Alternate ways to get humans off Earth?

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Alkahest Alkahest's picture
Alternate ways to get humans off Earth?

One of the strengths of Eclipse Phase, in my opinion, is that Earth plays a minimal role in the setting. Similar settings like the somewhat disingenuously named Transhuman Space suffer from the fact that the vast majority of humanity (or transhumanity) still live on the same planet and what goes on in extraterrestrial space remains a sideshow at best.

So if one chooses to re-construct the setting without the TITANs, one still needs a way to get humanity off their old ball of dirt. But how? I'm glad you asked! Here are a few of my ideas:

1) Grey goo nanoswarm. An old classic, suffering from the fact that it's awfully clichéd by now.

2) Ecological super-AI. Shamelessly stealing the GAIA concept from Orion's Arm, one could envision an AI in charge of repairing the environment deciding that humans are more trouble than they are worth, ecologically speaking. Cue everyone except a few very pleased (at least the first week) anarcho-primitivists leaving.

3) Biocon super-AI. Similar to the above, but actually my own idea, as far as I know. If a bioconservative regime decides that human genetic engineering is a threat to liberal democracy (Francis Fukuyama), the dignity of man (insert least favorite religious nutjob here) or something along those lines, and if they end up creating a seed AI before anyone else (I could see my own dear European Union as a likely candidate - which would be a welcome change of pace from the usual "evil Americans ruin everything"-scenario) we could end up in a situation where only flats are allowed to live on Earth, everyone else being shipped off-planet to preserve the status quo. In essence, this would mean that Earth would end up as the "Jovian Junta" of the setting. Of course, nothing precludes it from being a well-functioning democracy.

So! Does anyone else have any ideas, or any comments on my scenarios?

President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.

Rags Rags's picture
Non TITAN world war III:

Non TITAN world war III: Things were going downhill without the TITANS anyway, and the earth was in the midst of an ecopocalypse.

Somewhat similair to the above: Anarchist revolution/war. Think the worst nightmare of the PC concerning unrestricted technology in the outer system made manifest upon in a full blown revolution.

towo towo's picture
Well, or you could just have

Well, or you could just have the TITANs still in there and they escalate the final conflict in a non-Singularity way. Just making sure that everyone has all their nukes getting through should be enough to wave good riddance to that ball of Earth.

Yet.

Spoilers containing GM info following.

The thing is, without the TITANs becoming selfaware

Spoiler: Highlight to view
nobody would have poked the Bracewell probe, we'd have no Exsurgent and ETI threat, etc.
You'd just replace the backstory with Shadowrun in Space.
Prophet710 Prophet710's picture
As far as pan bloc conflicts go

You could have a revolution in a first world state like the US or China or even the EU where an ultra-nationalist or even theocratic regime sets up shop and begins a major reaping of the remainder of nation states. I'm thinking more along the lines of Ground Control 2 with this one. For whatever reason this force is suddenly on the rise, like Nazi Germany, and various subgroups and sub cultures begin jumping the proverbial ship.

"And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes. And slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us."

Alkahest Alkahest's picture
Thanks for your responses!

Thanks for your responses! The main problem with using wars and revolutions and similar catastrophic clusterfucks, that I see, is that it's very easy to just return to Earth after a while. Even the most devastating nuclear war will leave our planet more easy to "terraform" than Mars, for example. As for insane dictatorships, they tend to collapse after a short period of time. In my opinion, it's better to have a more permanent way to make transhumans unwilling to go back to Earth.

President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.

Prophet710 Prophet710's picture
Terrorists

Another good plot hook are terrorist plots. Though I use the word here loosely it could be a death cult that releases something like an Anti-Matter WMD in the depths of a deep core waste dump. causing caustic and irradiated materials to be spilled into magma and subsequently erupted during the explosions and tectonic activity.

"And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes. And slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us."

Alkahest Alkahest's picture
Terrorists with antimatter...

Terrorists with antimatter... now that's a nasty thought.

About my biocon seed AI idea: I just read the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union closely, and it had this to say:

"In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected in particular:
the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the procedures laid down by law,
—the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the selection of persons,
—the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain,
—the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings."

In essence, the EU is officially, for all intents and purposes, anti-transhumanist. Combine this with a literal-minded AI tasked with upholding the European fundamental rights and we have the Jovian Junta run by a TITAN.

President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.

towo towo's picture
I'm reminded of the Jihadi in

I'm reminded of the Jihadi in Dan Simmons' Ilium/Olympos saga... they tried to make a doomsday device that used an orbital missile with a MIRV warhead that released a couple dozen micro wormholes that would swing through the Earth's gravity well, eating it up as they're passing through the Earth on elliptical courses.

The point of the exercise was your typical "if we can't have it, nobody can!". The plot failed. Posthumans stumbled upon this thing and put it in stasis, just to be on the safe side - you never know when a doomsday missile might decide to go off even though the crew was scrambled by neutrons.

Revinor Revinor's picture
Alkahest wrote: In my opinion

Alkahest wrote:
In my opinion, it's better to have a more permanent way to make transhumans unwilling to go back to Earth.

According to official EP timeline, it is just 10 years after the Fall. Even if Earth can be terraformed back to habitable stage in 50 years, how is it going to affect your campaign? Everybody will be so firmly set up in their new locations that mass migration back to Earth is not going to be so obvious for most people.

Alkahest Alkahest's picture
Well, the way I see it, if

Well, the way I see it, if there's a big wonderful planet that can be settled without much trouble right now and become a paradise with minimal terraforming, transhumanity is less likely to form a diaspora and spread throughout the System and more likely to focus on getting good real estate on Earth.

President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.

NewtonPulsifer NewtonPulsifer's picture
I agree. No matter how dirty

I agree. No matter how dirty things got Earth would at least be covered with synthmorphs and arcology-like settlements filled with biomorphs.

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."- Isoroku Yamamoto

King Shere King Shere's picture
Outsourcing succed to surpercede the earth surface.

An alternate "non catastrophic" scenario.
The digital world & digital ownership starts to supersede the physical world.
the "former" materialistic society & its "historical" keeping, got documented & dismantled. Now nearly all its physical traces & imprints have been erased. For example Paris Eiffel-tower would now only exist in virtual worlds & its data stored in a database -well documented down to near molecular level.

Various Corporations to terraform areas into energy collection plants. Sort of like Farm land supersede forests; however this time the energy plants & servers now also supersede lakes, seas, towns and cities.

Squatters, Tenants and former owners are assisted to relocate - weather its into digital form, or into space (where there still exist "public space") So public space & living space have been transferred off planet earth. Sort of like the industrial revolution transfered many people off the countryside into cities -they go where there is work & good living conditions.

A good chunk of the earth surface is now corporate solar panel fields (or computer servers) with robot workers and remote monitoring/management. Hard to travel physically to&from, and to the great majority -boring as hell.



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

jhfurnish jhfurnish's picture
Fascinating & Sounds Logical

This actually sounds quite probable to me. It also sounds more pleasant than many options. It also follows the flow of history, as you point out.

ottomancer ottomancer's picture
You could maybe use the

You could maybe use the method Dan Simmons used to destroy Earth in, Hyperion. IIRC, in Hyperion, scientists researching Farcaster tech make a mistake, resulting in the creation of a black hole on Earth. It drops into the Earth's core and begins to devour the planet. It is a long drawn out process, giving humanity plenty of time to escape.