Wednesday, August 7, 2013

219: Kuronaga

ENTRY 219: Kuronaga

Among them, not of them.
- Kuronaga mantra

Not all brinkers rush to the edges of the solar system. Isolation is relative; even brinker communities out on the farthest reaches still exist within the sphere of transhuman radio noise, and must turn their receivers deaf to the unwanted signals. Some brinkers have taken this idea further: a philosophical separation more than a physical one. To exist within transhuman habitats, but not to be a part of those communities. They walk unseen, unchipped, untracked; dead space that moves with the crowds and currents of transhuman traffic on Mars, Titan, and Luna, avoiding checkpoints and identity checks. They move among the rest of transhumanity, and take on the outer guise appropriate to their habitats: anonymous, circumspect clothing of no value that can be discarded at a moment’s notice. They exist, but they do not engage; they seek neither the responsibilities or benefits of citizenship, but scrounge and steal and accept what they need. They have been called an aimless nation of ninja, rootless and unattached, who commit suicide if uncovered—better death of body and mind than to live as part of the vast systems that the rest of transhumanity has trapped themselves in. Some call them shadow brinkers, but most on the Mesh know them as the Kuronaga.

Little enough is known of them, save that they are an insular, nomadic group with their own culture and philosophy which advocates mental separation from the mass of transhumanity. The few discovered so far are always self-employed and display a wide variety of skills, though they eschew rep and currency systems except when absolutely necessary; mostly they frequent scum barges and crowded habitats where the press of transhumanity makes it more difficult for even universal surveillance to pick out every individual. All of the suspected kuronaga encountered so far have had a dead switch that they have activated when they have been found out; an examination of what is left of their cortical stacks shows the remains of what may be 4-5 ghostrider modules. Social scientists theorize that every “individual” Kuronaga discovered so far is in fact a clade of closely related egos; each carries their nation or family in their head, as it were, and need never be alone—even when surrounded by the mass of transhumanity.

Using the Kuronaga

Despite the widely-held beliefs of those few social scientists that believe in the Kuronaga, the shadow brinkers cannot exist among transhumanity and refrain from all transhuman contact—though they do a damn good job of it, considering the difficulties. The Kuronaga viewpoint is that the vast majority of transhumans are trapped in the social systems that they themselves have built, systems that track and control them. The Kuronaga see themselves as above and beyond such systems, and so able to move between them and use them to their own advantage.

One possible Eclipse Phase campaign might have all the player characters as a single Kuronaga, pooling their points on the morph and equipment but maintaining their own distinct skills and identities—though to the world, they would present only false faces, never their true identity. Such a campaign has the benefit that a single physical character is easier to write adventures for—look at various adventure game books—but requires a degree of cooperation among the player characters to determine the morph’s actions and who is in control at any given time.

1 comment: