ENTRY 043: Arindov Space
Among the stranger corners of the Mesh are sites where atypical sensory interfaces predominate. Vision, sound, and touch/contact have been utilized in some combination for communications for centuries, but in post-Fall days there are entire segments of the Mesh where the primary sensory interface is somewhat stranger and more exotic—where infomorphs communicate via scents and tastes, artificially remixed and released in bursts of intensity and duration, or augmented reality zones which feed information that can only be interpreted by transhumans with t-ray emitter/receivers, or at least a compatible app that either allows them to interpret the data or translates it to their existing sensory spectrum.
The most populous of these sensory interface zones is Arindov Space, a mixed virtual/augmented reality environment based on echolocation, located in a lightless open-planning Lunar cavern with a high population density, with nearly thirty thousand physical inhabitants in 3.0 cubic kilometers of space. All boundaries and perimeters in the cavern (aside from the outer walls) are defined by virtual constructs, so that the inhabitants and visitors navigate by way of artificial echolocation data. Experienced users navigate in a sea of real-time three-dimensional data, steering them around digitally marked zones as well as real obstacles; new users are generally less able to process the full extent of the echodata being fed to them, but most adapt—or use a cheat app that processes the echodata into a relative audio-visual feed to overlay on their regular vision.
As might be expected, violating this virtual zoning carries with it social penalties. The Arindov Space exists only because of the consensual acceptance and awareness of the virtual borders; without the virtual barriers ameliorating senses of privacy and personal space, the population would probably riot at living packed so closely together. Individuals who purposefully violate virtual barriers face significant social stigma (and corresponding rep loss), but for some—particularly visitors—the relative freedom that comes from ignoring the artificial spatial constraints outweighs the social cost.
Most atypical sensory interface portions of the Mesh are designed for public use, and free apps are often readily available to interpret, receive, or translate extraordinary sensory data for new users, or geared to the augmented senses of certain morphs. Some hypercorps maintain more exotic spaces with non-publicly available apps for security reasons, but these are relatively rare because of their limited utility. Attempting to navigate a Mesh or Augmented Reality setting without the appropriate senses or app is equivalent to going in blind—the character is aware of being in the space, but the sensory data manifests only as noise. Mechanically, characters in such spaces receive a -30 penalty to Interfacing Tests if they do not have the appropriate senses or app.
Using Arindov Space
Excessive use of Arindov Space (and similar weird sensory places) is likely to cause frustration; it is recommended that this locale be used sparingly as a spice, to get players and gamemasters to think about their enhanced or augmented senses, and especially to allow characters who have invested in unusual sensory forms to feel “in their element.”