Saturday, February 21, 2015

52. Gut Macrofauna

Marie-Smith Nguyen's debut at the Elysium Gallery of Living Art revived one of the stranger dreams of some small corners of bio-hacker society. Her piece was a carefully crafted papier-mâché pregnancy belly, open at the belly button, and filled with a hive of honeybees. Disaster struck when she tripped, shattered the hive, and the gallery was suddenly filled with angry bees. This gave some strange people strange ideas.

Every so often, a bio-hacker floats the idea, seriously or tongue-in-cheek, of going whole-hog with symbiosis, and engineering symbiotes that would put human bodies on the path towards becoming ecosystems. After the Elysium debacle, enthusiasm peaked as bio-engineers considered the possible benefits of playing host to a hive of eusocial insects. They would defend the body as their home, and pay rent in honey!

The only practical results from this brief craze is a biomod creating a thick skin pocket suited for a wasp nest. The wasps are engineered not to attack anything smelling like their host, but will otherwise defend their home with their usual vigor. Footage of their effects during an attempted mugging has gone viral, but the mod is illegal or discouraged on most habitats.


Any time the host is attacked and suffers damage equal to one wound, everyone in the immediate area is attacked by wasps. Treat as bees and gardener wasps from Panopticon.

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