Judex, The Guild of Law


“Are you sure he will be up here?” Jeremiah asked, his voice weak from the thin air and lack of water.

I nodded, my eyes fixed on the top of the incline. The journey up the mountain had been difficult, and strenuous, but not altogether dangerous. It was more of a matter of inconvenience–a deterrent from frivolous matters being brought before the White Robe. “I saw him once, a few years ago, when I came here with my father.”

We reached the brow of the hill, and there the two of us, being weary, stopped to rest. Jeremiah looked visibly agitated. “I don’t see anyone. We’ve made this trip for nothing.”

I said nothing and looked around. A small campfire, perhaps recently extinguished, an old wooden crate, and a few sparse flora before the sheer cliff face…I became curious and stood, sauntering over to the cliff. Carefully, I peered over. There, on a cleft of the adjacent rocks, sat a person, robed in silvery white, meditating inches from the thousand-foot drop. I opened my mouth to speak but the person spoke first.

“Hello, travelers,” the Judex said, not looking up. Her voice was full of authority, but also calm and serenity. “Please, feel free to sit down and rest before speaking to me. There is water in the crate near you. Please help yourselves.”

I turned to see Jeremiah opening the crate to reveal some rations and water. He plucked one of the glass bottles out and opened it. 

I looked back over the cliff. “I don’t want to take much of your time…we just need a conflict resolved.”

“Go on,” the Judex said softly. “Jeremiah has been moving his land markers for months, encroaching on my plot. I have tried to stop him and believe it violates the Laws…he says he is not taking it by force and that those markers were always there.”

Jeremiah wiped the water from his chin and waited.

“And you’ve come to me to declare whether the markers were or were not moved? Seems hardly a reason to involve the Judex. But you’ve made your journey here. So I will try.” She raised her hand, and white glowing writing began to scrawl across her skin, the hive-mind of the Law spinning through her connected consciousness. “Jeremiah. Did you move the markers?”

Jeremiah stiffened, his eyes becoming unfocused. “Yes. Yes I did.”

The judge lowered her hand. “Then you are guilty of attempting to claim another’s property by force. The penalty for which is death.” She looked up at me. “But you knew this already. I told you this answer when you visited me six days ago.”

Jeremiah shook himself back to reality. “Wait, I thought you said–“

But his words were suddenly consumed by a scream as I pushed him off the edge of the cliff into the fog below.


The Immutable Guardians of Law

The Span has but 7 laws, which are considered to be the unquestionable truths of society:

1. No person or law may contribute to a loss of Sympathy in another person or persons.
2. No person who has shunned his Sympathy shall be allowed to live.
3. No person or law may prevent a person or persons from contributing to the goals of his Guild, nor deny him the rights and privileges thereof.
4. No Guild shall trespass on the duties of another.
5. No person or persons may take the property of another by force or coercion.
6. The rulings of the Guild of Judex shall not be infringed.
7. The Waste is forbidden. None may go there.

These laws, which supersede all local laws of Wardens and their jurisdictions, are enforced by the Knights and by society itself, but the interpretation of those laws is sometimes a matter of dispute. What one Warden interprets as a violation of the Laws might be interpreted as completely legal by another; and the resolution of those conflicts becomes a matter for the Judex.

Connected By Sympathy14711649_777750142365324_4097598866867800752_o

Becoming a Judex is a choice to give up all a portion of oneself in order to serve the greater good. This is not to say that the Judex are all the same; in truth, they are diverse and retain their own identities and personalities. However, they give up their privacy and loan out some of their reasoning skills to others; in this way, when one talks to a Judex regarding the Laws of the Span, one will always receive the same answer. The answer and the legal ramifications are, in essence, crowd-sourced. This neural connection among all guild members is called The Contemplative.

Even in retaining their identity and sense of self, most Judex become more contemplative and logical over time as The Contemplative intertwines with their own personality. Not every person is suited to be a Judex: only those who can handle conflict and analysis are chosen to finally go through the Ascension–the ritual connection to the shared consciousness–and join the ranks.

Structure of the Judex

Judex are unique among the Major Guilds in the fact that they have no structure or factions. The highest-ranked Judex in the Span who sits on the Supreme Council, is referred to as the Grand Judex, but this title means nothing; the Judex chosen to fill this seat changes often, and regardless of the person holding that tile and rank, the Laws of the span are well represented at the table. All Judex are of equal station regardless of Rank, and are given tasks to fulfill from The Contemplative itself in the form of instructions from the Grand Judex.

Judex do, however, fill roles called “Orders” based on their skills. Unlike factions, these roles do not report to a head and do not have a chain of command; they are simply tasks that various Judex fill. Judex can even change roles with relative ease, unlike factions.


Magistrates are an order of Judex assigned to certain Wards to act as local adjudicators. They are often found in more populous places, and handle many different legal matters including local ones. These are either new Judex who are becoming accustomed to the connection to The Contemplative, or older Judex who are less able to travel abroad.


This order, like its name implies, is tasked with traveling to different Wards, resolving their disputes, and moving on. Some Wards only get a visit from a Judex every few years, and there is much tension until those conflicts are resolved; others may have a Traveler visit a few times a month.


This order wanders much like the Travelers, but instead of following specific routes, the Detectives are sent by the Council to investigate specific breaches of Law.


This Order is comprised of those whose social grace and prowess make them very useful as guides for others. They act as advisors to leaders in the ways of Law. A vessel, station, or town that is assigned a Dignitary is somewhat of an honor; it implies that the population is important enough to the Span as a whole that it warrants additional support from the Council itself.


Technology in The Span

Since the fall of the Architects of the Stars, technology has been on a slow but steady decline. No new innovations are being made, and the people of The Span have enough knowledge to keep the world running under its own momentum…for now.

One side effect of this situation, however, is that technology is not readily available everywhere. the wealthier and more populous areas might be able to acquire the most advanced of gadgets, but newer or distant Wards are not so lucky. This divide of technology has led to a classification system for not only types of technologies, but the towns that employ them.

The first 3 classes (A, B, and C) are what would be considered “Power” technology. Using some form of electricity, light, or other form of energy to work, they are driven by processors and programs. The last three classes (D, E, and F) are known as “Analog” technology, and are chemically, manually, or otherwise non-digitally powered.

These classes are a reference but are not absolute. Sometimes, but not often, two classes of technology are combined to form a single one–a windmill, for example, that provides energy for a small Class D town might also be equipped with a class C computer for monitoring. Generally, one would refer to such things by the technology they are closest to.


Class F – Simple tools

Class F technology comprises the absolute most basic of technology, from a corn-grinding bowl to a setting-maul, is of the simplest form and is common on freshly-terraformed colonies. THis technology has few moving parts, and those that do use simple mechanics and physics to work. Buildings are often made of sod, brick, or in some cases stone. Class F tools are revered by the Blue Hand.

Class F weapons would include clubs, spears, hammers, and slings.
A player might compare Class F tools to cultures of antiquity such as those in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mesopotamia, and Ancient Greece.

Class E – Simple machines and refined materials

As the refinement of metals and other materials increases, so can the potential for greater growth. At this class, weapons are often edged or sharpened, and transportation moves into the realm of wagons and carriages. Buildings are made of stone and mortar, wood, and other materials.

Class E Weapons include swords, axes, bow-and-arrows, and other melee combat weapons; it may also include single-shot pistols and cannons.

A player might compare Class E tools to those of the European Dark ages through the Renaissance or Japan’s Edo Period.

north-315865777Class D – Steam, Guns, and early electricity

Trains and carriages are the main modes of transportation for Class D Wards, with buildings being made of cement, stone, and wood. Cobblestone and brick streets wind through towns where soldiers armed with guns and seated alongside cannons prepare to defend their homes.

Class E weapons include Handguns, rifles, and higher-powered cannons.

A player might compare Class D tools to the Old West, Civil War, or Japan’s Meiji Period, up through the late 19th century.

Class C – Military, industry, and machinery

Combustion automobiles replace carriages in Class C towns and cities. Tall buildings fill the more densely populated places, while the outskirts billow black smoke from factories. Steel and iron machinery create tools of war and tools of peace alike. The sky has aircraft in it.

Weapons include high-powered rifles and machine guns, vehicle and aircraft-mounted weaponry, and explosives.

A player might compare Class C tools to those of the more recent modern day, through the industrial revolution up to the computer age.

Class B – The Digital Age

Computers and digital technology replace the valves and wires of Class D computers, devices becoming more powerful and adaptive. Technology brings humankind off the ground into space, and allows for greater luxury as she sits in an encapsulated space station in orbit far above the surface of a planet or moon. Computers can become disgustingly small, and perform amazing functions. Nearly all station-based Wards are Class B and above. The majority of “advanced” colonies are Class B.

Weapons include energy-based weaponry, radiation-explosives, sonic weaponry, and powered melee weapons like tasers.

Players can compare Class B tools to “futuristic” technology from modern computers onward, digital application of computer processors and similar aspects of the science-fiction genre.

Class A – Beyond Computers

compyyyy2When technology converges in form and function, anything can be some form of computer or other. Nanotechnology becomes the norm in the building of materials, and computers can be created with little physical constraint. Technology here is relatively seamless, and considered to be the epitome of technological luxury. the Nanoid cloud that most inhabitants of the Span have is considered in itself Class A technology. There are few things that cannot be done with this level of power.

Class A weapons are rare, highly regulated, and in some cases outright banned for their sheer power, but when encountered often take the form of tools that bend space and matter. Weapons that trap a victim in a quantum state, or create miniature black holes that shred a person apart are not outside the realm of possibility.

Players can compare Class A technology to distantly futuristic technology limited by few constraints.

Class X – Beyond Reality

Class X Technology exists in theory only. Computers no longer constrained by physical forms, with the ability to affect the world in terrifying ways. This technology would not be made by humans at all, but instead be the product of self-aware supercomputers. Infinitely powerful, self-aware, and unquestionably unstoppable, the academics of the Span theorize this technology might already exist, and we would never know it.



Wards, Wardens, and the World

The structure of communities in The Span is as organized as the guilds. There are countless communities and colonies in the Span, and each of them reports to a single local leader. those local leaders in turn report to higher leaders, all the way up to the high council.

Local Governments

The basic unit of the Span is the Ward: a group of people, usually between three and ten thousand people, who live in the same general vicinity and are ruled by a single governing individual. The people of a Ward share history, culture, and laws–many of which are regional. A Ward need not be tied to a particular geographic location, though–some are located on space stations and ships that house thousands of individuals.

The local laws of a Ward vary, depending on the culture, shared morals, or community wants or needs. Any law of a ward may be perfectly legitimate so long as it does not directly conflict with the Laws of Order. Laws can be about any part of life, and sometimes, due to cultural differences, are somewhat arbitrary in nature. The difficult task of enforcing these laws and governing the colony or ship falls to an individual called a Warden.



The rights of a Warden are established by convention: a Warden’s rule is often considered absolute and beyond reproach. Despite this, many Wardens divide the rights to govern to councils, assemblies, and other governmental groups. In smaller colonies, and on ships, the Warden may lead his people directly.

How a Warden is chosen is a right left to the colony itself. Often, but not always, this manner of selection is codified in local statute, and may range from a democratic vote to a contest of arms. As with the ward itself, the particular way in which a Warden is chosen is often dependent on which guild is in control of the Ward: the Knights tend to tests of strength, while Gold Men tend to base their status on their sheer wealth.

Wardens, in turn, report to their District Warden, who oversees, but does not usually directly govern, the wards under her supervision. She in turn reports to a Provincial Warden, all the way up to the High Council itself, which governs the Span as a whole.

An example colony is found below.

Aspen Holmes

Location: Near the South Pole of Ateus, a moon of Ira
Technology Class: C
Guild Control: Fizex, Inc.
Warden: Tom Allenbar

Tnorth-315865777he quaint town of Aspen Holmes is nestled on a green, hilly habitable area on one of Ira’s moons. The neighbors are polite, resources are cheap, and happiness is at an all-time high. The secret to Aspen Holmes’ success comes from the hill on which the town is situated: it is actually a massive nuclear reactor covered in shielding and filler. The reactor, which supplies all of the town’s energy needs for practically nothing in cost, is one of the most advanced of its type. It also has the unfortunate history of having once gone into catastrophic meltdown.

Many years ago, due to a clerical oversight, the reactor was put into an unstable state and began to pour radioactive materials into the access tunnels below the town. Swift action by Fizex’s Technical Team patched the issue before it could spread, but the way the town had grown around the reactor made it, unfortunately, irreparable. This left the townspeople with a horrible decision to make: how would maintenance be done on the reactor, when the radiation fried any and all electronics that went into the tunnel?

The answer, handed down by Warden Edward Castler, was simple: any person in the town having reached the age of fifty-two, would enter the tunnels and join the maintenance team, resigning themselves to a slow and painful death by radiation over the next few years so that the people above could continue to live in peace.

The people of Aspen Holmes have accepted this fate without question, until recently. Warden Allenbar has instituted a new law, exempting members of Fizex, Inc. from being subject to the ritual sacrifice inflicted on his people. This has caused significant controversy as of late, and talks of a coup have been surfacing recently…



Wyler Hoffein Lao, The “Gold Men”




“No, no, no. Get out. I’m not doing this again.” He moved from back behind the bar toward me to try and push me out the door. The last few patrons of the night turned to watch the scene.

I stood my ground. “You’re not going to want to do that.” I sidestepped him and started to quickly move between the tables with upturned chairs placed lazily on them. “You probably should hear me out.”

“No.” He gritted his teeth at me. “You came in here asking those stupid questions about a guy, then you cause a problem for my customers, then you start a card game, then you accuse a guy of cheating, then you start a fight. None of that it kosher here, so get the hell out.” He went toward the communications terminal on the wall behind the bar.

“You should have told me,” I said pointedly to get his attention, “That you worked for Lorick Weaver. It would have saved you a headache.”

He stopped at the bar and turned. “I don’t know anything about–“

“Cut the crap. I got the phone records, I know he’s called you two or three times a night. I know he’s paid enough money to keep this place running three times over about once a week. I know you’ve gambled it all away.”

The patrons of the bar looked at each other and then started to slowly move toward the door. The barkeep started to sweat. “Look, I don’t care what you want anymore. Either get out of the bar or I call the guards. End of.”

“Ah, right.” I held up a finger. “I should probably mention one more thing.” I reached into my bag and produced a single document, the ink spiraling fancily across the gold paper. “This is my bar, now. I bought it from Weaver as part of our negotiations. It’s a shame everything here was in his name.” I took a confident step forward and watched the color drain from the bartender’s eyes. “And I’m sorry, but the ownership has decided to let you go. Have a nice night.”

I looked over at the patrons who were near to the exit. “Drinks on the house!”


The Root of All Evil

Money. The backbone of any society is its economy, and here the guardians of coin themselves, Wyler Hoffein Lao, make their mark.

laoA powerful guild of merchants, tradesman, businessmen, bankers, and economists, the Gold Men run the economy of the span themselves. Even the basic unit of currency–the Lao–is backed by the enormous Ancient Vault, guarded since time immemorial by the firm and filled with untold riches. The Vault, a massive, highly-secured inhabitable floating city deep within the gaseous clouds of one of the middle planets, is regularly maintained and audited securely by the Vault Computer, and the totals of the wealth within shared only with the most upper members of the Guild.

Wyler Hoffein Lao also provides the trade and mercantile needs of the Span. Their ability to get anything needed is well-known and respected; they also maintain a large pricing database that collects and quantifies the price of literally anything in the span. Absolutely anything.

Members of the Wyler-Hoffein Lao are known for their extravagant tastes and master of social etiquette, often traveling in luxurious, extravagant vehicles and with unquestionably expensive clothes and equipment. Where there is a massive spending of funds, there is a Gold guildmember not far.

The Structure of the Gold Men

The Capital city of San Shazza is a major city in the Span for those with too much money or a penchance for vice. Gambing, whoring, drugs, and other such things are completely legal within the city limits, as are most financial schemes and cons. Run by the illustrious “Platinum Prince” Landring, the city is a place where there is debauchery and sin around every corner. As such, it is both a home to crime and untold fortune that draws a diverse population. Some go to San Shazza with the intent of never returning—this is so common that the phrase “leaving for Shazza” is a common euphemism for someone who was murdered or kidnapped and never seen again.

Main Factionsgmportrait

King Lao maintains a circle of Princes (a title which remains the same regardless of gender), who each maintain one of the supporting duties of the guild. Among them:

Name: The Bazaar
Leader: Prince Wyler

Handling the mercantile efforts of the guild, this faction is known for setting up shops and acquiring items of any kind. They are often considered the backbone of the economy, providing for the wants and needs of the entire population of the Span.

Name: The Black Market
Leader: Prince Hoffein

The Span has a need for things that are sometimes, either due to local law or regional decree, illegal. In those instances, the Black market makes its name by acquiring and providing those things to those who can afford to pay for them.

Name: The Cultured
Leader: Prince Hope

Those members of the firm who believe in funding the arts are the philanthropists known as the Cultured. This hedonistic faction indulges in arts from the classy to the obscene, and often manage art galleries of many different types. They are often the height of fashion.

Name: The Vault Keepers
Leader: Prince Frankreich

The Gold Men have a large amount of physical wealth inside their massive vault. This faction maintains that vault and other assets owned by the firm, and also acts as the “Muscle” of the Guild whensoever needed.

Name: The Peers
Leader: Prince Landring

Among the merchants of Wyler Hoffein Lao, there are those who have amassed major amounts of funds. This faction, often called the “idle rich”, is inherently lineage-based: the funds are inherited and passed on to the eldest child. This can lead to sibling rivalry and even murder for the subsequent children who wish to take over these massive fortunes.

From The Writer: Help me Address Social Issues

I got an email from someone today asking something very important:

“Dear Part Time Rogue: How are issues like racism, sexism, or LGBT issues handled [in Cold Start]?”

I recognize that as much as I attempt to approach social issues in the context of this game, I might not have the best perspective and might unintentionally offend someone with how these issues are addressed.

I have thought about social issues in Cold Start a couple of ways, and I honestly don’t have a perfect solution. A couple ideas have included:

  • The computer erased physical biases entirely when rebuilding humanity.
  • These biases exist, at the discretion of the ST
  • It just depends on the colony.

I am partial to the third one. Since the colonies of the Span are so numerous, and part of the mood of the game is the fact that these colonies have strange (and often arbitrary) social rules, I rather like the idea of playing on these themes to the players’ content, and seeing how the characters deal with those situations.

Maybe at the Juniper 7 Station, Men are sterilized after having one child, as a means of population control.

Maybe on Colony 56-BA, the people who work out in the fields suffer a bleaching effect on their skin from solar storms that turns them snow-white, and those people are discriminated against.

Maybe in the City of Kazzi, everyone goes through gene therapy so they all look, sound, and act alike.

These themes are endless, and I honestly want to encourage exploration of social biases and discrimination in the context of the game, in the hopes that it will help us, as players, perhaps understand each other a little better.

That said, I would be remiss as a writer if I didn’t ask for feedback. What kind of representation do you WANT in this game, and how can I provide it? Feel free to reply here, or email me at parttimerogue@gmail.com.

Children of the Azure Soil, “The Blue Hand”



“Listen here, lady,” he sneered, slamming the file folder hard against the cheap plywood table, “I’m not playing games with you today. You know something. Spill it and this can be much easier.”

I didn’t flinch. I didn’t look at him, either; my eyes were fixed intently on the wall.

Scoffing, he opened the folder. “I’ve got two dead men downstairs. Two dead men and one woman in blue running away from the scene. You’ve got to know how that looks.”

My eyes rolled and and I looked the other direction.

I heard the muffled sound of him grinding his teeth. “I don’t know what kind of colony you’re from, but here we have less rules when dealing with suspects. If you think you won’t confess because you can keep your mouth shut, then you’re wrong.”

I finally snapped to attention and scowled. “You have nothing on me. I was in the discharge of my guild duties. You either let me go or you’ll have Judexes on your doorstep. You have no right. Let me go.” Clear. Concise.

And apparently aggravating. He hurled the folder across the room and slammed his fists on the table. “Murder isn’t your duty, sister!” With a sickening grin he pulled an energy pistol from his holster and laid it on the table. “Start talking or start losing fingers.”

I stopped and stared at the pistol. “Sergeant…” I said carefully, “Have you ever…dealt with a member of my guild before? I’m just curious. This is a rather advanced colony, so it wouldn’t surprise me if you hadn’t.”

He sneered. “Nah, they usually end up dead before they get here.”

I nodded and the light flickered slightly. “And no one explained to you why that is? Why they tend to kill us before bringing us in for questioning?”

He started to say something but the light flickered again and the pistol on the table made a slight humming noise. “What–“

“I’m sorry, Sergeant,” I said, taking a deep breath, “That you had to learn this lesson the hard way.”

Then the lights went out.

farmer-1386221_1920Where the Cables Don’t Reach

Technology is not for everyone. The Children of the Azure Soil are tasked with expanding the colonies of The Span. Doing so requires a reliance on survival skills and ingenuity, because until the infrastructure of a colony is realized, the pioneers out there are on their own.

Enter the Blue Hand; called such because of the blue-colored terraforming salts used to turn even the rockiest moon into a fertile landscape. Because of the tireless, hard work at all levels of technology, the Blue Hand are the underappreciated architects of mankind’s advancement.

Underappreciated is perhaps an understatement, however. The Blue hand eschew the use of technology beyond what is needed for a task. They embrace the “old ways” and practice the art of simplistic engineering. Because of this, they innately arouse the suspicion of others and, as such, are often mistrusted at first sight.

They lack the nano-web aura that surrounds all other inhabitants of the Span, and therefore are harder to detect by sensors. Instead, they implant their tools directly into their clothes and jewelry for easy use. They also specialize in shutting down advanced technology, which can–and often does–make them very useful for some of the seedier tasks that a colony might pay for.

The Structure of the Blue Hand

The Capital on Anshen is situated in a lush green valley. Farms and stone buildings sweep up the hillside to a fortress of stone and metal known as The Stone Temple, where all technology is utterly forbidden. The valley of Anshen is sometimes sought after by vacationers seeking to destress from their fast-paced lives.

worker-1635976_1920Main Factions

The guild is led by Chief Animus and his Elders, who manage the services and factions of the Guild with ceremony and meaning. Just a few of them include:

Name: The Pioneers
Leader: Elder Jonah

The explorers and survivalists of the Guild, this faction is accustomed to harsh landscapes and dangerous lands. They take pride in their exploration of the unknown, and let it harden their defenses.

Name: The Shadow Tribe

Leader: Elder Lorelei

Those skill to be undetected is one which can be useful in the world of seedy deals and dark alleys. The Shadow tribe fills a need here, by using the survival skills and gifts of the Hand for espionage, sabotage, and assassination.

Name: Engineers

Leader: Elder Bronze

Maintaining and repairing that which needs to be maintained and repaired, this faction is called upon to fix the unfixable in these more modern times.

Name: The Mighty Oaks
Leader: Elder Kazmius

Under such terrible scrutiny as they often are, the Blue Hand cannot always turn to law enforcement for sanctuary. Instead, they can turn to this faction, who provide protection and care for the distressed and needy in their fortified monasteries scattered throughout the Span.

Fizex Incorporated


I didn’t quite know what to expect upon being called up to the 45th floor. I had never been summoned anywhere above 39, which was perfectly reasonable. Those who went up to the executive levels went there for one of two reasons: either the executives wanted to promote them to bigger and better things, or they had fouled up so badly that thte executives had to get involved. Either way, people who went there were usually never seen again.

After giving my farewells to my coworkers, I boarded the elevator and headed upward. with a gentle chime, the door slid open and I found myself in a green marble lobby with black checkered floors. just ahead was the executive secretary, a friendly smile planted permanently on her face in such a way that I immediately assumed it was the result of cosmetic surgery. “Card please.”

I handed over my ID and she scanned it and read out the result aloud. “Mr. Emeril Carter. You are expected.” The door to the left opened. 

I gripped my suitcase and tentatively walked into the conference room. A place was set out at one end of the long wooden table just for me. At the other side sat three people, in impeccable suits, waiting patiently. They had the same unfaltering smiles as the secretary outside, and their demeanor remained even as the door closed behind me.

“Mr. Carter,” One of them said as I took a seat. “You have been rather active lately. We have seen your sales figures rise to notable levels.” The other two nodded.

I gave a polite but surely nervous-looking smile in return. “Thank you, I really app–“

“We have made some advances in researching your techniques. The way you choose your clients is particularly…interesting.”

I froze. They knew. They had to know. I had been so careful in hiding it though, it seemed impossible.

“If I read this correctly,” the executive continued, “You have been initiating contracts with low-technology colonies, who then inexplicably suffer catastrophic power failures due to radiation bursts. You then return to the colonies and sell them new contracts for shielded devices. And the radiation bursts stop.” He chuckled. “If I didn’t know better, I’d suggest that maybe you might be causing those radiation bursts just to rip off those colonists of their hard-earned wealth so you can line your own pockets like the scoundrel you are.”

I didn’t move. I didn’t dare. How could they have known about this? I had buried manifests and payments in piles of paperwork. But here it was…I had been caught. Next came my termination–and afterwards, my funeral. That is, if the company allowed my family that privilege.

Then, the executive closed the folder in front of him and rose to shake my hand. “Please allow me to show you to your new office on the 43rd floor, Mr. Carter.”


Power People

There is no room for the well-being of humanity in the fast-moving world of The Span. You’re either a mover and a shaker, or you follow someone who is. This is the way that Fizex Incorporated operates its business model.

Fizex Incorporated is the energy warehouse of The Span. Providing energy through batteries, reactors, generators, and other devices, they control the market of power. Few colonies can exist without Fizex’s hand being a part of it, and despite their exploitative tactics, they are seen as a very necessary evil.

Corporate Leadership

The headquarters of Fizex is on the Linus colony, the closest colony to the blazing star in the center of the Span. With massive solar-powered generators, the colony is able to harness the energy of the sun and power limitless devices that are distributed to colonies everywhere. The guild is led by President Ramses Fizex, Jr.

Main Factions

The Board of Directors serves as the inner council of the guild, with each of the seven Executive Vice Presidents maintaining a faction that serves the corporate goals of the company. Among these are:

fizlogoName: Research and Development
Leader: Tamara Lindley, Executive Vice President

To study and build on information is one thing, but for Fizex corporate espionage is a far more economical task. This group is known for acquiring (legally and illegally) information that they can adapt and use to expand on their technologies.

Name: Customer Service
Leader: Lena Redding, Executive Vice President

Sometimes, people dislike Fizex’s tactics. As such, the Customer Service team has to employ good communicative techniques to abate their concerns. These techniques sometimes involve brass knuckles, dark alleys, arson, and kidnapping.

Name: Sales
Leader: Elmer Booth, Executive Vice President

Here is where the money is made. Batteries don’t sell themselves, and so it is up to this faction to supply the demand for energy. Structured like a pyramid scheme, those who climb this part of the corporate ladder often live a life of some luxury.

Name: Technical Support
Leader: Cay Ibiza, Executive Vice President

Maintenance of batteries is relatively easy, but for the large-scale reactors and generators, someone has to be available to maintain and repair them or risk disaster. This faction deals with the technical side of the Fizex entity.


/mod.., The Cappers


I stood in awe as the six or seven dozen screens all started to move with an organized chaos of symbols and graphs. monitoring programs and user interfaces scrolled across the screen; some moved on their own while others were prodded along by the touch-interaction from J_ason’s fingers, which played across the lit glass like a musical instrument. But more than that–with the chorus of data so aligned it was as if J_ason was the maestro, conducting an orchestra of personal and illegal information. It was beautiful.

J_ason looked over at me. “Close your mouth,” he said smugly. “You’re going to droool on the keyboard.”

I adjusted my gold coat and tried to recompose myself. “I’m sorry. I’m just impressed. Never seen a data rat in its natural habitat.” 

“See, you call me names and then expect me to fix all your problems.” He shook his head in mock disgust as the printer spat out a color map of the Lening facility, the reactor core neatly labeled in one of the sub-levels. “If I didn’t like you so much I’d probably kick you out.” He gave me a smile as the monitors’ programs ended their routines and he let go of the controls.

“Thanks,” I said quietly, packing the paper away. “I’ll get out of your hair. Just…stay safe. I don’t like seeing friends get–“

Then, as if on cue, the sound of gunfire blared through the doorway. It was too late–they were already here.

man-1187171_1920Masters of Information

The dealings of the trade are simple to the technopunk community of /mod.., which finds its roots in the online communities and usenet groups of the Ancient Time. Now, they operate the Network, which connects colonies to each other through powerful data transmission consoles called “Caps”. This network is a society unto itself, a nearly lawless place overseen by mysterious and nameless moderators. It is rumored that no data stored anywhere electronically is safe from the Cappers. And so long a someone is able to pay for it, it never will be.

The Structure of the Cappers

Its capital, Resker VII, is a heavily-shielded outpost in the asteroid belt, consisting of a single structure housing the major data centers and libraries of the Guild. Here is also the home of the guild leader, the Capper General, who directs the playful game of information trading with precise, organized chaos.

Main Factions

There are seven main factions of the Cappers, each led by one of the General’s seven lead administrators. Just a few of them include:

Name: Pentesters
Leader: Big Guy

The Pentesters pride themselves on beating security. Whether a locked safe, a guarded building, or a shielded computer system, electronic networks are the lock and they are the key.

Name: Eavesdroppers
Leader: b00t

In the world of espionage, the person who knows who is who has the upper hand. Such is the engagement of an Eavesdropper, who pride work-933061_1920themselves on knowing everyone in the Span and what they have to offer society. People will pay top dollar to find a person they’re looking for. More terrifyingly, however, is how much others will pay to never be found.

Black Badge
Leader: Col. Scruffness the Pure

The strong arm of the Cappers, this faction focuses on the brute force approach to information gathering. Physical reconnaissance, infiltration, and social engineering are the means to an end for the Black Badge regiment. Not all electronic devices are visible to the network, and sometimes it takes a physical force to retrieve and acquire.

Name: Specters
Leader: Le

Infiltration and disguise are the motivation behind this faction, who sit as the moles on the inside. Arming themselves with inside information they can easily pass off as practically anyone they choose.

Name: Ministry of Information
Leader: Joanna Riley Murphy

The face of the guild is the exceptionally charismatic Joanna Riley Murphy, a terrifyingly well-informed woman who sees to the politics of the guild and connects potential guild clients with services. Calling the ministry is a lighthearted, professional affair. Receiving a call from them…that’s a different story.

The Span

“Things are the way they are.”

The Secret History

In the 22nd century, artificial intelligence finally came to fruition. Mankind had ravaged the surface of the earth for resources, and so the people who oversaw the project gave it an instruction to provide mankind a solution to remain sustainable as long as possible.

The computer complied.

In a cataclysmic event, the powerful computer weeded out the most viable members of mankind and destroyed all others, reducing the population to sustainable levels. It erased the minds of every person, created a new society, with rules and order and exactitude, with the goal of providing mankind a sense of purpose and a society to support it.

It then hid away, communicating with and manipulating the population through the technology around them. It gave the population new technology and knowledge, and silently monitored their progress.

The greed of men and the lust for power, however, was ultimately their undoing. The repository of technology’s advancements was destroyed by an unexpected war, and the advancement of new technology halted. The computer, its power beginning to dwindle, now reserves itself to sustaining the populaton as-is, rather than advancing them further. It instead pokes and prods mankind and performs governmental experiments on colonies of the Span in search of new answers to fulfill its task.

And so humans drift, alone, in their false world created by a false god.

And the computer waits.

grudge_against_societySympathy: The Rule and Guide of Society

All people have a connection to their fellow kin. This connection, which measures how society accepts one’s actions and goals, is quantified and recognizable. It is called Sympathy.

A person with high sympathy does what his Guild asks of him. He furthers the cuases of society. He is trustworthy, worthy of praise, and willing to go the distance to keep the Laws of Order.

A person with low sympathy has trespassed against the Laws, violated his Guild’s goals, questioned society, and is seen as untrustworthy in the eys of men. Once a person has a sympathy low enough, society will claim his blood for the good of society itself.

The Guilds

As a tool to guide society, the guild system was put into place: orderly, structured groups providing for and meeting the needs of all mankind. They serve with strict and specific resources–energy, food, or information, for example–with the goal of maintaining a balanced and mutually-beneficial society.

  • /mod/.., “The Cappers” – Techno-anarchists that maintain a communications network, surveillance, and underground information
  • Fizex, Inc. – A corporate superpower that provdes for the energy needs of the population of the Span
  • The Children of the Azure Soil, “The Blue Hand”- Terraformers and farmers who speak against the frivlous expansion of technology, and assist in the colonization of the Span.
  • Council of Judex – A hive-mind of law enforcement, who support and maintain the structure of society
  • Wyler Hoffein Lao, “The Gold Men” – The disgustingly wealthy guild that controls trade and backs the economy.
  • The Sworn of The Ever Watchful, “Nobles” – An ancient and honorable warrior guild that protects and defends the Span from threats and enforces laws.
  • The Academy of the Sign, “Red Doctors”- An academic group that manipulates and combines biology and technology to benefit the human race.

Colonies, Regions, and sectors

The Span is filled with colonies from one end of the other. Terraformed for human inhabitants, they range in technology from backwoods towns in the desert to powerful utopias of technological dreams come true. The inequality of colonies often relies on the microgovernments that each colony has. Years of tradition and often a region’s instability lead to strange and alien forms of government–sometimes prodded along with the help of the computer’s “divine intervention”.

Colonial Governancethemeeting

The leader or leaders of a colony are allowed by Capital Law to govern themselves so long as the Laws of Order are not infringed. Each colony’s government is often flavored by the Guild who has control over the settlers who live there, as well as being affected greatly by the levels of technology that are available. The Governor of a colony is sworn to uphold the laws of order, of which there are only 7:

1. No person or law may contribute to a loss of Sympathy in another person or persons.
2. No person who has shunned his Sympathy shall be allowed to live.
3. No person or law may prevent a person or persons from contributing to the goals of his Guild, nor deny him the rights and privileges thereof.
4. No Guild shall trespass on the duties of another.
5. No person or persons may take the property of another by force or coercion.
6. The rulings of the Guild of Judexes shall not be infringed.
7. The Waste is forbidden. None may go there.