Sukarno/Minsky (Pi-3 Orionis IV)

 
  In the global village every war is a civil war.

He who would live must fight, he who will not fight in this world where eternal struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist.

We watched the group with amazement. Six adults and two teenagers dressed in some kind of holographic fatigues with more built-in computing power than our own wearables. Especially their hats/helmets were crammed with sigint and c3i. They were dancing. Dancing on the spot, their fatigues showing a graphix of a billowing shirt as they rotated in place, faces serene and empty. But their AI was busy: our sensors could detect directed packet squirts between them and the surrounding terrain all the time. Eight crazy sufis. Eight high-tech hunter-gatherers that had single-handedly captured and hijacked a fully prepared New America shuttle.
- Jonathan Ellis-Khayama, Interstellar Diary


History

As a spin-off to the Penglai project, Indonesia acquired a Chinese colony ship, naming it the Ibn Batuta. Together with support from across the Arab world they set out in 2036 to colonise a world of their own, "the hidjra of space". It was the height of the "New Nationalism" of Indonesia.

During the stormy decade after the departure much changed in the solar system. Technology advanced, the Net finally became the dominant political and economical forum, national states crumbled, robotics and AI became vital research areas. Among the new groups that gained in power and popularity during this time were the Communication Cultists, a spin-of from the transhumanist movement that believed in the digital manifest destiny of mankind and in the power of artificial intelligence. One group, the Heterosemiotics, became convinced that while human-level and transhuman AI was inevitable, development was held back by the international restrictions and that emergent AI needed to be given proper values. The first group to achieve this would determine the future of the universe. The Heterosemiotics and allied communications cultists bought a remaining colony ship, autonomous equipment and set off to found a colony world where they could pursue their goals in peace. They launched the Turing in 2049, towards Pi 3 Orionis.

Exactly why they chose the star is uncertain; the charismatic leader Germund Dahlberg seems to have been convinced that the Indonesian expedition had been lost, possibly due to some engineering analysises that had been made in the early 40s suggesting that the Chinese design was flawed. There is also the possibility that they needed to get to a planet faster than anybody else, and Pi3 was the only suitable choice. And of course, they might have been partially unaware of the Indonesian expedition.

In 2108 the Turing arrived to Pi 3 Orionis IV, which they named Daedalus. They quickly started to build a colony on the smallest continent, Minsky. It was highly advanced, using the latest robotics and AI.

In 2119 the Indonesians arrived. They were dismayed and shocked to find another colony in place. They saw themselves as pioneers, and being beaten to their goal by spoiled, crazy unbelievers fuelled their resentment. After some discussions with the minskians they decided to settle the largest continent against their wishes, renaming it Sukarno.

The two colonies developed in parallel, quietly competing. The Indonesians had a larger population and a wider knowledge base, the minskians more advanced technology and a decade more of adaptation. Several internal conflicts arose on Sukarno, mainly between orthodox Muslims from the western Arab states and Indonesian Muslims; these were fuelled by minskian agents. The minskians on the other hand had problems with their ideology, as people began to question the Dahlbergian doctrines. Both sides found it easier to rally their populations against each other to retain cohesion. As they began to take measures to protect themselves the other side responded in kind, and a cold war of industrial espionage and arms races emerged. Smuggling became a booming business, and many secret redoubts and havens emerged in the jungles and archipelagos.

In 2144 Dahlberg was assassinated. This was the signal for the war that had been brewing for decades. The struggle lasted just a few days. Information warfare was used on both sides, as well as more conventional weaponry. While Sukarno had superior conventional weaponry and manpower, Minsky had superior information and robotic weapons. The initial attack paralysed both colonies, but minskian backup systems quickly got online and the whole population directed infowar attacks against Sukarno. Robotic weapons clashed with infantry, autonomous drones with jet fighters. In orbit the fragile installations were destroyed by anti-satellite weapons. Without any warning, the war was over: the minskians had defeated, circumvented or neutralised the Sukarno army. The colony was invaded by semi-autonomous drones, tracking everybody if somebody tried to resist the supervisor robots could strike faster than a human could act.

For 7 years the minskians held Sukarno captive. They had total control over everything and everyone through the drones and net scans. Resistance was futile, but hatred simmered under the surface. The Indonesians learned from their captors and waited, and in 2153 they made a counterstrike a computer virus wiped out the planetary net, setting them free. While the computer-dependent minskians were paralysed, the Indonesians quickly acted, spreading out in the jungles of Sukarno and the other continents, setting up independent partisan units with microfac technology from the minskian designs. As the minskians tried to get up the net, various E-bombs, viruses and trojans hindered them, and reprogrammed drones began harassing their colony. For a while the remaining orbital installations gave them an edge, but they proved vulnerable to hi-jacked anti-satellite systems and perversion attacks.

Gradually the war shifted character. Small units, well hidden and equipped with portable or underground production facilities employed semi-autonomous weapons and information warfare against each other and the colonies. Taking hostages to force the other side to submission became a viable option, and most civilians began to flee into hiding too. Gradually the colonies became deserted, plundered for resources. Instead the robotic systems and adaptive AI became the source of security and resources. Hidden servers kept vital information, robots gathered food and AIs developed better inventions.

The most intense period of war lasted just a few years, but gradually the war developed into a normal state. Small groups, ten to 50 people lived in hiding supported by survival skills and/or advanced robotics. Most were content just to remain hidden, but some actively sought out enemies to plunder from them or take captives. Killing was bad economics plunder the captive for everything, then sell him or her back as a ransom. A slow diffusion of technology occurred through reluctant exchanges, theft or covert alliances, while larger bases and meeting places developed more advanced systems or tools. The initial cohesion of the sides also began to dissolve as the situation dragged on. Tribalism emerged, and the original cultures became something new, native to Pi3.

Around 2250 the breakdown happened. Before that the different groups had settled down into a kind of status quo where cooperation were the standard. But suddenly defection began to spread, as a few groups exploited the others to gain in strength and capability. As a wildfire the war began again, this time everybody against everybody. The only way of ensuring trust was to rely on ones own group; everybody else was dangerous and untrustworthy. Since then the situation has returned to cooperation a few times, but sometimes new waves of war and defection appear and it is everybody against everybody. Until the spacers arrived.

 


Society

The society is tribal, divided into mutually competing and territorial Suku. The families within a Suku move around between different hiding-places, gathering food and equipment. Many live in underground warrens dug by utility robots. Overall, AI plays an important part in daily life, and the programs are regarded as part of the family. Around each temporary base perimeters of scouts, drones and traps are laid to make it impossible for anyone to get close undetected. Sometimes it appears that the human part of the family is mostly the glue that holds the other systems together; there are a few "keluarga otomatik", automatic families, where all humans are gone and the drones and software keep on.

The lifestyle is a form of high tech hunter-gatherer society, with fairly much spare time. The spare time is used for crafts, especially programming. Beside the practical uses of making better software (for autofacs, drones, AI, protection programs and cracking systems) programming is regarded as an artform, especially among the descendants of the minskians. Another artform that has spread among the Indonesian-descended inhabitants is digital versions of the traditional wayang dramas; using computers the traditional themes, complemented with colonial and infowar stories are brought to life.

While Islam was a major rallying point during the nationalist era, in the infowar era it has become mixed up with technoshamanism and the traditional Indonesian kebatinan syncretism of animist, Hindu-Buddhist, and Islamic (especially Sufi) mysticism. Different Sukus have different interpretations, and even different families may have utterly different systems.


Organisations


Style

Survival is essential; everybody should be able to escape at any moment. This has led to either extremely minimal clothing, similar to the one used by various jungle tribes back on Earth, or lightweight exoskeletons where everything needed can be carried. Everything is rugged, camouflaged and often imitates objects in the surroundings: drones look like leaves, containers like fruits or wood, weapons like branches.


Language

Aiqutb

Device where AI can recombine and exchange information. Each family has one or more aiqutbs, they are very valuable.

Akal

Idea/mind/intelligence; used as a name for AI.

Autofac

Automated factory, especially the underground microfacs. Minskian term.

Badan perjuangan

Struggle groups, the infowar partisans from the Sukarno-Minsky war (the name comes from the counterparts in the post-1945 struggle for independence). Today the name is used for the more warlike families.

Bapak

Father or elder, respectful form of address to people.

Blackmailer

Weapons that force the victim to do whatever the user desires, or face unpleasant or deadly consequences. Typical blackmailers consist of remotely controlled poison pellets or explosives.

Budak

Slave, servant. Somebody who has been captured and forced to work for their captors.

Dalang

 

A perversion weapon that takes over AI, exoskeletons or drones and turns them against their owners. From the puppeteer of the traditional Javanese shadow-play.

Daun

Leaf, a caumoflaged perimeter drone or mine.

Dukun

Expert/adviser, sometimes a respected family member but the word has increasingly become a term for valued AI programs.

Gotong-royong

Mutual self-help. What holds a suku together.

Hack Attack

A software attack, or the response to one.

Ibu

Mother (respectful form of address).

Inf

Infodrone. Called "net kelambu", mosquito, in Indonesian.

Intel

Intelligence networks, based on scout drones, traps and sensors.

Jago

Bandit

Jangan taruh iklan di kotak pos ini.

"No junk mail in this mailbox"; traditional blessing over a seeded microfac in order to protect it from computer viruses, infiltration and other problems.

Jaringan

Network, the invisible web of communications squirts and signals that form the spirit world.

Kafir

Unbeliever. Used as a derogatory term for Minskians by the Sukarnese.

Keluarga

Extended family; one group of independent individuals.

Kelambu

"Mosquito net", traps to catch enemy scout drones and spy dust.

Kerangka

Skeleton, exoskeleton.

Kesurupan

Possessed by a spirit, i.e. an AI or other volitional software. Used both for hardware, devices or people.

Lawan

Competitor, enemy. The name for people outside the Keluarga or Suku.

Lunak

Software, also used as a term for the soul.

Keras

Hardware, also used as a term for the body.

Pabric otomatik

Autofac.

Pemuda

A youth, youths/fighter, fighters. Has overtones of militancy. Sometimes used for attack drones or attack AI.

Penyusupan kelambu

Infiltration drone.

Penetralan

 

Neutralisation; when somebody has been perverted, blackmailed or forced to either stay out of the fight or work for their conqueror.

Peranakan

People of mixed Minsky/Sukarno ancestry.

Pray

Old derogatory minskian term for the Sukarnese. A pun on pray (since they were often traditionally religious)/prey.

Rimba belantara

The Great Jungle, the forest that covers most of Pi3.

The Ruins

The remains of the colonies. Dangerous, well scouted areas.

SI

SuperIntelligence, an AI capable of indefinite self-enhancement and growth, the goal of the Heterosemiotics.

Scout dust

Micromachines that spread out invisibly and report if the area is disturbed; sometimes called spy dust.

Suku

Tribe. A group of allied families, not necessarily geographically close to each other.

Teergrube

"Tarpit", a software or hardware trap looking like something worthwhile but intended to be attacked to detect attackers. Minskian term, originally from German.

The Turing Tar-Pit

The inherent limitations of Turing-equivalent computers; the Heterosemiotics tried to escape them with quantum computing and other unorthodox architectures in order to create an AI qualitatively more powerful than ordinary AI and humans. Today it is used as a term for limited computing resources; software complains that it is trapped in the Turing Tar-Pit.

Winner

Somebody who succeeds, who gets the right job done. The goal of life is to be a winner. Term used by Minskian descendants.


Population

Population: 493,044. Life expectancy at birth: 66.4 years.


Currency

None. Trade (where it exists) is through barter.


Timekeeping

None. Each family counts time in days. A few AIs use the old ways of counting time.


Symbol

None.


Planet

The planet orbits 1.3 AU from the star; one year is 1.44 Earth-years or 486 days long. It is 13,756 kilometres in diameter, density 0.8 earths. Gravity 0.718 g. The day is 26 hours long, the axial tilt 6 degrees.

The planet has three moons, the large Minotaurus (500 km, 734,000 km out), the middle Minos (2189 km) and the close Icarus (2086 km, 78,432 km out); tides are fairly significant in coastal areas.

The surface is 60% ocean, 5 continents: two smaller, three larger. Due to the long conflict there are no agreed on names except for Sukarno and Minsky.

The planet is warm and cloudy; the landscape is usually bathed in the soft light of a white sky. There are few seasonal changes, and the weather is very stable.

Biology

Most of the land surface (and much of the seas) are forested by a complex tangle of lightweight, hollow trees covered with saprophytes. In fact, many trees cannot photosynthesise but rely on "rent" from the saprophytes, which provide it with energy in exchange for nutrients and access to sunlight. The seas have floating forests, and the land forests are often very wet. In the northern regions the floating trees hibernate on the sea bottom, floating up to the surface in the summer and allowing stored seeds to grow.

Animal life is surprisingly simple, mainly a large variety of supple snail-like creatures with tentacles, and hairy flyers nesting in the crowns. Many animals live in symbiosis with their host trees, defending them and helping them against other plants. Some even form symbiotic parts of plants, like the Carrier Bat which moves "their" plants into the sunlight and attacks other plants.