The ship is ruled by many factions. Some have actively managed membership; others just exist, as they have always existed.

The Major Factions

Everyone belongs to a sector. Others associate themselves more closely with their department. Of course, not everybody allows where they live and work define them. Some people have a cause, a raison d'être — a philosophy to live by if you will. These people dedicate themselves to achieving their goals and the impact of their work has shaped culture across the whole ship.

Of course, a cult of fanatics makes a fantastic powerbase for the less ethically inclined, and on the back of these noble endeavors have clung some of the most notorious parasites in the ship's history. And like many cults, some philosophies will not tolerate you leaving or failing to demonstrate faith in their ideals. Do not become a member lightly.

OOC Note: You may join more than one faction if you wish, but there may well be IC repercussions for doing so. Different factions have different expectations of their members, both in terms of behaviour and ability to render assistance to the faction.

Bureau of Cartography

Over the years, Asimov has undergone significant changes to its internal architecture. Some sectors have become inaccessible or uninhabitable due to malfunction, others have had compartments redesigned, repurposed, merged, or removed entirely. In other areas, transit systems have been altered far beyond the original routes and specifications, and those automated transit links that still function work on an erratic schedule at best. Due to a combination of several design oversights and tampering, the Computer's maps of Asimov have become woefully inadequate, to the extent that many of the inhabitants feel its directions are frequently more dangerous than helpful.

The entirely unofficial Bureau of Cartography was founded in order to try and rectify this problem and create a definitive map of the ship. Based in White Sector, they have been sending out surveying parties throughout the ship for several generations - a thankless task, given the scope of the project. Despite a mortality rate that many would find off-putting, the Bureau's intrepid explorers have made a number of significant advances, including documenting the schedule of the elusive Core Monorail and mapping the Compartment 2-D-1525 ventilation shaft network.

The Children of Earth

The Power of Earth must Rise Once More.
Beholden to no Machine. Beholden to no Outsider.
And this time it Shall stand Eternal.
We Children of Earth shall ensure it.

The Children of Earth are a group of politically-aligned individuals who believe in keeping Humanity pure and maintaining the old traditions of Earth. They blame a covert alien race, The Outsiders, for the destruction of Earth. Furthermore, they believe that those in power were too distracted with the pursuits of technology to notice the imminent attack, and likewise too corrupted by their technology to respond in kind. The solution is clear, Humanity must be kept Pure, the strongest bloodlines preserved and bred, with reliance on technology minimized.

The Children view any who have taken The Machines into themselves as impure, in need of saving. Unless of course they are genetically abnormal, in which case they are a waste of the ship's resources and should be recycled for the good of Humanity.

Many members of The Children view Computer with a large degree of paranoia; they can't remove their dependence upon it, or their lives from its control. However this doesn't stop them from trying. The most extreme will remove or vandalise all remote monitoring devices in their quarters, or try to rely on their own “crops” grown in hydroponics bays they have taken over as their own, send physical communications to avoid Computer spying on them, and otherwise cutting IT out of their lives as much as possible. This causes much consternation amongst Harmony members tasked with keeping morale up.

The Cult of the Singularity

Humanity was on the cusp of a revolution. The next step in their evolution. A point where technological development went vertical. The Singularity.

And in a great cosmic joke it was taken away from us just as we were about to grab it. But Humanity doesn't give up. Humanity doesn't surrender. Humanity will not go quietly into the night. A great Ark was built, filled with the sum of their knowledge, and it was cast adrift into the great ocean of stars. Where it lands, a great civilization will spring forth from its seed. Humanity shall reign again, and this time they will achieve their destiny. But that is for the future.

The Cult of the Singularity is for the now. Our purpose is to preserve the knowledge of our destiny, the knowledge of this ark, to see it safely across the stars, to reach our destiny. For you see, that Ark, that Seed, like all seeds, has but a limited amount of stored resource, of power, of capacity. It must wait for a fertile home before it can spring forth and grow tall and strong. We must patiently await the right time, preserve that spirit and knowledge that must be preserved, and be happy with that, confident in the knowledge that the Singularity is coming, that Humanity will achieve its very Destiny.

Members of the cult dedicate their time to the preservation of faith in the singularity, the preparation of plans and guides for achieving it as soon as possible after plantetfall, to maintaining the vast archives of knowledge, and attempting to recover any that has been lost over the years as ship systems failed, as great galleries of the ship are vandalised by those who don't appreciate their true purpose.

The Followers of the Executive

The Executive created the Ship and the Computer.
The Executive has a plan.
We may not see all of the plan, but we must play our part.
We must keep records, that the Executive may learn of what we do.
The Executive is leading us to a better place, though we must die before we reach it.
All praise the Executive.

The followers of the Executive are a religious group that are said to date back to Pre-Ship days (which is considered a blasphemy in itself by several other groups). They are relatively peaceful, as such things go, and are even relatively polite about unbelievers — though they will of course try to convince them of the way of the Executive.

Additionally, as the Executive requires complete records of the ship's history, the Followers have become the unofficial chroniclers and archivists of the ship. They greatly object to any records being destroyed or altered, and believe it is essential that everything be documented. This occasionally leads to problems, when a chronicler attempts to publish information that certain others would much rather be kept secret.

The Followers also have a comprehensive programme to maintain the skills, the folklore, and songs that are passed down only by word of mouth. Each follower typically knows a wide range of crafts that are useless given the existence of fabricators, or indeed the lack of spare raw materials for crafts. They will often spend many hours telling stories that they have themselves been told; stories of which Computer admits no record.

The penultimate line of the Executive doctrine has spawned a splinter group who believe that guiding people towards death will allow them to go to a better place. As the Computer is distinctly not in favour of ship-wide slaughter, this group focus themselves on counselling those about to be retired, as well as the seriously ill or those who have lost a friend or relative. Computer's last review of their Psych files suggested that they pose no particular danger to the Ship or people aboard.

The Followers of the Executive hold particular enmity for the Cult of Singularity, those blasphemers who seek and hoard knowledge for its own sake, rather than preserving it for the honour of the Executive.
On the other hand, the Friends of Computer are merely misguided; they see the Executive's greatest work and mistake it for the Executive itself.

Cosa Nostra

“Oh, him? He's one of those Cosa Nostra ones. Sell his own kidney if he thought it'd get him something, he would. Sell yours first, though. Lie, cheat, steal, kill - ain't nothing that lot won't stoop to!”

Honour. Respect. Friendship. These are the core tenets of Cosa Nostra. This group is notoriously difficult to join, yet the rewards are worth it. As long as you retain honour and respect, you will never be without friends. And a lot of those friends are in high places. Of course, you will be expected to use your own skills and influences to help your friends in Cosa Nostra. Refusal or failure would be upsetting.

Outsiders are aware of the Cosa Nostra, but it is seen as a shadowy organisation and there are more rumours floating around than real knowledge. Various important people are almost certainly members, but you wouldn't want to accuse them openly. Cosa Nostra are a ruthless crime syndicate; their enemies tend to have brutal 'accidents', and it's generally better to keep your head down and hand over resources when they come asking. Harmony occasionally try to stamp the Cosa Nostra out, but as they don't use the Computer to register their membership, it's not so easy.

The rumoured head of Cosa Nostra is Nicola Viteri, a skilled surgeon.

Friends of Computer

Computer will save and guide us. It is the shepherd and we the sheep.
Computer knows all, sees all, hears all. It can enumerate all our sins.
Computer is the alpha and the omega. It must be obeyed in all things.

— excerpt from the Litany of Truths

These are by far the most numerous belief group on board – even those who owe their main loyalty to other groups find it impossible to deny their basic creed. The Ship is all, it is our world, it keeps us safe. The Computer is all, it watches for us, it takes care of our every need. Love and protect the Ship and Computer, and they will love and protect you. The keenest members of this group believe that the Ship *IS* all – that we have always been on the Ship, and always will be. Tales of old Earth, or our destination, are children’s stories, myths, nothing more, and those who believe in them are mocked. To and From are irrelevant. There is only us, and the Void.

Because the Computer is wise and all-knowing, any and every order given by the computer is sacred and must be carried out immediately and without fail, even if it is one that non-believers might consider nonsensical or unimportant. Sometimes, followers of the Computer hear that there are those who commit the ultimate sin of Hacking, of interfering with the Computer itself. How dangerous, how foolish, how heretical and disrespectful, to meddle with something so far beyond the understanding of mere humans! Any Hackers caught by the Followers of Computer receive extremely severe punishment, often in the form of extremely painful death.

Minor Factions

There are other factions on the ship. Less popular, maybe, but nevertheless they are part of Ship life. You can join these if you like, but they aren't for everyone.

The Stanford Conspiracy Theory

Mocked and derided by many, those who subscribe to the Stanford Conspiracy Theory maintain that Asimov is not, in fact, a spacecraft at all, but is actually a highly complex and unethical sociological experiment being conducted on Earth. They make the claim that the experiment has been going on for three or four generations at most, and that the first generation were brainwashed or duped into thinking that the ship was genuine; furthermore, they maintain that a number of the more problematic system malfunctions and bugs in recent years are the result of deliberate actions on the behalf of the “Experimenters”, who observe everything that occurs within the ship and control the Computer. Some insist that the Experimenters have arranged for those who have gotten too close to the truth, or who have attempted to escape the experiment, to have unfortunate fatal accidents.

The Compartment 2-B-3352 Incident that occurred twenty years ago, is frequently cited as evidence for the Experimenters' interference. The official story is that an attempt by several conspirators to build an escape pod ended in tragedy following an accidental hull breach that forced the Computer to seal the compartment. Advocates of the theory maintain, however, that the Experimenters flooded the compartment with explosive gases in order to assassinate the conspirators and prevent the escape.

The advocates of the Stanford Conspiracy Theory have no central leadership, and tend towards factionalism and bitter arguments over the minutiae of their theories. The Computer occasionally calls especially-outspoken conspiracy theorists in for psych evaluations, but in general they are ignored unless they cause trouble.

Rumours persist of a militant group who have taken to trying to recreate the escape pod plan in an attempt to undermine the experiment. The Computer has stated that these rumours have been analysed and found to be of minimal concern, but reminds citizens that removing resources from the ship will not be tolerated.

The Order

The others are chaos. A disaster waiting to happen. A waste of resources.
Only through order can Humanity maximize its chances for survival. Seek order in all things. Follow your commanders. We are but cogs in a machine. Do not cause friction, lest the machine break.
— Creed of the Order

The Order is a strictly regulated society situated in enclaves across the ship. To enter their territory is to enter a seemingly different world. Everywhere gleams as if it were new; everything has its place; everybody has their place. To a certain type of mind it seems like Eden. But the price is a suppression of individuality. Run like an army, a strict chain of command is in place, strict schedules must be adhered to. In the words of its detractors, it is a hive.

The Order apparently seek to control the “important” areas of the ship, for if they let “The Chaos” claim them, who knows what damage may be done. They allow others to use those areas, but keep a strict watch - they cannot risk damage to the ship that might otherwise ensue. Usually their eccentricities are tolerated, but sometimes having someone watching you keenly while using the sector's parts fabricator can be unnerving.

The Keepers of the Quiet Places

When one comes upon an apparently undiscovered area, do open your eyes; it is not uncommon to find a small shrine to the place - a collection of small items gathered from the locality and laid in a geometric pattern. This is a sign that the place is under the protection of the Keepers — only a fool would desecrate such a place.
—A Young Explorer's Guidebook

Within the depths of the ship lie entire sectors that have lain undisturbed for centuries. To visit them is to discover the mind of Computer itself. The silence of the vast storage caverns, the solitude of the dead compartments, the vast majesty of plant life grown out of control. The Keepers are a mystery cult who revere such sacred places, leading away those who would seek to lead the masses unto them. The discovery of such places should be an act of personal revelation, not something to fill a spare hour with.

The Keepers of Time

At the heart of the ship is the most accurate atomic clock ever created by man. While ship subsystems may run according to lesser timepieces, this is the Clock; critical functions and the ship's log run according to the time that the Clock measures.

A monastic order, the Keepers of Time, arose around the Clock. They style themselves as its guardians (though they're entirely unnecessary since the Computer is more than capable of keeping the Clock safe) and worship it as the ship's one link to reality, by which all else is measured. Without the Clock they would be adrift in an endless void; with it, they're adrift in an endless void but they know what time it is.

The Keepers of the Clock are vehemently hostile to the Stanford Conspiracy as even considering the possibility that the Clock may, in any way, be inaccurate or wrong is deep heresy. And woe betide anyone who answers the question of what time it is with some bland estimation like “about half-past”.

factions.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/03 19:39 by gm_jonathan
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