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"I wonder, could an artificial brain experience this singular combination of desire and preemptive regret?"
―Anita, during her work on CYAN

Anita Sandoval is a character in Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds. She was the lead programmer for Project Firebreak.

History

Early life

Little is known about Anita, how old she was during her work on Project Firebreak, or where she came from. She had been working with AI R&D for a long time. She seemed to be involved in creating VAST SILVER and was haunted by the near-disaster that ensued when the AI went rogue in 2044.

Project Firebreak and CYAN

When an underground facility was designed to stabilize the Yellowstone caldera and prevent it from exploding, Anita Sandoval was assigned to the project as its lead programmer. She was very dedicated to the project and was seen as one of the most valuable members of the team, and was proud to see that the project would effectively fulfill its purpose.

She also worked together with Kenny Chau, the project's director, to create the facility's governing AI: Caldera of Yellowstone Analysis Network, or CYAN. She designed CYAN as an AI capable of limited emotional response, which she and Kenny kept secret due to the legal ramifications of such a capacity. She knew Firebreak needed an AI able to perform beyond human capabilities, that such a program would inevitably develop emotional responses, and that failure to recognize and account for emotional development upfront would result in another disaster like VAST SILVER.[1] The two also secretly worked together to further conceal the facility from the outside world.

After the facility was complete, she left the project to continue development work. In 2058, Elisabet Sobeck presented Anita with the MindChallenge award in Austin.[2]

Project Zero Dawn, The Faro Plague, and Death

When Aloy tells CYAN about Project Zero Dawn, CYAN conjectures that Dr. Sandoval must have joined Elisabet Sobeck's team in this endeavor. Anita requested data samples from CYAN's confidential log pertaining to emotional responses [3], which may have been used in the development of GAIA.

Anita, presumably through her work on Zero Dawn, learned of the Faro Plague and the projected outcome before the general public. Recognizing the importance of concealing the facility from the Swarm, she contacted Kenny for the first time in years, requesting he suspend operations to reduce Firebreak's energy draw so that its presence would remain hidden by the activity of the caldera. [4][5] Anita herself never returned to Firebreak and never saw Kenny again, urging him to spend the rest of his time with his family. When Kenny made one final visit to CYAN, the AI asked if she would see Anita upon reboot, and was sad to learn that they would never meet again. [6]

If Anita worked on Zero Dawn, she likely died in Elysium. If she did not, it can be assumed that she, like everyone else on Earth, died in the following months. Everything learned about her is found in the form of datapoints scattered around the facility and surrounding area centuries later by Aloy. She is one of the few Old Ones who is actually seen via holograms.

Personality

Anita was hardworking, intelligent, and generally liked by most of the people she worked with.

Relationships

Kenny Chau

"I like him. I like his lopsided little smile. I especially like those circles he makes with his hands when he gets excited about an idea. If we hadn’t been flung together like this, maybe he and I… Well, no point in woolgathering."

During her work on Firebreak, Anita developed a mutual romantic interest with the project's director Kenny Chau. Anita once pulled him into a back room and kissed him. This romance dissolved after Firebreak's completion. Anita expressed some regret at not having stayed with Kenny, but understood the importance of her career.

During their time together, Anita greatly enjoyed Kenny's company and admired him. They often had lengthy "arguments" about complicated subjects like robotic ethics and artificial intelligence.

Dodger "Dod" Blevins

"I can't even sneeze without triggering his control issues."

Like everyone else who worked with the project's head of security, Anita did not get along with Dod and was often at odds with him due to his paranoia, grating personality, and controlling nature. She was particularly annoyed by his constant changing of the hololock patterns on the facility doors.

When the facility's food menu was hacked to display insulting messages towards Blevins, Kenny suspected that Anita was behind it, but kept this between them as he found it humorous regardless.

CYAN

CYAN stands as Anita's crowning achievement, perhaps even above Project Firebreak itself.

As CYAN's creator, Anita knew from the beginning how important the AI was, and why she needed to be designed the way she was. She and Kenny kept CYAN's emotional capabilities a secret from everyone else, coming to regard her as more like a human child than a machine and, as such, was protective of her. In her last conversation with Kenny, she asked him to say goodbye to CYAN for her.

References

  1. Oh-Point-Six
  2. That Kiss
  3. Last Goodbye
  4. Return to Firebreak
  5. The Swarm
  6. When You Wake
Old Ones Characters
Project Zero Dawn Susanne Alpert - Brad Andac - Patrick Brochard-Klein - Connor Chasson - Samina Ebadji - Ellen Evans - Ted Faro - Ron Felder - Jackson Frye - Christina Hsu-Vhey - Naoto - Ayomide Okilo - Tom Paech - Ella Pontes - Skylar Rivera - Charles Ronson - Mia Sayied - Margo Shĕn - Elisabet Sobeck - Travis Tate
Operation Enduring Victory Lana Acosta‏ - Ames Guliyev - Aaron Herres - Yana Mills - Fiona Murell - Vandana Sarai - Usizo Wandari
Project FirebreakFW Joshua Ardhuis - Dod Blevins - Gina Bruno - Kenny Chau - Shelly Guerrera-McKenzie - Jørgen Holm - Anita Sandoval - Laura Vogel
Other Harriet Choi - Osvald Dalgaard - Bashar Mati - Wyatt Mahante
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