In the early stages of the Diaspora, a transhumanist group known as the Heterosemiotics set out to create a world free of regulation where they could create a singularity and avoid the 'problems' of the AIA and the Transcendentals.
They quickly started to build a colony on the smallest continent, Minsky. It was highly advanced, using the latest robotics and AI, as well as the restricted nanotechnology they had smuggled from the solar system. Using a nanophage converting local hydrocarbon into more nanophages, biomass and seeds, they were able to seed the planet with plant life on a massive scale. The ecological engineering was drastic and several times threatened to turn into an environmental or nanotechnological disaster. While the planet itself was being terraformed, other groups in the expedition were busy setting up orbital habitats and preparing for their new, free life in a truly heterosemiotic world.
Forty years into this process a cultural alliance of Indonesian, Indian and South East Asian Muslims set out to colonize a world, and due to a communications failure, they chose the same world as the Heterosemiotics. They were dismayed and shocked to find another colony in place. They saw themselves as pioneers, and being beaten to their goal by spoiled, crazy unbelievers fueled their resentment. After some discussions with the Heterosemiotics they decided to settle another continent (naming it Sukarno), establishing their own independent colony. A few shared projects were set up, such as support for the terraforming and global communications, but even the most essential projects were often torn between the two incompatible cultures.
The two colonies developed in parallel, quietly competing. The Sukarnans had a larger population and a wider knowledge base, the Heterosemiotics more advanced technology and decades of adaptation. Several internal conflicts arose on Sukarno, between the different cultural groups and interpretations of Islam. The Heterosemiotics on the other hand had problems with their ideology, as people began to question the doctrines. Both sides found it easier to rally their populations against each other to retain cohesion. As they began to take measures to protect themselves the other side responded in kind, and a cold war of industrial espionage and arms races emerged. Smuggling became a booming business, and many secret redoubts and havens emerged in the jungles and archipelagos.
During this period, the Hetersemiotic leadership was assassinated, by a faction calling itself the Minskians that had the support of the military. This was the signal for the war that had been brewing for decades. The struggle lasted just a few days. Information warfare was used on both sides, as well as more conventional weaponry. While Sukarno had superior conventional weaponry and manpower, Minsky had superior information and robotic weapons. The initial attack paralyzed both colonies, but Minskian backup systems quickly got online and the whole population directed info-war attacks against Sukarno. Robotic weapons clashed with infantry, autonomous drones with jet fighters. In orbit the fragile installations were destroyed by anti-satellite weapons. Even parts of the terraforming systems were used to hinder operations, and nanophages intended for clearing land were used against soldiers. Without any warning, the war was over: the Minskians had defeated, circumvented or neutralised the Sukarno army. The Heterosemiotics invaded and occupied the colony with semi-autonomous drones, tracking everybody - if somebody tried to resist the supervisor robots could strike faster than a human could act. All Sukarno orbital installations were seized, their crews deported to the surface.
For 7 years the Minskians held Sukarno captive. They had total control over everything and everyone through the drones and net scans. Resistance was futile, but hatred simmered under the surface. Although their rule was more coldly rational than despotic, they seriously underestimated the Sukarnans. They learned from their captors and waited, and struck back - a powerful computer virus wiped out the planetary net, setting them free. While the computer-dependent Minskians were paralyzed, the Sukarnans quickly acted, spreading out in the jungles of Sukarno and the other continents, setting up independent partisan units with replicator minifac technology from the Minskian designs. As the Minskians tried to get up the net, various E-bombs, viruses and trojans hindered them, and reprogrammed drones began harassing their colony. For a while the remaining orbital installations gave them an edge, but they proved vulnerable to hi-jacked anti-satellite systems and perversion attacks.
Gradually the war shifted character. Small units, well hidden and equipped with portable or underground production facilities employed semi-autonomous weapons and information warfare against each other and the colonies. The once clearcut sides began to break down in an ever crueler war. Taking hostages to force the other side to submission became a viable option, and most civilians began to flee into hiding too. Gradually the colonies became deserted, plundered for resources. Instead the robotic systems and adaptive AI became the source of security and resources. Hidden servers kept vital information, robots gathered food and human AI teams developed better inventions.
The most intense period of war lasted just a few years, but gradually the war developed into a normal state. Small groups, ten to 50 people lived in hiding supported by survival skills and/or advanced robotics. Most were content just to remain hidden, but some actively sought out enemies to plunder from them or take captives. Killing was bad economics - plunder the captive for everything, then sell him or her back as a ransom. A slow diffusion of technology occurred through reluctant exchanges, theft or covert alliances, while larger bases and meeting places developed more advanced systems or tools. The initial cohesion of the sides also began to dissolve as the situation dragged on. Tribalism emerged, and the original cultures changed to become something new, native to Daedalus. All the time the game of software infiltration escalated, creating ever more insidious forms of perversion, cracking and denial of service. The widespread networks of processors enabled both deliberate and spontaneous evolution of new methods.
Then the breakdown happened. Before that the different groups had settled down into a kind of status quo where cooperation was the standard. But suddenly defections began to spread, as a few groups exploited the others to gain in strength and capability. Like a wildfire the war began again, this time everybody against everybody. The only way of ensuring trust was to rely on one's own group; everybody else was dangerous and untrustworthy. The info-war escalated to new heights, and then settled down, only to escalate again turning all against all. This cycle repeated itself for centuries before the legendary hero Agung, his dukun (AI) adviser Arif and his keluaraga (extended family/associates/gang) discovered and, after decades of struggle, destroyed a hidden distributed AI that was forcing the tribes into conflict. This laid the foundations for the current tribal confederation of Daedalus. While there are legends of Agung, he and his band did exist, as did their foe. AI's that existed during that period are able to provide authentication and evidence that the AI was a Minskian special project that suborned the faction and created the war.
The centuries of info-war had long term cultural effects. Trust is difficult for Daedalans outside their Suku, or tribes. Because of this even now cooperation is difficult, or problematic at best, but it does happen. A loose tribal confederation emerged as things cooled down – something to facilitate communication, exchanges and, eventually, resolve serious disputes that threatened to turn lethal on a large scale.
The society is tribal, divided into Suku based around territories, common interests and above all else, mutual self help. Currently the territorial tribes are the strongest and most numerous, but there are suku held together only by communications. The families within a Suku move around between different bases within their territories (many old hiding-places from the info-war), gathering food and equipment. Many live in underground warrens dug by utility robots. Overall, AI plays an important part in daily life, and the programs are regarded as part of the family. Around each temporary base, perimeters of scouts, drones and traps are laid to make it impossible for anyone to get close undetected. Sometimes it appears that the human part of the family is mostly the glue that holds the other systems together. There are a few "keluarga otomatik", automatic families, where all humans are gone and the drones and software keep on. These automatic families are dangerous and difficult to deal with and one of the hazards of the jungle.
The lifestyle is a form of high tech hunter-gatherer society, with a large amount spare time. The spare time is used for crafts, especially programming. Beside the practical uses of making better software (for autofacs, drones, AI, protection programs and cracking systems) programming is regarded as an art form, especially among the descendants of the minskians. Another art form that has spread from the Indonesian-descended inhabitants is digital versions of the traditional wayang dramas; using computers the traditional themes, complemented with colonial and info-war stories are brought to life.
The religion of the Daedalan people is a form of mystic technoshamanism. In Daedalan technoshamanism, the practitioners interact with, create and control the powers that be in the net. Originally something that was restricted to the shamans, it has spread throughout their civilization and almost any Daedalan over the age of ten will have some degree of initiation in it in at least one area.
For Daedalans survival is essential; everybody should be able to escape at any moment. This has led to either extremely minimal clothing, similar to the one used by various jungle tribes back on Earth, or lightweight exoskeletons allowing everything needed to be carried. Everything is rugged, camouflaged and often imitates objects in the surroundings: drones look like leaves, containers like fruits or wood, weapons like twigs, bones, pebbles or pieces of bamboo.
After centuries of guerrilla information warfare and escalation of weapons systems, the Daedalan people can be extremely difficult to interact with. They have a reputation for being suspicious, efficient and ruthless. They will always look for possible dangers, in the real world and the infosphere. This caution means they will sit with their backs to the wall and only easily trust members of their Suku. In dealing with outsiders, they think of how the outsiders can trick them and try to preempt them, or turn their trickeries against them. Their languages are highly idiosyncratic variants of Indonesian, Hindi or English, with Thai, Malay and Vietnamese elements, sharing loan words among them all.
Historically they had access to every technology in the core book (save wormholes and supersymmetrical technologies) and are very adept at employing them in warfare. Today, they have all of them at their disposal. For cultural reasons though, they avoid the use of deadly weapons favoring less lethal tools that allow them to capture their opponents. So, dealing with them can be painful and embarrassing, but one can have a chance to be ransomed and returned from them.
With their recent recontact, the Daedalans are an interesting case. By all rights they ought to be a Cargo Cult, but they're not. Somehow, they passed through that – or because they were manipulated by an old Minskian AI project – they have begun re-emerging as a new minor human civilization. Their suspicious and cliquish nature makes getting to know the Daedalans very hard, but relationships are beginning to form. The Tao and the Daedalans are feeling each other out and the Tao is deeply interested in their story and have continuously reached out to them since recontact. Surprisingly, Old Worlders and the Daedalans get along fairly well when they encounter one another. Masqueraders confuse and infuriate the Daedalans, as do the Roamers – this has lead to several incidents and a general avoidance of Daedalus by the Roamers. The Logicians are conflicted by the Daedalans – their behavior and society are logical outgrowths of the situation they were in. Yet, they are 'primitive' and emotional. The Union, Replicants, Stored, obvious Mechanicans disturb the Daedalans and they avoid them if they possibly can. Spacers, Independents and Stardwellers are neutral on the Daedalans and they return the favor. The Disciples have sent missionaries and found the Daedalans curious, and some of the stealth tribes deeply curious with a few converts.
In terms of societies, they have Artisans, Heterolinguists, High Society, Hyperevolutes, Organized Crime and Transcendental Worshippers can be found among them. The Hospitallers have an outpost there, but no Daedalan members yet. None of the unofficial societies can be found among them.
Common Name: Daedalans, Icarans
Benefits: Neural Mesh, Cerebral Firewall with +5 bonus. They also receive one of the following professions at level 3: Engineer (Cognitech), Outdoorsman and Criminal.
Inspector Status: Advisory status only due to political and cultural situation. Negotiations are ongoing for clearer status and more authority.
Core Values: Survival and Solidarity
Survival means the holders of this CV are determined to survive. This can be added to resist Metatech attempts to convince or coerce them to to do things that are self-destructive.
Solidarity means that a Daedalan will never willingly desert or betray his, or her, family or Suku.
As a Cargo Cult
To make the Daedalans a Cargo Cult, remove the tribal confederation, and change the technoshamanism to:
The pervasive religion is technoshamanism, interacting and appeasing the powers that be in the net. The family AIs are regarded as the protectors and links with the digital spirit world.
Among the AIs competition is fierce on the nets (spread widely through self-replicating communication nodes and processors in the biosphere), an evolutionary race without end. To remain safe family AIs often employ only partially linked hardware, avoiding spending too much time in the dangerous (but rewarding) nets.
As a Cargo Cult, Daedalans should be very dangerous – even the ones that will interact with outsiders would be planning to cheat or capture and ransom their 'allies' and 'friends.'
One amusing way to use them this way would be to have the Explorers' Society, or an aggressive civilization (Spartans, Lord's Believers, Independent Worlds, Union), discover these guys and seek out the Patent Office for help to retrieve their people when they cannot. Then there is the fact that the Daedalans are quite likely to a) have items that people want and b) to be very difficult to bring into agreement with the Patent Office unless the T's intervene directly.