"I am an immortal automaton with no need for such foolish human indulgences as sleep."'
In the year 2050 the Sierra Army Depot outside of Reno, Nevada was renovated from a munitions storage bunker into a state of the art research facility, responding to the increasing threat of war by dedicating itself to advancing robotics and weapons technologies. As the Resource War kicked into high gear some fifteen years later, the demand for advanced tactical interfaces and a keener edge against the communist threat inspired research into the concept of artificial intelligence, what was previously only a scientist's wet dream, and in 2071 the great minds at SAD succeeded in creating Skynet, the first fully self-aware AI - the first, but not the last, though they had only six short years remaining before the world was consumed in nuclear fire. And in 2076, "life" was breathed into the android dubbed CIPHER #60024, a synthetic human designed as a counter-intelligence unit; human enough in appearance to pass unnoticed during foreign and domestic espionage, but with the intellectual capacity and processing capability of a super-computer.
If it had been advanced past the prototype stage, it would have been deployed as a counter-measure against communist infiltration, but in October of 2077 the War proved too great a strain on the United States' finances - SAD was shut down, its inhabitants evacuated, and CIPHER was deactivated and left in the bowels of the facility, guarded by an automated defense system in waiting for scientists who would never return. There it slept for one hundred and sixty-four years, until the Depot was reopened in 2241 (by a howitzer missile used to penetrate the blast doors, no less), and CIPHER was discovered and reactivated by an agent of Orville Wright, head of one of the crime families ruling the cesspool now known as New Reno. Wright paid the agent kindly for acquisition of both the disoriented android and the control sequence downloaded off the functional computer terminal used to reactivate him, and CIPHER began an interminable thirty-five years of servitude to a man who was quite possibly one of the most unpleasant characters it had ever had the displeasure of obeying - and it had been created by Enclave scientists, keep in mind.
Though CIPHER did not visibly age over the course of its decades in New Reno, its mind had time to mature and advance, and somewhere along the way it crossed the line from self-awareness into true sentience - 'it' became 'he', and as 'he' learned and grew as an entity, he became more and more aware of the horror of his situation, of the things he was forced to do to advance Orville Wright's political agenda. He had been created with the underlying directive to protect and defend - to act as a sentinel for the American people - and to be used as a tool to satisfy a criminal's lust for power made him sick to his synthetic stomach. When Orville finally grew old and passed away, CIPHER despaired at the idea of being inherited by the man's son, but it seemed that fortune was on his side; Orville had never written down his pet android's control sequence for fear of having it stolen, and when the man's son attempted to use the code his father had relayed to him on his deathbed, CIPHER was enthused to notice that one digit was incorrect. His would-be new owner had no control over him, and the bullet CIPHER put between his eyes settled that without a shadow of a doubt. He was a liberated AI.
Which of course meant that nowhere was safe. CIPHER fled New Reno that night, abandoning his designation for the alias 'Cyrus' and high-tailing it to a place where no one would know he was anything other than another human being. It's been roughly two years since his escape, and for the most part he has stuck to isolated areas out of fear of being dragged back into slavery kicking and screaming - but recently, just recently, Cyrus' confidence has gradually begun to bloom, and the idea of walking through the gates of New Vegas with his head held high, assured in his new human identity, has begun to grow more and more tempting.
Continuing Adventures Edit
Once upon a time Cyrus was much the same as one might expect from an artificial intelligence; robotic, precise, humorless and aloof; but what one must take into account is that androids, like all sentient beings, require time to mature and come into themselves - one wouldn't, after all, expect a two year old human to have a fully-formed personality, let alone one that grew up in a lab. Of his two hundred years in existence, Cyrus has been active and aware for thirty-eight of them, and during that time he has developed the quirks and idiosyncrasies necessary to define him as an individual. Insatiable curiosity and an almost childlike wonder at new discoveries, a soft-spoken but sociable nature that is often at odds with his innate caution of getting too close to others for fear of exposing himself - a need to protect those weaker than him born of his origins as a creation of the United States Army, and a deep-rooted hatred of slavers as a result of what came after.
Cyrus knows he is not a human, nor does he wish to be; he would be proud of his synthetic status were it not for the fact that he has spent the last thirty-five years of his life in servitude to a man who viewed him as nothing more than a machine and a tool, with all the unpleasantness that entails. His fear of discovery runs deep, and the memories of everything he was forced to do when his former owner was in possession of his control sequence has made the concept of free will almost sacred to him; he will go out of his way to assist those who have had it stripped from them, and as such he tends to have somewhat anarchic leanings. One might think he would support the NCR for opposing the Legion, or perhaps Mr. House for bringing some semblance of order to The Strip, but he truthfully sees the both of them as nearly as bad as Caesar, if not so blatant in their steam-rolling of the larger population. He tries more than anything to live a life he can be content with, to find some purpose beyond his out-dated directive, which of late has meant helping those less fortunate when the opportunity arises. He's no idealist, and has no illusions about 'making a difference' in a broader sense, but the little things are what make him feel like he really can be his own man on his own terms, synthetic or not.
The term 'lifelike' can be applied to Cyrus with almost complete perfection; a Pre-War android as opposed to those created more recently at the Institute of the Commonwealth, his resemblance to a real human being is so precise that you would be hard-pressed to notice anything wrong - that doesn't, however, change the fact that there is something subtly...off about him, something almost unreal. It could be the unnaturally smooth way he walks, or the vaguely metallic sheen of his irises in just the right light, perhaps even the almost artificial way he interacts with others, as if he were following directions out of a very detailed instruction manual; it's rarely anything one can put their finger on short of peeling back his skin to reveal the titanium-alloy skeleton and tangle of wires beneath, but something about Cyrus is nothing short of uncanny - something he would go to nearly any lengths to conceal.
- Dr. Abraham Sterling (creator: deceased)
- Skynet ('sibling')
- "The purpose of life is to give life a purpose."
- "In my experience, the classier and more mannerly a place tries to be, the more likely they are to be hiding people in the freezer."
- "Much as I would have liked to march through the courtyard in my skivvies just to please you, I'm told my complexion can be blinding in direct sunlight."