Supporting Cast

Deacon Paul

Bioroid Rights Activist
for Transhuman Space

by Royce Easton Day

Background

"Deacon Paul" (as he's popularly known) was born Paul Isiah Richards in his parents farmhouse outside of Macon, Georgia, July 4th, 1890. The first fifteen years of his life were bitter ones. His family were poor African-American sharecroppers, and they lived in the mocking shadow of segregation that was the Deep South in the period between the Civil War and the 1960s. Young Paul saw little difference between his family's life then and the tales of growing up a slave that his grandmother told him.

His grandmother died when he was ten, and five years later his family finally managed to save up enough money to move north to New York City, where they found freedom and acceptance in the thriving culture of Harlem. There Paul applied himself to his studies with vigor, determined to learn enough to support his family and never find himself again at the mercy of white plantation owners. He graduated with honors and a degree in chemistry from Howard University in 1922.

By the 1950s Paul was the head of his own company, a chemical firm making a tidy profit selling fertilizer nationwide (the irony of possibly taking money from the same white farmers who had oppressed his family wasn't lost on him.) He was an active member of his church, and with his commanding voice and natural charisma he quickly became a leading deacon. In the 1960s he was a local leader in New York's civil rights movement, fighting the hard fight against racial inequality that, while not as blatant as in the South, was as deeply entrenched.

Deacon Paul died in 1980, 90 years to the day after he was born. In his will he ordered his body be cryogenically frozen, and a trust fund set up to revive him whenever it was technologically possible. As he put it, "I have helped create a bright future for my children, and their grandchildren. I wish to see what they will accomplish in it." In 2095, after several decades of internal wrangling, the law firm overseeing Deacon Paul's trust fund ordered that his brain be scanned in order to create a ghost emulation, and the ghost be transferred to a bioshell based off of his DNA.

After his successful awakening and several months of therapy to deal with the typical amnesia from creating a ghost from a cryogenic patient, Deacon Paul began a closer examination of the United States of 2095, eager to see a world where the color of one's skin no longer mattered.

What he found horrified him. The status of bioroids in the United States, born to their jobs and programmed to look towards no farther horizon than their duties, struck at the center of Deacon Paul's soul. As he put it, "In my grandmother's day, at least a slave could dream of escaping their fate. Thanks to memetic programming, even that is beyond most of these children of technology."

Today Deacon Paul is one of the leading activists for bioroid rights in the United States. He has parlayed his initial status as one of the "Five Oldest Living Memories" (Euronews Profiles, September 15, 2096) into a platform advocating full legal status to bioroids. To popular audiences he uses his grandmother's tales of living in slavery to illustrate the inequity of bioroid status. On the political front he's used the considerable income of his trust fund to mount attacks in court against the "legal guardian" status of corporations and government agencies that use bioroid laborers and soldiers. To date he hasn't had much success, but he is at least succeeding in keeping bioroid rights issues in the public view.

Quotes

"The US Army decants bioroids and calls them minors. Then they put guns in the hands of these children and tell them to play war. Does no one see this as inherently wrong?"

"When a man holds another man in bondage, whether they were born or 'constructed,' whether it is legal or not, it is an offense against God. To deny that truth is to work the Devil's will."

"If they are children, young and na´ve, you must treat them as children, with love and charity. If they are adults, able to work and fight, then you must treat them as adults, with respect and dignity."

"No, we are not going to move along, Officer."

Campaign Uses

Deacon Paul is an activist, but not a violent one. He still believes strongly in the use of passive resistance and peaceful confrontation to draw attention to inequities, rather than rioting and terrorism. Nevertheless, he is an annoying thorn in the side of the status quo, and he rarely lets himself be intimidated in a confrontation. If a GM wants to run a politically oriented campaign, Deacon Paul would make an excellent NPC for player characters to meet.

Player characters can be easily drawn into an adventure involving Deacon Paul, particularly if they're of a political bent. Memetic engineers might be hired by him to help promote his cause, or by his opposition to discredit him. Security personnel will have to keep him safe from retaliation by disgruntled corporations or anti-bioroid terrorist groups. And of course any free bioroid who finds himself living in the United States will certainly have sympathy for Deacon Paul's cause.

As a Patron, Deacon Paul will have limited utility. He's still developing his own network of contacts, and won't be able to provide much information or support to player characters. But if an unfortunate PC finds himself in jail after protesting for the bioroid cause, Deacon Paul won't hesitate to bail them out.

Description: 5'11", 200 lbs. A heavy-set African-American man with a shaved head and a commanding voice, appearing to be in his mid-thirties. Usually wears a conservative suit in public.

Statistics: ST 10 [0]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 13 [30]; HT 12 [20].

Advantages: Ghost Mind Emulation [17], Bioshell Template [64], Reputation [Bioroid rights activist] +2, large class of people [Bioroid supporters] [5], Charisma +3 [15], Common Sense [10], Empathy [15], Strong Will +3 [12], Voice [10], Wealth [Very Wealthy] [30], Independent Income [5].

Disadvantages: Custom Bioroid Body [no Mistaken Identity or Social Stigma] [-8], Honesty [-50% limitation] [-5]*, Pacifism [Self-Defense Only] [-15], Reputation 2, Bioroid Rights Activist, [among government officials and corporate executives, small class], recognized sometimes 10-, [-1]

* Deacon Paul's Honesty doesn't prevent him from breaking the law. In situations involving protest and passive resistance it is often difficult not to break the law. He recognizes, however, that his actions are often considered to be illegal, and is perfectly prepared to face the consequences when confronted.

Quirks: Prays before every meal [-1], Reads a chapter from the Bible every evening [-1], Equates bioroid "guardianship" with slavery [-1], Questions authority [-1]

Skills: Swimming-10 [1], Chess-13 [1], Performance/Ritual 13 [2], Spanish-13 [2], Agronomy/TL 7-12 [1], Chemistry/TL 7-14 [6], Economics-11 [1], Oral Literature-13 [4], Theology [Baptist]-18 [4], Administration-13 [2], Bard-18 [2], Diplomacy-14 [1], Leadership-18 [4], Memetics/TL9-10 [1], Merchant-14 [2], Politics-16 [2], Teaching-14 [2], Savoir-Faire-18 [2]

Dodge 5; Parry 5; Block 3; Will 16.

Point Total: 230




Article publication date: September 26, 2003


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