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Orac (Computer)

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Orac was a sophisticated artificial intelligence, referred to by its creator Ensor as a brain rather than a computer. It came into the possession of the Liberator crew and remained a vital resource throughout the rest of their travels. First appeared in the eponymous final episode of Series A, and appeared throughout Series B, C, and D. Voiced by Derek Farr on its first appearance, Peter Tuddenham subsequently.

Specifications and AbilitiesEdit

Physically Orac took the form of a transparent box, easily portable, within which the components of the device were visible. Ensor used a reinforced carrying case to transport it, but later owners were not so careful. Orac was not especially robust and was damaged in the explosions inside Servalan's base on Terminal, and again later when Xenon Base was similarly sabotaged. A key needed to be inserted in order for Orac to operate.

Orac had a number of unusual abilities. It was capable of many other feats in conjunction with the systems of a starship; the ones listed are those it appeared to achieve using only its own resources.

Remote Computer AccessEdit

Orac's abilities mainly revolved around its abilities to instantaneously access the tarial cells of other computers and either access information or control them remotely. It could take control of and reprogram Zen and other computers of the System in addition to Federation computer systems.

The full extent of this ability seemed to fluctuate drastically - at no time did the crew attempt to use Orac to shut down or interfere with the systems of attacking Federation vessels, which theoretically would have been possible for it.

This signals used in this ability passed through the same dimension as that of some telepathy - as Orac did not consciously use this dimension it was at risk of telepathic takeover. Orac's own personality was suppressed by the more powerful signals of Muller's android, which had an identical ability.

CommunicationsEdit

Orac's signals were the fastest means of communication in the Federation and were used as such by Jenna to warn Space Command of the threat posed by the Andromedan invasion.

On other occasions Orac was used to simulate or decode various different signals, although the decoding ability also seemed to come and go with the passage of time.

Predictive AbilityEdit

Orac's name seems to be derived from Oracle, and Orac claimed to be able to predict the future with great accuracy. While its initial prediction (the apparent destruction of the Liberator at a particular point in space) did indeed come to pass, Orac itself manipulated events to bring this about, and at least one other prediction (concerning the reinstitution of the Federation's shipbuilding programme) was proven wrong. If Orac really could predict the future with consistent accuracy, the crew made remarkably little use of this power.

Self-MiniaturisationEdit

In order to help Avon and Vila defraud the casinos of Freedom City, Orac revealed the rather unexpected ability to shrink itself through 'stabilised atomic implosion'. It could remain at one-eighth of its normal size for a little over two hours.

ValueEdit

Ensor's asking price for Orac was 100 million credits, but in Servalan's opinion (and Ensor's own) it was worth ten times as much. Both Belkov and Egrorian seemed well aware of Orac's value and were willing to take it as payment in a deal (equally aware of its utility, Avon planned to supply Egrorian with a replica!).

HistoryEdit

Orac was built by Ensor on the planet Aristo. Ensor planned to exchange it for 100 million credits and a new power supply for his bionic heart, but he died after Servalan reneged on the deal. Afterwards it came into the possession of Blake and his crew, where it proved invaluable in saving their lives on numerous occasions.

Orac briefly fell under the control of a hostile alien telepathic intelligence, and was rigged with an explosive charge by Avon as a safeguard should this recur. It was smuggled off the Liberator immediately prior to its destruction by Vila, who claimed it was a sculpture.

Orac was damaged in the destruction of Servalan's base on Terminal but repaired. Not long afterwards it recognised the dangerous nature of Muller's android but was still taken over by it. It was damaged again when Xenon Base was sabotaged. Avon kept Orac with him when the Scorpio was shot down over Gauda Prime. Orac was not with the rest of the crew when they had their final encounter with Blake; its fate is unknown.

PersonalityEdit

Orac had absorbed many of its creator's mannerisms and initially spoke with his voice. It was generally irascible and condescending towards the rest of the crew. It did not enjoy the tasks it was given and on at least one occasion farmed them out to other computers nearby, with unfortunate results. Orac did however display a deep curiosity about the universe, at one point taking control of Zen to study a black hole it believed the ship had been pulled into.

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