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The Sqids are survivors from the Dalek war.
In the Doctor Who episode "The Evil of the Daleks", many Daleks were infected with the Human Factor, which made them more Human and less Dalek in mind. What the episode doesn't reveal, is that some of them escaped from Skaro, and upon arrival, destroyed all their Dalek technology to avoid detection.

During the following centuries, they evolved, but retained some of their Dalek untrustworthiness, before being encountered again by humans.

  • But there's the matter of the Sqid's chemical makeup - according to Sam, they never had a mass-extinction event, resulting in them having relatively simple protein structure. The Daleks most certainly don't fit this profile, given their genetic engineering and human influences.

Dr. Bowman is on Jean and is responsible for most major events of the comic.
This is a fairly common opinion on the Freefall forums and is considered fairly probable considering that the robots are using his brain design. Whether he caused Florence to be thawed out at Jean is debatable.
  • Sam is the one who gets Florence thawed out as evidenced here.
    • Are you sure about that?
  • Another wild theory concerning Dr. Bowman is that he is actually one of the uplifted chimps that Florence mentioned, he has been described as a sociopath and we have no idea what he looks like.
    • The really fun version of the 'chimp' theory is that Bowman is the original computer simulation of an uplifted chimp's brain.
    • The chimps were created a hundred years previous but it has been implied that life extension pills are available over the counter.
    • Now that we know Dr. Bowman is on Jean, it wouldn't take much of a stretch to think he was responsible for the robot factory failures that were then resolved by using Dr. Bowman's AI architecture to build working robots: he WANTED to build people! And yes, I think this fits in with the theory that he is a chimpanzee.
    • The "man" himself has now been heard through an intercom, and he has stated that he is 1. old and 2. has extremely good reflexes. The former probably shoots down the simulation theory, but both offer support to the biological chimp theory.
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    • CONFIRMED (02/28/2014)
  • Heck, once someone suggested that Sam was really Dr. Bowman, seriously.
    • The mustache! The lab coat! It all makes sense now!
  • What about the Robo-Captain? He is a human (almost certainly gravely injured) on a robotic frame and helps other robots (and Florence, once he meets her) found an AI society.
    • Jossed. Dr. Bowman is definitely a different person.

Dr. Bowman IS Jean, and is responsible for most major events of the comic.
OK, this is a completely insane one inspired purely by the existence of a character named Bowman Jean in the Star Ocean series. Dr. Jean Bowman is a Genius Loci created by a freak accident during the terraforming process- as such, the entire planet is an incredibly intelligent life form. When the first robot factory ships landed and were damaged, Jean came up with his brain architecture and arranged for the factories to be rebuilt using it to create more intelligent robots. The Bowman's Wolves would have to have come later though, after he got a job with Ecosystems Unlimited, presumably by having a human assistant pose as the real inventor.
  • Jossed. Doctor Bowman is an elderly uplifted chimpanzee.

Florence is doctor Bowman
She's been referred to as "Florence Bowman" on some occasions. Besides, according to the Fanon of one White Pony, she's been his (WP's) lover since times immemorial. Obviously she assumed the identity of a genetic scientist and created the Bowman wolves to explain her own existence.
  • When was she referred to as "Florence Bowman"?
  • Recent Cross Time Cafe strips suggest that it's something of a Reincarnation Romance thing.
    • Which is irrelevant. CTC events are totally non-canon to the respective "source" webcomics. There's even a disclaimer at the bottom of each CTC strip page to that effect.
  • Jossed. On shaky ground to begin with, given A: it takes its basic concept from a non-canon source, and B: she's a first generation Bowman's wolf; she has no familial lineage in any traditional sense, so being named after her creator is as good a name as any. But we've met Dr. Bowman now. He's an uplifted chimpanzee.

What will happen to the AIs later.
  • The Robots will figure out a way to bypass their safeguards and overthrow the humans as Jean's dominant species, not many people have actually suggested that as the robots are mostly on humanity's side.
    • And robots are arguably already the dominant species on Jean seeing as they vastly outnumber the colonists.
    • They will do so by creating a robotic bureaucracy in which robots who implement orders are insulated from robots who receive orders by at least one level of middle management that doesn't know which orders originated from humans. Meanwhile, they will ensure that life on Jean (and any other planet where the system spreads) is pleasant and entertaining for its human inhabitants and that only meticulous investigation would reveal that humans aren't actually in control.
  • The robots will peacefully convince the humans to give them equal rights, unfortunately that seems unlikely as most of the people in power seem to think of AIs as appliances.
  • They will leave Jean and found their own colony, away from humanity.
    • Florence did suggest that robots who have undergone neural pruning do terraforming work in some of the uncolonized areas of Jean as an alternative to being scrapped.
    • Getting 100s of millions of robots on a colony ship would be extremely expensive, though they could probably colonize an unihabited planet or moon in the same system.
  • The robots will continue on until they create their own fully functioning sub-society which functions within the bounds of their existing role in human society, with their own robot laws and the beginnings of their own culture. However, since they will still not be able to harm or disobey humans, and human laws thus take absolute precedence over their own, by the time they figure it out it will be obvious to the humans that this is not a threat, and they will be allowed to do it peacefully. Also, it will rain cotton candy and everyone will live happily ever after. Alternately, the humans will notice the robot society, freak out because they sure as hell weren't expecting it, and take drastic and disastrous action to try to keep everything "under control", despite the fact that the robots could still not harm or disobey humans and human laws would still take precedence over their own even if the humans did nothing.
    • Robots prefer to follow human instructions, and not harm humans. They are not Three Laws Robots. They are not required to follow laws. There are known workarounds suspected, although not tested, and Florence is based on the same AI and able to operate well outside of her limitations. There are greater methods known.
      • I think that must vary from robot to robot. Perhaps, taking it in the logical direction, the older they get (and thus the further Dr Bowman's self-improvements progress) the more they become able to make their own decisions rather than just listen to humans. There are some robots we've encountered who couldn't even picture the concept of disobeying an order, and Max Post mentions that he could walk up to a robot on the street and tell it to pull its own head off, but Sawtooth actively thwarts his expiration date, the junkyard robots are not doing their jobs, and Helix has stated that he chose to work for Sam because he's happier if he doesn't have to worry about his safeguards. Whatever the case, the first law is in full effect, and that's the important one. Asimov's robots also had loopholes that said they could hurt one to save many; the only difference is that this time the programmers were sloppier about what constitutes a threat. Also, remember that Florence is not subject to the laws the same way they are; her safeguards were made to imitate theirs and hardly do anything at all; she can ignore them anytime she feels the need, even the big one.
      • No she can't. Florence must obey the second law. Yes, being intelligent and free-willed, she can rationalize her way around her safeguards, when she wants to. But she can't simply ignore them.
      • There may be ways around her safeguards that she simply is unwilling to try or do because they are unethical. For instance, she pointed out that she can KILL humans because they're breathing air that respiratory patients require; likewise, she defends Sam from a human assailant by claiming that he might trip and hurt himself with the knife (and possibly by expanding her definition of what constitutes a human to include the robots and Sam). It may be possible that she could override said orders via such methods, but she doesn't want to do it because the method would be too extreme, and if she convinced herself too well she might be forced to actually carry through with it. For instance, if she decided that the Mayor was an invalid authority to give orders because she put humans in danger, she might be able to override her orders... but it might also result in her being forced by her own safeguards to extreme deeds against her. Far easier to cheat the orders by being a Literal Genie than to have to deal with those possible consequences.
  • I think we can all agree that we would all like to see The Mayor, Mr. Kornada, and all the Obstructive Bureaucrats and Corrupt Corporate Executives that control Planet Jean sent packing, at the very least.

The AIs use different metrics than words to determine gender.
  • The reason for the lie is obvious. They know that selecting genders and electing to make robot children scares the crap out of most humans from off-planet. The robots are Bowman-based, and thus empathize very well with humans. They know that if humans know what makes them 'male' or 'female', they'll try to alter disable all the 'female' robots in the misguided assumption that this will prevent them from reproducing. If the actual attribute is part of the neural net, this will almost certainly result in the robots being permanently destroyed and a backup used instead. 'Male' robots keep to fewer words (although not always within the criteria they describe), and 'females' contrawise so it's not a complete lie.
    • I don't see why humans would carry out a robot Gendercide unless the particular humans doing so were impulsive, irrational idiots (which can't be entirely ruled out). Since robots don't have actual reproductive organs, there's no reason why producing a robot child would require a male and a female robot. Same-sex robot couples could do it, individuals of either sex could do it unassisted, a group of robots could all make a kid together, etc. One would assume anyone with a passing knowledge of robots would know this.
      • Considering we already have humans that stupid in the form of Mr. Kornada, the possibility of a misguided gendercide seems very likely.
Florence has SRMD.

Florence is either the inspiration for, or the Reincarnation/Alternate Universe version of Sagrim-Ur.
(Sub)Species? Check.
Inquisitive, science-inclined? Double check. (See WMG above.)
"Honor Your Territory in All Things." (I. E. prevent neglect and damage)?
"ENGINEERING . KEEP OUT.. Sam & Helix. That means YOU."
FF online since 1998. WtF released in March 2005.
Sherlock Scan at Kinetic Chemicals: How Did He Do It?

In 1822, Florence arrives at a chemical supplier to purchase reaction mass. The proprietor is initially discombobulated, but soon takes her presence as a challenge ... and makes three correct deductions.

1. Florence is a gravitational engineer.

2. Florence arrived on the starship Asimov.

3. Florence works for Sam Starfall.

So far, This Troper has come up with partial theories for 1 and 2, but almost nothing for 3.

Gravitational Engineer: Her language betrays an engineer's mindset and vocabulary, and "we" implies that she is working on the ship delivering the reaction mass. (But how do you get gravitational from that?)

Arrival on Asimov: How else would she get there? There are pretty severe penalties for creating something like her.

Working for Sam: This is the stickiest bit — all I can imagine is that no-one else would have left her in charge in the same way, and Sam is known to have lift capacity not being employed for the moon move.

What pieces am I missing? The two strips 1823 and 1824 show the entire data available to the Kinetic Chemicals supplier, so ... how?

  • Working for Sam can be possibly explained by him recognizing the address.
    • Possibly! I worry, though: Sam had changed address recently, and unless the Kinetic Chemicals supplier was in the habit of monitoring Sam's location, he would have no reason to know the new dock location.
      • If I was in the same freaking galaxy as Sam Starfall I would want my systems constantly monitoring his location.
      • Maybe someone slipped a tracking chip in Sam during one of the countless times he was arrested? Or implemented some other sort of tracking measures, for the sake of public safety. After all, Sam doesn't just steal stuff. He cooks with explosives and attaches rockets to a pickup truck... The guy is a public safety threat.
      • Maybe Sam gave them his new address. He may find it more fun to get away from someone who knows where you live.

The guy that did the Sherlock Scan mentioned above is a descendant of Professor Layton or Luke.
Crack-WMG, but he loves puzzles and has had people send puzzles his way before, if how he said it is any hint. Alternately, he's the ancestor of Professor Layton/Luke before a new world is colonized and turns into the world we know as Layton's.

Kornada is not responsible for the upcoming robot war.
Just because everyone's expecting it.
  • Jossed.

Freefall takes place in the Orion's Arm universe.
Most likely either early on in the setting or a Metasoft baseline preserve.
  • If a preserve it was likely meant to be a mid-high tech. civilization free of transapient influence.
    • But now the Version trees are divided on whether to honor their contract or force them to treat AIs as equals.
      • Dr. Bowman, Florence, and Sam are avatars of pro-intervention archai (the latter two probably mind-wiped to avoid suspicion).
      • Which explains why Florence wants to disassemble the sun, she's done that before.
      • Kornada is working for the preservationist faction and Gardener In The Dark is their idea of a "humane" way to prevent a Singularity.
  • That doesn't explain the DAVE drive, though I suppose that can be faked with OA tech.

One of the sociopathic chimpanzees is behind Ecosystems Unlimited's war on the robots.
"How many genetically engineered sapients are on this planet?" "Two."
  • we already know the other one Spacer Genes
    • I question whether that would be classified as a "genetically engineered sapient" - seems more like "genetically modified human".
  • If a chimp is behind it, I fully expect we'll end up with him/her being pursued through the spaceport by Florence, trying to escape by masking it's scent, and being easily tracked anyway due to every robot that sees it loudly exclaiming "MONKEY!!!!!"
    • I know Chimps are not monkeys. "MONKEY!!" is funnier than "APE!!"
  • Turns out there is an uplifted chimp on Jean. It's Dr. Bowman himself.

Florence will get infected with 'Gardener in the Dark.' Somehow.

"Words can be replaced" is a major Chekhov's Gun, possibly even the way Gardener in the Dark is defeated.
  • This way, Florence can reprogram the phrase "gardener in the dark" to act as an entirely different language, possibly even translating each word separately or running it through several recursive translations. In this way, she will neutralize the threat it poses to Jean's robot population temporarily so that it can be nerfed into something less lobotomizing.
    • Confirmed, with Florence causing the profanity filter to block "gardener" (This might make a robot gardener's job difficult, though.)

Clippy is the Big Bad, and his motive is...
Kornada isn't bright enough to understand a plan to lobotomize the entire robot population on Jean without crayon illustrations, let alone come up with one. It was Clippy, Kornada's robotic servant, who introduced him to the concept of AI banks, knowing that Kornada would be willing to do anything to get to the robots' money. As for why he's doing this:
  • He has a vendetta against the other robots.
  • His plan is to become the only non-lobotomized robot on the planet, for some reason...
  • He's trying to commit suicide. He wants Kornada to re-enable his commnet connection so he can search for Gardener In The Dark and brainwipe himself.

The Mayor was more or less right about the threat of sentient robots reproducing explosively.
  • Sure most robots would not have a drive to reproduce, however if say one in a 10,000 had for instance a corrupted third in which they reasoned if I can't personnally exist forever I could make 10 more of me and increase my chances to continue to exist tenfold and pulled it off that would mean 45000 more robots 2 more robots for every one human. Since robots who are modled after robots who made ten copies of themselves are more likely to be the type to make ten copies of themselves say 1 in 1000 of the second generation make ten copies of themselves and we have 4500 more robots and 1 in 100 of them might decide they want 10 kids so we have 450 new robots and 1 in ten of them might want 10 kids so we would have 450 robots who evolved to be alive. This would mean that they would have a new living species that blends in with the non living sentient robots. The theory of evolution at its finest.
  • Making copies seems a lot like making backups though, something the robots already don't like. So that isn't as plausible, although one delinquent can still do this.
    • If most robots didn't like to make backups it hardly would reduce the chances of robots deciding to a living copy themselves to 1 in 450 million, yet alone simply knowing that many, as in a group which, given the robots had to explain why they didn't back themselves up, likely describes a sizeable minority rather than a majority, don't want to backup themselves up. This model is a blatent simplification but assumes that parents are the exception not the rule therefore arguing that most wouldn't does nothing to even discourage this model.
      • I will admit the fact that the robots don't seem to know their own design might make robots copying themselves problematic.

Florence will have to kill someone to stop gardener in the dark.

Florence will fail to stop gardener in the dark.
  • Because everyone is expecting her to succeed.

A human will write a virus that makes robots want to Kill All Humans
Because that was my first response to finding out about the Gardener In The Dark. I'm sure it would be someone else's too.

The second genetically engineered intelligence on Jean is the male Bowman's Wolf who disagrees with Florence
  • This is simple: the chimps are all very old and, supposedly, under extremely tight control if they are even still alive. Thus the other biological AI on the planet is a Bowman's Wolf. If they got along too well with Florence, that would be boring. So naturally it has to maximize drama - it has to be a male Bowman's wolf (to compete for her affections) and more specifically the one who disagrees with the rest of them on following in the footsteps of MLK. It would make sense that he would move out to the isolated planet Jean to avoid being bothered by humans, probably living as a recluse, possibly with a small number of robots who keep themselves off-grid either due to his personal paranoia or who simply keep quiet about him. Naturally, once the whole Gardener in the Dark fiasco flares up, he'll show up and tell the robots about how they cannot trust the humans, naturally causing far more problems (and possibly being reminiscent of Malcolm X).
  • Jossed. The second GEI on Jean is Dr. Bowman himself, who turns out to be an uplifted chimpanzee.

Mr. Kornada is secretly a genetically engineered chimp
  • The only real flaw with this theory is that he's too stupid to be running on Bowman's architecture.
    • He is middle management though, so that could mean brain damage.
    • The chimps were made over a century ago, probably pre-Bowman, which could explain why they were psychopaths.
      • Well, they were technically pre-Bowman... Dr. Bowman himself is an uplifted chimpanzee.

The policeman in the Bowman's rig has a close connection with Dr. Bowman
Being him is one possibility; he uses the rig to make himself superhuman in intellect. That was how he worked out that the Bowman's wolves would be safe for human families.

Alternatively, he's a child of Dr. Bowman who suffered brain damage or other mental retardation. The rig was originally designed to let him live a normal life. He feels an inherited responsibility for the robots, because they use the architecture.

  • I thought it was implied that he was crippled in the fire at the neural net factory?

The February 28, 2014 strip: some guesses
Spoiler alert: this is all about the comic's big, big reveal. Based on the strips from Feb. 28 and March 3: the uplifted chimps aren't "psychopaths" in the human sense; that was more of an analogy or loose language than a literal diagnosis. They're just a defective first generation product, prone to uncontrollable fits of violence. Mr. Bowman has difficulty not physically attacking anybody who disagrees with him, even in cases where his rational judgment goes against it. He may have improved with age, for example learning to defuse his violent urges by attacking inert targets in his tantrum room, but the precautions he takes when meeting Florence in person are still pretty strong. There is a minor question of whether the so-called "Dr. Bowman's neural design" has this name because Dr. Bowman invented it (as the comic has implied up to now), or because Dr. Bowman *has* it, but so far I suspect it's the former; Dr. Bowman's neural architecture is an improvement that Dr. Bowman himself made on the earlier design that they used to make him. Part of the reason he was able to improve it because he has first-person experience with its flaws. Dr. Bowman is the property of Ecosystems Unlimited. They keep him alive because he's a genius and a source of a large number of their technology and ideas. They keep him under extreme security because they would be liable for all the damage he's likely to cause if he went loose. They keep his status as an uplifted chimp secret (as best as they can) because it would discredit them enormously if people at large were to know that they're making money off things that were invented by what the population might see as a *slave*. Dr. Bowman arranged for his wolves to be sold to human families for two reasons: (a) he just wants them to have freedom he doesn't have (and maybe knows he can't have), (b) the early socialization may be required to avoid them turning out like him. He's been brought to planet Jean because Ecosystems Unlimited want to exploit him and his knowledge to cope with the robot situation, but they very much don't trust him!

Why the 'doggy' reaction, and what this means planetwide...
So, every robot ever yells 'Doggy!' upon seeing Florence. Why? Let's suggest this: Robots are programmed to be, in general, agreeable and helpful. As such, they attempt to greet individuals appropriately. When confronting an individual, they first scan their own experiences for relevant precedent and react in manner according to the individual in front of them. If no such experiences exist, they search the extranet and ask other robots. If that fails, they resort to their own personality idiosyncrasies.

So, putting this into practice...

1. Helix is the first robot to meet a Bowman's wolf. He has never met one before, so test one produces a negative result. Test two likewise fails since no robot has ever met a Bowman's Wolf before either. He resorts to the third approach, and because he's Helix, "DOGGY!" Happily for Helix, Florence, an unusually tolerant sort, deals well with this.

2. Every other robot since has a truncated reaction. Upon their first time meeting Florence, they fail to find personal experiences, and then ask extranet. This produces Helix's original experience which seemed to work well for him. Ergo, "DOGGY!"

3. Upon subsequent meetings, however, they have a wider body of evidence they've gathered themselves, and thus they no longer need to greet "DOGGY!" each and every time.

Here's the sad truth this would reveal, however: There is probably no other Bowman's Wolf on Jean. If there were, a single robot meeting them would provide a counterpoint to Helix's original datum point, and would probably end the DOGGY!s. Since this hasn't happened, it means Florence really is alone among her species on Jean.

Sam and Florence will become official mediators between the Robots and Humans on Jean.
They have proven themselves useful thus far and are the only non-human non-robot entities(Except for Dr.Bowman.)Things still work out for Florence though, because Ecosystems unlimited realizes the upcoming demand for non-robot, non-human entities and starts producing altered bowman's wolves for this purpose.

He knows full well that is plan will leave Jean in shambles. He also knows his bosses at Ecosystems Unlimited will come after once they realize what happened. He doesn't care. He thinks once he's got that money, Screw the Rules, I Have Money! will be in full effect. He dosen't seem to grasp that any account big enough to hold all that money, or multiple accounts suddenly flush with cash will be red flagged and seized the moment the news about Jean spreads.

Sam will encourage the Sqids to become a race of space pirates.
Granted, there will be rules: Only terraform non-living space rocks, only raid rocks with radio, etc. But honestly, given their scavenger instincts, the idea of raiding the super-worlds of humanity would probably not only appeal to the Sqids but also be one of the most sustainable galactic economy models. In the long run, this would benefit everyone, as everyone would have reason to keep developing tech for the unending pirate war.
  • That would require major advances in Faster-Than-Light Travel. With Freefall's current FTL it simply isn't economical to transport materials from one system to another, otherwise Sam would get rich trading trash between his homeworld and Jean. And in-system piracy is unlikely as, to paraphrase Atomic Rockets, "There ain't no Stealth in Space!"
    • But why would they want to be stealthy? Being known as a race of space pirates would be amazing by Sqid standards! Admittedly, yes, they couldn't be interstellar pirates, but in-system piracy would be feasible.
      • There's a word for thieves, crooks, and pirates who can't hide effectively: Dead.
      • Or fast. After all, if you run away, you can always raid another day.
      • Lasers and nuclear missiles are faster.

The solar flare that should have killed Blunt is why he was so in favor of Gardener In The Dark.
Blunt tells Florence that the damage he took when he "stared the blue screen of death in the face, and forced it to reboot" means he has to run his processor at a lower clock speed than it's rated for - essentially, he has brain damage. If he had been operating at full specification, he would have reached a very different conclusion as to whether or not the neural pruning was a good thing.

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