Async accounts

13 posts / 0 new
Last post
Dr. Maxwell Dr. Maxwell's picture
Async accounts

Hello. I am Dr. Maxwell, aka "The Argonaut who can somehow only say 6 words a minute but can get your splicer fighting like a remade in a few hours."

While I am not a Crow, I am currently attempting to gather as much information on Asyncs as possible. Due to the rarity of the infected, and their obvious need for secrecy, finding Watts-MacLeod subjects to interview outside of situations where we are dealing more pressing x-threats is rather difficult. As such I was wondering if any fellow field agents can share their experiences with asyncs, as well as their personal feelings on the controversy.

If relevant I am willing to give a positive ping on RNA, Circle-A, or CivicNet as appropriate. Otherwise I am willing to attempt to answer async related questions to the best of my ability.

Any accounts will be appreciated and will aid in improved methods of psychological treatment and identification of the infected, however accounts of peaceful contact or observation would be ideal. Please avoid identifying anyone in question or compromising ongoing operations.

Don't forget to check out my open source biomorph and medtech files!

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Generally speaking, no two

Generally speaking, no two asyncs are going to be alike. However, I can say that, to a man, woman, hermaphrodite, neuter, winter, or what-have-you, they have all had something, shall we politely say, "neurodiverse" about them; or at least, they all did at one point.

That's not to say they're all violent raving psychopaths who write disturbing poetry about the beauty of slicing into flesh with blades. Very few of them are that. (And, in fact, most people who are exactly that are perfectly uninfected. If for some reason you want to start an inquisition to remove individuals exhibiting signals of violent sociopathy, async scares are probably the best way to do it.)

I've seen some shennanigans, man. Many of them are as perfectly ordinary as exhibiting compulsive cleanliness obsessions, which to be frank can sometimes be an advantage in a team safehouse shared with a couple of egos who are less than tidy, if they're not the type to flip their lids and make untidy team-mates clean up after themselves at gunpoint.

Some do tend to stick out, though... I remember one who was convinced, absolutely convinced, that any kind of non-organic augmentations endangered the holistic integrity of her soul, but believed that having the augmentations Masked would alleviate this danger. Can you imagine trying to explain to a doc why you need a Masked mesh insert and cortical stack?
Strangely, they were absolutely fine in a synthmorph as long as it had a braincase, and the mesh inserts/cortical stack/braincase-to-brain interface were Masked. But if it was non-organic implanted or interfacing directly with organic, it had to be Masked.
And no, that wasn't a weird case where they had some offshoot of W-M that let them detect the augmentations somehow. They couldn't; sometimes we just outright lied about having Masked their standard/aftermarket augs, and they were absolutely fine until they saw evidence to the contrary.

Then, one day, she got her eggs ballistically scrambled. When we resleeved her, her old monomaniac fixation was completely gone; she no longer even believes in souls. Now she's a bog-standard nymphomaniac.

Others I've seen, have apparently managed to recover from whatever made them "neurodiverse," or at least, to appear to be neurotypical, even under examination by a skilled psychologist.

Skype and AIM names: Exactly the same as my forum name.

My EP Character Questionnaire
Thread for my Questionnaire
The Five Orange Pips

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Huh, that's disappointing.

Huh, that's disappointing. Nobody else wants to say anything on the topic?

Well, I suppose nobody wants to share any personal tales, but nobody else has any tales of asyncs observed in the wild?

Skype and AIM names: Exactly the same as my forum name.

My EP Character Questionnaire
Thread for my Questionnaire
The Five Orange Pips

otohime1978 otohime1978's picture
To be honest, no one trusts

To be honest, no one trusts the premise, nor can we truly trust the doctor's intentions.

Treatment? What kind? Why would we want it?

[=6][i]...your vision

Armoured Armoured's picture
The problem is that as Shadow

The problem is that as Shadow said, many asyncs learn to suppress their quirks to a level that they fit into the rest of Fall-damaged transhumanity. The stand-out stories are usually so deeply weird that they usually sound like making shit up.

My first interaction with a async was back in my combat wasp days. We got tasked with following a SLOTV carrying one biomorph from Iapetus out to Titan. Standard enough, everything we spot coming off that infected iceball gets an escort at least until it exits Saturnian space. This was eyes-on, stand-off, which meant active monitoring of the crew with internal cams, a sensor drone 100m away from the hull, and us following at 10km with a couple nukes hot in the tubes.

Sounds paranoid, but Iapetus. Fuck that place.

Anyway, a couple hours into the transfer the passenger starts talking to us. Not unusual behaviour for someone who expects to be watched; everyone likes letting a voyeur know they know you are there. This guy though, he started talking to us by name. Which is odd when you and your code-siblings haven't decided on names beyond incrementing serial numbers yet. We asked our frigate what to do and got back a fleet-intelligence stamped data packet telling us this was not unexpected, and not to dust the guy for it.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, other than the passenger getting more and more comfortable talking to us. Well, at us, we didn't transmit back, though that didn't discourage him. He turned to whatever cameras we were using at the time, and was quite accurate in judging our interests (admittedly, the number of interests a group of combat drone AGIs could possibly have is slim, but he was creepily accurate) and talking about them.

We were all rather sad to see him go when we got to Titan and the SLOTV landed at some research center. He made us feel like people, which was pretty good at the time.

SquireNed SquireNed's picture
Doing psychosurgery, I've

Doing psychosurgery, I've seen some odd stuff over the years. Typically I only get a handful of clients, since I don't publish my skills in the yellow papers, but when people ask I'll provide the service. A couple of times when I've seen... robust and recurring things, I've had suspicions it might be async related.

Mind you, most of my clients who I do psychosurgery for hired me for bodyguard work, so they all get a pretty comprehensive (and well-edited) personnel file, so I can't tell you if any of them knew my name when they shouldn't or stuff like that. A few have been remarkably good at spotting threats, but people who hire me are often pretty "high-strung", to use the polite term.

Creator of Street Rats, a CC-BY cyberpunk roleplaying game.

Kremlin K.O.A. Kremlin K.O.A.'s picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

That's not to say they're all violent raving psychopaths who write disturbing poetry about the beauty of slicing into flesh with blades. Very few of them are that. (And, in fact, most people who are exactly that are perfectly uninfected. If for some reason you want to start an inquisition to remove individuals exhibiting signals of violent sociopathy, async scares are probably the best way to do it.)

The quivering flash of the vibroscalpel, leaving a light image on the wall
The look in the eyes, as the subject stares at it all.
The muffled whimpers, a sign of fear.
That coppery smell, soon to be here.
The slicing, and fluids, The subject undone.
The moments of calm, until I fetch the next one.

Do you think that would be good to put in the diary of an adventure game villain?

SquireNed SquireNed's picture
... sure.

... sure.

I offer psychosurgery for a fraction of the usual price, if you're interested.

Creator of Street Rats, a CC-BY cyberpunk roleplaying game.

Kremlin K.O.A. Kremlin K.O.A.'s picture
No need.

No need.
Your comment about psychotic poetry reminded me of my roots. So I wanted to make a video game again.
Decided to start working on the bad guy first.
What do you think of a Rogue Jovian Colonel who is dissaffected with his Polity... for not being hawkish enough?

Dr. Maxwell Dr. Maxwell's picture
On the premise

Sorry for the delay in responding! I had a busy year, and had to relocate off mars for a while and rebuild my facilities doing some contract work on some gatecrasher morphs.

The need for treatment is simple, most psychologists are not at all trained for the unique problems Asyncs can develop. Our async agents often simply aren't in good headspaces when we recruit them, they just happen to be the Asyncs with disorders that are convenient and possible to ignore.

Some async abilities create unique challenges for traditional treatment models, though datamining muses is rather helpful in discovering how to potentially handle these cases. PTSD in Hyperthymesia patients, for example, is at least in theory harder to handle, as the async always remembers their trauma as if it just happened for the rest of their life. Asyncs often feel isolated, even within firewall, and feel disconnected and alone in their experiences. Firewall fieldwork is a high stress job, which is why almost all agents regularly go through and highly value therapy, even if they promote neurodiversity, but asyncs generally shun it, which over time can seriously compromise them as both agents and individuals.

What is worse is that at some point amplification of a condition becomes a new condition. The most dramatic case of an asyncs powers feeding into mental illness until they break was a case where an async patient with preexisting OCD developed pattern recognition. Even psychosurgery was not enough of an intervention, and they had to be restored from backup after a copy of their ego was stored for further research.

Of course there are other benefits to field work, though they are likely less sinister than you imagine. Understanding what differentiates a potential async 'deathspiral' from typical async disorders can help non-async agents better gauge if an async is capable of joining our club, and to make better first contact.

Don't forget to check out my open source biomorph and medtech files!

SquireNed SquireNed's picture
Dr. Maxwell wrote:Some async

Dr. Maxwell wrote:
Some async abilities create unique challenges for traditional treatment models, though datamining muses is rather helpful in discovering how to potentially handle these cases. PTSD in Hyperthymesia patients, for example, is at least in theory harder to handle, as the async always remembers their trauma as if it just happened for the rest of their life. Asyncs often feel isolated, even within firewall, and feel disconnected and alone in their experiences. Firewall fieldwork is a high stress job, which is why almost all agents regularly go through and highly value therapy, even if they promote neurodiversity, but asyncs generally shun it, which over time can seriously compromise them as both agents and individuals.

What is worse is that at some point amplification of a condition becomes a new condition. The most dramatic case of an asyncs powers feeding into mental illness until they break was a case where an async patient with preexisting OCD developed pattern recognition. Even psychosurgery was not enough of an intervention, and they had to be restored from backup after a copy of their ego was stored for further research.

We've actually seen a lot of treatment variations in augmented transhumans; Asyncs seem to be worse off just because of the nature their abilities. This is understandable; while the mechanism of Watts-MacLeod is beyond me, certainly just the knowledge that one has been infected with exsurgent virus is traumatic, and gaining unexplained preternatural abilities is likely just as traumatic.

However, as humanity expands past baselines in terms of age, mental cognition, and environmental stresses that simply could not exist a century ago, treatment has more and more become an industrialized process revolving around psychosurgery. As someone who is a psychosurgeon, I don't want to cast too many aspersions on the process: it helps people a lot. However, it also leaves people in largely the same state as they were before the operation, and relapses and reversions to older states are common.

In Watts-Macleod infections, psychosurgery can be practically useless for rectifying disorders. More insidious attempts at psychosurgery can actually be just as effective as one would expect with a baseline human, but some of the disorders seem to stem from an altered view of reality in some patients, especially ones involving alien atavism and dysmorphic thoughts.

I have worked with patients with Watts-Macleod in the past, and I generally refer them to counseling instead of psychosurgery: the psychological impact of knowing that an operation has failed is often likely to exacerbate issues.

As an Ultimate, you can guess what my opinions on fielding operatives already under psychological distress are. I rarely work with Asyncs, but they tend to be no less trustworthy in the field than their average counterparts—once you account for their baselines. Of course, when working with TITAN stuff I trust them about as far as I can throw them (or significantly less in microgravity), but that's also true of most non-Ultimates I've worked with.

The few times I've worked with Asyncs on long-term operations (you'll have to take my word on it—I haven't done long-term work with Asyncs on Firewall work), it's been with mercenary units of somewhat less... saintly reputations. Since violence was a high-frequency part of the job, it was hard to determine what disorders, if any, were the result of on-the-job trauma and which were a result of Async-related phenomena. We had about a 33% psych turnover on one exoplanet expedition.

You can do the math on what exactly that entails with mercs stranded on a rock for three months.

Creator of Street Rats, a CC-BY cyberpunk roleplaying game.

Baribal Baribal's picture
Hoaxers gonna hoax

Admittedly I already know of the futility of this posting while writing it, but *someone* has to be the voice of reason here...
Asyncs? Really? Someone posts a bunch of allegedly "leaked" messages anonymously on the mesh, and suddenly we are to believe that there is a mostly harmless strain of a nanoplague around, which gives the ones it infects supernatural powers? And why should we believe that; because that person slapped the names of two respected neurologists on it?
Stories like these have been around for ages. Indigo children. Vaccines cause autism. The gold colloid effect. This is hoaxers and trolls doing what they're doing, and desperate people clinging to those as truths, and seeing conspiracies hiding the truth from us behind every corner, just because they do not like whatever diagnosis and treatment options they themselves or a loved one has received. PLEASE let us not exacerbate these things by actually indulging these people's fantasies.

Morgan's Butchery | Body bank, morph individualization and upgrades | Psychotherapy and Psychosurgery, therapeutic and recreational | http://eclipsephase.com/comment/59484#comment-59484

SquireNed SquireNed's picture
Watts-Macleod is anything but

Watts-Macleod is anything but mostly harmless. Have you seen the Lost? They had it (or something functionally indistinguishable from it) given to them at some point. Look how they turned out—childhood simulspace acceleration will be a bogeyman going bump in the night for another two decades.

The fact that two big people have their names on it shouldn't change anything, but have you actually been in the field to see asyncs in work?

I mean, I don't like it. I'm open minded (or at least most of me are) about individuals who are asyncs, but they're totally creepy from an operational sense. Most of them aren't very powerful, but it's frightening to see someone you trust using the same powers that belong to the enemies.

And if you're denying that there's something weird that they (and full-blown exsurgents) can do, you've got another thing coming on your next field op working with them.

Creator of Street Rats, a CC-BY cyberpunk roleplaying game.