Providers a future history

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Lazarus
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Providers a future history

Post by Lazarus » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:13 pm

Provider 13174 was a character I played in Squidrick's space opera. This thread is not about her, but about her people, their past, and their future. Well a little bit about her, at least in regard to some effects her return has on her culture. Where the game left off she hadn't yet finished her voyages and was still far from her home world, but given she'd been cloned to dozens, perhaps hundreds, I'm confident some of her would have made it home in the end.

Those familiar with the stories of Larry Niven will recognise I shamelessly ripped off some of his stories for inspiration. But the end result is quite different.

In way of time I'm going to be intentionally vague, some of the events portrayed may have taken centuries, or millennia. I'm not a technologist, astrologist, or sociologist, so I don't want to try being more accurate.

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Re: Providers a future history

Post by Lazarus » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:13 pm

Exodus

Long ago a world of mankind, perhaps an alternate Earth, or perhaps a colony world itself developed technology enough to send unmanned Bussard ramscoop ships to other stars. Many such ships landed on alien worlds, sampled the air, and returned across the gulf of interstellar space to report life sustaining atmospheres. Tremendous colony ships were then built to send humanity out amongst the stars. The colony ships were slow compared to the ramscoop drives, but this world had also mastered a stasis technology, found as a relic of an ancient bygone race. Some on the progenitor world feared the colonies could one day return and pose a threat, so much space technology was withheld from the colony ships, including any chance of reverse engineering the mighty stasis field.
This is the story of Hope Colony the voyagers of the third colony ship.

Hope Colony launched away from their birth system, and with the blink of stasis emerged in the system of their new world, with fuel enough for the landing. Fate fell heavy on those explorers, as the ramscoop ship that tested this world had landed on the one plateau with breathable air. Their journey had been ensured as one way by the distrustful governments they had left behind, so they landed determined to make it work. The world beyond their safe haven swirled with gasses toxic to mankind, and during storms would sweep in across the plateau. The settlers managed to dig in creating a domed system around their ship, but traces of poison continued to cause respiratory ills, sometimes developing into violent allergic reactions. The colony worked hard to dig deep below the Plateau for resources, and worked hard to expand their biological sciences, a field not denied them. Many colonist were returned to dormancy in the stasis field, either until their ailments could be treated, or simply to preserve their limited resources.

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Re: Providers a future history

Post by Lazarus » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:13 pm

Salvation

Deep in the mine below Plateau height, a miracle was found. An alien life form, but one unlike any the colony knew from their progenitor world. It was a tremendous mass of slowly undulating carbon substance, without any genetic base their equipment could detect. After throughout external examination and scanning they cut into it removing a portable mass. Their leader remembered now only as The Captain made contact and the mass flowed over him, somehow in this contact communication was made where all their equipment had failed. The organism was old, how old was unclear given it held no definition of time before contact with man. Somehow both parties came away from this encounter without violence, or panic of any kind.

There were those who wanted to remove the parasite that covered the captain, but he refused any such attempt. He worked with his new symbiotic shell, and the vast intelligence that came to be called the Hive, and together they reached an understanding. With the resilience of the shell, and the mobility of the man they could go nearly anywhere, do nearly anything. The shell could breath for him, and what they ate they ate together, together they could explore the deadly gasses of the colony world, endure high pressure, and near magma temperatures. Sadly the partnership lasted a scant few years before the Captain succumbed to allergic tissue rejection of his symbiotic partner. His body died, but his mind to some degree lived on as part of the hive. This had lasted long enough though that the colonist came to value the partnership, their scientists had ideas to extend the lifespan of the host, and they had no shortage of volunteers ready to die serving the colony. Thus began a partnership that would endure, and the beginning of a class of Providers who would put aside their very name in service of Plateau.

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Re: Providers a future history

Post by Lazarus » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:17 pm

Providers

Time passed and generations with it. The Plateau shelf expanded with architectural coral. Genetically modified plant life flourished and helped provide a filter for the toxins that made it into the city. Cures were found for most of the early ailments, and with population controls in place eventually only a small number of criminals and those with severe defects were kept in stasis. The colonists embraced a willingness to modify themselves, both to better fit Provider bond, and as part of a collective decision to adapt to the world rather than the other way around. A biotech derived root-tunnel system allowed periods of population growth, although the Providers always remained a small percentage of the population. With all the change they had been through the citizens renamed themselves Post-Human.

The Provider bond changed as society did. Initially Providers would last years, then decades, and eventually only age would sever the bond. Colonists were genetically sampled in-vitro, then tested for genetic strength after birth. Some few of those would be deemed potentates, again to be tested at age ten for physical, mental, and psychological fitness. Those who passed their year ten test held a future of intense education, at the end of which they needed to be mentally and physically prepared to become a Provider, be of use to society as a Provider, and finally have a child of their own who had passed the ten year test.

Those who were found worthy to be the caretakers of society would set aside their name, becoming Provider, distinguished from other Providers only by a number. Physically their skin is removed, along with many now unnecessary internal organs, and their reproductive organs. Some would go as far as having their lungs, stomach, and digestive system removed, particularly if they were destined for a life of deep exploration or heat depth mining.

One advantage that comes from dying Providers returning their symbiote to the Hive is it somehow absorbs much of their memories. This knowledge can be returned to hosts through a new symbiotic bond, by this method some new Providers can carry on work with the skills of one who has passed on, but those thus endowed seem hampered in their ability to innovate. Thus those who in their training are found to have great skill at recollection are almost as desirable candidates as great discoverers, and skilled masters of craft.

Citizens with poor genetic stock forbidden from natural breeding will sometimes carry eggs or spermatozoa harvested from Providers during their transition, another way to preserve the legacy of the best and brightest. Other citizens will carry children with genetically modified DNA, testing for genetic improvements that wouldn't otherwise occur via natural selection. This is part of how the Post-Humans have adapted to minor contact with the toxic atmosphere, and the bond with the alien biology of the symbiotes. These policies have not been without a share of tragedy, some mistakes are reversed with gene therapy, and society cares for those harmed by genetic tampering with a care that verges on reverence.

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Re: Providers a future history

Post by Lazarus » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:22 pm

Contact

The Plateau population was well established having expanded the shelf and below to accommodate over a million souls. Again contact came with alien life, this time from above. An interstellar organisation calling themselves the First Federation made contact, and invited them to the stars. Some few Providers took up this offer travelling off world, trading on their biotech for passage and knowledge.

One such trip included a pass by the progenitor world. Sometime between sending forth the colony ships, and the trip back the world had died. Theory was an orbital device had released a small black hole that had torn a chunk off of the world before destabilising. As to whether war, or some technological failure caused this disaster is unknown. The citizens of Plateau haven't as yet discovered if any of their sister colonies were successful.

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Re: Providers a future history

Post by Lazarus » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:22 pm

Renaissance

One voyaging Provider changed their science and society considerably. Provider 13174 was a talented medical Provider who journeyed to the First Federations Deep Space Research Station 3, where she studied Zenobiology, and expanded her other fields with alien knowledge and technology. When she'd completed extensive training a wanderlust took her, which she attributed to her symbiote 'Beloved'. That wanderlust led her to another station outside the edge of First Federation territory, where she joined a crew of inter-dimensional travellers. Her adventures with those travellers were many and varied, ultimately leading to a technology deal with an advanced culture, and scientific knowledge from a vast number of worlds. She along with duplicates of herself eventually returned home, bringing with her many technological advancements that caused a swift renaissance for her people.

Her greatest pride was an Auto-Doc unit she'd developed herself, with mechanisms that could rebuild an injured subject from nearly any harm. This integrated microbiological methods of cell spawning entire adult bodies, perfectly identical down below the cellular level. Ageing could be stilled or even reversed by use of a telomere extending gene-therapy drug, or use of specialised medical nanotech. Flesh and bone could be printed, or programmed. Genetic changes could be computer modelled before application, organs even being printed separate from the body and tested before surgical insertion. Mind and body mapped down to the last neuron could be stored as data to restore a perfect backup, or duplicate a living person. In short she brought home an invention that provided nigh immortality.

The Auto-Doc and its associated technology were alone enough to change the world, but her tech deal allowed her to bring home much more. The new nano, and bio technologies had application beyond the medical, allowing for rapid expansion of the Plateau living space, without outright terraforming, which they'd long been loath to risk in case it harmed native life that might be hidden on their world. New energy sources made power a near limitless resource. Replicator technology provided for rapid and easy access to food and tools. With many of the societies needs met and exceeded, they changed from a world of survivalists, to one of study and development. Rejuvenations were granted to those willing to indenture themselves to a period of re-education, followed by service to society, which essentially everyone not tired with life was happy to accept.

Beyond these immediately useful technologies were two more which would greatly influence the future of their world. For one Provider 13174 came home with copies of herself that had been genetically and neurologically altered for telepathy, along with genetic and scientific information from many alien races with psychic powers. It would take the Providers a long time to with their cautious approaches to genetic tampering, but in time could lead first to empathic powers, and finally to global telepathic communication. The other technological marvel was one they couldn't use easily or carelessly. She hadn't brought home devices to teleport between universes, but she had acquired considerable data on the technology and its underlying principles. A group of Providers began an involved study, and careful development of inter-dimensional drives.

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Re: Providers a future history

Post by Lazarus » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:27 pm

Missionaries

In the future the Providers began exercising an extreme form of 'doctors without borders' sending diplomatic missions to other worlds, in their own universe and beyond it. Offering to open medical embassies wherever welcomed, and to help with a controlled release of technological marvels.

AN ASIDE: I didn't write up all this without reason. I have in mind a campaign which would use a version of our Earth in a near future where a Provider mission had been established. A game using mostly our technology but where the genies of nanotech, replication, and genetic tampering where starting to come out of the bottle. A modern game where injured players could conceivably visit a Provider Centre to be fully healed, perhaps even storing a neural map for full body printing as a form of 'true resurrection'. The Providers would be empathic, but perhaps not telepathic. There will likely be limits on how involved the Providers would be, both because of government limitations, and their own desire not to immediately crash the worlds economy and society.
When I was playing Provider 13174 I though quite a lot both in and out of character how the technologies she played with would effect our world or one on our level. I think unfettered access to power sources would crash the oil industry and through it perhaps the world economy. More destabilising might be the uncontrolled release of replication tech, making redundant most manufacture, and food production on the planet. And what would limitless life extension do for our population, and our leadership? If a CEO or President was immortal what hope would younger generations have to rise to the top, what room would their be for new ideas, who would want to take risks.
All those questions were easier to consider with the Plateau society, already with tech well beyond our own, and with a society heavily focussed on societal duty. I'm not sure if the idea of retraining required for rejuve is mine or if I read it somewhere, it works well for providers but I don't know how well it would work for us. The idea is that to be allowed rejuv a subject would be required to quit their job and learn a new one, and in that field could start again from the ground up, and required to spend some of their extended lifespan working off a debt to society. Their could be exceptions for those very skilled in a field, that could forego the career change, but should still work out their rejuv work period.
It's in leadership, and financial areas where I think there's danger of immortals stagnating things, how much worse would the 'one percent' be for hoarding resources if they knew they could live forever. Would immortality even be allowed for the poor? Would voluntary old age and death be the only recourse to a pension for a poor person stuck as a wage slave. How would religion and other cultural pressures effect things? What would environmentalist, and religious fanatics think of immortality weather it be fettered or universal. How would the drug industry respond to miracle medicine? How do you stop a meth dealer with a replicator? And how would any dealer, criminal or otherwise make money in a world with replicators? Can patterns be protected any better than the data that gets pirated now?

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Re: Providers a future history

Post by Lazarus » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:48 pm

Helios

So obviously I found a hook to make use of the Providers. Our world, albeit slightly different as I used the version from Dean Koontz's Frankenstein series. In His books the scientist Victor Frankenstein was real, had survived the intervening two centuries, and was operating under the name Victor Helios in New Orleans. For the game I invented reasons for some things that were ambiguous in the books, and I altered the story enough that Victor had restarted in Detroit some years later. Then I introduced the Providers into the plot.

The Providers arrived on Earth. They traded technology, with an attempt to limit the gifts to ones that would aid us. They didn't anticipate the espionage Victor employed, or that he'd be able to both steal and make use of a database of bio-modding technology. Victor had already had minor breakthroughs in his own research into psychic abilities. The modifier technology failed to work on his New Race creations, so he sought numerous subjects for extensive human testing. His plan was to reverse engineer the changes for use in his own creations. One such secret experimentation prison in Detroit was destroyed during a successful escape attempt by five of the testing subjects.

Thus begun Helios Book 1. The heroes Rose, Shiro, Sarah, Stefan, and Brent escaped from captivity. Aided by Provider's they joined up with a resistance group opposed to New Race conquest.

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