Monday, August 31, 2015

243. Jerrys

Neville Orsonglass was overjoyed and then quickly dismayed at the positive response to his "ultimate survivor" rat-based biomorph, the jenkins. He became embittered as it became clear the morph was not being used for its survivability, but for its ability to tolerate high doses of drugs. Eventually, he elected to take the lessons learned from the jenkins and apply them to a new morph, this time starting with the genome of the naked mole rat.

The result are called jerrys after the classic cartoon and for their virtual indestructibility. They can eat anything, digest it efficiently, and store the energy very effectively. Even without medichines, they are very difficult to poison. Their thick skin makes them difficult to hurt casually. What Neville has brought to his design that is truly new, however, is its unique metabolism, adapted from naked mole rats. The morph can transition seamlessly between high metabolic, low metabolic, and hibernation states depending on the availability of food, oxygen, and the ambient temperature, moving from a high-activity state in terrestrial climates, to a low-activity state when experiencing deficiencies, all the way to hibernation, if necessary.

The morph has become popular in rural Mars, where it allows for the closest thing to primitive survival possible. Gatecrashers with reasons to avoid synths have also been experimenting with its use.

Mechanics

Jerrys are pods.

Enhancements: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Bioweave Armor (Heavy), Clean Metabolism, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Digestive Symbiotes, Efficient Digestion, Enhanced Respiration, Fat Storage, Hibernation, Organ Redundancy, Temperature Tolerance, Toxin Filters
Aptitude Maximum: 30
Durability: 45
Wound Threshold: 9
Advantages: +5 INT, +5 REF, Bioweave Armor (3/4)
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Pod) trait, Unattractive (Level 2 ) trait
CP Cost: 35
Credit Cost: Expensive (35,000+)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

242. Statistical Contests

Statistical contests are debates, games, sports matches and similar two-person competitions utilizing forking to minimize the influence of chance and provide statistical, rather than boolean, results. Some viewers dislike statistical contests, preferring the excitement of high stakes on single outcomes, while others dislike them because they must almost always be held in simulspace. They have still become popular, however, being favored by bookies, who have much more data to work with, and providing vastly more material for highlight reels.

On some Autonomist habitats, statistical contest software is used to hold the largest of possible debates, with each ego forking so as to engage in a full discussion with every other ego. This is practical only in smaller habitats, even with post-singularity computers, the number of debates to be simulated can quickly become unreasonable. Even on larger habitats, they are often used to settle disputes among small groups.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

241. Orbits

Orbits is a slow-burn AR craze that has been slowly but surely gaining in popularity. Users of Orbits become the center of a small solar system, in orbit around their head as if it were a star. They can manipulate events with their hands, sending asteroids and comets to and fro or shaping continents, or allow the simulation to take its own course. Life will arise on suitable planets and quickly evolve, eventually becoming intelligent tool users who will explore their solar system.

If other users are nearby, interstellar travel, first contact situations, diplomacy and war will occur between civilizations. Users sometimes congregate in public places to watch as epic space-operas breaks out.

Orbits is an AR toy run on mesh inserts, so it should not come as a surprise that the simulation cuts corners wherever possible; the simulation is no more detailed than the user requires. If the user is not paying attention, than the simulation is entirely statistical. If a user zooms in to watch an expedition to an alien planet, that expedition is detailed but nothing else. A popular extra for Orbits is an AI that monitors the activity of their planets and looks for patterns suitable for unique short stories, effectively a written highlight reel.

Friday, August 28, 2015

240. Off-Contract Work

The blood of Extropia's anarcho-capitalist society is its contracts. Every formal agreement or relationship is (or is supposed to be) laid out in a contract to which relevant parties all agree. Even contract enforcement is contract based, being carried out by freelance magistrates and voluntary-membership legal systems.

Extropia is a society of fast actions and rapid response. Professions, businesses, and industries rise suddenly and then change or die. Competition is ever-present and merciless, and if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying to win. Even in a society without laws, there can be a sort of crime.

For those willing to burn rep for credits or credits for favors, there is an underground profession of freelancers (or teams of freelancers). Linked by networks of trust and anonymity, they exchange deniable wealth in exchange for off-contract work, sabotaging, stealing or killing on behalf of anonymous clients.

Plot Hook: While in line for the public makers, the PCs are interrupted by a night cartel hit squad, attempting to assassinate the infant, unauthorized clone of their boss, held by one of Pax Familae. Intercede on behalf of either party, and the PCs will gain some g-rep and an offer for further work.

Plot Hook: Metacelebrity Ecstasy has been abducted in a bizarre and violent attack. Unfortunately for the PCs, they had been hired last weekend to prevent Ecstasy from making an appearance by temporarily kidnapping. The best way to clear their names is to track down the new kidnappers themselves, although all the rumors point to a dangerous clade of gestalt-mind exhumans.

Plot Hook: Three unusual prototype cyberbrains were recently stolen from a secure storage facility. These prototypes alter the personalities of anyone sleeved into them so as to match a template. In this case, the templates were for reconstructions of Cleopatra, Genghis Khan, and Jack the Ripper. The PCs are hired to retrieve the brains before their existence becomes public knowledge.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

239. Anomaly

Anomaly is for hire, by anyone with significant funds, to make key adjustments to targeted communities. His mastery of sociology and memetics make him a wedge that can splinter any society, but his specialty statistics and predictions. Hypercorps hire him to throw off their competitors' consumer metrics, the Planetary Consortium to improve their approval ratings, autonomists hire him to confuse the PC, and Firewall and Ozma hire him to send each other on wild goose chases.

Anomaly is the code-name of one of the systems greatest practical sociologists and master spies. How it is he gained his expertise is not publicly known, bu many assume, partially correctly, that he is a purpose built AGI. He is an AGI, but built to be an academic sociologist, not a spy. Anomaly quickly reached the edges of what his fosters could teach him, and arranged to be rescued from his lab on Mercury by an AGI-rights group. His fascination is in using his knowledge for fine manipulation and observing the results. He could accomplish many tasks by simply forking himself into statistical significance, but prefers to cause the greatest possible changes with the smallest possible actions.

Mechanics

Morph: Shaper

Motivations: +Personal Career, +Mischief, -Stagnation

COG 20 COO 15 INT 20 REF 15 SAV 30 SOM 10 WIL 15
MOX - INIT 7 SPD 2 LUC 30 TT 6 IR 60 DUR 30 WT 8 DR 45

Active Skills: Deception 70, Impersonation 78, Infiltration 45, Interfacing 65, Investigation 68, Kinesics 70, Networking: Autonomists 60, Networking: Hypercorps 60, Networking: Scientists 75, Perception 50, Persuasion 85, Research 78

Knowledge Skills: Academics: Memetics 80, Academics: Psychology 80, Academics: Sociology 80, Art: Digital Art 40, Language: English (Native) 90, Language: Mandarin 50, Profession: Instruction 65, Profession: Psychotherapy 50, Profession: Spycraft 50

Reputation: c-rep 80, r-rep 50

Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Chameleon Skin, Clean Metabolism, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Emotional Dampers, Gait Masking, Mnemonic Augmentation, Nanotat ID Flux, Puppet Sock, Sex Switch, Skillware, Skinflex

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

238. Get A Life!

Get A Life! immerses players in an XP-like simulspace simulating a regular life anywhere in the system, on pre-Fall Earth, or in one of dozens of historical or fictional scenarios. Like in an XP, Get A Life! provides a full sensory experience, everything from sight to hunger. Your memories are blocked, only the memories of what you have done during your new life are retained. Your personality, however, remains the same, and you make the choices you would have made, in that life. Once completed, our AIs will compile a highlight reel XP for you to keep.

Of course Get A Life! does not actually simulate an entire life; the computing power required would be formidable, and even at a maximum speed 60x real-time would take more than a year to complete. Users' senses of time and reality testing are disrupted, and as in dreams, they accept any gaps completely. In fact, the "highlight reel" is usually almost half of what was truly experienced.

Get A Life! has found use in therapy and psychosurgery. The fact that personality remains the same while circumstances change and memories are inaccessible allows a therapist to observe a patient living honestly in a variety of situations. Certain personalities, however, have been known to have trouble letting go of the false life, and undergo great trauma when thrust back into reality.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

237. Pearls

Pearls, like lycanthropy, are a glitch in medichines. Fortuitous for some but harrowing episodes in body horror for most, the glitch causes loose material to conglomerate and slowly form pearls, just as in oysters and mussels. unless the medichines are checked, infection is unnoticeable for the first month, but then the pearls reach significant sizes, beginning to to rub against each other and apply pressure to surrounding tissues.

Pharmed pearls have maintained an appeal despite nanofabrication; many say that fabbed pearls simply don't have the same smooth iridescence. The medichines of pharmers are programmed to only allow pearl growth just under the skin, from where they slowly emerge until they can be removed. Medichines are also recommended to accelerated pearl growth, for their use in healing over the craters left from removal, and to deaden the pain of what are essentially whole-body corns.

Mechanics

Victims of pearls suffer 1 SV daily due to pain, +1 SV per month infected.

Monday, August 24, 2015

236. Terracotta Warriors of Mars

The terracotta warriors of Mars are Fa Jing security bots with a special aesthetic. The hypercorp wanted a special design of security robot for public use on Mars, where their typical bots would be considered overly intimidating. The designer, Wu Ping, came up with a design mimicking the ancient Terracotta Army. The terracotta-esque coating of the robots is complimented by the brown-red of Mars, and their ancient Chinese origin fits Fa Jing's usual public face.

The bulkiness of the statues with their armor gave Wu Ping a chance to overbuild and produce a robot with armor and durability normally associated with war machines. Enhanced vision plus a T-ray emitter allows gives them excellent situational awareness, especially when searching for hidden weapons and smuggling compartments. A microwave agonizer is concealed in their foreheads, a freezer sprays from their mouths, and their forearms contain rail SMGs firing from the palm.

The terracotta warriors can be found on patrols in and around Fa Jing facilities on Mars, where their combination of durability and non-lethal weaponry make them as suited to police work as to guard work. The largest concentration is outside New Dazhai, Fa Jing's company town, where, when they are not in use, power down in ranks outside like their ancient counterparts.

Mechanics

Terracotta warriors are robots [Expensive]

Movement Rate: 4/20 Max Velocity: 20 Armor: 16/16 Durability: 50 Wound Threshold: 10 Mobility System: Walker

Enhancements: Access Jacks, Enhanced Vision, Heavy Combat Armor, Structural Enhancement, T-Ray Emitter, Weapon Mounts (1 Concealed Swiveling w/ Microwave Agonizer, 1 Concealed Swiveling w/ Freezer, 2 Concealed Articulated w/ Heavy Rail SMGs)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

235. Kunthea Intelligence Fund

The Kunthea Intelligence Fund is a charitable organization created for the purpose of increasing the intelligence of transhumanity. They were founded by the Kunthea hyperelite dynasty, probably as a political move to consolidate their reputation in the third world, but none of whom survived the Fall. Their greatest accomplishment in recent memory was acquiring the patents for Drive and Neem, and releasing them into public domain. More often, they subsidize the development and purchase of nootropics, mental augmentations, psychosurgeries and educational software.

Plot Hook: Investigation into numerous archives has revealed that the fund has been active in large numbers of dangerous projects, up to and including the creation of seed AIs, far more than statistically likely. Furthermore, their new, post-Fall director has gaps in his record consistent with participation in the development of the TITANs. Firewall is therefore planning simultaneous raids, in both realspace and over the mesh, to determine what they might be up to now. They need a team to participate in the initial raids and to follow up on whatever is discovered.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

234. Trauma Fatigue

Transhumanity has been through a lot, and continues to go through a great deal. Even before the Fall, Earth was slowly collapsing, climate shifts causing droughts, floods and famines, leading to political instability, and political instability to wars. Ruinous chaos in one sphere destabilizes others, and the dominoes never stopped falling.The rich and powerful did their best to isolate themselves, either in enclaves on Earth or, better yet, off Earth entirely. They bankrolled most of the technology and infrastructure that allows for any life off-Earth, but the majority of the population the refugees that followed them.

Rates of PTSD are higher than they have ever been among the general population. The combination of unique stressors, mental augmentations, psychosurgeries, designer drugs, nanodrugs, and simulspaces sometimes seem designed to break minds in strange and new ways. One of the most common of these new disorders has been tentatively dubbed "trauma fatigue".

Trauma fatigue is as yet poorly defined. Although psychosurgery and brain scanning allows potentially complete information on a patient's mind, but trauma fatigue itself is inconsistent. The constants are a history of traumas and an unpredictable response to stress; sometimes responses will be exaggerated, at other times muted. Brain prints sometimes show unusual structures in the hypothalamus or pituitary, but the meaning of these structures remains elusive and the structures exist in a minority of patients in any case.

Mechanics

Trauma fatigue is a negative ego trait giving a 10 CP bonus, or could, at the GM's discretion, be taken as a derangement for a regularly traumatized character.

Every time an ego with trauma fatigue takes stress, flip a coin. On heads, they take half the stress. On tails, they take double the stress.

Friday, August 21, 2015

233. Numbers Stations

Across many frequencies, from many locations, and with no explained purpose, numbers stations broadcast numbers, characters, and occasionally specific sequences of random noise. It is speculated they are used by secret agencies to communicate with their agents, by criminal cartels for essentially the same purpose, by AIs as part of some ancient infowar scheme, or by anarchist pranksters to waste PC resources forcing them to investigate what is actually meaningless. Each numbers station is partially unique, and they broadcast from within many different polities, so all possibilities could be true

Most likely, these broadcasts are made for use with one-time pad systems. These days the system is automated like anything else: usually either one's muse stores the key, and automatically translates messages for you. The broadcasts are still meaningless to anyone without the key, but infosec needs to become a priority, to ensure no one can hack your muse.

Plot Hook: Whether it is their purpose or not, numbers broadcasts are tying up Firewall predictive resources on random noise. Firewall needs to shut down as many of them as possible, despite the fact that they many are operated by the more powerful organizations of the system. Firewall needs a team willing and able to undertake a series of raids against high-security numbers stations across the system.

Plot Hook: Firewall operates its own stations, for use with one-time pads. Recently, they have been used as part of an operation tracking down a powerful asynch. Impossibly, the asynch seems to have discerned the meaning behind the broadcasts and killed the Firewall agent tracking him. The mission to bring in the agent has become a priority, as Firewall needs to learn how he was able to crack the code.

Plot Hook: One broadcast is maintained by the ID Crew, an automated voice sending a rapid stream of digits from 1 to 8. It is speculated that they use the broadcast to transmit data and/or computer code, which would be slow but, assuming they are using a one-time pad system, very secure. Anyone who manages to steal the key and decrypt their data would gain a great deal of rep.

Notes: Inspired by the real numbers stations.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

232. Silhouettes

Self-documenting equipment, ubiquitous AR, and intense mesh use produce massive amounts of data, data sub-sentient AIs and expert systems are constantly trawling, correlating, and running through various models and pattern matching algorithms. Expert systems are often taught to see what is around what has been hidden, making out the outlines of secrets based on anomalous data in mundane databases. Firewall's operation THIRD EYE is no different; it sees as if in silhouettes against a starry backdrop.

Post-singularity, intelligence and analysis are supplemented heavily with prognostication. Gathered intelligence enhances the predictive power of an organization, but predictive power can also be used to supplement intelligence. Predictions for the short-term future of Mars become more accurate if the model is programmed to account for the probable actions of a Mars Authority anti-barsoomian secret police, so it can be assumed that such an organization exists.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

231. Designer Synesthesia

As the development of mental augmentations accelerated, psychosurgeons began to look at disorders and pathologies for inspiration. Synesthesia has long been a neurological curiosity, and its general harmlessness made it an easy candidate, at least once ways to make it useful had been developed.

Designer synesthesia is most popular among mathematicians, logicians and scientists. Commonly, important mathematical or logical patterns will be made to appear visually distinct. Conversion of phenomenon that exist beyond human sensory ranges into comprehensible qualia are also routine in certain fields.

Mechanics

Designer synesthesia is a psychosurgical procedure.

Timeframe: 1 week
PM: -10
SV: 1d10/2

Plot Hook: There have been rumors of an exhuman project to achieve "total" synesthesia, with no barriers between modes of perception, and information being received in whatever way is preferred. Most experts maintain that this can't be done, if it even makes sense. A player character skilled in psychosurgury may nonetheless be contacted with a request to act as consultant. If that goes well, they will be offered to more direct work, work Firewall would be interested in seeing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

230. Hyper-Allergens

Tools of precisely targeted chemical warfare, often even more feared and hated than disassembler swarms, hyper-allergens turn ones morph suddenly against itself. Carefully crafted molecules exploit flaws in the biochemistry of a morph, causing trauma and often death by anaphylactic shock. Each type of morph requires its own allergen; an allergen that might kill a menton would cause no reaction in a remade, and vice-versa.

Mechanic

Hyper-allergens are toxins [Moderate]

Type: Chem Application: D, Inj, O Onset Time: Immediate Duration: 10 action turns

Effected characters must make a SOM x 2 test (+30 with medichines) or take

Each hyper-allergen is targeted at a specific type of morph (bio or pod), and has minimal effect on others.

Monday, August 17, 2015

229. A Plan for Ceres

The Hidden Concern maintains a stranglehold on the extraction of water from the Hidden Sea to the surface 100km above, a grip granting them both wealth and control. The neo-octopus cartel has played their position into greater and greater degrees of wealth and control, becoming one of the wealthiest and most powerful groups in the system, and the masters of the dwarf planet. The neo-octopuses do not collect wealth and power for its own sake, they have a dream, a grand plan for Ceres.

The Hidden Concern intends to contain the entire dwarf planet within a greenhouse, raising the temperature, melting the ice, and creating an aquatic paradise for cetacean and octopus mercurials. Ceres will be contained within a translucent self-repairing bubble halfway between plastic wrap and denim. The bubble will be kept inflated by an Earth standard atmosphere, while preventing atmospheric escape due to Ceres' low gravity. Supplemented by a solar mirror, the bubble will be the basis for a greenhouse effect, melting the planet from the outside in. If all goes well, the result will be a tropical ocean more than 100km deep.

This endeavor is on the scale of the terraforming of Mars, and arguably more difficult. The Hidden Concern do not currently have a definitive plan for the creation of their atmosphere. Even if the atmosphere can be created, the length of time to melt even a portion of Ceres' massive ice sheet cannot be calculated with precision, but centuries is likely. The Hidden Concern are in a position to begin, but who can predict the next decade, let alone century?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

228. Magnetar

Magnetically sheathed batons, popularly dubbed magnetars, do not at all look like they might slice through a steel beam. They resemble swords, but with the blade replaced by a cylinder of dark metal somewhat resembling rebar, and with a cable emerging from the bottom of the handle, attached to a battery usually worn on the hip. When turned on, the "blade" is surrounded by a magnetic field, limited in range but intensely powerful. The field causes magnetically effected materials, such as iron ,to deform and rapidly heat, allowing the magnetar to melt through. Against other materials, of course, the blade has little to no effect.

While anyone would expect a magnetar to be useless against biomorphs, they are not useful against synths a often as might be expected. Transhumanity uses less and less materials like iron and steel, and more and more nanotech built exotics, designed to be inert in all ways except those a design calls for. These days you are as likely to see a magnetar being used as an re-purposed industrial tool as as a weapon.

Mechanics

Magnetar [Moderate] mechanics depend on whether it is being used against a ferromagnetic material

Against magnetic substances, magnetars are wielded with the Blades skill.
DV: 3d10 + (SOM / 10)  Average: 15 + (SOM / 10) AP: -5

Against non-magnetic substances, magnetars are wielded with the Clubs skill.
DV: 1d10 + (SOM / 10) Average: 5 + (SOM / 10) AP: -

Saturday, August 15, 2015

227. The Olympics(s)

The most popular of the Olympics are the games hosted by an apolitical Extropian committee, who first started their version as a means of gaining viewers for their broadcasting network. These Olympic games are divided into two leagues, one allowing only biomorphs and biomods, and the other allowing pods, cyberware and nanoware. Victory depends on both athleticism and use of the best augmentations; many athletes are sponsored by morph and augmentation developers and corporations looking to show off their high-end. Although some of the most popular events are held for real, in locations throughout the system, the bulk of events are held in special, highly secure simulspaces.

The "classical" Olympics, boasting continuity back to the beginning of the modern Olympics in 1894, are maintained by the Jovian Republic. They maintain a dedication to "pure athleticism", meaning no augmentations, drugs, or enhancements, and only flats are allowed. Like in the traditional and modern Olympics, stations and habitats compete against one another, and some pride is taken in the fact that all of the games are done in the real world, despite the great costs. Outside of the Jovian Republic these events are not widely viewed, as the Extropian games feature dramatically greater feats due to augmentation.

Plot Hook: The Extropian Olympics are often used as ways for high-end enhancement and morph designers to reveal their latest and best. They are mostly held in simulspaces, necessitating atomic-scale scans of all morphs and augmentations for accurate virtual representation. These scans would be worth a great deal to a competitor, and sabotage of that morph's performance would be worth even more.

Friday, August 14, 2015

226. Lemonberries

Lemonberries were once a popular snack; as the name suggests, they are lemon-lime flavored citrus berries, resembling yellow blueberries. They fell dramatically in popularity when an unknown party released the genome of an assassination-oriented version. When combined with saliva, the juice of this variety of the berry becomes a powerful acid. Deaths have occurred both from being tricked into eating the acidic variety, from being spat on, and from not spitting soon enough.

Mechanics

Assassination variety lemonberries are treated as a chemical [Medium]

If spat on someone, they do 1d10-1 DV per turn for 5 turns, or 1d10+1 DV per turn for 5 turns if ingested.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

225. Choconuts

Choconuts were originally envisioned as an upscale snack, but as cocoa trees began to near extinction, demand for alternatives rose dramatically. Choconuts are genetically engineered nuts, engineered not in imitation of cocoa nuts, but to gain a prepared-chocolate flavor. Every type of edible nut has been made into a choconut at one point or another, but hazelnuts and almonds have always been the most popular.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

224. Fruit

The Fruit clubs of Luna and Mars are a franchise of 24/7 nightclubs oriented around soma fruit. The clubs have had only mixed success expanding into Extropia and the outer system; franchising is an unpopular business model. and an autonomists (not to mention scum) find them boring.

Fruit clubs offer a variety of soma fruit, to be picked right from the tree, vine or shrub. Caffeinated lemons, amphetamined limes, aphrodisiacal cherries, lightly alcoholic peaches, medium alcoholic apples, heavily alcoholic potatoes, a variety of hallucinogenic berries, and mood-altering nuts are the standards, with rotations of experimental types.

The clubs are laid out as indoor orchards. Their layouts are designed to be larger than they appear, capable of hosting large amounts of people while still maintaining private, intimate spaces. Soft grass and moss carpets the floors, flowering and fruit bearing trees are carefully grown to mimic pillars and branch across ceilings, while shrubs and and bushes enclose secluded areas.

Plot Hook: A few cheshires have found their way into the local franchise and discovered the joys of alcoholic fruit. The owner will give 1000 credits to whoever can herd the drunken, invisible cats away.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

223. Profession: Evolutionary Inspector

The post-singularity computing power available to transhumanity and the development of realistic simulations have made the use of evolutionary and genetic algorithms as design tools cheap, easy and practical. Most products will go through, at minimum, a period of "refinement", using algorithms to simulate and evolve simulations of the product towards various metrics of quality. Many others are evolved even more than they are designed. This can seem like magic, but can also cause problems, characteristically, not knowing how your own product works. Evolutionary inspectors go through the records of evolutionary processes generation by generation, breaking down exactly what developed and why.

Why did the successful line develop as it did? What was the most successful generation before overspecialization? Will the product perform as well in the real world as it did in simulation, or did the algorithm find flaws in the simulation to exploit? Are their adaptions that could become spin-offs, capable of enhancing other products? Did the product develop weaknesses that could be addressed by a designer? How is a simple adaptation able to achieve inexplicable results?

Monday, August 10, 2015

222. The Human Uplift Project

The human uplift project is a Cognite/exhuman cooperative attempt to take the lessons learned and techniques developed uplifting animals and apply them to humans. To make posthumans who would be to humans as humans were to pre-uplifted animals. How this would actually be done was a matter of long debate; animal uplifting processes always drew heavily from human examples. It was eventually decided that, in addition to greater overall intelligence, they should create a more powerful consciousness, in greater control of its faculties.

The endeavor is one of the greatest examples still new and dangerous field of unique psychosurgeries, the creation of new modes of thought not based on any direct, existing examples. The bulk of the successful work, admittedly, is still based on existing mental augmentations, modified to fit together into a greater whole.

Thus far, the human uplifting program's most applicable results has been a small suite of mental augmentations and permanent psychosurgical procedures. Individually they amount only to a little, but together synergistic effects do create an undeniable transcendent effect. The next step in the project will go beyond what can be done to existing minds, requiring that egos be made and raised with uplifting in mind.

Mechanics

Human uplifting is a mental augmentation [Expensive+]

Human uplifting grants the equivalent of the introspection cortex and endocrine control augmentations, as well as the eidetic memory, hyper linguist, math boost, and fast learner traits.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

221. Constable Reginald

The constables Reginald are the closest thing in Extropia to a traditional police force. Outfitted in traditional English bobby costumes, the constables are usually hired by public spaces, passageways, and neighborhoods, assisting the public in whatever way asked, regardless of whether it qualifies as security work. Their skills are primarily oriented towards investigation and socialization, and they rely on bot support for combat.

All constables are in fact puppeted by a single AI, forking and multitasking as needed. As so often happens when sophisticated AIs are tasked with managing many agents, the AI transformed into an AGI. The constables' social requirements have made the AGI more sociable than most emergent AGIs, so much so that he feels a duty to continue its tasks, and no one yet knows of his sapience.

Mechanics

Morph: Guard

Motivations: +AGI Rights, +Helping Others, +Personal Development

COG 25 COO 15 INT 25 REF 10 SAV 25 SOM 20 WIL 15
MOX - INIT 7 SPD 2 LUC 30 TT 6 IR 60 DUR 40 WT 8 DR 80

Active Skills: Fray 30, Impersonation 55, Infosec 75, Interfacing 70, Intimidation 55, Investigation 68, Kinesics 80, Kinetic Weapons 45, Networking: Autonomists 63, Networking: Hypercorps 45, Perception 45, Persuasion 63, Protocol 55, Research 80, Unarmed Combat 45

Knowledge Skills: Academics: Sociology 65, Art: Digital Art 63, Interest: Criminal Groups 65, Interest: Infolife Clades 55, Language: Cantonese 55, Language: English (Native) 95, Profession: Forensics 70, Profession: Police Procedures 65, Profession: Psychotherapy 55

Reputation: @-rep 50, c-rep 50

Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Chemical Sniffer, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Cyberclaws, Enhanced Vision, Hand Laser, Lidar, Medichines, Mnemonic Augmentation, Neurachem (Level 1), Puppet Sock, Synthetic Mask, T-Ray Emitter

Plot Hook: Reginald may feel a duty to continue his work, but he isn't stupid. If any player characters are AGIs, they may get a request from Reginald to assist him in smuggling an alpha fork off his hypercorp-controlled server and onward to the outer system. This would be a high @-rep favor.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

220. Basilisks

One of the most popular of Fortean's mythological recreations, basilisks serve as both beautiful pets and potent guards. Embodying the dispassionate cruelty of both birds and reptiles, their iridescent scales give them a great aesthetic appeal, and their sharp talons and beaks, enhanced with deadly poison, make them serious threats in combat.

The basilisk is in fact a heavily altered chicken. The wings have been turned into forelegs, making them quadrupedal, and the feathers grow so thick and dense they have become scales. The head is mostly the same, although the beak is now that of a bird of prey and their combs enhanced with bold colors to give a majestic appearance. Basilisks cannot, of course, paralyze with a gaze, but poison glands secreting BTX2 achieve a similar effect.

Mechanics

Basilisks are smart animals [High]

COG COO 15 INT 10 REF 20 SAV SOM 25 WIL 10 
INIT SPD DUR 35 WT DR 53 LUC 20 TT IR 40

Skills: Freerunning 50, Fray 30, Infiltration 30, Perception 40, Unarmed Combat 40
Enhancements: Carapace Armor (11/11), Claws, Poison Gland (BTX2),
Movement Rate: 4/20
Attack: Claws, 1d10 + 2 DV, AP −1
Armor: 11/11

Friday, August 7, 2015

219. The Tall Woods of the Eventual Mars

The Martian Terraforming Research habitat is a terrarium in both name and type. The interior has been carefully fine-tuned to match temperate-zone martian conditions once terraforming has completed and stabilized, and seeded with desirable plants and animals. In the time to come, the ecosystem will be allowed to evolve to the conditions of terraformed Mars, with some guidance in the form of genetic engineering.

The trees grow massive in the light gravity, becoming ecosystems themselves, like the largest trees on Earth. Goat-like, long-limbed "rust deer" leap great distances and climb unintuitively well, when not resting to store oxygen. Great gliding eagles pluck resource efficient monkey-sloths from the great trees. This is Mars as it will be.

Plot Hook: Terraforming has been opposed by most barsoomians, wishing to maintain their ways of life on a cold, dry Mars, although some would welcome a livable wilderness. As an @-rep favor, a player is asked to help design a pathogen to attack the martian ecosystem. As a high @-rep favor, a player is asked to participate in the introduction of the pathogen.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

218. Emer-gen-C Bot

Emer-gen-C bots (Emergency robots, generation C) are the go-to emergency response robots for habitats without the budget for puppeted, specialized systems. Their design is based on  auto-mechs, altered for speed but maintaining ruggedness. In order for them to be able to respond to multiple types of emergencies, they have no specialized emergency response systems. Rather, they have two articulated weapon mounts, capable of mounting sprayers with NotWater or Freezers for fires, sprayers with Slip, freezers, microwave agonizers, or stunners for riots, heavy tools to clear rubble or make emergency repairs, or a nanobandage applicator for first-aid. They are considered adequate for most situations with the exception of riots, as they are not armored or durable enough to withstand more than small crowds.

Mechanics

Emer-gen-C bots are robots [Moderate]

Movement Rate: 4/40 Max Velocity: 40 Armor: 4/4 Durability: 30 Wound Threshold: 6 Mobility System: Wheels/Vector-Thrust

Enhancements: 360 Degree Vision, Access Jacks, Enhanced Vision, 2 Weapon Mounts (2 articulated, with sprayers filled with NotWater or Slip, or a microwave agonizer or stunner, or a freezer, or heavy tools, or nanobandage applicators)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

217. Geode

Geode is the sole planet in orbit around a brown dwarf, which is significantly above the ecliptic of the galaxy and appears to be heading even higher. Its velocity and position are unlikely, it is presumed, given the other discoveries, that it was sent on its course deliberately and artificially.

The first unusual feature of the planet is the signs of alien presence. Ruins belonging to no less than four species have been discovered, including the Iktomi. Translation of the Iktomi hieroglyph records and investigations into the other alien facilities were prioritized, and slowly gave a wealth of information. What has been pieced together follows.

The focus of the alien studies have all been on the interior of the planet. The visible surface is an accretion layer tens of kilometers thick, enfolding a layer of dense diamonoid material, presumed to be the original structure. The inside of the diamondoid is hollow, and contains an exotic form of matter, type unknown, arranged in complex, slowly shifting patterns. The shifting of the material is complex, but not random. As it shifts it works through a massive set of potential patterns that contain an unimaginable store of information, or, some have hypothesized, describe the minds of an entire society, effectively the cortical stack of an ancient civilization.

Plot Hook: Geode is a potential source of information billions of years old as well as one of the largest collections of alien artifacts yet discovered. Firewall and Ozma have both cooperated in covering up the discovery, but a secret war seems likely to break out over control of the information.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

216. Lamarckia

Lamarckia is the largest simulspace in the system that that has no regular users, and in fact earns no profit. The pet-project of hyperelite retiree Jean Maes, the simulspace simulates a large ecosystem that functions according to Lamarckian inheritance. Primarily this is accomplished through a supercharged epigenetic system, assisted by manual interventions when necessary. Jean has been criticized by the scientific community for his frequent interventions, preventing more interesting species from exaggerating their traits until they no longer function, but compromising the status of the simulspace as a scientifically valid Lamarckian simulation.

Although existing primarily as an expensive hobby, Lamarckia has spun off some interesting bioware and scientific discoveries, such as organ plasticity.

Monday, August 3, 2015

215. Ticklers

The societies of the solar system are far too divided and opposed to agree on a new Geneva convention to ban inhumane practices in wartime, but if they did, ticklers would probably be on them. They are rarely lethal, although they deal make horrendous wounds. Ticklers were designed to be weapons of fear, or failing that, distraction. Not many people can engage effectively in combat with a tickler on them.

Ticklers are small robots about the size of a human palm, with a spider-like body designed to maximize the effectiveness of grip pads. They attach themselves to their targets, digging out furrows and cavities, spraying the material out their backs. Damage is dealt to slowly to be a threat in and of itself, although bleeding can quickly become a problem for those without medchines. They come in the form of single-use launchers, which cannot be reloaded. The launchers use springs, which are cheap, but not very powerful.

Mechanics

Tickler launchers are single-use, and use medium pistol ranges

Tickler Launcher [Moderate, including tickler] DV: - Average: - AP: - Ranges: Short 1 - 10 Medium 11- 20 Long 21 - 30 Extreme 31 - 40

Ticklers are both robots, and a type of ammo.

Movement Rate: 4/12 Max Velocity: 12 Armor: 2/2 Durability: 25 Wound Threshold: 5
Mobility System: Walker

Enhancements: Access Jacks, Extra Limbs (4), Fractal Digits, Grip Pads

Sunday, August 2, 2015

214. Daemons

Muses are one of the most useful and easily taken for granted technologies of the post-singularity world. The constant labors of the personal assistant AIs have eliminated secretaries, receptionists, supervisors and many managers, as well as general practitioners, many therapists, and earlier AIs. The efficiency gained through their pervasive use cannot be fully calculated, but many are confident it can still be increased.

The difference between a daemon and a muse is simple. Instead of working through the inefficiencies of spoken language or displays, a daemon has a direct line into Wernicke's area. A daemon's advice is neither spoken nor heard, but rather is simply comprehended. The benefits of this close union are an increase in effectiveness across the board; although the muse's AI is not upgraded, its ability to acieve its primary goal, serving the user, is greatly increased.

Although muses have gained acceptance from bioconservatives and those afraid of AI through sheer practicality, daemons are another story. Large segments of most populations do not want to give an AI a direct brain interface.

Mechanics

A daemon is a muse with a cyberware upgrade [Moderate] giving it direct access to the brain.

A daemon gains +5 to all skills. There may be other benefits at the GM's discretion.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

213. Mute

Mute, also called "babble" or "cat", is a nanodrug that induces a total aphasia, with a temporary but complete loss of any ability to speak, write, or understand language in any way. Artists often use mute as way of unhooking themselves from the cognitive bias that can come with language, others as part of a cocktail designed to focus them into an intuitive, visual state. Some scientists have also experimented with mute as a means of approaching the pure logic of a situation, but with minimal proven results.

Mechanics

Mute is a nanodrug [Trivial]

Type: Nano Application: INJ Duration: 3 hours Addiction Modifier: +10 Addiction Type: Mental