Animosity : Intermission

1428 words  |  
Categories:  Fiction Writing
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I’m driving across the country this week, so I won’t be able to post anything. I’m putting this little post together for the time being that will help explain a little more about the world of Animosity while I’m away. I hope you enjoy it!

Technology

You may have noticed that Humans still use some “old” technology like trucks and wired electronics. One of the answers is simple: cost. The latest technological advances come at high cost and are far too complex to maintain easily on an unknown planet with unreliable resources. Why spend the extra money on those when you can buy cheap, ‘brown’ technology that is easier to manage?

While all of the trucks on the planet’s surface are electric, it is still understandable that people might wonder why we still use them in this futuristic landscape. For the most part, old technology is the most flexible for frontier worlds in space. Many of the most cutting edge vehicles on Earth at this time use satellites and a dense wireless network to navigate and function. These vehicles are dependent on that network as a backbone for their functionality. While satellites are launched into the orbit of a frontier world, there are far fewer of them and their signals have to be prioritized for communications. Complex traffic management software would be a large burden on these more minimal satellites’ hardware.

In places like the Refinery where several large machines are processing loads of data and raw materials, wireless signals are very erratic. In these industrial areas (and on Lab Ships) the communication methods are usually wired to avoid interruption or interference.

Humans have access to incredibly advanced robotics and weaponry, but the technology is still very expensive. It turns out that humans will willingly risk their lives for far cheaper salaries than a combat drone costs. Arc Technology is rumored to have a few remotely operated drones with them on this expedition, but there is no record of them being seen or used.

Ballistic firearms are still the most cost-effective weapons for the security forces. Heavy Artillery Units are occasionally armed with high-powered laser, sonic, magnetic, and microwave weapons, but the planet-side situation rarely requires their use.

Hacking

The BIOS systems that some of the characters use is entirely controlled with their minds. Each individual experiences their own Operating System in different ways.

Neza’s has been described as a spherical core with other spheres rotating around it like an atom or a solar system. Each houses different aspects of his programming. These spheres are protected by barriers meant to deter hostile access to his systems.

Every BIOS is connected to a satellite-powered wireless network called the Datastream. In order for any BIOS to function fully, it must be connected or the small power cells it uses will shut down and require a hard reset to recover. Newer units like Neza’s can be reset with an electrical pulse directed into the proper circuits through his ear, but older units require a surgical procedure. Because of this vital connection, the Datastream is always left open and the satellites are given extremely powerful barriers and defensive mechanisms to prevent hackers from manipulating them.

When hacking into another person’s BIOS, the intent can be any number of things.

Most hacks are for information extraction. A person’s BIOS keeps logs of every bit of input it receives. This includes visual data in the form of digital video of every conscious moment that individual has experienced since the BIOS was installed. Accessing heavily secured memory sections is a specialty of spies, police, politicians, and other cunning individuals.

Another common purpose is manipulation. A skilled hacker can hijack the senses of their target and alter their perception. This is what Neza did to one of the soldiers he attacked in Chapter 7. Neza intercepted the target’s sight receptors and showed him everything normally with the exception of Neza. In effect, Neza was made invisible to the target even though his physical body was entirely visible to a normal perception. The same can be done with touch, taste, smell, and hearing.

Using a similar method, a hacker could force its target to move and act like a puppet. This extremely rare hack requires a widespread full-system attack, so it is very difficult to implement successfully. If successful, the target will retain all brain function, but will be unable to control their actions. The feeling is similar to Parkinson’s Disease or Cerebral Palsy, where you are not in control of your body’s movements. The native mind is forced to perceive what the body’s controller tells it to. It cannot close or avert its eyes. It cannot pull its hand away from a fire. It cannot shut itself off from receiving any piece of input given to it. Recovery from a Puppet Hack is rare and extremely limited. The mind becomes too detached and most victims lose their sanity if they manage to survive the hack.

Finally, some use hacking to inflict physical harm on their target. This can be done by overloading the receptive nerves in the brain with conflicting sensory data to cause random misfires in the nervous system. This can often completely disable a target, or drive them to become psychologically numbed to all touch, taste, and pain signals. This method can also be more direct by commanding the sensory nerves of specific body parts to feel excruciating pain without any external stimuli.

These dangers are the main reason most humans choose to either severely limit the functions of their BIOS or never get the upgrade in the first place. The technology is aging now of course, so younger generations are far more receptive to it than their parents and grandparents. On Earth, nearly 40% of the urban population is upgraded, and that percentage grows steadily every year. And with the comfort people gain by adding this technology to their bodies, they are also allowing it to encapsulate more and more aspects of their lives.

Character Scale & Relation

To give a better feel of how the different characters interact with each other, I constructed this scale illustration. There are several more new characters and races that will be introduced in future chapters, but these are the current ones.

Click here to Zoom In

As you can see, Saf is a huge guy, even compared to other Rhin. Modified versions of each race are often larger and more muscular than their kin because of the rigorous performance testing they go through and the hormones they have been injected with since youth. In Saf’s case, he was given heavier doses than most Rhin could survive because of his modification’s added resilience. The same drugs that would normally shorten his lifespan by several years seem to have very little effect on him.

Neza’s larger size is mostly due the his mechanical legs. Since he was older than Saf when he began treatments, his hormone therapy affected his muscle mass more than his skeletal growth. He also had less total time with the treatments. The smaller effects come in handy when Neza wishes to move around other Felni unnoticed. Saf would not be able to blend in quite as easily.

Xerah is a small Canis, even for a Vulpi. This is mostly due to her youth and gender. Xerah’s small stature aids her in her tinkering in the shop. Small hands can really come in handy when working on the futuristic human technology she finds. Her size also helps her travel and move without being detected. She barely makes a sound because of her lightweight body and small feet. The fact that she can hide behind an average fern leaf also has its benefits. These features make her an excellent scavenger, spy and saboteur.

The Average Canis displayed next to her refers to the Lupu –or wolf type– species of the Canis. The shaded figure represents their stature when standing on their hind-legs, which is rare in their society. Canis still have opposable thumbs and fully-functioning hands despite their common practice of walking on all-fours most of the time. There are several varying species of the Canis, but the Lupu are the most common. They are above average in size, but still look small next to some of the Canis Dani, which can be over six feet tall on all-fours.

Want More?

If you have any questions about the universe of Animosity, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below! I would happily answer anything that will help my readers understand the settings of my story.

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