Title: Transhuman Aliens

Series Title: Mass Effect/ Eclipse Phase (MEEP)

Author: curiousyellow

COPYLEFT:

I don't own any IP involved in this work of fiction. Everything here should qualify as a parody. If you don't get the joke, then you're probably a lawyer. It is very dry humor. Also, I disavow the legitimacy of IP as a legitimate form of property. Do with this as you like. For more information, please read "Against Intellectual Monopoly" available for free at: (CENSORED BY SITE?).

METADATA:

This is a piece of fiction derived from the Eclipse Phase game I used to run. It's core theme: "What would happen if Transhumans from Eclipse Phase had their First Contact with the Space Opera Mass Effect setting during the Relay 314 Incident?" Continuity ends pretty much immediately, but people seem to think it's interesting anyway. If you hate this genre or kittens, you should leave immediately and go reread your Spock/Voldemort slash fics you love so much.

Eclipse Phase is amazing, check out their website: (CENSORED BY SITE?)

It is also CC-licensed, so PDF redistribution is permitted. Go google "eclipse phase pdf" and you can get a legal free copy for yourself.


Chapter 0:

"A Matrons Summary to Her Daughters (to be published in Household Digest)"

In the dawn of the modern Era, we had a galactic government, galaxy-wide FTL transportation, and our gravest concerns were about taxes. That all changed just over ten years ago... when we first met them... the aliens.

It's not a word that gets thrown around lightly in a galaxy containing dozens of species and civilizations, but they are "alien" through and through. Immortal, variable, inconsistent-nothing we knew prepared us for meeting them. Not the Turians during the Relay 314 Incident, not the Asari when the Diplomatic Mission disappeared into radioactive vapors, not the Salarians when their STG teams were caught by a sentient starship/office-building, not the Citadel before it disappeared.

The aliens word for themselves is strange too: "Transhumanity". Strange because we had to ensure we were translating it right more than once. "Humanity" in their tongue means something like "people" in my own, and it would refer to them all like "Asari" or "Krogan" refer to their respective races. That part is simple. "Trans-" is a modifier of words in their language, meaning "across", "through", or "change/transfer". When you put them together, you get nonsense. You can't call yourselves something like that with a straight face. One of the heretical researchers on Illium interviewed them to ask about it once. The response she got was: "Transhumanity are the people of change. We call ourselves this because we are very much in metamorphosis. What will we be when we are done? Who knows...? The answers I have seen are not my answers."

This philosophical load of bull has attracted the attention of too many. Admirers, competitors, it doesn't matter. Everyone who pays them the least attention has an opinion about Transhumanity. Not the least for the way that they and their philosophic dross have come to be so important in a time of change and upheaval.

As I'm sure I don't have to tell you, the Citadel disappeared without trace ten years ago, with all hands aboard. The Council vanished, the Fleet Headquarters vanished, and the heart of the Relay Network vanished. Immediate consequences were a severe interruption of trade and transit. With the Citadel gone, the galaxy-spanning Relay Network was broken into dozens of disconnected Spur Networks. Asari space was isolated in a way it hasn't been for thousands of years, back when we first walked among the stars. Interruptions in trade and sudden isolation from the community at large caused mass panic. Calls for help and guidance from the Council fell on deaf ears. Neighbors turned on one another when supplies that they had never thought to stockpile ran out. With Citadel Fleet unable to intervene, piracy thrived. Governments lost control over their people. The Citadel Council and the alliances it represented were dead.

In the decade that followed, we have done much to rebuild. Strong isolationist tendencies drove people stuck in a Spur Network to form their own governing bodies and militaries. The Asari city-states did quite well in this regard, falling back on ancient social structures to guide us even as we reestablished our civilization. The Turians likewise fell back on their ancient clan/colony structures. Larger-scale reintegration beyond the local Spur Network is much harder going though, even for ancient allies among the city-states.

Transgalactic trade is only just starting to recover. Though it took the better part of two years just to start bridging the Spur Networks on a regular basis, long term trade routes are being plotted out between adjacent Spur Networks. The journey is a long one, typically taking three months of transit-time to cross the gap between networks the long way, by flying from the closest adjacent Relay across empty space to another in a different network. However, with the breakdown in the Relay Network, the balance of trade has dramatically shifted. Goods that were once only economical to produce elsewhere suddenly need to be made locally, as well as the overall cost of shipping and manufacturing goods has drastically risen. It seems that the only industry experiencing a true boom is the H3 Fuel Industry. Supplies of H3 and EEZO never seem to be sufficient to meet demand, and the price of each keeps going up.

The real annoying part about what's happened since everything fell apart is how well the rest of the galaxy seems to be doing despite our hardships. With the Council gone, the Krogan are expanding like they just got done killing all the Rachni again, and the pirates out in the Terminus Systems are looking more and more like legitimate governments to the poor people they "tithe" from. Those smug Quarians have set themselves up as the new merchant and transport companies. The lot of them are just exploiting our temporary weakness to reposition themselves where they can exact revenge on us for centuries of perceived mistreatment.

As for the troublemakers themselves, Transhumanity has been strangely quiet. Their only contact with the city-state I live in during the last 10 years has been when we turned away a merchant convoy. What they are doing, I haven't the slightest idea. Official word from the Turians is that they are "contained" behind Relay 314 and only Transhumans who were already on this side of the Relay when the Citadel was lost are still in former Citadel Space. That's why you should...

[[-Signal Interrupt Caught: SIGNAL-4 STREAM REDIRECT-]]

...This interruption brought to you by SURTHEIM LOGISTICS: "When you want it moved faster than light, you want SURTHEIM!"...

Transhuman dross indeed. Why the Turians continue to deny our existence being beyond their control, I have no idea. They cling desperately to their order, so maybe it scares them to see the cracks in their foundation. Speculation.

Truth can be frightening. I'm here to give you a little of it. There's big things happening! You can be a part of it too. Leave the false comfort of whatever city-state you're currently in. Point your browser at one of the linked addresses, and connect to our Proxies. Bypass the censored media you're stuck with, and come hear the truth. Your government has taken a page from the Batarian play-books. Nothing your media gives you is true. Reject their memes! Grab some of your own!

...And now back to your regularly scheduled "Household Digest" article. Who reads that crap?...

[[-Redirect Halt-]]

...That's why you shouldn't worry about Transhumans. Wherever they are, whatever they are doing, they can't reach us here at home. We can safely stand together, and remember that whatever hardships we've had to endure, we are still the oldest and strongest civilization in the galaxy. There is nothing that we haven't overcome to be where we are, and we shall continue to do as we have always done before: overcome!


(The following text is quoted from the Eclipse Phase website, and provides a nice summary of the Eclipse Phase setting by the publishers, Posthuman Studios. Since I can't link directly to them on this site, please look them up yourselves. This text is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License)

Humanity stands on the cusp of a new age, with accelerated technological growth converging toward a singularity point, promising an undreamt-of future. Despite the ecopocalypse and social upheavals on Earth, humanity has conquered the solar system and partially terraformed Mars. Advancements in biotechnology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science have transformed our lives. Everyone is wirelessly networked with the world around them, AIs process vast amounts of information, and nano-fabrication enables people to "print" complex devices from the molecular level—at home. Biotechnology allows people to genefix, enhance, and clone their bodies, while others pursue body modifications to adapt to new environments or make themselves into something no longer quite human. People's minds and memories can be digitized, uploaded, transferred over long distances, and downloaded into new bodies (biological or synthetic). Death has been defeated—for those who can afford it.

From within, disaster struck. Transhumanity reaped the rewards of its arrogance when conflict spiked between the battered nations of Earth, already weakened by decades of climate catastrophes and other disruptive factors. Rampant netwars soon exploded into physical conflicts with spiraling body counts. In the midst of these aggressions, a group of military AIs known as TITANS quietly achieved full sentience and autonomy, and rapidly began exponentially incrementing their own intellectual growth. The AI intelligences spawned by this hard-takeoff singularity quickly turned against transhumanity, enveloping the system in unprecedented levels of violence, disaster, and warfare. What began as a whirlwind of conflict between political factions, revolutionaries, and hypercorps soon escalated into a struggle between man and machine.

In just a few years, transhumanity was nearly wiped out with nuclear strikes, biowarfare plagues, destructive nanoswarms, infowar attacks, mass uploads, and other unexplained singularity events, ripping the superpowers of old to pieces. Our planetary home—Earth—was transformed into a toxic and strange hellhole, while many major habitats were left frozen sarcophagi in the vacuum of space. Just as quickly as they came, the TITANS disappeared, taking millions of uploaded minds with them, leaving behind a network of wormhole gateways. Known as Pandora Gates, these poorly-understood devices allow instantaneous teleportation to distant star systems—often one-way and/or fatal. Though only a handful of Pandora Gates are known to exist—each highly contested—the foolish, brave, curious, and desperate are already risking certain death to enter and explore what lies beyond.

In the aftermath of the Fall, transhumanity lives on, divided into a patchwork of hypercorp combines, survivalist stations, transhuman faction species, and city-state habitats. Under the oppressive police states of immortal inner-system oligarchies, advanced technologies remain highly restricted, and refugee infomorphs are held in virtual slavery or resleeved in robotic bodies and forced into indentured labor. In the outer system, rebel transhuman scientists and techno-anarchists struggle to maintain a new society—from each according to their imagination and to each according to their need. And on the fringes and in the niches lurk networked tribes of political extremists, religious fanatics, criminal entrepeneurs, and bizarre posthumans, among other, stranger, and more alien things ...

Though most claim the Fall was carefully orchestrated by the out-of-control TITANS, others whisper that the driving powers behind the wars—both AI and transhuman—were infected by a mutating virus with multiple infection vectors—biological, information, nano—dubbed the Exsurgent virus. Whatever its source, this virus has been known to sometimes transform its victims into something unexplainable ... something monstrous and reality-altering. Whatever the truth, the remnants of the TITANS and this virus were left to the desolated ruins or driven to the edges of the system, where they remain hidden away in dark corners, quietly waiting to infect the minds of the scavengers and explorers who find them ...