Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Coroners, Pt. I

This is the first draft of an idea I've come up with for a transhuman sci-fi campaign. Being a first draft, it is largely off-the-cuff and not fully thought-out. As of such, I welcome any and all critiques, comments, and suggestions. Please let me know what you think!

In case it's not clear from the writing, I'm going for a very "gallows humor" tone in this setting. Like if Vince Gilligan were to direct a transhuman sci-fi TV show. You could also think Quentin Tarrantino, Chuck Palahuik, Alan Ball, maybe even a darker Joss Whedon. It's a serious, kinda-grim sci-fi setting, but there are consistently moments of absurd levity in it.

With that, here's my idea for The Coroners, a transhuman sci-fi campaign:


Hey. Wake. UP.

Damn, reload hit you hard this time, huh? I don't know what the hell out there popped your cell, but it sure did a friggin' number on you. 

So...you don't remember anything, do you? Fuck. Alright, hang on....Mercy! We're gonna need some time before our next expedition. New guy's reload got all jacked up, we're gonna have to start from scratch with him.

You mean...everything?

Yup.

Can't we just download to his cortex?

I don't think so, not right now, at least. I don't think his sanity could handle it. Let's just do it the old fashioned way. Couple hours...maybe a couple of days...he starts re-acclimating, we'll try a download then.

Very well. You want me to do it while you contact our client?

No. I better do this myself. I don't think a ghost is what this poor bastard needs right now.

Fair enough. You know where to find me.

Okay, buddy. Have a seat. That was Mercy, by the way. Mercy's a ghost. A ghost? A ghost is a disembodied human consciousness who lives in a computer. 

Yeesh. Judging by that look on your face, we're going to have to start slow.

I. Who We Are, What We Do

Okay, so here's the deal. You are you, right? Your soul, your mind, your memories, your personality...all that shit. But your body? Your body's a shell. You download your mind into it and drive it around, like a ship. You can upload it to a computer, then download it into another body (we call bodies cells. Don't ask me why.) Or, like Mercy, you can just upload yourself into a computer and hang out in there.

So, to borrow some ancient terminology, your mind is what they'd call software. And, like software in the olden days, your mind can be uploaded, downloaded, deleted...or copied. That's what happened with you. We keep a copy of everyone's mind here at the base, and if something should happen to you while you're downloaded into a cell, we can "reload" you into a new one. We don't know what happened to you that got your cell butchered...we lost contact right before it happened...but when it happened, your mind activated a "kill switch," a signal that let us know to bring a copy of you online, because, well, you just died.

Normally, a copy of your mind is as informed and up-to-date as it was the day you copied it. For whatever reason...corrupted memory banks in our computer, is my guess...you appear to have reloaded with no memories at all. That sucks, because, well, a lot of shit has happened to us that you apparently have no memory of. But that's cool. I could use a break from the job, anyway.

What's our job, you ask? Well, we are what people call coroners. I'll get into that in a second, but I need to tell you a little about society, first.

You see, once we learned how to convert our minds to software, and we mastered virtual environments, the world that we were once a part of splintered. Literally the entire planet just split into all these little cliques and "communities" and miniature little neighborhoods, living in their own realities. Once we started beaming signals out into space, we started establishing whole new societies on other planets.

So our entire race has turned into pockets and pockets of different societies. A million little social experiments, scattered across the solar system, all isolated from one another by the vastness of space.

Naturally, some of these social experiments fail. Some societies degenerate into anarchy and destroy each other. Others didn't put enough thought into little things like sustainability and ended up just dying out. Still others discovered things...alien things, mutated disease things...that spread out and destroyed the whole colony. There are millions of little social experiments in our solar system, and everyday, thousands of them fall victim to untold horror stories. 

Our job is to find those dead colonies and learn what happened. We discover the cause of death of a whole population. That's why they call us coroners. 

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