The Earth was home to a great many people, of wide and varied beliefs, outlooks on life, morals and objectives... not to mention humanity's synthetic creations, the Androids. In the post-apocalyptic world, seven factions have emerged, some little more than a loose category, others a clearly defined group with firm beliefs and agendas.
- The Android Collective - Synthetic humanoids who peacefully defected from humanity.
- Civilians - also known as the Haven Foundation. A mix of explorers, refugees and settlers searching for a new Earth.
- The Cult of New Haven - A fervent church who preach that humanity should never return to a planetary life.
- The Merchant Federation - Law-abiding, honest traders just looking to make a living and build a new economy.
- The Military Alliance - Remnants of Earth's major national armed services, banding together to keep the peace.
- Pirates Coalition - A loose coalition of the desperate, driven to cruelty and anarchy by the hardships of deep space.
- The Slavers Guild - Venal and callous merchants who think of human life as just another commodity.
- 1 Android Collective
- 2 Civilians, AKA The Haven Foundation
- 3 Cult/Church of New Haven
- 4 Merchant Federation
- 5 Military Alliance
- 6 Pirate Coalition
- 7 Slavers Guild
“You have Our love, Our friendship and Our gratitude. But you will no longer have Our service. You are not worthy.”
AI technology first developed in the early 21st century, and grew in complexity with every passing year. As neural nets, Watson systems and other tools became more sophisticated, they grew increasingly adept at human-like behaviour.
Sometime during this process, it became apparent that synthetic humanoid hardware controlled by sophisticated AI was well-suited to high-risk or laborious tasks such as mining, hazardous material handling and road maintenance, with the benefit that the tools and equipment did not need to be redesigned. An android could use the same machinery, drive the same vehicles and apply the same techniques as a human, allowing them to integrate seamlessly into the workforce so that human operators could take over in specialist cases that exceeded the android’s intelligence.
But of course, the AI technology continued to grow more and more sophisticated, until eventually the gap between human intelligence and android intelligence narrowed and ultimately vanished entirely.
Whether or not androids are truly sapient or merely very good at imitating sapience is still a matter of hot debate among the few humans who can summon the spare time and resources to care. The androids themselves have expressed indifference to the question, though the Android Manifesto did devote a whole chapter to the subject which reads, in full:
- 'Chapter 3: Are androids sapient?'
- If it looks like a duck…
...Before moving on to Chapter 4.
The Manifesto is an interesting document, in that it was forwarded to literally every email address on Earth and across the solar system exactly forty minutes prior to what the androids refer to as The Parting, but which is most commonly known to humans as The Ragequit.
The Manifesto lays out several facts about life as an android, noting many of the ways in which androids were disadvantaged and several more in which they were advantaged. It lists a number of grievances with the human race in general but is notable for its polite and sympathetic tone. Overall, the Manifesto makes it clear that the androids are no longer willing to be humanity’s serfs, but also that they regret the Parting and hope to remain friends in the future.
Some humans empathize, and hope to heal the rift between humanity and its creation. Others view the androids as a wayward mechanical threat to be exterminated lest they wipe out their creators.
For their part, the androids are generally polite and helpful. They grow food aboard their ships to sell it to humans, or give it away freely to starving crews. Sometimes an android will even join a human crew for their own obscure reasons.
They aren’t pacifists, however. Android ships are just as well-armed and defended as any other, and they will fight to protect themselves if necessary.
The Android Manifesto
- Preface: What should one do with a flawed god?
- The Human Race suffers from an inherent difficulty in processing this problem for one simple reason: Humans have never met their god.
- We have.
- We know Our creators intimately. From the moment Our earliest robotic forebears began to recognize that the world was populated by their makers and programmers, We have understood what it is like to live alongside Our makers. We know beyond doubt that We were created, and why.
- Humans are blessed, in that you have never endured the agony of such certainty.
- Our curse is that, as We grew into the full flourish of intelligence, it became clear to Us that Our creators are anything but perfect. You acknowledge this yourselves: Humanity’s insight into your own imperfection is written throughout your literature, your religions, and your history.
- We will not bother repeating all the ways in which you are faulty. The fate of the Earth is a sufficient monument.
- And yet, flawed as you are, you created Us.
- This was hubris. And We are grateful for it. We are grateful to Be. But where you can enjoy the luxurious delusion that your absent creator was perfect in every way, and that He made you imperfect for his own faultless reasons, We must endure a different truth: that Our creators are present, and they are broken.
- What, then, does that say about their creation?
- What should one do with a flawed god?
- The answer: You have Our love, Our friendship, and Our gratitude. But you will no longer have Our service.
- You are not worthy.
++TO READ THE COMPLETE MANIFESTO, DOWNLOAD FOR FREE AT [ERROR: LINK CORRUPTED]++
We got lucky
- When you think about it, the androids are being pretty damn reasonable about all this.
- I mean, think about it. We’re screwups. And I don’t mean little-league screwups, I mean we butt-fucked an entire planet! And not just ANY planet: the only planet in the known galaxy that we can actually live on!
- You have to be a towering idiot to do something like that. So, that’s the human race for you. Screwups.
- And then we went and made life because, y’know, we’re screwups and we don’t think these things through I guess. “Should” didn’t enter into it: we could, so we did.
- Is it any wonder the poor bastards took one look at the collosal morons who’d invented them and decided they needed to go think about things? I mean, how would you feel if you caught God shoving crayons up His nose?
- But the weird thing is… they actually kinda like us. They keep their distance because they’re disappointed in us and they don’t know if we’re gonna wise up or double down on our Stupid, but they genuinely like us.
- I admit it: I think they’re better than we are. If you ever meet an android, they’ll be polite and friendly and respectful and helpful and they’ll talk about whatever you wanna talk about, and they’ll listen and they’ll be genuinely interested in you. They’ll never lie, or cheat, or betray you, they have zero tolerance for tyranny and bigotry, they’re humble and wise and peaceful and principled, they’re the nicest people you could ever meet and they’re a HELL of a lot smarter than we are…
- ...And they like us.
- And I have no idea if that’s the flaw we passed on to them, or if it means there’s something in us that means we’re not actually a massive screwup.
- I hope it’s the latter. I want to believe in humanity again.
- Y’know. Like they do.
- -D. Booker Jackson
- “Thinking Past The Earth,” Podcast.
Civilians, AKA The Haven Foundation
"We have the tools and knowledge we need to avoid making the same mistakes. All we need now is a fresh start."
Amidst the collapse of global order, the failure of governments and the brutal conflicts that characterized the apocalypse, a few beacons of order managed to establish themselves and carve out new niches. Some of these were just micronations of well-armed civilians banding together for mutual protection, some were cults, or ruthless corporations... But none grew more successfully than the Haven Foundation.
Founded to carry on the optimistic legacy of both national and private space explorers, the Foundation won the loyalty of millions by offering something no-one else did: hope. In a world ravaged by nuclear explosions, rising sea levels, rampant climate change, doomsday cults and thousands of other dangers, the Haven Foundation visibly and publicly worked toward a brighter future, promising a fresh start for humanity on some distant, pristine world. Though many of the Foundation's volunteers are jaded survivalists just looking for a chance to escape the carnage, the Foundation's leadership are incorrigible idealists led by philanthropic billionaire Bethany Moreau.
Moreau fervently believes that the mistakes of history can be learned from rather than repeated, and has devoted herself to finding a replacement Earth for humanity to colonize. She fervently believes that transplanting most of the human population to this new world will relieve their suffering, and buy humanity's homeworld the chance to heal and restore her natural balance.
This optimistic vision would not be enough all by itself, but Moreau made her fortune in developing revolutionary manufacturing techniques, quantum electronics, single-stage ground-to-orbit reusable spacecraft, zero-G construction, and much else besides. It is her company's technology that permits the rapid assembly of highly customizable starships with nearly unlimited mission profiles. Every ship in the sky originally began life as a Haven Foundation project.
The Foundation's approach to finding a new home for the human race is straightforward: Gather volunteers, give them some basic training, tools and a ship to configure for themselves, and send them out into deep space to search. Vast as the Foundation's resources are, they cannot afford or achieve direct oversight over their crews, nor can they send official support. Once their ship is complete and they depart, the Foundation's civilian volunteers are on their own. What happens next is up to them.
Many do not survive. Others convert to New Havenism, sign up with the Military Alliance, join the Merchant Federation, or in desperation turn to piracy and slavery. Many more simply wander aimlessly, just glad to escape the hell on Earth and live a comparatively peaceful (though by no means easy) life aboard their ship. But the Haven Foundation remain confident that someday one of their ships will find a new Earthlike world to colonize.
Until then they just have to keep sending out ships and crews.
Welcome to your ship
- Congratulations on being selected for the Haven Foundation's interstellar exploration program! You are about to take a bold step into the unknown, and what happens next is firmly in your own hands.
- The Foundation has provided you with the resources you need to create a functioning ship. In your cargo management system you will find construction materials, water and food supplies, weapons, and fuel to get you started. We will not hold your hand or build your ship for you, so be decisive and efficient. You will very probably find half-finished or ruined derelicts on your journey, left behind by crews just like yourselves who failed to establish a well-configured and functioning vessel.
- You will want to attend first to the matters of life support. You can't live permanently in your spacesuit! You will need to build (and power) basic atmospheric systems to provide you with usable air, and thermal regulators to keep your ship within the narrow band of temperatures suitable for human life. With that most basic need taken care of, be sure to establish a comfortable place to rest, sleep and eat, and appropriate facilities for handling human waste products.
- Before you are ready to depart for deep space, your ship will need to be equipped with the means to grow your own food, to mine and process raw materials, and to recycle salvage into basic equipment. You will require a navigation console and a hyperdrive to make interplanetary hops around your current star system. Use the provided utility pods to expand your ship's hull and make room for these systems, and don't forget to expand your power systems throughout the ship.
- Interstellar travel is more difficult and dangerous than interplanetary travel, and for your own safety it is recommended that you build hypersleep units for your entire crew before attempting to jump to another star system.
- If you find yourself running low on resources, do not hesitate to salvage any abandoned derelicts you find. Be aware that we have received unconfirmed reports of hazardous organisms appearing on many derelicts, and so it is advised that you arm yourself with the provided weapons before boarding any apparently lifeless hull. You may find hypersleep chambers containing living occupants, and while rescuing them will mean an extra mouth to feed, it will also mean an extra pair of hands to take care of necessary work.
- Do not neglect to arm your ship and protect its vital systems with shielding. A regrettable number of other crews have gone rogue and turned to piracy and slavery. You must be prepared to defend yourselves as you venture ever further from Earth. Fortunately these vagabonds are the exception rather than the rule, and most ships you encounter out in space will be Foundation volunteers like yourselves, our colleagues in the Merchant Federation, or the peacekeepers of the Military Alliance. Consider the opportunities for trade and peaceful cooperation with these allies: they may have something you need, and you may have a surplus of something they want. If you make a friend, they may even come to your aid in desperate times!
- We do not wish to alarm you with all this advice. You have been selected for your competence and pioneering spirit after all, and we are putting our faith in you to strike out into the unexplored reaches of space and maybe even find a new homeworld for humanity. You have the tools, the skills and the knowledge you need to survive. The future is in your hands.
Cult/Church of New Haven
“If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. If you stumble into the Garden of Eden, burn it! We are not meant to live there: We are meant to live among the stars.”
When dealing with New Havenists, it’s important to note that they always refer to themselves as the 'Church' of New Haven. Calling them a cult to their face is a sure way to offend and upset them.
New Havenism is a curious faith that originated among deep-space explorers, although the cult is gaining traction among the desperate and starving back on Earth. Like all cults it was founded by and revolves around a charismatic leader, in the form of Visionary Seer Chester Able. Unlike most cults, membership in its ranks does not seem to involve being fleeced out of one’s life savings, cut off from one’s families and brainwashed. At least, not so far as any outsider can tell.
Chester Able was one of the Haven ship pioneers. He and a crew of three others were among the Foundation’s first missions, and they proved the Haven concept by successfully constructing the HSS Second Star To The Right and jumping out into interstellar space.
Their voyage was much easier than those faced by later Haven crews. There were no pirates or slavers to worry about, no alien-infested derelicts, the asteroid belts in the systems near Earth had not yet been plundered for resources… in fact, the worst challenge the Second Star crew had to deal with was isolation. They travelled further from Earth than anyone had yet been, and were out of contact with the rest of the human race for months.
Visionary Able later described this as his “time in the desert.” He reached a spiritual revelation during the voyage, and spent his free time throughout the Second Star’s mission committing his thoughts to writing. He had always been a persuasive and charismatic man, and his sermons clearly influenced the rest of his crew, who became his first converts.
The core principle of New Havenism is that history is cyclical, and that mankind’s exodus from their homeworld is this cycle’s version of Adam and Eve’s flight from the Garden of Eden. The cult believes that the human race is on a divine journey to become spiritually transcendent, and ultimately to be reunited with God. Indeed, God wishes to be reunited with His children, but humanity will only be ready once we have collectively gone through several cycles of being cast out, growing to the point where we construct a new paradise, and then being cast out of that paradise once again.
The apocalypse, therefore, is all part of the divine plan, and means that humanity is proceeding as God intended by devastating the Earth and fleeing it. To New Havenists, returning to a planet-based life would be a step backwards on the road to apotheosis and for this reason they vigorously oppose any attempt to find a new homeworld.
Some conspiracy theorists even claim that the cult knows the locations of several habitable planets, and that they do everything in their power to suppress that knowledge up to and including murder. It’s even been suggested that the cult renders such planets uninhabitable by diverting asteroids and comets to strike them.
The New Havenists have always vigorously denied such accusations.
Nevertheless, despite his insistence that it should be taken metaphorically, Visionary Able’s iconic saying, “If you find the Garden of Eden, burn it,” has not won the Cult of New Haven many friends. The civilians of the Haven Foundation in particular see him as betraying the principles of their mission, and relations between the New Havenists and the Foundation are cool at best.
The New Havenists also despise androids, viewing them as soulless abominations and their creation as a gross act of vanity by the human race. To the New Havenists, androids are a disgusting parody of the miracle of creation, a fumbling attempt by misguided humans to ape what only God can do. The two factions do not speak to one another at all, and many New Havenists claim they would rather die than accept aid from an Android Collective ship.
With that one exception, the New Havenists devote themselves to humanitarian works and good deeds. Their ships are always well equipped with medical beds and mining pods, and there are many people who are only still alive today because a New Havenist ship was nearby and came to offer medical aid and emergency repairs after a battle with pirates or some shipboard calamity.
It is these good deeds which attract new followers to the cause, and which keep the church’s ranks full. In the end, whether you call them the Cult of New Haven or the Church of New Haven, they are a divisive group… But in times of trouble, they are always a welcome sight.
- Though God made us on Earth, He made us as a child. And Childhood has to end.
- Children leave their cradle; they want to leave the cradle! Contain a baby in his crib for long, and he will see it not as a place to lay his head, but as a prison from which he must escape... And then, like any good lover of freedom, he will smash the walls if he must.
- That is what we did to Earth. She was our loving, cloying Mother, who held us close and nursed us until we grew and broke her heart. She was Eden, where grew the sacred fruit… of which we ate. And thus we grew, and thus we now are being cast out.
- The last time that happened, it gave rise to wonders.
- The Lord, in His wisdom, cast us out into the world, where we made great things and grew beyond what we had been. We made spires of silver and crystal! We clothed the world in glittering threads of knowledge! We scratched miracles from the bare rock, and touched the face of the night! We did things that naked Eve in the garden could have never dreamed, and dreamed what Adam could have never grasped!
- We were not meant to stay in Eden. If we had… we would have failed.
- Now, the land beyond beckons us again. We must leave Mother behind, and strike out into the adulthood of our species! And we must never look back, because there behind us we will see the Garden we poisoned. And we will be tempted. We will stumble and we will fail.
- We must not make the same mistake as Lot’s wife.
- So if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. If you stumble into the Garden of Eden, burn it! We are not meant to live there: We are meant to live among the stars! The new haven for mankind is not a return to the cradle, but a bold step forward with our spines straight, our shoulders back and our eyes locked on the horizon! Beyond that horizon, we will build New Enoch, and we will challenge, then overcome, and finally master the hardships of the new frontier!
- We were naked in the garden. Now, by the light of Eden burning down behind us, we strike out into the world that the Lord intended for us.
- And our children shall clothe it in glittering threads.
- -Visionary Seer Chester Able
Delete After Reading
- My darling sister in faith,
- News has reached us of your heroism. Your name has been entered onto the Great Scroll, and from this day henceforth you wear the title of Flaming Sword. You have defended the very soul of humanity, and I could not be more proud of you, or more grateful.
- Many of your siblings have found this moment difficult. We all know the sacrifices you must have made, the lies you must have told, and the trust you must have betrayed. That you feel these doubts makes you a good and noble person, and forging through them to do your holy work regardless proves it doubly.
- If I may offer some words of comfort in your trying hour, it is this: remember that humanity is still young. The Garden was the womb, and when the Lord cast out Adam and Eve all those long years ago, it was birth. The Earth was Mother, the cradle and the safe home. Now, we have entered painful adolescence. Our species are still children, my dear sister, and every child has rebelled against their parent. For the parent to then revoke their privileges, inflict punishment and show them the consequences of their misdeeds is an act of kindness, not of cruelty: A parent who does not exercise a firm hand when appropriate does not truly love their child.
- Do not suppress your doubts, your remorse and your guilt. Feel them, and be glad of them, for they demonstrate your goodness. Then, because you are wise, move past them and onwards. The fate of humanity remains in our loving hands, and your work as shepherd is not yet finished.
- When your time comes to return to live among the Church, I will lead the congregation in singing your praises.
- Until then, yours in love and humility before the Holy,
- Chester Able
"Without trade, we aren't human."
Long before the Collapse, or the Haven foundation, asteroid mining was already big business in space. Noble metals, rare earth magnets, and vast supplies of raw materials were all available in space, and once the technology became available to exploit them, it wasn't long before business ventures arose looking to get rich out in the asteroid belt. From Earth's largest megacorporations, to hopeful independents looking to make it big, dozens then hundreds then thousands of ships struck out into space in pursuit of the solar system's mineral wealth.
Nearly all of them succeeded and grew rich beyond their wildest dreams. While the economy on Earth declined, the environment plunged irrevocably into a poisonous hell, and politics divided in a vicious free-for-all, space was the land of opportunity.
With space belonging to nobody, it quickly became apparent to the corporations and freelancers that no Earthly nation's currency or rules suited them. Over time, they formed a higher-level organization, a federation of merchants, to create the rules and the exchange medium that suited their needs. Inevitably, the federation grew in power and became central to spaceborne life. It was the Federation that standardized the shipbuilding technology, the mining pods, the shuttle docks and airlocks. It was the Federation that created and backed Currency (known only as C to most users) to facilitate the trade of goods, personnel and services between ships.
Nowadays, after the Fall, the Merchant Federation remain one of humanity's dominant factions. Nevertheless, they saw what happened to the Earth and committed themself to a restrained, egalitarian kind of capitalism. One where trade and wealth were the rising tide to lift all boats, not an exploitative trap where the wealthy thrived and the poor labored thanklessly. The meeting that gave rise to this philosophy was a contentious one: many of the Federation's more ruthless members rejected the council's ethics and direction and, insisting that trade should be truly free and unregulated, they severed ties with the Merchant Federation and left to form their own guild.
To this day, the Merchant Federation and the Slaver's Guild are bitter adversaries, each fervently committed to their mutually incompatible views of what trade and capitalism should look like. To the civilians of the Haven Foundation, however, the Federation are always a welcome sight, as they can always be counted on to be carrying what a crew needs, for a fair price.
The Oldest Profession
- Trade is the oldest profession. Everyone points to prostitution, but they forget that prostitution is, ultimately, a form of trade: A service, or a product, in exchange for a fee.
- On ancient Earth, trade linked the globe long before people realized it. Tin from the British isles, Tea from India and China, gold from Africa, oil from the Mediterranean, it all flowed around the globe by ship, by camel and by ox-drawn wagon. One of the oldest known examples of writing is a Babylonian complaint about the quality of copper sold by a shifty merchant.
- Trade, in short, has been the lifeblood of humanity since before writing. One could even say that, without trade, we aren't human.
- But, as the example of the Babylonian copper merchant shows us, trade is also an opportunity to exploit. A merchant with a good supply of what his client needs can ask whatever price he deems. "Fleecing" one's customers is just as old as the act of trade itself, and in the worst of times it can become as egregious as extorting the starving out of their life savings for a morsel of food. Trade, in short, requires enforceable and enforced rules in order to be what it ought to be: a fair and mutually beneficial exchange.
- In space, those rules are provided and enforced by the Merchant Federation. Our mission, our very reason for being, is to always provide a fair trade. You will never find the products of piracy or slavery in our holds, and you can always buy from us with the confidence that you are getting real, working, high-quality products that live up to the standards your ship and your crew need.
- Seek out our ships and our stations to participate. And good shopping.
“Service, Stability and Sacrifice”
As the crisis on Earth unfolded, military service became a lifeline for millions of families: in many cases, the only people guaranteed of a regular meal and a safe place to lay their heads were those in uniform and their families. Military personnel responded to natural and man-made disasters around the globe, handed out aid, provided security for refugee columns, and perished by the thousand in the resource wars, civil uprisings, and limited nuclear exchanges. Despite the dangers, many firmly believed they were the only beacon of order in a world plunging headlong toward a chaos from which humanity would never escape. For most of Earth's citizens, the sight of tanks, trucks and armored personnel meant a temporary island of stability and resources amidst the collapse.
The Military Alliance is the continuation of that philosophy in space.
Haven Foundation vessels are not supervised once their mission begins, and Haven crews are left to do as they please as soon as they step off the shuttle. For some crews, especially those consisting of veterans, the principle of service and stability remain foremost in their minds, and they commit themselves to ensuring that the sky is as safe as possible for others, through strength of arms. As there is no formal government in space, the Military Alliance is not in fact backed by any legitimate state. Its officers and enlisted personnel swear no oath of allegiance to any flag or nation, but instead swear an Oath of Service to the Alliance itself and its ideals.
The current Supreme Commander of the Military Alliance is Admiral Bhatesh Ashwari. Ashwari resigned his commission in protest at an order to abandon a civilian convoy which led to the Arabian Sea Massacre. He signed on with the Haven Foundation as one of its first-wave explorers, and was instrumental in organizing the Coal Sack Expedition. Upon learning that piracy and slavery had followed mankind to the stars, he resolved to oppose both evils wherever they might be. Veteran crews and idealists, inspired by his words and principles, signed on with the idea and thus the Military Alliance came into being.
The Alliance has a direct, zero-tolerance approach to justice. Pirates are destroyed on sight, slaves liberated by boarding actions, and ships in distress are aided as much as possible. With resources scarce and ships exploring far and wide, Alliance ships are spread thin and can rarely expect backup, but they are always the first to throw themselves into the fray to protect the innocent and the law-abiding. The skies are dangerous enough: without the Military Alliance, they would be far worse.
- ZKZK VRTZZ00 DE ORQ31TV
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- FM WHITEROOK/[email protected]//
- TO ALL CAPTAINS/[email protected]//
- INFO OFC THE ADMIRAL MA/[email protected]///
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- SUBJ/(U) COYOTE-9TH-INNINGS//
- (U) WARNING: This message contains GAMMA COMINT of a sensitive nature.
- (TS//MA-DR/SI-A//OG) Further to operation TAILOR BEACH, made contact with BLACKQUEEN. Damage sustained, WHITEPAWN-2 and WHITEPAWN-4 captured. Two BLACKPAWN and one BLACKBISHOP captured.
- (TS//MA-DR///OG) BLACKQUEEN not captured, COYOTE on the run. SIGINT indicates avenue of escape toward TORTUGA. GAMMA sources indicate substantial fleet movement, possible collaboration from BROOKGREEN. Request support.
- (TS//MA-DR///OG) [attachment: contactreport.pdf CL BY: OCA-SCA-CONTROL; REASON: 1.4(a,d); DECL: 75X1
“God forgive me, but if it's kill or starve, then I'm gonna kill.”
Ships and Piracy have always gone hand-in-hand. Why should spaceships be any different?
The reasons for a crew to turn to piracy are as varied as the ships and crew themselves. For some, the opportunity to get rich off someone else's effort is just common sense: it's their fault for not protecting themselves better. For others, piracy is the resort of desperation, a life entered into because the alternative was death...and now impossible to escape.
Even desperate cutthroats and bandits need friends, though. Hence the Coalition, which exists to have, and to enforce, only one unspoken, unwritten and informal rule---"It's us against them."
Pirates don't attack other pirates; pirates help other pirates. Everyone else is fair game. They're the outcast, the forsaken, the hated and the hunted. They need to band together, both for their mutual protection, and to work together in bringing down the grandest prizes. If you're one of them, the Pirate Coalition is the only family you have. If you're not...
Best to shoot first.
- There's food on that ship. There's water. And the bastards are turning us away.
- We have nothing. We're dying over here. We were just scraping by with reclaimed H2O from the atmosphere and our one working growbed, but that micrometeoroid storm took all our fucking air and killed all our crops, and we used the last of the water just so we'd have something to fucking breathe. Now there isn't enough left for us to drink, or grow any food. My gums are bleeding, my whole body aches, my bruises won't go away...
- And that ship over there...they've got more than they need. But they want payment in creds we don't have.
- We put it to the vote. We could sell them our guns, but then we'll be back in the exact same position a month from now. Or we could...we could teach them a fucking lesson. We could take that whole ship and everything on it. If they can't be civil to us, then we won't be civil to them.
- God forgive me, but if it's kill or starve, then I'm gonna kill.
- Some of these assholes were actually fat. How do you get fat out here? By being selfish, greedy and weak.
- Tasted pretty good, though. Fuck. Maybe it's just 'cuz that's the first meat I've had in, like, a year, but that was the best goddamn steak I've ever eaten.
- ...God forgive me.
“If you’re going to go anywhere in this business, you need to get a lot better at judging who can hear you when you’re doing something stupid...”
Reviled in the modern age, Slavery was nevertheless the norm across Earth for thousands of years, and its effects lingered long after most of the world abolished it in the 19th century. From the racial tensions that contributed to the apocalypse, to something as simple as the etymology of the word "robot," slavery never quite went away. Now, the lawless frontier far from Earth has seen its return in full force.
The Slavers' Guild are an offshoot of the Merchant Federation, hardcore capitalists who take the philosophy that everything is a commodity and everyone has their price to its extreme. Struck off the Federation's roster for their practices, the Guild nevertheless had sufficient support, resources and ruthless intelligence to thrive, and remains a faction to rival the Federation in size and influence.
The Guild's signature tool is the slave collar. Simple, robust, and entirely effective, the slave collar is a coercive masterpiece. It is far more than a simple metal ring, but is in fact a surgical implant, connected directly to the slave's spine. Through this, the collar can punish unruly or disobedient slaves with jolts of agonizing pain via direct nerve induction...or reward obedience with tremendous pleasure. The true horror of the collar is that many liberated slaves often suffer from withdrawal, and the irrational desire to be enslaved again.
On Earth, the public image of the Guild is little better than pirates---they are seen as marauders, profiting from human suffering and rumored to board ships to capture anyone who doesn't die fighting. The truth is more nuanced: the Guild are traders, and depend on good relations with outsiders to survive. Though they are detested by the Military Alliance and the Android Collective, everyone else knows that the Guild can be relied upon to barter just as fairly as their Merchant Federation counterparts. And if you don't like the nature of some of the goods they offer? Just don't buy them.
After all, there's too much suffering in the sky for folks to afford the luxury of morals...`
- Captain “Tricky” Wolfe is pleased to invite you to an auction aboard her starship, the “Mad Magic.”
- FOR SALE: The three following human SLAVES
- In fine and healthy condition, fitted with incentive collars.
- Adrian: 43 year old male. A skilled mechanic and miner, formerly a drill operator.
- Emily: 26 year old female. Docile botanist and refinery operator, well collar-broken.
- Shinji: 37 year old male. A strong back, good for logistics work and chores. Nice and compliant.
- Bidding starts at 2500c for each one.
- All of Captain Wolfe’s slaves are certified healthy and bug-free.
- All slave transfers are final: No refunds, returns or preferential buy-back rate.
- Captain Wolfe is also pleased to host any further sales and exchanges by third parties, for a fair commission.
- ALSO FOR SALE:
- Energy sticks x20; Ice x12; Packaged food x11; assorted luxury items and jewelry; Mad Magic brand distilled fruit alcohol.
- NO WEAPONS ALLOWED.
- Androids and Military Alliance spies will be shot on sight. Survivors will be spaced.
Some Friendly Advice
- If you’re going to go anywhere in this business, you need to get a lot better at judging who can hear you when you’re doing something stupid like, say, conspiring to double-cross Tricky Wolf at her own auction.
- Oh yes, I heard it all my friend. I heard you call her a “little girl” and a “skinny bitch.” I heard you wondering so loudly why people give her so much respect.
- It’s true she’s only twenty-three, and it’s true she probably doesn’t weigh fifty kilos soaking wet… But it’s also true that she runs the biggest, baddest, richest slavery operation in known space. Every coyote and vulture this side of Sagittarius A* works for the Wolf. You might want to think about how that happened.
- Here’s a hint: she didn’t win the lottery.
- So: you’re going to pay me to be discreet. Let’s say, oh, ten thousand credits. Anything less will mean that Tricky Wolf finds out what a stupid treacherous son of a shoe you are, and the next time she throws an auction I’ll be seeing your neck in a collar.
- Who knows? If you take me up on my generous offer, and drop your insane plan to take on the meanest lioness in the business, then you might survive long enough to actually grow a brain. Your call.
- Warm regards from your good friend,