Monday, June 24, 2013

175: Human Upgrade Program

ENTRY 175: Human Upgrade Program

Super soldier serums. Vita-ray enhancements. Nanochemical baths. Controlled mutative agents. Snake oil by any other name, still finding a market because the teeming hordes of transhumanity still have a sentimental attachment to their morphs. While resleeving may be practically ubiquitous, there are still plenty of people, especially among the poorer and less educated part of the transhuman spectrum, who simply want their own morph just as it is except…better. The desperate and hopeful are easy prey for the scammers peddling radioactive water and steroids, often under the most dubious available science. Efforts to stifle and educate the industry have so far failed—for every fact-checker debunking a treatment or bio-agent as crap (and often cancerous) or listing the lies and crimes of the people behind, there are thousands of automated programs drowning the Mesh personal anecdotes, promotions, secret offers, and viral campaigns.

Yet amid all the cosmic potions and miracle drugs there are real scientists working away in pursuit of the unattainable—permanent non-invasive human augmentation. That their efforts seem pointless in consideration of the personal augmentations and morphs already available is beside the point; many envision a future freed from the restraints of the current system, where custom morphs are priced out of the range of the common ego, of a transhumanity that has transcended to physical perfection and left flats and splicers far behind in favor of Humanity 2.0. Such is the logic behind the Human Upgrade Program, whose primary research facilities are on the Green Teeth, a scumbarge that operates mainly between Mercury and Venus, full of plenty of volunteer subjects.

The transhuman researchers and scientists behind the Human Upgrade Program have as their goal a retroviral agent or procedure that will transform a flat into a Remade—restructuring the subject completely while retaining their identity and some gross aspects of their physical appearance. Lost in the haze of mutative agents and chemical baths, mainstream scientists have not yet been aware that the Human Upgrade Program has begun to report some successes.

The Human Upgrade Project has found something that works; sort of. Subjects are placed in a chemically induced coma, their egos backed up to their cortical stack, and then the body is introduced to a controlled series of retroviral and nanite infections which rebuild the character from the ground up, which takes several months. It’s an inefficient program, and currently none of the thirty-six subjects have completed a full transformation from flat to Remade, with most exhibiting partial transformation or cancerous growths. Still, it is a start, and the Human Upgrade Project has vowed to continue to refine and augment the process until it is perfected.


The key retrovirus involved in the Human Upgrade Project is the exsurgent virus; stripped away of the pseudo-science and mummery all they have succeeded at so far is reducing the body’s resistance to the infection (-30 modifier to DUR test to see if the virus takes hold). Most of the “partial successes” from the project are actually experiencing Stage 1 or Stage 2 of the xenomorph virus (Eclipse Phase, p.368).

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