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Weeding

Who knows what it is about Night City that makes it a breeding ground for diseases you just don't get anywhere else, that's because some of them straight up don't exist anywhere else, but that's the way the dice have rolled and the Ripperdocs just have to figure it out, or they're not getting paid. Flatlined patients don't pay much and that's bad for business, choom, and a Ripper who's bad at the biz don't get to stay in biz.   So what's the latest freak ailment to sweep across the streets?   Sprouting, they call it. Hope you're paying attention because the roots of this particular problem go real deep.   This phenomenon has been plaguing NC for the last two summers, and this year is turning out no different. Basically, anyone with cyberware might find themselves suddenly sprouting luscious, brightly colourful flowers from their cyberparts whenever certain pollen blows in from the Badlands. The first time it happened the local rippers were as stumped as you might expect, but through sheer dumb luck, there were only a handful of reported casualties, with causes of death including; dehydration, suffocation and a few others that were less easy to pin down. One particularly fascinating case occurred when a heavily chromed badass dropped dead walking down the street when flowers started to bloom from both his neural chips and optic installations. For most others afflicted it was just a weird nuisance that eventually went away on its own, and that with some help at least, could be surgically removed before it spread too far. Though this often meant wasting perfectly good cyberware, and lots of people don't have that kind of eddies. Of course for lots of people, it's turned into quite the aesthetic fashion statement, and there are those who wear the blooms with pride and wish to make them permanent.   Whichever group you find yourself in when infected, you've been rather out of luck, until now, on the eve of the third pollen season since the problem started. A local Ripper of no real importance got desperate for an answer when his mainline was one of the first cases of the year, she'd only recently gotten new eyes installed and now the sprouting had started, and were causing her some pretty serious pain. He tried one surgery, unsuccessfully, and the blooms just kept coming back; it wasn't long before she was bedbound, the roots reaching into her brainstem that he got desperate for a solution, no matter how unorthodox it might have seemed. He took as many samples as he could gather and together with some techs, whilst they didn't quite figure out how to stop the infection, did find a way to stop it spreading for good. The plants seemed to survive in artificial environments, plastic/rubber synthetic compounds are after all pretty common in the cheap end of cyberware prosthetics, even one small strand of root could somehow regrow, making surgery difficult unless caught early enough. However, the plants were still partially organic in structure and could be exposed to chemicals that would cause the resin in the stems to harden like epoxy, killing it for good. Pretty simple in the end, but while this may help keep the body count from growing, real answers are still nowhere to be found.   With this discovery, the worst of the sprouting problem may already be behind us, though you can never be too sure in Night City. After all, nobody's figured out where the pollen's coming from, or how and why it affects different people differently. Whatever the truth behind it is, word on the street is anyone that's caught asking too many questions, soon wind up as fertilizer. And strangely enough wouldn't you know, nobody's heard from the Ripper that discovered the cure or his mainline in a while either.

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