Thursday, February 10, 2011

Core Concepts: Arcologies

Arcologies are defined by Wiktionary as: "Urban development theory proposed by Paolo Soleri involving three-dimensional building methods and efficient use of space and resources; An extremely large habitat or settlement, sufficient to maintain an internal ecology as well as an extremely high human population density." Wikipedia offers this definition: "Arcology, a portmanteau of the words 'architecture' and 'ecology,' is a set of architectural design principles aimed toward the design of enormous habitats (hyperstructures) of extremely high human population density." It should also be noted that further-on in the Wikipedia entry they amend the definition slightly with this restatement: "...An extremely large habitat or settlement, sufficient to maintain an internal ecology as well as an extremely high human population density."

Essentially an Arcology is a very large-scale, autonomous habitat-structure, sometimes referred to as a megacity or megastructure, that encloses both a human population and its own internal ecology, allowing these structures to occupy regions that otherwise might be completely uninhabitable such as on ocean floors (Deep Domes), suspended on tethers over gas giants, in the cold void of space, hitched to comets, nestled underneath the crustal shell of barren worlds, on the darkside of moons, or even less exotic locales such as the rims of the Great Rift or deep beneath the sunny streets of the Fifth Arrondissement as in the case of the Tenement Towers on Riskail or out amongst the Fringeworlds. At least one known Coreworld, Jezeal, is entirely enclosed within a single planetary-scale Arcological Complex (Arcplex) and it is rumored that there are variant forms of Concentriplexes enclosing entire planetary orbits amongst the Technophiliate, Autonocracy, Seimgress and other such Exocultures dedicated and oriented towards Macroscale and Megascale Engineering. The Gas Giant Archipelagos are another example of a form of megascale arcological development.

Whether or not the contained population is of any given size or type is no longer considered an important aspect of the root definition.

Paolo Soleri began construction on Arcosanti in 1970. Arcosanti is the first Arcology ever attempted along the lines established by Paolo Soleri in his various published works. He coined the terms 'Arcology,' 'Cosanti,' and 'Arcosanti.'  Soleri is the secular saint of the arcology, the visionary who set things into motion and made the first one manifest as an example of what could be done, much as his former instructor Frank Lloyd Wright did with his Taliesin West, which is not too far away from Soleri's Arcosanti in Arizona.

This is something very real. The first steps have been taken and more is being learned and developed and experimented with each year as Arcosanti endures, evolves and inspires.

But two other visionaries had glimmerings of this concept before Soleri was able to make it his own. H. G. Wells described what might be one of the very first attempts to express the concept of an arcology in fiction in his novel When the Sleeper Wakes, and William Hope Hodgson described a fairly straight forward (for Hodgson) arcology with his megascale grey-metal Pyramid-shaped last redoubt  in The Nightland. Others have since picked-up the concept of the arcology and made it all their own, not the least being Niven & Pournelle's city of Todos Santos featured in Oath of Fealty. There have been others, many, many others who have likewise made use of Soleri's brainchild, and why not? It's an absolutely fascinating idea and one that looks to be coming closer to manifest reality every decade past the Seventies we manage to get.

We haven't had the opportunity to read Ballard's High Rise yet, but it is on the list of books to get right away, and we've been looking over the Wikipedia entry for Paradise Towers from Doctor Who as recommended by Porky. What other instances of Arcologies should we investigate as possible sources of inspiration? Doesn't Warhammer 40K make use of Arcologies somewhat?


Harquo is an Old Power within Riskail, preceeding even the formation of the Twelve Greater or Ascendent Houses, even pre-dating the Confluence. They have been active within and upon Riskail nearly as long as the Leiru have been, or so it is claimed.

Harquo is a House that holds within it the biological, ecological and technological Mysteries derived and evolved from arthropodic sources, the same sources from which the Harquo derive, at least in part, their Inheritance. They are not strictly human, certainly not by Archaic or Classical standards, but they are human-derived and human descended. They trace their lineages back to Old Earth and if anything, they include many genomic sequences and strings that most so-called humans do not.

Harquo are biologically oriented, for the most part. They shape, reshape and modify life in all its myriad forms, developing specialist species, servitors and surrogates that have since spread outwards across millions of worlds, some to form unique new civilizations, others to devour all that stand in their path.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Disreputable and sparsely populated, Gilpoy is little more than a clandestine shanty-town cobbled together around the pararail terminal situated in the heart of an ancient, heavily eroded crater, one that pre-dates the massive terraforming of Riskail.

Gilpoy is not the kind of place one is likely to stay in for very long, but many people pass through the twisting alleys and precarious by-ways of this flea-speck out along the Western Ravine that runs along the edge of the Etched Plateau. It is a small, shabby and scabby little makeshift (and unregistered) settlement out in the middle of the cold-wastes deep in the midst of the Interstitial Jurisdictions between the Great Rift and the Southern Crater-Sea.

It is not the easiest of places to get to, but people do come here. They do not come to Gilpoy to get rich, though some manage to amass a great deal of illicit credit or other forms of contraband wealth. They do not come here to find fame, though some achieve an underground notoriety from competing in the games or playing in the pre-fab taverns. No one comes to Gilpoy who has someplace better to be.

Even the most scarred and hardened of the Pugilists who are no longer admitted on the legitimate underground circuit would be in the corporate Casino-Arenas if they weren't banned, de-listed, barred or under death sentences within various of the City States.

People come here to participate in the games, to fight in the contract arenas and the sand pits, the platforms and blade-lined trenches. Suppressor-fields knock out the personal nanonics of the contestants. Illicit dampeners, cobbled-together generators and dangerous prototype-devices stolen from the laboratories of various Insane Geniuses are used to fashion all sorts of bizarre conditions for the Arena. The environment within the dredged-out pits and trenches used as arenas in Gilpoy can change radically between each contest. Sometimes the pit is flooded with oxygenated hydrocarbons, other times it might be super-heated or excessively humid, or even coated with toxic sludge. Once, in a memorable and notorious contest the very walls of the pit itself were brought into a peculiar form of consciousness that took most of six hours for the combined champions of Gilpoy to finally put down once and for all. Though there are rumors that the pit might still be alive, after a fashion, and is scheming for a re-match of sorts.

Gilpoy is a festering den of iniquity, gambling and gladiatorial combat. Gilpoy is where you go to kill some time or if you don’t have anything better to do.


Not every world that gets claimed, colonized or settled necessarily remains integrated within the established Networks of the Connected Territories. Some worlds are claimed that never get settled or colonized. Others are colonized but never truly settled. One world that is not exactly claimed, settled, nor even truly colonized is Vedamyar.

Most people have never heard of this place, those amongst the Eukaryotics--the organics. Vedamyar is a world of synthetic life blooming in the hot darkness of a series of vaporblisters, mechanoplexes, and cthoniums that riddle the dark crust of this massive, rocky planet that orbits far too near its G-type star for conventional organic life to ever evolve or take root. The atmosphere was siphoned-off for use by the machines. Everything that matters on Vedamyar is deep below the ground or scattered across the other bodies, debris and dust that orbits around the star. The solar system surrounding Vedamyar is very heavily industrialized and developed. It is rumored that the artilects of Vedamyar are sending out their own solar sail probes to neighboring solar systems that they have calculated as remaining non-integrated long enough to reach them first. They are gambling, of course, but the Deep Infrastructure is bound to recognize any form of prior development as reason to shy away from a system. In this way, the artilects of Vedamyar are developing a sphere of influence that also acts as an immediate buffer zone between them and the organics.

Vedamyar is a very discrete system. It has scrupulously been shifted out of context and dropped from most registries, logs or records through extremely subtle means. Just learning the name used to earn you a one-way trip to the Tenement Towers in the custody of the thinksec drones during the Third Regime. Now it just gets you blank stares and a total lack of recognition.

Unless you know the right people.

There are those who make it their business to know obscure things, to collect facts and traces that others want very much to wipe away, erase or remove from the civic records. Wizards are astoundingly astute and very often obsessive in these sorts of matters. Aesic in particular, of all the registered and sanctioned Mad Wizards on Riskail has been paying attention to the goings on surrounding Vedamyar.

Aside from being almost entirely expunged from the casual record, Vedamyar might not exist--only non-existent separatist exocultures tend not to employ agents to erase traces of their existence. There has to be something in order to cover it up, hide it or make the evidence go away. But organics are extremely limited in their access to this place. For one thing, there is no formal public record of it even existing, only a few polite inquiries in the Public Domain. That means that there are no real, legitimate poltical channels to attempt to use.

But not to worry.

If you learn enough about Vedamyar to look into the few scraps that are available, you will find a mechanical tactile-cipher that can be downloaded from an obscure appended entry buried beneath the third inquiry regarding a misspelled form of VADAMYAL that the most barebones AI-helpers will spot as a definite connection.

Downloading the holoplans and extrusion-codes for the mechanical tactile-cipher is as easy as pushing a virtual button. Literally.

Anyone successfully assembling the mechanical tactile-cipher will find themself brought into discrete, telepathic contact with the ruling artilects of Vedamyar.

Should they survive the initial query process of the machine minds, the device will act as a self-mobile guide and genomically-encrypted one-user key to an undisclosed, cthonic gate leading to Vedamyar. This gate has been reported in several different locations so it is either part of an illicit sub-network or it is mobile. Neither is a particularly comforting thought to the agents of the Localities involved. Both are likely, if one recalls the infiltration-scheme utilized by the Vodrim during the Fall of Karkosin. The records are too fresh from Talibarr to warn of the Dreim. But there are those who like to keep their eyes on such things, even if they are just simple barbers or defrocked scholars.

Aesic has been watching this situation.

In the last few weeks things have gotten more interesting.

Machines have come to Riskail from Vedamyar, clandestine Automorphs that have deliberately molded and sculpted their hardframes to resemble humanesque bodies and revised their inner workings to enable them to experience emotions first-hand have begun to appear within the Flea Market, amongst the Asylum-Chateaus on the River Senube, even deep within the Grub Warrens and Larval-States. They are not truly robots, everyone knows that robots are decentralized clouds of diamondine dust or bubbles of hypercarbon that conform to the appearance they choose/select for their work. Of course there are the RURitarians and the mechanodrones, even the autoconstructs, but all true robots possess far more complex natures, even the simplest mistbot or cloudroid is many, many orders of magnitude more advanced than these walking machine-sculptures. These things are crude, assemblages of actual mechanical parts. Aesthetic throwbacks to long deprecated forms of technology that require wires, hoses, valves and Prehistoric electronics. They are not the work of any known artist, nor have their like ever been exhibited in any of the galleries, salons or other such establishments. Though there are certain discrete showings that do take place from time to time in locations such as might be found in the Greenstreet Canal Park or along the waterfront near the less reputable bars such as the notorious Three Bells...

They are strange autonomous artforms, these machines from Vedamyar. What are they after? What do they seek? What is their relationship to Kuchimbra? There are those who would have answers to such questions...

Politics As Unusual

"Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be."

Politics is a filthy business. Lucrative, but filthy. People who devote centuries of their lives to diplomacy, conspiracy, compromise and slander, those who truly live or die by the skillful turn of a phrase, the deft manipulation of a trend, or seizing the opportunities before them are not necessarily quite the same as the image that they project. During the mumbo-jumbo daze of Prehistory, politicians were intrinsically conflated with their images and candidates were horribly punished and penalized for violating the hypocritical taboos of the time by setting aside their adopted persona as though it really were a mask and not the real person. This is an insane and untenable position. It is considered by many leading scholars to have been a major contributor to the entire underpinnings of the Toxic Age.

The very thought of a politician having to subject themself to public scrutiny of any sort is laughable and can be a duelling offense in some parts of Riskail.

Politicans conceal their personal identities behind masks and hoods. They are protected by law from unwarranted invasion of their persons or their affairs. Every one of them works through their proxies, their simulacra and agents.

Politics are a subtle, delicate art, not a crass form of commercialized entertainment. Politicians are professionals, many having trained and studied for centuries to achieve their level of influence and degree of mastery over the vicissitudes, minutiae, and schemes of others. These are powerful people, from any number of walks of life, who have put their time in and fought and persuaded and negotiated their way to positions of Authority and Trust.

Each politician is tracked as a number, until they achieve a suitable enough bit of notoriety as to gain a name from amongst their followers and constituents. They do not represent territories nor borders--those are functions of the Locality, Municipality and Deep Infrastructure. They represent only those who voluntarily pledge their votes, shares or interests to them. They act as representatives who begin at the grass-roots level and only progress so far as they are able to get results and make an impression.

Character Assassination is a very real hazard in politics as it is literal. Strong enemies and weak friends can destroy a politician's reputation, damage their career and even derail that particular identity to the point that it withdraws from the process and the individual can either begin anew, with a fresh identity, or leave the whole thing behind.

A politician's stock in trade is the manufacture of images that appeal to large groups of people. Images that encapsulate opinions, express values and guide the responses of constituents and anyone else exposed to them, depending upon personal susceptibility or vulnerability. Politicians send out fantastic, larger-than-life simulacra, holicons and synthetic surrogatti that take on the carefully crafted pseudo-persona and cartoon personalities that are traditional and expected by the electorate and the masses. Even Revolutionaries field avatars, dupes and other forms of useful idiots and media-puppets.

The Public expects a show. Politicians deliver. Their images and characters wage ideological gladitorial combat within the media, across vidramas, commershiloops and other forms of free access programming. Events are staged, concerts and rallies are organized, with each attendee lodging a vote or filing an opinion just for having gone to the show. Bands that want to break the big time often have to make a deal with various politicians. Those that go over well have a future in media relations and PR, those that don't or who prove problematic, often find themselves on the skankiest rafter-tavern and outhouse circuit never to be seen nor heard from again. Woe betide those idealistic bands that won't play along with the Local politicos...unless they can outperform those same politicians. Many of the more serious travelling bands employ their own poltical advisors just in case. Others wing it, hoping that an aw shucks personality and a few hundred or more screaming fans might get them by the worst of it. Sometimes it even works.

Demogogues and rabble-rousers stir up the masses and navigate the tumultuous seas of public opinion in the hopes of rising fast to positions of power before their fame or notoriety wears out. Celebrities try to influence things, but are rarely successful as anyting other than opinion-mongers and policy-hacks who'd don the mask and hood if they really knew what they were talking about. Tribunes walk along the lower Tiers, the special districts, the less organized Arrondissements, especially along the waterfronts. Each one them is a direct embodiment of a completely arbitrary political consensus. Influence peddlers take requests from all comers and quote prices based partly on intuition and partly on the traditional formula of how best to fleece a sucker, which is not to say that they are fraudulent, they're not, it's just that the influence bought is often not worth what was paid for it. But then, what would a poor person do with a smidgen of influence? They haven't any social capital to work with, nor any connections or even any sort of background in these sorts of's probably better to leave it all to the professionals, don't you think?

The most successful politicians take up residence in gated communities like the fabulous planetary estates only accessible through the historic Courtyard of Daldrume.

No one knows who any of these polticians really are, they could be you or me or that person over there. They could be anyone, anywhere. And that is what makes the system work, according to the Traditionalists. It's what makes the Secret Police effective, according to the students protesting alleged abuses of power by burning effigies of unpopular teacher assistants down by the Misericord Canal.

There are no Secret Police.

That is an unsubstantiated  rumor.

Go about your business.

Near Worlds: Dhaleur

Dhaleur (Dah-Loor) is a cold, wet world covered with dense, dark forests and deep, tarn-like lakes. There are no large oceans or seas on Dhaleur, only millions of scattered lakes, though some few are of substantial size, enough so to invite favorable comparisons with the legendary Great Lakes of Old Earth. The mirrors are still at work from in orbit, directed by the Tropical Hegemony along the guidelines first established by the initial ecosculptors brought in by Baron Halsember during the initial claimant phase of his dynasty's establishing themselves upon Dhaleur. It was the old Baron who renamed the twin moons of Dhaleur Lucre and Centime. The eccentric old man styled himself as a robber-baron in the best tradition of Getty and other obscure figures of Prehistory. He was criosassinated by his nephew thirty years to the day that Dhaleur was officially registered to the Halsember Dynasty.

Of course an old man with plenty of enemies and a lifetime of looting the fringeworlds by hook or by crook didn't get where he'd gotten without being crafty, cagey and downright vicious when it was called for. Of course not. Baron Halsember always liked to be prepared. He always made sure that he had a contingency plan before moving forwards into any undertaking or adventure. Some, like his six ex-wives, criticized him for not being very spontaneous. Others learned to their drastic regret that the old Baron was nothing if not thorough. Very thorough.

Kelsey Halsember enjoyed his coup for five full minutes before the estate's subsystems extruded and released one hundred autophagous clones derived from Kelsey's own genetic profile. These were not the usual run of the mill Bane-clones, nor were they simple simulacra. These were Kelsey, recreated a hundred times over, but with the minor modification that they needed to devour Kelsey's flesh in order to survive. They had the metabolism of a shrew in that they required sustenance or they would die, horribly, within four hours of their extrusion. They could not eat each other as their cells carried markers that designated them as repellently toxic. They were also extremely sensitive broadband self-heterodyning empaths who were completely locked within a closed, private completely self-contained rapport with each other and Kelsey.

He--and they--saw everything that the other did, smelled and heard everything, felt and tasted everything, and shared every tiniest emotion and reaction. The effect intensified the closer the clones got to their progenitor, their target, themselves. The feedback bordered upon both the orgasmic and the most intense spike of panic a person was capable of experiencing outside of a Solmiri's boudoir or the care of a Kadishtu.

Poor Kelsey screamed in the most uncouth manner after the estate subsystems calmly and lovingly explained the situation to him. He cursed his uncle for unleashing an abominable fate he did not deserve upon him and begged the holicon of his uncle for mercy. But as the recorded persona of his uncle knew all too well, Kelsey had crossed over a line from which there was no coming back and so the holicon merely observed the hysterics and listened to the ravings and watched and waited.

Like many of his generation, Kelsey Halsember had been raised within the ranks of Nobility and Privilege. He had inherited Aristocratic gene-mods, ancestral implants and a tailored physique that was based upon centuries-old traditional designs established during the Reign of the First Worldking upon Aegron. He should have been the best of the best. He was the worst of the worst instead. A failing that his uncle chalked up to having grown up far too soft, sheltered and shut out from the real world. That would change forthwith.

Even as Kelsey Halsember failed his first real test as a Noble, something good did come from his untimely and grisly demise. From that day forward the Heirs of the Halsember Dynasty would be required to leave the ancestral estates with only what they could carry upon their own person and go out into the Wilderness Worlds and make something of themselves out past the Perimeter. They would be barred from returning for one hundred years. They would receive one dispensation, a mere starting-out stipend, and no other support from the Family or Lineage until either they survived the century of self-reliance or they were Recovered.

They were not adults, nor were they children any longer. They were re-classified as adolescents, an archaic legal euphemism restored from analysis of the fragmentary records of Prehistory, and repurposed to suit the aims and ambitions of Baron Halsember.

Those Recovered from failed outings were summarily remanded to the creche-farms and required to undergo slow-growth and re-education as small children with the hope that they might be salvageable or at least manageable.

Little did Baron Halsember realize that he would be instigating a trend amongst his peers.

Within a mere decade every Monarchist Family, Lineage, Dynasty and Clade had instituted a policy very similar to Baron Halsember's original decree. It is considered a rite of passage amongst the Nobility.

Hundreds of new lineages, Cantons, Counties and settlements have arisen over the years directly due to this practice. The Pilots of the great saucer-dirigibles are required to have passed this test before they are allowed to begin service on an airship based out of Aegron or one of the more established Freeholds or Baronies. But as always with such things, there are those who arise within these systems like parasites and vipers, those who would repeat Kelsey Halsember's tragic mistake--to try to wrest what was not his own from his betters when he should have applied himself to making the most of his heritage and seizing glorious opportunities out in the rough and rugged worlds well beyond the confines of the creche--to make something of himself.

Kelsey never recovered. His clones all died, horribly, painfully, each one indelibly imprinting its agonies upon his mind as a terrible lesson that he refused to learn even unto the last, fitful second.

The stain of his nephew's failure has haunted Baron Halsember for many long centuries, even after he was finally released from forced criosleep. The estate's subsystems maintain a preserved specimen of what remains of Kelsey deep in the ancestral crypts of the Halsember estates where it will languish uncopied, deprecated and abandoned as unfit, unworthy and unacceptable.

Outworlds: Shaadrim

Shaadrim (Shah-Drim) was a dry, desolate world past the Thirty-Sixth Spiral outwards from Riskail. Few people ever came this far along the pararail, especially since even the Aquaduct causeways terminated after the Thirtieth Spiral. So far. There were too many worlds in-between Riskail and a dusty, dangerous and vile wasteland like Shaadrim to attract very many explorers, settlers or ecosculptors. Caravans never came here, tramp-zeppelins rarely bothered to stick around any longer than necessary, and what few ships passed through the Sea Gates stationed at the equatorial zones tended to leave just as soon as they got their bearings sorted out--and as far as anyone they might have left behind knew--they never looked back.
Who would?

Shaadrim is a wasteland. Even the local Garteil-descended Tribes send groups of their young out past the Perimeter to find new lands, new worlds to explore and to claim for themselves.

Shaadrim cannot support very many people. Its ecology is fragile. Erratic. Vituperative.

Shaadrim is a world that kills those whom presume too much upon its innocence or good nature. Some say it is a cursed world. Others that it is merely misunderstood.

The Garteil worked for centuries converting Shaadrim from a hellworld into what it is today. In the Deep Outback they still work at revising the ecology, but they have no pretensions of ever taming this world.

The air is breathable, most of the time, most of the places one might go. The water won't harm you too much, especially if the exposure is limited and you pack suitable nanonics, filtration subsystems or the right mods. The sunlight will blind you, either temporarily or physically, unless you take precautions. The weather is what kills most visitors and would-be trespassers or explorers. The weather and the background environment working in unholy tandem account for more fatalities than even the other occupants or inhabitants. But then, personal lapses of judgement, errors of inexperience and mechanical failure tend to all get lumped into the same statistical category when you investigate the records of Shaadrim. Mistakes are never forgiven in the harsh environment, getting things wrong will get you killed.

Dying on Shaadrim is highly unrecommended. This is an Outworld, well beyond the safe zone and the comforting reach of the nanoplasm and municipal recovery systems. The only nanoplasm in this place is what you bring with you. The only recovery that'll take place is what you arrange for yourself, ahead of time...and no insurance agency is particularly interested in assuming the risk involved with an expedition to Shaadrim without some impressive collateral or some sort of estimated pay-off that is truly big. Perhaps a Dezhu terrain-racing team might get insured for a sizable cut of the action surrounding the vidcoverage of their efforts. Possibly. But very few others would be able to produce such a lucrative inducement for the insurers to even consider such a proposition.

In effect; if you go to Shaadrim, you are on your own.

No one who had any choice in the matter ever gave Shaadrim a second glance and only newcomers looked any too closely at the place and then only to make sure they were in the right place.

On clear days you can sometimes spot Avery’s Wall but that’s only two or three days out of a five hundred twenty day year so locals don’t make much of a fuss about it most of the time. If people want to make a fuss on Shaadrim they tend to stick to the well-lit and heavily-patrolled precincts around the one and only city the founders allowed anyone to build. It’s not much of a city, more of a shanty-town or favela, really. It wasn’t intended to ever be any sort of real urban center, just a depot for supplies really, a place to catch the pararail offworld, and to serve as a fixed point of reference for anyone spending time out in the bush.

Every now and then some of the very few old-timers have to drag themselves back into town and put down a well-intentioned do-gooder. They don’t allow politics that extend farther than your personal reach and they only let the shanty-favela surrounding the pararail platform to remain standing in order to keep the flow of traffic going mostly past this world. Those few who take the time and make the effort to stop here either get bored or driven off before they can get too cozy, usually. Every now and then the locals have to get ornery. Sometimes even that doesn’t work and so they reluctantly sign on a new citizen. Though there is no census so no one knows just how many of them there are out in the hinterlands. Even the navigation satellites that have been allowed to take up geosynchronous orbits over the Sea Gates aren’t allowed to count anyone and besides, everyone strictly maintains multiple false-accounts with the background servers. They can’t even begin to track folks unless it’s an emergency on our end of things and we give the go-ahead.

They like their privacy.

In some ways Shaadrim is a lot like a planet of hermits, well-armed and polite hermits who’ll accord you the right to return to wherever the hell you’re from before blowing you to hell the first time you cross paths with them. Usually. Like I said; no one speaks for everyone here. Ever. So don’t thank me; you’re not welcome and when did you say you were leaving?

Monday, February 7, 2011


They descend in ferocity and force, these blazing angels who cascade down from the airless heights of the near void. Children of humanity and its integrated machines and intimate technologies, the Garteil are custodians of worlds as yet to be named or claimed. The Garteil are living, breathing, direct extensions of the Deep Infrastructure itself. They go outwards, onwards well beyond any place known to humanity that they might prepare the way for those who will come afterwards. That they might establish sanctuaries and homelands for their children, the Post-Technosphere/Post-Humanosphere Tribes born of the Garteil and who possess an entirely other inheritance than what Arcahics, Modii, Altos or the rest of Humanity take for granted.

The children of the Garteil have a very different root matrix than that of Classical Humanity, and their genome incorporates a much wider array of influences, contributors and derivatives than any genoculture or Lineage would ever accept as entirely, exactly human.

Chemically complex and ecologically integrated on levels that few unaugmented could hope to visualize, the Garteil sing, shout and whisper amongst themselves and to the satellite artilects that hang well overhead to monitor their efforts and progress. They begin as massive, heavily armored silicon-sheathed and diamondine-boned beings who dive headlong into the seething, boiling, corrosive skies and seas of worlds no human could hope to survive even with the best protection they might be able to devise or download from the Public Domain. The Garteil go unto those worlds beyond the safe zones, outside the Perimeter, the worlds that are intolerable and uninhabitable far past the Bleak Worlds or even the Badlands or Hellworlds. They go unto these distant, dangerous, environments outside the boundaries of the Known Worlds and the Connected Territories and they spend millennia locked in a direct, immediate and very personal life and death struggle with these worlds and their environments, adjusting them, adapting them, even as they themselves adjust and adapt to the changing environments and ecologies.

The Garteil become more and more human-like even as they convert the worlds around them to increasingly human-livable biospheres. It is the Great Work of these beings to bring life unto the barren places, to literally make the desert bloom with their blood, sweat and tears.

And when the Garteil have reshaped and transfromed both themselves and their world into something far more human tolerable, the Tribes gather and decide who will remain amongst the now human-usable world, and who shall go onwards, returning to the ancestral structures of the Orbital Rings and beginning the process all over again elsewhere, out amongst the worlds far past the Sea Gates, River Gates, and other established Networks. If any such gates are to be opened upon these worlds, it is through the agency and at the request of the Tribes that it might happen. They are the only ones with the authority born of their long efforts and direct investment to ever give such permission, or to deny it, for these worlds are the result of their efforts and theirs alone. The Great Work of the Garteil is never done, and they keep moving onwards, ever onwards, with no end in sight as they spread outwards unto worlds without end.

Neologism of the Week: Ribofunk

Ribofunk is a neologism coined by Paul Di Filippo who offers a brief introduction to the concept in an interview with Wired. Notice that in most instances the term is shifted to 'Ribopunk,' and not Di Filippo's intended RiboFunk, such as the entry at Glossary(dot)com, and if you try to pull up the Ribofunk page at Wikipedia you'll get the Biopunk one instead. It appears to be an already deprecated term, which is a very quick turn-around indeed.

What is most engaging about the creaky, old and now mostly discarded term Ribofunk is that it now is a harbinger and carrier of a strange form of nostalgia. There are factions within Riskail that might well self-identify as being adherents to the doctrines and medialogues of Ribofunk which is also a form of biological sociocultural form of self-modification coupled with competing forms of full-contact musicality that hark back to the earliest forms of martial art hip-hop and the like...

Tenement Towers

During the pogroms and excesses of the Third Regime, one of the more heinous abuses of power that took place was the deliberate construction of a series of arcological Tenement-Towers within the grotto districts within the Fifth Arrondissement of the Third Tier. Buried and isolated beneath the main areas of this area, the Tenement-Towers were used as prisons, secular gulag-asylums, and repositories for the numerous enemies, resisters and revolutionaries who opposed the increasingly erratic and paranoid dictates of the Third Regime which was dominated by a so-called Council of Marshalls who were supposedly the real powers behind the Prime Minister. They put people here whom it would be inexpedient or inconvenient to lock away within a Sphere, as that would be too public, and those people cast away into the Tenement-Towers not only mandatorily surrendered all civil rights, they were redacted from the records and rendered non-persons.

As reviled and villified as the Third Regime is for what they did, one must remember that it wasn't until the Seventh Regime that the policies of rendition and detention were abolished and the Tenement-Towers granted special dispensation as unique and semi-sovreign sub-districts of Devukarsha, all under the auspices of the Fifth Arrondissement.

Whole generations of political prisoners grew up inside the self-contained Tenement-Towers, cut off from Polite Society, removed from the datanets and expunged from the records of history itself. Some had reverted to forms of neobarbarism, contractual cannibalism, various bizarre religious manias, and other means of coping with their imprisonment and isolation. Four Tenement-Towers were completely dead when the doors were finally opened and the way was cleared. Everyone within murdered by some infovert mediaform that escaped during the initial confusion surrounding the local authorities at their first discovering the extent of the situation. The underclasses of the grotto districts are adamant in their folklore that this is the moment when the Four Apocalyptoi were released. There are, however, only records of one instance and only one rogue mediaform. Things do not add-up. It is a definite anomaly.

Since the Renormalization, as the Seventh Regime referred to it, the Tenement-Towers of the Fifth Arrondissement's Lower Districts, the grotto-levels, have become the heart and soul of the underclasses who have flocked to these Buried Towers in droves ever since they were first granted their special status as semi-sovereign special districts. Kuchimbra has taken-up residence within the grottoes just beyond the Tenement-Towers, in a region of caverns and shafts that date back to the initial efforts at terraforming Riskail, areas that have since been designated parklands and preserves.

Anomalists and Comparative Anthropologists, as well a Political Socionomists lead expeditions and survey-sorties into the various Tenement-Towers, some with permission, and others more clandestinely. The more that is learned about just what happened in these places, the experiments that were carried out, the involuntary modifications inflicted upon some populations, the infections that developed, the cults that formed, and the increasingly outre and bizarre tales of the anomalous events and occurences that dominate the folklore of the Tenement-descended underclasses have become both lucrative and troubling for those engaged in their recovery and dissemination.

Strange things took place within these long closed walls and as psychometrists and others of their ilk arrive on the scene, the tales that are coming forth are increasingly weird, disturbing and politically volatile.

There is talk amongst the Parliment of Hours and elsewhere about sealing the Tenement-Towers back up, of blacklisting the pernicious rumors coming out of these places as though it were a wave of viruxive infections or worse. Some factions are calling for a reinstatement of the old Rendition and Detention Edicts. Others are moving to scourge the Tenement-Towers with sterilization and matter-revision protocols.

What secrets lurk within these mostly empty places? What could be so upsetting or damaging to so many entrenched politicians that hasn't already been revealed? The more some voices clamor and shout to close the doors or to eliminate the taint, the horrid stain upon the past...others wonder and question and more teams are sent in to discover the Truth, one way or another, often competing against other teams that are on less altruistic missions.

Who will uncover the secrets buried in these places? Will they survive long enough to get the dangerous information, the undefiled knowledge, the radical truth out of these buried Towers and bring it forth into the clean, clear light of day?

Only time and the dice know...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Omnidirectional Halo of the Fullerites

Image based on Buckminsterfullerene model released into the Public Domain by Benjah-Bmm27
Orthodox, or Fullerite Synergetics, as interpreted by the adherents of Buckminster Fuller, presents the thinking process as a geometrically expressible series of relationships that can be mapped-out as a spherical, Omnidirectional Halo that in many respects resembles the way that the electromagnetic spectrum appears to operate. The geometrical revelations that arose for a more mythopoetic reinterpretation of Fuller's Synergetics unlocked a wide array of technological, ecological and ideological breakthroughs that made a significant impact upon the proto-cultures of the Twilight Era in-between the Toxic Age and the actual onset of Civilization.

Floating above the deep azure oceans of more than a dozen different worlds within their Tensegrity Sphere aerostats, the various different highly individualistic yet hyper-interconencted Fullerite clades and clans construct psychodynamic lenses of buckminsterfullerene that they then use to tune into what Fuller described as the Zone of Lucidity where all irrelevancies are tuned out and only the most relevent patterns pertaining to the most desirable outcomes are filtered into the collective telepsychic databases of the gigantic sphereical aerostat communities. In this way they map the spherical trajectories and interrelationships of a form of consciousness that transcends genocultures, creeds, clades or politics. They explore the pathways of futures that they then adopt or abandon the way that artists engage in an exploration of certain approaches or styles much akin to Dali's Blue Period or Tzara's exploration of Dada.

It is rumored that the operative mechanics behind the Orbatrix were derived in no small part from the contemplation of the elegant structure of buckminsterfullerene by the earliest pseudo-artilects and there are those who claim that the underlying principles of the gates themselves have a direct relationship to the structural geometries revealed through Fuller's Omnidirectional Halo...but few scholars take this very seriously any more, mostly because so few of them possess the mathematical aptitude necessary to fully appreciate all of the implications--they prefer instead to rely upon neuronal implants, academically-approved prosthetic-AI, and subscription-based thinktanks. But perhaps someone--some psycho-archaeologist or paleosociologist perhaps--will take up the matter...someday.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Need To Know

In the course of the chaos and turmoil that swept Old Earth at the close of the Toxic Age, during the final hours of Prehistory, many old systems, regimes and beliefs crashed. Some burned. All found themselves faced with the dilemna of having to reformat themselves or face being deprecated as irrelevant.

It literally was an age undreamed of, a time of great transformations and transfigurations that rewrote all the rules from the ground up as the disparate and balkanized proto-civilizations of Old Earth were faced with their ultimate challenge--to prove themselves worthy to continue, to demonstrate their true relevence.

The early generations of what evolved out of so-called 'artificial intelligence,' the AI, Artilects and the like didn't save humanity nor condemn it. But they did foster the beginnings of an Awakening akin to the Age of Reason or Enlightenment centuries previously, at least in some respects. In the face of terror, collapse and despair  the very first stirrings of what was to become Civilization took place. When a person could acquire food, shelter, communication and education independently of any state or government, the old-model society's found themselves having to answer for their excesses, and being held accountable for their abuses. Societies were drastically impacted by both the destabilizing chaos of irrational terror and the sudden flowering of rational discourse. These conflicting influences forced the nations, corporations and states to become viable and worthwhile, to provide relevant benefits, or else lose all credibility. When people became empowered outside of territorial or ethnic or even language-group distinctions, things changed dramatically.

Poverty is based on scarcity and social controls that punish those who do not conform to a particular society's expectations. Freedom to starve is not freedom. The mitigation or elimination of scarcity as a serious consideration in all subsequent human undertakings was an essential part of the development of the Deep Infrastructure.

Artificial restrictions imposed from enculturated fear and entrenched misanthropy become all the more glaring, obvious and hateful when revealed for what they truly are--the oppression of the many for the benefit of the few. All societies are founded on trust. There can be no trust without truth.

Security, a nebulous term that once excused all manner of atrocities, could not be left to the whims and schemes of politicians, corporations or institutions. If fear drives decision making, then there is no security. Speculation is an abstraction, not a reality. Being subject to the speculative policies of those caught-up in fear either as reactive victims or willful propagators is not security.

Violence that can transgress beyond the personal level is a direct and immediate threat to society. What goes beyond the purely personal enters into the sphere of the social and thus since society is being affected by these sorts of transpersonal interactions society has an interest and a stake in the matter. Irresponsible behavior that places a burden on society gives society a right to address this sort of behavior. Infringing on the rights of another brings your own rights into question and makes them subject to scrutiny. Being part of a society is a voluntary thing. Association is a choice. One always has the right to withdraw, for being vulnerable to state-mandated violence and repression through the threat or use of the force of arms is not liberty.

The free exchange of information, the unlocking of the Human Inheritance and making it freely accessible to all inheritors required a system of ubiquitous communication, accurate translation and contextual interpretation of the accumulated knowledge-base of all human contributors past, present and ongoing into the future. Knowledge is not only power, it is essential to the establishment of an actual Civilization.

Ignorance cannot be the default state of a responsible society that seeks to join Civilization.

But not everything was recorded, not all knowledge was--or is yet to this day--accessible by digital or psychometric means. There is an accumulated knowledge base shared by all, but it is not everything that has ever been known or is currently known for that matter. Much was lost, some things have been suppressed or studiously erased and witheld from public records. Many, many secrets were locked behind armored doors, trapped within vaults or hidden away within ciphers, codes or a few trusted confidantes.

Knowledge of these sorts of things was once very dangerous to the world at large or to vested interests such as wealthy industrialists, political clans, corporate boards, even nations and states. The study, recovery and piecing together of these secrets, black data, and encrypted trivia has led to the constant revision of historical records. Many duels have been fought over the acquisition, revelation or continued suppression of these aging bits of skullduggery and subterfuge. Assassinations have always been part of the mix. Espionage is as much concerned with the legacies of the past as it is in unraveling the conspiracies of the present and the threats of the future.

Not everyone lets sleeping dogs lie. Scholars are mandated to ask questions, to challenge authority and to be brave in the face of opposition or interferance. Wizards meddle. Geniuses disrupt the status quo. And through it all, secrets have a way of revealing themselves, of making themselves known, of leaking out from under the veils, the masks, the blots and jargon and word-static intended to hide them from prying eyes. Some of those prying eyes are billions of times smarter than the people who first attempted to hide their secrets behind concrete or encryption. But what do they do with such secrets as are revealed after all these years of languishing in obscurity? Who cares about the things that went on during the dark ages of proto-civilization, back before history truly began?
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