2475 An Autoimmune Meme Outbreak.
A toxic meme is spreading in southern Australia. The infection is caused by the so-called Khulapana memeplex. Infected people switch off the meme-filters of their implants opening themselves to new ideas in an uncontrolled way. The memeplex propagates a philosophy of openness and uncritical thinking. The usual bio-electronic filtering is seen as harmful and unnatural. There are also strong proselytizing elements. Infected people are convinced that many problems can be solved if people just "reach out to each other" accepting each other's beliefs. They try to better the world by convincing others, thus ensuring rapid spread. Affected areas are mainly Indian-dominated districts of New South Wales in the Warrnambool/Geelong/Melbourne megacity.
The direct consequence of an infection is a mild disorientation due to often conflicting thoughts, ideas, and theories. The indirect consequences are much more serious. The meme group actively opposes technical protection measures enticing people to turn off their meme filters which are supposed to defend them against all the memes circulating in the wild.
At any given time, powerful memes try to flood the mind of the average citizen. Many are advertising messages appearing in all sorts of forms, from simple earworms to fandom-inducing themes. There are political meme groups using auxiliary memes like conspiracy theories, ideas of moral superiority, ethnic and tribal discrimination, defamation and fear. In addition, there is a colorful variety of persuasive ideas ranging from artificial religions and sects to cults and urban legends. Some are just weird and actually harmless, but they can still influence beliefs or at least stabilize other memes via the "true core"-mechanism.
Countless memes are remnants of past campaigns that are still in circulation, many of whom have mutated over time, moving away from their original function, becoming independent or thriving in symbiosis with other memes. The variety and strength of ideas crashing down on people in networked augmented environments in the 25th century is much larger than before the days of science-based memetics and industrial meme design. After switching off their filters, Khulapana victims are exposed to all these memes without any protection. The consequences vary widely depending on which memes are able to take root in the mind of the infected.
The infection spreads rapidly over several months and can then be contained within five years. Hundreds of thousands of affected people are treated with psychological decontamination and long periods of rehabilitation. Still, complete cure is often difficult, because auxiliary memes of Khulapana try to prevent the detection and the symptoms differ greatly depending on the memes exploiting the Khulapana infection. That's why autoimmune memes are so dangerous.
2478 Big Raid in the Asteroid Belt.
Report of a police raid by Norden Esstisch, CO (commanding officer) SWAT CEA (Cloning Enforcement Agency), Iris City, 2478:
Our target was an old refueling station on asteroid 14387. The station had been abandoned 15 years ago if the available data is to be believed. At least that was the last recorded refueling. After that there have been no more registered visits. Statistical traffic analysis and other indirect evidence indicated that 14387 was operating as an illegal manufacturing facility. Investigations last year related to a final homicide at Vesta Prime were along the same lines. This particular operation came about after an illegal warehouse of bioroids was busted on Vesta Prime. The flight data acquired in the process contained indirect hints at the immediate vicinity of 14387.
We approached the target in the radar shadow of 56288. For the last light second we had to leave the shadow to advance to 14387. We spent three hours at 1.5 g until we reached target zero minus 2000 klicks. The trajectory was planned so that we would approach the target on the far side of the supposed base. For that we had reviewed the old backups of the operating company. Yet, the data did not tell us that new sensor platforms covered the sky of the asteroid almost completely with an effective normalized coverage of 3.5 pi. We didn't find that out until it was too late.
Anyway, at 100 klicks distance, we sent three short range reconnaissance probes. They moved into their orbits and began active operations three minutes before we arrived. Two of them were caught immediately. The third at least sent us a scan before it was neutralized. So we were warned. But so were they. It was also clear that they had had enough time to organize their defenses. No surprise effect then. But after brief consultation with the other section leaders, I decided to continue the mission anyway.
I ordered to fire at the defensive positions with targeting data based on the single orbital scan. This attack was conducted by the AKV offensive drones and the shuttles' launchers. Then we sent down a platoon of melee combat drones. Unfortunately, one of the two shuttles was shot down on approach. The second dropped its drones getting hit after takeoff. As the platoon met with strong resistance from automatic guns, we had to abandon it and neutralized the ground defenses with the AKV. Then three shuttles dropped a full company of our combat drones. The drones entered the complex under weak defensive fire, followed by nine contact specialists in battle armor from three directions. One of the SWAT teams picked up the only human in the complex. Her name was Alaiia Zucca. She killed herself before she could be immobilized. Zucca's brain was too badly damaged for ghosting, but our info-war guys were more successful. After the infiltrators gained us access, we were able to capture three AIs. One AI named Haratani Zindato-Vilmouth, who apparently was leading the operation, contained valuable information about the syndicate's structures and distribution networks. Zucca, the woman, was presumably only serving in a subordinate capacity.
We found production facilities for bioroids and also several drug synthesizers, mainly Pitchou and Darkstar derivatives. The bioroids were in various stages of production, from cell cultures of tissues, to full grown adults. Some were sitting in the programmers when the contact units entered. The whole thing looked like a production line running at full capacity. Unfortunately, 15 bioroids suffered explosive decompression when the second wave of drones broke open the access. We were able to rescue 22 bioroids. Of these, ten were for various service functions (see lab analysis), and the rest were apparently pleasure models.
Overall, the mission can be considered a success. The high drone losses are to be regretted. This was due to incomplete data. There were no serious personal injuries. We could capture several suspected rogue AIs in senior positions. The main objective, stopping illegal bioroid production was achieved.
Material used and personnel involved:
- Material: 3 personnel carriers, 5 transporters for equipment, 180 combat drones (1:3 Defender/Enforcer mix) in 2 companies, 4 Vestigo short range reconnaissance probes, 1 PointDev3K missile defense system, 2 AKV offensive units, 3 EM platforms, 6 shuttles (2 Tukker and 4 KQ3), 3 short-range missile launchers, 16 battle armor, 2 medbots, 1 autodoc.
- Personnel: mission command: 3, drone operator: 5, combat units crew: 6, armored contact personnel: 9 in 3 SWAT teams, medics: 2, info-penetration specialists: 2, info-analysts: 3.
- Equipment damage: Vestigo probes (total loss: 3), Shuttle (total loss: 2), Drones (total loss: 72, damaged: 12), battle armor (total loss: 2, damaged: 5).
- Personal injuries: 3 persons with minor injuries.