This article won the "Technology Award" during Summercamp 2019. Thank you, Ironrise Games!
Cybernetics is the marketable term for mechanical and electronic alterations, augmentations and additions to organic flesh. Ever since the nerve interfacing technology was perfected, the cybernetics market has exploded and cybernetics in all forms have become so common most everyone has some form of cybernetic alteration done to their body.
"We've got six guards, posted in overlapping fields of view, spaced approximately 10 meters apart." Carla scanned the area through the scope of her rifle, her targeting computer marking targets effortlessly, even through the fog, with relevant data as she processed the scene. "Any chance of finding a hidden path? I'm not keen on raising a fuss." Drax, huddling behind a foul-smelling trash container, didn't see more than one guard from his stinking vantage point. "Looks like you're gonna have to get your hands dirty on this one." She marked one of the targets in blue and relayed the information to their tactical network. "If you take out this dingleberry you'll have way more room to move around. Don't get sloppy." "Got it." Drax followed the markings left by Carla on the tactical net, taking care not to step into any guard's lines of sight, indicated by a dull red light on his own visual overlay.
Being able to interface complex computers and mechanics with organic matter and have it controlled naturally by the brain has been a dream among the people of the world for a century. Ever since robotics became commonplace and people started to realise that mechanics and computers could outpace organics the idea took root and scientists, doctors and designers worked tirelessly to make it happen.
Primitive Prosthetics [2430-2500 AC]
By the early 2430s the technology was already in testing on animals and moved on to sapient testing within thirty years. In the early 2480s cosmetic and robotic cybernetics had begun being sold on the market and used in healthcare, but there was still a long way to go until full nerve and brain interaction was successful. Crude replacements for bodyparts controlled by hand-controls or muscle-twitching were commonplace in the medical field, but no true replacement for a body part was anywhere near the dream of full cybernetic replacement.
The Wonderchild [2552 AC]
By 2552 AC the first successful nerve integration was performed on a 12 year old Illim girl, who had both her legs, her pelvic bone and parts of her lower spine replaced with a mechanical prosthetic that was perfectly integrated into her body and the servos mapped to her original nerves, allowing her full movement and access to her prosthetics as if it was her original body.
Naturally, she lacked the sensitivity of touch, moisture, pressure etc that organic skin can provide, but rudimentary sensor technology allowed her to have a dull sense of pressure, quickly assisting her in learning to walk, in spite of being unable to move her legs since a paralyzing accident 6 years earlier.
Worldwide adoption [2556 AC]
With a successful nerve integration, cybernetics as a brand and method for healthcare and self-improvement became a widespread, legal market in 2556 AC. The market exploded with clinics and corporations who were jumping at the chance to exploit this new technology. In the first years, mistakes were many, fatalities numerous and lawsuits frequent, but after a few rocky years, the market matured and cybernetics became a reliable and appreciated part of life.
Nerve Interfacing and learning to walk
It's not all sunshine and rainbows, in spite of successful integration. Some implants are ready to go almost immediately following surgery, such as limb or organ replacements as they are designed to function identically to the biological counterpart, but additional functionality that previously did not exist must be learned and this can be a gruelling process for some. It's akin to learning how to speak, walk or ride a bicycle from scratch. Nerve connections that did not previously exist suddenly do and the brain must be trained in its use.
Depending on the type of implant this can be incredibly difficult and requiring up to a year of practice. Some clinics offer coaching to ease this process and it can drastically reduce the adaptation period.
The advent of cybernetics fundamentally changed the world and its people. Suddenly they were more than organic creatures. They had the option of becoming "the perfect being" and cybernetic alteration began running rampant. "Transorganist philosphy" became a global phenomenon and in places all around the world, the transorganists formed a near religious devotion to the idea that cybernetic alteration was somehow the natural progression for the species of the world.
External Hardware Integration
Rules governing the installation and use of cyberware.
Cybernetic Alteration Addiction
CAA is an addiction that makes a person seek out and perform excessive cybernetic alterations on themselves, commonly beginning with excess cosmetic alteration.
Cybernetic Bleed is a condition that can affect those of great age that are cybernetically enhanced. It's quite a common ailment that is hard to treat.
The Chromesnatchers are bounty hunters who seek out and kidnap people with specific cybernetic implants in order to harvest them and sell for money.