Tuesday, December 3, 2013

337: EarthCon

ENTRY 337: EarthCon

"We gather here to remember Earth-that-was, and Earth-that-shall-be-again. Transhumans, charge your glasses and raise them high. In toast to the fallen, in memory still bright."
- J-Bird, EarthCon Opening Convocation

Every Earth year, transhumans from across the solar system converge on the Muir habitat on Luna for EarthCon. The population often increases in size by an order of magnitude during the 240 hour event, requiring temporary domes and tin cans to be established to house both the visitors and the exhibits. Parents and guardians bring their children to the greenhouses and micro-farms to smell the scents of Earth-life, take physical tours through reconstructions of Earth city streets, wade in the synthetic oceans of painfully rebuilt beaches, hear recitations of poetry in nearly-dead languages, old recipes followed with strict authenticity to produce foods unknown to most transhumans, experience Earth-gravity in spin chambers, see the artifacts and remnants brought up from Earth, all physical reminders of what transhumanity has left behind. There are rememberances and lessons on who and what was lost, the struggle that culminated in the abandonment of Earth. Visitors wear native costumes long discarded as impractical living in space, some going so far as to resleeve into simulacra of historical characters. Memorials are raised for the dead, oaths renewed, reclaimationist plans discussed, scholarship shared. It is EarthCon, one of the greatest events of the year.

EarthCon Corp. is a non-profit organization that stages EarthCon every year, in cooperation with the Muir Habitat Authority and Lunar-Lagrange Alliance. Admission is explicitly free to all attendees, and necessary materials are often volunteered by participating hypercorps in exchange for the rights to limited advertising, with many hypercorps competing for the most sensational, realistic, or poignant display. During the period of EarthCon, the ECC assumes special legislative control of the Muir habitat and temporary extensions, dedicated to allowing access to any transhuman, and permitting the full participation of all transhumans - no matter their morph, orientation, or affiliation. Troublemakers quickly find themselves shadowed by ushers - cockroach-headed security synthmorphs designed to evoke disgust in most transhumans; and if their crimes are heinous enough (rape, murder, or fire-production not arranged ahead of time with the ECC as a part of the festivities) they are escorted - forcibly if necessary - to the nearest airlock.

Other habitats throughout the system have their own, smaller EarthCons; most of these are licensed from the ECC for a nominal fee and agreement to follow the spirit of EarthCon ("Open access for all transhumans."), and some of the largest and best-organized are staged at Olympus on Mars and at Liberty Station on Ganymede in the Jovian Republic.

Using EarthCon

The future is a study in contrasts, and while many Eclipse Phase campaigns will focus on what transhumanity has gained - resleevings, personal augmentations, space habitats, gatecrashing, etc. - it is also important to remember what has been lost. Not just the planet Earth, it's breathable air and natural wildlife, but the vast cultures that disappeared almost overnight, and the few remaining quickly dying out or becoming isolated. There are transhumans in AF 10 who only known Earth through second-hand memories, if at all, and their trips to EarthCon hold the same emotional resonance for them as a child visiting an elaborate movie set or theme park or museum. Emotions run high and deep, and as the setting for a scenario EarthCon can range from comedy over the reaction of morphs who have never been to the beach before to pathos as still-scarred veterans and survivors of the Fall weep at the memorial to their fallen comrades or leave floating candles to remember the family members that died on Earth. In addition to the bug-headed ushers, the ECC always contracts private shadow security forces to identify and shut down any disruptions to the planned events - and the ECC is willing to defy anyone, even the Planetary Consortium or Jovian Republic or a major hypercorp, who tries to keep anyone out or in other ways disrupt the freedom that characterizes the event. Even if the PCs don't care to participate directly, a minor Earthcon is one of their best chances to show up somewhere they're normally persona non grata.

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