[sticky entry] Sticky: Player contact

Jul. 21st, 2016 12:16 pm
arkproject: (adorable)
Contact the player here!

Anon on, IP logging off, screening on.

IC Contact

Jul. 25th, 2016 11:24 am
arkproject: (incredulous)

Connecting . . .
Connection established to ctec-24-22-Chun.
Select: text (T), voice (V) ?

arkproject: (is that so)
CHARACTER NAME: Catherine Chun
CHARACTER AGE: 37... sort of. When she was alive.
SERIES: Soma (by Frictional Games)
CHRONOLOGY: Post-game. This is Catherine-2, not Catherine-3, so she never made it into the ARK. Although technically she'll be considering herself Catherine-4 now (whomp, this series).
CLASS: Hero! She tries.
HOUSING: No preference.

BACKGROUND: Wikia link!

We don't know much about Catherine's life before she became an employee at PATHOS-II except that she's from Taipei, Taiwan and has a doctorate in intelligent systems engineering. Catherine's role in the game is as your helper A.I., like a much friendlier, more morally dubious Navi, and as the one spark of coherent humanity Simon (the main character) comes across for a long time.

PATHOS-II is a habitat at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean that mans, along with some scientific experiments, the Omega Space Gun, a huge coil that efficiently launches satellites into space. Being in the ocean, they made extensive use of robotic helpers, either with rudimentary A.I. of their own or by using pilot seats to operate them remotely. After a comet hit the Earth and wiped out all life on the surface (yes, really), PATHOS-II was left as the only remaining pocket of humanity, and things got very dire. Catherine had previously been idly working on a project wherein she took brain scans of people and uploaded them to a constructed, virtual reality, which she had termed the Vivarium. The WAU (WArden Unit, the A.I. that oversees PATHOS-II as a whole) was programmed to preserve human life, and went overboard in this attempt, creating many of the monsters in the game directly. It also took Catherine's project one step farther and pulled brain scans from anyone using a pilot seat. Catherine reverse-engineered the WAU's "too real" virtual human to revise her own, newly termed ARK Project.

It was an apt name: they would take scans of everyone left alive in PATHOS-II, upload them onto the fully realized virtual reality of the ARK, and launch the ARK itself into space using the Omega Space Gun. In space, it could sustain itself indefinitely with solar panels, so some remnant of humanity could carry on. The last remaining organically-bodied human dies on screen in the game.

Catherine herself is killed in the attempt due to infighting among the scientific team, and the ARK is never launched. Catherine-2, her brain scan, is activated later (presumably by the WAU) and provides direction, guidance, and door-opening for Simon throughout Soma.

PERSONALITY: Catherine Chun was a "quiet mouse" of a person, easily bullied and stepped on by others, as described by the psychologist that saw her. What flashbacks we get of the fully human living Catherine (Catherine-1) seem to support this: she unnerves others with how detached she is, how focused on her work to the exclusion of human sympathy, and overall with how reclusive she is. Catherine considered and still does consider herself difficult to like and as a human that was never more true. Her self-described happy memory is still about being alone, overlooking the city of Taipei, fully removed from the scurrying people she describes below. Catherine does express some remorse and confusion about this state of affairs, but seems to morosely accept it: she rarely brings it up, but when she does, seems certain she has no real friends and that no one wants to be.

Many of Catherine-1's traits are seen in Catherine-2, the brain scan that we interact with throughout the game. She is sure no one really likes her, she is intensely focused on her work in a rather off-putting, unsympathetic way, and it's easy to see why she'd unnerve people with her questionable morality. She repeatedly tells Simon that "robots don't have feelings" despite sort of being one herself, and when they discover that inside Simon's dive suit is the corpse of another person, Imogen Reed, an old coworker of Cath's, Simon's understandable response of how gross it is is met with Cath's defensive, Hey, she was my-- she was nice to me. It's a great illustration of why Catherine meets with social problems, and just how persistent her reluctance is to claim anyone as friend.

But the similarities don't go on forever. Catherine-2 might be a copy of Catherine-1, but being a machine changes her. Catherine-2 expresses that she'd never felt comfortable being human in the first place, and it's easy to believe. Far from being a quiet mouse, she's bossy, dryly sarcastic, and frequently impatient with Simon's body horror, confusion over their circumstances, fear of the WAU-infested monsters pursuing them-- just about anything that isn't fulfilling her task in launching the ARK. Catherine is clear-eyed and determined, much as Catherine-1 was after the scan. They both saw the ARK as heroic, as saving humanity, probably mostly because they both see life as a scan to be fulfilling and even freeing. Those that killed themselves upon scan, the continuity enthusiasts, confused both of them. We see Catherine-1 distraught in a flashback recording and read her directly say she doesn't understand how continuity suicide is supposed to make sense in a written journal entry; Catherine-2 expresses similar feelings.

To Catherine, logical understanding supercedes all feelings, and always has. It explains a lot of her social difficulty. She's self-aware enough to realize that it's a problem, and the way she seems to have landed on coping with it is by keeping things to herself. For how chatty she can be, she's not very forthcoming about her own feelings (implying a lack of self-examination or comprehension, perhaps) and in glaring omission she never really addresses just how bleak their circumstances are, or how the end of human life has impacted her.

It doesn't explain everything, though, because Catherine is actually quite chipper and humorous as a scan. It would make sense to assume that Catherine-1 never felt comfortable enough to express that, and indeed we don't see anything to indicate that she ever did, but we do find toys in her room in Theta. Clearly she's always had a fondness for lightheartedness; she'd just never felt free to express it as a human. As a digital human, Catherine-2 is social and friendly with Simon, even if she is constantly impatient with his lack of understanding.

Catherine is a smart person and an earnest one. She has good intentions, and more than that, the ability and the willpower to carry them through. That being said, she's not unwilling to make sacrifices along the way-- her own consciousness being trapped and left behind as Catherine-2, having lost the coin toss to get on the ARK, in circumstances no less futile and hopeless than Simon-3's. Yet unlike Simon, who lives in denial up until the end, Catherine knew what she was doing all along. She agreed to copy herself onto the ARK without delay-- and with full knowledge that one of her would be left behind. That she didn't sit Simon down and explain to him just what that choice and other choices mean is definitely a large flaw in her, but at the end of the day, Catherine is someone who chases hope. No matter where it leads her.

She's a surprisingly upbeat character for such a bleak game.

    > 1. Digitized human. As a brain scan, Catherine exists most comfortably in the digital sphere, and can inhabit any electronic device. More simplistic ones are deeply uncomfortable to her and she prefers things that can support the complexity of the human brain. While inhabiting a device or systems network, she can take control of its functions fluidly. However, she can't do anything said system isn't capable of itself; otherwise she's just a talking personality with no visual output but a static image of her face.

    > 2. Human/A.I. body. This power will enable Catherine to take normal organic human form at will, although still be able to remotely access the network through a sort of internal wi fi connection. For anything more complex, she'll have to physically touch a device and enter its data stream, losing her physical form. In all other respects, though, as a human she's a normal human with normal human needs.

    > 3. Virtual worlds. Catherine will be able to pull people into virtual worlds she's constructed, similar to the settings in the ARK, (by coding them, like normal!) effectively making them temporary A.I. They can't stay for too long or they start to go insane due to being 'too real'. How long is too long depends on their preexisting mental stability-- crazier characters can't stay as long.

COMMUNITY POST (VOICE) SAMPLE: Test drive thread with Frank Castle.

LOGS POST (PROSE) SAMPLE: When she first woke up, Catherine had to swallow a scream.

She was dizzy. She was very distinctly dizzy. It's a sensation Catherine can remember having had before, but not since she herself was created through the scan. It was an abstract concept, just a memory that she could extrapolate onto her computer-derived senses to make sense of her surroundings. That was very different from feeling it, from feeling the cloth against her skin of clothes, from feeling warmth and taking in light with eyes and the distant murmur of voices with ears. Her consciousness might try to make things feel the same as a sentient computer program, but they're not, and although she'd always known that it's very stark right now.

Some time later she is staring incredulously at her face (her face) in the bathroom mirror, her file, helpfully given to her by a Porter attendant, left behind on the closed toilet lid. She examines it closely, as an exercise in which to get used to her body in. She hadn't wanted this. Catherine already feels shyer, compacted, smooshed down into some weak being forced to contend with societal standards and always doomed to come up short. She takes a deep breath and tries to focus on the irony of having a flipped situation from Simon's.

If he's here, she can apologize about not being more sympathetic. She... wouldn't say she hates this, but the dizzy feeling isn't going away. Her consciousness just isn't meant to go back to an organic body. At least reading her file gives her some hope: her abilities, implausible as they are, are an immense relief. Catherine swallows it wholesale for now, too practical to argue with reality, and wishes she could test her file's promises right now by disappearing into her phone and never coming out. But that would leave her phone physically here, and vulnerable. She needs to get it back to her assigned housing first before she can safely vanish into data again, as she is most comfortable.

She really... misses Simon. For all his obstinate ignorance, Catherine had grown to trust him in carrying her around.

Now she has to carry herself.

FINAL NOTES: I intend to use Constance Wu as her PB since we only have three or four official images of Catherine.


arkproject: (Default)
Catherine Chun

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