Eclipse Phase: The Outside Context Problem

blame-tunnelProxy Cogburn, leader of the Firewall presence on exoplanet Minerva 4, is personally leading a team of agents to explore a possible X-threat on Wormwood, an infamous gatecrashing site. Wormwood is nothing but a massive tunnel network stretching out for hundreds of kilometers in all directions from its gate. It is believed to be an asteroid, but no one has found a way out yet and the tunnels have yet to be fully mapped. Several weeks ago, a Firewall sentinel and gatecrasher stationed on Wormwood detected a rogue team of explorers who breached a wall and disappeared. Given that Wormwood was built by an alien civilization, Firewall needs to make sure the explorers haven’t unleashed some hellish alien technology that could pose a threat to transhumanity. Little do the other agents realize that Cogburn (formerly known as Gerard) might have a hidden agenda.

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  1. RIP Iain Banks =( I should read Excession again.

  2. Ross’ constant giggling in this episode was infectious! I walked around work, grinning like an idiot as shit goes from bad to worse to amazing at the very end!

  3. I see what you did there is that there alt text.

  4. Ha! Is alt-text a thing I have been missing?!

  5. I was hoping everyone would like the ending to this.

  6. And that’s why it’s a game of transhuman CONSPIRACY and horror. 🙂

  7. I haven’t finished it yet, but reading the comments, my bet is it’s gonna turn out a certain cosmic superspy is gonna turn out still to be around and working with a treacherous reclaimer we all know. or that Mange is spoofing Gerard?

  8. nooo, just all the murder!

    I really liked the spambot, but isn’t one of the background badguys in Hedge Row functionally a post-exsurgent spambot nightmare? I feel like Firewall wouldn’t’ve sent someone with that kind of mindstate on a mission in light of Hedgerow. all is forgiven if the “meet sophants in your area” was a reference to David Brin’s Uplift series, though.

  9. Author

    The details of HEDGEROW are not that well known. Even inside Firewall, it’s only known as an anti-TITAN defense project developed by the hypercorps, except for sentinels and proxies directly involved in the taskforce. Need to know and all that.

  10. One of my ideas is totally an accidental AGI, I’m thinking a porn spam bot.

    Also, Cogburn isn’t worse than Bartleby until he betrays his remalimer buddies. For now he’s just in his company.

  11. I’m waiting for Akasha Lacuna or Augustine to pop up. 🙂

  12. I’m hoping for an Akasha (Akaja?) Lacuna player-character. She sounds like she’d make a pretty good Firewall asset, if Augustine or some other Promethean could put just a little bit of memetic spin on her personality.

  13. I was thinking, if I were Manjiapapappypapa, what I’d’ve done was install a seperate alpha of myself on a wisp in the outer system, create secondary security credentials to everything I’ve got access to, psychosurgery them completely out of my own mind down to even having knowledge of them, and use that as the “true” backup. the one that could get at anything I had access to before–maybe receiving updates every day or week or so–but whose access wouldn’t be compromised by the system Mange’s compromise. it could monitor the inner system and remotely manage distinct identities it could assume if the main fork were ever–

    man, EP technology is so fucking complicated. how do you EVER kill a paranoid person? I probably need to just read more of the books, maybe they go into this stuff?

  14. Would I be forgiven for unconscious reference? Read the series ages ago, used that particular verbiage because it seemed a nice catch-all for “anything living in scan distance.”

    One spam I never got to use, though, was if I had detected an infomorph or other AGI; “Want to chat? My measurements are 10010101011001010010101010…”

    I jotted them down as I thought of them, but the “Sophants in your area” was the first one I listed on my notepad.

  15. Author

    @crawlkill – I started some discussion on the issues you raised in the EP thread in the forums.

  16. after being reminded of Delta SAIROC, I was waiting for him to be disposed of just by a trail of M&Ms leading under an anvil held up by a string

    or the scifi equivalent

  17. Space M&M’s under a nano-swarm anvil?

  18. Outside Context Problems are something I’ve actually put some thought into in regards to EP. Either everything is an Outside Context Problem, or nothing is. Firewall’s entire mission statement puts it up against the incomprehensible and potentially deadly, especially when it comes to Gatecrashing. A living Iktomi (Or something that looks very much like what the Sentinels think an Iktomi would look like), Memetic serial killer, or Von Neumann Berserker older than the solar system are problems that Firewall agents can encounter and may find themselves preparing for. Where Firewall is concerned, I don’t know if you can create an Outside Context Problem without breaking genre.
    That said, I loved the game. The cult, David’s(?) spambot, and Gerard’s hidden mission were definite highlights for me. The Iktomi-thing didn’t seem very alien, especially the hard-drive in it’s body and the healing vat analogue. Although, some of the stuff with the Guardian, especially those last two examples came off as best guesses. If this weren’t a one shot I would love to see the fallout from a research team making the sort of assumptions the players were making about material recovered from the tunnels. After all, that’s pretty much what happened with the Cult in this episode with a side order of alien worship.

    P.S: Ross, if you can’t keep a poker face when your players are in a deathtrap, just smile all the time. Totes unsettling and it helps conceal the really bad choices.

  19. Not fully done with the episode but disappointed Delta SAIROC did not say, “I am SAIROC, I am a spy.”

  20. The greater good. Depending on if you share Gerard’s view, I guess. Earth looks pretty fucked anyhow.

    Loved having Gerard back. Reminded me of how much I miss Know Evil.

  21. this was fun, it was almost a ‘Know Evil’ reunion tour, at least with Gerard, SAIROC, and a Crowley subordinate

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