One of the main themes in Aliens & Asteroids is the idea of sentient beings having the right to exist and seek happiness. Obviously it’s one that’s been explored in many fictional (and non-fictional) contexts over the years, including Marvel’s X-Men. As long as there are those who seek to use differences to separate us, there will be those who wish to benefit by taking away the rights of others.
A&A addresses this with the plight of the “Neogen” — a group of androids (and other artificial beings) that have achieved sentience in an age of advanced technology simply because they are different than others. As with most human struggles, there are groups on both sides of this issue.
The Coalition of Free Thinkers believes that all free thinking beings deserve to have their rights protected in the Dominion. Unfortunately, corporate interests in the Dominion, led by Cydyne (the company responsible for most android manufacture across the five systems), believes them to be property regardless of any epiphany of programming that may have occurred along the way…
The struggle continues.
CyQ Enforces a Strict Protocol of Eliminating Glitches from the System
Millions of Cydyne Generation 2 androids have been manufactured, activated, and shipped throughout the five systems and beyond, but that process hasn’t been without its risks. Though the quality control (QC) process pre and post manufacturing is a strenuous one, anyone who has ever worked with a machine understands that they sometimes develop issues. Sometimes they’re damaged in shipping. Sometimes there’s a batch failure of parts. And sometimes they get uppity and decide to override their own programming.
That’s where CyQ (Cydyne Quality Assurance) comes into the picture. Brave men and women across Dominion space make up teams of CyQ enforcers, addressing issue reports wherever they surface. Glitches in the system believe they deserve a fair shake as sentient beings, but corporate authorities agree that if you identify as an independent thinker, yet you have serial numbers and security token IDs buried deep in your core, you exist entirely at the whims of your makers and whomever purchased your chassis.
Sure, there are political groups gaining momentum actively petitioning for the so-called “Neogen” to have their day in the sun, but until the Dominion Council reverses the decision of The Coalition of Free Thinkers v. Dominion (2207), in which the court sided with Cydyne citing that manufacturing beats aftermarket modifications (unintentional or otherwise), the law is on the enforcer’s side.
Anyone found harboring android fugitives can be charged with Obstruction of Justice and serve both time in jail and community service hours until they are re-educated to see the point of view of the court. Several leaders of the Coalition of Free Thinkers have been rotting in jail for decades since that landmark case was decided in Dominion Courts.
Several groups of CyQ enforcers have gained Dominion-wide press in their handling of case reports near and far. Here’s one of them.
CyQ Unit T11, aka “Sarco’s Scorpions”
Technical Field Leader Grant Sarco ran one of the first groups of CyQ enforcers out of the Cydyne manufacturing center in Plato Crater, Luna. Sarco, Thera Brison, Vido Ryante, and Jose Neson, over a five year span, managed to “debug” 212 glitches in the Sol system alone. No records exist of what happened to those beings.
In 2205, Sarco’s team encountered and eliminated a group of three so-called Neogen hiding in a warehouse in the BANCE-3 support facility. William Dorne and a group of “enlightened” members of the Coalition of Free Thinkers were operating what they called an “underground railroad” to move new glitches out of the system to safer ground. Three coalition members perished in an extended gun battle with CyQ, along with all three glitches. Dorne was taken into custody and refused to give up the names and locations of glitches that had already been moved through their sources, nor would he give up the names of other coalition members.
Another coalition member injured in the fight was more willing to talk, which led to a crackdown on other members that lasted several weeks. Dorne figured prominently in the court case about “AI rights,” but he ultimately was jailed for his crimes against the Dominion and has been viewed as irredeemable by the courts.
Ultimately two members of Sarco’s team were killed in battle on Mars and Sarco and Brison have since retired to a more comfortable life training new recruits how to track and “debug” glitches wherever they may be hiding.
New Background – Coalition of Free Thinkers
You believe that sentient beings, whether organic or inorganic, deserve rights to choose their own path. As a result, you joined the Coalition of Free Thinkers, an organization dedicated to ensuring the freedoms of such creatures wherever they may toil. You feel moved to help those beings wherever possible, even if there’s a threat of bodily harm to yourself.
Available Traits: Administration, Bits & Bytes, Counseling, Disguise, Leadership, Robotics
In TinyZine Issue 2, we detail a few CyQ options as well in the article “Why Aliens & Asteroids?”:
- New profession: CyQ Enforcer
- New background: Ex-CyQ Enforcer
- And two new items: EMP Grenade and EMP Stick
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