Eclipse Phase: Oceans of Conspiracy
An Eclipse Phase 2nd edition game. Ask me for the book.
In the late Twenty First Century, humanity ascended to a new plane of technology, and regressed to an earlier phase of geopolitics. As resource wars, proxy wars and ideological conflicts erupted across the globe, the rival great powers exploited new technology against one another. The colonization of space opened up new scenes for rialry. Of all the new technologies the most powerful was the seed AI, self evolving intelligences. The most powerful of these were the TITANS, which the American military had settled on as the corner stone of its defenses.
Twenty years ago, the second cold war went hot. Then things got worse. First their was an escalation of regional conflicts, crime, murder, terrorism and informational attacks, then, as the hundred small wars escalated to become wars between the great powers it became clear that something more sinister was going on. July 7th 20XX, battle of Anchorage is the most common date for the start of the Fall, as both sides robotic combat machines turned on them. A short while later what had happened became clear ss the TITANs took over every US military command system and unleashed the automated legions of all major powers against humanity.
In response, the other great powers unleashed their own final weapons. Europe's ecological management systems switched to combat mode, transforming the world around it into a visciously prelapserian ideal, clashing with China's far more alien combat biology. Indian Combat posthumans, strange combinations of altered human and seed AI mounted campaigns of hyper intelligent sabotage and destruction. Combat grey and green goo. Self evolving bioroid combat dolls. Automated combat factories. The war became fully out of human control.
The TITANs and their enemies continued to evolve, with humanity trapped in the middle. Their behavior grew stranger, with waves of hunter killer robots moving to harvest the brains of other sapients for no clear purpose, and the use of seemingly impossible weapons that defied the normal human understandings of physics. Humanity fell back to its last remaining fortresses on earth, Mars, and in the outer system, waiting for the end.
And then, suddenly, the war stopped. TITAN war machines seemed to lose direction and the waves of combat ecology ebbed, leaving the remains of humanity watching in amazement. They had somehow survived, even if they did not know how.
That was twenty years ago.
The old powers have fallen. Humanity today is dominated by corrupt emergency governments dominated by hypercorps and oligarchs, and by revolutionary groups, anarchists and committees of revolution that developed among populations abandoned to the horrors of the Fall by uncaring governments. Humanity, or as most would have it transhumanity is a diverse group of sapiences including humans, AIs and uplifted animals. Questions of what was a human have been brushed aside by the fall in the name of practicality, with every person now having a stack, a device that saves their consciousness. In the event of destruction of the body, or even simply for the utility of moving vast distances, the mind can be disincarnated and reincarnated in a new, perhaps quite different body.
Mars and Titan are the centres of human civilization in Sol, with refugees in Earth's choked cities desperately seeking a ticket to one of these supposed off world paradises. On Mars, various martian states are defacto controlled by oligarchs and hypercorps, ruling over a vast mass of human and AI minds sleeved in cheap expendable robotic work bodies. On Titan, the old Nordic/Canadian colony stands on a threshold between past and future, caught in its obligations to the vast number of traumatised survivors it's taken in, and challenged by radical forces along its left flank. The two sides are slowly rolling towards a new cold war.
And beyond that, the TITANs and yet stranger things threaten humanity from within and without.
Ten years after the Fall, the Factors came. Strange fungi like, semi-liquid alien beings contained within near light vessels, they came to trade. To link humanity to a perported galactic community that exists beyond Earth's star. Little is known about them still, but they have told humanity not to use another alien discovery that has been discovered. The Pandora Gates.
Originally discovered on the Moon Pandora, and now on other places, the Pandora gates are artifacts of the TITANS, or perhaps ancient aliens capable of creating an instant faster than light connection to another Pandora gate elsewhere. So far four have been discovered across the system, opening gateways to hundreds of other exo-planets, many of them considerably superior to conditions in the solar system. Despite the Factor's warning, humanity has started to spread out through the gate networks, establishing off planet settlements, spreading out to avoid another fall.
Even more than the advanced nanotech and warmachines that the TITANs used, the Exusrgent Viruses is perhaps the most terrifying product of the fall. These viruses, which appear to combine the properties of computer and biological viruses can affect radical transformations of the human, or even mechanoid body and mind. Tales of how exsurgents have deployed impossible powers are officially sneered at but privately widely believed. While most strains of exsurgent virus rapidly transform the victim into a horrific monster, others exist as chronic illnesses or are even treatable. The most famous of these is Watts-Macleod, a rumored virus said to grant psychic powers.
Formed from the remains of various mutual aid organizations, intelligence cells and orphaned military units during the fall, Firewall is a decentralized organization of cells (called Servers) working covertly within human society for a simple purpose: Prevent the extinction of Terran derived sapient life, especially via a second Fall. To this end cells carefully investigate threats and mysteries, trying to avert further mass destruction which might push the fragile survival of humanity over the edge.
Disliked by the authorities of the System, Firewall are one part heroes, one part insurgents, a conspiracy of strange individuals come together for the common purpose of survival.
You are one of them.
- Primary Star: K0V (Orange Dwarf)
- Gravity: 0.9 g
- Diameter: 15,300 km
- Atmospheric Pressure: 1.4 atm
- Atmospheric Composition: 89% Nitrogen, 8% Oxygen, 3% Argon
- Surface Temperature (Min/Mean/Max): –80 C/18 C/65 C
- Day Length: 29 hours
- Orbital Period: 182 days
- Satellites: None
- Gate Access: Pandora Gate
A large, low gravity ocean world with a thick atmosphere, Droplet is one of the many planet's beyond the Pandora gate which humanity has settled. The planet has little land, and large, warm oceans filled with many life forms, which are often very dangerous to humans and even small boats. The most noticeable thing about Droplet however is the fact it plays host to the ruins of several alien civilizations, one native, one come like humanity from the Pandora Gates. It is also home to the Toadstall, a strange alien structure more than a two hundred million years old, which seems to have somehow survived eons of erosion and geological shifts, older than either native or off-world alien civilization.
Spiderlike aliens, the Iktomi civilization traveled through the Pandora gates more than ten thousand years ago, and left a large number of ruins in various places. It is known they found the conditions on droplets quite unpleasant, given the differences in their physiology, and their presence appears to have been a relatively small research outpost. They have left behind numerous dream shells, which appear to be data receptacles that project memories of an Iktomi into another consciousness, even a human one.
The native civilization of Droplet, the Amphibs were a species of sapient, crab-like beings that existed in the shallow waters and coastline of droplets more than a million years ago. The precise technology level of their civilization is unknown, as rising sea levels have covered most of their cities and done considerable damage to their artifacts, however, some sturdy structures remain. While officially, most governments state they had lower-tech than humanity, the scientific community finds growing consensus in the idea they were at least as advanced as transhumanity is now. The Amphib ruins see considerable interest from xenoarcheologists and other researchers.
In the wake of the Fall, the newly declared Republic of Titan (not to be confused with the TITANs) has committed to providing bodies, preferably biomorphs and homes for every single informational refugee who was able to get from earth to its antennas. While an obviously noble aim, and one that has allowed the colony to vastly expand its skilled workforce, this commitment has not been without problems. There have been growing tensions between original Titan colonists and the new infogees, with the original colonists seeing the infogees on the one hand as unwelcome foreign intruders, and on the other hand, lazy freeloaders who will take their Titan provided bodies and run off elsewhere. Meantime, the increasing infogee population, much of it made up of well-heeled European enclavers and those well off enough to have had a stack installed pre-fall, resent the original Titanian colonists for regarding them as foreign, and resent the increasingly heavy-handed civic work requirements that come with a body.
Because of this, and because of the difficulty many people from Earth have in adapting to life on Titan, exo-planetary settlement through the pandora gate has been increasingly popular as a way to relieve the strain. These settlements are economically reliant on Titan, and serve its economy, but cannot easily complain to, or vote for its government. Nor will they defect left and join the anarchist and autonomist factions that Titan's governments view as its extremists.
With slightly over five hundred thousand people in the city proper, New Copenhagen on Droplet is one of the largest of these exo-system polities. The city is built on one of Droplet's primary island chains, around five hundred kilometers from the gate. The Island is young and volcanic, and has been assessed free of either unique life or Itkomi and Amphib ruins by the Titan Survey service. The city was constructed rapidly and according to plans from the Titan government, then granted its independence by a plebiscite before most of the population arrived, either by gate or by infomorphs transmitted via massive quantum farcaster arrays or physically transported as stacks. The refugees, from a melange of regions and nations, awoke in a new city which is at one level paradise, and on another, a place racked by problems.
The city today is an incredible melange of cultures and architectures, where people from all parts of old earth still meet. Robots and biomorphs walk the streets together, and you can sometimes even see some of the stranger, older morphs that were so popular before the fall.
New Copenhagen is a technosocialist direct democracy along Titan's model, but has never managed to work as well. Rather than the much more pluralist system that Titan operates, where every issue is debated and voted on by everyone, New Copenhagen's system is dominated by its ministries, with the Plurality existing only to rubber-stamp proposals made by the or settle disputes between competing proposals by the executive. This is facilitated by even more strict laws against the activities of political parties than on Titan, which, paradoxically, has led to an even greater lockdown of ministerial positions, as machine politics dominates.
Despite this, New Copenhagen's defenders on Titan and beyond point out that citizens of New Copenhagen enjoy far more rights and benefits, including free speech, assembly, resleeving insurance and access to new economic conditions far beyond what is enjoyed by most citizens of Mars or the inner system. However, it cannot be discounted that New Copenhagen's political system is far less responsive (and far more anti-anarchist/anti-autonomist) than is Titan itself.
Because of the near ban on political parties, various political machines have evolved around certain candidates and interest groups in order to win ministry seats, and to control access to the large-scale public fabricators, scientific grants, and other public institutions. semi-jokingly called the Mafias, these organizations tend to be the main building blocks of life in New Copenhagen. While not always criminal, they do engage in a fair amount of corruption, usually taking the form of the selective enforcement of laws in exchange for favors, and 'you scratch my back, I scratch your back' political influence plays. Disputes between the Mafias has lead to several spikes in crime and even violence, and caused the implementation of perhaps the most controversial part of New Copenhagen's most controversial institution, its police.
The Hollowmen are incorruptible because they want for nothing. The Hollowmen are fair because they do not care. While New Copenhaugen has a conventional police force and surveillance system, this is backed up by the Hollowmen, an elite, heavily militarized police unit run entirely from VR. The Hollowmen are egos, mostly infomorph volunteers orphaned in the fall who are placed in special virtual environments, dream paradises where their every need is perfectly fulfilled. They control synthmorph combat bodies from a distance through special quantum encrypted links. Even if a hollowman were to become corupt, he or she could simply be turned off by his fellows.
In New Copenhagen the Hollowmen are the ultimate force of order. Incorruptible, or at least as incorruptible as the forces that employ them.
Artists, Scholars and Radicals
One of the biggest escapee groups from Earth at the time of the fall was college students, many of whom received neural interface systems and stacks as part of their education courses, often built into their student debts as a way to inflate them further. In the dark days of the fall, many used this unlooked for advantage to escape, disincarnating themselves and transmitting themselves to what they hoped would be safer places. Of course, many of them ended up in the soul banks of the Lunar Lagrange Alliance or Mars, who had little desire to incarnate a bunch of often radical students and political activists.
Those who made it to Titan, as well as their allies among the autonomists banded together to buy many of these disincarnated out, however, developing enough influence in Titanian politics to swing some of the Moon's massive HE3 wealth into play. Titan authorities, especially the dominant social democratic party were increasingly alarmed by the idea of injecting yet more radicals, all of whom they believed would become voters for the autonomist A-bloc, into Titanian politics, and sought, semi-successfully, to have at least some of these redirected to exo-planet colonies. Whatever the politics of this decision, it has lead to a bustling art and humanities scene in New Copenhagen's Bohemian district. The district also serves as home for many of the city's Scum, who often travel here from the great scum barge which forever orbits pandora.
Due to the scientific discoveries on Droplet, Gatekeeper (and by extension, Titan) has allowed several hypercorp and megacorp facilities to operate on Droplet. These include Cognite, Terragenesis and Ecologene, all of whom want a shot at any alien discoveries found on Droplet. The employees, especially the managers here, mostly research staff generally try to appear not to be the ice chewing corporates of outer system folklore, especially because it would be very easy for disgruntled employees to defect.
You are firewall operatives who have been assigned to investigate matters on Droplet. It seemed like a routine enough operation, mostly just monitoring and remoting back rather than the more active work you've previously done. That was up until you work up in a resleeving unit. You and your team had been murdered, and lost almost a week of memories. It's time to find out why.
Or perhaps you're just a random citizen of the place who's sucked into a conspiracy they barely understand.