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A few questions on everyday life

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Lord Koniu Lord Koniu's picture
A few questions on everyday life
Not every EP session can be reduced to shooting exsurgents or stealing alien artifacts from exoplanets, and sometimes Firewall agents (not to mention individuals in other lines of work) have to integrate in a human settlement larger than 100 inhabitants. And... what happens then? All questions below relate to inner system transitional economies, since in Jovian Republic it all probablylooks rougly the same as in "our" world and anarchist habitats are small enough to rely on nanofabber magic. 1.Food & Healthcare Synths and infomorphs are still a minority on Mars (not to mention Luna), which leaves tens of millions of biomorphs and pods (pods have to eat too, right?) requiring regular sustenance. Even if we assume that they all have improved digestive systems and do not require as much of it, it's still an awful lot of food and water to produce. Water: It comes from the polar caps, right? I'm no expert, but doesn't that require hundreds of kilometers of pipelines, prone to malfunction, sabotage or heavy weather? And if it's transported in tankers, what happens if they are stopped? Or hijacked? And that's just Mars. Are there such convenient water sources on Luna or Mercury? I think not. Anyway, if the water is harvested from the permafrost, how is that done, exactly? Does that require actual workers? If yes, will the weak AIs suffice? What machines and structures one has to build to make this economically viable? Food: We know from the Corebook that there are farms on Mars, but the text lacks further information. What structures are built and what technologies used? How many workers are required to run it smoothly and - again - do they need to be sapient? How does one cultivate crops, vegetables, flowers, yeast and other plants on such a farm? And what about livestock, and all the products derived from it (like cheese, milk or eggs)? Lastly, how are these farms organized? Do they specialize, for instance in wheat or raising cows, or are they "general purpose"? Are they microcorps or part of a larger company? And when it is produced and shipped to the city, where can I buy it? Are there supermarkets or shopping malls, or is it home delivered? Can I expect restaurants and food stands? Hospitals: Again, only the biological part of the population can be ill or wounded, and it's much more resilient than it is now. Does people in EP need doctors or nurses? After all, they have nanomagical healing vats, able to cure ANY disease and ANY injury in a matter of hours. How is the healthcare system organized, if it exist? And no, back alley surgeons patching up gangsters after shootouts are not "healthcare system". Security: I was wondering: since all currency is purely electronic and most valuables are small enough to keep in one's personal safes, how would the future banks look like? Would they have vaults, offices and large lobbys, like they do today? If yes, what would be the security measures keeping robbers away? Same goes for hypercorp HQs with sensitive intel on the servers. And if we screw the job and the police is alerted, what then? What is the police response time and what firepower can they bring with them? Living Cost: So the other day one of my players tried to bribe a Martian cop and I wondered: is 500 credits enough, too little or too much? Should this cop laugh the character to death or kiss his hand? My point being: how high are salaries and taxes on Mars or Luna? What about bills and rents? How costly is it to live downtown, have a vehicle, send kids to school or eat in a good restaurant? (if there's one, see above). Is gun ownership, drug dealing and prostitution legal and if yes, to what extent? Damn, that came out way longer than I intended. Thanks in advance.
Noble Pigeon Noble Pigeon's picture
Let's assume that this
Let's assume that this assessment only applies to Mars. Space habitats are going to be different, mostly because of the fact that every square meter of a space station needs to be built, whereas Mars is an entire planet. [b]Food[/b]: I'd think that even the underclass of Mars still has access to basic necessities like clothes, food and water thanks to public or private nanofabs. The problem is that, while it's food, it's also food that is, at best, merely okay. Nanofabricators take up energy, and they take time to fabricate stuff on top of that. Also, they're probably going to have a queue and run off of a "first come, first served" thing. Hence why farming is still a thing, because people still like to eat real food. I'm sure that even in the transhuman, post-singularity future, the phrase "printed meat" sounds weird and gross to some people. A lot of the actual farming would be automated, and they'd probably be in big domes. Beyond that I couldn't say what the nitty gritty details would be, hopefully someone else can. Livestock exists, because rule of cool. Don't let anyone say otherwise with their techno-babble nonsense. I will have my rust cows, damnit! Also, habitats that can afford the space to have them are probably also going to have grocery stores, but they're going to be actual grocery stores, not places like K-Mart or Target. You can either go there yourself or have a drone pick up stuff for you. Or maybe an indenture if you have one of those things. [b]Hospitals[/b]: Panopticon had this to say about Medical care:
With widespread genetic engineering eliminating most common diseases and defects, much of the medical care on a habitat is geared towards emergency response, research, biomorph cloning, and resleeving. Provisions in a tin can habitat can be as sparse as a single medical rack outfitted with first aid kits and an auto-doc that can perform simple diagnostics, wound treatment, and fluid infusions, while torus habs, cylinders, and Cole bubbles with large populations may have a full trauma center with a hypobaric chamber for decompression sickness and “healing vats” that stabilize the patient while high-quality medichines go to work. Most people actually turn to their personal muse to resolve everyday problems and temporary maladies, such as an allergic response to a pollutant in the environment. The muse can identify the problem, determine the appropriate response by cross-referencing data on the mesh with their user’s medical history, order whatever is required, and have it nanofabbed or delivered to their user with little to no conscious input. Except for residents in communities without access to modern technology, no one really goes to see the doctor anymore unless the problem is beyond “off-the-shelf” solutions.
I'd imagine that on planetary cities, "hospitals" still exist, but they're much smaller in comparison to today's. [b]Water[/b]: I'm not exactly sure how water goes around on Mars, but again, Panopticon had this to say for space habitats (quoting these are largely useless if you've already read the book, but whatevs)
The water cycle in a habitat is one of its most essential functions because water is the universal currency in the solar system. Even infomorphs have a hard time getting on without a key base material in industrial processes. It is no coincidence that the major population centers tend to have local water resources. Only Mars and the subsurface oceans of some moons have accessible liquid water, so it arrives at most habitats in the form of ice. The first step in the process is using vapor-compression distillers with a dual evaporator-compressor system to eliminate contaminants both lighter and heavier than water vapor, leaving only pure water at ambient temperature to flow out. From there, the potable water is pumped throughout the habitat for a variety of uses. Many microgravity stations also treat the purified water with anti-microbial nanobots. Water transport must be done at pressure or through capillary action in microgravity habitats because there is no intrinsic force to assist. As a result, proper wetting of soil, for example, becomes problematic. Capillary “nets” that spread water distribution from the input in a plant growth chamber and draw out any excess water flow to the chamber output can help with this. Waste water, including from biomorph activities, must be removed by suction. Habitats with artificial or local gravity have the advantage of a natural flow direction for plumbing. Some larger colonies even provide a pseudo-random rain system designed to maintain ideal moisture levels while simultaneously providing the psychological benefits of changing weather. At the designated times, water droplets at elevated temperature are vented into the atmosphere for condensation. This can be easily done in a dome structure on a planetary surface, while a rotating habitat requires some sort of “overhead” irrigation that avoids trapping the water near the axis of rotation. Waste water is usually sorted into two categories: sewage or “blackwater” contaminated with urine, feces, or industrial waste and “greywater” from washing, bathing, atmospheric processing, and other activities that do not introduce toxic materials. Sewage is routed to vapor compression distillers for purification, while greywater can be recycled for such things as plant irrigation and oxygen generation. Spimes monitor water quality throughout the process and immediately identify the responsible authorities if a leak is detected or a contaminant is introduced to the fresh water supply.
[b]Security[/b]: This...I don't know. This is one of those areas of Eclipse Phase where I think "yeah okay, sure, banks will be almost entirely virtual because efficiency and that's how the rate of technology would go"...but I can't help but think how utterly boring and sterile that is from a gameplay point of view. There's no big vaults that have secret prototypes of stuff because they can all easily just be blueprints for nanofabrication on a hardwired, secure data network that is only accessible in a single boring room. If you're going to go on a heist, you need only to kidnap someone who is one of those fancy "mobile offices" the books keep talking about, and then you need a Mesh specialist to get mad dosh. If not, tough luck. At least in Shadowrun you can run and gun your way through secret vaults and that kinda stuff. Someone prove me wrong, and I mean that in the least sarcastic way possible. What practical use could anyone ever have with a physical vault? Beyond, y'know, for alien artifacts, or the only known genetic samples of polar bears.
"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.” -Abraham Lincoln, State of the Union address
uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Some people want the old tech
Some people want the old tech solution like vaults in order to have the comfort plus to keep it off the purely data version. Just as in nowadays we still use a lot of cash alongside digital currency. Plus hardline data networks provide the sort of physical location for EP Shadowrunners to infiltrate as nothing purely useful in digit form will always be accessible. If I have blueprints for something rare, it would be more cost effective for someone to steal those blueprints than to reproduce them themselves with Programmming so they will want to steal them and I will want to keep them in air-gapped secure locations. Providing the "here is why you need to commit a heist" sort of plotline. Plus Inception level stuff too about kidnapping people and tricking them into thinking your idea is their idea.
Exhuman, and Humanitarian.
UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Panopticon covers many
Panopticon covers many general ideas of basic habitat living infrastructure and the like, though that's slightly more geared toward space than planetary living. Others have hit most of your points, but I'll give my understanding.
Welcome to the beauty of public nanofab. So long as Makers have a steady flow of power, they can recycle organic matter and water and can produce basic "food". Of course, in the Planetary Consortium the level of quality for public and even consumer-level private fab tends to be low unless you're very rich. So as discussed in some earlier threads, people probably hit up the corner shop or the farmer's market. Some of the food you buy is synthesized (vat-grown cloned meat, synthesized drink powders, premixed maker paste which prints any kind of noodle you like), others are grown fully. Mars does this in agridomes mentioned a couple of times in the text, outside the major cities. Huge open sprawling ranches or farms are beyond Mars as written, but contained and controlled domes can grow staple crops and handle low-impact livestock like sheep, goats and alpacas. Luna has large volumes of green space in their caverns (as do many Cylinder habs) which can serve similar purposes. What and how they grow it is up in the air. It probably involves lots of drones, and may be assisted by nanoswarms or smart animals. AI oversight is probably common, though obviously you need humans to manage and maintain operations. Like everything, some are probably wholly-owned or run by microcorp scale enterprises, but there is a food-related Hypercorp, Prosperity Group IIRC, and they hold a [i]big[/i] share in the Hypercorp Council. How does it get to you in the city, you ask? Well, the beauty of Eos rail! Mars has less surface area than Earth and only a handful of major city destinations. Any major farming community probably hooks up to the maglev lines at some point and ships it in. Huge supermarkets and sprawling malls are probably done for - too space inefficient, but any given neighborhood probably has a decently sized grocery outlet - probably brand name. If you have cash, I'm sure you can arrange delivery either direct from the store or with another service, like Amazon is doing now. Otherwise, most households are said to have access to at least one Servitor bot. Restaurants, yes. Food stands, also probably yes. Go into a small neighborhood, or hit up the souks outside the dome, you'd probably find a lot of little industry like that. Remember, with the right licenses (or the right hacks) you can put your entire means of production in your back room.
Well, the Panopticon quote covers core infrastructure and recycling in a hab space itself. This applies to basically everywhere which isn't Mars or an oceanic moon. There are a couple of things to remember about Mars in this regard. First is that Mars is undergoing terraforming - basically growing a biosphere. Just pumping the water straight to you is a waste, that water needs to build a natural cycle. Melting the ice caps, permafrost fields and dropping iceteroids is all about building water levels on Mars. One of the books describes a terraforming worker (which would mostly be done by the Martian nomads) finding an ice field and planting thermal rods in it to melt the ice and make it liquid. The second is that basically every major city on Mars is or will be waterfront property. Artificially made rivers actually flow through them. So while Mars isn't up to rain storms or wetlands or any of that, there is a steady enough flow of water for that. From there it's just recycling infrastructure. Smaller habs probably have to ship in ice from the poles to keep their recycling levels up.
Again, Panopticon handles the general infrastructure of all this. So under normal circumstances, you're dealing with Poison Control and Accidents. Now, Medical Care is a service, and in placed like the Planetary Consortium, that means you have to pay for it. If you have a job - this is no problem. If you do not have a steady source of income, well, you better be able to pay those emergency room fees otherwise it's another indenture stint for you. What kind of health care plan you have probably decides how you get your care. Some services might send a couple of paramedics (or just a Dr. Bot) over to your house and treat you there, or haul you to your local trauma center (I'd assume every dome has at least one) for more serious treatment. Anything that can be handled with drugs is like how you handle groceries. If you have Mesh inserts, you have biomedical sensors you or your muse can cross-reference, then order out to the "drug store" and get whatever you need made right away in a specialized medical Maker. Doctors and Nurses probably exist. Nursing jobs probably used to be handled by AI in Ayah pods, but there's a lot of desire for additional security in that regard. You might see more indentures doing that kind of job if any of them had basic medical experience. Doctors, also yes, because nanomedicine can be regulated, and not all problems are solved by just rubbing some nanos on it. You'd need a medical professional to figure out what treatment you need and to push the buttons on the vat. Plus, if you been in an accident (or a gunfight) you might need a personal touch to pull those dimondium hyperglass shards (or depleted uranium flechettes) out of your chest cavity before you go in the tube. At the very least, a robo-doc with hands.
Well, yes, most banks are electronic. I don't think there's a solid "cash" equivalent to an Inner System Credit, and even if there is it's probably a portable electronic storage medium. "This chip contains 2,000 credits", or something. If you want to be covert, you barter or deal in Crypto-Cred. Now, on Luna, they have a strong banking history. Due to their age and prestige, it is quite likely Lunar banks have big buildings, physical lobbies and have vaults and safety deposit boxes to hold your very valuable physical things. Mars, probably less so. Most of Mars is recent immigrants, lots of them ex-indenture. They're not likely to have high physical security needs. But there may be a few branch banks which have deposit boxes so you can store valuables not in your capsule apartment. The security measures are going to be future materials doors, the best data sec money can buy, and round the clock infomorph monitoring. If they don't employ private security, you know there's a red phone to the local PD tactical unit. Hypercorp security is the same, only with more money to throw at the problem. Hypercorps definitely have some physical locations - if nothing more than server rooms to host "virtual offices" or research park holdings to do R&D in. If you want to know what police response is like, you'll need to check per habitat. Mars, for instance, has a section on each city's law enforcement in [i]Sunward[/i]. In general, any space people are in which is not ultra-secure has either direct police access to internal sensors, or access with a warrant. Beat cops exist, probably mostly in flying cars and with just-short of riot gear. Panopticon even says cops on duty in Valles-New Shanghai double as public surveillance feeds. But when the big guns get pulled, it's tactical response. Which is basically paramilitary level - seeing as there is no codified martian military branch. Exoskeleton riot cops drop from VTOLs and say "your move, creep". So depending on what kind of threat level a group presents them as, they bring as much noise as they think they need.
Living Cost:
Okay, here, you need to do a little digging. In [i]Transhuman[/i], there is a system for handling living expenses/lifestyle cost on a monthly basis - using the same cost levels as gear. It gives a description for what kind of lifestyle you can expect at that cost level also. It's very abstracty, but a good way to put things in mechanical terms. 500 is either in the upper [Low] range or the lower [Moderate] range, so that PC may have just offered to pay a decent chunk of a beat cop's monthly expenses. Keep in mind that's just bills, food budget, maintenance, etc. For other costs, you kind of have to infer from this system. The game kind of lumps everything together. Now, for the trailer of your question - that's dependent on your hab. The LLA is highly paranoid about projectile weapons like guns (Though in a recent topic, it came up that this is overblown - it's an inconvenience which has been inflated to a public menace), while Mars is likely more loose. But in general, if you can buy personal protection, you can probably have it in some form. Prostitution is definitely legal, there's lots of discussion about "adult entertainment" as an indenture contract (and a short and lucrative one at that). How this is organized is probably up to you. Street-walking probably isn't as common (and might violate your local business regulations), but clubs, dollhouses and other establishments wouldn't be too hard to find. Drugs is probably a similar prospect. You get your product from a legit source, you can sell most anything - most drugs aren't nearly as harmful or limited as many modern substances (though probably a few of those running around). Regulations would be on the serious performance enhancers and combat drugs than anything recreational.
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Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Most of this has been well
Most of this has been well covered by others in this thread, so I don't have a lot to add. Food: Most plants are likely to be grown using more natural methods, though probably utilizing similar forced-growth techniques to those used in biomorphs. This is because nanofabrication uses a lot of power for what it makes, pretty much regardless of what its making. Calculations for how much power a nanofactory would draw vary a *lot* but I've seen 250 kW/h per kg for a fairly crude design which only works with diamond, and 1.4 kW per kg for a theoretical advanced air cooled desktop model. A larger liquid cooled industrial model would probably be more efficient than that. Finding numbers on the energy needed to grow food can be tricky, as a lot of the information seems to be for specific parts of growth (such as fertilizing) or be much larger numbers which include transport costs. From these numbers it looks like most plants and staple crops are better off being grown, while pretty much anything that isn't a primary producer is better off being nanofabbed, most likely using wet-nanofab. So from an efficiency point of view, animal products should be created artificially one way or another, while plants should be grown. This seems to be the way the game does it, as agri-domes are common (showing up in places as diverse as small Martian settlements, Locus, and Oort cloud research posts like Kepler). Water: Most places have close to perfect water recycling procedures, but will lose water slowly, especially in a vacuum. On Mars at least, this is less of a problem, as most of the big cities are in lowlands which are beginning to become pretty wet. VNS is split by a real river for example. Security: Banks will probably maintain front facing offices, especially as hubs for secure data-vaults. Those servers and other electronic systems need to be kept physically secure, as information security evaporates as soon as an intruder has physical access and time. Lunar banks especially, also use couriers with ultra-secure data chips, and those presumably need to be kept secure as well. I expect lockboxes still exist for physical goods such as pre-fall artifacts and other such things which can't be nanofabbed. Otherwise a lot of physical vaults would probably be to secure rare feedstock types (such as fissionables) or other rare or regulated resources. Cost Of Living: I find that treating credits as fairly similar to modern day USD works decently well, making morphs generally as expensive as vehicles are today.
Lazarus Lazarus's picture
Two things to add to the
Two things to add to the comments above; For medical you asked about why have medical if everyone has healing vats. First off, not everyone has healing vats. They are very expensive. Also, I don't believe they are intended to be fully automated. They heal up damage via nanite magic but bones still need to be set and wounds still need to be closed or else the nanites might heal them up wrong. IRL you go to a hospital for a lot of reasons beyond 'they make it heal faster'. The vat will make things heal faster but it can't provide any (or many) of those first services. As for banks, one thing I could definitely see banks still being needed for is feedstock. Rather than physically retaining possession of feedstock that isn't immediately going to be reused you could take the material to a bank where it is logged and placed in the bank's reserves. When you need that material at a later date you withdraw it and are issued the correct amount from the bank's reserves. Naturally there are also a variety of services such as feedstock exchanges which can be handled through the bank (I need 2 kg of lead to make some bullets so I trade in 1.2 kg of iron that I have in my account).
My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.
MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Banks in EP is an interesting
Banks in EP is an interesting question. Banks wouldnt be about holding money for safety. Though they would still preform their primary duties in societies with an old currency. Accept Deposits Issue Lends Process Payments Manage Credit And there would still be prized physical goods. I imagine the roll of safety deposit boxes havent changed really. Though there wouldnt really be much in the way of single copies or hard copies of important documents or IDs. That wouldnt all be physical. (except in probably the Jovian Republic) But anything physical of value, a safety deposit box works. Like RPPRs football helmet. I also imagine banks would, do what banks did before telecommunications. You would get a form of bank notes, that is guarantee of your debt will be paid by the issuing bank. Its possible for you to be so far away from your commercial bank, that its impractical to check on your actual funds. Though some things probably wouldnt exist. Like Bearer Bonds probably wouldn't exist.
ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
vaults and deposit boxes
vaults and deposit boxes would definitely still exist, especially for those sequestering authentic old earth relics. iirc it was mentioned that a baseball cap, which is one of the most mass produced products of our time, would allow you to live comfortably for a year on mars, or potentially one night on parvarti ;), if sold at auction.