Cybernetics *There is no function of the human body that can not be enhanced by cybernetics. *All functions except sapience can be replaced with cybernetic versions *To have some cybernetics is the norm for everyone over the age of 9. *To not use cybernetic enhancement is considered foolish. Even professional sports use cyborgs, that being considered better than drugs. What cybernetics can be used are controlled the same way as models of cars in car races. *The vast majority of cybernetics are obvious to the naked eye. All cybernetics you are aware of are detectable with a pat-down search. *Cybernetics can offer a full range of all 5 senses to their owners. With a little experience, there is no loss of sensing reality around you. There is something called “Cyber-psychosis,” which comes from bad programming, infections, or using black market parts that jack into your brain then have program compatibility issues. It is not caused by “too many” cybernetics. *With advanced neural implants, it is possible to jack your brain directly into a wireless feed of information from various Web sites, including personalized for-pay streams designed to give you information custom-fit for your life and needs. With the “full-contact” neural jacks there is no conscious seekign of information, as soon as your subconscious identifies something you want to know, it looks it us and stores the data in your mind as if you already knew it. It becomes instinctive to learn what the weather is like, when your favorite movies are showing, what the price of silver is, and who the heck starred in the 2040 blockbuster hit movie “The Australian Conflict” or sang back-up for the band”Girls Like Us” on their 2032 debut album without giving it any conscious thought. The drawback to this information-as-an-innate sixth sense is that your brain actually becomes used to knowing whatever you want, as soon as you subconsciously think you want it. If you become cut-off from the wireless signal sending you that information, you can go into data-withdrawal. Despite there being no physical chemical to be addicted to, some people with direct “full-contact” neural jacks can get just as hooked to instant information as a crack-head, and will take the same steps to ensure they get that access back if it is lost.
Computers There are no self-aware computers. There are “remotes” (robots being run by a pilot or central computer from a remote location) and “drones” (robots with programs to be autonomous – not alive, but able to do the things they are programmed for without further human input). There are also full-body cyborgs, and sometimes brains-in-a-box that pilot remotes. Military remotes are common, but generally have an operator nearby. Military drones are rarer, but do exist. Non-military remotes are rare (a few cargo haulers and mining or logging remotes exist), but non-military drones are fairly common. A hot-dog-and-soda vendor might be a drone, wandering a programmed route and selling its wares, as might thinking vacuum cleaners, trash cans, breakfast makers, and mail delivery drones. Of course, armed drones also exist, though they are often illegal. Many people treat their drones like pets, but they are not actually self-aware (not even the robot pets). Video and Audio editing technology is now SO good, that having anything taped or recorded is only considered “evidence” it occurred, not “proof.” If you have enough money to get a lab to claim the security footage of you shooting someone in the head was faked, you may get off scott-free.
Bio-Tech Nearly all bio-tech research is at a halt. With permanent artificial hearts, skin, eyes, limbs, livers and even lungs, there is no money to go after cloning or genetic engineering. Of course some research is done, and you can have a pet cloned, but the process is expensive and the results often disappointing. Though there are no known cases of Human Cloning, there are laws to cover it. The genetic donor of a clone is treated as a birth-parent by law. The one things cybernetics have not cured is cancer. You can remove a tumor, replace a lung, but if the tumor spreads or reoccurs you may have to remove the whole brain into a cyberbody, and that’s expensive. Brain cancer is often (though not always) beyond fixing even with advanced cybernetics.
Flight There is no anti-gravity or repulsor technology. There are ducted-fan hover designs, including flying cars and flying drones, but they tend to be expensive and (relatively) short ranged. Massive lighter-than-air craft exist, and are popular cargo carriers. There are flight backpacks, but they require folding wings, and tend to be extremely expensive and fairly short-range. Within a building, you can have magnetic lift vehicles. Many hover-style items common in science fiction (cargo floaters, airborne police pods, hover-bikes) can exist in the StarreScraper, since there is a maglift system throughout the building. It is, however, illegal to use them except in industrial areas.
CyberSpace Telepresence cyberspace exists. Dataslicers, aces, and cyberpirates are common and often deal in high-paying jobs or capers. But often, you must get past a “Firebreak,” which refers to a real physical barrier that prevents unauthorized access to important systems. To hack a company, you are likely to need access to some actual room of theirs, to either do the hack from inside, or implant hardware to give you secret access.
Weapons *Slugthrowers are still the most popular sidearms. There is a strong disagreement whether “old-fashioned” (modern by 2009 standards) gunpowder weapons are still the best, or if “charge” guns (using a tiny electric spark to ignite an explosive gel propellent) are superior. Charge guns are fully functional underwater, less prone to misfires and duds, and work well even when very dirty. However, they are slightly less damage-resistant since if the battery is damaged, you can’t create the needed spark. *Flechette guns, which often look a lot like shotguns or very heavy pistol, are also popular. *Buzzer blades, weapons with two reciprocating blades sandwiched together, are expensive and prone to failure, but increasingly popular. They are especially popular in the StarreScraper, since they are very controlled weapons. They whine like bees when they are turned on.
Mars Mission: The USS Kennedy is currently on route to Mars, the first manned mission to the Red Planet. Several flights have sent drones already, which have established both an orbiting relay station and a ground-base.
The Kennedy is part of an international space effort, and was built at the Terran Space Platform, one of the largest “permanent” bases in orbit around Earth. Launched in 2046 (18 months before the campaign began), it has an 17-personal crew drawn form 12 nations including the US, England, France, China, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Israel. It should arrive September, 2048.
The ship is going to take a total of 27 months to arrive at Mars because it uses an ultra-efficient laser-plasma propulsion system. This allows it to gain a great deal of thrust from very little fuel, but also limits it to very slow acceleration and deceleration. The crew is kept in cryogenic suspended animation currently, and should awaken one month prior to arrival.
When launched, the Kennedy was cause for worldwide celebrations. Since absolutely nothing interesting has happened for more than a year, it’s now largely forgotten by the general populace.
Because the StarreScraper is the tallest man-made structure in the world, it’s satellite dish receiving and broadcasting are better than anything other than a very few massive space agency dishes (that make up for being low by being huge). Thus one of the Kennedy Monitoring Stations is located on Floor 267, which is mostly empty but does have a few dozen rooms taken up with television and radio stations, SETI groups, and satellite control centers for space agencies and private space firms worldwide.