Space Sharks

Why not?

Actually, I would stick them in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant, to eat unsuspecting  small ships undergoing wilderness refuelling.

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You Are On Your Own: Hardened Level

In Caracas, two brothers — José Luis Armas, 11, and Luis Armas, 9 — said they had run away from home, where there was scarcely enough to eat. Now they live in the streets with other homeless boys in street gangs, getting into knife fights to expand or defend their territories and to control areas for panhandling or picking through garbage for recycling.

Several of their friends have been killed, they said. Luis raised his shirt to show a large gash across his stomach — the result, he said, of a machete attack by a member of another gang. The attack nearly killed him, he said.

They say they prefer to live on the streets, despite the danger, because they eat better than they could living at home with their families. They spend their days panhandling, searching for discarded food and recyclables, bathing in public fountains, stashing their belongings in trees and storm drains, while constantly avoiding run-ins with the police and rival gangs.


The gang leader, an adult who would not reveal his full name, said they had a code: If anyone in the gang is attacked by a single member of a rival gang, he must defend himself alone, even to the death, no matter how old he is. The rest of the gang will step in only if a member is attacked by multiple rivals at once. Four young members of the gang had been stabbed to death in recent months, the leader said. The boys around him lifted up their shirts to show their own scars.— As Venezuela Collapses, Children Are Dying of Hunger

As a PC character background, it’s difficult for me to top this. Perhaps a beggar of the North Korean labour camps would be worse, or a child soldier from the various forgotten bushfire wars that could be found in any subsector of the Imperium.

Or the Referee could age the situation up, with PCs fighting to survive in a formerly grand asteroid city… where life support is failing, and all the food is gone.1

Going feral is easy: getting out alive is hard.

1 Why is the food gone? Foolish government policy? A computer virus? A raging disease on the hydroponics? A military siege?

Note: starvation occurs in concentric circles, affecting the very poor, then the poor (especially children), then the middle class, then the servants of the elite, then the elite, and finally the men with the guns… the ‘new elite’ if they weren’t the rulers before.

If the technicians are able to pull it off, they might be able to ice out the armed men from the food supply, and keep it for themselves: feudal technocracies exist for a reason in high-tech cultures.

Unlikely, but certainly possible – especially if they can provide their own military security when it counts, and/or split off the old armed force at the critical moment, or lock in the invaders while blowing open the air locks.

When the question is food/air/water/heat or death, surprising things happen.



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An Unfortunate Hotel Visit

Be cautious of your ‘Friendly Local Contacts.’

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Scouting, Visualized

Other Travellers might wish to drop into a bar, and listen to mercs or traders or Nobles talk shop. But I’d much prefer to chat with scouts, and try to catalogue the amazing range of “first and final” encounters they have had the displeasure to come across.

“Just how many ways can an explorer die in space, anyways?” – sounds like the staring line of a popular multi-volume work…

PS: The Limbo universe would make a very interesting place to check out for a long-range scouting unit.

The developer built the game’s puzzles expecting the player to fail before finding the correct solution. Playdead called the style of play “trial and death”, and used gruesome imagery for the boy’s deaths to steer the player from unworkable solutions.

Quite a number of Imperial Scouts — some of them even alive! — would no doubt nod in recognition and agreement.

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Oort Cloud Colonization

Not the best place to live, but a good place to hide. Especially for pirates and detested populations, if they choose to flee to the Oort cloud of an uninhabited star system.

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Facial Recognition on the Masses

From The Daily Star:

‘Minority Report’ Artificial Intelligence machine can identify 2 BILLION people in seconds

Yitu Technology has made an AI algorithm that can connect to millions of surveillance cameras and instantly recognise people.

The company – based in Shanghai, China – developed Dragonfly Eye to scan through millions of photographs that have been logged in the country’s national database.

This means it has a collection of 1.8 billion photos on file, including visitors to the country and those taken at ports and airports.

It may also have access to the photos of every one of Hong Kong’s identity card holders, although Yitu has refused to confirm this.

The cutting-edge technology is now being used track down criminals, with the early stages of use showing it has been a hugely successful.

It should be able to capture every human on the planet – right down to the beggar peasant in every impoverished nation – in a few decades.

And in the Imperium  – 10 trillion – in a century or so. Assuming that someone captures their face in a picture, which is not so certain in low-tech societies.

(But IS certain for everyone who enters or leaves an Imperial starport.)

Now, just catching a photo is one thing: the bureaucratic process – and the funding to power it – needed to put every noted criminal on trial is going to be too expensive, for most purposes. But when it comes to special “persons of interest”, things can move quickly.

(For more: North’s Digital Facial Recognition Is Really Here )

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Aliens Sharing Homes

Better than science fiction…

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