11/12/13 - Extreme Augmentation, Indentured Service on the Rise in Terminus
by Darya Baryshnikova, Tayseri Times
Pentalion District, Omega Station- The Castoran Hotel was a veritable hive of activity this afternoon as the annual Cybernetic, Bioethics, and Transsapientism Conference concluded it’s third and final day of discussion. A landmark function that hosts representatives from no less than three dozen politically significant Terminus and Abyss entities including corporate bodies such as the Legiatis Group, Multinational Organizations like the Ad'Thoro Pact, and, of course, a selection of some of the most prevalent transsapient groups active in the galaxy today like Typhoon Rise and S+.
In addition to applying new common law standards concerning sapient experimentation, the unveiling of several much anticipated breakthroughs in the field of morphic chimerism, and formally awarding of the celebrated Genomic Constellation to Doctors Maklash Yaelah and Induroc Basravix for their work in creating and distributing the celebrated Cadesis Rahkn line of augmentic facilities as well as their related sapientarian work; the commission also released their findings concerning the increased prevalence of the practice known as Relicae’s Process.
Pioneered by the eponymous Dr. Tarquex Relicae the process involves the total excision of the brain and brain stem, followed by the relocation of said tissue to an artificial frame and cranial housing. Originally developed as a means to preserve the lives of patients whose bodies had been damaged beyond all reasonable repair, over time the operation’s alternative applications became apparent. When individuals undergo Relicae’s Process, their cerebral tissue is encased in a hardened regulatory shell with attached infrastructure for interface with motive platforms. Over time, these men and women may operate their bodies with a degree of force and precision unmatched by the nonintegrated; providing them with a keen edge over their primarily organic counterparts. Of course, given the extreme nature of the surgery involved, the creation and procurement of these individuals has largely been restricted to the status of a niche industry.
However, given the extensive social, civil, and economic devastation left in the wake of the recent war it would appear that, according to the Conference’s report, the process has experienced something of a resurgence with a number of transsapient oriented groups, companies, and worlds sponsoring uninjured individuals for the process. The patrons provide room, board, and health while, In turn, the pilots agree to pilot motive armor until their contractually mandated term of service expires after which they may continue with their parent organization or seek employment elsewhere. An overwhelming majority stay. The suits themselves range from heavy, mechanized affairs to agile, CNT corded, bipedal platforms but, almost without exclusion, most are fundamentally military in nature.
“To be honest it’s really not as bad as people make it out to be. I mean, I didn’t turn into some kind of souless monster or anything after the operation.” Stated Jiang Du, one such operator in the employ of Wǔshì Securities. “I still have all my senses, they’re really pretty pointed about getting those in for the mental part of it, I’ve still got my friends, I still lead a mostly normal life really. Adjustment’s a bit of a kick in the balls but I’ve my genetic material’s on ice so kids aren’t out of the question. Plus I get a roof over my head, all the food I could want, money in my account, and a twelve foot suit of armor with jetpacks to pilot on top of it with a civvie suit for off hours. So yeah, I’d call it a pretty good deal.”
However many prominent abolitionist and sapient’s rights groups have leveled harsh criticisms at the institution in its entirety. “What we are seeing here is, essentially, the implementation of slave soldiers as a generally accepted commodity.” Said Mr. Wakarh Tan’til of the Torchbearers, “The issue is, the people who’re piloting these suits are desperate men and women that these groups plucked from the refugee camps, from the shelters, from the rubble, sat them down and offered them the world on the platter. Why wouldn’t they say no? They’d be stronger, faster, more durable than they’ve ever been before. And sure the Process has been rendered down to the point where there’s minimal risk but that discounts the fact that its completely irreversible save through extraordinary methods with traditionally low chances of success. These are people being exploited at their most vulnerable and turned into nothing more than tools for the rest of their lives. This is not merely inhumane, it’s utterly barbaric.”
Current estimates place the number of heavily augmented troops in the low millions; all within extra-Citadel space. This number is expected to increase substantially over the next several years.
Relicae's Process is a highly invasive and radical procedure, where the patient's body is entirely replaced with a modular synthetic body. Only the brains remain from the original.
The stigma of trans-sapience and extreme transition have surrounded the process and people who've undergone with fear and suspicion. Given that overwhelming majority of Relicae's are converted into their new state by corporations and pay for their procedures by indentured servitude as combat operatives, fear of abuse is a valid concern.
However, corporate market for Relicae's converts is self-regulated. Unlike in popular media, corporations do not gain from having expensive, abused rogue operatives turning on them so great care is afforded to maintaining Relicae's converts. Amenities and therapeutic resources to smooth the convert's transition are provided, as many 'non-essential' features for the convert's bodies to retain resemblance to their old bodies. Research has shown that reconstructions of their species' facial muscles and synthetic vocal cords assist converts settling into their new bodies,by means of recognizing their own voices and reflections. Recent advances have allowed converts to eat and drink through an ingenious array of artificial tastebuds and a 'stomach' full of nanomachines. Slight calibrations are required to fit the physiologies of each brain, but early adopters reported it to be 'nearly perfect'. The small nanomachine colony within their 'stomachs' even allows the converts to draw nutrition from what they eat and drink like organics at increased metabolic rate, but standardized glucose packets remain the cheaper and more efficient method.
The next stage in the process is to dispel the sense of newly developed sense of false invincibility from the converts. While the new augmentations are durable, the potential of wasting them in suicidally bold acts is present unless educated out of. The cranial case is very durable, but potential for psychological trauma exists if converts are left in malfunctioning bodies.
Misconceptions exist of the Relicae's Process. First impression of them being unstoppable powerhouse is a wrong one. The strength of a Relicae's is not in their raw power, but in their adaptability to accept new modules, sub-systems and even platforms. Anything with the right interface can be used by a Relicae's as their body.
Despite the advances in the process and the streamlining of the relevant technologies, conversion still remains prohibitively expensive. Fears of a cyborg invasion is not relevant for another century or two.
There is only one Relicae's Process convert as of yet who commonly frequents Cerberus Daily News, Kai'Fenrer nar Tonbay, and public reaction has been a mixed bag. You may call the equal measures of revulsion, pity, fascination and support the perfect microcosm of not just the Process but radical transsapientism in general. Only time will tell how this situation may change.