Black Fire

Black Fire
Image from Anders Sandberg

Genetekker nanoterrorist group, attacking members of the Inner Council including Martian Union, Cislunar Alliance, and Council of Earth installations during the 400's. Black Fire operatives were mainly recruited from radical Fusionists and some Twin Stream shapers, strongly anti-sapiens and pro-Gengineer Republic. It is believed they were unofficially supported by some influential government members that leaked nanotechnology and AI equipment to them, as well as sympathizers in the Belt.

Black Fire members were highly trained and flexible, often able to improvise spectacular and deadly actions with very limited resources. They started and supported insurgent groups in the inner system, assassinated corporate executives, sabotaged attempts to unite against the Genetekkers and distributed caches of nanoweaponry to unexpected allies. Their signature was the black fire nanomachine, an anti-personnel replicator digesting non-Genetekker flesh. Many had implanted caches of assemblers for various purposes, or even Twin Stream neurocomputer controlled internal nanofactories. However, their perhaps most infamous act, the execution of the Rande Council of Copernicus in 476 a.t. during an Inner Council summit was performed with no other tools than martial arts and some kitchen implements.

In 478 a cell was apprehended in New Syrtis city on Mars, equipped with enough nanoweaponry to replicate a drone army. One member survived and was interrogated/scanned, giving support to suspicions that Black Fire had Gengineer Republic support. This began the cooling of the previously fairly normal relations between Mars and Jupiter.

The assassinations of Gengineer Republic Governing Council members Xao-Ni Olsen and Hubert Lobachevski in 496 may have been an attempt by the backers of the group to gain political supremacy. Over the next decade Black Fire stepped up its activities, using cutting-edge weaponry to harass Inner Council powers. In 506 they successfully redirected an ice core aimed for Mars towards the Earth-Moon system. It was destroyed by Cislunar defenses, but shortly afterwards one of the first major technoplagues occurred on the Moon. It is likely that the seeds were planted inside the core and the real plan had been for the Cislunar Alliance to accidentally disperse them across the entire system.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg
Minor revision by MacGregor 2018
Initially published on 18 February 2001.