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Sage avi.png
Character information
Common name SAGE
Also known as Semi Automatic Ground Environment, "Whirlwind II"
Human name(s) Gina Forrester
First appearance Jan 2008
Height 162 cm (5'4")
Hair color Medium brown
Eye color Blue with yellow or gold patches
Weapon(s) Missile launcher, makeshift weapons
Faction Wanderer Class, formerly associated with the MIT Society
Lineage MIT, via Whirlwind
Rival(s) UNIX, enemy bombers, most microcomputer-tans, birds
Technical information
System personified Semi Automatic Ground Environment (system) and AN/FSQ-7 (hardware)
Developer(s) MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Debut Jan 1959
Latest release Circa 1983

Technical Details

Built for the US Air Force by MIT, IBM and SDC, the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment was a heavily integrated air battle management network active from the late fifties to early eighties. While ineffective against ballistic missiles, it was the best answer to the threat of bomber based attack. An early user of what would become modems and the internet, interactive systems, and other advanced computing methods, SAGE pioneered many technologies that we take for granted in the modern age.

Character Details


SAGE-tan as an adult

SAGE-tan is depicted as a woman of average build and height, with long brown hair typically tied up in dual buns. She is described as being rather pale-skinned, having heterochromatic blue and yellow eyes, wearing glasses to correct her severe farsightedness and routinely donning red and white checkered ribbons, having inherited her love of ribbons from her mother. During her time in the Air Force, she wore a contemporary womens' USAF uniform, though some drawn depictions put her in an elaborate, antiquated-looking military-style coat, with a ruffled shirt and ascot, puffy pants and boots. She sold off most of her fine wardrobe after her retirement; today, she dresses mainly in plain clothes, although her old uniform overcoat is still a favorite piece.


SAGE-tan's powers remain somewhat mysterious. It is confirmed that she could see light frequencies outside of the human visual spectrum, in particular, certain radio frequencies associated with radar. Her eyes could not actually process radio frequencies themselves; she accomplished this using a second power, the ability to mentally-connect with other OS- and hardware-tans and "tap into" their sensory systems. So as long as SAGE-tan was "connected" to her radar stations, she could see in radio. Similarly, she seems to have used her assistant, IBM 728-kun, as a memory storage device, since separation from him has diminished her once-sharp memory.

It has also been suggested that SAGE possessed superhuman strength, and may have had slight precognitive abilities.


Due to the series of mental and emotional breaks that she has undergone, it is difficult to pin down SAGE-tan's personality, or tell which emotional features are her true personality and which are just the effects of her dementia.

Judging by what has been written, SAGE-tan was a kind, inquisitive, if not somewhat peevish child, and throughout her early life she acted with courtesy, professionalism and commitment to her job - protecting the United States from the then-looming threat of nuclear war. Her personality seems to have been, at once, prickly and endearing; many of her chronicles document her as having normal, if not somewhat awkward, interactions with her friends and coworkers, and there was little evidence of the mental disorder that would later manifest itself.

A number of factors have been cited as causing her state of psychosis, among them: inherent flaws in her design, separation from her family in her youth, her usefulness being called into question almost as soon as she was debuted, her easily-baffled sensory systems and near-uselessness against the threat of ICBMs; the trauma of having many of her radar stations killed off in the 1960s, witnessing her mother die after a living for more than a decade in a state of grave illness, having an unauthorized clone made (SABRE-tan), and the passing of her beloved daughter, BUIC, as well as general neglect, abandonment, and being thrust ever farther into a world alien from the idyllic one in which she grew up.

By all accounts, 1983 is the year that SAGE finally "snapped". When her final radar stations were shut down, she was all but blinded, and the death of IBM 728 destroyed her powers of memory. Devoid of her vision, memories and in a state of severe psychological illness that included bouts of extreme violence, paranoia and delusions, she ran off into the wild, where she began living a meager, drifter-like existence, inhabiting her abandoned radar sites and only occasionally venturing into society or interacting with old friends of family. Her life is one of near-total solitude and loneliness, although writing seems to give her some measure of comfort.

It should be noted that all of this must be called into question - most of the information regarding SAGE-tan's personality has been gleaned from a collection of journal-style stories, which are written in an intentionally-unreliable first-person narrative. Because of this, we may never be able to know exactly what SAGE's personality is, or what her motives are.

Family and relationships

SAGE-tan as a child

SAGE-tan is Whirlwind-tan's first-born child and the elder sister of TX-0, PDP-1 and CTSS-tan. Although separated by distance, her relationship with her mother was close and affectionate. Her relationships with her sisters varied - she seemed to treat PDP-1-tan as a pesky little sister, respect CTSS-tan, bute view her as ultimately weak; and all but ignore TX-0. She has two daughters; the eldest, BUIC-tan, is her backup system, and despite having a mutually-loving relationship, SAGE rarely was able to visit with her due to reasons of national security. Her relationship with her second daughter, SABRE-tan, is strained and fraught with hatred and feelings of betrayal, since SABRE is an "clone" of SAGE-tan created by IBM without her permission.

Growing up, SAGE-tan had a number of friends - mostly human, some computer - at Lincoln Laboratory, her closest being GENIAC-chan, the small and simple computer-tan who she semi-adopted. Later on, she made friends with numerous Air Force computer and hardware systems, notably Univac 1050-II, FASTRAND, LIFT-tan, and the various radar station -tans and -kuns who made up her system. Her nearest friend was arguably IBM 728-kun, whom she viewed less as acquaintance and more as a brother.

While SAGE started off hating Multics-tan, her impression of Multics softened after they worked together at Rome AFB in the 1970s, and they begun a somewhat tumultuous friendship that lasts to this day. Similarly, SAGE befriended DTSS, one of her sister CTSS' close acquaintances, as well as Apple III-tan.

While a startlingly large number of "ships" involving SAGE have been proposed, few canon romantic relationships exist. SAGE/FASTRAND has been hinted at before in-story and outright stated in one alternate-universe tale, but it remains unclear whether or not it is canonical. Similarly, one alternate-universe story paired SAGE and Apple III-tan together, and it has since been accepted as canon to SAGE-tan's original creator. Some interpretations show SAGE and Multics in a relationship, with Multics being dominant over SAGE.

SAGE-tan has many enemies, both real and perceived. She hates Unix, ITS and WAITS, and her vitriol toward Unix is at least partially-returned. During her days in service, enemy bombers were a very real threat for her to fight against, but was helpless against ICBMs. Birds are perceived to be enemies just the same, referring to SAGE's radars detecting birds as well as bombers. She also looks down on the microcomputer-tans as being worthless or beneath her, making an exemption for GENIAC-tan. However, her condescending attitude towards microcomputers didn't stop her from visiting the Binteeji Renmei to reunite with GENIAC-tan, and has accidentally made friends with some of the other microcomputer-tans there.

History and background

Theories and Alternate Interpretations

Life after shutdown?

Typically, when an OS-tan looses all of her installations and user-base, she dies. Yet somehow SAGE-tan has remained alive, nearly 30 years after her last sites were shut down. A number of theories have been devised to explain this anomaly, but none have been confirmed. These theories run the gamut from outlandish to mundane: that SAGE was born as, or became, a physical god; that she was so powerful in her life that she can exist without any installations; and the out-of-universe explanation that it was simply more interesting to make SAGE-tan a living character than a deceased one.

SAGE isn't completely blind

When SAGE got disconnected from her radars and decommissioned, the most common interpretation is that she became nearly, or completely blind. Another interpretation is that when she was in service, she had superhuman levels of vision, and was able to see in the radio spectrum, but lost those abilities after being decommissioned. She might still see normally as a human can, but her vision became severely compromised compared to what it was before.

She brought Multics from the dead

As for how Multics was brought back from the dead, it's known that the necromancer Plan 9-tan didn't do it because the resurrected Multics has her free will intact and doesn't show signs of dying off again. SAGE may have found a way to bring others from the dead using advanced technology, and having cheated death herself. In a state of loneliness and mental decay, and even possible feelings for her, she may have brought Multics from the dead. She may have done this not just to see her again, but to also have her kill off UNIX at last, because SAGE hates UNIX and knew that Multics nearly killed her.

While Multics never got her powers back, and can't fight, SAGE cared enough to send Multics to the Binteeji Renmei instead of leaving her to die.


Because of the high volume of SAGE-tan writings and artworks, please refer to this List of works depicting SAGE.