Saturday, June 22, 2013

173: Graviton Trade Talks

ENTRY 173: Graviton Trade Talks

It began, as many things do, when a drunken physicist scribbled something on a napkin. The party was a trade junket at Extropia, with various manufacturing interests discussing the purchase of some novel allotropic alloys from the Factors. In addition to the various official negotiating bodies were various specialists, administrators, and hangers-on at the party, waiting in case their expertise or decision-making powers were called upon. Most of them ended up highly inebriated by hour seven of the meeting; one of them—Jorge-Achmed Long, an experimental physicist, was actually given half an hour of unsupervised conversation with one of the Factors. Which led to the napkin. When Jorge-Achmed sobered up the next day, he realized he’d begun conditional negotiations for purchase of the proof of gravitons.

That was five years ago, and the official beginning of the Graviton Trade Talks, a series of negotiations between the Factors and the Planetary Consortium that still have not culminated one way or another. A large portion of the negotiations involve both parties determining exactly what is on the table. Despite the Initial Drunken Napkin Agreement (IDNA), the Factors have been clear that gravitons as massless particles that mediate the force of gravitation is not quite correct, but they’re being cagey about giving up more details to the point that entire teams of physicists have spent the last couple years of their careers combing over every statement any Factor at the Graviton Trade Talks has ever made, looking for clues as to the real nature of gravity. What is clear is that the Factors themselves are not certain they want to trade over anything related to graviton-tech to transhumanity, or more importantly what the going market price should be.

Using the Graviton Trade Talks

As an ongoing event of some minor importance, the Graviton Trade Talks are a nice background element to roll out in any game—an easy go-to for small talks, news, etc. “Major disappointment today at the Graviton Trade Talks…” “Chief instigator of the Graviton Trade Talks Jorge-Achmed Long vomited on the Factor ambassador today, who apparently thanked J-A for the contribution of nutrients…” “Hey, I heard the Martians are trying to undercut the Consortium at the Trade Talks, cut the rest of the solar system out of the deal…damn Rusters…” and so on and so forth. Likewise, the trade talks are a good place to place any physicist or Factor NPC that the gamemaster needs for an adventure. As with trade talks in general, the Graviton Trade Talks are also an excellent setting for general espionage activities, particularly if the Factors can ever be convinced to bring out an example of their graviton technology.


  • The PCs are hired to bug the Graviton Trade Talks. Security is tight, but their employer has noted a potential weak spot: chief instigator Jorge-Achmed Long, who has a taste for male company after a long day of talking physics. If the PCs can get invited back to J-A’s living quarters they’ll bypass most of his security measures…and from there it’s a relatively painless and easy process for them to attach the surreptitious neutrino farcaster listening device to J-A’s cortical stack. Well, painless for them.

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