Aura is the name of the most popular personality skin for the onboard computer AI utilized in capsuleer ships. She serves numerous purposes, such as guiding new capsuleers through their first hours as a fully independent pod pilot and issuing warnings and handling docking requests. Aura is voiced by Excena Foer, a Gallente entertainer and poet. Her personality is noted for being dry and slightly black-humored, earning her the affection of the capsuleer class.
When the capsule and clone were married in YC 105, early entrepreneurs realized that it would lead to a rush of eager applicants hoping to achieve virtual immortality through the clone. These pilots, fresh out of the academies, would need someone to guide them through the early stages of their careers. AIs that assisted with mundane ship operations were commonplace, though they tended to run in the background and had no obvious interface for non-pod pilots.
Early trials with AIs specifically designed to deal with pod pilots were resounding failures. They attempted to interface with the pilot directly, much as the pilot interfaced with his ship. This frequently lead to confusion, headaches, and even bouts of paranoia. The solution was to take a technological step backward, replacing the direct interface with a voice which spoke to the pilot instead of attempting to manipulate his brainwaves.
Capsuleers responded much better to the voice. The only question left was what the voice should sound like. A strong, male Brutor voice was suggested by some, thinking it would help keep capsuleers in line, while others favored a subservient female Achura voice as properly kowtowing to pod pilot megalomania. Focus groups hated both; the Brutor was considered "abrasive" and "harsh" while the Achura was "meek" and "prissy".
Many other ideas were floated, until some forgotten executive suggested Excena Foer. Excena had lost her voice years before during an attempt on her life, but had installed a risky voice box which she mastered in record time. The voice box left her with a striking voice, characterized by a slightly metallic distortion. She was brought in for an audition and quickly surpassed expectations, giving a reading that was parts dry, slightly condescending, and mildly humored.
Excena was hired and immediately began to record voiceovers for the AI. Capsuleers responded to it favorably, and though additional voice and personality skins have since been developed, Aura remains popular almost beyond measure, being found in nearly ever capsuleer ship active today. Every so often, Excena needs to record new lines as the AI is updated, giving her a steady source of pay and powerful fans.
Aura is a weak AI, meaning she is capable of carrying out tasks on her own, though not learning or adapting to fit new parameters without a software upgrade. Her primary task is guiding new pod pilots through their first few hours and days as a licensed capsuleer, for which she has an extensive database of knowledge and suggestions. However, she also is responsible for monitoring a capsuleer's armor and shields and warning them when they get below a certain threshold, arranging for docking permissions with space stations, initializing warp and informing the pilot when the drive is active, along with several other tasks.
She appears to a capsuleer both visually and aurally. Her voice is the thing most capsuleers recognize, as it is piped into their ears through speakers in their pod helmet. She can also appear as a hologram before their eyes, though because of the nature of pod piloting, this is less noticed. Much like her voice, she shares her appearance with Excena Foer, that of an attractive Gallente woman in her early 30s. In order to assist with her perception as an AI, Aura has a bald head covered in cybernetic implants as opposed to Excena's ever-changing hairstyles and voice box. The hologram is typically translucent blue, but depending on the projector, it may appear as other colors.