Ex Post Human
The Escalating Application began life as a resource, a NEO with a diverse collection of reasonably tightly packed materials that was captured by middle 21st century over a period of several years, and parked in a medium orbit for easy access. Designated Rig-44-0EA, this continued to be a productive source of raw materials for the nascent space industry for years, adding processing and nanomanufacturing facilities to turn the asteroids’s silicon, carbon, nickel, and iron into large prefabricated structures or shapes useable for many purposes.
After nearly a decade of service, the asteroid has been largely mined out of metals, and demand for bulk materials in low orbit was dropping as new ventures focused on the moon and beyond. The habitat’s most valuable asset was instead its prime location – a very useful orbital path – and the robotic processing facilities that could be easily repurposed for any number of applications. It was sold to a megacorp for use as a robotics manufacturing facility and launching point for probe expeditions to the Trojans, used as a data storage and egocasting relay point, held in a legal limbo for the better part of a decade when that megacorp merged with its main rival after a legal knife fight, and more.
At the time of the Fall, it was in the hands of an autonomist hypercorp (an odd entity in and of itself) and was being renovated for use as a model automist society and haven right nestled into Earth orbit. During the early days of the Fall, the station’s owner attempted to support the autonomists and anarchist factions fighting against the government and megacorps with information and a safe haven. They were eliminated by a deadly infowar attack, later determined to be TITAN in origin, but at the time was believed to be a military or corporate attack.
There were no known survivors.
The Escalating Application was retaken by a cabal of twenty individuals who had determined a mutual interest in flouting both LLA and PC laws, and had, collectively, the armament, tools, and skill to clean out the habitat and establish it as their own.
The Escalating Application is characterized as a Beehive habitat, inhabiting an M-class asteroid that is 1.2 × 1.1 × 2.4 km. The intial object was actually much bigger to begin with; over the course of the rock’s history large chunks have been removed as the asteroid was mined out, and only this rump portion remains, containing those bits that weren’t worth cutting off or were used as the structure for the rig itself.
A significant portion of the habitat is actually outside the rock, in the form of bolt-on habitat and factory modules. These modules are old, structurally, but their electronics have been stripped out and replaced, as much as a modernization scheme as a security measure.
Residents and Crew:
From that initial group of twenty like-minded members who put the plans in motion to seize the habitat, the residents of the Escalating Application has grown considerably. That small group doubled in size with mercenaries, friends, and allies who were brought on board to take part in the cleanup, and were invited to remain on board. From there, news of renovation and takeover spread, as the group integrated themselves into local darkcast networks and looked for skilled individuals, or interesting (if not particularly skilled) individuals who wanted in on the habitat. At this point, there are approximately three hundred distinct egos on board the Escalating Application as residents.
There’s not common agreement or philosophy among the residents, but the atmosphere can be described as weakly posthuman. The kind of person for whom splitting yourself into a dozen or more forks running at different speeds and swapping memory and XP with yourself and others, while loading different software-based skillsofts to fill in the gaps is “just common sense” for completing a difficult task in a hurry, even if they have no particular plans to turn themselves into a Jupiter brain. While some have philosophies that do touch on the singularity-seeker or exhuman spectrum, there’s a strong normalizing ethic (and a desire to not be shot as a danger to others).
The one rule of the EA’s residents is this: no mediocrity. Failure is acceptable, so long as it’s an interesting failure. Crazy is acceptable, so long as it’s the kind of crazy that’s sometimes mistaken for genius. The only real sin is being just sort of okay. The EA is home to some of the oddest in the inner system, but so long as they can play nice-ish with others, it works – and as a result, the EA’s talent pool is spectacular.
A wide range of morphs is common, from the barely transhuman to the oh-dear-god-what-is-that.
Due to the range of tasks need to be done, including increasingly routine but extensive technical tasks, the EA’s residents have begun to supplement their numbers with purchased egos and weak AGIs.
Services and Society:
Everyone knows everyone else – there’s a simplistic social network, but not a real internal rep network. If someone isn’t broadcasting their ID, they can still be identified by almost everyone unless they’ve changed morphs recently, and even then, will probably be outed quickly – and, certainly, would be suspicious if no one knew who they were.
Privacy is mostly non-existent outside of the barracks for any but the founders, the price of living with a group of mad scientists in training. No one trusts you to keep everything to yourself. Special provisions for high privacy areas can be made, involving roach motel protocols, but are rare.
All basic fabrication services are public; the real meat and potatoes of the Escalating Application’s Economy is in its scientific expertise, services, and high-end military and technical gear. It’s economy has actually regressed to some odd combination of barter and command economy, with a loosely democratic method of deciding what is to be done with the EA’s facilities at any time.
Command Deck: The mess hall of the old autonomist base has been turned into a ‘command room’, complete with holoprojectors and AR controllers. If they wished, anyone could turn the room into a sunny forest vista, or somber, efficient-looking military headquarters, rather than the ad-hoc, blemished mess that it actually was – this mess hall saw thick fighting, and no one as bothered to fix the scorch marks yet.
- Alpha: The Alpha Labs are the EA’s primary nanotech labs, built out of the old material processing facilities. Contains the personal workshop of Nengyi “Hands” Kul in one of the side annexes. The Alpha Labs were the EA’s primary production facilities in the early days, but the needs of mass production have required outsourcing to a dedicated reconfigurable module. Alpha lab has instead been repurposed for individual production of specialized nanotech items and testing.
- Beta: The Beta labs are the smallest labs, dealing with advanced computing, prediction, infolife, intrusion and intelligence applications. Contains the most extensive and developed virtual space, as well as airgapped safety computing. The Beta labs are mounted in an external module that has been faraday shielded to prevent any of the experiments from escaping.
- Gamma: The Gamma labs are the biological science laboratories, and the largest individual laboratory. Mounted in a cavernous bay area and subdivided into individual working components. The Gamma labs are also set up for morph production runs, and can act as a medical bay; the distinction between repair, improvement, and biohazard containment are often blurred in the whirlwhind working environment of Gamma Labs.
- Delta: Delta labs contain the physics and xenotechnology labs, and are still largely experimental. Recent acquisition of alien artifact data by a team from the EA, working jointly with a gatecrashing team operating out of Caldwell/Portal, has sped up the need for a dedicated laboratory considerably, and construction has been expanded to include a nanosingularity generator, capacitor banks for high energy research, and specialized fabrication gear for constructing more exotic materials. Lost on absolutely no one is the potential for weaponization of some of the lab’s infrastructure as directed energy systems.
Sealed Sections: Only approximately 40% of the EA’s area is considered habitable. The remaining sections are sealed off, with distributed cameras keeping an eye on the location. While these regions have atmosphere and heating, their systems are cycled on a seperate system than the rest of the EA for safety reasons. The areas have not been reclaimed for a lack of both manpower and a lack of demand for new spaces thus far.
Barracks: The general lack of need to sleep among synths has not entirely obviated the need for cycles of activity, rest, or privacy. The barracks is a series of temporary structures in a series of mined-out tunnels, acting as storage for personal effects and a place where temporary privacy tents can be erected without necessarily inviting the ire of the rest of the crew, so long as no weapons or other gear are allowed into the barracks.
Factory: As the EA grew to need more equipment and especially more robotics, this old robotics bay was modernized and bootstrapped by the Alpha lab’s assemblers. Situated as a multi-module surface facility, the factory is a reconfigurable automated manufacturing area that has been working nonstop to recycle raw materials into useful scientific gear, weapons, and morphs.
Common Area: This common areas of the Escalating Application is laid out like many other microgravity gathering areas, but specially care has been made to provide room for larger morphs. There is lighting in all spectra shy of the more energetic bands, and public VR nodes to project a simulated, alternate reality for those who desire it.
Powerplant: Perhaps the most useful bit of equipment salvaged from the old days of the Escalating Application, this oversized fusion powerplant is inefficiently large for its power output, and also gratuitious overkill for it’s current use. The original use of this powerplant was to power light-sail probes, and the EA has enjoyed the abundance of power for other purposes.
Communications Array: The communications array is a series of laser links and radio bands as well as a powerful neutrino farcaster. Mesh access is established through several darkcast routers, a service for which the EA’s residents must pay significantly for – but the benefits of such an arrangement is hard to ignore.