Eclipse Phase: Flotilla
Krobe Part 1
[quantum encryption: secure]
[public key: Professor Felix Pell]
Greetings Dr. Krobe
I hope this message reaches you successfully. You’re a difficult man to track down, and we seem to have lost touch with each other after that work you completed for me. I have another job that might interest you. We’ve received reports of a strange pathology striking more than one isolated habitat in the Jovian Trojans. The local bush doctors are having trouble isolating the cause. It’s probably nothing more than a tainted fly-by-night budget resleeving operation, but we’d like to be sure. We were impressed with the work you performed for us years ago, and trust you will be equally discreet and capable in this matter.
Find out what’s afflicting these colonies and cure it, or report back your findings. Enclosed is a voucher for egocasting to Casa Arturo, from which you will be able to take a shuttle to any of these habitats, along with a small amount of credits to get you started, if you do choose to accept this job. Please keep me informed of your progress, and let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you. Also, I’ve hired someone else to take care of security for you. Someone to watch your back, if you will. I’ve sent her to make preparations in advance at Casa Arturo. Don’t worry about finding her. She’ll find you.
Professor Felix Pell
You remember working with Professor Pell. He was your Firewall handler on a couple jobs a few years ago. It was good work while it lasted. You had access to a good lab, and he mostly stayed out of your business. Until he didn’t. Firewall grew increasingly paranoid that someone was infiltrating their lab. They began to post armed guards throughout the facility. Everyone entering or exiting the lab was subject to cavity searches and high-intensity milimeter-wave body scans. Probably some sort of mind control experiment they were doing on all of you, you’re sure. Bottom line, you couldn’t take it. You eventually confronted Professor Pell about the work environment. It came to blows. You were escorted out of the facility by armed guards, Pell watching on in defiance as blood ran down his chin from the bloody nose you gave him. So why was he contacting you now? This was one bridge you were pretty sure you had sufficiently burned.
But the credits! That’s more money than you’ve seen in a long while, and he says it’s just to get you started. They must really be in a bind. And what’s this about security? They must be expecting it to be dangerous. The work you did for them was pretty standard. Reverse engineering some genetic algorithms. It was child’s play for you and, to satisfy your own sense of humor, you embedded a sort of genetic signature. Anyone else who works with it will find a gigantic JOHN HANCOCK on it, only it actually says “DR KROBE WAS HERE”.
Anyway, you begin to make preparations to leave your brinker colony and rejoin civilization. You say some goodbyes to your friends. You’re not looking forward to egocasting, and thus resleeving into a new morph, since you’ve been in this one for several years now, but you’re confident it’ll be waiting in good hands upon your return. Besides, Professor Pell sent plenty of credits for a new morph equally as good as this one.
You decide to do some research on Casa Arturo before heading there so you look up what you can find on the mesh. Casa Arturo is anchored to the asteroid from which the neighborhood takes its name, a rare, dark, metal-rich body. From the outside, Casa Arturo looks like a shiny, meshed-over geodesic sphere, 800 meters in diameter, with numerous protruding instrument spars and some triangles left open to space so that shuttles can pass through. The mooring to the asteroid is temporary in case a potential collision is detected. Inside, a central
utility module with a communal reactor, factories, and machine bay is surrounded by evenly spaced but irregularly shaped habitat modules in a riot of colors and lighting schemes. Structural spars and floatways connect everything. One entire spar is given over to a rotating cylindrical module that generates about 0.7 g and contains medical, cloning, resleeving, and darknet egocasting facilities. The hab has a population of about 1200, most of whom are fanatical rocket geeks. Most Arturistas speak Spanish, English, and Mandarin. The mining, foundry, and shipbuilding facilities here are very well-developed for a population of this size. Full egocasting and resleeving facilities are available. Many visitors come to see rocket designs firsthand and participate in races. Bouncer morphs are the most common, but a wide variety of other morphs are in use as well.