Monday, October 7, 2013

280: Data Is Not Forever

ENTRY 280: Data Is Not Forever

"To all things, there is an end. This is not philosophy, this is mathematics. Statistically, there will be errors. Data will be miscopied, garbled, destroyed, lost. All data is subject to this. Your books, media programs, XP recordings, Your ego is data, and eventually it too will fail. Perhaps not for a century, perhaps not for ten thousand years, but as time stretches to infinity, the limit of certainty approaches one. Already you have lost things you will never know to miss, either through accident or because there is no one there to save them. Mark my words, there will be a time, perhaps within your lifetime, when no one will be able to tell you how to get where the air is sweet, and or ask 'will you be my neighbor?'"
- Prophetbot of Doom!, Doomsaying #255

All data storage is imperfect, and given sufficient time data loss is inevitable. This is not something most transhumans want to hear; they have already lost old Earth and the vast amounts of cultural and scientific media that was on it. People are supposed to be the mortal ones, not data. It enrages and saddens people when they learn that all copies of a childhood program, or a painting, or a book, are lost and gone forever. There are archivists that have given their entire lives to scrounging in old datastores and servers, digital archaeologists searching for bits of lost data, incomplete peer-to-peer downloads that continue to ciculate in the Mesh, hoping against hope that someone with the final bits will log on and complete it. In a society where truth death seems often on the verge of being vanquished, data loss is still a universal experience, accompanied by mourning and depression. Some find solace in kind words and the company of friends, others craft ceremonies to mark its passing and celebrate what once was and now never will be again; some just get drunk and high and break things. Most everyone understands. There is a finality to all things, and the older you get, the more there is to lose.


  • On Thought and Phobos, a sect known as the Rogerites keeps alive old children's programs based on memory, re-enacting them as live-action morality plays. Recently, rumor suggests that a cache of the original recordings may exist on an old satellite in Earth-orbit, attracting scavengers as well as hypercorp archivists who wish to sell the recordings for a profit. The player characters are hired to reach the satellite first and reclaim them for the Rogerites...but even should the succeed, they will find the satellite damaged, and the recordings corrupted. It will take years to make anything of the recordings, but the Rogerites are still grateful for what the PCs have done, and give them lifetime tickets to view their plays.
  • The Antinationalists out of Olympus are databreakers, seeking to crush down the barriers of old Earth politics that remain to infect post-Earth culture. The PCs are hired and entrusted with an archaically formatted data station on a remote Lunar outpost, to monitor and protect it against the Antinationalist forces as translators convert the media to modern formats. Very soon, the situation devolves into a siege...and the PCs, trapped within, learn that the media they are translating is an archive of ultranationalist recordings, texts, and war propaganda from the mid-20th century. Will the PCs continue to put their lives on the line to protect Mein Kampf and the speeches of Mussolini?
  • Much was lost in the flight from Earth - not just media, but knowledge of technology and medicine. As advanced as transhuman technology still is, no one today remembers how to create silly putty, or to recreate the "orphan drugs" for obscure diseases, or the theory and operation of magnetic amplifiers. A high bounty has been put on recovering or rediscovering this information, and one transhuman may have done so - Rodriguez Michaelangelo Cruz-Corella. However, RMCC has himself been missing for eight months after a fight with scumbarge pirates, lost in the Belt. If the PCs track RMCC down, they will discover his ship broken and open to space, the computers erased, and RMCC dead, still strapped into the captain's chair. However, if they try to contact his ego, they will discover that the lost data has been downloaded into his cortical stack - his last act to overwrite his own consciousness with some of the lost data of Earth.


  1. I love everyone of these seeds and want to write a full scenario for each. Awesome work, as usual.