[Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat

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root root's picture
[Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@bswitch@carnival of the goat [hr] Aside from the stationary scum station, Fresh Kills, near Earth’s L5 Lagrange point, the most notorious scum barge may well be the Carnival of the Goat, a combination artist colony and den of unfathomable hedonism, dedicated to exploring chaos, creativity, self-discovery, and coupling in every conceivable iteration. Residents are known for their consistent and rapid morphological changes, including regular resleeving. The biosculptors on the Carnival are said to be some of the best in the system. According to rumors, residents sometimes experiment with multiple simultaneous sleeving, persona-mingling, and other mentally dangerous activities. Led by a rotating residents’ council, the Carnival prides itself on being a bleeding-edge social experiment, and maintains top-of-the-line facilities for morph customization, resleeving, and psychosurgery.
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root root's picture
Re: Carnival of the Goat
root@bswitch@carnival of the goat [hr] The scum barge Carnival of the Goat is run by the criminal organization e[sup]N[/sup], which consists of forks of one individual, named Simons. The Carnival of the Goat is a pleasure barge, a qbit stock exchange, an extropian market, casino, and indenture broker. The Carnival, through a byzantine set of legal rules, houses a null-law zone, the activities of which earned the name "the Goat". e[sup]N[/sup] ignores any activity inside the Goat that does not threaten the barge itself, but maintains interests in the simulspace servers housed in the Goat, collectively referred to as the Harmonics. The Harmonics are simulspace servers that test the limit on what is considered sub-Seed processing power, and are home to the teeming masses of infomorphs that trapped themselves in the Goat by gambling away their morphs. The simulspaces run everywhere from x60 to x1/60, and feature a mind bogglingly diverse array of virtual worlds. The worlds are built by the resident infomorphs, all of whom are looking for that one big score that can get them embodied and back to gambling on the qbit stock exchange. As such, the residents of the Harmonics are notoriously predatory, and feature some of the most brutal and exploitative social structures seen in the Sol system.
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root root's picture
Re: Carnival of the Goat
root@bswitch@carnival of the goat [hr] And that's the Carnival. I'll need to flesh out the details some, but it can be summed up as Bioshock In Spaaaaace!
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Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: Carnival of the Goat
with the player characters fitting the role of Big Daddy? how does the barge/station look like, inside and out? I've had bit hard time to picture it in my mind
[center] Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R [/center] Remember The Cant! [img]http://tinyurl.com/h8azy78[/img] [img]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/theeye_fanzine_us...
Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: Carnival of the Goat
edit sorry net hickup led to forked post
[center] Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R [/center] Remember The Cant! [img]http://tinyurl.com/h8azy78[/img] [img]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/theeye_fanzine_us...
root root's picture
Re: Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] I'm not sure the players would be Big Daddy, unless they were in Reaper Morphs. I haven't come up with a look for it yet, but I'm hoping to have some illustrations at some point in the near future. Probably the dirty drifter bazaar look for the Goat, and the hyper-clean chrome and white look for the Carnival part. The book has the Carnival written up as an anarchist artists commune, probably inspired directly from Freetown. As Rob Boyle is an anarchist, he would probably kick me for trying to corrupt the ship's setting into one with more resemblance to a central Europe black market than an artist commune. But the way the place is described it is the perfect place for a criminal organization to set up if they specialize in helping people avoid ego-hunters. On top of that, "unfathomable hedonism" will draw criminals with the inevitability of gravity, as in Eclipse Phase, everything we currently think of as hedonism is pretty much just par for the course. After you see one Swarmoid gangfuck of a 15-throated tentacle-monster, what really is there left to see or do? Jaded transhumans will support a gambling enterprise where egos are a standard currency, and the thrill of making inadvisable deals with the devil is a one way ticket to a morphless indenture.
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Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
Hm, this is a promising start, but I'd like to know much more about the Carnival! :) :)
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
I might want to use the Carnival as setting for the potential climax of an adventure I am working on right now, so this thread is very welcome. One question I really need answered: where is the barge located? I have a feeling it is quite mobile, so it could be almost anywhere. I doubt it would go that much into the deep inner system (too easy for forces of law, order and puritanism to get close) but mainly keep to the Belt? Maybe occasionally visiting destinations in the Trojans and near Saturn. One part I would like to develop is the petal designer community. They sell their wares and compete in style, vision and for high-rep testers in Our Lady of the Flowers, a section of the barge remodelled to look like a gothic cathedral bursting with psychedelic flowers. The leading designers are as ruthlessly competitive about their status as any warez-gangs (and about as vindictive to anybody copying their masterpieces without permission). Getting into the plays between La Apollonie, Mimosa I, Mimosa II, and Jack “Brassinosteroid” Chory is a guarantee of a psychedelic and very dangerous adventure - the combination of psychotechnology, aesthetic and sensual decadence, drug marketing, and deviant morality experiments is a heady mix. Vurt meets Jean Genet meets Ciudad Juarez.
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] Ciudad Juarez? Yea, I guess that would make sense. An ugly, violent, free-trade zone, where the policing force isn't on your side, and is likely home a number of different cults and serial killers. Massive wars between criminal factions that result in the deaths of thousands of people a year, and corruption as the standard operating procedure. Gods that place is ugly. In contrast to the cartels, I was thinking more along the lines of the vory v zakone, and their alleged connections to banking crime (Iceland? What?) and market manipulation. I've never read Vurt, but the semblance to the petal trade is fantastic. The way that the vurt drug trip has aspects of a secondary reality reminds me of the ayahuasca drug that Warren Ellis is so fond of. Apparently a large percentage of people who take that particular hallucinogen report being transported to a specific other environment, which Warren Ellis likes to use as a mystical setting and plot device. I also don't know anything about Jean Genet, but he seems like a fascinating writer, and perfect for the setting. I was thinking Howl by Allen Ginsberg, but Jean Genet seems a little more coherent. I was wanting the Carnival to be mobile enough to be able to dock at Luna (for the banks), and the Jovian Republic (for the intel community), as well as Extropia (the other laissez-faire market), and the more permissive outer colonies. I'm still working on a mechanism for the Carnival to be able to strictly follow the laws of a given polity while in their territory, sort of like how some boats take to international waters to perform abortions that are illegal in the countries they come from. One way to do it would be to keep most of the crime on the Harmonics servers, where they either can't be touched, or the whole thing can just be turned off for the duration. Another good way would be to use your banyan lawyer to just keep the red tape so thick that local policing forces just don't have the stomach to deal with it. Anyway, I want them to be able to dock at those ports so they can transport qbits between them. The qbits allow the Carnival to host the Undermarket exchanges markets that make their money off leveraging time differences between exchange markets in the system. I got the idea for that from one of my relatives, who apparently made a giant pile of cash by doing the same between the New York stock exchange and California. Of course, this is the same guy who supposedly turned down Walt Disney for ground floor investment in his funny cartoon rat, so this may be a bit of apocryphal family history. Also, did you gank all the names for petal artists from Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers? You'll have to tell us more about that section of the Carnival, as Jean Genet seems like reading that would take years to fully decompress after consumption. And as it turns out, I ran across a Blender script for making gothic cathedrals today, so I'll be able to draw it up as soon as I figure out how to use it.
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root wrote:
I'm still working on a mechanism for the Carnival to be able to strictly follow the laws of a given polity while in their territory, sort of like how some boats take to international waters to perform abortions that are illegal in the countries they come from.
"International waters" is likely the solution. Rather than enter a polity's legal space, the Carnival keeps outside and sets up convenient shuttle services to go there. The polity cannot do anything beyond limiting who gets to go to the Carnival or who is allowed to arrive from it (and boy, they are going to screen what people bring back carefully!)
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Also, did you gank all the names for petal artists from Jean Genet's Our Lady of the Flowers? You'll have to tell us more about that section of the Carnival, as Jean Genet seems like reading that would take years to fully decompress after consumption. And as it turns out, I ran across a Blender script for making gothic cathedrals today, so I'll be able to draw it up as soon as I figure out how to use it.
Not all names are from Genet, just Mimosa I and II (obviously two forks of the same original). Some other names that I simply must use are First Communion and the Queen of Rumania. Jack “Brassinosteroid” Chory and his protege/lover/creation Xia Mandava will be described in a bit more detail soon. I have not yet read Genet (still working my way through the Sartre I will be using for the main body of the adventure (!)), but I suspect there is plenty of useful ideas there. It sounds like just the kind of rebellion that fits some of the scum (yet it is also so antisocial that it would be taboo among autonomists). As I envision the Our Lady, it is a bio/nanotech Akihabara with strange decadent and fetish overtones. Hydroponic gardening a la Alejandro Jodorowsky and the Wachowski brothers, with some help from Baudelaire and Joris-Karl Huysmans. Bejewelled tortoises and people with designer addictions, quests for ultimate insight scripted by squabbling otaku nanokas, people secretly dreaming of a beautiful, bizarre, unique death so that their bodies will be placed on the Wall of Martyrs and used by the sacramental epiphytes.
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] Wow. That's quite the gallery of obscure-but-influential writers (other than the Wachowski brothers, of course). If I didn't have House of Leaves at the top of my reading queue, I would have to pick up Jodorowsky. But I would have to learn French, which I don't have the time for. The fact that none of his work has been translated is a crime against humanity. Or a crime against me, which is worse. An influence on the works of Marilyn Manson and David Lynch? Was a psychologist/philosophy student, and then dropped out to join the circus as a mime/clown? He had the opportunity to make The Story of O into a goddamn movie? Arenamontanus, this man is my new goddamn hero. If you can get me some visual references of his work, I promise I'll find a bathtub full of LSD to soak in while I illustrate the Carnival.
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root wrote:
Wow. That's quite the gallery of obscure-but-influential writers (other than the Wachowski brothers, of course).
As an European intellectual I am contractually obliged to namedrop obscure writers :-)
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If I didn't have House of Leaves at the top of my reading queue, I would have to pick up Jodorowsky. But I would have to learn French, which I don't have the time for. The fact that none of his work has been translated is a crime against humanity.
What about the comics? The Incal, the Technopriests and the Metabarons definitely exist in English translations. He is a bit too operatic for EP, but the Metabarons gives a wonderfully over-the-top idea about the "ideal" Ultimate.
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] The wiki entry lead me to believe that none of his works had been translated. I'll drop by my local comic book store and see if they have any of those in stock, or can order them for me. Does his writing have any similarity to Allen Moore?
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
Apropos my earlier posts, more material now exists at the end of http://www.aleph.se/EclipsePhase/Lurking.pdf As for Jodorowsky's writing... I would call it continental. Dramatic, over-the-top, sometimes like a self-parody. Allan Moore is restrained in an Anglo-Saxon manner compared to him.
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] Allen Moore is restrained in comparison? O.o -.- o.O Well, now I'm glad I ordered books 1 and 2 of The Incal. They should get here on Monday or Tuesday. The bathtub full of LSD didn't come through though, so I'll have to make do with caffeine and sugar.
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root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] Vegas in Space seems too pat, especially given the shift in cultural dominance due to the Fall. The largest banks are on Luna, which makes me think that Luna criminal factions would be very influential on the gambling culture. The Sun Yee On traid from Mare Vaporum Circumlunar People’s Republic seem a likely bet for benefactors and bankrollers, so CoG would bear resemblance to Macau in Space with some healthy competition from the likes of the vory. I was going to give Simon[sup]*[/sup] full captaincy of the ship, but that really isn't his style, and isn't as fun as having a headless parliament full of individuals who hate each other. So far that will include someone from the Cathedral of Flowers, Simon[sup]*[/sup], some Sun Yee On representative, that copyration lawyer brought up a few months ago, at least one "mystery" member for gamemasters to play with, and at least three more. Eight people is about the point where an open mike dialogue begins to break down, so there should be that many or more, each with their own agendas, and each being mainpulated by external powers with their own agendas. The place is chaotic enough that the council won't really be able to control it directly, so they have to use some of the ugly methods we came up with in the Crime and Punishment thread to maintain control. Everyone is always running a con, calculating an edge, and trying to screw everyone else out of everything. I like this for a rough draft at a motto: "You can force any game to be sum negative, and there is no end to what you can lose. Welcome to the Carnival."
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Rhyx Rhyx's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
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The bathtub full of LSD didn't come through though, so I'll have to make do with caffeine and sugar.
This reminds me of the first time I read Dune, I was sick in bed for a week with high fever, drugged on cold medicine and fading in and out of consciousness...best damned book I ever read! Re-reading later it I think I dreamt the most fun parts that I remember.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root wrote:
Vegas in Space seems too pat, especially given the shift in cultural dominance due to the Fall.
Vegas is a family destination. Even back at the start, it was intended to lure fairly ordinary and law-abiding people to spend their money: it was never much of a den of iniquity, since that would have scared away the punters. I see CoG as the scum answer to that scarcity economics: it doesn't have to attract anybody, it could continue on its own without external inflows, so it doesn't have to be tame, safe or sane. Of course, this is an oversimplification. But I could imagine the local politics having a tension between the criminals (who want to make money/rep) and the 'crazies' who just want to make CoG the most amazing hellhole/paradise imaginable with little concern if it scares away everybody from the outside. In between you get artiste types who want outsiders and some of their resources but don't want the place to be safe or boring, autonomists who just try to get everybody to get along without too much unplanned bloodshed and the dangerous crazies - who have ideas the others have to stomp on. I see CoG as the place where you go *because* you can lose everything there. Money, your life, your identity, your sanity, your soul. You can win equally fabulous things (and not just by gambling), but the dark rotten heart of danger is important to the habitat. It is Hotel California.
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someone from the Cathedral of Flowers
What about this guy: Bishop Florigen is the bishop of the Cathedral, the high priest of petals. It is the chief arbiter among the petal designers, leader of the celebrations and enforcer of proper behaviour among visitors (with the help of the Cathedral hierodules). It is sleeved in an apparently elderly hermaphrodite human body, carried by a cyborg hump on the back that extends long spider-like walking and manipulating legs around him. Its gentle smile is made somewhat disturbing by the shark teeth in its gums, but it always tends to speak and behave like a nice old vicar - as long as people behave. Florigen likes its job and wants to keep it (those hierodules are so cuddly, it gets to screw the minds of worshippers every day, it runs the coolest sub-habitat of the CoG!) If that means it has to play Byzantine political games, suck up to criminals one week and terrorists the next, so be it. The fact that the bishop has managed to stay in this position for almost three years now is a testament to its ruthlessness, flexibility and deviousness... despite its pious claims that any success is because the Burning God of Flowers is watching over its holy work.
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr]
Arenamontanus wrote:
Bishop Florigen is the bishop of the Cathedral, the high priest of petals. It is the chief arbiter among the petal designers, leader of the celebrations and enforcer of proper behaviour among visitors (with the help of the Cathedral hierodules). It is sleeved in an apparently elderly hermaphrodite human body, carried by a cyborg hump on the back that extends long spider-like walking and manipulating legs around him. Its gentle smile is made somewhat disturbing by the shark teeth in its gums, but it always tends to speak and behave like a nice old vicar - as long as people behave.
Very nice, very rich material to work with. I feel that Florigen would need to maintain its aura of detachment, and quite horrible power during a standoff with a violent and useless nobody, which in my opinion means it needs to have won that fight before it ever occurred. Something like having a backdoor into petal trips that allows it to drive the misbehaving individual into a catatonia of internal horror with a smirk, or gentle benediction. I'll have to think about that a bit. How about its behavior in council? Will it keep the old vicar behavior, or show some other face?
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root wrote:
I feel that Florigen would need to maintain its aura of detachment, and quite horrible power during a standoff with a violent and useless nobody, which in my opinion means it needs to have won that fight before it ever occurred. Something like having a backdoor into petal trips that allows it to drive the misbehaving individual into a catatonia of internal horror with a smirk, or gentle benediction. I'll have to think about that a bit.
Might be tricky to introduce into petals not from the Cathedral, but all the sacramental petals given away in the Cathedral might have that little hack. Also, it got the hierodules. As I imagined them they are churchwardens, sleeved in modified sexpods - quite possibly with some hidden weapons for subdual (or rough play). Behind the scenes in the Cathedral there is a church tacnet networking the bishop, his assets and no doubt a fair amount of sensors and flowers with *unusual* enhancements. The troublemaker might be in horrible trouble...
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When I became aware again I couldn't move. Inches from my face was the toothy, fatherly smile of the bishop. I could see some of the hierodules that had captured me in the background, holding... my old body. "Welcome back, my son. Here is your penance for breaking the tranquillity and ecstasy of my church, and a way for you to learn proper manners." I continued to try to move, but nothing happened. But suddenly my hand moved of its own volition and began to stroke the bishop. The hand and arm belonged to a hierodule. "We have put you into a ghostrider module in this one. You will participate in our celebrations and see what they truly are about until we think you have learned your lesson. Now, go away and pleasure someone or something." My/its body obediently slid off the divan and silkily climbed into the church spaces. I tried to go left, it turned right. I tried to activate some software release cord or get any control, but the module was clearly in prison mode. Then I noticed who the pod had targeted for pleasuring and I was distracted. No, not that one. Not there. Not in that way. But I had no choice but to experience it. ... I observed that according to the internal clock months had passed when the bishop took me into the sacristy workshop again. An odd sensation and things where back to how they were just before. No, I observed that I now had puppet module access to my body. If I wished I could give commands and it would obey. "There you are, my son. Now you are free to go. Go, and sin no more... if you wish." I wondered what I should do. I abstractedly knew that it would be best if the pod made a run for it, getting as far away from the Cathedral and the Carnival as possible. Get revenge, or at least a life. As I wondered the pod after a while began to pleasure the bishop. "Ahh. My son, do you know what embedded cognition is? Our minds *require* bodies to perform certain mental tasks, and they are shaped by them. In ancient times, people with locked-in-syndrome who were given neurointerfaces after they were totally paralysed could not control them. There was nothing wrong with their thinking, except that having been paralysed for long the cognitive links between desire and action had been broken. Ah. They might have wished to move, yet they did no longer have the agency to actually *will* a movement. Not even with a full neurointerface." As diamond limbs repositioned my body I considered its words. I really wanted to be somewhere else. Yet here I was. "You are the same, it seems. There is nothing stopping you from walking out except that you don't remember how to will something. Maybe you will in time remember it. Maybe you will instead accept your fate to be a hierodule's soul. I will enjoy watching your spiritual journey... closely."
(just couldn't resist making a mini-story out of one of the weirder philosophical debates about BCI failures. And demonstrate yet another way CoG might take characters beyond their breaking point...)
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How about its behavior in council? Will it keep the old vicar behavior, or show some other face?
I think he will speak like an old vicar, but be a pretty slimy politician. Say what needs to be said, play sides against each other, make deals, sell out his constituents when needed, give them enough advantages to want him in power. A level-headed, smart person with no need to pretend to be holier-than-thou.
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] That was... cold. I love it, and after I gather the warmth come back out of the dark, safe cave in my mind I'm hiding in, I'll be sure to use it. That really ups the ante for the other figures on the Council of the Goat. Speaking of, the book describes the Goat as being run by a "rotating residents' council", which implies that there are not supposed to be any permanent members. Our permanent members so far are Simon[sup]*[/sup] (the head of e[sup]N[/sup]), Bishop Florigen, and someone from Sun Yee On triad (I don't know much about triads at this point, so if anyone has studied them, please pipe up with a character idea). There will be a few more permanent members, and then the rotating part of the council. So we need to come up with the rest of the population, which leads to the question of who would be interested in putting up with all of the crazy on this boat, and what do they get out of it? The description in writeup in the book will likely be the outsiders understanding of the place. It's a place full of crazy people and artist, doing TITANs only know what with their designer orifices, playing dangerous games with their psyches, and occasionally releasing designer petals of the highest order. Anyone with more information will know it as the place where you can lose everything, and win anything. Anyone with even more information that that who is sane will avoid it like the plague if they have any choice. So, to make it an interesting place for players and gamemasters, what can it offer individuals who are out of choices? The best use of the Carnival for the desperate is a fantastic place to shake ego hunters. With all of the resleeving and psychosurgery, and Simon[sup]*[/sup]'s gang specializing in ego "transitioning", there are any number of ways to get disappeared. The trick is finding one that doesn't leave you fork-napped. Another use is disposing of goods you can't sell anywhere else (such as the TITAN artifacts mentioned earlier), or buying something you can't get anywhere else (such as someone's life to inhabit: morph, psyche, reputation and all of their baggage). There will always be throngs of people drawn by the promise of an easy fortune, and more throngs drawn by the promise of suckers who think there is a promise of an easy fortune, and a few sharks who prey on the jerks who prey on the suckers (ad infinum). It is also a place to have a good time, a good place to network, and a very good place for a clandestine meetup. In order for the politics to be decidedly nasty, it should be possible for one of the powers to hide anyone from any of the other powers, so it is still a great place to hide even if you are hiding from one of the people running the boat. The culture should be split between the embodied and the bodiless. There is finite room on a boat to contain morphs, but the desperate can always get cheap processor space and disappear into the depths of the Harmonics. Hmm. I'll let that brew in my head for a bit.
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
Here is my writeup for the good bishop - it is such a fun NPC, I can see many ways it could be involved in adventures. In addition, two other interesting figures for us to put into the carnival: the morph designer Jorge Raúl de Guzman and confidence trickster Bender Orghini. Bishop Florigen Scum politician/hedonistic priest Bishop Florigen is the bishop of the Our Lady of the Flowers, the high priest of petals. It is the chief arbiter among the petal designers, leader of the celebrations and enforcer of proper behavior among visitors (with the help of the Our Lady hierodules). Actual age: 86 Morph: Spider (see below). An apparently elderly hermaphrodite human body, carried by long spider-like walking and manipulating legs emerging from its back. Its gentle smile is made somewhat disturbing by the shark teeth in its gums. COG 15, COO 20, INT 20, REF 25, SAV 40, SOM 20, WIL 15 TT 6, LUC 30, IR 60, WT 8, DUR 40, DR 60 MOX 2, INIT 90, SPD 2, DB 2 Ego traits: Allies (Hierodules), Ambidextrous, First Impression (Level 1), Patron (Our Lady of Flowers), Addiction (Sex, Level 2), Black Mark (Lunar), Enemy (Bender Orghini), Neural Damage (Ideomotor apraxia) Morph traits: Improved Immune System (Level 1), Striking Looks (Level 1), , Uncanny Valley Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Enhanced Smell, Clean Metabolism, Enhanced Pheromones, Grip Pads, Access Jacks, Mnemonic Augmentation, Reflex Booster, Medichines, Oracle, Respirocytes, Bodysculpting, Scent Alteration, (6x) Extra Limbs, Telescoping Limbs: Armor: Energy 4, Kinetic 6 Melee weapon: Unarmed strike (skill 60, 1d10+2), cyberclaws (skill: 50, DV 1d10 + 5, AP -2) Skills: Academics: Psychology 55, Academics: Cognitive science 45, Art: Preaching 50, Blades 50, Climbing (Mountaineering) 60 (70), Deception 70, Fray 65, Freefall 65, Freerunning 70, Interest: Petals 55, Interest: Body art 45, Interest: Lunar politics 55, Intimidation 70, Kinesics 70, Language: Mandarin 90, Language: English 60, Networking: Autonomists 70, Networking: Criminals 60, Networking: Media 50, Persuasion 85, Pilot: Groundcraft 35, Profession: Politics 65, Profession: Priest 65, Profession: Arbitration 45, Protocol 70, Research 60, Unarmed Combat 60 Motivations: +Pleasure (It is a devoted hedonist, taking its own pleasure very seriously), +Complexity (It thinks the true purpose of the universe is to maximize complexity, and hence all actions that enable more life, intelligence or structure to form are good), -Nature (It dislikes the natural world – to become worthwhile things have to be refined and improved.) Gear: Smart ceremonial clothing, tactical network (with cathedral security and hierodules) Rep: @-rep: 80, g-rep: 30 Credits: significant amounts hidden in Lunar and Extropian banks. Muse: 06.66.69, notable skills: Academics: Botany 40, Interest: Scum Drug Dealers 40, Profession: Squad Tactics 40 Roleplaying tips: Florigen always tends to speak and behave like a nice old vicar - as long as people behave. When people misbehave, smile a toothy grin and make an example of them. Background: The person known as Bishop Florigen has a chequered past. Originally born as a male named Wu Jun in China, his first life was spent as a lecturer in psychology at Yinchuan University and later at the Distributed Northern Nationalities University. During the fall he managed to get evacuated to Luna, largely by posing as a far more renowned researcher with the same name. Shedding his old identity he became Arthur Huijun-Walden, self-styled union organiser and politician in Nectar. He was very successful in channelling populist restlessness: his New Luna moment grew into a notable political force within two years. Then some journalists found evidence of how he had been misusing party funds and been bribed to use his political and union connections to benefit certain companies. He found it convenient to skip Luna, leaving the New Luna movement to disintegrate in a multitude of warring fractions. Reappearing on Carnival of the Goat, it was now the hermaphrodite Chris Wuxor. Chris became involved with the local petal design community, using its skills to become a favoured mediator. Not being a petal designer or user but good at politics was a definite advantage in the local social space. When the previous bishop of Our Lady of the Flowers suffered a permanent mental breakdown after a tasping overdose (nobody can agree on which fraction was behind it) Chris became the new Bishop and changed its name to Florigen. Since then it has acted as the representative of Our Lady on the Carnival council and official mediator among the petal designers. Situation: It thoroughly enjoys the perks of its job and is going to do its outmost to keep it (those hierodules are so cuddly, it gets to screw the minds of worshippers every day, it runs the coolest sub-habitat of the Carnival!) If that means it has to play Byzantine political games, suck up to criminals one week and artistic terrorists the next, so be it. The fact that the bishop has managed to stay in this position for almost three years now is a testament to its ruthlessness, flexibility and deviousness... despite its pious claims that any success is because the Burning God of Flowers is watching over its holy work. Florigen has a close connection to the Carnival morph designer Jorge Raúl de Guzman, who designed its new morph. Within the Carnival, he has earned the enmity of Bender Orghini. Bender is a leading confidence trickster, preying on gullible high-class victims and coordinating several ‘con-consultants’. Florigen has (in the opinion of Bender) poached several promising marks. Florigen regards Bender as a low-class trickster that interferes with the proper running of the habitat. Over time they have begun an escalating war of schemes where they try to trap each other (or more commonly, each other’s pawns) into trouble. While the link between Arthur Huijun-Walden and the Carnival bishop is not generally known, Florigen is unlikely to want to show up anywhere close to Luna: there are more than enough angry people with long memories there. Due to a minor scorcher accident Florigen has ideomotor apraxia: he cannot use tools consciously or imitate hand gestures. The spider morph: A custom morph by Jorge Raúl de Guzman, technically a pod but looking like a biomorph. It consists of an apparently normal flat/splicer biomorph body with 6 extensible diamondoid limbs emerging from the back (each can reach three meters). It can fold them back and look normal (if slightly hunched), or extend them to walk/climb rapidly. The cyberbrain is housed inside the armoured chest cavity and somewhat overclocked, making the morph able to act and move fast in addition to the long legs. The overall effect is to produce a person that towers above everyone else, moves with quick-precise movements on the cybernetic limbs yet looks serenely human while suspended on the limbs. Reactions vary: the striking looks and uncanny valley tend to play against each other depending on viewer, situation and mood. Implants: Basic biomods, basic mesh inserts, cortical stack, cyberbrain, access jacks, 6 extra telescoping limbs with cyberclaws, reflex booster, clean metabolism, enhanced smell Aptitude max: 30 Durability: 40 Wound threshold: 8 Advantages: Striking looks (level 1), +5 COO, +5 REF, +5 SAV, +5 to aptitude of choice. Disadvantages: Uncanny valley CP cost: 40 Credit cost: Expensive Armour: Energy 4, Kinetic 6 Security in Our Lady of the Flowers Our Lady of the Flowers has plenty of visitors, not all in their right minds. One of the key functions of the bishop is to coordinate the protection of the site. The environment has a tacnet linking the bishop, the hierodules, a coordinating AI and various security devices. There are sensors distributed throughout the cathedral, as well as offensive systems hidden in a few location (gargoyles with microwave agonizers) and modified flowers that can puff drug pollen (hallucinogens, sedatives or even disassemblers – many flowers and incense burners are actually nanobot hives producing the cleaners, gardeners and guardian nanoswarms that fill the cathedral). The hierodules double as churchwardens, sacred prostitutes and security. They are sleeved in modified sexpods – normal designs, but equipped with some hidden weapons for subdual (or rough play). This includes eelware, poison glands (with strong hallucinogens, oxytocin A or twitch), cyberclaws or hand lasers. Participants in the celebrations will also be subject to a neural backdoor inserted into the free sacramental flowers. The backdoor allows downloading scorchers to the celebrants, something the bishop uses with great flair – a single gesture and a troublesome visitor spasms in religious ecstasy (as the Spasm scorcher, p. 332). Troublemakers are usually disposed of in creative ways. Someone merely annoying worshippers because of vivid hallucinations are given over to the local psychotechs and their hallucinations tuned to be permanent but convenient (instead of their morphs being infested by insects they now believe they are filled with candy and should let others taste). Someone disrupting the worship might be sleeved into the ghostrider module of a hierodule and forced to experience the routine of the cathedral for a time. Someone trying to hurt the bishop or petal designers might be given to the intended victim for involuntary and indefinite petal testing, or turned into a living (and conscious) planter for the decorative orchids in the cathedral.
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
Jorge Raúl de Guzman is a morph designer and biosculptor. His Mountains High Clinic is located in Maldoror, the upscale module housing many of the Carnival's famed biosculptors. His origin is somewhat unclear; rumour has it that he was escaping both Earth and Extropia authorities when he came to the Carnival. He does affect a sharp, cultivated style and occasionally drops references to counterculture film-making - another favourite theory is that he was a biosculptor to the stars of Chollywood or a radical film-maker who went a bit too far. He doesn't like people prying into his past, and getting on his bad side is risky: he has many dangerous friends. Like the other biosculptors he mainly works in redesigning bodies for new experiences. A functionalist and minimalist, he rarely goes for gore or dramatic exuberance. Instead he plays with the uncanny valley, adds surreal hybrid organs or distinct alien touches. Small bluish cubes that penetrate the skin and occasionally unfold/fold back into strange metal flowers when not watched carefully. Hair that constantly dissolves like mist rising from the head. Skin pockets that produce exotic living trinkets. Visible drug glands that can be stimulated by touch and light. A system of involuntary voice reflexes that makes the body an instrument another person can play. Sweet skin that will dissolve in contact with saliva, revealing something completely unexpected underneath. He is well-known around the habitat, easily visible in his tall sylph with blindingly white hair, mirrored eyes and cold, critical expression. He tends to judge people by how well they "act" their roles - do their behaviour, style and morph fit? He is willing to give stylistic advice to people who can stand his snarky comments. Like a film director, he often takes charge of a situation - an emerging fight, an orgy, an attempted sale of proscribed tech - and begins to direct it towards stylistic elegance. Among old-timers he is recognized as a quite good arbitrator, rep lawyer and judge of taste. Newcomers might bristle at his behaviour, but his bodyguard centipedes tend to convince them otherwise.
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
Another fun character for the Carnival (or elsewhere): Ne Plus Ultra Ne (as his friends and employers call him) is a freelance bodyguard and enforcer on Carnival of the Goat. Sleeved in an impressive Beowulf wolf morph, he is just the kind of imposing protector visiting glitterati like to be seen with. Among the locals he has a reputation as an honourable, too strict character. While several criminal groups have tried to recruit him he has made it clear (using violence a few times) that while he can be hired, he is not for sale. Many underestimate the wolf morph, thinking that a morph that cannot handle projectile weapons must be an easy target. They forget that the morph is very, very fast and controlled by a seasoned fighter. Who in addition is not adverse of using remote-controlled weapons and bot jamming to monitor the environment, distract and make surprise strikes out of nowhere. Perhaps Ne’s greatest skill is to use his ‘animal’ nature to manipulate or intimidate enemies: most transhumans and uplifts still have subconscious responses to predators they cannot control. Like many others in the Carnival Ne’s origins are hidden and Ne prefers to not discuss his background. Some mannerisms and linguistic quirks suggest a Latin background. He also seems to be very knowledgeable in anything relating to the sea, including deep ocean operations. But he is a private person, usually deflecting questions or just keeping silent. While generally behaving professionally Ne can be spiteful. His main weak point is his pride: the one certain way of enraging him (sometimes even enough to make mistakes) is to make him look foolish. He has a long memory for people who slight him and tend to ensure that they get what they deserve – not always a ripped throat, either. On the other hand, he has shown great loyalty with his friends (his “pack”) and tends to obey orders efficiently. He is quite liked among the freelancers hanging out in the Weeping Mandragora on the Scorpion Deck. One reason is that his example makes it easier for them to stay independent, another is that his somewhat unusual honour improves the reputation of the rest of the (far less incorruptible) freelancers. Ideologically he seems to be aligned with the Ultimates, spending much time training and improving himself. However, he doesn’t agree with their ascetism and disdain for the decadence of normal society – some have guessed that he might be a “fallen” ultimate who was seduced by the Carnival. Others think he is secretly their contact or agent on the barge. There are several locals around who do their best to get him to “lighten up” and indulge – it is always hard to tell whether he genuinely tries to maintain discipline and fails or whether he is deliberately playing stiff to get them to force him to enjoy himself.
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
What are people's views on how the scum barge is actually constructed? I have assumed a large assemblage of microgravity modules added around the original barge, likely a heavy freighter. Each module has its own style, is run by different groups, and has been remodelled haphazardly. A centrifugal gravity ring might have been built at some point, but is now covered with extra additions making it look like a coral reef. From outside I can imagine it looks like the ISS suffering from architectural cancer; a bit like Point Central in "Valérian and Laureline" but with even less cohesive structure and style. Which brings up some of the unsung heroes of the Carnival: the repairmen. Keeping a habitat working is hard work. Keeping a habitat full of craziness, moral transgression and surreal crime working is even harder. "Ma'am, I'm here to fix your radiation shield..." "Oh, please come in. I hope you don't mind my lack of dress. My husbands are all away and I feel so lonely!" "I'm sorry to hear that ma'am. Maybe it has something to do with you are a radioactive protean nanoswarm?" "Nonono, they all *love* when I reassemble them. Let me show you..." "No thanks, I am on duty."
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] You posted some neat pictures of generative architecture gone wrong, and I always thought of the place as a beehive of those things with some rockets attached. There would have to be some hull shielding to make sure that cataclysms in the poor sections don't hurt the rich, and a few of the rich would make their modules rise out of the cancerous blob of habitats in ways that use the horrible background as a surreal frame for their architecture. I'm going to be doing some work on this project soon, but this is dead week. I also need to ace my finals so I can stay in school, so I'll be working on this strictly as a study break for the next two weeks. But then: craziness. I found the shelf in the engineering library concerned with space engineering. I intend to camp out there for winter break, so I'll be coming up with informed madness for once.
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root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] The original material that was the seed of the Carnival of the Goat was the space ark used by a very wealthy daedalus during his escape before the Fall. The space ship, ICARUS-VII, was part of a private prototype line of lighthugger research vessels, but it has never been used for its intended purpose: the nanolooms that were supposed to weave the tapestry of its lightsails were instead turned inwards to knot a lacunaed nanoforge protecting its owner. ICARUS' web is still constantly in action, playing out the deep vibrations of the vast system of autonomous non-linear games that went into building the web. Some of these have lead to unintended population explosions, which balloon into new additions to the ship at unpredictable intervals. Residing in a neural network transiently assembled throughout the computing matter of ICARUS, the owner's alpha fork Sim[sup]*[/sup] holds his selee court. Sometime near the end of the Fall, Sim[sup]*[/sup] managed the unlikely legal slight of claiming that the AGI running on the servers, as an embodied corporate citizen whose intelligence developed organically as the system grew around itself, was allowed the same privacy from invasion that is granted to any ego sleeved in their proprietary bodies. By the time the Fall ended the calcification of legal precedent, and strenuous lobbying by the Carnival's owner, made the decision impossible to revoke without also nullifying later decisions that allowed hypercorporate elites to claim special tax status for their original bodies. As these legal decisions allow the hyperelite to create alpha forks without threat to their estate, the ICARUS' "neural matter" is not subject to Planetary Council panopticon laws. This unique legal claim makes the Carnival an ideal location for outspoken Anarchists, information terrorists, and interplanetary intelligence agents, as well as bankers and criminals of all stripes. As an anarchist state, the Committee that makes decisions for the Carnival of the Goat is filled out by a public lottery, except for four privileged seats. Voting is universal, and is the responsibility of any ego residing inside the legal zone of the Carnival when any decisions are put forward by the Committee. Like any healthy democracy, disagreements on Council votes are frequent, and generally solved through the use of targeted or generalized violence.
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root wrote:
Sometime near the end of the Fall, Sim[sup]*[/sup] managed the unlikely legal slight of claiming that the AGI running on the servers, as an embodied corporate citizen whose intelligence developed organically as the system grew around itself, was allowed the same privacy from invasion that is granted to any ego sleeved in their proprietary bodies. By the time the Fall ended the calcification of legal precedent, and strenuous lobbying by the Carnival's owner, made the decision impossible to revoke without also nullifying later decisions that allowed hypercorporate elites to claim special tax status for their original bodies.
Huh? Remember that Seed AGI is the one thing *everyone* agrees deserves an overkill of long-range antimatter missiles. This is not something you can sneak out off legally. Somebody is going to launch something destructive and everybody else are going to applaud. Besides, if the Carnival is trying to use legal trickery it means it will have to abide by laws - which means it will not be the kind of anarchy we have described. What next, a representative on the hypercorp council? ;-)
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As an anarchist state, the Committee that makes decisions for the Carnival of the Goat is filled out by a public lottery, except for four privileged seats. Voting is universal, and is the responsibility of any ego residing inside the legal zone of the Carnival when any decisions are put forward by the Committee.
Sorry, you just described demarchy. That is not anarchy. A more anarchic solution is this: nobody is in charge, but the Committee consists of the egos with the highest Carnival-rep (roughly @rep) and tends to get its will through. Occasionally it grabs random passers-by to prevent groupthink, provide a modicum of transparency or for more sinister political games. There have been (and occasionally are) counter-committees, which are tolerated as long as they don't try to influence anything the Committee members find important.
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Like any healthy democracy, disagreements on Council votes are frequent, and generally solved through the use of targeted or generalized violence.
Thats more like it. Since the top rep individuals also have powerful networks, gangs and other allies disagreements tend to be pretty big affairs. At the same time they all know that they are fighting in a fragile construction that could easily be wrecked if they go to far, so they also hold back. Newcomers who don't get this, get a nasty demonstration of how quickly unity can suddenly show up when the habitat is threatened and an example is to be made of them.
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr]
Arenamontanus wrote:
Huh? Remember that Seed AGI is the one thing *everyone* agrees deserves an overkill of long-range antimatter missiles. This is not something you can sneak out off legally. Somebody is going to launch something destructive and everybody else are going to applaud. Besides, if the Carnival is trying to use legal trickery it means it will have to abide by laws - which means it will not be the kind of anarchy we have described. What next, a representative on the hypercorp council? ;-)
Mmm, I may have given the wrong impression when I described ICARUS as the seed of the Carnival. The AGI governing ICARUS isn't a seed AI, just an organically grown personality inside of a nanofabricated "body". Its personality happens to be derived from a now-defunct corporation, so it claims the rights of an individual. I don't know if this is a problem in the EU, but in the US a corporation has all the rights of an individual, and none of the responsibilities. This creates problems sometimes where it can be hard to subpoena evidence from the corporation if it might count as self-incrimination. Most of the obvious abuses of a corporation as an individual have been dealt with, but they still lie in the intersection of laws covering individuals and property. In this case, ICARUS is actually an individual. The legal trickery I was going for grants the entirety of the Carnival the same status that an ego has. Since the laws protecting an individual against unwanted psychosurgery are very strong (no thought police, damnit!), any intrusion into ICARUS gets covered by the union of those laws and other applicable maritime laws. So, much like Freetown, polities could come and kick around, but the legal paperwork is monstrous. Expecially when the Carnival has an anonymous benefactor with sway over the hypercorporate council that happily supplies legal resources and lobbying effort to maintain the status of the Carnival. Paranoid egos might claim that this benefactor means the Carnival is still just another puppet for hypercorporate control, but detractors point to the racks of cortical stacks gathered from various hypercorporate interests that have been caught trying to play the ship. Ne Plus Alpha is quite proud of his collection.
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Sorry, you just described demarchy. That is not anarchy.
Funny, that. It's as if any group of individuals will fall into an ordered form of governance no matter their stated intentions.
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A more anarchic solution is this: nobody is in charge, but the Committee consists of the egos with the highest Carnival-rep (roughly @rep) and tends to get its will through. Occasionally it grabs random passers-by to prevent groupthink, provide a modicum of transparency or for more sinister political games. There have been (and occasionally are) counter-committees, which are tolerated as long as they don't try to influence anything the Committee members find important.
I like the idea of different systems of governance fighting for control. The Committee presiding over a supposedly anarchist boat will raise the ire of pretty much anyone under their control, and the Committee's enemies spend so much time fighting against the governance structure that they don't manage to exert any actual influence on the running of the ship.
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Like any healthy democracy, disagreements on Council votes are frequent, and generally solved through the use of targeted or generalized violence.
Thats more like it. Since the top rep individuals also have powerful networks, gangs and other allies disagreements tend to be pretty big affairs. At the same time they all know that they are fighting in a fragile construction that could easily be wrecked if they go to far, so they also hold back. Newcomers who don't get this, get a nasty demonstration of how quickly unity can suddenly show up when the habitat is threatened and an example is to be made of them.
Anyway, if my explanations still don't bring my suggestions in line with how the Carnival should feel, I'll head back to the drawing board. The problem I'm working against is that i don't see too many ways to have a ship floating through PC territory that openly violates any and every law without remorse, and still not get blown to hell. Even if it hangs out in the interplanetary equivalent of "international waters", I seem to remember a recent news story of a certain boat getting stormed and a number of people getting killed by the special forces of a certain country, and no one really gave a shit about it after a week. Given that the Carnival of the Goat is much more threatening than some blockade-running activists, how does it openly wave its junk at the law in Eclipse Phase? Or the tl;dr version: How does a physical manifestation of /b/ survive in EP?
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root wrote:
Mmm, I may have given the wrong impression when I described ICARUS as the seed of the Carnival. The AGI governing ICARUS isn't a seed AI, just an organically grown personality inside of a nanofabricated "body".
Ah, in that case it is not much of a problem. Still, many would say any pre-Fall or self-organized intelligence should be wiped or given constraints to prevent it from going Seed. I don't see any need for legal trickery anyway, since I got the firm impression that the Carnival is an independent polity. It is not part of the PC - then Oversight would have a right to come in an Oversee things. And they would likely have a lot of things to say about enforcing certain rules on intellectual property, identity and technology. If the Carnival respects ICARUS, then it is respected.
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Its personality happens to be derived from a now-defunct corporation, so it claims the rights of an individual. I don't know if this is a problem in the EU, but in the US a corporation has all the rights of an individual, and none of the responsibilities.
Actually, things are legally more complex. Corporations do not have all individual rights (not allowed to vote, have a lot of constraints on their freedom individuals lack) and do have other responsibilities (e.g. to shareholders, to obey certain accounting laws). They are legally similar and different enough to be confusing.
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The legal trickery I was going for grants the entirety of the Carnival the same status that an ego has. Since the laws protecting an individual against unwanted psychosurgery are very strong (no thought police, damnit!), any intrusion into ICARUS gets covered by the union of those laws and other applicable maritime laws. So, much like Freetown, polities could come and kick around, but the legal paperwork is monstrous. Expecially when the Carnival has an anonymous benefactor with sway over the hypercorporate council that happily supplies legal resources and lobbying effort to maintain the status of the Carnival. Paranoid egos might claim that this benefactor means the Carnival is still just another puppet for hypercorporate control, but detractors point to the racks of cortical stacks gathered from various hypercorporate interests that have been caught trying to play the ship. Ne Plus Alpha is quite proud of his collection.
Sure, you can run things like that, but this seems to assume the Carnival is just an unusual *part* of the Consortium (and hence subject to its laws) rather than an independent "nation". Sure, I can imagine that it *needs* supporters with some pull to avoid getting hit by a pre-emptive strike, an invasion of IP lawyers or just being prevented from interacting with inner system polities due to "contamination risks". And no doubt it has clever legal constructions - but they are not worth much on the international arena.
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Funny, that. It's as if any group of individuals will fall into an ordered form of governance no matter their stated intentions.
This is why I find the outer system so fun, since it is really *suffering* from acute hypocricy - everybody wants to have an ideologically pure anarchy, yet they have ended up with all sorts of systems they cannot admit.
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I like the idea of different systems of governance fighting for control. The Committee presiding over a supposedly anarchist boat will raise the ire of pretty much anyone under their control, and the Committee's enemies spend so much time fighting against the governance structure that they don't manage to exert any actual influence on the running of the ship.
Sounds like how most societies work.
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Anyway, if my explanations still don't bring my suggestions in line with how the Carnival should feel, I'll head back to the drawing board. The problem I'm working against is that i don't see too many ways to have a ship floating through PC territory that openly violates any and every law without remorse, and still not get blown to hell.
You are thinking in 2D. What is a territory in space? The fact that something is inside the orbit of Mars doesn't mean it is part of the PC or even plays by its rules (consider Fresh Kills). The trick is not to do anything bad enough to cause a direct retaliation. The PC doesn't care if it is a habitat of blasphemous child molesters doing illegal drugs (as long as the public opinion does not bay for their blood) if there is a cost in striking. If the Carnival becomes a *threat*, then the missiles are on their way.
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Even if it hangs out in the interplanetary equivalent of "international waters", I seem to remember a recent news story of a certain boat getting stormed and a number of people getting killed by the special forces of a certain country, and no one really gave a shit about it after a week. Given that the Carnival of the Goat is much more threatening than some blockade-running activists, how does it openly wave its junk at the law in Eclipse Phase? Or the tl;dr version: How does a physical manifestation of /b/ survive in EP?
How comes the DHS is not attacking /b/? To be honest, it is because it is not important from their horizon. Plenty of nasty and weird things in the world have been going on for years - Somalia, Somaliland, Sealand, Transnistria, North Korea... without being stopped because of high costs, low profiles and conflicting interests.
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] I guess that means we need to discuss international relations. I've been running with the analogy to current world international waters (because Space is an Ocean), and using current international responses to piracy as a guide for how scum barges are treated by different polities. I think I haven't sufficiently taken into account how things are different with gravity wells. I'll go start a thread on borders and treaties. Also, about /b/. If /b/ starts to actively back a certain individual who is forcing the international community to consider information as a weapon of mass destruction, /b/ will quite suddenly be considered a threat. A number of interests have been playing their cards pretty close to the chest on this one, letting the media squawk about executing him for treason (apparently the entire world is part of the US, so any citizens acting against its interests is guilty of treason. Or Tea Party politicians are a bunch of willfully miseducated gas bags) but someone is going to have to show an ace before the next target's dirty secrets get aired. I've opined before that powerful groups drop the hammer on anyone fucking with the Money in a way that they would never bother with to protect mere diplomacy or the lives of soldiers, so there is no way that the next data dump will occur without resistance. The game is a gamble that the bank's information getting loose (what did they do will all the money the Treasury gave them in secret?) will be more harmful than whatever is contained in that backup release (if it exists). As for why I'm looking for a way to protect the Carnival from different polities: power extends itself to every nook and cranny that it can. Power frames the game, the house always has the advantage, and there is no way to choose not to play. To survive independently, either serve the interests of all powers that have leverage over you, or become a power yourself (which necessitates playing the game, so you still have to serve interests not your own). If the Carnival is inside the Sol system, it will be in space that at least one polity claims (whether or not it can project power to back up that claim), so it must have some method of ensuring its own interests in the face of far greater power. How? Leverage. What kind? Asymmetric, so likely in the form of information. How well does it work? It had better be a system that works even if the enemy knows the system, because the enemy always knows the system. On the flip side, this is a game. If people want to pretend that anarchist communities can crop up just because they are sufficiently removed by physical distance, who am I to point out that the mesh makes physical distance meaningless for projecting power? Or that Stellar Intelligence are the hashshashin of the stars? The image of a boot stamping on an upturned face for eternity is hard to avoid in Eclipse Phase.
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root wrote:
I guess that means we need to discuss international relations. I've been running with the analogy to current world international waters (because Space is an Ocean), and using current international responses to piracy as a guide for how scum barges are treated by different polities.
But scum barges are not pirates. They are more like floating hippie communes mixed with boat refugees. Yes, they might have an awful lifestyle and try to corrupt your youth, but they are not a threat and they do not inconvenience your lifestyle.
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As for why I'm looking for a way to protect the Carnival from different polities: power extends itself to every nook and cranny that it can. Power frames the game, the house always has the advantage, and there is no way to choose not to play. To survive independently, either serve the interests of all powers that have leverage over you, or become a power yourself (which necessitates playing the game, so you still have to serve interests not your own). If the Carnival is inside the Sol system, it will be in space that at least one polity claims (whether or not it can project power to back up that claim), so it must have some method of ensuring its own interests in the face of far greater power.
I disagree with this model. Mainly because power has a hard time projecting itself in the 10 AF solar system. Remember, this is a far-flung, sparsely inhabited desert (another suitable analogy) where many inhabitants are nomads and can get out of your way if you are annoying. The key resources are either ubiquitous (energy, matter) or moveable and hard to steal (human capital). You can send a devastating attack towards someone, but you will likely get something nasty back too. As I see it, the big powers of EP are powerful because they provide coordination. Economies that can use economies of scale, reliable institutions, social coordination and low-friction negotiation will do better than economies that cannot. This is why the PC, MC, JJ, LLA and even AA exist. If the CoG refuses to "join" the AA (a bit doubtful) it would have a harder time getting rep, cool blueprints and visitors. The old idea of states as culturally homogeneous units run by an organisation with a monopoly of violence is as dead in EP as feudalism is today. The real struggle is about what economic/technologic systems to adopt - the cases where just blowing up people who disagree with you net you a benefit are rather few.
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The image of a boot stamping on an upturned face for eternity is hard to avoid in Eclipse Phase.
It is ten year after the worst disaster in the history of the Solar system. Things are not settled or stable. No doubt the big powers will unify and get more and more habitats to come into line with their ideas over time. Although I expect the accelerating rate of change will shake every current institution apart within a few years anyway. The boot and face are endangered. (In a way, this is another reason to have the CoG around: as wild culture experimentation goes, it is a treasure trove. Coolhunters and social engineers are watching it intensely, since it both produces much new ideas, but also gives hints on how ultra-changing societies might work)
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr] Yea, I guess I'm letting my pessimism take over too much. If people always played by game theory and optimal power strategies, the human race wouldn't exist long enough to become transhuman. So, less like 1984, more like Oz. In that case, since I'm constantly spinning up concepts based on worst case scenarios, what do you think the CoG will contain? Or more specifically, what is the worst sort of transhuman entity that the CoG can harbor without needing some sort of deus ex machina to protect it from harm? Clearly my view of "Carnival" is all about the nasty underbelly of unregulated spaces, but I'm forgetting the beads and booze parts, as well as the entertaining debauchery involved. How do you feel the nightmare fueled part of the Carnival should manifest, and to what degree should they have influence?
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root wrote:
Or more specifically, what is the worst sort of transhuman entity that the CoG can harbor without needing some sort of deus ex machina to protect it from harm? Clearly my view of "Carnival" is all about the nasty underbelly of unregulated spaces, but I'm forgetting the beads and booze parts, as well as the entertaining debauchery involved.
Now we are talking! The philosophy of geopolitical power is always less interesting that complete monsters. I could very well see some Fall criminals (and other major monsters) hide out in the Carnival under assumed identities. And of course plenty of criminal operations, from petal design to illegal mind hacking. Think up close and personal nastiness rather than grand schemes... although there might be a few cults around with grand visions. I guess the real borderline cases are the exhumans.
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How do you feel the nightmare fueled part of the Carnival should manifest, and to what degree should they have influence?
I think it is always there, in the darker corners of the module. In the sections few visit. In the eerie smell near ventilation shaft Astarte. After all, most carnivals have a dark side of not just debauchery and a bit of crime, but also the supernatural and never mentioned. And there are such things here too: brain hacking gone horribly wrong, leaving crippled yet alive victims. Vicious advert-hacks that break muses, leaving malware to fester. Bizarre objects that could be art, could be an exsurgent infection or a secret alien ambassador. People bent on morphing ever further into body horror. Bioengineered plants and fungi that contain really bad trips, yet are highly addictive - and also house infomorph spaces tuned to users hallucinations. Some plant inhabitants try to addict foolish people so they can enlarge their simspaces. The body dumping ground where *something* recycles the morphs. The small children wearing necklaces made of cortical stacks. People with living masks - sometimes the faces of people who have lost bets with them. Obsession. Disgust. Clowns. Everyday life as a surreal novel, and you suspect there is an author somewhere. Sure, tell yourself that it is all just weird people with too much time and tech. But when you see the jawless woman in your dreams, drooling knowledge, you will know there are other things afoot too. How could that spambot know how to imitate your first lover, left in the Fall on Earth? Does the interior geometry of the Carnival really fit the barge? Why can you hear whispers near Shaft Moro, but your muse insists it doesn't detect anything? Who is that guy who seems to update posts about you on his rep blog faster than he should know what you have done? And is that auction site he runs where you can offer things like your fate, your sense of humour or your next great idea in exchange for success, revenge or "that thing you never mentioned, but have yearned for since age 13" for real? There seems to be testimonials there from some people you know... but many of them are dead now. Besides, those rumours that The Goat is real, they are rumours, right? Community stabilizing quasi-religious memes. No archetypal gestalt hiding in the invisible centre of the carnival, feeding on the debauchery. Absolutely not.
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr]
Arenamontanus wrote:
root wrote:
Or more specifically, what is the worst sort of transhuman entity that the CoG can harbor without needing some sort of deus ex machina to protect it from harm? Clearly my view of "Carnival" is all about the nasty underbelly of unregulated spaces, but I'm forgetting the beads and booze parts, as well as the entertaining debauchery involved.
Now we are talking! The philosophy of geopolitical power is always less interesting that complete monsters.
Really? No wonder drama media works so well.
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I could very well see some Fall criminals (and other major monsters) hide out in the Carnival under assumed identities. And of course plenty of criminal operations, from petal design to illegal mind hacking. Think up close and personal nastiness rather than grand schemes... although there might be a few cults around with grand visions. I guess the real borderline cases are the exhumans.
Alright, visionary-scale plotting was the same mistake I was making earlier with regards to the stock market idea, so I'll take this one gracefully. We can bring Sim[sup]*[/sup] down to the level somewhat less apocalyptic than V, and closer to Swearengen from Deadwood.
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How do you feel the nightmare fueled part of the Carnival should manifest, and to what degree should they have influence?
I think it is always there, in the darker corners of the module. In the sections few visit. In the eerie smell near ventilation shaft Astarte. After all, most carnivals have a dark side of not just debauchery and a bit of crime, but also the supernatural and never mentioned. And there are such things here too: brain hacking gone horribly wrong, leaving crippled yet alive victims. Vicious advert-hacks that break muses, leaving malware to fester. Bizarre objects that could be art, could be an exsurgent infection or a secret alien ambassador. People bent on morphing ever further into body horror. Bioengineered plants and fungi that contain really bad trips, yet are highly addictive - and also house infomorph spaces tuned to users hallucinations. Some plant inhabitants try to addict foolish people so they can enlarge their simspaces. The body dumping ground where *something* recycles the morphs. The small children wearing necklaces made of cortical stacks. People with living masks - sometimes the faces of people who have lost bets with them. Obsession. Disgust. Clowns. Everyday life as a surreal novel, and you suspect there is an author somewhere.
Oh, silly me: Paranoia is what I want. If there is a pre-Fall AGI on board ICARUS, it would have to be edited enough to avoid inviting large rods of blam from anyone and everyone. This might make it screwy, even when it is trying to be Friendly. The Harmonics I can slot into Friend Computer's computer space, which is a merry hell along the lines of Something Wicked This Way Comes. No one needs to know about it unless they are being collected upon for gambling more than they could afford, so it isn't a major part of the ship in most peoples' thinking. I personally think the Harmonics simulspaces would be more densely populated than the rest of the Sol system, but it's virtual space. Most people still don't count it as real, even in the age of Eclipse Phase. Sim[sup]*[/sup] can have a Nanoswarmoid morph that moves in and out of the nanostack computing system ICARUS uses. The computer system can have neuron-like tendrils extending through most of the central barge area, but not into any of the additions. That way I can still have Sim[sup]*[/sup] move around like a snake in water, but it isn't the wierdness of qubit egoporting.
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Sure, tell yourself that it is all just weird people with too much time and tech. But when you see the jawless woman in your dreams, drooling knowledge, you will know there are other things afoot too. How could that spambot know how to imitate your first lover, left in the Fall on Earth? Does the interior geometry of the Carnival really fit the barge? Why can you hear whispers near Shaft Moro, but your muse insists it doesn't detect anything? Who is that guy who seems to update posts about you on his rep blog faster than he should know what you have done? And is that auction site he runs where you can offer things like your fate, your sense of humour or your next great idea in exchange for success, revenge or "that thing you never mentioned, but have yearned for since age 13" for real? There seems to be testimonials there from some people you know... but many of them are dead now. Besides, those rumours that The Goat is real, they are rumours, right? Community stabilizing quasi-religious memes. No archetypal gestalt hiding in the invisible centre of the carnival, feeding on the debauchery. Absolutely not.
[/quote] Oh, my, yes. Let me grab my Jung, and my literature on optical and aural illusions. I seem to remember there being a paper some years ago on a God Hat: some electromagnetic helmet that triggered ecstatic visions in people. I'll also have to do some research into bio-feedback and see if I can't find a basilisk hack or two. As for the Goat: I'm seeing a goat with the face of a human. Something else I need to find a place for is the Zen Buddhist sloth. Not an uplifted sloth, but one that was brought up the gravity well. It inspires the downtrodden with its deep and serene visage, a gentle smile of eternal satisfaction forever creasing its face, and its expression of utter contentment as it falls asleep, exhausted from the effort of eating a tasty snack. You've got to love an animal that survives by being so slow that predators don't register its existence, and grows its own food on its belly fur.
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root wrote:
Alright, visionary-scale plotting was the same mistake I was making earlier with regards to the stock market idea, so I'll take this one gracefully. We can bring Sim[sup]*[/sup] down to the level somewhat less apocalyptic than V, and closer to Swearengen from Deadwood.
I think there *should* be visionary-scale plotting going on, but it needs to be a bit low-key rather than "MUHUHAHAHA! Look at how we are flaunting the rules and interests of powerful groups from our little tincan close to their weapons arrays!" I can see Firewall trying to convince the PC that they really ought to do something about the Carnival since it is breeding monsters, but the PC just yawning and saying that it is merely a collection of deviants.
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Oh, silly me: Paranoia is what I want. If there is a pre-Fall AGI on board ICARUS, it would have to be edited enough to avoid inviting large rods of blam from anyone and everyone. This might make it screwy, even when it is trying to be Friendly. The Harmonics I can slot into Friend Computer's computer space, which is a merry hell along the lines of Something Wicked This Way Comes. No one needs to know about it unless they are being collected upon for gambling more than they could afford, so it isn't a major part of the ship in most peoples' thinking.
Sounds great! Yes, the Carnival should have a tinge of paranoia (both the drug-induced kind, the we-are-deviants-in-a-small-habitat-in-an-unfriendly-solar-system and of course Paranoia). The simspaces are likely connected to plenty of illegal darkcasting. When you really need to get rid of a pursuer, use the provided onion-routing interface to emerge untraceably at another darkcaster within 48 hours... assuming you trust the system.
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Sim[sup]*[/sup] can have a Nanoswarmoid morph that moves in and out of the nanostack computing system ICARUS uses. The computer system can have neuron-like tendrils extending through most of the central barge area, but not into any of the additions. That way I can still have Sim[sup]*[/sup] move around like a snake in water, but it isn't the wierdness of qubit egoporting.
And some of the tendrils might yet be showing up in truly odd places... "We have some kind of infestation in the shower. It is watching me."
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Oh, my, yes. Let me grab my Jung, and my literature on optical and aural illusions. I seem to remember there being a paper some years ago on a God Hat: some electromagnetic helmet that triggered ecstatic visions in people. I'll also have to do some research into bio-feedback and see if I can't find a basilisk hack or two.
Ah, the Penfield experiments... no, that was stimulating an exposed brain (another delight you can sample down in Club Brussels on deck Angel). I meant Dr Persinger's experiments.
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As for the Goat: I'm seeing a goat with the face of a human.
Hmm, I'm thinking a bit about Baphomet, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Baphomet.png But it can of course manifest itself in endless forms http://bloodofthemoonmonthly.com/images/02_baphomet_detail.jpg http://bloodofthemoonmonthly.com/Baphomet%20Part%201.html
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Something else I need to find a place for is the Zen Buddhist sloth. Not an uplifted sloth, but one that was brought up the gravity well. It inspires the downtrodden with its deep and serene visage, a gentle smile of eternal satisfaction forever creasing its face, and its expression of utter contentment as it falls asleep, exhausted from the effort of eating a tasty snack. You've got to love an animal that survives by being so slow that predators don't register its existence, and grows its own food on its belly fur.
Beautiful! I can imagine a peaceful clearing in the middle of the dark debauchery where a group of trees grow several decks high. In a beam of sunlight the sloth rests. It is a place of sanctuary.
Extropian
root root's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root@Carnival of the Goat [hr]
Arenamontanus wrote:
I think there *should* be visionary-scale plotting going on, but it needs to be a bit low-key rather than "MUHUHAHAHA! Look at how we are flaunting the rules and interests of powerful groups from our little tincan close to their weapons arrays!" I can see Firewall trying to convince the PC that they really ought to do something about the Carnival since it is breeding monsters, but the PC just yawning and saying that it is merely a collection of deviants.
Yea, my penchant for glorious excess and characters thumbing their noses against impossible odds is a symptom of too much Exalted and Scion.
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The simspaces are likely connected to plenty of illegal darkcasting. When you really need to get rid of a pursuer, use the provided onion-routing interface to emerge untraceably at another darkcaster within 48 hours... assuming you trust the system.
I was thinking that e[sup]N[/sup] would specialize in identity "changes". New morph, new rep, new ego if need be. All for the cost of a soul. Really, it's just a backup you sign over to us, you'll never even notice it! Please sign on the line in blood.
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And some of the tendrils might yet be showing up in truly odd places... "We have some kind of infestation in the shower. It is watching me."
Reminds me of Mnemovore, even if that comic sucked.
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Ah, the Penfield experiments... no, that was stimulating an exposed brain (another delight you can sample down in Club Brussels on deck Angel). I meant Dr Persinger's experiments.
Thanks for the search terms. Is this going to be more of the horrifying 70's psych experiments? Those are my nightmare fuel of choice.
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http://bloodofthemoonmonthly.com/images/02_baphomet_detail.jpg
I'm not as good as I used to be with weaving tarot imagery into my writing, as my festering atheism has begun to strangle my interest in mysticism and the arcane. Admittedly, I still enjoy using the fey and gnostic imagery, so perhaps my aversion to golden dawn imagery is disingenuous.
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Beautiful! I can imagine a peaceful clearing in the middle of the dark debauchery where a group of trees grow several decks high. In a beam of sunlight the sloth rests. It is a place of sanctuary.
Awwww.
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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
root wrote:
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And some of the tendrils might yet be showing up in truly odd places... "We have some kind of infestation in the shower. It is watching me."
Reminds me of Mnemovore, even if that comic sucked.
Ah, that little critter sounds like a nice biodesign somebody will try to recreate. "Organic uploading is going to be the next big thing!"
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Ah, the Penfield experiments... no, that was stimulating an exposed brain (another delight you can sample down in Club Brussels on deck Angel). I meant Dr Persinger's experiments.
Thanks for the search terms. Is this going to be more of the horrifying 70's psych experiments? Those are my nightmare fuel of choice.
Persinger's experiments are at most mildly creepy, not of the same calibre as true mad scientists like Robert Heath (ah, Moan, C.E., & Heath, R.G. (1972) Septal stimulation for the initiation of heterosexual activity in a homosexual male. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 3: 23-30. - a CLASSIC neuroscience paper. Hilarious *and* horrifying at the same time).
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I'm not as good as I used to be with weaving tarot imagery into my writing, as my festering atheism has begun to strangle my interest in mysticism and the arcane. Admittedly, I still enjoy using the fey and gnostic imagery, so perhaps my aversion to golden dawn imagery is disingenuous.
For the CoG I would go for chaos magick, A.O. Spare and darker streams. Who cares for neat pentacles when there is blood, sex and annihilation? http://monsterbrains.blogspot.com/2010/10/austin-osman-spare.html This is why the zen sloth is so important. It is utterly out of place, yet completely at home.
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: [Scum Barge] Carnival of the Goat
Another nice person on CoG: General Abdallah Osman al-Fadil General al-Fadil became de facto head of the Sudanese government during the Fall when he toppled his predecessor, general Gaafar Mohammed Quasim. Together with his cadre he seized the Sudanese ego-banks and bought into the Nine Lives syndicate by giving them the full ego-banks of his citizens. Since then he has been living on Legba, enjoying protection from Nine Lives and making occasional darkcasts to Carnival of the Goat for "entertainment". Ten years ago he was an ruthless, clever soldier with a sense for out-of-the-box thinking, but now a decade of depraved freedom has made him somewhat less sharp... but not any less ruthless. His main reason for going to the Carnival is the possibilities for truly outrageous sleeving. He uses this to sleeve himself and selected old enemies into specialized morphs, and then has his way with them. When waiting for new morphs to be readied he can be found enjoying the other possibilities of the habitat, usually surrounded by a few Nine Lives bodyguards. He is a useful contact for people interested in slave trading, soulsplicing and negotiating with the syndicate. Or just the frisson to hang out with absolute moral degeneracy: he has no shortage of groupies, who adore him for the horror he is. Al-Fadil is generally loathed across the solar system by those who know about him. The Planetary Consortium and LLA have arrest warrants for him, but have no jurisdiction on Legba or the Carnival. That haven't stopped egohunters from trying to catch him; so far none have succeeded, even if at least two instances have been killed. However, his reputation in Nine Lives is declining. He is using up his rep, causing embarrassment and alienating even his old soldiers - sooner or later they are going to cut him loose. And then the piranhas will move in. Egohunters are also interested in nabbing a copy of general Quasim, one of his favourite "playmates", since he might be able to answer many questions about why it looked like the TITANs got free access to the Pan Arabic Defence Network through Sudanese servers - a situation that wrecked most defence strategy across the Middle East but bought Sudan plenty of time to evacuate as the TITAN forces were busy destroying in the north.
Extropian