Victoriana, Alternate years
Bioengineered symbiont that grants the host the ability to send and receive radio communication.
13 Mindlink Any eight minds, No LOS needed (35 Active Points); IIF (-1/4), Only with others who have radio comunication (-1), Limited Range (20 miles; -1/4), Flashed as Radio Not Mental (-1/4)
About twice the size of a pill bug, these symbionts are used by the Oussrae-Thex and other Dark Scions for short-range communication. To implant, one of these is placed behind one of the recipient’s ears. The bug then burrows into the skull and wraps itself around the auditory nerve. The process takes about 3 minutes, and is completely safe, leaves no scars, nor damages the nerve. That being said, it does hurt like the dickens, and subjects are usually anesthetized.
Once in the bug, hooks into the brain via the auditory nerve, and sets up a secondary neural network that plugs into some of the unused portions of the brain for additional processing power, and also into the vocal nerves to facilitate transmit ion. The bug interfaces with the users mind, and translates radio signals into audio. It has built in safeguards to prevent the user from having their hearing damaged. If subjected to interference or overload it simply shuts down, and even if the ears are damaged, the bug can still regulate the auditory nerve sufficiently to function. (Radio FLASH does not translate into Hearing FLASH and vice versa.) Also, while it takes a little practice, a user can learn to focus their neural impulses such that they don’t actually have to speak while transmitting.
The Com-Bug is multi-frequency capable. It also actually broadcasts digitally, and is therefore fully capable of encryption. To “upload” codes to it, the user merely has to visually scan the code while concentrating on neural link with the bug, and it will “download,” store, and interpret the formula on its own.
The Com-Bug is designed as a short-range broadband radio substitute, and has the same benefits and limitations as such. Even though it’s encryption capable, It is not capable of point to point broadcasting only in broadband, so it is easily detectable, if not easily decipherable, with the proper equipment. The Com-Bug itself has no directional finding capability either. It has a transmission range measured in kilometers, so it’s suitable for use in a city, but probably not a whole country.
Com-Bugs require surgery to remove. There is no special danger to the host in this beyond any other simple surgery besides that it is close to the brain, and a ham-handed surgeon could potentially damage the auditory nerve. The Com-Bug is in fact designed to be easily removable, however once bonded to a host it will die immediately upon detachment, and has the same bio-destruct mechanism as most of the other Oussrae-Thex bio-tech. (See the Bio section for the Thex Hounds for details on the bio-destruct mechanism.)