ENTRY 098: Crystalmites
A side-development of efforts to fabricate macrocrystalline mineral structures with nanites, crystalmites are microbots designed to “grow” decorative mineral-like structures on the surface of both biomorphs and synthmorphs as a form of decoration. In reality the “gem” and “stone” structures are actually built from powdered minerals in a nonrefractive binder matrix, which must be fed to the microbots for them to properly function. Without regular applications of this feeder solution, the crystalmites cannot complete the structure and will cease to function, leaving the partially complete structure behind.
Crystalmites are most popular on Luna, where they originated, and are used to customize morphs with cheap but beautiful embedded jewel-like structures on their epidermis or outer casing, with possibilities ranging from simple rhinestones and embedded gemstones to decorative crystalline horns and spikes. More elaborate and complex programming to achieve a carapace-like appearance is possible provides a small degree of protection, but requires weeks or months of continual application of the feeder solution for the heavy pseudo-stone composite plates to grow in.
The cost of crystalmites is fairly low [Low]; the price of the feeder solution depend on the mineral content, from common substances like salt [Trivial] to rare substances like natural gemstones [High]. Typical growth rates are 1-3 millimeters per hour.
Crystalmite carapace armor is comprised of layers of silicates and serves as a long-lasting ablative patch (p.313, Eclipse Phase), providing an Armor Value of +4/+2, but each hit reduces both the energy and kinetic value of the crystalmite carapace by 1. Feeder solution for the crystalmites to craft carapace armor is Trivial, and grows or repairs existing armor by 1 point per day.
- Cubixa is a young transhuman experimenting with crystalmite hives built around a single “seed” crystal to overcome the need for continual applications of feeder fluid. Her work shows promise, but unfortunately she has been the unintended victim of a larger data theft—one of hundreds with their data stolen by a physical raid on the servers of a minor data processing hypercorp. Cubixa has put out an online call for the return of the stolen personal data, and crowdsourced a reward for anyone that brings it back—a respectable amount of cred and rep if the PCs are up for it.
- An experiment to deploy crystalmites in an asteroid mining operation has turned into a disaster when the mine collapsed, trapping six miners in the rubble. Disassemblers are slowly dissolving the mineral content of the walls into a feeder fluid for the crystalmites, who in turn are attempting to “shore up” the collapsed mine by filling in the gaps. The miners’ morphs are all vacuum-sealed and capable of surviving for some time, but the crystalmites’ programming is causing the microbots to cocoon the trapped miners, and stymieing efforts to rescue them. Having exhausted normal methods, the mine operators have turned to the PCs for an outside-the-box solution.
- A hypercorp is looking for morphs to test their new version of crystalmite carapace armor, which provides refractive glazing (p.313, Eclipse Phase) in addition to its normal properties, and extends the offer to the PCs—what the hypercorp rep doesn’t tell the experimental subjects is that they’ve also hired a second group with a variety of beam weapons to test the effectiveness of this new armor in a live-fire test under real-life conditions.