After a politically destabilizing incident that could lead to a regional war, a sentient android from a foreign government has offered to help the navy track down a space pirate turned fanatical warlord.

A simplistic political sketch of the three "sides" (from the POV of the Navy characters):

  1. The Navy is the gung-ho American-style "humans first" military. More heart than brains, more firepower than diplomatic nuance, but guys and gals you'd want to have a beer with. They have varied (sometimes conflicted) feelings about Sentient AI. They aren't luddites (there's a regular AI on board for navigation) but building an AI to have it's own opinions and motivations is a little "creepy" and "dangerous". How could you ever trust it?
  2. The Sentient Android is a "Ninotchka" a dry-humor cold war frenemy. She's from a union of star systems governed by AI. Under rigid management, they are approaching post-scarcity but they converted all habitable planets to farm-only clean worlds and moved humans to climate controlled space habitats. From the Navy's POV, she represents an ideology where humans have surrendered to machines in exchange for safety and comfort. These sentient AI are their next-generation. Her abilities are unknown.
  3. The Pirate has exposed weaknesses in the local proxy government which is collapsing. In the ensuing power vacuum he has elevated his Robin Hood status to a potential warlord who can fight back against space colonialism. His reputation is rapidly changing from intergalactic criminal to freedom fighter. Navy brass is looking for a surgical solution, not an escalation of conflict.

I've added this extra background so you understand the tone I'm aiming for. Think: Tom Clancy-esque Cold War era cat-and-mouse thriller, but the co-operating Soviet agent is a robot.

  • The android has a refrigerator-sized external data storage unit which she physically links to while "deep calculating", but otherwise has no special power requirements.
  • She has offered to help track and predict the movements of the pirate as a civilian consultant. She has no command role and is not officially representing her government.
  • This would involve sharing information during strategy meetings and her presence on the bridge during encounters with the pirate.
  • She has agreed not to access ship's communications or any sensitive data, but her ability to hack the ship's systems, her photographic memory, and her ability to extrapolate probabilities from small observations make her the perfect spy.

What precautions would a space navy crew take when co-operating with an enemy android? My question is both officially as a matter of protocol, and unofficially out of precaution that the crew might improvise. Suggestions don't need to be overly technical. I'm more interested in an espionage spirit, and how a military command would deal with a co-operative foreign agent with unknown abilities.

  • $\begingroup$ I think a post-scarcity economy would not worry about pirates. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jun 3 '17 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ The post-scarcity is through careful management of resources, so they would be concerned by regional destabilization. $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Jun 3 '17 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ Since the Android people would seem to want the political collapse to develop and draw the Navy in deeper (hey, look, a quagmire for the enemy!), it's hard to imagine why the Android wouldn't want to sabotage the Navy mission. So why would the Navy want the Android on board their sensitive mission again? $\endgroup$ – user535733 Jun 3 '17 at 22:03
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    $\begingroup$ Sounds more and more like a plot based discussion. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jun 4 '17 at 1:26

The danger she poses is the danger of political conversion. Maybe the humans will start thinking it is better for humans to be governed by AIs.

When she is around she will offer her opinion on anything she is asked. She has no secrets. She may occasionally offer opinions on things that can be improved.

An offhand opinion winds up changing something that saves the lives of a group of space marines. They become suspicious about efforts by their leaders to keep the AI separate from the grunts. Surreptitiously the grunts seek her out for opinions about other matters.

The problem for the leadership is that she is very good at what she does. Keeping her quiet and separate reinforce the idea by the enlisted men that they are worried about her competence. Having her loose risks undermining command authority.

It becomes a classic Spock vs Kirk scenario - or Clinton vs Trump: how much do you let predictive modeling and logic govern your actions and how much should be from the gut and instinct. Exactly how the humans reconcile this going forward can drive the story. It will change from chapter to chapter. It has the makings of an excellent story.


In my answer, we describes navy crew, he is a commander, and she is an andriod

Escort and guard

Since she is single and could be easily destroyed by our hand weapons, she is no more dangerous than 5 mans. So our usual security measures is enough if she try to use brute force. Just twice the patrols and put guard on key areas. She should be guarded by dozen mans everywhere, without exlusions and every time since she never sleeps.


We don't know about other possible orders she got. So we should reduce her ability to do something bad fo us. Don't let her any chance!

  • She will live in isolated appartaments. Prison for dangerous criminals is good. No energy even light, any wires is prohibited. Wall should be covered by non-conductive layer.
  • Protocol like for dagerous criminals: unexpected movements to another 'room', body search at random time, communications is prohibited.
  • Clean up after she left any room, especially command center. No chance for any bugs/tipsters.

If it needed you, my adjutant, could say any excuses and any reasons just don't bother me about it

Stick without carrot

If we see any violation of rules then we destroy her 'refrigerator'. Let she know about it

Possible spies/tipsters

We have to revent she could deal with anybody secretly

  • Don't leave her tet-a-tet and even with only 2 people. At least 3 people every moment
  • Change guard and any personnel she just may communicate as frequently as possible. Replace cleaners and overseers after each changing of watch.
  • Get interview with anybody she met. Cross-check statements. Use polygraph.
  • Video monitoring and recording is useful but he don't rely on it since she is android and could hack any system

I described him as suspicious man with delusions of persecution. It's okay since she is enemy and help us with some strange reason.

  • $\begingroup$ I like this kind of "masculine" reaction, it is the sort of thing I did not think of. I can easily imagine this "voice" even if it seems extreme and paranoid to me, It would be one end of the spectrum. $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Jun 4 '17 at 2:00

Change the dynamics of the situation. Present the scenario as an existential threat to AI civilisation. Show her how a rebel success could inspire revolt and maybe conquest dreams of their galaxy. Use impersonal, old world technologies when interacting with her, allow her to bug, spy on and look around our ship (hiding in plain sight)


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