ENTRY 242: The Sleeping Generation
Desperate times call for imperfect technologies, executed with the best of intentions and plans based on whatever knowledge is available, but are not necessarily viable in the long run. Yet it is an adage not to trust all your transhuman egos to a single strategy, but to spread the risk by trying to save a portion of those lives by other means. So while in some cities ships pulled off the ground with entire transhumans, and others had their egos copied and sent off into space while their physical forms left behind, a minority of other approaches were being tried in corners of the Earth where resources for these relatively safe and sure technologies were not available.
In Munich, multiple egos were spliced together to fit within the limited number of storage devices together. In Kookaburra, a group of prominent government leaders had their egos transferred into uplifted koalas so more egos could escape in the low-mass bodies. In Bengal, dozens of families made it into low-earth orbit using high-altitude balloons, with the hope that they could be towed further up the gravity well. And in Johannesburg, they started lopping off heads.
Faced with a severe mass limitation but lacking the resources to upload entire egos, the last-minute flight from Johannesburg was a matter of brutal math. Surgeons worked tirelessly removing the heads of the volunteers, which were passed off to medical technicians to attach to the life-keeping apparatus that would keep them alive for the duration of the flight, each head locked into place in the crowded rocket ship and placed in a full VR simulation for the duration of the trip. Fifteen thousand heads were packed into the Queen Mujabi in 38 hours, and the ship was launched towards the Main Belt. They were the only survivors.
Many of them didn’t survive. At least three thousand heads succumbed to trauma or infection in the first six months; over a hundred others succumbed to insanity and exercised a built in right-to-life protocol. The slow ship finally docked with Nova York in AF 2, which was hard-pressed to deal with the sudden influx due to a shortage of morphs. Roughly half of the surviving Johannesburg heads opted to remain as they were until bodies could be cloned for them, while the others resleeved as informorphs or whatever cheap synths were available, some agreeing to contracts of indentured servitude for better bodies. A little over five thousand heads remain, connected by VR, on the Queen Mujabi—relicts of the Fall that the Nova York media have dubbed “The Sleeping Generation.”
The bodiless heads of the Sleeping Generation are all Flats. While they do technically have physical forms (and can thus receive whatever augmentations a head can accommodate), they have an effective SOM of 1, Wound Threshold of 1, and Durability 6, though given that all of them are incased in jars full of pseudoamniotic fluid and hooked up to major medical equipment, this should not be something that ever really comes into play. Nova York has upgraded all of the surviving heads with Medichines to counteract the long-term damage of being disembodied heads in jars, and the VR equipment is effectively the same as Basic Mesh Inserts. For PCs that for some reason want to be a head in a jar, the cost for this morph is Moderate.