Saturday, October 19, 2013

292: Oxo Light

ENTRY 292: Oxo Light

Transhumans evolved on the surface of the Earth, and their anatomies developed in with regard to that requirement - gravity, atmospheric pressure, air consistency, and sunlight. The transition to space and other planets and moons sees morphs derived from Earth plains-apes struggling to adjust to a much wider spectrum of environments, and while transhumanity has managed to adapt rather well to some of the difficulties of microgravity, recycled air, etc., the considerable radiation shielding designed to protect biomorphs from the damaging effects of cosmic radiation has had the unintended effect of depriving much of transhumanity of necessary levels of ultraviolet radiation. While UVR is very popularly known to cause burns with long or intense exposure, transhumans evolved in an environment that expected regular low-level UVR exposure, which is important for several physiological processes, most notably the photosynthesis of vitamin D. Some estimates suggest that as many as 76% of transhuman biomorphs currently suffer from vitamin D deficiency, as many as half of those individuals do not receive adequate nutritional supplements of vitamin D to make up the difference.

As recognition of this descrepancy filters through transhuman consciousness, the demand for a solution has led to a new invention: oxo light. Typically taking the form of a cylindrical column, oxo light is a calibrated low-intensity UVR emitter whose output is modulated based on the requirements of the individual user, determined by syncing with the user's medical profile via the Mesh. Several habitats have established rooms specifically for group exposure sessions, using colored rings zones around the oxo light column to help transhumans position themselves at the correct distance to avoid over exposure, which can lead to sunburn and even skin cancer with prolonged use. Individuals using these spaces shed most of their clothes (depending on the norms of the habitat and the individual) and spend up to a couple hours exposing themselves to the light. Most users spend the time in meditation or surfing the Mesh, although many habitats organize social activities such as martial arts lessons, physical exercises, speed dating, etc. Where space is a concern, oxo lights also come in smaller portable egg-shaped devices of various sizes.


  • One of the surprises of oxo light is its popularity with the Factors, who find the near-Earth-normal light beneficial and stimulating to their upper layers. Unfortunately, the PCs go in to their oxo light time one morning and find a blackened, immobile Factor - the apparent victim of extreme UVR exposure. The Factor is still alive, and contacts the PCs, asking for them to hide it as it believes it has been deliberately attacked, and that the perpetrators will seek to finish the job.
  • A genehacker named Black Ned has arranged to meet the PCs at an oxo light room during the time scheduled for nudists - all the better to make sure the characters are unarmed when they meet him, or so he'll say if they ask why. If the PCs do show up, it turns out Ned has something else in mind - an assassination against a rival genehacker here to take the light as well. If the PCs except, Ned will provide them with special sunglasses and then initiate a program that causes the oxo light to fluctuate, equivalent to a basilisk hack and affecting everyone in the room not wearing the special sunglasses (or equivalent flare protection). Making the hit then is dead easy - but what have the PCs gotten themselves into and what will the repercussions be?

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