Autonomists as an X-Risk

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Noble Pigeon Noble Pigeon's picture
Autonomists as an X-Risk

Wanted to make this thread separate from the X-Risks discussion thread, since someone else brought this up.

As that someone brought up, the absence of x-risks in the recent book coming from autonomist sources was rather conspicuous. Now you could argue that the reason why is because many of these x-risks comes from the more densely populated inner system, so of course Firewall would have more stuff on it, especially on Mars.

But I'd still like to see more stuff on potential x-risks vectors from autonomists, or at least people that masquerade as autonomists. Anarcho-collectivists, Scum, Titanians, Extropians, Barsoomians, whatever. We already have plenty of examples of x-risks from Jovians, hypercorps, religious groups, brinkers, aliens, etc. They can come from anywhere.

The most we ever get from the books is in Firewall. It talked about how autonomist habs' tendencies to have lower security protocols makes them especially vulnerable.

I have a few ideas, so I'll post them here. They're existing groups from the books.

CRAM: The largest insurrectionist network, the Cienfuegos Revolutionary Anarchist Movement once stuck primarily to non-violent means of undermining the inner system governments, primarily centered around Mars (and rarely, the Jovians). Labor strikes, hacktivist campaigns and memetic warfare have recently turned to indiscriminate bombings and assassinations. They've allied with several radical Barsoomian groups, and were directly responsible for the destruction of a Martian company town, the death of thousands in the town (including dozens of permanent deaths), and the maglev line that went through it. The response from Oversight and the Martian Rangers was ferocious, forcing general Barsoomian activity---including the far more non-violent, less revolutionary elements of it---to considerably lessen for a good chunk of the year.

This radical change in tactics has to do with the rise of several high-rep individuals within the network. While still eschewing organized hierarchies (in theory, anyway), these extremely charismatic individuals have great pull within CRAM, and currently are entrenched in their positions. While Firewall suspects that these individuals could be controlled by a third party they are, for all intents and purposes, charismatic insurrectionists with an axe to grind.

The Autonomist Alliance have collectively distanced themselves as much as possible from this group (as much as a largely informal, mutual aid/defense pact can collectively do such a thing). While many autonomist habs have tendencies to be insular, as a rule of thumb their people tend to want to be left to their own devices, not provoke the Consortium into another Battle of Locus.

This doesn't stop the PC from using CRAM as their poster boy for their propaganda machine, and regularly accuses the Titanian Commonwealth of supporting them. Ironic, given that the Commonwealth is currently trying to subvert CRAM activity in Saturn space with the assistance of several anarchist volunteer groups formerly aligned with CRAM.

Recently, Firewall has received intel that the unofficial "leaders" (i.e. the ones with the most rep) in CRAM have struck some kind of deal with several Factors, something that has begun to alienate other elements of the network. The details of this bargain is unknown, nor is it known if these Factors are "rogue" or not. Things could, to say the least, get much more complicated.

Jovian Anarchist Cells: This group is actually more vicious and hardliner than CRAM, almost unnaturally so. Like CRAM, the JAC once had more popular support, and aimed only to overthrow the Republic and replace it with something more answerable to the common people. Recently, the group collectively changed its attitude in a completely opposite, and disturbing, direction. The JAC makes no distinction between civilian, citizen, or military personnel in the Jovian Republic. They don't want to merely overthrow the Republic; they wish to see every single Jovian dead. In their eyes, the very existence of the Jovian people is collectively holding back transhumanity, clinging to ideas and cultures that have no relevance or place in the transhuman future.

A Firewall probe revealed something that explained the JAC's eerily genocidal goals: almost the entire network has been subverted by exhumans. The knowledge of this could make the already paranoid Republic far more determined to crush the JAC, by any means necessary.

How the JAC plan on literally wiping out the entire Jovian government and people is a mystery, but speculation has led to an idea that seems absurd: stellarize Jupiter. Absurdly impossible indeed---but then, TITAN tech tends to give that impression.

"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.”
-Abraham Lincoln, State of the Union address

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
You could just say, "that crab wouldn't stop talking about..."

Blueprint wars
"Proxy [REDACTED]" you say, "I'm from the inner system. Out here on the rim they believe in giving everybody the blueprints to everything. Why does everybody say I'd better have good rep? Shouldn't I just be able to grab what I need off the public mesh?"
The answer has multiple parts, several of which could get you killed. One is that lots of people like to design things, and very few are very good at it. If you want a hammer or a wrench, fine. You want a seeker that won't explode in your face? You need somebody who actually understands what they're doing.
"So I'll grab it from a project that has good reviews. What's the problem?" you say. Well, the problem is that people are jackasses and mesh security is terrible. Nobody has final say or final responsibility for any particular server node, so they're constantly being compromised and cleaned. Sure, you've pulled three blueprints from that server, no problem. The fourth might decide to print out a hundred pounds of high-explosive or, god forbid, an entire griefer. And everything's mislabled, either through stupidity or malicious action. We think some of the noise comes from sunward, maybe hypercorps trying to prevent competing designs, but a lot of it comes from people who get off on causing random destruction right here at home. Entire habs have been lost to particularly nasty boobytrapped blueprints. If you're lucky somebody's watching what the fabber is making and recognizes it. Sometimes it's obfuscated well enough that it gets through. Get some rep, and get somebody in your network to verify the blueprint. There are some worms that tamper with known blueprints, too. If your mesh inserts ever get compromised, you might want revert all your blueprints to a known backup.
The situation can get worse. "Known good" projects can be compromised in a lot of ways, particularly by tampering with a local mirror of a remote hab's design. The modified gear gets everywhere, and nobody notices until it's too late. Guns that won't shoot at a particular faction, seekers that can be remotely detonated, entire morphs just waiting for sudden subversion.
These things can happen sunward, but if there's one thing central authority is good at it's coming down hard on people and containing information.

(That's my personal explanation for why blueprints cost rep, and why complicated things cost more rep. Also turns into a nice Anarchist x-threat!)

SquireNed SquireNed's picture
Another thing to remember is

Another thing to remember is that the push for blueprint security pushes blueprints into one of two systems:

The first are open archives with heavy activity logging. Nanofabrication blueprints come with more than just the download; you are expected to provide feedback, design critiques, and generally contribute back to the project. Most Firewall operatives are incapable of doing that, and downloading a lot without sending some sort of reputation or credit contribution gets your reputation buzzed for leeching. Ideally, you could contribute, making improvements to the blueprint or even releasing your own, but this is something that you might not have the ability to do.

The second are closed-archives with central storage. These don't allow end-users to access designs, but they do need to be run by trusted sources, and many of them have to work around or within legal structures that are painful to them. Even if they curate only the best open source designs and provide only legal blueprints to users, they have a fairly large burden of verifying the quality of designs (often by printing several themselves), and while capitalist archives let you just pay a fee to download a blueprint, @-list ones require rep as compensation.

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
Revolutionary's Starter Kit

Revolutionary's Starter Kit

This Open Source project has been running in the outer system for at least five years. Their stated goal is to 'provide the tools necessary to liberate the means of production.' To this end the project has been collecting and amalgamating weapon blueprints and designing Protean hives that will print an entire arsenal at once, including a new hive. These hives have been found across the inner system and implicated in several mass shootings. Recently it appears that the RSK project has set their sights even higher. The latest experimental releases of the kit attempt to enrich enough unstable isotopes to produce a small implosion type nuclear weapon. So far the design has a low success rate, but we expect the next 'stable' release will provide WMD access to a large segment of Transhumanity. This design is particularly dangerous on planets, due to the strict control of fissile materials on most spaceborne habs.

There are several releases of the RSK in the wild. The most common recent release contains [Expensive+]:

2x SMG
2x Automatic Rifle
1x Railgun-type Light Machine Gun
200x AP SMG Rounds
500x AP Rifle Rounds
1000x AP LMG Rounds
1x RSK Hive
10x Frag Grenades

The RSK project is known to maintain databases for more exotic weapons, and specialty packages including anti-tank weaponry have been observed in the Jovian Republic.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
MAD Crab wrote:Revolutionary

MAD Crab wrote:
Revolutionary's Starter Kit

Ohhh! I like.

What does the kit contain specifically. A bunch of firearms, or beam weapons? Seekers? How about asking for spray weapons or more exotic stuff. Can you customize the load out? Is it for providing weapons for a rabble of humanoid morphs? Does include the production of morphs and the means to sleeve them? How about space ships? How about more exotic stuff such as a navy (in case that turned out to be somehow important)?

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
Thanks! I've added what I

Thanks! I've added what I think might be a common gear set. I'd love to see other people put together their ideas for a standard RSK package, probably including armour. I don't want it to be a kitchen sink toolkit though. If nothing else, it would take absolutely forever to fab and be hard to hide.

By RAW proteans print one thing only, but there's no particular reason you couldn't pack a bunch of objects into one blueprint. I've kept to that, but I imagine a decent programmer could convince them to only print single objects or weapons. If we push it too far, we've basically moved into CM + blueprint archive territory. I can imagine that's another thing that the RSK project would do, but it would be a much bigger than a single hive that you can hide in your palm.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I was thinking of some ideas

I was thinking of some ideas for the RSK.

First lets tackle the hive. Your average specialized hive is about the size of a grape or a large cherry tomato. That might be too easy to spot. I mean, if it found in a bag or hiding spot, it might be recognized as the nanoswarm hive that it is. How about making it look like something an indentured worker or oppressed Jovian civilian might have, such as an ecto or tool kit? Makes smuggling it easier and maybe avoid getting arrested. Might even save the whole revolution if their oppressors find an ecto filled with copyrighted material instead of finding a RSK.

If it is made as a bigger object, it then has the option of being a device that could carry more blueprints and some ability to customize the print load out. It also could be a home for a simulspace server that could train people how to use weapons and how to be soldiers. It doesn't have to be a good simulation, just something realistic. It could also have the ability disassemble other objects so new RSKs could be disguised as them.

As for what the RSK prints, I was thinking of load outs per soldier. 1 package might contain an assault rifle, under barrel seeker launcher, some light combat armor with chameleon camouflage coating, some ammunition, flashlight, nanobandage, repair spray, specs, viewers, utilitool, and maybe a suit case or box to store it in. You then could tell the RSK to print 10 assault packages, 2 sniper packages, 3 anti-tank packages, and so on. The package system could be a way to ensure that each soldier has the proper equipment to do their job. The simulspace server could be used to train soldiers to how to use the equipment properly.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Some ideas for packages. I've

Some ideas for packages. I've already taken the liberty to total up the costs.

Basic Soldier package [1150]: Contains a number of items that all soldiers aught to have, such as gear to heal their fellow soldier, tools to spot and see the enemy, and if all else fails utilitools. Also pockets to hold the stuff. Lots of pockets.
-knife [50]
-nanobandage [50]
-repair spray [250]
-flashlight [50]
-specs [250]
-viewers [250]
-utilitool [250]
-some strap on pockets to hold this gear

Frontline Grunt package, Firearms [4850]: This builds on the Basic Soldier package, giving the soldier some serious firepower in the form of firearms. It offers an automatic rifle with armor piercing ammo. An under barrel seeker launcher for hard targets. Some heavy combat armor for defense with chameleon coating for camouflage. And a medium pistol as a backup weapon.
-automatic rifle [1000]
-rifle ammunition, armor piercing (200) [500]
-under barrel seeker launcher [1000]
-5 High-Explosive micromissle [500]
-5 HEAP micromissile [500]
-body armor (heavy) [1000]
-chameleon coating [50]
-medium pistol (backup weapon) [250]
-medium pistol ammo (100) [50]
-a suit case or box to store the stuff in
-some straps and pockets to carry the stuff in the field

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
Ah, nice! I like the idea of

Ah, nice! I like the idea of the integrated simulserver for gun training and selectable kits. For the general 'print any package' design we've definitely moved to the realm 'fabber' instead of hive though. That's okay, but I also like the idea of a hive that you can drop almost anywhere and come back to an arsenal waiting for you.

The Grunt Firearm package is excellent, thank you. It makes more sense than my original list.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
I'm pretty skeptical of a

I'm pretty skeptical of a protean swarm which can only make a single object making all that.

Just skip making a WMD and program the nanos to keep building stuff with that level of capability, a pocket sized grey goo bomb basically.

For something like this I think a set of proteans which aggressively override the blocks and logs on a preexisting CM by physically rebuilding the computer makes more sense. Keeps the untraceable guns anywhere thing, but removes the question of why anyone uses a CM any more if protean swarms can make anything.

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
You have a point on the

You have a point on the proteans, though that has been an argument since the game came out. I'm leaning towards the fabber/simulserver/database trifecta at this point, and scrapping the self propagation.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I'm glad that you like. I was

I'm glad that you like. I was thinking that a successful rebellion would need the following:

1. Weapons.
2. A trained militia.
3. Secrecy, or at least hard to find until its ready to begin.

A rebellion obviously needs weapons to force you oppressors to submit, and to make them not force you to submit. You need training otherwise you might wind up with more of a mob instead of an army. And secrecy so you can prepare the rebellion. Making the RSK include a sim server and ability to be disguised as common tools added 2 and 3 to the mix.

I think that a failed rebellion is worse than no rebellion at all. The oppressors will increase security and clamp down to ensure control. Its will make life worse for the oppressed.

The package system that I used, I used because I thought that civilians wouldn't know what a good mix of weapons would look like, or how to properly equip a soldier. Offering them packages like the frontline grunt package would ensure that they were properly equipped. It in no way was supposed to prevent them from being able to customize what was printed (if they needed something else). I thought it was better than printing out a bunch of weapons and ammo and hope that they would be able to figure things out.

Anyways, I think the RSK might be getting a bit too complex for this X-Risk thread. Maybe start a new thread in the homebrew section and leave this thread for new ideas.

Panoptic Panoptic's picture
I would like more detail on

I would like more detail on failed habitats. The ones who were insecure, who allowed in exhumans or homicidal lunatics from the Fall. A habitat like that could be a salutary lesson or a creepy adventure setting.

On 'IC Talk': Seyit Karga, Ultimate

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eaton eaton's picture
To be fair, though…

…One of the big advantages of small autonomous clusters is failure isolation. Six egos in a tin can are vulnerable in ways that (say) Liberty City isn't. On the other hand, if Liberty City is compromised? Whole lotta egos are toast, and there are no good breakwalls to stop an exsurgent cascade from turning everything with legs into a vector.

Which one of the risk-sets you find more palatable is where things get interesting.

Yogo Ted Yogo Ted's picture

They called the place Nahda. Not nada, nothing, although the name fits now. Nahda's Arabic. It means something like Awakening. There are Brinker habs all over the system, some of them, like Nahda, started up well before the fall. Places founded on dead end ideologies, or bizarre mutant social structures. You could argue for Nahda fitting both those categories. It was, maybe technically still is, a mosque.

I don't know much about religions, never did, but if you talk to other folks who lived within a couple million kilometers of Nahda, they can say a bit. They were peaceful they say. Took the pillars of their faith seriously in their own way. They were technological progressive. Not over-loved by some of their fellows. Believed in some alternate interpretations of the Hajj, for one. Thought that the sign of Allah was in each of us. Took to looking for it there, in the mind, in the cells. There on Nahda. Awakening. Nothing.

The fall came. Nahda had not much space. But they were a weird mix of monk and scientist. They did have servers. And a nuclear pile whose half-life won't come due for a few geological seconds yet. They made an offer. Convert. Learn. Help their search. They'd put you up. They had plenty enough friends at the universities down on the marble. Access to the kind of equipment you could jury rig into a far caster. Plenty of people came to Nahda. Woke up there. Brought nothing but their souls, and their knowledge, and history.

Folks did plenty worse things than convert to get out from under The Fall. Killed. Bought. Begged. Sold others and themselves. Nahda took who they could, simulspace for hundreds. Thousands. Couldn't say how many anymore. But some folks would have done worse things to get out, and they ended up on Nahda instead. Hector Mora was one of them. I remember him, even if you all don't. He was a researcher on the old home. Studied the kinds of things Nahda studied, built the kind of morphs people died for. Tianshu. Angels. Black ops bodies that moved like anything, looked like nothing. Wanted to build a body he saw in a dream once. Thought god gave it to him. Not that different from the folks on Nahda in that way. Inspired. Divine.

His skills earned him a body. Studying bodies, the great work. The rest...gets hazy. He left after four or so years. Hitched a ride on a water hauler, bringing a heavy case with him. Refrigerator. Big enough to hold a fabber. A nuke. A body. Manifest doesn't say. But we do know that the call to prayer stopped going out from Nahda seven days later. I had family there. Or close enough. You can buy blood with credit, children with enough rep, but nothing will buy you family. I hadn't heard in a while and I poked around mesh wise. Got myself together a group of folks in a similar situation. Came to Nahda. Came here.

This broadcast will probably be the last thing I ever send out. The inside of this place, it's been turned wrong. The others are gone. The shuttle ... the Martian disabled it before her head popped. The old radio here seems like it works. Used to send out a call to prayer. Now I guess I've got something of my own to say. Do not come to Nahda. There's nothing here. And it's awake.

Panoptic Panoptic's picture
eaton wrote:…One of the big

eaton wrote:
…One of the big advantages of small autonomous clusters is failure isolation. Six egos in a tin can are vulnerable in ways that (say) Liberty City isn't. On the other hand, if Liberty City is compromised? Whole lotta egos are toast, and there are no good breakwalls to stop an exsurgent cascade from turning everything with legs into a vector.

Which one of the risk-sets you find more palatable is where things get interesting.

Personally, I'm fine with both as a means of keeping options open. What I'm getting at is that some of those habitats have (or had) laxer security measures and outlooks than Liberty or even other small habitats, and then paid the price for it. Small doesn't have to be a byword for "vulnerable".


And nice work, Yogo Ted.

On 'IC Talk': Seyit Karga, Ultimate

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Yogo Ted Yogo Ted's picture
There's even an argument made

There's even an argument made in X-Risks that small means more secure. Harder to intrude into a location where everyone knows everyone and sees each other every single day. Perhaps the least secure locations in the system are the Scum Swarms. Big self-organizing masses of anarchists, who are mobile, have fabbers, have nuclear plants that could be trimmed to be critical or used to power anything, have large scale communication arrays capable of blasting out poisonous data

On the other hand, they are also probably one of the places Firewall is the most likely to have agents in operation. Doesn't really outway the potential of major outbreak on one, but there you have it.

Noble Pigeon Noble Pigeon's picture
An idea I had from the blurb

An idea I had from the blurb in the Morph Recognition Guide on neo-pig morphs:

Anarchist collective known as the Blackhawk Pharm replaces the morphs of Direct Action security guards with neo-pigs when they were on a bodyguard duty with several high-profile VIPs. This was done partly as a "harmless prank", and partly to highlight prejudice against uplifts when the inevitable Mesh comments about how the VIPs are guarded by "ugly pigs" begins coming in.

The DA mercs are completely unused to these kinds of morphs. That, combined with the lack of combat augmentations make their combat capabilities suffer as a result. This ties in neatly with the gruesome murder of one of the VIPs who happened to be a visiting Factor emissary, which occurred directly because of the problems caused by Blackhawk.

This causes an interstellar incident with the Factors, who seem particularly peeved that this member of their species was killed, an oddity given their emphasis on the whole rather than "individual" Factors. More Factor ships than usual are detected in local space, but no overt threats are made yet.

Blackhawk Pharm, for their part, doesn't give a shit about "these corporate leeches". The Factors are their problem, not the collective's. And maybe if the Consortium didn't have state-sponsored prejudice against all things non-human, maybe the Factor wouldn't have been killed. Right?

Direct Action is gearing up for something major. To them, this is a gross violation of their security and a serious blow to their image. And the Consortium hopes that striking back and making noise will appease the Factors, who have still given nothing but cold silence, and more Factor ships. This also is not the first "harmless prank" Blackhawk Pharm has done, but it is by far the most dangerous and poses the biggest X-Risk.

Strikes on known anarchist habs in the main belt are imminent, including those aligned with the Autonomist Alliance. Firewall sentinels need to figure out what's got the Factors pissed, hunt down Blackhawk Pharm and figure out exactly what else they're trying to pull as pranks. Stopping the inevitable war between the Consortium and the belt anarchists is going to be much, much more difficult, if not impossible.

"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.”
-Abraham Lincoln, State of the Union address

MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Oh hey, something involving

Oh hey, something involving the Factors. ANd it feels organic. It seems like the Factors were almost an ornamentation, and unuseable as the sun whales.