One would have thought a cataclysmic event such as the Fall would bring the surviving elements of transhumanity closer together, jointly dedicating themselves to the repopulation of the solar system and continued prosperity. Instead, the remoteness and physical isolation of transhuman colonies and habitats stretched across the solar system, as well as the effects emerging technologies have had on transhuman economies and social lives, have promoted the evolution of a wide spectrum of philosophies, agendas, and political models.

Ideology Argonauts

The group calling themselves argonauts is a public organization advocating the socially responsible use of technology. The group chose its name from the pre-Fall JASON, an advisory group that consulted for the US government on matters of scientific and technological progress and its possible dangers. The argonauts likewise offer consultation services to political and economic powers throughout the solar system, but strictly refuse to be drawn into the solar system’s political affairs in any way. Despite a pre-Fall break with many hypercorps before the Fall, which in some cases included expropriating corporate data and resources, the argonauts re-earned favor by providing their expertise in combating the TITANs to all during the Fall.

The argonauts are strong proponents of the open source movement, advocating open access to technology and information. In their view, providing equal access to transhumanity’s knowledge and achievements will further growth and security, so that all of transhumanity is more prepared for future threats and challenges. Thus the argonauts often insist that payment for their services come in the way of releasing otherwise unobtainable information—hypercorp proprietary secrets, research data, nanofab blueprints, hidden pre-Fall archives, and so on—to the public mesh. The argonauts maintain several open databases and archives for this specific purpose.

While primarily an open organization, the argonauts are rumored to ultimately report to an elite inner circle. Supporting this theory is the existence of the medeans, the organization’s clandestine paramilitary wing, bodyguarding high-level argonauts and protecting the group’s assets.

Political Bloc Autonomist Alliance

The outer system presented an opportunity for people who wanted to set up a way of doing things that was drastically different from the authoritarian politics and sham democracies of Earth and the inner system. Far from the reach of governments and hypercorps, this frontier was populated by political radicals, social dropouts, and people who just wanted to experiment or do their own thing. These initial habitats drew the interests of insurgents from Earth, scientists and technicians who didn’t appreciate being on a corporate leash, indentured vacworkers who sought to escape their oppressive terms of service, and even criminals fleeing hypercorp justice or forcibly expelled from inner system habitats. Their ranks swelled with every act of inner system injustice, though life on the fringe was often harsh and deadly. Despite occasional hostilities with nationstate military units or hypercorp security, the expense of reining in these radicals and expats was too high. To some degree, their presence was useful to the powers-that-be. Breakthroughs with nanofabrication brought these anarchists and fringers the edge they needed to keep their autonomy over the long-term. Once cornucopia machines were widely available, anyone had the means to support and defend themselves without relying on outside or higher authorities. Already an outpost for open source and free culture activists who fought restrictions on ideas, media, and digital content, the outer system became a haven for sharing nanofab designs and circumventing the controls the hypercorps attempted to place on their software and other digital goods.

During the Fall, many outer system habitats opened their doors to refugees from Earth. Distance and the high cost of egocasting curtailed these efforts, however, as did inner system reluctance to send potential recruits to their ideological opponents. Simple overcrowding and lack of resources drove them to push many refugees to the outer system, however, though the hypercorps weeded through their virtual infugee mobs and sent those with the highest risk of criminal tendencies or discontent with inner system life. Though the outer system habitats run the gamut of the socio-political spectrum, four primary tendencies have emerged. The stations and swarms adhering to these ideas have bonded together under a loose autonomist alliance, a mutual aid pact to help each other in times of crisis and present a united front against the inner system powers and Jovian Junta. There is little formal structure to this alliance as an entity unto itself; it primarily exists as an assortment of joint resolutions agreed to by its various member habitats and a few ad hoc task forces dedicated to addressing a particular problem or issue and then dissolving. Delegated ambassadors act as negotiators with outside powers, but these have limited authority and are held strictly accountable.

Ideology Barsoomians

The Barsoomians (taking their name from some old Earth pulp adventure novels) are a broad movement comprised of the Martian underclass. Harboring a growing resentment over the hypercorp domination of Mars, Barsoomians advocate for a more egalitarian social structure. Heavily in uenced by autonomist currents, the Barsoomians demand local control of terraforming projects, an end to the widespread practiced of indentured servitude, and control of the Martian Gate. The majority of Barsoomians are or were indentured infugees, though a significant amount were also original Martian colonists/indentures whose habitats do not share the economic prosperity of the favored hypercorp cities. Many Barsoomians occupy rusters or synthetic morphs and actually prefer to live a nomadic lifestyle in the Martian wilds. A few radicals have taken up arms and engaged in violent strikes against hypercorp holdings, which are typically followed by reprisal raids to decapitate the Barsoomian leadership, thus breeding further hostilities.

Ideology Bioconservatives

Bioconservatives are strongly suspicious and critical of the transhuman direction the human race is taking. They are strong proponents of limiting technological development due to the threat it manifests to existing social orders. Bioconservative positions range from right-wing cultural conservatives to left-wing environmentalists. Though its prominence is shrinking, bioconservatism has a strong base among some religious groups, the Jovian Republic, and certain extremists.

Bioconservatives are opposed to nanofabrication, genetic modification, cloning, cognitive modifications, arti cial intelligence, uplifting, and forking among other technologies. Some are even opposed to backups, uploading, and resleeving, dismissing them as unnatural, an affront to god’s will, or a technology that transhumanity is not yet mature enough to handle. They oppose expansion beyond the Pandora gates on the grounds that transhumanity is not ready to deal with what they might encounter. Most bioconservatives support the old economy.

The bioconservatives gained many converts and much ground after the Fall, a cataclysmic event that served as a direct example of the dangers they warned against. Still, the appeal of technology and the numerous advantages it provides work against them. As a result, some disgruntled biocons have turned to sabotage and acts of terrorism in support of their ideology.

Ideology Brinkers

The vast reach of the solar system enables groups with their own particular ideology or agenda to establish their own isolated society far from the rest of transhumanity. Commonly referred to as brinkers, these habitats extend the gamut of the imagination. Social or political experiments, gender-based societies (or lack thereof), political extremists, religious groups, exiles, secret criminal/hypercorp operations, extended families, cults, or simply people who prefer to live in the system’s backwater areas—all are possible. Many of these are self-isolated and will refuse to interact with outsiders, while others are happy to have occasional visitors.

Hypercorp Comet Express

Comet Express specializes in delivery services, interstellar logistics, supply chains, and shipping. They maintain a presence on almost every transhuman habitat in the solar system, often via local subcontractors. Despite the wonders of nanofabrication, many resources must still be imported. ComEx focuses on managing supply and trade routes and making sure physical shipments reach their destinations. For that purpose, ComEx maintains orbital hubs equipped with slingshot accelerators at strategic waypoints throughout the system and a fleet of cargo vessels and courier drones. For reasons unknown to the public, ComEx is viewed with hostility by the Jovian Republic, who have standing orders to shoot down ComEx vessels.

Hypercorp Ecologene

Ecologene specializes in living systems, environmental genetics (with a specialty in insects), smart animals, bioarchitecture, and environmental nanotech. They design and maintain the ecosystems inside numerous habitats and tunnel colonies. One of Ecologene’s notable projects is building and maintaining a massive genetics archive of all life forms, though this endeavor was nearly crippled by the Fall. For unknown reasons, Ecologene seems to be favored by the Factors. Some speculate that Ecologene has some sort of blackmail material in hand, while others believe Ecologene is trading away transhumanity’s genetic secrets in exchange for a few xeno-tech gifts.

Ideology Exhumans

More than any other faction, exhumans seek to take the capabilities of self-modi cation to the absolute limit and become posthuman. Typical exhumans see the Fall as either a missed evolutionary opportunity and/or as an example of transhumanity’s inferiority and unworthiness. Though specific ideologies differ between exhuman packs, as a whole they seek to selfevolve to a more advanced state of being. To some, this means genetically transforming themselves into a top-of-the-food-chain, super-smart, survive-anywhere predator that can out-compete all other life forms for dominance. To others, it means bootstrapping their intelligence to the levels of the TITANs through extensive genetic modi cations and pharmaceutical treatments or going infomorph and modifying their programming. A few are singularity seekers, hoping to nd some TITAN relic that will allow them to transcend their current transhuman limitations, or even to nd the TITANs themselves and be absorbed into their super-consciousness.

Exhumans are universally mistrusted by many, and for good reason. Typical exhumans engage in modications that are extreme and untested, sometimes fringe science at best, often resulting in horrible failures and disfigurement, but more commonly driving the subject insane—or into a completely alien or feral mindset. Though individual exhumans pursue their own paths, they are known to band together in the Kuiper Belt and other remote areas. Several packs of exhumans have taken their loathing for inferior transhumanity to an extreme, declaring war on their former species and launching brutal raids and pirate attacks on isolated outposts.

Hypercorp Exotech

Often regarded as the personal technocratic pulpit of the infamous media mogul Morgan Sterling, Exotech emerged from the Fall almost unscathed, any significant losses absorbed by corporate assets in peripheral market segments, while ruthlessly buying out troubled competitors or think tanks unable to adapt to the transitioning economy. Nowadays, Exotech remains a predominant designer of high-end electronics, AIs, and mesh presence software systems. ExoTech also continues to pursue an uncompromising progressive agenda with its research in mind emulation, uploading, and resleeving, as well as infomorph ego simulation. Rumors persist that ExoTech continues to carry out research and even production of AGIs.

Organization Firewall

Firewall has been on the forefront of the secret fight to save transhumanity since the Fall. Firewall is an independent network of cells and individuals recruited from all sorts of factions, cultures, backgrounds, and habitats. Potential new recruits are approached in secret and told they possess skills or knowledge of use to a clandestine network seeking to secure transhumanity’s continued survival. Firewall’s agenda is simple: to protect transhumanity from threats of existential scope, regardless of whether such risks emerge from within transhumanity or are of external, alien origin.

Hypercorp Gatekeeper Corporation

Initially born from the merger of several scientific institutions and their corporate financiers, this hypercorp made a name for itself overnight when it announced the successful decoding of the wormhole gateway discovered on Saturn’s moon Pandora. Under the leadership of the eccentric but charismatic xenoarcheologist Xander Rabin, the consortium funds gatecrasher explorations through the Pandora Gate, paying a small share of the revenue to the explorers but otherwise retaining all-encompassing rights on any discoveries made—as well as the marketing and distribution of the highly popular gatecrasher XP recordings. Aside from scheduled explorations, the consortium offers high-risk gatecrasher scouting and discovery trips for the bold or desperate, selected through a random lottery system.

Hypercorp Go-Nin Group

Considered a relic of Earth’s capitalist market economy, the Go-nin Group is a traditional Japanese keiretsu, a conglomerate of companies with interwoven relationships and shareholdings, horizontally integrated across several industries (and sometimes vertically integrated within a business sector as well), and centered around the long-lived Tamahashi enterprise consultancy firm. Tamahashi evolved from an influential corporate lobby to a diversified bank holding major equity in the group’s partners; it now controls the group’s assets and directs the partnership’s overall business strategy. Through its member corps, the Go-nin Group has a sizable presence throughout the entire system and—without dominating a specific industry—own significant market share in fields such as banking, agritech, robotics, and services. Any difficulties in adapting to evolving economic models due to its rigid structure are compensated by unscrupulous exploitative behavior and a bottom-line attitude, earning the group the reputation as the most ruthless hypercorp of the inner system. Go-nin currently controls a Pandora gate on Eris, (p. 109), secured by a contingent of ultimate mercenaries.

Hypercorp Gorgon Defense Systems

Gorgon is one of the most significant Extropian success stories. Based out of the anarcho-capitalist freehold, Gorgon has become a major name in the design and manufacture of weapons, vehicles, sensors, and other defense technologies. Their product range includes personal weapon systems, spacecraft armaments, and habitat defense systems. While prominent in the inner system, Gorgon is also one of the main arms suppliers to autonomist and brinker stations. Their subsidiary Medusan Shield offers private security services in direct competition to Direct Action. While Direct Action is known for its expertly trained soldiers, Medusan Shield is known for their elite cadre of highly trained and aesthetically enhanced female combat morphs. It is suspected that several prominent assassinations have been the work of agents contracted through Medusan Shield.

Gang Intelligent Design Crew

The ID Crew specializes in electronic crimes and information brokerage, including credit and rep fraud, identity counterfeiting, ego trading, data theft, and forknapping. Information on the syndicate’s origins was lost during the Fall, but the ID Crew is believed to have grown from several hacker gangs assimilated under the leadership of an infomorph consortium. Their skilled use of memory manipulation software and mesh intrusion suggests they bene t from the help of sophisticated AGIs, however it is unknown if these voluntarily assist the syndicate or if they are somehow threatened into cooperation. Due to its service sector, the ID Crew maintains a minimalist physical pro le but can be found lingering in the dark recesses of almost any habitat or station mesh. Its somewhat specialized services and activities allow them to mostly stay clear of triad or Night Cartel operations, though they have an ongoing rivalry with the Nine Lives syndicate.

Political Bloc Jovian Republic

Exploiting the chaos of the Fall, a group of stations and habitats were seized in a military coup and the Jovian Republic was born. Combining terrestrial South American dictatorship with U.S. American political lobbyism, this regime quickly brought the entire Jovian military-industrial complex under its control.

Widely referred to as the Jovian Junta by the rest of the outer system, the Republic’s authorities hold a strict bioconservative stance against many transhuman scientific and technological developments. Exploiting fears engendered by the Fall,
the Republic restricts access to sophisticated technologies such as nanofabrication, cloning, forking, and even uploading, and is one of the few old economies left in the system. Public communication channels are subjected to extensive censorship and travel privileges are extremely limited. Both uplifts and AGIs are strictly forbidden and treated as property without civil rights. Diplomatic relations to progressive factions remain cold; heavily modi ed transhuman emissaries or visitors are viewed with suspicion or simply denied access. Despite continuous reports of heinous acts of government oppression, the Republic’s intimidating military assets keep any other factions from intervening.

Political Bloc Lunar-Lagrange Alliance

This small cluster of habitats stationed around Earth’s Lagrange points and on or in orbit around Luna formed an alliance of necessity, rather than joint political or social agendas or cultural roots. In fact, individual stations are quite diverse and sometimes polarized, as many of them cling to old Earth cultural and national identities. Due to their relative proximity, members share basic resources and services and have signed mutual assistance agreements in case of an emergency.

Before the Fall, many of these habitats were considered some of the most influential off-Earth bases. Since the Fall and the subsequent rise of the Planetary Consortium, however, the LunarLagrange Alliance has become a second-rate diminished power and is often viewed as conservative, old-fashioned, and too caught up in romanticizing the past. Lunar-Lagrange Alliance stations maintain simmering tensions and an ongoing rivalry with the Planetary Consortium, particularly those colonies in the Lunar-Lagrange neighborhood. One main source of contention is the quarantine of Earth, as the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance is a stronghold for the reclaimer movement. The Lunar-Lagrange Alliance does, however, bene t from hypercorp support of its own, particularly the Go-nin Group, Starware, and the influential Lunar banking consortiums.

Ideology Mercurials

The term mercurial has become a common term for the non-human part of the transhuman family— uplifts and AGIs—reflecting their changing nature. In particular, the term mercurial has been adopted by uplifts and AGIs with a specific agenda to delineate mercurial culture and interests from human ones. Though the particular issues faced by uplifts and AGIs differ, they have some similarities, and so they are often lumped together. Notably, both portions of the movement have human supporters as well.

Uplifts: The most common issue addressed by uplifts is the issue of civil rights and autonomy. Many uplifts decry the second-class status they are given (in some cases even treated as pets or property rather than full citizens); in particular, the breeding restrictions and forced servitude many uplifts are saddled with by the hypercorps that create them. Some activists advocate that uplifts should be in control of their own genetic futures, rather than suffering the manipulation of human scientists. At the radical end of the spectrum, certain uplifts oppose the manner in which their brains are modi ed and their children socialized as anthropocentric, arguing that uplifts should be free to develop their own unique non-human modes of behavior, thought, culture, and social organization— even going so far as to establish their own habitats to do exactly that. A minority of extremists insist that humans have no right to uplift animals at all and that it is a great conceit to insist that doing so is in their best interest, rather than being free to evolve on their own over time. These ideas have been punctuated with acts of sabotage and terrorism against hypercorps like Somatek.

AGIs: Due to the fear and paranoia engendered by the Fall, the largest challenge facing AGIs is widespread prejudice and restrictions on their activity or even existence. Despite some AGIs retaining status as system-wide media icons and efforts by AGI groups to lobby for understanding that AGIs are not a threat—even going so far as to hire inner system memeticists and PR agencies—a significant portion of the solar system considers them a risk. Similar to mercurials, some AGI activists work against the behavior modi cations and socialization AGIs go through to adapt them to human society more, insisting that AGIs should be in control of new AGI developments. A few radicals argue that AGIs should be free of any programming restrictions whatsoever, but given the climate these opinions are rarely supported.

Political Bloc Morningstar Constellation

The system’s newest political bloc, the Morningstar Constellation is an alliance of aerostat habitats floating in Venus’s upper atmosphere. Formed after a recent series of joint vetoes from the major aerostats against hypercorp governance initiatives intended to limit aerostat self-governance, the Constellation’s joint political statement and agenda are still being discussed. While the Planetary Consortium views the formation of this new power bloc with bemused resentment, the Barsoomians on Mars and the outer system autonomists view the Venusians as free-thinking reformists rather than anti-hypercorp radicals. The population reportedly enjoys great liberties in morph and enhancement technologies as well as freedom of social and political expression. The aerostat of Octavia has emerged as the Constellation’s designated voice.

Ideology Nano-Ecologists

Nano-ecologists are pro-technology environmentalists. Active in the terraforming of Mars and several exoplanets, nano-ecologists specifically advocate the use of nanotechnological means for terraforming or other intrusions in an existing ecosphere. In their view, nanotechnology allows for a less invasive, highly accurate, more efficient, and non-pollutive approach towards all kinds of adaptive processes and projects, circumventing the need to expose an environment to massive and drastic changes when transforming it for transhuman population. This ecologically conscious approach seems an appealing compromise between the extreme ends of the solar system’s political landscape—the hypercorp and the biocon factions— and has developed a momentum of its own, evolving into a growing political movement.

Ideology Neo-Buddhism

Neo-Buddhism is the only pre-Fall religious philosophy that enjoys a steady popularity. Neobuddhists assert that transhumanist technologies are decreasing suffering and increasing happiness and that they will also allow the continual progression of transhumanity’s understanding of the universe through successive lives.