ENTRY 078: Trollheim
Even in posthuman cultures, there exist taboos—social, activities that even if not illegal are misunderstood or frowned upon by the bulk of transhumanity, at least in the local habitat. Yet people need to express these desires, to violate these taboos and indulge in activities and desires that they repress in public, and they need a place to do it. These may be as simple as a hut set aside by military units for soldiers to take care of personal sexual needs or privacy, or as elaborate as an entire district dedicated to freedom of expression and violation of taboo: the Trollheim.
A habitat’s Trollheim is commonly associated with the deliberate breaking of local taboos and even regulations; common elements include dissident and revolutionary political discourse, public readings of forbidden literature, socially awkward or frowned-upon sexual expression and paraphilia, “underground” music, illicit substances, and even violence. However, this lack of policing is more of a social construct than a true freezone; those with the power to govern typically recognize the necessity for a release for internal pressures, but few give up complete surveillance and policing of Trollheims. Most Martian Trollheims, for example, are as laden with spycams and microsensors as the rest of the habitat, but the official datafeeds are stored in encrypted archives and made accessible only when certain preconditions (unsolicited assisted suicide, for example) are met. The Liberty Trollheim, on the other hand, is officially designated as a separate legal zone (and a separate dome) free from policing and requiring visitors to sign a waiver for liability when entering, and undergo decontamination when they seek to return.
Similar areas exist on the ‘Mesh, as they have for centuries, as mostly-unfiltered and unmoderated newsgroups and meeting places where users can interact and indulge in whatever interests them with relative anonymity (though few sites are truly secure enough to prevent a hacker from back-tracking a user account). Such sites and communities tend to be in constant flux as the active membership changes, but most retain at least some part of the sight a designated Trollheim where anything goes.
- In the PC’s habitat, the local Trollheim is tolerated as long as it doesn’t damage the wellbeing of the station as a whole. However, a foreign criminal network has moved in and is using Trollheim as an entrypoint. Fearing a crackdown, the locals ask the PCs to help them eliminate the criminals in the Trollheim. Contract assassination isn’t illegal in the Trollheim, and the locals are willing to give the PCs whatever they need in terms of weapons and assistance…if the PCs are willing to plan and carry out a massacre.
- The PCs are hired to track down Vhasi Veed, a researcher for a local hypercorp that’s been shirking work to engage in a secret passion: Mime. Vhasi has fled into Trollheim, and the hypercorp hires the PCs to drag Vhasi back out before they get in real trouble.