Saturday, October 31, 2015

305. Crash

The obsession of many racers, gamers, griefers and pyromaniacs, Crash is an unreal world designed for impossible stunts, sports and spectacles.

The physics of Crash are essentially realistic, but adjusted. Explosions are easily caused and overly dramatic, everything is brighter, colors are over-saturated, and everything is capable of going faster and jumping farther than would actually be possible, and there are many other tweaks.

Crash has official systems to support races, duels, and battles, as well as many vehicle and/or weapon based sports, such as truck-rugby, sniper-chess and mortar-tag. A majority of the activity, however,  has always been unstructured. Players are fond of exploring, arranging elaborate pranks, creating and then destroying grand pieces of architecture, and playing their own improvised games.

Friday, October 30, 2015

304. Timey-Wimey

Timey-Wimey is a chemical drug designed to interfere with a users sense of time. While on the drug, users have no direct sense of time passing, and can only guess based on external cues. For this reason, they can easily find themselves entranced by any rhythmic, looping patterns, often stopping to stare until the drug runs its course.

There have been experiments using the drug as a short-term version of deja-vu, but without success, as the drug destroys the focus of its users.

Mechanics

Timey-Wimey is a chemical drug [Low]

Type: Chem Application: O Duration: 6 hours Addiction Modifier: - Addiction Type: Mental

Thursday, October 29, 2015

303. Boomfruit

At some point in time, someone attempted to grow explosive fruit. Perhaps they imagined an orchard of grenades, tuber minefield, or simply a cheap source of explosives. The remnants of the project, and its greatest apparent success are the boomfruit.

Boomfruit are not very dangerous, and it would take real creativity to kill someone with one. They are essentially large tomatoes designed to produce nitroglycerin in addition to its normal juices. A typical boomfruit contains just enough to pop dramatically on any hard impact. They are popular at protests, concerts, and public appearances, but most security will have been specifically trained to look out for them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

302. Exile

Transhumanity may seem spoiled for choice when it comes to criminal justice, with the innovations such as psychosurgery, minders, and freemen, but ethics and politics complicates most situations.

Psychosurgery can alter many of the traits that lead to criminal behavior, and while many justice systems allow for voluntary treatment as a form of rehabilitation, involuntary editing is an intense taboo. Post-singularity technology makes secure physical imprisonment difficult, and on most habitats it is seen as a waste of resources anyway. Egos could be paused and stored as a form of imprisonment, but this seems like dodging the issue by palming off to an unknown future.

The most used forms of punishment are restitution requirements for resleeving and/or material damage, and exile. Societies that use this option don't make many friends, however, and so some of the groups fond of that option have created Exile.

Exile is a simulspace server in an isolated main-belt orbit. Those whose societies no longer want them, and would otherwise have only debt, imprisonment, or editing to choose from, can volunteer to be uploaded there in lieu of other punishments. Each prisoner is given a portion of Exile's processing cycles and loaded into a simulspace under their sole control, sufficient for satisfying realism. Prisoners can link their simulations to socialize, try create their perfect life, or request therapy and/or psychosurgery for rehabilitation and eventual release.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

301. Peace is Everyone's Responsibility

Peace is Everyone's Responsibility is one of the Planetary Consortium's largest charities, known for the large amounts of funding it receives from the hyperelite. It focuses on social influence and control with the goal of maintaining the status quo under the guise of peace-keeping.

The bulk of the organizations efforts are focused on memetic engineering. The value of stability and order are emphasized, as are the risks of change and social progress. Problems among the autonomists are stressed, and problems among the Consortium downplayed.

One of their most successful program has been their introduction of sousveillance. Of course the hyperelite are not actually in favor of sousveillance; the program encourages citizens to inform on each other. This has been source of friction with the Planetary Consortium, who do not like busybodies "helping" local law enforcement.

Plot Hook: Occasionally the charity takes direct action. The PCs are hired to infiltrate an anarchist sympathy group and wipe their files.

Monday, October 26, 2015

300. Planetary Convention

Immortality and compound interest are a powerful combination. Wealth and power has always beget wealth and power, and immortality allowed a select few to take advantage of this process as never before. This was the birth of the hyperelite, those whose wealth represented a significant fraction of the global economy, and seemed to own a part of every business and political body.

The Fall shattered this system just as it did to everything else, yet the hyperelite were not destroyed. Many of the hyperelite were already on Luna or Mars, where they could live as they liked, removed from Earth's laws, traditions, and taxes. Those on Earth were able to evacuate as they pleased, buying spaceports and farcasting facilities if necessary. The only hyperelite who died on Earth were those who were simply too stubborn to consider leaving.

Earth and all its institutions were dead. The hyperelite lost less than most, but their position was threatened. They had, however, funded or owned much of the colonization projects of Luna and Mars, giving them easy access to power in those places. In the traumatized post-Fall atmosphere gaining influence was not difficult, although many hyperelite still shied away from positions of formal power. As the situation stabilized, a number of conversations occurred that would lead to the creation of the Convention.

The Convention is not a government, but a treaty, establishing an economic zone of free trade, expansive property rights, and strict intellectual property laws, as well as a system of courts to adjudicate on matters falling under the treaty. The Convention courts have the authority to overrule local governments that contradict the treaty, although that has not actually happened, as hyperelite backers

Hyperelite control over Convention members is strong, but obscured. Power is exercised mostly through ownership of great conglomerate companies, who in total own or have some part in every substantial piece of economic activity. Make no mistake, however, their political power is secondary but still substantial.

Notes: The Planetary Convention is an alternative to the Planetary Consortium, replacing the hypercorps with ancient hyperelite gerentocrats.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

299. Predator Trance

An offshoot of preliminary research into the uplifting of cats, a predator trance is the induction of a focused, high empathy, low sympathy state. While under a trance, users can study potential targets with virtually endless patience, building an understanding of their patterns of behavior and thought. This focus and study gives a small but significant edge in altercations. Users become disconcerting during the trance, not bothering to hide their intent from anyone other than their target.

The effectiveness of a trance depends partially on how similar the target is to the user. The more similar the target, the more accurate a mental model can be built. As a general rule humans, human-like AGIs and neo-hominids are compatible, but neo-avians, octopuses and neo-cetaceans are compatible only with others of the same kind.

Mechanics

A predator node is bioware [High]

When activated, a predator trance eliminates negative situational modifiers from distraction, increases kinesics against studied targets by +10, and attacks against studied targets by +10.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

298. Super-Brains

Fear of their potential power has pushed seed AI development along unusual lines. No one can ever be sure that their clever inhibitors and blocks will not be overcome by a burgeoning transcendent mind. Limitations must be as inherent and fundamental to its nature as possible to be trusted. For this reason a great deal of work is done trying to develop the most intransigently inefficient systems possible.

One of the old standbys, neglected before the Fall but being more thoroughly, if still cautiously, explored, is biological super-brains. Compared to the digital, biology has a host of disadvantages when it comes to hosting a mind. It requires more space per functional unit, has a slower signal, and even needs food. Even with nanomedicine, the volume of brain matter that can be sustained is not much larger than a human body.

As the size of any brain increases, the time required for a signal to go from one end to another also increases, limiting its integration with itself. Depending on the brain's structure, this results in either a typical conscious mind with greatly expanded subconscious functions, or a loose gestalt, with smooth gradients between consciousnesses.

The only current living example of a super-brain of brain is Jerry, located in a special bunker on Luna. Jerry is one of the first kind, an essentially human mind with an immensely powerful subconscious. Despite being human-like, Jerry lives a necessarily unusual life. He spends the majority of his time asleep, when the signal delays between sections of his brain seem to be less important, and he can mull over questions posed to him when awake. In his waking hours he spends most of his time browsing the mesh, watching all forms of entertainment and eschewing intellectual pursuits.

Plot Hook: Jerry's handlers are pleased at his lack of ambition and use in giving reasonable answers to odd questions, but the project is considered a minor failure nonetheless. To make up for budget shortfalls, they have begun hiring out his dreaming to the highest bidder. PCs can pay for Jerry to give an answer to any question, although they may not understand his answer.

Friday, October 23, 2015

297. Cloisters

Cloisters are engineered plants, designed to filter airborne material and store them in tubers. The tubers can then be dug up and fed to fabricators as feedstock. Most of the plants are engineered from legumes, with different types of symbiotic bacteria made to sequester different chemicals.

These days there are many varieties of nanotech systems that can do their job better, but the plants can still be found in the Jovian Republic and wherever someone decides that an ornamental plant might as well do something useful.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

296. Bad Can

Shortstop was a classic O'Neill Cylinder set in a long cycling orbit between Earth and Mars. The permanent population was less than 10% of residents, with the majority at any given time using the station as a long but comfortable means of travel between the two planets. The station was halfway on its way to Earth during the Fall, after which nothing has been heard from it and no one has returned from it.

Plot Hook: Density-scans of the station reveal that while synthetic items are virtually pristine, biomass has been converted into a heterogeneous tissue evenly coating the interior. The leading hypothesis is that a crèche infestation converted all biological life, very possibly dating back to the Fall. Firewall will need a team to investigate, as well as retrieve information from intact systems.

Plot Hook: Shortstop's population was annihilated by a TITAN nanoplague that devours transhuman brains and cyberbrains, a plague that still waits within. Without a transhuman presence the gardens and pets have taken over, creating a new ecology of smart animals and modified plants. The orbit of the station is degrading and it will soon fall to Mars. The Planetary Consortium will reward handsomely anyone who can avert this.

Plot Hook: A massive hole was blown in one of the windows and the station's atmosphere was lost within seconds. Most of the station is preserved, including automated defenses. Even the plants remain, desiccated and leafless but with stems, trunks, and branches retaining their forms. A Fall war criminal has hidden himself here,  a large bounty will be awarded to whomever can kill or capture him.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

295. EXS Dr. Tannhauser-Shen of Crete

The EXS Dr. Tannhauser-Shen of Crete is a spacecraft with no captain or crew. Custom built for one owner-operator, the craft is a morph as much as a ship. It is occupied by Dr. Tannhauser-Shen, the AGI resulting from the experimental merge of professors Tannhauser and Shen. The two have since had a falling-out, with Tannhauser remaining on Mars and Shen emigrating to Titan. Tannhauser-Shen was built for the ship, and the ship for Tannhauser-Shen, and the two have been one and the same since their union.

Registered out of Extropia, EXS Dr. Tannhauser-Shen of Crete is constantly on the move, taking on jobs requiring fast couriers and doing some smuggling on the side. Tannhauser-Shen will take almost any job for sufficient compensation, or if the job provides a smuggling opportunity. Firewall has occasionally made use of its services, as while it is not a member, its discretion and speed are unmatched.

Even now, a not only automated but inhabited ship can be off-putting for some passengers, so Tannhasuer-Shen has made it a habit to talk to itself, describing what it is doing so passengers feel up-to-date and are not surprised by any maintenance armatures. Otherwise, it is reclusive, communicating with most of the rest of transhumanity only through negotiations and contracts.

"of Crete" does not mean anything as far as anyone can tell. It is probable that Tannhauser-Shen gave itself that name for added gravitas.

Mechanics

Morph: *

Motivations: 

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

Active Skills: Flight 45, Free Fall 40, Hardware: Aerospace 50, Hardware: Electronics 60, Hardware: Robotics 75, Infosec 60, Interfacing 80, Kinesics 45, Networking: Autonomists 55, Networking: Hypercorps 55, Persuasion 63, Pilot: Spacecraft 75, Programming 65, Research 50

Knowledge Skills: Academics: Astrophysics 60, Academics: Economics 60, Art: Architecture 40, Interest: Black Markets 50, Interest; Cutting-Edge Technology 60, Language: English (native) 80, Profession: Asteroid Prospecting 50, Profession: Smuggling 65, Profession: Spacecraft Systems 60

Reputation: @-rep 50

Implants: *

*EXS Dr. Tannhasuer-Shen of Crete embodies a ship, not a morph. Ships do not have stats, so some are missing and others, such as physical attributes, are given only for the purpose of resleeving.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

294. Moochers

Throughout the system, in both the old and new economies, mooching is one of the most frightening crimes that can occur. Moochers are parasites, implanting themselves into people's lives for as long as possible to and feeding on their resources, and most terrible of all is you can't ever be sure when its happening.

There are two methods. By far the most common is to take the place of someone who actually exists, usually a reasonably distant relative. The usual method is to create a predictive profile, use that as the basis for psychosurgery turning yourself into a reasonable imitator, and either discretely assassinate them or arrange for them to be out of contact, then step into their place.

The much more difficult method is to create a relation out of whole cloth. This requires creating a fake identity and supporting evidence such as social networking, and psychosurgically implanting the appropriate memories into the target and usually many others. Creation of an identity capable of fooling someone while maintaining a false relationship is a very difficult piece of forgery. No public proof exists of this having ever been done, but rumors abound that such and such person is completely fake, created by Anarchist/Consortium/Jovian agents.

The extent to which these crimes actually exist is debatable. Their very nature means it is difficult to determine when one is occurring, and often when one has occurred. There have been only eleven proven cases, none of which lasted longer than two weeks. The social networked, sousveillance societies of modern transhumanity make it a virtually impossible crime in most places.

Plot Hook: One of the PCs has an old friend. At least, they have memories of them being a friend, videos, photographs, chat logs and mutual friends, but what does that prove, really?

Monday, October 19, 2015

293. Designer Qualia

Research into sensation never fails to draw funding from the entertainment and casual transhuman hedonism industries, so it is perhaps surprising that the field's holy grail, full manipulation, took so long to achieve. The necessary psychosurgical techniques have proved almost as difficult to perform as they were to develop. Combined with high demand, price for These procedures runs high.

The most common tweaks are based around pain and pleasure. Soldiers often choose to have their sense of pain minimized, maintaining it for safety but at a merely uncomfortable level. Hedonists experiment by swapping feelings between stimuli, or experiencing the formally unpleasant as pleasurable.

Mechanics

Designer qualia are installed as a psychosurgical procedure [High].

Timeframe: 1 week
PM: -10
SV: 1d10/2

Designer qualia can have many in-game effects, such as granting either level of the High Pain Tolerance trait.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

292. Asshole Geese

Geese have been used as watchdogs throughout history, being both territorial and loud. Asshole geese are genetically engineered to excel in this role. They are smaller than their natural forebears, yet  louder. They cannot be hacked, seem to have no fear, and are never expected.

Their biggest problem is their inability to discriminate between threats, trespassers and distractions. A great deal of research into the minds of geese has been done trying to solve this problem, but only minor improvements have been possible. An asshole goose will begin hissing at and attacking anyone it doesn't recognize, as well as any other animals, uplifts, synths and robots.

It is common for bold colors to be engineered into their plumage, most often often blue and red in addition to the more natural black or white.

Mechanics

Asshole geese are smart animals [Low]

COG COO 20 INT 15 REF 20 SAV SOM 10 WIL 10 
INIT 7 SPD DUR 15 WT 3 DR 23 LUC 23 TT IR 40

Skills: Freerunning 50, Fray 30, Infiltration 30, Perception 60, Unarmed Combat 30
Enhancements: Enhanced Vision, Enhanced Hearing
Movement Rate: 4/40

Saturday, October 17, 2015

291. Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine! is a consumer brand of designer amphetamine. The drug locks the brain into a state of awake alertness, with a small secondary effect of easy focus. The drug has been carefully designed and has no negative side-effects, but sustained use will inevitably disrupt sleep patterns. The length of time spent awake can be lengthened by taking doses in sequence, but the mental effects of sleep deprivation will begin to appear even if the user does not feel tired, up to and including dream-like hallucinations.

Operating heavy equipment while on Rise and Shine! is discourage as users usually fall asleep within seconds of the drug wearing off.

Mechanics

Rise and Shine! is a chemical drug [Trivial]

Type: Chem Application: O Duration: (72 - SOM) hours Addiction Modifier: +10 Addiction Type: Mental

Friday, October 16, 2015

290. Pulse Gun

The gun produces a brief but intense broad-spectrum electromagnetic pulse, powerful enough even to cause burns on flesh in addition to the usual electronic havoc. Very little transhuman tech is actually vulnerable to EMPs, but radio signals and nanobots are inherently open to these attacks. The pulse is focused into a tight 10° arc in front of the weapon, with the power of the pulse falling off according to the inverse-square law. 

Pulse guns are banned in many habitats due to their special capacity for indiscriminate destruction of people and equipment. They also have an unfortunate tendency to burn themselves out with their own pulse.

Mechanics

Pulse guns are wielded with the Spray Weapons skill.

Pulse Gun [HighDV:  * Average: * AP: * Firing Modes: SS Ammo: 1
Ranges: Short 0 - 10 Medium 11 - 30 Long 31 - 70 Extreme 71 - 150

*Effect depends on range. At extreme ranges the pulse disrupts radio signals. At long ranges the pulse also does 2d10 + 5 damage against nanoswarms, and inflicts a -10 modifier to all tests. At medium ranges it acts as a microwave agonizer. At short ranges it acts as a microwave agonizer set to roast.

On a critical failure, the pulse gun has burned itself out.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

289. Architect Ants

An experiment in emergent behavior and programming, designed to autonomously create cave-complexes suited for transhuman life, architect ants were the brainchild of precocious roboticist Gi Young. During the Fall Young was killed, his startup company dispersed, and control of the ants lost.

Since the Fall the ants have been doing what they were made to do; tunneling out organic cavern systems suitable for transhuman habitation. The ants are no longer produced and cannot produce more of themselves, but were designed to be virtually indestructible and energy efficient.

The ants do not create from pre-made plans, but, just like real ants, from a simple set of rules resulting in the construction of cave systems.The largest complexes exist within the TITAN Quarantine Zone, although many can still be found near the borders. There are also a few complexes, fully inhabited, on Luna. These complexes consist of smoothly curved, circular tunnels interspersed with hemispherical domes of various sizes.

The ants themselves are one meter long, with an ant-like body, tool-mandibles, colored yellow and black.

Mechanics

Architect ants can be treated as walking automechs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

287. Collectors

Collectors look like skeletal synthmorphs, with no casing and minimal structural support. They are usually draped in a string of captured cyberbrains, always on the verge of overheating as they engage in feverish thought.

Collectors connect themselves to collected cyberbrains for an unknown purpose. Each new cyberbrain will be connected to the last, forming a string. An accomplished collector may have built a string of dozens of cyberbrains. It will wrap them around its neck like a necklace, then around the torso until reaching the waist, at which point any that remain will trail behind it. It is difficult to shoot a collector without hitting a captured brain.

Captured cyberbrains can be recovered but the egos are inevitable significantly traumatized. Their memories of their time connected are vague at best: most only retain a sense of intense concentration and rapid streams of thought.

Collectors are utterly incapable in melee, but can use any ranged weapon they find. Because collectors collect cyberbrains, they interested only in synths and pods. They will avoid biomorphs when possible.

Mechanics

COG 30 COO 15 INT 15 REF 20 SAV 10 SOM 10 WIL 30
INIT 7 SPD 2 DUR 30 WT 6 DR 60 LUC 60 TT 12 IR 120

Skills: Beam Weapons 50, Fray 30, Infiltration 30, Infosec 60, Kinetic Weapons 50, Perception 50, Psychosurgery 60, Seeker Weapons 50, Spray Weapons 50
Enhancements: 360° Vision, Enhanced Perception, Reflex Boosters, Mental Speed
Movement Rate: 4/40
Armor: 8/8

Captured egos take 1d10x2 SV, and may become asynchs at the GM's discretion.

Plot Hook: A collector was recently taken down on Mercury, and one of its victims appears to have retained the contents of some of its thoughts. Unfortunately he is deeply traumatized, mentally unstable, and has been snatched up by Ozma. Firewall would prefer if he were in their custody.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

286. The Society for the Prevention of Childhood

The Society for the Prevention of Childhood is exactly what it says it is. A loose network of people who have come to the conclusion that reproduction via children (as opposed to forking, AGIs, or other transhuman options) is unethical, immoral, impractical, or otherwise inadvisable. Although they have a cause in common, their reasoning is not always the same.

The Lost generation sits in the backs of everyone's minds, and some learn a more extreme lesson from that failure than others. One of the most common views is that reproduction is irresponsible and unethical during the infugee crisis. There are still tens of millions without bodies; choosing to have physical children is taking biomass and exowomb time from them, and the only other options is to follow in the footsteps of the Lost. As much as one might want a child, the needs of the extant outweigh the needs of the potential.

Another view is that the combination of children with transhuman tech is too dangerous. Some, especially older, established individuals, worry about the precociousness problem. Children engineered, raised, educated and well accustomed to post-singularity technology will likely surpass their parents, forming a generational singularity.

For a few members, childhood is itself bad. To them, childhood is inevitably a traumatizing experience and many people will spend decades learning to become healthy adults. This view is usually held by people who have themselves had traumatic childhoods, often related to the Fall.

Neoprimitive members argue that humans are not adapted to the future, and children doubly so. Similar to the view that childhood is traumatic, and opposite from the view that our children will surpass and supplant us, some neoprimitives believe that childbirth is the cruel thrusting of a being into a hopelessly alien world. Neoprimitives are rare, and this view is rare among them, so only a few are members.

Monday, October 12, 2015

285. Shrikes

Shrikes were a small bird on Earth, now extinct. They were notable for their practice of impaling prey on thorns so they can be easily torn apart. That is why, despite the fact that it looks nothing like a bird, these exsurgents have that name.

Shrikes don't look like predators. Loose, flabby skin hangs from thin limbs and a distended torso. They are almost pathetically weak, unable to kill their prey on their own. Their method of hunting is to attack from ambush, spraying solitary biomorphs with their sticky, glue-like spit. Once their prey is immobile, they take the opportunity to take bites from the still-living victim. If disturbed, they will flee, but if left undisturbed victims can live for days while being eaten one bite at a time.

Mechanics

COG 5 COO 15 INT 15 REF 15 SAV 5 SOM 5 WIL 10
INIT 6 SPD 1 DUR 30 WT 6 DR 60 LUC 20 TT 4 IR 40

Skills: Climbing 30, Exotic Ranged Weapon [Glue Spit*] 50, Fray 30, Infiltration 50, Perception 30
Enhancements: Bioweave (Heavy)
Movement Rate: 4/20
Attack: Glue Spit*
Armor: 3/4

*As a freezer.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

284. Cybernetic Jewelry

Mesh inserts offer unparalleled convenience and immediacy, but even significant advantages in those areas don't always seem worth it when neurosurgery is required. Their function can be replicated with worn accessories: ectos replicate their most important functions, and can be combined glasses and earbuds for AR, and medical monitor bracelets. Among bioconservatives who forgo even implants, it has become fashionable to disguise these items as jewelry. Biomonitors often take the form of necklaces, arm-bands or bracelets. Earbuds can be built into earrings or ear cuffs. Glasses are fashionable despite everyone's perfect eyesight, and contact lenses with unusual colors and patterns are also popular.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

283. Wisps

Unearthly, glowing forms float smoothly through the walls of the station. Everyone present sees them, yet they never appear on images or footage watched after-the-fact. Their drifting is almost random, but they draw closer and closer to brains and cyberbrains. If allowed to come close enough, they will fly into a head and curl up inside.

Wisps seem to exists only in the minds of those who perceive them, suggesting a hallucination, yet ghosts is consistent between multiple viewers, suggesting some degree of reality. The exact nature of ghosts has proven difficult to pin down. The leading hypothesis is that they are a form of memetic virus or asynch mind-attack, but the examination of victims has been unable to find any of the usual traces of aggressive memetics. The other hypothesis is that they represent some new form matter, but this has been impossible to substantiate.

Every wisp is unique in appearance. Generally, however, they resemble the translucent, glowing skeletons or exoskeletons of alien beings.

Mechanics

Wisps do not interact with matter, and can pass at will through any barrier. Their slow speed and roundabout movement pattern means they approach characters with an effective speed of 1/10.

If a wisp enters a characters head they suffer no apparent ill effects, but the wisp "marks" them for exsurgents. Exsurgents will not attack that character unless attacked first, but will attempt to infect them with their strain of the virus.

Friday, October 9, 2015

282. Cyclopes

Early in the late stages of the Fall, the cyclopes was the foot soldiers of the TITANs. The cyclopes were the closest thing the TITANs fielded to a conventional army, using our abandoned and captured military equipment against us.

Cyclopes get their name from the large wide-angle lens that serves as their face, but they are otherwise human in shape and size. Having been made to mimic the human form allowed them to navigate human environments, use human weapons, and drive human vehicles. Cyclopes drove armored vehicles, wore human exosuits, and even piloted aircraft.

Cyclopes can still be found patrolling the TQZ. They rarely have the chance to capture military equipment, but can often be found using the gear of zone stalkers, acting as small squads.

Mechanics

Cyclops are robots [-]

Movement Rate: 4/20 Max Velocity: 20 Armor: 14/12 Durability: 40 Wound Threshold: 8 Mobility System: Walker
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Enhanced Vision, Light Combat Armor

A cyclops AI typically has the following skills: Beam Weapons 50, Fray 50, Infiltration 30, Infosec 40, Kinetic Weapons 50, Perception 50, Pilot (All) 40, Seeker Weapons 50, Spray Weapons 50, Unarmed Combat 50

Thursday, October 8, 2015

281. Catopia

Catopia is a popular simulspace in which users become cats in a suburban old-Earth landscape. There is no given goal, system of points, or even verbal or text-based ways to communicate with other players. Users often play hide and seek, tag, attempt new kinds of acrobatics, or explore as they please.

The setting is a series of small towns and villages in rural locations that could have existed almost anywhere on Earth. The presence of humans is implied by the distant sounds of vehicles, music playing from open windows, and the sounds of conversation from closed interiors, but none are actually present and the land belongs to the cats.

Variants using dogs, birds, rodents, monkeys and even spiders exist, but have not gained the viral popularity of Catopia.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

280. Remnant Gardens

Transhumanity has little in the way of funerals. The death of a body is no longer the death of a person, and usually dead morphs are broken down and recycled. A certain fascination with death and corpses remains in the psyche, however, which usually finds its way to the surface as art.

Remnant gardens are grown on and from a body. Each piece consists of its own specially engineered organisms, but generally use fungi, lichen, mosses, and minute insects. The pose of the corpse, the color and structure of the flora and the activity of the fauna are all crafted to achieve a deliberate effect, whether of false life, slow trophic collapse, or colorful patterns. Typically the they slowly decay inside clear containers shaped like coffins or sarcophogi.

Famous pieces include Oasis: a female Splicer standing, arms crossed, in a clear sarcophagus, with fungus growing outwards in red balconies and a colony of miniaturized ants inhabiting the skull, as well as Sons and Daughters: a collection of neotenics in fetal positions slowly decomposing into moss covered hillocks under a transparent floor.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

279. Forget-Me-Nots

"Forget-me-not" is perhaps the worst thing they could have been named, for the opposite is true. Something about forget-me-nots refuses to stick in the mind. While one is standing in front of you, it will remain in your mind. Once it disappears, not just its appearance but its very existence can be remember only through conscious will. Nothing about them will be maintained by short or long term memory. Physically they are human, but with too-long limbs, emaciated builds and large, pale eyes.

Forget-me-nots suually avoid conflict, running from any confrontation, hiding, and waiting for their pursuers to forget and give up. They act as saboteurs, using corrosive spit to destroy equipment. Even if cornered they will not fight back, and have been known to break their own bones in attempts to crawl away through small holes. When killed they explode with corrosive juice, equivalent to a mini splash grenade filled with scrappers gel.

Forget-me-nots do not effect all types of minds equally. Humans and neo-hominids are effected fully. Neo-avians are partially effected, with forget-me-nots being rejected by long-term but not short-term memory. Neo-octopuses are not effected. AGIs are effected according to how closely modeled on humans they are. An eidetic memory is still effected. Recordings and mnemonic augmentations can successfully capture images of them, but those images have the same forgetfulness effect as the creature.

Mechanics

COG 10 COO 20 INT 10 REF 20 SAV 10 SOM 5 WIL 20
INIT 6 SPD 2 DUR 30 WT 6 DR 60 LUC 40 TT 8 IR 80

Skills: Climbing 30, Fray 30, Freerunning 50, Infiltration 50, Perception 30
Enhancements: Bioweave (Heavy), Neurachem (Level 1, Grip Pads
Movement Rate: 4/30
Armor: 3/4

Once a character is no longer in direct contact with a forget-me-not, they must make a successful WILx3 check once per round to remember it. Neo-avians make this check once per minute.

Upon death, forget-me-nots explode with corrosive juice, equivalent to a mini splash grenade filled with scrappers gel

Monday, October 5, 2015

278. Ablative Beetles

Plate beetles (actually engineered primarily from ticks) are large saucer-shaped arachnids with massive carapaces and very little else. They are limbless and immobile, consisting of a hypostome for sucking blood and a pocket of tissue feeding on that blood and maintaining their exoskeleton, which makes up over 90% of their mass. Placed on bare skin, a plate beetle will anchor itself (usually with the aid of non-toxic glue) and begin sucking blood. Attached, the beetles act as a form of ablative plate, absorbing damage.

Mechanics

Plate beetles are armor [Low]

They provide 6/6 armor, reduced by 1/1 for each hit.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

277. Mementos

The continuity of a morph from ego to ego can be an awkward subject. Most people try not to think about the fact that their body was part of other people's lives, and morph brokers generally try to return their product to a "neutral" status. Nanotats can be reset, the minor and even major injuries of life can be healed without scars, and distinctive features can be altered.

Others embrace the fact that they are neither the first nor last inhabitant of a body. They become fascinated by its past, and like to be able to display a sense of its history. Often they will leave mementos for each other: distinctive accessories, tattoo or scar designs, psychosurgeried habits, or other small items that tell the story of the morph.

Plot Hook: When one of the PCs resleeves, the new morph comes with a set of mementos in a public storage locker. In addition to a necklace of polished teeth, a antique bullet casing, patterns for a gunshot scar, and an old hat, the locker contains an item of importance to the character. It seems they may have been sleeved into this morph once before, but they have no memory of it.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

276. Contingency Simulations

Transhumanity's understanding of humanity is virtually complete. From cells to societies, every aspect has its model. No single person can contain all of this knowledge at once, but the information is there for reference. Of course, transhumanity itself, by its nature, is in rapid flux, and a complete self-understanding is forever just over the horizon.

Most of this knowledge is directly useful, forming the foundations of transhuman tech from medichines to psychosurgery. One of the less practical but more popular areas of this research is in alternate-histories and counterfactuals, simulating Earth at points in history, making changes, and seeing what differs.

Of course, simulating the entire Earth with inhabitants even remotely approaching sentience is beyond the greatest of transhumanity's supercomputers. Adding to the problem, contingency simulations are typically run at accelerations of x10 or more. The simulations are therefore fundamentally statistical, populations existing only as elements of its economic and sociological models.

Contingency simulations receive grants for everything from sociological research, historical research, as well as refinement of models and simulations, but most of their funding is donated by individuals, who use the simulations for entertainment, inspiration, or just something interesting to learn about. Some of the more interesting alternative histories have also been licensed for entertainment, such as the Shattered Continents series of wargames based around worst-case scenarios, or High Impact Capitalism! competitive economic game based on a world without Karl Marx.

Friday, October 2, 2015

275. Carnifruit

Sunrise is home to the planimals, a form of life similar to both the plants and animals of Earth. Planimals are mobile, although slow, and some species (carniflora) have evolved to take on the role of herbivore-predators. A few species, instead of hunting, catch their prey with traps, much like the carnivorous plants of Earth. They also grow fruit, not for seed dispersal, but as bait. Having evolved to tempt even prey aware of the trap, "carnifruit", with a little engineering for human tastebuds and biochemistry, are a fantastic addition to the transhuman pantry.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

274. Tom

Tom was born in Ohio, destined for an average middle-class life on Earth. His parents were traditional enough to forgo genefixing and backups. Although they were worried about what the effect of an AI companion could be on a young mind, utility of a muse could not be denied and so they purchased one for their son.

When he was 4 Tom and his family successfully evacuated Earth on the Kilimanjaro beanstalk, and after several months quarantine in orbit, used their remaining savings to buy passage on station cycling between Earth and Mars. During the second week of the trip, the cortical stacks of all onboard were devoured by a virulent nutcracker swarm and the engines were damaged. Without full acceleration the ship took 9 years to reach Mars, by which time Tom was 13 and had been alone for 8 years.

Tom survived first through luck, then through he advice of his muse, and finally through skill. The ship had been supplied for several hundred people, and there was more than enough feedstock for fabbers and makers for one boy. His muse taught him to do basic repairs, history, psychology and Cantonese. As he approaches Mars the ship's damaged communications equipment has come in range of strong mesh signals. Tom currently spends most of his time studying the rest of transhumanity, and is fascinated by celebrity gossip. He is debating whether to make contact or to hide.

Mechanics

Morph: Flat

Motivations: +Survival, +Education

COG 10 COO 15 INT 15 REF 15 SAV 10 SOM 10 WIL 20
MOX - INIT 6 SPD 2 LUC 40 TT 8 IR 80 DUR 30 WT 6 DR 45

Active Skills: Clubs 55, Fray 45, Hardware: Electronics 50, Infiltration 40, Palming 35, Perception 50, Research 40, Scrounging 63, Unarmed Combat 50

Knowledge Skills: Academics: History 40, Academics: Psychology 50, Art: Sculpture 55, Interest: Celebrity Gossip 40, Interest: History 50, Language: Cantonese 55, Language: English (native) 85, Profession: Scavenging 80