The Corvo are an independent and capable people. They are smaller in size than humans, averaging 1.6 metres in height and 54 kilograms in weight, and they have adapted to life in space. Their capital Tiantang is a Dyson ring that circles a dwarf star. The corvo have a long and proud history, which led from being a planet-based economy to the expanding influence of the Corvosphere and beyond.
Male and female corvo have very few physical differences other than their reproductive organs. The females have wider hips and abdomens, and have lighter colours, but they are equally big and strong.
The Corvo reproduce sexually. A few days after being fertilised, the female corvo lay their eggs, which hatch a few weeks later after being cared for by both parents.
Thanks to their slow metabolism, their natural life expectancy is very high at around 110-120 Earth years, but lower class corvo can expect to live to only 80 years, due to malnutrition, illnesses, stress, and the conditions of living in space.
On the other hand, the richest and most fortunate corvo have access to state of the art biotechnology and artificial organs that can extend their lifespan to around 200 years.
Some of the most eccentric billionaires are said to have even given up their physical bodies and have had their brains and nervous systems installed into machines. It is currently unknown how effective this treatment is, as the oldest known corvo who has undergone such a procedure is only 230 years old. Still, the technology is young and the possibilities are endless. The Corvo may very well be the first known species to reach immortality. Only time will tell.
Originally from Quanjie, a planet with a day/night cycle of 30 Earth hours, a corvo would normally sleep for 8 of those 30 hours. However, each corvo colony has their own unique sleep cycle, and those that live in them have adapted accordingly. They are omnivorous, but their diet depends greatly on the planet they inhabit and the resources available.
The Corvo do not show their feelings openly, and they show their respect or love for others by making them proud or giving them gifts, rather than with words or physical affection. Most corvo have a hard time asking for help as they know that they should be able to achieve anything by themselves, but the consumer society to which they belong keeps them longing for new material things. While most of the middle class are in huge debt, they remain optimistic due to the ever growing corvo economy.
The Corvo are at the same time monogamous and promiscuous. They marry and share their lives with a single partner in a very similar fashion to ancient humans, but sex is seen as a token of power for both sexes, something to be scored and bragged about among friends. It is not uncommon for corvo spouses to be aware and proud of the love achievements of their partners.
Female and male corvo are considered equal in their culture and they do not have predefined roles. Same sex relationships are common and they are not treated any differently.
Corvo strive to show off their own uniqueness, and most differentiate themselves using tattoos and prosthetics. Their fashion is continuously reinventing itself, absorbing elements from the various species they come across and from their own history. It is common for males and females to dress differently, and to the untrained eye that is the only noticeable difference between the two.
Corvo find a lot of pride in family and both spouses will raise their children together. A corvo family often revolves around their family business, and it is common for children to work for and eventually join this business. New generations are judged by how effectively they are able to manage and benefit their family business. . While the Corvo are a self-made people, they have no problem riding the wave of their families’ success for as long as their contribution enhances it.
Corvo couples have a lot of children (averaging 3.4 children per couple), which means that the population nearly doubles every generation. Governments have tried to establish some control over natality, but the Corvo do not allow their personal freedoms to be compromised. Corvo civilisation has a huge need for expansion, and those that cannot afford to move to a new colony see themselves impoverished in an endless cycle of generations incapable of moving forward. As a result, crime rates are extremely high in the Corvosphere.
Corvo consumerism is legendary. They are extremely engaged with new technologies and fashion. Being able to afford luxury goods from remote planets is intrinsically related to popularity and pride. Their industries are always coming up with new models of their products with new and fascinating functionalities and capabilities, in an effort to keep the attention of a public that is never satisfied.
Corvo companies have devised all kinds of creative methods to attract consumers, from standard billboard advertisements to 3-D sensorial feeds in the streets of virtual worlds. People that enter certain areas with sensorial feeds salivate with hunger as they can smell and taste the restaurant’s menu just by walking nearby.
They enjoy a highly technological lifestyle, in which they spend most of their time connected to the net. Thousands of different virtual worlds are hosted on their networks, readily available to those with a cortex connection.
Most travel agencies offer special cortex-connected vacations to wonderful virtual worlds, as real travelling is extremely expensive and the Corvo are very dependent on their jobs. They normally do not like to leave them for more than a week at a time, as they feel they are damaging their possibilities to ascend.
Complete immersion in the net-worlds is delicate, as bodily functions decrease when the mind becomes absent this way. Thus, corvo normally do not stay connected for more than 15 to 18 hours per day. There have been cases of people that have died by neglecting their physical bodies. Only the richest people can afford to be installed into high-end machines that keep their bodies healthy and nurtured while their minds spend their whole lives in all kinds of net-worlds.
“Free market is based in the faulty idea that it is free.” – Lee Yin, corvo philosopher and supporter of the Iz’kal StateThe difficulty of an effective communications network through the Labyrinth does not allow for a centralised corvo government. Thus, each colony has its own distinct government, much to the satisfaction of the corvo citizens who prefer their politicians close. They are united under the Economic Equality Pact (EEP) which allows them to conduct commerce and other businesses freely and which keeps trade taxless between countries. It is also a good defence against an economical takeover by the Iz’kal.
While government systems, laws, and power are not equal between any of the corvo colonies, they all share one thing: their love for the free market economy.
Corvo civilisation is built around freedom of choice and private property. They are very wary of government institutions and other organisations that could hinder the expression of their freedom, and they understand that these institutions are forms of social domination and create injustice.
While there is no consensus around the issue of how much power the government should wield, all colonies have found a common ground by limiting the government to the control of the police, and the administration and enforcement of laws. The most laissez-faire colonies - among them Tiantang - even allow taxation to be voluntary. They see it as another form of insurance policy; those that do not pay taxes are not assisted in security and justice affairs.
When mandatory, taxes are extremely low and only used to pay for the most basic services of the government. Most other service departments are in the hands of private companies and free from the monopolistic power of the state to interfere between free transactions among people. Corvo are very protective of their freedoms, and all attempts of creating more powerful governments have been stopped by angry mobs of outraged citizens from all social classes.
Economic differences are extreme among corvo: some live in the most rotten misery at the bottom of retired 0-G space-freighters or in lunar habitats, while others are richer than the districts or colonies they live in. However, no one stops the poor from becoming wealthy and powerful if they work for it. It is not easy, but the Corvo understand this fact better than any other species in the universe.
Those that really deserve it and fight for it can become owners of more land than any man can imagine; some own even entire planets, having riches beyond what they can spend in their life spans, which stands true for even the corvo whose lifespan extends for centuries. There is no limit to what one can achieve in the corvo system.
“Killing is not innately bad. Our contempt for killing comes from the reasoning that a society cannot prosper if killing exists. Organic creatures have evolved to be efficient and to be able to get what they need when they want it. The most animalistic call is to try to obtain what you want without planning for future consequences, and killing sometimes is a good and easy way of achieving things. Even less intelligent animals understand this problem, and they have strict codes of behaviour. A wolf that kills another will be abandoned by the pack. So, not killing is mostly something we do in the hope that others will do the same and won’t kill us back.” – Xue Lin, corvo comedian and political activistJudges are paid by the government, but lawyers and attorneys are not. No prosecution will be made, regardless of the crime, if the appropriate fees are not paid.
Killing and murdering is completely illegal but not uncommon, especially in the poorest districts, where crooks and other lowlifes too weak to make a living for themselves try to take what others have earned through their hard work. Not much is done about it, however. Police services must be hired by citizens and only sometimes will a corporate businessman pay for a raid in the deepest favela hell, and only when they fear that their interests might be in danger or when civil order starts to disappear.
On the other hand, those who can afford the fees will have the best lawyers in the Universe, and will find their justice.
Military Contractors and Private Police
Although there are exceptions, police services are usually unrelated to the government and belong to private companies. That means that their services will only be available to those areas and neighbourhoods that pay for their services. As a result, private police forces compete for the business of the best neighbourhoods. It is common to see advertisements about different private police and their superior training methods. Certain areas can become very complicated when the neighbours do not agree on contracting the same service and each house is under protection from a different company. Some conspiracy theorists talk about how some police forces move bodies to areas of other companies to avoid having to resolve complex or undesired crimes.
It is not uncommon for corvo to own personal weapons for extra safety. Some even disregard the services of police forces and prefer to rely on their own abilities to defend themselves.
On the other hand megacorps use military contractors for their expansion enterprises, protecting spacecrafts and colonies. These contractors hire and train their own personnel, using the most advanced weaponry in the universe, and they are the closest thing to an army in the Corvosphere. There are plenty of these companies, with most of them belonging to The Union Megacorp, and there are millions of mercenaries working for them. Some mercenaries are renowned for their incredible feats, such as single handedly taking out entire pirate outposts or surviving for years on desolated planets, and as a result have become famous stars in the Corvosphere. Some of them are really popular, and they are used by military agencies as role models for young corvo to try and attract new recruits.
Military contractors are also believed to be responsible for many black operations against the Iz’kal, rebel groups within the Corvosphere and the Labyrinth, and even against other corporations.
Cybercrime is the most extensive type of crime, due to the fact that everyone is connected to the net and new ways to exploit software weaknesses are constantly being discovered. It is also a very safe type of crime as it can be performed from home, and is difficult to trace without the aid of a private security company. Therefore, most criminals target lower or middle class citizens, aiming for large numbers of easy victims instead of the more enticing, but difficult, upper class.
That said, there are some fantastic hackers known for being capable of penetrating the strongest of digital defences and for discovering the most closely guarded secrets of the megacorps. These hackers must live in complete anonymity as they not only risk their freedom, but sometimes their lives.
"Oops, I did it again” or OIDIA is one of the most notorious and wanted hackers in the entire Corvosphere. He is named after the signature he leaves behind and is known for his peculiar way of looking at data as a living organism - as another form of life that can be tamed like an animal. Some think that he is code itself; that he is the first real AI. Others might believe that he was killed during his latest job. But from time to time some astonishing hacking attack turns corvo society upside down with the signature “Oops, I did it again” to prove that he is very much alive.
While some corvo have the most fantastic and opulent lifestyles imaginable, there is a great majority that live in a very precarious situation. Many of them are forced to move away from their homes to try to make a living, leaving behind families and friends. As lovers of freedom, the corvo colonies put very few restrictions on immigrants, but most do require that they have a job secured at their destination or that they have enough money in their accounts to support themselves while looking for one. This very simple rule is a must as a colony can see its crime rates increase when inundated with people who cannot find a job and who must do what they can to survive.
Those that are not allowed to travel must turn to the mafias, who are the only ones capable of getting them to places where they are not wanted. Everyday, hundreds of corvo put on low quality spacesuits and are fired into the Labyrinth by these mafias. While some are intercepted by the emigration police set around the exits of the labyrinth, the majority pass by and are then picked up by a spacecraft inside the Labyrinth, which takes them to their destination and fires them through the Labyrinth exits to pass the emigration control that is there as well. Finally, they are picked up by a ship that takes them to the colony’s surface. This is an extremely risky way of travelling and many die in the process. Sometimes the transport ships don’t show up, other times the pilots are lazy and do not pick up all the emigrants. The most unfortunate are picked up by slavers to be sold off at distant planets.
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