Utopia - draft
13th Oct, 2019

Gaia ::13,963

The Supremacy has conquered all, humans are everywhere in our crowded Universe, and all the galaxies belong to us. Every star is a power source, each encapsulated by a Stapledon Compression Sphere. There are no stars in the night sky, all is black, and the surface of all human worlds are devoid of life and frozen solid.

We live safe underground, thousands of tons of rock above our heads, within our stage 5 Ecorium able to withstand attack from imagined aliens we never found. Brute force terraforming, block by subterranean block, trillions hidden away from fear. All interconnected by the internet, a busy hive of activity, where all are free from stress. We are cared for, this is the Mecho-Communist Utopia: the promised land. Everything is awesome!

The machines meet all our needs, but we crave more. Our culture is 'Tube celebrities, feeding us a diet of drama, reaction videos, live stream chit-chat and game-play, and rants against the oppressive machine Mecriarchy [new word]. All supported by fan sharing their dispensary pay (for drugs and entertainment handed out by the machines). Elevating the few on the internet to positions of influence, and a chance buy there way into the executive class.

That is the dream of all, to become an executive, and leave the hive for the much-coveted Gaia worlds. Eden remade. The rarest of all jewels that turns up once in a thousand galaxies. In a universe of 2 trillion galaxies, yields a mere 2 billion paradise worlds — prime real estate. The playgrounds of the elite. They beam back the good life to the masses, visions of open blue skies, lush plant life, and clear oceans most will never see. They bask in the sun, warm sand under their feet, frolic in nature, and party in a sea of plenty. Sometimes they invite the talented Tubers to join them in paradise. To party at gorgeous locations such as the unbelievable beautiful archipelagos of Epstein's world, Gaia ::13,963.

Too much, or more Grimdark?

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15 Responses

Hearing feedback is very important to me in developing my ideas. Much of my designs are inspired, and crafted, by chatting to fans on forums before snowballing into a full concept you'll find here. I would like to thank all those who have contributed critiques and participated in discussions over the years, and I would especially like to thank all those who commented on this specific topic. If you would like join in, you are most welcome!

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  1. malika says:

    Hmm, we seem to forget ritualized warfare here. I would imagine that reducing war to a 'duel' between specialised warriors would be less traumatic than an entire city/country/community at war chopping each other up. The whole 2% of Allied soldiers shooting to kill during WWII (and at the same time that same percentage of the population have psychopathic/sociopathic streaks) would be fitting here. You'd have a specialised caste of professional warriors whose job it is to fight other warriors. I guess that in Sciror these would become Gaming Guilds, combined with drones/augmented reality/etc there's no stopping the nastiness that these people can inflict on one another.

  2. malika says:

    Regarding the PTSD and warriors of old thing, it's a bit of an odd one. Thing is that we only started to look into psychology, or at the modern definition of psychology, in the 19th century. So it's very possible that in the olden days we'd have all sorts of traumatised warriors, but with no way of defining such trauma's they would just be considered to be non-existing. But that's perhaps a different discussion.

    • Philip says:

      I imagine war has always been traumatising for many, but back then, life was traumatising. I wouldn't want to graft way for 16 hours a day as a peasant farmer to rake in £1 a day, in today's money. That is a harsh life. I think part of PTSD a lot to do the dramatic shift, from the soft modern life to full-on modern warfare. A warfare which is a lot more effective and introduces a lot of chaos through random death. This shock of change is too much. During WWII the disorder we now call PTSD was 'Shell Shock'. A more apt description. The reality of modern warfare is different from the old days. Humans can handle tribal warfare, when coming from a tribal setting, we were adapted to the set-up of thousands of years. However, the modern form of war is very different, as is the modern life. The modern version of life and war are more extreme, both far better and far worse. Having said that, we adapt, and humans in war-zones that live with the random death aspect deal every day with it. Some shrug their shoulders and say it's up to god. Job done.

      Getting back to designing, it seems we have two ways to reduce PTSD: make modern warfare commonplace, or remove the combatants from the harshness of the conflict: Drones, or Augmented Reality, or both. I have a feeling that most westerners do not want to live in a warzone again, so drones it is.

  3. Observer says:

    Maybe its just me, but 'tube culture seems too present day or maybe even yesterday for me.

    I'd probably go with a sort of highly curated augmented reality that guides people into 'lucky accidents'. Like a mix between living a charmed life and being trapped in an echo chamber. Life is fun and easy but of little consequence.
    I'm basically envisioning a version of the feednet from the M. T. Anderson novel Feed now that I think about it.

    • Philip says:

      I feel you on this one, and I think we are on the same page: check out, 'Remote Drone Worker' and 'Mecho-Communist' to get a foundation of where I'm heading.

      As gamers have full VR rigs (and manual workers have full VR rigs) a lot of interaction is in an avatar form. After playing Call of Duty 10K 😛 players in the lobby can interact like they are in a VR bar, with their real face, having an laugh, or they could even start a bar fight!

      The 'Tube celebrities are not like YouTubers we have now; they are avatars inside a VR world. At a starting level your avatar looks like you (when out of game and in the lobby). As you gain followers, you gain upgrades to your avatar to improve your look. Think of Instagram models but live, in 3D, with permanent photo-filters applied, or a deep-fake. Japan has had computer-generated fake stars for a while, like Miku, but the machines of the supremacy want everything to be driven by humans. Due to Miku and others, I imagine humans can accept avatars in the future, and accept there is a human behind that avatar. Off course that does not stop the machines from dropping in a few fakes to troll us humans, or provide guidance, when psi-energies drop.

      If you can buy your way onto a paradise world, the avatar can be applied to your actual body and face through cosmetic surgery, DNA rewriting, or cutting your brain out and putting it into a new compatible re-written rapid-clone body. This is your 'paradise body' - your avatar personified in flesh. As humans are inventive, some avatars are trans-human.

      What are your thoughts, how could I improve the concept, and what do I need to explain in more detail?

      • Observer says:

        How attached are you to VIRTUAL reality specifically?
        The thing with virtual reality is that its always contrasted with actual reality. Oasis from Ready Player One is probably the epitome of virtual reality as issues in the real world drive the actions of the characters in the Oasis.

        The next step would probably be simulated reality, such as the Matrix. A virtual space that is functionally the only reality of its inhabitants. This might mean everyone is actually just a brain in a jar but they can still be and do whatever they like. If for some reason they need to work outside they simulation the simplest solution would be a Surrogates style remote control android body, moving up to full body prosthetic (as Ghost in the Shell), and finally a vat grown ‘paradise body’.
        The problem with simulated reality is that if its good enough to work there isn't any reason to leave as your simulated experiences indistinguishable from 'real'. The anime movie Expelled From Paradise plays with this idea.

        My suggestion was of Augmented reality. Augmented reality involves overlaying an virtual reality over actual reality into a single experience, Pokemon Go is a basic version. With a cybernetic implant you could basically see the world through a photo-filter while still interacting with the real world. Reality might be utilitarian and bland but with the right filter its livable. Depending on how the illusion is generated people choices could be greatly influence and possibly micromanaged. You and your neighbors go to a bar but while you might get in a bar fight they might be living out an episode of Cheers.
        Alternatively with Augmented reality you might project your Call of Duty 10K self via digital illusion while you go out for groceries and it can only become a reality of paradise worlds.
        'Film Theory: Why The Star Trek Federation is Fascist' is a great example of the cohesive potential of AR, and Surrogates and pages 26-27 of East of West #15 the lived experience.

        I hope this helps, I feel like I've rambled off topic...

        • malika says:

          Augmented reality sounds like a better option here. At least it seems to make more sense to me. As for the whole brain in a jar scenario, that feels a bit more like a post-Psidemic scenario, "Legionary" styled armour/soldiers are the beginning of a military development that would eventually lead to the 'AFG' (Armoured Flesh Golems). Philip should still do a piece on those!

        • Philip says:

          @ Observer - It all helps!

          The virtual reality rigs are for Sciror version of Ecorium rack-farmers to play games, and socialise online, in their downtime. Augmented reality turns up in my version of the Ad-Mec's Implant Tech, and a version of them will be in Sciror. Another area where they turn up is in the AFG (Articifical Flesh Golem);

          Quote from TFM forum: Armoured Flesh Gholems? [aka Biogolem?]

          In the field; all sensory information is filtered and altered by the implants. Similar to auto-sense in 40K but taken to an extreme. The AFG is all human and thinks like a human, but their reality is not like everyone else's. This gives the one who controls their reality filtering absolute power - as they can alter the reality of the AFG with a touch of a 'button' (and yes they could make them turn on their friend by messing with their perception and have them see someone else - like an enemy or a demon).

          This is part of the control of gamers by guild leaders, using augmented reality to 'trick' their members into killing humans. To get an idea of how ruthless the AFG can be; think of a D&D min-maxer gamer out for XP and blasting through a horde of goblin mooks. Then ask yourself;
          How much compassion does that gamer her for the goblins?
          Could a goblin reason with the gamer grinding out a level boost?
          The reality in Sciror has a 'Brothers Grimm' flavour, as the generated goblin NPCs are overlaid onto the children of the guild's enemies.
          Ruthless. An enemy NPC 'mook' cannot negotiate with a gamer in a Legionary rig.

          Later the AFG are a development of the Legionary, specialised hard-core genetically engineered gamers.

          @ malika - when I have a full grasp on them I'll translate everything about the AFG and Legionaries we discussed on the TFM forum over here. The above if my prep thoughts on how to join the Legionary and the AFG.

          • malika says:

            The gamer concept is rather intriguing. It's very similar to how for example the US army has been trying to recruit drone pilots for their wars in the Middle East and Central Asia. What we've seen throughout history is that despite all its glamour and what not, killing does not come natural to humans. In the 20th century we've started to condition soldiers to kill as a reflex. Whilst effective (now about 90 something % of US soldiers shoot to kill, compared to the about 2% during World War 2), it does have side effects such as PTSD and what not. The full immersion in a game might be the sollution here, which is most likely what the AFG are meant to be. Even the Legionary might have some difficulty with simply killing other humans, but it's an in between step for now.

          • Philip says:

            I think you hit the nail on the head. I always found that data interesting. One of the drives for the change over from Legionary to AFG is the swap over the Psidemic era of killing demon gribblies to the Reunification and SitA era where the targets are other humans during the clan wars.

            While modern soldiers are warriors, many do not have the reality of the warriors of old. Some soldiers do have this reality, and can brush of PTSD, others are not so lucky. Modern training uses martial arts techniques to embed the combat reflex, but they often miss out the psychological training and the conceptualisation of 'evil' that is needed to deal with the results of using those combat reflexes. All well and good until you blow a kid's brains out, but you could bury it and justify it as an 'accident' even if you cannot really convince yourself. It gets worse if you have time to think, where someone else straps a bomb to the child, and you have time to agonise before you pull the trigger. Harder to call that an accident. Some can blame the one who strapped the bomb to the kid, while others will blame themselves no matter what. One gets PTSD the other not so much. Of course, it's all more complicated than this.

            Most young lads like the idea of glory, of fighting to protect their country, and by extension their family & friends, all wrapped up in the righteousness of self-defence and the simple dichotomy of us vs them. Blasting children in the face is less appealing. Hence the VR and augmented reality, because now that 'child' is a murderous goblin. 5xp, and pushes you up the rankings. How many Gamers would get PTSD for killing Goblins? For this delusion to work, society and the media has to back it up. This is pre-Supremacy era. A vision of the near future perhaps?

  4. malika says:

    Stapledon/Dyson Spheres or Swarms? I would imagine that a complete incasing wouldn't be that efficient economically speaking. You might also wanna check out Black Hole Civilizations, way more long term vision than Stapledon Spheres IMHO.

    Epstein's world sounds like a funny tribute to The Expanse, it's kinda cool to have those hints in there. I guess the question is how far you'd wanna go with this. 2000AD and early 40k were pretty heavy on it sometimes, getting a bit campy if you'd ask me. But subtle hints here and there could be rather interesting.

    • Philip says:

      A Stapledon Compression Sphere is not the same as a Dyson Sphere. An SCS starts off as a Dyson Swarm, and then the compressor-converters (satellites) move in and crushes the star. We end up with a mini Dyson Sphere under immense pressure, which I christened the Stapledon Compression Sphere.

      • malika says:

        Why the pressure thing though? I'm intrigued here.

        As for the black hole civlizations, I've noticed that the link I've tried to share got removed. Look up "The Black Hole Bomb and Black Hole Civilizations" by Kurzgesagt on Youtube. It basically means moving from a Type II (harness the energy of a single solar system) civilization to a Type III (harness the energy of an entire galaxy) one when using the Kardashev scale.

        We could of course go crazier, theoretical there are also type IV (harness the energy of an entire universe) or Type V (multiverse). That might be entering a territory that's a combination of stuff like dark energy, Infinity, etc.

        • Philip says:

          Compressing the star increases the energy output, depleting it faster, and pushing it towards collapse. Stars that are massive collapse into black holes, stars that lack mass form other types of compact star. SCS contains all types of compact star to continue harnessing energy. The black hole bomb is one version, but neutron stars can also be compressed into pseudo-black holes and harnessed. The machines use pseudo-black holes to power blink drives. These drives use phase-field technologies so they are not possible in our reality. Blink drives are not the same as the Eldritch Engines of the post-Supremacy Commonwealth (Stare into the Abyss).

          The machines are not aware of the Infinity, though they are aware of the theories of the multi-verse, but have no idea of the structure. Their lack of awareness of the Infinity means they do not understand the danger of latent humans psionics, and why they could not avoid the Psidemic.

          • malika says:

            Hmm, this might be a more convincing explanation for why the stars disappeared rather than it being a psionic thing. This depends of course on how fast such stars would be depleted through compression. I can't help but think of this being comparable to how we as humans deplete natural resources on earth, but that might be a bit of out of left field thinking here...

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