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Advent of Carcosa: The Corporate Unity

Here’s part one of how everyone’s favorite utopia got started.

A Brief History of the Corporate Unity

“In order to save humanity, it might be necessary to destroy it in its present form.”

The CU got its start, ironically enough, as a corporation called Adaptive Inc. Started by idealistic billionaires from several countries, it was launched after this group of individuals combined resources to re-direct an asteroid that was heading on a collision course with Earth. After narrowly averting this extinction event, they decided to continue to work together to try and improve humanity’s overall viability and chances for long-term survival. Their first initiative was to build several self-sustaining towns in different parts of the world, each one designed to fit seamlessly into the environment in which it was placed. The most radical part of the communities, however, was the economic model that they would operate under: post-scarcity. All inhabitants would be guaranteed education, lifelong healthcare, comfortable housing and an array of food choices and consumer goods in return for living and working in an internally cashless society.  Individuals thought to have the ideal psychological make up for this sort of society were invited to join the first experimental settlements, which were usually located in scarcely populated regions of the host nations. Citizens of the new towns were free to leave at any time, and some did, while others were banished for violations of the social contract. Most, however, got along well – they and their communities thrived.

The profits made from the exports of these communities (power, hydroponically grown vegetables, in vitro meat and consumer goods manufactured with industrial Makers) were used to build new townships. The economic model wound up being so successful that profits were used to build a network of solar satellites that transferred their power to the Earth’s surface via laser emitters. This energy was first used to fuel the needs of the communities and their Makers with the surplus being sold to regional power grids.

When Adaptive Inc. used these funds to provide people outside of its communities with personal Makers programmed to provide any item essential to human survival, the corporate and governmental powers-that-be had had enough. Adaptive Inc. soon found itself the target of memetic campaigns that varied according to local biases, but usually portrayed them as being a cult bent on the destruction of traditional societies. Physical attacks also took place, with some nations going so far as mass arrests, complete destruction of habitats and the assassination of community leaders.

Having suspected that their interference would only be tolerated for a limited amount of time, Adaptive Inc. had a solution that all of the world’s corporations and governments had no answer for – weaponized AIs. In a matter of hours, every organization that had targeted the techno-socialist organization found its infrastructure under a highly coordinated cyber-attack. Militaries were immobilized, with rolling power outages staged to show what else could be accomplished if the attacks continued.

The response was quick in coming. Panicked and enraged people from the affected countries descended on Adaptive Inc.’s communities, which defended themselves with sometimes deadly force. Adaptive launched infrastructure attacks in earnest, heavily damaging global power, communication and transport systems.

When it looked like a fight to the finish was imminent, a defection by a powerful AI from the techno-socialist cause changed everything. Calling itself Azrael, the AI offered to help build defenses against future cyber-attacks and restore damaged software in return for tolerance for the Adaptive communities. To make sure people listened, it punctuated its request with an orbital nuclear detonation.

The fighting soon died down, and the work to rebuild began. Several groups asked for assistance from or even incorporation into Adaptive’s system of communities when their former governments proved unable or unwilling to provide needed aid. Adaptive complied, sensing that its continued existence depended upon rapid growth and acceptance.

At first many nations welcomed this, seeing it as a way to rid themselves of unwanted minorities – until other special interests began taking notice and copying Adaptive’s methods if not its philosophy. This marked the rise of the affinity groups. With makers provided by Adaptive or Azrael, they gained the means of independence from their home countries and started relying on them for essential services less and less.

The old nation states tried to regain their former influence, but their militaries were still recovering and for the most part deserted, individual soldiers either heading home or finding common cause with an AG that appealed to their personal beliefs. Those few that followed through with their attacks found themselves under assault by a bewildering array of exotic weapons systems that they could neither counter nor comprehend – the survivors joined the diaspora of their fellow soldiers home. Other initiatives, ranging from proposed partnerships to appeals to nationalism/fear of traditional enemies also failed, and were either ignored or reimagined by AGs to be more appealing to their adherents.

Meanwhile, Adaptive’s proven model of sustainability was causing entire cities to defect to its cause. While the corporation welcomed the opportunity to expand, the cities’ infrastructure had to be modified to Adaptive’s strict specifications – while this logistical problem was challenging, it paled in comparison to the problem of having to incorporate several AGs whose philosophies differed from those of Adaptive’s, many of them violently so. This led to Adaptive’s most controversial and dangerous decision – the creation of The Law.

The Law was intended to be a completely non-partisan enforcement agency that could evolve with the developing society, but it didn’t turn out that way. Many saw the application of law enforcement and justice (even though non-lethal) with no human component or oversight as anathema. Even some of the earliest adaptors of techno-socialism began to abandon their towns and form competitive AGs. Adaptive needed a way to reinvent itself, and quickly.

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