Gatecrasher’s Almanac #10

Name: David’s World

Location: Orion Arm, near rim

Atmosphere: Venusian

Gravity: 1.36G

Body Type: Rocky Greenhouse

David’s World – more formally known as PX-870 – appears to be terrestrial, with an atmospheric composition, pressure, and temperature close to that of Earth, despite the heavier gravity. The first-in team from Pathfinder discovered that the Gate is contained in a self-sealing and self-maintaining dome habitat on the surface of a hellish Venus-like world; traces left behind suggest that the Iktomi at least visited this gate, although not if they were the ones who built the habitat.

At present, only the area of the dome itself can truly be said to be in the hands of transhumanity, as one of the members of the first-in team – the David after whom the world is dubbed – somehow sabotaged the gate after passing through, stranding the team. Recordings from the hardware the team carried show him stalking the other team members and killing them, in the case of the biomorphs, or popping out their stacks and replacing them with an alpha fork of himself.

While the recordings end a few days after the last kill, they make it clear that he had, somehow, smuggled the parts for a desktop cornucopia machine through the gate, as he assembled it and began printing the parts for synthmorphs modified to survive on the planet’s surface. In the year that passed between the last recording and the gate being reopened, the synth-army moved out of the dome onto the deadly surface of the planet, and have actively colonized the world.

Attempts to contact David indicate that the morphs share a single hive awareness and are rapidly progressing toward an inhuman mind-state that has no concern for the rest of transhumanity; morphs that attempt to initiate contact are destroyed and recycled, and attempts to exit the dome quickly draw scavenger units. The hive units never attempt to enter the dome, and don’t seem to care about transhumans operating inside the dome’s confines.

The collective mind seems to rely on a mixture of short-range radio, laser links, and regular interaction that may involve high-speed ego merging to share data; scout drones modified for the conditions have located a few places that seem to be central hubs of activity, and some signs that there may be more than one instance of the David hive mind on the planet; each hub seems to act autonomously, and some of the hive units from different hubs have been seen fighting one another.

Were it not for both the strange behavior of David – giving rise to concerns that he might be some kind of TITAN agent – and the uncertainty as to whether or not the gate reaches other Gates in inhabited locations, Pathfinder might have considered writing the gate address off and forgetting about it. As it is, the idea that a potential threat to transhumanity might be able to come surging through into the heart of transhuman space has them keeping tabs on the world and fortifying the habitat against attacks by the hives.

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Gatecrasher’s Almanac #10

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