|Combat Cyborg O.C.C.|
|Race||Any, but usually human.|
|Information||Rifts® Ultimate Edition™|
"The human mind given machine precision, steamroller strength and the firepower of an army company. That's how I see myself"
A cyborg is the synthesis - the combination - of man and machine. Creating a cyborg always starts with a living person who is about to undergo the ultimate "extreme make-over."
The procedure is gruesome and grueling. The arms and legs are surgically removed, leaving only the trunk and head of the body. As a rule, the internal organs are replaced with superior bionic ones that can take heavy exertion and physical punishment. The spine may also be replaced with a sturdy metal one. Even the head is usually cracked open, and the brain and skin removed. The brain is put into a reinforced, M.D.C alloy skull. The artificial head may be constructed to replicate the subject's original face or changed and improved to look more handsome or beautiful, or to look completely different. If the original face is being kept, the original skin may also be kept, but typically a life-like artificial skin is layered over the mechanical head and connected to artificial blood vessels to keep it alive. This is the most real and human approach. However, if the person doesn't care about looking human or can't afford the most lifelike procedure, a cheaper artificial plastic skin may be layered over the mechanical face, or the person may opt to leave the robot face without any human features. An outer, mechanical face plate or helmet is usually worn over the head anyway, to protect the living brain inside the skull and to protect the delicate bionic optic systems in the eye sockets. Note: Most people, elect to have some type of human face (or whatever their natural features were), because they still think of themselves as human, and the face reminds them of who they are. It also helps keep the cyborg connected to his humanity. The rest of the organic body is discarded or sold as transplant organs.
After the trunk has been reinforced, its internal organs replaced with bionic ones (including the lungs and heart), and even the bones and rib cage replaced with M.D.C materials, it is ready to receive its new limbs. Bionic arms and legs are attached and connected to the human nervous system. The science of cybernetics is so advanced that the connection of these Mega-Damage machine parts to the nerve endings enables the character to control them at the speed of thought as if they were his own natural limbs. Only they aren't the natural limbs. They are tough and powerful bionic equivalents made from M.D.C. materials. In fact, Combat Robots possess Robot Strength and can deliver a Mega-Damage punch or kick in combat, double damage when the individual winds up for a power punch (counts as two melee attacks). The bionic legs can run as fast as a hovercycle, leap 10 or 20 feet (3 to 6.1 m) into the air, and the mechanical eyes (which may look human or like a camera lens) are able to see a multitude of spectrums of light, adjust to have telescopic vision, see in the dark, detect heat signatures and so on. The mechanical hands have the grip of a vice and may conceal any number of weapons and tools in the fingers, palm or wrist. The forearm may have an extendible Vibro-Blade that slides in and out of a housing at the wrist. A blaster may be built into, or mounted on top of, the forearm; point and shoot. An exterior chest and stomach casing is usually placed around the fleshy, human part and the basic, full conversion cyborg is complete. Other weapon systems, sensors and features may be built into the chest, arms, back and legs as suitable for that particular design.
Does this transformation mean the person becomes a machine?
That would depend on your outlook. On one hand, yes. Once built into a full cyborg body, the character can never go back to the flesh and blood body he was born with. He is a machine with a human brain.
On the other hand, a cyborg would tell you, no. Imagine your mind, memories and emotions - everything you are spiritually - being put into a walking, machine body. Are you a man or machine? According to Combat Cyborgs, you're a man, because everything that is who you really are is preserved. Unlike a robot, the cyborg can appreciate the colors of a rainbow, be moved by a sunset, laugh at a joke and remember what it felt like to be loved and caressed. Or as one Combat Cyborg said, "We're just people inside a tin can. We're still the same inside." True. They feel joy, fear, sorrow, anger and hope. They love and they hate, and dream when they sleep. They are people who have given up their humanity for the power of a machine. The reasons for making such a great sacrifice vary from individual to individual. Some seek power, others respect, some want justice, others crave vengeance, some do it out of a sense of duty (soldier), some long to be different, others never felt comfortable in their human bodies, some think it's cool, and the list goes on.
Most cyborg characters willingly give up their humanity for bionic (machine) augmentation, and believe they are prepared for their new bodies, but it's impossible to be ready for the experience. Despite the sensors installed, the sensation of touch is dramatically reduced and takes considerable time to get used to. Cyborgs also have to learn to judge and control their strength and relearn how to walk without launching into a highspeed run or knocking everything down around them like a bull in a china shop. Most cyborgs say that losing the human sense of touch is what they miss most out of everything. Surprisingly, the augmented, mechanical vision and audio systems are the easiest to adapt to and, after awhile, they completely forget that they aren't looking through human eyes or hearing with ordinary ears.
While it is true that bionic reconstruction is virtually painless, the person is giving up a portion of his humanity forever. The bionic limbs are obviously mechanical, cannot be cosmetically concealed, and can never be replaced with real flesh and blood structures, only bionic ones. The psychological impact can be devastating; consequently, most willing participants in bionic reconstruction undergo a thorough psychiatric evaluation and hours of consultation to prepare them for their new life. Those who are properly prepared live long and happy lives.
Not all individuals undergo the extreme full conversion process. Many undergo Partial Bionic Reconstruction, a process by which the arms, legs, hands and feet are completely removed, and replaced with mechanical limbs. The pelvis/hip area, shoulders, collarbone, and spine are all reinforced with metal rods and cybernetic implants to support the new bionic additions.
- Excerpted from Rifts® Ultimate Edition™, copyright 2005 Palladium Books Inc. All rights reserved. Rifts®, Megaverse® and Palladium Books® are registered trademarks of Palladium Books Inc. and Kevin Siembieda. All other titles and names are trademarks of Palladium Books.
Bionic conversion goes all the way back to the Golden Age of Humanity, but full conversion 'Borgs are only a recent "official" addition to the forces of the Coalition States, as the very creation of a full-conversion 'Borg runs very much counter to the Human Purist attitudes of Emperor Prosek's Coalition. However, the sheer power and durability of a Combat Cyborg is just too tempting for the Coalition to pass up.
Conversion is not limited solely to the Coalition itself. Many nation-states, such as the New German Republic (NGR) and its main corporation, Triax, have turned to bionic conversion for a huge variety of uses. There are the usual humna-conversions utilizing powerful Human-styled bodies such as the VX-300, VX-320, and even the huge VX-2010 and VX-2020 chassis. However, the NGR has begun experimentation and even fielded several units of full-conversion 'Borgs who are carefully crafted to impersonate Gurgoyles of the hated Gargoyle Empire, in and effort to infiltrate and destroy the non-Humans. So far, the EIC-100 is the very best infiltrator that the NGR can put into the field.
Organizations all over the known world create and deploy Combat Cyborgs, both Partial and Full Conversion. These modified individuals are frequently assigned to Armored squadrons, intelligence units, and as Shock Troops. The NGR Army in particular has begun to deploy full conversion 'Borgs in a very wide variety of models, especially in their Armored Division, as elite hard-hitting commandos. Their durability and resistance to psionics makes these men and women ideal alternatives to Robots, as the 'Borg is smaller, and regular infantry, as 'Borgs are much tougher and stronger.
The Coalition States have yet to form their 'Borgs into cohesive units, instead limiting their conversions to a few elite troops and the occasional officer, so Borgs are folded into standard Coalition units; frequently wearing modified versions of standard "Dead Boy" armor.
List of notable membersof the Combat Cyborg OCC.