Monday, October 17, 2016

Void Spider

Scum genehackers have produced several interesting creations. Most notable (or perhaps infamous) is the Swarm Cat (p. 155 Panopticon) a creation which only vaguely resembles a "cat" in the loosest sense, and have a variety of "uses" in many Scum Swarms. But, there are other strange creations or "tiny terrors" which have caught on with a certain Scum ethos - and are now the bane of many a space station Scum have docked with. One such example is the Void Spider.

Void Spider: Similar to the Space Roach, the Void Spider is an enlarged, transgenic blend of tarantula breeds which reaches the size of a small dog. Engineered with Vacuum Sealing, these often appear to have hardened carapaces without visible hairs, though they sometimes to retain them. Some designers even give them a wooly appearance underneath. Void Spiders were originally designed as budget pest control, as they are able to crawl both in a ship's hull and skitter across the outer surface, where they could keep vermin and rogue pets in line (especially Plasma Moths, which often eat micrometeorite shielding). However, they also became a bit of a budget security measure, as they can disable or eliminate biodrones and often discourage unwanted visitors in ship maintenance areas. Treat as a Space Roach (p. 330 EP) but add Bioweave Armor (Light), Vacuum Sealing, Claws, Poison Gland (Twitch) and Grip Pads. [Moderate]

Unfortunately, the tenacity, small size and ability to survive hard vacuum for extended periods has made Void Spiders a bit of a pest, especially in the areas heavily trafficked by Scum Swarms. More than one habtech or vac-worker has gotten a nasty surprise of a stalking Void Spider in an access panel or waiting by an airlock. They cause little harm to transhumans, but their venom is potent enough to temporarily disable one. Similarly, many Neo-Avians are particularly disgusted or uncomfortable - if not outright afraid - of Void Spiders due to their enlarged size and relations to "bird eating" spiders from Earth. However, if one encounters a vermin problem, such as a rogue colony of Space Roaches or Smart Rats or a "feral" Smart Racoon, the Void Spider is one of the best solutions to root them out. However, as they are live beings, many of the original biodesigners of the Void Spider frown upon breeding them purely for pranks. To help "soften" their image, "modern" Void Spiders are often colored in bright patterns which fluoresce under certain lighting (making them easier to spot) or are "wooly" to have soft, hypoallergenic covering which makes them less menacing.

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