Inscrit le: 19 Sep 2009
Mar 29 Sep - 22:20 (2009)
The League of Independent Worlds
When the Transcendentals gave humanity incredible advances in every field of science and technology, most people were overjoyed. After all, having computers do our work for us was what we had been promised ever since computers had been invented. However, not everyone was convinced that this was a good thing. While they realized the need to leave Earth, and recognized Transcendental wormholes as the only method for doing this, they preferred to come by their inventions and advances by their own hard work. Thus was the League of Independent Worlds born.
The League of Independent Worlds began as a loose conglomeration of colonies, and has ended up as a very tightly knit civilization. Unlike many of the other civilizations in the universe, the Independents came from the mainstream of pre-Diaspora Earth, and this gave them many commonalities that became the seeds of their current civilization.
The League has twelve worlds, each with a very distinct appearance and “personality.” The elected government of the League actively encourages this, hoping to preserve some of the original culture that came from Earth, and this has led to a moderate amount of income from tourism. Unlike the Tao, however, the League doesn’t see keeping tourists enthralled as their main business.
The League has been surprisingly successful without Transcendental influence. Pure science research is a significant part of its budget, and good scientists are venerated as heroes. There is a significant amount of anti-Transcendental sentiment on Independent worlds; the government does its best to keep this going while not allowing it to get out of control. A certain amount of patriotic fervor is useful; too much leads to chaos and violence.
When considering the League’s technology, one has to remember that their resources are limited. They’ve achieved many things, but when given the choice between doing something difficult and doing something very complex, they typically go with the difficult one. Complex technologies require infrastructure, and the League can’t afford to build a dozen different types of infrastructure. Instead, they build a single infrastructure (their Stringtech facilities are currently their best) and look for new possible developments based on that. So while the League’s non-string technology isn’t bad, most of it is piecemeal, and a lot of it either draws on connections to stringtech or was an accidental byproduct of stringtech research. The League’s bizarre “emotion rays,” for example, are really an application of stringtech to influence electromagnetic fields in the brain, even though they’d be considered a metatech device.
Independents typically wear older, outmoded clothing. Some of it is so far out of date that it’s retro, while other pieces are merely unfashionable. Their technology is often built along slightly different lines than everyone else’s, and many outside engineers have trouble telling an Independent device’s side effects from its main purpose.
Everyday life in Independent space is similar to that in most Western cultures. There’s a lot of friendly competition, little emphasis on religion, and a significant corporate culture. Education follows traditional lines, though with better methodology. Many friendships come from work and school.
The Independents have no real allies or enemies, as befits their name. They are routinely courted by both the Union and the Masquerade, but strongly maintain their neutrality. They are a representative democracy.
< ENCADRE >
Author’s note on the Independents
From a metagame standpoint, the League is a good place to come from if you want your character to be closely tied to Old Earth. It is deliberately similar to western cultures in the 21st century, with the “chutzpah” and “pioneering spirit” knobs turned up and the “paranoia” and “laziness” knobs turned down. Characters can be mentally very similar to present-day humans, but smarter and more confident. They’ve got high tech, but most of it is in relatively bulky devices. All in all, the Independents really stack up to be the “traditional sci-fi” civilization, and make a reat starting point for those new to the setting.
< /ENCADRE >
Common Name: Independents
Emblem: A set of bright stars aligned together on a dark background. Tenuous clouds of gas join the stars visually. Most civilizations’ emblems have elements of gold visible in them; the emblem of the Independents intentionally contrasts.
Inspector Status: Observer status only.
Benefit: The Independents use slightly different technology from the rest of the universe. They act with +1 effectiveness, but with -1 when it comes to countermeasures and defenses, for anything dealing with their tech scores. This also applies to Independent-built equipment.
Core Values: Self-Reliance and Teamwork
Self-Reliance drives the moral center of the Independents. It’s what makes them eschew the tech handed down by the Transcendentals, and what makes them turn down offers of alliance from other civilizations. It generally makes life harder for the Independents, but to them it means that they’ll sink or swim on their own merit, not because of others. This CV also led to the League’s non-standard infosphere — it’s a great aid to League law enforcement because it’s not easily hacked by outsiders, but it poses a problem for both ordinary travelers from other civilizations and Independents away from home.
Teamwork is the glue that holds the Independents together. While each planet might try to solve a problem on their own first, when they fail they turn to their friends without compunction, knowing that everyone in the League is there for everyone else. This CV has a very broad application for group work, giving an Independent character a bonus on any effort to form a team or keep it together. One can see why the League has survived as long as it has. Teamwork can also give a bonus to group actions, but only when working tightly together is essential to achieving the goal. The drawback is an unwillingness to break a team once it has been formed, or to kick out team members that the group might be better off without.
Mad Science in Independent Space
The scene: a dozen police officers hunker down behind their vehicles, many of which are missing large chunks. A man, barely visible through some sort of visual distortion, fires invisible beams through the streets, causing objects to flare and disappear. He cackles madly. They scream for backup.
Captain: “Now goddamnit NOW! I have no idea what this maddie’s firing at us but it’s taking the cars apart!”
Dispatch: “Three minutes, captain. Keep him talking or contained for two minutes and fifty-three seconds.”
Sergeant: “Oh yeah, talking. Does ‘bwahahahaha’ count as — JESUS!”
A beam flies with a tiny thunderclap above the sergeant’s head, blasting a hole straight through a building, a tree on the other side of it, the next building, and stops at a pane of glass.
Sergeant: “What the hell is that thing?”
Mad Scientist: “Behold the power of my antineutrino ray!”
Captain: “Like hell it is — even he doesn’t know what he’s shooting. Someone turned his cognitive accelerator up too high this morning.”
Rookie: “Uh, guys, I think he heard you...”
The captain and sergeant scramble from behind their car as significant parts of it simply vanish with a series of miniature thunderclaps. Only the windows remain on the ground.
Sergeant: “Two minutes. Just two minutes.”
Captain: “It has to be some kind of dissociation beam! It’s taking apart anything more loosely bound than diamond!”
Sergeant: “Great, you know, I just happen to have this chunk of diamond in my pocket that I can put between me and the gun. Minute forty-five.”
Rookie: “What about the nanoweave armor in the truck?”
Captain: “Too risky. Might act like a diffraction grating.”
Mad Scientist: “I can hear you, you know. I hope you’re recording all of this. It’s about time I got credit for what I did — for what I can do!”
Miniature thunderclaps fill the air again, and an explosion rocks the neighborhood as underground capacitors release gigajoules of stored energy.
Dispatch: “I heard that all the way out here — what’s going on?”
Captain: “He’s started digging! It looks like he’s trying to cut down to the subsystems. Rookie, what the hell are you doing?”
The rookie scrambles back from the wreckage of the car, holding the windshield in his hands. He takes his sidearm, dials it down to the width of a hair, and slices a handle to hold it with.
Rookie: “Making a shield, sir. I can run distraction with this.”
Sergeant: “Your funeral. Minute fifteen.”
Captain: “Run in front of the Gate’s End’s windows; it’ll keep the damage down. Sarge and I will see if that DIF he’s got running is full-spectrum or not. Go!”
The rookie holds the windshield and takes off, sprinting down the street. The maddie turns and fires at him, but the shots stop at the windshield. Stray shots hit the diamond windows of the Gate’s End hotel and stop. After a few shots from the sergeant’s inversion beam have no effect, the captain takes out a large grenade, primes it, and throws it. The metal net inside lands on top of the maddie and bears him towards the ground. An immense electrical pulse comes from the net, and the distortion in the air vanishes.
Sergeant: “Got you now, jackass.”
The sergeant aims, and the maddie’s gun turns and vaporizes the ground below the sergeant. He trips, but manages not to fire his weapon. The maddie cuts himself free with his weapon, taking out significant chunks of road in the process. He begins waving it around, firing continuously. The rookie charges him with the windshield, but the ground beneath him vanishes and he trips, cracking the shield in half. The captain lobs another grenade, but misses as his target runs for a side street.
Captain: “Ten seconds. Come on guys, don’t be late today...”
A gust of wind nearly blows all three officers over as a figure in massive armor rockets down the street. The armor loses three layers from the maddie’s gun, but the armored officer points a hand and the maddie freezes in place, eyes bulging. A few seconds later, a tiny electrical spark comes from the back of his head. He drops the gun and starts to sob uncontrollably.
Captain: “Thanks, Sheila.”
Armor: “No problem, Cobbol. Just sorry I couldn’t be here sooner.”
“...and with that we are in recess. We reconvene after lunch.” The gavel drops, and dozens of ambassadors and hundreds of observers funnel out of the Great Hall of the League Council.
A pair of women and their aides walk out a side door downstairs, heading for the council’s canteen. They’re obviously not thrilled to be walking out the same door together.
“Laying it on a bit thick out there, weren’t you?”
Guards open the door for them, and the pair and their aides lose their step slightly as they pass through the sound-baffled hallway that leads to the canteen. The air here is thick with pressure variance and airborne speakers.
Ophelia rolls her eyes. “Oh, please. They deserve it, and you know it.”
“I just think that, perhaps, the Patent Office might be a tad displeased that you referred to them as ‘conceptual jailors driven by greed.’” Rainia glances sideways to catch Ophelia’s reaction. She waves off the suggestion.
“Pff. They know — probably better than we do — that a little bit of anti-establishment feeling is good for any organization.”
“A little bit, yes, but...”
“But nothing. If they’re so morally superior, they can do some forgiving.” They grab trays and pick up custom-replicated lunches. “And I’ll see you back in the Great Hall — my people and yours have some unfinished business.” Ophelia heads over to her delegation’s table, and Rainia slumps her way over to her own. They wave and make some idle chit-chat.
Rainia rolls Ophelia’s ideas around in her head for a while. Anti-Transcendental feelings were running high this week, and what paltry projections the Independents could make showed that they might continue for the next month or more. She needed to make some contacts in the Tao or the Stored and get them to do some higher-quality projections. Things weren’t easy for their delegation right now — everyone was new at the job, since the old guard got voted out two months ago.
One of her aides broke her concentration. “So I saw you talking to the bitch queen when you came in. What was that all about?”
Ophelia shook her head. “Oh, just sniping. I swear that woman wants a war some days. Not that I think she really does,” she added, seeing the concern in the eyes of her contingent, “just that she wants other people to think she might.”
Those at the table tossed the idea back and forth while Rainia thought and looked around.
“The T-worshippers back home are going to be ripshit about this one.”
“Ah, nobody cares about them anyway.”
“That’s just the thing, persecuted minority.”
“Someone’s gonna start caring soon.”
“Do we want to encourage them, though? I mean, this is the League of Independent Worlds — if they want to be dependent...”
“We can’t start throwing people out just because of how they think, this isn’t the Union.”
“There we go; Godwin’s Law at work...”
“Guys, please.” Everyone stopped, slightly chagrined. “Look over there.” Rainia motioned with her head towards Ophelia’s table. Her delegation had cleared some table space and their dermal ‘bots were projecting infographics, text, and interface components onto the surface. They moved with precision and purpose.
“They’re working. They’re organized. We’re... bitching and moaning and acting like this is some kind of civics class. You tell me: who’s going to win when we get back in there? If we don’t get it together, this sort of crap is going to sweep the whole of Independent space. I can feel it in my bones.” Rainia took a deep breath. “Now — what can we do to combat it?”