Cult of the Exsanguinated Giraffe
Image from Bernd Helfert
Libertarian/Surrealist Nano/Memetic/Bio Hackers - Early to Late Interplanetary Age.
The creation of the General Assembler/Replicator in 206 a.t. was an event much anticipated since the mid 10's. Regrettably rather than starting the "Desert Rose" industry boom as envisioned by Eric Drexler, one of the creators, the Xerox Nanoscale Collective was acquired in a hostile take-over by Neotek Universal Micro.
Neotek had a reputation worse than that of Microsoft in the late 22nd century c.e., and to reinforce that reputation, immediately started to restrict access to the other two partners, their arch enemy Neotech Labs and the Centre for Self-Replicating Technologies. Despite legal challenges which were doomed to failure due to their non-terrestrial nature, Neotek was able to establish for themselves a considerable head start in the creation of military and commercial nanotech.
This situation continued for four years, until Drextech, formed by a merger between Neotech and CSRT, released the Merkle. The Merkle was a complete nanotech prototyping kit, released under a general public license, consisting of a CAD package and a sealed lab filled with assemblers and raw material that was approximately the size of a twentieth century paperback novel. A completed design could then be taken to any drextech outlet, where after the design had passed a number of safety and security protocols, it would be constructed for a nominal fee.
In 164 the Cult of the Exsanguinated Giraffe posted its first design on the NanoDot datasphere site. Rather than yet another design for household products or a cracked commercial drug, it was instead a fully optimized general assembler. Representing thousands of man/hours of work, the CotEG assembler was 18% smaller than current models, capable of replicating in one third of the time and had a 27% improvement in the positional control system.
The GPL release of this assembler gave a tremendous shot in the arm to the Nannies, the nanotech start-up companies that were located in the orbital lab complexes surrounding the Earth and the Moon; overnight the Cult of the Exsanguinated Giraffe (CotEG) had made its name. The Cult's public voice's 'Boris the Spider' and 'Bill the Headcase', stated at the time of the assemblers release that they were named in memorial to the Cult of the Dead Cow (whose infamous Ninja Strike Force were brutally murdered by Microsloth's actual ninja strike force during the night of the bloody VR interfaces in 63), and that they would expand the Hacker Ethic into the arena of nanotech.
Speculation about who precisely the CotEG was began immediately; the mediacorps fueled this relentlessly, it being a slow news week. The most commonly accepted view was that they were a combination of Superbrights, Freestate transhumanist nanodevelopers, and Libertarian AI's. This view was further validated in 3211, when Cyberia released to the galactic community petabytes of heavily encrypted data traffic. What little had been decrypted showed that it had been sent between the various members of the CotEG. Unfortunately this valuable historical source has continued to resist decryption, the only entities capable of quickly and easily accessing it have so far been reticent.
True to its word, the Cult began posting innovative and imaginative designs three to four times per year, the most controversial of these being the Warseed. The Warseed is the size of a marble; and was and is capable of constructing any weapon from a particle beam pistol, to a hovertank, to a suborbital interceptor, to an aircraft carrier provided it is supplied with sufficient feedstock. The Warseed was the basis of the Warchive concept, and a modified form is still included in almost all warchives throughout the galaxy.
By the 220's the Cult had expanded into far more than innovative nanodesigns, it also began to show mastery of AI and computer systems and issuing weekly masterclasses in nanodesign and civil disobedience; as well as reporting on repressive and incompetent corporate and government activities. It was at this time that Neotek released general assemblers to the public in 226, which was quickly followed with the CotEG releasing a matter compiler, necessary to take full advantage of GA's. It was this act that caused massive panic within the Earth governments and corporations; leading to a crackdown on nanotechnologists, reminiscent of the antibiohacker crusade of the closing decades of the first century a.t..
Again these restrictions were effectively worthless, especially as the true identities of the CotEG were a mystery, the only effect was to restrict access to nanotech information in educational establishments and for mundane net users. These restrictions were completely smashed in 238 with the release of the Feynman Expert System, which has provided an extensive, technically based education to hundreds of billions of sentient's in the several millennia since its release. It was also at this point that the pranks began...