ENTRY 144: Shipslug
Autonomist habitats tend to take a pragmatic approach to criminal offenses. With omnipresent camera coverage and Mesh-based tracking, evidence for minor offenses is typically overwhelming and trials little more than a formality; legal emphasis typically focuses on a negotiated settlement to repair the criminal morph’s relationship with the community—sometimes a fine, more often some form of community service. There are always a few dirty jobs that need to be done on any habitat, and some of the dirtiest are done by shipslugs.
Bioengineered from Terran gastropods, shipslugs are massive pods engineered as vacworkers, clinging to the outside hulls of ships and habitats, absorbing radiation, removing debris, and conducting simple repairs like temporarily patching holes with a silicone-based mucous that hardens into a ceramic plug. While most egos might be disinclined to resleeve into a pod even temporarily, shipslug mesh inserts come with a custom morph-specific built-in augmented reality game that translates their real-world work tasks into short virtual fantasy quests. As a consequence, shipslugs are one of the most popular penal pods currently in production.
Generic Shipslug Stats
Implants: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Carapace Armor, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Ghostrider Module, Grip Pads*, Lidar, Oxygen Reserve, Puppet Sock, Radar, Temperature Tolerance, T-Ray Emitter, Vaccum Sealing
Mobility System: Snake (4/16)
Aptitude Maximum: 30
Wound Threshold: 8
Advantages: Armor (8/8)
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Pod), Limbless
CP Cost: 40
Credit Cost: Expensive
*The entire underside of a shipslug counts as single massive “foot,” and is mainly used to stay attached to the hull without trouble.
Eventually, the player characters are going to cause some trouble, or at least be blamed for it. Whether in the wrong or not, they need to come to an understanding with the authorities or powers-that-be on the habitat or ship. Prison sucks, so it’s good for the gamemaster to have sole alternative community service/work release solutions available—and while shipslugs may not be the sexiest morphs available (except to other shipslugs), they are fairly durable and can go on extended spacewalks with bare minimum of equipment, making them a solid option for one-shot adventures or sidequests to get the PCs out of their comfort zone for the length of a mission.
- While fighting off scum pirates trying to hijack their transport, an errant weapon discharge causes a nearby asteroid to explode, causing micrometeorite damage to the hull and forcing it to call for volunteers to mind the shipslugs to conduct emergency repairs. The science officer asks the PCs to pitch in, explaining that the asteroid was nearly pure platinum-group metals—and the dusty bits and fragments the shipslugs collect can be collected and sold off at the next habitat for a tidy profit which she’ll split with them (her “finder’s fee” is 10% if they feel like negotiating). Of course, the PCs may not be the only ones with that idea…and the scum pirates may still be out there and come back to try their luck again while the shipslugs are hard at work.