ENTRY 186: Gate Bleed
The most experienced gatecrasher transhumanity has ever produced has done, at most, a couple dozen jumps between worlds. The medical evidence of side-effects from gatecrashing is thus rather sparse; worries about the effect of sudden transitions from different gravities, pressures, and radiation levels have so far proven mostly unfounded. Whomever built the Pandora Gates, their technology appears to be rather gentle as long as an unmodified flat doesn’t try to take a stroll into deep space or a high-g world. After all, that’s what drones and probes are for. The psychological effects of gatecrashing remain mostly unexplored as well. Generally speaking, most gatecrasher corporations at least do a cursory profile of their employees before and after they get sent through a wormhole to another planet, and most seem to have handled the journey fairly well. Key word: most.
Gate Bleed is more a rumor than a condition. Stories are told in Gagarin’s Rest of gatecrashers that see impossible things—Iktomi web cities on Mars, cockroaches crawling through the knee-high forests on Luca, Mishipizheu boiler reefs in the seas of Europa—images from other planets leaking into their perception. Rarely experienced and difficult to study, the few drunken psychologists and neurologists to discuss the sightings came up with the theory that the transhuman brain or ego is just doing what it always does…filling in the gaps in the individual’s perception. Confronted with people who regularly travel from wildly different environments, the brain simply ignores or sketches in the familiar-looking bits of alien scenery by substituting some image that seems to fit.
Gate Bleed is a minor derangement associated with frequent gatecrashing, which is rare enough that the condition itself is almost unheard of, aside from the community of gatecrashers. Currently, sufferers are subject to uncommon, brief hallucinations, often on the edges of their perception, which bleed elements from the various worlds they have visited together. A typical example is a cockroach glimpsed out of the corner of an eye, crawling on an exoplanet where there can be no cockroaches. The study of Gate Bleed is made difficult both by its rarity, and because it is underreported: no one wants to admit to being crazy or seeing the impossible for fear that they will be blackballed from further gatecrashing.
Suggested Game Effects: Sufferers suffer brief hallucinations which are logically “impossible.” By itself this rarely causes any life-endangering problem unless coupled with some other illness (a fear of bugs combined with seeing a scorpion inside your gatecrasher vacuum suit, for example), but tends to cause further mental stress, especially if the subject cannot confide their visions or seek help. Characters with Gate Bleed typically gain 1-2 Mental Stress per month, which may lead to further related derangements like paranoia or more frequent and disturbing hallucinations.
- A gatecrasher has committed suicide, and their family hires the PCs (as neutral outsiders) to investigate the circumstances. An early lead is the gatecrasher’s journal, which seems to chronicle a descent into mental illness, including signs of Gate Bleed…though PCs will have to talk to other gatecrashers who will have to explain what that is. However, if they dig a little deeper they might find out that not all of the victim’s bleed-visions were hallucinations…and someone may have played on their illness to drive them to suicide.