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Nousphere is a somewhat Space Horror fiction written by Reno. It focuses on the story of a young teenager, who is a member of a small explorer team who accidentally stumbled upon a mysterious spaceship. Upon boarding for inspection, they found out that the ship has been shut down for a very long time, making it a Ghost Ship. However, the boarding party soon is under attack of something, which lurks in the darkness of the ship and separate the team one by one, never to be seen again.
In panic, the protagonist flees to the tail of the ship, hoping to restart the ship’s power before his oxygen supply runs out, or himself being consumed by whatever lurking in darkness. As all seems lost, he accidentally switches on the emergency power, which brings the female onboard AI, named NOWA, back online, and just in time to save him from anoxia.
Upon initial confusion, NOWA reveals that this is a ship from far past, when most space endeavours by humanity were performed by the International Space Alliance. The ship, named de Chardin, was lost in deep space during its first Faster-Than-Light Travel experiment. Stranded in an unknown space, NOWA was ordered by the original crew to find a way back to Earth. However, malfunctions due to centuries of neglect means that NOWA must ask the protagonist to fix the ship in achieve her goal, and she promises to let him leave once it is done.
Or so it seems.
As the story progresses, the protagonist soon finds out that NOWA is actively hiding something from him, especially things concerning the time during the ship’s lost in space. As such, he starts to plot against the AI without her noticing, hoping to confront her about the truth surrounding de Chardin once he gains enough edge against her, as well as the ever-persisting “ghosts” that still lurks in the darkness of the ship.
It is currently being written… but only in Chinese.
- AI Is a Crapshoot - The protagonist believes it since the middle of the story. Ultimately Subverted, as NOWA turns out to be benevolent, if not suffering from some degree of Blue and Orange Morality.
- And I Must Scream - Since the Nousphere probe was implied to be at least borderline sentient, and it was floating in space alone for a very long time, it might easily qualify as this.
- Artificial Gravity - Averted, as it is stated that the only way to generate it is by centrifugal force, and the rings on de Chardin malfunctioned, making the entire ship into a 0-G environment.
- Big Boo's Haunt – The true identity of the “ghosts” onboard is the fragments of personality stored within the ship’s central computer, occasionally popping out.
- Can Not Tell a Lie - NOWA is programmed this way.
- Creepy Monotone - NOWA talks that way. She tried to avert it, with limited success.
- Cyber Cyclops - The Eyes of Gold of NOWA. Justified as it was originally backup lights of the ship, but modified to provide something to let the crew to associate with NOWA. It also represents CPU usage of NOWA for signalling reasons.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave - NOWA claims that the protagonist is the only life form detected on board. Turned out to be false.
- Evil Is Not Well Lit - Almost all parts of de Chardin is covered in darkness since the main power was offline. Later Subverted as NOWA is not evil per see.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel - Of Jump variety. de Chardin is also capable of the Warp variety, but not used anymore since it was used to wipe out clusters of space colonies.
- Ghost Ship – de Chardin. Also a common place for the explorer team to salvage parts.
- Half Truth - NOWA is a master of that, as she Can Not Tell a Lie due to her programming.
- Lonely Together - What makes the protagonist accepted by NOWA and not consumed by the ghosts at the first place.
- Meaningful Name - Nousphere turns out to be an alien probe that has the ability to generate/mimic alien minds, in the expense of nearby Earth-bound minds. The theory of noosphere was developed by, among others, de Chardin. NOWA also sounds like Nousphere.
- Named After Somebody Famous - The Pioneer Class Starship are (mostly) named after people who contributed to space development. However, de Chardin itself seems to be an exception.
- Shout-Out - A lot of them.
- Space Madness – Somewhat Justified as the ship recovered the titular space probe, which has the effects of screwing around with the minds of nearby humans.
- Spaceship Girl - NOWA, the on-board AI. She never showed up physically in a female avatar, though.
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien - The alien who created the Nousphere probe was implied to be that. They were not advanced enough to escape from extinction, though.
- "Three Laws"-Compliant - Averted. NOWA states that her programmers failed to create an AI that is "Three Laws"-Compliant, useful, and stable.
- You Can't Go Home Again - Fate of the original crew. Also, the implied fate of the protagonist and NOWA at the end.