So I'm finding that I really like writing in the style of the EP books, of a character explaining a situation or whatnot in a thread.
Frankly, writing the Exhuman clade was a lot of fun and I can see why the creators of Eclipse Phase chose to do it like this.
So I'm posting more stuff I've put together for the campaign I just finished. This time, the TITAN traps they encountered.
Hope someone finds this useful.
Like before, writeup's in the spoiler tag. Enjoy.
Posted by: Mother, Proxy < Info Msg Rep >
Some of you may have worked with my son. Hard to forget I imagine, how many kids are actually part of the organisation? But it stands to his credit that the one who inducted him thought he was an adult in a neotenic and didn't work out the truth for two ops. This road lead to my joining the organisation, but that's a story for another time.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, it turns out being a bored kid on Luna lends itself to exploring places adults seldom have the time or inclination to go. It's been useful actually as he is obsessed with documenting everything (thank you all for the tradecraft lessons as well, last thing I want is his 'hobby' getting him vanished into an unmarked government van with a bag on his head...). Once upon a time I was a responsible parent who'd tell him not to crawl into those lightless crawl spaces. Considering that's how he found, and dealt with, that exsurgent growth underneath Nectar that lead Firewall to caring about him in the first place, these days I just hand him his shredder pistol and wish him luck.
He seldom finds anything worth using that pistol on, but he often finds a threat that leads other cells to investigate something, usually a hypercorp interest. What he often finds a lot of, with glaring regularity, is the stuff exsurgents leave behind.
Namely traps. While we know about most of their traps, the following are the ones where he's been the first one to get a close look at it since the Fall (which is usually followed by an interested Crow also taking a look).
I don't know what the acronym stood for, I don't think that info survived the Fall. What they are is kind of nasty but really straightforward, and the name is actually quite apt. It's a flat disc on the ground that's pressure sensitive. Step on it and it becomes a spike and impales you. Then the tip flares out and slowly presses down - basically picture a hydraulic press. How it manages to exert so much force with what seems to be barely anything behind it (we managed to pick up a RIVET without triggering it, thing has less mass than a scurrier morph), is currently beyond us however.
You only see these things in micrograv, the ones we found on Luna seem to be... not a mistake but brought aboard from elsewhere. In any form of gravity it kind of crushes itself under its own mass into a puddle. In micrograv they form perfect bioluminescent spheres. Either shape however is dangerous. The sphere itself is an incredibly powerful adhesive and contained within the membrane is a modified protean swarm that uses any poor sap stuck to it as feedstock and it churns out more of the damn things.
So imagine a disc on the ground, but when you enter the same room as it, part of it kicks up off the ground and becomes a floating sphere. Then it spins on the spot creating a high frequency whirring that seems to just melt grey matter into goo. Good news is, if you have an async in the party, they can hear the things 'screaming' from miles away, hence their name. We analysed the high frequency whir on behest of some asyncs and it appears to be millions of transhuman voices screaming out in anguish.
Side note: the same technology appears to be used in 'Stress Balls'. For those who haven't heard of them: it's a TITAN manufactured psychic grenade - as in it utterly destroys your mind without any physical interaction. Yes, this is a real thing that happened and is, thankfully, very rare.
So imagine a mechanical sphere that does absolutely nothing if you're beyond five meters of it. If you're within five meters however, it exerts, of all things, gravity. A lot of it. Like, your own mass will crush you to death levels. Regardless of where we've found them, they 'act' as if in microgravity. They have on board propulsion of some sort but we haven't yet cracked one open to work it out.
These things are horrible - good thing they show up as bright rings on standard electric sense kits. So imagine a ring of metal that's pretty much indistinguishable from a standard door frame. If you look close enough through nanoscopic vision, you'll note tiny patterns forming in the air across the threshold. Do not put any part of your body over the threshold. Your ego will be instantly jacked into a time dilated simulspace torture suite and you'll probably have to be restored from backup. Good news is you can disrupt the pattern by damaging the ring. Bad news is, fast acting self-repair metamaterials make it a pain to dispose of as it only takes a good couple of minutes to right itself from most conventional weapons and explosives.
I utterly loathe these things. Picture, if you will, children's crayon scribbling on the wall. Or chalk, whichever is more evocative for you. Picture the happiest image a 3 year old can conjure, sun with a smiley face, a happy family, a house with its windows and door arranged almost kind of like a face. That kind of thing. Now imagine that if you were go in nanoscopic on this image, you'd see a network of fractal spiral patterns. Congratulations, it's a slow acting basilisk hack that will do everything in its power to not kick in until you've backed up. It'll gradually de-res your sense data. It starts with vision, colours de-saturating until you've got monochrome vision that will eventually ink itself completely black. Hearing starts with mild tinnitus and eventually just goes dead. Taste starts with everything tasting like dirt then eventually nothing. Smell goes from a perpetual burning scent to nothing and lastly touch just gradually goes through stages of pins and needles until you go completely numb. Picture how maddening those final stages are. Eventually the hack will just move your body around like a badly jammed synth, find the nearest maker, get a pack of crayons, and start drawing a new wall. Moral of the story: Keep an eye on your backups.
I remember seeing one of these on earth actually. If you ever see a fractal pattern etched a centimetre or so deep into an entire floorspace, chances are its one of these. The fractal pattern is just a sound sensitive nanoswarm manufactory, one shoe scuff and you'll have an TITAN dissassembler swarm in your face. Be silent and you'll be fine.
This was an oddly specific but surprisingly effective one we stumbled over. It's... bizarre, I'll give it that. Imagine a modified protean swarm that eats your body and gives you a new one. It basically transforms you. And not into nice shapes either. I think it might have been an attempt to mimic some of the creepy effects of the biological viruses we've seen using nanotech. At no point do you die during the transformation, though the risk of exsurgent infection is there - not to mention the feeling of being disassembled is never pleasant.
One of the forms we saw was strange to say the least, it transformed people into rag dolls... With buttons for eyes and everything. Seems like a strange kind of synth, the 'fluff' was actually an incredibly inefficient neural network that routs brain input through the longest paths possible, giving distinctive lag times between the mind's commands to move and the body's motion to do so. The fluff also shorted out medichines and nanophages and didn't respond to repair spray. The morph also had inbuilt backdoors in the cyberbrain's puppet sock, no cortical stack and no mesh inserts, as well as being built specifically for basilisk hack vulnerability. Because the morph was woven in a kind of 'fabric' as well, it makes maintaining it near impossible. It seemed like the intent of this was to debilitate an individual, forcing their companions to expend effort and resources dealing with dead weight.
Long story short, dissassemblers aren't the worst thing you can be hit with if you crack a TITAN nanohive.
God damn Luna hides some scary relics from the fall. Any proxies interested in talking to me about the prospect of rounding these 'artifacts' up... well, my contact details are at the start of the thread.