Friday, January 30, 2015

30. Lycanthropy

The first iteration of the Lycanthropy nanotoxin was a medichine hack. A group of radical mercurial uplifts infected the medichines of the families of Cognite executives. Any hack of medichines is met with rapid and thorough security updates, which rendered that first form unusable, but the mercurials were able to cultivate a nanotoxin out of a culture of infected medichines. This nanotoxin form of the Lycanthropy condition is what is known to transhumanity today.

The nanotoxin causes keratin build-ups in feet and hands as the body attempts to grow hooves, in fingers and toes as the body attempts to grow claws, in lips as the body attempts to grow a beak, and in skin as the body attempts to grow feathers. Worst of all, by most accounts, is the growth of feathers, causing steady pain as they attempt to puncture through skin. The condition has never proved fatal, and is kept in check by medichines, but its slow burn brand of body-horror gives it an over-sized infamy. The toxin has even become endemic in some poor districts of Jovian habs, providing fuel for anti-nano and anti-uplift attitudes.

Mechanics

Lycanthropy is a nanotoxin [Moderate]

Type: Nano Application: Inj Onset Time: Immediate Duration: Indefinite

Those infected by Lycanthropy take 1 SV per day of infection due to chronic pain and body dysmorphia. Medichines prevent progression, but nanophages are required for total immunity.

4 comments:

  1. I can almost see some types using this stuff recreationally - for one, the same sort who rely on fur coats instead of healing-vat biomods because of cost. For two, scum who enjoy what others would describe as "creeping horror".

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  2. You'd have to have a high pain tolerance, but if you want to be a chimeric monster, it would be one of the cheaper ways.

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    1. High pain tolerance is a pretty cheap psychosurgery, isn't it? Trait Editing, (Transhuman, 170) could give it to you, with a low up-front cost (and significant XP debt).

      Nanobandages are [Trivial], and their logic could be set to encourage them to work with medichines to hurry healing without any second-guessing. I'd posit that at least one variety of nanobandages can be used to both mask the discomfort as well as hurry along the changes. This might be something akin to the way geeks used to seek out Taiyo Yuden CD-Rs and DVD-Rs made by Mitsumi Chemical, passing around tips on recognizing re-branded disks sold by Memorex (for example) by specific details of the "cake box" packaging.

      More popular with Scum is probably inducing some kind of laser-guided masochism. "I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every moment of it!" kind of situation.

      (Hooves, claws, beak and feathers? Is this trying to turn you into an owlbear? What would happen if you just spent some quality time with a healing vat and let it run its course over the course of an hour? How hard is it to treat, or reverse the changes?)

      Plot hook: Scum are using the stuff recreationally, and even cultivating and swapping new strains. Some have come to resemble lesser-known exsurgent strains. Go investigate and/or dynamite the people responsible, with a bias for dynamite if they're actually covert exsurgents (infected by the haunting strain, for example).

      Plot hook: One Jovian hab has more feathers per-capita than a mercurial habitat and the nanovirus has in fact become pandemic. Mercurial sympathies are running rampant, and a number of Jovians want to defect, while others are concerned about the Junta staging a life-support failure or meteor strike. Is this a crack in Jovian unity and a chance to expand Firewall operations within the Junta?

      Plot hook: Someone with a particularly virulent and fast-acting strain of lycanthropy is spreading the love. How can it be showing up in attack victims, and VD clinics? Analysis of victims' reports suggest no Typhoid Mary or common background.

      Plot hook: After an op gone bad, a member of the party sleeves into a used body, which just happens to have a latent lycanthropy infection.

      Plot hook: One of the longest-studied cases of lycanthropy seems to be entering a different phase of infection, and a research assistant tipped off Firewall that something seems off, and they're not sure if it's just stress from the grant committee deciding if they're going to renew funding.

      My do-list: Write up a "lycanthrope" morph and its variants to represent, at least, a splicer and a flat at the end-stage of the infection.

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  3. Plot hook: Someone is selling "Owlbear" morphs to the fantasy gaming crowd on Mars, resembling an overgrown Chickcharnie with slightly more mammalian morphology. Unbeknownst to the customers, they're contagious carriers of a strain of lycanthropy with a long incubation period (or, dare I say it, _eclipse phase_).

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