Political Parties in the Federation

The names, ideologies, and memberships of the various factions in Federation politics tend to change once or twice a century, but in general they tend to fall somewhere along two axes of political stances. Agorist-Oikist, and Centralist-Localist.

Oikists favor laws and legal protections for the institution of the House, in general this means a preference for allowing Houses to police their own instead of involving the Civil Police, but the more extremist forms want to institute penalties for anyone leaving their House of birth without the primus’ permission.

Agorists on the other hand hold the individual’s ability to market their own skills or produce themselves to be sacrosanct. They prefer laws that make it easier for House members to seek gepatronoj outside their House, as well as infrastructure projects to aid commerce. Some extremists have attempted to establish colonies with no government or Houses, but they’ve inevitably collapsed into feudal anarchy as members’ tribal identities coalesced around their gepatronoj.

Centralists and Localists, sometimes known as Federalists and Confederalists, are pretty straightforward. The former favor the central Federal government in Alpha Centauri and its Emissaries filling more of the functions their party wants; while the latter want to leave it to the planetary, habitat, or continental government. Their primary concern, though, has been the wormhole network and monopole distribution. Wormholes enable regular commercial links between star systems but they also bring the system into the fold of the Federation, rather than the Federation simply having a presence in system via the Emissary and their garrison. In addition wormholes are incredibly expensive to produce, requiring the output of a small star to open. Monopoles allow irregular commerce between star systems via conversion drive and can be produced by planet-side particle accelerators, but the Federation has maintained a tight grip on the technical details behind their creation and has been slow to proliferate the necessary plants.

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Houses and Patronage

The clan-based economic system implied by the Federation’s profit-sharing schemes  bears further elaboration.

 

Imagine if your great-aunt or great-great-grandfather signed the lease on your home and could revoke it if you refused to join the rest of the family on a colony mission or didn’t want to mate with a member of a family they wanted to form an alliance with? And upon refusal you not only find yourself homeless, but nobody else will rent to your Houseless ass? Now imagine that you manage to find an employer who will vouch for you, but your contract with them requires you to do whatever they request, up to and including enlisting in the military or committing crimes? That’s what it means to live in a clan-based society like the Federation.

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Book Launch: Tales of the Para-Imperium

tales_of_the_para-imperium_cover_22-jan-2019

The compilation of the first three years of Para-Imperium stories and worldbuilding articles is finally available in both print paperback and ebook formats. For those who find it easier to read on an e-reader or phone, or on paper, than on a website. I can confirm that to be the case for myself at least.

Featuring a cover by Norman Rafferty of Ironclaw, Farflung, Myriad Song, and other RPG fame.

Amazon Kindle (ebook): https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Para-Imperium-Joel-Kreissman-ebook/dp/B07N298CY6/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1548455580&sr=1-3

Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794638458

Smashwords Ebook: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/919898

Includes such stories as:

Dandelion Seeds: The voyage of a seed ship carrying the legacy of Sol System, gone horribly wrong.

Family Ties: A detective story ala Altered Carbon, except with legal continuity identity.

Anthrophagy: The horrific account of the results of rampant nanotechnology, previously published in Thurston Howl’s Seven Deadly Sins anthology.

And FATE Core rules for roleplaying in the Para-Imperium universe.

Going to Aquatifur

I’ve recently been applying to local furry cons for a vendor (or Dealer’s Den) table so I can promote my work, and sell books. A couple days ago Aquatifur informed me that they had a last-minute cancellation and offered me a table.

So, I’ll be at Aquatifur in Wisconsin Dells, Chula Vista resort, January 11th to 13th hawking The Pride of Parahumans. Hopefully the cover to my story collection will be ready by then and it will be ready for print.

Feel free to come and see me.

Federation Countercultures: Cyberpunks

In the 21st century after leaving Sol, many things that troubled Earth in the 21st Century AD are practically unknown in the Federation of Parahuman Species. Poverty, war, mortality, there’s barely even any crime. So what do rebellious youths have to rebel against?

Stagnation. They might have nanofabricators that can turn a pile of dirt into a hovercraft in hours, but they’ve effectively reverted to an agrarian economy. Access to resources is primarily dependent on land, trade is a secondary concern. With resources, and thus social status, tied to land ownership power is concentrated in the hands of family elders who might live for millennia before their estates get redistributed to their hundreds of descendants.

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Utility Microbots, or Elemental Technomagic

The idea of “utility fog” dates back to an Old Terran idea for replacing vehicular safety restraints with a cloud of floating micro-machines that could interlock into an impromptu harness when needed. Later thinkers imagined using such machines to form tools or even perform open-air nanofabrication. As it turned out though, the vacuum chamber proved impossible to do without, but the potential for using microswarms as manipulatory tools was still worth exploration and the present-day Federation developed four broad classes of “utility bots” that are still in common use.

 

U-Fog: The “classic” form of U-Bot, these microbots are fine enough to be carried by a small breeze or lock together temporarily into microscopic propellers or sails for guided motion. These micro-motors cannot propel an object of any significant density in gravity, but they can form grapples, cushions, or momentary barriers capable of arresting motion. In a pressurized microgravity environment they can move dense objects or adhere a person’s feet to a surface, simulating gravity to an extent. In vacuum they are, of course, next to useless without air to carry them.

 

U-Water: Microbots suspended in liquid, this variety of U-Bot exhibits less mobility but more “strength” than fog. These bots can also exploit the surface tension of the liquid they’re suspended in to extend their area of effect much further than an equivalent volume of U-Fog. Usually the bots are concentrated in a relatively small volume of liquid for storage and then poured into a local source of fluid, even a natural pond or lake. While U-Water can’t perform nanofabrication without a vacuum chamber it is popular for repair work and macro-assembly, it can even seal injuries in first aid. In gravity the pool of U-Water must remain in contact with the ground or floor, but it can “reach up” or “climb” vertical surfaces to some extent. In microgravity U-Water tends to resemble a giant amoeba, reaching out pseudopods.

 

U-Sand: The largest variety of U-Bot, U-Sand components are on the scale of grains of sand and usually packed so densely that their swarms are visible to the naked eye. Small amounts may be used to form metamorphic tools that change shape at a moment’s notice, large amounts may even form temporary buildings. However, they are primarily used for excavation and construction, a swarm of U-Sand can grind away particles from sheer bedrock and reform the grains into concrete blocks. This process is slower than conventional construction but many spacers find it more practical to transport a few cubic meters of U-Sand than excavators and mixers. Some versions of U-Sand contain specialized bots with molecular assembly attachments and others that can lock together tightly enough to form a vacuum chamber, creating a field nanofabricator.

 

Energetic Bots: The original conception of Utility Fog imagined that the bots would be constructed from synthetic diamond. However, some critics of the idea pointed out that even crystalized, a cloud of what amounted to carbon dust would be extremely flammable. The concept was quickly revised to employ non-flammable corundum instead, but the original idea lived on in “Energetic” U-Bots or “E-Bots”. E-Bots can be patterned after any form of U-Bot and perform the same functions, provided an atmosphere deprived of oxygen, and carbon is cheaper than aluminum, but they are most famously weaponized. While any form of U-Bot can be used as a weapon in some manner, the spectacle from the combustion of E-Bots has lead many planetary governments to restrict them more heavily than corundum U-Bots.

 

Technomages: All but the most basic U-Bot configurations require a BCI to control. With mental commands U-Bots can rearrange themselves into any shape the user can imagine, within physical limits. Given that implants were already required to make the most effective use out of them, it was no surprise when somebody had the idea of installing U-Bot reservoirs in their own bodies. People with such reservoir implants often imagine themselves recreating the feats of wizards from fantasy novels, hence the moniker of “techno-mage”.

 

Cytoran, the Outworld of monsters and augmented heroes, has a fair number of Technomage Venturists who believe they are working real magic.

 

Technomage implants are typically installed in a limb, replacing most of the soft tissue between the bones of a forearm or lower leg and substituting the muscles with more compact synthetics. There are two general varieties of implant, reservoirs simply hold a quantity of U-Bots produced by an external device while fabbers contain a miniaturized nanofabricator specialized to produce one variety of U-Bot. Technomages with fabber implants will usually refer to themselves using one of the four elements of Ancient European proto-chemistry, “air mages” have U-Fog fabbers, “fire mages” will produce E-Bots, etc.

 

Cytoran’s Emissary distributes U-Bots through the temples dedicated to them and their Bureau Directors. Most of their priests have UBIs that can call upon the U-Bots stored in the temple whenever they’re on the grounds while Venturist priests get reservoir implants to use them in the field. Fabber implants are allowed, grudgingly, on the condition that the natives cannot understand how they work. However, technomages with fabbers, or “sorcerers”, are widely distrusted by the priesthood and the general public.

The Kitsune

Kitne, Huli-jin, shifters, cubi, whatever they’re called, this semi-secret society strikes fear in the hearts of overbearing Emissaries and cruel heads of house. Most of the public, however, see them as folk heroes of a sort, visiting punishment on those too well-connected for the legal system to touch. Given all they’ve done it’s a wonder that the Kitsune order hasn’t been rooted out and exiled yet.


The reasoning, like so many other things in the Federation, goes back to the Silver Houses. In the century following the Gene Wars, when the silver fox phenotype was re-emerging from the survivors of genus Argentum, one young vixen discovered that her parents had secretly altered her genes in-vitro to turn her fur black and white. The exact details of the genetic fraud vary from telling to telling, as the case files were sealed after dismissal from lack of evidence, even the vixen’s true name is unknown. What the stories do agree on is that her disgust with her family led her to assume a new name dredged up from the archives on Terran mythology, Kumiho.


As the years went on, Kumiho was attributed to the public relations downfalls of dozens, if not hundreds of corrupt politicians. She learned their dirty secrets through hacking, networking, and outright seduction, wearing a different face each time. Civil forces raided bodysculpting boutiques to find her, but none of them had any record of servicing any parahumans with the looks she’d been recorded with. The obvious conclusion was that she had assistants, the secrets posted by “Kumiho” must have been actually from a number of different people. But even then facial recognition drew a blank.


It wasn’t until two hundred years later that one of her followers revealed the truth. On a live stream from a dozen different cameras a doe transformed into a male weasel with four tails in a matter of minutes. As their fur changed color and their flesh and bones warped and popped they explained to the astonished press that they were a member of a secret society of cyborgs founded by Kumiho.

 

Their body had been laced with motile micromachinery that could reconfigure to alter their appearance with a signal from their BCI. When they had first joined the society their natural skin was replaced with an artificial substitute that could extend or withdraw fur with variable pigmentation at will. As they accomplished assignments their connective tissues were replaced with micromachines that could detach or attach on command and extra tails were granted to them to show their progression up the society’s hierarchy and store spare protoplasm. Kumiho, according to them, had ten tails and had progressed to the point where, it was rumored, her neurons had been replaced by microbots.

For reasons unclear, the civil guard were ordered not to move until this explanation was complete. At that point the speaker made their escape, disappearing into the crowd effortlessly. Shortly after, a group of senators introduced legislation specifically licensing the existence of the society, which they named the “Kitsune” order on the advice of Terran scholars, so long as they refrained from committing capital crimes and policed their own, which they seem to have agreed to. The few times a Kitsune was indicated to be involved in a murder or act of terror a shredded body stripped of all micromachinery was discovered in a ditch shortly after. There are even a few cases where mercantile houses have specifically sought out Kitsune as representatives, though there is the possibility that they’re merely copycats using knock-offs of the Kitsune cybernetics.

Federal Bureaus

As anti-corporate as the Pallene are the Praetor simply cannot be everywhere at once. While the Federation leaves a great deal to local governments to handle anything more than a light-second outside a planet or habitat with a population of 1,000 is their jurisdiction. The Federation also maintains a starport on the most populous body in a system and in the stargate (if present). For example, if Earth were part of the Federation Luna would be under Federal control until it attracted enough colonists to apply for statehood, while Phobos and Deimos would be Martian territory.
That is a great deal of space to adminster, as such the Praetor maintains several Federal Bureaus to act in their stead. Each of these Bureaus is led by an Executor appointed by the Praetor, usually on their prior performance within the Bureau though as always there are exceptions. Bureau employees tend to start out at the bottom and work their way up, but cronyism and nepotism are not unknown and a few houses are known for their employment in one Bureau or another.
Ungated systems also have a unique quirk, the Bureaus operating in such systems don’t normally answer to their Bureau superiors elsewhere in the Federation, but to the system’s Emissary who appoints the local directors much like the Praetor to the Executors.
Major Bureaus:
Bureau of Allocation: Responsible for collecting taxes and budgeting to the other Bureaus. Since collecting taxes from ungated systems is… difficult to say the least, the standard policy for such systems is to spend collected taxes on local projects or on portable assets such as qubits or starships.
Bureau of Defense: The Federal Guard and Civil Guards responsible for defending the Federation from threats both external and internal.
Bureau of Ecology: Evaluates planets for Parahuman inhabitation and approves terraforming projects.
Bureau of Memetic Health: Monitors the emergence and spread of memes that might impact the Federation’s cohesion. Calls on the Bureau of Defense when intervention in a meme carrier group is warranted, up to an including exile to the Outworlds.
Bureau of Transportation and Trade: Licenses conversion drive starships, produces the monopoles required for their reactors, and maintains the Starforge and the fleet of linelayers that produce the stargate network.
Bureau of Xenosophont Relations: Formerly the Bureau of Xenoarchaeology. Originally founded to study the remains of extinct alien civilizations, ever since contact with the Kershkans their mandate has been expanded to encompass contact with the Federation’s non-Terran client states.