Friday, March 8, 2013

067: K-FLASK


Mongolian nomads did not bring their horses and yaks into space, and their flasks of slowly fermenting koumiss did not jangle overhead as they rode the rockets from the cradle of humanity on the eve of the Fall. Yet in the post-Fall infoglomerate that is transhuman society, no cultural stream is thrown away—all are archived, reviewed, analyzed, and remixed into the eternal now. Most such cultural revivals burn through in a matter of weeks or months, depending on the habitat and whether it has any good hooks, but fragments of these culture-waves remain. For the brief rebirth of the Mongolian Nomad in the Planetary Consortium, the main remnant is the k-flask.

Less a miracle of modern biotech than a surprisingly popular (and easily pirated) byproduct, the k-flask is a container lined with a bladder of tailored mammalian cells and glands. Fill up the bottom with water and processed biological slurry (powdered freeze-dried astronaut rations work a treat), then seal it tight and shake it well; the k-flask will filter and process it into a pseudo-dairy product the consistency of a thin protein shake within a couple minutes; most commercial versions could easily be hacked to process a portion of the material straight to alcohol, yielding a mildly sour koumiss-like drink within an hour. In either case, the product is then sucked from a nipple placed at the top of the k-flask.


The k-flask is an item of equipment with a trivial cost, available wherever slightly out-of-fashion-but-still-handy goods are sold, especially outposts and spacecraft where access to makers for food processing is limited. The alcoholic hack is readily available on the Mesh and does not require a test to implement.


  • Rumors abound that Joan McX, a biotechnologist has developed a k-flask that can product comfurt (Eclipse Phase, p.320). To try and make her give up the secret, a local criminal gang have surgically removed her cortical stack and are torturing the fork. McX offers to give the player characters komfurt-flasks if they can rescue her fork.
  • Respected local biologist Los Hsung has died without a cortical stack. The cause was a slow poison, administered over days or weeks from a tainted k-flask. The biologist’s intellectual property is immediately disputed between his biological and infomorph heirs, giving both a motive for murder. As outsiders, the player characters are asked to investigate the biologist’s death, with a per diem for their trouble. As an added catch, the k-flask itself—the only definitive clue to the murderer’s method and identity—has disappeared. Find the k-flask, and find the murderer.
  • Geneticists in Europa have developed a living tube-worm that emulates the functions of the k-flask, but a dispute has arisen over who owns the rights to the novel organism. The player characters are hired by an outside hypercorp to steal a sample worm and a copy of the research. The only catch is, the worms are currently being developed in an open water laboratory on the sea floor, guarded by uplifted octopi.

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