The Fissure Gate

Posted by: Kieran Glavin, Oberanian hydroponics engineer <Info Msg Rep>
Located on Uranus’s frozen moon Oberon, the Fissure Gate is valued highly by the autonomists of the outer system.

Oberon

This cold and distant moon of Uranus is composed half of rock and half of ice. Its surface is a pockmarked mass of craters and canyons—an easy landscape to get lost or hide in. It is home to the anarchist spaceport and outpost of Chat Noir, housing about 8000 transhumans. Another 2000 or so are clustered around the moon in small tin can outposts or at the Fissure Gate facilities.
Because of Uranus’s sideways tilt, the hemispheres of Oberon alternate spending 42 years in complete darkness or complete sunlight. Though Chat Noir and the Fissure Gate are currently on the sunny side, the equinox is approaching in a few years, after which they will be plunged into darkness for four decades. Oberon has a surface gravity of 0.035, making it a microgravity environment.

Chat Noir

Chat Noir has the flavor of a frontier town, despite the high-tech amenities. A dome habitat with a subterranean warren of ice tunnels, like most anarchist outposts various public services and infrastructure duties are handled by collectives, syndicates, or ad hoc working groups. There are no laws or legal authorities, but reputation matters and the locals are quick to organize a community response to anyone that overstays their welcome or threatens the safety of the populace.
Chat Noir is also the primary stopover point for long-haul transfers in and out of the Uranian system, so there is a regular rotation of new ships and their crew through the town. Though most of these are autonomist, there are occasional visits from hypercorp missions, ultimates, or even brinkers on re-supply runs.
Given the importance of the Fissure Gate, and the fact that it remains the only gate in completely free hands, the Chat Noir anarchists are wary and suspicious of hypercorp personnel and other nonautonomists. Though a few inner system hypercorps (mostly Extropian) maintain relations with the Love and Rage Collective, along with some Titanian microcorps, there have been enough hypercorp attempts to sabotage operations here or even seize the gate outright to keep the anarchists well-armed, concerned, and prepared. Almost the entire settlement can be quickly mobilized as an ad hoc militia. Incoming spacecraft are scanned at long ranges by
probes to ensure they are not carrying nukes, and again when they arrive to ensure they are not carrying any other WMDs or invasion forces. The airspace for 50 kilometers around the Fissure Gate is strictly off-limits, with Love and Rage shooting anyone who violates it down. A wary eye is also kept on any craft approaching within 500,000 kilometers of the moon. Though the Oberanian anarchists do not discuss their defensive networks, autonomist weapon and defensive designers from around the solar system have contributed their work to Chat Noir and Fissure Gate’s safety and longevity.
As a settlement, Chat Noir is slowly but steadily growing in size, given the attractive lure of the gate. The habitat already boasts extensive egocasting and resleeving facilities, and the spaceport is ramping up to become an even more sophisticated transportation hub. Entire collectives and work groups have relocated here to help the Oberanians meet the demands of their growing community.

Love and Rage

The Love and Rage Collective was formed out of necessity from the original anarchist working group that assessed the gate discovery and brought the gate to active status (with the help of some argonaut gate experts and open source gate protocols and control units). Though originally an open group that swelled its ranks with various anarchist scientists, engineers, explorers, and administrative organizers who took a keen interest in the gate and its potential uses, it has since become a closed group that takes in few new members. Though there is some concern in autonomist circles about the potential pitfalls of the collective accumulating too much power and influence, the collective has so far done an admirable job in making their operations fair, transparent, and accountable to their autonomist comrades. Should the collective start behaving in an unprincipled manner or become too entrenched in their position, it is likely they would receive heavy censure from other anarchists and would quickly be ousted.

The Fissure Facility

Love and Rage has dug out an entire facility in the Oberonian ice, above and around the Fissure Gate itself, capped by a set of surface domes. Though not as large as the hypercorp gate complexes, it is just as high-tech and well-defended. The habitat is pressurized for atmosphere and heated, though the gate room itself is kept at a deliberately cold temperature.
One of the surface domes is actually non-human in origin. The heavily-scorched structure is believed to be the partial hull of a destroyed alien spacecraft, found drifting in orbit around an unremarkable exoplanet. Though it had to be cut into pieces to be brought through the gate, and they had to enlarge one of the elevator shafts to bring it to the surface, the anarchists succeeded in bringing it back, reconstructing it, and sealing it for habitation. Known as Enemy Mine, it is now the most respected saloon in the Neptunian system and features a fine assortment of anarchist beers.
The facility goes quite deep, down 500 meters underground to where the Fissure Gate stands. A memorial to the eleven gatecrashers who died when they first traversed here from the Pandora Gate is set off to one side of the entrance to the gate room. Across from it, another chamber is dedicated as an open “memory room,” where gatecrashers leave real and virtual testimonials, mementos, artwork, and graffiti about their travels, experiences, and lost comrades. Here one can find dried flowers from an alien moon, entoptic displays of alien vistas, a library of XP-casts from different missions, and tear-drenched hand-written letters to lost friends and lovers.

The Anarchist Approach to Gatecrashing

In accordance with the collective’s libertarian socialist ideals, anyone is free to use the gate, with the exception of those who pursue commercial interests or who might endanger the gate or others. One additional requirement the anarchists place on missions through this gate is that any rewards they reap be shared with transhumanity, rather than sequestered for private gain. This effectively bars hypercorps from using the gate, though a few have done so anyway for missions that weren’t specifically for-profit.
In practice, if you want to use the gate, you simply register your mission with Love and Rage and wait your turn, unless you have good reason to argue for priority placement—and the rep to back to it up. Unlike the frenzied schedules and operations of the various hypercorp gates, Love and Rage operations are more relaxed and laid back, though still with a high degree of efficiency, planning, and safety measures. The sheer volume of missions here is significantly less. Love and Rage also provides only minimal support for various missions; gatecrashers are largely expected to be self-reliant, though they may always call in favors and ask for help when needed.
One notable difference with Love and Rage is that the anarchists will take the time to resolve an issue or conduct a rescue, even if it means bumping the schedule. Mutual aid to gatecrashers in need is considered a stronger priority than timetables, and the collective actually includes buffer time in the schedule for such situations.
Most of the missions through the Fissure Gate are exploratory or research missions. Many research outfits who cannot afford the exorbitant gate time fees elsewhere come here to work with the anarchists instead. Per their requirement for sharing the data with all of transhumanity, this means the anarchists and other outer system autonomists are often able to reap the rewards from these experiments and studies before the hypercorps of the inner system can.
There is also a steady assortment of autonomist extrasolar colonization projects underway, if nothing else just to ensure that the Consortium does not come to dominate the entire galaxy. There is a stronger emphasis on making these colonies more self-sufficient from the start, however, so they are not perpetually reliant on support from Chat Noir. More than a few religious cults and odd brinker groups have passed through here, unable to afford the inner system gates but eager to find their own world on which they could start their own society, far away from the influence of others.
Given the accessibility of this gate, there is a small but interesting number of missions that fall outside the standard routines. These range from artists installing their creative pieces in lonely extrasolar environments, where no living creature may stumble across them again for centuries, if ever, to more whimsical matters like rousing easter egg hunts or similar games on alien worlds. A few biohacking groups have been making use of the Fissure Gate to find lifeless worlds on which they compete to establish new ecosystems with their own neogenetic creations. A well-loved anarchist orchestra (without a conductor, of course) schedules a yearly concert in a different stunning alien environment each time, drawing hundreds of gatecrashers for the performances. One rowdy group of anarchist gatecrashers chooses different exoplanets for periodic games of capture the flag.

[ Home | Setting Information | Pandora Gates ]