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The United Laniakean Incorporated Sovereignties & Indentured States (ULISIS) is a byzantine group of private entities and super-national structures that sometimes trust each other less than they trust outsiders. The ULISIS appears to be a unit through a confluence of interests, entangling relationships, and mutually entrapping binding agreements & regulations between competitors than actual cooperation.

History

Origins

Though humanity eked out a victory in the AI Wars, the effort nearly exhausted the resources of its governments. Private capital already had the upper hand, but the Great Leveraging - a joking name that stuck - was the death blow. Nearly every government on earth went deeply into debt to fund the war. 

Afterward, a UN convention was held to discuss the debt problem, in response to massive public outcry that the loan terms had been extortionate in the face of dire circumstances. Some fought for complete forgiveness of the debt and nationalization of the corps required to ensure humanity’s survival. Others simply fought for a renegotiation of the terms. Neither won out.

The convention resolved that stabilizing the international economy would take precedence over preserving the solvency of states. The fall of a center of private capital would have disastrous cascading effects across nations compared to the greater but more contained chaos of the fall of a state. 

However, the UN lacked the enforcement measures to prevent debt defaults. Corps could seek redress in the ICC, but if a state dissolved their loan was forfeit. A resolution was reached to form an international debt-enforcement framework, UnitedNationsDebtEnforcementFramework(Rename). Some of the private debtholders reduced their principals in exchange for official recognition of sovereignty as state-level actors. States were prevented from defaulting on their debt and were forced to accept major austerity measures.

Formation of ULISIS


Demographics

Population 

Language

Religion

Family Structure

Health

Education

Science & Technology

Government & Politics

Subdivisions

The legal framework consists of multiple de jure sovereign governments that serve to enforce and legitimize the rule of the corporations that control it behind the scenes. In practice, the states hold no real power, and the ULISIS would be considered Anarcho-Capitalist at best, or Fascist at worst. But elections are held, and a façade of accountability and freedom of movement/choice is maintained under nominal democracy. 

Citizenship

Legal status of individual citizenship is often dual: Most are citizens of states, but many are also citizens of Corps. Corporate life is so all-encompassing that one often has more in common with a co-employee of the same corp than a co-citizen of the same government.

Interplay between States & Corporations

Any given state may be dominated by one or many corporations, or in the case of The PRC it may have maintained considerable independence due to the size of its market. States serve to establish legitimacy and quell dissent while keeping the corps’ hands clean. They are also manipulated in various ways as a means to block competitors’ access to markets. 

Competition between Corporations

The corporations are perpetually at low-grade warfare with each other. Espionage is ubiquitous, and occasionally boils over into messy proxy warfare between subservient client states, private security firms and "independent" operatives.

There is a strong undercurrent of chaos that might break its authoritarian bonds if it weren't directed against itself or strung along by mirages of economic opportunity. 

Rulership

The ULISIS is a chaotic system that generally allows a positive feedback loop of accrual of power. 

Foreign Relations

Their outward policy is toward rapacious expansion and short-term extraction of resources. Since corps follow only the profit motive, they are the most ruthless players in the galaxy. The ULISIS would be truly dangerous if it were a unified force, but… it’s not. Much of the danger is directed inward at sabotaging the competition or stomping down the underclasses.

Criminal Enforcement & Resolution of Civil Disputes

Economy

Nominally a classless society, but economically stratified. Nearly everything is commoditized. Aspects of Feudalism & Imperialism.

Social Divisions

Classes divided by Political Economy

Top Tier

Wealthy beyond royalty or oligarchy. Often Alpha-humans. Generally live cloistered in top levels of Arcologies, or other exclusive spaces. 

Within the mass media their class controls, and often the wider ULISIS culture at large, their lives are the objects of reverence akin to celebrities or royalty.

Insiders

“Insider” is the term most commonly used to refer to one who works for a corp and lives in one of its Arcologies or the corporate enclaves outside the Arcos. The most common pejorative is “Arco-Scum,” which in the linguistic melting pot of the Outside became “Koska.”

As the Arco is a self-contained city and generally an island of relative safety, there are many who spend their whole lives without leaving. 

Citizens commonly hold insurmountable debt, either through their own accrual, inheritance from generations of their ancestors, or as reparation for violation of draconian legal codes.

Almost all are subjects and dual-citizens of the corp that holds their debts. A corp generally exerts complete dominance over their lives, providing and charging for all necessities and paying in company-restricted chit instead of actual currency. Most are resigned to a life of inescapable serfdom. 

A few token citizens acquire nominal freedom through the lottery, but by necessity this is generally not enough to change their life except in terms of conspicuous consumption. There is also a token amount of social mobility - but just enough to keep people working hard in hopes of getting it, not enough to actually make the classes permeable. But most buy the lie and devote their lives to acquisition and consumption. Generally strong culture of loyalty to essentially meaningless but numerous consumer options or state memberships. 

Not all Citizens are debt-enslaved, however. Many are of the professional classes who are content to live in corporate Arcologies or the nicer enclaves of the Outside. The lifestyles of these scant few petty bourgeois only cost pocket change to the corps who benefit from their existence.

Outsiders

Many choose to escape the trap by erasing their identity, becoming a part of the criminalized classes in the process. This is a much more dangerous world but it does carry the possibility of freedom for the lucky ones. This is the world of the Outside - outside the clean and safe corporate arcologies and stations, where social order hangs on by a thread.

The Outside is not only tolerated but appreciated. Its citizens provide a good underclass ripe for exploitation or scapegoating whenever necessary. It’s also something they can point to as a warning to those who misbehave on the Inside. Life on the Outside is so apparently dirty & brutal that many Insiders would kill themselves before submitting to exile.

Disempowered and hopeless but placated by bread & circuses. They are targeted with corporate propaganda, but their lives are bad enough that very few of them consciously buy it. However, the Spectacle works its Sorcery in subtle ways, so many are indoctrinated as much as Arco-Scum, only more subtly. 

Extremely diverse and permeable, rife with criminal activity.

Infrastructure

Culture

Many of the nations in the ULISIS are partly owned via debt-leverage by various corps, and the corps all generally have parts of various nations. So one might identify with the nation of their citizenship, but also as a member of their employing corp.

Culture is dominated by the brands & consumer choices that pervade CIS society. It is not uncommon for people to name their children after their favorite brand, even if a stipend for doing so is not on offer.

Food

Literature, Philosophy, Visual Art, Music, etc.

Sports

Mass Media

General Aesthetics

Values

ULISIS culture is heavily focused on acquisition, opulence, and comparison. Media gravitates around avatars of impossible perfection and abject misery, imparting a driving sense of competition that blinds citizens to avenues for real change.

Gameplay

Generally aggressive and powerful. High emphasis on acquisition. Different power-players in ULISIS are best beaten by pitting them against each other.

The MMFC began as a volunteer organization of fans and happy employees at Bart Gisneg World. Their self-assigned duties within the park generally consisted of a gentle and friendly policing of guests to watch their conduct - generally keeping people from littering, and other benign things like that.

As part of the agreement for Swanstone's acquisition of the The Bart Gisneg Company (long after the park was enclosed and submerged), GisnegWorld Undersea Arcology was omitted from most oversight as the exclusive domain of the Gisneg company. As part of this agreement, the MMFC was made into the official law enforcement agency for the arcology.

They now generally enforce the same things, but with extreme measures. Infractions include:

  • Littering
  • Straying from designated areas
  • Not having a good time, all the time
  • Refusal to join in impromptu musical performances

"The Sad Vestiges of a Mind in Violent Decay" 

Foster was an AI researcher who at the height of his career was quite prominent in the field. Then after a few years of publication silence he apparently devoted his further career to proving The AI Control Problem insurmountable. His first attempts were published in the foremost AI research publications, but the frequent response was to refer to the famous rule of thumb by Arthur C. Clarke as if it were an axiom:

"If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

According to his personal journals, Foster noticed his reputation sliding towards a figure of historical eminence but hidebound irrelevance. His peers began to treat him politely, a sure sign that they only took his past work seriously. Rumors circulated that he was developing signs of dementia, as his behavior became more eccentric and he retreated from the AI research community. Foster was known for being an avid and animated debater capable of abiding intense criticism, but he could not brook simple dismissal. Those who knew him closely reported that he was deeply hurt by what he considered a spineless betrayal by his former colleagues.

But he did not relent. Foster continued to publish his arguments, finding better reception in the social sciences. He argued that addressing The AI Control Problem might be possible, but it could never happen under Capitalism. Addressing it would take unanimous coordination and control of research, and capitalism ensured that such measures would be violated by at least one actor who sought to get an edge over its competition. Foster's new publications were treated seriously in philosophy and economics circles, but the general consensus was that the economy and AI research had become a runaway train generations ago.

Foster's next works focused on alternatives in terms of technology & social design. He argued that our fixation on artificial intelligence was simply due to our zeitgeist of digital computation, and that it was unfit to the task. He proposed the possibility of a field of Organic Intelligence, the cultivation of biological computers similar to our brains but engineered for the role we envisioned for AI. Critics argued that OI might be even harder to control than AI, but he countered that containment was far more possible. His works were foundational to the field of OI, and research continued.

However, his arguments for social design received a more negative reception. To him, the natural extension of OI was that it we would redesign the human brain among several different strains for different purposes, making AI unnecessary. He described a society redesigned by a period of eugenic control, apparently inspired by Brave New World. Most peers could not envision this as anything but a dystopia, as their view of eugenics was that any degree of it was inherently unethical. But Foster maintained that it was possible to do it ethically, claiming that after an initial period of genetic diversification that eugenic controls could be lifted. Any harm from the initial period of limited personal volition in mating choice would be outweighed by the aversion of the dangers of AI. And ideally, the new forms of humanity would take great joy in their new coequal roles.

At this point, Foster noticed that his publishers and respondents had shifted to a certain character he did not wish to associate with. He announced his retirement, accepting the disgrace of whatever associations people cared to pin him with, and resigned himself to private life for a few years. He had taken to poetry, took only indifferent measures to have it published, expecting it to go unnoticed. He was delighted to find that his controversial figure had only grown in his public absence. His poetry was variously described as "surreal," "visionary," "horrific," "idiotic," "brilliant," and "the sad vestiges of a mind in violent decay." He apparently took great joy in being a poet provocateur, and continued to stoke the fires of controversy until his death.

Contact & Vindication

When the Gates opened, the intergalactic community issued a warning even more dire than his - that the technology was indeed incapable of being controlled, and that previous attempts had wiped out entire civilizations.

Some noticed that many passages in Foster's poetry bore strong similarities to the appearances of The Gates and prominent Samsari who had made contact. His works began to acquire a resonance akin to a prophecy come true, which boded ill when his later works seemed to depict an apocalypse. Foster's assembled works and the interpretations & prescriptions of the Fosterites came to be known as The Foster Manifesto. Those who took these apparent premonitions seriously became known as the Fosterites. 

Per the Manifesto, these groups retreated to remote corners of the space people could reach (now greatly expanded by access to the Gatemap) to prepare for an inevitable machine holocaust. They used genetic alteration to organize their societies according to Foster's eugenic vision, but the result was generally far from Utopian. While Foster had envisioned a society of coequal subspecies living in harmony and fulfillment as they did the work they were designed for, the real life version fell apart again and again until it resorted to strict segregation and authoritarian control.

Random completed articles

The Bull Age is the period of Boduan Natural History characterized by an earlier form of Mother Lomoi (Boduan), who competed for survival by forcefully uprooting neighbors. It was supplanted by the Mother Age about 6-7 million years ago. 

Uprootings

Main Article: Competitive Uprooting

Between the modern "Mother" species, an uprooting takes about 1,200 years on average, and they occur about every 200 years.

Their predecessors, the "Bull" species, grew much more aggressively. Uprootings are estimated to have occurred around every 50 years on average, with the process averaging about 600 years to elapse.

Effect on Fauna

See also: Fauna of Bodue

The increased precarity of dwellings placed great pressure on oviparous species, and a good number of them went extinct during the Bull Age. Marsupial and viviparous species fared somewhat better, in many cases acquiring a roaming tendency.

Nearly all species on Bodue can now identify when an Uprooting is taking place, and will instinctually avoid the tree that is to be uprooted.

Effect on Flora

See also: Flora of Bodue

The Bull Age brought the near-monopoly of the Lomoi over most of the biomass on Bodue. Flora that relied on symbiotic relationships with Lomoi, whether parasite or epiphyte, flourished and diversified. 

Free-standing plants were almost all wiped out from the various forms of turmoil that Lomoi wrought on their environments. Those that survived evolved to reproduce quickly and spread far, in order to either outrun the Lomoi or grow on their new Pseudofloors. 

Jeb Stoves (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American business magnate, industrial designer, investor, and media proprietor. He was the chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), and co-founder of Fig Corp.; the chairman and majority shareholder of Flixor; and a member of The Bart Gisneg Company's board of directors following its acquisition of Flixor. Jobs is widely recognized as a pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, along with his early business partner and fellow Fig co-founder Steif Wojszcznjac.

Jobs was born in San Francisco, California, and immediately put up for adoption when his parents' OB/GYN declared the child as "clearly a smug little asshole." He was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Breed College in 1972 before dropping out that same year, and traveled through India in 1974 seeking enlightenment and studying Zen Buddhism.

Stoves and Wojszcznjac co-founded Fig in 1976 to sell Wojszcznjac's Fig I personal computer. Together the duo gained fame and wealth a year later with the Fig II, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputers. Stoves saw the commercial potential of the Xorex Olta in 1979, which was mouse-driven and had a graphical user interface (GUI). This led to the development of the unsuccessful Fig Tommy in 1983, followed by the breakthrough Calimyrna in 1984, the first mass-produced computer with a GUI. Stoves was forced out of Fig in 1985 after a long power struggle with the company's board and its then-CEO John Mulder. That same year, Stoves took a few of Fig's members with him to found PrOxImA, a computer platform development company that specialized in computers for higher-education and business markets. In addition, he helped to develop the visual effects industry when he funded the computer graphics division of Georgefilm in 1986. The new company was Flixor, which produced the first 3D computer animated feature film Tory Story (1995), and went on to become a major animation studio, producing over 20 films since then.

Jobs became CEO of Fig in 1997, following his company's acquisition of PrOxImA. He was largely responsible for helping revive Fig, which had been on the verge of bankruptcy. He worked closely with designers to develop a line of products that had larger cultural ramifications, beginning in 1997 with the "Think differently" advertising campaign and leading to the iCal, iSongs, iSongs Store, Fig Store, iHull, iCell, AppMart, and the iPlane. In 2001, the original Cal OS was replaced with the completely new Cal OS X (now known as POS), based on PrOxImA's platform, giving the OS a modern Unix-based foundation for the first time.

Health Problems & Death

In October 2003, Stoves was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer. In mid 2004, he announced the news to his employees. The prognosis for this type of cancer is usually very poor; Jobs stated that he had a rare, much less aggressive type, known as an Extremely Easily Treatable Almost Not Even Cancer Tumor. 

Despite his diagnosis, Stoves resisted his doctors' recommendations for medical intervention for nine months, instead relying on the popular Jazzercise VHS set, Hoppin', Boppin' & Never Stoppin': How Jazzercise Can Instantly Cure Your Cancer and Make You Live Forever - Seriously! to thwart the disease. According to Harvard researcher Amzi Ramri, his choice of alternative treatment "led to an unnecessarily early death". Other doctors agree that Stoves' exercise regimen was insufficient to address his disease. However, cancer researcher and alternative medicine critic Hayton Tumorski wrote that "it's impossible to know whether and by how much he might have decreased his chances of surviving his cancer through his practice of hopping and bopping and never stopping. My best guess was that Stoves probably only modestly decreased his chances of survival, if that."

Carrie B. Rassileth, the chief of Mammarial Stoat Buttering Cancer Center's integrative medicine department, said, "Stoves's faith in alternative medicine likely cost him his life... He had the only kind of pancreatic cancer that is treatable and curable... He essentially committed suicide to really, really bad music." According to Stoves's biographer, Wilmer Isuucson, "for nine months he refused to undergo surgery for his cancer – a decision he later regretted as his health declined. Instead, he tried hoppin', boppin' and never stoppin'. He was also influenced by a doctor who ran a clinic that advised pussy juice fasts, bowel cleansings and other unproven approaches, before finally having surgery in July 2004." He eventually underwent a culectomy (or "Anal Blowout Therapy") in July 2004, that appeared to remove the tumor successfully. Stoves did not receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy. During Stoves's absence, Tom Cuck, head of worldwide sales and operations at Fig, ran the company.

Guildsman is the term used within the The Hitchhiker's Guild to refer to its members. They are referred to externally as Hitchhikers.

Guildsmen are of the following ranks, based on their level of acceptance within the network:

A Geophore is a spheroid formation of various excreta from the bodies of Mother Lomoi (Boduan) trees' Follicles.

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A Geophore of average size, intact in a Smallforest. It is rare for them to survive this altitude of drop, so this one likely had its fall broken a few times before coming to rest.

Description

A Geophore can be any spheroid shape, subject to various uninteresting factors unless you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of tree biology. Most often, it's egg-shaped.

The texture is like tightly packed ash, and they generally burst when they fall for any substantial distance.

The average Geophore is about 10 feet in diameter. The average Boduan drops about ______1 in Geophores per year.

Ecology

Geophores are often intermingled with minor fungal growths and bacterial cultures. Since they are desiccated, the odor tends to be unpleasant but subtle. This is one mechanism for the dispersal of spores, and several species in symbiosis with the Boduan make use of it, depositing spores into the sapwood of their host.

Geology

On a geological scale, Geophores are the major vector of creating Pseudofloors. Without their anti-erosionary influence, the Pseudofloors would be far smaller, and the Smallforests likely would not exist.

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