ENTRY 105: Blazespiders
Ecological controls in living habitats require finesse and patience, at least for the least intrusive and most economical means. Neo-avian habitats and scum barges in particular tend to suffer from recurrent insect unwanted infestations of ticks, lice, and weevils—personal pests whose populations expand tremendously without natural predators, but most large-scale means of eradication involve chemicals or radiation that are toxic to transhumans as well, or at least undesired. So instead of trying to eliminate the bad bugs, the neo-avians of Mahogany implemented a two-fold approach to suborn the pesky critters and control their population.
Mahogany pest populations were selectively interbred with genetically modified specimens to produce a hybrid species that produces photoproteins—the chemical luminescence making the tiny specimens easier to identify. Then the neo-avians introduced a predator arachnid species designed to target the spectrum of light put out by the glowing lice, ticks, and so forth. Additional ecological controls are required to track and maintain the balance between the population, but Mahogany habitat’s bug problem has dropped significantly without needing to resort to chemical agents, and is entering trial periods in other neo-avian habitats.
A side-effect of the designer spiders are the webs they weave, which incorporate the excess photoproteins they intake from their prey. The result are startlingly beautiful webs, growing in dark dusty corners where few people disturb them, and under the leaves and between the leaves under the dark forest canopy of Mahogany. It is these pale glowing cobwebs that have given the Mahogany spider its most popular nickname: the blazespider.
- A corpse has been found on a slow transport from Mahogany to the player character’s habitat—a desiccated, mummified thing covered in blazespider webs. The cause of death is unknown, and tensions are flaring in the habitat as people start to come down sick. Someone hires the PCs to look into the blazespiders aboard the ship, which should not have been allowed past Mahogany’s biological quarantine—unless the former incumbent circumvented those safeguards because they were smuggling something else…
- A legal dispute has arisen between Mahogany, which holds the rights to the blazespider genome, and Titanian microcorp Attercorp which breeds the transgenic spiders to brew a specialty cosmetic/stimulant called “Attercop.” Jurisdictional differences mean the suit is unlikely to come to a quick resolution, so Mahogany hires the player characters to contaminate the Attercorp stock with a bacterium that will break down photoproteins—then Mahogany can sell the cure along and make the licensing fee part of the deal. If the PCs refuse, another group is hired for the same job. Unfortunately, the contaminated batch of Attercop hits the market and causes fatalities, and the authorities blame the PCs.
- A mentally unstable ghost-morph name Piotr Benevich was bitten by an experimental blazespider while touring a lab. While the spider was not venomous or radioactive, the bite (and the characteristic glowing bitewounds) has triggered a psychotic break in Piotr, who believes he is infected with blazespider DNA. Piotr’s aunt and uncle contact the PCs and ask for them to find and restrain him before he can do any harm to himself or others.