by Abacus of the Inmara
So, we have said that our stories involve fictionalized versions of ourselves doing fictionalized things in a fictionalized version of our inworld, but what does that really mean?
We’ve sort of started documenting that on our wiki, but we haven’t worked on that for a long time and it’s done in more detail than I intend to do here. I want to give you a few quick words that can act as a guide while you read our work or think about it.
The broad overview is that Systems’ Out! is closer to our personal history as a system than any of the other stories, and each successive story is further removed. But they are all inspired by events, realizations, goals, or births within our system. It is best to think of each story as a semi-improvised TTRPG between ourselves playing as ourselves in this fictionalized version of our inworld, with an aim to both develop morality plays and prompt subconscious system members to speak up and tell us something real about themselves while we’re working on it.
Systems’ Out! is essentially a retelling of how we came out to ourselves as plural and started to reform our internal government told as if we were actually a group of people actually on a generational starship that resembles our inworld. It speculates about how that might have come about, and what that would have meant in that setting. And different system members took over to play different roles from the actual people who were involved in what really happened. And what really happened was a different story, because we’re not actually a spaceship full of potentially immortal beings.
But, it was also a referendum on the science fiction setting we had created in September of 2000 for an actual TTRPG we tried to run then. And a commentary on all sorts of things related to that setting and a bunch of sci-fi tropes in general. It’s also a statement about physical dysphoria and the difference between it and social gender dysphoria.
And it’s a love letter to ourselves and our inner children, thanking all of us for staying alive long enough to learn who we really are.
Ni’a and Outsider had two big purposes: Give Ni’a, Phage’s child, who was born on February 10, 2020, a game they could play in order to explore and tell us who they were separate from their parent; and to elaborate on the themes presented in Systems’ Out! And, to serve that elaboration, to correct some poor assumptions or impressions we may have created. One being that social change does not happen all at once or necessarily even due to the actions of just a handful of heroes.
And we also wanted to address the question of responsibility toward any beings we may create. We being any sentient beings, from worms to gods. If you bring someone to life, that someone didn’t consent to that. If you treat them differently than how you’re treating their siblings and peers, why? Is what you’re doing right?
We don’t pretend to have answers, though. We’re just a group of people flailing about trying to fix the mistakes we’ve made, and our fictional versions are doing the same thing even when they’re frighteningly powerful beings like Phage.
And The Adventures of Molly Rocketcoil are the furthest removed from what we are and what we’ve experienced. Molly gained her name by taking part in another TTRPG that petered out, and she wanted to keep playing. So we made up a new scenario for her and then gave credit to Thomas and ‘abejafe for writing her story. Canonically, it fits into the Sunspot Chronicles as a fiction within the fiction, a set of stories written by an Outsider and his twin to entertain the people of the Sunspot and to tell them something about trials they’re facing through the perspectives of aliens. And to explore the possible benefits and pitfalls of Phage’s Offer, as well.
Finally, for the month of November, we’re about to write a crossover fanfic with the Kelvin timeline of Star Trek. We’re debating about putting that anywhere on this site at all, but we’ll definitely be putting it up on AO3. It will be the absolute least like our inworld or personal history. But it will be written from the perspective of a Federation crew encountering the Sunspot. And it will firmly establish just how un-human we really think of ourselves as.
But as, as it started happening way back in September of 2000, the more we write about the Sunspot the more that our actual inworld comes to resemble what we’ve written. We are ultimately using these stories to decorate our home.