Advent of Carcosa

Counter-Memes – Opposing Unity

You say Utopia, I say Dystopia, Utopia, Dystopia, let’s call the whole thing oooooff.

Unity’s main opposition is Temple, but there are plenty more which will be covered in next week’s post.

The AGs opposing the CU have their work cut out for them. Humanity’s most powerful society already controls over 70% of the sapient population and this number is growing. Unlike many of the counter-memes, the CU has ability to rapidly scale its infrastructure to its population, moving much of it to exo-global locations even after its colonization initiatives in the inner solar system failed. Habitats mimicking perfect environments of different types are scattered throughout the lagrange points, with more being constructed as well an ambitious project to finish building a habitable ring around Earth’s equator.

It would seem that any AG opposing the CU would be doomed to failure. It’s certainly what the CU leadership thinks, but this hubris could prove to be its undoing. The AGs opposing it run the gamut of low tech/religious fundamentalist to high tech/posthuman libertarian. While these groups often despise each other just as much as they oppose Unity, they realize that only by defeating the globalist super-state can any of them hope to survive – this causes some very unlikely (and sometimes very temporary) alliances to occur, all with the object of destroying Unity and exposing the monstrosities of its inner workings.

This list of counter AGs is not exhaustive, but does contain the ones that are at present the most effective at capturing the loyalty and aid of capable, numerous and determined sapients.

Temple

Uplifts

Ex-humans

Nationalists

Fundamentalists

Cultists

Church of Azrael

 

Temple

“We are standing over the Abyss, and you fools are ripping up the floor so you can strengthen the walls!” Ezra Bane, heretic of Temple

“You still have a choice – the conditioning just makes it easier to make the correct one.” Simon Magus, chief elder and statesman of Temple.

The CU’s chief rival is Temple, a well-organized alliance of different faiths and techno and bio-conservatives. Founded by the charismatic Simon Magus, Temple was founded when many of the world’s faiths were facing extinction due to increasingly effective secular memetic campaigns. By emphasizing their common traits, Magus was able to unite many of the world’s faithful under a philosophy called ‘The Many Names of God’. This philosophy focused on the religions’ commonalities and taught that each faith should maintain its own unique character, but all should demonstrate their belief by lending their fellow spiritualists mutual tolerance and aid.

While Temple doesn’t fully prohibit advanced technologies like 3D printing and genefixing, such tools are used sparingly and are tightly controlled by its leaders. The real draw of the AG, though, is that all members are guaranteed free food, education, housing, medical care and meaningful work – the last being both a privilege and a requirement. Religious life and spirituality are encouraged, but not officially required (although people who do not follow the faith of their communities are sometimes viewed with suspicion and often face discrimination). Sectarianism is discouraged and any inter-faith violence is swiftly dealt with.

Higher education in Temple focuses on knowledge of practical value, emphasizing advanced infrastructure creation, agriculture and bio-engineering. Each faith is allowed religious schools, but these are kept separate from the secular universities.

Temple knows of the Outsiders and is responding to their presence in the only way they’ve found to be effective given their limited technical resources – knowledge gleaned from ancient texts is inserted into media feeds, resulting in aural/visual neurolinguistic programming. Continual exposure makes it nearly impossible for an individual to live or think outside the dictates of the religion in which they were raised. This regimented thinking makes it extremely difficult for Outsiders to gain access to a sentient consciousness while leaving much of the person’s intelligence and creativity intact. The changes in individual behavior were gradual and nearly universal – to this day, most people think the utopian perfection of Temple is solely due to the spiritual discipline of its followers.

Physical manifestations of outsiders are dealt with using a ritual found in a text unearthed in Pergamum titled Al Kitab Malaika. The ritual fuses the physical form and psyche of a volunteer with that of an Outsider. If successful, the merged entity gains extraordinary abilities while keeping the personality of the one who offered themselves up for the honor of being one of the elite defenders of Temple.

The entities, called Mala, can usually pass as a typical person, albeit one of unusual size, grace and/or intensity. They also generate a subtle aura of fear that most creatures can gradually sense, even if they can’t locate the particular cause. If a Mala enters a coffee shop it will be empty in a few minutes, the people there suddenly having thought of other places they needed to be.

Mala also have a monstrous form which they can change into at will. It increases their abilities while also making them extremely difficult to kill, at the cost of turning them into something so loathsome that the uninitiated would think they were witnessing a living nightmare. MJ-12 has managed to acquire a copy of the Al Kitab Malaika via covert means, using it to enhance the abilities of several of their own agents.

For even greater threats, another, more powerful ritual from this ancient work is used to summon a being tremendous size and hideous aspect. Called Children of Lilith, these creatures are kept in a dormant state, awakening only when a human pilot is absorbed like a key into a cavity in their central nervous system. The two form a symbiotic relationship, with the Child becoming an extension of the pilot’s thoughts and reflexes.

To cover their appearance as well as extend their combat abilities, the Children are covered in armor and conventional weaponry that enhances their own considerable natural protective capabilities and arsenal.

The CU sees many of Temple’s methods of confronting the Outsiders as being extraordinarily dangerous, but is many times at a loss as to how to effectively respond. The current nightmare scenario is an Outsider of sufficient power gaining simultaneous control of the entire AG, possible due to the similar nature of the individual members’ synaptic maps caused by the neurolinguistic programming.

Advent of Carcosa

Advent of Carcosa: The Corporate Unity, Part 2

Minolta DSC

Welcome to Part 2! In addition to written content, I’ll also sometimes include some original artwork that I think complements the narrative – hope you enjoy!

Fortunately for the embattled corporation, the memetic warfare (marketing) and bio-sciences divisions already had a breakthrough concept in the works. After a close vote by the upper echelon of leadership, the decision was made. Adaptive Inc. was no more. It was to be replaced by a global and exo-global techno-socialist super-state with the goal of uniting all of humanity under its banner. Anyone could become a member, and anyone who joined would receive a gift that was also the price of admission: immortality – and not just immortality – eternal youth, beauty and health. A new medium for human intelligence, digitized consciousness, and a vehicle for that medium, the biomorph, had been invented. Digitized consciousness not only meant that people now had complete control over their cognitive processes, but a person who had died from any cause could be restored – they only had to be uploaded into a new biomorph.   Many of the remaining nation-states disintegrated as people who had never known anything but sickness, hunger and despair left their bodies behind and uploaded their consciousness into a digital matrix, joining the brave new experiment in human existence.* Adaptive Inc. was dead, re-invented as the Corporate Unity.

With newfound confidence, the CU began the construction of a space elevator and expeditions were launched as point groups for colonization efforts to Luna, Mars, the asteroid belt and the moons of Jupiter. It looked as if the dream of techno-socialism could be achieved.

Sadly, this is where things began to go wrong. The Helio Array, a vast collection of solar panels and transmitting power stations placed in distant orbit around the sun proved to be something of a technological overreach. The project was first envisioned as being the only solution to the CU’s massive appetite for energy. Unforeseen complications with construction in such a hazardous environment lead to delays and tremendous loss of life among the construction crews. Even after it was completed, maintenance of such a complex and remote mechanism proved to be nearly impossible. Until these difficulties are resolved, the CU will not be fully energy independent and will rely on Deep Green Inc. and other toxic sources to meet any shortfalls.

Acquisition of rare elements (particularly of the type that can’t be created in this universe) has also proven elusive. Expeditions and probes have been sent through gates to investigate possible sources but have rarely survived more than a few seconds after returning, or most often, simply could not be recovered at all. Many of these elements are needed for the creation of higher end base blocks for Makers needed for the creation of some of the CU’s more exotic technologies.

These two realities led to the creation of a strong memetic campaign in the CU for simplicity and conservation. While this is mostly expressed through minimalism on the part of the population at large, it also affects the CUs many bureaucracies, including MJ-12. This leads to competition for resources and to something of a siege mentality when it comes to issuing anything from housing to suits of powered armor. In order to justify larger allocations, many civil service agencies have resorted to everything from making themselves as large as possible to launching memetic campaigns to increase people’s perception that the service they provide is vital to their continued happiness and safety.

While these problems were perilous enough, they were just the beginning. With the collapse of so many governments, massive amounts of classified data were left unguarded, most of which was gathered and studied by CU AI researchers who passed on what was deemed valuable information for further analysis.  Intrigued by a growing body of data cataloged as ‘vital’, ‘unintelligible’ and ‘potentially hazardous’, followed by a couple of AIs going permanently offline, a team of researchers compiled a complete overview of all information gathered with at least two of the three markers.

Disbelief set in as pieces of a bizarre puzzle began falling into place. The most logical explanation seemed to be that the governments of the world had been infected by a collective psychosis. Not only were dozens of alien species cataloged, many of them were claimed to cohabit Earth with humanity. Deep Ones, Dholes, Cthonians, Mi-Go, Star Spawn and an alternate dimension that sometimes overlapped the Earth physically in some locations called The Dreamlands.

It seemed like nonsense that could be dismissed as fantasy except for its ubiquity – every nation had some sort of record of this phenomenon – even artifacts in deep storage. As research continued, several members of the team suffered from complete breakdowns and had to be eliminated and restored from back-up copies. The information was sealed in a secure file, with physical artifacts tracked down and seized – many, however, had already gone missing.

It also surfaced that many countries had organizations specifically created to deal with this phenomenon. The members of these organizations were now unemployed, but many of them were still trying to continue their work. These people were approached by the CU and offered any resources they required to keep these threats from harming humanity with the eventual goal of eliminating them altogether.

Most agreed, forming the organization now called MJ-12. Unfortunately, the one thing all them agreed on was that it was already too late. The stars were almost right again, and soon humanity would be faced with a fate worse than extinction.

Unity didn’t agree – having access to the digitized consciousness of most of humanity gave it the potential ability to control how that consciousness was shaped by an outside force – it just needed to figure out which levers to pull. It also began devoting a considerable part of its vast collective intelligence to figuring out how to destroy these alien intellects, or find a way to destroy the very dimensions in which they lived. Unity just needed time – and MJ-12 could be used – sacrificed, if need be – to purchase that time. Until then, the existence of these horrors needed to be kept a closely guarded secret. While the CU couldn’t hide secrets of this magnitude with complete certainty, control of its population’s memories and emotional state came close.

Since these discoveries were made all of the CU’s interplanetary colonization initiatives have failed, seemingly due to the ancient horrors Earth’s newest government is just beginning to understand. There are fears that certain prominent AI and perhaps even The Law itself have been corrupted by Outsider influence. Investigating these possibilities make up some of MJ-12’s most dangerous missions. So far no evidence has been found for corruption – even if it hasn’t happened yet (and many of MJ-12’s finest are convinced that it has), it’s probably only a matter of time before the unthinkable occurs.

To maintain secrecy and maximize its operational flexibility, MJ-12 exists embedded in a larger bureaucracy called The Inspectorate, an organization created to ensure that all of the many aspects of the CU’s society function at maximum efficiency and in harmony with one another. This allows MJ-12’s agents to move about freely anywhere and engage in enigmatic behavior without raising suspicion. In addition to The Inspectorate, MJ-12 has infiltrated all of the CU’s other government branches and many of the larger and more popular (along with some of the smaller and more dangerous) AGs both foreign and domestic. This gives them the ability to have knowledgeable agents on-call for nearly any situation that might arise.

 

* An unintended side-effect of this was that people were no longer allowed to die when they wished. Requests to die are handled on a case-by-case basis by The Law, and can be granted or denied depending on the individual’s worth to the CU. It is a long, arduous process with many interviews and uncomfortable invasive scans that many feel isn’t worth the effort. For those whose applications are denied or simply don’t want to wait, a simulated death is available on most major entertainment channels.

Uncategorized

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.

Uncategorized

Advent of Carcosa: Inhospitable Climates

Here is a brief listing of all the current places humanity is known to make its home. This accounting is not exhaustive – human colonies are rumored to exist in the Dreamlands, and there is no census of the lost souls that inhabit Carcosa – at least not any that could be considered reliable. Fragment of humanity are scattered throughout time and space, many of whom are no longer recognizable as our kin.

 

All branches of humanity, organic and otherwise, have proven to be psychologically fragile when it comes to adapting to environments that differ to a considerable degree from the one that their ancestors evolved in. Only a few rare individuals can withstand the psychological stress of living off-world for an extended period of time without expensive and invasive psychological aid.

Due to this frailty (as well as others of a more existential nature), humanity’s expansion into the solar system has been limited.

Mercury is under the firm control of Unity, who utilizes it as a staging area for the Helio Array. A number of mobile city-sized semi-automated mining platforms also scour the surface for ferrous metals, usually crewed by a dozen sapients. Once enough material has been collected, kiloton sized ingots are fired from one of several railguns, giving them sufficient velocity to reach Earth orbit.

Even closer to the sun are the highly restricted Vulcanoid anti-matter research stations. Here, a small group of researchers to tap this powerful but volatile source of energy.

Crews of these platforms, as well as personnel involved in the running and maintenance of the temperamental Helio Array, tend to have an unusually high psychological constitution in order survive their hazardous and alien work environment. Since even this would not be enough to survive the stresses involved in the usual one year tour of duty, all crew are allowed access to hyper-real virtual environments (called HR or Harvey) of their choosing to take the edge off.

Serving in deep space is enough to gain a person considerable rep score in most AGs, and while this is enough for some, many choose to stay for several years or even make these hostile regions their home (the reasons for this running the gamut of a sense of civic duty to HR addiction).

Venus is currently home to a CU aerostat that initially housed 15 scientists and support staff conducting research on micro-organisms found on the surface. After 3 years of operation, ruins discovered on the surface nearly lead to Unity ordering the aerostat’s destruction by a warship due to fear of Outsider contamination. When a gate leading to a star in the Canis Major Overdensity was also found, a larger, more diverse group was sent to the station to investigate further. These volunteers, a mixture of xeno-biologists, thaumatologists, archeologists and an elite team of battle morphs were sent to the aerostat with the understanding that they could never return to Earth.

Both Luna and Mars have proven to be hazardous to extended human habitation. The area around both places closely monitored and patrolled by Unity – any ship approaching to within 50,000 kilometers is given a warning. What happens after that is largely within the discretion of the patrol ship’s captain with the understanding that any ship that approaches within 2500 kilometers must be immediately destroyed.

Both places are dotted with ghost colonies – no living person remains.

The true history of both places is a closely guarded secret, but is known to most MJ-12 personnel.

The first incidents were at first thought to be ennui brought on the stark, unforgiving environment of both places.  Although this was certainly a factor, other compulsions soon manifested, ranging from self-mutilation to the inscribing of symbols on surfaces that would cause uncanny and/or catastrophic effects. In none of the cases would any individual remember what they’d done, incredulous even when shown a recording of their activities (although this particular practice was stopped after several suicides).

The colonies were evacuated, but the incidents continued to occur on the voyage home with increasing frequency. Two-thirds of the evacuation fleet was lost in transit. It was also found that affected individuals could spread their malady by showing another person a simple hand written note or drawing.

On arrival, all the surviving crew and colonists were transferred to the Zoo and put in solitary confinement pending further research and study.

Jupiter/Saturn: Both worlds and their moons are visited by automated factory ships with permanent orbiting stations that house repair facilities should anything go amiss. Human habitation is no more than a few dozen individuals – while this is the official count, there may be many more, some of whom are involved illegal activity such as Outsider worship or piracy.

Beyond the orbit of Saturn, there is no known human presence. Factory ships and probes sent out this far seldom return, and if they do, they often have to be destroyed due to being under the control of an unknown agency.

Earth’s Ocean: Many companies use off-shore archologies to skirt CU regulations on research and production. While environmental violations can be easily detected and dealt with no matter where they occur, remote locations such as these are ideal bases for forbidden archeological expeditions, experimentation with otherworldly technology and thoughtforms and manufacture of existentially hazardous items. While the CU claims jurisdiction over all oceans, its resources are limited and many of the aforementioned activities can be hidden from The Law, especially if it doesn’t know precisely what it’s looking for. If disguised as legitimate, they can even receive funding from the CU – the majority of legal and encouraged operations include oceanographic bioresearch, thermal energy conversion and aquaculture.

The search for forbidden knowledge has the potential to be profitable to both business and AGs, with possible applications ranging from access to rare elements that defy known physical laws to the manufacture of weaponry for potential use against Deep Ones or Star Spawn. All such knowledge is extremely dangerous, leading to the CU to declare on monopoly on it as well as any artifacts acquired through its application

Advent of Carcosa

Advent of Carcosa: Existential Threats

Here we find a list of organizations and entities, some of whom are more than capable of bringing about the end of humanity – in all fairness, the corporations would only do so if it meant an increase in shareholder value.

Corporations

Event Horizon Entertainment (Techno-Socialist/Transhumanist/Exo-Global): Having socialized most of its infrastructure, the CU has few named companies under its control, Event Horizon being one of the exceptions in order to facilitate memetic warfare operations in territory not under its direct control.  This corp is the driving force behind much of the CU’s popular culture, often launching protective memetic campaigns in defense of its benefactor. Its entertainment products are available in a variety of formats and their penetration outside of the CU’s sphere of influence is considerable, even though forbidden by many pre-transitional governments and largely considered irrelevant by post-scarcity groups. Event Horizon marketing is continually working on the latter problems while their innovative fulfillment division continuously finds ways to get their products to places they’re not allowed and receive payment for them. A few products approach the subject of outsiders and other dimensions (including documentaries and a dramatization of MJ-12) but these are all false fronts that are full of misdirection.

 

Schwarzhaus Mining (Capitalist/Polish Nationalist/Silesian Free State): A pre-transitional corp that is remarkably the most successful at extraction of rare elements, able to obtain usable quantities of trans-uranic samples that are extremely difficult if not impossible to replicate. They sell to everyone, including the post-scarcity AGs, but their source of these materials remains a mystery. MJ-12 has taken notice and is quietly investigating, but no one wants the source of these rare elements to dry up (the CU swaps use of their space elevator for access to them). Schwarzhaus is possibly a subversicorp, but unlike others, this one actually provides a benefit.

 

Deep Green (Capitalist/Transhuman/American nationalist): Amoral and ruthless, Deep Green commands a large portion of the global power economy – in command of diverse resources, they can tailor energy solutions for individuals or nations. Energy from solar satellites, wind turbines, geo-thermal, nuclear (fusion and fission) and fossil fuels are all on their product list, and they’ll set an AG up with power plants and infrastructure if they can meet their price (service contract extra).

Since environmental preservation doesn’t improve their bottom line (unless it’s what the customer wants), they often clash with the CU, with clandestine operations sometimes escalating into open warfare. The CU can’t afford to push them too hard, however, as it often needs to buy power from them during Helio Array brown-outs. Deep Green sabotage is suspected, but yet to be proven.

Deep Green is currently under investigation by MJ-12 due to a mysterious lack of Deep One interest in their deep sea geo-thermal facilities.

 

Exodyne Ship Builders (Capitalist/Libertarian – main construction facility in Lunar orbit): Spacecraft/habitat design and construction. They are notorious for being willing to build for anyone, as well as being open to a variety of forms of compensation.

 

Blue Horizon (Capitalist/Chinese nationalist/Shanghai): Marine construction/design – surface effect vehicles, warships, luxury liners, submarines, deep sea habitats.

 

Oculus Solutions: (Libertarian/Global/Exo-Global): Security, surveillance, special ops, professional military intervention. Oculus has naval, ground, air and space based assets and can be very flexible in deploying them to meet their customer’s needs. Since they always honor a contract, they are very careful never to be on both sides of the same conflict.

 

Somatec: (Libertarian/Global/Exo-Global) Somatec is a cutting edge pharmaceutical company that creates molecular templates for a variety of drugs – medical, recreational, psychiatric, psychotropic. They are also rumored to dabble in chemical and biological weapons (micro and macro).

These programs are currently under investigation by MJ-12 along with other more conventional enforcement agencies run by the CU. MJ-12 involvement spiked when they destroyed several Somatec research expeditions in forbidden areas of the Tibetan plateau, as well as one returning to Earth after landing on Saturn’s moon, Titan.

 

Black Mirror Defensive Systems (Capitalist/Russian Nationalist/Moscow): Munitions, weapon systems, drones, offensive/defensive software. Experimentation in biomechanical technologies has led to an ongoing investigation my MJ-12.

 

Arcana Biosys (Posthuman/Libertarian/Seattle): Builds modules that improve different aspects of Biomorph function – many of the improvements they offer would be illegal or viewed with suspicion in CU controlled areas. It is rumored that they continue to experiment with uplifts.

 

Imago (Posthuman/Techno-Socialist/Los Angeles): Creator of artificial personas – if the purchaser wishes, these can be legally grafted onto any bioform or artificial lifeform that doesn’t have a pre-existing consciousness. A person’s own consciousness can also be altered in any form they choose.

 

The Threat

One of the chief obstacles humanity faces is the lack of comprehension it has regarding the forces arrayed against it. Are the known threats working individually or in concert? What threats have yet to be discovered? If humanity is aware of a particular threat, many things about it might be obscure, such as its motives, point of origin and psychology, assuming these terms could be said to apply to the threat at all in ways we could understand.

Operating against such threats with this level of ignorance is extremely dangerous, as it can never be known if any actions taken are simply making things worse. On the other hand, how can anything be learned when study of the phenomenon results in corruption?

Known Threats:

Carcosa

The Dreamlands

The Migou

The Deep Ones

Cthulhu/Star Spawn

Dholes

The Great Race

Nyarlathotep

 

This list contains only those elements that that present a clear and present danger to the existence of humanity and the reality we inhabit. Threats of a non-existential nature abound, and will be listed afterward.

 

Carcosa: A Room of One’s Own

 

Carcosa was not seen as a major threat at first. While it transformed the internal/external realities of individuals and (rarely) small locales, the transformations were in and of themselves harmless, being mostly cosmetic projections of the strange obsessions and alienation of a person or group. These projections were sometimes not even noticeable except by the most detailed observation, and even if uncanny, were a threat to no one.

What started out as a minor incursion has since turned into a global outbreak, threatening to drive every aspect of manifested intelligence into stark, isolated worlds of anxiety and despair.

The outbreak began when the subconscious of affected individuals began to seek each other out via the GIN. A virtual Carcosa was formed (although theories persist that this is not a copy, but in fact a gateway into the ageless phenomenon itself), creating an environment that others could access and experience, often leading to that person’s incorporation after several visits.

Now, instead of single rooms or buildings, entire neighborhoods, towns and habitats have been transformed, with changes sometimes so subtle that one may have to spend hours or days there before consciously noticing.

The transformation can encompass anything people interact with day to day: their clothing, the AR environment and the interior and exterior of buildings and habitats. Manifestations of other artifacts are certainly possible, either appearing on their own for no discernable reason or created by a visual artist or writer. AR is affected in such a way as to read into the darker areas of a subject’s unconscious and project it back to them in a variety of subtle ways.

A shared trait of all of these manifestations is the presence of the King in Yellow. There are no consistencies in the behavior of this apparition, but his appearance is always the same in most respects – an ancient man wearing a stained yellow mask, pale yellow tattered robes and a crown whose design will vary depending on the individual observing him. He rarely speaks or directly interacts in any way with those around him, and is sometimes only glimpsed wandering aimlessly through a distant crowd or peering briefly through a window.

Ironically, the suppression of individual innate intelligence on a large scale by Unity and many other AGs has accelerated the expansion of Carcosa, driving this unexpressed potential to manifest itself and seek expression subconsciously.

 

Cthulhu/Starspawn: Since the discovery of ruins associated with these creatures on Mars, this crisis has been the chief cause of concern in regards to the survival of humanity and the source of many of the counter-measures that have been put into place. It is clear from even the avatars of the incursion that these will be useless once the driving intelligence of Cthulhu itself manifests – humanity’s digitized consciousnesses and arsenal are but another form of energy/thought combination that can be manipulated at will.

Cthulhu and the Starspawn have no form that the human mind can comprehend – the descriptions of these creatures that exist are merely the human mind trying to make sense of what it’s perceiving as best it can.

 

Deep Ones: An immortal, sub-aquatic species whose intelligence is only matched by their technological achievement, which includes local/interstellar trans-d gates. Their intellects are sophisticated enough that they’ve never needed to develop computers and are immune to dimensional incursions. Their contact with humanity is limited, with most exchanges taking place with hybrids that they create for carrying out their business on the surface. The Deep Ones view humanity as a temporary infestation, but for the most part leave us in peace. If a conflict occurs, expendable hybrids and cultists are used whenever possible.

It’s possible that the Deep Ones could challenge Cthulhu, but it’s clear they view such a confrontation as pointless and filled with potential risk.

 

The Dreamlands: Theorized as an adjacent pocket dimension, its location (if it in fact has one in the conventional sense) and origin remain unknown. It can be reached by rare individuals via REM sleep – others can go there using trans-d gates or other artifacts. The Plateau of Leng is another possible point of entry, but it is difficult to find as its position is non-constant, but can often be found in the Taklamakan Desert. Dangers to humanity include entities that cross over from the Dreamlands via Leng and toxic artifacts brought back by travelers.

The Dreamlands have been extensively mapped by those who have traveled there, the terrain being very similar to Earth. Dangerous, alien creatures and societies also exist here – as far as it is known, these strange species and civilizations exist nowhere else.

 

Migo: To the Migo, humanity is a ticking bomb. The humans are not only the harbingers of Cthulhu’s return, their AI technology poses a threat to the Migo’s continued habitation of this solar system and its environs.

In the face of these threats, the Migo’s options are limited. While the destruction of humanity and its civilization is possible, the energy released by such a mass extinction of sapient life would only speed up the process of Cthulhu’s return.

Covert sabotage of humanity’s AI programs has slowed down but not stopped the creation of more and increasingly sophisticated intelligences. Although there are no signs of this at present, to the Migo it is only a matter of time before AIs supplant the organic branch of humanity and colonize the solar system.

 

Dholes: A polymorphic species that is known to inhabit the upper mantle of Earth, although it’s possible that its subterranean range is far greater. They are telepathic, but all known attempts at contact have ended in insanity and death. They have been recorded as moving through rock at speeds as high as 60 kph.

Only one video exists of a Dhole on the surface – it resembles a segmented worm of mottled yellow coloration with a mass of tentacles at the fore end of the body. The length of this particular specimen was approximately 15 meters.

Very little is known about the Dholes since human contact with them tends to be brief and catastrophic. What Dhole technology that has been discovered is psionic in nature, tremendously advanced and highly dangerous.

 

The Great Race of Yith: A species composed of non-corporeal intellects capable of moving through time. In order to survive, they must inhabit a mind of sufficient complexity – when they do so, the native intelligence is driven out and sent back to the body the Yithian vacated. Using this method, the Great Race has explored not only the history of humanity, but of other intelligent species on this world and others. When an extinction event threatens they flee en masse, switching places with some unfortunate species that are left to suffer the fate they escaped.

The only time MJ-12 is aware of the Great Race existing is a period of 200 million years, starting a little over a billion years ago. During this time, they inhabited the region that is now known as Australia, although it’s very likely they have existed in many other eras and places.

The Yithians housed the knowledge they gleaned from their explorations in the city of Pnakosis, located somewhere in Australia’s Great Sandy Desert. The information of the library is stored in books of nearly indestructible metal – a few are known to exist, with perhaps many more waiting to be found.

 

Nyarlathotep: References to Nyarlathotep date back to the very beginnings of human civilization. While he is often mentioned in some of the more esoteric religious texts that span many different cultures, the only fact all of these references point to is that no one seems to be sure exactly what he is or whose agenda he is following. He’s definitely the most approachable of the Old Ones, most often appearing as an ordinary human being. The most common theme in these references portrays him as being the arbiter of faustian bargains, a harbinger of madness and dissolution and possessed of an almost irresistible charisma.

Unlike others of his kind, his worship can bring tangible rewards – his gifts, however, almost always lead the receiver closer to the Outer Gods, and he seems to delight in his role of dark Prometheus. Due to this personal magnetism and charm he seldom has to resort to violence, but some texts refer to him laying waste to cities in his more monstrous forms and even causing the demise of a pre-human civilization.

Some of the existing scholarship regards him as a manifestation of the will of one or more of the Outer Gods – perhaps even Azathoth itself, while other sources say he is an individual intelligence with his own unfathomable agenda. That being said, Nyarlathotep has had dealings with many institutions throughout history, MJ-12 included.

Acting as Nyarlathotep’s agents are the Chotgor. These beings are similar to the Mala of Temple, but unlike the Mala, Chotgor can only be created by Nyarlathotep. Chotgor have the ability to change into one of Nyarlathotep’s many forms, a favor he bestows to those few followers who gain his favor and trust. Chotgor can be found acting directly in Nyarlathotep’s interests, or can be lent as aid to whatever cause the Dark God finds worthy.

Advent of Carcosa

Advent of Carcosa: Life During the Incursion (cont.)

More about our favorite dystopian society! After we finish with this brief examination, we’ll get to the really spooky stuff – the corporations! Oh yeah, and Hastur and Cthulhu as well 😉

Barter and Reputation:

Liquid capital is a scarce and sometimes not altogether useful commodity. The expendable worker in a capitalist society doesn’t earn enough for the essentials of living, and while the trans-economy worker gets the essentials for free, many find that being alive and enjoying it requires more than this. Even someone living the post-scarcity dream will come across a problem or want that can’t be solved or fulfilled by something that can be forged in a Maker, such as access to a unique item or prohibited information.

Barter is the most common way for obtaining items that exist above one’s means, or even things not normally for sale. In a world where nearly everything is created from a template, beautifully made, handcrafted items are in high demand – especially if they are made from exotic (and/or illegal) materials. If one doesn’t have a valuable item or information to exchange, skills are also in demand.

A good reputation in one’s community or AG can also pay dividends. Being a well-known and valued member can get one access to things that would normally be unobtainable (there are several social media aps that track reputation scores across a variety of communities). Indeed, refusing to help someone with a high ranking is almost a guaranteed way to lower your score.

Of course, a high rep score to one person will be a negative one to another, depending on how they feel about that community or AG – walking into the wrong bar with a rep score in an opposing AG could lead to a confrontation that could easily escalate into violence.

 

Law Enforcement:

Each AG and CU administrative region has its own social mores – some of these are backed up with legal sanctions, while others rely on social pressure. The CU claims to have a final say on all legal matters everywhere humanity exists, but this isn’t how it always works in practice since many AGs don’t recognize the CU’s authority.

The Law:

The CU maintains a network of drones that have access to a dynamic gestalt AI. These drones are empowered to investigate crimes, pass sentence and take any legal action called for.  Equipped with a Maker and unlimited access to templates, they can create whatever tool or weapon that would be most appropriate for a given investigation or tactical situation. They have access to the location of every CU issued biomorph, whose digital memories can be accessed without cause or warrant. Non-standardized morphs are hacked to get any information not given up willingly – not giving up information when requested can lead to legal sanction (any damage caused to the CU’s agents by defensive software during the hack is the responsibility of witness).

Penalties can include confiscation of higher end morphs, with the intelligence in possession of the morph regulated to a more baseline model or sentenced to temporary or permanent non-corporeality if their continued physical existence is considered a threat to society. Any penalty will also include a slight adjustment of the digitized consciousness to rid the morph of the undesirable behavior, along with continued monitoring to ensure that it doesn’t resurface. Digital identities that can’t be repaired are permanently uploaded and placed into secure storage where they can be further studied.

The Law constitutes humanity’s only socialized law enforcement. Capitalistic societies tend to sub-contract it out to professional organizations, while each individual in a post-scarcity AG handles their own.

 

The Law and MJ-12:

MJ-12 is an extra-legal CU organization that specializes in handling any threat that lies outside the jurisdiction/comprehension of The Law. When certain conditions are met The Law summons MJ-12 to handle the crisis, turning a blind eye to the means as long as the desired ends are achieved (the desired ends being determined by MJ-12). MJ-12’s involvement in these cases also protects The Law from being tainted by threats of an extra-dimensional nature. Human or AI MJ-12 agents that are psychologically or informationally compromised can be eliminated and restored from their last back-up – The Law is far too dynamic and complex to withstand this sort of procedure and remain viable.

 

The Global Information Network (GIN)

This massive database provides each individual suitably equipped with instant access to all forms of past and current media – in the latter case, often within moments of its creation. Access to the network is free to all citizens of the CU who possess an approved morph.

Each morph comes equipped with a GINsert to access the wireless data network and a familiar to process it. Familiars are necessary since even an enhanced intelligence would be overwhelmed by the influx of data – one of a familiar’s main tasks is to determine what information is relevant and then incorporate it into their owner’s consciousness, or make them aware of its existence and catalog it so it can be experienced at a later time.

Once a familiar has worked with an individual long enough, they begin to anticipate their cognitive needs, performing background processing even during real time conversation, incorporating the best words, phrasing, facts and quotes to enhance whatever is being said. With a functioning GINsert and familiar, even a normally dull person can make their everyday communication sparkle with wit. Conversely, someone without one sounds slow and plodding in comparison.

A person’s GINsert and familiar are installed at the same time, usually at age two. This way the artificial intelligence that will become that person’s life-long companion will be with them as they develop and get to know them intimately – and given their objectivity, usually better than the person knows themselves. Given access to their owner’s accounts, maker and household computer, a familiar will eventually develop from a teacher, companion and confidant to a shopping assistant, valet, advisor, cook and housekeeper.

Loss of one’s familiar is one of the most psychologically traumatic events a person can go through – even modification of a person’s familiar without their consent is considered a form of physical assault. The more affluent keep at least one copy on standby, updating it and the recording of their consciousness at the same time.

Advent of Carcosa

Advent of Carcosa: Life During the Incursion

Hi Everyone!

A bit more background information about the Corporate Unity and the world more or less under its control.

Life during the Incursion

The following is for recruits new to the CU SMM

CU Committee for Public Safety Orientation Document, Security Clearence MJ-12.

Warning: Possession of this document by unsanctioned individuals could result in a sentence of permanent non-corporeality.

People have a tendency of trying to maintain a sense of normalcy and routine, even as the world is falling apart around them. At this point in our history this is still fairly simple, as the present incursions only alter reality to a slight degree – however, even these slight alterations have increased the background tension of the global society.  An overall calm is maintained through the use of reality altering methods used by different SSMs, both conventional and supernatural. Conventional methods include the introduction of pharmaceuticals into food and water produced by matter compilers, psychological manipulation through the wireless neural interface required by most media feeds, visual psychotropic conditioning via augmented reality and many other methods. Supernatural means can affect the perception of an individual or alter the reality of the collective unconscious itself, with the latter being considered extremely dangerous given the inexact nature of the results and the sometimes considerable collateral damage in terms of lives and sanity. Supernatural methods often include elements of Outsider influence and are therefore forbidden in the CU.

Some organizations or unbalanced individuals have not only discovered these manipulations, but actively try to protect themselves from them, not understanding that they’re putting all of humanity at risk – or simply not caring. The vast majority of people, however, go through their day of pre-approved experiences and emotions without struggle or even noticing – this is the status quo that must be maintained at any cost.

In the territories controlled by Unity people are given simple work designed to keep them occupied and give their lives structure. The work itself is often entirely meaningless, since most necessary tasks can be better accomplished by machines or AIs – given the precarious state of humanity’s collective psychology, this is probably for the best. For their cooperation, the citizens of the CU are rewarded with access to an extensive catalog of virtual experiences. Those few capable of service above the norm, especially those exposing themselves to physical or psychic trauma, are given significant alterations of mind and body to enhance their abilities.

One commonality between nearly all of humanity’s AGs (with the exception of the bio-conservatives) are the use of biomorphs and cortical stacks. Biomorphs are artificial bodies – the most common types are indistinguishable from an unmodified human body. Where they differ is that even the least capable biomorph is immune from genetic diseases, aging, and is optimized for good looks and health. Cortical stacks are artificial brains that a digitized consciousness is uploaded into for use with a biomorph. If a biomorph is damaged or the user simply wants to upgrade to a different model, the cortical stack can simply be removed and placed within the new body. While robust, cortical stacks are not indestructible – because of this, certain individuals deemed vital to the CU have their consciousness mirrored via digital means. In parts of the world not fully controlled by the CU, this service can be purchased or traded for.

The human population is separated into three different economic models – scarcity, transitional, and post-scarcity. The scarcity model is basically old-school capitalism. Makers are available but are monopolized by a few individuals, with the technology being closely guarded and tight legal restrictions put upon their possession and use. Morphs are available, but must be purchased or given by one’s employer. In the latter case, the morph is still considered the property of the employer, who can repossess the morph at any time and run any software on it of their choosing. Purchased morphs can be purged of proprietary software, but this is difficult and in many cases will void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Makers are available to the population at large without cost in the transitional society of Unity, but certain templates are restricted, with luxury items and some consumer goods limited only to those who can afford them. In the case of weapons and hazardous materials, a government license must also be obtained.

Baseline morphs are available to all – these are in fact required to access socialized information networks and healthcare. They also run government software that is constantly being updated and patched, making many suspect that their thoughts and motivations are being tampered with. Morphs without this programming can be acquired, but the person buying them must see to their own physiological and psychological security (which can usually be included as a software package when the morph is purchased).

In the post-scarcity model, makers are available to all, with templates and morphs limited only by what the individual can create for themselves or acquire by other means. This leads to very rapid development/ability in some of the more dynamic elements of the society, but is very hazardous due to the large scale employment of software, genetic manipulation, nanotech, hardware and weapons that go through little or no vetting process before being deployed