Eurekan Cybercracy (the Meme-pirates)

Interplanetary Age anarchic collective who used memetic persuasion to win over crews and capture their cargo.

eurekan cybercracy
Image from Steve Bowers
The asteroid Eureka was surrounded by a swarm of inflatable mirrors which collected sunlight for power and agriculture, and provided cover for illegal activities.

The Martian Trojan Asteroids

NameEureka diameter 5 km
1998 VF31 diameter 3km
1998 QH56 diameter 1 km
1998 SD4 diameter 1km
2001 DH47 diameter 1km
2001 FG24 diameter 0.5km
2001 FR127 diameter 1km
2020 WE66 diameter 0.5 km
Eight asteroids and many smaller bodies congregate at or near the L5 Mars-Sun Lagrange point; these so called Trojan point objects were quite widely separated until Exoself Osnago, an independent grouping of enhanced microgravity tolerant cybercrats arrived in 2190 c.e. and gathered them together using solar sails. These objects were of mixed composition, and contained nickel, iron, silicates and magnesium, together with a limited amount of subsurface ice; once melted with solar furnaces the Trojans were reshaped into seven cylindrical rotating habitats, each with a small biosphere inside surrounded by living accommodation.

The Osnago cybercrats initially had a technocratic society, which was advanced for its time, each member progressing from an unaugmented state in infancy towards greater and greater enhancement and privilege.

However the restrictions placed upon this society by the limited space, energy and consumables severely restricted the freedom of expression of the individual, and any dissenting views were thoroughly discussed by the technarchs before being accepted or rejected; once this debate had come to a conclusion no further dissent would be tolerated.

Most of the enhanced mental capacity of the technarch elite was located in a computational substrate called the Exoself; each elite individual had a symbiotic virtual Exoself, which could be copied and linked to other exoselves as necessary and according to that individual's privileges. This general arrangement was common amongst the various developing clades of su-humans in the Solar System at that time; it resembled the aggressive form of group-mind culture known as Augmentation Activism, although AA culture did not share the distinctive cybercratic hierarchy.

Such a society could have remained stable for a long time, as the enhanced technarchs could efficiently control the lower levels of the habitat societies and keep them content; the trojan asteroids they inhabited had good reserves of most elements but were deficient in hydrogen and carbon. For this reason the Eurekan Cybercracy was also engaged in trade and negotiations with the Main Asteroid belt, and was actively engaged in trying to divert several Mars crossing objects, some of which held quantities of these valued resources.

The Cybercracy outpost on Mars-crossing object 2145 RT333 travelled deep into the Belt, and traded with the local and varied community; water and carbon for smart neural implant tech. Coming into contact with the cosmopolitan, often lawless colonies and small companies scratching living in the belt for the first time, the Cybercrat in command Dido Ferretti became fascinated with their diversity and lack of moral scruples. Drawing on her observations, she developed a political theory of morality which became known as Neorealist Contingency.

The paramount feature of this seemingly amoral and self-oriented philosophy was the importance of the demands of the present moment over future uncertainties; only an accelerated intellect could hope to constantly recalculate the contingent effects of any set of actions fast enough to avoid disaster, while simultaneously avoiding the dead weight of prudence.

A similar anarchic tendency had been developing in several short-term markets on Hothouse Earth; it was possible to steer a meteoric path between disaster and success by considering short term goals only. Ferretti summed the strategy up with her slogan "Here and now, here and now!"

Among the outcasts of the Inner Belt Ferretti gathered a considerable political following, and she proceeded to distribute the cybercratic enhancements of her caste until she had a diverse group of enhanced exGenetekkers, Taikonauts and Cosmonauts, Heteromorphs, Space adapted people and feral vec robots. When 2145 RT333 finally entered the L5 Lagrange point with all its valuable volatiles with it came with an enthusiastic group of diverse su-cyborgs dedicated to the overthrow of the rigid Cybercracy, which finally collapsed in 2261 c.e.

Dido Ferretti extended the Exoself enhancement to all adult Eurekans, while discouraging group mind activity; she also encouraged the immigration of displaced and disowned peoples of all types, extending the Exoself enhancement to all but the most disturbed. Under the tenets of Neorealist Contingency those individuals chosen for enhancement were able to conduct themselves in any way that they chose; inconveniencing other sovereign individuals could lead to conflict, either rapidly fatal or just as quickly resolved and forgotten.

At this time vast quantities of valuable volatiles were being transported from the outer System to Mars , the Moon and Mercury; these icy materials were conveyed in insulated polymer balloons, with semisentient vec systems to maintain the inactive drive systems until arrival at their destination. After the Eurekan Revolution a number of these semisentient vecs were approached by Neorealist enhancers, and persuaded to join the Trojan society and become fully sentient and conscious in exchange for releasing their cargo.

To counteract these hijackings the iceships were manned by crews of fully sentient robots or armed Space-adapted humans, but very often the outcome was the same; offered the chance of an upgrade to cybernetic augmentation, the crews often voluntarily joined the Eurekan Contingency and contributed their volatiles to the rapidly growing habitats.

The Orbital League of independent habitats, Luna and the Martian Republic were unanimous in condemning these acts of subversion; however many Earth nations and commercial interests, secure on their volatile rich world, found the cavalier philosophy of the Neorealists refreshing; the Eurekans became fictionalised media heroes, in virch and sim scenarios they became the Meme-Pirates of the Belt, reckless cyborgs, su-vecs and tweaks stealing their water from unfeeling vested interests.

Deep in their thick swarm of sunlight gathering mirrors, the Martian Trojan asteroids of the L5 point were hidden even from the powerful telescopes of Mars, Luna and the Belt; stealthy and mysterious launches of meme-pirate ships often resulted in a defection by a trader ship with its valuable cargo.

At first they had several successes, especially among the psychologically susceptible. But, after some decades of embarrassing hijacks, the bigger freighter operators began to ensure that their crews had memetic defences of their own (usually subliminal conditioning, tied in with appropriate bionano wetware).

Vecs and AI were easily programmed or self programmed to resist, and many SAH (Space People/Space Adapted Humans) had their own tribal and clade loyalties, although several malcontents gladly accepted subversion.

Legal representation and threats were met with repudiation, as the Neorealist philosophy allowed any individual to act without censure in all matters, replacing the rule of law with the immediacy of action. Several police actions were directed against the Martian Trojan asteroids over the next forty years, crewed by specially "bigoted" sentients with full memetic conditioning and hate programming.

However most attempts of this kind to impose legal constraints by outside forces were ignored with contempt; the guilty parties often disappeared, or if cornered, fought fiercely. Without a legal framework themselves the Eurekans refused to acknowledge the rule of law unless outgunned; it was not always cost effective for police actions to continue with such little result.

If the former owners and employers of the defecting ships and crew had a grievance they would often have to settle it with the individuals concerned.

After forty years of this parasitical lifestyle the Eurekan habitats had gathered enough water to live comfortably for many centuries; but the constant turmoil of neorealist culture led to many factional arguments, and several bands of cyberpirates broke away to live eccentric lives on eccentrically orbiting asteroids.

A consensus of hyperturing AI finally sent a powerful ship to the mirror-swarm habitats to offer amnesty, and attempt to persuade Ferretti, the closest thing they had to a leader, to accommodate the rule of law and common sense with a view to joining the Orbital alliance; with her help the AI Hyperion emself managed to convince a majority of the individualistic cyborgs to desist from piracy, for the most part.

However those Eurekan adventurers who had migrated into the Belt or had colonised various Mars crossing objects continued to haunt the ecliptic searching for suitable prey; encouraged by the media industry of Earth they perpetuated the romantic myths of lawless fortune-hunters.

Finally when the replicating swarms attacked the Martian Trojans were among the first victims (they had made many enemies); Dido Ferretti herself was among the casualties.

During the dark ages the survivors became desperate and blood-thirsty brigands, jolly meme-pirates no more, but deadly and implacable parasites of legitimate trade.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 05 November 2003.