The Spectrum Strain

The exsurgent virus, a rather nasty plague that wreaked havoc on the human race during the Fall in Eclipse Phase, is something made all the nastier by the speed at which it mutates, shifts infection vectors, and spawns new strains to cause trouble. One such strain seems benign for a time, with many of the infected not realizing anything has changed until they’ve been an infection vector for months.

This strain comes in only in a nanoplague vector, lacking the casual mutation that some other strains exhibit. It can still infect both synths and biomorphs with equal ease, however; only infomorphs are safe from direct infection.

First two months of infection – Every week during this period, the victim needs to roll against their current DUR x 2; success nets them a point of stress as they have a lingering feeling that something is off about the world without being able to put their finger on it. Failure causes 1d10/2 Stress as they experience brief spates of extremely uncomfortable sensations – flashes of searingly bright light, their sense of touch ramping up briefly to where even the softest clothing feels like abrasive sandpaper, and so on. Aggressive treatment with guardians and nanophages during this time can treat the infection, if the physician succeeds at an appropriate check with a MoS of 20 or better.

Three to six months – At this point, the victim is thoroughly infected and beyond recovery. They roll against their current DUR x2 every other week; success causes 1d10/5 Stress as they continue to experience brief bursts of sensory overload, while failure gives them a single enhanced sense and a case of synaesthesia between that sense and another at random.

Six months to a year – The victim no longer needs to make checks; the infections proceeds on its own, having hijacked their body. Every month that passes adds a new sense to the list of those enhanced by the virus, along with an additional synaesthesia; this continues until the victim’s sensorium is an overlapping mixture of heightened sensory experience in all available senses. At the same time, every two months the victim becomes increasingly programmed toward exhibitionist behavior, feeling an increasing desire to share the XP feed with anyone interested; unless high on some drugs or able to mute the intensity of the sensory information, anyone who taps the XP needs to make a Will x 2 check to avoid taking 1d10 Stress from the sheer ‘noise’ of it. They are also actively contagious, trailing a nanoviral cloud wherever they go.

One year and beyond – The victim is a mobile and contagious Overload grenade, in essence; anyone within fifty meters will finds their mesh inserts being attacked by brute force as the exsurgent tries to force their screaming sensory feeds onto others to immobilize and infect them. Other exsurgents are largely ignored by the Spectrum variety, and some cunning sleepers cultivate the Spectrum strain for use when they strike.

The slow development of the virus often allows it to coast under the radar of groups watching for TITAN-related activity, as victims often write off the early signs of infection as flaws in their morphs until it’s too late. Prior to the six month mark, victims can be saved via backup, as the psychosurgical modifications don’t begin until then.

Most groups aware of this strain are also aware that a Spectrum exsurgent – or multiples of them – suddenly showing up in public without earlier warning signs is a sign that some other threat is moving under the cover of the chaos they cause.

Firewall ranks the Spectrum strain as a moderate threat due to the six-month grace period for rescuing those infected.

The Spectrum Strain

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