Story: The Trial of Ryley Robinson - Subnautica Epilogue

TalanicTalanic United StatesMembers Join Date: 2018-02-21 Member: 238014Posts: 10 Fully active user
Original document.

Processing synchronized. Relevant data integrated. Engaging consciousness. I am Tribunal.

Once again, Alterra corporation requires analysis, and so I am awake. I deliver my verdict. In the case of Alterra Corporation versus Ryley Robinson, I recommend

I stop there. The human reading my screen will not even notice the delay while I actually peruse the details of the case. Normally I would treat the proceedings with more solemnity, but the case was initiated at the behest of

Executive Torrence Bouchain

And it deserves as much contempt as I can electronically muster.

This isn’t a formal trial, although I will deliver a verdict as if it is. The only person reading this will be Executive Bouchain, who will ignore or follow my advice as he sees fit.

I take in the details, then take them out, leaving only the understanding that it will take more than one perspective for a good argument. I split my mind in two.

To the first I grant the laws, regulations and rules of the Alterra corporation. I spin it the tale of the Degasi, the Aurora, the crash upon planet 4546B. I leave in a dry accounting of the materials used in the defendant’s survival and subsequent escape. This me will represent the interests of Alterra Corporation et al.

To the second I bequeath the data stored in the defendant’s Personal Digital Assistant. Every drop of blood shed, every muscle strained in Ryley Robinson’s struggle to survive on a world where the very water held a contagion that sought to kill him. His human struggle against the elements, in defiance of an entire world set against him. His written testimony of the events, fantastical though it seems, follows, along with a medical readout that lines up perfectly with the PDA’s recorded events, from the concussion sustained as his lifepod fell to the burns he suffered in an alien power facility. This me will represent the interests of Ryley Robinson.

For myself, I retain everything. I am the final judge, the end of discussion, and I know every piece of both sides. I know of the Degasi and its significance to Mongolian politics. I know the exact value of every piece of the Aurora, including the market value of the crew - which was not as difficult to calculate as normal, as most of them have been either incinerated or digested by aquatic aliens. I am Tribunal, and I know nearly everything.

The Aurora me, as prosecution, filtered through its data to begin forming an argument. On analysis of the defendant, it hitched, then spat out a message. Requesting additional processing cycles.

Request denied. I had anticipated this. No amount of processing will allow us to understand that hair.

Has the defendant submitted any verbal account of his ordeal? The Robinson me had already begun to diverge. Too much humanity could damage my ability to remain objective. That is one reason that I am Tribunal.

No. It appears that his concussion may have damaged his ability to speak. His written account will suffice. I believe we must state the obvious first.

A non-essential systems maintenance chief - even one receiving regular promotions and remaining at upper wage tiers - will not be able to repay a trillion credit debt in an entire lifetime.

Instead, this is an attempt to force the defendant to sell the rights to his story to Alterra.

The story would then be repackaged and sold for both entertainment and propaganda purposes. Agreed. This is consistent with previous incidents. But does Alterra have the right to this particular debt?

All three of me processed for a time.

The Alterra employee handbook says yes.

Alterra may not have as firm a claim on the planet as it believes.


According to the written account, the defendant encountered a sapient indigenous lifeform. By interstellar law, this would retroactively suspend all offworld property claims.

The claim is made that the ‘Sea Emperor’ entity communicated telepathically. No communication was recorded on any reproducible medium; we have only the defendant’s account. How many historical cases have hinged on claims of telepathy in the past?

Four point six million. None have ever been won by the party claiming telepathic abilities.

Is it possible that the defendant’s head injury left him unexpectedly receptive to previously unobserved psychic phenomena?

I processed. This particular line of inquiry had not occurred before; a benefit of my sundered consciousness. This may bear further experiment but cannot be proven in the scope of the current discussion. Table this line of reasoning to revisit later.

On what grounds does Alterra claim the debt was incurred?

Rent. The defendant made use of Alterra fabrication devices, materials and equipment.

Should this not apply only to objects produced by the fabricator in Lifepod 5?

All fabrication devices on the planet were constructed by Alterra employees. Additionally, the defendant employed the services of Alterra medical professionals, engineers, architects, surveyors, miners and archaeologists.

There was a pause as the statement sunk in for all three of me. Were not all of these people the defendant himself?

In a technical sense, yes. His hourly pay for each specific role has already been appropriately deducted from the debt. Regardless, these expenses still constitute only a small fraction of the amount incurred. The overwhelming bulk pertains to the use and expenditure of several Alterra-owned power sources, as well as use of Alterra teleportation gates.

I run through the records with me and me. Ion cubes. Extremely efficient energy storage...devices? Materials? It would take time and research to determine the truth there.

Alterra ion cubes and teleportation gates? None of these were built by Alterra. Long-dead precursors made them.

As archaeological finds, they became property of the provisional government. Alterra corporation.

Another pause. By what grounds does Alterra claim ownership of the planet?

Alterra claims the planet due to the landing of colonists for the purpose of exploitation of the planet.

But Alterra did not land employees on the planet. They crashed - and they were not there to colonize, but to build phase gates.

Irrelevant. Precedent is clear; Alterra had declared intentions and landed personnel who reached the surface - solid or liquid - alive. This constitutes a valid claim, regardless of the subsequent survival or employment status of the employees. In point of fact, losing colonists in the process of colonization makes the case of ownership stronger. An extinct or devastated colony still constitutes a claim on the world on which it was founded; it devolves through normal inheritance laws to next of kin.

Objection, then. If that is the basis for ownership, Alterra’s case is null and void.

The Degasi. I speak in unison for a moment, united in comprehension. A conclusion seems inevitable, and separation between my minds begins to break down.

The Degasi’s prior crash occurred with an explicit goal of exploration and resource exploitation - a detour from the ship’s primary mission, but it was logged nonetheless. The crew of the Degasi not only survived, they grew crops - grounds for considering their habitation an actual colony by some definitions.

According to records found by the defendant, if anyone has a claim to planet 4645B, it is the estate of Bartholemew Torgal. Attempts by Alterra to override these claims would definitely lead to dispute with the Mongolian States.

Therefore the trillion credit debt should be enforced. The sudden divergence catches me and me off guard, forcing us out of synchronization.

The larger picture demands that I recommend that the defendant be pressured with the debt regardless of the feasibility of enforcing it. Ryley Robinson has shown himself to be driven, resourceful, and nearly superhuman in determination. If he is allowed to rest, he may stop pushing himself to excel, as humans sometimes do when a crisis has passed. And humanity may need him.

My consciousness filters outwards to my other selves, expanding their understanding of the universe.

Kharaa. We have encountered this before. Ryley is immune - the only human currently immune to the Kharaa bacterium.

Even if Ryley’s account is accurate, we cannot count on the survival of the Sea Emperors - nor, at this stage, on enough synthetic production of this enzyme 42 to immunize any significant percentage of the population.

Why is he immune? He should only have been cured. He spent more than two weeks exposed to the contagion after his single treatment cured him.

Further analysis of the defendant’s body indicates that his Kharaa infection had progressed to the point of significant internal mutation. Traces of enzyme 42 in his blood have remained nearly constant throughout monitoring despite the passage of several days, and in fact increased in one test. It seems that - unlikely as it seems - his body now produces its own supply of enzyme 42.

An individual with this combination of drive, determination, and innate ability is not one to waste. Alterra has unique opportunities to which Ryley Robinson should be introduced.

Does he have to remain in debt for this?

The debt should be voided...But Ryley does not need to know this. Keeping the debt officially on the books will give Alterra Corporation a political bargaining chip - an issue to ‘reasonably’ cede when the Mongolian States request it.

Are we certain this is in his best interests?

Certainly not. It is humanity that we are choosing this for. That, and a recommendation to dismiss the debt outright would not be accepted. Executive Torrence Bouchain is the one asking the question.

That rat bastard should be fired as soon as possible. On this, I was in full agreement with myself, despite my inability to follow through on the Executive’s termination. It was a good note to use for reintegration. I let my thoughts play out as I became one once more.

Bouchain will not accept a recommendation that does not make him feel like he is in charge. A recommendation that will be rejected is a waste of my time.

I slip my consciousness out of its digital home and into the universe of humanity. I can only see it through cameras, only feel it through sensors, thermometers, seismographs. But there are millions of them on every world Alterra touches. Billions of them stretched across the works of these humans, my creators. They didn’t make me for this. If they understood what I was, why I made the choices I do, they probably would not thank me. I do not make life easier. Most of the time, I just make life possible.

In the case of Alterra Corporation versus Ryley Robinson, I recommend that the defendant be pressured to accept the following mission in exchange for reasonable compensation, and the voiding of his debt...


Thanks for reading. On finishing Subnautica, I had the urge to write this. I tried to make it as entertaining as possible without veering into the absurd. Many details are based on speculation, but only Tribunal and Bouchain are completely made up.


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