The World of Cold Start: The Span

Map of The Span (Click for full)
Map of The Span (Click for full)

“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 population 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 causes 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 eyes 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 Noble Order of Valiance Eternal, “Knights” – An ancient and honorable warrior guild that protects and defends the Span from threats and enforces laws.
  • Red Shift Transport Club A daredevil group of messengers, scouts, transporters, and pilots.

Colonies, Regions, and sectors

The Span is filled with colonies from one end of the other called Wards. 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, led by a local Warden. 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, called a Warden, of a colony is allowed by Capital Law to govern 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 Warden 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 Judex shall not be infringed.
7. The Waste is forbidden. None may go there.