Massachusetts Institute of Technology- Mars Campus
Like other top academic institutions (c.f. UChicago-Ares), MIT evolved with humanity, trying to stay on the front edge of transhuman technology. But, where UChicago came to be dominated by an ethos of scholarly curiosity in all things transhuman, both technological and cultural, MIT held fast to its specialty in all things high technology. As power shifted from nation-states to hypercorps and hyperelites, MIT pivoted with the true powers. Few hypercorps have never held an MIT contract, and fewer still have never licensed technology from the Institute.
As a Western institution, specifically an American institution, MIT never kept much of a presence in Earth orbit, given the domination of Luna by non-western powers. Instead, the chief institution off-world was the Mars campus, typically known by the acronym MITM. Originally built in an industrial park with labs from various hypercorps allies, MITM slowly bought out the real estate of its neighbors, until the entire habitation dome it occupied was solely owned and operated by the Institute. The consolidation was completed several years before the Fall. It is said that MITM and MIT were among the few institutions capable of generating enough qbits to maintain a constant, minimal bandwidth data stream between the two campuses, for baseline operational alerts and ultra-secure real time communication. Using both martian and terran orbital infrastructure, the two campuses maintained a higher bandwidth stream traditional data- stream to keep the two campuses research efforts in sync, though the SOL delay was a constant source of annoyance for the faculty. There were token laboratories in terran orbit, martian orbit, and a few outposts in the outer system.
During the Fall, it is rumored that a number of critical faculty and staff were egocast using the reserved qbits of the status stream. Other faculty and staff of interest to the Institute were egocast via the traditional data stream, though their status at the other end has been likened to that of hypercorp indentures.
Whatever black ops work the Institute had been engaged in before the Fall clearly came to dominate the workings of MITM after the Fall. Security was tightened to nearly the levels of Jovian intelligence. External access to the MITM dome was forbidden, and a new dome built for non-Institute support personal and for visitors without pre-approved clearance. Research contracts became more suited to hypercorps work, with clauses delaying the publication of any hypercorp-sponsored results until a number of years after the expiration of the contract. Industrial contacts also indicate that there are buy-out clauses in both directions, allowing the Institute to claim any research it deems in its own interest or a hypercorp to buy the rights to sponsored research in perpetuity.
This black-out in the inner workings of MITM extends outside simple corporate espionage. It is well-known that while MITM maintains a small degree-granting branch, new students are a rare commodity, given that most projects require agreeing to significant personality modification before identifying the full-scope of work, and significant memory modification upon leaving the Institute. Instead, most MITM members, be they staff, student, or faculty, have made peace (willingly or psychosurgically) with the idea that they will never leave the Institute. The situation off-world has settled to a similar equilibrium, with some notable power struggles.
- Most of the terran labs were cut out of the MIT communications net during the Fall, on the order of MITM. Some questionable documentation retrieved from digital forays into the Institute indicate that before the Fall, MIT may have already been moving less malleable and more vocal faculty to the orbital labs and orbital projects. The separation of the orbital labs may thus have been part of a consolidation of power by the more covertly-inclined elements of the administration.
- Martian orbital labs have long been silent to non-Institute communications, and all intercepted communication indicates encryption on par with that of security-focused hypercorps. Rumors from MITM hypercorp collaborators indicate that these labs may have been where psychoactive and neural technologies were tested, in collaboration primarily with Cognite. Firewall attempts to penetrate these labs indicate a lack of physical material exchange (suggesting self-sufficient orbitals or all-synth occupants), with a high degree of electronic countermeasures to shut-down any automated or manned probes attempting to physically intercept the orbitals. Stabilization of orbits seems to be maintained through some form of advanced ionic propulsion, likely driven by a long half-life nuclear pile. However, like all fuel sources, eventually this will need replacement. Firewall has contingencies for intercepting and co-opting the anticipated refueling cycle. Interested agents should notify their routers. Selected operatives will be alerted to general mission parameters, and should expect to store an operational ego backup for immediate use whenever refuel is detected.
- There is significant variation in laboratories maintained further out in the solar system. Those in orbits past Saturn were largely claimed by local autonomists, with the help of sympathizers from within the labs themselves. Titan claimed the resources of most of the Saturn orbitals, while offering the scientists aboard a choice between full citizenship with attendant responsibilities, or egocast back to the inner system MIT network. The bright spot for MITM appears to be Jupiter and the Belt. The Jovian Junta has been rumored to contract certain research programs to the Jovian orbitals operated by MITM, while the Extropians are reported to do a roaring business with the Belt-based MITM labs. All Extropian interactions Firewall has intercepted indicates that the level of psychosurgical modification implemented on Mars appears to have been implemented in these auxillary labs. Most Jovian communication occurs through the Jovian security-industrial complex, and little information has been cleanly extracted.
Visiting MITM Today
Operatives who have not been invited to MITM are advised to not attempt an infiltration without significant advanced planning. Access to the main dome is limited to those who hold active institute credentials (with the accompanying psychosurgical modification) and those holding valid guest credentials. As an academic powerhouse in theory, if not practice, MITM cracks its doors several times a year to host conferences on areas of active research [ user.iLuvTech: i’ve got 15 idents floating around as scholars in autonomist space and the belt, all in different tech fields. each gets at least 3 invites a year to various near-interest conferences. fucking ridiculous for someplace that brainwashes all its employees. been years since it was a school. what the hell are they playing at? ]. These conferences provide an excellent opportunity for the curious agent, as it is often easier to subvert another university’s network to create a fake scholarly identity to register as a conference guest than it is to subvert MITM’s network directly [ user.fujove: I suggest Jupiter University. Pathetic authentication. ].
WARNING MITM is aware of this security flaw. Operative attempting to infiltrate MITM are advised that electronic security and internal security are heightened during conferences. Part-time hackers are advised to not test their 5ki11z. Firewall crows predict that only agents who can reliably crack EDST Virtual Infiltration Level 7 and higher have a reasonable chance of breaking through MITM’s security (expected chance of detection: 70% [ user.acheron: Honestly, given my team’s last penetration attempt, they might be underestimating this. That, or they’ve got something in there we haven’t yet identified. ]. WARNING
Additional ingress opportunities are presented by contract support staff. It is inadvised to try to utilize this route of access, as most support staff are checked against brainprints daily upon admittance, with a contracted monthly update to the brainprint required. Successful infiltration through the support staff would require significant prior digital infiltration.
MITM’s central dome is roughly 1 km in radius. It has been suggested that most of the Institute’s work takes place below ground level. The campus is divided into 16 equal-area surface divisions, 15 focusing on different tech areas, the 16th set aside for the administration. (SPECULATION It is believed that MITM-sec is physically located in Zone-16.) At the center of the dome is Union Tower, stretching as a central support from the ground level to dome roof, roughly 350m. Union Tower is believed to originally have been the dormitories, with students, faculty, administrators, and various hypercorps each occupying different sections of the Tower (Pre Fall Evidence). The current retrofit of Union Tower is as a guest-Institute meeting place, a cylinder roughly 15m in radius towards the top, flaring organically to a 70m square for the bottom third of the structure. The exterior walls of all visitor floors are variable opacity smartglass, synced to the weighted user preferences of the local users. The top-most floors and dome superstructure serve as a secure body bank and egocasting station. The upper and middle sections are currently configured as dormitories. The lower section is conference facilities, including dining, meeting rooms, lecture halls and several auditoriums. The ground floor is an office for the Institute’s Sentient Resources Department, and is generally only accessed by new recruits of the Institute. Elevators run the entire height of the building, operating along a shaft in the center of the structure [ user.otis: A friend of mine claims to have consulted on the remodel, which apparently included the elevator control software. Showed me the code. Would have sworn the damn thing was almost as complex as my vdog back on Earth when I was a kid.
Physical access to the central dome is mediated via a closed-loop maglev subway from the support dome. Guest identification and support staff authentication is handled on the support side of the maglev. The central dome station occupies the 5th floor of Union Tower All physical entrance points originally constructed on the main dome were secured during the consolidation (Pre Fall Evidence). During the Fall, the structure was remodeled to eliminate these entry points while the support dome was constructed. Automated probes of the external main dome structure indicate active electronic surveillance within 1 km of the main dome, with active countermeasures activating when an intruder reaches a 50 m boundary. At 5 m, lethal countermeasures are engaged [ user.bigbooms: check the vids on this i think that’s a concealed plasma rifle that finally blows the damn thing up! titans only know what other firepower they’re keeping in there ]. Physical infiltration through the main dome exterior is highly discouraged. Erasure contingencies plan on an orbital insertion.
Egocast access is mediated via the secure body bank of Union Tower. Ego services are handled by an accredited third-party hypercorps. MITM policy forbids the sleeving of an ego who’s brainprint has not been on file for at least 200 hours prior to the start of the egocast, and who’s telemetry indicates a point of origin other than the registered point of origin. These are non-negotiable restrictions agreed to as part of arriving by egocast. In compensation, MITM offers free rental morphs. While unaugmented, they are a significant offset to the standard cost of travel. Some agents are squeamish about using a morph with unknown providence, but MITM offers a guarantee of quality for the morphs, including covering the cost of any psychological damage inflicted by the resleeving process.
To prevent too much complaint about the security procedures [ user.achilles: and to project power ], MITM’s guest facilities are reported to be quite luxurious. Each visitor guest room has a 2m x 2.5m active response gel mattress [ user.marsha: BEST SLEEP EVER!!!! ], biological support features suitable to most morphs, a desktop array capable of handling processor loads of approximately 2 full sentiences, a standard holographic projector, and climate control. Rooms are roughly 5m x 5m, and visitor dormitory blocks are housed in the MITM Union Tower.
Most conference facilities are handled within the Tower. Visits to a particular lab or researcher outside Union Tower are always escorted in transit. Given that most visiting scholars will need to egocast, the following are the commonly available morphs within MITM’s body bank:
MITM Public Morphs
Note: These morphs have had their custom affinity pre-selected by the Institute for optimal conference benefit.
- Bouncer (+5 Cog)
- Exalt (+5 Int, +5 Sav, +5 Wil)
- Flying Squid (+5 Cog)
- Grey (+5 Sav)
- Martian Alpiner
- Menton (+5 Sav)
- Ruster (+5 Cog)
- Savant (+5 Wil)
- Steel Morph (+5 Int)
- Synth (+5 Cog)