|The Reboot Revolution|
|Troupe||Blood and Chrome|
- 1 Summary
- 2 Details
- 3 Living with Reboot
- 4 RP Hooks
Within this convention, the full implications of the technology necessary for Reboot, and the consequences for society, are in effect.
Reboot isn't just a convenient piece of cybernetic life insurance. The technology used to make Reboot easily available to any Bright citizen is revolutionary. Casual human cloning, the ability to record personalities and complete life experiences in an electronic medium, and the ability to transfer a recorded consciousness to living tissue has many implications beyond the Reboot procedure itself.
Storyteller note on cloning: The description for Reboot does not detail the amount of time it takes for a new clone to be incubated to maturity. The implication is that it is many times faster than normal growth -- RPing being a 'ghost' in the Matrix for 18 years while a new body is grown at a natural rate rather defeats the purpose of the procedure. The exact rate of growth is whatever individual players/Storytellers find dramatically appropriate.
Living with Reboot
The Reboot chip
An individual with a Reboot implant has her every experience copied and stored on the implanted chip. Basic Reboot has enough onboard memory to store a full 50 hours of consciousness. As the chip fills up, the oldest data is overwritten by fresh data, so users are strongly encouraged make a habit of backing up daily. (Most users do so while asleep, making it part of their nightly routine; "Brush, Bed, Backup" as the advertisement goes.) Reboot Upgrade has a full week (170 hours) worth of memory, but users are still encouraged to backup on a daily basis.
The electronic backup
Transfer during the backup process usually takes a while, since there's a vast amount of data compression involved in storing moment-to-moment consciousness and experiences on an internal Reboot chip. For example:
- via datajack: backup takes approximately 5-10 minutes per hour of experience, or about 2-4 hours for a full day.
- via high-bandwidth datajack: less than a minute per hour of experience; 15-20 minutes to backup a full day.
- via internal radio: much slower bandwidth, about 15-20 minutes per hour, or 6-8 hours to backup a full day. However, one perk of Reboot Upgrade is that this can be done continuously wherever a secure wireless connection is available (that the user has access to). Users with an internal radio and an Upgrade can back up continuously through the day while at work or at home (and sometimes elsewhere).
- via cellular link: similar to the radio link, but even slower; about 30 minutes per hour. The upside is a good cellular signal is available virtually everywhere in Bright zones.
Users backing up via radio or cell signal are encouraged to invest in a scrambler. Though the actual risk of tampering is incredibly small, the results of any tampering are for most people too horrific to contemplate.
Linking to a signal booster package (external hardware about the size of a cyberdeck) can make backup possible from anywhere on the planet (through satellite uplink, radio, or cell signal), though bandwidth will vary considerably depending on the quality of the booster and link type. Most dedicated Reboot boosters contain a month's worth of onboard memory as a buffer for when the link is slow or unavailable.
The physical backup
When a user has a Reboot chip installed, a DNA sample is also taken for use in growing a cloned replacement body. The incubation/growth process is usually begun immediately to ensure minimal downtime if the user is killed, and then stopped once the clone reaches maturity. At that point the clone is moved from incubation to storage.
When/if a Reboot user is killed, a full investigation into the events surrounding the death will occur. Assuming the user hasn't voided her Reboot contract (through committing a crime, etc.), the user's most recent backup will be downloaded into the brain of a clone of the user as soon as possible, combined with whatever data is on the user's Reboot chip, if retrievable.
Ghost in the machine
Depending on the extent of the investigation, clone readiness, and other factors, there may be a delay anywhere from minutes between death and awakening in a clone body, to months or longer. If a user stipulates in her contract, a user has the option to request her backup be immediately loaded into a special reboot-icon (sometimes colloquially known as a 'rebooticon') within the Matrix, allowing the user to (mostly) continue her day-to-day activities while waiting for the clone to be ready.
Once the clone is ready, the electronic backup is downloaded into the clone's vegetative brain. The clone is kept under sedation to ensure it doesn't awaken until the download is fully complete, which may take from hours to several months. If the data on the original Reboot chip is not available, the user will have no memory of events after her most recent backup. If Matrix activity overlaps with the download time, the awakened user may have only partial memory of events that took place in the Matrix. (Again, all details are at the player's/Storyteller's discretion.)
Once the download is complete, the sedation is removed and the clone is allowed to awaken naturally. The user's perspective will generally be of her most recent memory before death, a faint sense of having been asleep, and then waking up in a medical facility. Depending on circumstances, these are also common:
- If the memories on the chip were not recoverable, a user's most recent memory would be of falling asleep before her nightly backup, and then waking up in a medical facility.
- If the user spent any time in the Matrix before awakening, her sense would be similar to the experience of jacking out normally -- except she would jack out into a body in a medical facility instead of wherever her last memory took place.
The potential for trauma (and additional Flaws) is great, though most would agree that death is the greater of the two evils. Reboot Upgrade packages frequently include 120 hours of psychological therapy. Most Reboot users are at least casually monitored by their employers for signs of psychological imbalance, and any hint of emotional instability warrants an evaluation. Some common disorders:
- The knowledge that a backup awaits causes some users to take unnecessary and excessive risks. This is especially common among MaxTac personnel (whose psych profiles already lean heavily towards risk-taking). MetSec Management tries to strike a careful balance between aggressiveness and recklessness in their employees.
- Sometimes after awakening there is a gap in user's memories, which can lead to side effects. Common causes are when a user's Reboot chip is damaged or missing (leading to a partial or complete loss of memories after the most recent backup), or if a user's contract specifies deleting a certain span of time up to her death (to avoid the trauma of remembering the experience). Usually a gap results in nothing more than mild emotional discomfort, but in extreme cases can lead to acute paranoia.
- Violent deaths, especially murder, almost always result in extreme psychological trauma and PTSD, necessitating extensive therapy after awakening. The trauma can have many triggers; the most obvious is remembering the actual experience of dying. However, even users who do not remember their death (through a clause in their contract or damage to their chip) often develop phobias, delusions, and paranoia.
The Reboot contract
Many aspects of the Reboot process can be modified or negotiated within the contract. For example, some users opt to have a certain span of time before death excluded from the download into their new body, in the assumption that the trauma of remembering will be worse than not remembering. (Studies are ongoing and many psychologists disagree about which is the wiser option in the long run.) Alterations to the digital and physical backups might also be possible, with the right know-how: editing memories, removing phobias, physical modifications to the clone body, and so on.
Surgical spare parts
If an individual is seriously wounded, a clone can be a source of blood, organs, etc., with 100% compatible DNA. Reboot clones might be used for this in an emergency, or clones might be grown specifically for this contingency (for example, for MaxTac personnel).
Depending on how long it takes for a fresh clone to be grown from scratch, Reboot users may have two or more clones ready to go at any moment. Again, this would be more common for users in high-risk environments, like MaxTac personnel (and the extremely rich and/or paranoid). This is colloquially known as "prebooting".
Though the standard Reboot procedure doesn't call for uploading a backup into the Matrix until the death of the user, there's technically nothing preventing this from being done at any time. A living user may have a fully sentient "rebooticon" duplicate existing in the Matrix (with or without the user's knowledge) while the user goes about her day-to-day life in the real world. Similar to how a living user's information is stored on and filtered through a cyberdeck when jacked into the Matrix, the rebooticon's "physical self" is stored on a corporate mainframe, and can theoretically be edited at will, with the right know-how. There is no way to predict how a rebooticon or user might react to finding themselves in this sort of situation. The social and legal ramifications are up to the player/Storyteller.
Again, though the standard Reboot procedure doesn't call for downloading a backup into a clone until the death of the user, there's technically nothing preventing this from being done at any time. A living user may find herself confronted with an exact duplicate of herself, with her own memories, who, for all intents and purposes, is the exact same person. The social and legal ramifications are up to the player/Storyteller.
Reboot backups require a huge amount of data storage, which usually requires massive corporate mainframes and data warehouses. In theory, there's nothing preventing corporations from accessing that data for their own purposes. If this is possible, corporations will often use Reboot to monitor their top employees' behavior, to ensure they're getting their best performance and that none are considering defecting. Corporations will not, under any circumstances, allow their employees' backups to be stored by other corporations due to a number of concerns, for example:
- Sifting through memories in order to steal a competitor's secrets
- Editing memories in order to sabotage a competitor's workforce
- Editing memories in order to create a mole in a competitor's workforce
- Stealing/copying backups in order to duplicate a competitor's best employees
Spiritual Effects and Philosophical Conundrums
Is a rebooted backup the same person? An entirely new person? A soulless automaton that just behaves like a person? What, exactly, is consciousness, and if the question is yet to be answered, how can we be sure we're actually digitizing it, recording it, uploading and downloading it? UCLATMA has started offering a few classes on the subject, and the topic comes up frequently in homilies and religious discussions around the world.
To the outside observer, there is absolutely no difference between an original and a clone with implanted backup memories. The best psychologists in the world only note extremely minor differences, of the same degree as anyone who had gone through a fairly major event in their lives.
To the user, who knows? Only the user herself, and Rebooted users report no difference in the quality of their memories of their lives before death and after being Rebooted. But can their self-perception be trusted? Who knows?
Storyteller note on spiritual Rebooting: Since the general description of Reboot is silent on the subject, and the OOC purpose of Reboot is to allow a player to continue playing a character with little to no changes to the character's +sheet, the default assumption is that any metaphysical aspects such as merits, flaws, and backgrounds, are all copied over to the backup clone. Since an original character with the dream background, for example, will be rebooted into a backup that also has the dream background, it can be assumed that every metaphysical aspect of the character (spirit/soul/avatar/etc.) is copied over.
However, for those interested in exploring this aspect of Reboot, there is nothing preventing a Storyteller from editing a player's +sheet after being Rebooted. Are metaphysical abilities copied over, like arcane or awareness? Is an Avatar copied over? Does she get a new, possibly completely different (unawakened?) Avatar? These questions are all up to the player/Storyteller to decide.