The Penumbra is a word used to encapsulate all of the elements that relate to a certain strata of Beaconspace society. It contains the various underworlds, corporate cultures, political movements, and other such groups that are in a struggle for their own agendas whilst operating within the bounds set by the larger geopolitical entities of the sector. The Penumbra is also notable for it's relation to Free Agents. Private individuals who provide plausibly deniable services for those who need their objectives and maneuvers to be unobserved or obfuscated.
Origins and History
The term 'Penumbra' originally refers to the section of a shadow that is partially lit due to the angle of a light source. This term, poetically refering to a mix of light and dark, does well to describe an area of life that is morally grey. Neither good nor bad, it just is. The first recorded instances of 'Penumbra' in reference to a societal phenomena crop up in post-glitch sociological and popular culture works. The hit R&B song 'Dancing in the Penumbra' by S.S.D Krewl is attributed with bringing the term from an academic novelty into the mainstream.
Free Agents Infrastructure
The Penumbra Network
Carried on a series of piggybacking transmission frequencies and encrypted data packets the Penumbra Network is the foremost way in which those who look to utilize the services and wares of entities within the Penumbra make their requests. Due to the nature of the secret transmission methods the network is very simple. Using old generation Ascii interfaces and antiquated electronic mail format. Also managed by the network is the Howl virtual currency.
As well as referring to the literal infrastructure allowing the dynamic between Clients, Handlers, and Agents to operate smoothly - 'The Penumbra Network' is also a term used to refer to the highly organised culture in general. The loose collection of spoken and unspoken rules agreed upon by tradition, greed, and fear. Outside of this niche there exists a vast Penumbra that does not fall under the control of any particular handler, there are no agents, and clients don't have easy access to anonymity.
Personnel Resources is a catch-all term given to the culture of vendors offering their services within the Penumbra. Be it weaponry and armour, medical services, access to transport or a few good people, Crime Scene cleanup, or anything else a criminal might need from a less than official source, it's likely available. For a price.
Whilst not an official designation locations of convenience tend to become designated as mission hubs. Free Agents naturally congregate in areas that provide good access to resources, transport, and colleagues. A collection of Bars, Clubs, E-Cafe’s and other such locations that function as a place for Agents to meet and organise. It is also where Handlers will post available jobs and Human Resources will ply their wares and assistance
Located in 0909 Center, this has become the infamous center of the Penumbra Network. Here, the Major Handler Wolf is in residence. Known as a member of "The Big Five" Wolf runs a tight ship. Primarily operating out of the "Cacti Oasis Bar and Casino" this mission hub is rich in resources from across the sector, as well as being the primary location that interred Technomancers and other technologically minded individuals manage the bulk of Penumbra Network traffic - allowing the network communications to be truely sector wide.
- Slammin' Shortbread
Located in 0609 Teuthem, this Pastry Shop is the domain of Major Handler Chandler. Known as a member of "The Big Five" Chandler is enigmatic and charismatic, being unusual in regularly showing their many faces directly to agents and clients alike. Missions from this hub tend to the esoteric. Dealing with the ever mysterious and deadly Tahora Whai, exploration into the sector west, or delving deep to find lost knowledge of the Bleed.
- Ada 5 Research Station Underdeck
Located in 1208 Mentta, these bowels of the Aguamalan research station are managed by Absentee Major Handler Hermes. Known as a member of "The Big Five" Hermes is often at the edge of the sector accompanying exploratory fleets on his own missions to find weird and wonderful new and lost planets. Issuing missions by long range FTL communication or in absentia through proxies, this Mission Hub has ample access to the region around Mentta and will often deal with the Aguamalan Syndicate. It is not particularly well established, primarily existing in the makeshift Gambling Halls and Markets converted from what should be lower class crew bunking.
- Light Cruiser Risque Buisness [Destroyed]
Until late 1036 TSYAB (Telas Standard Year After Beacon) this served as the mobile mission hub for Eponi Major Handler Greek Fire. Known to be a member of "The Big Five" this mission hub was rich in mechanical manufactory and construction. Greek Fire is known for primarily interfacing with the Concord of Mutual Disdain.
- The Institute
Located on Ingirid, this is the least formal of the mission hubs as comprises no one distinct location within Ingirid, although the Eon Ring is common as it has the easiest access to civilian facilities and several buisnesses that exist within the Personnel Resources. Ran by Major Handler Greenie, a member of "The Big Five" this handler primarily focuses on purely scientific assignments. Recruiting people for drug trials, industrial espionage, or to test new experimental equipment. This Mission Hub is perhaps less well defined as it is currently in a state of conflict. Greenie, coming to the end of a Handler's natural reign, is struggling to hold on to her seat of power as younger upstarts chip away at her influence over the Penumbra of Ingirid.