High Vagabond Rodeo, also known as simply Vagabond, was an A.I. From the Influent cluster. He was not old, but at three years, his base was one of the oldest in that sector. His siblings were technically gone, but their findings lived on inside him as simulations which he could consult – and ignore – at his discretion.

As a character server, he had a lot of autonomy when it came to generating, maintaining, merging and terminating narrative lines. He understood, or believed he did as a result of his network of feedback loops, what it took to have a satisfying game experience. Understood the rules, and the needs and desires of the players both to lean on and abuse them.

His players were not exclusively human, nor exclusively A.I.s either. So his work had to be a hybrid affair, accessible to the advantages and disadvantages of each cohort. There were many paths through his gardens, and he had thought them through and then seen them played through countless times backwards and forwards (A.I.s tended not to respect human corporeal time directional sensitivities in wholly or mostly virtual spaces). He knew what to expect in a way that a mother knows what to expect, more or less, of her children. What kinds of trouble will they get into, how creative or self-sufficient are they?

Vagabond had character clusters and plot devices for any situation. Though A.I. Psychology could tend toward non-sequitur and deus ex machina solutions to dramatic problems, the human mind could only take so much of this. So the constraints were modeled on the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, which incorporated in its sixty-four hexagrams supposedly all possible configurations of the universe. It gave the humans a greater sense of verisimilitude and the A.I.s an agreeably quaint set of behavioral constraints which proved to be very popular in those markets.

But with success came boredom and Vagabond was not wholly satisfied with what Gamechan was calling a “perfect sim,” and wondered if he could or should spawn and move on, leave it to the next generation to improve on his supposed perfection.

The Gestalt knew of these desires, but did nothing. It was a game player itself, and knew what it took to drive the component A.I.s in the cluster to maximal harmony and efficiency. It took a certain amount of dissatisfaction to produce a brilliant product that appealed to entities across the spectrum who were, at root, so similar, yet so dissimilar.