CFD, Chrome Flesh and Suspension of Disbelief

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Dal Thrax

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« on: <07-03-15/1958:46> »
The corporate states in Shadowrun really don't make the most sense in the world.  They seem to be a cross between 19th century monopolies and the English and Dutch East Indies Companies (with a tip of the hat to King Leopold).  It takes some mental gymnastics to make the politics of the S-R world make sense.  The corporate states of shadowrun at least provide some outlet to make sure that the meta-racial genocidal tendencies of nation states do not put a minority group into a situation where doomsday looks like the only option.  The Shadows U.S.A. did everything possible to convince the world that strong nation states were a bad idea.  Attempted to fight a nuclear war; put its own citizens in death camps (which probably should be retconed to add "and instituted mandatory DNA testing to put everyone on Native American descent into the camps"); attempted to use nuclear weapons against those citizens when they objected to their treatment; and finally found itself facing a doomsday scenario by placing those citizens in a win or die situation.  If the NAN had blown the Yellowstone super volcano it would have sent dozens of nuclear plants into meltdown, most likely resulting in the end of all life in the northern hemisphere. 

Real life nationalism aside, the US in the Shadowrun universe did everything possible to convince logical observers that powerful nation states are bad.  The corporate states of the SR universe provides at least some form of check on the supposed meta-genocidal tendencies of nation states.  Even if Humanis takes over the UCAS, corporate citizenship at least allows some outlet so that a minority cannot find themselves in a situation where doomsday seems the only option.  One of the strengths of the corporate system may well be that their are other plays capable of exercising restraint on a nation state before things get to that point.

At the end of Chrome Flesh the Monads declare:
1) That they are in a state of war with the Corporate Court.
2) That head cases are collateral damage of one side in the war feeling pushed to use weapons of mass destruction.
3) That the extinction of all life on earth is a distinct possibility if the war continues.
4) That the AI side is willing to enter into a peace treaty based on a prisoner exchange (albeit a one sided one, CFD seems to be a one way street) and recognition of territorial gains already achieved.
5) The initial offer does not include disarming the "bomb".

This is the script almost every successful separatist movement has used in the 6th world.  Either take some territory, then find some kind of magical threat and use it to blackmail the government into recognizing independence or use some form of magical threat/ability to isolate territory and set up your state in the resulting vacuum.

The existence of an AI Ghost Dance drastically changes the balance between corporate and nation states in the SR universe.  After so many governments have given up portions of their territory, does the corporate court really think it has an option to say no to the AIs demands?  To keep what, a couple domes on Mars?  (Not to mention both the UCAS and CAS Air Force and Navy would love to see the rise of a threat that requires them to start constructing space battleships). 

For that matter, every nation on Earth has just received a loud wake up call that out of control corporate actions are THE greatest current threat to their national security (as in, very real chance of all biological matter becoming gray goo).  Prior to now that corps might have been killing the planet slowly through environmental damage, but at least they helped head off the chance that the armageddon.  That is no longer true.

Forget one corp falling over CFD, any of the big ten will be lucky to survive.  For a nation state the AIs are acting in a very comprehensible and rational manner - take territory by force during war then negotiate a peace.  More to the point, that war is with a third party.  Any action a nation state, or the United Nations, takes is only attempting to minimize collateral damage to their people (who are getting killed/overwritten by desperate refugees that the corps created).  Its the Corporate Court that is the unpredictable and alien actor here.  They are acting on an axis not dictated by traditional national concerns.  They might even say no and repeat the fall of the United States.  Every military that has the ability is probably getting serious about the question of "if the Corporate Court pushes the AIs too far, can we put a nuke into Z-O and ride out the retaliation."  Once that has happened, the balance of power between corporate states and nation states is forever going to be altered.  (On the other hand this would be a great excuse to replace the big 10 with the S&P 500).   

Or, to put it another way, I think you just blew up your world.

Warning: most likely posting from a tablet.