The Discord Gate

Posted by: Zinovy Peikoff, ultimate mercenary <Info Msg Rep>
Those who glibly name the Discord Gate by its history of violence fail to see the metaphorical context of the actual nexus of conflict the gate embodies. The struggle for control of the Erisian Gate is reflective of the wider on-going battle between various ideological factions for the future of transhumanity. The weak-willed and disorganized anarchists who discovered the gate were the first to lose control of it, a clear sign that their philosophies are already collapsing under external pressure. The exhumans, who posit that transhumanity is fit only for subservience to their Machine Gods, briefly held the gate, but were forced to flee much in the same way that they have abandoned their own humanity. While the hypercapitalists now retain nominal control of the world, exploiting it ruthlessly, they fail to see their own weaknesses and to understand that their presence there is reliant on the support of the ultimates who enforce that control. The wise are aware that it is in fact the overhumanists, the ultimates who guard the gate from overhead, that are dominant in this situation. This is a sign of the enduring power of our remastered minds and bodies, that we will soon come to fulfill our heritage and steer the course of human history.

Eris and Dysnomia

The dwarf planet Eris lies 55 AU from the sun. Like other Kuiper Belt and Scattered Disk objects, it is a cold and barren mass of rock, water ice, and methane ice. Its surface gravity is a weak 0.068, roughly half that of Luna.
It is said that only the brave and foolish venture this far out. Here, the sun is small and insignificant, but the actions of the strong and free are powerful and potent.
Largely uninhabited, Eris’s major population center is Go-nin’s Torii complex and its nearby spaceport.
No other settlements are tolerated here, and space within 500 kilometers is restricted to Go-nin approved craft and closely monitored out to 500,000 kilometers or more.
The moon Dysnomia is home to Pharos, the base for ultimate operations in the Erisian system. From here, we protect the gate from those who would pervert its purpose. Though Go-nin considers it theirs, they would do well to consider that they operate here at our discretion. Without the overhumanists to protect them from our genetic inferiors, it is doubtful they could engage in the petty exploitation that marks the limits of their own imagination and potential.

Go-nin Group

The ruthlessness with which the Go-nin Group’s leadership pursues profit is to be admired. Their corporation is a well-oiled machine, tuned to the vision and interests of their directors. The other hypercorps they provide contracts to, each pursuing their own specific resource extraction, research, exploration, or colonization interests, pale in status to Go-nin. Yet the keiretsu is woefully limited, their strategy extending only to business and economics, and missing the larger picture of the future before us.
Though they have shirked the bonds of petty morality, they remain tied to outdated concepts of honor, and they do not strive for the genetic superiority that would mark them as true visionaries.

Sidebar: Go-nin Gate Ops

To: Mr. Tamahashi
From: Hiratsu Nomura
The honorable and esteemed Tamahashi-san,
I thank you for the opportunity to evaluate Go-nin Group’s holdings on Eris. Please review the summary of my findings at your pleasure. The full report can be found here.
Asset management designates the current value of the Torii facility at 154 billion credits. Even a conservative asset recovery rate of 5% would be below the strategic goal of 7%, however with an income of just over 2.4 billion this past year, the return rate of 1.6% is far below our expectations. I feel it is important that you be better informed what assets and liabilities we have associated with this resource.
The most extensive cost overruns and exaggerated expenses have arisen from extra security and rebuilding operations. The Torii complex has required elaborate extensions of its facilities in order to accommodate the extra traffic and logistic requirements of gate operations. Recent sabotage incidents and restructuring from past armed conflicts has required millions more in repair and reinforcement. The rates imposed on us by our contracted mercenaries continue to rise, and the extra expenses incurred from the numerous security incidents they have responded to and resolved have raised costs further. A larger in-house military presence would allow us to cancel this contract, offering savings of approximately 350 million credits a year.
Go-nin Group members continue to show mixed profitability when it comes to extrasolar initiatives. Kintaki Enterprises has had several successful colonization projects and has increased their market share for agricultural offerings by 4% since last year, while VB-Ganz GmbH has increased their profit margin 14% by cutting expenses and increasing sales of xenobiological-inspired drugs. Hondai, however, has seen its profits fall by nearly 5% due to logistics-chain issues in its heavy metal extraction operations. I suggest re-assigning Robert Richter, President of Hondai Eris.
Another significant shortfall is our direct income from gate operation contracts with strategic partners. The demands on gate availability have proven much lower than projected, and attempts to entice new contracts and partners have shown lackluster results. Our corporate account managers are convinced that the operating costs are simply too high for many of our prospective clients, and are investigating means to make our offers more competitive with TerraGenesis and Pathfinder. One promising initiative is to offer concessions on contracts that specifically pair clients with Go-nin Group members or their assets.
One final observation. Operation Icebreaker continues to be a major drain on Torii-assigned finances and assets. If this project does not show results soon, I strongly recommend we discontinue it before it hampers our situation further.
Your Loyal Servant,
Hiratsu Nomura

Sidebar: Interrogation

[Begin Simulspace Audio Transcript]
<Wha? Unh … Where am I?
>Shut up. From now on, you only respond to our questions. Got it?
<Or what? Wh—
>Five seconds, level 3.
<Aggghhh! Ow ow ow!Stop!
>Name?
<Ju—Justin Männikkö
>ID?
<Four five alpha tango seven foxtrot.
>Where were you posted, prior to the incursion.
<What?
>Seven seconds, level 5.
<Agggggghhhhh! The maze! In the maze! Sublevel thirteen. It was Clato and me.
>Describe what occurred.
<The alarms went off. We heard screams over the open channels, something bad was happening in the gate room. The entoptic feeds were so chaotic, we couldn’t quite tell what was going on. I heard a lockdown order, but it was immediately superseded. We got all sorts of confusing orders. Stay put, hold fast. Retreat to reinforced positions. Move down and engage the enemy. Must’ve been kaos AIs running rampant on the local mesh. Clato took off, went for reinforcements. I headed for the gate.
>You abandoned your post?
<Ye—No!I mean, we couldn’t tell what orders were legit. Our position was vulnerable, and we were getting some gruesome images on the tac feeds—bodies being torn in half by some sort of reptilian-looking things. I—I left because it looked like people needed help.
>Dereliction of duty filed, ignoring direct field commands filed. Give him level 9.
<Arrrrrgggghhhh! Ahhhh. Arrrgghhh. Agghh. No … please … please, no more.
>Continue. Tell me what you saw.
<I … I made it to the gate room. We were keeping them contained, but just barely.
>Keeping what contained?
<I—I don’t know. Exhumans maybe, hard to tell. Some looked like lizards. Others looked like, I’m not sure, bullfrogs or something. They were tough, well-equipped, hard to kill. They could jump, too. They were lethal to get close to, saw one disembowel an armored trooper. They—they were coming through the gate. They were everywhere, all over the ceiling and walls. We started dropping grenades into the room, but then they broke through.
>Destruction of corporate assets, filed. What did you do then?
<I barricaded myself in the control room with some others. But they started cutting through.
>What else can you tell us?
<I’m afraid I don’t remember anything else.
>All right, we’re through here then.
<Wait! What about my backup?
>Backup? Your corporate backups are subject to fulfillment of your contractual obligations, which you clearly violated with your dereliction of duty.
<What? No, wait—
[End Transcript]

The Overhumanists

The Pharos base is more than a military outpost. It is the focal point for the surging tendency among the ultimates that we call overhumanism. Considered one of the leading schools of thought in ultimate circles, overhumanism rejects the puerile and decadent philosophies of egalitarianism and humanism, instead embracing the potential for genetics and biotechnology to compensate for the shortcomings spread by certain of our species’ demographics. Equality is clearly a lie when a remastered transhumanity can boast physical and mental fortitude far beyond that of our feeble forebears. The time has come to embrace this superiority and place the future in stronger, more intelligent, and more willing hands.
The anarchists and other parasites of the outer system shrink in horror from this timeless truth. Labeling us “technofascists,” they ignore the degeneracy and natural inequalities that plague their own so-called utopias and reject any efforts to bring a more enlightened guidance towards transhumanity’s future. The only question among overhumanists is whether to seize the solar system from their hands or to leave them here to wallow in their own depravity, and instead to use the Erisian Gate to create a new era of overhumanism among the stars. Already some ultimates are establishing exoplanet outposts and paving the way towards this path.

Torii

The habitat Go-nin has built around the Erisian Gate is almost entirely underground, carved from methane ice. Only a spaceport, defensive batteries, and a few above-ground depots marks its location—and, of course, the massive crater half a kilometer deep that resulted when the gate was temporarily destroyed and the previous base eradicated. This crater has since been covered, and is now topped with a fresh layer of ice many meters thick.
The Torii settlement is composed of kilometers of tunnels and warrens, worming their way around the crater. Go-nin has carved out a new set of well-organized caves in the upper layers. These facilities house residential quarters, warehouses, science labs, communication centers, egocasting and resleeving chambers, medical bays, and military garages and barracks. Everything is managed efficiently and without fanfare, adhering to Go-nin’s stoic corporate culture. Though some areas are dedicated to the logistics of their hypercorp partners and contractors, the entire complex is strictly guarded and off-limits to outsiders.
Below these levels is a more chaotic labyrinth of frozen tunnels, as found here by the gate’s discoverers. Many of these lengths are still scorch-marked and bullet-pocked by conflicts of the past. Though Go-nin has carefully mapped this maze and laced it with mesh routers for easy navigation, it is not uncommon for equipment failures to leave some personnel lost and stranded in these depths for hours.
The gate chamber itself lies at the bottom of the crater, surrounded by several massive caverns filled with supplies, sensors, and staging equipment. The entrance to the gate room is marked by the impressive wooden torii that gives the habitat its name, a traditional Japanese gate, rescued from a shinto shrine from Earth and shipped here at great expense. The defensive emplacements around this gate are numerous and reinforced. It is no lie that at least one exhuman excursion has originated from the gate itself, and so Go-nin is quite careful to guard against another such invasion. A platoon of ultimate mercenaries remains permanently stationed nearby, ready to defend the installation and repel intruders as necessary.

Exhuman Issues

The threat posed by the exhuman militants in the Erisian system is sorely overstated. The few cells of these addled addicts and self-created monsters that posed a threat to the gate were mercilessly wiped out by ultimate soldiers. The few times they have dared approach the Erisian system since then, we have driven them away or destroyed them outright. The best these Robot God cultists can do is interfere with the occasional long-haul shipment or make temporary incursions to sabotage Go-nin’s operations. The fact that we have not yet eradicated them as a threat is simply a testament to their tenacity and proof that they lack the super-intelligence for which they strive; a more intelligent opponent would have realized the futility of their efforts long ago. The anarchists of Ilmarinen, still sore that they were forced to surrender the gate to their betters, are just as annoying with their periodic mesh subversions and isolated incidents of terrorism. In time, the actions of the bright and bold will outshine the petty antics of these inferiors.

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