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An Inquiry on the subject of Scum

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Dr. Maxwell Dr. Maxwell's picture
An Inquiry on the subject of Scum
Having just recently (Read: Finally) been assigned to a Firewall Cell. The team is a... well rag tag crew to say the least, including myself and my AGI friend (Brought in as a matter of course considering not only is it logical to bring in the only employee for the clinic I own and I will likely be expected to do ludicrously dangerous, progressive, and awesome (in the classical sense of the word) experiments so we don't need to preform constant cover ups, but because we spend very literally all our time together as he happens to "live" as it where in my ghostrider module) as well as a few others that we have not been informed the identity of. One of our agents happens to be, disturbingly enough, a high end Jovian intelligence agent of some secret agency allowed to use radical morphs and nanotech (How did he come to Firewall I wonder, and how will he react on seeing my personally biosculpted morph, working with an Watts-MacLeod infectee (Read: async, psychic, freak with titan mind powers, take your pick) and an AGI?) but that is something I have enough information and personal experience to work with. But I ramble. The real reason for this request for aid is ironically about one of the more pedestrian member of our merry crew. Some person who I uncomfortably am informed to call "Scum" is going to be a member of our cell. While Scum barges do come to our hab, I tend to only get involved with handing out catch all detox medicine to the authorities and maybe stitching an inhabitants head up (My do people lose their mind if you approach them with a needle and thread. I run a free clinic and a for pay doctor's office to maintain the clinic, drop the cred for a nano-bandage if you want me to use one!) because I do poorly in social situations (Hard to have fun at mass gatherings when one can't even get out the right word and just pause in stilted speech for half a minute at all before getting shoved away by a mass crowd or some guy impatient to buy something called a "Churro") and avoid them when practical, especially as sources of entertainment. You don't have to read all of that last paragraph. Take away from it "I don't know much about scum." I know they ply some sort of space trade lane and combine it with a sort of carnival combined with black, or more often red, market. And because it is much easier for me to talk or interact socially when I have an extensive idea of what I am getting into, I would appreciate more information on the Scum society. Especially what to expect interacting with a Scum who will, at length be possibly lodged with me and will be on a hab, isolated from other Scum and cut off from their for a long period of time. And is there anything I could do to make him more comfortable? Has anyone had experience with Scummers? Or is anyone a Scummer themselves? (Also, is it Scummer? Scumer? Scum? How do I even address this person, and don't get smart and say "Not with a stammer!")
Don't forget to check out my open source biomorph and medtech files!
Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: An inquiry on the subject of Scum
Short answer: 1) Don't be a dick. 2) Don't be a fascist. 3) Don't be a prude. 4) Don't be judgmental. Long answer: For starters, Doc, you might want to consider pulling the stick out. Call 'em whatever you want. Scum is as scum does. While technically not one myself, I've spent more time on the scum fleet [i]Lot and His Daughters[/i] out rimward than most non-scum would consider to be healthy, so I know something of the life. Scum are proud of who and what they are (do your history homework here; it's how they got the name in the first place), so don't expect him to be shy about it. Shit, ask him about how he got into the life. Most scum I know love telling stories about life on the barge or in the swarm. So how do you get along with scum? Pretty simple, really: Don't judge them, and don't try to tell them what to do. They're not all repressed or concerned with outdated social mores like inner system folk. They enjoy life to the fullest, whether that means pumping themselves full of drugs until blood vessels start rupturing, getting into bar brawls, recreational psychosurgery or just a good ol' marathon orgy. If your buddy wants to indulge himself, let him. Being away from the fleet, where other t-humans may not be as open-minded, tends to get under a scum's skin (or casing if he's a synth) after awhile, and he's gonna need outlets to keep from getting too stressed. Don't bother trying to dissuade him; just be ready with nanobandages and your surgical tools for when he gets back. Also, don't assume just because he does risky/stupid/insane things that he's an idiot. Some of the smartest individuals I've known have been scum with tendencies to occasionally indulge in self-destructive behavior (and in the case of one person, that statement is to be taken literally—the man goes through synth shells like they're going out of fashion, but goddamn if he doesn't know more about astrophysics than I'll ever forget). By the same token, not every scum is a near-suicidal thrill-seeker either, and they're just as liable to enjoy kicking back with a good vid, attending a symposium, or watching a stream of the latest chess-boxing matches coming out of Aarhus. Bottom line: Scum are like any other transhumans, just maybe a little more in-your-face about it. If your new teammate is anything like the folks I've known in my day, then I'm sure you'll be shiny with him. Hell, indulge with him sometime; sharing a petal among friends is quite the bonding experience, or so I'm told. Also, welcome to the org. Try to keep your KDR above 2.1, or be prepared for the proxies to start shit-talking you behind your back.
Fion Ravenwater Fion Ravenwater's picture
I'll offer my dubious
I'll offer my dubious congratulations on joining Firewall, I guess. You're in for life now. Not sure why you're all buzzed about it; it feels like being in the Triads, but with nastier superiors. That's why I only work on contract. I've had contact with a large number of scum swarms (having spent a lot of time on Locus and Extropia) and have spent some time on a couple of different swarms on business and pleasure. Lilith here sounds more experienced than me on this note, though, so take her word first. I'll try to cover the important points in your parlance: [list] [*]Scum are highly variable. There are only a few commonalities between scum and even those are quite subject to change, so any data you glean here has a significant error margin. [*]Scum society is highly individualistic and yet extremely social. The density of scum swarms means that space is at a premium and privacy even more so, so they have fewer social mores about privacy. Being different is celebrated and the stranger the better. [*]Scum have very different social mores about things like forking, extreme morph modification and recreational drug/toxin (sometimes there's little difference) use. This is primary a function of their extreme freedom and hedonism memes, as anyone is permitted to do anything that doesn't curtail others' freedoms. Mental modification is a pillar of their society and skilled psychosurgeons are in high demand. What you'd normally refer to as "inhibitions" are essentially nonexistent. [/list] What does this mean for you? It means your colleague shouldn't have any issues with your body mod (though xe might suggest a quality fleshsculpter for improvements), AGI assistant or async. It means that you should steel yourself, as while xe likely won't have any issues with anything you do that doesn't apply in the opposite direction. You may have to get over your aversions to a lot of things that xe may do, as he won't take kindly to any perceived attempt to curtail his freedoms. Overall, you'll have an interesting ride. Xe'll definitely require significantly more patching up than you'll be expecting from a single entity. You'll get xis respect by not being a bigot; you'll keep it by not being afraid to try things. Prepare to have your horizons widened, Doc. Hope you survive the experience.