Saturday, April 24, 2010

Central Space Command and the Inventory of Everything

Records in many sectors were incomplete and the SSA included guidelines for documentation and transmission back to Central Space Command (CSC) to provide survey information and financial prospectus’ for commercial interests.
A Space Ranger audits the memory of an early model MIDC still in the field.  
While not required, the CSC provided a healthy stipend to settlers who stocked the MIDC (Mission Instrumentation Data Collector) on their cruisers. Falsification of data has always been a danger, as was tampering with the device, so the CSC took a two-pronged approach:
1. All MIDC units were given artificial intelligence. AI gave the units the ability to protect the integrity of their data by sheer force of personality. Researchers found that reprogramming a machine--even one slathered in user agreement legalese, presented little moral challenge to hackers and cheats. But a machine that talks back and protests--well at least it made it more like a personal assault and less like cracking open a safety deposit box. Early units were given a somewhat anthropomorphic appearance, but due to their manufacture in high numbers, they were also quite basic in design. Discouraged settlers have sometimes come to resent the units, as they seem to be a sort of white elephant, but they understood that the unit's upkeep meant income.

2. The CSC commissioned a sub-branch of scouts, technicians, and agents to check in and audit data, ensuring all systems were operating efficiently and that everything was in order. As officers of the CSC they were fully deputized, of course, to act as law enforcement if necessary and apply their skills in exacting lethal force. Their primary mission however was as data auditors and census takers….with ray guns. The Space Ranger Corps. was born!
Once a MIDC unit is activated on site, it begins transmitting data via interstellar relay sourcing stations. When transmissions are received back at CSC, credits are dispensed to settlers that can be used at any human outpost. Many micro colonists depend on this supplemental income to survive until they become self sufficient.

A late model MIDC with "personality".
Data collected from the device is used to catalog every phenomenon and encounter—a sort of inventory of everything in the known universe. Financial firms mine the data for leads—some even bribe settlers under the table to leave certain findings out of the record, and their competitors in the dust. Once a month the CSC put out a report containing updates. The entire report called simply "The Record," for simplicity's sake, and if you're talking to a MIDC unit, you'd best be certain to let it know whether what you say or do is "on" or "off The Record".

Next file: Space Rangers


  1. Thisi an excellent series and a rather intriguing setting you are building for X-P.

  2. I agree with Eli. Please continue!

  3. Thanks guys! While expository stuff about setting can get to be boring to read, I'm having fun. And anyway, this is just setting the stage for some of the more fun stuff coming up.