Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fragged Empire: Papers Please

The Great Xion War has ended for each species in its own time, trust and cooperation have been slow to mend across the Systems.  Isolationist planetary governments (when there are any) have begun to open their orbital aerospace to outside travelers, seduced by the larger intersystem economy.  In order to protect their populations from cultural and biological contagion, it is common for would be visitors to apply for a visa - a document that authorizes temporary entry and residence on a particular planet and/or moon.  Extreme cases may even bar an individual from disembarking to an orbital station.

Each species/culture tends to maintain a particular view in regard to the application process, you can find similarities between two governments' approaches on distant planets if they share bio-cultural roots.  Below are common security practices for each species as well as common loopholes to slip through them.  This does not reflect the travel restrictions and security measures surrounding black sites, military bases, scum hives, etc.

The Corporation entered a state of uneasy peace first, and has had the most recovery time.  Their free market ideology has combined with their pivotal role in organizing utilities, constructing orbital stations, providing cheap robotic labor, and distributing the Datastream (an intersystem computing network,) giving them a fairly laissez-faire attitude towards sentient traffic.  When anyone accesses the Datastream an account is created, collating their computer use and tracking their movements, physical and electronic, through algorithmic detection.  The most common requirement to set foot in Corporate habitats is a simple login as anything more involved could discourage tourism, locales with increased security measures may require biometrics and spoor samples.

Loopholes: Simply knowing another person's account information and avoiding Datastream usage afterward.  Biohacking will be necessary to infiltrate higher security installations, in order to imitate a specific individual's spoor, retina, and bio-signatures.

Depending on where you ask, the Legion never ceased the war effort. A short visit to a Cerebus consulate would be persuasive as you would be subject to extensive sensor sweeps and issued an RFID card. Armed security present in the lobby and a fortified submission window complete the besieged aesthetic. Other Legion controlled worlds may not present such bureaucratic bulwarks, but the mentality is shared. Bearing strong resemblance to equipment requisition forms, applicants must be sure to complete the 15 page document  by hand, on premises, without error.  After submission, an interrogation disguised as interview is often requested and shortly after the harangued visitor receives their electronic authorization. Nephilim need not apply.

Loopholes: Less advanced Legion governments often implant the RFID card under the skin & tie travel authorization to that ID, so you could steal it. Monolithic hierarchies, like the Legion's, often fall prey to social engineered co-opting of key functionaries, aka a honey-pot.

Nephilim society without Xion closely resembles a food chain; the weak are meat and the strong must eat. Uninterested in actively courting tourism and its knock-on effects, already assured of their own dominance, planetbound travelers pay a reciprocity fee before exiting orbit.  The fee charged is based on what Nephilim pay when traveling to their respective homeworlds. Entering a veritable jungle, continued survival dirtside is on the visitor.  As the Nephilim don't particularly screen visitors, many Nephilim worlds are havens for foreign criminals and their syndicates. 

Loopholes: Nephilim customs law is often overlooked to merchants' chagrin, each inspector taking a cut of the product itself, according to their place on the food chain, so dissuasive bribery and smuggling are highly demanded.  Also the Customs officials make sure to collect biometrics from all travelers, so biohacking may be necessary to obscure movement.

Kaltoran space, if there's such a unified concept, possesses an underdeveloped presence in the Night. Outside of the asteroid habitats they tend to allow non-Nephilim free access to planets' surface but restrict subterranean traffic to the Hubs. Visitors without local family have to apply on an orbital station, authorized travelers are sedated to inhibit retracing their path through the tunnels. Subterranean approval often hinges on  favors from an Old Boys Network dirtside, a fact that grates on the Corporation's nerves. Particularly because many Kaltoran worlds are beginning to encourage historical tourism, great examples of Externality architecture are otherwise few and far between.

Loopholes: If you're too impatient to wait for a visa you can always hire a coyote, a border runner, to take you across. Traversing the Darkways leading to a Hub is risky, but possible.
All of this is meant to bring forward species' Prejudices without escalating inter-PC agitation, also to differentiate between the Wild Night and "Civilized Space."