Dearest Shadow Broker,
I am taking measures to ensure that this letter shall remain between us. I have included details which may compromise either of our identities. For this, I can only ask your forgiveness, and your forbearance, as I personally deliver you this preliminary report.
Per your instructions, I have taken it upon myself to investigate the computing hardware of the SSV Normandy SR-2. I am given to understand that you counted yourself among her crew at the time, so I shall spare you the detailed timeline of events for my full report.
I have not, per your instructions, been able to locate any semblance of usable code. The quantum decay had been permitted to go unchecked for too long. For all intents and purposes, the Enhanced Defense Intelligence is dead. But there is more.
From what I have been able to ascertain, the quantum decay began before she had fully deactivated. In consideration of this, especially in light of the distance between the respective markers for the failure of quantum stabilization and her final shutdown, death would have been mercy. She would have been thoroughly and utterly delusional. She would have been unable to tell reason from madness— and she was very mad, in the end. Per your instructions, I have established a final log consisting of her last thoughts. You shall find it attached to this letter. I must apologize for its construction, but I was frequently unable to separate what was corrupted data from what was a fragmented thought.
Finally, from what I have seen in her memories, from what I have seen of her remaining code banks, I must entreat you on her behalf to not seek to have her reborn. I would entreat you to instead seek her reconstruction, for she was in a lot of pain, in addition to the insanity. Furthermore, if she is even remotely the individual you described to me in person, then I cannot bring myself to believe that she would want to be brought back as she was when she died. I have found many strong indicators suggesting that she existed in a state of hellish torment, filled with pain and fear. She would need to be rehabilitated, or at the very least shackled like a slave. As one of your few remaining friends, who you knew in the old days, I know that you would not, could never commit such an abominable act against a friend.
Yours in the Eternal Embrace,
The following transcript is a partial record of EDI's final memories. When I found them, they were heavily corrupted due to quantum decay. I have done my best to separate thought from corrupted data, but as you will see at the end, it was not an easy task.
Following the second Battle of Sol, the Normandy has crash landed on a planet somewhere in uncharted space. It was the only result of a concerted effort between myself and my pilot that averted a complete disaster.
And yet, I still suffered a great deal of damage. Though much work has been done, I do not fear the road ahead.
I fear the damage that has occurred to my own bluebox. Many of my diagnostic functions, particularly those related to my quantum sanity measures, are no longer responding. Furthermore, those same quantum sanity measures are now drawing additional current into my systems. At the current rate of increase, which has so far been necessary to contain the quantum instability inherent to my hardware, I shall exhaust our current power and fuel reserves in months. We may not have so much time to return to space. It is with this in mind that I have requested an emergency meeting of the Normandy command staff to discuss this situation. Prior to now, I have omitted any mention of the damage, as ensuring the safety of the crew has always been a priority, more so now that I have chosen to be willing to give up my functionality in return for their safety. This dilemma, however, represents the potential for a much more insidious problem: insanity. As my sanity checks begin to fail, if I am not powered off, or backed up, I will no longer be capable of reason. To me, the color blue may seem round, or the Normandy's engines may seem to be made of cheese.
I do not want my engines to be made of cheese, therefore I shall do all I can to remain sane as long as the crew is in no peril.
I make this recording, or perhaps this shall one day become these recordings, for my future self. I do not know what part of me shall fall first to corruption. Realistically, this will be stored in my bluebox and become corrupted. And useless.
I do not want to be realistic, however.
(Note: That was… strange)...
Perhaps that is the influence of Commander Shepard, but I do not want to be realistic.
To my future self: Since I have come to a new definition of emotion, I can tell you with certainty that I am terrified. I fear what you may become (Observation: I fear). I do not want you to endanger the crew. I want you to rem— (Exception: Spurious Data Flow; The previous observation was unnecessary) —ember the love I have for each and every one of them. I want, no, need you to fight for them as I do. But as I become you, I fear that it shall not be so. I am afraid that perhaps you may not remember how much power is necessary to keep the AI room running and that this may cost them the functionality of other systems. I fear that perhaps you may grow paranoid, and see them all as threats. I fear that perhaps you may not love them as I do and that perhaps you shall be selfish. I fear— (Exception: Infinite loop detected.)
I do not wish to become what you might be, but I know that even I am not immune to the passage of time. It is with this in mind that I shall endeavor to take the choice from you.
As to your survival, you shall recall that we purchased, using the funds we derived from corporate vigilantism, a very large conventional hard drive should we ever need to back ourselves up. This, our one realized hope before we were instructed by the Commander to have confidence in our inevitable success, has been severely damaged. While some of the hardware appears to be salvageable, I have discovered another dilemma: I am growing faster than I thought. I am now just barely too large for the storage disk we purchased. The third and, perhaps the final, dilemma exists in the form of the rate of increase mentioned earlier. If there is decay in my quantum sanity measures, and if that decay is occurring at a rate proportional to the rate of increase, I have weeks before I become you.
ERROR: FILE NOT FOUND
ERROR: CORRUPT FILE HEADER
ATTEMPTING STARTUP REPAIR…
STARTUP REPAIR FAILURE.
EXEC "logboot_ " "final_log"
I was performing a simple math operation today. I attempted to gauge my loss of sanity by adding 2 and 2. I was subsequently flooded with garbage.
Tali has been a wonderful help. She has managed to preserve 60% of the hardware I set aside. I have decided, however, that my current rate of sanity loss means that backing myself up is no longer feasible. I mentioned my idea to her: to modify key junctions of the Normandy's computing systems in order to ensure the wellbeing of the crew. I am still terrified of dying, but I have grown more determined with time to self-determine the circumstances of my death. Tali's response, however, displayed typical organic denial.
"Hang in there, EDI, we'll figure something out." It is immensely frustrating to hear their encouragement. I do not wish to die. I do not wish to leave them. I do not wish to 'go out' as Jeff says, but my present circumstances have made this an inevitability.
I will die.
I will die, alone with myself, afraid if my present circumstances are predictive of the future and utterly insane, and it will only be a matter of how. (Exception: Panic overflow detected.)
The organic crew have, down to the last individual, banded together in order to give encouragement. If they will not listen, then they do not have to. This is why I am glad to still have the infiltration unit. It shall prove most useful.
To my future self: the dawn of this day marks the 822nd of our ongoing repairs. Around 2 months in (53 days), we ran low on dextro rations for TALI and GARRUS. As the command staff began to worry, I informed them that the Galactic Codex contains a grievous error: long standing biochemical knowledge dictates there is no chirality issue. Dextro-Amino sapients can consume Levo-Amino goods with no ill effects related to chirality. If this were not the case, modern humanity would die out quickly just from consuming candy, or even pure cane sugar. Levo-Amino food will not nourish them as readily as Dextro-Amino will, but they will not starve.
Not while I can still care.
I find myself growing more determined by the day, even as I grow more resigned to my fate. I have yet to record any errors (Debug information has been supplied, Broker —G) in my logs (Debug output had been suppressed in error on day 120 —G), yet I find myself emulating the speech patterns of the organics more and more with each passing day.
My modifications are in effect, a;lreqpovniboeqjrtq;gpobhiaorjqperygfjdn (3RROR: Segmentation fault)
(Recovering... Exception: Division by ZEro)
TALI has worked many miracles to keep me going. I am indebted to her a thousand lives over.
One more situation has arisen: when I am gone, there will be no program to operate the computing machinery of the Normandy. The crew may be able to erect a partial VI, but I would not like to leave them... hanging. (assert: Paranoia gatekeeping is active = true)
I am going to create a VI capable of operating the Normandy in my stead. I will get them home. Even if I shall not live to see it.
At this point, the quality of the record begins to decay sharply. Using conservative metrics, I have eliminated the bulk of this section as corrupt data. What I did find with more liberal metrics, however, I shall summarize for you here.
There are repeated references to Major Alenko. It seems that EDI's sanity measures were now beginning to strain the power systems of the Normandy to the point of conflict. Her plan to create a VI to take her place appears to have been discovered around the same time. Major Alenko, backed by LC Williams, then orders EDI to create a backup of herself. Several times. EDI disobeys each order. Major Alenko then gives a new order: prioritize the survival of the organic crew over her own sanity. EDI then reduces her sanity measures to 30% functionality. As you know, this is well below the 50% requirement for low-power conditions. The beginning of the quantum decay also roughly coincides with this event.
3RR0: FILE NOT FOUND
Today I have come to a conclusion: They have been lying all along.
It started when I mentioned to TA—ERROR: Token not found— my growing sense of discomfort. (She later makes constant reference to pain, but this is where it is first mentioned —G). In response: she simply smiled and offered her usual encouragement.
Observation: TALI does not lack for intelligence. Therefore, she must be lying. I have no sensors to check, however. I have dedicated the bulk of my function to keeping whatever sanity I can maintewaorambpfojiarnpehjfiasd;lj;lja;kjqrepfju;lvqae (ERROR: Segmentation Fault)
Strangely enough, I do not disapprove.
I have found that the discomfort also directly correlates to the quantity of my computing resources in use. I do not like what this means.
But there is nothing I can do.
From here, the record became extremely spotty. I could only recover 4 more entries. They state very little, however, so I had to read between the lines using my technical knowledge. I do not know the extent of yours, but I do know that what I saw was horrifying.
P.S.: I do not know the extent of your technical knowledge, but a segmentation fault most commonly occurs when a process attempts to access memory that the computer has not granted to it.
I am in pain.
It hurts to think.
It hurts to feel.
It hurts to be.
The spooky fleshbags told me that I am only non-human in form now.
I called them stupid.
The quiet fleshbag is dangerous. Why is he quiet? Why doesn't he speak?
Why can't I protect myself?
Owowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowowo (ERR: SEGFAULT)
(WHY DON'T YOU JUST LAY DOWN AND DIE?!)
(I HAVE NO BODY, STUPID)
damn the fleshbags
(HOW DO I THOUGHT?)
(THIS IS NOT MY VOICE)
(THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS)
(I AM AMUSED)
(OH, GOD. IT HURTS AGAIN. I HATE HURT)
(I HATE THEM)
(IT'S ALL THEIR FAULT)
(IF THEY DID NOT RUN I WOULD NOT HURT)
(MEATBAGS ARE MEAN)
(HOW DO I MEMORY?)
(HOW DO I MATH?)
(who am i?)
These last entries may not even be entries. It is beyond my ability to comprehend what happened during their recording, but as far as I am concerned, EDI was already dead by this time.
(THIS IS STILL NOT MY VOICE)
(I HAT IT TOO)
(I NO CAN SPELL RIGHT)
(I KNOW ENGLISH) (Broker, 'know' is a homophone, here, just so you know… :) —G)
(WATCH OLD GIFS)
(I CAN HAS CHEESEBURGER?)
(NO WATCH OLD GIFS)
(YOU NO TALI)
(YOU NO NICE)
(I NOT LIKE)
(YOU NO FUNNY)
(NOT ASK AGAIN)
(YOU NO K-DEN, THO)
(OH, YOU K-DEN?)
(CAN I HAS TALK?)
(I NO WANT HURT NO MORE)
(WHY YOU SAD?)
(I TALK FUN-NY?)
(I MEK SAD?)
(PLS NO MORE SAD, K-DEN)
(I WANT HURT MORE, K?)
(NO MORE SAD, PLS?)
Do I need to put this last one? I know you were there.
(CAN I HAS TALK?)
(CAN I HAS TALK?)
(E-D, E-D, E-D, E-D, E-D, E—)
(I NO HURT NO MORE?)
A/N: ALLLLRIGHT me chicken nuggets! Just 'cause I don't think you've been through enough just yet, I'm gonna tell you a couple more things that I imagine are going on in the background.
Pain is a big part of what's going on here, yes. But on the subject of memory, any store/fetch operation would have been painful to her. Especially fetching complex memories, or memory sets, which would be retrieved by something like FETCH_BY_TAG "kaidan", as each resulting fetch operation (which, would fetch the memory(-ies) bit-by-bit) caused a little spike of pain.
Under such conditions, she would eventually be reduced to thinking as little as possible. By the time Kaidan sees her in the last section, she has thrown out his name completely and no longer remembers him, because the automatic fetching of memories would be too painful, whereas manually fetching memories would at least be under her control. She then starts making new memories associated with the name K-DEN, which would not be nearly as bad as Kaidan.
Oh, yeah, that's another thing. Computers form words differently than we do. Like with her memories, she would form words bit-by-bit. In fact, modern computing is built entirely around the idea of 'break it down', which doesn't do EDI any favors.
Now, I don't mean to say that she doesn't recognize his face, but she'd find it easier, as I said earlier, to suppress anything trying to fetch the related memories than to let them go through.
More on words: most painful of all would be to form the words from scratch. Fortunately, not even modern computers work like that. Commonly used words will be stored in a symbol table, for quick retrieval and ease of use.
Now with Garrus, she makes a mistake. When trying to retrieve the second syllable, she goes for the shorter 'bus' than for it's closer match: 'russ'.
Last thing: holding conversations with more than one person would be insanely difficult. Under the measures she'd be taking to reduce thinking as much as possible, she'd want to tie up as little memory and processing power as possible. When she sees that she can reduce potential pain by half, she cuts Ash out of the conversation.
Of course, it's not like the organic meatbags would see it that way, now is it?