Gatecrashing Service Fees
|One-time Gate Operation||100,000|
The most significant challenge facing many gatecrashers, especially first-timers, is how to gain access to a gate. With the exception of the anarchist-operated Fissure Gate, gate time is prohibitively expensive.
BUYING GATE TIME
Private parties wishing to buy gate access must have ample resources. Gatekeeper and Pathfinder have set the standards for rates, and they are not cheap. The going rate for access is 100,000 credits plus 50,000 per minute of gate time (only open wormhole time is billed—they do not count time spent establishing a connection … usually). If the operation involves opening a wormhole to a previously unvisited address, an additional 500,000 fee is applied for first-in exploration and precautionary procedures. These rates are fluid and subject to gamemaster approval.
TerraGenesis offers a slightly more competitive rate; reduce costs by 10%. Go-nin, on the other hand, charges at least 10% above the rest, sometimes more. These fees do not account for any equipment or other logistics aspects the mission might require. They do cover basic decontamination procedures for returning gatecrashers, though medical care or extra quarantine procedures (such as is automatically required for anyone bringing extraterrestrial life back) will cost extra.
There are ways to reduce these costs. For missions hoping to locate and claim exploitable resources, xenoarcheological relics, new life, or other valuable finds, the party can give the gate-owning entity a cut of the find in exchange for reduced rates. The larger the cut, the bigger the deduction. Exact arrangements are left up to the gamemaster and the negotiating skills of the party in question. Groups that are buying large chunks of gate time are often granted discounts as well. Gatekeeper is known to give grants, incentives, and discounts to research groups and missions that will expand transhumanity’s knowledge base.
For those with grand ideas but small budgets, it is sometimes possible to find a sponsor for your mission. This might be a venture capitalist willing to risk large amounts for an even larger return on investment, a scientific foundation or university eager to back a line of research, a political bloc hoping to gain a strategic advantage over their rivals, a media hypercorp that smells a hit documentary, or an eccentric hyperelite character willing to fund the project as long as they can come along for the ride and try out a new and exciting life experience. Finding such a sponsor might be an adventure in itself, or it can come about through a lot of legwork and strategic use of rep and social networks.
The drawback to sponsors is that they often have their own agendas, which may be at odds with that of the characters. When a conflict of interests occurs, the sponsor may very well expect the characters to prioritize the sponsor’s goals. This can be an excellent source of tension for gamemasters to exploit. If the rumors are to be believed, some immensely wealthy and influential figures have backed the gate entities enough to acquire permanent gate access for their own private projects, often prioritized ahead of others.
Prospective gatecrashers also have the option of seeking employment with one of the gate corps: Gatekeeper, Pathfinder, TerraGenesis, or Go-nin. Each of these employs professional gatecrashers for their own private missions. Usually they will seek to hire those with previous gatecrashing experience, though anyone with expertise in a relevant field (such as astrobiology, planetology, geology, etc.) can likely find work. Security contractors are also high in demand. The various hypercorps and partners that pay for their own missions are often looking to hire as well;
the online job boards around the various gate sites are quite active, with one’s reputation among other gatecrashers being the key to scoring new work.
Mars needs wome—err, Pathfinder needs transhumans of every stripe (cough except mercurials cough) to enlist in their Pathfinder Colonization Initiative, spreading the Planetary Consortium’s idea of civilization to the stars. If Pathfinder isn’t what you’re looking for, numerous other hypercorps and political entities are looking to seed new settlements. Colonial recruits are carefully screened for their psychological well-being, adaptability to living in
remote and sometimes hostile corners of the galaxy, and ability to listen to orders and follow the rules. Those with skill sets that are particularly useful to a colony’s well-being, whether that be habitat maintenance, administration, engineering, psychology, or something else, are more likely to be accepted. The drawback to colony life is that these are usually set, long-term missions. Colonists are typically laden with contractual obligations to the colony’s founder,
essentially making their gatecrashing adventure a one-way trip.
Many colonists are actually indentures; they may not even have volunteered for such work. There is very little policing or recrimination for those who essentially deploy indentures as slaves in their colonies, where they are far removed from prying eyes and civil liberties advocates.
Those who are desperate or down on their luck can try their hand at one of the gate lotteries, as described under The Lotteries, no matter their background or experience. Lottery winners have the highest casualty and death rates, of course, so the ride isn’t always as free as it might seem. Lottery gatecrashers also sign away their rights to any finds they make, though they may be lucky enough to claim a reward.
Though Gatekeeper’s lottery is the most prominent, the other gate corps occasionally run their own. The Love and Rage anarchists also sponsor a lottery specifically for inner system hopefuls, including a separate lottery that is exclusive for indentures; the winners are bought and given their freedom.
The Fissure Gate is open to anyone to use, assuming you can get there, you’re not acting for profit and agree to share your finds, and your @-rep isn’t so bad as to get you censured. Signing up for a slot of gate time is a Level 5 favor, assuming the gate time consumed is not too lengthy and you’re covering your own logistics. Anything beyond that might count as extra favors. Unsurprisingly, there is a waiting list unless you have a particular good argument for prioritizing your mission and the rep to back up your claim.
The Pandora Gate is also a decent option for autonomist gatecrashers due to the Titanian influence over Gatekeeper. Use of @-rep or Titanian kroners can pave the way towards gate access even for gatecrashers that are otherwise broke and destitute. The slight bias given towards Titanians is regarded by some as institutionalized.
GATEHOPPERS AND REMOTE GATES
For dedicated gatecrashers, the best option is to get a hold of their own blue box and get to a remote gate outside of the solar system. From there, they can potentially stage their own gatecrashing missions or go on a gatehopping adventure. Some gatehoppers go so far as to sign up for extrasolar missions or colony projects as a way to get outside of the solar system cheaply, where they can then pull together the resources to create a blue box using open source blueprints and a nanofabber and then secretly access the local gate (often violating colony laws or the mission’s guidelines) to embark on their journey. Extrasolar locales such as Portal offer the best options for DIY gatecrashers or gatehoppers, with shorter waiting times, multiple gates to choose from, and a supportive gatecrasher community.
FIREWALL AND GATECRASHING
Firewall quite often has need of gatecrashers, usually to follow up on potential x-risk leads. The organization has connections to hundreds of gatecrashers who operate as sentinels, though these individuals are not always in the position to help as needed. Just as often, Firewall must recruit sentinels new to gatecrashing and exploit various methods of inserting them into an operation.
If necessary, Firewall is not above sponsoring its own gatecrashing ops, though it prefers to avoid the expense of doing so. When possible, it will take advantage of the Fissure Gate for these missions; Firewall and the Love and Rage Collective have a working relationship, with the anarchists often aware and in the loop regarding sentinel missions. The collective has also been known to call Firewall in for specific operations or to pass along info they think the sentinels and proxies can use.
More often that not, however, Firewall deals with extrasolar threats by finding ways to insert people into ongoing missions. This usually means passing off their agents as hypercorp personnel or hired freelance contractors. More than one extrasolar Firewall op has failed because the sentinels’ cover was somehow compromised before they even managed to step through a gate.
It is important to keep in mind that gate access often comes with restrictions. Any use of a hypercorpcontrolled gate, for example, comes with the stipulation that the hypercorp retains ownership and control over the remote gate. Certain equipment may also be restricted from passing through the gates without extra controls or fees. Blue box gate control units are not allowed through on first-in missions and are sometimes barred from others as well.
One notable restriction is that almost no gatecontrolling entity will allow anyone to directly control the gates within the solar system themselves, with the exception of personnel who have been thoroughly trained and approved. Even the Love and Rage anarchists do not allow others to access the controls without checking them out first and making sure they know what they are doing.
INSURANCE AND BACKUPS
Only the reckless, nihilistic, desperately poor, or suicidal go gatecrashing without making a backup first (or without alpha forking, as some prefer), especially on first-in missions. This is considered a matter of course for most gate endeavors and all of the gate facilities within the solar system have backup facilities on site. Most sponsors and employers will provide this as a service to their gatecrashers, but not everyone prefers to leave their backups at the mercy of their bosses.
For those that prefer not to lose their extrasolar experiences should they die, recovery bonds are an (expensive) option. By placing up a reward for their recovered cortical stack, the recovery bond provides an incentive for risk-taking gatecrashers to try and retrieve it. Recovery bonds may be posted for any amount, though of course the higher the bond the more likely someone is willing to risk going after it. To really be worthwhile, most recovery bonds start at 100,000 (enough to cover 1 minute of gate time going in and another coming back) and go up. Some established recovery bond outfits have established relationships with gate-owning corps that enable them to score deals on gate access time for recovery ops.
Lottery winners and explorers working for sponsors can hope to score rewards for certain finds, as noted under Mission Bonuses/Rewards. On top of this, explorers who strike it big or perform beyond the call of duty may reap the rewards of reputation bonuses.