Poisoned Minds, also known as S.S.D.D. and S.S.D.F. is a humorous, furry, British webcomic created by Alan Foreman. It is based around the lives of four anthropomorphic animals that are completely unaware that they are at the centre of a series of bizarre conspiracies taking place in the future. It started on 26 September 1998, is updated every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and is hosted by the online comic syndicate Keenspot. The comic contains a lot of adult content, including very strong language, strong sexual references, violence and drug usage. It also uses some computer animation.
In the town of Littlehampton, Sussex, four twenty-something animals live in a small boarding house. They include Richard Edwards and Anne Winters, two foxes with a strong sexual relationship, Kingston, a hare who spends most of his time on drugs, and most notably, ultra-violent anarchist rabbit Norman Gates. Norman spends all his time causing destruction, breaking the law, rebelling against the law.
Although they are completely unaware of it as yet, Norman will eventually overthrow the British government, and set up The Collective of Anarchist States (CAS), although he is really working for an AI called The Oracle. As a result, he will form an anarchical government, that will spread all over the world and that will plan also to control the universe. Several people have tried to resist him, including the Maytec Corporation and the crew of the Space Station E11. They include raccoon scientist Dr. Jeremiah Cook, cat Commander Adams, technical cat Michael Tucker, robot rabbit Tin-Head, robot fox Sticks, and her owner Tessa Edwards, the probable descendant of Richard and Anne. Together, they travelled back in time to prevent Norman setting up the CAS, trying to use Norman’s housemates as unsuspecting puppets. This is not helped by the arrival of anarchist solicitor Gary Heart, probable ascendant of Captain Jack Heart, Norman’s second-in-command on his space ship The Inglorious. Gary is Norman's solicitor and their friendship spells trouble for Cook and the others trying to stop him.
In the comic, all of the characters are anthropomorphic animals, living in an identical version of the real world at present. They only human that appears is the comic’s creator Alan Foreman, but only in one-off strips. There is also Sticky the Stick Man, who appears whenever there is no real storyline. Alan appears more heavily in the spin-off strip The Church of Poisoned Minds, and Sticky appears in his own webcomic.
- Main article: List of characters in Poisoned Minds
The future according to Poisoned Minds
- Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
According to Poisoned Minds, Norman, with the help of The Oracle, start to change elections, so that the people become increasingly rebellious. They also bring down several businesses, such as Enron. The collapse of Bishop International in 2008 lead to the economic collapse known as Black April, and the start of the CAS. Norman became First Advisor, the closest thing the CAS has to a leader. Also, instead of dying, he was cryogenically frozen.
In America, the lack of control from Washington DC led to the states of New York and California to from splinter states, which later grew in number. Later, right wing Christian fundamentalists to control of part of Eastern Texas, who planned to reunite America as one country again, but West Texas tried to stop them. New Texas as it is called spread towards the East. California, Washington and Oregon declared independence and became California OW; Florida also became independent.
The Eastern rouge states joined the CAS; the New Texans also formed their own country, and now ran all of Texas and several other states. California OW eventually became ran by Maytec. The CAS took over Washington DC, and later the Core was set up from the remains of NATO to counter the CAS. North and South Carolina became independent and allied with the CAS. After some peace, New Texas allied with the Core, Florida remained neutral as did California OW, but they sold arms to both sides.
After a mega tsunami destroyed New York City, the CAS moved troops up north, allowing New Texas to invade Carolina easily. This move was condemned by nearly everyone, and war was almost threatened, but never carried out.
The Core decided to see if Maytec are helping the CAS build a powerful weapon, the Babel Tower, Although Maytec refused to tell anyone else what the parts where being used for. The staff, including Dr. Cook did not know it was being used for such a deadly weapon, but When it was discovered what the materials where used for, Maytec decided to back off from the CAS.
Tessa Edwards, as a punishment for antisocial behavior and assault, was sentenced to two years national service in the Core Army. During her time in the Army she was subject to medical tests, some nanorobots allowed her to heal quickly and uses telekinesis. She became a POW, but escaped with the help of Tin-Head. She later was moved to Space Station E11. It was visited by The Wildfire; a Maytec space ship capable of time travel with Dr. Cook on board. The reason for this was because an Anarchist AI was on board. The Space Station was later invaded by the CAS vessel The Inglorious by a reawakened Norman Bates, The Oracle, and second-in-command Captain Jack Heart. The crew escaped and travelled back in time to the early 21st century, to try and stop Norman before he starts. However, Heart also travelled back in time to stop Core and help Norman.
For more information, see The Tower of Babel storyline.
The Collective of Anarchist States
The system of government
The overview states that, “The Collective of Anarchist States, or CAS for short, has to have one of the oddest political systems of all time. In fact mentioning that the CAS is a political system at all will anger most CAS citizens, but there is undeniably one present. The CAS is a meritocracy in one of its most acme forms and any attempt to gain a position in power via political ends (or as the CAS founder, Norman Gates put it: “being devious little arse kissers”) is met with extreme prejudice.”
Unlike most forms of government, it states that in order to get a high ranking office in the government, you have to earn it. Although this is somewhat odd. This is because, according to the overview, “What makes the CAS even stranger is that positions of power, officially at least, have no power attached to them. The advisors, like the title suggests, can only “advise” underlings in that particular field.” This often leads to positions of power often not being secure. The overview states, “Of course it’s usually in the underlings best interest to take the “advice” if they know what’s good for them. However they can become an advisor themselves by not taking said advice and doing what they feel best. If it works and the task is high profile enough, then they can move up the unofficial career ladder, often ousting their former “boss” who then found themselves “back on the floor” taking directions from someone that was once below them.
It also states that, “This environment leads to high levels of stress in the “ruling” classes as their position is always under constant threat. This has caused a few advisors to hold or advance their positions using political means such as a smear campaign on a rival. After Black April and the collapse of society, the CAS have an intense loathing of such tactics that destroyed the known world and will carry out capital punishments on anyone so much as suspected of doing so.” However, it mentions that, “Due to the levels of stress put on advisors, only the most gifted and driven survive. You underestimate a high-ranking advisor at your peril.”
The CAS System
The overview says “There are no elections or political parties in the CAS system, just the meritocracy. The “First Advisor” would have worked their way from the bottom just like all the others before them and proved themselves worthy of the title. A title which is in fact, honouree. Their true title is “Acting First Advisor.” The only true “First Advisor” was the CAS founder, Norman Gates, who still retains his title although being long dead.”
It goes on, “This system is used for almost all aspects of management except the military, which follows a more standard hierarchy. The “Volunteer Force” is however a rather haphazard organisation due to their members political beliefs and their reluctance to take orders. Hence its heavy reliance on AI controlled military automatons such as Inlays (a popular, and rather creepy looking range of fighting machines originally designed by the US military but later high jacked by the CAS). However, the perks involved given to those who serve with the Volunteer Force are usually enough of an incentive to maintain at least the appearance of discipline.”
It also states the importance of The Oracle. “It appears that the only thing keeping the CAS system together is the reliance on the AI going by the name of “The Oracle.” This AI has unprecedented control over many aspect of life in the CAS and is unequalled in size and intelligence in the world today. Nobody is quite sure about the origins of The Oracle. Theories range from an Ministry of Defence that has been improved over many years to that it was built by space aliens. Whoever built The Oracle that “big brother” nature of this AI over matters such as law and order seem to be lost on the population of the CAS.”
Law and Order
According to the CAS overview, “The legal system is also interesting. Again stating that one even exists will anger anyone from the CAS and again there is one if you look hard enough. The notion of “The Two Laws” is an obvious fudge. The first law states: “You may not by action or inaction, profit at another’s member’s expense.” The second law states: “There are no more laws!” Of course these two laws are deliberately vague. The first law can apply to anything from murder to theft to pretty vandalism and the second law doesn’t say that the first law can sub-sections. Interpreting these laws is the responsibility of the Oracle and high advisors.”
However it does state that, “There are also “advisories”. These are laws and rules you don’t HAVE to follow, but it’s a good idea that you go. While it’s not against the law to play on railway, it’s advised that you don’t because being run over by trains tends to be bad for your health. It is an interesting piece of social engineering because when people are told not to do something, they want to do it, no matter how stupid and dangerous it is. Being just told “You can but it’s not a good idea” seems to be more affective. This is because a lot of people are stupid.”
The Economy and Trade
The CAS overview claims that, “Economically the CAS is essentiality capitalist. The CAS has no problems with individuals making money, but IS opposed to the money being used to gain power. You can buy the biggest house and the fastest skimmer in your street, but you cannot buy shares in a company. To gain control of a company, you have to start from the bottom and become an advisor.
Also, “The CAS is open to trade but to those that do have to be pretty sharp. The first law does NOT apply to those outside the CAS and is almost encouraged to rob outsiders. This is why you always ask for cash up front whenever dealing with them. However as the CAS is one of the systems largest factions there is money to be made if you’re sharp enough.
The overview states that, “The entire populace of the CAS are (officially at least) agnostic. Unofficially you can have any belief you like. However, trying to inflict your beliefs onto others invokes the first law and is severely punished! This has come about due to Norman Gates’ beliefs (who ironically they practically worship) against organised religion. He had nothing against religion per se, just ORGANISED religion. He saw it was all laws and laws are bad. However, he never discounted the fact that there may be or may not be a god and was agnostic himself.
The overview says that, “The CAS became so large not by military conquest by almost by default. After Black April many states descended into anarchy and thus automatically became part of the CAS. This lead to the break up of the United States into divided nations with most of the left wing states along the shores siding with the anarchists.”
It also says that, “Due to their nature the CAS don’t directly attack others but often antagonise opponents into attacking them before they launch an all out assault. The CAS rarely occupies land where it’s not already welcome, but instead employs a burnt earth policy to cripple and humiliate opponents. A propaganda campaign is then started on the people of the defeated foe, spouting the benefits of joining the CAS. If it works then they roll in and take control of that area.
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