Saturday, November 30, 2013

334: Filtermouth

ENTRY 334: Filtermouth

When you get enough transhumans in a confined space, air quality quickly becomes an issue. Yet transhumanity has had to deal with issues of air recycling and filtering for hundreds of years, and nearly every habitat designed to host biomorphs has considerable systems in place to ensure proper air quality - oxygen levels, gas mixture, particulate levels, humidity, temperature, everything worked out ahead of time. Maintence schedules were built around regular cleaning, filter changes, and repair to ensure continuous use for decades of regular use. However, many habitats - particularly scum barges - have never seen anything like "regular use." Overpopulated, understaffed, and ill-equipped with replacement and repair parts; faced with unexpected strain from industrial gas emissions and delayed maintence, many smaller habitats are a kludge of "temporary" repairs and 3D-printed parts on seriously over-worked stations. Many scum barges in particular have poorly-ventilated zones and regular "bad air days" when part of the system is taken offline to conduct emergency maintenance, forcing resident transhumans to make do with filtermasks or portable air supplies, and many habitats in the Main Belt are noted for their low air quality and pollution.

Filtermouth bioware implants were designed as affordable, limited-action toxin filters in response to low air quality; unlike mechanical air filters which eventually need replacing or recharging, the filtermouth uses a unique self-flushing mechanism to cleanse itself of particulates. While not a complete solution - the manufacturers suggest coupling the augmentation with an oxygen reserve or respirocytes for low-oxygen areas - the filtermouth can effectively block toxins and bioparticulates (particularly mold spores, fecal matter, and airborne bacteria and viruses), considerably improving the user's quality of life.

Feedback on the filtermouth has been mixed, however. The changes to the structure of the nose, mouth, and throat make some basic transhuman activities like speaking, kissing, and oral sex almost impossible, though some transhumans have replaced their tongue with smaller, longer tongues that partially alleviate these issues. The Europan Choir in particular has slightly modified filtermouths that accomodate the different gas mixture used at their depth, and uses a modified throat-singing technique to astounding effect. Other habitats that have gone over to filtermouths out of necessity are strangely quiet, with most vocal communication having been replaced by Mesh-based communication and messaging.


Filtermouths are a bioware implant that modify and partially replace the user's mouth, nose, and throat, adding in a series of biological filters that trap and drain off the majority of particulates and potentially hazardous materials. They function identically to toxin filters (Eclipse Phase 305-6), but only for airborne pollutants. The filtermouth augmentation blocks use of the tongue unless the user opts for a cosmetic augmentation (Trivial cost) for a narrower, longer tongue. The cost of the filtermouth implant is Trivial.


  • Filtermouths have been mandatory on the Manitou scum barge for six years after a partial failure of the air filtration system. All new biomorphs on the station have to have them installed, with the station authorities underwriting the cost of the implant and surgery. However, a crusading blogger believes that air quality in the station has actually been breathable for the last two years, and that hypercorp interests have kept the filtermouth installations in place as part of a long-term, subsidized social experiment in what a society without speech would develop as. Unfortunately, the blogger died (not so mysteriously - a robotic elephant stepped on him during the middle of a sex vacation) and their research data has been dead-dropped in the PC's laps. Will the PCs uncover the truth, or use it as blackmail material?

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