CosmoPunk is a precarious thing, wandering through electric dreams of cybernetic augmentation, genetic manipulation, the use of smart personal tech, and integration into the system, while keeping a strong personal style in the process. In a world where skin and hair color and patterns can be programmed, and skin can be replaced with durable LEP (light emitting pentodes) flash, it is more difficult than ever to stand out in the crowd. Following the role out of cybernetic eyes, first from the Hanseatic Industrial Conglomeration (HiC) and then later from boutique manufacturers in Nippon, and bulk suppliers in China, cosmetic eyes became vogue. The technology was pioneered for veterans, and accident victims who lost their eyes, and the elderly, crippled with cataracts and glaucoma. It was later advanced by military operatives replacing the Mk. I human eyeball with cyber eyes with night vision, or inbuilt thermal sight. The end result was that rich kids in arcologies can now bug their parents to let them get artificial eyes that change colors, display logos, and can project mini holograms.
This would change when Blind Anja, a well connected and successful mercenary, opted for a cybernetic eye, but refused to have either of her non-functioning eyes removed first. It took some time to figure out the procedure, but the medical experts in Tajikistan figured out a way to make it work. Anja emerged from the surgery with a mechanical eye in the middle of her forehead, unblinking and unmoving. There was no masking the fact that the unit was artificial in nature. The eye itself was a basic model, with only limited modification, and could be turned on and off by Anja, as she found solace in darkness.
The typical cybernetic eye procedure removes the existing eye and optic nerve and replaces it with an artificial eye, and a new organic linkage to the brain. Most standard transplants are hard wired to the occipital lobe, and it is not uncommon for the new eyes to be connected to an occipital lobe implant for improved function and integration between the organic and mechanic parts of the new system. The implanting of a third eye doesn't replace any existing nerves and a new path must be found to connect the eye with the visual cortex of the brain. Rather than 'running a wire' between the hemispheres of the brain, or an external fixation (external fixations went out of vogue decades ago, and are prone to infection, snagging, being pulled out, and otherwise damaged) both the eye and occipital lobe implant are modified to house micro transmitters and receivers. The tiny units have range measured in inches, but given that the distance between the eye and the implant never changes, barring gross cranial trauma, this is a minor issue.
There are always unexpected consequences. Anja was a parapsychic, and her devotion had been clairvoyance and teleperception. She could move with ease because despite being blind, she was intimately aware of her surroundings. What was missing was fine detail, she couldn't perceive electronic images, pictures, the fine details of people's faces, or colors. She had the eye implanted so that she could appreciate the color of a flower's petals, art hanging on a wall, or the color of the sunsets. What she encountered was so much more. Her parapsychic ability, sight beyond sight, bled over into the occipital lobe implant, and she found that with her new third eye, she could see everything. Anja could see auras, coronas around people that told her their emotions, their health, everything. She could see their connections to the things around them, the people around them, the devices around them.
Anja: Cosmic Awareness and the Cognitive Network
The CogNet is not what it seems and there has been a long standing mythological connection between the third eye, most commonly seen in Hinduism but not limited to it, and magical perception. These connections and mythologies are not without a grain of truth to them, as many find ancient roots in the mythotechnology of the Imbrians, and their Atlantean remnant. By implanting a third eye, specifically in the brow, greater realms of perception are opened to the newly created triclops. On the most basic level, this is the additional visual stimulus from a third eye, often modified for various purposes.
Sample Electric Eyes
Filter-Eye: The Filter-Eye alters the visual stream of information going to the brain, and quite simply shows it's data through the preset filter (not unlike Instagram), allowing users to see things in black and white, or through a variety of tints, modified saturations and other artistic effects. Changing how you see can change how you think.
Director-Eye: The D-Eye is a streaming camera, that either uploads it's data to a cloud system, to a personal storage device, or through a streaming media server. These modifications are relatively rare, but the simsense feeds that can be generated from them are profitable, with extreme sports, sexual recreation, and military operations (for data analysis) are common uses. There is a small but steady trend of young would be socialite entertainers creating stream of life experiences, running through concerted and planned actions, ranging from the absurd to the sublime.
Electric Eye - a tool for technicians and arcanotechs, the electric eye is a sensitive piece of equipment that detects radiation, and energy flowing through wires and such. The electric eye allows for the perception of radio fields, EM signatures, and ever the carrier waves for the CogNet.
Arcanotech Special Mods
X-Ray backscatter - a restricted optic unit that literally sees through things, detecting hidden vehicles, cybernetics buried in people, and other things best left hidden.
Alterscope - where the lens sees no one is really sure, but the data is reliable, but what is being perceived isn't. The Alterscope allows a user to look into Aphasic space, where there is usually nothing but shadows and the occasional star whale or cosmic horor
Kirlian Eye - modified to detect bioetheric energy, the energy patterns given off by living organisms.
SmartEye - the SmartEye takes the place of the primary sensor in a SmartGun system, and can make almost any weapon function as if the user had a SmartGun system for it. Linked into an active system, the SmartEye offers typically superior level of function, and is more accurate as it is not tied to a helmet mount, chest or shoulder mount, or other off center location.
One of the unexpected consequences of the Third Eye is a greater sense of awareness and understanding. It is not really known yet if this is a function of the third eye itself, the occipital lobe modification, or the 'turbocharging' of the visual input system stimulating the pineal gland and endocrine system.
In System Modifications:
In addition to gaining whatever abilities are hardware to the artificial eye (low level vision, thermal sight, enhanced vision, optical zoom, cosmetic/digital alterations, arcane mods) the triclops gains an uptick to their perception ability, and to skills related to vision (such as spot checks, aiming, etc).
Seemingly unrelated changes: Uptick to empathy (is used as a skill or trait) and a slight reduction in initiative or reaction time. There is more information to process and this can slow a user down. For an artist this is no big deal, for a soldier in a firefight, this can be more problematic.
Cybernetic ops tend to avoid the Electric Eye as the mantra is that Awareness is the Enemy of Action.
The Dreaming - The third eye collects information constantly, and when the triclops sleeps, they have lucid dreams, and many have reported out of body dreaming experiences, limited clairvoyance, and other incidents related to altered perception. Awareness, on a greater than normal scale, is also reported. These incidents are given a quasi-religious undertone as the individuals describe communion like encounters in their dreams with non0human figures, and entities that resemble angels, demons and other mythological figures.
The first and most famous Triclops was Blind Anja. Anja received the first successful implant, and retained an active shadowrunner for a number of years afterwards. Anja eventually retired from the game, and withdrew from the world to become an ascetic hermit. She is well over a century old, and remains a mystic who is sometimes sought out by parapsychics, and others who have had contact with paranormal forces who are looking to resolve their person demons.
Dr. Psybeam is a fictional triclops who was created for a serial action feed. Dr. Psybeam is a cyborg with an oversized electric eye in the middle of his head. The actor actually has a third eye, a director model, and generates a lot of the first person perspective material for the series. In the series, the Doctor can shoot a variety of beams from his third eye, including a freeze ray, a heat ray, an X-ray beam, and the titular psybeam, which causes victims hit with it to shed their clothing and become submissive to the Doctor. This is all special effects, and there are no actual artificial eyes that shoot beams. There are one shot lasers that look like eyeballs, but they have no optic capability.
Shiva doesn't legally exist and is a psi-ops for the Indian Freestate. She is a powerful parapsychic martial artist, and has mastered the devotion of pyromancy, adding fire and flames to her hand to hand technique, as well as manipulating existing fires. She has a number of handlers who have her containment as their first priority. She is very much insane, cosmically aware, and very far from the human she once was, growing up in the slums of Islamabad.
The Eye of God - A medical experiment has gone wrong, and a test subject has erupted as a powerful parapsychic after being implanted with an electric eye. The power channeled has corrupted the victim, turning them into a powerful adversary, lashing out with psychic power, and with a tireless eye that sees all. The PCs are hired to find this person and put them down, without harming the hardware, if at all possible. Was the test subject special, or is their more to the hardware than appears?
The Oracle - The PCs are challenged with an introspective problem, be it a crisis of conscious, contamination, or psychic corruption, and the only way they can be cured of this condition (rather than being flayed apart in a megacorp lab) is to seek out an oracle like Blind Anja.
The Sentinel - The sentinel is a mid-level boss, a mountain of muscle and power, guided by the singularity of focus provided by the electric eye. This cybernetic Argus must be battled and overcome to complete the mission the PCs have been hired for. They are unable to rely on deception or illusions, as the eye sees through all.
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? Responses (3)
I really like the interplay here between the esoteric third eye of perception mythology and the near-future techno. Great read!! And is it crazy to say, I can see this happening in a few decades?!
Only thing that rang weird was 'medical experts of Tajikistan'. I wouldnt trust them to apply a band-aid on a booboo lol. Even in the future. Bit too backward over there for them to take any kind of scientific/medical 'leap' ahead anytime soon.
The world is much changed, but yes it is still relatively backwards in that part of the world. That is relevant of course, because in the more advanced parts of the world, the doctors and cyberneticists are going to look at things like liability and lawsuits, and they are just going to say no. Go to a backwater place, and give the doctors and cigarette smoking cyborg mechanics enough money and they'll shrug, say it's your funeral, and start hacking. The same general vibe from Elysium when the guys who fix the exoskeleton to Max's body, but are covered in tattoos, and they pass around a joint before picking up a bonesaw.
Well, that's about as good an explanation as I can imagine.(Hope I don't get hate mail from Tajikistan :P)