by Max Barry

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by The Technocratic State of Cortexis. . 166 reads.

Archbrain Turbina Vorlis

Progress is a constant process... never stopping, always moving forwards. Always. And it will not stop just because it makes you uncomfortable. Move with it, get abandoned aside and perish forgotten, or get crushed by it. And should you ever think about not only ignoring progress, but outright preventing it from happening at all, anywhere... it might not be the progress that crushes you. We will happily do it's job ourselves, should that prove to be necessary.

Archbrain Vorlis, regarding the Holy Empire of Aquilaurum and their penchant for Holy wars

Turbina Vorlis

A photo of Turbina Vorlis, carefully arranged and choreographed to look vaguely disappointed in the viewer personally


Archbrain of Cortexis
Assumed office
14. 3. 2504 Incumbent
Vice Archbrain
Preceded by
Metron Vektorin

Personal information
14. 3. 2479
Citizen physical category

Turbina Vorlis is the current Cortexisian Archbrain. She holds the record of the longest time spent in office. It's not really uncommon for an Archbrain to last for less than two years. Turbina has been an Archbrain for decades. Since she replaced her body with a robotic one, she could theoretically remain an Archbrain forever. Only time will tell.

Early life

Her mother, Vira Vorlis, was an inventor and a misanthrope who saw interaction with most sapient beings as a pointless distraction from her machines. She however considered her genetics too good to just die with her. When she came to conclusion that the only one worthy to be a father of her hypothetical child would be a male version of herself, she began working on a trans-universal gateway generator. Using said machine, she contacted Vitriol Vorlis in a parallel universe, who was facing the same problem. The resulting embryo was then removed from her body and placed into an artificial womb.
Turbina was mostly raised by books from her mother's large and impressive library (sci-fi and, later, crime and mystery novels being her favourite) and General Servant Unit 5, a non-sapient robot whom Turbina nicknamed "Efficiency" ("Effie" for short) after a robot character from one of her favourite books (although she missed most of the symbolism and just liked the machinery described in the story and the aesthetics of the film version, and thought Efficiency was an excelent name for a robot). As Turbina was repulsed by how loud, wild and irrational her young peers tended to be, Efficiency remained the closest thing to a friend she had for a significant amount of time, despite being a fairly simple automaton (for Cortexisian standards) that was capable of obeying given commands and had the communication skills of a simple chatbot with a response library of fairly decent size.
When Turbina was 11, she managed to reprogram Efficiency behind her mother's back, upgrading her AI to the level of sapience. Since then, Efficiency remained Turbina's life-long close friend and occasional assistant (voluntarily, of course).

Very sensitive to most external stimuli and prone to sensory overloads, she rarely left the safety and silence of her home unless it was necessary. At 15, she sucessfully constructed a robotic replica of her body and transfered her mind into it. The main advantage was that now, she could limit the flow of information from sensory units. Essentially, all sensory signals have a maximum level that they do not cross. Plus, now she is as synthetic as possible, and thus "living the Cortexisian dream".
Over the years, she has rebuilt her body several times to install upgrades and simulate aging.

Turbina, the way she is in the present, is also the first successful result of Project Wonderchild.
This project, involving digitized knowledge and skills and brain uploading, aimed to, as put by the head researcher, Vira Vorlis, "make the juvenile less unbearable and useless. To put it simply, create a rational child you can reason with.". The result was essentially a five-year old who had the mental capability of an adult genius and a deep knowledge of many technological scientific fields, but retained learning capability of a child. Wonderchild treatment has since become extremely common, and the minimum age of subjects able to undergo it has been pushed back significantly.

As an Archbrain

Turbina became the Archbrain when she was chronologically 25 years old.

Quite uncharacteristic of a Cortexisian, she showed much interest in the international community even before becoming an Archbrain... and she's largely disappointed. She sees the various democracies of the world as slow, corruptible and unable of any significant progress. The dictatorships often lack any vision or a higher ideal, with the main goal of the ruling party being "keep the amassed power and riches" instead of "make changes for the better now that we have power to do so". She wouldn't mind that, if only these selfish actions lacking better motives still led to technological or social progress, but many of these regimes stagnate... and don't get her started on theocracies. The fact that they still exist is, in her opinion, the most shameful failure of humanity.
She also dislikes uncontrolled capitalism quite a bit. She agrees that in the past, the desire for profit was a driving force behind technological progress. Since then, however, the industry giants have established themselves and often cripple innovation by suppressing inventions and discoveries that would endanger their businesses by being either unprofitable, superior or most commonly both.

However, she has no plans for world domination to "fix" the world, since keeping the power over an entire planet would currently be too difficult and impractical. In Cortexis, being the most qualified person is enough for the citizens to respect your leadership in your area of expertise. This however is a rarity and elsewhere, way more would be needed to establish authority. A cult of personality, maybe. She has never been a fan of Cults of personality.

Instead, the best option in her opinion is to pursue maximal possible autarky of Cortexis so no matter how other nations damage themselves with their forms of government, Cortexis will survive.
Should the civilization collapse outside of Cortexisian borders, keeping power over global population would become much easier and the people's mentality could be shaped to be more in line with Cortexisian values. Then, Cortexis would pursue a global state.
This is no "secret evil plan", as she has been pretty open about it being the action Cortexis would take in this situation. She also does not plan to cause such societal collapse since "they will deserve it only if they bring it upon themselves" and as an immortal, she can wait.

As a person

Growing up, Turbina has always valued pure logic, and it was hard for her to accept the fact that she was becoming more emotional than she would prefer to be, that being "not at all". Quite recently, she has come to term with this, but it was a long and a difficult process for her, not to mention the unfortunate few that she caught feelings for prior to this point.
She still dislikes her more emotional side, but she is now fine with repressing it most of the time, instead of wishing to fully eradicate it.

Like most Cortexians, she is an atheist, transhumanist and a supporter of technocracy.

Turbina tends to be a rather cold, introverted and reserved individual. She hates irrational, wilfully ignorant or hedonistic people, excessive unnecessary chaos and noise, usage of fallacies (especially appeal to nature, tradition or emotion, and the bandwagon fallacy) and people who use personal connections to gain advantages.

Her hobbies include reading (particularly classical science fiction), long walks through factories and industrial areas and the national pastime, 5D Chess with Multiverse Time Travel, of which she is a champion.

She possesses multiple spare duplicates of her robotic body, so she can transfer her consciousness wirelessly into a spare body in a case of emergency. It is also possible to activate a self-destruction protocol before this happens, resulting in a massive explosion dealing with whatever danger she wanted to escape from.

Miscellaneous trivia
  • Her vision is actually perfect, the glasses are non-prescription. She just likes the look.

  • Her grey hair is not a sign of extremely early aging, it has been her natural hair colour since birth.

  • Her favourite drink is fruit tea.

  • Her favourite food is grilled cheese sandwiches - they are difficult to prepare poorly and allow for experimentation with the ingredients.

  • She is 2 metres tall.

  • Her name is pronounced To(as in "to do something")-r-bin-ah Vore(but pronounced shortly)-lis(as in "list")

  • She owns a pet mechanical cat named Turing. He is based on a male British Blue Short-hair and is practically undistinguishable from an organic cat without seeing his insides.

  • She has never ran or jumped in her life. She is very proud of this fact.

  • Her robotic body can still process taste and smell, so she can still fully enjoy food and drinks. The consumed matter is then used as an additional source of energy.


"I do not hope. I never did so, and most probably never will as well. Do you know who hoped? Who had such high hopes of what humanity could achieve? Tesla. We all know well what it brought him. So no, I do not hope. Instead, I observe the situation. I make reasonable predictions. And then... I plan."

"I have yet to hear about a group of chess enthusiasts causing massive property damage because a complete stranger lost a game of chess against another complete stranger. Take from that what you will..."

"A person who refuses to do anything they are told to do by authorities is still a sheep, only in the opposite direction. In order not to be a sheep, you need to actually think about the instructions given and rationally judge the possible outcomes. Sadly, critical thinking is not a strength of those who call others "sheep" the most."

"There are many conflicting ideologies in the world... Capitalism against communism, conservatism against progressivism... and each ism is just a general category with many subisms that also disagree on a number of topics. In my opinion, this entire system is a certain ism of its own... tribalism. Masses often follow a dominant ideology in the country without ever realising its faults. Most ideologies have at least one good aspect to them, I have to agree. It is, however, entirely possible to take this aspect without accepting the rest. So no. I do not follow an ideology. I follow my brain and reason. If you have an irrational need to put a label on what I believe, feel free to call it... perhaps Turbinism, Cortexism or whatever name you think would fit. I would prefer it if you did not do so, but I currently lack the mental strength to convince you not to."

"National pride, by itself, is nothing to be condemned. In fact, leaderships should strive to shape their nation into a nation their citizens can be proud of. There is, however, a fine line between "national pride" and "delusion of national perfection" that many self-titled "patriots" cross. Am I proud of Cortexis? Yes. There are many reasons for it. Am I aware of its flaws that could be adressed? Do I realise the ever-present room for improvement? Yes, as well."

"This will be controversial, but I was never the one who hides their true opinions. Many see these two people as historical monsters whose obsession with irresponsible discovery has directly lead to the Great Machine War that ravaged the entire world in the late 21st century, with billions of casualties. The Engineers of Doom, they are often called... However, in my opinion, both Michael Reeves and Colin Furze were technological geniuses and I admire them deeply."

"Picture this scene rather prevalent in fiction. An expert warns the protagonist that the risk of their plan failing is over around 90% "I don't care about your percentages", the protagonist replies and carries on with their plan anyway. I personally believe that more such incidents in fiction should result in the death of the protagonist. Then, the general public would, perhaps, finally learn to trust those who know what they are talking about. On the other hand, I might be too optimistic. What a rare occurence..."

"In debates, or arguments such as this one, I always attempt to remain collected and calm. Resorting to insults usually shows only that one is unable to properly defend their point. However, in your case, I am afraid that I will have to make an exception, so let me say one thing: You are a spherical idiot... Why spherical? Because regardless the point of view, you will never be less of an idiot."

"I always loved rules. They provide structure and help to maintain a certain level of order, both of which I am also rather fond of. Rules carry great importance. However, I have observed certain trends that I would consider an outright affront to the concept of rules, and I feel the need to say the following. Any written rule must carry importance and be supported by a logically sound justification. Any rule worth following is important enough to be written down. Any "rule" outside of these very generous boundaries is either common sense, and thus followed regardless of it's status as a rule, or nothing more than a pointless unjustified suggestion made by someone suffering from delusions of importance and an unhealthy level of involvement in other people's lives."

"In my life, I have formed what one might call close friendships with only eight ... beings overall. Five of them are dead and one of the remaining ones is a cat. Vice Archbrain Vektorin is the only one of the eight that has an important position, and I have only met him after my greatest success in life. Yet, I have gained a very important governmental position. I have gained it on a basis of being objectively better than the rest of the population in desired metrics. And that is how it should be regarding advantages in life. Merit. Strictly merit. It pains me to see certain individuals get unfair advantages in their lives just because they have acquaintances in important positions. It is nothing but societal decay that will, if left unchecked, result in a failing civilisation where those at the top are too incompetent to lead and make good decisions. Any second spent "networking" could have been spent on improving oneself to gain the advantageous position deservingly."

"Any practice or other social phenomenon that is benefitial to society or otherwise important will survive without being protected by the status of 'tradition', or die regardless of such status."

"An 'Alpha male'? An unstable male in the early stages of development? That describtion seems rather fitting for many individuals who attribute that title to themselves on the internet. Sadly, someone released them to the public, probably by mistake."

"Normalize this, normalize that... By focusing on 'normalizing' activities, we overlook something bigger and more important: the fact that harmless deviations from the norm are seen as negative without any logical basis. We do not need to normalize anything. We need to stop putting 'normality' on a pedestal. Normalize not being normal, if you will... "

"My mother has recently been working on improvements to her "Wonderchild treatment". Essentially, the new approach rapidly accelerates the physical development of the individual before overwriting parts of their mind, while the original method consisted only of the second part of the procedure. This meant that until now, the treatment was limited to individuals capable of locomotion, since trapping an essentially adult mind in a practically immobile vessel was deemed "torturous" and often had lasting effects on the subject's psyche. With the new approach, however, one could theoretically apply the treatment on a fetus. The possibilities... We could essentially remove the "baby" stage of human existence entirelly. What a service to the world... Babies. What is there not to hate about them? They are extremely loud, behave irrationally and cannot be reasoned with... Sadly, I have observed such behaviour in some fully grown individuals as well. Notice how I said "fully grown individuals" and not "adults". That was fully intentional."


How not many people get to see her - relaxing. Nothing beats a hot mug of tea

What is believed to be the only childhood photo of Archbrain Vorlis. Found in the background of a selfie taken in a library.

(For a basis of the factbook, I used the leader template by: Northern Ateria; template can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=436234&p=38401937#p38401937)