I got some good feedback from two different sources regarding the Fantasy Firearms project. As a result of that, I am shopping for new cover art. I’ve already got a guy in mind, and hope to hear back from him later tonight. I’ll probably re-do a few of the interior images while I am at it; some of the stock art and a couple I had done before I had the finished script in my hand.
I’m also knee-deep in several other smaller projects getting ready to hit the streets. Look for a new Fantastic Races of the Otherverse very soon, as well as some Traveller stuff. The first Minor Races and a new series called Augments & Upgrades are nearing completion. I re-worked the augment description I posted earlier, which I think makes it much better. To wit, check it…
Skin Pigmentation Mod
Type: Biological or Hybrid
Description: This augment allows the user to change their skin pigmentation virtually at will. When activated, an amino acid sequence is altered in the host that interacts with the the pituitary gland (or alien equivalent) to regulate melanin content in the skin. This can be achieved naturally, limiting the available skin tones to those normal for the species, or use a supply of synthetic melanin that allows virtually limitless color variations. Higher TL variants can produce patterns rather than a single tone. This augment is fairly common, and is used to protect citizens of planets and bases where the star emits high levels of ultraviolet radiation. On particularly dangerous stations, a metallic sheen embedded in the skin is been used to actively reflect harmful rays or protect from extreme temperature ranges by reflecting heat away from the body. Naturally, the addition of a synthetic melanin supply has opened up the augment to use by the military for camouflaging scouts and forward observers, spies so they can blend in with a native population, and even entertainers who can now make their beauty literally ‘skin deep’.
Restrictions: Not typically restricted where augments are common, but might be on low-tech worlds.
TL9 Drain 0 Cr.1500 This version of the augment achieves the change in skin tone via a simple gene switch which causes the body to naturally produce the desired amount of melanin. Because the augment utilizes the bodies natural chemistry, it is limited to only the normal skin tone ranges for the species. This augment is undetectable by passive scanners and requires an advanced medical scan to detect. (Naturally, if the skin tone adopted does not match other physical features like the hair or eyes, then an advanced medical exam would not be required to detect the augments use.) The color change takes three hours per shade along a ten shade human normal range from pale white to deep ebony. (i.e. 30 hours to go from pale white to deep ebony.)
TL10 Drain 0 Cr.3000 This augment utilizes synthetic melanin along with that naturally possesses by the skin to create a near-limitless single color palette. Synthetic melanin is produced by hybrid melanocyte cells injected into the dermal layer of the augment recipient. These cells allow the user to control the activity of the melanocytes as well as the color of the cells output. This augment is undetectable by passive scanners and requires an advanced medical scan to detect. The color change takes three hours per shade along a ten shade human normal range from pale white to deep ebony.
TL11 Drain 0 Cr.6000 This augment works just like the TL10 version but adds a control unit that can alter the melanin output of melanocyte cell clusters to create patterns on the skin. While not precise enough to create something as detailed as a tattoo; it can create patterns, alternating colors, spots or mimic the surrounding area. The control unit is the size of a small coin and actively monitors the output of all melanin. It can be located just under the skin anywhere on the body. New patterns can be added to the unit via wireless interface or it can be tied into other augments such as visual sensors. The control unit is detecable by passive scanners due the material it is composed of and the low-power charge it emits. (Though not enough to cause Drain on the bodies bio-electric power since the pigment remains static after the change occurs.) The control unit is capable of storing patterns in memory and reduces the time to change by one half, thus it would take 1.5 hours per shade of change along a ten shade human normal range from pale white to deep ebony.
TL12 Drain 0 Cr.12,000 This augment works just like the TL11 version but adds multiple control units that and many more melanocyte cell clusters. This version of the augment includes the ability to change patters or add them to memory via a comm device or other augment sensor the user possesses. Multiple control units and the additional melanocyte cells increase the speed of the change to fifteen minutes per shade of change along a ten shade human normal range.
TL13 Drain .5 Cr.25,000 This version acts as the TL12 version but vastly increases the number of control units and melanocyte cell clusters which allows the skin to take on any appearance desired; including intricate patterns such as might be seen in a tattoo or other skin art. The larger number of control modules and the ability to adjust skin pattern on the fly increases the Drain and renders the augment detectable by passive scanners, but decreases to just five minutes the amount of time required to change shades. Adding a detailed pattern to an area such as a tattoo takes about five minutes for a small area such as the arm, and up to fifteen minutes for a large, detailed image across the chest or back for example.
TL14 Drain .5 Cr.50,000 This augment acts as the TL13 version but increases the power of the control units and adds an order of magnitude to the melanocyte cell clusters. Patterns can be changed on the fly via visual input from an optic sensor, stored memory or touching a sample of the color with either hand where a modified control unit analyzes the color. The increased power of the control units and melanocyte cells decrease the time required to a mere six seconds (one round) per shade of change, including intricate tattoo patterns!