ENTRY 047: Fireballs
Transhumanity has adapted to a vaster array of environments than old Earth ever had to offer, but even with new bodies and sensory apparatus people still feel the need to relax, and somewhere to do it. More pragmatically, designers, engineers, and potential customers require test environments to try out new morph designs, to see how they function and interact with potential hazards and other morphs. Aquatic and amphibious morphs have long been realized in just such artificial environs, glass-faced silent seas, artificial tidal pools and beaches, and such like—and for morphs intended to survive and thrive in the sun’s corona, there are high-temperature plasma chambers, colloquially known around Venus and Mercury as fireballs.
Aside from testing purposes, fireballs are the only place most transhumans are likely to encounter solar morphs, much less get the opportunity to puppet them and use them to interact with others. The cost of operating and maintaining a fireball is high in terms of both power and raw resources, so access to them is generally restricted to the wealthiest and/or most connected egos; in some habitats of the Inner Sphere the distinction between a fireball and a high-end social club are entirely lost, with cover charges for celebrities and the wealthy providing the operating funds to cover the scientific research in the fireball.
What those lucky few egos get is one of the most unique experiences in the solar system—to half-swim and half-fly through energetic plasma, cushioned by a constant vapor, feeling the weird electromagnetic echoes of the room, the subtle waves and doldrums caused by the movement of other morphs in there with you washing against your exotic hide. Additionally, the high amplitude electromagnetic noise inside the plasma chamber coupled with the shielding around it typically makes a fireball one of the most secure environments for communication in the solar system; many high-level deals and business meetings that require the utmost secrecy are said to take place within fireballs.
- A local anarchist group wants to plant a bug in the local fireball and capture the chatter, to expose the wealthy and the famous as the bastards they really are! The player characters are hired to do the job, but once inside the plasma chamber find that another set of bugs in place—have the PCs been set up? More importantly, can they get out of the chamber before the tech team starts heating it up in preparation for plasma injection and tonight’s guests?
- Firewall believes that a xenosocial scientist named Fire Mountain has ties to a cell of exsurgents, and wants the player characters to “flip” her—get her to inform on her allies and spy for Firewall. Unfortunately, her biomorph is morbidly obese and all but immobile behind a legion of security forces, but she does have an affinity for fireballs and puppeting the whale-like morphs. If the player characters are up for the challenge, they can puppet a similar morph and try their luck at flipping her.