Biodrones, animals modified to be “ridden” and directly controlled by their handlers, have two primary disadvantages: they disturb or traumatize the animal and they waste whatever natural instincts and training the puppeteer is overriding. The compulsion goad is Somatek's solution for these problems.
Unlike a biodrone, the animal is not teleoperated. Instead, the goad prompts actions but the animal's instincts and training fill in the specifics. For example, a handler orders the animal to attack a target and so the goad compels the animal to attack that target, but it does not puppet the animal or provide detailed “bite here” instructions. The animal attacks the target in whatever way is most natural.
The compulsion goad gives the animal a strong compulsion to do an action, with a dopamine reward when the compulsion is obeyed. Because the impulse and the decision to obey are both internal, and nothing of the animals mind must be overruled, there is none of the trauma of puppeteering.
The compulsion goad is most often used in two ways: with a handler, or a shepherd. A handler is most often paired with one or two animals, giving simple commands like “attack this man” or “protect me” to support their own actions. A soldier/animal paired are much more dangerous than both of them separate.
A shepherd, on the other hand, handles groups of animals. As either a transhuman or an AI, the shepherd's primary job is to act as a tactician, turning a pack of animals into something more. A pack of compulsion goaded guard dogs under the instruction of a tactical AI should never be underestimated.
A compulsion goad is a cyberware augmentation [Moderate].
A shepherd AI is as an animal keeper AI, plus squad tactics 60 [High].