A Closed and Common Orbit (AI gets a body kit)

Brief description

The spaceship AI Lovelace, later known as Sidra, gets downloaded into a body and has to deal with having human senses for the first time. She is distressed by the limited range of vision offered by the body kit, and hates not being able to see what is behind her.  

Pull Quotes

Everything was overwhelming. Twenty-nine minutes before, she’d been housed in a ship, as she was designed to be. She’d had cameras in every corner, voxes in every room. She’d existed in a web, with eyes both within and outside. A solid sphere of unblinking perception. But now. Her vision was a cone, a narrow cone fixed straight ahead, with nothing – actual nothing – beyond its edges. (p. 5)

The visual cone of perception that had rattled her upon installation was maddening now. She found herself jerking the kit sharply around at loud noises and bright colours, trying desperately to take it all in. That was her job. To look. To notice. She couldn’t do that here, not with fragmented views of crowds without edges. Not in a city that covered a continent. (p. 18). 

She fought to keep the kit’s eyes on the ground, struggled to keep the kit’s breath steady. She could feel panic creeping as the crowd pressed in and the buildings sprawled forever outward. She remembered how the ship had felt – a camera in every hallway, a vox in every room, the lull of open space embracing it all. She remembered the vacuum, and she ached for it.  (p. 117).

The awareness of people behind the kit was as uncomfortable as ever, yes, but in this case, it was more of an irritation than a hindrance. Frustration with perception was a familiar feeling. Dancing was not. Presented with something new, she could easily ignore the everyday. (p. 223).

Work that the situation appears in

Title Publication Type Year Creator
A Closed and Common Orbit Narrative, Novel Becky Chambers
Machine P.O.V
Machine P.O.V.

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