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Answers to Two Questions from The Second Ship. February 19, 2015

Posted by rhoagenda in Rho Agenda Updates.

A fan recently asked two excellent questions from The Second Ship.  I answer them here:

1. What exactly happened when Donald Stephenson stepped into the first ship?” I know he assimilated himself into the Kassari Collective mission after that day but how? There were no headbands that we know of, that being the competing tech, or was he blasted or injected with nanites by the ships damaged AI?

ANSWER: This is total backstory, but when Donald Stephenson went inside the Rho Ship for the first time, despite being badly damaged, the ship’s neural net activated the stasis field generator and used it to inject Stephenson with the Kasari form of nanites … a much more advanced version than what Stephenson was later able to reverse engineer and test on Priest Williams and Raul, prior to releasing it for distribution in Africa. Those nanites gave him the ability to interact directly with the ship’s neural net. It’s also why he was able to override Raul’s commands at the end of Immune.

2. How was the crew sucked out of the second ship yet their headbands were not on their heads? If they were piloting the ship attacking the first ship it seems like they would have had their headbands on …

ANSWER: Very good catch on the headsets and I probably should have explained this bit of backstory in The Second Ship. The Altreian crew didn’t actually need the headsets to tie into the ship while they were on board. However, whenever they left the ship, they put on the headsets to allow them to tie into it remotely. That is why they weren’t wearing the headsets when they were sucked out into space when it depressurized.


1. johnbbetty - February 19, 2015

Phillip, thanks for the answers and the “back story”.
My question is how was Stephenson’s intelligence enhanced when he entered the Rho Ship? Given that the Rho Ship had an AI as the overall operating system for the neural network of the ship, would it not have inserted itself into Stephenson at the time of injecting the K-nanites that you say happened? It would explain how this ” lowly technician” became an astoundingly super intelligent all conquering tyrannical evil scientist? Awaiting your reply. :^)

rhoagenda - February 20, 2015

You got it. Once he was injected with the Kasari nanites, his mind / intelligence enhancements were in place.

2. thelastbesthope - February 19, 2015

It seems clear that the AI aspects of Richard’s next books are going to be central to the plot. And lest anyone forget, Jack and Janet’s son is host to an alien AI entity. My guess is this fact will provide an incredible 3rd act twist.

Stand by for an epic sci fi story about the AI future.

rhoagenda - February 20, 2015

Stand by.

3. Bruno Ferreira Porto - February 20, 2015

I am happy that I get to the right conclusion about the first question while reading the book! The second one I do not remember thinking about it. Nice question, nice answers!

Quinn - March 12, 2015

So was there any chance of Donald Stephensons will rejecting the kasari collective despite the nanites or once presented with the situation he was all in? or was it sort of like Jack with the rider he was given an accept or die ultimatum? or a third option his will remained but as a third person observer to the kassari collective nanites operating his body?

rhoagenda - March 12, 2015

Dr. Stephenson was actually a willing ally of the Kasari. Not because he was inherently evil, but because he believed that welcoming the Kasari to our world was the best thing for humanity. After all, their technology would cure all diseases, extend our lives by hundreds of years, end all wars (at least between humans), and open up endless possibilities to see other worlds. If humans had to give up a few liberties in the process of such an assimilation, he viewed that as an acceptable bargain.

Having said that though, if Dr. Stephenson hadn’t been thrilled with the Kasari agenda, the Kasari nanites would have compelled him to get onboard with the program.

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