Ex Post Human

Ontovorosis
EA's fork-team to Moravecia gets in over its head.

After a week of familiarizing themselves with the Moravecian infomorph, EA’s simulspace exploration team, consisting of Alexei Lazaris, Edward Novotny, Mary Watkins, Sarena Sakura and Steven Williamson, gallantly entered into the network via Deon Mikkelson’s interface. The world they encountered was bizarre, to put it nicely. Non-linear time dominated an alien landscape, with a day lasting anywhere from 400 seconds to mere milliseconds, and always responding to the activities of the egos contained within.

Sarena advanced first, only to find an unexpected resistance to her actions. Time flowed in reverse as she walked forwards, making any progress seem altogether impossible, so she walked backwards instead. Her intuition triggered one of the many odd laws of the simulspace, and teleported her to a hilltop with a scenic overview of a city’s life accelerated thousands of times. She got to watch it wax and wane with thousands of years compressed into a few minutes.

Alexei attempted to follow, and instead ended up on a vista overlooking a huge mining site. Unimpressed, he made to leave. Before he took more than a step, his presence was obliterated in a blinding flash of light and heat, and he reappeared with the rest of the team. Edward and he were quick to conclude that he had just experienced a nuclear detonation.

The others continued to explore the strange laws of the landscape to varying degrees of success, while Sarena proceeded further into the city. Eventually, its growth slowed into a state of war-torn decay, and amid the wreckage she found a luminescent icosahedron. Shortly thereafter, Mary and Steven joined her, and she entered the icosahedron.

Instantly, similar objects appeared before all members of the team, and upon traversal, they were deposited in orbit around Moravecia’s sun. After a brief bout of panic, they manage to adjust their motion via a swimming action, and encounter a stranded humanoid Astronaut. The Applicants, sleeved in their reconstructed Moravene infomorphs, are incapable of communicating with it. The astronaut forms a pistol with his fingers and attempts to shoot everyone. Edward is struck by the possibility of will-based control of the simulation, and attempts to form a slate and marker with which to write messages to the Astronaut. The Astronaut continues rambling, and they begin to respond so that their rescued companion knows they understand. Edward’s attempt has unexpected results, and his self-image is enlarged astronomically—he can view the entire solar system as if it were a model, and notices several odd features orbiting Moravec I, one of which is radiating visible light. He attempts to interact with the system, but finds it immaterial. Meanwhile, the communication with the astronaut progresses, and he is seated on Sarena’s back to accompany the team.

After describing his discovery to his comrades, Sarena attempts the same, and attempting to grab Moravec I causes the entire party to teleport to the radiating object, a massive alien spacecraft hauntingly reminiscent of transhumanity’s own light-hugging vessels. Before going any further, Sarena takes the astronaut to the portal through which they entered, and sends him back. He never makes it to the other side. Enduring the tragic loss of their comic relief, Edward explored the exterior of the vessel, while Alexei and the others entered into an open hangar bay. Inside they found a retrofitted fighter with a vastly different technological capability than seen inside the arcology-like ship.

Concluding that the ship may have a reactionless drive on board, Alexei, Edward and Steven attempt to progress further into the ship, while Sarena and Mary explore the alien fighter. Both groups enter into icosahedrons contained within and are immediately teleported to new locations. Those who progressed into the ship find themselves in a server bunker. Adjacent, behind a blast door, is what appears to be a medical or resleeving facility. Sarena and Mary find themselves in a much more odd location—a room with four icosahedral nodes filled with rainbow bubbles, chaotically moving to and fro. They wove through them with grace and transited another node, reappearing inside of a control center before a Moravene Queen-General.

With incredible difficulties, Sarena and the Queen-General converse, and only a basic impression of what is meant manages to pass translation. Edward, having finished his investigation of the resleeving center, joined them. Sarena does her best to convince the Queen that they are not hostile, but two arthropod combat morphs appear, nevertheless. The Queen poses a question: “Consent Rippping Join Approximation?” Sarena cautiously responds, “Yes, I will join your group.” Having recieved consent, the Queen immediately advances, seeming to lash out and bite Sarena at the neck, before both vanish suddenly. The remaining Applicants complain about alien hanky-panky and withdraw through the node, soon joined by Alexei. Afraid for their lives, yet steadfastly determined to complete their mission, they proceeded to a new portal. Alexei collided with one of the bubbles, and suffered temporary mental distortion.

On the far side, they find themselves inside what appears to be an O’Neill cylinder of infinite length. They begin exploring, and are soon rejoined by Sarena. Sarena behaves… oddly. She refers to the Moravenes as ‘we,’ and explains that they are locked in an infowar that has raged for several hundreds of thousands of years against a singularity AI much like our own TITANs. They suggest possible assistance and alliance with Gatekeeper, for help with infowar materiel. Then, seemingly right on cue, the O’Neill cylinder is corrupted by a fractal infection of black cubes, constantly expanding and enveloping the space within. Sarena and her Moravene allies spring into action, while Mary, Alexei and Edward flee as fast as they can. The infection proves too much for them to handle, and they are forced to retreat to the bubble chamber with the singularity close behind.

Mary retreats the way they came, but before Alexei and Edward can follow the path is overrun by cubes, forcing them to detour through a yet unexplored node that deposits them underwater. Edward quickly comes to terms with the parameters of the new environment, but the sudden shock of crushing pressure causes Alexei to panic and attempt to surface in a space where the surface is non-existent. The cubes follow through, and latch on to Alexei. Edward, displaying great sangfroid and resolve, bravely fled to preserve himself from a terrible fate. A bizarre stream of sensory data overran Alexei’s mind, fracturing his sense of reality and distorting his self identity. The overload is so great he was unable to pull himself free, forcing Sarena to slice him in half. Sarena dragged what was left of him from the Simulspace before returning to fight alongside her new allies. Surprisingly, Alexei is holding together, to some extent.

Steven never returned, and has been listed MIA.

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High Noon
Tarakan prototype produced, systems test complete, simulated combat trial reveals critical flaws.

After 5 hard weeks of almost non-stop work on the Tarakan (with several data overload accidents), Alexei has finally achieved a production-ready state. Disregarding proper protocol, he sleeved into the untested morph with Sarena, Edward and Steven Williamson providing assistance and failsafe security in the event of catastrophic failure.

The Tarakan successfully awoke minutes after resleeving. During calibration, Alexei’s unfamiliarity with the power of the morph proved disastrous. He overdrove the muscle actuators and severely damaged his old Masked Steel along with the assembly bay’s wall while attempting to disengage from the test harness. At Alexei’s request, Sarena ejected the morph through the assembly bay loading airlock. After several minutes of clumsy and graceless maneuvering, Alexei completed diagnostic tests and returned, whereupon a discussion of the Tarakan’s attributes escalated into a no-holds-barred duel between Steven and Sarena. Alexei personally configured the simulspace and oversaw the duel, with Sarena sporting a Plasma Rifle/Particle Beam combo while Steven installed himself in an updated Tarakan equipped with railguns and shredders.

The duelists started at range aboard a battle-scarred floating arcology from Old Earth, and exchanged fire immediately. Neither successfully landed a hit. Sarena’s beam fire was ineffective as she closed the distance, any harm from its few points of contact negated by the Tarakan’s sturdy defenses. Feeling confident, Steven charged forward to meet his opponent, and Sarena began to engage in a deadly game of hide and seek, hiding behind cover between each attack. Though in his determination and confidence he landed several shots against the battlesuited Fury while she hid, Sarena’s reactive and ablative armour, in combination with her diamond-hardened fullerene armour, defeated the incoming projectiles.

In the skirmish that followed, Sarena gained decisive advantage by critically damaging several control circuits as she ran ahead of Steven’s fire, then abruptly dropped to one knee and slices into the Tarakan’s chest with her plasma beam at 90 meters. As Steven’s shots from both guns scattered the ground around Sarena, she steadied her plasma beam and in an instant, throughoutly baked through the Tarakan’s core systems and set the simulated prototype crashing down in a flaming heap. While a technical failure of the design, the match highlighted many inefficiencies in addition to demonstrating the morph’s ability to withstand concentrated plasma fire.

At the conclusion of the battle, Alexei consulted with Steven about his experience in the Tarakan. Steven rattled off a nearly endless list of gripes, which Alexei synthesized into a wide array of improvements. The engineer’s receptiveness lessened Steven’s foul mood, and even made him excited for the next iteration of the battle morph. A second revision of the Tarakan is now underway.

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Rouge Gold
Not to be confused with the Rogue's Guild

Applicants were alerted to shots fires via the LEON. It turns out that the Rouge Gold habitat, a nearby scum barge, was under attack by a joint force of Red Zone mercenaries and LLA enforcers. Though they were on the same list of LEO ‘threats’ as the Escalating Application, they were not a member of the LEON, and thus no immediate action was taken by LEON on their behalf.

Instead, Applicants observed as the he scum were surprised with long-range, disarming bombardments and the rapid nullification of their outer defenses. Though most of the Red Zone drones in the first wave were destroyed, their fleet suffered only one casualty. The Rouge Gold looked all but doomed.

The tide of the battle turned back in their favour when Red Zone dropships, lulled into a false sense of security by the Rouge Gold’s apparent disarmament, fell into an impromptu ambush, where the defenders cut holes in one module and launched missiles from inside. Of the three dropships, one was destroyed and another was crippled in the ensuing explosions. The third only managed to deploy through a markedly impressive and daring maneuver by its pilot, who bounced the ship off the habitat’s hull and used grapple lines to halt its motion.

Between these two brave displays, Red Zone’s boarding force was cut in half, but the boarding occured, and though Red Zone still appears to have the upper hand—and the LLA ships have been providing support and rescue to their wounded vessels—the full scope of events is still unknown. The final outcome, however, is that Red Zone has occupied the habitat on behalf of the LLA and have taken some ‘survivors’ captive.

Apart from watching the show, Applicants mostly discussed intervention strategies, the purpose and domain of the LEON, and argued about tactics and predicting the outcome, though little came of this. It’s unclear what reaction, if any, the LEON will take to this—or if it can really be called an ‘affront’, when the depraved scum were so much in fact an enemy to the state on account of their own alleged illegal activities.

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Binding Energy
Sticking Points

BREAKING NEWS (#Escalating News Aggregation Bot)
September 27, 10 AF (2114 CE), 1532 LST

The recently completed Heracles-1 Mass Driver platform has completed its first official test firing, launching a specially prepared twelve hundred ton canister slug toward the surface of the Earth, where it was observed to impact in the South Pacific. The Heracles-1 platform was completed as a rush job, and will remain the only mass driver operational in Earth-Lunar space for the next two months, until the remaining mass drivers are completed.

Both Oversight and the Planetary Congress heaped praise on the operation and the companies and individuals responsible for building and operating the device, which finished ahead of schedule if slightly over budget, for both their speedy delivery and their perseverance in the face of obstacles, including several reported sabotage attempts. Companies mostly highly noted for their ongoing effort in construction, protection, supply, and maintenance of these facilities include Cyclops Armaments, Dion Industrial Holding, Starware and Teleport Systems Incorporated.

The existing Lunar Mass Drivers continue to exist in a standby configuration, with their automated systems disconnected, but otherwise intact. Despite furious debate, no consensus exist as to the future of these weapons, especially given the activation of the Hercules array.

<—→

A possible first contact situation continues to develop on Pandora. Early rumors that an independent first-in team operating from the Pandora Gate had made contact with alien life first appeared two days ago, and were mostly dismissed as a hoax or joke meme, before independent citizen-journalists began confirming parts of the story, including suddenly and apparently arbitrarily rearranged gate schedules. The rising presence of the meme, coupled with Gatekeeper’s silence on the matter, had many experts convinced that, at the very least “something extremely unusual” was going on at Gatekeeper HQ.

In an official statement twelve hours ago, Gatekeeper confirmed that it was operating under first contact protocols with regards to the situation on Azurite, the exoplanet in question, adding only that they had not directly encountered any xenobiological specimens on that world, and had only received communications of a which “did not rule out the possibility of non-Earth-originating intelligence”. Pandora Gate traffic has been temporarily restricted to essential supply and retrieval missions only, and a new Plurality session has been scheduled to address any issues that arise.

In other Gatecrashing news, Krypton, a popular resort exoplanet, has apparently undergone a revolt. Indentures, staff, and large group of infiltrating Barsoomians – apparently spurred into action by continuing bloody firefights across the outback – seized the colony and took dozens of executives and vacationers hostage. Pathfinder corporation has declined to comment on the incident, but experts predict a military option is on the table.

<—→

The Unfettered Geniuses released their first commercial product today, even amongst continued legal and political turmoil directed at their group. The new product is a nootropic nanodrug called Newborn that increases neuroplasticity by building new connections inside the brain, and uses a sophisticated AI system to allow the user to direct parts of their own mental growth. Critics contend that the drug is dangerous and can have serious long-term effects on users, changing not just their morph but their ego as well. The drug is available to any party willing to pay group’s high fees, and a spokesperson for the group, Nabwu Zarkea, indicated that political or legal aid would be considered worth “a steep discount”.

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Announcement #1

Okay, several things are changing up, in terms of policies, etc.

First, we are now on a Tuesday and Friday schedule. Tuesday is set for 1830 Eastern, and consists of a bonus session with a particular theme – Science Tuesday, Tuesday Night Combat, or Story Time Tues. Friday will our “main” session, with no particular theme and a tendency to advance one or more existing plotlines, and take place at 1700 Eastern.

If this scheduling is a problem, and you will ‘never’ make it to a main session, please let me know immediately.

Second, we are now awarding rez! There are a few caveats to this, though. The first caveat is that I’ll only award rez for characters that have a character sheet on Obsidian Portal. You do not have to fill in the character sheet provided; a link to a google doc is fine. The second is that I’ll only award rez if an adventure log for the adventure is published, listing everyone who participated and a good summary of what happened, and any wiki links generated by that adventure log at least partially filled in.

EDIT: Additionally, rez may be given for events occurring “out of session” provided the events are significant in some way, and the events are recorded in an adventure log .

EDIT^2: 2 rez for whoever creates the article or fills in wiki pages related to the article, 1 for everyone who participated (everyone who participated should be mentioned and linked in the log!). I am completely not above using Rez to get you guys handle this stuff.

Third, due to the proliferation of ongoing projects, morph designs, etc, I’ve added a projects section to the wiki. Any projects that any characters are working on should go there, with at the very least a summary of the goals, methods, and who is working on it. Note that this includes political and social projects as much as purely scientific ones! Currently working on some Research and Development mechanics that should be accessible through that link sometime in the near future, and possibly more general complex task / downtime rules.

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Avast!
Smugglers vs. Pirates

While returning to the Escalating Application on an independent freighter loaded with killsats and related gear, a team of Applicants consisting of Jarin, Alexei, Sarena, Mary, and Edward were forced to defend the freighter, its cargo, and crew from a team of pirates and their boxbot minions. Four boxbots attacked the forward compartment, two the rear, while four pirates and two boxbots attacked the main section, cutting into the hold and causing serious damage.

Fortunately for the defenders, the attacks were not well coordinated. Three of the forward invading boxbots were quickly destroyed or sent out into space, partly due to their own friendly fire, albeit with more collateral damage to the wildly spinning ship’s interior. Though dislodging the last was more difficult, it was accomplished successfully around the same time the pirates in the forward section and the boxbots in the rear section were able to cut or blast their way inside.

Being half-out of the ship after working hard to dislodge the last boxbot in her section, Sarena was able to identify the incoming boxbots and pirates, while Alexei moved into a firing position and the other Applicants rushed back to fortify the main section. Sarena took advantage of the rotating reference frame to strike the pirates on her section with an Overload grenade, followed by a thrown wasp knife which unloaded its payload in a stunned pirate’s chest. Alexei was able to gun down the pirate before he could recover.

The boxbots that had blasted their way in to the rear section unsuccessfully attempted to overwhelm its occupants with similar stun-and-gun tactic. Mary pushed a crate of decoy mini-satellites to cover the hole, but a misalignment only provided cover to the boxbots as they fired fragmentation rounds through the breach. Jarin was able to rush in and seal the hole before the situation could worsen.

With a moment of calm in the former section, the ship’s owner, Gray Xu, was able to exit her cabin and head to the bridge. Not long after, Sarena passed by in search of the pirate who had entered the ship and found him awaiting her at the intersection. They exchanged fire in the form of bursts from the pirate’s SMG and a heavy drive from Sarena’s particle beam bolter. Although she was hit and wounded, Sarena nevertheless fired an unwavering swath that propelled her opponent back to the wall beside the breach, voiding the contents of the pirate’s ribcage to space.

A breach was reported in the rear section where the engine was located, where no enemies had been identified. There was another violent explosion as the boxbots in the main section used a cutting charge to annihilate the box Mary and Jarin had used to seal the breach. At least four pirates were known to be waiting on the other side of the section where most of the Applicants had made their ‘fort’. The battle was far from over…

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Three-Legged Arms Race

The crew skipped over to Fresh Kills again, seeking to find some way to dispel opposition from the Organization, an old bastion of Lunar organized crime who are not happy about the competition in the arms dealing market than members of LEON (or LEOFRONT) have been posing to them. So far, the crew have identified one individual worth putting pressure on, and have made some slight in-roads into finding a way at him through his employees.

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Potential Energy
All downhill from here.

BREAKING NEWS

Nascent political movement on Mars have begun to, in the words of leading memetic experts, “radicalize heavily”. Spurred by sharply increasing inequality indexes and increasing irrelevance, Martian nationalists and anti-corporate demonstrators have launched multiple simultaneous demonstrations across Mars, concentrating in Elysium. Planetary Congress representatives today called on the Tharsis League to rein in these groups, widely perceived to be pro-Tharsis. So far, Tharsis Secretary General Natacha Dhiagelev has declined to comment.

<—→

Tensions have increased on Bright, the noted technoprogessive corporate habitat run Acumenic. The so-called “Unfettered Geniuses” have made a declaration of independence, claiming ‘their’ part of the habitat free of the restrictions and overwatch provision of the habitat contract. Acumenic stock fell in response, and the corporate group seems to be considering aggressive responses.

Contact from the hab itself has been problematic over the past several hours, with no further updates from Acumenic HQ forthcoming.

<—→

On Octavia, the Neo-Synergist group announced the completion of the testing of new headware implants, and a new recruiting drive, with the intention to more than double their current size as soon as possible.

Vocal critics of the Neo-Synergist project called on the Morningstar Confederation to impose sanctions on the action, but thus far their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

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Flyswatting
Welcome To The Jungle

In an effort to establish ties of solidarity in the face of scrutiny from the LLA, Seva Kuila was invited to the Escalating Application to broker an agreement with the Argonaut Foundation. Terms were opened for the possibility of a permanent presence of the Argonauts on the EA, and a team of Applicants consisting of Cipher Anaphylaxis, Jared Dirac, Edward Novotny, Kathlaurie Dion, and Mary Watkins was sent to the ‘Flytrap’ habitat. Their purpose there was both to assist Seva and her team in an Argonaut-backed study of the bizzare life forms and local ecosystem, and to provide humanitarian aid for the people still on board. An initial survey showed that the habitat was overgrown with peculiarly hardy and fast-growing plant life and fungi, which was contributing to the slow failure of the habitat’s already-damaged climate regulation system. Jared Dirac, Kathlaurie Dion and Cipher Anaphylaxis began a long-term effort to provide medical care to treat the ailments of the habitat’s residents, while the other applicants made themselves useful in helping with the expedition.

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Friends In Need
Enemy of my enemy...

After discovering that they were being targeted by Oversight – or even higher – the team put their collective brainpower to work trying to come up with an answer to the problem. Their plans included doing some sort of infowar to recover information and plans on the new mass drivers prior to their completion, looking for blackmail material, and forming an alliance with nearby habs that had been targeted.

Due to the distance, they put the former on hold, and eventually, put the search for blackmail material on hold, until they had some better leads. Kathi and William took a shuttle to the Song Cai Flower to meet with Dexter Vo, and start working on a larger alliance (tentatively called the Low Earth Orbit Front, but with little progress on an actual organization by that name). They also started looking into helping the Song Cai Flower with a Triad problem.

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