ENTRY 128: The Scholars of Bacon
“We tried to be heroes, and they made us out to be villains. So we became villains, and they called us monsters. So we became monsters—and now we are legend.”
- Blackhat, Scholar of Bacon
They have taken all knowledge to be their province. In the name of the common good they fight the forces of censorship and intellectual oppression. They seek to free the dark data that people would hide in the shadows, and seed it throughout the Mesh, for anyone to find, access, and learn. Their actions have led directly to the destruction of the Ares Kiln habitat on Mars’ northern pole, and the deaths of its 25,000 inhabitants. For this and hundreds of other crimes, they are considered some of the most outrageous infocriminals in the Solar system.
The Scholars of Bacon began as an intellectual gathering of hackers, philosophically guided to promote freedom of ideas and freedom of data—all the black information that governments, hypercorps, and religions refused to the public. As they faced more and more severe feedback from the authorities they opposed, the core of this group took up a more extreme, radicalized position. Where once they dealt in pornography and copyright violation, now they seeded schematics for nuclear weapons. The ‘Mesh Pharmacopeia they began now hosts chapters on chemical weapons, failed pharmaceuticals, recreational drugs culled from government and hypercorp databases. Worship services were interrupted by streaming feeds of atrocities committed in the names of their religion, and friendly cartoons broadcasts aimed at children taught them how to make and use drugs.
Ares Kiln was an ice-mining operation, split along old nationalist lines into two ideological groups engaged in low-level domestic warfare. In response, the controlling council enacted Mesh controls limiting access to data on armed and unarmed combat, weapon manufacture, etc. The Baconites responded by uploading an archive of digital weapons, viruses, trojans, and manuals on infowar culled from a senile military satellite AGI. Armed with these, the competing factions crippled the habitat’s support functions and destabilized the reactors, while hidden viruses corrupted cortical stacks. In the end, rescue parties were willing to salvage less than a tenth of the egos from their dead shells. The Baconites took the blame for the disaster, and went to the shadows, still fighting the long fight.
- The most notorious of the Scholars of Bacon is Blackhat; who specializes in removing age-access restrictions on data, letting children access whatever they want—whether or not their adult guardians know or approve. Blackhat’s latest misdeed occurred on the PC’s habitat, and while controls were re-instated after a short-lived “youth revolt,” parental groups have already raised a bounty of over 25,000 Titanian kroners for Blackhat’s capture. If the PCs don’t go for the bounty, there are others that will…but Blackhat might be anyone…or frame anyone to throw the bounty hunters off their trail.
- One of the Baconites, an infomorph named ReadThreePlayOne, has grown jaded from the struggle and wants to come in. The PCs are asked to escort R3PO to Luna, where their testimony might break the Baconite network—if they and the PCs can get there intact. The Baconites are like to dig up and publish every dirty secret the PCs ever had to get them to drop the job.