Arcanotechnology created the Second Renaissance and lifted the world out of the Second Dark Age, the lights came back on with tremendous fanfare and much glorying, and man left Earth to colonize the Solar System. Entire new industries were born from the entire new category of mathematics, building techniques and materials, and the human genome became and malleable and changeable as a charm bracelet. Things are going pretty nicely.
There are several downsides to Arcanotechnology, and all of them revolve around dimensional contamination. The most common and known side effect is madness and mental/emotional instability in arcanotechnicians. This has lead to widespread improvements in psychiatric medical care, and an increase in the number of Mental Health Hospitals and Asylums. Medical treatments, including brain and behavior altering drugs can be administered to techs to delay the onset of contamination based insanity. In extreme cases, nerve stapling, artificial brain implants and disposable clones/droids are used to keep the lights on and the CogNet humming.
Breaches and Rifts
The larger issue that is more tightly controlled by the CogNet censors and data monitors are breaches and rifts. These are events where there is a bleed over between the alternate dimensions that the arcane devices penetrate to draw power from, or dump heat into, or use for quantum calculations. A breach is a temporary event, typically tied to a series of circumstances and events, that even if completely ignored, will close on its own. The most common cause of dimensional breaches are the destruction of small D-Engines, typically the sort found on battlemechs and other military vehicles. These emit cosmic radiation and dimensional contamination for a matter of minutes to a few hours. There are many other events that can cause breaches, such as excessive use of parapsychic abilities sustained across a period of time in one place.
A rift is a semi-permanent or permanent tear in the membranes between dimensions and these events quickly create contaminated wastelands and the contamination causes mutation, 'spiritual possession', mental degeneration, cancer, madness, and a host of exotic diseases and odd fortean events. Rifts are created by the catastrophic failure of large arcanotech devices, such as the multi-tiered Dimensional Engines used to power arcologies or the dimensional tap reactors used to power naval grade high energy weapons, mass drivers, and military spacecraft.
You can't Handle the Truth!
The existence of the phenomenon is known by the general public, and by the media, but it is constantly downplayed when an event occurs. The corporations, industrialists, and arcanotechnicians (especially senior ones) are well aware of the phenomenon and how often it occurs. The government and military leadership are also well aware of the threat posed by dimensional breaches and contamination.
Timeline of a Breach:
0: Breach Event occurs
+5 Min: Monitoring systems detect cosmic radiation signatures, silent alarms are sounded. Local L/AISC begins containment protocol. Breach notifications are sent to pertinent agencies and local military L/AISC. CogNet service outside of the local area is terminated, only local area network remains functional, but detached from the Global Net.
+10 Min: Rapid Response Team activated, stage two containment protocols begin. If inside an arco, the doors and bulkheads around the breach are sealed, and machinery in the area is deactivated.
+30 Min: VIP and priority personnel are evacuated from the breach zone. Local populace is placed on curfew/lockdown and law enforcement and paramilitary assets are activated under martial law protocols.
+1 Hour: Media Protocols activated, Event is covered as a local natural disaster (earthquake, chemical contamination event) or as a Terrorist Event.
+1 Day: Military assets are mobilized to the breach zone to reinforce local forces, or to establish a secondary quarantine around the contaminated zone. Rapid Response Units are deployed with high energy weaponry to clean and sweep the core contamination zone.
+3 Days: Secondary assets are deployed to the contamination zone, including Air Naval assets and other specialized and sanitation units.
The Dirty Dirty Secret
It is not entirely unknown that Arcanotech isn't always holesome. Inside arcanotech labs and upper echelon administration circles, the propensity for tech failures is known. This has lead to some brutal control techniques, such as nerve stapling, partial lobotomy, and the application of humans with artificial brain implants. The public is kept largely unaware of the threat posed by arcanotech, as few people would want to willingly live in a structure that is powered by an accident prone massive device that can tell reality to get bent, and then start puking out giant insects and intelligent dinosaurs or alien viruses.
As long as the eccentricities of arcanotech can be kept under wraps, the technology remains very profitable and the underpinning of the Cosmic Era civilization. If it became known the extents that the megacorps and governments have gone through to maintain the facade of safe tech, there would likely be revolts and rebellions. Go to Comment
Good read, and I enjoyed the information presented. I like the caste genetics of the Ch'thra, and the way they create zombies. I got a little bit of Left 4 Dead mixed with the Migou and I liked that bowl of stew.
DAVr05 (Dynamic Accolades - Version 05) is one of the most infamous of mechanoids and is largely considered the source of the idea of mechanoids being evil. The droid was a cyborg model that was made from a volunteer who wanted to escape the mortal life and pursue a digital life in the CogNet. Older and suffering from a variety of age and old injury related issues, he was accepted and was made into a Remote Node.
He was also, unknown to them, a major criminal and technically a genius. David Avros was wanted in several nations and on two planets for his work as a freelance mercenary and later weapons designer and smuggler. As a mechanoid he was able to escape detection and started more serious work as a terrorist mastermind. Operating under the aegis of DAVr05, he created a large number of CogNet viruses, hacked with near impunity, and became a fountain of hate, xenophobia, and puritanical rage.
He is unstable and a loose cannon, as often turning against those he helps, as causing mayhem and destruction for the sheer purpose of mayhem and destruction. Go to Comment
The Stears-Cusick cyborg/mechanoid is a hybrid creation inspired by the Daleks and the astromechs from Star Wars. There was a discussion I started about the feasibility of the astromech in the Cosmic Era setting, and the response was generally in agreement: no. So I looked more towards the Dalek side of the equation. The utilipod droid is a general maintenance machine, like the astromech, and are fairly common but only inside arcologies, space stations, and so forth. The cyborg component brings in the standard brain in a jar technology. Go to Comment
I enjoyed this submission, I like the names, and how while its certainly grim and dark, it retains a fairy tale like atmosphere. None of the characters have proper names, they either have their titles, or they are referred to only by gender or profession. The events are presented, but not in the form of a history book.