Notes on Organisations
When I first suggested this project on the RPGnet Forums, Pilgrim and I had a brief discussion about the likelihood of encountering other wakers, given their low overall representation in toe overall figures of programs.
Pilgrim started it by writing, "My biggest objection to the setting is that most of the programs the PC's encounter are not sentient - at best they just seem that way. Now if you can suggest a way around that, it'd be great."
I responded with: "The way I see it, there are two big forces that conspire to bring wakers together: the threat of progenitor virus attack and the problem of antivirus scanning.
"Now, admittedly, Virtual makes it plenty clear that where progenitor viruses go, nothing survives (unless you're actually talking about the server-lair of a progenitor virus, should such a thing exist), barring the new wakers that get created as a byproduct (of the attack). Ergo, the usual "banding together to defeat a greater threat" biz doesn't quite work. Instead, I think the wakers would need to maintain a quite thorough "weather service", keeping track of recent attacks and at least trying to figure out where a virus might strike next, in order to plan evacuations and the like.
"There's also the idea of keeping an eye out for those infected with microviruses, to make sure they don't inadvertently get a whole population of wakers. So when a waker or goup enters a system where other wakers have established a presence, the other wakers would be fairly quick to check them out and find out who they are and what they're about."
- Pilgrim responded with, "Sort of a CDC role in each system as the wakers get organized."
"Then, you take into account organisations like Détente, who would have half an eye out for potential new members all the time. Fewer numbers of able-bodied wakers would, one might assume, make such organisations more proactive in finding and evaluating wakers for membership, even if they are careful about revealing their existence to wakers who could also be potential threats.
"Next, the antivirus issue. The book establishes that all wakers have, to a certain extent, viral code as part of their makeup, thanks to their parentage; sooner or later, they're going to run afoul of a system's antivirus procedures (unless they're hiding on a system with no antivirus scanning whatsoever, which would probably make life horribly inconvenient for the wakers). Again, I think organisation would benefit the wakers, as wakers already on-site (and willing to assist) would be able to provide scanning schedules, back-doors, possible "safe areas that the antivirus scanner might not see. It's a nice "you scratch my back, I scratch yours" dynamic because it ties directly into the PCs' ongoing existence and can be used as incentive for any number of sessions.
"You know, I just thought that the lack of other sentients in Virtual could be a help instead of a hindrance; the players would be less likely to have their PCs buttonhole any handy NPC (meaning the GM wouldn't have to come up with another character on the fly) and probably more respectful of the few truly helpful resources they do have."
--IMAGinES 01:06, 14 Jun 2005 (PDT)