infonetics

So I’ve seen my share of ‘humans are weird,’ ‘humans are cuddly,’ ‘humans will strap a knife to a cleaning robot and name it Stabby,’ etc. on Tumblr, but what I haven’t seen so far is ‘humans are hilarious when startled’.

Think about it. I imagine most life-forms experience fear, surprise, or shock, but what if they tend to respond in drastically different ways? For example, with silence and hyperfocus allowing them to either beat a hasty retreat or overcome the danger through stealth and cunning? What if humans’ outsized startle reactions make us, essentially, the fainting goats of the galaxy, and therefore funny as hell?

The Galactic InfoNet would be flooded with holos of particularly entertaining incidents, of course. There would be debates over whether or not it’s cruel to the humans, whether or not it has a detrimental effect on their health. (Some humans seem to enjoy it, though, and the most popular videos DO feature them laughing with their crews afterward.) And, naturally, ‘startle the human’ would be a popular game aboard starships with mixed crews, or at least an initiation ritual when a new crewmate comes aboard, with new humans being startled and new non-humans having to find creative ways to startle the humans who have already been through it all. There would be so much disappointment when a human doesn’t startle easily (because of course humans have a wide range of startle reactions and thresholds) that some of the nicer ones would try to fake it. Several of us would fake it badly.

But it gets better. Because some of us, when startled, get punchy.

“You have a human aboard!? P’partok’s antennae, this is going to be great!”

No, Commander Xelthorp’p. I know what you’re thinking, and no. The captain and the chief medical officer have issued a strict prohibition. No one is to deliberately startle Lieutenant Deborah Peabody, friend-designate: Deb.”

“What? Oh, no, they’re not among those who think startling humans is cruel, are they?”

“No, nothing like that. In fact, the captain zirself initiated the startling ritual when Deb first came on board. Ze hid in the storage unit in her quarters and, when her back was turned, ze slid open the door, crept up behind her and loomed ominously before touching Deb’s arm-torso joint with a tentacle. It did not end well.”

“Did Lieutenant Peabody injure herself?”

“No. It turned out that Deb is trained in an adaptive form of an Earth fighting style known as ‘Krav Maga’. She did yell entertainingly, but then turned, disabled the captain’s olfactory organ, ruptured the cartilage in zir primary dorsal tentacle, and wrestled zir to the ground before paging security. The first officers on the scene apparently fell into fits of hysterical laughter and had to be threatened with insubordination charges before they stopped.”

“She assaulted her captain?!”

“Yes. Under the circumstances, the captain chose not to bring her up on charges, but instead institute alternative disciplinary measures. Lieutenant Peabody’s Adaptive Krav Maga class is now mandatory for all senior officers. You will be pleased to know the captain has largely recovered, though ze still has some trouble smelling breen and glor’ka.”

Bleach Cyberpunk AU

Drawing influence from Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Ruiner, Cyberpunk 2077, Shadowrun, Blade Runner, Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and more (especially @crimsondeaki’s Augmented IR art: 1, 2)…


The year is 2093. The world as you know it is over.

The concept of the nation-state is obsolete, with all examples extinguished in the National Dismantlement War (ND War) fifty years ago. With nations went the ideas of citizenship, rights, and accountability.

Earth and its orbital environs belong to the Global Operations Technical Enforcement Institution (GOTEI), the militarized end-product of the various Private Military Companies (PMCs) which destroyed the status quo. The ranks of its leadership still include the most skilled survivors of that conflict, such as Yamamoto Genryūsai and Unohana Retsu.

Its operatives, known as “Shinigami"—death gods—serve as judge, jury, and executioner, implementing GOTEI’s iron-fisted rule. Despised and feared, their ranks grow ever deeper, luring in recruits with the latest in personal military hardware—mechanical augmentations and ”zanpakutō.“ Supposedly a man-machine interface with a linked combat AI, it is actually something far more sinister: a technologically-induced multicore. True AI remains elusive, and it is much easier to split off a bit of a soldier’s personality to form a new, highly aggressive “individual” suited for patrol and warfare.

As far above GOTEI as the Moon is from the Earth are the Four Great Zaibatsu (FGZ)—Fujita, Hasegawa, Kuchiki, and Shihōin—and their various allies and subsidiaries. Megacorporations that backed, funded, and equipped the technologically superior forces of what would become GOTEI, they are today behind the R&D, design, manufacture, distribution, and retail of virtually all manufactured goods. They control everything.

In this new world order, ability is second to augmentation—nothing beats the latest and greatest in technology. The FGZ represent the ultimate in the new corporate aristocracy, immortal and immaculate. Beneath them, the masses teem in finely stratified castes, sorted regimented by what they can afford. At the very bottom of the scrap heap are the unaugmented.

However, GOTEI’s rule does not go uncontested.

Standing out from the background noise of violence like gangs and doomsday cults are the KwNZ, or “Königlichwehr für das Naturalistisch Ziel” (”Kwen-Zee,” Royal Force for the Naturalist Objective). Claiming descent (or splicing) from a supposed supersoldier who fought in the ND War, they are anti-mechanical neo-luddites who advocate for an equally cruel and supremacist system based on genetic engineering, gene-splicing, and eugenics. Ruthlessly suppressed by GOTEI, their activity appears to have dwindled in recent years, but their lingering presence in various conflicts and constant memetic attacks on the global network prophesying the “Return of the King” are constant.

Although death is—for the rich, anyway—seemingly a thing of the past, something worse than violence and accidents stalks the unaugmented populace: a mutagenic virus known as “Hollow.” Its origins unknown, it is widely rumored to be some sort of biological weapon unleashed during the ND War, and twists the infected into horrible monstrosities that insatiably hunger for human flesh. The Shinigami, hated though they are, seem to be the only thing keeping it in check.

But in this dark world, where the mechanically and biologically augmented rule, the emergence of a new technology—and the meeting of two very particular individuals—means things are about to change.


Kuchiki Rukia: a lowly soldier in GOTEI, she is nonetheless the adopted sister of the head of the Kuchiki Zaibatsu, Kuchiki Byakuya. Lightly—yet exquisitely—augmented, she bears a secret from her time on the streets that will change the world forever: the world’s first operational and self-replicating fusion of hylonano and bionano technology. Hidden within her during her youth by a GOTEI commander and scientist (Urahara Kisuke) before his defection, this technology has been largely quiescent within her, despite adapting and forming something of a symbiotic relationship. Until, that is, one fateful and bizarre encounter activates it…

Kurosaki Ichigo: seemingly an unaugmented nobody, Ichigo has always been unusual in little ways. He doesn’t bleed as much as he should. He sees things other people don’t see. He has an unusual reaction time. His intuition and situational awareness are preternatural. He doesn’t have to work out. The reason for that is simple, if unknown to him: he’s the son of a KwNZ commando who was infected with Hollow, and a GOTEI commander who was also the last great hope of the defunct Shiba Zaibatsu. His body is laced with modified genetics, cyber-implants, and an ever-changing virus. In other words, he is the perfect host.

When Rukia saves Ichigo from a berserk Hollow creature by literally throwing her body in harm’s way, he becomes infected by the nanotech within her body, and it activates in both of them. While he very rapidly acquires new and ever-changing abilities and modifications, she seems to weaken greatly, her body beginning to reject her augmentations and seemingly leaving her a healthy but normal human. With no other choice, she presses him into service, fulfilling her patrol route for GOTEI and teaching him what she knows.

They soon meet that same Urahara Kisuke, and quickly rescue the world’s last truly sapient and unchained AI.

While limited and restricted AI (such as Rukia’s “Chappy” assistant)  isn’t uncommon, the last effort to develop something more ended in a purge. Too obsessed with the finer points of female anatomy from all its time soaking in the Urahara Shop’s infonet to bootstrap itself to godhood and initiate the Singularity, it demands to be called “KAI” (”King AI”), only for Ichigo and Rukia to instead dub it KON (”King Of Nothing”).

Unbeknownst to anyone but Kisuke, Rukia’s comparatively normal physiology is simply taking longer for the nanotech to modify and adapt to. Together, Ichigo and Rukia are the first nanoaugments in a world of mech-and-bioaugments…

But sinister forces with their own agendas are everywhere.

Topology (Final Rose AU)

Someone asked for Penny/Ruby/Weiss. Behold! Given how this goes, I might expand on this, but, yeah, someone asked, and it seemed cruel to say no. It’s a bit rough (kind of threw it together), but hopefully it’s still fun because I think Penny/Ruby/Weiss would definitely be fun.

X     X     X

“Weiss,” Penny began. “Are you adverse to engaging in sexual intercourse with both Ruby and I at the same time?”

It was a credit to Weiss’s composure that although she spat her coffee out - Penny dodged courtesy of having awesome robot reflexes - she didn’t choke to death in the subsequent fit of gagging that occurred. “What?”

Penny calmly reached for a cloth to wipe up the errant coffee before using a napkin to wipe Weiss’s mouth. “Ruby is sexually attracted to both of us. Furthermore, analysis of her InfoNet search results, as well as some of her reading material suggests a desire to engage in sexual intercourse with both of us simultaneously.”

“…” Weiss’s mouth opened and closed several times. “You know what she reads on the InfoNet?”

Penny shrugged. “You underestimate the genius that went into my creation, Weiss. Thanks to my father’s efforts, I have more processing power than a state-of-the-art supercomputer. Furthermore, my processing power is continuously increasing due to a variety of process unique to my Aura-based core. In addition, Professor Dia created the InfoNet. She gave me complete access to virtually all of it, along with the necessary backdoors and special access permits required. Outside of the lab’s systems, there is very little I cannot hack into.”

“The professor gave you that kind of access…?” Weiss paled. Was the professor insane? Wait. That was a stupid question. Professor Dia was definitely insane.

Penny nodded. “It is true that the InfoNet has a great deal of repellant material on it, but it also possesses enormous amounts of useful information that has allowed me to better understand humans and Faunus.” She paused. “There are also a lot of pictures of cute animals. At present, I keep a small archive of ten million such pictures in my database.”

“…”

“In any case,” Penny continued. “Ruby has told me she doesn’t mind my examining her InfoNet usage. I believe she thinks it will help me to better understand her and others. It may also provide her with a means of hinting at things she would otherwise be too embarrassed or shy to mention, such as intercourse with both of us at the same time.”

“…” Weiss blinked. “How would that even work?”

“Surely, you can imagine it?” Penny raised one hand. A holographic image began to form. “Of course, if you cannot, I can assist you. After careful examination of relevant information sources, as well as a topological analysis, I believe that the following sexual configurations would result in optimal pleasure for not only Ruby but both of us as well.”

The image crystallised into clarity, and Weiss’s face went a radiant shade of red. “Don’t do that!”

“Oh?” Penny’s brows furrowed. “Was that configuration not to your liking?” The image changed. “You have demonstrated a tendency to enjoy being the centre of sexual attention during intercourse. Perhaps you would prefer it if both Ruby and I turned our attentions to you. This configuration might -”

Weiss hastily waved her hand through the image. “That is not what I meant!”

“Oh.” Penny tilted her head to one side. “Do you find the thought of being with both Ruby and I at the same time unpleasant? If you do, I shall make no further mention of it. I would hate to make you feel uncomfortable.”

“…” Weiss’s eye twitched. It was a bit late for that, she wanted to tell Penny. But despite her unease, there was also a part of her that was curious. She and Penny had been with Ruby in this, whatever it was, for the past three years. Weiss had, for want of a better word, gotten accustomed to having Penny around. indeed, it had grown increasingly difficult to imagine a life without both Ruby and Penny in it.

And Penny was not exactly unattractive either. On the contrary, her features had matured, her exterior shifting thanks to the incredible technology used in her creation. Much like Ruby and Weiss, she now appeared to be a woman in her mid-twenties, a very attractive woman in her mid-twenties.

What it would be like? A few images flashed through her mind -

“Interesting,” Penny murmured, snapping Weiss out of her reverie. “Your breathing has changed. Coupled with the slight flush you have and the dilation of your pupils, you are clearly aroused.” Penny leaned forward, and Weiss found herself pinned back on the couch. “Do I arouse you, Weiss?”

“…”

“I believe I do.” Penny moved, straddling Weiss and leaning down, green eyes gleaming brightly. “Perhaps we should experiment prior to engaging in intercourse with Ruby at the same time. If you are not adverse…” Penny cupped Weiss’s cheeks. “Perhaps we should explore relations between the two of us first.”

Weiss gulped. This was weird. But not bad weird. “Penny…”

“Here.” Penny leaned forward. “Let us begin with a kiss and go from there.” She smiled. “You know, Weiss, I have loved Ruby from almost the moment I met her. It has taken longer to grow to care for you, but I do, Weiss, care for you, that is.”

Weiss huffed. “Penny, you talk too much. If we’re going to experiment, let’s experiment.”

“Indeed.”

X     X     X

Ruby tilted her head to one side. “Uh… guys… did something happen while I was out?”

Weiss and Penny both looked up. It was the Schnee who tried to move first in a desperate bid to untangle their limbs. However, all she managed to do was fall flat on her face, which gave Ruby a very nice view indeed of her backside since Weiss wasn’t wearing a thing.

Penny smiled and reached down to lift Weiss back up onto the couch. Ruby took careful note of the marks on Penny’s back where Weiss had evidently clawed at her back in what she was fairly certain had been the throes of passion. Penny, Ruby knew, was extremely thorough in the most delightful way. 

“Weiss, before attempting to untangle our limbs, please allow me to offer a suggestion. I am exceptionally good at topology.”

“…” Weiss was too busy trying not to die of embarrassment.

“Do not be embarrassed, Weiss.” Penny stroked Weiss’s cheek. “You and Ruby have been intimate many times. Your nakedness is not new to her, nor is mine new to Ruby.” She looked at Ruby. “Although perhaps our both being naked is new to her. Yes, based on her physiological reactions, Ruby finds this sight quite pleasing.”

“The word you’re looking for Penny, is hot.” Ruby grinned. “What I’m looking at right now is really hot.”

Weiss rallied. She was not to be outdone by a dork or a robot, even if they were both quite loveable. She drew herself up to her full height, giving Ruby another excellent view. Then she beckoned Ruby forward with one hand. “Would you like it to get hotter?”