Wednesday, December 11, 2013

345: Kinaara

ENTRY 345: Kinaara

"Some said we would be the last generation. From now on, there would be no aging out. Endless immortals, moving body to Mesh, Mesh to body, down through the centuries. No more funerals, no more retirement. We would never outlive our parents and grandparents, never have that closure, never fill their place, never set down our own rules or figure things out through our own struggle. Where would it go from there? How far would parental rights and privileges extend, how great are our responsibilities to care for the ageless? Fuck all of that."
- Elie Kham Sangabat

"In the Planetary Consortium, 83% of CEOs are over a century old. 93% of those are sleeved into bodies in their biological prime-of-life. Over 60% have children, and 43% grandchildren or more distant descendants. None of whom need ever die in the traditional or legal sense. Polls show that the bulk of these centurions do not see any reason to retire from their positions while still able - and with resleeving, can retain their careers almost indefinitely. Adolescents have to compete for opening positions and internships with fresh-faced octogenarians who have lifetimes of experience over them, sending unemployment for the under-30 demographic to more than 89% in some habitats. The youth have been effectively marginalized, and their only options are an extended, possibly eternal adolescence or a complete break from the institutions that have disenfranchised them."
- Kinaara: A Preliminary Investigation (AF 9, Planetary Consortium Press)

Death is an opportunity space in transhuman society. Wealth is passed on, previously occupied positions are opened, roles and responsibilities reshuffled. Extended lifespan brings with it stabilization, but also stagnation - political, economic, and often moral power is invested in the emerging gerontocracy. With the advent of advanced age-retardation technologies, forking, and resleeving, the problems involved have been exacerbated; with any transhuman able, at least theoretically, to look and feel as young as they want, there is no need for actual young people. Why bring a shy virgin to your bed when you can hire a 120-year-old whore in the body of a 19-year-old Olympian? Why hire the kid who has never held a job, when you can hire the octogenarian with 60 years of programming experience? The transition from old economies to rep networks was led in part by the disenfranchised class of middle-aged transhumans looking to develop an alternative to the ageless fiscal authority of their parents; now their children are stuck in the same position, unable to generate the credits or the rep to come into their own.

The first kinaara arose on Luna, among the disaffected youth of Indian and Asian families, tired of the emotional blackmail and suzerainty of their older relatives. Legally emancipating themselves from their biological families, the youth joined together into kinaara cliques to pool their resources and gain rep as a group. Small, poor, and inexperienced, the kinaara act for mutual support to get by, and tend to live out on the edges of habitats where space is cheap, taking the nastiest and least desirable jobs - but away from the domination of their parents' and grandparents' rep and money, they can at least start to earn a living on their own.


At the gamemaster's discretion a group which has established a formal and distinctive identity, like a kinaara or a team of player characters, may establish a Group Rep with one or more networks. This works much the same as other forms of rep, save that any group member may contribute Rez Points toward buying up the Group Rep (the usual limit of 1 RP/+10 per network per month remains in effect), and any group member may also request favors or burn Group Rep - even without consulting the other members.

Using Kinaara

The kinaara cliques are small groups of youth that have no feasible chance of rising according to their own merits in a society which has no place for the poor and inexperienced. Some accept living under the financial and social control of their parents and grandparents for their entire lives; many don't even understand that they have a choice in the matter. Others self-destruct, sometimes only to find that suicide isn't an easy option. The kinaara preferred a clean break: emancipation from family, including the legal, social, and economic ties, and the opportunity to sink or swim on their own with their new affection-group of like-minded, like-age compatriots. Some groups fall apart, but most are having a good time at least trying to make a go of it. The kinaara represent both the hope and desperation of transhumanity as it transitions into a society of digital immortality, and PCs might approach them as friends, enemies, or role-models. The PCs may even start out as a kinaara, which is as good a reason as any for them to get together for a campaign and go on adventures.

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