Able Blank looks like an utterly and completely normal looking person. Average height, average complexion, and the most common attributes, the predominant hair color, the predominant eye color. Everything about Able Blank is designed to be as unobtrusive and innocuous as possible.
Able Blank is an artificial human being, a Frankenstein like construction of cybernetic components and tank grown human body parts. As such, the unit's abilities are impressive. Strength is augmented, reflexes are augmented, durability and endurance are closer to machine than human.
Sporting an artificial brain, Able Blank is highly competent and has access to skillsoft capabilities, and the other advantages of synthetic intelligence, including eidetic memory, lightning calculation skills, bonuses to skills like piloting and gunnery, and data handling abilities. On the weak side, the synthetic brain is nowhere near as elastic and innovative as a normal brain, and thus much more predictable or even 'dull' seeming.
The body of an Abel Blank is a marvel of engineering. Organic versions of the myomer strands used to move mech limbs give them immense strength. Likewise, the skeleton is closer in composition to ferro-carbide materials than bone. The nervous system is augmented, allowing for the Blank to utilize their immense strength and durability with cat like speed and grace.
The core of the Abel Blank program was to create a viable, controllable, reliable, parapsychic soldier. They in a way, succeeded. Blanks have a very high rate of parapsychic eruption, and while there are still certainly control issues, the actions of a Blank are much more predictable and controllable compared to those of a normal person traumatized enough to manifest world shaping emotion based powers.
The construction of an Able Blank is relatively straight forward. The organic components of the body are cultured and grown around the mechanical and cybernetic components. There is not an embryo phase, no gestation, just the guided application of stem cell tissue in a highly favorable chemical soup. As the body forms, medical machina trim and ensure that the proper connections are made. Eventually, a complete human husk will have been grown around a cybernetic brain, augmented nervous system, and synthetic muscle tissue.
It is a form of body horror. One of the great unifying things about humanity is that the vast majority of humans were created from the mixing of reproductive fluids, and from the act of copulation. Even the children who are born from machine wombs are still incubated and gestated the same way that would occur inside a woman's body. The Able Blanks are built. Their stem cells are cultured in tanks, and sucked out into tubes and then taken and injected into a machine hopper, where new tissue is extruded onto a waiting skeletal frame. They aren't born, they aren't grown, they are assembled.
The ideal supersoldier is immensely powerful, completely obedient, and ultimately expendable. Conventional supersoldiers run the gamut of power levels, and rationally applicable manifestations of para-psi powers. Recklessness, anti-authoritarianism, rebellious and revolutionary leanings, and parapsycho anarchism are not the exception, but are painfully common. It seems that the psychic trauma required to erupt para-psi powers is contrary to discipline and rank and file obedience. Able Blank soldiers can have tailored abuse to ensure a desirable type and power level para-psi eruption, but many of their synthetic features render them almost completely submissive to anyone who has access to their internal command codes or working knowledge of their decision tree system.
Pyromander is likely the greatest pyromancer alive, and her flame laser manifestation has been demonstrated to be effective even against mecha and light naval craft. Unfortunately there is only one Pyromander, and the fact that she is a rural born Spaniard, and has only marginal association with the Atlantic Federation, and several ties to the Euro-centric Armas terrorist organization, is a problem. The pyrokinetic Able Blank does not have a fraction of her power. But there are several dozen of them. The biggest cannon in the world can be easily destroyed by a group of rifles.
And the rifles are easier to replace.
Snags and Snares
There have been a few problems.
There are a small number of Able Blanks who have manifested self awareness, and have been able to break free from the confines of their loyalty programming. Thankfully, there was foresight to install micro-explosives in their artificial brains. This kills five out of six rogue Able Blanks. The 1 out of 6 who survive their cranium being exploded tend to very rapidly either degenerate or enter a hyper-evolutionary acceleration, turning into shit monsters.
The next generation answer to this is an ampoule of a corrosive enzymatic agent that would quickly spread through the body of an Able Blank and liquefy them from the inside out.
One of the things that haven't quite been figured out is that on a fundamental level, an Able Blank body is in many ways, very much like the inside of a Downington Sphere, and it only takes a second for an errant outer entity to manifest and possess the soulless shell. This causes the Able Blank to awaken as a lesser form of a Desolate One known as a Wight. While their physical abilities are highly tuned, the soulless aspect, and the lack of an organic central nervous system, reduces the effectiveness and power the Wight.
One of the warnings laid out in the Imbrians records details the creation of beings like Able Blank. The creation of nearly perfect war bodies, then imbued with shard of cosmic power gave rise to beings of incredible power, the Valuk. Each Valuk was to be a Royal Defender, a powerful bodyguard and protector of the royal family. Instead of being reserved to this role, when the Imbrian colonies started rebelling against the Dynasty, the Valuk were sent to teach the rebels and lesson. This lead to a game of one-upsmanship that culminated with planet killing Caldera devices being lobbed across the Solar System, and worlds being ruined by them, and the near extinction of the Imbrians.
The Moria Initiative is a secret contingency plan that the Anunnaki will activate should something like a dormant Valuk be discovered. The initiative is primarily a capture and contain plan, but there are several areas that are designed to contain and destroy something like a Valuk before it can cause too much damage.
The Able Blank is an elite mook to throw at a group of powerful player characters. They are tailorable to a mission, with various manifestations, high competence, and utter and complete loyalty and fanaticism.
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? Responses (2)
This takes disposable mook to an entirely new level. I really, really dig the atmosphere that comes along with this.
This is really good one, it is fairly clearly written and the idea touches on all the aspects the major themes of of the cosmic era: saddism, ruthless corporate pragmatism, militarism, and surrealism. I'd like to see one of these guys as protagonist in a plot or narrative.