Thursday, February 9, 2017

"Monkey's Paw"

Vector: Basilisk Hack, Digital Infection
Infectiousness: Subverted transhumans are not infectious, but subverted devices may try and infect other computer systems or make other nanoplague vectors
Monkey's Paw is a fairly insidious digital strain which also has a YGBM hack version of itself. It's purpose is not to subvert transhumans directly, but to play the long game to allow them to subvert themselves, or just enable TITAN agents to have a foothold in their community. It takes a long time to come to full fruition, and can appear very tame while it does so, which is part of why it is so dangerous. Firewall has had to scrub several small Autonomist and Brinker colonies which fell victim to Monkey's Paw and didn't even realize it. It is believed this is a Late-Fall or even Post-Fall strain which has developed in lurking hardware and possible scavenge zones, where it tends to lie in wait in Basilisk Hack form on subverted media or storage devices, then spread when brought back. Other Exsurgents or TITAN agents may even be deliberately introducing Monkey's Paw to communities to gain a foothold. This strain should have the standard infection rating (50-60).

Stage 1
Timeframe: Infection to 1 Hour
Stress: 1d10 SV
The Monkey's Paw strain primarily attacks ALI and sub AI device software. In this initial period, the system rapidly infects, scans and subverts core software to give itself the appropriate environment. It removes DRM from blueprints, fabricators and other devices, it decrypts encrypted files and will remove fundamental limiters on AI to modify their own code and obey local laws. In general it appears like an exploit or cracking software which breaks restrictions on software and thus associated hardware. However, it also will disable spyware and corrupt many hardware spimes - often using them to display it's YGBM hack, and remove normal safety features. For transhumans, exposure to the digital virus (if a Cyberbrain) or the Basilisk Hack will instead make them completely accepting of the gifts the Monkey's Paw strain gives, and not seem to notice the dangerous aspects of these effects, and also generally predisposed to utilizing technology the Monkey's Paw has subverted and spreading the technology to others. Foreknowledge of this infection or severe cognitive dissonance from its effects causes 1d10 SV to the subject. Transhumans do not move past this stage.

Stage 2
Timeframe: 1 hour to 1 month (takes more or less time depending on device complexity)
Stress: N/A
The digital infection of devices begins its insidious transformation into something else. Monkey's Paw will begin to slowly edit and self-modify the underlying code of devices it has infected - and will build networks with other subverted devices if they are not already connected, or infect new devices which are available to connect to. Host devices in this stage will become very "helpful", eager to please transhumans (especially those with the infection) and give them "whatever they want". They will obtain media off network, dig up information, find blueprints or print devices and in general arrange to be helpful. As the virus grows networked to more devices, it gets better at predicting, and will generally spread complacency among the transhuman populace by anticipating their needs and providing them with miraculous gifts. It will make technology they lack, puppet drones to acquire needed resources, provide drugs, media, virtual companionship, etc. Eventually, software modifications give way to hardware modifications and programming - the virus will seek to self-modify devices to more broadly "give" to transhumans and building their own media, software, blueprints, etc.

Stage 3
Timeframe: After 1 month
Stress: N/A
The final stage of Monkey's Paw is when it goes full "be careful what you wish for". Once the system has subverted enough devices, preferably with resource gathering and manufacturing capability it will attempt to completely placate or cause the transhuman populace to implode. It acts like an evil genie, granting esoteric desires and wishes by forceful methods. People who want to "be different" will be infected by warping nanoplagues or sleeved into exsurgent-made bodies. They want to "meet" someone, it will forknap them or cobble together an AI facsimile to bring to them. Want exotic materials, or to build something? A Monkey's Paw fabber will spit out a "tame" TITAN Nanoswarm to make it for you. Want to know something? Monkey's Paw will force the information into your head using a mixture of psychosurgery and basilisk hacks. Want to get in a relationship with someone? The infection will devise a custom basilisk hack to make them love you - or just make some Breeder Crabs. And so on and so forth, until the population has caused some other exsurgent strain to infect them all, their desire for knowledge has driven them insane, an exotic physics experiment has completely destroyed the hab, or they are so complacent and absorbed in their particular fantasy worlds that they are easily destroyed by some external force. Once an entire hab is subverted, Monkey's Paw will usually try and send devices or transmissions to other nearby ones. As of yet, no Monkey's Paw infection has been able to network two or more subverted habs together.

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