Gatecrasher’s Almanac #11

Name: Jigsaw

Location: Orion Arm; estimated 2300 ly from Sol

Atmosphere: Minimal nitrogen

Gravity: 0.08G

Body Type: Rocky Dwarf Planet

The gate for Jigsaw is in orbit around the dwarf planet, at a sufficient distance that the surface simply looks unusually textured; however, when one realizes the local star is nearly 15 AU away, it quickly becomes apparent that the surface is brighter than it should be. High-resolution imaging has revealed that sizable section of the surface have been covered in replicas of Earth cities, each one seemingly provided with power to keep the lights on. More alarmingly, synthmorphs can be seen moving through the cities, apparently oblivious to their unusual environment.

Originally discovered by the Love and Rage Collective, word of the dwarf planet has spread through the outer system, and a habitat is under construction in orbit to allow for more detailed observation of the surface. Already several high-resolution observation satellites are in orbit, making detailed maps of the surface; it seems each city is functionally isolated from the others, with deep artificial ravines carved between them.

Radio chatter from each city seems to indicate that the inhabitants are unaware that anything is amiss; certain repetitive patterns suggest that a considerable portion of the population is comprised of delta forks with a small percentage of beta or alpha forks. The more complete forks are isolated from one another, with the deltas running subtle interference that prevents them from meeting in person; no attempts to directly contact the inhabitants has been made for fear of infection or rousing TITAN defense systems.

Exactly what the responsible TITAN was attempting to learn with the reconstruction of the world, save that each of the alpha/beta forks seems to perpetually teeter on the edge of frustrated despair, every day a virtual repeat of the day before it, affected only by their actions. Attempts to end their participation in the experiment seems to prompt a reset from some backup point.

One contingent of observers are beginning to build a series of synthmorphs outwardly identical to the inhabitants of the dwarf planet, with intent to load them with their own delta forks set to seek out and interact with the primary forks, providing an indirect means of communication while still operating inside the observed rules of the experiment. The hope is that they can find out if the egos were taken during the Fall and instantiated in a mirror of the city they were taken from or if they’re from elsewhere.

Firewall, of course, is interested in Jigsaw as a location where an active TITAN experiment still seems to be going on; requests for sentinels to run interference on the insertion experiment have already gone out, and the more paranoid factions are advocating an ‘accidental’ antimatter detonation at the Gate to deter anyone else from trying to reach Jigsaw. The less cautious elements are advocating trying to extract the alpha forks in hopes of gaining intel and insight into the TITAN responsible for the experiment.

Ozma, meanwhile, has implemented their own insertion effort, hoping to use a crew of heavily modified egos in heavy combat morphs to crash the planet and find what technology is laying around for them to make off with and examine. They’re also preparing insertion teams at exosolar Gates to deploy into the system and secure it against the anarchists and other interests if it proves that the tech can’t just be liberated, posing as an ‘exhuman incursion’ to do so.

Lastly, one vocal group of mercurial extremists have set up camp in the system in a cluster of cheap modules, claiming the entire thing is a single mind built from heavily modified forks, self-aware and deserving of rights as a thinking being. While they haven’t made much headway, they do have plenty of reports of strange patterns in the way the delta forks operate, enough to make every faction aware of the exsurgent virus just a little paranoid.

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Gatecrasher’s Almanac #11

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