Thursday, May 16, 2013

136: Ben Choudhry

ENTRY 136: Ben Choudhry

“Transhumanity, in any form, must survive. People—not any specific group of people, not one nation or one ethnicity or one bloodline or one clade—must continue in this universe. Yet if you take away all the false skins that transhumans wrap themselves in…biomorph, synthmorph, infomorph…what makes a human being? A chimpanzee shares 99% of its genetic code with human beings, yet an ape is not human. A synthmorph has no biology at all, yet it is human. Transhumanity lies in the realm of the ego, the mind, our collective knowledge and culture, pure data that can be lost and corrupted—and it is this that must be preserved, if transhumanity is to survive.”
— Ben Choudhry, “Voice Diaries”

In a universe where death is a disease, to be fought and conquered, death still claims many—and to Ben Choudhry, each light that is extinguished forever is an inestimable loss. So he has dedicated his life to saving the pieces of them that he can.

On Mars, they call him the Collector of Last Songs, because he heard the oral wisdom of the last native speakers of Abkhaz and Navajo, when they lay dying before the indenture was lifted. On Luna, he dug up the first folios of Shakespeare that had been interred in the grave-complex on Mons Vitruvius. On Ganymede, he broke into the lethal injection chamber of the poet-terrorist Anya Jain, and captured her fork before it could be erased. On Titan, he worked twelve shifts with the New Welsh, and learned their hymns by heart. He moves throughout the system, saving pieces of the human legacy, recording them, propagating them through the Mesh—because he feels someone has to.


Morph: Ghost
Skills: Academics: History 75, Academics: Linguistics 85, Academics: Sociology 75, Art: Singing 65, Art: Writing 65, Free Fall (Microgravity) 55, Hardware: Aerospace 35, Hardware: Armorer 40, Beam Weapons (Lasers) 45, Deception 66, Fray 55, Hardware: Electronics 44, Hardware: Robotics 33, Infosec 66, Interests: Extinct Languages 75, Interests: Lost Treasures 55, Interfacing 55, Investigation 66, Kinesics 55, Language: Native English 90, Language: Hindi 85, Language: Urdu 80, Language: Esperanto 70, Language: Navajo 70, Language: Welsh 70, Networking: Autonomists 65, Networking: Criminals 50, Networking: Firewall 35, Networking: Hypercorps 65, Networking: Media 75, Networking: Scientists 75, Perception 65, Pilot: Aircraft 55, Pilot: Groundcraft 35, Pilot: Spacecraft 55, Pilot: Watercraft 25, Profession: Security Ops 60, Programming 33, Protocol 70, Scrounging 40, Unarmed Combat 30
Implants: Adrenal Boost, Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Chameleon Skin, Cortical Stack, Enhanced Vision, Ghostrider Module, Grip Pads, Medichines, Oracles, T-Ray Emitter
Traits: Eidetic Memory, Fast Learner, Hyperlinguist, Patron (highly-placed hypercorp officers that bankroll his operations), Blacklisted (Jovian Republic, New Varanasi), Uncanny Valley

Using Ben Choudhry

Ben thinks of himself as a good guy, doing what is right, and willing to bloody a few noses if that’s what it takes. That said, he won’t kill to get what he’s after, and prefers to avoid violence and work within the framework of the local laws whenever possible (or convenient). The times when he has broken the law, he’s done so in such a spectacular manner that he’s still considered an enemy of the state by the Jovian Republic, and has a bounty on parts of his anatomy in New Varanasi (if asked, he’ll claim he didn’t know they were hermaphrodite twins and leave it at that; if pressed he’ll add that they can’t prove paternity.) So while very capable in his own right, Ben is not exactly a superspy, and there are places he cannot go and things he cannot do—which is a good place for the player characters to come in. As an ally or employer, Ben needs people to be his hands and eyes where he is blind and bound (or forbidden on pain of castration); as an enemy Ben is likely to find ways to delay, annoy, distract, and otherwise make the PCs’ lives hell in every way possible without killing them.

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