Monday, September 30, 2013

273: Peelbacks

ENTRY 273: Peelbacks

“You are yourself an engine of production, why should you not profit from it?”
- Nyarly Randroid

In an era where there is no more natural biosphere to exploit, pharming remains big business. All the medicines, dyes, chemicals, and other products previously derived from natural sources must now be replaced with substitutes, or else harvested from controlled and limited populations and proprietary processes. In many cases this means the hoarding and cultivation of plants and animal species, all endangered, some engineered transgenics crafted explicitly to produce certain proteins, foodstuffs, and/or other products (fur, hide, hoof, horn, etc.) Of course, in themselves many biomorphs are no different from other animals, and some are more than willing to take advantage of the demand for bio-products by adapting their own bodies to the production of valuable substances.

Mostly, the urge to commercialize the transhuman body is accomplished by means of augmentations. Transgenic implants replace human hair with cultivated cells that produce the slick, fine fibers used to make sea silk from mussels; implanted glands and special diets produce particular chemicals, proteins, and related substances, which are then tapped or milked from the producer - a process which some individuals have fetishized to an alarming degree. More elaborate augmentations are also possible, though uncommon: peelbacks whose rough skin is stripped off in sheets to form a paper-substitute, gizzard-miners who consume raw minerals and concentrate the desired or useful metal in special organs to be later removed or excreted, bloody-mouthed smilers whose transgenic implants combine shark and elephant DNA so that they push out triangles of ivory from their pink-grey gums every week or two, among many others.

The value of these materials is based entirely on local demand, though it is a rare habitat that doesn’t find a market for some bio-material. Many require a specialized diet, at least for continued and quality production, and the finest materials require careful monitoring of an individual’s entire lifestyle, though this is rare to see outside of hypercorps and major habitats due to the time and resource-intensive nature of the primping and care.


Player characters desiring to make commercial use of their biomorphs as a source of income may take an appropriate Pharm Augmentation, in cost functionally identical to a Drug Gland (Eclipse Phase 304), but in form depends on the actual material that the PC is looking to produce, as given above - a Pharm Augmentation (peelback) for example would have the character’s skin peel off in barklike strips. The commercial value of these products is up to the gamemaster, and depends both on quality (PCs in poor health or lacking essential nutrients produce poor materials) and local demand (i.e. a peelback is more valued in a habitat that places a premium on paper), but is often enough to obtain a small but steady income.

No comments:

Post a Comment