Tuesday, February 20, 2018

So, You've Just Been Resleeved

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Variations of this Article have been circulated by the Planetary Consortium since shortly after the Fall. All too often Sentinels forget about their basic procedures in a rush to get back in to the action, so it's good to refresh yourself on the basics. I've edited a lot of their political BS out of this version, and kept it to just the stuff you actually need to keep in mind, with some additional comments. -Yumiko Akiyama, Veteran Sentinel]

1. Remain calm and take it slow when you resleeve. Physical side-effects can include dizziness and lightheadedness, shakes or shivers, temporary loss of balance, exhaustion and poor fine control, which persist for a statistically average 24-48 hours. This acclimation period is perfectly normal, so remember to plan your sleeves accordingly. This effect is noted to be less if one uses a familiar Morph type, or a clone of a previous morph.

[Yumiko: This is actually good advice. If you're not lucky enough to be a person who has developed strong adaptability, you'll feel a little off your game for a day or two. Don't push too hard even if the case is hot, make sure your new body works first. I recommend finding a safehouse, getting the lay of the land, or making sure to reup any implants you need to kill the time until you adjust.]

2. You may experience mental or physical artifacts when resleeving. This is perfectly normal, and will pass in time. If you are unsure if your behavior is normal for you, or if you experience excessive amounts of memory, emotion or habitual artifacting, check with your Muse, or a resleeving technician for assistance and psychological analysis. Otherwise, remain calm and act as comes natural to you.

[Yumiko: Artifacts are the worst, usually. Sometimes you get an embedded skill, but almost every Sentinel has experienced a sudden bout of nicotine or caffeine addiction, or something harder. Pods are the shittiest, the underlying cyberbrain architecture can come on very strong. I've had bad experiences being all "oorah devil dog" in Security Pods, or worse in a Pleasure Pod. I recommend contacting The Eye for help first though, if you don't have a mind-doc in your team.]

3. Normally, your HUD will be turned off not to display date and time, and there are no reflective surfaces in the resleeving room, to prevent unwanted panic over continuity and identity. Take your time before examining yourself and checking the time. Your Muse is equipped with psychology software, and will let you know when you are ready to examine your new body and circumstances.

[Yumiko: Sentinels ignore this part a lot, we're busy. I kept it in mostly for contrast - don't rush back into action if you're coming off a violent resleeve, but familiarize yourself with your morph as soon as possible. Try not to be too obvious about it though, you might weird out the technicians in a public body bank or clinic - they're used to dealing with rich tourists, travelling corp-men and indentures cashing out their contracts most of the time.]

4. Take time to adjust to your new physical situation - this includes both any changes to height, weight and balance of your new morph, but also different conditions of gravity, atmospheric pressure and other environmental conditions. Proceed with caution when you get up from the ego bridge and begin moving around.

[Yumiko: I honestly think this should be higher up the list, but to the PC I guess it's more expensive and time consuming to have to fix your mental problems instead of a stubbed toe or bump on the head. Just stay relaxed like they say and get a feel for the new body and where you're operating. Understanding your physical capabilities and limitations can mean the difference between needing a new Morph]

5. If you have spent an extended period in a Virtual environment, be aware some sensations may be sharper or more defined in "real space". Please remember to consider your surroundings and local customs when refreshing yourself on "real" sensations.

[Yumiko: Not often a problem for Sentinels, even if they have been in VR or Infomorph states for a long period of time, but the last part stands all the time. As an operative, be familiar with the terrain, both physical and social, and account for it in your actions. Anything you do which is worth remarking might come up later if an opposing group tries to track you. But, if you're an AGI who hasn't tried a physical morph out before, this does apply. Keep it relaxed until you're in private]

6. Be aware, unless you have made a custom order, your Morph may have been previously used. Be cautious leaving yourself in Privacy Mode as people may see your face and think you are someone else. Depending on what your Morph was doing recently, and how long it has been in storage, you may feel the need to "catch up" on bodily functions preserved during stasis. Do not be alarmed if you feel a strong desire to sleep, eat, excrete or experience physical or emotional arousal.

[Yumiko: The face part is the most important here, especially if the organization is providing your bodies and doesn't give you full provenance. Given how we have to operate in secret, operating anonymously is not unknown. Cover your face if it's going to be a problem. Getting a quick meal or lay in right after resleeving can sometimes help you adjust, however. I edited out the lovely implication you can often pay for a new face right away in the shop - find somebody on the street who can do it cheaper.]

7. If your new body comes with additional implants, take your time to familiarize yourself with their features, to avoid accidents and make the most of your Morph.

[Yumiko: Again, damned good advice. Sentinels can go crazy ordering new 'ware for an OP, make sure you know how to use everything. As a freelancer before Firewall I knew some guys who accidentally hit themselves in the groin with an implant blade or hand laser because they forgot which muscle groups set them off. Enhanced Senses also can take some adjusting too. Again, edited out the bits where the Consortium tries to shill you on ordering new mods right away.]

8. Remember to be polite to the Resleeving technicians. They are here to help.

[Yumiko: Presented without comment.]

Sunday, January 14, 2018


A species which is found on Bromeliad, but probably not native to there. Their normal appearance is a semi-amorphous quadruped with blue-black skin about the size of a medium to small dog. They have no apparent eyes, but do have some photosensitivity in their skin, allowing them to "see", as well as sense Near IR (body heat) and their own Psi senses. The Psychovore name comes from their unusual "diet", which is to make physical contact with the brain or CNS and parasitize the neuroelectric and neurochemical energy there, killing the host. To assist in this, they are effectively boneless, with variable tension in their outer skin and internal fibers, making them fairly strong and fast moving. They can grip to surfaces and their "limbs" can sub-divide up to the nanoscale level like fractal digits - a capability beyond Transhuman biology. Their limbs can even stretch and flex, giving them some surprising reach. Other internal structures are flexible and adaptable. They self-repair quickly with healing organelles which are as efficient as medichines, and their internal composition is very variable - with "storage" organelles halfway between power plants and neurons. They are also resistant to vacuum and do not need to "breathe" for their metabolism. Combined with the fact that they reproduce asexually by fission after large meals, the complex internal structure, this all around hardiness means it is highly likely Psychovores are artificial creations - some kind of alien bioweapon. Initial studies indicate they may have been on Bromeliad for upwards of 100,000 years.
Behaviorally, Psychovores are solo or small pack hunters. Their skin is chameleonic, and they can climb fast and well, so they tend to hide out of line of sight and ambush, utilizing their Psi abilities to sense even through solid material. They can also fit through or in small spaces as needed. They have a pronounced range of senses. They tend to immediately go for wherever the brain is located with a pounce or drop, but if they don't have easy access, they can grapple or even use Psi Sleights to try and stun the target, both on contact and remotely. If threatened, they will try and provoke a fear response or "disappear from perception" of observers. Psychovores are hostile to drones and synthmorphs, destructively attacking them when spotted - possibly due to their inability to sense or attack them with Psi.
Initial examinations of their structure is that they're basically all "brain" equivalent, and digesting brains of others allows them to grow new neural tissue - which is also all their other tissues, and divide or grow in strength. While they are not actively sapient, they do have animal cunning and appear to be able to "learn" by consuming animals to know their behaviors. Given their chamelonic and adaptive abilities, this gives great concern if they should ever be able to consume a large number of Transhuman brains. What might they learn about hunting us?
Threat Level: Orange
Numbers: 1-4
COG 5 COO 20 INT 15 REF 20 SAV 5 SOM 15
WIL 20 INIT 7 SPD 2 DUR 25 WT 5 DR 38
Tendril: 1d10+1 DV, AP 0, Reach, Subdual
Fractal Stab: 1d10+4 DV, AP -8
Psychic Vampire: After making a successful Subdual attack, the Psychovore can spend a Complex Action to perform a Psychic Vampire attack, which is an opposed WILx3 test. If the Psychovore succeeds, it deals 1d10/2 DV which ignores normal armor (but not Psi Armor). It will latch on until the target is dead and they are removed and deal 1d10/2 DV this way each round. The target must have a biological brain.
Fray/Armor: 50, 2/3
Perception: 40
Move: 4/20 Walker
Skills: Climbing 40, Control 40, Infiltration 40, Sense 40, Psi Assault 40, Unarmed Combat 50
Ware: Chameleon Skin, Infrared Vision, Grip Pads, Fractal Digits, Medichines, Squishbot, Vacuum Sealing
Traits: Limber (2), Small Size, Psi (2)
Psi Sleights: Agony, Confusion, Drive Emotion, Ego Sense, Extend Range
Absorption: When the Psychovore successfully makes a Psychic Vampire attack, it heals a number of DV equal to half the DV it deals with each attack. If it kills a sentient creature it gains a +10 to COG, INT and WIL for 1d10 Hours or can divide to form 1d6/2 Psychovores.
Stress Test: 1d10/2 +3

[SIDEBAR: Psychovores Of Unusual Size]
Theoretical simulations based on examinations of their physical structure and preliminary survey reports indicate there may be larger Psychovores out there - some kind of mature stage when they fail to divide - or perhaps upon many divisions. These forms are more flexible, some may even be able to walk upright or have even more multipurpose limbs. When upgrading the Size Trait of a Psychovore increase all it's Attributes by 5 (and make sure to also increase derived stats and skills appropriately). If it is Medium Size, it has a DUR of 35, if it is Large size it has a DUR of 50. Psychovores of this larger size also begin displaying more complex behaviors as they absorb knowledge and skills from victims. They can add any skill (including Knowledge skills) they like when they kill a victim, and can also copy any of their Psi Sleights. They can mimic the form and shape of other things, akin to Skinflex/Shape Adjusting wares but do not normally gain the Disguise or Impersonate skills, so their ability to pretend to be something complex (like a Transhuman) is limited. Their physical forms can also mimic any Bio or Nanoware they consume, particularly sensory and mental augmentations. The more they consume, the smarter and more adaptable they get. At a GM's discrecion they may even being displaying Psi Epsilon abilities.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Type: Rocky Moon
Satellite Of: Bromeliad
Gravity: .15 g
Diameter: 3275 km
Atmospheric Pressure: N/A
Atmospheric Composition: N/A
Surface Temperature (Mean): -60 C
Day Length: N/A
Orbital Period: 36 Days
Gate Access: Martian Gate (vis Psyche Station)

Type: Terrestrial (Tundral)
Primary Star: M5V (Red Dwarf)
Gravity: .8 g
Diameter: 11313 km
Atmospheric Pressure: 1 atm
Atmospheric Composition: 65% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 6% CO2, 4% Hydrogen Sulfide, trace other gasses
Surface Temperature (Mean): -5 C (26 C in Volcanic Regions)
Day Length: 28.5 Hours
Orbital Period: 
Satellites: Harker
Gate Access: Martian Gate (vis Psyche Station)

The Harker/Bromeliad system is the classic example of "dirty little secret" exoplanets. It should be of intense interest to the public, and scientific data from it of utmost interest to all researchers - but it is incredibly unknown. The gate, now named "Psyche" for the station built around it, stood in the LaGrange point between Harker and Bromeliad. Harker is named after the Gatecrasher who explore the system first - and is a mostly unremarkable terrestrial moon, a rough analog for Luna. It has a decent amount of metallic and silicate elements which are drawn on for mining projects, and some water ice in frozen pockets which has been also utilized for settlers. It is not of major interest.
Bromeliad on the other hand, is quite interesting. A tundral terrestrial, slightly smaller than Earth with a slightly toxic atmosphere due to lots of volcanic activity - this geothermal heating is the only thing which keeps it remotely habitable on the far edges of its dim star's habitable zone. Most of it's surface is bare rock, or layers of water ice and other volatiles. But, large volcanic activity has cut through glacial zones in certain regions, in valleys, dormant or extinct craters, geothermal vents and hot springs and sinkholes. These regions, which give the exoplanet it's name, have a bearable (and hot even) temperature, enough humidity they have rain or mist and standing liquid water. And it is here that life has evolved on this planet.
Microbes flourish of course, both chemo and photosynthesising living in otherwise acidic or toxic pools, leeching elements from standing water or geysers, etc. While their biochemistry is slightly different, they do not lend any serious research opportunities to Transhumanity. Complex organisms do, and Bromeliad has them. Exoflora is decently diversified. Their structure and chemistry is sufficiently different from terrestrial plants most of them are indigestible to humans, but otherwise they're roughly analogous to Earth plants. Their chlorophyll analog is called "erythrophylla" because it is a majority reddish in color to our eyes, with slight tinges of orange. Many of them also process sulfur and other volcanic gas elements and secrete them to avoid toxicity, so they smell unpleasant and would be poisonous for even some of the local animals to eat. 
Initial surveys by probes launched from Harker or directly through the Gate did not indicate much interesting in the way of Exofauna. Almost all larger life on Bromeliad is semi- or fully amphibious. They exist in various pools and flows of water, or stalk overland from pool to pool, filtering microbes, eating the less toxic plants or even engaging in predatory behavior. They have a sophisticated DNA/RNA analog which makes them very resistant to diseases, parasites and carcinogens, and they have a slightly acidic biochemistry compared to Terrestrial life. Most of them are limbless or quadrupedal, or just have gripping forearms. While not considered aesthetically pleasing, they are similar enough looking to Earth animals for familiar names. Eelsnakes, Bromeliad Salamanders, Frog-monkeys, Craterskippers and Fanged Toads are examples of these identified species. Smaller life includes amphibious insect analogs, who pollinate or try and parasitize plant and animal life to survive. These can have between 4-8 limbs, and are exoskeletal, while the other macrofauna is endoskeletal - though they seem to be more like sharks with a cartilage-like substance providing most of their internal structure. 
This should make Bromeliad a prime place for colonization. With minimal mods or equipment, transhumans could visit to study the lifeforms, even see them like some kind of nature preserve or zoo. And the volcanic activity means there are valuable heavy metals in the crust to exploit, along with large volumes of water ice. And yet the Gate is mostly locked down, and there are no permanent settlements on the surface of Bromeliad. 
This is because of the other residents of Bromeliad. First discovered when a manned mission was sent to try and find a good place to set up an initial outpost by Pathfinder. Mission logs were heavily classified afterward, but if you know where to look, they can be found. The mission was wiped out to a man by an exofauna form now called "Psychovore". Pathfinder was ready to black out the address for a hostile alien life form, or possible TITAN activity, but this is where the Trinity Foundation stepped in. Officially, Trinity is a group dedicated fostering cooperation between Hypercorps in similar industries to promote the growth of the Planetary Consortium and it's Four-Point Plan. Their name is derived from their motto "Mind. Body. Soul.". But in reality, they are a shell company. Their majority stakeholders are all tied into Cognite, with the rest of their executive slots filled by people tied to corps like Ecologene, Skinaesthesia and NanoSys. 
Trinity vastly overpaid to buy exclusive rights to the Gate destination over Bromeliad, and used it to establish a largely unknown research base, Psyche Station.

Station Type: Cluster
Allegiance: Trinity Foundation (Hypercorps) 
Primary Languages: English, Cantonese, Russian
Population: 1,200
Psyche is the variable configuration cluster habitat built by Trinity around the Gate, thus located in the LaGrange point between Harker and Bromeliad. The station's primary purpose is research and development, though it has some business elements and quarters for visitors to scope out Bromeliad, though they are rarely used. Officially, Trinity Foundation uses it as space for it's "cooperating hypercorps" to launch joint research projects based on unique conditions of the Harker/Bromeliad system. Again, the reality is that it is a black box lab, connected to major hypercorps, who can perform exotic research away from prying eyes, under conditions of total control. While the labs and their projects are frequently modified and rotated, ultimately a lot of their research is based on the data of the Psychovore species.
What Trinity has been able to determine about the Psychovore is that they are a complex, amorphous or semi-amorphous species, with usually dark coloration. Their internal structure is more advanced and complex than most other species on Bromeliad, and due to their external appearance many think it is similar to the Factors. However, their internal components and behaviors are different enough to posit they are not directly related. Additionally, Psychovores do not appear highly intelligent or sapient. They are called "Psychovores" because of their unique form of gathering metabolic energy. The flowery way to put it is they "feed on consciousness", but the most accurate way is to say that Psychovores gather metabolic energy by lethally parasitizing the nervous system. They invade and "feast" on brains and CNS systems (or analogous) and absorb neuroelectric and neurochemical energy. More complex organisms with larger brains like Transhumans have more of this energy stored and thus are more nourishing, and a more desirable prey. While feeding on less-complex organisms is enough to sustain them for extended periods, eating large entities means that they can initiate rapid cellular analog division - this allows them either to grow in size and complexity or to reproduce via fission, adding anywhere from 1-4 new forms. This reproduction is aesexual completely, and akin to the growth of a virus or bacterium - mutation and adaptation seems to occur naturally in response to environmental pressures. The worst part of the Psychovore is that appears naturally Asynchronous - that is it possesses what we call "Psi" abilities, in addition to flexible and adaptive biochemistry. Small Psychovores can create a psychosomatic "shock" in the target at a touch, and generate some kind of psychic field which provokes fear responses in large sophonts. Larger forms show more exotic abilities, able to lure targets toward them, or cause them to ignore the Psychovore from their perception. This element seems to be what peaked Cognite's interest. 
Thus, Psyche is built to contain and study these entities.
Psyche, being a large cluster, has all the normal functions you might expect from a space habitat. Given that primary access is via the Gate, there is a large central sphere built around it, which serves as a primary customs access point, with round the clock security and support shifts to move cargo and people. This area is immediately connected to central spar which provides primary support to the station's structures. Along this spar first is the Administrative modules, which handle all command and control stations, and house primary nodes for station infrastructure to be managed. They also have central security offices. It has a permanent residence of about 1200, and this number can balloon as high as 1800 for specific project rotations. This of course means quarters and support for all these people - mostly in the form of habitat modules just beyond admin, connected directly to the gate via transport tubes, some of which are lightly spun for lunar-level gravity. However, some labs have overflow or extra habitat modules attached to them so researchers don't have to go far from their projects. As expected from a group mostly backed by Cognite, the decor is surprisingly detailed and even gaudy - a Neo-Victorian stretching to Art Nouveau style.  
Beyond this point, access is all controlled, which has made it very hard for Firewall to examine the labs closer. Most of this data is based on reports and schematics back in-system, not first hand HUMINT. Access to areas beyond the public ones are handled usually by some form of two-step authentication. Station employees carry physical token IDs or have nanotat IDs which are matched to Ego ID data recorded in the central hab servers. Tokens and Mesh IDs are rigorously tracked by internal security, and logged by various sub-networks. Access points are paired with the Ego ID authentication, which means only authorized personnel with their proper entry materials can enter a given section, which is primarily done to prevent people from accessing areas off-shift or when they have been reassigned, but they cannot be accessed by just stealing the right token access cards. Infomorphs utilize Digital ID codes instead, which are checked when logging into or transferring to certain devices. Coupled with many isolated or outright air-gapped internal networks makes Mesh access also limited. 
General purpose of sections is originally related to Psychovore phenomena, but this has branched out into several covert research operations under these strict security measures. This is similar to the function of the Aten station in the Solar Corona in-system, but there is no involvement with groups like Direct Action, and minimal interference from Oversight. Instead, internal security is handled by an in-house Security division, and primary oversight comes in the form of (well paid) Pathfinder reps. 
The central spar sections are primarily infrastructural. Hooked into and extended from main habitation modules is public services modules, with medical and resleeving facilities as well as psychological care stations. Past them is mostly a network of storage modules and inventory management. From here a lot of repair and reconfiguration ops are run. Opposite side of the spar from Admin and Habitation is the primary infrastructure sections. First is Life Support, with primary water-treatment and atmospheric and environmental control modules, though sub-modules are embedded in various strands of the cluster. Past this is the Power Plant and Resource Refinement modules. Primary power output is a DPF fusion reactor, which provides power via hardened transmission lines or wi-tricity transmitters. Backup power is provided to individual modules by large nuclear batteries or supplemental solar, though solar efficiency is weak due to the dim local star. Resource refinement combines waste management with mining and harvesting operations conducted by ALIs and teleoperation on Harker. Access to these modules is limited to technicians mostly. Both ends of the spars are capped off with shuttle and drone bays, where ops can be launched to Harker and Bromeliad directly.
Out from the spar are the lab clusters. Many of them are designed to be reconfigurable and expanded or contracted as needed. They can also be jettisoned or quarantined easily in case of some emergency. While the exact labs and projects can vary at any given time, there are a few major internal departments which almost never fully close. 
  • Exobiology is the largest and oldest - they directly study the Psychovores as well as other flora and fauna on Bromeliad. They make observations both on carefully contained "live samples" and surveys of the planet. They are also attempting to deeper understand their physical structure. Notable modules within this department include Genetics and Behavioral Analysis labs. There is also the "Paleontology" module, which is more like a Xenoarchaeology section - studying the history of Bromeliad to look for clues about the appearance of the Psychovores and the common theory that they are some kind of artificial bioweapon deployed by an earlier species. 
  • Parapsychology is the next oldest and largest, but by far the darkest lab. Almost nobody knows what goes on there, other than reports back to Cognite indicate that their primary purpose is to study Psi phenomena. Originally, it seems like their purpose was to study the effects of Psi on transhumans, as well as detect and interfere with psi and asynchronous brain-waves as per the Psychovores, but has since expanded. They now appear to conduct research on Transhuman Asyncs and their capabilities, as well as run complex simulations on the limits of psi phenomena exhibited by exsurgents and xenofauna. As the only known way for transhumans to develop async abilities is to be exposed to certain strains of the Exsurgent Virus, this is deeply troubling research. 
  • Neurogenetic Hardware Labs are a small, permanent and prestigious posting - which appears to be the open face of Parapsychology. Trinity promotes their work the hardest, which is mainly on development of morphs and cyberbrains to ever expand the transhuman limits. Covertly they also appear to be working on cultivating morph lines which are resistant to Psi. They have notable sub-divisions, an AI lab, a Forking lab and Psychosurgery lab. The AI lab seems to focus on standard AGI generation from neural maps or ALI generation from pruning to suit station needs and research tasks. Forking, however, is more dangerously experimenting with exotic fork-hives and merges into Transcendant forking. Psychosurgery works closely with Human Augmentation (see below) to perform skill grafting, scanning as well as developing new techniques and hardware tools. 
  • Human Augmentation is the most volatile division. While almost always up and running, it's various departments are constantly swapping, closing and reconfiguring modules. It is probably one of the most active departments on Psyche. Their three primary wings are Implants, Pharmaceuticals and Software. The Implant group is self-explanatory, working on new ware, primarily bio and nano based on other researches. Primarily cognitive and sensory enhancements, but they also have built some mods from exotic xeno-life samples. Software is primarily focused on skillsofts, particularly exotic skills or knowledge bases. While high quality, many of these are esoteric, projects which couldn't survive normal working conditions at places like Cognite or Experia. They also work on software plugins and upgrades for infomorphs. Pharmaceuticals is probably the largest consistently, working on nootropics and supplements derived from xenosamples. They also are notable for the development of various Psi Drugs. 
  • Remaining labs come and go as projects and funding run through them. Exotic Particle labs have opened and closed several times when they weren't cost-effective. The Planetary Science lab was opened at the same time as Exobiology, but was shuttered only months after and has never been reopened, but also never reconfigured. Resources from other labs and infrastructure are occasionally repurposed to construct Robotics or Nanotech testing labs. An "uplift division" cluster of modules tends to drift from major department to department as they focus on particular projects. The Computer Science lab was subject to some kind of accident and several modules were breached, after which it was quarantined and ejected, only to be stripped down to basic modules re-attached to other labs. And various scientists and department heads have "pet" modules which cover small personal projects, such as Astronomy, Quantum Physics, Linguistics and Memetics. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Installing Implants

How we go about installing the many implants known in the Solar System is not often given too much detail. In general, the upgrading process is not something most care to think about. But before Healing Vats became ubiquitous, and even now in places where they cannot be found one way or another, there were other forms of "installing" implants. This complex and messy topic is usually ignored in favor of promoting "safe" and "clean" installs and upgrades at your favorite corporate owned mod shop or open-source, public access medbay. But a Firewall Sentinel should familiarize themselves with the alternate ways implants can be handled, both so they can install in a pinch and know what potential opposition is doing. Illegal mod shops are a not-uncommon X-risk vector.

Software plug-ins for Infomorphs and Cyberbrains are the simplest. This can be done in moments with just about any software. Infomorph upgrades are most complex which require formatting to a particular Ego and require an integration suite of software to pull off. This can take days depending on the complexity of the Upgrade - so most are done in Simulspace time dilation, adding another set of equipment you'll need. Other than the software tools, however, most of this gear is pretty standard. And infomorph running on basically any server with a mesh connection can do this integration on their own or with a partner. This can make tracking such software mods a real pain.

Bioware is a different issue. Usually this sort of thing is handled entirely by a Healing Vat. The ability to permeate all tissues of the morph and provide micro-scale editing and healing can't be underestimated. Some bioware can't be installed at all without a Healing Vat, unless you start from scratch and program a new Morph with the DNA to develop it naturally. Minor bio- or neurochemistry modifications are pretty simple. Medical injectors filled with retrovirii or medical nanos can "install" such changes fairly quickly, and a few doses over time can ensure their permanence. Any idiot can follow the instructions to inject, though getting into the brain via eye socket or nose can turn a lot of stomachs. Glands and organ implants aren't too hard, it'll take about an hour for a medical maker or other form of wet-fab to clone the right part from blueprints. The messy part is the install. This will require somebody else to perform Implant Surgery, a process which can take several hours, to get everything transplanted right. Even with modern medicine, there's usually a short recovery time.

Full-body bioware, like muscle augs, chameleon skin or bioweave armor can be implanted out of a vat sometimes too. This involves a lot of treatments from head to toe, however, and is about as convenient as climbing in a tub full of nanos anyway, most people don't bother. The process to thoroughly install can take an hour or two, but expect it to take longer for the mods to actually fully manifest.

Cyberware is, in some ways, much simpler. Any piece of cyberware can be installed outside of a Healing Vat by a professional. The only downside is that it's all surgical. And a lot of cyberware is heavily neurological, meaning a lot of complex work to be done. But, it can all be done on a slab. This is why you see not just anti-genemod groups like the Jovians sporting old "chrome". A street gang might not be able to afford a jailbroken healing vat, medical-scale cloning and a proper environment to install bioware. But they can probably find a fabber and some rubbing alcohol to sterilize, so you'll see them adapting a lot of cyberware alternates to systems like enhanced hearing and vision on top of cyberlimbs and the like.

For small, non-invasive implants, basic stuff like a new set of access jacks (assuming you already have a cranial computer), ghostriders or liferecorders, you can get these placed in the body in a couple hours and get stitched up. Unfortunately, a lot of cyberware involves hooking into or going near your brain, as discussed above. This is slow, delicate work. The fastest (not necessarily the best) surgeons can get this kind of work done in 6-8 hours. A more realistic timeframe is about 12 hours, and none of this accounts for recovery time. Twelve is also a hard minimum to a serious structural mod, like a Hardened Skeleton. And expect to be down for at least twice that long on the other end.

Now, installing Nanoware is both a lot easier, but also trickier. Assuming your actual nanos are all in order and undamaged, they can be applied basically anywhere via all kinds of methods. Nanodrugs, direct injection, etc. However, because they're so tiny, they're also slow. It can take upwards of twelve hours of steady introduction for medichines to fully circulate in the body and be settled in. Same with something like Nanophages or Oracles. The upside here is that there's no surgical element a lot of the time. Once they've been introduced to your body you can get up and go - the only thing you're waiting on is for them to take full effect. This can be a little disorienting for some kinds of nanoware though, so I'd recommend sleeping on it. Nearly all these units are pre-programmed by default, but having somebody skilled with Nanomedicine around to make sure everything is working fine won't hurt.

On the other hand, some nanoware involves physical integration. Wrist-Mounted Tools are flexible sure, but they don't just assemble themselves inside your wrists - or else they could assemble themselves other places. This sort of stuff does involve implant surgery. It might be a bit quicker or cleaner than with cyber or bioware, but you'll get cut open nonetheless. A healing vat does it much easier, but a surgeon can do it in somewhere between 8-12 hours depending on what you're getting installed. Finding back-alley doctors willing to implant a nuclear thermocouple in your guts is another matter. This is what keeps jailbroken nanoware from running wild - lack of expertise. Nanomedicine is still advancing, and is fairly prestigious. Finding somebody who knows what he's doing can be hard, and while some of them are sure shady, they won't be hanging out in the same places are your regular chop-shop guy.

Robotic Enhancements are much simpler. Synthmorphs don't start bleeding out when you pop their outer shell off with an allen wrench set. They also have their own anaesthetic. Any robotics tech with a fully stocked tool kit and a fabber can install these augmentations. How long it takes depends on the aug and it's complexity. Stuff which integrates heavily into cyberbrains is much more sophisticated work than bolting a new layer of armor on. And don't get me started on the waiting time involved for Brain Boxes... The real problem is that IP protection on Synths can be a lot worse than some bios for the advanced ones, meaning shit like proprietary tools and non-standard sizes. Cheap mass-produced models can go too far the other end, cramming augs into a Case is often like trying to hot-rod your ghetto hoopty. You'll look real cool with a machine gun weapon mount right up until the servomotors in your legs blow out because the morph wasn't calibrated to handle the extra weight.

-B0n3z, Firewall Register

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cyberbrain Case

The Cyberbrain (p. 300 EP) is probably one of the most important every day technological developments in cybernetics technology (along with other standard augmentations, like the Mesh Insert and Cortical Stack). The long-term impact of a human-scale computing device with the capability to emulate the conditions of the human mind - even beyond the biological standard is probably of unknowable value. It allows not only pods and synthmorphs, but is an augmentation even added to biomorphs to enhance interaction with computer devices directly. They are much quicker and sometimes cheaper to manufacture than an organic brain, and incredibly easy to recall and transfer memory data, sleeve into and out of, and fork from. While cyberbrain hacking and scorcher programs are a real risk, they are not as easy as people make them sound. Even AAA hackers, the so-called "wizard-class" require concentrated focus and periods of time measured in minutes to break into and run operations on a Cyberbrain. And this requires an expensive set-up of specialized equipment to maximize.

But what if a cyberbrain has something you need, but has an annoying body attached to it? What if you can't carry a whole person unseen to a location where you can scan their brain, or wait for psychosurgery to break in in public? What if you want to get a resleeve with a cyberbrain done without contracting a body bank or resleeve clinic? There are many unusual cases where one might want to access the cyberbrain - even transport it. In this case, one buys a Cyberbrain Case.

Cyberbrain Case: The size of a large briefcase normally, this armored case has a secure, impact-resistant lining and sufficient space inside to hold a cyberbrain. It is designed to be opened and shut quickly, and often mold to hold the brain securely, and sterile for transport. Typically these cases are hardened to be opaque to most sensors and not penetrated by wi-fi, similar to a Prisoner Mask (p. 316 EP). They also often have a system similar to a Disabler (p. 316 EP) which locks into the Access Jacks, completely shutting down the Cyberbrain while in storage. They might, however, be equipped with a small power-pack which allows a Cyberbrain to run while in storage, but it has no additional sensory inputs and no external computer access. An alternate version of the case exists with a life-support unit, which can contain a brain box outside of a synthmorph for a period of a month. These two variants can be combined, but at a higher cost, and more likelihood of being discovered. [Moderate], [High] for combined

As noted above, the purpose of the Cyberbrain Case is simple. You take a cyberbrain outside a morph, put it in the case, and move it without raising too many questions. The most obvious purpose is to "steal" the brain of a target and move it to a location where hacking it would be much easier - however as Cortical Stacks have become so ubiquitous this particular form of Ego theft is not as common. Instead, now this is used for Ego smuggling (differentiating from trafficking) to move persons in fully active Cyberbrains into a physical location covertly. One might even use it as a method to covertly "resleeve" and hijack a morph by removing one Cyberbrain and installing another. In rare instances Cyberbrain Cases are used by investigators or analysts who which to examine a Cyberbrain itself.

Removing a Cyberbrain from a Biomorph with one is a messy process of surgery similar to removing a Cortical Stack (requiring some form of Medicine skill), and "reinstalling" one is an even longer surgical process, so it it's often not feasible. Inserting one into a Pod or Synth is can be Medicine: Pods or Hardware: Implants or Robotics, and assuming one has the proper tools can be done in minutes. An Ego in a cyberbrain which is removed does not have to make Resleeving tests (though should probably make a Trauma check) until linked to a new body, but installing a new cyberbrain whole with an Ego does involve Resleeving tests.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Wine Funding

(Sorry it's been awhile again guys, been juggling other concerns and had little time to nail down more H-Rep ideas. If you want to see what I've been up to and keep supporting me, go ahead and check out my YouTube channel here. There's even some Actual Play episodes on it, including one of EP)

Given the prospect of relative immortality, investing in the future is very important for many Transhumans. You can't live forever if you can't provide for yourself forever. While many Outer System communities and cultures work toward this by pooling resources, in Capitalist economies one has to think of things to do in order to preserve and generate that capital. Investing in stocks, bonds or rare materials remains popular, and is how many continue to do it. But for certain customers needs, there are other investments which can be made, such as in works of art, morphs, or even Wine. This is known as Wine Funding or Wine Investing, and can have quite positive returns in AF 10.

Wines can be held for a long period if stored properly, and tend to appreciate in value. They can also be difficult to fake properly, while one can fabricate something with a roughly similar composition to a fine wine, but also doing the work to make it pass various authentication tests as to it's appropriate date and history are often more trouble than it's worth. Wine Funding is not without drawbacks, however, as a physical investment it needs to be stored and insured while also not generating any profit until actually sold, so these costs will need to be offset - leaving only large banks and the wealthiest private individuals to manage these funds. Investing in this way can either be done by buying and selling wine (cases) directly, usually for investment these are sets of 3, 6, 9, 12 or 3, or by investing in a pool which takes all the capital of investors and places it in the appropriate wines. These are usually done with the consultation of brokers or other experts, and surprising amounts of literature circulates the System on the subject.

Historically, the highest quality of Wines which were acceptable for funding came mostly from the Bordeaux region in France, though "cult wines" can also make investments if one guesses the trends and vintage Port also being a solid choice. Naturally, Earth Nostalgia drives the Wine Fund market these days - Bordeaux is still the most popular, but any wine of Earth and of sufficient quality can become a solid investment due to limited supply. This also makes Wine Funding ideal for money laundering - one can easily lie about the source of Pre-Fall Vintages from Earth given the destruction of data and simply say one came across the case and then sell it when you need liquid cash again. Some extraterrestrial vintages have become "cult wines", but in general anything produced after The Fall is too new to have properly appreciated in value to show a return on any investment, leaving the future of the market still with plenty of room to explore.

As noted above, Wine Funding is usually handled by ultrarich hyperelites personally, or through various banks and investment firms. It is most popular in the LLA, the Morningstar Confederacy and on Mars, though most limited on Mars due to the PC's attempts to downplay Earth Nostalgia. Firms will arrange the purchase and storage of wines for their customers, and then can be directed to sell on demand, or when certain thresholds are met. They take their cut of the sales, and usually handle any insurance costs. When allowed by local laws, they tend to use predictive AI systems to track values and physical locations of wines, as well as their overall rarity - to optimally predict the best times to buy and sell. Some funds offer this information freely to all customers, others prefer to only offer it to those who pay for the service. They also have access to all the best authentication technology to determine the proper age and value of a wine. Though often smaller, do not think of Wine Banks as easy targets - due to the rarity and physical presence of their goods, their security systems are some of the sharpest in the Solar System.

And, as noted above, there is still sometimes fraudulent wine investments. Forged wines are rare, and thought of as a sucker's bet, it's hard to produce a high-quality forgery and make your money back. More often you get the usual fraud, lying about the value of wines or selling low-quality wine which is not investment grade at a high price which the investor cannot return. Doing this can depreciate the value of the market, so wine funds tend to take investigations into fraudulent wines and sales seriously. While this is mostly done by individual con men or organized crime outfits in the Inner System, some of this fraud can be linked to anti-Capitalist agitators attempting to "redistribute wealth". Even more of this type of fraud is attributed to anti-Capitalist agitators in an attempt to drive animosity toward the Autonomist Alliance.

While not wholly opposed to it, the non-hierarchical nature of Anarchocapitalism makes Wine Funding a less useful prospect - space is often at a premium price in ancap habitats, which can make investing hard for both individuals and firms, and tends to be done by contracting with "off-site" services. It also can make fraud protection harder depending on fine-wording of contracts, altering legal repercussions which make outside investors wary of the climate.

Interestingly, a similar system can be pulled off in the Reputation Economy - though obviously not for the purpose of investing or returning on capital. Instead the idea is usually to hold on to a wine or similar product until it (or it's maker) gets a certain reputation or level of reputation, then by sharing, trading, using or gifting the wine at the right time one can increase their own reputableness. One can even capitalize on the "investment" in different ways, such as by remixing it, or making XP of it. This is a precarious path, however. Holding on to a product too long without intent to utilize it in some way is often seen as hoarding resources, and will tank your rep.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Spacecraft Mods

While fully fleshed out mechanics for operating spaceships in a combat scale are yet forthcoming, below is a list of some possibly modifications to most forms of spacecraft which should work in any campaign featuring them more heavily, without getting too into the mechanical nitty gritty. One can use any or all of these ideas as they like - as normal use common sense deciding which attachments make sense to stack with one another. Like most things, robotic enhancements and even armor mods can probably be installed in most vehicles without too much adjustment.

For purposes of categorizing, this concept uses (read: steals) a "Silhouette" system. A given spacecraft has a Silhouette based on it's rough size category without needing to get into specifics, similar to Size Traits for morphs. Something human-sized is a Silhouette 0, which also includes all Personal Vehicles. Very spacecraft, either autonomous or intended for small occupancy, including Fighters, Interceptors and RKVs and most other drones are Silhouette 1. Small spacecraft, designed for local transit with small crews/passengers and cargo are Silhouette 2 - this includes GEVs, SLOTVs and Outsystem Skimmers. Medium ships that are larger and have more rounded capacity numbers, but are still of a fairly average in that size and capacity are Silhouette 3, such as the Courier, Mining Tugs, Salvage Ships and the LLOTV (and probably the Hab Lifeboat). Silhouette 4 is fairly large, longer-range ships, including Bulk Carriers, Transports of both kinds and Destroyers. Silhouette 5 is for the very large ships of incredible bulk or capacity, such as Scum Barges, Factory Ships, LaFrance Rigs or Battlecruisers. Silhouette of a target ship may affect cost of a mod, or some mods may be limited to ships of certain Silhouettes.

"4CI" stands for Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Intelligence. Essentially, this modification acts as a Tactical Network node for the spaceship. It involves dedicated computing and communications equipment, which hooks up to every friendly ship in the vicinity, feeding in and organizing sensor information, positioning data and tactical data. This is all done on encrypted machines and frequencies for better security. It coordinates this data into multiple feeds and interfaces it with the normal functions of the ship. It allows for secure and fast sharing of tactical data to coordinate multiple ships, and can be networked with individual crewman's Tactical Networks as well. Typically, because of the vast amounts of information being collated, 4CI modules utilize a dedicated crewman, or one or more supervising AI. This is usually installed in command or flag ships, but might be placed in any ship coordinating others. [Moderate]

While this type of modification is often called "Afterburners", this may not be true in the strictest sense. It does, however, follow the same principle - it increases the thrust of the engine slightly by consuming a higher amount of fuel. Suitable for short bursts, this can slightly improve acelleration, and is mostly used by smaller ships with tighter maneuvering profiles, such as security patrols or other orbital operators. It improves the thrust of a ship by about 10% (amounts vary based on type of rocket motor) but has a considerable impact on the fuel efficiency of the ship. Silhouette 3 or less only. [High]

A common modification to passenger ships, though sometimes placed on long-haul cargo ships. This gives a ship a full set of amenities for a pleasant space travel. It includes proper storage and preparation facilities for proper food, one or more VR couches for simulspace access, dedicated wireless networks for visitors, and high output environmental systems for clean and pleasant air conditions. They also often include additional recreation spaces, media libraries and convenient interior spaces. These help passengers relax and have a stress-free time on a journey, and help crewmen unwind. It grants crew members a +10 on certain Social skill tests with people who are using the Amenities, and may prevent requirements for stress tests on a long journey. [Expensive]

While ships are not often in close enough quarters to come into physical contact, this can be a quite dangerous situation. To alleviate this fact, some ships are equipped with frontal armor to protect the ship. This is most common on light military and security vehicles, and on pirate ships (who may engage frontal contact as part of a boarding maneuver). Additional armor plating on the fore of a ship is also rarely a bad thing. A ship with a battering ram is considered to be travelling half as fast when calculating a head-on collision, and reduces any damage crew and passengers take from such an impact by half. It also grants an additional 10/10 armor against any strikes from the front. However, the added weight will upset the maneuverability of most ships, giving them -10 Handling. [High]

Boarding ships can be quite complex. Most ships have reinforced external airlocks to protect them from accidental decompression, with secured interfaces to prevent sabotage. For pirates and security ships, this presents a problem to board ships without authorization. In this case, they typically use a boarding umbilical. This flexible attachment unfolds from one's own airlock with a maximum reach of several meters, and uses nano-grip material to hook on to the ship. This creates a temporary pressure seal and attaches the two ships. This also has a specialized cutting torch on the end, designed to cut through airlock doors. It will burn completely through the door in about 3 Action Turns. It can attach and breach hulls directly as well, but this takes much longer. One can attempt to wrest away from the boarding tube, assuming they have power, with a -20 Pilot check. [High]

This modification replaces the type of fuel used in a ship's normal maneuvering and RCS systems with highly pressurized, super-cooled gasses. The result is that the ship can control it's maneuvering without expending large amounts of heat, and thus is less obvious to sensors. While "hiding" in space is very difficult and mostly a matter of time and relative positioning, this modification can allow small maneuvers while remaining relatively hidden, or fail to draw the attention of many observers. The only downside is the cost of the system, and the fact that installing it is likely to raise a few eyebrows. This grants a -20 on tests to notice the ship when using just maneuvering thrusters. [High]

Also called a "brig", Containment Cells are fairly straightforward - secure holding cells for transhumans. Space travel is the epitome of physical travel, thus people will often have to deal with people in physical instances on these trips - or even arrange a physical transportation of them. This can be done with a containment cell. It involves hardened rooms which are shielded from wireless transmissions, and hardy enough that they should resist smuggled tools for an extended period. They contain cameras and microphones for constant monitoring of prisoners, and can be reconfigured for other sensors as well. They feature a secure, wired intercom on the outside for interrogation as well, and a space for one or more security guards. They may also be equipped with other security measures, such as a nonlethal portal denial system or anesthetic gas. Without too much trouble, one can use them as quarantine cells as well. Installing Containment Cells reduces passenger capacity by 5, and makes 5 secure cells. This mod can be purchased multiple times, each time adding 5 more cells and reducing the passenger capacity by the same amount. Military ships may already have Containment Cells installed. [High]

An incredibly common modification on ships of all sizes (and even on smaller air or ground vehicles), this simply adds an internal storage bay to hold and maintain drones for use by the ship's crew - which can be deployed internally or externally as needed. A typical drone rack holds up to 6 bots (less if they are particularly large) and contains all tools needed to maintain them. A single bot can be deployed from the rack as a Simple Action by anybody with proper controls and authorization. This upgrade can be bought multiple times, each adding more racks for drones, to a maximum number of the ship's passenger amount +6. Silhouette 2 or larger only. [Moderate]

Electronic Countermeasures are a major part of spaceship combat, and many other spacecraft operations. This suite when added to a ship gives it powerful radio antennas, signal boosters and other equipment to jam radio transmissions and other sensor systems in the immediate area of the ship. It also can double as ECCM equipment when needed. As is typical with many of these add-ons, ECM suites usually require a dedicated crewman or AI operator to utilize properly. A ship equipped with an ECM suite gains a +20 on Interfacing tests to perform universal jamming (p. 262), and a +10 on all opposed interface tests related to Radio Jamming (including Radar Jamming). [High]

One of the most common modifications to ships, a way to exit a ship quickly if it should be disabled or destroyed. Ejector Seats are simple, but more risky. These typically shed the canopy or cockpit on smaller vessels and eject just the pilot and other operators with a thruster unit, equivalent to a thruster pack. It is also equipped with a drag chute if deployed near a planet with atmosphere, but does not have full re-entry shielding. More commonly, larger ships will attach an Escape Pod instead, which is basically an better armored and pre-inflated Emergency Bubble. Escape Pods can launch with a Simple Action, and have an AV of 10/10 in addition to all the normal functions of an Emergency Bubble. [Low] for Ejector Seats, [Moderate] for Escape Pod (cost is per seat/pod)

Most ships are equipped with standardized airlocks, or flexible soft-locks to dock with other ships and stations. This serves most purposes, but can be a little awkward when attempting to move with or even transport other ships (or external attachments such as cargo containers). In this case, many ships attach external docking clamps. Reinforced, secured and usually utilizing a pneumatic or magnetic grip, they will safely hold the docked object until released by the carrier ship. A ship can hold something at maximum 1 Silhouette less than itself in a clamp. Docked ships and items cannot usually interact with or transfer directly to the host ship. This mod can be installed multiple times. [Moderate]

Sometimes nicknamed "pack n' racks", this is one of the most common weapon systems installed on spacecraft. This system is a prebuilt, preloaded set of disposable launchers for Seekers, usually in packs of ten. They are designed to be modular and easily fit on any configuration of spaceship. Once all the seekers are deployed, one simply removes the rack and purchases a new one. Armed spaceships are a touchy legal area, but when operating in packed space regions which may involve pirates, aggressive governments or other unsavory persons they have a great range and damage potential. The only complication is that one cannot reload in the middle of a combat without going out onto the hull and replacing the rack. For an additional cost, the rack can be put on a turret mount for a 360 degree firing arc. [High] (includes missiles) [High] again for the 360 mount

While there's no such thing as a "universal" ship registry in the Solar System, most traffic control offices can and will be in touch to check up on ships, and law enforcement will but out bulletins on suspicious or criminal vessels. This can be a problem, because most ships are equipped with unique registry or serial numbers by the manufacturer to keep track of the ship and as a standard safety measure - even if this is just as simple as a slightly more prominent form of device ID. These are also very important to IFF systems used by government ships. Modifying these transponder codes is universally illegal, and even in anarchist habitats is seen as anti-social. But this doesn't stop those who do dirty deeds from making the modifications. With some tech and a little work, most ships can not only disable their transponders (mostly an obvious sign you're doing something shifty) or more commonly install false transponders which display altered details about the origin, history and ownership of the craft. It's relatively cheap to install a singular altered transponder, those with contacts and cash will spring for a special rolling transponder which can alter registry and authorization codes as needed, so long as it can be securely updated. A ship with an altered transponder imposes a -30 to Research and other tests to track it's (accurate) history and flight plans. [Moderate] for a single transponder, [High] for rolling

"Flak" is a term derived from the name for point defense and anti-aircraft weapons (in German). While the technology is an outdated system, principle of point-defense still apply and it is a very cost effective way for small or civilian ships to defend themselves from attackers while not being interpreted as "militarized" These cannons use high-caliber fragmenting shells, usually on proximity or timed detonation to explode into small clouds of high-velocity shrapnel. This is highly destructive to small targets like enemy missiles and AKVs or other drones, and will damage the micrometeorite protection of many smaller ships, reducing their hull integrity. Flak cannons are usually built into turreted systems, which are controlled manually or remotely. They are also typically Linked weapons (see below). Flak ammunition costs [Low] for 1000 rounds, and has the Proximity quality, and cannot be combined with other Kinetic/Smart ammo types. Note that the damage listed below is the typical profile. For spaceship weapons an appropriate multiplier (x2, x5 or x10) should be applied based on the size of the ship using the gun. [Moderate]
AP -4 2d10+6 DV SA Ammo 1000

Another incredibly common modification for larger ships, this adds an internal bay where small craft can be stored and deployed rapidly. It can only built in ships Silhouette 3 or higher, and the bay can only contain vehicles of a Silhouette less than or equal to the host ship's Silhouette -2. The bay holds a maximum number of Silhouettes as the host ship (I/E a Silhouette 5 ship with a Bay can hold 5 SIL 1 ships, or one SIL 2 and a SIL 3). These ships can launch and dock as a single Complex Action, and the Hangar contains all necessary tools and equipment to maintain the complement of ships and restock them with their own fuel and ammunition, in the case of armed Fighters/AKVs. Many military ships, such as the Destroyer, already have hangars. Cost starts at [Moderate] for Silhouette 3, and goes up by one for each increase in Silhouette

Heat dissipation is one of many things which makes stealth in space difficult. Almost any heat level will stand out against the background. Some steps can be taken against some of the things which release heat, though not all of them. The Heat Sink is one of these. Using special advanced materials in a shielded location the sink can absorb waste heat generated by certain systems of a ship and effectively store them for a period of time. This can't mask active sensors or primary engines (which basically radiate their own heat from the ship), but can mask the heat of morphs, power systems and other internals. How long it operates depends on the size of the sink and the ship, but it's usually a couple hours. Eventually the heat sink will become so hot it either causes a catastrophic failure, or is able to be detected through the shielding material. At this point, it either needs to vent heat (a long process due to radiation being such a poor method) which takes about 10 times the amount of time it was operating, or the sink to be ejected and replaced. When active it gives a -30 for a ship to be detected via infrared or similar sensors, but only when not actively scanning or using primary engines. [High]

Spaceship weapons are incredibly powerful, but due to their size and nature, they do not always have the ability to fire rapidly at scale like personal weapons. To alleviate this, one usually links weapons up, building pairs or quads of weapons - often in turrets. Linking a weapon requires paying 50% of the original weapon cost (if not sure, it's [High]), linking it a second time for x3 is that 50% again, and so on. A weapon linked once (so two weapons) can do either +1d10 DV or +10 to hit, but uses twice as much ammo. Triple weapons (linked twice) does +2d10 or +20 to hit but uses x3 ammo, and quads (linked 3 times) can add +3d10 DV or +30 to hit, but uses x4 ammo per shot. This allows weapons with slow rates of fire to put more shots down range for more effect on target, but uses much more ammunition from storage - and so is usually only the choice of hardcore ship operators. [50% of Weapon System]

Physical space is at a premium in the Solar System, especially in Space. This means people value it, and ships can find providing this space helpful. Luxury cabins are larger, single (or couple) occupancy with fine internal features such as dedicated thermostats, air handling, luxury beds or grav couches, personal refreshments and more. They are the pride of any ship they are installed in, and a perfect way to relax even in a tin can flying through the void. Anybody who stays in a Luxury Cabin heals one more DV when healing naturally, and heals one more SV from all sources. This limits the amount of space a ship devotes to passengers and crew, however. Installing it halves the normal passenger capacity. [Expensive]

Marines, sometimes called "Security" or "Tactical" personnel are not uncommon on military or police ships - and may be utilized by pirates or militias. They provide internal security and can be used to board and interdict other ships. This mod increases a ship's passenger capacity by 12, by adding space for up to 12 marines to bunk and keep their equipment and be ready to move at a moment's notice. However, these quarters are cramped and spartan, and staying in them for long periods may cause Stress tests. Can be combined with a Hangar Bay to store Battlesuits or other vehicles for the marines to use and deploy in combat. A ship must be SIL 3 or higher to install this modification. For each SIL over 3, a ship may install this modification an additional time, adding more space for another 12 marines for each new purchase. [Expensive]

Due to the nature of space travel, medical emergencies usually come with other problems, but it's possible to get serious injuries in long-haul flights or daring maneuvers. In this case, it's good to install the Medical Suite. This comes with at least one Healing Vat (more in larger ships), a set of pharmaceutical makers with common medical blueprints, an exam room with diagnostic equipment, and a fully-robotic surgery suite. It even comes equipped with a standard medical AI which can provide basic medical instructions and attention. In a pinch, it can also double as a coronary and forensic pathology lab. Installing this reduces passenger capacity by 10% (Min 1). [Expensive]

Civilian spec ships do not typically come with weapons, and even when weapons are installed, they do not normally have the same equipment used to target and coordinate those guns. This can be solved with some (expensive, illegal) modifications. This makes sure to add appropriate gunsight cameras, configure sensors for proper range-finding and a variety of other features to make sure added guns can be as accurate as possible. Using a Military Targeting Computer adds a +10 to all Gunnery checks to use mounted weapons, similar to a Smartlink system. Most military ships come with this already installed. [Expensive]

Since the Fall "spaceships with hands" makes some people wary, ships can benefit from an extendable armature. This mod installs a flexible arm onto the ship, of appropriate length and scale for the size of the ship. The arm can fold up and stow inside the ship. The end of the arm can have a variety of relevant attachments for for it. It can be a gripping arm to grasp cargo, debris for salvage or EVA morphs, it can be a large cutting arm for salvage or boarding, drilling or excavator arms for digging or a winch arm for towing, and more. Some have even modified the arm to hold a gun, but this is wildly inefficient. [Moderate]

Space travel is fairly time consuming, and by it's nature requires physical resources - which are finite. To better manage these resources, some ships are equipped with onboard facilities to gather and process resources, which are gathered via external workers or drones. This facilities include both fabricators and conventional technology to process various materials, such as prepare or refine many types of fuel, process or recycle additional oxygen, seperate organics and even grow plants or clone meats, and process raw metals and rocks into more usable, pure materials. Other than intake, refinement is mostly automated and runs at all time power is available, but does not fabricate finished products, just the refined materials. Ships can use this to repair and refuel, or even just as part of normal trade or resource gathering for the hab. Some ships are already installed with these facilities. Installing this reduces passenger capacity by 25% (Min 1). [Expensive]

Even in this advanced computer age, physical deterrents still work for many offensive or even sensor systems. This modification installs launchers which can release flares, chaff and decoys to throw off guided weapons of several varieties and targeting systems. Releasing Flares is usually a Free Action. These countermeasures add a -30 to all guided weapon attacks (such as Seekers) and removes the benefits for using Smartlinks/Homing Ammo for the rest of the Action Turn. It may also add penalties of -10 to -30 to certain sensor tests for the rest of the Action Turn. A ship holds a number of uses of Countermeasures equal to it's Silhouette x10. Restocking flares is a cost of [Low] per 10. [Moderate]

Governments and corporations will engage in certain broad area jamming or radio censorship to block certain information from getting out or in. They may also take over certain frequencies for government use. To combat this, criminals and anti-establishment types often use pirate radio, and specifically use specialized radio arrays. This modification installs a large, high-definition radio array. This array automatically scans radio frequencies for ones which are opened and not jammed or blocked, and can boost its own signal to push through jamming or weaker signals it picks up. It also has directional, tight beam radio and laser communicators for more covert comms. The array also has tools to decrypt and listen in on military and government frequencies. In a pinch, this system can also hook up to QE comms or neutrino farcasting rigs, but this has it's own practical concerns. [Expensive]

Aka, a "Bussard Collector", this system long proposed by sci-fi authors and rocket scientists, is finally practical in the AF 10 period. This system involves a large collection scoop on the front or sides of the craft intended to draw in hydrogen or other particles in the vacuum for conversion into fuel. Interstellar hydrogen is rare, but it can be gathered in amounts near gas giants or just in areas of the solar system (or other solar systems for gatecrashing vehicles). The scale requirements to indefinitely power a ship are mind-boggling (multiple hundreds or thousands km across), so instead most ships install this as an efficiency measure, extending their operation time and lowering their operational budget. Ram Scoops work best powering MH or Fusion-based ships, but could theoretically pull oxygen or other gasses from an actual planetary body as well. How much efficiency a ship gets from a scoop depends on where it travels and at what rate. [Moderate]

Ships are very delicate things, and can be destroyed or disabled with very small amounts of damage to the right places. To combat this, some ships who experience rough conditions regularly (often combat) will install redundant failsafes and systems in excess of the typical safety measures to harden the ship and make it more reliable. This means minor damages to specific systems will be less likely to cause failures or detract from normal ship operations. This modification increases the ship's Wound Threshold by 2. It also grants Hardware: Aerospace tests to repair the ship a +10. [High]

For many people, spaceships are their livelihood. This means getting them damaged or stolen is a serious risk, as ships can be quite an investment. For this case, their owners may enhance the security of their ship. This modification hardens airlocks, improving their AV and DUR by 25%. It safeguards major passages with portal denial systems, and may integrate bug zappers. The exterior of the ship incorporates at least one lockbot unit to protect the entry way. Additionally, to start up the ship requires passing an electronic authorization, usually biometric or token-based, but sometimes a keycode. Wireless networks are also shielded and guarded from the outside. [Expensive]

Like most devices, a spacecraft has a sufficient computer system to run an AI or infomorph in its computers. However, this may not be particularly comfortable place for infomorphs for an extended journey. In this case, ship crews will install a Ship Cyberbrain. This system is somewhere between a normal cyberbrain and a Habitat Cyberbrain in power. The Ship Cyberbrain allows certain levels of parallel processing, allowing up to two Multitasking implants. Operating such a brain is somewhere between jamming a vehicle and sleeving into a habitat, including allowing access to appropriate junctions of a Habitat brain where relevant. A ship can install multiple brains to house multiple infomorphs. [Expensive]

A common modification, known to smugglers everywhere. This hides compartments in the normal cargo space of the ship to make them hard to find. This does not increase the cargo capacity of a ship, just gives it spaces to hide it's cargo. These compartments are at a -30 to detect, and even if found may be secured. [Low]

Modification to the external plating of a ship designed to make it more durable in high-temperature conditions, notably relatively near the Sun or other stars. This modification drastically improves the the heat-resistance of the ship, roughly equivalent to solar adapted morphs such as the Sundiver. It includes magnetic shielding as well as heat absorption and radiation systems. This also gives the ship +10 armor against energy attacks only. [Expensive]

Despite many comparisons between the two, spacecraft are not submarines. Containing atmosphere against low pressure of vacuum is a different engineering question than preventing high pressure conditions from crushing objects of lower pressure. However, conditions may arise where a ship wishes to enter a body of water, or a high-pressure atmosphere such as of a gas giant. This modification greatly strengthens the structure of the ship to resist higher pressures than normal, to a maximum of 100 atm of pressure. It also installs limited Submarine mobility systems to move while underwater. This can be installed multiple times to increase the tolerance by 100 atm, to a maximum of 1,000 atm of pressure. [High]

This modification installs a set of planetology based sensors for surveying asteroids and planetoid objects, commonly for mining or exploring ships. It includes ground penetrating radar, a variety of spectroscopy sensors and many other methods. It also has internal lab equipment to analyze samples gathered. This can accurately detect the composition of bodies, gas clouds and other materials. It can also map both surface terrain and sub-surface areas and convert them into digital maps via normal mapping software. This is like using the mapping software, and will produce analysis of temperature, topography, elements and radiation, etc. As usual, the Surveyor Suite usually requires a dedicated AI or crewman to operate properly. [Moderate]