Octavia

Allegiance: Morningstar Constellation
Primary Languages: Cantonese, English, French
With a population of half a million, Octavia is half again the size of the next largest aerostat. It is the capital of the Morningstar Constellation as well as the planet’s primary spaceport. In structure, it resembles a huge, elaborate, and relatively wide inverted cone. The interior is even more spacious than the other aerostats, since it was designed for both comfort and to impress visitors to Venus. Octavia has extensive housing and entertainment facilities for tourists, including its two nearby cloud diving nets and elaborate and somewhat fanciful docks for passenger airships and balloons.
Octavia is a thriving metropolis and the only truly cosmopolitan city on Venus. Octavia hosts embassies from the Planetary Consortium and Lunar-Lagrange Alliance, as well as smaller embassies and offices from most major hypercorps and several major outer system polities. Politically, Octavia has the closest ties to the Planetary Consortium of any aerostat, but Octavians are also proud of their independence. It is also the center of the on-planet portion of the Venusian terraforming effort.
Octavia is governed by Halis Sapien, the charismatic and genderless individual who was one of the major members of the coalition that created the Morningstar Constellation. Halis is exceptionally popular and loved and admired by almost everyone on Octavia. It is likely that Halis will remain mayor of Octavia for the foreseeable future.
In addition to being a center for tourism and interplanetary trade and diplomacy, Octavia is also home to the Nimbus hypercorp and the neo-synergists.

Nimbus

Nimbus was one of the frst hypercorps to base its operations on Venus, settling on Octavia well before the Fall, and is a strong supporter of the Constellation’s independence and the ATI. They are responsible for setting up and maintaining the satellite communications and farcasting grid that allows the various Constellation aerostats and orbital habitats to mesh together seamlessly with almost no lag. They also supplied the technology to secure the Star Council’s internal communications and have sponsored several Constellation initiatives to get new Venusian hypercorps off the ground.
From Firewall’s perspective, Nimbus’s presence here calls for extra scrutiny. For starters, they have a number of premier research parks and labs scattered throughout the Constellation, developing the cutting edge of communications technology. Though conspiracy theorist claims that Nimbus installs backdoors and monitoring capabilities in its products are likely spurious and stemming from negative advert-memes from rivals, the fact that many Firewall ops rely on Nimbus technology cannot be overlooked. Nimbus has open-sourced a number of their projects and releases, however, allowing us to vet the security and make our own modifications.
Another concern, however, is Nimbus’s relations with the Factors. It seems almost certain that Nimbus is buying plans for advanced electronics from the Factors to help their work on both farcaster design and mesh interfaces. This adoption of alien technology is something to monitor, as is the extra attention Nimbus is receiving from rivals because of it.

The Neo-Synergists

The fresh arrival of the controversial neo-synergists on Octavia has been a common media feature in recent months. Despite rampant speculation and being the source of many jokes, the neo-synergists have been largely welcomed to the Constellation with open arms and their progress and growth watched with interest. Most recently, the neo-synergists accepted an invitation from Jaseva Khol, the head of Nimbus R&D, to collaborate on a new headware communications project.

Solarchive Search: Neo-Synergists

The neo-synergists are an offshoot of the experimental colony on the exoplanet Synergy. After half a decade of accidental isolation, the Synergist colonists, who were equipped with experimental mesh implants, developed a group mind (see: Synergists).
While most Synergists seem unwilling to leave the exoplanet and cut themselves off from the colony mind, a small group of half a dozen made the brave leap to return to the solar system. Though they remain linked as a small cell, these self-exiles suffered several psychological issues from their separation and also encountered a large amount of bias and suspicion from the Lunars to whom they returned. Accepting an invitation from a group of interested researchers, these Synergists relocated to the Octavia aerostat on Venus.
In the months since relocating, these newly-dubbed neo-synergists have exploded in number, accepting dozens of applicants into their group mind. Currently comprised of 43 individuals, each of the new neo-synergists has willingly been implanted with an upgraded version of the same experimental hypermesh inserts carried by the original Synergist colonists. Though a number of members joined initially for research purposes, these scientists have expressed no desire to leave the shared mindspace. As a group, the neo-synergists are already turning their collective intelligence towards several research projects, both of their own initiative and in conjunction with some hypercorps. The neo-synergists are also reviewing an assortment of new applicants, including numerous trained scientists and engineers attracted by the prospect of task-sharing and cognitive enhancement. It is possible that the group may split off and establish other neo-synergist “colonies” in other habitats in the near future, each with their own local group mind. Despite participating in a group mind, psychological tests reveal the various members to still be separate individuals who are fully within transhuman psychological norms. Each neo-synergist experiences and can interact with the emotions, personality, and experiences of other neo-synergists in real time. The primary benefit, aside from knowing each other intimately, seems to be an enhanced ability to work together. In practice, these individuals cooperate almost as if they were different limbs of the same organism. Members report a general increase in happiness and fulfillment since joining—none have experienced loneliness since linking their consciousnesses with their fellows.
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Sentinels should keep several things regarding the Synergists and neo-synergists in mind. First and foremost are concerns that the enhanced collective intelligence of these group minds may escalate into a sort of transhuman seed AI. For this reason, efforts to create new Synergist colonies should be closely monitored. Secondly are the reports and psych evaluations of individual neo-synergists, which indicate a propensity for certain mental disorders, particularly if separated from the group mind or limited to a smaller sampling of minds for any extended period. Individual Synergists have been known to exhibit personality traits of other Synergists and occasionally to engage in other anomalous behavior, particularly speaking in an unknown language (possibly gibberish). The technology behind the Synergist implants (originally produced by the now defunct Ambiscience hypercorp) remains highly experimental. Personal accounts and resource requests strongly indicate that the Synergists continue to research and modify the design.

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