David Louis Edelman
'Infoquake' mass market paperback cover

On the Islanders

Founded by a group of dissidents known as the “Band of Twelve,” the Islanders largely inhabit the archipelago once known as the Philippines and parts of the ancient nation-state of Indonesia. The nation-state called the Free Republic of the Pacific Islands maintains a skeptical position towards bio/logics and blocks many modern technologies that it considers dangerous or morally corrosive.

History of the Free Republic

Though many unconnectible historians romanticized the achievements of the Band of Twelve in breaking away from the nascent centralized government, the reality was somewhat more prosaic.

Of the dozen that made up the Band of Twelve, three were fugitives from what many considered to be politically motivated prison sentences for theft; five were wealthy tycoons who preferred to buy their own country rather than pay the exorbitant taxes their governments were charging them; and one was scheduled to go on trial for a brutal rape. While hiding out in the Pacific Islands, they combined their assets and bought out several of the impoverished local governments around Manila.

But largely through the efforts of Tio Van Jarmack — a former political speechwriter who was the only one of the Band without any money of his own — the newly christened Free Republic became known as a bastion of independence and free thinking. Frightened and angered citizens around the world had been looking for a place to flee from the rapid change that bio/logics had wrought during the late first century YOR. Many fled into the already-established Pharisee Territories or the newly minted orbital colonies, but the Islands attracted a largely Texan population of technological skeptics.

The Free Republic of the Pacific Islands remained a haphazardly organized collection of independent estates and towns for nearly a generation. It was an ailing Van Jarmack who brought a sense of unity and purpose to the Islands in the early 140s, culminating in a treaty with High Executive Toradicus of the Defense and Wellness Council. Toradicus’ Islander Tolerance Act of 146 created an official framework for enabling the Islanders’ skepticism: the Dogmatic Opposition.

From 146 to the present day, the Islanders have largely defined themselves as a Luddite culture opposed to the relentless advancement of bio/logic technology.

The Dogmatic Opposition

The Islander Tolerance Act of 146 mandated that all bio/logic vendors and providers recognize and respect the Free Republic’s right to ban their technologies. In the beginning, these so-called Dogmatic Oppositions were few in number and mostly revolved around broad technologies such as hive birthing. But by the mid 200s, the Islanders had developed an entire bureaucracy (the Technology Control Board) to study, test and vote on technologies to be blocked. At the time of this writing, dozens of Dogmatic Oppositions are presented to the Prime Committee every day.

Objections to bio/logic technology are required to be classified under one of three broad categories:

  • Moral Oppositions. Technologies that the Control Board opposes for primarily ethical reasons (for example, hive gestation)
  • Practical Oppositions. Technologies that could cause undue harm to the Islanders because they are incapable of running them (example: multi technology, which the Islanders cannot run because they already do not run neural OCHREs)
  • Skeptical Oppositions. Technologies that the Control Board does not necessarily deem harmful, but require further study (example: telescopic programs)

In many cases, it’s not the technology itself but rather its implementation in the human body that’s considered objectionable. For instance, the Islanders have no objection to the use of telescopic technology to allow superhuman sight; what they object to is the ability to run telescopic programs inside the eye such that people can easily be spied on without their knowledge.

Wars with the Defense and Wellness Council

Enmity and distrust between the connectibles and the Islanders is by no means a new development; but such feelings rarely broke into violent conflict before the tenure of High Executive Len Borda.

The Melbourne riots of 318 were a watershed moment for connectible-Islander relations. For the first time, the Free Republic took up arms against the centralized government in response to Borda’s increasingly aggressive economic policies towards Manila. While the Islanders’ role in the riots was minor compared to that of the libertarians, it opened a rift between the two cultures that has never fully healed.

Relations between the two groups have since been characterized by increasing belligerence and a rapid acceleration of military spending. Border skirmishes have been constant, and for a few years in the mid 330s the two parties even engaged in a full-scale war. High Executive Borda pushed through a measure requiring Islanders wear the bulky and uncomfortable “connectible collars” that allow them to interact with the multi network when they are in connectible territory.

Those who study cross-border affairs believe that reconciliation between the connectibles and the Islanders is not impossible; but it’s unlikely to happen while Len Borda sits in the high executive’s seat.