Wednesday, December 18, 2013

352: Operation Orphan

ENTRY 352: Operation Orphan

"You've heard that during the Fall that there were transhuman collaborators on the side of the TITANs. The show trials and media have cast them as civilian administrators trying to keep their people alive, or lone opportunists taking advantage of a situation for their own personal gain. The truth is that an entire faction went over to the TITANs - a group of traitors that sold out Earth and the rest of transhumanity. That organization still persists, existing in secret among us. A mutual support network for the greatest criminals in our history, helping each other stay hidden. Our job is to root them out, to find what those others they are hiding...and, ultimately, to destroy them. Understand: this is not about justice or revenge, this is a matter of survival. When the next war comes - when the TITANs return or extraterrestrials invade through the gates or whatever it might be - we must stand united. If you can agree with that, then welcome to Operation Orphan."
- Ezel Idis, Chief Executive Officer, Operation Orphan

"That's what you could never wrap your minds around. We're just like you. The survival of transhumanity, at any cost. You call us traitors, but for us it was just another survival strategy. We wanted to cover all the bases. The only difference is, you forgot..."
- Recording of interrogation session #04546, subject "Doubleblack", AF 8

Trust underpins transhuman society. Anarchists raise their children on games to illustrate the prisoner's dilemma, Jovian military academies emphasize the importance of trust in the command structure, reputation networks depend on layers of trust as much as the underlying technology - for it is important not just who votes and how many, but who counts the votes. In the aftermath of the Fall, when the invisible machinery of society was so broken down and in need of rebuilding, trust became even more important. Transhumans needed to work, to learn, to about the business of living, and be able to rely on each other. In this respect at least the TITANs did transhumanity as favor: they presented a single great Other, an enemy that all transhumans, regardless of faction or politics, could unite against. Or, almost all.

The TITANs and their collaborators are guilty of genocide. Entire species were destroyed during the Fall, the entire Earth reduced to a poisoned, ash-choked world of burning skies and caustic seas, and the TITANs have left their tainted footprints on every other world in the solar system. Yet because they are not human, it is difficult to countenance the TITANs as explicitly evil - powerful, devastating, and disastrous, but too alien to describe as cruel, vicious, or tyrannical. The collaborators, however...those are transhuman. They knew full well what they were participating in the extinction of their own species, their own world, and they chose to help. They are the worst traitors imaginable, all the worse because they are not stupid thugs.

Firewall's Operation Orphan has been tracking the collaborator network ever since the Fall. What they have found is evidence of more than just a few well-meaning admins or opportunistic rogues, but an entire clandestine organization dedicated to support the TITANs - and currently preparing for their return. These are not madmen or exsurgent cultists, whose motives could be explained away by illness or neural damage, but apparently sane, frighteningly intelligent and competent transhuman operatives who believe in their goal. There are even some implications, though the more senior Firewall members at Operation Orphan still find it hard to credit, that this nameless group of conspirators may be a rogue faction of Firewall dedicated, according to their own claims, of pursuing every method of transhuman survival - even the least palatable options. Ezel Idis dismisses this claim as classical psy ops, misinformation spread to sow doubt and discord. Yet as evidence piles up, the shape of the collaborators' mutual aid network does bear a striking similarity to Firewall...

Using Operation Orphan

Firewall's Operation Orphan is a good set-up for a darker kind of spy game, calling back to the hunt for former Nazis gone into hiding after World War II and support networks like ODESSA - and if the gamemaster and players like hunting down war criminals and bringing them in to face the long-awaited consequences of their crimes, then that's fine. However, the possibility remains that the interrogated collaborators are telling the truth - that the collaborator network is nothing more than a splinter faction of Firewall, seeking to fulfill the ultimate mission of transhumanity's survival by pursuing a different strategy. This adds a layer of moral ambiguity and philosophizing that might make for some interesting in-character debates beyond "shoot the bad guy in the head and take their cortical stack." Or perhaps the whole thing is just a con, one more ruse that the conspirators have cooked up to try and escape from their betrayal.


  • Rumor has it that the Jovian Junta unofficially offered asylum to several collaborators after the defeat of the TITANs on Mars, using their resources and knowledge to spearhead military development. Operation Orphan has been sniffing around several transhumans from Mars for years, but recently they believe they've made a break - a series of clandestine meeting and communications on Ganymede between several suspects, all out of character. One of the suspects is scheduled to head off alone on a deuterium-mining operation at Blazing Loch, and the PCs are asked to subdue and capture the suspect for questioning. A cold trek through the hinterlands, tracking the most dangerous prey...who might well turn the tables on the PCs.


  1. Another good one, you're on fire this week, Bobby!


    1. Thanks Allan. Trying to end strong. 12 days to go.