Motherboard

Good evening, recruit, and welcome to the Motherboard. I have been assigned to take you briefly around the outer circuits and ensure that you are familiar with the Datastream before your first set of neuromech plugs are implanted. Please step onto this diffusion pad.

Ah, yes. Your first diffusion, was it? I do apologise. I shall have words with the training centre, because they’re supposed to inform you of these things before you are sent to us. It can be unnerving to realise that your atoms are being dis-assembled from the feet-upwards. Watching yourself slowly disappear is quite fascinating once you’re accustomed to it, I find.

Anyway, we are now in your relaxation quarters. As you can see, there is a pleasant view of deep space up here, and all basic necessities are catered for. When you are not plugged in you may rest here, sleep, and cleanse yourself. The entertainment screens can be activated by plugging into this port on the couch.

Visitors may be entertained in your quarters, but no plug-to-plug couplings are permitted without prior approval from DataCentre. You understand that we must ensure the purity of the circuits. Every time an illegal coupling takes place there is a high risk of glitching in the Datastream, and that can prove fatal for those plugged into it at the time.

I see that you have been equipped with our latest wheel boots. Have you had a chance to acquaint yourself with their capabilities? They have been especially-designed to ride the Datastream at high speed, although initially, you will perform only short-range tasks for a few weeks.

The diffusion pad again, if you please…

Mmm, a bit more fun the second time around, isn’t it? This is the main arrival area of DataCentre. It’s fairly quiet at this time of day, as the circuits are running at maintenance-level activity during these hours.

This is one of our Datajets, which you may be trained to use if you prove to have an aptitude for neuromech. These are the next level up from high-speed Datastream running, but they require intense concentration to operate. Our neuromech pilots only run in four-hour shifts every other day, and they require encephalic decompression after each run. It’s intensive work but incredibly exhilarating, or so they tell me.

Up there you can see our artificial moon. We find that newcomers consider it comforting to have something from their homeworld hanging in the sky. It’s a generic model, but once you’re plugged-in it can be programmed to resemble any of the moons from your home planet.

Me? Why are you interested in me, recruit? Oh, my colouring? Hm, yes. Well, the silvered colouring that you have right now will slowly be infused with the colours of the Datastream sector that you are working in, so you will actually be a varied hue of tones as you progress through the ranks. My colouring will take you many years to achieve.

Back to the diffusion pad with you.

This is the neuromech facility where your plugs will be implanted. It’s a painless procedure, and over with in a matter of minutes. Our surgeons are at the top of their field, and you’ll feel only a small ache for a few days after the implantation. You will receive a plug at each inner wrist, one at the nape of the neck, and one at the base of the spine. Depending on where you are, you will use any number of these to plug into the Datastream.

Don’t look so nervous, recruit. You have been selected for a duty that few are privileged to achieve. Back on your homeworld you were nobody, but up here you have the chance to assist in the running of the network that keeps the entire planetary system working smoothly. You may only start out with what seem like menial jobs, but with aptitude and a willingness to learn you will progress to levels like mine, where you are working with the very forces of nature itself, so chin up!

I must return to work now, but if you stay here someone will fetch you in the next few minutes to have your plugs implanted. I have to go and make a few tweaks to that moon, so that your homeworld can be represented by it. I think I forgot to mention that the moon is my handiwork. Beautiful, isn’t it? I’m quite proud of it.

I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you, recruit. Work hard and you might one day find yourself apprenticed to me.

Locations

Credits

Boots: NeverWish – Wheel Boots (black/teal)* [ pixie.ruby ]
– at Futurewave

Skin: Fallen Gods – Luminous Skin (Eclipse)* [ alia.baroque ]
– at Fantasy Gacha Carnival (rare item)

Outfit: LNL – Outfit O-42 [ lizzie.gudkov ]
– at Futurewave

Cuffs: Static – Cog Cuffs* [ nama.gearz ]
– at Futurewave

Collar: The Plastik – Adraste Collar (nebulon) [ aikea.rieko ]
– at Futurewave

Earring: Static – Bio-Aggregate Earring* [ nama.gearz ]
– at Futurewave

Pauldrons: Unrepentant – Claw Shoulder Guard (black) [ jalynne.ohmai ]
– at Futurewave

Facial Implants: Spyralle – Sensory Enhancement Module (astra)* [ kerryth.tarantal ]
– at Futurewave

Hair: Exile – Blown Away (wildcards – aqua)* [ kavar.cleanslate ]

Eyes: IKON – Deadshine Eyes (industrial – marine overlay) [ ikon.innovia ]

Nail Appliers: Chaos, Panic, & Disorder! – Planetary Nail Polish* [ lilah.munster ]
– at Futurewave

Hands: Slink – AvEnhance Male Hands (relax) [ siddean.munro ]

Poses: Del May [ del.may ]

Shot on location at HASRA (pilot’s quarters and space station)

*review copy