The Let's Play Archive

Digital: A Love Story

by Trin Tragula

Part 11

Stars Come Out

Of course I jammed the reply button as quick as I could manage.

Message to: Nauseahare

Where did you get that from? Emilia used to post all the time on LCL...then she disappeared, right before it went down. AI? What's going on here? Where's that from?

I don't understand. Is there another Emilia?

I thanked him quickly and disconnected.

Cute. I tried the password, but no dice. I wasn't going to give up that easily, though. I tried the cracker for appearances' sake, but I didn't expect it to work.

So then I started spending more time in the library; finding out who created BBSes and why, how they talked to each other, what the different types were, and so on. And then checking out SF books. They were the only ones that took "AI" seriously.

What the hey? Was it all a giant joke? Some big hackers' trick they played on clueless newbies, pretending you were talking to a computer? But there was only one place to find out, and that was in the Underground Library.

It took me a while to find the keys to the library. I was browsing the archive of Sector 001 one evening, and suddenly a message title jumped out at me like it never had before.

Of course! The Underground Library was a CoreBBS board!


I stared at the titles and the usernames for a while. Then I tried to open "AI interaction".

What? I checked my messages.

What? What is it that you don't want me to see, whoever you are? There's got to be something relevant in there.

There's got to be something relevant in there that's being protected.

I'm coming, Emilia. I'm on the trail at last.

I tried again.

Again! What are you hiding?

I pressed reply. I had no idea if the message would even get through.

Message to: *Delphi

I'm sorry, but I just want to find out about my friend Emilia. She disappeared a while ago and I'm really worried about her. That's all I care about. Please won't you help me?

I mulled it over for a few minutes.

What else could I do?

This time I thought before I acted. I tried to download something. Even if Delphi just kicked me again, surely at least I'd come away with the message for my trouble.

Yes! I ignored the pop-up and read the whole thing.

I read it over, and over, and over. It certainly sounded convincing. But then, so did all the other self-assured loudmouths on all the other BBSes...

As I clicked into my inbox, a connection finally hit me like a speeding truck. That list of names! Blue Sky, the friendly FAQ writer. Montjoy, who knew enough about AIs to write about communicating with them. Delphi, the protective sysop. And Emilia as well. They all had that same * in front of their name.

Reeling, I opened Delphi's latest.


No! Nononononono!