between his teeth. He wasn't, in truth, surprised to learn that Lyntael had found an excuse to sneak away again while he wasn't minding her. He might have been surprised that Harke's navis were apparently deeply complicit in the matter, but given how eager they'd seemed about the beach distraction earlier... He set the glass down and arched an eyebrow.

"Finished... if they got any done in the first place." Now that it was out, he reached over to his bag and dug out his own PET, taking a look at the screen. Lyntael was in another outfit he'd never seen before. He wondered how much space things like that took up, but again, the idea that she had designed it by herself, without input, nagged at the back of his mind.

Karen roused under his prodding, but did so only enough to further illustrate that she wouldn't be returning to the land of the clear-headed that evening, and Rogan shrugged softly. Harke's own apology for her didn't really surprise him either, but it wasn't his place to tell people what to do with their lives. Instead, he gradually began the delicate process of untangling himself from the woman, and shifting positions so that she was on the inside of the bench, instead of blocking his exit route.

"Well, since it seems my authority has been undercut by more than my own navi today, I think I'm going to give this session up as a futile endeavour. Regardless, I think it would be better if you took this one home, before she makes any other propositions she could regret." He hid his vague disappointment behind a patient grin and a small shake of his head. "I would be concerned if I had a sibling for whom this behaviour was common, but it isn't my place. I'm hardly a role-model after all. I think we're about done here for tonight, wouldn't you say?" He began packing up his shoulder back again and fastening the clips while Hake returned to his earlier recommendations, and paused while he did so just long enough to cast his eyes across to the boy briefly.

"Understand, I've no intention of making her some kind of virus-destroying dedicate or anything like that. Her purpose is not to fight. I just need her to be able to defend herself when dangerous situations arise, and to be able to carry out my instructions without panic or hysteria. As much as it may not seem so, she is, in fact, very capable of the work I need her to do. That work takes her dangerous places, however, and then she 'panics', and stops obeying. And in some places, that could get me killed. I do not exaggerate. Anyway..." With a small shrug he lifted his PET to examine it briefly again. The emulation was active... So, not only had she dropped his instructions, but she'd returned to the PET, then slipped out of her own accord again. As it was, he couldn't just extract her directly with a button push; she'd either need to return to the emulation point, or he'd have to patch through to her fresh. Irksome.

"Lyntael. Wrap it up, my business is concluded and we're leaving." He sighed, then spoke again. "I'm re-linking to your location now, say your farewells, this will only take a minute." He began to work, the lights on the probe flickering briefly as he did, and cast an occasional eye up to Harke as he did, to see if the boy had anything else to add.
"Mm, yeah, I understand. It's been a good discussion tonight, at least, and I hope we've helped you a little with what you wanted to know," said Harke. The questions from earlier still lingered in his mind, and he wanted nothing more at the moment than to leave the decidedly uncomfortable situation to go back home. While Rogan voiced out his orders to Lyntael through the PET, he set about roughly shaking Karen's shoulder in order to rouse her. The older woman muttered briefly, before spitting out an annoyed "alright, alright, I'm getting up". Shuffling in her seat, she began stretching out, not noticing that she had been detached from her earlier "target".

Fidgeting with his collar, he opened up his PET's keyboard projection and began to type out a message to Aurora, asking her to jack out as soon as they were able. Surprisingly enough, they responded quite promptly, and he thankfully ejected them from the network. A slight twinge of jealousy came up within him as while he was out in the dimly lit, rather morose bar with some intensely uncomfortable company, they seemed to have gone off to get themselves a fun time. They were in Sharo Net for quite some time, though, he figured, so he shrugged it off as some good time off.

As soon as the disconnection was complete, he rose from his seat, and picked up his PET to store it away in his jacket before offering a hand to shake across the table with a polite smile, though it was all he could do to prevent his mental weariness from showing through.
It only took him a few extra moments to finish forging a fresh emulation link to reacquire Lyntael and pull her back to the PET, but Rogan was still conscious of having to do it, while Harke simply jacked his own two navis out. One by one the lights on the extended probe shut off and he retracted it, then slipped the device into his coat pocket with a small shake of his head.

Rogan stood just after Harke did as well, shouldering his bag and, after a brief moment of putting things away, extended his hand to shake with his new acquaintance as well. He smiled at the last; as much as some of the conversation had been tense or awkward, Harke and Karen had still been helpful to him, and it sounded as though there might even be future work that he could help them with in the future, as other potential job opportunities. Innuendo aside, security testing their operation was certainly a service he could offer, and was actually a legitimate one, that Lyntael would have no call to complain about, if it came to it. He briefly helped the younger man take operational control of piloting Karen, then gave them each a final nod.

"Well, good evening to you both. I imagine we'll be in touch again soon. Until next we meet." He inclined his head, then after a final glance to be sure that Karen was most likely going to be fine under her brother's care, turned and made his way for the door, disappearing out into the snowy night.

((Lyntael, branch back from => Beach Net))
((Rogan, travelling to => His Sharo Hotel))
[LynFXP > 117.]

With final pleasantries out of the way, Harke went over to Karen and took his arm around her to lift her up from the seat. To his surprise, Rogan also assisted him in getting his sister up. Some of his earlier negative feelings washed away--perhaps it was best to let some prejudices drop when it came down to things. The man could have just been misinformed all this time, and people changed. With that in mind, he heaved up Karen, who at least seemed to be halfway lucid enough to walk at a crawl and nodded back to Rogan. "Thanks for the help. See ya," he said, grunting under the weight of his carry as he watched Rogan walk away. "C'mon, ugh, sis, at least make this a little easier on your little brother, will ya."

Walking back to the door, he tried to deflect the glances in his way, so as to not attract any unwanted Casanovas, before exiting the building. Soon, he heaved his sister into the car and drove off into the dark snowy night, retracing his path back home.

[>> Ezarith Research Facility - Sharo.]
+26 Mutual FXP earned.