ENTRY 151: Mood Lizard
The Mogwai Experimental Animal Therapy Group based out of Godwinhead is a research/marketing cell working to commercialize and popularize therapy animals. Over a century of research has shown the therapeutic benefits of therapy animals to transhumans, reducing the stress of transhuman and posthuman life and promoting positive qualities; what MEAT-G is attempting to discover is the most profitable critter with a broad consumer appeal and bring it to market. Most of their work to date has seen only modest successes like the Yeti Tarantula (“The Furry Spider You Can Pet!”™), but their latest creation seems like a sure-seller: the Mood Lizard.
Using the Namaqua Chameleon as the base genetic chassis, MEAT-G has engineered a companionate animal with a much broader color-change mechanism tied to a trade secret sensory data interpretation node in the brain—the lizard literally changes color to reflect the emotions of the nearest transhuman. Group testing in children and psychotherapy patients has proven positive, especially among synthmorphs as the Mood Lizards like to crawl up on the shell above the power supply and bask in the warm spot. MEAT-G is looking to begin initial market testing on a commercial level soon—if successful, they’ll move into general production.
Mood Lizards all have Psi Level 1 trait and a variation of the Psi-Gamma sleight Empathic Scan with a duration of Constant (Eclipse Phase, p.226). (They might also have Psi-Chi sleights, but it’s hard to tell with a lizard.) About 1 in 20 Mood Lizards is a carrier for the Watts-MacLeod strain of the Exsurgent virus, which may be contracted from contact with their saliva or feces.
- A Firewall team tracking surviving victims of the TITANs that may have been exposed to the Exsurgent virus has found a “cell” of four possible infectees in the same group—MEAT-G. Combined with the empathic chameleons the group is putting out, Firewall has decided to red flag the group. The PCs are asked to shut the entire operation down with prejudice before the Mood Lizards go into production. They will provide as much firepower as the PCs need…but they want every living thing associated with MEAT-G destroyed, including any infected patients in the test groups.
- While the Mood Lizards are still being tested, MEAT-G’s scientists are moving ahead with Phase II—the Mood Rex! Larger, bipedal lizards with claws and fast reflexes (equivalent to neurachem Level 1) and stronger psi abilities (Drive Emotion sleight), the Mood Rex is a weaponized prototype designed for military and law enforcement use. When a competitor on the genepet market steals a batch of fifty Mood Lizards, MEAT-G hires the PCs to get them back…and asks them to field-test Mood Rex at the same time!
- One of the therapy patients misunderstood the point of the Mood Lizard they were given, and cooked and ate it. Now they claim to be sick from the lizard meat and is suing MEAT-G. The therapy group hires the PCs to investigate the victim, a remade named Ianthe Complex (see Entry 150), and find anything to make them drop the suit.