Haven tech is:
- Recylable: everything is designed for cradle-to-cradle recycling. Havens seldom do mining and most of their metal is scavenged from the Mess, so Haven tech saves metal and rare earths for the most critical applications. The electrical properties of graphene and carbon nanotubes make a lot of the tech affordable; the silicon in optical fibers and chips is only expensive to purify, not to obtain.
- Remixable: the freedom of open source and custom fabrication means that you get the thing you need, not whatever is on the shelf that is merely good enough.
- Repairable: if you need to replace a part, every device is a spime that connects to its own designs, so you can fab a replacement.
- Reliable: if it’s worth making, it’s worth making well. Non-experimental Haven tech rarely jams, and the electronics is hardened enough to survive a massive solar storm without doing more than flipping some circuit breakers.
It also tends to be ten to twenty years behind the state of the art in the Mess, for a variety of reasons:
- There’s a lot more R&D going on in the SINful economy. Even with ideas getting leaked to the Havens, there are just more scientists and engineers and user interface designers out there.
- Messy tech suffers from planned obsolescence; the megacorporations would rather work on the next shiny thing than push software patches to last year’s model or recall defective products. Haven gear advances slowly but is built to last.
- It’s cheaper and easier to repair a device than replace it, so anything that is good enough gets endlessly repaired, even if it turns into the Ship of Theseus, because people like things to be familiar.
The exception to this is when Haven tech is following a
road not taken in technological development, at which point the megacorps gleefully steal the designs off the scatterweb.
Even with robotic assistance, a Haven needs hundreds of people running vertical farms, bioreactors, digesters, and fabbers to get all the supply chains working. Even a sundries lab cranking out shampoo, soap, hair gel, and all that needs a dozen people to supervise the creation and proper mixing of the appropriate kinds of precursors. Businesses tend to form around the supply chains, so the same glassmaker will be cranking out everything from dishware to windowpanes.
Cellulose is in everything. We can make it strong as steel or even transparent. Lab-grown wood can handle demand if sustainable forestry is not an option in a Haven’s area.
We’re also using a lot of graphene and buckytubes, but those take a lot more effort to make. Most of the infotech is based on graphene.
Mushrooms and mycelia are used for everything from leather to construction materials, include sound dampening materials and floor tiles.
Plastics are biodegradable, though some (of structural importance) are only biodegradable by bacteria created through synthetic biology.
Cheap windows are probably cellulose. If someone is willing to pay for bulletproof, though, Aluminum oxynitride is effective stuff.
Metal tends to be scavenged, since Havens aren’t usually in a position to mine ore; the few that are have been researching phytomining. It sees a lot of use in cookware.
Haven buildings are engineered for resilience. If earthquakes are a possibility in the area, they’re built to handle a magnitude 8, or a 9 if there’s a subduction zone in the vicinity. Havens in hurricane territory look a little different from other places because everything is built to hunker down and survive a Category 5. You have to get used to oddities like outside doors that open outward instead of inward. Buildings there tend to be earth-sheltered to stay cool in hot summers and survive high winds, and there are lots of monolithic dome designs that they crank out with the big concrete printers.
Since so much is built with carbon, there are fire extinguisher pods in the walls, which will explode if a fire starts.
When spirit services are cheap, earth spirits can form earth into eidolonite, which is a distinctive form of sedimentary rock. Eidolonite is more compact than the earth from which it is made, which is handy for creating tunnels without excessive amounts of tailings. Best practices are to put strain gauges in the earth before it’s turned to rock, so panhumans can spot pressures building up without having to ask a spirit to do the inspection work.
An Introduction to Rockworm-Based Subterranean Engineering
The rockworm is one of the most perplexing Awakened creatures on Earth, far more so than the six-limbed vertebrates. Its metabolism includes a significant silicon based component, unlike any other creature on Earth, yet DNA sequencing shows that its progenitor species is commonly impaled on fishhooks and used to catch dinner. It practically screams
this organism was engineered!
And the likely purpose of that engineering was excavation. So we explored that hypothesis.
We formed into multiple teams. The Excavation Team investigated the mechanisms by which rockworms can be directed in particular directions. The Castings Team studied uses for their excreta. The Husbandry Team studied how to care for them and propagate them without getting out-of-control infestations. The Security Team examined the threat model posed by controlled rockworms.
Considerable experiment with different kinds of rock was required to figure out the appetites of the worms, While they can be herded by earth spirits, this is relatively expensive compared to providing the spirits with what amounts to rockworm chow— nutritionally balanced to complement the rock you want them to eat— and asking the spirits to chum the rock that you want preferentially consumed. (Small driller drones can also accomplish the chumming if you do not have a conjurer handy.) The geological details of rockworm nutrition are in Appendix A.
The environment needs to be maintained to support the rockworms. They need air and water, and if it is not supplied, they will ignore both rich rockworm chow and the entreaties of spirits to access subterranean water sources and make ventilation holes. Even small elementals, however, can keep them well supplied, as can mechanically pumping highly humidified air through their tunnels.
Communicating this kind of architecture to the spirits required challenging inter-tradition collaboration, with Hermetic precision and shamanic sensitivity to spirit sensibilities. We learned that it is important to bring earth spirits in on the architectural design meetings very early in the process, and they need to be in a welcoming mood. Our previous efforts with creating artificial oases, public art, and
sunset serenade concerts mollified the normally unfriendly spirits in the test area, but this was a payoff from years of investment. You need a lot of good reputation in the spirit world to secure this kind of cooperation. We believe that it would be possible to do this work with entirely mechanical means, using drilling drones to do exploration and chumming.
The Castings Team studied the pulverized, partly-digested rock left behind by the rockworms. Drying it, sifting it, and grading it led to excellent ingredients for mortar and concrete, and we speculate that the creators of rockworms may have built impressive underground structures using rockworms for the excavation and buildings created with mortar made primarily from rockworm castings and volcanic ash.
The Husbandry Team had a lot of cleaning up to do, since the best excavators, being well fed, also mated with enthusiasm and laid many eggs. Fortunately, the eggs are laid in cocoons that small crawler drones can retrieve. It is vital to photograph each worm on a regular basis to see if it has recently dropped a cocoon. Keeping worms separated to prevent mating is impractical and leads to decreased performance. Implanted tracker beacons help, but only so much due to the signals propagating poorly underground. It's important to have samples on ice and ritual magic at the ready if a worm goes astray, and keeping magicians on call isn't cheap.
The Biology Team will have its hands full for years as they learn the niceties of the rockworm’s peculiar silicon-carbon metabolism. Thus far, they have managed to develop synthetic biology bacteria that can
- digest silicone rubber
- synthesize silicone rubber
- deposit minerals in reaction-diffusion patterns creating some beautiful organic mosaic artwork
Expect to see improvements in your local recycling centers for disposing of silicone.
The Security Team studied the gases emerging from the burrow vents and the seismic sensor readings. While rockworms are much more subtle than mechanical drilling, it is impractical to prevent small tunnel collapses as the worm tunnels merge into passages and chambers suitable for people, and this signature can be detected by the same sensors used by secure installations to detect sappers. Chem sniffer profiles for rockworm vent gases are in Appendix B.
Plants, fish, and shrimp are grown in vertical farms using aquaponics. Additional protein comes from vatlabs (like Solar Foods and Air Protein) and genetically altered mushrooms that express lots of heme and other proteins and fats derived from the genomes of livestock. Milk and egg proteins are produced by bacteria altered through synthetic biology, with genes taken from cows, chickens, and so on.
We can grow all kinds of natural and semi-natural fibers on chimeric vines that express cotton (or silk, or cashmere, etc.) bolls. Dyes that can be produced by synthetic bacteria are cheap; saffron and Tyrian purple are as easy as indigo, and require much less effort than aniline dyes, which require a bit of industrial chemistry. Autolooms and sewbots and dye printers can crank out all manner of interesting clothing, and designers take pride in coming up with patterns that look good on anyone from pixie to troll. Most designs are durable and practical, but the fashion scene has a ton of wear-once designs that are made for easy recycling, with people printing trés chic clothing days or even hours in advance of wearing.
Infotech is very standardized. There are a variety of processor-and-display combinations that are cranked out in bulk, and the same watch-sized one shows up in most of the handheld gear, the same hand-sized one in all the appliances, and so on.
Energy production is usually solar, wind, and geothermal, used to charge graphene supercapacitors, though sugar battery fuel cells (with tailored bacteria that can digest ground-up cellulose) can get an overnight recharge in the field.
Haven smartlink hardware is far behind the state of the art; it doesn’t integrate to the Matrix, consult weather stations to correct for wind, and so on. If you want that kind of quality, you need to scavenge the smarts from a Messy device; fortunately, the designs on Haven guns make it easy to mount smartlinks from other manufacturers.
Bullets tend to be more expensive in Haven cred than in nuyen; there isn’t a lot of lead in the Haven economy, and you can’t crank out gunpowder in a bioreactor.
There are plenty of gunsmiths in the Havens trading designs, so you can get excellent customized firearms there. If you want something that a non-gunsmith can crank out, there are only a few projects that will walk a non-specialist through the complete fabbing process:
It looks like a sawed-off shotgun from a bad science fiction film. It’s designed to emphatically tell people and critters to go away and stop bothering you; essentially a riot shotgun for the era of infotech. It carries a fair amount of infotech that performs image recognition and selects an appropriate profile for the thing you’re aiming at, using facial recognition to aim a laser dazzler, target recognition to pick appropriate noise to blast through the sound cannon, and, if all else fails, it does have a pump-action shotgun with a 4+1 to 10+1 internal tube magazine. As riot shotguns go, it’s heavy but effective; it excels at dissuading people and critters that might direct their attentions against some other sort of prey.
It looks like a double-barreled shotgun; it shoots a two-ball bolas. It has a 4+1 magazine.
A descendant of the classic Glock-17.
LibreKalashnikov Assault Rifle
A descendant of the venerable AK-47, though some variants are more like the AK-74.
Armor made of multiple layers of genetically engineered silk derived from spider silk.
An open source descendant of Dragon Skin.
A very basic drone with minimal sensors. It springs up from a flat pack into something that looks like a 2m tumbleweed made of razorwire. An internal flywheel can make it roll in any direction at up to 20kph for several minutes. It has a one-shot weapon that fires an anchor spike. They are designed to harass mechanized infantry: razorwire fouls tires and treads and forces people out of their vehicles to get rid of them.
The impetus behind Havenware is the need to develop it without creating astral pollution. Any traditional cyberware or bioware research facility goes through vast numbers of rodents, noteworthy numbers of pigs and primates, and occasionally some panhuman
research volunteers who were procured from prisons or zero zones. This means typical labs have a noticeable and nasty Background Count.
Havenware takes the philosophy of
hardtech processing and biotech interface, where the interface grows into your nervous system and the hardtech learns to work with it. Each Havenware chip (a neural dust design) comes in a package containing tailored stem cells that grow into specialized neurons, with distinct coding from your natural cells (so apoptosis can be induced with a carefully coded virus tailored to your genome, just as the cells were; each person’s ‘ware has a unique kill code, so a single tailored rhinovirus can’t wipe out all the ‘ware in a Haven). Other specialized cells (derived from the threaders and coaters used in traditional cyberware installation— Shadowtech p39) thread pathways between chips, and then assemble electrical data connections along those pathways, growing coaxial graphene cabling on site. The tailored cells integrate with your natural nerves in the body’s traditional learning process, and the chips learn to interface with the tailored nerves. There is, of course, no such thing as secondhand Havenware.
The surgery is less drastic than traditional chrome, but it takes much longer to become useful. Getting a hardtech cyberScape installed is an overnight procedure if you have health insurance, but street docs do it as outpatient all the time and don’t lose a whole lot of people to meningitis. A Havenware cyberScape has similar installation time, but it takes a couple of weeks before it’s even worthwhile to start booting your new ware and running calibrations, and over a month for full functionality, drinking nasty supplements every day. Wired reflexes take months to get to level one, over a year after that to get to level two, and they haven’t had them long enough to even know if they’ll get to level three.
Most Havenware is following trails blazed by megacorporate researchers, with a mix of information published to journals, or leaked to the scatterweb by shadowrunners sent to damage the competition without any evidence of which rival did it.
When they need to interface outside the flesh, they go for induction or wireless communication; jacks break the skin and make trouble.
Haven tech has managed to replicate:
- The cyberScape: writes to the somatosensory cortex, reads from the motor cortex, and has a Reticular Activation System that triggers the equivalent of sleep paralysis so you can get things done in virtual reality without flailing your meat body all over the place. It reads from the nerves controlling the eyeballs, as well as using accelerometers to track head motion.
- The simrig: reads from the full somatosensory cortex.
- The synth link: interfacing with the music-related areas of the brain.
- Wired reflexes
- The control rig: wires into the thalamus, pons, and cerebellum to give a much closer connection to vehicles and drones.
- The smartgun interface: has a lot of similarities to the cyberScape’s augmented reality support.
- The skill link: skillsoft support. The Havens prefer to avoid chrome that breaks the skin, so it’s usually loaded into memory on a cyberScape rather than loaded on a chip.
- The metabolic dashboard.
Due to a sudden
donation of Universal Omnitech’s research data for cyberware and bioware in early 2051, the Havens have been able to make progress on more chrome:
- The Math SPU. The Haven version has had a lot of work put into statistics and risk estimation, with a considerable actuarial knowledge base for comparing the odds of mundane threats.
Some knowsofts are updated regularly; linguasofts tracking street slang, for instance, and knowsofts tracking current events. Many people start the day by updating their current-events knowsoft and then looking over a list of prompts to fault the knowledge into their wetware memory. (All such knowsofts come with some sort of spin, though...)
One of the first successes of the
neural dust approach in the Havens, and sufficiently useful that every major cyberware manufacturer in the Mess has their own version of it (with names like SmartBody™, CraveMaster®, etc.). This wires up to your enteric nervous system, the
secondary brain in your gut. Its most useful function— in conjunction with blood chemistry sensors— is to modulate cravings so you get an appetite for healthier food than you might otherwise desire if you have lousy eating habits. (Always something from another division of the megacorp that manufactured the ‘ware, if you get the Messy version.) It can also help you purge yourself more quickly if you get poisoned, and get digestive complaints under control if the corporate or shadowrunning life is giving you an ulcer.