River Resistance is a resistance group formed 8 years before the start of Softwired, by those members of River Combine who refused to be pushed further by the forces of the Third Spark.

The name is often abbreviated to simply "River" or "the Resistance".


River lives in a "base", a tight set of metal-walled rooms and tunnels, designed from the beginning as a defensive fortification.

It also loosely claims the tunnels carved by River Combine as refuge from the Third Spark's forces, and doesn't really claim the old rooms attached to those tunnels at all. Individual Resistance members have claimed individual rooms, but can't really defend them, and mostly rely on security through obscurity.


(411 total bots)

From the Third Spark's perspective, this makes River ridiculously top-heavy, with a vast gap due to the shortage of sentient code-bots.

That's not actually that far from our present-day perspective; River is very uncomfortable with sub-spark intelligence, and thus even menial labor is often performed by spark-bots where the Third Spark would use sub-sentient code-bots. River even treats its sub-sentient code-bots more like the Amish treat their animals, while the Third Spark's forces treat theirs more like urban americans treat their telephones. Sentient code-bots are treated like a minority among spark-bots, rather than a definite underclass.


  • 4 Directors
  • 9 Synarchs
  • 38 Ramurs(including one code-bot)
  • 108 equal "decorated"
    • 13 Pulvers
    • 8 Striders(including two code-bots)
    • 11 Optors(including one code-bot)
    • 76 Nakanis

(159 ranked)

Of these, the 91 founders(who were once part of River Combine) are all at least decorated. This is partly due to seniority, partly because ranks were easier to come by in the early days, and partly because of "old boys club" camaraderie that is frowned upon, but still exists.


River is led by a council. The council includes all four Directors, an average of six Synarchs, and an average of eight others. Any member is welcome, so long as they pledge to obey the council's rules of order.

The role of the Directors is to set policy. This does include some ability to give orders to those of lower ranks, though not to unranked, and these orders are not absolute.

The role of the Synarchs is to form and lead teams; those of lower ranks or unranked personally pledge their allegiance to a Synarch, and are thereby bound absolutely to the Synarch's orders, until the Synarch or the council releases them. That said, a Synarch will almost always release someone who requests it, and a Synarch's team unofficially includes non-pledges, who work with the team without pledging to anyone - usually at least as many non-pledges as pledges. Also, many non-pledges do things on their own that don't need law-bound organization, operating singly or in small groups.

Ramurs are those who have shown some leadership ability, whether or not they've ever been a decorated. Among a Synarch's team(pledges and otherwise), Ramurs generally lead sub-teams, though since team membership is not assigned, there are usually too many or too few Ramurs to make this a rule.

The "decorated" ranks are assigned for valor and excellence, generally in battle. They are the most martial of ranks, and yet the least militaristic. A Pulver is a good meleeist, a Strider has good "control of space"(both maneuverability and tactics), an Optor is good at stealth and/or spying on the enemy, and a Nakani is good at ranged combat. While these ranks are technically independent of the higher ranks, in practice they're overridden by higher ranks.


The River Resistance is, in general, free to a fault. While dictatorships are less efficient than middle-of-the-road societies, River errs far on the other side.

As a result, River has few laws. The most numerous are The Protocols, which are meta-laws. The Protocols were coded shortly before River Combine split up, and were originally intended to cover laws of war; after the Resistance split from the Combine, the "common law" use of Combine laws was gradually eroded, and eventually dropped entirely by Protocol 47, which states that any law not covered by The Protocols is not a law of the group.

Protocol 0 covers the basic operation of voting and the other protocols, permits anything not forbidden by law, and prevents itself from being modified or removed. Since it states that a law can only be added or modified by unanimous vote of all non-abstaining sentients in the group, in theory no controversial law can be made, which makes the Directors' role in setting policy so important. Laws define the Directors' role(though not their rank), including the right of every sentient to disobey policy. Only the laws are allowed to be binding, though a law allows personal contracts to "borrow" its binding - this support is withdrawn if a stipulation of the contract violates a law, including a stipulation to follow orders if ordered to violate a law. In practice, this and a by-reference boilerplate provide the system of pledges that organizes day-to-day operations.

This general freedom was showcased in Softwired by the graffiti "Freedom To Graffiti" near the bar dispenser. Yes, it's perfectly legal to write on the walls, and most Resistance members consider this a comforting reminder of their freedom.

Technology & Resources

The River Resistance is distinctly behind the Third Spark's forces in both technology and resources. ARP guns are expensive, vapor guns are right out, and they haven't invented or even stolen ARP-dissipating armor(except that Silverthorn has it, which isn't even known inside River base). However, they do have some technologies the Third Spark lacks, like Blacklight's experimental weapons(ironically).

River has a free-market economy, and even power must be paid for. Synarch Summerheat set up the bar dispenser, which sells standardized chemical energy cells, using energy obtained by her team. The current monetary system was created by Whitestone, who died a Ramur, in the form of 10000h "keys", encrypted with themselves in infinite recursion, which therefore can't be hacked even by a spark. In practice, most keys in theoretical circulation are stored in a central database, which manages transfers among accounts.

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