Beyond the Black
Ironically, the first contact between transhumanity and alien life was made by a group of isolates with no interest in the rest of transhumanity. A brinker doomsday cult habitat in the Neptunian Trojans, patiently waiting out the prophesized return of the TITANs, suffered a severe life support systems failure. Not expecting anyone to respond to their distress signals, they were simultaneously relieved and shocked to have an alien starship come to their aid.
Shortly after this event, three the unknown ships of alien design simultaneously approached Mars, Luna, and Titan, logging on to local networks to announce their presence and peaceful intentions. Though their presence initially raised alarm and panic, their rescue of the brinkers and assurances of non-hostility allowed cooler heads to prevail. Coming just three years after the silent hostility of the TITANs, the new aliens were pleasantly non-threatening.
Quickly dubbed “Factors,” both because of their claims to act as ambassadors for an assortment of alien civilizations and of their interesting biology, initial communications between species were confusing and jumbled. The Factors made a number of veiled warnings and expressed concern over certain technological developments, particularly unrestrained artificial intelligence. They have refused entirely to deal with digital entities and broken off negotiations with anyone currently engaged in AGI development or utilizing the Pandora Gates. The Factors have implied that they were aware of and watching humanity for some time, but chose to wait to make contact … implying some implicit fear of the singularity. Dealing with multiple factions, the primary relationship between the Factors to transhumanity is a commercial one. Though they are often dismissive of transhumanity’s technological achievements, they are interested in our scientific development and breakthroughs, particularly in the biosciences, as well as our art, history, and culture. They remain tight-lipped about their own civilization and other xenomorphs, though they have on occasion traded alien artifacts of unusual design and peculiar function. It is widely assumed that these are simply trinkets of limited value and that the Factors are careful not to share anything of true worth to transhumanity, particularly anything that might drastically affect our growth. Biologically, the Factors appear to be some sort of evolved slime mold colony. As far as is known, they communicate purely by chemical signals and receptors, requiring any interactions with transhumanity to be computermediated. Several different types of Factors have been sighted, implying that they engage in heavy biological modification. Factor starcraft appear to be lighthuggers capable of nearlight speeds. Due to the frequency of their visitations to the solar system (2–3 times a year), however, it is speculated that they either have a nearby base, or that they possess the capabilities for faster-than-light travel—or possibly they have Pandora Gates of their own. Given the wide dissimilarities in psychology between transhuman species and the Factors it would be presumptuous to speculate concerning their true feelings and agenda towards transhumanity. It is hoped, however, that by continuing negotiations with them, transhumanity may learn more about the nature of the galaxy—and possibly even our own history.