Despite the Catastrophe’s tech-crippling fallout, humanity managed to restore various useful communication technologies. Today, they support the galaxy’s ever-expanding media offerings; entertaining, informing, and distracting citizens in equal measure.
Thanks to the connectivity offered by the Mesh, citizens can access content feeds from all over the galaxy. The diversity on offer ranges from major affiliations’ official news channels to business feeds devoted exclusively to sectors such as ice mining or private security. Citizens typically access content either via their CORETECHS, or using a mesh-connected slate, such as a small pocket device or the large public screens common on many stations.
Most of the larger feeds run by governmental offices or professional journalists offer a multimedia mix of text, audio, images and video content. Individual citizens’ feeds are typically simpler, comprising of short, text-only blog-style entries. But, regardless of source, content items often conclude with the same audience plea to ‘subscribe for more’. Although the total number of active feeds is high, the big subscriber-counts are boasted by only a prominent handful.
Media freedoms tend to be higher on Freebooter stations where little monitoring of surrounding Mesh-nodes goes on. On Consortium and Gaule stations however, authorities are more cautious, keeping an eye on traffic passing through the nodes which serve the facility. Since content cannot circulate without a verifiable individual or institutional source, potential agitators or trouble-makers using these channels can usually be spotted and tracked.
A specialist feed covering the private security sector. Its owners (and chief reporters) are Boson and Draco Packard, two ex-bodyguards who retired from active service a few cycles ago. Typical content includes equipment reviews (usually weapons and armor), news from the galaxy’s four major providers of bodyguard services, and advice for keeping citizens’ bodies - and property - secure.
Bodyguard’s Bulletin: Issue 202.74
This edition comes courtesy of the ‘Bodyguard’s Bulletin’, the galaxy’s most-read content feed for the private security sector. Written by ex-bodyguards (and brothers) Boson and Draco Packard, it provides insight into this booming sector. Enjoy this free extract from issue 202.74 of the Bodyguard’s Bulletin.
Headline news: Strong growth on lawless stations
By Boson Packard
Data for the current cycle shows demand for private security services remains strong. As a result, all four of the major providers (Varangian Guard, Armure Security Group, Athena, and The Kestrel Minority) are continuing their recruitment to meet the need.
Growth is especially strong in Barnard’s Star system, as clients seek protection for visits to Freebooter-controlled Caen Stronghold. As usual, those venturing to stations with low Law and Orwell ratings like to know there’s a well-armed professional covering their back. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and nothing says “don’t steal my stuff” like a 300 lb bodyguard kitted out in an Armure bodysuit, with an ALNA-MODEX rifle in the hands!
Boson’s tip: Shares in private security firms are THE hot ticket right now. Buy, buy, buy!
Equipment review: Alpine 1NK rifle
By Draco Packard
Folks, get ready to hear something you might not like. I know a lot of you wily pros out there swear by HWT’s Ballistic Blazer shotgun. And, I don’t blame you for wanting that cocktail of ballistic AND energy damage on offer when the action comes a-calling. But, in my honest-to-stars opinion, it’s time for you to consider an upgrade. Ajax Systems’ Alpine 1NK rifle may cost a little more, but you get a whole lot of extra bang-bang for your credits.
This high-performance masterpiece deals piercing, energy and ballistic damage with accuracy the Ballistic Blazer can only dream of! A bolt-action rifle with a detachable magazine, ventilated barrel, and folding stock, this aluminum-alloy pain-delivery specialist still comes in at under 3 KG. And, on top, the scope is kitted out with some truly epic glass. If this thing misses, it’ll be your fault and yours alone!
Draco’s verdict: The best tool there is for keeping those lucrative deep-pocketed clients alive!
Bodyguard of the cycle winner: ASG Contractor 265
By Boson Packard
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for! This cycle’s award has gone to Armure Security Group’s contractor 265, who now boasts over 4 cycles without a client fatality. These performance figures reflect finely on the sector as a whole and, should you cross paths with this exemplar of our profession, be sure to express your admiration! Here’s an exclusive quote from the winner:
It’s always nice to get some recognition. What’s my secret? There’s no magic to it really. Don’t take clients with a death wish. Stay out of Syndicate wars. Test your gear every day and don’t skimp on armor and ammo. Don’t mix booze and business. Be lucky.
Congratulations again to our winner, who receives a tenspan’s-worth of complementary services for the resorts of Cirque Centauri. It’s a tough job and even bodyguards deserve a holiday!
Boson & Draco’s final tip: Folks, stay safe, stay vigilant, and – most important of all – subscribe to the Bodyguard’s Bulletin!
Culture of the 'Verse: Cloning
Greetings to all you crazy cresters of the CORETECHS and magnificent mesh maniacs out there! New series coming your way to inspire and illuminate, tantalize and titillate!
We’re going to spend the next couple of segments, and many more down the road, discoursing the various aspects of culture from around the ‘verse. It’s been a fair few cycles since the Catastrophe and, when we ain’t looking over our collective shoulders, wondering if there’s another, we’ve actually been living! We just didn’t know we were.
So, once a tenspan or so, we’re gonna take a breather from all that smog and drama and sit back and see where we’re at, culturally speaking!
And today, we’ll be taking a gander at cloning!
It certainly is a funny old ‘verse. Story goes that an age or two before Before, folks used to be terrified of shuffling off that pesky old mortal coil. Today, not so much! I mean, sure, you have to spend a pretty credit or two thousand, but you can buy yourself a nice, spanking new body to upload right back into should some plasma foil feedback loop fry that pretty face right off before you were good and ready.
Course, it sure ain’t for everybody mind. Prometheus folks over on Daedalus station reckon you got one life to live and anymore is just plain old cheating. They strongly oppose any tech associated with cloning and some even go so far to shun any folk that have been known to be cloned. There’s even some that associate Prometheus with certain terrorist activity that targeted a number of cloning centers some time back.
Now other folk? They take to the whole situation like mass to a gravity well! Down on Paris Spatial, there is a particularly recent trend of art that involves increasingly creative ways of offing oneself and then uploading into a nearby clone in time for the applause! Now I ain’t one to judge, but as far as entertainment goes, I find that particular kettle of plasma coils just a might grim for my tastes.
The corporate front ain’t been slow on the uptake either ‘course. Been a fair amount of cycles where a number of corps, now really gaining traction again after the Catastrophe, have been instituting a clone clause. It applies to all employees whose job description is above a certain acceptable risk threshold of death and/or life-altering dismemberment. You can imagine this don’t sit well with employees of a Promethean persuasion of course!
Let’s not forget that there’s a fairly strong correlation between genotype functionality and cloning as well. Quite often some folk (if they got the credits, or at least the backing of a corp with the credits) will upload into a new clone so as to take advantage of a different genotype, depending on what’s needed!
And finally, and perhaps with an appropriate note of finality, we note that cloning only ever saves us from non-natural deaths. Thus far, nobody ain't found a way to extend the course of their natural lifespan. All your genetic code and DNA are uploaded via the Amygchip entirely as is, including the age of all your cells! We can change the outside to no end! But there's no messing with the inside..mostly.
That’s our segment on cloning done, hope you folks enjoyed our delve into the culture of cloning round our corner of the ‘verse. Y’all stay safe and feel free to write in with any other cloning related quirks you might discover on your travels!
Culture of the ‘Verse: Art in Nouveau Limoges
Welcome to the second segment of Culture of the ‘Verse, your portal to all things beyond mere survival! With the Catastrophe in our collective pasts, we look to the future to expand humanity’s possibilities. Last time we looked at cloning, with all of its complications, so today we’ll be focusing on the pleasant topic of artistic endeavors!
Art is ever-present – whether in times of stress or prosperity, people will create art which reflects their values, needs and desires. Stations like Nouveau Limoges recognize this and choose to maintain publicly available museum exhibits, so that everyone’s lives may be enriched by these artistic features. Some exhibits even feature artifacts from before the Catastrophe! Because art means different things to different people, we decided to capture the soul of the Grande Galaxie Museum and Gallery in Nouveau Limoges, of the Gaule Protectorate, by asking people about their favorite exhibit!
Aveline LeLac, 136 cycles old
“Interpretive dance sounded ridiculous – my friends had to drag me to the show – but the first time I saw Thea Mai on stage, I was touched. Her performance, full of skill, grace and care, was clearly captivating… But it wasn’t until days later that I realized it was all a metaphor for our oppression by the Gaule, and the need for us to rise up. It was the first time I felt the strength of someone’s feelings resonate so strongly with mine. I’ve been to all of Thea Mai’s performances, ever since.”
Yaël Archambeau, 12 cycles old, and Vincent Archambeau, 181 cycles old
“I liked the pieces that you could move and stack on each other and change their color and make a whole station if you wanted to!”
“It was the Stack-a-Block event, last cycle. Yaël and their friends came here every day for a tenspan, and learned a lot about station structures and what they need to run properly. They would have kept coming, if my son had let them—”
“I loved Stack and Block! Papa should have let me finish! I made a place to get rations, a place to work, and a big open space to play with friends, and a museum like this one! And I made a biiiig house! It had seven rooms and a kitchen and two live-in rooms and eight places to go potty!”
“Yes, Yaël, it was a very lovely house.”
Pascal Cartier, 92 cycles old
“It sounds boring, but I like things which are really well crafted. Paintings made with real paint compounds, which show beautiful landscapes as we think they were on Old Earth. Hand-chiseled statues where every fold of cloth, every hair, is perfectly in place. I can stand in front of these and let my worries wash away… I know art has important meanings, but to me, it’s about how it makes me feel, and ‘traditional’ art makes me feel at peace with the universe.”
As you can imagine, with art and beauty being subjective, everyone has their favorite! The next time you have a chance, stop by the Museum and see what exhibit is on that cycle – we promise you’ll experience something novel!
Culture of the ‘Verse: OmReAthletics
The galaxy sure is a biggun. Whole place is mindbogglingly vast, they say! And, thanks to them astro-engineering folks consistently workin’ them jump gates, it’s getting a might smaller in terms of our own perceptions. One of the greatest aspects of this here phenomenon is the reclamation and re-embracation thereof of long lost or even newfangled traditions!
OmReAthletics is one such beauty to recently come back to us from the Ross 154 system! Join us for a segment to talk up this bit of Culture of the ‘Verse!
OmReAthletics? ‘the smog is that?
Well, what we have here is an ingenious marriage of Omni Reality tech (thus your OmRe) and all sorts of hyper-fangled athletic endeavors!
Originally, OmReAthletics are a brainchild of the House of Syria. Stars, that whole place is brimming with Omni Reality enhanced visuals. Place is all drab and grey till you enable your CORETECHS to accept the incoming augmented reality matrices.
Old School vs Too Cool For
Now far as we figure, the original OmReAthletics that formed on the House of Syria involved some hefty hardware in the form of headgear, haptic suits, and the such. Now that folks from other ends of the galaxy have come a-flockin’ and enjoying the cyclical games, they done figured out ways of integrating the CORETECHS into the proceedings. With CORETECHS tech spreading to the system, some of House of Syrians have taken to this as well, as it provides an upgrade to the experience.
There remains, however, a staunch group of old school supporters that maintain the true skill and experience of the sport is sullied by integrated tech. The only way to truly compete, they reckon, is using the original hardware.
Both groups are currently welcome to compete by the committee and, while friendly rivalry does exist, it doesn't seem to mar the proceedings much.
There’s many tournaments throughout a cycle, ranging from team sports like omni-ball to combat games and individual skill challenges. Once every four cycles, however, the OmReTourney takes place!
Stations send reps, champions, and crowds to compete and rise to the top of the heap! Fortune and glory abound and, these cycles, a strong media spectacle is beginning to form around the entire spectacle.
OmReAthletics are fixin’ to spread throughout the galaxy now that Ross 154 is open to travelers far and wide. The military based jump gate right next door already incorporates the events in the wargame tactics and some folk even reckon there may be something a might sinister involved. Postulating conspiracy theories on the nature of secretive skill tests via the games as a way of drafting folks to the Consortium military.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our segment and look forward to seeing y’all at the next games!
A widely-followed, Consortium-focused feed presented by Rick Sontaro. Typical content includes interviews with prominent Consortium citizens, short news items, and sponsored messages from the various corporations and organizations keen to reach the feed’s many avid fans.
TauLife Holozene Issue 101
TauLife Holozene Issue 101 – First broadcast 202.89
Greetings listeners! Welcome to another edition of TauLife, the on-the-pulse holozene of all things Consortium.
Today’s special edition comes to you straight from Daedalus station, home of the Promethean Sect. Strap in citizens, or should I say ‘brothers and sisters’, as we talk all things ‘One Life’ with today’s special guest, Sister Nyx, a sect member for exactly 100 cycles!
Welcome, Sister Nyx. It’s an honor to have you here. Please, tell us a little about yourself.
Honored too, are we, in your presence. As Sister Nyx, 100 cycles I have lived in the Promethean Sect, and a few more before that, all here on Daedalus station.
Right, thank you. What a way with words you have! So, tell us, does that mean you weren’t born into the sect?
No, I was not. With beginnings, I shall begin. After the Catastrophe, born here, on Daedalus station, was I. My parents knew not the One Life, but labored in the Phosphorous Plant. Back then, when the work was open to those like them.
Yet fearful of the sect, they were. Grew it did, and so fled they did. To a future away from here. But I stayed. The One Life pulled me. Took the sacred walk, 100 cycles ago, I did. And now, the Rites I give, to those whose one life is complete.
Fascinating! So, could you tell us more about these rites?
Privilege of mine it is, to oblige. We, who are Prometheans, adhere to the One True Life. This, to many is known. No clones shield us from its dangers. Accident and illness, at any moment can take us.
And yet, in such moments, our faith is tested. Tempting it is, to try and revive those we have lost. To comfort ourselves, with the aid of some vat-grown flesh puppet. Of course, wouldn’t work, to clone the dead, who did not consent when alive. But… it has been tried. Grief tests all.
And so the soul trap, what you call ‘Amygchip’, must be destroyed. Only then will thoughts of unholy return be banished entirely. In our sacred site, Plant P-15, we conduct such a ceremony. Known it is as ‘the rites’.
Wow, that’s er… quite something. Personally, I’m pretty glad my Amygchip is doing its job, syncing me to backup Rick, just in case, you know? But each to their own! So, to finish, congrats on the 100 cycle milestone, Sister Nyx. Any wishes for the next 100 cycles?
My hope is simple. I wish that all humanity will know again the One Life, as once our ancestors lived. For all that we cherish; love, kindness, beauty… cannot be, without also our frailty.
Nice words, thanks again Sister Nyx. Lots to think about for our listeners there, I’m sure. And now, to conclude, we round up a few other tidbits of sect news.
Conversions on the up
According to independent observers of Promethean matters, the last cycle saw a sharp rise in conversions to the sect from citizens in L 726-8 system. As a result, Pilgrimages to Daedalus are at an all-time high.
Some say the controversial use – or should that be, abuse? – of clone-tech on the Spirit of Tianjin is to blame. Whatever the cause, one thing is certain. More people than ever before now follow the so-called ‘one true path’.
Sponsored message of the day
Who would enjoy the stars if there were no darkness behind? Who can recognize pleasure that has never known pain? Give not half your humanity to the Anima Foundation!
And with that final thought, we’ll wrap it up for today. This is Rick Sontaro signing off folks!
TauLife Holozene Issue 98
TauLife Holozene Issue 98 – First Broadcast on 202.87
Greetings Consortium Citizens! Welcome to another exciting broadcast of TauLife, the exciting holozene bringing you the best tidbits from the Sol system and beyond!
Today we talk with Fellie Norbush, a charming Harsene who works as a field technician for Benevolent Dynamics. You may have come across Fellie when visiting the port of Tau Station.
Hi there Fellie, tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi! And a big hello to all your listeners! It’s an absolute pleasure to be here today. My name is Fellie Norbush, I was born on Orwell Stronghold in the L 726-8 system and I am a public service technician for Benevolent Dynamics. It’s my job to help you all out with any BeDyne products and services. I’ve been hanging around the port and just having the loveliest time meeting all the travelers coming to and from your amazing station!
Lovely, and what are you doing there these days?
Well, primarily I’m conducting onsite tests and calibrations of people’s CORETECHS. You see, we’re currently rolling out a new and very exciting upgrade that enhances the level of bio-digital integration far better than ever before. For example, you may have noticed that the CORETECHS now utilizes your current bio-metric feedback and sends this data directly to prospective employers within your chosen career path. This helps filter out such tasks that you are currently unable to complete with any likely margin of success. And that’s just one example! We’re looking at a number of future improvements and added functionality.
Wow, that sounds exciting indeed! We can’t wait. Now Fellie, it’s our understanding that you’re not actually a Consortium citizen correct?
That is correct Rick. Benevolent Dynamics is an independent technocracy that affords all its employees political independence so that we may work unhindered by factional jurisdictions or similar awkwardness. Our work, research, and science is for the benefit of all mankind, irrespective of affiliation. Even the Freebooters!
Ha! Very well said Fellie. So, is there anything else exciting on the horizon from you guys?
Weeeell, funny you should mention horizons. We’re working on something that should bring them all far closer together very soon! That’s really all I can say on the matter but let’s just say that it’s got us all ‘beaming’ with pride!
Wow, well thanks very much Fellie, it’s been an absolute pleasure! Folks, if you want to meet Fellie or have any questions about your CORETECHS or other BeDyne tech, feel free to visit her at the Port of Tau Station!
Now a quick word from today’s sponsors.
It’s a dangerous galaxy out there and you can’t rely on Moemedi Meds to patch up your injuries every time. So why not cut out the middleman (or woman)? Use Hephaestus Weapons Tech to take them out of the equation first!
Hephaestus Weapons Tech – “Keeping your kill count up since 20PC!”
What follows is a public service announcement.
Citizens are warned to avoid the Red Zone on Tau Station. An unusually high amount of syndicate infighting has resulted in dangerous traveling conditions. There are additional reports of an unnamed and allegedly heavily armed group moving through the area. Travel through the area is inadvisable.
Well, that’s all from us today. This is Rick Sontaro, your eye in the digital sky, wishing all you Consortium Citizens a pleasant day!
The Crane's Critique: Dissident Disincliner
Greetings most loyal and beloved listeners! Welcome to the first of many segments of what is sure to be a prestigious and oft listened to review program. I, Frasier the Crane, shall be your guide in all things arms and armors, with a different tool of the terrible trade tested each tenspan. Today, I hope you shall join me on a journey of thrills to the accompaniment of the oh so pleasant sounds of blasting ordinance. For today, we review the Dissident Disincliner!
This sleek and fabulous combat shotgun comes to us from... well it comes from a less than reputable source, but before that it came from the fine and rightly lauded weaponsmiths of The House of Spartacus!
The weapon itself exudes fine craftsmanship. As I heft it, I can feel its considerable weight distributed evenly and in an almost pleasant, even comforting, fashion along my arms. And while it is not the most accurate shooter out there, the wide spread of projectiles coupled with a delightful shatter effect when they strike a target, hits home with a hearty ‘oomph’ of satisfaction!
Yes indeed, this is very much the shotgun for a boomstick aficionado! Now, the fact that it tends to be distributed, at least in legitimate circles, among both Consortium and Gaule Protectorate ‘peace keeping’ personnel, may mean the occasional raised eyebrow should you brandish this fine firearm out in the open. But then, when one carries a veritable cannon such as this, one may simply blast any offending eyebrows right off the offending visage!
I myself am no stranger to the ways of the scoundrel and jackanape of course. Once I broadcast to an audience of Consortium drones and lackeys! But no longer am I fettered by pomp and protocol, having been exiled to a much happier existence among the fine folk of Freebooter ilk due a tiny misunderstanding concerning the station owners' significant other and some comments, and perhaps the occasional memo comparing him to a tiny planetoid.
Nevertheless, let me digress no further lest we forget the reason we are here! The Dissident Disincliner, with its considerable heft and firepower, gets a definite Frasier the Crane authentic seal of approval! Pick one up at your nearest black market and make your blackened, charred, and smoking mark upon the galaxy!
If you're not entirely satisfied with this, prince of power, this wonder of weapons, then I would shave my head! A gesture which becomes less significant with every passing cycle...
The Crane's Critique: Mantis Class Private Cruiser
How blessings brighten as they take their flight.
How pertinent a sentence, allegedly uttered by a poet of ancient Terran origin, that applies aptly to the recent discovery of an entire fleet of sleek and steady vessels to ferry us through the Black. The Mantis Class Private Cruiser, a ship I have had the distinct pleasure of being allowed to fly. Tune in, loyal followers, for my enlightening review!
The recently dubbed Mantis Class Private Cruiser line was discovered in its entirety within the cargo hold of a derelict transport carrier. Said carrier was found drifting on the very fringes of the Sol system during a salvage run by a squadron of København Wreck Runners. (They have, it seems, now begun operating off-station as well).
An entire line of vessels discovered intact and ready for flight is quite a boon indeed! Once tested, they went on the market almost immediately. And I can tell you that this rambunctious reviewer with a flair for oration was quick to requisition one, erm, well with the help of some ingenious regulating of ownership details by the resourceful Caracals of House Congo.
Well! What can I tell you my friends but a flight of sublime sensation! Pre-Catastrophe technology that seemed specifically designed for a smooth flight with suspension thrusters kicking in at the merest hint of turbulence!
I whooped as I darted past asteroids that now felt to meander like cosmic hippopotami lazing in a river compared to my technologically gifted aerial grace! Fellow Freebooters, salvaging a recent victim, sent pings of what I imagined equal measure of envy and encouragement as I darted past their eerily silent disemboweling of a hapless cruiser that had, no doubt, neglected to pay the entirely optional protection fees encouraged whilst traveling through the Apples of Discord.
Velocity, whilst not quite as fast as a Razorback, definitely leaves shuttles choking on your plasma discharge. The lack of a cargo hold and a medium range, however, makes this a less than ideal choice for long journeys that may, perhaps, require the moving of goods.
I do, however, highly recommend this metal-bound avian as the perfect chariot for a visit through our freshly opened jump gate here at the Apples of Discord! Drop my name and bring plenty of Bonds!
Should you be lucky enough to acquire one of these shining beasts of personal transport, perhaps they will take you on journeys of adventure and discovery, inspiring grand tales and yet grander deeds! In the words of a past dreamer of flight:
The human bird shall take his first flight, filling the world with amazement, all writings with his fame, and bringing eternal glory to the nest whence he sprang.
Leonardo da Vinci
This is Frasier the Crane, and this has been another Crane’s Critique!
The Crane's Critique: H.A.C.K 3.5"
Salutations salubrious listeners! Your main brain, Frasier the Crane, comes at you across the ever so slightly less than legitimate Freebooter airwaves once again!
Now, I once recall seeing a man enter battle with shoddy armor. I recall pontificating later that there were cheeses on ancient Earth that had less holes than this gentleman’s body.
It may be an unwise man who doesn’t learn from his own mistakes, but it’s an absolute idiot that doesn’t learn from other people’s! To that end, today we review a fairly sturdy garment of protection indeed!
Let us pay homage to the hardy H.A.C.K 3.5 that hails from the House of Syria!
This magnificent looking piece of equipment is a true fashion wonder, no less for its many and varied capabilities! H.A.C.K, I am told, stands for Haptic Armor, CyberKinetics. Now, while I feel the nomenclature is reaching a tad farther than the writer’s creativity can stretch to fill this acronym, I do understand it is apt indeed.
The piece of armor, while employing some particularly sophisticated nano-fabrics that channel energy away from its keepers most vital organs, organs that tend to be quite vulnerable to such bugaboos as electricity or plasma, is also woven in such a fashion as to dissuade all but the hardiest of piercing weaponry.
Along with its protective properties however, this gorgeous garment also serves to enhance haptic feedback that can be relayed back through one’s CORETECHS or even an external OmReAthletic Headpiece.
Indeed, this tough little tunic is considered one of the top-of-the line fashion accessories for the nouveau-OmReAthlete. Old school aficionados, of course, may look down on it as too ‘new age’ but, once they slip into its luxurious lining and feel the Omni Reality pouring over ever pore, so to speak, may quickly change their minds!