Posted by: Cacophonous, Router <Info_Msg_Rep>
Firewall has identified several groups as active threats—groups that pose a clear and present danger to the future of transhumanity and which Firewall actively opposes. Here’s a rundown on the majors, from exhumans to the TITANs, followed by an assortment of lesser-but-not-insignificant x-risks, such as the Church of Luminous Saints and Red Five.
There are plenty of smaller groups Firewall needs to keep its eyes on outside of the big four. Here are a few recent summaries of minor threats. These may be less dangerous, but if they get their way, they could still be major trouble.
Sidebar: Solarchive Search: Post-Apocalyptic Stress Syndrome
Post-apocalyptic Stress Syndrome (PASS) is a theoretical diagnosis that originated as an explanation for the generational suffering experienced by indigenous populations displaced through old Earth colonialism. Culturally, these populations experienced an apocalypse. When the destruction of the social order coincides with great personal suffering and loss, the more recognizable symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) become pandemic and pass to successive generations.
In the wake of the Fall, PASS is attributed for a number of problematic issues plaguing transhuman culture. On the level of the individual, PASS is indistinguishable from PTSD. Symptoms include survivor’s guilt, depression, paranoia, and fanatical religious practice. Survivors suffer from increased rates of secondary mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and unemployment. The sheer scale of the Fall means that victims need not have actually experienced events firsthand to be traumatized; many in the LLA developed PTSD as a result of media coverage of the Earth evacuation.
PASS doesn’t diagnosis individuals; it describes large-scale sociological factors that ensure PTSD will spread and continue generationally. The collapse of family structures, education, healthcare, and religious organizations limited care options in the wake of the Fall. These problems persist as scarcity-based economies withhold services from the under-employed. The lack of care options exacerbates PTSD, increasing the likelihood children will undergo serious trauma, develop PTSD, and continue the cycle. Extreme trauma at a young age fundamentally alters brain chemistry and neurological structures. Hundreds of thousands of transhumans were children or adolescents during the Fall, and this symptomatic neurology impacts their core personalities. Generational projections grow more grim when we consider the thousands of children still in cold storage. When these egos are resleeved, the trauma of the Fall will be as fresh as if it were yesterday.
The hedonistic drug abuse of scum swarms, the ghettoization of the clanking masses, the paranoia of the Jovian security state—all have been attributed to PASS at some time or another. This has led some experts to dismiss the theory as a weapon for political attack. Furthermore, the psychosurgical community regards PASS as a pre-singularity problem easily solved through time-accelerated therapy.
A vocal minority argue that the problems of PASS grow more monolithic as transhumanity advances. Uplifted cetaceans and mammals were susceptible to PTSD even before achieving sapience. Accelerating technological change increasingly disrupts and reorganizes cultural groups. Some eschatologists argue that PASS is the primary existential threat facing transhumanity, citing decreasing birth rates and education funding, correlating with rises in violent crime and suicide.
Recently, a subgroup of philosophers calling themselves The Long Quiet have made news by publicly spreading pro-suicide propaganda through many inner-system habitats. Their literature suggests that it is too late to stop the PASS threat; emergent disorders such as immortality blues suggest that transhumanity has already lost the will to live, and the only noble action left is “to end the farce on one’s own terms, as soon as possible.” It remains to be seen if The Long Quiet is merely a minority opinion or another fringe cult symptomatic of PASS’s effects on transhuman culture.
See Also: PTSD, X-Risks
Sidebar: Aether Jabber: Other Threats
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>> So what’s the purpose of this chat? My time is limited.
<< I need to update my search parameters. I’ve got all of the major threats covered, but I spent so long focused on this last op—over a year, mind you—that I am sorely out of date when it comes to recent developments in the category of shiny new things that might kill us all. If I’m going to do my job as a scanner, I need to know what I should be keeping an eye out for. You have your pulse on various smaller ops, so I thought you could catch me up on what I should prioritize.
>> Isn’t this why you have a muse?
<< We aren’t talking right now. She was getting a little cheeky, so I put her in time out.
>> And that’s why it’s a bad idea to base your muse’s personality on your invisible childhood friend.
<< Yeah yeah yeah. Okay, let’s hear what you have. Doomsday cults? Mad scientists? Nefarious Aliens?
>> We can start with cults I suppose. The Cult of the Destroyer is apparently back.
<< That whackjob Hindu async sect? From Luna? Didn’t we take them out a few years back?
>> Thought so. They made a surprise resurgence. Turns out they had some facility in Mars orbit to manufacture a new drug that allegedly could pull async minds into some sort of massive neural net. Had the potential to really amplify their psi sleights, on a major scale.
<< Lovely. Step one in helping the TITANs destroy us all like Shiva intended, I assume?
>> More or less. They were also tied up with a yakuza op that was growing and harvesting exsurgents to sell their parts as black-market aphrodisiacs. We had operatives on the case, but somehow Ozma caught wind and the whole thing went sideways. Everyone involved had to be restored from backup, and we had quite a mess to clean up with the Rangers. Ozma also apparently took out the cult’s async clientèle too—hundreds of ’em axed or disappeared. And we’re not sure we caught all of the cultists. Total clusterfuck.
<< Crap, and I thought my last op was bad. OK, got anything less depressing?
>> I currently know of a server looking into rumors of an oligarch, name of [REDACTED], who has a secret stash of uploads or stacks of multiple prominent Earth figureheads thought lost during the Fall.
<< OK, that’s weird, but what’s the problem with that?
>> The concern is that if the oligarch re-instantiates them, their return could trigger some serious political and economic instabilities. Some major hypercorp shares would become contested, faltering ideological movements would suddenly regain their figureheads, old nationalisms could be revived, etc. Could be a serious problem, especially on Luna.
<< So we would, what, make sure they stay in storage? That doesn’t seem ethical.
>> Less ethical than starting a war perhaps? Here’s a better one. There’s a sentinel team working now to investigate a corp called [REDACTED]. From what we’ve gathered, said corp may have tracked down the egos of some of the TITANs’ original creators.
<< Whoa. That could be huge.
>> It could certainly give us some major insights into the nature of the TITANs, or perhaps give us some new leads. There’s a lot of shaky intel on that op, though. I’m half convinced it’s another Ozma bait-and-switch.
<< Well, if it gives us an edge over the ASIs, it’s worth looking into.
>> Speaking of ASIs, here’s a term to keep an ear out for: Deep Eight. There’s been some buzz in guanxi circles, allegedly an ASI developed from octopus neural templates. My bet is that the Hidden Concern is spreading this meme to inflate their infamy, but you never know.
<< Scary octo-machine gods, check. That should give me enough to work with for now, unless you have anything else major?
>> Well, here’s one last one that you won’t like: Fall denialists.
<< What? Those assholes who claim the Fall was a hoax? You’ve got to be kidding.
>> I’m serious.
<< Denialists are delusional idiots, trolls, and media whores. They’re so dumb they can look at Blackrock from Lunar orbit and call it a hologram. They’re about as non-threatening as a group can be.
>> First off, that’s a misconception. Very few in the movement actually ascribe to the illusionist theory. Most believe the Fall was an engineered holocaust perpetrated by the hypercorps to found the Planetary Consortium. The TITANs are just scary monsters used to excuse genocide and regime change. But their movement has grown—in fact, grown enough that some of them have tried running the interdiction to bring back proof that the Fall was staged.
<< So what? It’s not like they’ll ever make it off Earth. And if they do, they’re on the same threat level as scrappers and reclaimers.
>> Well, the real reason I bring it up is Fathi.
<< Fathi? Fathi Murthada? He’s been missing since the Fall!
>> Was missing. He’s shown up. In Elysium. And he’s leading a group of Fall denialists.
<< That can’t be right. That can’t be him, there’s no way he made it out of Istanbul. That has to—oh crap. It’s not him, is it? It’s some thing using his identity.
>> It makes a kind of sense, yes? If the exsurgent virus wants to wipe us out, why not mindhack people into disbelieving its existence? It would explain the whole denialist phenomenon.
<< That’s fucked up, my friend.