Openers and Gatekeepers

   Next up, it’s a basic assessment of the number of Gate-Creators (“Openers”) and Gate-Operators (“Gatekeepers”) in the Federation-Apocalypse setting. Like it or not – and quite a few of the major groups very definitely DO NOT – Openers and Gatekeepers are the key to any operation involving the Core. There are a lot of ways to move between the many worlds of the Manifold, whether by the use of magic, psionics, or sheer patience and navigational skill, but none of the other methods extend to travel in and out of the Core.





Core Earth

6 Billion



Earth and Nearspace

10 Billion



Earth and Solar System

15 Billion



Core Worlds Federation

150 Billion



Ever lived in Core

750 Billion


1140 (Est)


6.2 Million

2 Possible



118 Million











Human Manifold

~5 Trillion


1260 (Est)

Neanderthal Manifold

10-40 Billion



   # Sadly, both Gatekeepers and Openers seem to have a tendency to disappear into the Manifold; at least a portion of their abilities seems to be founded in sheer wanderlust. At the moment, there are only 34 openers active on Core Earth, and there are usually fewer than 50 in the solar system – about a third of the ones who originated there. Roughly another third drop by occasionally. Perhaps fortunately, Openers seem to be supremely durable; only a few of them are believed to be likely to be deceased. Gatekeepers are less durable, but are also less likely to simply up and vanish – as well as being less afflicted with wanderlust. At least 23,000 are still active on Core Earth alone, albeit only about 15,000 in professional positions (many of the rest are too far underage to be reliable, too old, or uninterested). That sounds like quite a few until you start adding up the numbers working at the major gateway hubs (about 4000, about half of them offworld), those running their own businesses (also about 3000), and those involved in manifold-based commercial transport groups (nearly 5000) – leaving only about 3000 for all the various organizations which are desperate to hire them. Even major power groups are lucky to have access to more than one Opener and twenty or thirty Gatekeepers.

   * The various “Neo-” species were uplifted to human intelligence levels, and near-human (multicentury) lifespans, between 2297 and 2319. The last genetic patches were released, and the designs finalized, in the 2380’s. Whether for good or ill, the developers had been careful to avoid using human neural designs, or human genetic material; they wanted genuinely alien minds, not humans with funny bodies. They had also been careful to insert genetic “submit to humans” obedience-programming for safety. Limited neurosurgical deprogramming experiments began in 2442, after a couple of stable generations. Unfortunately, they were less than successful in neosquids and neochimps; those species remain supervised curiosities to this day. Neodolphins and neodogs were more successful; Limited genetic deprogramming was permitted after 2482, although there are plenty of extant genetic lines that retain their original programming.

   Currently, the (relatively rare) unprogrammed neodogs and neodolphins possess limited civil rights on most worlds within the Federation. Individuals which are still carrying genetic obedience programming are property, and are relatively common as pets – although, as they have become cheaper, some humans, neodogs, and neodolphins have launched projects to expand the free populations. Neodolphins have been introduced to the oceans on core earth, and are rapidly displacing the unmodified dolphins there. Note that, for most of the species except Neodolphins, which have gotten into the wild, a solid majority of all the individuals ever born are still alive. The oldest are less than 280 years old – well within their engineered lifespans of 400+ years.

Project Ushus

   First up for today, it’s the background situation for an old Shadowrun Campaign: Project Ushus. Project Ushus set things up for a pretty high-powered endgame, although the players wandered down quite a few side roads along the way. If you happen to need an excuse for some near-impossible technology or extraordinarily powerful opponents which – in either case – cannot be usefully duplicated, Project Ushus should cover it nicely.