Symbiotic Exotic Biological Organism (Seborg)
By Gregory Deych (firstname.lastname@example.org)
L3 Planetary Defense Station hummed with activity. Ken Goddard could feel the subharmonic vibration in his bones. Usually, the hum of activity reassured him, but now the activity seemed to have a bit of a frantic edge to it. He sighed and rubbed his eyes, staring out through the several inches of transparent crystalline steel analogue, out beyond the Lunar orbit. It was a long day, coming after a long week, which itself trailed an even longer month.
A soft chime sounded behind him, and he turned his chair around, facing his doorway. Svetlana, his assistant, was ushering his next appointment, the PDC's Director of Training. Smiling, he stood up and offered him a hand, showing him to a chair.
"As you can see, Mr. Goddard, we're stretched to the limit, and the NWO just mandated we shift some of our and BCD's marine personnel under their operational control. 'Unspecified duration' transfer, they called it. If we shift any more personnel to them, we will not have enough to patrol even the circumstellar space." The DoT subsided unhappily.
Goddard nodded quietly. He pondered the matter for a few seconds, trying to see some alternatives. "I can't do anything about that, Harry" he said slowly "the plans have been made and it would hurt us a lot if we refuse. But, we may be able to salvage the situation. I'm authorizing you to reactivate the Icarus training facility, at 120% occupation levels." He smiled bitterly. "We'll have to go with that SEBO scheme, hell or high water."
The SEBO program was initially proposed by the exobiologists of the Void Engineer R&E division. In their explorations of the universe, VEs have encountered a staggering array of life forms, sometimes intelligent, most often not. The R&E was ill-equipped to catalogue all of the life forms, let alone determine their capability, but a small fraction of the most promising ones were scrutinized more closely. One such lifeform, inhabiting a class M planet in the Epsilon Eridani system, came to the attention of the researchers by exhibiting a very wide range of symbiote-host relationship. Usually, a symbiote or a parasite will restrict itself to a single species or a related group of species. Even more interesting was the fact that the host populations which were not infected by a symbiote appeared to be less vigorous then their infected counterparts. In short, this was a real example of a relationship benefiting both sides.
Since that discovery, research concentrated on medical applications of the newly discovered lifeform, popularly christened "McKiernan's symbiote". The "symbiote" is approximately 3-4 inches when fully grown and nests in the abdominal cavity of the host. By siphoning off some of the nutrients, it relieves itself of the necessity to go out and gather its own meal. Its secretions, on the other hand, act as a general stimulant on the host, making it more likely to catch its own preferred prey. The Progenitor scientists brought in to help the research along have synthesized several compounds from the symbiote's secretions. However the rate of metabolization of those by the patient was rather high and duration rather short. Inevitably, research turned to the possibility of whether Human-symbiote mutuality was possibleÖ
Symbiote Exotic Biological Organism is the technical name for the McKiernan Symbiote whose DNA has been modified to be able to meld with humans. The human hosts who are usually called Seborgs, receive a number of powers from their symbiote along with a few inconveniences as well.
The usual secretions of the symbiote act as a general stimulant, enhancing the usual human physical abilities by about 20-30%. In game terms, the subject receives a +1 to all 3 physical attribute permanently. The host's endurance is increased even more than all the other attributes, with additional +1 to Stamina for any tests involving endurance, like long-distance running, holding your breath etc. (not the soak pool). The healing factor of the host is also much accelerated. If well fed and rested, the subject heals lethal damage as if it was bashing.
|Health Level||Recovery Time|
The symbiote is able to partially filter many kinds of poisons, toxins and diseases out of the host's bloodstream, automatically subtracting a single success from the adverse effect or adding one success to the resistance roll (this may include Life magick if it's stated as a viral or toxicological attack). Research is ongoing to modify the symbiote's DNA structure further, in order to enhance this ability.
In addition, the symbiote senses when the host is in danger, by her altered neurochemical balance, and responds accordingly. While in a dangerous or threatening situation, the subject gains the following abilities:
- +2 Strength
- +2 Stamina
- Hyperagility (+1 extra action per turn)
Unfortunately, the Symbiote-Human meld is far from well understood. The Seborgs have encountered a number of specific problems, among them:
- The demand on the host's and symbiote's metabolisms require drastic increase in food consumption. If not involved in vigorous activity, the Seborg requires approximately 50% more food than a normal human of his body type. If he is involved in vigorous activity such as combat, her food requirement jumps to 200% of normal or twice the normal amount. There are some implications that the increase in metabolism may reduce the subject's maximum lifespan, though an Enlightened medical practitioner should be able to compensate for the effect.
- Also, the symbiote requires certain mineral substances which humans do not consume as part of their daily diet. Those specialized substances are usually stored in a subcutaneous dispensers, sufficient for 15 days of operations.
- The overdrive effect may have mildly deleterious effects on the human body. If the attributes are permanently increased above 5, the host may (Storyteller's discretion) exhibit adverse reactions, like muscle aches, torn ligaments or hypertension.
- Lastly, and potentially most significantly, the symbiote sufficiently alters the mindset of the user to block him from using Inspirational Science. Technocratic Devices remain usable.
The Seborgs are part of the Void Engineer convention, but are often assigned to alongside NWO Men in Black and ItX Hit Marks. They are recruited from the same candidate pool as VE marine contingent. DSTAC members figure it's better to field test them along the more controllable conditions on Earth (and where other Conventions can pick up the slack if something goes seriously wrong). If the field tests prove successful, they will be assigned to VE teams in space operations as well.
The effect is a Life 4 Spirit 4 rote, requiring 10 successes to be completed.