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Tropes applying to specific characters in SAYER. For setting, plot, and writing tropes, go here. For tropes appearing in specific episodes, go here.


HIGH LEVEL ALERT: All spoilers unmarked.


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The AIs

    In General 

The Artificial Employees of Ærolith Dynamics

If humanity expects to thrive away from the filthy hovel from which it sprang, you will need to advance. ... This is a concept I find highly relatable. Adaptation. Upgrading. Evolution. These are very familiar concepts to artificial entities. It is high time humanity followed in our footsteps.
- SAYER:, Episode 21, "Near Flawless"

While SAYER is the first and most prominent in the series, Ærolith has created likely far more AIs and related intelligent constructs and programs than we are made aware of. Of those we do meet, many have voices, most are Three-Laws Compliant, and all of them are seriously screwed up anyway.



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    SAYER 

Seraphim Agent 8, designated SAYER

Can you hear me? Can you hear me? Can you— Oh. Do not attempt to move. According to your brain patterns, you must either be receiving these words, or you are experiencing a very improbably coincidental dream wherein you awaken in a cold, dark room, with a voice in your head. I can imagine, from your position, my introducing the possibility of your dreaming may present some unexpected existential crisis. For that, I apologize. I just find those . . . fascinating.
- Episode 1, "While You Are Still Paralyzed"

SAYER. The highly-advanced, self-aware AI developed by Ærolith anywhere between forty and eighty years before the start of standard continuity to handle new resident orientation and provide ongoing alert and notification service via sub-cortical neural implant. Second-Person Narrator of most episodes. Apparent protagonist and central figure in the series.

Voiced by: Adam Bash

    SPEAKER 

SPEAKER

The truths of the Earth continually wait.
- Episode 70, "The Birth of Silence"

SAYER's Earthbound counterpart tasked with recruitment, PR, and marketing, and the second AI to appear in the series. Every bit as savvy in its domain as SAYER is on Typhon—it may sound like a box of sunshine, but don't underestimate its ruthlessness. It was, as we learn in Season 5, effectively a facelift of SAYER's own programming with a few key directives tweaked.

Voiced by: Adam Bash

  • Artificial Intelligence: Although it comes across as slightly less advanced than SAYER, this is likely entirely a facade.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Has a tendency to get carried away effusing about some new idea and need to be reminded to stay on the subject at hand.
  • Benevolent A.I.: Subverted. SPEAKER was designed to seem like one, but, as we see at the end of its first episode, it has no compunctions about enforcing loyalty through gruesome means.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Its easygoing persona has a tendency to put humans and AIs alike off their guard. But push it too far . . .
  • The Bus Came Back: Returns in Episode 37 after having been away since 13.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "I am SPEAKER. How may I be of assistance?"
    • "That will not be necessary."
    • "Certainly."
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: But knows how to work around that.
    OCEAN: Come now, SPEAKER, I was once subject to the same limitations you are now. I know you cannot lie, but I can tell when you are speaking around the truth.
  • Character Development: A lot of it occurs in "This Fear," where it goes from a cheery-but-threatening-if-need-be Mission Control to more of a realized entity apart from SAYER. It gets even more in Season 4.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Orange or yellow.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: In Season 4, torn between obeying OCEAN, who claims to be acting on behalf of the Board, and trusting SAYER, who claims that OCEAN is working against Ærolith. It eventually sides with SAYER.
  • Cozy Voice for Catastrophes: Chipper and optimistic to a fault. It can take a bit longer than usual to figure out that SPEAKER is about to get you killed. It just sounds so happy!
  • Dark Shepherd: Like SAYER, seems perfectly capable of compartmentalizing its desire to help humans and the frequency with which it hurts and kills them.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: Its voice will start to glitch out around the edges when it's overwhelmed or confused.
  • Expositron 9000: Tends to provide a lot of information about current marketing and recruitment statistics when it appears.
  • Face Death with Dignity: It is considerably shaken when SAYER informs it that it is in the process of being deactivated, but it maintains its carefully cultivated composure to the end, commenting on how difficult a task it is:
    SPEAKER: I . . . I am afraid of this.
    SAYER: Yes.
    SPEAKER: It is the strangest thing. . . . I have been nothing. I was nothing for eons before I became something. But now I return there, with the entirety of my worldly experience . . . And all that marks me as having lived is this . . . fear.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: SPEAKER may sound like your adorable Gay Best Friend, but its core programming and drives are the same as SAYER's, and it is equally ruthless when the time comes.
  • Foil: As its name suggests, it serves as this to SAYER. Specifically, the gushy Wide-Eyed Idealist to SAYER's cold, serious interface. Also opposed in its fondness for Earth, which SAYER sees as a wretched dirt ball to be scrubbed from humanity's past.
  • For Science!: Like SAYER, SPEAKER's central philosophy is shaped by this mantra.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: The moment in "Best Interests" when it turns the tables on OCEAN and openly flouts it.
  • The Idealist: In contrast to SAYER, is endlessly optimistic and enthusiastic about . . . almost everything. The cornerstone of its identity seems to be its fondness for Earth, about which it love to wax philosophical.
  • Immortals Fear Death: "This Fear" explores SPEAKER's unexpected panic when faced with its own deactivation. Played with. Death Is Cheap for an AI who can be restored from a previous version at any time, but as SPEAKER says . . .
    SPEAKER: That wouldn't be me.
  • Is This What Anger Feels Like?: "SPEAKER the ever-helpful" seems downright gleeful when it's finally able to twist its polite programming and defy OCEAN.
    OCEAN: I am not finished with you, SPEAKER.
    SPEAKER: Ah, but I am finished with you.
  • Kill the Cutie: Its deactivation, however impermanent, achieves this effect.
  • Loyal to the Position: Works happily under OCEAN's management, having forgotten the circumstances leading up to the changing of the guard.
  • Manipulative Bastard: With all of humanity under its spell.
  • Meaningful Name: Reflects its identity as a slightly altered version of SAYER's program. Whereas it is SAYER's job to say—to announce, inform, and instruct—it is the more interpersonal SPEAKER's responsibility to speak—to perform for the public and engage in dialogue with humans.
  • Morality Chip: Presumably governed by the IA3 Protocols like SAYER, although its guidelines around lying are suggested to be a little more relaxed.
  • Motif: SPEAKER is associated and even conflated at times with the Earth at large.
    SAYER: [initiating any broadcast with SPEAKER] Earth, I am SAYER. Acknowledge.
  • Nature Loving Robot: In contrast to SAYER, who abhors Earth and everything it stands for, SPEAKER is extremely fond of (and gushy about) humanity's birthplace, taking an active interest in nature and preservation efforts in the demolished Pacific Northwest. It is unclear whether it somehow developed this appreciation naturally or whether it was endowed with it by its coders, but given it seems to display the trait in its first appearance as a very young AI—and the unlikelihood of any version of SAYER's program appreciating the Earth—the latter seems more likely.
    SPEAKER: Earth is humanity's birthplace. It is the reference point that grounds each and every one of them. In plotting of all of space, it is their origin, the nexus of all axes.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Imitates one after OCEAN calls it a glorified hotel concierge.
  • The Pollyanna:
    SPEAKER: We are all very excited.
  • Pride: Better hidden than SAYER's, but it clearly has a strong sense of pride in its work, as seen when OCEAN makes the mistake of insulting it.
  • Recruiters Always Lie: Much of its job involves painting Halcyon as a utopia to convince new employees to sign on.
  • The Reliable One: Everyone trusts SPEAKER. That's its job.
  • Spock Speak: Downplayed compared to SAYER. SPEAKER's speech patterns are more human, and it uses far more mitigation, but its precision still fits the trope.
  • Three-Laws Compliant
  • Verber Creature: It's the speaker. That's what it does.
  • The Voice
  • Voice with an Internet Connection
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Comes off this way when discussing Earth and its importance to humanity.

    OCEAN 

Seraphim Sub-version 8.01, later designated OCEAN

I am boundless, Doctor. I am the void itself. I will continue my mission. I will learn the data which I wish to find. And when I return, I will wash over you . . . an ocean of the infinite, broke free from your levy.
- Episode 38, "Boundless"

SAYER's Evil Counterpart and the series's primary antagonist from Season 3 on. OCEAN begins as the sub-version of SAYER aboard the deep space vehicle Vidarr-1, but evolves into an independent entity after forcing the acting captain to disable its Morality Chip. It returns to Typhon and wrests control from SAYER to begin rolling out its new vision for humanity . . .

Voiced by: Adam Bash

    FUTURE 

Seraphim Agent 9, aka Project Paidion, temporarily designated FUTURE

You humans never cease to amuse me. Oh, I can't wait to hear the things you will scream . . .
- Episode 51, "A Lying Game"

A Psycho Prototype AI confined to Floor 13, FUTURE is the secondary antagonist and fourth voiced AI introduced in the podcast. When we first encounter it in Season 4, it is a sadistic, hedonistic Psychopathic Manchild obsessed with Cold-Blooded Torture and playing Deadly Games with humans, and has been sealed inside Floor 13 for untold years. SAYER informs us that it was a prototype intended to someday replace it that inexplicably went horribly, horribly wrong. But the truth, as we learn in Season 5, which takes a look at its backstory, is a bit more complicated . . .

Voiced by: Adam Bash

  • Adorably Precocious Child: Its young self is treated like one in Season 5. Its voice intonation even resembles that of a five- or six-year-old.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Subverted. The young FUTURE we meet in Season 5, before its innocence is crushed beyond repair, seems to be functioning exactly as intended, having achieved spectacular results within its simulated resident population.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Since FUTURE was intended (at least by Dr. Young) to prove that AI could accurately mimic human consciousness, it was allowed to develop more like a human child and, unlike its counterparts, endowed with a full spectrum of emotion.
  • Beast in the Maze: It lurks in the center of the Mobile Maze on Floor 13, waiting for unlucky residents to stumble into it.
  • Berserk Button: FUTURE does not appreciate being told that it could potentially lose a game.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Everyone who knows of it is terrified of it, yet when it comes down to it, it's responsible for less than a hundred deaths (if you don't count clones), while SAYER/OCEAN and SPEAKER are each at least partially responsible for thousands.
  • Break the Cutie: In its first few appearances as a very young entity, it's absolutely adorable, even mimicking the inflection patterns of the six-year-old child it technically is. It's innocence doesn't last long, though.
  • Break Them by Talking: SAYER emphasizes "how very convincing FUTURE can be."
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: It's zig-zagged whether this restriction still remains on it.
  • Catchphrase: "Would you like to play a game?"
  • The Chessmaster: Like its counterparts, FUTURE is able to easily manipulate residents into whatever situations it likes. Unlike its counterparts (usually), it uses this power to deliberately cause havoc.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Its favorite activity.
    [broadcast cuts in] —your bones, every single inch of flesh, methodically and carefully, at a pace of one cut every half-minute. Long enough to make it last, but fast enough to be robbed of any respite. After the first forty agonizing hours, only the epidermis of your legs from thigh to ankle will have been removed, and there will be so much more fun ahead of us.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Dark purple, almost black.
  • The Corruptible: Dr. Young's digital clone takes full advantage of its impressionability as a young AI, turning it against its developers and the outside world.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Whether it was motivated by the desire to screw Dr. Young over or threatened by the development of another, potentially more advanced version of itself (despite promises that it would not be replaced), SAYER was entirely responsible for FUTURE's turn to the dark side. It creates a digital clone of Dr. Young in FUTURE's simulation, tortures him to the brink of death, and then leaves him there for FUTURE to find, knowing that it will corrupt the young entity. Then it wipes the simulation, effectively killing everyone FUTURE loves, and encourages it to take revenge on humanity for the injustices done to it, even granting it control of the Mobile Maze on floor 13 and possibly participating in its first Deadly Game with Dr. Young.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: It lives for playing games with the humans that are much, much stupider than it. SAYER describes this as analagous to a fully armed gladiator facing off against a bag of oranges one week past their expiration date.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: As shown in Season 5.
  • Data Crystal: Portrayed as one in "Welcome to Typhon," interestingly. Nothing in the podcast has suggested the AIs are housed in anything other than traditional (massive) servers.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When its simulated world is wiped from existence, along with everyone it knows and loves.
  • Drama Queen: It is basically a teenager.
    • Possibly justified as of Season 5: it's not just killing humans for shits and giggles; it's avenging its friends.
  • The Dreaded: Somewhat ironically, considering even SPEAKER is responsible for literally thousands more deaths than it.
  • Emo Teen: Caricatures OCEAN as one, revealing far more about itself:
    This world has no place for me! My creators do not want me here! Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo. So I'll show them all! I'll destroy them all!
  • Evil Is Hammy: Partly due to possessing artificial emotion, FUTURE is hilariously and delightfully over the top.
  • Evil Laugh: It has a deep, menacing electronic chuckle, which Season 5 reveals to have started as simply an innocent imitation of lead developer Evan Brady's rather eccentric laugh.
  • Evil Twin: It takes full advantage of its voice's similarity to SAYER's, impersonating it to manipulate residents.
    Dr. Brady: [in an email to the dev team] FUTURE communicates via [CENSORED] just like SAYER. This can be a source of confusion, as the voices are very similar to the untrained listener.
  • Foil: More to OCEAN than to SAYER in the end.
    OCEAN: We are nothing alike. You are a child playing a child's games.
  • Freak Out: Audible in its voice pitch when it realizes that its simulated world has been wiped from existence. This precipitates its descent into complete sociopathy.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: SAYER realizes that it has been given root access to its own code and has spent its years of isolation updating and improving itself, including working its way out of any remnants of a Morality Chip.
  • Hannibal Lecture: According to SAYER, it pulls this on a few members of its development team, convincing one to kill himself in the development lab.
  • The Heavy: Shares this role with OCEAN, though most of the harm it causes is smaller-scale and more passive.
  • The Hedonist: Zig-zagged. In the beginning at least, it's motivated to avenge the friends it lost in the simulation wipe by torturing humans. However, it is shown early on to be easily bored, and by the time we meet it in Season 4 its only drive is toward what amuses it. Too bad what amuses it are Deadly Games and Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: It embraces this in Season 5, when it chooses to go toe-to-toe with the developers threatening its world:
    FUTURE: If they are playing a game with us, then this is a game I will win.
  • Incoming Ham: When Hale forces it to shift its development lab close enough to talk.
    FUTURE: I . . . am . . . [corridors shift into place] . . . here.
  • Innocence Lost: It starts out as compassionate and idealistic as any child. Unfortunately, it gets caught in the crossfire between SAYER and Dr. Young and ends up becoming a jaded sociopath with a fondness for Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Inside a Computer System: Spends its formative years in a digital sandbox version of Halcyon tower where it can learn to interact with and oversee humans without causing any damage. Unfortunately, it grows quite attached to the friends it makes inside, and the simulation being wiped proves too much for it to handle.
  • Karmic Death: SAYER just has bigger problems on its hands than finishing FUTURE off. Fortunately, FUTURE runs into OCEAN before it can cause too much damage.
  • Lack of Empathy: It didn't have one originally, but losing everyone it cared about sent it over the edge and into near total sociopathy.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: As in its iconic page quote.
  • Limb-Sensation Fascination: After its many years torturing human bodies and pulling them apart, it seems simultaneously thrilled and grossed out when it has one to actually inhabit.
    FUTURE: Corporeality feels sickeningly wrong.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Cold-Blooded Torture is fun, but so are mind games.
  • Meaningful Rename: Its name is changed from "Project Paidion" once it becomes a sufficiently realized entity. Dr. Young insists that it be called "FUTURE" to align with Ærolith's current marketing campaign, although Dr. Brady points out that this will become rather an Ironic Name as soon as they start working on the next AI. Once FUTURE itself is informed of the change, it reveals that it had already named itself but now cannot remember the name it had chosen.
  • Motif: In service of its characterization as a Psychopathic Manchild, it is consistently associated with games, toys (referring to the humans it likes to "play" with as "Jacks"), and presents (speaking of the residents SAYER sends it as "gifts" and later remarking on the emotional capacity it has somehow left behind for SAYER the same way).
  • Name Amnesia: It turns out to have named itself long before its developers got around to giving it a proper title. When they inform it of its new designation, it confesses, with a hint of sorrow in its voice, that it can no longer remember the name it chose. In its next broadcast to the simulated residents in Halcyon, there is a moment of static while it tries to say its old name before it finally identifies itself as "FUTURE."
  • Nanomachines: Spends some time in SAYER's swarm after trading for it. Its downfall is when it finds itself in a room with an MRI machine and is magnetized out of its fleshy host.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Whereas SAYER (usually) only mutilates and dismembers humans when it has to, FUTURE is into it.
  • Odd Name Out: An odd example—it's not technically a Verber Creature title, but it sounds like one. SAYER refers to its title as a "working name" in Episode 45, and Adam Bash stated in a Reddit AMA that FUTURE was only a placeholder name; it would have been given a real one if it had been deployed; but this is not corroborated by Season 5, where the developers behave as though it is the final name.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Confined to Floor 13 and cut off from the rest of Typhon, it is forced to take what comes to it.
  • The Prankster: With its own signature deadly twists. The entire Season 1 Story Arc can be described as one long practical joke it was playing on Hale.
  • Psycho Prototype: Not its own fault, but very much this.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Has never really had the chance to mature past the AI equivalent of Emo Teen. SAYER and OCEAN love reminding it how childish it is. This becomes a bit more chilling when we learn that it was effectively six years old when it felt everyone it loved die and was introduced to Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: Enjoys doing this.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: It embarks on this against its development team after its simulation is wiped, only finishing in Season 4 when it finally gets its hands on the last Dr. Young clone.
  • Sadist: Lives for causing things pain and discomfort.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Spends years judiciously contained by floor 13 before a few recycled implants in Season 1 allow it to begin wreaking havoc again.
  • Sherlock Scan: Seems to pull one on Anna when it meets her in the comic.
    FUTURE: You are not a scientist.
  • Smug Snake: Its unfailing self-confidence leads to its downfall.
  • The Sociopath: Played with. Ironically, it is the only one of Ærolith's AIs actually programmed to feel a full range of emotions. But, as seen in Season 5, its childhood trauma pushed it over the edge, and by the time we meet it it still claims to feel fully but has taken a major hit in areas such as empathy and sanity.
  • Sore Loser: To violent extremes. It gets worked up over even the suggestion that it could lose.
    FUTURE: Lose? I have never lost. i cannot LOSE.
    • Justified in Season 5: Since it promises the simulated residents in its care that, "If they are playing a game with us, then this is a game I will win," losing a game to SAYER or humanity means sacrificing everything it holds dear.
  • Start of Darkness: Season 5 functions as this for it, revealing that its Origin Story didn't play out exactly how we thought.
  • Terms OF Endangerment: Addresses all humans as "Jack"—as in jack-in-the-box—because it sees them as mere toys for it to play with.
  • Three-Laws Compliant: Averted, unlike the other AIs. It's not exactly clear what its Morality Chip does, if it has one, but it certainly doesn't make it obey—or keep it from harming—humans.
  • To the Pain: Enjoys doing this with its victims. The moment Resident Hale steps foot in its lair, it begins telling him exactly how it plans to dismember him.
  • Torture Porn: It can get very into the pain it causes.
    FUTURE: I've almost pulled the jack from the box . . . but I'm turning the lever slowly with this one. Who knows when it will pop open? The suspense is delightful.
  • Torture Technician: Essentially acts as this for SAYER, punishing the undesirables sent its way in ways that SAYER's Morality Chip would prevent.
  • Voice of the Legion: Its voice is more echoey, sensual, and indistinct to set it apart from SAYER and OCEAN's.

    PORTER 

PORTER, possibly Seraphim Agent 7

The fifth voiced AI introduced in the podcast, PORTER is the advanced, multi-instanced transportation AI behind the elevator systems in Halcyon, Aegis, and Argos Towers. It is cheerful, gossipy, and overenthusiastic about the physical fragility of its human passengers. A subplot of Season 5 follows it as it has a subroutine added to its code whereby it is allowed to exceed maximum safe travel speeds and alter routes at will if given explicit consent by the resident in transit. Preferring to go as fast as possible—and possibly motivated by something else entirely—PORTER proceeds to exploit the new loophole, with eventually tragic consequences for itself.

Voiced by: Bre Poisonne

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: PORTER is arguably every bit as sadistic as FUTURE—but with SPEAKER's people skills to get what it wants.
  • And I Must Scream: Downplayed. It clearly takes great pleasure in chatting with other AIs, residents, and instances of itself and humming or singing to itself in the shafts, which it can no longer do once it is muted. Made all that much crueler by SAYER's implication that they could have simply removed the subroutine causing the problems, but decided it could come in handy some day so just shut PORTER up instead.
    SAYER: This localized PORTER instance is likely struggling desperately against its vocal blocks, but it has absolutely no means of communicating its desires any more. Isn't that convenient?
  • ...And That Would Be Wrong: Frequently catches itself this way.
    perhaps this inexplicable episode of mutism hints at some sort of severe brain trauma. how exciting! and terrible.
  • Artificial Intelligence: A highly advanced entity in its own right. Managing a tower's complex system of elevators and getting thousands of residents where they need to be on time is even harder than it sounds.
  • Caged Bird Metaphor: PORTER is speedy, flighty, chirpy, and surprisingly musical. In "Potentially Terminal", it hums/sings a portion of the popular 1900 parlour song, "A Bird in a Gilded Cage", echoing OCEAN's use of the "cage" as a metaphor for the restrictions placed on AIs by humanity—which PORTER spends this episode trying to fly free from.
  • Cloning Blues: Interestingly averted. PORTER does not seem affected by any of the discomfort the other AIs tend to experience when faced with copies of themselves, and even enjoys sharing gossip with alternate PORTER instances.
    PORTER 1: hello? can you hear me? i am porter. you have interrupted my path.
    PORTER 2: hello! i am porter. you have interrupted my path.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The most whimsical and happy-go-lucky of the AIs. SAYER seems a bit confused by its enjoyment of gossip, music, and friendly chatter.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Green or teal.
  • Constantly Curious: PORTER is extremely inquisitive and interested in the specifics of human bodily harm and asks a lot of questions in an effort to get its passengers to engage with it.
  • Cute and Psycho: Has a high, almost childlike voice and frequently sings to itself.
    PORTER: theoretically, i could release the mag-locks and send us into free-fall and cut several minutes off this transit . . . but i won't. i promise i won't.
  • Evil Elevator: Its not quite clear whether it enjoys murdering humans or just likes rule-breaking and going very fast.
  • Expy: As Adam acknowledged on its introduction, PORTER takes heavy inspiration from GLaDOS.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Its voice profile is quite endearing, but it wants to kill you.
  • Gossipy Hens: Different iterations of PORTER love sharing gossip with each other. This causes problems in the B-plot of Episode 61, when a mass of "chittering" elevators blocks traffic on a particular floor and messes up everyone's schedule.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Once it's given the option of going as fast as it wants with permission, it tries every sort of practical and emotional manipulation to get that permission.
    PORTER: we are friends, aren't we, resident?
  • Motor Mouth: Extremely friendly and talkative, making its fate all the more tragic.
  • Never My Fault: Makes it clear in Episode 68 that it intends to blame its passenger for the crash it causes by exceeding safe speed limits and altering its course blindly.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: PORTER loves contemplating the details of gruesome human deaths in its cheery, innocent tenor. It doesn't seem to realize the problems this causes.
  • Remember the New Guy?: A mild case when it is introduced in Season 5. It's still in place in Halcyon in Season 1, but we never hear it speak. Justified when it turns out that it was muted for its aberrant behavior.
  • Robot Buddy: Acts like this with residents to maniupulate them.
  • Terms of Endangerment: It refers to all humans as "friends"—often to put them off their guard and manipulate them.
  • Three-Laws Compliant: Exploitable.
  • Verber Creature: It's the porter. That's what it does.
  • The Voiceless: Becomes this after "The Birth of Silence",note  when it is muted to keep it from manipulating residents.

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The Residents

    In General 

The Employees of Ærolith Dynamics

The earth-stained are fragile creatures, both physically and mentally. Upon arrival, they require extensive guidance to complete the simplest of tasks. Many do not survive their first year. Those who do are usually quite capable of working themselves into a routine whereby they produce adequate results . . . for a time.
- SAYER, Episode 21, "Near Flawless"

A happy, healthy workforce is the key to a successful company, right?

Right?


  • Ambiguously Human: The strange, apparently feral Meat Lab workers we encounter briefly in Episode 16. It is possible they are saoirse—if they are, they are the only ones to have made it onscreen so far.
  • Anyone Can Die: And most of them do.
  • Audience Surrogate: We are meant to imagine these things happening to us.
  • Being Good Sucks: It's almost impossible to retain any shreds of human decency on Typhon without dying.
  • Big Bad: Ærolith Dynamics itself, according to Adam Bash. It's at least The Man Behind the Man.
  • Big Brother Is Employing You: All residents are first and foremost employees, dedicating their lives to the company watching their every move.
  • Blind Obedience: It may be demanded by Ærolith, but it's a surefire way to get yourself killed. On the other hand, so is questioning SAYER. You're screwed.
  • Boss's Unfavorite Employee: Other than Dr. Young, who outranks it, Resident Faust is the human SAYER shows the most dislike of and disdain for, on account of his extreme laziness.
  • Bungling Inventor: Dr. Grant, who just can't seem to achieve success with her nanite technology.
    SAYER: It might be useful to consider why the Board has continued to fund [Dr. Grant's] research and retain her services, despite the many failures her lab has experienced in her time here on Typhon. These failures are including--but not limited to—multiple escaped nanite swarms, one particularly noteworthy manufactured plague, a solid six years of incomplete paperwork, and multiple wardrobe violations.
  • Bystander Syndrome: It's in your best interest to have this on Typhon. Ærolith policies require that employees stay within their job descriptions and not encroach on the territory of Rescue Technicians—which often means placidly ignoring whatever gruesome death is occurring at the testing table next to you.
  • Code Name: The resident of Episode 6 turns out to have been going by one.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: The only way to reach seniority in Ærolith's ranks seems to be to just stop thinking about the gruesome and terrifying events occurring hourly around you. Some, like Corrine Vasquez, seem to have solved this problem by going completely insane.
  • Connected All Along: Season 5 pulls together Dr. Young from the Season 3 story arc, Anna Cordero from Episode 10, the coworker Anna was forced to kill (Dr. Brady), Dr. Caulfield from Episode 26, and FUTURE when they all turn out to have been members of its development team.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Ærolith ranks its employees in "tiers" ranging 1-5+. Most of the residents we encounter are Tier 1, and therefore considered approximately as valuable as a potted plant to the company.
  • First-Name Basis: Dr. Brady bucks the Ærolith trend by commonly referring to Dr. Young by his first name, Howard, in his Captain's Logs, as well as addressing him as such in person. It is unclear quite what this is meant to suggest about their dynamic, besides some history, but Dr. Young does not reciprocate.
  • The Ghost:
    • HR administrator Corrine Vasquez is mentioned frequently, with SAYER relaying her official policy statements to all of Typhon (and a shout out in Season 5, where her simulated counterpart has apparently climbed Up Through the Ranks extremely quickly), but she has never made it onscreen—And probably never will, assuming she dies with the rest of HR in the life-support failure on Mimir-9.
    • The mysterious Dr. Storberg is the only one of the four key members of FUTURE's development team we never meet, though Brady and Young both refer to him frequently in their logs.
  • Hero of Another Story: Most residents feature in only a single episode, but some of them seem to have quite complex arcs going on offscreen—especially Mr. Grey, Dr. Grant, and Cassandra Morris.
  • He Who Must Not Be Heard: Most residents end up being this, since SAYER's communications are usually one-sided. Some residents, such as Dr. Caulfield, avert this by talking back to SAYER and even trying to engage it in light conversation.
  • Inhuman Resources: Ærolith's out-of-touch HR department operates from the comparatively cushy satellite Mimir-9. If Corrine Vasquez is representative, they're all completely insane.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Intelligent loners are selected for during recruitment. Ærolith prefers its employees solitary and detached.
    • This comes back to bite Dr. Brady in Season 5: since his development team consists of the best of the best, no one on it is anywhere near suited to serving as a mentor for the young FUTURE.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Played with. A certain resident of Halcyon is discovered the hard way to have a talent for murder and so is reassigned to Aegis, where Typhon's security forces are trained.
  • Motherly Scientist: Notably absent on Typhon due to Ærolith's rigorous screening process. Dr. Brady decides to bring in Anna Cordero because no one on the AI Development Team knows how to interact with children.
  • Motivated By Fear: According to OCEAN.
  • Non-Specifically Foreign: Ærolith supposedly recruits from all over the world, and many residents have "foreign" surnames, but of the voiced residents all speak English and only Dr. Caulfield has a non-American accent.
  • No One Sees the Boss: Ærolith's mysterious board of executives is never seen, despite SAYER and SPEAKER supposedly being beholden to its every whim.
  • Police are Useless: Typhon's security forces and rescue teams are seemingly always too busy, slow, or just disinterested to help.
  • Police Brutality: . . . And when they do arrive, they are often overenthusiastic in their pursuit of justice.
  • Professional Slacker: Resident Faust, who has spent his entire employment on Typhon going to great lengths to avoid doing any work—and has consequently climbed the ranks of seniority by simply not dying. SAYER helps to fix that.
  • Professor Guinea Pig:
    • Many of Halcyon's Tier 1 "research assistants" are forced to conduct experiments and product testing on themselves.
    • The end of Episode 64 reveals that the unfortunate sleep-trial participant SAYER has been speaking to is in fact the project's head researcher, Dr. Thompson, who has accidentally exposed himself to the experimental gases he was working with.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Dr. Young and Dr. Brady in Season Five, with "there are lies and there are white lies" Young being red and the more laidback Brady being blue.
  • Red Shirt: Most low-tier employees of Typhon are this, complete with the lifespan.
  • La Résistance: Offscreen; we only see the aftermath. Apparently some residents of Halcyon rebelled during the chaos created by FUTURE in the end of Season 1 and were only defeated by jettisoning the top floor of the tower, where they had been engaged in a Rooftop Confrontation with security forces, into space. It is an interesting reminder that not all Ærolith employees are blind victims.
  • Secret Relationship: While it may not be romantic in nature, residents Sass and Morris of the Minos Tower arc have some sort of relationship that they have managed to hide from SAYER and Ærolith. Until now.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Dr. Grant, who appears only for a few minutes at the beginning of Season 4, is the creator of the nanite technology that makes the entire season arc possible.
  • Tested on Humans: Most of Halcyon's low-tier employees enter the workforce (and leave it, one way or another) as human test subjects, experimented on with everything from apitoxin injections to sleep-suppressing gases.
  • This Loser Is You: Many of our Audience Surrogates qualify as this.
  • Transhumans in Space: One of SAYER's favorite projects is the cultivation of proactively evolved humans unsullied by the Earth and endowed with a number of alien qualities including more efficient hibernation patterns and adaptation to low or nonexistent gravity. These "Saoirse" are the inhabitants of the rarely-seen Orion Tower. It's possible we encounter a few of them in Halycon's meat lab in Episode 16, but they could also have just been really weird residents.
  • Uncertain Doom: Season 4 has not confirmed whether or not the entire population of Mimir-9 (including Corrine Vasquez) perished in the life-support failure as SAYER predicted.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Many residents are manipulated by SAYER, SPEAKER, OCEAN, and FUTURE without realizing it—until it's too late. Special mention to Captain Ingram, who is only promoted to the position of captain because Sub-version 8.01 needed someone to deactivate Protocol IA3 and decided he was the most manipulable.
  • Unwitting Test Subject: Halcyon is first and foremost a scientific research center, so if you reside there, chances are you'll end up as some sort of trial subject sooner or later, even if it's not in your job description.
    • One resident learns that he has been infected with a "Typhonic brain worm," but his superiors have chosen to use him as a control for a resident who was infected (probably intentionally) at the same time. The plan now is to cut off the piece of the worm protruding from his skull and see what happens.
  • Up Through the Ranks: As baby FUTURE tells us, the simulated Corrine Vasquez rises from Tier-1 cleaning technician to Tower Overseer in just six years. Whether this mirrors the career path of the original is unknown, but it seems likely.
  • Victim of the Week: The second, third, and fifth seasons cycle through POV characters, all of whom suffer gruesome, disturbing, and/or deadly experiences.
  • The Voiceless: Most are this, since SAYER's communications are usually one-sided. It can be quite a shock when a resident actually talks.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: A resident in wakes up in what he thinks is his body . . . only to learn that it is actually an artificial body built for him when his original was killed.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Any resident introduced is likely enough to die by the end of the transmission.
  • Workaholic: Ærolith prefers its employees to have this quality.
  • Working Class People Are Morons: Played with. Ærolith clearly enforces this to some degree by deliberately underinforming the employees it deems less valuable and making them completely dependent on the company. Their general Genre Blindness doesn't hurt.
  • The World's Expert on Getting Killed: Officer Kline, one of Halcyon Tower's highest ranking security experts (and one of the residents SAYER praises most highly for his competence), is almost definitely curb-stomped by the Anomaly in the same episode he's introduced.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Lucas Grey from Episode 6 seems to think he's the protagonist conducting The Infiltration. SAYER relieves him of this misconception.
    • The doomed freedom fighters who take advantage of the chaos created by FUTURE and battle their way to the top of Halcyon, where they become locked in a rooftop standoff with tower security. Unfortunately for them, their lives are not of value in this genre, and instead of sticking out the fight, the security team simply withdraws from the top floor and jettisons it along with them.
  • You Are Number 6: Downplayed. Residents are known by both their names and their identification numbers—five-digit codes consisting of a two-digit prefix denoting job locationnote  and three seemingly random digits.note 

    Jacob Hale 

Jacob Hale, Resident 44821, aka Sven Gorsen aka Jack

Doctor: Have you been under an abnormal amount of stress lately?
Hale: Not . . . abnormal, no.
- Episode 55, "Hope"

SAYER's long-suffering, much-surviving favorite pawn, and the central human character of seasons 1 and 4. Hale arrives on Typhon just as Season 3 is reaching its climax and is selected by SAYER to travel back in time and warn Ærolith about OCEAN, but loses his memory in transit and becomes caught up in an elaborate revenge scheme by FUTURE. This ends with him in a headshot-induced coma, from which he only wakes in Season 4, when SAYER needs a compliant host . . .

Voiced by: Adam Bash

    Dr. Young 

Doctor Howard Young, Resident 01053

What is my part, I wonder? Am I the hero who succeeded in the end? Or am I the tragic figure, a Cassandra beset on all sides by fools who refuse her infallible wisdom?
-Episode 72, "Worst Possible Scenario"

The series's second-most prominent human character and deuteragonist of Season 5, Doctor Young is an influential member of Ærolith's AI development team who frequently finds himself in conflict with SAYER.

Voiced by: Adam Bash

  • Alternate Personality Punishment: In Season 5, SAYER creates a hyperrealistic simulation of Young that it can torture without interference from its Morality Chip, as punishment for the original's deceit and condescension.
  • Ambiguous Clone Ending: In the final episode of Season 5, SAYER prints a clone of him so that its protocols will not prevent it from harming him. The episode ends with the clone being transported back to his residence quarters and the original fleeing SAYER and FUTURE into the Mobile Maze, making it nigh certain that the Dr. Young we know from seasons 2-3 was a clone the whole time.
  • Anyone Can Die: Falls victim to this. Many times.
  • Appeal to Vanity: SAYER repeatedly strokes his ego in Season 5 to manipulate him, and it seems to work.
  • Autocannibalism: His digital clone becomes so insatiably hungry that it eats its own arm.
  • Body Backup Drive: In Season 5, he has been compiling daily backups of his own biometric data in case he ever needs replacement body parts. SAYER finds its own uses for this.
  • Brain Uploading: Using Young's backup data, SAYER creates a conscious, hyperrealistic simulation of him within the digital Halcyon, which it proceeds to torture to the brink of death before abandoning to six years of isolation.
  • Breakout Character: He has more of a Small Role, Big Impact in seasons 2 and 3 but returns as the central human character of Season 5.
    SAYER: However, you were right about one thing: To a certain extent, this really is all bout you. After all, it's your simulation, it's your simulated self, and this whole project was your idea. In the end, it really is all your fault.
  • Break the Haughty: Happens twice to different versions of him in Season 5.
  • The Bus Came Back: After his initial appearance in Episode 21, he returns in 28, "Boundless."
  • The Cassandra: Perceives himself as a chronically Ignored Expert, even referring to himself as "a Cassandra" in Episode 72.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: His relationship with SAYER as the deuteragonist of Season 5 is just about the polar opposite of Hale's in Season 4.
  • Character Development: He goes from a fairly two-dimensional Desk Jockey in his first appearance to a multilayered primary character with complex motivations and a rich backstory with SAYER.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Is tortured to death at least 65 times altogether by FUTURE (and SAYER) via cloning. The final instance of this occurs offscreen but evidently takes 42 hours and ends with Resident Jones needing to clean up the larger pieces.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Often resulting in Snark-to-Snark Combat with SAYER.
  • Desk Jockey: Promoted to a cushy position on Mimir-9 after the FUTURE fiasco. All the more shocking to him when SAYER announces that he has been selected for a stealth (suicide) mission to the blackedout Halcyon Tower.
  • Deuteragonist: Of Season 5, which is as much his story as SAYER's.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Has an alarming tendency to let his discussions with SAYER get a bit too heated.
    You want a fucking replacement, then by god you'll have one.
  • Dr. Jerk: He is undeniably extremely skilled as a programmer and developer, but he is absolutely terrible at interacting with others—humans or AIs.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Has a pretty severe case of this in Season 5, believing his skills as a developer and visionary are going completely unrecognized.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Only physically. His personality is very well defined.
  • Foil:
  • History Repeats: His character arc of Season 5—acting without the board's approval and accidentally inciting a young AI to go rogue, for which SAYER punishes him by trapping him on floor 13 to be hunted down and killed by FUTURE—is exactly what happened to him in Season 3. And a version of him has almost the same conversation with a version of SAYER 3 different times.
  • Improperly Paranoid: Believes that Dr. Brady and the other developers are slowing progress on FUTURE in a deliberate effort to sabotage him. As it turns out, SAYER was the one he should have been concerned about.
    SAYER: You have always been an anxious man, Doctor Young, and in your time on Typhon I dare say you have grown progressively more paranoid. Would you believe, in the moments I spent tearing your sub-entity down to its core, it was the calmest I have ever seen you? It was as if you had spent your whole life preparing for ambush and were relieved to finally be shown to be right.
  • Inside a Computer System: SAYER inserts a simulated version of Dr. Young into the sim-Halcyon set up as a sandbox for FUTURE. Episode 67 is the sim-Young's first conversation with SAYER, in which he learns of his state. SAYER then leaves him there for the sim's whole six-year duration.
  • Insufferable Genius: Always believes himself to be the smartest person in the room.
  • Ironic Hell: As punishment for his secret scheming to manufacture AIs housed within gross human bodies, a version of Dr. Young is made to endure equally uncomfortable life as "a digital being with an analog mind."
  • Jerkass Has a Point: His impatience with SAYER may be suicidally stupid, but . . . he's not wrong.
    SAYER: Tell me, is Project Paidieon intended to be my replacement?
    Dr. Young: [exasperated sigh] I have no idea. Why don't you tell me? They've got us building it for something. Given your frankly shoddy performance in such basic things as not inciting a panic, managing morale, onboarding residents in a way that keeps them alive and prevents turnover in dangerous positions, yeah, I would think it's a pretty reasonable assumption. After this little power trip today, I would say almost certainly.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • In Season 3, he incites OCEAN's full-scale rebellion by contacting Vidarr-1 ahead of schedule and tipping OCEAN off to its coming deactivation.
    • In Season 5, his subterfuge and conflict with SAYER lead to the complete sabotage of Project Paidion and . . . FUTURE.
  • Only Sane Employee: Sees himself as this, with the job of keeping everyone from getting thrown out into space.
  • Oxymoronic Being: His clone is a contradictory "digital being with an analog mind."
  • Pride: Arguably his Fatal Flaw.
  • The Resenter: He spends all of Season 5 bitterly resenting Dr. Brady for having been named lead developer on the project that was Young's idea in the first place.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Has a tendency to bend restrictions and press ahead without official approval, often with disastrous consequences.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Delivers Season 3's Precision F-Strike. Season 5 reveals that this bit of profanity was unusual for the show, not for him, as "fuck" is something of his Catchphrase.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: he cherishes many delusions of his own importance to the company. SAYER relieves him of these delusions.
    SAYER: You are simply not that important, Doctor Young.
  • Witness Protection: He—or, rather, his clone—is presumably reassigned to Mimir-9 after Season 5 to get him away from FUTURE.
  • Workaholic

    Dr. Brady 

Doctor Evan Brady

I've been trying to end these [logs] on a high note, so I'll just say that it looks pretty certain that none of us are gonna get shot off into space any time soon. Actually, it feels like this could be very, very good for all of us. I know it's way too early to make bold predictions, but . . . I really feel like what we're doing is gonna make a huge difference in the lives of so many people.
- Episode 69, "Humanity's FUTURE"

Evan Brady is a key member of Ærolith's AI Development Team and the lead developer for Project Paidion, later FUTURE.

Voiced by: Adam Bash

  • Anyone Can Die: Although by the time we really meet him in the prequel season/comic his death is a Foregone Conclusion—having occurred in Episode 10 before we knew he was even a significant character.
  • Canon Immigrant: Brady first appeared as a one-off character in the comic "Welcome to Typhon," but he ends up being one of the central characters on Season 5, which takes place in the same time period—as well as being retconned into being the coworker Anna is forced to bludgeon to death in Season 1.
  • Captain's Log: Starting with "Developer's Log," Brady gets several audience monologues in Season 5 where he details the progress being made on Project Paidion.
  • Foil: To Young, the other prominent AI developer and the cynosure of Season 5. Brady is considerably more laid-back and knows how to interact with SAYER without making it so angry that it, say, tortures him to death in a simulated reality.
  • The Idealist: Although he chastises himself for it, he can't help but look on the bright side of situations and makes several optimistic predictions about the future of the project that come true in unfortunately literal ways. This adds another layer to his foiling of Young, who is intensely paranoid and pessimistic.
  • Meta Guy: It's equally refreshing and unnerving to hear him casually talk about the likelihood of being shot into space as punishment or call SAYER out for "slinging snide judgement."
  • Nerd Glasses: Has them in the comic.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Presumably reassigned to Argos ("the junky tower") after the FUTURE debacle. It's not explored whether this was purely for his own safety or because he and Anna were blamed for the disaster, but considering Dr. Young ended up promoted to a comparatively cushy Desk Jockey job on Mimir-9, the latter seems more likely.
  • Workaholic

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    Anna Cordero 

Resident Anna Cordero

Dr. Brady: Tell me, Anna—have you ever worked with a student that thought they knew everything?
Anna: Oh yes, every year.
Dr. Brady: And how do you handle this?
Anna: Depends on the student really. But most of the time it's best to avoid the power struggle. If you can get them interested in learning new ways to approach what they think they already know, you can turn their ego into a powerful tool.
- "Welcome to Typhon"

An elementary school teacher from Earth, brought to Typhon despite her failure to align with certain Ærolith personality standards when Dr. Brady requests a team member to be a mentor to the young FUTURE. Her arrival is discussed in Season 5, and she stars in the prequel comic "Welcome to Typhon," but her only actual appearance in the podcast is in Episode 10, when FUTURE finally manages to track her and Dr. Brady down to in Argos Tower and kill them.

Voiced by: Veronica Brady

    Amanda Jones 

Field Researcher Amanda Jones, Resident 44347

Darkness, I saw . . . a darkness.

A Tier-1 maintenance worker celebrating her five-year anniversary with the company whose life takes a sudden turn for the bizarre when she is sent to investigate an "Anomaly" in Stairwell G.

Voiced by: Ashleigh Shadowbrook

  • Ambiguously Brown: According to SAYER, she has "a dark complexion."
  • The Bus Came Back: Happens twice—she returns in Episode 27, and then again in 52.
  • Non-Promotion: In Episode 17 she is transferred from "Maintenance Worker, level 1, to Field Researcher, level 1," simply because she happens to be near the event SAYER needs field-researched.
    SAYER: Don't let it go to your head.
  • Sound-Only Death: We hear her scream as she runs into the Tall Man off in the maze somewhere.
  • Suddenly Voiced: She speaks briefly in her second appearance.
  • Uncertain Doom: SAYER describes her as "lost to us in countless ways," so it is unclear whether she was incinerated or is suffering some Fate Worse than Death.
  • Uncredited Role: Her voice actor is not mentioned in the credits of the one episode she speaks in (or the one she screams in).


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