Curious Yellow

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Curious Yellow

Help me hash out this adventure idea. It is based on Charles Stross' Glasshouse.

There's a virus that infects ego bridges in resleeving facilities. When egos get sleeved, their ego catches the infection, where it lies dormant. It will infect other ego bridges the ego gets passed through also. It can take over the actions of the morphs, and edit the ego's memories, but in the dormant state it doesn't do much - the virus sends out messages through the morphs' mesh inserts from time to time to keep a tally of infected morphs, and if there are uninfected egobridges in the vicinity, it will try to arrange for infected egos to get sleeved through them to infect them, maybe arrange an accident or buy a new morph.

Once a habitat reaches some critical mass of infected morphs, the virus activates. The non-infected morphs will be forced through an infected egobridge and have the memories of all involved edited to fit the facts, or they just experience "accidents" so their cortical stacks or backups goes through the egobridge as they get resleeved. Most of the time, the infected morphs act normally, but sometimes it makes them do something to suit its purpose and then edits the memories of it.

Now, the purpose and origin? I'm thinking it is something the TITANs developed, and now it has fallen into the hands of some villain who has adapted it for his own purpose - maybe he wants to turn a habitat into his own personal kingdom, maybe he just wants credits and the infected egos sends him money (or more subtly, buys his products at a high price). Or maybe it is really just a TITAN virus that causes the infected to egocast their identies to its creator.

The reason determines why Firewall suspects something is wrong. Strange buying patterns, strange transmissions, strange voter behavior, a revolution, whatever, so they send someone to investigate.

The Prometheans knows of this virus from the Fall and egobridges should be immune because of safeguards they developed, but this is a variation. However, the Prometheans also put in their own code into egobridges, and this allows the virus to be identified. Infected egos will not be able to hear the words "I love you", they just hear "I **** you". During their investigation on the habitat, they find out someone can't hear that, and report it back to Firewall. Shortly after, Firewall reports back the severity of the problem - if this thing spreads, it could turn much of transhumanism - and the PCs have to shut down all egocast capability. If you want massive carnage, they do so, but the virus responds by turning the entire habitat population on them, hoping to disable them, get some farcasters running again and get infected egoes transmitted out before Firewall manages to bring some habitat busting weapons to bear. Maybe the PCs have to vent the habitat's air to kill most morphs and then be able to fight off the rest. Otherwise, it could just be the villain and/or some helpers, with him only having limited control of infected morphs to throw a few curveballs at the PCs.

Followups could be catching the villain, what to do with the infected egos if the virus can't be purged, tracking down infected ego bridges and morphs in other habitats, finding where the egos got casted to (if this was part of the TITAN massive upload scheme), worrying about what else the Prometheans put in everybody's head (it is a bit worrying that everyone gets sleeved with their software in their minds, isn't it?).

A variation could be running this as a first adventure in a campaign, and remain closer to Stross' novel - the PCs gets sleeved at the habitat, and are so infected, but there's no other way in. But they've had their memories altered, so the virus won't spot they're hostile agents (this memory scanning is complex and only done at the ego bridge), because they're not aware of it. However, as they go about their business in the habitat, their memories of being a Firewall agent slowly dawns on them - maybe the memory blocks just degrade, maybe they get some external message (hi you're a secret agent everyone around you are under a supervillians thrall - yeah right), maybe all that could be done was to give them an inkling that something is wrong and they're meant to investigate.

I think there's some good stuff to be explored in Stross' book, and it seems to translate well into an EP adventure with a twist.

Any input, thoughts, ideas for cool scenes, would be welcome.

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Curious Yellow

I have had similar ideas & inspiration, but I also relating it & ripping the mind-bending "mythos" mechanic/skill from Call of Cthullu. And the weeping angels from Doctor Who that are Dormant when observed & moving when noone looks. And the Eclipse phase of a infected cell.

In my vision the extent of the virus & the spread of the virus is unknown, but there are suspicions of infected egobriges. The virus is however spread in more places (even in text), and exists in "dormant" fragments. That is until they have accumulated enough or are unseen. The more a person has been "infected" with the virus fragments the more mind bended he becomes. And like the curious yellow worm also communicate between infected instances for an optimal infection strategy

Sometimes its beneficial to have a small dose, but not to much as it alters things. And the virus is dormant when "observed", but its effects can sometimes be noticed -as it mind bends victims (if only slightly).

The principal villain spreading it, is actually also a victim. infected with a large portion of the virus fragments. Even when the antagonist have been dealt with, new "outbreaks" will occur at another place- Its only time until someone else has unknowingly accumulated to many spores & becomes a intentional typhoid Mary.

Sentinels are asked to investigate if there is a cause for alarm -due to various strange occurances, and bring a cohesive sample for study... Higher ups are courious and the vectors of the spreading "disturbance".



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: Curious Yellow

So, a computer virus spreading via BitTorrent then? :|

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Curious Yellow

My version is more like an army with coordination communication, each fragment is a "soldier" and the more soldiers present -the more capabilities they get.

The "army" is in a sense one virus type & in another definition numerous. capable of assisting relatives. The army doesn't have a "fixed" infection method, as the method differs with different numbers involved. Overal goals is creating more soldiers (spreading infection), finding new ways of spreading and avoid unnecessary detection.



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch