ENTRY 075: Eternal Puppy
Genetic science has advanced past the point where its usage was primarily restricted to medicine and practical industrial purposes; it is now used for art, war, entertainment...and pets. The Eternal Puppy™ was a temporary fad in the inner sphere with very long-lived consequences. Billed as “the dog that never grows old,” Eternal Puppies were ostensibly genetically designed to remain a puppy, never growing into adolescence, never losing its youthful energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity—a puppy that will never outgrow its habitat, or grow old and tired. The Mercury-based hypercorp selling them lasted about thirteen months before going out of business.
In practice, the Eternal Puppy was advertising hyperbole. Rather than spend the budget on creating proper neotenic canine morphs, the genehackers worked out a process to inflict a very specific form of disassociation between the canine body’s systems, so that they would age at different rates. This quick and cheap method would assure that the dog would retain the outward physical and mental appearance of a puppy, but would not experience any mental development beyond the age of forty weeks, nor have a life expectancy any greater than that of a baseline canine, and are up to ten times more likely to suffer related development disorders requiring medical attention. The retardation of mental development in particular meant that the puppies needed intense training and emotional bonding very early in their life, and many suffer basic relapses on potty training, basic commands, and socialization, with no appreciable long-term memory.
Dozens of Eternal Puppies remain throughout transhuman space. An owner’s network has been set up through the Mesh to provide assistance to owners, swapping stories of various after-market implants and genetic therapy procedures to sustain the animals or partially counteract some of the drawbacks of the Eternal Puppy™ procedure—eidetic memory bioware to improve trainability and recognition, medichines and internal release drug glands to handle recurrent medical issues and so forth.
- Rumor has it that before the hypercorp folded, their R&D had developed a revolutionary genetic procedure that would transform Eternal Puppies into genuine neotenic canines, free of the developmental issues that plagued the normal product. However, with the closure and bankruptcy the intellectual property has been tied up in legal red tape. The Eternal Puppy Owner’s Network (EPON) asks the PCs to break into the archives and liberate the data so they can disseminate it.
- A scumbarge criminal’s beloved Eternal Puppy™ is dying, and she takes the power station hostage, threatening to destroy the entire ship/habitat in a nuclear inferno unless the animal is saved…somehow. With the limited resources available, can the PCs come up with an amenable solution?
- The PCs are entrusted with an Eternal Puppy™ to transport from Venus to Extropia (or vice versa), with the added complication of a group trying to kill and/or steal the little beastie; on top of that, the little scamp manages to get into all sorts of trouble, like peeing on the PC’s equipment.
- Firewall contacts the PCs, telling them that the parent hypercorp did not cease operations naturally—they were shut down by combined arms teams when it proved to be a front for an exsurgent sleeper cell. Each of the Eternal Puppies may be a viral sleeper bomb waiting to go off. The players are assigned to find and destroy as many of them as they can, before their genetic programming sets in.