Men Of Arms
"Borg" is the popular term for cyborg. Cybords are men and women who have been surgically augmented with machines for the purpose of war. The combat design and intent is the main aspect that separates bionics from cybernetics, even though the basic principles are the same. Another difference is that subjects for the bionic augmentation are not, as a rule, replacing missing or damaged body parts with mechanical replacements, but allowing perfectly good, functioning limbs and organs to be surgically removed and substituted with mechanical counterparts. A rather extremely and grisly thing to do if you stop to think about it. Of course, bionic technology is so developed that a complete bionic conversation (all limbs plus implants) can be performed in just under eight hours, and, it is said, with minimal discomfort to the subject.
Coalition Soldier ("Dead Boys")
The term "Dead Boys" is the common slang used by most city down siders, rogues, cirminals, and wilderness folk to identify Coalition soldiers. The nickname arose from the soldiers skull-like, death's head, face masks and black armor. The skuyll motif continues to be found in the designs of military power armor, robots, and vehicles. The military uses the death symbology to invoke fear and awe. It is a psychological edge and feeling of power that helps the soldiers in their duties as peace keeping police officers, military force, and extreminators.
Coalition Grunt O.C.C.: The grunt is the everyday infantry soldier. Generally, the soldier has no signifigant education or skills other than combat. In regard to combat, they are rough and ready warriors who greet the jaws of death with a smile.
Coalition Elite RPA O.C.C.; "Sam": The Robot Power Armor (RPA) elite are specially trained pilots and experts in the use of power armor and robots. These are the men and women behind the terrifying visage of the sky cycles, Strategic Armored Military Assault Suit (SAMAS), Enforcer UAR-1s. and Spider-skull Walkers. Because they are not normally issues the SAMAS power armor for field operations and urban defense, they are known by the nickname "Sam."
Coalition Military Specialist O.C.C.: The arts of espionage and reconnaissance are the trademarks of the Coalition military specialist. These guys are always officers who have undergone special training and cybernetic augmentation. Starting rank of Lieutenant.
Coalition Technical Officer O.C.C.: This character automatically starts off as a corporal and has specialized training in a particular area. Select one of the following areas of knowledge (MOS) and a bonus to skills in trhe area:
The warriors known as "Crazies" are a cross between ninja masters and raving lunatics. They are trained warriors scooled in the arts of combat and athletics. Then they are augmented through the implanation of tiny electromagnetic devices placed on the brain.
The original project was developed in South America where scientists were experimenting with new methods of curing mental disordered caused by physical damage, such as brain tumors and scar tissue. They discovered a way to artificially stimulate the brain to countermand certain mental disorders and brain damage. Again, nano-technology made it possible to implant tiny devices directly into the brain to control its electical impulses. Soon they found that they could also influence the performance of the physical body by controlling the motor section of the brain, etc. Pain can be virtually ignroed, the healing process can be accelerated, and the body made to perform at an incredible level of efficiency. The brain implants and neurological stimunlation also provided the surprising bonus of instilling or bringing out minor psionic abilities in all subjects.
Suddenly, the priority of finding medical cures was thrown out the door in favor of the mroe lucrative and spectacular developments in human augmentation. The project was renamed M.O.M. Works (Mind over Matter). The goal, as with the Juicer, was to create the super human, exept instead of chemical enhancement, the brain is effectively rewired to respond in a particular way.
Surprisingly, this augmentation works better on humans than on animals or even mutant animals. Unfortunately, the M.O.M. conversion has a tendency to wear out the human body. But the worst side effect is that the subject becomes increasingly psychologically and/or emotionally unbalanced, hence the name "Crazies" (these characters are sometimes referred to as "Momma Boys" a slang term derived from the M.O.M. acronym).
Nobody knows exactly where they came from or why, but about 80 years ago the cyber-knight emerged. Some believe the cyber-knight came into being to oppose the ever growing and corrupt Coalition. Others say that they came to fight the hordes of supernatural beings that terrorize the land. The truth is that they are the champions of all who are oppressed, weak, and innocent, whether they be threatened by the Coalition or monsters from a rift.
As to the knights' origin, not even they seem to know for certain. Legend has it that a group of great and noble warriors, who called themselvbes the Defilers, came to the land. Their group was composed of many different manner of men and monsters, yet they showed by example of their courage, honor, and actions, tht all people were equal and meant to be free. When the group left, years later, they had made a great impression on the wilderness people. One, in particular, a tall, dark haired male, by the name of Coake, stayed (by the people's request) to train others in the way of the knights. It is said that Coake too, would leave, but not before creating the legacy that is the Cyber-Knights.
Today, being a cyber-knight is a way of life, based on the idealogy and code of ethics. It is not an actual organization. One becomes a knight only if he or she is accepted as an apprentice and is instructed in the ways of knighthood by an accomplished master. After years of tutelage and training, the dedicated apprentice may achieve knight status as well. These knights in turn, teach others and the tradition continues. Rumor has it that there exists a monastery that teaches the way of the knights and that of Lord Coake, himself, is its spiritual teacher. But if it exists, the Coalition has yet to find it. Not does anyone else seem to know its location.
The Cyber-Knights are living legends. The great heros of the North American wastelands and wilderness. A knight answers to no authority other than the callings of his own heart and the code of chivalry. It is the code of the knighthood that keeps the champions on the true path of honor, nobility, and goodness. They are obsessed with the protection of innocent life, both human and non-human, and the freedom for the oppressed. They do not go looking for trouble, but in the endless struggle for survival in the rugged lands of the Rifts world, trouble never seems far. The warriors rarely travel in groups larger than a pair. A troop of five or more can only mean that some horrible danger is near. Instead, they disperse, each roaming the land on horseback or vehicle, seeking and righting injurstice wherever it is found. They will oppose injustice and evil in all its forms, from demon or dragon to the Coalition or a fellow knight gone bad. Like self-appointed sheriffs in a wild land, they deal out justice as judge, jury, and executioner. Although their methods are extreme, these are extreme and unusual times.
In this autonomy of action, their legendary hero status, and phenomenal combat skills, that make them a threat to despot kinds and would-be tyrants. The Coalition takes a keen interest in the knights' activities. Officially, the Coalition has little to say about the folk heroes, negative or positive. However, the powers that be see the knights as a threat and secretly eliminate them whenever the opportunity avails itself.
The training of a cyber-knight is fastidious and strenuous. It builds both the mind and the body, becoming a way of life, not just a simple philosophy. In that respect, it is similar to the ancient martial arts of pre-Rifts Earth. Although not a hard and fast requirement, most cyber-knights possess some degree of psychic abilities. Mental disciplines include learning to use their psionic powers, meditation, literacy, the persuit of truth and knowledge, and master over their emotions. The hero is taught to understand and control himself. To recognize one's emotions, but not to let emotion overcome reason. ake, for example, this cyber-knight proverb: "It is easy to give oneself to fear and hate, and therefore destroy that which you fear and loathe. But striking out at darkness does not eliminate it. Destruction out of anger, without reason of purpose, is simply destruction. One must learn to control fear and anger for they can blind you to the truth. One must rechannel emotion, and learn to see in the dark. Become a builder, not a destroyer. Yet remember, one must tear down that which has become infested with rot in order to let the good live."
Physical training involved years of study and practice with numerous weapons, body building, gymnastics, horsemanship, and martial arts.
Other areas include an understanding and appreciation for all life forms, an openness and tolerance to all ideas and philosophies, and an openness to magic and the unknown. The cyber-knight recognizes magic to be just another energy source that can be tapped and used for good or evil. This open mindedness makes them one of the few O.C.C.'s which can intuitively understand and use items created through Techno-Wizardry.
The cyber-knight is also the only O.C.C., other than the Mind Melter, who can create a Psi-Sword! A psi-sword is an energy weapon that the warrior can mentally will into existence! The sword appears as a shimmering blade of energy that resembles a glowing sword. The sword's actual appearance will generally reflect its creator. A character who is impressed by strength and power will create a huge claymore-like weapon. A character who prides himself on speed and agility is likely to create a rapier or saber type blade, while a hero who enjoys cunning and subterfuge may create a short sword. Each is equally powerful regardless of its form and size.
The creation of the psi-sword is a very personal thing and requires years of training, study, and conviction. Once a shape has been decided, that is how the sword will always appear. When a knight in training can create a psi-sword, he or she is ready to become a full knight errant.
It is important to note that the cyber-knight's psi-sword is quite different from the mind melter's super psi-sword. First, the knight can create the weapon in an instant; in many respects it is a living part of the hero. Second, there is no expenditure of psychic energy in the conventional sense, the knight's will and conviction is the driving power behind the blade. Third, there is no limit as to how long the sword remains in effect not any limit as to how many times a day the weapon can be created.
Lastly, the cyber-knight's psi-sword is not quite as powerful as the Mind Melter's, but it is weapon to be feared. A true knight will NEVER use a psi-sword against a foe unarmed or not equipped witht an equivalent weapon, or who is not a supernatural creature or dragon.
One of the most famous creations of the Time Before Rifts, as well as in the time of Rifts, is the "Glitter Boy." The name is derived from the laser resistant chrome of the Glitter Boy robot power armor. The armor is extremely light reflextive and glitters in a dazzling array of light and colors.
Glitter Boy power armor stands about ten feet (3 meters) tall and is the most heavily armored and reliable robot in the world. It is also a complete environmental suit that filters impurities from the air and will automatically switch to its own oxygen supply (four hours supply) if the outside air is toxic and can not be purified by its air purification and circulatory system.
All standard units feature the equally famous "Boom Gun," a powerful rail gun that hurls 200 projectiles simultaneously at Mach two speed. The massive seven foot (2.1 m) weapon is attached to a swivel unit on the right shoulder and is stores, locked into place, behind the shoulder.
Glitter Boy armor can be used by any character trained in piloting robot power armor, but they pilot the shimmering vehicle at the basic level. Only the pilots of the Glitter Boy O.C.C. are specifically trained in the complete understanding and operation of the armor. These mechanized warriors are one with their machine.
The average Glitter Boy is a career soldier who finds combat a thrill. They often wander the land in search of gainful employment or a good cause to fight for. As a mercenary, the soldier can solicit excellant wages, just under those of a Crazy. As a champion of a good cause, they will fight for little or no pay, enjoying the satisfaction of the deed. Some of the older or married warriors have settled down and become the protectors or rulers of small wilderness communities, but even a semi-retired GB will laugh at the specter of death and leap into a fight if the pay or the cause is right. However, they are not nearly as impetuous nor suicidal as Juicers or Crazies.
Glitter Boys are more akin to mercenary cyber-knights. Like the cyber-knight, most Glitter Boys have seen many atrocities for many reasons. Consequently, while some may have their prejudices, most are fairly tolerant of non-humans and open for most other life styles. They do not hate or fear psychics, practicitioners of magic, D-Bees, or mutoids, and will welcome them as equals. Of course, these seasoned veterans are nobody's fool, and look upon all strangers with susupicion until they have proven themselves truthworthy. Also like the cyber-knight, Glitter Boys tend to be wandering adventurers alays in search of excitement.
While a few Glitter Boys are frequently found among bands of other warriors, they seldom organize into troops entirely composed of Glitter Boys. This may be a conscious tactic, for while the robot armor is incredibly powerful, it is also comparatively slow and earthbound.
The term "Headhunter" has come to be the designation for most human mercenaries and bounty hunters.
A headhunter is a mercenary; a warrior-for-hire. However, a "true" headhunter is an expert in weapons and tracking. They are the die-hard men-of-arms who love the challenge of combat and the chance to cheat death. All they know is combat. They have fought all their lives and will die fighting. The headhunters credo is "Fight the good fight and die with the enemy's heart in your hand."
A typical headhunter is armed to the teeth and complemented with cybernetics and/or bionics. Most of these mercenaries will accept any being, human or non-human, who demonstrates courage and the warrior spirit. Consequently, a group of headhunters is likely to be composed of a variety of humans, mutoids, aliens, dog boys, and even practitioners of magic. Although headhunters may allow men of magic to join their ranks, headhunters themselves seldom use magic or magic devices.
The individual headhunter lives by his own code of ethics (determined by his/her alignment). The notoriously evil and self-serving (will work for anybody who is willing to pay the most) headhunters are the most talked about, but many headhunters are as nole and trustworthy as a cyber-knight. Most see themselves are freewheeling "ronin" samurai; nomadic warriors without any one master.
In man's search to create the ultimate human, it was inevitable that, sooner or later, someone turned to chemical enhancement.
The creation of the chemical man came from Eastern Europe, where was seen the rise of the super athlete/warrior. At first, drugs were used to build the natural body through the use of synthetic hormones, such as steroids to build muscles, and the EPO to increase blood flow and physical performance. However, it soon became apparent that the chemical condition was too difficult to maintain at peak level over long periods of time. Unless the individual was carefully monitored and drug intake adjusted, the person would experience severe performance drop-offs, lulls, and highs. A consistent level of optimum performance was necessary in order to create the perfect human super-machine.
New designer drugs were combined with a computerized biological monitoring and drug dispensary system with incredible results. The computer system monitored every aspect of the body: blood flow, air intake, oxygen levels, adrenaline release, sugar levels, hormone levels, respiration, neurological responses and stimuli, digestion, and other aspects of the functioning human body. Microscopic implants placed in the vascular system, brain, and muscles mapped out the body in unimaginable detail. Nano-technology and chemical advancement would herald the day of the super-human without the extreme mechanical augmentation of bionics.
The first step in creating the chemical super man is the implantation of two tiny mega-computers called the bio-comp system. The postage stamp sized devices are implanted in the subject's head and/or chest. The dual system served as a fail-safe feature that enables one bio-comp system to override the other in case of malfuction. Only one system operates at a time, although both are neurologically linked to hundreds of microscopicc sensors implanted throughout the body. These thiny implants constantly relay data about the subject's physiology as the body reacts and changes in response to stimuli like drugs, stress, pain, and combat. The bio-comp system is also designed to trigger different natural and artificial chemical responses to thousands of specific conditions. For example: If the body needs a jolt of adrenaline, the bio-comp system triggers a microscopic implant to release it precisely when needed. If it needs more than the natural amount of adrenaline, the system sees to it that more is delivered. If the body is feeling fatigued, a form of sper EPO synthetic hormone is injected to increase the oxygen flow into the blood, which decreases fatique and increases physical performance by an amazing 16 to 21 percent! Other sensors, implants and chemicals are utilized to negate pain, clot blood, and stimulate chemical reactions.
A injection collar around the neck, wrists, upper arm, and legs deliver the needed synthetic chemicals. The man-made drugs are contained in a soft, padded harness worn under clothing and battle armor, Tubes run from the central dispensary system of the harness to the specific injection collars. This is especially useful in the immediate treatment of specific areas of the body, especially for pain and muscular disorders.
In addition to initiating or countering specified chemical reactions, the bio-comp system also maintains the body at maximum levels of efficiency. All aspects of optimum physical conditioning are monitored and maintained. The individual's body weight, calorie intake, breathing, muscles, bulk, flexibility, reflexes, alertness, vision, and sensitivity are all maintained on a constant basis.
But there is still more! The same nano-technology that make the bio-comp system possible is also responsible tfor the IRMSS Internal Robot Medical Surgeon Systemm a battery of microscopic robots programmed to performed internal surgery! The juicy has two IRMSS housing units, one external housing and one internal housing. The external robots are similar to the IRMSS portable kit. The medical robots are released by injecting them into the bloodstream, where they wiull navigate to the trouble zone and affect repairs. Unlike the portable kit, the Juicer has a circular chest place over his heart that will inject the robots by pounding on the plate. The robots are injected directly into one of the main heart arteries so that they are rushed into the circulatory system. They can reach a torn vein or artery anywhere in the body within 60 seconds.
The internal system is located in the neck and is controlled by the bio-comp system. Unlike the IRMSS kits (and chest unit), whose robots cease to function after a while and are flushed from the body, these tiny medical units can be guided back to their housing and recharged by the body's own electro-magnetic energy, to be used over and over again. All IRMSS units are designed to stop bleeding, suture veins and arteries, and aid in the internal repair and healing of the body. The bio-comp system assists by icnreasing or decreasing blood flow, the number of red or white blood cells, and by dispensing natural and synthetic painkillers, sedatives, antibiotics, and so on.
The end result is a super man! The chemically "juiced-up" subject is 10 times faster, stronger, and more alert than the average human. One reason is that the controlled metabolism is actually increased to such a level during combat that perceived time and movement are slowed down. The Juicer sees the world much the same as a fly, with everything moving in slow motion while he moves with lightning speed and agility.
Despite these apparent marvels, the subjects of this chemical enhancement pay a terrible price: an early death. The chemical and physical demands placed on the body are horrendous. The strain on all systems is so terrible that the body literally burns out, both internally and externally. The heart of a 20 year old Juice can explode in just one day. The chemicals have all kinds of side effects, making the blood too thick, too many or not enough red or white blood cells, muscle spasms, crumbling bones, deterioration of internal organs, destruction of the immune system, neurological disorders, and complete and total drug dependency. The price of physical and, to a lesser degree, emotional perfection. Without exception, a Juicer over five years old will die of a stroke or heart failure before his eighth year of service. The averagfe life expectancy of this warrior is six years!!!
In today's world of Rifts, Juicers are generally psychopathic killers who don't care if they die young, the foolish who don't believe the stories they hear, or the desperate who believe they must become a Juicer to support a family or extract revenge. On occasion, slaves and captives are unwillingly turned into Juicers by unscrupulous warlords.
One can become a Juicer by enlisting in an army of a fuedal state that offers Juicer technology. The usual deal is Juicer conversion, big bucks (40,000-160,000 credits a year), and two years of loyal service in their army. Aftr the two years service, they are free to stay or go. Juicer mercenaries are among the most highly pair and feared in the Americas.
The Coalition has outlawed Juicer technology and will not hire Juicer mercenaries. Anyone convicted of creating a Juicer is executed. Still, an occasional Body-Chop-Shop will offer Juicer oncersion at a staggering three to four hundred thousand (400,000) credits. And still, people submit themselves to the punishment of drugs to attain, what they see as, a brief periods of perfection.