|Military-grade cybernetic arm with blade.|
|Function||Synthesis of organic and artificial components|
|Brief||Cybernetic implants and ersatz for organic bodies|
"The human body is overrated."
- - Syndicate prosthetist
Where Cyborgs LiveEdit
When National Geographic published a full-colour picture of a Sprawl dweller, most people took notice of his outrageous outfit, his facial piercings, and his ludicrous haircut. Almost no one noticed that what at first glance appeared to be a pair of strange sunglasses were actually optical implants.
The Sprawls of the Mediterranean Syndicate are home to countless cyborgs. Walk through one, and you will not have any trouble finding an individual who has undergone some level of cybernetic surgery. Many Sprawl dwellers possess cybernetic implants of some kind, ranging from subtle modifications like optical implants and micro-soft ports, to crude, obvious modifications like a robotic arm or powered joints.
In general, modifications can be categorised into two categories; the high-end implants and the street jobs. Many of these modifications are done by people off the street with dubious medical experience, who offer cheap, custom made implant surgery--though such jobs are usually crude and done under decidedly non-sterile conditions.
On the other hand, higher-end modifications--factory-assembled, carefully installed in hospital environments by qualified doctors--are less obtrusive and safer, but also considerably more expensive. For the most part, such implants are far rarer than what most Sprawl dwellers have, due to the far higher price tag placed on them.
Flesh and SteelEdit
One of the early pioneers in the field of cybernetics was the Soviet Union. Under a cybernetics research programme, one of dozens of projects ordered by Stalin during the Second World War, Soviet cybernetics made great strides in progress. The best known and most successful result of this programme was Volkov, the infamous commando and the only known human cyborg to have been produced by the programme.
However, after the Second World War, the Soviet Union’s advances in cybernetics were reversed, as the Union’s top cybernetic specialists and researchers began dying under various circumstances. For whatever reason, someone, possibly Volkov, was killing them off. Several scientists saw the writing on the wall, however, and choose to defect, hoping to find safety beyond the Union’s borders.
One of those scientists didn’t stop fearing for his life, even after he made it safely to Greece with his family. Seeking protection, he eventually turned to Legion Security. However, the scientist lacked the money to pay the mercenary corporation’s services. However, the scientist was persistent, and so he offered to pay the corporation in another coin--knowledge. The matter was referred up to the Board of Classics and Romulus, and following much deliberation, an agreement was struck.
Through the machinations of the Board of Classics, a new company, specialising in the medical sciences, would be formed. In return for heading up the research and development department of this new company, the scientist would receive not only protection in the form of security detail, but also a generous salary befitting his position, and a quantity of stock in the new company.
The death of the defector scientist in 1963 was a setback for the Syndicate, but by that point he had provided Chiron Biotechnologies (the company which he worked for) with a treasure trove of information. Research into the brain and the nervous system would continue unabated after his death, eventually leading the Syndicate to have an unparalleled understanding of the brain and nervous system.
Linking Mind and MachineEdit
The critical breakthrough came in the interface. Now that they had a comprehensive understanding of how the brain and nervous system worked, it became possible to engineer a mind-machine interface that could link prosthetics to the nervous system.
Finally, after years of research, Chiron unveiled its new “nerve-chip” in 1965. What the nerve-chip did was to act as a translator, converting nerve signals into signals that a computer could understand, and vice-versa. The only limitation was that a powerful computer would be required, but that problem had already been taken care of by the development of the integrated circuit some years back.
Paired with an integrated circuit, this new technology could be used to construct a fully controllable prosthetic. The cortical plasticity of the brain allowed it to quickly adapt to signals from prostheses, such that a man would have much control over his robotic arm as he did over his organic one.
What followed next was a revolution throughout the Sprawls. Other Syndicate subsidiaries began to construct prosthetics based off Chiron’s new nerve-chips and began marketing them, just as countless hack doctors began constructing their own, crude, garage-built cybernetic implants and selling them to people off the streets.
Though some were horrified by the idea of replacing one’s flesh with steel, and others were worried that people without any cybernetic modifications would end up losing out, the technology nevertheless spread rapidly throughout the Sprawls, as it was seen what the new cybernetic implants could do.
The Next StepEdit
While cybernetic implants have become fairly commonplace in the Sprawls, a far more recent--and extreme--development is that of battlesuits. In a way, the battlesuit brings cybernetic augmentation to its logical conclusion--the complete replacement of the human body, leaving only the brain and perhaps a few other organs.
Syndicate battlesuits remain extremely cutting-edge. While Legion Security has contracted the construction of a number of battlesuits for military purposes, none of them have gotten the chance to see action outside of the Sprawls yet.
Such battlesuits must provide life support for the few organic components that remain, of course, but the advantages that provide are profound; a robotic body can be made faster, tougher and stronger than any human body ever could; a fact that has not been lost on Legion Security. Battlesuits aren’t limited to the human form either, as evidenced by the Man O’ War. And if one can keep the brain alive indefinitely, then a battlesuit can effectively be made immortal, since worn out or damaged parts can be easily replaced.
But on the other side, it can be argued that one is giving up one’s humanity. Most battlesuits look nothing like normal humans--though this point is debatable, since a battlesuit can be designed to look like a human, as demonstrated by Minerva. Moreover, the process of battlesuit augmentation is extremely expensive, requiring that one either have a large sum of money on hand, or be willing to enter into a contract with Legion Security if one does not. There are many other areas that one can look at and argue over, but at the end of it all, it comes down to a single question: is a battlesuit a human, or a machine?
People of Mass DestructionEdit
When it comes to wetware for battlesuits, the Mediterranean Syndicate generally employs willing volunteers, vetted for their reliability. This is not because of morality, ethics, or other such petty concerns, but a far more pragmatic one; the technology behind a battlesuit is usually a highly guarded corporate secret. More importantly, a battlesuit under the control of the wrong person is exceedingly dangerous, given that even a civilian battlesuit is a several tonne monster capable of powdering concrete and tanking multiple anti-armour weapons before going down. There is also the fact that a battlesuit is a rather pricey investment.
In addition to the vetting processes most Syndicate subsidiaries employ in selecting volunteers, most companies also make it a point to install override systems for the eventuality that a battlesuit might go rogue. There are systems to sever the pilot's connection to the rest of the battlesuit or systems to incapacitate them until they can be recovered, and even systems meant to flash fry any organic components within the battlesuit.
Despite these precautions, there have been the rare few battlesuits who have gone rogue. Sometimes, it's because a company used an unwilling subject for the wetware, the result being an extremely enraged person in control of a powerful weapon. For other cases, maybe the failsafes were not properly installed, or simply failed to work when they were supposed to. On occasion, it's because the volunteer for the battlesuit was not properly vetted, and had an agenda that was at odds with the Syndicate. Sometimes, the battlesuit just goes insane.
Most of the rogue cases tend to be with older battlesuits, since most companies have been wisening up to the risks and have been employing stricter precautions.
- Satyr Nero Da Vili
Bounty: 9.25 million Nu-Lira
A unique case among the Satyrs, Nero notably maintains a sense of morality even after undergoing the standard procedures. Wanted for the valuable information his brain can provide researchers, as well as for the slaughter of at least a dozen high-ranking executives of several different cybernetic companies. Believed to be working independently. Known to be accompanied by the rogue War Wolf Zerberus.
- Hercules Heavy Armour John D. Steward
Bounty: 6.5 million Nu-Lira
A Hoplite forced into a battlesuit to repay a debt for some unknown reason, John D. Steward's control override chips were fried during the Franchise Wars when the Medusa he was assigned to guard was hit by a Soviet magnetic singularity attack. Somehow surviving John disappeared some time after the incident. There have been no sightings since then but it is rumoured he's now operating in the Chinese wastelands.
- Charon Assault Armour Christian Bauer
Bounty: 10 million Nu-Lira
An unwilling subject used by a now defunct corporation as the test pilot of an experimental military battlesuit, Bauer was able to go rogue due to the inadequate precautions put in place. After destroying said corporation's main facility, Bauer proceeded to wreak a violent trail of destruction through the Roanapur Sprawl before escaping the Syndicate's grasp. Currently believed to be working as a freelance mercenary, operating in Southeast Asia.
- War Wolf Zerberus
Bounty: 6.75 million Nu-Lira
Subject upon completion of cybernetic procedures went rogue, mutilating its surgical staff and escaping. Befriended Satyr Nero Da Vili and has assisted in slaughter of cybernetic company executives.