Wednesday, December 4, 2013

338: The Immix

ENTRY 338: Immix

"Jovians must not pander to a culture of fear and stagnation, nor surrender what is most precious to us for the yoke of security. Freedom is our calling - freedom to believe as we would, to practice those beliefs, to decide for ourselves how to govern our bodies and minds. We wish, in no uncertain terms, to defend our right to chose - to die as men or live as artificial intelligences, to resleeve according to our needs and means, to utilize according to our own conscience the technologies we have so painfully uncovered."
- Johann Zimmer, suspected Immix cell leader

"The Immix say: we do not hate you! We do not wish you to fear us! We are not your enemies but would be your friends! To cut ourselves off from the universe is to stagnate and die."
- Kylie Aragones, underground journalist

"Let it be known: we are not all as you see us. There are good Jovians. There are Immix."
- Prisoner 1999-09, final words

Outsiders call it the Jovian Junta. Millions of transhumans simply call it home. The media of the Planetary Consortium makes it the butt of jokes and the concern of military-political channels - a dangerous remnant of Earth oldthink, blind to the possibilities of transhumanity, a society of oppression ruled by fear and a small elite, the poison spawn who trace their lineages back to ancient oil barons and monopolists and papists. A place where individual choice is curtailed, intellectual thought stymied by superstition, old economies kept churning through military production, and the whole house of cards repeating the same damned mistakes that led to the Fall. That is the caricature; the truth is more complicated.

The Jovian Republic rules by the general approval of the populace. By and large, the people there are content - they do not want to resleeve, they hold value in their religions and secular institutions, they honor and praise those who put their life on the line in the defense of others. To be a Jovian is not necessarily to be stupid or superstitious; they are as intelligent and hardworking as any other sample of transhumanity. There is a government which seeks to mold and constrain them, but by and large the options that they restrict are options that the majority of Jovians do not wish to exercise. Outsiders rarely grasp the fundamental truth that Jovians know very well how to rebel - and do.

The mechanisms of the Jovian Republic - the military-industrial conspiracy of private and public interests, the agencies that monitor every message and transmission, the secret police that come during the night-cycle under a mask of terror - they are effective, but they are old. The Jovian Republic was born long after transhumanity had mastered the arts of domestic insurgency, and there are very few so ignorant or naive that do not understand the balance of power in the Jovian state rests, always, in its transhuman population. Every Jovian is a potential traitor or rebel. If pushed too far in a direction they will not go, the Jovian Republic faces the possibility of its civilian support evaporating, its military arbitrarily choosing not to pursue an immoral or unethical course of action. There are far more rational transhumans amid the Jovians than fanatics, and more than one cruel and unethical political officer has found their orders disobeyed, or suffer a nasty accident. When such things happen, if they are investigated, they are blamed on the Immix.

The Immix are the conceptual revolution of the Jovian Republic. Certainly, the government has uncovered any number of plots and incidents of sabotage and anti-government action it has blamed on the Immix. Equally certainly, there are those groups and individuals who have taken the name for their own, who prowl the unmonitored hallways and storerooms of habitats to discuss the atrocities of the Junta, or to rail against the particular corruption and failed policies of individual parts of it. Some even go so far as to take action, spreading viruses that replace political broadcasts with outside newsfeeds, corrupting school texts with uncensored histories and philosophies, or forging licenses and permits for forbidden tech. Yet there has never been a single central ethos or structure to Immix, and many Jovian politicians and military commanders are kept awake at night by the thought that they fight a ghost - that the Immix is simply the idea of rebellion, a convenient title by which any Jovian, at any time, can decide to follow what they know and feel is right instead of the lawful orders of their superiors...and they fear that more than the TITANs.

Using the Immix

As presented in Eclipse Phase, Jovians are conservative and old-fashioned - politically, socially, and technologically. The bulk of them are not in favor of resleeving or AGI or any of the cooler technology in the book; the population is overtly fascist and religious; and the leaders rule an enforced regime birthed in a coup and based on a monopoly on military and political power. However, conservative does not automatically mean bad, nor are the Jovians automatically villains. Even as given in Eclipse Phase, the Jovians are not a monolithic group of rabid Roman Catholics or United States Republicans looking to outlaw all space abortions because God told them to. There is room for intelligent Jovians who just happen to not want to resleeve, or who despite the relatively recent technical advances of transhumanity still hold spiritual and philosophical beliefs, and there are plenty of non-Jovians in the system that might agree with them - and plenty that Jovians might disagree about among themselves.

The crux of the Immix is that idea that the Jovians are not stupid, and will not follow orders blindly. Some citizens will question the direction of their society, some soldiers will refuse to launch a missile or gas an orphanage, some teachers will disobey and teach transhuman sex ed to their students. Most Jovians have some line they will not cross, and if pushed against their beliefs they will rebel. Sometimes they will join together as an Immix cell; others will simply try to do the right thing and blame it on the Immix bogeyman. For player characters Jovians, the Immix is a handy label for still holding to some Jovian ideas and identity without being associated with the Junta; for gamemasters the Immix are a ready-made (if diffuse) rebellion that they can use to help stage adventures involving the Jovian Republic, and to show that not all Jovians are goose-stepping primitive screwheads with too many boomsticks.

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