ENTRY 245: Cancer Dreams
“Transhumanity is the cancer.”
- Blaim, exsurgent apologist
Cancer remains a risk for biomorphs—radiation, toxic chemicals, certain diseases, and for flats age and genetic predisposition mean cancer will continue to be a threat for some time, though genehackers continue to work on improved anticancer traits. Yet even a splicer who stays away from cancer causing agents may still in time develop cancerous cells, and even deadly tumors. Medical scientists continue to research the issue point to a variety of possible influences that account for these cases, from exposure to a basilisk hack to micronutrient deficiency leading to improper cell development.
Yet the most popular theory is simply mental stress. The physiological response to prolonged psychological pressure. Because of this, contemporary cancer treatment therapies typically attempt a holistic intervention, addressing not just the specific instance of the disease but the lifestyle that may contribute to its development. Of course, for the masses in scum barges, more effort is put onto the development of treatments that allow biomorphs to live with cancer rather than take the time and expenditure of resources to try and cure it when the patient is just going to be pushed back out into the toxic environment of the scumbarge.
Rather than develop a derangement, a gamemaster may chose for a biomorph who accumulates sufficient mental stress to develop a mild form of cancer. Untreated, this has the potential to spread and lead to major health issues, though once detected most forms of cancer may be healed with a day or two in the healing vat. As with a derangement, any form of cancer will subject the player character to certain involuntary lifestyle changes: pain, nausea, disorientation, personality changes, migraines, lack of energy, etc.
Using Cancer Dreams
Like death, cancer is a boogeyman that can generate strong emotions at the table when it is brought up. Yet in Eclipse Phase, cancer and death have both lost something of their bite. While still dangers that PCs face, they are no longer the absolute terrors they once were, and the gamemaster can take advantage of this fact, playing cancer as everyday and nothing to be concerned about…until transhuman science runs out of tricks to deal with it…
- A recent spike in psychosomatic cancers that resist healing in the PCs habitat has sparked a medical investigation, and the PCs are asked to find connections between the patients as they are being treated. Investigation finds that all of the patients had dreams of getting cancer and may have been exposed to a basilisk hack six to eight months ago—and as they close in on the perpetrator, the PCs begin having cancer dreams of their own…
- Malleux, a local handcraft artist, is being treated for a small brain tumor caused by a faulty nanite infection, and as part of their holistic treatment the doctors want to address their stressors as well. The PCs are hired to befriend Malleux for a couple days and shake them out of their hidebound and negative life habits. Complicating the subject is an obsessive fan and Malleux’s agent, both determined to keep Malleux ill and depressed because the more they suffer, the better their art.