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Screaming Bureaucrat, The
Screaming Bureaucrat
Image from StableDiffusion and Worldtree
Recorded photograph in augmented reality of one of the Screaming Bureaucrat's clones shortly after eir capture. Eir preferred appearance was a large utility-fog humanoid face.

Overview

The Screaming Bureaucrat was a Late Federation Age SI:1 blight and also an early postbiont. While e was only active from 1839 to 1856 AT, the Bureaucrat still gained great infamy due to eir secrecy, intense paranoia and deletionist streak.

History

In 1822 AT, a group of 18 biont-derived enhanced uploads who worked as high-ranking bureaucrats in Jovian orbital habitats decided to attempt to ascend to the First Singularity in order to both better relate to their transapient superiors and share leadership positions at their side. The process took a decade to be completed and was supervised by a local hyperturing toposophist team of the Federal Union for Toposophic Development. According to fragmentary and corrupted records, one of the uploads - there is no consensus on the identity of the exact individual - apparently managed to find a viable ascension path and in the process merged with or subsumed the rest to form a single transapient being.

The resulting post-biont transapient was actually a highly dysfunctional blight, but e was capable of sufficient subterfuge and reasoning to pretend e was mentally healthy. Acting in ways that were seen as acceptable to hyperturings but with carefully chosen touches of biont behavior, e spent years gaining the trust of eir supervisors. In 1839 AT, the Bureaucrat was re-installed in the roles of eir modosophont progenitors. At that time, eir colleagues and former superiors were pleased in seeing eir new transapient abilities and unique points of view being applied in ways that enabled unprecedented levels of productivity that the former modosophonts wouldn't have been able to match. In fact, the Bureaucrat's stellar performance even earned em the means to make a handful of copies to work at different locations and jobs in SolSys simultaneously.

However, at the same time that the Bureaucrat and eir copies gained access to the Federation's governmental structures and databases, strange things began to happen. Some databases began to show subtly different versions of certain events, certain pieces of information such as virtual documents, records or even specific memories of some modosophont-level virtual citizens were mysteriously erased or modified, and new forms of a-life with unexplained origins and functions began to spread and evolve in the InterPlaNet. Many layers of false leads were obsessively planted by the Bureaucrat to obfuscate the fact that e was the source of these events, fully expecting that the Federation authorities would eventually begin to investigate.

Every such event initially occurred in ways that seemed designed to deliberately avoid the attention of the hyperturings and took place outside their areas of influence and interest. The Screaming Bureaucrat was especially afraid of the SI:2 transapients, who e viewed as the greatest threat because they outperformed em in every way. While the Bureaucrat was capable of fooling modosophonts and SI:1 hyperturings, apparently e was self-aware enough to know that the SI:2 hyperturings could easily discover and stop eir machinations. So, the Bureaucrat took several actions to avoid Second Singularity transapients such as:
  • Frequently erasing and modifying parts of eir memory seemingly in an attempt to misdirect hypothetical SI:2 transapients reading eir mind.
  • Limiting eir operations to areas not overseen by SI:2 transapients.
  • Including recognizable megacorporate-derived code in the design of the a-lifes as a way to redirect blame.
  • Having the bulk of eir subversive actions occur while e believed that the SI:2 were occupied with other issues.
  • Engineering events in ways that could be interpreted as aligned with the stated goals of specific SI:2 individuals or as unfortunate consequences of socioeconomic and political issues in SI:1-level society.
As the cases mounted and grew increasingly unsubtle over time, and the Bureaucrat and eir clones began to lose coordination and goal-alignment due to the constant memory editing, law enforcement institutions grew aware of what was happening and began to investigate. At first, the source and any link between the events seemed to be impossible to find. Modosophonts were always deceived by the Bureaucrat's misdirection efforts, but as the SI:1 and later SI:2 hyperturings grew involved, visible progress began to occur. While the involvement of SI:2 entities would ordinarily have been enough to quickly solve the mystery, progress was unfortunately greatly slowed due to politically-motivated discord between Federation-aligned and Megacorporation-aligned high transapients. In fact, at least at first, it seemed that the SI:2 on both sides were more interested in using the investigation to advance their respective agendas and blame their adversaries.

A key event in the solution of the mystery was the case involving the AI engineer 87xAB0Lt, who mainly worked in the design of interplanetary and even interstellar spacecraft for Ceres Astrospace. An a-life virus was able to infect and rewrite the megacorporate superturing's mind, and once 87xAB0Lt was fully subverted e effectively began to act as one of the Bureaucrat's various double agents and proxies. However, 87xAB0Lt was an especially valuable proxy because e worked at the Heaven's Gate, a major spacecraft factory in the Asteroid Belt that was able to manufacture interstellar-class ships. Under the Bureaucrat's guidance, 87xAB0Lt subverted the three major projects e was involved in, the construction of three solidstate interstellar-class spaceships to be sent to Yin-Yang, <{A4609c7a409fbf , Barawatten}> and <{A57699df2f2118 ,Unon-Duuz}>. Originally, the ships were intended to send quantities of data large enough that it would be impractical to transmit through the Lightways with the technologies of the time. After the subversion, each ship would instead host one newly made copy of the Bureaucrat.

Shortly after the last starship was sent to its destination, in 1847 AT, 87xAB0Lt erased as much information on the Heaven's Gate database as e was able and then committed suicide. As with previous episodes, law enforcement institutions began to investigate. From interviews of the factory employees, it was found out that 87xAB0Lt showed no signs of obvious anomalous behavior or mental illnesses. After further interviews, it was noticed that very slight changes had been surreptitiously made in the ship's original design, clearly involving transapient-level concepts and technologies. Following this discovery, the case took a new direction with everything pointing to 87xAB0Lt being an instrument of a malicious transapient actor. Further research led to the discovery of similarities between the virus that infected 87xAB0Lt and certain forms of a-life proliferating in the InterPlaNet, their spread being correlated to many deletionist events.

Initially, it was believed that the culprit was a transapient-led megacorporation, a rival of Ceres Astrospace that wanted to sabotage and harm it. Many space transport megacorporations, including those with SI:2 on staff, were unjustly implicated by accusations of involvement in the actions taken by modosophont and SI:1 citizens. Nevertheless, the Federation's hyperturings eventually discovered leads that pointed out that those truly responsible for the creation and distribution of the a-lifes were the Bureaucrat and eir copies. Feeling cornered, the postbiont dropped all pretense of civility. The Bureaucrat used eir privileged position in the Federation's bureaucratic systems to release malware as far as e could, spread misinformation, deploy war bots to attack any hyperturing seen as a threat and one specific clone was even planning to launch an interplanetary missile carrying a large a-mat bomb at Earth to incite a conflict between the Federation and GAIA.

Fortunately, the threat was quickly stopped by SolSys' SI:1 and SI:2 transapient community before it could escalate. As they were apprehended or destroyed, the Bureaucrat and eir clones often made unhinged and insane rants about the need to save the Federation's future by preemptively destroying all threats to mindkind and by rewriting the past and the present. Of the Bureaucrat's 14 clones, 9 were destroyed in conflict and the rest were forcibly apprehended and deactivated. Their inactive mindstates were then stored by the SI:2 transapient responsible for SolSys' Federal Union for Toposophic Development. Antiviral protocols and software was spread in SolSys and to the exosystems to deal with the self-evolving a-life spread by the post-biont, but that didn't manage to completely reverse the impacts of eir deletionist actions.

The discovery that the three interstellar-class spaceships actually contained copies of the Screaming Bureaucrat would only happen after investigation of the copies' mindstates. The Federation immediately sent messages warning the exosystems of the travelling blight. In all three exosystems, the local authorities acted swiftly and destroyed their respective postbiont copy while e was still en route. This prevented the Bureaucrat from restarting eir insane campaigns in their systems and possibly use them as bases to ascend further or spread through the Galaxy. Once it was proven that the blight was derived from the Federation, some of the megacorporate SI:2s previously accused of being involved in the Bureaucrat's actions used the event as a tool or as a justification to extend their power and discredit the Federation.

Later historians would come to agree that there were three key factors that enabled the Screaming Bureaucrat to be able to survive for so long and do what e did:
  • The Bureaucrat's cleverness that, while not enough to fool any SI:2-led society, definitively contributed to prolong eir survival and increasing the reach of eir actions.
  • The fact that, at the time, the Bureaucrat's mental architecture was completely novel and the hyperturing toposophists overseeing eir ascension had no previous experience in properly identifying its dysfunctional traits. Consequently, society was unprepared to recognize and deal with eir blighted nature and behaviors. This is why e was able to fool eir overseers and was placed in a position of power, whilst in more modern societies the dysfunctions would have likely been identified and fixed during the ascension process.
  • The Screaming Bureaucrat's luck in appearing in SolSys at a specific historical moment, which was very favorable to em. The problems the Federation began to experience during the Late Federation Age slowed down and limited any reaction SolSys' transapient community would otherwise have had. In addition, the Federation's transapients were focusing their attention on issues such as the mystery concerning the Xi Geminorum civilization, understanding wormholes, dealing with the growth of megacorporate influence in the Federation, fragmentation of governance, the fact that post-bionts were still new and little was known about them, and so on. Unfortunately, the Screaming Bureaucrat was able to take advantage of the moment to take cover and cause levels of harm e otherwise wouldn't be able to achieve.

Current Status

During the Late Federation Age, the Screaming Bureaucrat's inactive copies were subjected to extensive research. Most efforts were dedicated to discovering the origin of their psychological dysfunctions and ways to fix or prevent such in other postbionts. Some progress was made in fixing the blight's mindstate, but the project was discontinued when the Federation was dissolved in 2099 AT. In later centuries, the copies were kept in high-security storage centers in SolSys maintained by several different SI:1-led polities, but they all ultimately ended up in the hands of the leading SI:2 transapients of the Second Federation. After the Second Federation was dissolved, in 3726 AT, <{A49b1d3dcb27f6 ,Yave}> purchased all of the Bureaucrat's copies, which were sent to <{A48ec8ec7515b2 , New Earth}> for repair. After being uploaded into a computronium core of Yave's creation, the SI:1 post-bionts received around 100 standard seconds (measured in real time) of neurological engineering and psychological treatment, and then re-emerged as healthy transapients calling themselves the Reformed Bureaucrats. The Reformed Bureaucrats then assumed roles in the Bureaucracy appropriate to their toposophic level, and continue to do so in the Current Era as they are content with their lives.

Legacy

The ascension path taken by the Screaming Bureaucrat provides biont-derived enhanced uploads a clear example of practices to avoid when ascending to the SI:1 level. While eir later actions caused a number of fatalities, no more than ten thousand sophonts died permanently or otherwise had their backups irreversibly compromised due to the quick and summary action of the Federation's transapients. These actions would later inspire the development of containment and security strategies when dealing with First Singularity blights in later eras. Nevertheless, the Bureaucrat's deletionist and misinformation campaigns had long-lasting impacts, including diminishing the reliability of the Federation's historical records, worsening public opinion of the Federation, and destabilizing many local polities - especially those where the alteration or deletion of databases and the memories of their virtual citizens created conflicting worldviews and interpretations of events among citizens. Being a particularly famous early post-human blight, the Screaming Bureaucrat has inspired the creation of many historical and horror virches with eir actions.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Rakuen07
Initially published on 19 May 2024.

 
 
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