The Xiao He

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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
The Xiao He
The Xiao He is a passenger transport running between Mars and Extropia. Equipped with rotating habitat pods it is a fairly pampered way of travelling. Thanks to its powerful fusion drive it typically makes the trip in about a month: if you for some reason doesn't want to egocast it is (barring a fast courier) the swiftest way of getting from one place to the other. Besides transporting physical passengers it also transports cargo such as morphs, biotechnology, handicrafts and luxury raw materials. It is operated by the White Cloud Line, a subsidiary of ComEx. So, I turn to you, dear forum: who are the passengers and crew, and what are their stories?
Extropian
TadanoriOyama TadanoriOyama's picture
Re: The Xiao He
Jin Cong is employed as a "Material Needs Attendant" onboard the Xiao He. Uploaded during the Fall and locked in cold storage until AF7. Lacking specialist skills but possessing a shallow ability set in the form of entertainment. During his life on earth Jin Cong helped support himself and his family in staying at poverty level by acting as live entertainment. A self taught performer of Chinese opera and Bolloywood dance/song he made a horrible existence somewhat more bearable by singing for his bread. This social tool set, history of graveling to higher ups, and cultural background had him appealing enough to White Cloud Line that they offered him a position as an infomorph attendant, remotely operating service bots for any passangers aboard the Xiao He who felt the desire to stretch their physical form during their travels. Slowly wising to the ways of this new world he occupies Cong plays a sycophant to the hyperelites and socalities onboard, entertaining them and praising them whenever possible, building a reputation and good will for the eventual day when his contract will be up.
Friend Computer Friend Computer's picture
Re: The Xiao He
Cao Shen is the control system responsible for the outer hull maintenance of the shining Xiao He. It originated as a delta-fork of an antique sculpture restoration expert pruned down to autistic levels. It has been sleeved as a swarm of nanite-control hubs crawling the outer surface of Xiao He, where it keeps the hull repaired to nanoscopic levels. It used to live fully in slowtime, all of its senses but touch tuned to a low murmur. However, when the Xia He was last on Extropia its isolation was breached and it found itself having a fascinating conversation with a stranger, conducted entirely through texture variations along their surface of contact. Since then it has become much more aware of itself and the people aboard the Xiao He. Recently it has allowed a small imperfection in the immaculate hull to go unfixed and has even widened it into a microscopic hole. It extends a delicate thread of its nanite body through the breach, the better to pick up vibrations of conversation over the noise of the fusion drive explosions. It just can't wait to get back to Extropia and gossip about all it's heard with its new and only friend.
[img]http://boxall.no-ip.org/img/titan_userbar.jpg[/img] [img]http://boxall.no-ip.org/img/pro_userbar.jpg[/img] The Computer wants you to be happy. Happiness is mandatory. Failure to be happy is treason. Treason is punishable by death.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: The Xiao He
(Just adding an NPC I want) Siegfried Dan Schmidt is a representative of the Thebe Dynamics Group, a Jovian Republic corporation involved in energy, transport, slingshot services and nitrogen trading. He travels between various polities to set up or monitor TDG's wide-ranging business deals. The job is wearisome but well paid and the penultimate step in his career plan: soon he expects to ascend to the board of directors. He is a fairly large, middle-aged looking man with conservative taste. In fact, he is sincerely bioconservative: while he is enough of a businessman to keep his mouth shut on the job, he finds much of the solar system and its inhabitants deeply distasteful. When travelling on the Xiao He he generally avoids the company of radically enhanced people, uplifts and AGI. Part of his dourness might be due to his enforced separation from his husband Scott, an ecosystems manager on Perrine Cylinder near Callisto. His main hobby is reading: if one gets behind the conservative businessman and his dislike of posthumanity one will find a surprisingly well-read and nuanced literary critic.
Extropian
Friend Computer Friend Computer's picture
Re: The Xiao He
To of the passengers aboard the Xiao He who follow biomorph trends, Kevin Turner's obvious professional and financial success are at odds with the ruster morph he sleeves in that was perhaps popular sometime back before there were even a hundred and fifty orbital mirrors over Mars. For those who are aware of his reputation as a biomorph designer, or who are also heading to Extropia to attend the conference on biomorph immune-system response to exoplanetary environments, the near obosolete design of the morph is frankly shocking. When approached in the ship's bar where he spends most of his work and leisure hours, and asked about his choice of morph, the unfortunate asker is subjected to a rant concerning those new-fangled, arse-buggy biomorph designs with no damned mission history behind them, and their crap bug-fix GSPs that were signed off on as bad compromise by back-stabbing, know-nothing committees, and how he'll stick with a proven technology platform, thank you very much. If you get a few slugs of Olympian neo-peat Lagavulin in him, a receptive audience might be treated to another monologue over Martian politics. He'll bitch about how all of the dirt-poor 'sooms always want the latest and greatest morph, damn the stability of it, and then they go and have the bad graces to bitch up a storm over the damn things needing a damned support contract and helluv hot-fix patches. If they would just save their money and invest in a proven platform they wouldn't have these problems, but no, they want to go to their discotecas with their shiny new morph with its shiny new tits that glow in time with the terrible music some other horrid morph is quite literally blowing out their upgraded ass. Get some weed into him after that and you might get his monologue about how the dumbass 'sooms should really do something about the PC, 'cause even if they are eternally stupid and bring their own problems on themselves, the PC'r just a bunch of vampire rent-takers, usin' stupid peoples' weaknesses against them and generally being evil shits and gettin' in the way of 'th project'ta get the planet justa'bout bloody livable. 'An the Movement ought'a just go an set 'em right, don't you see if they won't, and hopefully soon. At this point he's usually pretty mellowed out and becomes an enthusiastic debate partner concerning pretty much anything you might want to discuss.
[img]http://boxall.no-ip.org/img/titan_userbar.jpg[/img] [img]http://boxall.no-ip.org/img/pro_userbar.jpg[/img] The Computer wants you to be happy. Happiness is mandatory. Failure to be happy is treason. Treason is punishable by death.
Thampsan Thampsan's picture
Re: The Xiao He
Frequently seen wandering the ship and it's impressive AR astrogardens and planetarium Jove Harosanct, Extropian venture capitalist. Sleeved in a rustic early gen Slyph the grey haired charmer schmoozes with the other passengers about their stories. When asked about his own he explains that he's something of a relic, a man who enjoys travel, the journey. He'll talk about the first wave that colonized Titan and being among them. When asked about his trade he explains that he has a passion for transport logistics and travel, that he once owned a controlling stake in 'Centripetal Acceleration' (now part of the ComEx empire) a transportation company that mined and moved objects from the Saturnian gravity well to and from Titan. Then he funded Sanctum a think-tank positing exo-planet colonization after the Gatesystem was cracked. But these days he is an investor who finds good ideas and backs them with creds and reputation. Truth of the matter is that the whuffie (rep) from CA has run out cycles ago, and these days Jove is backed by Somnus, a crowd sourced security firm on Extropia. So these days he facilitates meetings and social events as well as couriering egos to and from sensitive regions. To this extent his current cargo are a team of Somnus trainees who were on operations at the behest of Movement interests. The gaggle of egos in the ghost-rider modules are mostly silent in passive mode looking to pass the time till return and resleeving on Extropia, but occasionally monitor the mesh and sensory feeds if anything of interest pops up, or harm that might befall their gracious host.
Thampsan Thampsan's picture
Re: The Xiao He
December Green is the acting team leader of the Somnus group currently being smuggled inside Jove. Ze's been restless lately because a number of small discrepancies keep occurring onboard the ship. First the false depressurization alarm in one of the maintenance shafts, then some of the automated service droids delivering the wrong goods or food. Ze supposes that these could all be harmless pranks or bugs in the system, but a good operative doesn't ignore coincidences. Ze has yet to relay any of zis concerns to Jove or any of the team, likewise ze cannot access the local mesh directly for fear of revealing a foreign ego and compromising opsec. Eventually it is possible that paranoia will compel December to act unwisely, or elsewise begin pressuring Jove to search for more answers and make him (Jove) act out of sorts for the gentlemanly socialite.
Thampsan Thampsan's picture
Re: The Xiao He
A red skinned man of exceptional height and with an impressive mustache (actually more like cats whiskers designed as chemical sniffers and air-flow detectors) and several additional inhuman looking cyberlimbs (good for grasping and relatively fine motor manipulation). His unsettling appearance evokes a mixture of pre-fall cultures, but when he speaks in English it is with a deep Nu-Hindi accent. He is Indra he proclaims - caring not for the listeners response. He is patriarch of an Ultimate clade of Hindu followers 'Svarga' who model themselves after his genetic baseline. Mars has provided and especially good haul of new acolytes and now he is making the journey, both spiritual and physical back to the outer system via Extropia. He keeps his cargo under close scrutiny, for the small VPN connected mini-servers hold a good few dozen egos recruited on Mars among the strong Indian culture stock. Whilst he 'socializes' the acolytes undergo their 'spiritual journey' as alpha forks of himself run hindu themed psychosurgery programs on the egos testing them for suitability, sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Those who have had second doubts about the process are re-instantiated and retested until a more compliant iteration is found. The Svarga you see is it's own society who have a contractual arrangement with the Love & Hate collective in exchange for Gate time. However to meet some of these obligations the Svarga are in need of engineers, programmers, administrative personnel, data miners and so on and in exchange for compliance programming the individual will be given a body and the upgrades require to fulfill it's function. The finest Indra-clone stock remade. It is suffice to say that after a few minutes in the company of this man most passengers move on quickly, the alien alterations to the already uncanny remade body coupled with the memetic nonsense he is spewing make him unpopular to all but the weirdest denizens of the outer-system.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
I actually got a chance to
I actually got a chance to use the Xiao He (finally!), so here are some additions: Allison Macleod, Mike Barak Nuon and Shi Zhen: the comet runner team A group of young Martians from rich families, going to the Kalogathos to participate in comet running (see http://www.aleph.se/EclipsePhase/comet%20run.pdf ). They are friendly and outgoing. Allison is the informal leader, essentially a boisterous jock who likes to do fun risky things. Her family (yes, Macleod of Watts-Macleod is her great uncle) has supplied her with a valet/bodyguard, who usually spends his time being bored or terrified. Her boyfriend Mike is an enthusiastic Shishir Nagarja fan who loves to drag strangers into discussions about the sport. Shi Zhen is a bit less outgoing, an "ice virgin" who has not yet tried comet running for real. She is the smartest of the three, quietly calculating that comet running is just the thing to add to the extracurricular activities of her CV to show that she has risk appetite. Miss Pai Chen A wallflower hyperelite lady. She behaves as if she was a little old lady holding her handbag tight, despite being sleeved in a very youthful and pretty body. Most of the time she is keeping to herself, except when caught by schmoozing charismatics like Jove Harosanct. Giancarlo Morro Aide of a major gerontocrat. An elegant, quiet and tense man sleeved in a tall Sylph. He always has a slight polite smirk. Never complains. He knows many things, but never any incriminating stuff. [ In my game, the PCs were handled by Morro, while miss Chen was the actual enemy (actually an assassin with a hacker fork as support). During a memorable party Chen's hacking support tried to hack the PCs, but ran afoul of the paranoia of December Green. The result was a secret hacking war between Somnus, the assassin hacker, and the followers of Indra - total confusion reigned, and ship security just quietly isolated the affected parts of the mesh. The main lesson to me was that GMs should tune the number of super-secret NPC agendas to suit their game - in this case excess was just what we needed, but in many games it might be distracting. Incidentally, Indra is *amazingly* good at fencing, which one PC discovered to his embarrassment. ]
Extropian