Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Crazy: Augmentation for Expendable Assets of a More Indefinate Duration

In the milieu of RIFTS the use of Mind Over Matter technology, "M.O.M." for short, is the basis for the Crazy type of augmented super-soldier. The performance increases are similar to, but noticeably lesser than, that of the Juicer in terms of physical capability. However, the implants produce psychic powers in those augmented and these powers often compensate quite well to even the effectiveness of both types. It is in the lasting consequences that Crazies got their name; the implants imbalance the brain chemistry of the subjects, causing insanities that increase in number as well as severity over time until the subjects become non-functional due to the aggravated degeneracy of the brain. However, this can take decades to play out and can be quite effectively managed in the meantime if the controllers carefully manage the mental health of their Crazy operatives.

Unlike Juicer augmentation, which lends itself very well to reaping large numbers of raw recruits and augmenting them as Juicers when war-making is immanent and the conflict can be finished within the lifespan of the augmented cohort, Crazies lend themselves to a different form of exploitation. Crazies start off normative, but as the implants damage them and cause insanities the Crazy individuates and compels the controlling agency to increasingly divorce the initial cohort into smaller and smaller subgroups whose insanities--at the least--do not conflict. Veteran Crazies, prior to that final degeneration into non-functionality, are turned into solo operatives with naught but a handler; they may or may not be attached to a group, depending upon the individual's insanities.

The exploitation that this technology facilitates is that of the long-term insurgent or assassin, deployed as a deniable asset by handlers who need something done but are not willing or able to openly take responsibility for it. They're perfect pasties for black ops meant to be blamed on a third party--false flags, in other words--because it does not matter if the Crazy succeeds or not. The Crazy is too nuts to be believed by most if caught, is easily disavowed if captured or killed for the same reason (despite their military training and gearing), but if successful they can be reused without end until either they're killed in action or degenerate into non-functionality.

It is highly unlikely that most Crazies, therefore, are uncontrolled. They may not be under the thumb of their creators, but most are controlled by someone able to come up with the way the Crazy's madness works and manipulate them to serve the handler's ends instead of their own. The most banal and mercenary reason, that it's not cheap to do this, will be sufficient cause to keep their subjects under control thoroughly. That doesn't bode well for a believable milieu anymore than the Juicer technology does; the Crazy, like the Juicer, is not the autonomous actor that they're implied to be- these super-soldiers take too much logistical support in the form of mental health resources to maintain themselves for long outside of such a system.

If the Juicer is a loser, then the Crazy is just as a loser. They trade off a longer lifespan potential for decreased ability to function within it, which means that they just live enslaved (one way or another) longer. This is not a heroic character; this is a victim in denial, as much as Juicers are, and just as pathetic in the end (and as dangerous until then). Not my idea of a good time.

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