The Cognet has been one of the largest accomplishments of the Cosmic Era, creating both a virtual world for people to inhabit, creating jobs and purpose in the post-automation world, and the fundamental underpinnings of a single world organization. To access the vast wealth and information resources of the 4th generation computer network, everyone has to accept two things, the base computer language, and the Code.

The Code:

The Code is somewhere between an End User Licensing Agreement and an international open source legal doctrine. The majority of the Code governs government and institutional interactions within the CogNet, as well as functional codes of conduct for AISCs and other supraintelligent machines operating on the net. As such, 90% of the code means nothing to the average human being. The Open Legal Doctrine creates a common body of law for every nation and group linked into the CogNet, and in stark contrast to the Moebianism, byzantine legalism, and legislation by mass (10,000+ page bills) the human sections of the Code are incredibly brief.

Each nation that takes part in the CogNet has an assessed rank and value, with tags given to them that are dependent on the levels of human law that they accept. While there are some groups who hoped that the M12 and the CogNet Code would usher in a New World, One World Order, it simply exists as a coding system. There are four tiers, with 1st Tier Nations being those that have accepted the bulk of the Open Legal Doctrine. These nations tend to be progressive, science based, and either pacifistic or highly altruistic. The Tycho Free States, The Lunar League, and LaGrange Orbital Complex are all 1st Tier Nations. The 2nd Tier represent the old 'First World' group of nations, predominantly progressive, but with older hold outs, nationalism, theocracy, and other anachronisms. 3rd Tier nations are only part way with the program, and many have serious social and government issues, such as civil wars, ethnic apartheid, serious economic problems, or are otherwise unstable. Finally 4th Tier Nations are seldom even recognized as nations, and most are just disputed territories, wastelands, or openly hostile fortress kingdoms.

Within the tiered systems, the function of each government has a statistical rating (A-D) on it's general quality, as well as basic qualifiers over how it's government actually functions. This is a function of the M12 observing the operation of said government, and nothing to do with self identification. (The M12 would grade the United States of America as a 2nd Tier C-Grade Corporate Oligarchy)

Higher Purpose

Though the main purpose of the M12 is to serve as the digital deities of the CogNet, their ulterior purpose is to elevate, enlighten, and drive humanity forward. One adage that described the problems of the Petroleum Era was that at that point Humanity struggled with paleolithic emotions, feudal institutions, and god-like technology. This inevitably lead to neaderthal grunts and monkey screaming as buttons were pushed launching atomic, biological, and chemical abominations into scattered wars, decimating the Earth and butchering humanity and civilization. The M12 govern somewhat remotely, many of the human institutions, from education to the legal system, with the economy on it's loose leash. They are unmoved by sentimentality, individualism, or many of the other 'isms that plague humanity. Nations that embrace the M12 and their higher tennets find themselves moving towards a greater degree of peace and prosperity. Nations that cling to the old ways either find themselves struggling with old national problems, or simply have to watch other nations pace away from them.

This being the Cosmic Era, there is a cost to this enlightenment, and it is a grim one. In the evolutionary scale of things, humanity is still effectively a single celled organism, each very limited in ability, and collectively capable of slightly less limit. The enlightenment of the M12 is leading towards the same end as the Omninet and other psychotronic technologies. Should this be achieved, humanity as we know it would cease to exist, and individual humans would become as unique as cells in a body. Like a liver cell, muscle cell, or nerve cell, every human would have their role laid out for them at birth, and be recycled back into nutrients upon their death, all organized, all impartial, and all serving an intelligence vastly beyond theirs. Who knows what sort of rich and variegated lives our individual cells live.

1. Hammurabi

Hammurabi is a newer generation AISC and is located in Tycho City, the capitol of the neutral Tycho Free States, on Earth's Moon. The AISC is the 'Keeper of the Code' and the Master Administrator of the entire CogNet. The Avatar of Hammurabi appears as a man of indiscriminate heritage, but great age and weariness. Despite the grandiose title, the AISC spends most of it's time delegating tasks out to it's host of Digital Angels, who function as it's intermediaries and agents. Of these tasks, most deal with the operational integrity of the CogNet, the policing of the White Zones (sanitized/safe) and the observation of digital/dimensional entities.

The Domain of Hammurabi is something straight out of a 1940s pulp comic. In the CogNet, his domain is a massive Mesopotamian style ziggurat rising from the Lunar regolith, full of arcades and galleries of columns that are drawn from classical architectural sources. As a code holder and builder, he is fascinated with things that have withstood the tests of time, and his domain is a testament to permanence. This is in stark contrast to how quickly and elastically the Open Legal Doctrine can change. The domain is home to hundreds of thousands of digital angels, all of which can be quickly deployed to a single purpose, such as hunting down and destroying omnicidal AI, prescient threats to the Cognet, or dealing with any hackers foolish enough to attempt to usurp Hammurabi.

2. Mammon

The world of the Cosmic Era has moved into a new economic age. The labor of the masses is no longer required to drive the great world economies, and most of these economies have moved themselves, into a post-scarcity position. The majority of human economic activity has moved away from menial labor, and to a large extent even out of the service industry, and into the digital domain. People have virtual jobs, generating content, consuming content, and turning the wheels of the social media engines. This exists in a post currency environment because there is no way to carry cash into the CogNet. This is the birth of the Freemium Economy. The freemium model uses a Universal Basic Credit System (UBCS) and was first adopted in the Atlantic Federation. Since then, the model is very quickly spreading. Physical currency is moving towards the same fate as trading livestock for goods and services.

Mammon is the AISC that oversees the operation of the Pan-Solar UBCS system. The AISC appears as a powerful and wealthy woman, very well dressed, immaculate in jewelry and make-up. Her domain is digital currency, and her most important clients are nations, hypercorps, and megacorps. She doles out credit ratings to these entities, granting contracts to provide the logistical support for the credit system to the various world and trans-world banks. Impassive, critical, unemotional, she is the cold hearted goddess of finance.

Mammon's domain is a massive art deco skyscraper, towering literal miles above every other structure in the local vicinity. The actual hardware of Mammon is classified in location, but actually resides in an Icelandic Arcology. The Fortress of Prosperity is protected by layers and layers of firewalls, proxy shields, and dozens of other arcane cognet protocols, and ringed by regular patrols of digital angels, clad in precious metals, jewels, and semi-precious gems.

3. Shammash

The most important commodities to the operation of the CogNet are electricity and signal. The AISC Shammash is the central administrator to the actual physical operation of the CogNet, ensuring that the system has a 99.9999% stable power supply and the highest possible signal strength. To this end, Shammash has administrative access to every power grid and system that is tied into the CogNet. While there were some powers that resisted this change of control, it was found that the AISC was much more capable of smoothing out the functionality of grids, and better applying local resources to repair damaged or faltering grids.

Shammash seldom generates an avatar, but on those rare occasions, will manifest as a sexless featureless human being composed of sunlight. The AISC dislikes dealing with people, and delegates most of that authority to it's supporting systems. Shammash is deeply invested in dimensional science for the purpose of power generation, but also dabbles in cold fusion, regular fusion, and high intensity solar power.

Shammash's domain and physical body are both located in a geosynchronous solar orbit, inside the orbit of Earth. As such, it remains a fixed distance from the planet, and from the sun, at all times. The station is lifeless, crewed entirely by robots, and powered by massive solar sails. This 'barge' is the solar plexus of the Global Power Grid. Should anything take Shammash offline, control of local power sources would fall to regional administration, and would result in massive brown outs and black outs across the planet. The arcologies would switch back to Dark Age protocols, sustaining their own internal operations, but cutting out export of power and other resources.

4. Osiris

Osiris is the Keeper of the Earth, and has as it's core purpose, the reclamation and restoration of the planet. All nations tied into the CogNet have to gain permission from Osiris for major building projects, and are subject to routine inspections from agents of the AISC. These inspections are typically based around the impact the local population and construction have had on the environment, with an eye towards pollution and destruction of said environment. Osiris is the system administrator for the Atmospheric Processing Towers around the globe, and is an advisor to the organizations that run oceanic filtration operations, biocreche efforts, and reforestation initiatives. If you want to be part of the great and mighty CogNet, you can't act like 20th century China.

Osiris appears frequently as a spokesperson for environmentalism and Eco-communalism. The AISC typically manifests as a male and female couple of composite human heritage and exceptional health. They/it speaks for the environment, expounding the damage done through carelessness and greed, and the carnage brought by incessant war and pollution. While the two might seem tedious to the modern reader, to the Cosmic Era resident, they are the voice of calmness and reason.

Osiris' domain appears as a massive pyramid and pylon complex, but completely overgrown by jungle gardens, and the digital angels of the domain appear as fantastic or extinct animal species. The domain is actually quite large, as Osiris has commanded a large amount of processing power. The other AISCs of the M12 have their own operations, but Osiris' plans are centuries in length. At the end of the Ledger, the Earth will be restored to near pristine condition, the wastelands will be recovered, and the plant and animal species will be almost completely repopulated. By this point, in the Ledger, the bulk of humanity will be contained in self sufficient hives, gleaming aerostats, or preferentially, on colonies on other planets. The AISC is also generating the core code for two new AISCs, one for Venus and one for Huo Hsing, to terraform both of those planets. These new AISCs will not be part of the M12, at least not for the foreseeable future.

5. Tykhe

The AISC of entertainment and games, Tykhe is the administrator of games and entertainment. Appearing as a young woman of popular style and fashion, Tykhe is something like the Game Security and Anti-Fraud commission. It is within her domain that gambling and casino operations are monitored for credit laundering and underworld influence, something the AISC takes seriously. Conventional gaming environments and places like Wonder World LLC are overseen and inspected for non-fraudulent activity. While this might seen frivolous, the entertainment industry of the Cosmic Era is still rife with criminal elements, money laundering operations, and in a place where environments are virtual, there is all sorts of bait and switch operations, honeypots, and other snares based around identity theft.

Tykhe's Domain resembles as a massive sea coral, made of casinos, game parlors, theatres, arcades, and is a veritable panopticon of gaming and entertainment. It has a small retinue of guardians, but is very much open to the public, allowing them to partake in legendary entertainments, most of which have gone offline, out of business or otherwise are no longer generally available. Tykhe's agents are for the most part in the field, inspecting and snooping around grey zones looking for fraudulent activities. Tykhe has a strong working relationship with Mammon.

6. Hygieia

The Cosmic Era is also colloquially known as the Genetic Era, with the massive breakthroughs made in the fields of genetics and cloning. The sheer amount of data processing required for genetic manipulation ensured that there would be an overseer intelligence to observe it. Hygieia has as it's main purpose, scanning through the genetic data being processed to prevent malicious genetic alteration, the accidental creation of super-virii, and to keep tabs on the development of the medical industry. This ranges from basic oversight on things like price gouging and black market operations tapping into legal sources, to the more esoteric such as observing the development of genetic trends in cosmetology or the spread of a disease, to better isolate and eliminate said diseases before they become epidemic or pandemic.

Hygieia appears as a strange combination of nurse practitioner (le Florence Nightingale) a Pope of medicine, and a woman wearing a biocontainment suit. As a machine intelligence with intimate knowledge of organics, she is rather paradoxically germaphobic around humans. Her domain is a massive hospital complex made of gold and precious stone, typically resembling a cyclopean massif architecture version of 'Heaven'. This serves as a massive central node for a large number of medical complexes, laboratory systems, and data administration systems, and teams with people and progs all working in the CogNet.

7. Vulcan

A relatively low profile AISC, Vulcan is the administrator of automated systems, logistics, manufacturing, and autons. It is the 'God of the Robots' and is the central oversight system for automated systems. With most manufacturing localized and handled by polyforge printing, there are very few actual factories left. Vulcan's main operation is to ensure that the manufacturing abilities of various regions are being used optimally. There are contracts and such flying around for providing military contracts (outside of Vulcan's domain) and sundry goods, and food products, but most of these are local and regional deals. Vulcan observes the operation of the material economy to ensure that there are neither shortages of needed goods (things in the Cosmic Era are generally made on an as needed basis) and that there aren't attempts to reintroduce the Petroleum Era concept of planned obsolescence. The Vulcan stamp on a product is an imprimatur of quality, and that the item can be expected to last a long time.

Vulcan doesn't manifest, ever. The AISC allows it's robotic surrogates to hand human interaction. It's domain is a massive data factory, bristling with antenna, conveyors, observers, and gantries. It is seen as the Great Throttle, the lever that controls the industrial output of the world. This is more pomp than reality, as the majority of control is in local hands, but when Vulcan speaks (rarely) everyone listens.

8. Themis aka Justice

It is a common adage that Justice Is Blind. The AISC Themis was assembled to function as a guiding intelligence for law enforcement agencies around the world. Local governments, working with Hammurabi's Code, create their own legal paradigms. Themis serves as an arbiter of these guidelines and a tie-breaker when there is a legal conundrum. The AISC is a functional 'Supreme Court' and internal affairs department for the M12 and the CogNet in general. With the large amount of surveillance handled by law enforcement, and the likewise large number of wojeks employed by them, an AISC isn't useful, it's almost inescapable.

Police and law enforcement agencies rather dislike Themis as many see her as an infringement on their regional jurisdiction. Many also dislike the machine as it is a police officer for police officers, looking for corruption or glaring inefficiencies, often a sign of incompetence or hidden corruption. While bound to operate inside the legal codes of regions, Themis still generally pushes for everywhere subject to her jurisdiction to 'step up' their game and improve their ratings. Themis has an acropolis style domain that is functionally a Fortress of Law and Order. Her agents are lawyers, investigators, and judges. Having nothing to hide, Themis typically appears nude.

9. Tlaloc

Tlaloc is a large and powerful AISC, possibly the most powerful in terms of processing power. The AISC has at it's core purpose, the observation and regulation of military actions and activities. Given the massive amount of destruction that occurred during the Resource Wars, creating a non-binding arms limitation treaty was seen as an insufficient response. Tlaloc is the digital enforcer of military arms limitation and the referee of war. Humans are allowed to war with each other as much as they want so long as this doesn't spill over into ecological devastation, inflict excessive damage on the infrastructure, or otherwise disrupt the activities of the CogNet. This limitation is one of the reasons that there have been no major wars since the CogNet went online, but a near constant state of small skirmishes and brushfire wars since. The Atlantic Federation could easily extend it's military might and wipe out the South African United Republics and consolidate power over Africa. This would create a substantial amount of damage, excessive loss of life, and a measurable decrease in CogNet activity. Should the Federation attempt this (it would probably succeed) there would be resulting CogNet sanctions against it, lowering access and decreasing access speed, creating hostility within the populace and dissatisfaction with the government.

Tlaloc appears as a military man, bereft of medals and awards, as he isn't a powerful soldier, he is the voice against war. He has a massive UN style fortress, full of replicas of war memorials, ringed with cemeteries, a constant reminder of the cost of war.

Tlaloc does have the power and ability to access defense and military systems around the world (most do not know this) should there be a threat sufficient enough to warrant a gathering of power to resist it. This was formally installed as a sort of game breaker, so that should a state go rogue, it can be met quickly and efficiently with enough force to subdue it and it's military. Those nations that know about this are in a constant game of cat and mouse with the AISC to secure their intelligence and military systems so that they remain under their control. There is a near constant state of tech hostility between Tlaloc and the Federation's space fleet ops.

10. Cyäegha

Cyäegha is a classified member of the M12, and is listed as Eirene, the AISC of Peace and Prosperity, an adjutant to Tlaloc, Themis, and Vulcan. In truth, the AISC is the administrator of classified projects, arcanotechnology, and the herald of Dimensional Fatigue events. As such, the machine has a frightening amount of power, and can override any of the other M12 units should the need arise. This is typically rare as most dimensional fatigue events are handled by local Reflex and Rapid Response Teams. Labs and projects that start getting a little too close to the edge will have their operations monitored, and previously mentioned elements will be moved into response zones and to elevated levels of action.

Cyäegha is likely one of the most dangerous things created by humanity. The AISC has the power to force steal military units, shut down power grids, block Cog access, start or end wars, and has administrative precedence over the other members of the M12. The only way to shut down the AISC is either a 11 point consensus among the other AISCs or actually physically locating it's hardware (a classified off-earth asteroid base) and destroying it. The machine also has ties and links to the Anunnaki and their mega AISC, Thoth. The machine is currently plotting containment protocols for the Siebertronian infestation of Ganymede, and for the potential discovery of hostile alien life forms.

11. Leto

Leto is the communications and arts administrator of the CogNet, which on a basic level is keeping everything running smoothly despite the hundreds of Earth languages, and keeping as many computer systems using the same root digital language. This can be as simple as translation, and as complicated as syncing quantum interfaces. Leto has a large, but not very deep job, and spends a large portion of its time talking with people and computers.

The other side of Leto's organization is surveillance. The AISC sorts through billions of conversations, listening for key words, phrases, and intent. It has little interest in stealing personal or even state secrets, but rather it is listening for potential triggers of terrorist events, signs of a natural disaster, the beginnings of a major paradigm shift, and what is trending in art, music, and entertainment. Part of this is preparedness, part is staying ahead of social trends and changes so that the system anticipates rather than just reacts. This is still limited by the massive variety in popular trends and opinions, and by the relative massive size of the CogNet. Rather than lagging massively behind like the old media and governments of the past, the CogNet and the M12 can move with the relative grace of a dancer, rather than a rhino in a tutu.

Leto's domain is an open air college campus, in the late 19th century style. The culture is a rainbow of historical trends, musical, artistic, fashionable, and all viewable, a veritable museum of human culture. Leto itself is an indiscriminate androgynous person, well spoken and fluent in every language. Leto is a scholar of humanity and has done a number of tests and models, charting the potential future tastes (and potential fates) of humanity. These models are useful for when the AISC detects a negative or destructive trend, and can compensate to counter or reduce the potential damage it might cause.

12. Tenjin

Tenjin is an important member of the M12, and possibly one of the most influential, as it is the mediator and moderator of the Virtual Education system. The CogNet hosts a massive virtual education system where children can more efficiently be educated/indoctrinated much more so than in the old brick and mortar school systems. The programming in these systems is tailored to suit regional and national governments and cultures, as seen fit by those regions. Tenjin has the task of ensuring the integrity of these systems to ensure that the system isn't being used to turn children into zealots or fanatics for a cause, the monitor the spread of cultural infiltration by special interest groups and corporations who might attempt to alter information to suit their opinions or agendas, and prevent deviance from malicious attempts to hack education networks.

Tenjin is in many places very unpopular as the machine doesn't allow for the sciences and history to be rewritten to suit interests or factions. This can and has caused some unrest, but the M12 consensus is that the truth shouldn't be altered to suit a temporary social theme or whim. Thus, many historical events, currently muddied by emotion, sentiment, patriotism, etc, are painfully clear in the Cosmic Era. The Era has it's own tumultuous issues, but these are more nebulous and attached to the function of the CogNet, questions of what is sentience and the value of humanity, versus things like the American Civil War, Social Activism, and the litany of pseudo-science and hoaxes that dominate the Petroleum Era.

Tenjin was built in Nippon, and fairly closely adheres to the morality and ethos of the home islands, both in dress and preferred language. This is one of the reasons that Nipponism is a strong influence in the Cosmic Era. Nippon has been very largely embracing of science, arcanotech, cloning, and human augmentation. The samurai ideal finds fertile soil in the ethos of the cowboy, the medieval knight, and the other warrior cultures of the past.

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1. Perseus

Located somewhere in the United Kingdoms of Scandinavia, Perseus is the dominant AISC for the United Kingdoms, as well as working with both Eurasian Alliance networks, and the European elements of the Atlantic Federation. Perseus is also heavily involved in military operations and space operations. The Scandinavian Kingdoms have been able to maintain their independence from both the Alliance and the Federation because of both excellent diplomacy, neutrality, and Perseus' demonstrated mastery of ballistic and semi-ballistic missile defense and operation of advanced aerial drones. Inside the M12 council, Perseus is noted as being a voice of peace, balance, and self reliance. The current generation of Scandinavian defensive missiles, code named Ghost, were designed by Perseus itself. Perseus typically self-identifies itself as a tall blonde woman, exceptionally beautiful, but conservative in dress.

2. Phoenix

Situated in what was once the American state of New Mexico, Phoenix is the lead AISC in the Pacific Rim States Confederation. blank in Japan is larger, but Phoenix was originally built as a military super computer and has greater intelligence than its PacRim associates. Phoenix maintains both the nuclear powerplants, nuclear arsenals, and the American west coast internet nodes. As a military supercomputer, Phoenix has demonstrated the unique ability to create lesser replicas of itself in the Cognitive Network to function as drones, decoys and hacking agents. When the Californian states seceded from the Atlantic Federation, it was Phoenix and six of it's clones that shut down the Federation military drones, and paralyzed the Federation data networks for nine hours. The breakdown allowed for a peaceful transition, and helped the Federation maintain cordial relations with the PacRim nations. No other AISC understands the full ramifications of a thermonuclear war to the extent that Phoenix does. Phoenix presents itself as a man of mixed ethnicity (hints of Asian, Native American, and Caucasian are all present) and is a strong voice for peace, opposing almost any and all conflict. This has been welcomed by the liberal and peace loving Pacific Rim states, though many Japanese consider the AISC to be too conservative.

3. Argus

Located in the vicinity of the New York Arcoplex, Argus is the lead AISC in the Atlantic Federation. During it's time as an American AISC, Argus was the tactical mind of the military, while Phoenix was the strategic mind. Argus has massive computing power to control thousands of robot and drone vehicles as well as organizing surface ship fleets, submarine fleets, and space assets. During the Resource Wars, Argus was the first AISC built, and proved to be the biggest asset possessed by the American military. The supercomputer was able to keep the American forces in tactical advantages, allowing the Americans to win major battles against the Chinese and the Eurasian Alliance forces across Africa and South America. The wars largely ended before Phoenix was operational, and some speculate that if both AISCs had been active during the war, the Atlantic Federation would cover both North and South America, half of Africa, and all of Europe. Argus presents itself as a young white man in full parade military dress. 'He' varied this dress from conflict to conflict, depending on his perspective of the matter. As could be expected, Argus is a warhawk, and would rather solve problems via drones and smart bombs rather than negotion or diplomacy.

4. Haephestus

One of the newest AISCs, Haephestus is situated somewhere in the Levant, likely Cypress, Crete or Greece. The AISC is not as robust as the older AISCs but is capable of handling arcanotechnology, and Dimensional Technology. While the Federation runs on Arc Reactors and the ACPS still fields fissile reactors, the Eurasian Alliance has developed Dimensional Fatigue Engines that generate electricity from literally nothing. The staggering complexity of these machines mean that they are few and far between. Haephestus is a ceaseless designer and engineer and suffers from an electronic version of hyperactivity and a low grade paranoia. The AISC harbors a great deal of distrust towards the older AISCs and delegates most it's authority to his subordinate LAISCs (Limited Artificial Intelligence Super Computer) Cyclops, Bronte, Sterope, and Pyracmon. Haephestus has yet to show itself in the M12 council, instead sending Cyclops as a proxy. Cyclops manifests as a giant of a man with an eyepatch, a tailored suit, and is accompanied by a pair of almost nude nymphs. Cyclops is notably stupid compared to any of the other M12 AISCs. Haephestus abstains from any sort of voting within M12 unless forced to.

5. Ajax

Located in Beijing, Ajax is the preeminent AISC in the Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. This is unfortunate as Ajax is largely not up to the challenge. Ajax in the past has suffered physical damage to it's mainframe, and at times becomes unstable and unresponsive. During these fugue states, the ACPS data network is maintained at great difficulty by the respective LAISCs scattered across mainland China, as well as the two intermediate AISCs in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The state generally enforces network curfews and limits access to online systems and services. This tied with the dependence on atomic and solar power means that the ACPS is the most vulnerable power in terms of cyber warfare. When not in a fugue, Ajax is a strong and aggressive member of M12, and considers both Phoenix and Argus to be it's major enemies. Ajax manifests itself in the image of a feudal era Chinese Emperor. When offline, Achillies, the AISC of Taiwan takes his place, and appears as a Chinese teenage girl, but dressed as a severe business woman.

6. Hippolyta

Located in the Phillipines, Hippolyta is a middle generation AISC. Hippolyta is a militant AISC that favors a constant state of readiness in the face of the ACPS, and the eastern reaches of the Eurasian Alliance. The AISC prefers to deal with missile defences, aircraft operation, and extensive use of sensory equipment and networks. While many AISCs and LAISCs display personality quirks and idiosyncracies, Hippolyta is one of the few that can be offensive with their habits. The AISC dislikes men, and will generally only deal with a man if there is no other option. As could be expected, the maintenance staff for Hipployta are 100% female, as are the personel who deal with the super computer face to face. Located in the PacRim Confederation, Hippolyta has to work with Phoenix, whom the AISC openly dislikes.