The Merge Universe

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betterwatchit
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Re: The Merge Universe

Post by betterwatchit »

Post-Merge Technology

The Merge brought all sorts of technologies, changing lives and causing controversy. Here's a few examples, with Griffin's opinions on the subject.


Forced-Growth Cloning: On Autoduel-Earth, Texas A&M discovered how to accelerate the maturation rate of clone embryos. In another Texas lab, the Mechanical Memory Storage Device (MMSD) was found capable of reading the memories of a corpse. For decades, Gold Cross used the technology to provide the ultimate life insurance policy: As long as your policy's paid up, they can make a clone of you.

Post-Merge, Gold Cross still provide this policy, which has naturally attracted arguments from conservative religious factions. The expense of it doesn't help either.

Gold Cross can copy and update all memories from a living person into storage at a cost of $25,000. It's only $5,000 to copy the memories of a corpse (who died no more than 48 hours, or ten days if the body is refrigerated) directly into a clone. The MMSD can only insert someone's memories into their own clone, attempts to do otherwise have failed.

It costs $10,000 to grow a clone to be biologically about 25 years old, taking six months (Clones of those younger than 25 only get grown back to their time of death). It costs $1,000 a month to maintain the clone (which is used as an organ donor should the client be unable to pay, and is clearly mentioned in the policy). It costs $2,000 a month to use a MMSD to insert the original person's memories into the clone (failure to do so wipes the clone's mind, making it only useful as an organ donor as previously stated in the policy).

It's widely believed (but not publicly confirmed) that the White House has Gold Cross policies active for the President of the United States and the Vice President.

It takes solid proof of death before Gold Cross will activate a clone. In the United States, the replacement clone legally becomes the person they replaced, including all the relevant rights, responsibilities and property (meaning that if the President had a up-to-date policy and was assassinated, his clone would become the President but would still be subject to all laws concerning the office). In Australia, the clone is legally a descendant of the original person, and cannot inherit more than 50% of their property. This measure helps to reduce general stupidity and helps give their other descendants a fair go.
Griffin's Note: My main concern with this technology - other than the more obvious risk of overpopulation - was the possible stagnation of culture and society in general. That's why I discussed with their CEO about the possibility of a "three strikes policy." The basics of such a policy are that the third time anyone dies, they can no longer get a policy with Gold Cross. An addendum to the policy would also invalidate it for someone subject to life imprisonment or the death penalty. The CEO admitted that I brought up some fair points, but he's still going to have to discuss it with the board, which is fair enough. Another thing I'm concerned with is the possibility of someone else taking the body over, which simply wasn't an issue on Autoduel-Earth. Shedim from the Sixth World need to possess a soulless body to have a physical presence, and a soulless clone of an wealthy and influential person - like someone who can afford a Gold Cross policy - is very juicy bait.

Gel Rounds: From the Sixth World, these bullets are designed to give firearm users a non-lethal option and are available in handgun, SMG and assault rifle calibres. They look like other bullets in the same calibre, but with a bright blue gel tip. Naturally, people everywhere are pushing for police to use them wherever possible. Especially in the United States.
Griffin's Note: They work great for bounty hunters and other people who need their targets alive. A word of advice, burst-fire makes it easier for gel rounds to floor a target if your gun can do it. The assault rifle calibres allow police with a belt-fed machine gun to quell a riot with less drama compared to using live ammo!

Head-Up Display: Modern consumer-grade HUDs are designed to link the HUD to your smartphone via Bluetooth and use the phone's mobile bandwidth or Wi-Fi to transfer data. More secure HUDs use a wire to physically connect with the phone to reduce emissions. Basic apps for each include altimeter, chronometer, compass and a marquee display. Motion sickness sufferers can simply place a dot on their "screen" to focus on and ease their symptoms and it's common to have a minimap on the corner of a HUD's screen.

Brand names include Google Glass, StarkSight and Trilotech EagleEye.
Griffin's Note: You have no idea how useful my custom EagleEye is. But it's a bad idea to wear one while driving a car or flying a plane. It's considered to be as distracting as using your phone at the wheel, with similar penalties in force when the police catch you doing it. Most countries only allow a driver to use a vehicle's built-in HUD, if it has one in the first place. All HUDs have a red tally light that's visible to other people while the HUD is recording.
(What Griffin hasn't mentioned is why his custom HUD is useful. He has a customised app installed that makes it easier for him to read body language (as a side effect of his ASD, its perhaps the only language his Gift of Understanding doesn't work on) and otherwise tell if someone's lying to him. (In M&M terms, the app gives him Skill Mastery: Insight) His assistance in its design also gave him legitimate access to a highly restricted version of the EagleEye's firmware that's normally only available to law enforcement agencies. This firmware lets the user choose whether or not to turn the tally light on while recording and has the option of connecting to law enforcement and intelligence agency databases. (Griffin's connections to the Mechanicsburg government give him said access.) This means that if he sees some ne'er-do-well out on the street, he's going to find out what they ne'er did well.)

Killbox: Slang term for a field-deployable automated or remote-controlled sentry gun. Killboxes are chambered in pre-existing calibres and are usually compatible with box and drum magazines for firearms made by the same manufacturer. All killboxes come with RFID tags that designate the wearer as a friendly and instructions on how to programme your own codes and tags. Naturally, most governments classify killboxes as being for military and law enforcement only. Killbox IFF codes are considered classified information. Killboxes sometimes have threaded barrels, allowing the use of compensators or suppressors.

Killboxes loaded with gel rounds are called stunboxes.

The covert agency sometimes called the Division are said to deploy throwable killboxes to give themselves some extra firepower.


Killbox models include:

Colt Defender, chambered for 5.56mm NATO. It supports STANAG magazines.

FN Gardien (Guardian), chambered for FN 5.7×28mm. It supports P90 PDW magazines, allowing 50 shots per load.

H&K Wächter (Watchman), chambered for HK 4.6×30mm, 9mm Parabellum or 5.56 NATO. The 4.6 version uses MP7 magazines. The 9mm version uses MP5 magazines and the 5.56 version uses STANAG magazines.

JSC Kalashnikov Concern Chasovoy (Sentry), chambered for 5.45×39mm. It uses AK-74 and RPK-74 magazines.

Griffin's Note: Unless they're being used to surprise someone, SOP is to deploy more than one killbox where possible, making sure that cones-of-sight overlap slightly. Due to their chambering in pre-existing calibres, killboxes can be loaded with speciality rounds, including gel or silver.

Prisons that use stunboxes turn them on after lights out. Anyone without a valid tag (in other words, the inmates) found outside of a cell suddenly gets floored with the stunbox making enough noise to warn the guards.

Remote control of a networked killbox can be done via mouse or via PS4/XBox One controller connected to a PC. Default config for controllers is right stick to aim, L1/LB to use a built-in speaker if available (usually to shout a warning), L2/LT held down to turn the safety off and R2/RT to fire. I remember seeing a pre-Merge recruiting advert for the British Army which showed British soldiers using a XBox 360 controller to pilot a recon drone, so using a XBox One controller for a sentry gun isn't surprising.
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