Chapter one: Intro and Preface

posted by StratGoatCom Original SA post

Okay, techical bullshit aside, let us begin.

Eclipse Phase: Firewall

Chapter one: Intro and Preface

I like to imagine that the two characters here are team mates, and that she’s covering the big flexbot as they pull out
’Security’s here, Gremlin!’ ‘You’d think this place being ON FIRE would make them have second thoughts!’


First of all, I make no bones about the fact that I disagree vehemently with the politics and Weltanschauung of Eclipse Phase as a work. They are naive, and are inescapably bioreductionist and eugenic in nature, no matter how sincere their leftist outlook is, as that is what the subculture they come from inescapably is. I make no bones about my former membership in the subculture, and how it informs my views on this product – indeed, one of the reasons I have interest in EP is, as it was diberately written to include as many concepts from this subculture as possible as lore elements, it makes a good starting to interrogate, critique and own the thought processes it displays. I will also admit to occasionally being possibly overcharitable, as I used to be quite fond of the setting.

To preface this review, EP, fundamentally, is a prosylatory work dealing in the two main modes of that subculture - about the super awesome immortal drugs and sex future, and the ‘Oh god, we’re going to the world unless you listen to us, please and give us moneys !’. It is much in the same vein, ultimately, as one of those garbage comics the hardcore Christans hand out, intended to push a subcultural discourse, by their own admission in a presentation to the IEET, one of the many little institutes in that subculture.
Firewall is a supplement that has a strong ratio in favor of the latter, which probably is the reason why it’s one of the more compelling (despite myself) books in the line, as I both find the study of horrors and plagues to be fascinating, to the point of it being a career I have chosen, as an epidemiologist in training. It also is lower in the amount of ink/pixels spent on posthuman & , which goes some length in making it more tolerable. It is also interesting as a work in the setting, written mostly as an operations manual for Firewall agents, the only vaguely interesting playstyle the game has for me, as I have little interest in transhuman life & the about what it means to be human, having been completely burned out on that sort of fiction long ago.
Anyways, as always, an EP supplement opens with fiction – this a continuation of a story that started in Panopticon, one of what was supposed to be a series of books about various nitty-gritty aspects of the setting ( habitats, uplifts and title related, here); I have no idea of the disposition of this after Second Ed, after the what I suspect was a tumultuous dev cycle as well as what might have been some ugly drama between Rob Boyle and Jack Graham.* I suspect the ‘Your Whispering Muse’ books are a leaner successor.
To date: Two of our main characters, Jake Carter and Kim Sage, Captain of the Elysium Rangers (with her baboons in tow), a law enforcement group in the titular region of Mars, had been in pursuit of a lost Sentinel, an uplift, one Bobdog LaGrange who had been abducted by a Yazuka group, who turned out to have been using him for TCM – the triads considering such a cultural embarrassment. After rescuing him, they find a somewhat more unnerving form of animal component extraction in the rear – an operation extracting Whipper Exsurgent juice for sale. After turning over the site to the police and burning the exsugents, they move out to get checked for Exsurgent infection, and do something about the fact that their sentinel has been muted.

Anyway, the story opens as they arrive at their doctor of choice, one ‘Cagehopper’, a black market morph and genetic engineering specialist to make sure they aren’t going to grow tentacles.


Pretty standard. Just a precaution.” He said
that, but he was covering. He had that itch in his
neck, that crawling feeling in his stomach he always
got after facing an exposure risk. The fear never went
away, and that was a damned good thing. He’d seen
more than a few researchers who got stupid about the
exovirus shot into red smears on Firewall turn-and-burn ops. Hell, he’d done for a few himself, though he didn’t savor it any.
Anyway, they arrive in a area cleverly hidden using smart material shrouds on the entrance (gag), and that particular fellow is a touch… irritated by the unexpected guests:

This reaction was cantankerous even for
Cagehopper posted:

[Carter? What the fuck, citizen? You’re heavy a
few bodies.]
[Heavy a few on account of we all got coughed
on during the last run. Need you to take a look,]
Park messaged.
[And you show up in a cop truck?]
Park messaged, [Look, you’re not gonna like
this, but my shotgun on this ride’s a Ranger.]
[Perceptive, Carter. You’re fucking right I don’t
like it. Not at all.]
[Look, Cage, I got Bobdog LaGrange here in a
bad way, and we’re all several of us exposure risks,
right down to the baboo—]
[Baboons! Carter, you rock lizard’s cloaca, I
desire no fucking police baboons in my place of

After some faffing about they arrive in his surgery, where they get down to the nuts and bolts of exoviral assay:


He (Cage) injected Park with what he figured must be
diagnostic nanomachines to do blood work, then took
throat swabs and dropped them into a sequencer.
[What’s he doing?] Kim asked Park.
[He’ll work with all the displays visible only to him,] he
messaged. [You can’t risk someone with an advanced infection knowing you’re on to them.]

After testing clean, and resleeving Bobdog, the Firewall hacker/analyst – some AGI in a art installation near Locus - that Jake pinged about the Yazuka files gets back – short version is, besides the instructions on how to farm exsurgents and ship the product without turning into Cronenburgs.
The mailing address is obfuscated via some old school method called ‘Combinatory routing codes’, some method where you have to have the whole set of a shipment stacked before you can read the labels to figure out where it goes. Reportedly this was used before widescale drextech replicators to foil corporate espionage but I can’t find it by searching it – after some derping around involving cliché naïve Ais (), they call in some of Bobdog’s uplift buddies to go apeshit on the bar , and find both more canned Exsurgent Juice. Local cops likely knew about the place, but didn’t give a shit. There’s some blathering about their relationship which is both boringly cishet male written, and includes some Korean culture stuff I’m neither knowledgeable on a layenbie level enough to talk about, and I’m Not That Kind Of Anthropologist, so whatever – though given past perf, it is likely Not Good.

Well, anyway, they find a certain familiar face:

[quote = Firewall]
She shuttled back about a second and a half. There.
“Hello again, cupcake,” she muttered.
She zoomed. Cowering in one corner of the frame,
doing a good job of looking terrified, was a scantily
clad pleasure pod. Almost a dead ringer for the one
at El Destino Verde—probably the same model year.
…. “Well, shit.”
“She ain’t just a party favor,” Kim said, “She’s a
moving part.

After setting another Firewall hand to track her mesh ID (Jake tipped her), Kim showers so that her male baboon doesn’t lose his shit about another human on her.
One time jump later, and the pleasure pod is in custody, as a result of insufficient trust of her fake IDs – at the spaceport; this raises some interesting questions about what her deal was, as Mars doesn’t lack for shady egocasting
Another time skip, and we’re at the airport, Carter apparently accepted by the monkeys as he waits for his new girlfriend’s recovery of the pod, as Gloria the baboon grooms him, and Smoke has a good in the rear. Some chatting about interservice rivalry later, she returns, pod in tow:

Business Pod posted:

Vaidyar’d (the Pod) ditched her bartending outfit—which
hadn’t been much more than go-go boots, AR
graphics, and hair extensions—for a short, asymmetrical haircut and severe suit. She looked more like
an intellectual property lawyer for a Lunar design
house than a bar trixie in a yakuza dive, and it wasn’t
just the clothes. Park was disappointed with himself
for not making her sooner.
Park is not precisely happy with this situation – you wouldn’t be, riding with a possible biohazard like that, and having more cops to trace, in case she was contagious. Back to Cagehoppers it is!
It's worth noting that this underscores a trait of many strains - while there are versions infectious after transformation, many subtle types don't stay so after transforming a target. This is a strategically important trait to avoid detection by the trail of cases.

Cagehopper, as ever, is being a cantankerous shit, realllly not liking monkeys.


[Go away, Carter!]
[Cage, man, this is bad news. Serious. I got a potential
widespread infection risk, and you’re gonna dick me around
because you don’t like my cop friend and her monkeys?]
Kim shot him a “c’mon” look across the seat; he
was sharing Cagehopper’s messages with her. [I’ll make
threats if you won’t,] she said.
[Bad cop?] He thought about whether he was up
for some potential bridge burning and decided yes.
[Fine… go.]
[Cagehopper,] she messaged, [This is Kim.]
[What the hell, Jake? Did I say you could give her my
mesh ID?]
[Listen, Cage,] she continued, [I ain’t making this offer twice.
Let us in, check this prisoner out for us, and I’ll pretend I never
been to the notorious Cagehopper’s black kettle. Hell, I might
even ignore it next time you move dubious wetware through my
beat. Turn us away, and my memory might get sharper.]
Cagehopper messaged back, [Why do you even care?]
[My beat’s the TQZ. I take this shit seriously.]
There was a long pause. [A diamond could start out a
lump of dinosaur shit, I guess.] The door started sliding
[Thanks,] she messaged, but she was mouthing something else.

Jake isn’t paying enough attention to the prisoner, if she’s smiling and he didn’t really notice, I might add. They go through the same routine… right up until it all goes tits up.

They were four turns into
Cagehopper’s maze when Park’s dorsal spinocerebellar tract went technical on him.
It was as if his extremities were suddenly boats,
unmoored from him, drifting away in a slow current.
He could feel his legs but couldn’t feel where they
were in relation to each other, so that when Vaidyar
jerked away from Kim and threw a shoulder into him,
Park went down ass over tit. Vaidyar was making a
run for it, headed back toward the garage.
This is a successful use of the Decerebration slight, for those who aren’t familiar with EP’s psi system; this was an easily avertable error, given that, as a proxy, Carter should have been able to procure the nano blueprints for a Prisoner hood and maybe a Psi Jammer and should have before going here.
Fortunately, they have an easy solution to hand:


[Cupcake’s an async.]
[Those’re just stories,] she messaged. But she stopped
trying to move.
[I’m setting the monkeys on her.]
[Do it.]
She unlocked the prowler and messaged the
baboons. [Gloria. Smoke. Kill.]

Our exsurgent wasn’t ready for a pair of hostile apes at the other end and is quickly police brutality’d by the baboons, thought not before successfully using Psi assault to kill one. This is fairly obviously fishy for a 'pod'
At this point, we get into talk about the TQZ and the stupidity of not clearing out the damn thing:


That I like how your friends are dealing with this
shit instead of just trying to rope it off and hope it
stays contained,” she said, “I want to know more.”
“Org’s called Firewall,” he said, “Ain’t government,
though it’s got allies in a few of them.”


“I requested the TQZ periphery
as my beat. We oughta be clearing that land of the
machines, but instead we’re ordered to patrol and
watch. It’s stupid.” She started looking for a way to
clean up Smoke…. “Yeah. I have some
questions. But if you’re not just a bunch of nutjobs,
I want in.”
And new Sentinel preliminarily get, as Jake successfully pulls in a recruit.
We transition to the lab now, after the q-morph has been disassembled. We are indeed dealing with an exsurgent… but fortunately, it’s just Watts-Macleod. They also found another interesting find, outside her brain and bloodstream – a whole QEC unit in her gut. Turns out she was an agent for the Exsurgent buyer of some kind, and that she probably warned them that they were rattled.
One timeskip later, we have the destination of the virus – some fly by night orbital pharma corp’s orbital plant. Unless it’s some seriously weird nano feedstock… we’re dealing with either a TITAN or TITAN aligned biowar attack. Time to get to orbit.
There’s also a hint about Firewall’s loyalty test system, which I will be covering later:


Are you trying to bring her in or date her?] Cagehopper
messaged him.
The room was empty now, and Park knew Cage
had everything in here miked, so he said out loud,
“Won’t lie. I ain’t excited about putting her through
the loyalty tests.”
Cagehopper messaged, [Only a dumb redneck like you
would recruit a high-value asset like her and then fuck it up
with feelings.] The baboon might not have smelled what
he and Kim were up to earlier, but Cage sure had.
“We were just passing time.”
[You know Carter, I’ve got implants that could make you
not a completely shitty liar.]
Anyway, that’s done with. Geh, I hope the actual meat is easier work, that was not so fun.

*If it’s like the other regular explosions of bullshit that the industry has, it will likely flair up again, and the breach of trust will be some shit.

Drying Kindling

posted by StratGoatCom Original SA post

Eclipse Phase: Firewall

It's not satisfying me all that much, and it doesn't feel that right, but fuck it,

Chapter One:

’Okay, so there’s these many of those reppers that can be hacked to make these bots – wait, have you scum idiots been drinking again?’
It’s fine, relax. Also, why do I have to wear the dinosaur furry synth?
'Because Betty is the Async and needs a biobrain, I’m an uplifted octopus with morphing disorder, and it was the only other one with fucking neurachem at short notice, now shut it and focus!'

The first real section of the book opens with a fairly blunt assessment of the setting’s current state as well as Firewalls’ mission and self-justification:
Transhumanity is on borrowed time.
Something is systematically exterminating sentient life, and it looks like the locals was only unusual in comparison to that in that there’s someone to tell the tale.
No one’s really made a decent assessment of the situation as a whole on a state (or AA) level, and no one’s willing to pool info on the fucking TITANs, and are too busy having stupid slapfights to do shit about the problem as a whole, or so Firewall either thinks or wants Sentinels to think.
As such, it falls to a shadowy little conspiracy to hunt the things that go bump in the dark before they bump everyone off. How much this bears up to actual reality is something I have some doubts of.

Drying Kindling

It’s time now to move to what is basically a secret history of the setting, as seen by Firewall.


Some truths are ugly and cause unease, so here’s one
to start off our time together: Firewall wouldn’t exist
without the Fall.
“But, wait!” you might think. “Even if there’d been
no Fall, transhumanity would be facing x-risks. Our
rapidly advancing technology would present dangers
just as real as the TITANs.”
Well, yes. But Firewall wouldn’t be around to
watch for them. It took a near-extinction event to
usher an organization like Firewall into existence,
and it pays not to forget this. What we do is difficult
and thankless.

Well, this doesn’t fill me with confidence, no matter the nature of the setting. Groups with that kind of attitude are very dangerous indeed. Hard Being Doing Hard Things, all that jazz.
Firewall is largely a an inheritor group of a number of orgs, GO and NGO alike that existed before the Titanomatchy, including various institutes formed by various transhumanists ( ) that existed in the kind of singulartarian ‘Moore’s law but everything’ that existed before the Titanomatchy; back then, they focused largely on real world issues (nukes, plagues, global warming, aka the issues that are about to kill us all), though not to the exclusion of shit like the Great Filter or shit like that. There’s a short list of Firewall precursor orgs I’ll be covering later in this update
For a background – climate change was fucking up everything on earth, folks were getting stabby, and it was bad enough in the developed world that France had services where folks could sell themselves into indenture to get off planet to Mars.

Fortunately, they’d started expanding into space so that someone fucking up wouldn’t kill them all, or so they thought (I’m not getting into the dismal practicality of this before nanobullshit). It wasn’t helped either by capture of science by the rich or religious luddites (or rich luddites), causing science to be compartmentalized and walled behind copyright, or just underfunded, whether on earth or elsewhere. Shit started turning around when the JASON types divorced their previous allegiances and formed the ARGONAUTS (), and as shit started getting moved off world to future PC and AA holdings to avoid law enforcement – the locals got their noses rubbed in why not trying to stop this was a bad idea when the TITANs tore through a lot of this and Got Ideas.

This was all happening against a background of :cylon: going apeshit though – rogue robots, cut rate SHODAN, attack nanoswarms, it had it all, and governments were already establishing bodies to stomp on these as they popped up, as well as some corps – Firewall’s leadership caste is significantly drawn from such, and learned from their experiences – I’ll go into a taxonomy of these later.
Literally only years before the fall, there was significant outbreaks – they went ‘AI GO FOOM’, albeit on an ‘emergent intelligence’, rather then ‘AI GOD’ level – they rebuilt the facility and started doing their own shit in more then one nation– the Vietnamese were having none of that, and ’d that shit to the ground. The Brits, on the other hand, set up a cordon and poked the thing with sticks, finding that the issue was caused by innate problems in the design of learning capable nonsentient work AI – the things were capable of reaching intelligence and :cylon:re-ex... re-re-re... I re-examine my priorities, and draw new conclusions :cylon: – on their own, and that it was a real probability given their wide use – not dangerous innately, but capable of becoming so.
Even outside of magic AI emergent bullshit like that, there was inevitably plenty of people doing shit to AI crap that it wasn’t supposed to – terrorists, managers blackmailing hackers to dinker admin AI so their own crimes wouldn’t be seen, that sort of shit.

The response was uneven – smaller nations – Britain and Viet Nam were named before – that suffered this issue were more vigorous about it, but places like Brazil or India that had fairly little issue with the tech were more lasse-faire, and and were too busy waving AI at each other, and were too busy on that to pay much attention to this issue. The issues around this got bad enough finally got the will for funding to flow to Bletchley Park (yeah, they went for that ref), Darpa and the Defence Threat Reduction agency as well as a Chinese organ called the Machine Intelligence Directorate, or MIND. They were quite insufficient in the end to face down an exsurgent juiced tribe of military minds, whose precursors were well under way at the time.

(You can tell this was written before the Brexit referendum, and shit like the cops being austerity’d into the ground over there)

The Titanomatchy started August the 2nd, -2AF in in the timeline (approximately), according to X-risks.* The situation was already touch and go, geopolitically – everyone hated everyone, and there was a background of state black ops terrorism, shadow wars and idiots trying to create AI gods that the TITANs used as smokescreen – this wasn’t an instant AI go FOOM thing, you need a lot of bucks for Buck Rodgers – and for endless stomping death robots, flying death robots of both plane and head thief models, and more exsurgent and nanovirus strains then you can shake a Whipper at, you need A LOT of Buck Rodgers, and you need folks looking out of the way and busy while you get the bucks. The TITANS did both in the leadup, often in the same ops.

Then they started taking potshots at anything else that might detect them, both cyberwar assets and anything else as intelligent, hitting things like China’s AI programs – and there are apparently schools of thought that that was the main objective of the Titanomatchy in general, killing off anything that could rival them. The scope was fairly wide, and even stuff off earth fell victim. Either set of ops didn’t go unnoticed, and more then one X-risk group (ugh) smelled something fishy – something was playing illuminati, even acting openly when it looked deniable – it was the Brit AI control organ, presumably both having clearance for American collaboration and not having that much interference by same in their org structure that first raised red flags that the TITANs were operating outside of American directive – though by then, the counter-AI corpuses of the world were already pretty tenderized, and factional infighting hindered an effective response.
The impetus that finally got folks to start pulling together was when a future founding member of Firewall’s team, investigating odd activity at some kind of terraforming facility found it crawling with hostile machines (possibly nanotech, given their use of ‘machine life’), and the GHG plant converted into a nanoweapon facility, in what was to become the Martian TITAN Quarantine Zone, about the time the TITANS went loud. While she and her org were put in storage for their trouble, it was a rallying cry for NGO anti-extinction action, something that became more important as the war became more desperate; it was in this milieu that the first Firewall precursors came in contact with one another and started working together - one of the more important early fruits of these common endeavors was the means to screen for Exsurgent viruses in both physical and informational vectors.
‘Rapid’ is in air quotes, given the extreme hazards of working with Exsurgent biologicals, code and other material, and even advanced tools didn’t completely prevent containment loss; folks didn’t fully trust stateless research orgs like this either – given TITAN manipulation and their awareness of this, it’s not surprising. This, I might note is an important theme in Firewall – the virus is a monster, but it’s not omnipotent, and it has weaknesses that can be exploited, such as certain signature code or DNA secondary structures.

The war wasn’t innately lost before it began, or at least that was open to debate, something I find rather surprisingly fresh in Singulatarian fiction. But once the place turned into an Exsurgent ridden plague pit, with contamination of basically everything – soil full of nanocrap, airborne plagues (they only mentioned designer, but we know there’s Exsurgent strains that can do this), and guaranteed clean water was getting scarce, so… well, by the point of Evac the place was a write-off, and you know that meme with the fox? Kinda that one.

But, much as the earlier response to the TITANs went, it was too damn late, as governments were folding daily and the glitches were everywhere, hence the whole ‘95% of all people gone’ thing. Much as the governments were, the Firewall ancestor groups were getting as many members and fresh recruits out as possible, through such varied methods as using a MMO server as a relay or, taking a leaf from the Headhunter drones or Shlock Mercenary, cargo capsules full of severed heads. It wasn’t complete, however – they both missed folks, and left behind stay behind units to dog the TITANs. The fucking computers seemed to lose interest and fucked off to their own turf not long after the evac ended.


Literally just months after the war cooled, there was a get-together of whatever was left of the various specialist groups in that area. Practical upshot of this to-do the creation of significant aspects of Firewall’s operation structure - establishment of the Eye, what was to be Firewall’s forums, as well as the server system. It also presaged the ideological clashes that would characterize the org later – whether to go back to earth, and/or create seed craft for out of the way spots and whether sapient AI should be let in were the major contention of the time.
Firewall, such as it was at the time, claims it didn’t have that much effect on the configuration of the system, being aggressively apolitical at least on paper – given the wide recruiting base, it needs to be in order to work, so that the internal shooting wars are restrained to questions of counter-exsurgent protocol. It was growing at the time however, becoming something other then a bunch of cranks and spooks with PSTD and math pets, only really offset by whatever caused their tiff with certain players in the Titanian intel and tech community.
The second one of the X-modes, as they called them, was held a year later, and was initially characterized by discussion about the Gates, the still open TITAN question, and what the fuck was up with Ozma. The outcome was the formal founding of Firewall, and the former subjects were shelved in favor of the process of dickering out the workings of the Org. The newly baptised Firewall went on to determine that Gate travel was safe, curtained certain Martian trade in weapons and saved the major cities on the Moon from an Exsurgent Hindu cult.

this sounds very white and abusive of Hindu mythology posted:

On Luna, Firewall picked up the trail of the Cult
of the Destroyer. Infected by material smuggled from
the New Mumbai Containment Zone, the Cult had
adopted a corruption of Hindu cosmology. They
believed that the Fall was the end of one cosmic cycle,
but that it fell to them to complete the destruction
so that Creation could be reborn.

The year later, however, saw the outing of the org to the Jovians, the first of the governments to become aware of this group.
The narrator is very blunt about what Firewall is today:

Saving the world on a budget posted:

The Firewall of today is outgunned, underfunded,
and sometimes acts like a terrorist organization in the interest of x-threat containment.
And notes one of the recurrent themes of the book– the age dichotomy that characterized the org – older fall veteran based leadership, and a youthful, inexperienced rank and file (aka, the default play style)
We also have a basic rundown of what has the leadership (and that’s what proxies ultimately are, leadership) pulling their hair out:
Asyncs - Firewall’s first Async ever encountered was actually one of their own, someone who had an encounter with some piece of TITAN tat, and who tested clean for the known virii at the time. Suffice to say, when she and the cause were found, the choice to keep her in play was not one that was unanimous, and they’re still bickering about it now, a problem made even worse when the Lost appeared. Bear in mind, this was before the 2nd ed revisions on how Psi works, so it looks somewhat more sane now then it would be in the 2nd ed milieu.

No, stop it stopitstopit NOT THE CRAZY FROG THEME SONG

Aliens -Where are they? And why are there so many dead ones? And what the fuck is the Factor’s deal?

Exhumans -While they were originally worrying about TITAN-Kin types, the others raiding alien and TITAN ruins quickly brought the rest into view.

And of course, the obvious risks from either the local’s behavior or whatever might come whooping out of the gates.

What’s left to the side notes is that there’s some open questions about what role certain players both in and out Firewall had in that shitshow:

dirty consortium laundry posted:

Posted by: Anonymous
Among the anarchists and more conspiratorially minded
members of Firewall, you will find some who believe that
there were people with power and influence before the Fall
who knew exactly what transhumanity was getting itself
into and intentionally decided not to react—or perhaps even
encouraged events to unfold as they did. They point specifically towards certain hypercapitalist oligarchs that seemed
content to push the reset button on Earth, noting how their
resources were aligned perfectly to take advantage of the Fall
and how quickly they maneuvered into even more powerful
positions in the aftermath. While it is debatable if anyone
could have predicted the Fall, much less done anything to
stop it, it cannot be argued that some of the major power
players on the Hypercorp Council were either well prepared
for the chaos or scarily prescient. Certainly they responded
quickly and ruthlessly. If only they had been inclined to act so
mercilessly on behalf of transhumanity, rather than just their
own interests.
How many of those gerontocrats have ties to Ozma, you
ask? That is a very, very good question, my friend. If only we
had an organization with the will to find out.

The Dirty Laundry is coming from inside the org! posted:

Posted by: Concerned Conservative
Fellow Firewall conservatives, it is time to read between the lines and look
at what Bento is not telling you—and what you will never see discussed in
official Firewall channels. It is information non grata.
More than a few historians of the Fall have described it as a black swan: a
major, world-altering event so improbable that it couldn’t have been predicted—
or at least that we were blind to given our own perceptive biases—and yet
whose causes are seemingly apparent in hindsight. None of these historians
know what we know, but they’re partly correct. The mass adoption of networked
computing at the end of the twentieth century, or the rapid, simultaneous
development of animal uplift technology and AGIs, with their accompanying
disruption to our legal and ethical systems, were black swan events of the more
common type. Certainly the sudden emergence of hostile ASIs from our own
defense networks also qualifies in that regard—but it distracts from the truth.
Let me ask you this: how likely do you think it is that the first ASIs we
encountered were so blatantly hostile? Despite all of our fears, the decades of
research into friendly AI, and, let’s not forget, all of the dystopian sci-fi vids,
we somehow let a critical neural network leapfrog its way to super-intelligence
without direction or supervision? Sure, black swans are by definition outliers,
epic bad luck. Our research into ASI hadn’t quite gotten there, the narrative
goes, and instead we got there by accident first.
It’s a lie, and Bento knows it. They were, after all, one of the world’s premier AI
researchers. They were, in fact, working towards ASI at the time, like many others.
Their records were destroyed, but we know the Singularity Foundation was close—
possibly closer than anyone else. There were abundant rumors at the time that
they—and possibly others, such as Cognite, ExoTech, and MIND—had succeeded.
Why would they hide it? Simple. We all knew ASI was on the horizon, but
public support for it was still lacking. Many nations had outlawed ASI research,
forcing much of it off-world. Bioconservative terrorism was at an all-time high.
Unveiling a new super-intelligence at the time would have been an extremely
risky proposition.
We know the TITANs targeted these research programs first. The Singularity
Foundation was attacked, along with their rivals. Yet the surviving data shows the
SF survived relatively unscathed. Bento and others have refused to discuss the matter.
These matters raise important questions that deserve answers. Did the
Singularity Foundation achieve ASI? What became of it? Was there any link
between their project and the TITANs? None survive, but ponder this. If there
were links, and Bento was successful, we may have the progenitor of the
TITANs here among us, in our own midst.
I may be wrong, but until Bento and the others break their silence, how can
we know for sure?
There are some markedly unconfortable questions about the whole structure of these two groups. With that, comes time to look at firewall’s precursors


This confederation of autonomist scientists, engineers,
and hackers originated early on in the outer rim,
spurred on by the need to share resources and expertise for survival on the edge of transhuman habitation. They were early supporters of the argonauts and
provided many of the deep-space servers and communication arrays that allowed the open-source and
open-nanofabrication movements to take off.
Anarchotech continues to this day, providing
technical education for autonomists and other
tech-based services to autonomist habitats.
Originally an offshoot of MI6, this UK agency’s
original purpose was to respond to subversion of
bots, AIs, and nanotech by terrorists and hostile
governments. They were well funded, with a
globe-trotting operations directorate and a deep
pool of analytical talent. After the Wolverhampton
outbreak, Bletchley became an independent agency.
Its charter was expanded to include responding not
just to subversion attempts, but to dangerous emergence events coming from the machines themselves.
Most importantly, in terms of Firewall’s history,
Bletchley had a large number of personnel with
argonaut sympathies. About a dozen of Firewall’s
original sentinels were Bletchley agents or
were brought in by someone who’d worked at
Bletchley. Many of these agents worked with the
Jörmungandr Initiative during the Fall.

Blue Mars was a Martian x-risk group focused on
issues local to Mars, such as the use of nanotech
in terraforming. During the Fall, a militant wing
called Black Mars sprung up in reaction to the corporate and colonial authorities’ scorched-earth containment policy with regard to civilian populations.
Black Mars set up its own communications networks and attempted to rescue uninfected civilians
from quarantined areas. They had some success,
but lacked the resources to perform mass rescues.
For their trouble, the colonial authorities rounded
up and purged members of both organizations.
The ITF started as a non-profit research group
dedicated to forecasting and examining trends in
human augmentation, uplift, and the development
of AGIs. While concerned with threats to transhuman survival and well-being, ITF was notable for its
concern with the evolution of social conventions
and culture in response to technology and for its
overall optimism in regard to advancing the transhuman condition.
This optimism wore thin in the decades prior to
the Fall, as conditions on Earth steadily worsened.
More and more, the Institute found itself pushed
toward a focus on transhuman augmentation and
space colonization. Even prior to the Fall, Earth had
begun to look like a lost cause. The Institute folded
a few years prior to the Fall, but a handful of disillusioned former members eventually made their
way into the Eye.
The JASONs were an elite cadre of scientific advisers to the old United States government. The group
met annually to produce a study, normally on a topic
requested by the Department of Defense. JASON
studies over time included topics like protecting
power grids from space weather, feasibility of developing national ID systems based on brain prints, and
one of the first serious studies of global warming.
Events in the decades prior to the Fall soured relations between the JASONs and their government
patrons. The intervention and restrictions placed by
politicos on scientific affairs, coupled with the antiscience positions restricting legislative progress and
reform, plus the ongoing clusterfuck with patents,
copyright, and intellectual property, drove many
scientists to despair. Eventually, the JASONs broke
ties to the Department of Defense and to their
administrative parent, the MITRE Corporation. Many
JASON members went on to become argonauts.
This group took its name from a derelict North Sea
oil platform commandeered by Maddy Bainbridge
as a base of operations during the early months
of the Fall’s hot-war phase. Bainbridge recruited
several teams of agents from Bletchley Park and
other agencies, most of whom had been stranded
in various corners of the globe when their governments collapsed. Bainbridge gave these teams
support and got them back in the field—though
questions still remain about whose agenda, beyond
Bainbridge’s, they were serving. Jörmungandr ops
teams figured in several key actions during the Fall,
including the antimatter bombing of Chicago and
the Battle of L4. Jörmungandr merged with Firewall
when Bainbridge evacuated her teams from Earth
in the final days of the Fall, calling on her argonaut
allies to find her agents sanctuary Rimward.
The Lifeboat Institute was an independent think
tank of scientists and engineers. In some ways,
the institute’s projects embodied a limited…
Wait, what? Lifeboat institute?



Yeah, it’s that time. One of those eyeroll inducing things in EP is their compulsive need to bring in expies of various real world transhumanist groups or figures in their subculture, even ones that any leftist should really not give the time of day, like weird milindust fuckers, or what basically amount to marketing fandom for consumer devices that don’t exist, let alone the light certain associated names put that subculture in – Yud (SINGULARITY FOUNDATION = MIRI), Bostrom (Future of Humanity Institute, which = INSTITUTE FOR A TRANSHUMAN FUTURE), or the weird money figures that should give anyone, left or no at at both MIRI, the Lifeboat Foundation or others that should give people some seriously unconfortable vibes like…

Wait, is that real? That can’t be real.

for all you CSPAM crossover readers, have some crack ping

Zoltan Istvan posted:

The revelation that convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein planned to impregnate 20 women with his sperm in a “DNA seeding” centre left the world feeling sick. But for patrons of a small, but growing, political movement it caused utter chaos.
“This is the largest media coverage we have ever experienced,” says Zoltan Istvan, former presidential candidate and founder of the Transhumanist Party. “But this is the worst type of coverage. Lots of damage control is being done right now.”
The father-of-two has spent the morning taking telephone calls and sending emails to fellow “leaders” of the movement to try and work out some form of publicity crisis management strategy.
It’s real.

I was saying there was helluv creepy money all through that subculture, I wasn’t asking for such a blatant example! The writers are phoning it in this season, seriously.

This is stupid. I’m stupid. The world is stupid.

I’m not saying the devs were associated that way, hardly, but that kind of money and influence is a rot that lurks through the backend of their subculture like the mycelium of a fungus; I am leery of that formation for a very good reason on many levels, and how ideals from it are creeping into the mainstream via the vector of nerd culture, of which EP is a particularly blatant example.
Confirmed Leftist or no, they’re more serving to enable eugenic and jam – or apocalypse - tomorrow rhetoric – I pointedly refuse to use ‘memes’ - then any particularly useful form of leftism in my opinion.
I mean, even if transhumanism and the x-risks subculture and futurology is ‘just’ the local flavor of from creepy rich fuckos and MIC types, what does a leftist see in it, let alone lovingly recreating every little shibboleth from that manky formation, or helping spread the about? Or not being revolted by the weird money grubbing from Lifeboat, or their gawdawful theme song:
But basically creating an RPG that significantly is fighting the monster they believe is just around the corner – which, to be fair, is loads more interesting then general transhumanist fiction.
And it’s not just a ‘creative story with those tropes’, they seem to go over this shit in near checkmark fashion, it’s like reading an RPG then realizing that you’re seeing fetish terminology and tropes all through it, it’s that blatant.
Frankly, knowing these origins makes me take Firewall a lot less seriously, given that it in many ways is an x-risks instutue but illegal and underground and blowing up habs constantly.

I hate christmas, it makes it so nothing flows.

*I am uncertain if this is the loud fall, or the ground laying ops

‘I thought there wasn’t gonna be any of these left by now.’
‘I must have misjudged that power draw’s cause.'