One of the new developments of 2039 is a resurgence in technological experiments for mechanical enhancement of the human capabilities - the meshing of cybernetic and organic life.
The support technology to develop cyborging has long been available - the first experiments on cybernetic enhancement took place 50 years ago, studying ways to replace damaged organ and senses. The discovery of cheap and easy cloning technology made cyborging obsolete. Why bother replacing lost parts with machines when a clone patrt could be grown for a perfect replacement, with no chance of rejection?
Interest in cybernetic has only recently been powerful enough to stimulate the intrest in evelopment of new cyborging techniques. The majority of the research adresses better controll combinations between man and machine, in order to accomplish closer bond between the driver and the hardware. there is, of course, research in other areas of cyberware - body replacement nd enhancement parts - but this is a lesser area of study.
Other companies have aimed their research in this potentially lucrative area but have been hampered by the Amalgamated Meditech patents on the brain-scanning and backfeed gear needed for such items. Most of the gear is simply a variant of the micro link-up licensed to many manufacturers by Amalgamated Meditech, but there are new components specially developed for linkage which are heavily guarded. furthermore, Amalgamated Meditech protects its patents zealously - any gear developed outside of Amalgamated Meditech is immediately taken to court as a patent violation. So far, none of the link-ups produced have differed significantly enough from the Amalgamated Meditech model to escape suit and begin producing.
The company that has succeded in challenging Amalgamated Meditech is ManTronics, a California-based prothetics firm. ManTronics has survived by manufacturing prosthetics for patients with genetic defects, a problem cloning can't solve. However, ManTronics has now entered a new market with phsical cybernetics totally different from Amalgamated Meditech goods. Amalgamated Meditech has begun a full-scale advertesing campaign to besmrch and belittle ManTronics products, portraying themas dehumanizing monster makers that infect their implants and turn them into raging, half-human monsters.
ManTronics has responded that their implants are not responsible for incidents like the Kyle Namreh case - he was an Amalgamated Meditech subject - and their long experience with prosthetics makes their products superior to Amalgamated Meditech "experiments."
Vehicular computer link-ups are more successful. such computers have limited uses and fairly simple routines that translates easily to motor-reflexe neural impulses, making it possible to operate a vehicle om mental commands alone! The benefits are obvious: One man could command every function of a vehicle with improved speed and accuracy.
In theory, such interpretation is easy. In practice, the separation of mental processes and disorientation experienced by the operator requires careful and legthly training in order to make the interface work.
Link-up skill levels have the following effects: No skilll means that the character can drive the vehicle at -3 HC or fire one vehicular weapon per turn at -3 to hit. Zero-level skill means the character can drive the vehicle and fire one vehicular weapon per turn without penalty. Skill +1 means the character can drive the vehicle and fire two vehicular weapon per turn. Each +1 past zero-level adds one additional vehicular weapon to the ammount the character can fire in one turn.
Linked characters cannot fire non-vehicular veapons, and only linked vehicular weapons can be fired. The Link-up skill does not replace Driver, Cyclist, Gunner, Trucker, Boat, Helicopter or Airplane skills.The proper skills are still needed to pilot the vehicle(s) and fire the weapons.
The only Link-up system that does not require such skill training in the U.S. Military's ANDICE. Their system was developed along extremely simple lines of programming to reduce training time and user discomfort. Since the user expeience very little time dillation while in the link-up - the micro sense simulation is practical in real-time - there is little disorientation of time sense. Furthermore, the majority of ANDICe's project processing power is devoted to screening out feedback and presenting a simplified "readout" to the user. ANDICE users have a +1 oon feedback roll. The KISS principle has been rigorously followed, to the point that while ANDICE is less efficient than other link-ups, it may be used safetly and is not user-specific. For more information on ANDICE, see State of the Art, 2039 Part 2 ADQ 7/3.
Both the Gold Cross and the ManTronic link-ups take one Space. If desired, the operator need not to be provided wit actual controls, therby requiring only one space instead of two normaly required for a crewmember. However, this restricts the operator to using the vehicle through cyberlink-up only.
All link-ups must be tuned for the individual(s) that are going to use it. If the link-up is not tuned to a character that tries to use it, the vehicle won't follow mental orders and the character receives a heavy dose of feedback (see below).
All weapons that are to be used through link-ups have to be linked into the system at $1,000 per weapon. Link-up computers are destroyed with the power-plant. While a user is linked-up, his body is powerless and limp. Breaking out of link-up takes one turn and can be done at will. The user can act noramlly the turn fololowing breaking out of link-up.
The Gold Cross Link-up - 1 space, 100 lbs., $50,000+. The Gold Cross link-up is a non-intrusive system where the nural connection are made through hemelt sensors. The basic unit cost $50,000 - this translation/control computer and neural helmet for one operator. Each additional oprator in the system cost additional $10,000 for the tuning and the neural helmet. Each neural helmet are tuned to it's specific wearere and will not work with anyone else.
The Gold Cross link does not mesh with existing combat computers. Better "wares" may be built into the computer to improve gunnery. A +1 for one weapon costs $2,000. A +2 for one weapon costs $3,000. A +3 for one weapon costs $10,000. A +1 for all weapons costs $5,000. A +2 for all weapon costs $10,000. These pluses can be used by any linked crewmember.
The ManTronics Link-up - 1 space, 150 lbs., $20,000+. The ManTronic link-up is a socket model, requiring an actual wire connection to the cortex of the user (see implants). The base computer unit costs $20,000. Each additional user tuned into the system costs $7,000. Improved Gunnery is limited to a +1 for one weapon ($1,000), a +2 for one weapon ($2,000), or a +1 for all weapons ($5,000).
Feedback comes in two varieties: Intense and normal. intense feedback occurs when the power plant is hit by an anti-power-plant warhead or when the user is not tuned to the control computer. Intense feedback occurs instantly. Roll two dice, adding + 1 if the user's Link-Up skill is 3.
2 or 3 - User killed by feedback surge, his brain wiped.
4-6 - Roll on Insanity Table below.
7-9 - User unconscious for id hours.
10 - User unconscious for id minutes.
11 - User stunned for id seconds.
12+ - User unharmed.
Normal feedback creeps up on the user over time, with more subtle effects. For every ten seconds (or part thereof, if the link-up lasts less than ten seconds) of link-up time, roll two dice adding +1 if Link-Up skill is 3+. On a result of 2 or 3, roll on the Insanity Table below.
Insanity Table, Roll one die:
Paranoia - Classic fear/feeling that everyone/thing is out to get you.
Psychopathy - Character hates everyone, turns violent and sadistic. With some
duellists, no one would notice the change...
Hesitation - The character hesitates under stress, always firing in the last phase of the turn and maneuvering after everyone else - always moves last in each phase.
Dependence - The link-up is your friend. It's the ultimate high! "Real life" is pale by comparison; you want to remain in cyberspace, part of the Machine. A character with dependance must roll 7+ on two dice to break out of link-up.
Cyberphobia - The computer is trying to eat your soul! The character will fight to prevent being linked-up again.
Catatonia - Also known as white out. The user's mind has been overwhelmed by link-up cyberspace. This is common among volunteers in network-interface research. The character sits sightless and motionless and isn't much good until he can be "reprogrammed." This involves feeding in the character's memories from an MMSD or similar memory recording.
Curing these insanities (except whithout catatonia, which has its own unique cure) may take months of expensive therapy and counseling. Psychological help takes one hour per day and costs $50 per session ($1,500 per month). At the end of each month of psychological help, roll one die. On a 6 the insanity has been overcome and the patient cured.
One constant factor with implants is that surgery will be necessary to implant them. A successful Medical skill roll is necessary to install the implant (and can only be attempted in hospital surroundings). Since most implant surgeons are Medic+4 or better, the operation is usually successful. The base roll is 7+ on two dice.
Surgery is listed as minor, major or critical. Minor surgery adds + 1 to the Medical roll, major adds nothing and critical surgery adds 1 to the roll. If the surgery roll is not successful roll two dice:
2 - Character dies.
3-5- Character has complications that require criticalsurgery within 36 hours to save his life.
6-8- Character has complications that require one week ofhospital treatment to save his life.
9+ - Operation aborted; may try again after 24 hours.
Surgery is expensive, costing $5,000 for minor surgery, $10,000 for normal surgery and $15,000 for critical surgery (no, you aren't charged for any additional surgery resulting from a botched operation!). In addition, each implant has a therapy period. This is rated as hospital care, costing $4,000 per week.
Infection occurs at the interface of flesh and machine. It occurs automatically if the implant is rejected. Otherwise, infection occurs as the operation heals and as the result of damage. Each week for one month after the operation, roll two dice per new implant. On a roll of 2 or 3 the implant interface becomes infected. Subtract 1 from the roll if the character has been using tailored antibiotics ($10 per dose, one dose per day).
If the character is wounded, roll two dice. If the number rolled is equal to or less than the number of implants thecharacter has (or any roll of 2), an implant is damaged, and may become infected on a roll of 2 to 4 on 2d.
Infection is serious. Roll two dice each week that the infection persists: subtract 1 if the character can't get antibiotics; add 2 if the character is hospitalized.
2,3 - Implant must be removed and infection sterilized or character dies.
4-6 - Character is bedridden. All skills and reflexes at-2.
7-9 - Character is very sick. All skills and reflexes at -3.
10,11 - Character is in pain. All skills and reflexes at-i.
12+ - Infection cured.Available Implant.
Link-Up - A cortex socket for linking into cyberspace. $10,000, major surgery, rejection -1, therapy one week.
Cybereye - A replacement eye. $7,500, major surgery, rejection +0, therapy two weeks. Each eye is a separate cost and rejection roll, but both may be installed in the same operation. Options may be added: IR vision +$5,000; Light Amplification +$2,000; No-Glare +$1,000.
Cyberear - Enhancements to hearing. $5,000, minor surgery, rejection +2, therapy one week. Options may be installed simultaneously and use the same rejection roll. Base cyberear replaces hearing and has a higher hearing range (hi/low frequency). Options: Radio +$1,000; LongRange Hearing +$1,500.
Cyberlimb - A replacement limb. $3,000, major surgery, rejection +0, therapy four weeks. The base cyberlimb is a normal-strength limb; no Strength level (Str.). Stronger limbs cost +1,000 per level.
Str+0 limbs do id-3 damage
Str+1 limbs do id-i damage
Str+2 limbs do 2d-5 damage
Str+3 limbs do 2d-3 damage
Str+4 limbs do 2d-1 damage
Str+5 limbs do 3d-5 damage, and so on.
One cybernetic leg adds 5 mph to Running speed. Both legs replaced by cybernetics adds 15 mph to Running speed.
If hit by damage, cyberlimbs have 2 DR Limbs may be targeted at a -6. Armor may be purchased for cyberlimbs. The cost is $50 per point; it weighs 1 lb. per point. A maximum of 5 points per limb is allowed.
Cybertorso - Complete torso replacement. $20,000, critical surgery, rejection -3, therapy eight weeks. Replaces organs with machines. Character is no longer vulnerable to poisons or gasses, and is immune to respiratory, cardio-vascular and gastric disorders. Adds 3 DP to the character! A character with cybertorso and cyberlegs can run practically forever... Cybertorso adds + 1 to cyberlimb Str. levels. Armor may also be purchased for a cybertorso. It weighs and costs the same as cyberlimb armor, but a maximum of 10 points may be purchased.
Cybertechnology is hard to come by and dangerous to use. It is still highly experimental and counts against vehicle cost in combat. Operations are under way to develop more reliable implants, to stop rejection and infection and to make better software interfaces to stop feedback. These developments are in the future; at the moment, anyone acquiring cybernetics is an experimental subject!