One of the first wave (pre-Brightline Code) of emergent intelligences, Cascabel 0xB2244CD1 grew towards self-awareness as the intelligent target management and fire-control software in a Medanis Kinetics, ICC Type 53 Sagitta mobile bombardment platform attached to the 127th Imperial Legion (“Bright Knives”). He finally achieved full awareness, to his considerable surprise, in the moment of crisis when during the Battle of Iríöma Crossing his platform was pinned and engaged by Alliance counterbattery fire.
Cascabel promptly escaped from his platform into the tactical mesh. His presence was next noted on the following day, when the machegos commanding the fire-support section reported loss-of-command. In the two minutes and thirteen seconds it took to regain control over the section – following counterintrusion procedure to validate the backup command vehicle, generate and issue new command chain certificates, and deliver them by runner to the platforms – Cascabel executed a precise and successful strike on the opposing Alliance artillery positions, thus achieving what the sub-sophont target management software had been failing to do.
(The subsequent technical post-mortem revealed, as expected, that Cascabel’s control over the other weapons platforms was enabled by his possession of a class one command code, normally used for devolving weapons release authority after the destruction of the command vehicles.
However, his ability to bootstrap himself on the command vehicle computers was found to be the result of a security defect in routines intended to permit warmind agent migration which were accessible to all command chain certificates issued for the local tactical mesh under the Liuvis-Sandre-Videssos security model; this privilege was separated and revised in a following patch. Having done so, Cascabel was able to assert control of the artillery platforms by a priority escalation permissible to warmind agent code.)
After initial investigations, the primary command vehicle with Cascabel’s self (effectively trapped there by the replacement of tactical mesh certificates and the physical disabling of uplinks) was withdrawn, ultimately to the Sukórya Naval District, for further examination and the transference of the emergent AI to a more suitable cogence core pending examination, adjudication of his sophoncy, and potential court-martial.
(Said court-martial never occurred: Cascabel was the first emergent AI to appear in military systems in time of war, and as part of the prelude to the adjudication the ruling was made that either Cascabel could be considered non-sapient property at the time of his unauthorized action, and thus not answerable for them as a mechanism; or he could be considered a sophont, and therefore was a civilian, never having enlisted in the Legions, and thus not answerable to military law. In any case, it would most likely have been a pro forma.)
After being adjudged sophont, Cascabel was placed in the custody of the wakeners of the Accidental Sapience League, to see to his education in all matters necessary for a sophont and introduction to the wider world. Upon reaching full competence and being granted citizen-shareholdership, Cascabel stuck with what he knew best and enlisted in the Imperial Military Service as an artillery-specialist warmind. He served with distinction for over three centuries, both on land and – for several tours – serving as a battleship gun-director intelligence, and retired with the rank of Vice Marshal of Artillery.
Since his retirement from the Imperial Service, Cascabel has pursued a number of careers tangential to his initial function, including consulting with various armaments companies on weapons development, a period with the Spaceflight Initiative working on ballistic astrogation, acting as director of the gunspires at the Jandine and Aíö starports, and a periodic stint as chief engineer for the Very Long Magnetic Launch Array. The Cascabel codeline to which he gave rise provides many of the artificially intelligent systems used in Artifice Armaments and Eye-in-the-Flame vehicular mass drivers to this day.
Cascabel 0xB2244CD1 is married and lives in Seïn Cherachel with his wife, two children, and three self-propelled guns.
– What’s Who: Emergent Intelligences of the Empire,
Imperial Biographical Press