As one might expect, the Coalition does not take kindly to those who would live outside its laws.
Often times confirmed apostates are arrested on sight. But that assumes, of course, that there is not something to be gained by letting them go. While it’s far from public knowledge, the Houses regularly work with apostates and apostate factions when it suits them; granting them access to equipment and supplies in exchange for favors best kept off the books.
The Houses, as organizations founded upon competition, do not always work with the best intentions of the other Houses in mind. In truth, what appears on the surface to be civil and respectful competition between the Houses is just a thin veneer of civility over the bloody and brutal Shadow War. The Houses, each and every one, employ kidnapping, murder, torture, theft, blackmail and a laundry list of other shady or outright illegal operations to gain an advantage over the other Houses, or even another subsidiary within the same House.
The soldiers in this war are apostates or citizens who know how to slip through society’s cracks. These mercenary crews run jobs for the Houses that range from unethical to outright condemnable, and are made of individuals from any and all walks of life. Pure, sleeved, SIM, citizen, apostate… it doesn’t matter so long as they are willing to uphold the terms of their contract and deny the involvement of the patron.
And the public at large has no idea.
The Houses have an unspoken agreement that the Shadow War remain hidden from the public eye. Disorganization and infighting within the Coalition damages the illusion of safety and comfort provided to the people, which could lead to instability and discontent.
Nobody wants that. Thus, the Houses will sometimes even go so far as to cover up their rival’s indiscretions to maintain this illusion. They will expect to be compensated of course, and much shame falls on the House that accepts this aid.
Still, the Shadow War and apostate crack downs aren’t the only sources of bloodshed in the galaxy.
While a growing number of people join the transhumanist movement each year, a larger number still stand in opposition.
The Humanity Preservation Act was put into law by Purists who feared what transhumans could eventually become. The Purists, generally eschewing augmentation technology for one reason or another, fear that transhumans would relegate them to an inferior species. Or worse, make them a slave species.
The HPA limits the degree to which a person can change his body, and puts restrictions on how SIMs can operate. It seeks to avoid splitting the human race into diverging subspecies, and makes sure that pure humans can remain competitive.
While citizens vote to make adjustments to the HPA every few years, most transhumans are content with the degree of change they are allowed. And most purists are happy with their position, feeling that the HPA provides them with sufficient protection from a need to augment to remain “equal”.
But there are extremists. Posthumans seek to push the human mind and body beyond what the law allows. They transform themselves into genetically engineered monstrosities, distributed intelligence drone swarms, or any number of other things along their “path to ascension”.
At the other end of the spectrum, Purifiers plant bombs in resleeving facilities. They chop off people’s cyberware limbs or rip out their mnemonic cores. They view transhumans as cheaters and “infected”, and many see those who have undergone apotheosis as nothing more than soulless shells.