The Alexandrian

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Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Neuralite Office

On paper, Neuralite is a small freelance neo-genetic research farm. Anyone digging into the company’s background will quickly figure out that they’re actually just a cut-out corporation for Cognite, allowing the hypercorp to perform black book research projects with greater deniability. (Actually proving that would be a completely different ball of wax, of course.)

RESEARCH (-20): Research into Neuralite may also turn up the fact that six months ago, through a dummy subsidiary, they obtained a contract to provide security for the Nova York Water Treatment Facility. (This is odd because it’s way out of their area of expertise.)

NEURALITE OFFICE: The Neuralite facility is a large sphere hanging from one of the “bauble spindles” in Nova York. (A spindle-scraper with a multitude of spheres hanging from it.)

PERSONNEL:

  • Eric Radom, CEO (pg. 16)
  • Laura Panna, COO (pg. 16)
  • Lysander Vangelis, Lead Researcher (pg. 17)
  • 8 Research Scientists (NPC File 1, pg. 13)
  • 6 Tech Support (NPC File 1, pg. 16)

Lysander Vangelis may already be onsite at the Water Treatment Plant (see Node 5).

SECURITY:

  • 2 Security Troopers on guard in the Lobby. (NPC File 1, pg. 15)
  • Security AI
  • Guardian Angel

NEURALITE SECURITY AI: Aptitudes: 10, INT 20. Skills: Beam Weapons 40, Hardware: Electronics 30, Infosec 40, Interface 40, Professional: Security Systems 80, Programming 40, Research 20, Perception 40.


GUARDIAN ANGEL: Movement 8/40, Max Velocity 80, Armor 14/12, DUR 40, WT 8, Rotor

+5 REF, 360-Degree Vision, Access Jacks, Chameleon Skin, Eelware, Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Smell, Enhanced Vision, LIDAR, Light Combat Armor, Neurachem, T-Ray Emitter

Laser Pulser: DV 2d10, SA. (Stun Mode: DV 1d10, SS, biomorphs make SOM x 2 and synthmorphs make SOM x 3 test. On failure, lose next action. Critical failure paralyzed for 1 turn per 10 points of MoF.)


MODYA SURVEILLANCE: Neuralite has been monitoring Modya since the incident at Black Light. Modya herself is covered in taggants from a hive which has been hidden in her apartment. (See Node 2.)

  • One workstation in the Work Farm is dedicated to the surveillance work.
  • The tech assigned to the surveillance (and the fork of his muse actively monitoring it) could answer questions about it.
  • Accumulated footage is also stored on Neuralite’s servers.

LAB A: Lab A was where the epsilon primer and epsilon psike-out was developed. The lab has recently been cleared out and sterilized. (The chemicals were moved to Node 5 for dispersal and Neuralite is beginning to position themselves for plausible deniability.)

LAB B – CELL CULTURES: Lab B is analyzing the epsilon primer and epsilon psike-out in active cell cultures and also from samples taken from test subjects (both null results and active results).

  • These cell cultures can confirm that Neuralite is behind all of the recent incidents. They can also be used for medical analysis (see Node 3).

THE PLAN: The full report of Neuralite’s plans, the time they plan to release the epsilon psike-out, and the fact that they already have installed the mechanisms necessary at the Water Treatment Planet (Node 5).

  • Full plan available from Neuralite’s servers.
  • Questioning Eric Radom or Lysander Vangelis (they know everything).
  • Researchers won’t want to violate their NDAs (severe consequences), but can confirm all the scientific data about psi-epsilon operner. Each researcher also has a 50% chance of knowing one detail of the plan.
  • Each tech support member has a 25% chance of knowing one detail of the plan.

Go to Node 5: Water Treatment Plant

Go to Part 1

Eclipse Phase - Mobile ScientistGiven the nature of the investigation, there’s a lot of evidence that can be subjected to medical examination. In general, there are three broad results to be obtained (although they can be obtained from a variety of sources):

  • MODYA DNA: The DNA from Modya’s morph (which can be easily traced to identify her, leading to Node 2).
  • EPSILON PRIMER: Once isolated, the fact that the epsilon primer is a binary compound is easy to identify.
  • EPSILON PSIKE-OUT: Like the primer, the fact that the epsilon psike-out is a binary compound is easy to identify. In addition, the psike-out possesses a unique set of artificial polymitotic cells. A Research (+20) test will identify these cells as having been originally developed by Cognite. Cognite then transferred the patent rights for these cells to Neuralite five years ago (leading to Node 4).

For each additional sample of a given type available for analysis, provide a +10 modifier to the test.

Further analysis of either the epsilon primer or psike-out can be performed as a task action (1 day), with a success indicating that the character has identified the general principles of what the chemical’s function is. Halve the required time if a character has access to both compounds.

MODYA’S BLOOD/TISSUE: Blood or tissue samples taken from Modya contain both the epsilon primer and the epsilon psike-out. (It also contains Modya’s morph DNA, but if they’re taking tissue samples from her the PCs have probably found her already.)

PROTOPLASMIC VOMIT: The protoplasmic vomit contains Modya’s DNA and epsilon psike-out.

FABBER CHEMICAL RESIDUE: The chemical residue in the drink fabber is epsilon psike-out.

CELL CULTURES FROM NEURALITE LAB: These contain both the epsilon primer and the epsilon psike-out.

WATER SAMPLES: Samples of water taken anywhere on Nova York will contain epsilon primer.

Go to Node 4: Neuralite Office

Caverns of ThraAsh McAllan sent me a tweet: “Hey @hexcrawl I keep referring people to [Jaquaying the Dungeon]… but noticed you’re using Jaquays’ deadname? Needs updating.”

(For those unaware, the author of The Caverns of Thracia transitioned in, if I recall correctly, 2012.)

This is something I’ve actually given quite a bit of thought to, both generally and in the specific instance of Jaquaying the Dungeon. And my philosophy is that name changes generally progress forward through time.

First: If Jennell had been Jennell when I wrote the essay, I’d have used Jennell. But what I wrote is what I wrote when I wrote it. Similarly, I don’t think we need to edit this video and dub in Caitlyn Jenner’s name.

I don’t think it’s either practical or necessary for us to revise extant works in order to match people’s changing identities. For example, what if I was dead? Who’d have the authority to decide what needed to be rewritten in my work? And what if I’d written a poem and rhymed a word with the name “Paul”? You can’t just search-and-replace names and necessarily arrive at something true.

Second: For similar reasons, I think it’s accurate to say that Cassius Clay won the Clay-Liston fight. (Because that was his name when it happened.) I also think it can be accurate to write that Muhammad Ali won that fight. It would not, however, be accurate to say that Cassius Clay won the Rumble in the Jungle (because that is not a thing which ever happened).

So, in the future, I may refer to “The Caverns of Thracia by Paul Jaquays”. Because that was her name when she wrote it.

There are archival issues here (i.e., you can’t reasonably track down every extant copy of The Caverns of Thracia and scratch out the author’s name on them; and even if you could, there would be some really significant ethical issues with rewriting cultural history like that). There are also issues of historical accuracy (which can be demonstrated with sentences like “Muhammad Ali then changed his name to Muhammad Ali” — which makes no sense if you’ve succeeded in your hypothetical mission to strike all references to the name Cassius Clay from the historical record).

Important proviso here: All of the above is discussing public figures and publicly known events. Very different standards apply to non-public events and private individuals, many of whom may be living stealth. Even if we ignore the ethical right for someone to control their own identity and privacy (although I can’t honestly think of any reason why we would want to do that), there are very real dangers in outing someone. Arguing that someone should say “that was back when HE graduated from college” because that happened before Jane transitioned is to inherently say that Jane should be outed any time events from her life before transitioning are mentioned.

(Some of you may be thinking that there shouldn’t be a distinction here. Consider a hypothetical scenario where Jennell was living stealth. Therefore, I should refer to past events in her life using only her current name and pronoun, right? Except if I say, “Jennell wrote The Caverns of Thracia.” that combines poorly with the public knowledge that the name “Paul” appears on all those extant copies of the book. I would have just functionally outed Jennell. Private and public information work in fundamentally different ways, and trying to treat them in the same way doesn’t work.)

In my ideal world, the changing of identity for a transexual or transgender person would be no more notable than any other change in name and identity. And we’d be able to treat them all openly and without any significant comment because, honestly, it’s just not that big a deal. Unfortunately, that’s just not the world we live in. In this world it is a big deal — it can literally be a life or death deal. And that needs to be respected.

Go to Part 1

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Modya

Modya can be found either at work (a small suite of BdNY offices in the center of Tower Babylon) or at home (a single-room coffin+ apartment buried in the skin of Metis).

  • A taggant thumb hive was secreted into the cushions of her couch by Neuralite agents; she herself has several taggants on her.

DESCRIPTION: A mousy-featured flat with a bob cut of dark brown hair.

ROLEPLAYING:

  • Russian accent.
  • Scared, traumatized, frightened, and confused.
  • Constantly thirsty. She will repeatedly offer to get the PCs drinks and will frequently fetch herself another glass of water.

BACKGROUND:

  • Modya was an infugee until eight months ago when BdNY pulled her out of cold storage for her actuarial skills.
  • Hasn’t been socializing much. Her coworker Tanya finally convinced her to come out to the Black Light. Tanya never showed up. (This is a dead end: Tanya got invited to an arthouse orgy and ditched Modya without even the courtesy of a mesh ping.)
  • Modya has been spending most of her spare time and credits trying to figure out what happened to her husband’s ego; they’d been transmitted off Earth at the same time, but her file had been shuffled around so much that she has no idea where he might have ended up.

NOTES:

  • Blood or tissue samples from Modya can be subjected to medical analysis (see Node 3).
  • Modya is constantly thirsty because she has subconsciously manifested the High Pain Threshold psi-chi sleight (Eclipse Phase, pg. 224) due to the psi-epsilon primer. She has to keep drinking the water because otherwise the primer wears off and her body, having acclimated to the psi-chi, interprets the result as severe pain.
  • Two days ago, Modya was questioned by employees of Neuralite. They claimed to have been hired as a freelance investigation team following up on the Black Light incident. Modya told them she left before the incident and they seemed to accept that.

Go to Node 3: Medical Analysis

Go to Part 1

Eclipse Phase: Psi-Chosis - Paula

Located on the 276th sunward floor of the Harrington Torque, one of the kilometers-tall spindle-scrapers that criss-cross Nova York.

INTERIOR

The interior décor is black-on-black with every single item limned in a blue light. In the UV spectrum, however, the club is a polychromatic disaster; a nouveau style that’s being referred to as “invisible pollocking”.

GHOSTS: Those subscribing to the Black Light’s custom AR channel (for a nominal fee) will find that the club is “haunted” by a number of spectral blue spirits who float here and there. These are all delta forks developed from egos that only survived the Fall as vapors.

LAYOUT: There’s a hemispherical bar area with tables studded across the floor. The dome of the bar is a dance floor designed for people wearing grip-pads. There are also two lounge areas (one for VIPs). The employee-only area contains a kitchen, storage, a break room, and the manager’s office.

ACTIVITY: During the day, the Black Light is largely deserted with just a few desultory drinkers. At night, the bar and lounge areas are thickly crowded. (The recent incident only created a sensation and increased the club’s demand; people are reporting that real ghosts are haunting the place.)

INVESTIGATION TEST – BAR: Will find the protoplasmic vomit (see below).

INVESTIGATION TEST – KITCHEN: Will find the component recently added to the drink fabber (see below).

CHARACTERS

MANAGER – EVANDER MOON: A gruff man in a splicer morph; blue, pseudo-prehensile dreadlocks and a slight potbelly. He’s convinced that the whole thing was a prank; some sort of “living art” piece somebody is prepping in anticipation of the Intergalactic Art and Culture Show. More than happy to take the free publicity, though.

BARTENDER – PAULA BANWIN: Friendly face in a dark-skinned splicer. She’s still badly shaken by what she experienced during the incident (which included a detailed vision of her watching TITAN drones kill her family and her original body… events she has no memory of because she escaped Earth as an infomorph fork before they happened).

Paula keeps a lifelog. She’s been teasing the events of last night and hasn’t publicly released all the footage, but they would function as surveillance footage (see below).

CLUE – SURVEILLANCE FOOTAGE

Can be obtained from the club’s security system, Paula Banwin’s lifelog, or possibly from other witnesses.

FOOTAGE: Average night at the club. Then all the lights spark brightly; people in the room and various items are clearly drawn towards a point near the center of the hemisphere (as if drawn by a strong gravitic field). People are clinging to tables or to each other and screaming. A few items implode, sending dull shards of safe-glass and ceramics careening around. Then, abruptly, its over; gravity reasserts itself and everyone falls (albeit slowly) towards the floor.

PERCEPTION (+30): One person (and only one person) is unaffected (Modya Oborskaia). Modya remains at her table. Her eyes are wide, but her pupils are rolled back to reveal only the whites of her eyes (which slowly turn red).

Rolling the footage back will reveal that Modya had just arrived and taken her first drink. (The drink was, of course, made in the drink fabber, see below.)

Rolling the footage forward will show that, after the incident, she stumbled away and vomited into a modern art piece that’s been extruded from the wall of the club. (The protoplasmic vomit she spewed up is still there, see below.)

CLUE – DRINK FABBER

Located in the kitchen. Standard model, but a strange, fluted canister made from some sort of black polymer compound has been added to it.

CANISTER: The canister was installed by workers from Neuralite and added epsilon psike-out to everything the fabber made. It has an inventory taggant attached to it that clearly identifies it as coming from a Neuralite storeroom.

Surveillance footage can reveal the person installing the canister. If successfully traced, it will turn out to be Neuralite employee named Evren Nissel (he knows nothing; he was just told to install the canister).

OPENING THE CANISTER: The canister is completely sealed except for the intake and output valves. Breaching the canister will trigger a self-destruct unless an encrypted passkey is broadcast. If the canister is opened, the chemical residue inside can be subjected to medical analysis (see Node 3).

CLUE – PROTOPLASMIC VOMIT

Located in a modern art piece that’s extruded from the wall of the club. Modya vomited into the art piece after the incident.

The vomit is semi-gelatinous and looks something like a decaying jelly fish. In substance, it’s made up almost entirely of protoplasm – as if a huge mass of cells had their plasma membranes stripped from them.

The vomit can be subjected to medical analysis (see Node 3).

Go to Node 2: Modya Oborskaia

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