There is a simple progression, a piece of technology starts as groundbreaking and innovative, a surgical procedure becomes significant in the pages of history, and down the road there are smart phones and botox. As technology progressed in the years following the Second Renaissance, genetic therapy became quite accessable and many old world diseases were stamped out. Diabetes and Cancer became spectres of the past, and genetic and neurological disorders were smoothed out. But as the industries that sprang up saving lives ran out of lives to save they found ways to keep themselve alive, cosmetic genetic alteration and cosmetic surgery. The first waves were tailor designed babies, genetically perfect children. Then as nanotechnology entered the scene the two started converging on each other like two horny teens after prom.
The second generation of genetic tech allowed for alteration of patients without surgery, or minimal surgery. The introduction of Pfizer's LH-FSH EstroBoost breast enlargement therapy ended the reign of the synthsilicon breast implant and with a number of hypodermic shots a woman could simply grow her own breasts larger, naturally. Five years after the introduction of BreastBoost, the artificial enlargement business dropped 95%, while breast reduction surgury went up 52% as many women overestimated how much mammery they actually wanted. This also coincided with a temporary trend that favored small breasted or almost completely breastless women as being 'pure and unmodified'.
While online diversions of Massively Multi-User Online Environments allowed for an infinite possibility of avatar presentation, the tradition of body modification was not to be denied. Tattoos and traditional cosmetic surgery have never been enough for the fringe element. Tattoos yielded to ritual scarification and animalising modifications such as splitting tongues to make snake tongues and inserting synthsilicon implants to create reptile scales and features for what were previously considered circus freaks. But there are certain trends that once they appear, they just don't go away. One of these trends was adopted by the Pacific Rim Confederation, mostly dominantly in the provinces of Japan and California. The image of the Cat Person is as old as the myth of the werewolf. Where the werewolf became a symbol of losing self control and the horror of the savage predator, the cat person became the idealized image of innocense and sexuality. Cat Girls are the most common, presenting themselves paradoxically as being both pure and innocent, as well as being able to turn sexually feral and dangerous in the blink of an eye. Costumes abounded, and while there were cosmetic options, most of them remained in the realm of the circus freak, and lurked with potential for disease.
It wasn't enough to look like a cat human hybrid, there were a group of people who really wanted to be cat human hybrids, or what they thought were cat human hybrids. After years of tertiary importance level research, the dream of the cat people weirdos was realized in a Japanese lab. The scientists created a hybridizing serum that would over the course of six months turn a patient into their dreamed off cat human hybrid form. The conversion process is considered slow, and the full effect did require a minimal of two surguries, though most patients only do one.
Enhanced Hearing: Character has a +1 bonus to checks involving sound. They do eventually become adverse to loud and sudden noises, and the enhanced hearing appears a month into treatment.
Enhanced Equilibrium: Character has an advantage in actions requiring balance, such as walking across narrow spaces. They do have a tendency to become dizzy easily, but vertigo is completely forgotten. This has given a few augmens a false sense of security and when they do fall, they usually fall from signficant height. This attribute appears two months into treatment
Tapetum Lucidum: This effect changes the cell structure in the eye, giving a cosmetic effect eye shine like an animal's as well as giving the character the ability to see in low light conditions. This effect occurs in the last month of the treatment and also changes the iris shape of the eye. This commonly causes vision problems, so many augmens either resort to lasik surgury to correct it, or wear glasses, or both.
Ear Growth: The ears over the course of the six month treatment grow and change shape, assuming a triangular form slightly higher on the head (ear canal doesnt move) and a fine layer of hair grows on the back side, matching the augmens hair.
Claw Growth: A perfected but later removed treatment (available on the black market, cost x10) caused the augmen's fingernails to change shape and become harder. Human claws were effectively grown, but these proved to actually be dangerous weapons with the proper training, and some augmens ended up having the treatment reversed as they most often hurt themselves with their own claws. The claws are easy to conceal as long fingernails, sometimes shaped like claws and talons are popular among certain groups of women.
Neo-Plastic Hyoid Insert: This surgery removes the ossified hyoid bone from the neck and replaces it with a softer one. The flexibility allowed by the new structure and practice allow for the augmen to purr like a cat. This purring occurs at a lower frequency that normal felines so telling an augment human purr from an animal purr is actually quite easy. At first it is a conscious action, but after a few years, augmens will simply purr or not purr based on their emotional state.
Retractable Claw Grafting: This augmentation was perfected by was denied medical authorization. The final effect of giving a human retractable claws left the fingers much decreased in dexterity, to the point that the augmen would be considered disabled. The procedure also effectively gave the augmen concealed weapons, which was considered to be a bad idea.
Tail Graft: Grown from the augmen's own bone and tissue samples, a catlike tail can be created and grafted onto the base of the spine. This is a rarely done procedure because human furniture and chairs and other accessories (like clothing) are not intended for people with flexible tails. Between the inconvenience and the ease of harming the tail, possibly causing spinal and nerve injuries, true tails are very rare. HoloCelebrity The Expectation from Jersey Arco summed up the popular stance on tails: "
Future Weird: Neko Girls are not entirely uncommon and hold a societal place not entirely unlike Goth girls or Nerd girls, in exchange for selling an image they receive a certain feedback from society, usually in the form of gifts and wanted attention. The neko augmens are present, but only appear as background color. Aliens aren't needed once you consider how weird people can be.
Momma Kitty: A local crime syndicate has a hidden leader that runs the show via remote communications and passed messages and similar subterfuge, spreading fear and rumors among their own minions. In the lines of Who is Kaiser Sose, the spider at the center of the web is a 30 something neko augmen whom no one expects because it is common knowledge that nekos are nothing but vapid attention magnets and nymphomaniacs.
Neko Gangs: Street docs can do the Neko augmen but it costs money, it hurts, and you get a stolen or copied batch not one made for you, from you. colors of hair don't match, and there are signs of genetic illness from the shoddy treatments, such as neurological issues and scrabrous skin sores. The gangs are a mix of 10% Thundercats, 10% Comic Anime Nerd,and 80% Thug/Chav/Punk. They are minion level obstacles, decoys and fences. Neko prostitutes are the strangest of the strange, so the expression goes.
Bad Batch: Someone is contaminating Neko Augment serum, the PCs are hired to find out who is behind it and why.
I Blame Felicia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felicia_(Darkstalkers) for this.