Monday, October 14, 2013

287: Spigipede

ENTRY 287: Spigipede

"Once, there was a dearly-beloved processed meat product. Crippled by the Fall and the general lack of animal byproducts that went into producing it, the parent company ceased to exist, but its intellectual property was bought up by a successor hypercorp, who refused to release the secret recipe or the name from copyright. This infuriated the customer base, and there arose from that overfed horde a group of wild-eyed genehackers who vowed they would never again be without their salty meat snack. This begins the chronicle of the noble spigipede."
- Opening lines to Spigipedes for Flatlanders: A How-To Manual

The "noble spigipede" is a segmented series of muscular rings wrapped around a simple integument system with a vaguely porcine maw at one end and an orifice at the other, and moves by contracting its ring muscles to drag itself along the ground, and even to arch up and overcome obstacles. They can grow up to thirty centimeters in diameter and while no one knows their ultimate length, unharvested spigipedes have reached thirty meters. Boneless, sexless, unable to reproduce and capable of regenerating segments so long as the head remains intact, the spigipede is almost entirely edible. You just cut off a segment, wash out the integument, heat and serve. It has no direct earthly counterpart, though many consumers insist that prepared spigipede steak tastes much like their beloved lost meat-product.

Spigipede cultivation and cooking has become its own mini-culture, complete with handbooks on care, preparation, FAQs, health issues, growing your own spigipede (the gene sequences have been open-sourced, but synthesis and incubation has multiple realizations), My Little Spigipede stuffed animals, Spigipede Friends animations and games, spigipede taxidermy, and any number of genetic upgrades (from the infamous "FlavourPak" to the well-received "Spigipede Loops") most of which are still in beta testing - and all generated by fans, mostly as open and shared content. While most of their nervous system consists of a brain stem that keeps them from eating their own feces, some of the spigipede lovers insist that they make compassionate pets. Commercial spigipede owners, which are predominantly on scumbarges, tend to be less flowery, but still often give their spigipedes small smell-toys that the spigipedes like to cuddle and roll around with, and keep in their nests.

While some XP horror media like Spigipede Shaitan attempts to capitalize on the horror of these huge, pink, segmented, worm-like genetic monsters, the original coders actually hardwired safeguards which made human flesh unpalatable to spigipedes, and the soft-tooth oinkerwurms cannot even process bone, which passes straight through their digestive system (minus any soft tissues). Of course, some hypercorps decry spigipedes as being a drag on the commercial production of new, more thoroughly-tested processed meat products, but nobody really cares what they think, and many microcorps take advantage of spigipede meat to help create their own foodproducts, like the pepperoni-flavored Spigizza frozen foods popular on Titan among university students.


  • People are getting sick, and the source is quickly tracked back to a single spigipede. The station docs are quarantining the animal until they can determine what's wrong with it, but a number of flats and splicers on the station are suffering catastrophic diarrhea and have started up their own Mesh-based Spigipede Plague Support Group while strapped into their toilets and raised a bounty on whoever is responsible. The station has started to tear itself apart to see who did it - was the spigipede poisoned? Infected? Was it poor hygiene and living conditions, or a genetic accident that led to cancer-ridden spigipede steaks being given out? If the PCs want the creds, they'll need to find out first.
  • SpigLover99 wants to attempt the never been done before: to resleeve into a spigipede. He has everything set up and ready...but once that's done, there's still the hardest part to get where he wants to be in life, as the pet spigipede for his beloved gene hacker Miss Spiggy on Mars. If the PCs accept the commission, they get SpigLover99's entire worldly wealth, but they need to find some way for Miss Spiggy to accept him into her stable...and she is very particular on her spigipedes.

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