Sunday, April 28, 2013

118: Zen0

ENTRY 118: Zen0

“Rage against the dharma chains of cold transhumanity, do not accept the negative karma of your rep, the false avatars that speak to you through the Mesh, cartoon voices offering you loans, work, investments; reject the labels They strive to put on you: criminal, unreliable, bankrupt, immoral, amoral, bad dog…”
- Sample from “Zen Zero Blues,” Luna Productions

Zen0 is a folk figure, a karma assassin, whose dharma is rebellion, an anarcho-infoterrorist who strikes against the digital, legal, social, and financial strictures that underlie much of transhuman society. They have been instigated in the deletion of criminal records, manipulating rep systems to remove black marks, tampering with hypercorp-gathered consumer data, removing user restrictions on public makers, and counterfeiting digital currency. Wanted in multiple habitats, it is still not clear if Zen0 is an individual, a movement, a sophisticated computer virus, or a common alias used by unrelated criminals. The only marker for Zen0’s crimes are small fragments of Mahāyāna Buddhist scriptures imbedded in the code of victim systems, often cleverly hidden so that they are only discovered months or years after the damage has already been done.

Some people break the law out of necessity, others for profit; Zen0 does it because that is their dharma. They are an entity or entities of subtle destruction, undermining the networks that hold transhumanity together—and hold individual transhumans in their place. No other explanation has been forthcoming for their actions, no greater philosophy or purpose behind what they do; Zen0 does not do this for the benefit of any particular individual, nor to expose security weaknesses in the systems. At times, Zen0’s actions have been traced to major local collapses in rep systems or digital banking, but whether this was desired or accidental is unclear.


Morph: Infomorph
Skills: Academics: Computer Science 90, Academics: Cryptography 85, Academics: Engineering 80, Art: Electronic Music 35, Deception 75, Hardware: Electronics 80, Hardware: Robotics 75, Impersonation 75, Infiltration 75, Infosec 80, Interests: Buddhism 90, Interests: Online Banking 70, Interests: Rep Systems 75, Interfacing 90, Investigation 65, Language: Native Vietnamese 90, Language: Cantonese 85, Language: Hindi 85, Language: Japanese 85, Perception 50, Profession: Security Operations 75, Programming 85, Research 75
Disadvantages: Enemy (various hypercorps, habitats, and every major rep system), Social Stigma (AGI)

Using Zen0

A shadow with a killer rep, an anomalous mystery seemingly capable of anything but most often doing nothing, Zen0 is a legend for gamemasters to hang a hat on. PCs are more likely to run across the infoterrorist’s work than they are to encounter the infomorph themselves, but if anything bizarre and inexplicable needs to happen to a character’s records, “Zen0 did it” is as good an excuse as any.


  • A lead has emerged on Zen0—three references from an obscure book of Japanese koans which has not been digitally archived, but is only available in a private library of a collector living in a craft orbiting Venus. The PCs are offered a deal: if they investigate independently, then some of the more questionable records of their activities will be sealed and forgotten. However they are being hired, paid, and communicated with entirely online…are they working against Zen0, or for them?


  1. "The only marker for Zen0’s crimes are small fragments Mahāyāna Buddhist" should have an of in it.