Questionable Offers

Day 28, Dawn

All the transfers back to Sol proceed with no complications, and then the generic communications handshakes are initiated and offers are thrown at the Silverwheel colony. There are even more than last time, but L&R have flagged most of them as Extropian chain letters or ponzi schemes, Hypercorp propaganda and Jovian threats, so it's relatively easy to sort through the remainder.

News Bulletins

Mystery Basilisk Hack in Vallis Noctes

At least two dozen egos have required emergency psychosurgery in Vallis Noctes on Mars. Overwatch officials are tight-lipped about the reason and the cause, but have let slip that it appears to be related to a popular new drug, possibly a narcoalgorithm which is secretly an aggressive basilisk hack. Officials ask everyone in the Vallis Noctes region to keep an eye on those they know and to report any extreme out-of-character behavior. Officials stress that this basilisk hack has none of the hallmarks of a TITAN or Exsurgent weapon.

Reclaimer Movement Grows

Support for serious reclamation efforts directed at Earth are growing among members of the Planetary Consortium and Morningstar Constellation. Recent polls suggest that support for focusing on reclamation efforts over terraforming Mars and Venus has grown to 36%, bolstered by recent leaked reports from the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance suggesting that the exsurgent presence on Earth may have been heavily overestimated.

Scum Art Effort Receives Backlash

The Scum barges Fuck Toilet and Le Meme Merchant 69420 have received system-wide censure for their recent art project. Several decommissioned satellites and defunct habs, alongside numerous asteroids and comets, were arranged in an Oort Cloud orbit to look like a representation of Loss.jpg when seen from specific viewing points on Mars and Titan. After several of the objects broke loose due to improperly calculated trajectories and almost hit and destroyed a Brinker hab, the Scum barges were loudly derided for their risky behavior.

A spokesperson AGI for both barges responded with the following: "get rekt noobs lol, also asl send pics plz"

The Planetary Consortium and Titanian Commonwealth are said to be meeting to consider a common response to this.

Where Have All The Ultimates Gone?

Seeing an Ultimate in the inner system is a rare thing these days, and even in the outer system they're becoming rare to see. When contacted about their apparent reclusiveness, official spokespersons explained that they were simply in such high demand for sensitive security missions, especially on exoplanets, that they had little time to mingle among the lesser social clades. Insiders, however, have hinted that the Ultimate faction as a whole is slowly relocating to exoplanets both known and unknown. Asked directly whether this was the reason, Ultimate spokespersons responded that if it was, they were perfectly in their right to not be caught in the middle when the "non-Ultimate fools" managed to subject themselves to "a second Fall."

Subsequent inquiries for clarification have been ignored.

Recruitment/Offers

University of Titan

Type: Recruitment
Colonists: 6
Allegiance: Titan

The university of Titan xenoarcheological division has, after careful review of the XP's you logged during your last check-in, decided to offer you the support of one of our explorator divisions(under the leadership of Elsebeth Jonasdottirssonsdottirssonsdottir.) in deciphering your new world. We will be bringing our own equipment and vehicles as necessary for the expedition, and all we will require will be a safe base camp to operate from. However, we're aware that you appear to be distributing your discoveries freely via the Argonaut networks so far. In case any of our discoveries could be considered threatening, dangerous or unnerving to interests in the Sol system, we will have to insist that they be kept between you and the University of Titan until such time as we confirm they can be safely shared.

Attached Files:
Personel Dossiers.pdf, a rundown of the team's specialties. Four xeno-archeologists, a xeno-biologist and a university administrator who's a thinly veiled Titanian ops agent there to keep an eye on what the others dig up and protect them if things get spicy.

Sentinel Security Systems

Type: Recruitment
Colonists: 1
Allegiance: Extropian

Listen up, Scum, for the deal of a lifetime. I am the owner, proprietor and sole employee of Sentinel Security Systems, the Sol system's foremost supplier of security solutions and high-powered weaponry. Or we would be, if not for the old-money interests of the military-industrial complex and the lack of sufficiently free markets for us to fairly compete. However, violence is always a market in growth, and one of these days, Sentinel will be one of the big boys. You seem to have plenty of back yard to share, so if you'll lease Sentinel, by which I mean me, a few square miles for weapons development and testing, as well as the necessary resource rights for feedstock acquisition, you won't regret it. You'll be owed a favour by a rising star in the Sol defense sector, and of course you will be recompensed for your resources and territory.

Attached Files:
Sentinel Security.pptx, a slick sales document mostly showing Reapers, Fenrirs and other heavily-armed combat morphs blowing things up with oversized guns, as well as several graphs with unlabelled axes going upwards. The last slide is an iron-clad Extropian contract promising that Sentinel and its developments will be available to assist in colonial defense as well as a first payment for the lease of the land(2GP up front, and then a further 2GP per gate connection).

Ultimate of Fortune Magazine

Type: Business
Visitors: 2
Allegiance: Ultimates

I'm Biff!

And I'm Zapp!

And together we are… Biff and Zapp!

You might know us from Ultimate of Fortune magazine. That five-page spread on the many uses of a plasma rifle, from killing Scum to cooking your dinner? That was us! The column reviewing Ultimate poetry that Love & Rage declared the "comedy sensation of the decade"? That was us! Unintentionally! It was serious review column! Reviewing the mouthfeel of every brand of Hypercorp micro-seeker? That was us!

But now we're not in print any longer! We're for real! And we're here, to pump! You! Up!

We believe that anyone, even Scum and cowardly communists, have the potential to be one of us, an Ultimate! To embrace their inner strength and really kick ass!

So we're offering you a two-week seminar where we! Both of us! Will come to your exoplanet and teach you all what it means to be an Ultimate! Not to back down from a challenge! How to resist excruciating pain! How to get fabulous muscles like these!

We know you're interested in this offer, so don't be cowards! Accept it!

Until then, have a flex-tastic day!

Attached Files:
Biff.pdf, a probably unintentionally homoerotic collection of Ultimate photo shoots.
Zapp.pdf, a probably unintentionally homoerotic collection of Ultimate photo shoots.
Schedule.pdf, a brief overview of what Biff and Zapp propose to educate the colony in. There's even set time aside for a 6-hour lecture on poetry.

Violation of the Planetary Consortium Legal Code

Type: Business/Threat
Visitors: 2
Allegiance: Planetary Consortium/Overwatch

Attention, Silverwheel planetary administration. It has come to the attention of Overwatch that you are sheltering a number of Scum outlaws, wanted for supply illegal "Petal" drugs known to be distributed in multiple Consortium jurisdictions. Pursuant to the Planetary Consortium Legal Code, appendix 312g, paragraph 79a, we formally request their extradition so they may stand trial. If they resist, we are offering the support of some of our agents in finalizing their apprehension. Please see the attached documents for further details.

Attached Files:
Extradition.pdf, featuring known aliases and last-seen morph photos that clearly look like the six Scum currently in the Scumhaus working on drugs. The laws being violated are mired in dense legal jargon, but seem to be concerned with non-consensual psychosurgery. Several bolded subclauses also indicate that Overwatch is authorized to pay out large sums to non-PC jurisdictions that assist them in their work(6GP for handing over the Scum).

Refugee Housing

Type: Recruitment
Colonists: 12
Allegiance: Mixed

Hiya, Silverwheel. Like the new name, by the way, hope you're settling in well! We've got a bumper crop of infugees we managed to jam into Cases, all we hand on hand unfortunately, looking for a new home before anyone notices they slipped the leashes that their hypercorps put on them. We figured you guys probably need some company, and these fellas need a place where they can lay low and do some real work. Not many applicable specialties, but they're all pretty willing, especially if you can grow them some meat bodies, or at least find them something a bit more dignified than a Case. Most of them are former PC, so try not to freak them out too hard, y'hear?

Attached Files:
colonists.txt, a simple document with their names and known skills. Most of it seems to be data management and entry, with one who was a pre-Fall meteorologist on Earth and a couple who may have been petty criminals insofar as L&R has been able to run background checks on them.

Survey Site Xi Phi Delta

Type: Business
Visitors: 3
Allegiance: Morningstar Constellation/Terragenesis

Hello [insert exocolony here], you have been chosen to participate in the Terragenesis Astronomical Survey(tm)! An exciting program launched by Terragenesis to pinpoint the location of every single extrasolar colony in real space! If you agree to the appended terms and conditions, one of our professional Astronomical Survey Teams(tm) will arrive on your exoplanet, set up their equipment and get to work! Within a week or two they should be done with their work, and you will have done transhumanity a real service in increasing our breadth of astromonical knowledge! As an additional bonus, they will also survey your local system for free! Maybe you'll learn something new, too!

Attached Files:
Survey.jpg, a poster representing the TAS as an exciting adventure full of square-chinned men, women, robots, octomorphs, neo-avians and neo-chimps who look towards the bright event horizon of a black hole and look so heroic they'd probably try to wrestle it into submission if they weren't just fictional personalities.

Sale of the Century

Type: Business
Visitors: 8?
Allegiance: Extropian

Now, I like to believe that even anarchists know a good deal when they see one, so that's why I, Hungus Hulk of Extropia, am coming to you with the DEAL OF THE CENTURY! [audio reverb slowly dies away] Here at the Hungus Hulk House of Sleeves & Morphs, we've just gotten our hands on a grab-bag of barely-used biomorphs and podmorphs, in near-prime condition! But wouldn't you know it? Our morph storage is almost all full up. So that's why we're giving you the chance to take them off our hands at low, low prices!

Attached Files:
Morphs.mov, a slick, high-speed visit to Hungus Hulk's business on an asteroid near Extropia, very briefly panning over the eight morphs, which all look reasonably human and un-damaged. They're followed by an extensive, small-text disclaimer taking up more time than the rest of the video, essentially pointing out that any attempts to sue Hungus for anything at all will fail and you've got no right to complain if you got scammed. It's only 4GP for those eight morphs, however.


Arianhod

Arianhod calls in an assortment of favors and puts in orders for the following:

Gear: 8gp 5gp+2gp from Ari and 1gp from Liz

3gp need one more gp for the "gently used" morphs

5gp Utility Helicopter
Arianhod uses a mod favor to @net to get improved handling (+10 to pilot tests) on it.
1d100-60: -13 [1d100=47]

Arianhod gets a Sol archive of a guide for introducing inner system types to @net lyfe
1d100-70: -36 [1d100=34]


Colonists: Refugees, Survey team (after Liz hammers out a contract), Biff and Zapp, Morph deal

// PROBLEM: I forgot the morphs cost money, anyone know where we can get 1gp in a hurry that isn't selling people out or letting the place turn into a dumping ground) //

Thanat

"Right, I'll send a message to L&R, see if they can't deal with our Jovian problem."

Using some quantum bits and dark meme magics, Thanat sends a highly efficient message: "hA babe got pbms w d jovians dey stol our stuff & left. snd nudes plz? Jv R evily armed"
He uses the leftover qubits he allocated himself to transmit a picture of a sad cartoon squid. The text reads "Eight arms means better hugs, if only you were here."
Re-reading himself he sends again "*snd dudes, autocorrect lol"

Using a moxie for +20
08:07:19 < DiceMaid-9001> Sanev_Khan, 1d100-70: -63 [1d100=7]

Day 28, Morning

It takes Love & Rage's cryptographic experts several hours to decipher Thanat's scrambled approximation of human language, after which they hurriedly rally a force of a dozen volunteers to assist the Silverwheel colony. They arrive through the gate ahead of schedule, sleeved wholly in synths as they're aware of the local atmosphere's slight incompatability. The main difference this makes is that the slogans normally painted on their armor(like "luv2killfascists&pissontheircorpses" and anarchist propaganda Loss edits) are painted directly on their bodies rather than on their armor. The agreed-upon tactics expert for the group, Ibrahim Ghalib, contacts Thanat after checking in with Sameera, requesting a status update and where they're most needed.

Meanwhile, Sameera asks if she's needed at the gate as a relay or if she and Lime can head off north to start deploying the automines, Lime has apparently been collecting samples in the jungle while they've been waiting at the gate, apparently the two of them are cooperating on proving that Silverwheel's a terraformed world, since a world without a native biome, instead terraformed by an alien intelligence, would be a very novel discovery.

The instant the payment has gone through, the Extropians have also started shipping the morphs, possibly because the "no refunds"-clause kicks in as soon as the bodies are through the gate. Their "storage solution" is what appears to be a pair of large chest freezers on wheels, each with a list of contents scrawled on the side. One appears to contain two Flats and two Splicers, while the second has one Splicer, two Furies and an Exalt morph. There are vague suggestions that someone's also written notes on each of the morphs following the listing, but they appear to have been scrupulously deleted to the best of someone's abilities. Chill mist cascades off the freezers as they come to a halt in the dirt on the Silverwheel side of the gate, lending them the look of sinister gift from the Crypt Keeper.

Arianhod

"Yes Sameera, go for it, just keep that beacon on and deploy one of the aerostats when you're over the site, we should be able to reach you easier with the chopper when it com-AUUUUUUGH" Arianhod was expecting something bad but not THIS bullshit, she immediately shoves her way past the armed goons and checks to see if the jury-rigged cryo is holding.

"We need to get these to base as soon as that helicopter comes through!" She begins testing to see how long the cryo will hold and, with Buer t-ray scanning the brains, if they're blank or if there are still egos/partial egos in them.

Thanat

"'sup guys? So as I said, we got problems with our Jovians. They recycled priceless artefacts into guns, stole some others and shot down autonomous alien bots. They were last seen there," he shares the feeds of whatever drones followed the Jovians. "Anything you can do, to, you know, get back our stuff? Prevent them from gating out? Arianhod's our military expert, I think. Maybe she'll have more details for you when she stops worrying over those morphs."
After a pause and checking them over, he adds: "I gotta say I'm disappointed not one of your morph reads 'this machine kills fascists', come on now, that's a fucking classic."

Thanat will also use the Gate's opening to update his back-up in Sol, and to upload again two weeks' worth of XP to L&R, the USS Space Nazis Must Die and the Argonauts, again highlighting stuff of interest for the Argonauts. He also shares the blueprint of his Kraken synthmorph with the Solar system. Even though anybody is welcome to modify the morph, he arranged so that the innards and virtual neurons of the cyberbrains controlling the eight limbs each read a word of "Celestial Aegis 'Thanat' Körner-Wolcott Made This" and the last one is shaped like a cutesy tiny winking squid. Of course this looks merely ornamental, but the tiny microsecond delays introduced by the words and the drawing will turn out essential to the to the tentacles' independent intelligence and their proper enslavement to the master ego sleeved into the morph, messing with the designs means messing with the morph's functioning. And Thanat wrote as much in the design's notes.

Once done with this, he checks on Sameera's request. "Yeah sure, the one GEV and the helo will be enough to carry our stuff back home. You guys have fun," he says even though he knows neither Sameera nor Lime are 'guys'.

Arianhod

"Like, I don't want to just summarily execute them for desertion, especially since two are pregnant, but they are an x-factor and while I riled up the first group of alien bots trying to find one of y'all that had gone missing, they shot down the gunship and were last seen dragging it off to offer to the metal eating group of SECOND bots. I'd advise one or two to tag along with Sameera while she goes exploring up north just in case something happens. I don't think the Jovians will attack so much as we might have claim jumpers and inner-system ego hunters running around, we have several uh, persons-of-interest in the colony." She goes through the caskets one by one trying to see what kind of power solution they have."

"In no particular order, threats are: " She pulls up AR as she works.

  • Fashbots, now that we've downed their gunship they have a lot less firepower, but we don't know if that was the only one.
  • Crabbots, we were going out of way to avoid them but the Jovians took the downed gunship as an offering, as I said.
  • PC ego-hunters looking your boys doing the petal project back at the colony.
  • Lunar Lagrange lawyer types looking for SOMEONE.
  • Poachers out to grab local flora or fauna
  • Jovian refugees escalating the situation
  • Jovian state forces coming to look for the former
  • Extropian mercs working for possibly any of the above.

Arianhod gives them a copy of the map and other information to bring them up to speed.

"There's more but I'm waiting on the other half of the shipment before I start ranting and raving. Oh! And once we get the morphs back to base and I can verify they're safe, I can mod the furies for local environment conditions and any two of you can jump in."

Liz

Flitting from system to system, Liz turns her attention to the morph delivery and their loaded wares, as well as their usage history. Cracking metaphorical knuckles, she takes it upon herself to peel them apart line by line until all their secrets and edit histories are laid bare.

(Rolled infosec 93, got 82 on the roll, spending 1 insight to invert to 28 for Significant DoS.)

Day 28, Noon

The jury-rigged cryo solution is, surprisingly, not on the verge of a catastrophic breakdown. The morphs which have been piled in are all sorts of tangled together(and in a couple of cases, partially attached to each other by freezing), it literally looks like some intern just tossed them in and maybe kicked them a few times in order to be able to close the lid. It takes Liz and Arianhod a while to go over them all and assess their status and usability for immediate sleeving.

  • The Flats appear more or less cherry, no weirdnesses or alterations except for being slightly old(approximately mid-40's in physical age) and having had cortical stacks installed. Scanning suggests that one of them was a heavy smoker or has some sort if lung issue, since there's a lot of does-not-belong content in her lungs.
  • The Exalt looks to be in good condition, but heavily decorated, almost every inch of skin is covered in tattoos of some sort, most of them profane. It's almost certainly a previously Scum-owned Morph.
  • One of the Splicers is so loaded down with ware it's halfway to being a Pod morph(Bodysculpting, Chameleon Skin, Sex Switch, Enhanced Pheromones, Skinflex and Adrenal Surge) and looks a bit like someone was trying to make themselves look slightly like an elf. The second looks like an exowomb had an issue while producing it, since almost all detail on it is gone, making it look kind of like a half-sucked jellybaby. It could either be a really, really bad production batch or an intentional piece of work. It's perfectly fine on the inside, but there are no fingerprints, wrinkles, hair, eyebrows, lips or nails and the nose is just a faint suggestive bump with two holes. The last Splicer had for some reason been frozen still wearing a business suit and holding a half-full drinks glass(the drink inside is, of course, frozen as well) and with a goofy grin on his face.
  • The Furies look exactly like each other, somewhat generic amazonean women with large muscles, but an unusual amount of piercings. Both have also been augmented with Hardened Skeletons and Pneumatics, deep-scans suggest that their bones have been broken and healed a lot of times, so they might have been used for some sort of gladiatorial combat.

Afterwards, it's up to Liz to do the deep scan on their stacks. Except for the Flats and Furies, who have only had one previous Ego sleeved each, most of the other morphs have gone through multiple users, in particularly the "featureless" Splicer, whose owners appear to on average have traded in in after a couple of days. Either it had some novelty use or it just creeped people the fuck out to be sleeved in. Most of the resleeving tags are from clinics on Extropia, but the Flats originated on Mars and the Furies on Xiphos, the Ultimate home station. The brains have been appropriately scrubbed of any ego remnants, aside from the standard risk of mild residual mannerisms and the occasional leaking memory, no one should suffer any issues being sleeved in them. Liz does, however, discover that the Exalt's cortical stack still has an ego saved from its last owner, apparently someone missed that. The really odd thing is that it apparently got wiped properly at the clinic, and then someone later uploaded a new ego to the stack without uploading anything to the brain. It's been cleared of any identifying tags, too, so it could be just about anyone in there, though the structures that can be read without incarnating them in VR or a proper brain are suggestive of a non-human mind(i.e. an AGI or uplift).

Meanwhile the Anarchist security team pores over the information given to them by Arianhod and Thanat. They agree that it would be a good idea for a pair of them to accompany Sameera and Lime on their expedition, and a couple should go to the colony site to check over the security arrangements, but it would make most sense for most of them to remain near the gate for now, to avoid Lev and his gang either securing the gate(and thus preventing anyone else from getting out) or cutting and running themselves once they've accomplished whatever objective they had. They suggest releasing some airborne drones to keep an eye on the Jovians, since engaging them while they're dealing with an alien intelligence sounds like a great way to start a diplomatic incident with a potentially more advanced civilization or its remnants. Any aggression against Lev, they point out, will have to happen when there's no chance of pissing off any aliens or their machines while doing so, they've got a pretty strict agreement with L&R about that.

Thanat's also hardly uploaded the Kraken blueprint before crackers back in Sol are complaining grievously about his security measures as they attempt to crack his blueprint and do fun things with it.

Lime and Sameera take off with a pair of the fresh security team in tow as the next arrivals start pouring thorugh the gate. The refugees, all sleeved in Cases that are as well-maintained as L&R could provide them, but still Cases(one of them has an arm fall off and drop into the dirt as soon as they're through the gate), look a bit surprised to be walking into the middle of a heavily armed group of Anarchist security goons, but mostly just look relieved(as far as Cases can display emotion, considering their usually poorly-detailed faces) to be away from Sol. This is likely their first time being corporeal, subject to ~1.0G and somewhere with a native biosphere in over ten years, so they're a bit subdued in mild wonder.

The new colonists have to step aside to make space for what's coming in next, though, an entire transport helicopter chassis(with the rotors neatly packaged alongside) and a Terragenesis survey team. The survey team consists of a Neo-Corvid and two Neo-Orangutans, wearing hard-wearing exploration clothes, but no helmets or rebreathers(their redacted personnel files transmitted ahead of their arrival note that they've got modified respiratory systems that can handle Silverwheel's atmosphere with minimal discomfort). They've got their own buggy, piled high with equipment, most of which appears to be a large, disassembled telescope assembly, as well as crates covered in "EXPLOSIVE" and "CORROSIVE" warning markers. One of the Neo-Orangutans is in charge, she curtly introduces herself as Alicia and asks for a meeting with the colony's chief science officer so they can plan out their project in detail.

Lastly, two humans enter, so broad-shouldered they can hardly walk through the gate shoulder-to-shoulder. They're wearing combat pants and tight-fitting camo-patterned tank tops, their hair is immaculately styled, their skin is perfectly bronzed, their glistening muscles reflect the sunlight perfectly enough to briefly dazzle onlookers and they're wearing enough pouches to engender rapturous delight in a fork of Rob Liefeld. They toss their carry-on luggage carelessly at the nearest refugees, who find themselves catching and carrying it mostly out of shock at the audacity.

"Well," Biff comments, shading his eyes from the sun, "At least when we aren't getting the locals pumped up-"
"-we can work on our tans!" Zapp finishes his line, and the two of them high-five, "This exoplanet is most excellent."

It's effectively impossible to tell the two of them apart except that Biff is usually the one who starts their lines and Zapp is usually the one who finishes them.

Arianhod

"Hi everybody!" Arianhod has used the intermission to print out a pair of shorts, her own tanktop, ballcap and oversized shades from the fabber since its time to actually look like the tropical vacation thing they've been selling so far. "I'm Dr. Arianhod Xsdottir, welcome to Silverwheel!" Using the mental acceleration of her brain, Arianhod talks to the crowd at large while sending mesh messages to each separate group of people.

Basically, there's gonna be three groups here.

1: Group one, Lime, Sahmeera, and their security, has already taken off.

2: Thanat gets the chopper up and running, Lahm, test fly it out a bit to see if its legit, I paid a lot to get the bells and whistles on the fly by wire, and I want to see if its done right.

3: Group two is going to set up security at the gatehouse. (Also uh, when dealing with Lev in the future, in addition to unknown amount of armaments and vehicles they printed they are in possession of at least one battlesuit and two hardsuits.)

4: Group three is everyone else. We will board the chopper and GEV 1 and fly south to London Falling. We will need to improve the road soon, between there and the gate soon, but I think getting as many people 'Home' as quickly as possible is the important thing. We need a way to get the buggy there, might take too trips since there's a part where we have to go over the water to avoid confrontation with the alien bots. (Arianhod sub messages the refugees "So I can fix up these morphs so we can get you out of those things as soon as possible.)

<@Alicia, we can meet here, physically at the gate portbuilding, or back at our main colony town which is approximately 48 hours of travel south, less once we get that bird…the uh, vehicle I mean, up and running. Secure simuspace is also available there as well.>

<@Liz, when we get back we need to get all these morphs to the clinic, I'm gonna extract that exalt's cort stack and I need you to have a chat with them.>

Liz

Before brewing up an interrogation space, Liz set herself to the task of creating the tools of that particular trade. Lahmia insisted on making the AR spaces 'Gothic' and 'Macabre', which was a pleasant diversion until the novelty wore off. Either way, Liz arranged her forks, developing a custom implementation of numerous 'standard' meshwares and apps to be availible to the leadership team- not the colonists yet.

«Acknowledged, Arianhod. I will devise the appropriate measures.»

Starting Programming Test as of Day 28 1 simulspace hour = 1 week
Ware Type: Name Description/Function Cost Time to Completion Liz Team
App: AR Illusion A media library and editing suite you can use to create realistic entoptic illusions. Mod/2 32 weeks 1/12
App: Biometric Matcher This app takes any biometric pattern — face, gait, morph, voice, etc — and runs a pattern-matching search (Tracking by Biometrics ▶256). Min/1 16 weeks 2/12
App: Lockbox This malware imprisons infomorphs (Trap Ego ▶266). Mod/R/2 32 weeks 3/12
App: Spoofer Use spoof apps to fake transmissions and mesh IDs (Spoofing ▶247). Mod/R/2 32 weeks 4/12
Mesh: Oracles This neural macrosensing processor helps you pay attention to sensory input you are not focusing on, alerting you to important things you might otherwise overlook. Oracles provide a +10 bonus to Perceive and negate the distraction modifier for Perceive Tests. Mod/R/2 32 weeks 5/12
Mesh: Drone Rig This simsense augmentation gives you better control when jamming drones (Remote Operations ▶346). You ignore the –10 modifier for jamming. Mod/R/2 32 weeks 6/12
ALI: KAOS ALI (Name Pending) KALIs are used by hackers and covert ops teams to create distractions and sabotage systems. Maj/R/3 96 Weeks 7/12
Mesh: App-Lock App-lock makes it more difficult for an installed app to be removed without proper authentication (apply a –30 modifier). This is useful for infomorphs/cyberbrains that are brainhacked and modified against their will. The protected apps must be designated in advance (when app-lock is installed or reconfigured). Min/1 16 weeks 8/12
Mesh: Auto-Erase This app will automatically erase the infomorph (or the ego within a cyberbrain) if certain pre-programmed conditions are met. This is useful if you are worried about brainhacking, forknapping, or being trapped in a lockbox. Common trigger conditions include detected brainhacking, a codephrase, psychosurgery, a designated time period, or upon failure to receive a periodic message. Some people use this app to keep forks from going errant; many polities legally require forks to be equipped to delete themselves after a set number of hours. Auto-erase functions even if the infomorph does not have privileges on that system. Min/1 16 weeks 9/12
Mesh: Copy-Lock (Crack) Copylock prevents an infomorph (or ego within a cyberbrain) from copying, whether voluntarily or not, without proper authorization. This is used to restrict forks, indentures, and people who don’t trust themselves. It also defends against forknappers: brainhackers that attempt to copy the infomorph suffer –30 to their Infosec Tests. Min/1 8 weeks 10/12

Lahmia

<DiceMaid-9001> Zeplin666, @rep minor favors, skinlink nanodetector and squishbot respectively: -60 [1d100=5], -24 [1d100=41], 31 [1d100=96]
only relevant rolls made, it was a light shipment

Somewhere along the way she had her smart clothes take a more summery look, a black halterneck pantsuit with thigh holes (for air circulation) and a really big sun hat. Good ol' high tech specs replace normal sunglasses. Lahmia rides Abraxas side-saddle from the GEV to the helicopter construction site, reviewing the flight manual.

The manual is a very official and to-the-point document. It exists in AR as a bright white slate with black text and diagrams, a terrible contrast to the black smoke and demonic red glows of Lahmia's customized apps. It hurts her eyes more than the direct sunlight, but she's taking this seriously.

"Y'know, Abraxas, I thought I had more caring friends back home," her own package through the gate contained a nanodetector, two very small nano hives (w/ installation instructions), and a misplaced 'get well soon' card, "I'm not expecting tons of lavish gifts but this is an important and somewhat dangerous job. At least the right card." She jams a clove into a cigarette holder (it has a little skull on the end that holds the cig in its teeth) and takes a fiery drag, "At least they're thinking of me. For the most part."

About then she sees Biff and Zapp arrive. Lahmia hops off Abraxas' back and runs over to introduce herself, she only stutters a couple times but manages to not torch her eyebrows off.

Day 28, Noon

The Anarchist security brigade nods politely to the new arrivals, doing their best to ignore Biff and Zapp, while two of them split off to accompany the main party back to the colony base. The remainder start scoping out the local area and debating how best to fortify the gate area. For the moment their primary goal seems to be trimming back the jungle somewhat for clear fields of fire and better visibility in case someone tries to approach stealthily.

The refugees, meanwhile, are relieved when Arianhod tells them that there are actual accomodations somewhere, rather than their having to camp in the seemingly-endless(from their current perspective) jungle. Judging by the limited chatter and their somewhat timid, deer-in-the-headlights reactions to things, it seems likely that they haven't been corporeal for long, and got rushed through the gate with minimal explanations. Until they start to assert themselves, they'll probably be extremely pliable. For the moment they pile into the GEV as instructed, but some of them linger near the vegetation, looking like they'd be in tears if they still had tear ducts, just at the idea of being on a living world again.

Once she knows who considers themselves to be in charge, Alice immediately commandeers Arianhod after giving her subordinates orders with a few curt gestures that apparently tell them everything they need to. "I am Alice Hlengiwe, with the Terragen Astronomical Survey," her neo-Orangutan morph gives a deep rumble to her voice, and she looks like the one person on scene who could possibly wrestle Arianhod to the ground if need be, "We have reviewed your mapping data so far, and the optimal location for our survey mission would be the mountains to the north. Once we have our equipment set up, we will rejoin you at your settlement. Please ensure we have adequate physical and simulspace lab accomodations for our work." She seems to be operating under the assumption that these things will be provided simply because she insists on them.

Biff and Zapp accept Lahmia's prostrations after tossing their luggage at a pair of unprepared refugees, who are almost bowled over by it, but manage to field the throws and carry them with them to the GEV.

"We absolutely have to get to your base as soon as possible." Biff states, firmly, looking resolute.
"Oh indubitably, look at those poor losers," Zapp shakes his head sadly as he looks at the refugees, "Weak, confused, new to this world, these are the sort of people we're here for!"
"What they need is some uplifting philosophy!"
"Some wise guiding words!" The two of them fist-bump and then notice that Lahmia's there again.
"Hm, you're not one of the refugees-" "-which means you must be one of our fans!" The two of them provide a signed(by both of them) physical photo for Lahmia without prompting.

Arianhod

Arianhod nods at the Alice. "Server space should be clear by the time you get back" <@Liz, please help make that happen> "But bear in mind, as per our note, we are under orbital lockdown from the alien railgun emplacement who will shoot anything traveling vertically too fast down. We're also uh, in a bush war with them at this point. What I'm suggesting is we should probably keep rocketry and such to a minimum. My only other statement would be keep a radio beacon on hand in case of emergency and keep your sensors open for biocons in powersuits running around. Also, please, don't touch any alien machinery you find, we've already got one MIA who couldn't resist looking for an On button."

<@Thanat what's our status on getting the chopper operational?>

<@Gate security, get me a list of supplies you need and we'll get them fabbed as soon as we can.>

The boring parts done, Arianhod goes to the parts that matter. "BIFF AND ZAPP, OMIGOD, great to finally meet you! Aww, look Lahm, they like you." Arianhod gushes about various Ultimate of Fortune articles they were in and also if the rumored miniseries with the guy who plays a wizard and punches out lady vampires for trying to steal his vital fluids is still in the works.

Thanat

"Just fine, it's kinda like Leg-alright, you don't care. Eris, tell her it's going fine whenever she's done sliding wet around those two. I'll be done soon. Ish."
Thanat does busy himself with the helicopter, and it's going just fine. It's easy 'connect the A part to the B part with the C bit using the D tool' tier, it's just a bit tedious because it's a utility helicopter and not a tiny drone so there's about three thousands steps. Still, with R2-D2's assistance, it should really be done soon enough. Thankfully his tentacles are just smart enough he merely has to oversees, allowing him to think about other things while working.

"Guess you guys can go with Sameera and Lime, they're off to the mountains in the North to study their geology and all," he tells Alice. "Also mind, the mountains are unexplored territory for now. Our mapping missile saw a reflective surface before being shot down," he shares the location, "could be quartz fields like in the desert to the south, or worse. Have fun? Oh and do check out the regular eclipses if you've got the time. We recorded some of them on the GEV's telescope."

<Liz, please tell me you're not fawning over Brap and Zit like the two others, please.>

Thanat also takes the time to send (rather tame, for Scum) welcome messages to the refugees, it's actually legible and there's just the right amount of emojis and references for corporate cultists to think it's fancy buzzwords and trying to fit in with the kids of the post-fall markets. He asks if any of them will want to remain in a synthmorph of their choice, that can arranged for. A lot of options are open with the minifac, after all. The message also asks if any of them have been introduced to moneyless favor based economies by L&R or if they'll need time and help to fit in. There's a short animated powerpoint presentation attached, showing common non-case synthmorphs, such as the Synth itself, Savants, Steel Morphs and Galateas, and the ware that commonly goes with them. A few oddities like the Takko, Gargoyle, Opteryx and Synthtaur get a page all together to show off the synths' endless possibilities, in case someone wants something a bit more exotic.

Liz

<@Arianhod , request acknowledged an queued.> Liz intoned with a slight smile. She continued to emote so openly as Thanat's grumbling reached her ego. <Hmm. Fawning? That would require me to know who they are. Are they famous?>

She took a moment to examine the pair via the meshwork sensory feeds. <That level of homoeroticism is…> she picked a word with great care. <Decadent. So long as they do not make a nuisance of themselves…>

Granted even as she said that, she quietly and deliberately started a hack of the pair's local mesh, primarily to verify their identity and such…

Thanat

<Some sort of famous, yeah. They're not exactly a common household name, but they've got a non-irrelevant following. Arianhod's been talking about them non-stop for the past 4 weeks, if you hadn't noticed. She reads this Ultimate magazine just for their column.>

<Bleh I don't know about nuisance. They're Ultimates, but they're definitely more the survivalist-big-guns kind than the disgusting unapologetic darwinist fascists. And gee, don't judge them, leave them be. Don't push them with the homoeroticism thing. They've got to work it out for themselves.>

Day 28, Afternoon

Alice snorts derisively at Arianhod's suggestions that she remain careful, it's hard to tell whether she's derisive of the need for care, or the idea that Arianhod thinks she needs telling not to meddle with any mysterious alien obelisks thrumming with untold power and covered in mystic glyphs. She similarly waves away Thanat's information, "Our mission does not involve xenoarcheology, we will log and tag everything we encounter for your review, but we are on a strict time plan." Then she makes another snappy gesture, and her assistants are packing up their gear on the buggy and they're setting off to catch up with Sameera and Lime.

Thanat makes efficient progress assembling the helicopter once he manages to parse the IKEA-esque, non-written assembly instructions. Like anyone else assembling one, he ends up with a rotor blade and an entire seat left over, and there doesn't seem to be any place to fit them in. The engine seems to start like normal, though, so it's probably safe to fly. Probably. If the team makes use of it, it won't take two trips to get everyone back home.

Liz doesn't need to employ any hacking for Biff and Zapp's systems, they're entirely open, but also clear of any sort of compromising data. Both are extremely high-ranked in f-rep, as well as considerable G-rep and x-rep. Most of the pings for G-rep and x-rep look old, like years old. The G-rep ones are redacted, but presumably shady violent actions, while the x-rep tends to be along the lines of: "these two huge ripped guys showed up all of a sudden and saved our asses from a Kumobot/exhuman/slavering alien wildlife! then they handed out autographs" all of the more recent rep-pings are f-rep.

The refugees primarily seem interested in acquiring biomorphs or podmorphs at this point, in their internal timeframes it's really only years at most since they were last biological, for some of them barely months, so while they're corporeal again they also feel considerably out of joint when they don't have biological needs, or the ability to satisfy biological urges like eating. Only a couple of them seriously investigate Thanat's synthmorph offerings. They also got a crash course in rep-economies back on L&R, but with the speed they were rushed through the gate, little of it has stuck. One of them asks Thanat if it's like using Facebook likes instead of dollars. Another asks if it's like barter except you trade spicy hot rare memes for spicy hot rare goods. All in all their knowledge of it seems limited and they're still mostly adjusted to a traditional/transitional economy.

"Hey now little lady," Biff wards off Arianhod with his giant meaty hands and also seems to ignore the fact that she's about as tall and wide as he is, "That stuff's in our past."
"We're different now," Zapp supplements, "All those articles? We wrote those years ago, they're just publishing the backlog."
"See, blowing up exhumans? It's great!"
"Fighting tests your body, challenging your enemies tests your soul!"
"But at some point, you're in a rut."
"If you keep lifting the same weights, you'll never grow."
"So we needed something new!"
"Something we hadn't tried before!"
"Something that would challenge us in a different way!"
"And that's why we're here!"
"We're exercising the ultimate muscle."
"Mightier than your biceps, beefier than your lats, more impressive than your delts."
"Guessed it yet?"
"It's the brain!" The two of them flex and high-five, not having given anyone time to reply in between lines.
"They never guess it, bro!"
"It's the greatest riddle!"
"We're not here to fight anyone's army."
"Or to shoot at anyone."
"Unless there are exhumans around, you never get tired of that."
"We're here to aim the guns of our arguments-"
"-at the center mass of your unenlightenment-"
"-and double-tap you with knowledge!" Biff and Zapp do a synchronized little explosion with their hands, going "fwoosh" quietly under their breaths.

On the mesh, the local Scum are already volunteering the Scumhaus and its facilities for the seminar, predicting it'll be the comedy riot of the century. Biff and Zapp do also deign to answer Arianhod's question about PURITY OF ESSENCE: THE ULTIMATE FRONTIER. Apparently the show is entirely recorded and ready to go, but some Extropian fuck involved in the production managed to wrangle a contract that gives him complete control over the project, and he plans to sit on it for a decade until it has "retro value," which should make it all the more valuable.

Thanat

Buzz prevents Thanat from voicing a long string of expletive at the refugees, instead he merely looks like there's been some malfunction in his cyberbrain for a few seconds.
"Uhmm, yeah, alright, I'll have my muse share info packages with yours about outer system economies, alright? Do all of you have experience with muses already or were some of you kept on cold for that long? Anyway…"
Thanat starts a short explanation of the Scum ways. How they're free to print anything they want, do anything as long as they've got people's consent, and that no money is used. They're as much welcome to give a hand and help the colony in any way they can, or to produce art and entertainment, or do nothing and merely consume if they so wish. While there's no s-rep set up yet, doing common work will no doubt be a good day to improve it (and that taking too often, too much, might decrease it, maybe), and he then explains how with everything being free, rep merely allows you to take away from the common property with less questions and opposition. Which leads to having to explain that private property doesn't exist, with a quick reassurance nobody will mess with their personal items as they're very different from say, furniture that will be recycled in a heartbeat should there be some catastrophe. Then he tells them about how nobody here respects intellectual property, that there are libraries of open-source blueprints available for basic stuff, and that publishing new blueprints would be a good way to gain some rep. Thanat also likens it all to anarchism-communism or hunter-gatherers' egalitarian primitive communism, if it helps grasps the concepts better, but of course, the modern ways bring modern problems. He also reassures them that there's certainly no indenture or slavery going on here (he doesn't even joke it might be some people's kink), and that their muse and the Scum will do their best to help. He's definitely lying about the Scum, but they don't need to know that. He tells them they should personalize their muses to their liking, and absolutely not ignore them or minimize their influence. Muses are just dead useful for everything, they're better off pretending they're bazillionaire with a personal manservant and secretary ready at all hours, for now, but to still treat them humanely and with respect.
He concludes with "and thank you for coming to my TED talk. Next, the morphs. Pods and synths will be available faster than biomorphs, that's just how it is. Takes a bit of time to grow all that meat. We'll keep your cases in top shape until then."

He pings the Scum back home to play nice with the refugees, as he's fairly sure "data entry work" is a polite codeword for "corporate slave/indenture", and makes it clear those aren't Jovians.

<@OG four colonists: we really need to set up some ground rules, even if it's just basic shit like 'thou shalt not kill' to make sure everyone will be at least a decent-ish human beings. Or AGIs. Or Uplifts. Or Factors. The Scum can manage without any hard rules because they're used to it, not so sure about the new batch tho. And no need to go all Titanian authoritarian either.>

Arianhod

Arianhod nods and makes a mental note to try to send an expedition to find where the series is, crack it, and distribute it. She doesn't push back at Alice's contempt, she's used to the "need to be taken seriously" persona, and had to do it a lot back at the start of her career. Also maybe Alice is just an asshole, whatever.

Arianhod adds onto Thanat's comments. "Reconciling the @-net factions with c-net is what Titans do, silly, let me try here. We do need a charter, and honestly, while leaning toward a reputation economy, Silverwheel will have to stay at least somewhat transitional due to interaction with the inner system and Titan. In fact, taking on new people not from the @-list will probably best be done in the context of a micro-corp."

Arianhod renames the "Refugee" list to something less deragatory. <@Phoenix team: Its a bit much to take in, don't worry, Titan has been helping people new to this sort of life. The easiest way would be to have you as contractors with Silverwheel, I give you kroners, which…I think are like .92 to 1 PC cred at the moment, and there's a nominal charge. When kroners run empty, just ask me for more. Rep kind of works the same way, but if you need something more concrete until you're used to it. Consider things like morphs, food, shelter and whatnot to be a signing bonus. Also I have a personal cabin, we're building more housing but I don't want to force you to live with scum if you don't have to. Might be tight for 12 folks plus me at the start, but we'll figure something out.

I know most of you are back in the land of the living recently, so lemme give you the run down. I'm not sure if you've heard all this before, and if so, I apolotgize, but let me give you the basics.

I'm from Titan, a socialist democracy. We're a bit more recognizable to inner system polities than the scum. We're a nation state that mostly functions on the reputation economy but uses money for certain internal economic functions. Unlike the scum who tend to be…spontaneous, we prefer to do long term projects in the context of what's called a microcorp: a state run company that exists to perform a function. I'll handle the petty details, but the short of it is: I'll be providing UBI for you all in the immediate term. Please, PLEASE, come to me with any questions you may have. I've spent the past decade helping people get back up and running.>

<@Colony: We'll start up a jobs board when we get back so various tasks can be completed in a more formal way that helps everyone feel welcome. I think that's it? Let's load up and head out folks>
<@scum and other @-listers: We need to build up the Pheonix team's @-rep, please be generous with upvotes whenever they try to help>

Arianhod writes up an alphadocument Silverwheel charter. It's mostly:

- "don't be a dick,"
- "the colony acts as best it can in accordance to @-list principles" Arianhod lists the basics. "while keeping some things transitional to interact with inner-system interests."
- "we ALWAYS search for lost members and/or their stack, even if they did something stupid."
- "everyone has a right to a physical morph, biomorph if they choose"
- "We don't cooperate with C or G list authorities looking for refugees and accept any refugees willing to live by @-list principles. If they're like some ego trading G-lister or something similarly heinous we can tell them to fuck off tho"
- "More bueracracy, including a microcorp to handle legalisms with sol, than Scum but hopefully less than Titan so we can interact with C-list polities."
- "Big guns, big morphs kind of Ultimates are fine, darwinian fash is not"
- "All immigrants that come after this document is adopted have a 28 day probationary period after which the colony votes to keep them or not, simple majority. Expulsion from Silverwheel of someone who has completed a probationary period requires three/fourths vote, although they can be asked to leave the specific settlement they're in with a simple majority."
- "All clauses herin to be revisited in 6 months"

Arianhod puts it out for comments.

Thanat

"There's that titanian authoritarianism I talked about. We don't need microcorps, bureaucracy or to use money to interact with c-list fuckwads (why would we do that anyway), we'll just put whatever money we get into a common bank and use that if we badly need it. There's no need for anything else, certainly not some backwards traditional economy. We have fabbers and a whole planet's worth of resources, we don't need money and to restrict anything to only those who have a bigger number in their wallet."

Arianhod

"Because the inner system is where 70% or more of where all transhuman infrastructure is located, yeah, we have an entire planet, they have a ton of stuff we can pirate and crack or get wholesale. And more importantly, BUYING OUT INDENTURE CONTRACTS SO WE CAN SET THEM FREE. As for the money, yes, eventually, that's exactly what we'll do, but demonstrating rep-as-stipend cashflow is a far better way to teach people about rep than dropping them into things and dinging their @-score for things they don't realize are wrong.

Thanat

"Yes, and all of which can be done with the money from, you guessed it, a common bank! There's absolutely no need for private money or property to deal with inner system assholes, and the refugees can do like all the Fall refugees we took in or anyone else and learn. None of us appeared into fancy post-scarcity happy spaceships all of a sudden, we had to go through our falls and learn too, and we certainly didn't have the nice safety net of a whole fucking planet with its gravity well, atmosphere and hydrosphere. Circulating money here among the twenty of us will just teach them or reinforce bad habits, nothing else. And there's absolutely no fucking way the other Scum will stand for any sort of permanent bureaucracy or transitional economy, and yes, six months before any change might as well mean forever to us."

"And anyway, we all know how those 'transitional' or 'emergency' deals always end up lasting actually forfuckingever and with the few shitting on the freedoms of the many, see: the PC, it's a fucking transitional economy, and they still deal in indentures, debt bonds and inequality. I don't want to leave the Solar System behind and still take its bullshit here."

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