3ª PARTE: ECLIPSE PHASE UNIVERSE

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3ª PARTE: ECLIPSE PHASE UNIVERSE

Mensaje  Admin el Mar Mar 02, 2010 12:32 pm

ECLIPSE PHASE FACTIONS

One would have thought a cataclysmic event such as the Fall would bring surviving transhumanity closer to each other in an attempt to jointly dedicate themselves to the repopulation of the solar system and continued prosperity. While some of the post-Fall economic, social, or political powers do indeed pursue philanthropic or altruistic agendas, the remoteness and physical isolation of transhuman colonies and habitats stretched across the solar system, the disembodiment of the infomorph refugees, and the ubiquity of the mesh’s myriad of memes and ideologies have promoted the evolution of a wide spectrum of philosophies, agendas, and political models. Today, transhumanity couldn’t be further from walking a united path toward its future. 

THE HYPERCORPS

The hypercorps both evolved from and superseded the old earthbound transnational corporations, economic giants whose influence (direct or covert) extended into the governments and nations of old. The transformation of some of those monolithic transnationals into the slimmer, future-embracing, more flexible and faster hypercorps known today preceded the Fall and allowed these financial sharks to adapt to transhumanity’s challenges and navigate the swiftly changing economic waters rapidly and efficiently.

Most hypercorps are decentralized, non-asset-based legal entities (sometimes entirely virtual) relying on an intricate system of specialized internal subsidiaries and partner companies to develop, produce, and market their products and services. Nearly complete automation, advanced robotics, morph technology, mesh networking, and cornucopia machines allow the hypercorps to abstain from mass employment for labor or production. Many administrative tasks are performed in virtual environments and simulated offices. The need for physical labor has mostly been reduced to tasks associated with habitat construction or deep-space mining, which benefit heavily from the overabundance of infomorph refugees desperate to regain a physical presence.

POLITICAL FACTIONS

Transhumanity’s social, cultural, and ideological diversity, as well as its scattered and isolated presence in habitat clusters throughout the solar system, allowed the manifestation of a wide range of political ideologies and factions that advocate equally diverse models or systems. Naturally, controversial regimes don’t achieve stability overnight or evolve without dissent, and even established ideologies over time rarely remain free of diluting or even corrupting influence from outside factors or groups seeking to promote their own agendas.

HYPERCORPS

The following is a small sampling of hypercorps.

COMEX

Comet Express specializes in delivery services, interstellar logistics, supply chains, and shipping. They maintain a presence on almost every transhuman habitat in the solar system, often via local subcontractors. ComEx maintains orbital hubs equipped with slingshot accelerators at strategic waypoints throughout the system and a fleet of cargo vessels and courier drones.

DIRECT ACTION

This apolitical mercenary corp, descended from the remnants of several pre-Fall militaries, provides security and public police services to self-governing habitats or hypercorp installations.

ECOLOGEN

Ecologene specializes in genetically-engineered bio-architecture and environmental nanotech with a strong ecologically-conscious approach.

FA JING

Fa Jing dominates mining and energy production with a business philosophy that emphasizes network-building and social responsibility-sharing.

GATEKEEPER CORPORATION

Born from the merger of several scientific institutions and their corporate financiers, this hypercorp made a name for itself when it decoded and opened the wormhole gateway discovered on Saturn’s Pandora moon. The consortium today funds gatecrasher explorations through the Pandora Gate.

SKINTHETIC

Specializing in neogenesis and extensive, radical bio-modifications, this anarcho-capitalist company pushes the envelope of cloning, genetics, and morph design.

SOLARIS

Solaris is the system’s leading banking and financial investment hypercorp, dealing in insurances, futures markets, info-brokerage and high-risk investments. Solaris is a virtual corporation, with each banker acting as a nomadic office.


ECLIPSE PHASE TIMELINE

All dates are given in reference to the Fall. BF = Before the Fall. AF = After the Fall. (e.g., BF 10 = 10 years before the Fall.)

BF 60+

• Crisis grips the globe in the form of drastic climate changes, energy shortages, and geopolitical instability.

• Initial space expansion creates stations at the Lagrange Points, Luna, and Mars, with robotic exploration of the entire system.

• Construction begins on a space elevator.

• Medical advances improve health and organ repair. The rich pursue gene-fixing and transgenic pets.

• Computer intelligence capabilities equal and exceed that of the human brain. True AI not yet developed.

• Robotics become widespread and start to replace/invalidate many jobs.

• Modern nations expand their high-speed wireless networks.

BF 60–40

• Efforts to undertake megascale geoengineering on Earth cause as many problems as they fix.

• Major colonies established on the Moon and Mars; outposts established near Mercury, Venus, and the Belt. Explorers reach Pluto.

• First space elevator on Earth finished. Two others in progress. Space traffic booms.

• Mass driver built on the Moon.

• Terraforming of Mars begins.

• Fusion power developed and working plants established.

• Genetic enhancements, gene therapies (for longevity), and cybernetic implants become available to the wealthy and powerful.

• First non-autonomous AIs are secretly developed and quickly put to use in research and netwar.

• Experience playback (XP) technology developed and put into public use.

BF 40–20

• Violence and destabilization wrack the Earth; some conflicts spread into space.

• Argonauts split from hypercorps, taking resources to autonomist habitats.

• Space expansion opens up legal/ethical loopholes for tech development and allows for increased direct human experimentation.

• Human cloning becomes possible and available in some areas.

• Development of first transhuman species.

• First dolphins and chimpanzees uplifted to sapience.

• Fusion-drive spacecraft enter common usage.

• Extended colonization and terraforming of Mars continues. Belt and Titan colonized. Stations established throughout the system.

• The starving masses volunteer themselves for indentured servitude on hypercorp space projects.

• Augmented reality becomes widespread.

• Most networks transformed into self-repairing mesh networks.

• Personal AI aides become widespread.

BF 20–0

• Earth continues to suffer, but the pace of technology allows for some interesting developments.

• Expansion throughout the system, even into the Kuiper Belt.

• Transhuman species become widespread.

• Nanotech assemblers become available, but are strictly controlled and jealously guarded by the elite and powerful.

• Uploading and the digital emulation of memory and consciousness made possible.

• More species (gorillas, orangutans, octopi, ravens, parrots) uplifted to sapience.

• Pods see common usage, amid some controversy.

The Fall

• The TITANs evolve from a high-level distributed netwar experiment into self-improving seed AIs. For the first few days, their existence is unsuspected. They advance their awareness, knowledge, and power exponentially, infiltrating the mesh both on Earth and around the system.

• Large-scale netwar incursions break out between rival states on Earth, sparking numerous conflicts. These attacks are later blamed on the TITANs.

• Simmering tensions on Earth escalate into outright hostilities and warfare.

• Massive netwar breaks out and major systems crash as TITANs begin open attacks, also using autonomous war machines.

• Conflict quickly spirals out of control. The use of nuclear, biological, chemical, digital, and nanotech weapons reported by all sides.

• TITANs engage in mass forced uploading of human minds.

• TITAN attacks expand to other parts of solar system, heaviest on the Moon and Mars. Numerous habitats also fall.

• TITANs suddenly disappear from system, taking millions of uploaded minds with them.

• The Earth is left a devastated wasteland, a patchwork of radiation hotspots, sterile zones, nanoswarm clouds, roaming war machines, and other unknown and hidden things among the ruins.

AF 0–10

• A wormhole gateway is discovered on Saturn’s moon Pandora, left by the TITANs. Four others are later found (in the Vulcanoids, on Mars, on Uranus, and in the Kuiper Belt); these are collectively referred to as “Pandora Gates.”

• Expeditions are sent to extrasolar worlds via the Pandora Gates. Numerous exoplanet colonies established.

• First contact with the aliens known as the Factors shocks the system. Claiming to act as ambassadors for other alien civilizations, they provide little information about life outside the solar system and warn transhumans away from both seed AI and the Pandora Gates.

• An attempt to raise a generation of children using force-grown clones and time-accelerated VR fails miserably when most of the children die or go insane. Dubbed the Lost Generation, the survivors are viewed with repugnance and pity.

AF 10

• Present day.


THE MESH

The mesh, as it exists in Eclipse Phase, is only possible thanks to major developments made in computer/communication technologies and nanofabrication. Wireless radio transceivers are so unobtrusively tiny that they can literally be factored into anything. As a result, everything is computerized and connected.

Data storage technology has advanced so that even an individual user’s surplus storage capacity can maintain an amount of information surpassing the entire 20th-century internet. Lifeloggers literally record every moment of their life and never fear about running out of room.

Processing capabilities also exist at hyper-efficient levels. Modest handheld devices can fulfill almost all of your needs, even while simultaneously running a personal AI assistant, downloading media, uploading porn, and scanning thousands of newsfeeds. Within the mesh network, devices that near their processing limits simply share the burden with devices around them.

Similarly, transmission capacity now far exceeds most citizens’ definition of need. Anyone born within the last several generations has always lived in a world in which hyper-realistic, multi-sensory media of nearly any length is available for instantaneous download. Massive databases and archives are copied back and forth with ease. Bandwidth is such a non-issue that most people forget it ever was. The mesh is also never down. As a decentralized network, if any one device is taken offline, connections merely route around it, finding a path via thousands of available nodes.

Almost everyone is equipped with implanted personal computers, directly wired to the user’s cerebral functions. Thought-to-communication emulations enables the user to control the implant just by thinking and to communicate without vocalizing. Input is transmitted directly into the brain and sometimes perceived as augmented reality, overlaid on the user’s physical senses.

SOCIO-POLITICAL ENTITIES

ARGONAUTS

The Argonauts are an open organization of techno-progressives that advocate the socially responsible use of technology. The Argonauts offer consultation services to political and economic powers throughout the solar system, but otherwise strictly refuse to be drawn into the solar system’s political affairs.

Memes: Information freedom, social responsibility, technological advancement 
Major Stations: Mitre Station (Lunar Orbit), Pelion Station (Kuiper Belt)

AUTONOMISTS

The Autonomists are a loose alliance of several libertarian factions—anarcho-communists, anarcho-capitalists, and techno-socialists—that promote egalitarian social models based on the pillars of direct democracy, individual/collective empowerment, social networks and reputation-building, and economic communism enabled by equal access to cornucopia machines, shared resources, and new technologies.

Memes: Anarchism/Communism, Morphological Freedom
Major Stations: Extropia (Belt), Locus (Trojans), Titan

JOVIAN REPUBLIC

A coup staged during the Fall brought a group of stations and habitats under military control and the Jovian Republic—also known as the Jovian Junta—was born. The Republic’s authorities take a bio-conservative stance against many transhuman technologies and strictly control information channels and travel.

Memes: Bio-conservatism, Nationalism, Security
Major Stations: Liberty (Ganymede)

PLANETARY CONSORTIUM

The Planetary Consortium is an alliance of hypercorporate interests that jointly controls a number of stations and habitats, particularly in the inner system. The Consortium maintains a facade of democratic rule, facilitated by real-time online referendum voting, but it is an open secret that the hypercorps call the shots.

Memes: Corporatism, Cyberdemocracy, Gerontocracy
Main Stations: Progress (Deimos) , Elysium (Mars)

SCUM

The derogative term “scum” describes large tribes of nomadic space gypsies, travelling from station to station in heavily modified barges or swarms of smaller space vessels, mostly former colonial ships. Part traveling carnival, part black market, the scum openly embrace body modification and experimentation.

Memes: Lifestylism, Morphological freedom

ULTIMATES

This controversial faction uses applied eugenics to further its goal, the development of the ultimate transhuman species. Aside from sophisticated reprogenetic engineering and strict psychological training, their culture visualizes life in the universe as an evolutionary battle for survival and is built around the victory of the superior transhuman over its peers.

Memes: Asceticism, Eugenics, Objectivism
Major Stations: Xiphos (Uranus)


TERMINOLOGY

AGI: Artificial General Intelligence. An AI that has cognitive faculties comparable to that of a human or higher. Aka “strong AI” (differentiating from “seed AI” or more specialized “weak AI.”

AI: Artificial Intelligence. Generally used to refer to weak AIs; i.e., AIs that do not encompass (or in some cases, are completely outside of) the full range of human cognitive abilities. AIs differ from AGIs in that they are usually specialized and/or intentionally crippled/limited.

AR: Augmented Reality. Information from the mesh (universal data network) that is overlaid on your real-world senses. AR data is usually entoptic (visual), but can also be audio, tactile, olfactory, kinesthetic (body awareness), emotional, and other senses.

Bots: Robots.

Brinkers: Exiles who live on the fringes of the system, as well as other isolated and well-hidden nooks and crannies. Aka isolates, fringers, drifters.

Cornucopia machine: A nanofabricator.

Cortical stack: An implanted memory cell used for ego backup. Located where the spine meets the skull; can be cut out.

Ecto: Personal mesh devices that are flexible, stretchable, self-cleaning, translucent, and solar-powered. From ecto-link (external link).

Ego: The part of you that switches from body to body. Aka ghost, soul, essence, spirit, persona.

Ego-casting: Term for sending egos via farcasting.

Entoptics: Augmented-reality images that you “see” in your head. (“Entoptic” means “within the eye.”)

Factors: The alien ambassadorial race that deals with transhumanity. Aka Brokers.

The Fall: The apocalypse; the singularity and wars that nearly brought about the downfall of transhumanity.

Farcasting: Interstellar communication via FTL links.

Firewall: The secret conspiracy that works to protect transhumanity from “existential threats” (risks to transhumanity’s continued existence).

Flats: Baseline humans (not genetically modified). Aka norms.

FTL: Faster-Than-Light.

Gate Crashers: Explorers who take their chances using a Pandora Gate to go somewhere previously unexplored.

Iktomi: The name given to the mysterious alien race whose relics have been found beyond the Pandora gates.

Infomorph: A digitized ego; a virtual body. Aka datamorphs, uploads, backups.

Infugee: “Infomorph refugee,” or someone who left everything behind on Earth during the Fall—even their own body.

Isolates: Those who live in isolated communities far outside the system (in the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud); aka outsters, fringers.

Lost Generation: In an effort to repopulate post-Fall, a generation of children were reared using forced-growth methods. The results were disastrous: many died or went insane, and the rest were stigmatized.

Mercurials: The non-human sentient elements of the transhuman “family,” including AIs and uplifted animals.

Mesh: The omnipresent wireless mesh data network. Also used as a verb (to mesh) and adjective (meshed or unmeshed).

Morph: A physical body. Aka suit, jacket, sleeve, form.

Muse: Personal AI helper programs.

Neo-avians: Uplifted ravens and gray parrots.

Neo-hominids: Uplifted chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.

Pandora Gates: The wormhole gateways left behind by the TITANs.

Pods: Mixed biological-synthetic morphs. Pod clones are force-grown and feature computer brains. Aka bio-bots, skinjobs, replicants. From “pod people.”

Reclaimers: A transhuman faction that seeks to lift the interdiction and reclaim Earth.

Reinstantiated: Refugees from Earth who escaped only as bodiless infomorphs but have since been resleeved.

Resleeving: Changing bodies. Aka morphing, reincarnation, shifting, rebirthing.

Seed AI: An AGI that is capable of recursive self-improvement, allowing it to reach god-like levels of intelligence.

Shell: A synthetic physical morph. Aka synthmorph.

Singularity: A point of rapid, exponential, and recursive technological progress, beyond which the future becomes impossible to predict. Often used to refer to the ascension of seed AIs to god-like levels of intelligence.

Skin: A biological physical morph. Aka meat, flesh.

Splicers: Genetically modified to eliminate genetic diseases and some other traits. Aka genefixed, cleangenes, tweaks.

Synthmorph: Synthetic morph. A robotic shell possesseds by a transhuman ego.

TITANs: The human-created, recursively improving military AGIs that underwent a singularity and prompted the Fall. Original military designation was TITAN: Total Information Tactical Awareness Network.

Transhuman: An extensively modified human.

Uplifting: Genetically transforming an animal species to sapience.

Xenomorph: Alien life form.

XP: Experiencing someone else’s sensory input (in real-time or recorded). Aka experia, sim, simsense, playback.

X-Risk: Existential risk. Something that threatens the very existence of transhumanity.

AN EXSURGENT THREAT?

[Incoming Message. Source: Anonymous]

[Public Key Decryption Complete]

Ok, you asked, so I’ll tell you. There are some elements within Firewall that don’t buy into the TITANs-ran-amok-and-considered-us-a-threat idea, or even that the TITANs are solely responsible for the Fall. These people think that the TITANs found or encountered something when they started their takeoff toward the singularity—something that changed them. They point to the wide range of multi-vector virii that ran loose during the Fall, and how even many of the TITANs seem to have succumbed to these infections. They also reference a disturbing number of accounts of events during the Fall that are inexplicable … things like people being transformed into strange, alien creatures … or phenomena that seem to defy certain physical laws, as if something was at times ignoring what we know of physics and just doing whatever it felt like … Some of these voices within Firewall even think that the TITANs may not have been responsible for the Pandora Gates … They have a name for this mystery infection. They call it the Exsurgent virus.


CRIMINAL FACTIONS

Where there is humanity, there will be an underworld and the organizations that run it. The following are a sample of the major players.

TRIADS

The only syndicate that survived the Fall almost unscathed, the Triads dominate the solar system’s underworld by their sheer membership size and a history of centuries of economic and political influence. Having evolved into legit enterprises and small economic consortiums before the Fall, the Triads had the resources to ensure their survival during the evacuation from Earth and the connections throughout all major habitats to gain a foot-hold early on in the colonization of space.

NIGHT CARTEL

Progressive in both entrepreneurial and criminal vision, the Night Cartel emerged from the remnants of Earth’s underworld syndicates, merging the best qualities of each. Depending on the field of operations, the Night Cartel even holds legitimate hypercorp status in certain habitats, while working outside the law elsewhere. The Night Cartel is involved in all kinds of criminal activity, from traditional racketeering, extortion, and prostitution to nanofabber piracy, electronic stimulants, and designer drugs.

INTELLIGENT DESIGN CREW (ID-CREW)

The ID crew specializes in electronic crimes and information brokerage, including credit and rep fraud, identity counterfeiting, and datatheft. The ID crew is believed to have grown from several hacker gangs assimilated under the leadership of an infomorph consortium. Due to its service sector, the ID crew maintains a minimalist physical profile, but can be found in almost any habitat’s or station’s mesh.

NINE LIVES

This widespread network of soul-traders specializes in the acquisition and trafficking of transhuman egos. Stealing backups, forknapping, and intercepting egocasts are all part of their repertoire. Nine Lives are known to run illegal fork-slave colonies as well as organize pit fights with all manner of physical bodies (synthetic shells, pods, uplifts, smart animals) and all manner of egos (human, AI, animal, etc).


INFORMATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

The following information is always available for most meshers in a normal habitat or city.

LOCAL CONDITIONS

• Local maps showing your current location, annotated with local features of personal interest (according to your personal preferences and filters) and your distance from them/directions to them. Details regarding private and restricted areas (government/hypercorp areas, maintenance/security infrastructure, etc.) are usually not included.

• Current habitat life support (climate) conditions, including atmosphere composition and temperature.

• Current solar system and habitat orbit map with trajectory plots and communication delays.

LOCAL MESH

• Public search engines, databases, mesh sites, blogs, forums, and archives, along with new content alerts.

• Syndicated newsfeeds in a variety of formats, filtered according to your preferences.

• Sensor feeds from any public area of the habitat.

• Automatic searches for new online references to your name and other subjects of interest.

• Facial/image recognition searches of public mesh/archives to match a photo/vid still.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

• Morph status indicators (medical and/or mechanical): blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, white cell count, nutrient levels, implant status and functionality, etc.

• Location, functionality, sensor feeds, and status reports of your possessions (via sensors and transmitters in these possessions).

• Access to one’s life-spanning personal audio-visual/XP archive.

• Access to one’s life-spanning personal file archive (music, software, media, documents, etc.).

• Reputation score, social network status, and credit account status.
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