ENTRY 225: Bruixera
“Rumor and legend.”
- Otoxa, Firewall Agent
There is a whisper, in the dark corners of the Mesh where secrets are the only wealth and gossip is the common currency of spies, criminals, and patriots. A hidden habitat for exsurgents, populated by innocent morphs infected by the TITANs’ viruses and fleeing capture and liquidation. A haven for transhumans on their way to becoming monsters, a combination of terrorist training camp and exhuman enclave.
Unfortunately for Firewall and the rest of the powers that be in the system, Bruixera remains no more than a ghost, an exsurgent Agartha or Shangri-La, a name screamed by once-human throats and smeared in infectious feces on the walls of their hide-outs. Most who are aware of the stories of Bruixera consider it just an idea—a new Sodom, a dark Avalon that desperate, scared people undergoing terrible, painful transformations latch onto. The Kingfishers, a group of anti-exsurgent counterintelligence agents at Firewall have even used rumors of Bruixera to entrap suspected exsurgents and collaborators. Very, very few consider that Bruixera is anything but a fairy tale.
Those few know that Bruixera is real. The information is compartmentalized and kept from the majority of Firewall, kept within the Witchhunters clique that studies long-term trends and patterns of infection. Disparate data suggests that Bruixera is a comment memetic element embedded in multiple forms of the digital exsurgent virus, which manifests as a migratory compulsion whenever an individual in an exsurgent network achieves a certain number of connections. The affected exsurgents drop out of their networks, and through circuitous routes start traveling…to where exactly Witchhunters have not yet been able to determine, though the three most likely possibilities include the Zone on Mars, a hidden habitat on Uranus, and—most dangerous or unlikely of all—a secret bunker located on the ruined Earth near the south pole.
Bruixera is a myth, and as such it is free for gamemasters to have fun with. It might be a literal hive where transhumans live like insects or mole rats, bare caricatures of their old forms, breeding and swarming; or a chaotic souk where mad, mutated capitalists trade the knowledge of the TITANs for weapons, sex, and further initiations; or simply a run-down habitat barely fit for human habitation where transhumans fleeing Firewall because of their illness have come to live or die in whatever peace they can manage. Almost certainly it has an exsurgent population of anywhere from a couple hundred to ten thousand, most of which is likely infected with multiple strains of the exsurgent virus, and almost certainly a character cannot find the habitat unless they are infected. It is unlikely for PCs to ever visit Bruixera, but as a mythical location it makes a nice background element to seed along in a campaign, or finding Bruixera might be the goal of an especially difficult one—even if it turns out Bruixera doesn’t exist, getting to the point where they make that discovery would be quite a journey in itself.
And, for the ambitious gamemaster, it might be the centerpiece of a particularly difficult and rewarding campaign: having the PCs (infected deliberately or accidentally with a strain of the exsurgent virus) infiltrate an exsurgent cell, rise through the ranks through successful acts of terrorism, and then find the way to Bruixera...a great prize for anyone that captures it, though most Firewall cliques would be happy to nuke it until it glows then break out the antimatter to do a proper job of it. Of course, that means days or weeks of degeneration likely ending in the PC’s death, but if they’re going to die anyway…what a way to go.