Wednesday, May 22, 2013

142: Heartbulb Brinkers

ENTRY 142: Heartbulb Brinkers

The first step in divergence is insularity, and the Mesh makes it so very easy for groups to form around very specific interests. Isolated individuals separated by millions of kilometers can yet ascribe to the same faith, philosophy, political affiliation, sexual fetish, or musical interests. There are friends and spouses that have never met physically, but have deeper ties to one another than the morphs that live only a meter or two from them. Community, in the transhuman age, is a very flexible, relative, and increasingly voluntary concept. This is in part what makes brinkers so exceptional.

For brinkers, there is no distributed community; they are not (for the most part) networks of disaffected hermits, each living separately. Rather, they are autonomous, concentrated communities that rely on physical and social proximity with other members of their group, and social (and often physical) distance with everyone else. Isolationist, independent, self-sufficient, sometimes antagonist and xenophobic, and introspective, they require isolation to grow and develop along their own lines, or else face their communities being eroded by contact with the cultural pollution of the greater transhuman mediasphere.

Brinker communities form in a great many ways, some centered on charismatic groups or individuals, others as political, economic, religious, or artistic projects—yet there is always a divergence event, a point at which the group identity gels and the split from transhuman society begins. For the Heartbulb Brinkers, this was the popular adoption of the cortical stack.

Heartbulbs were one of many early ego savepoint technologies; an holistic approach which combined the properties of power source, cyberbrain, and cortical stack into a single physical unit. The heartbulb provided both motive power and intelligence to a morph, but was hardened to survive without one, designed so an intelligence could remain active for decades or more even while collecting dust on the shelf. Cost, difficulty of manufacture and other limitations caused heartbulbs to fail and gain traction outside of a core of early adopters, and eventually the technology was shelved as commercially non-viable—so the early adopters pirated it and headed off to no-one-is-quite-sure-where to form their own community. They are still out there, somewhere, developing heartbulb technology and morphs. Sometimes there are reports of a strange morph on the Rim, a non-standard combat synthmorph with a glowing chestpiece and a relatively high rad signature that comes in to trade advanced titanium alloys and ceramics for deuterium. A heartbulb brinker? Maybe.

Using Heartbulb Brinkers

Heartbulb brinkers have taken a slightly divergent tech path from most of transhumanity; their synthmorphs are mere electromechanical shells lacking power source, cyberbrain, or cortical stack, though otherwise they are generally identical to other synthmorphs. All of these functions are provided by the heartbulb; where most transhumans would simply egocast from one morph to another, heartbulb brinkers would physically transfer their heartbulbs between morphs—while this may seem a bit primitive, it preserves the continuity of consciousness of the ego in the heartbulb, greatly easing their ability to resleeve. Left on their own, heartbulbs are extremely durable (field testing has shown them surviving small nuclear explosions up to 10 kilotons) and long lasting; most heartbulbs in existence today have enough power to sustain continuous consciousness for at least a century or more. Each heartbulb brinker contains a memoryscape, a virtual environment sustained by their heartbulb that they can shape and interact with, which helps to prevent them from growing bored or mad during periods when not installed in a morph. Heartbulb brinkers make a point of rescuing heartbulbs from “dead” morphs, as even the destruction of the morph-body is generally insufficient to damage the heartbulb.

Typical Hivebulb Brinker


Morph: Slitheroid (Heartbulb)
Skills: Academic: Psychology 50, Academic: Sociology 50, Interfacing 45, Interests: Fonts 90, Kinesics 45, Language Native Swiss 80, Language English 80, Perception 50, Persuasion 35, Profession: Graphic Design 65
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (AGI)
Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Enhanced Vision, Heartbulb, Mnemonic augmentation
Advantage: Armor (8/8) [Heartbulb 15/15]


  1. Are there any more thoughts on Heartbulbs... cost etc.?

    1. I haven't worked out the exact costs - probably Heartbulbs would be Expensive, but there'd be a discount on heartbulb-compatible morphs to compensate.