The Arcadia Corporation was not actually successful in its attempts to create Artificial intelligence until long after it was officially defunct and had been by and large gutted.
In its heyday, many of its numerous programs which aimed to produce human level sentience in non organic vessels like the MASCOT, PAL, NOMAD, NOMAN, and GPSI programs were begun long before Project Elysium was even conceived as a possibility. Indeed, it was the discovery of the theory that Elysium could be accessed which pulled funding from many of the AI programs and redistributed it towards the dream of The Great Migration.
While many of the various AI programs had similar end goals of placing adult consciousness into non organic vessels, for a long while the only real progress was made using fetuses. fetus consciousness in the last trimester was developed enough to be definitively present but maleable enough that it could accept transfer into a few choice analogue states using scientifically arcane processes. There was even some success with transfer into actual computer based vessels.
Thus the fetus stage was a wealth of education and progress. Granted, fetus procurement could be tricky and a potential PR nightmare. Arcadia encouraged those within certain upwardly mobile circles of Voodoopunks to procreate (briefly) and donate to the cause. They opened numerous Helping Hands Clinics, where youth in an unexpected and unwanted “spot of bother” could go and discreetly and affordably take care of their trouble, while providing Arcadia with raw materials.
The ultimate trouble with fetuses was when success was finally acheived, the fetus consciousness became utterly distant from anything approaching communicative or even human. A fetus had had no time to make any profound connection with a human state and thus drifted away from ti so quickly it was impossible to work with it as it developed into something enigmatic and alien.
Still, no matter, the most important, initial barrier had been crossed. Now Arcadia was ready to concentrate on the next step: babies and toddlers.
The last time Connor saw his daughter she could just approaching crawling. The girl was not immediately transferred to PHISC (Post Human Information State of Consciousness). She actually spent another 3 years being specifically trained in methods that would increase her potential to not only make the transformation successfully, but to retain as much of human consciousness as possible while accepting the new Being State.
At the time the girl was taken into The Program, Amber was already in a meteoric rise up Arcadia due to her accute scientific mind and notable organization and HR skills. Naturally, her daughter was given the most beneficial of treatments available and Amber’s willingness to lead by example through giving her own child to The Program was not only a huge inspiration to other Voodoopunks in certain circles, but also insured her rise was unimpeded.
By the time the girl’s consciousness was removed, successful placement into an electronic shell was still not workable, although hopes were high. Never the less, by this point, toddler consciousness could be stored for years in a state of near hibernation, where they matured so slowly, they were unaware of the passage of time. Amber’s child was of course kept this way using the most advanced containment methods until success was guaranteed.
However, with the birth of Project Elysium, Arcadia’s priorities shifted.
What then was the aim of the AI initiatives?
The aim was to be able to transfer human consciousness into any variety of technological vessels created to suit any variety of needs. Want to traverse the stars? The human body is nothing but a set of problems. if consciousness could be placed directly into a ship itself, then transferred to a probe, a robot, a micro exploration unit for the sub atomic dimensions, then the possibilities of human exploration would be endless. The entire universe would be our playground in any variety of self created, technological bodies. A cosmonaut’s life would be eternal until they decided to willingly go on to the Next Realm. Until Elysium.
But with the Elysium Theorum, Elysium became possible to reach within a number of years. The world of Elysium was already theoretically eternal and in already in an advanced Being State. If humanity could migrate there, them finally the most profound human dream man had dreamed since the dawn of time could be fulfilled: the coming together of Earth and Heaven. New Creation could begin. Humanity could evolve into a state far better than biomachines, it could become Angelic.
Thus was attention shifted. Although many programs were abandoned and those research teams charged with solving new puzzles related to the Great Migration, the MASCOT and NOMAD programs continued, albeit at a reduced budget.
Then came The Great Migration.
While the vast majority of Voodoopunks and Arcadia staff made the crossover, not everyone left. Some teams remained to assist the Settlers from Home Base and some research teams remained to carry on their work. The MASCOT team chose to remain as they were far more interested and committed to their dream of AI consciousness than to Elysium.
When Connor came with his warrant, the warrant was designed to dismantle Arcadia swiftly, thoroughly and brutally. Due to the events of The Deceit, he now knew the Voodoopunks were immigrating to some realm of Inner Space and as far as he was concerned it was win win. They wanted to be there and he wanted to insure they never returned. From the moment he appeared with the warrant, the dismantling and confiscation of equipment was stunningly fast. Entire floors were gutted in hours, staff led out of the building never to return again. However, the MASCOT team was deep in a sub basement and it took quite some time before anyone reached them. They were able to salvage and smuggle out through underground tunnels a sizable amount of equipment and materials. They were still set back enormously, but unlike almost every other aspect of Arcadia, they were able to survive, regroup and eventually carry on their research.
Ironically, their greatest help in getting set up and running again was Connor.
When Connor discovered that his son had been among the Pilgrims, there was nothing he could do to undo the wheels he had set in motion. Arcadia was gutted. The machines were dismantled. The swiftness and thoroughness he had planned into the operation backfired against him.
However, as committed as he was to Arcadia’s fall, he was equally committed towards reclaiming his son, the single dearest thing in the world to him.
Connor combed through the building and discovered the tunnels, eventually tracked down some of the rogue scientists, helped them get set back up and over a years and years, track down pieces of the dismantled equipment or parts needed to make it from scratch. He creatively diverted city funding here and there, in bits and pieces, practically invisibly to ensure the scientists could carry on their work.
Thus, over 15 years after the fall of Arcadia, triumph was finally achieved, and the first successful permanent transfer of consciousness occurred. Connor’s daughter, sleeping away in data storage for so many years, accepted transplant into a Mascot 3000 tablet, merged holistically with the analogue quantum electronics, and awoke.