Liery has deemed me worthy of borrowing the blog from Eevi today. I’m honored, though I get the feeling my time is limited, and then I’ll be swiftly judged. Only few can meet the Goopcat and live, you know. – Amanda
You might recognize my name from some of the short fiction posted up, but today, I get to talk about a new facet of the Starfall universe. The mercenary companies don’t get to have all the fun—or, well, they at least don’t get to be the only ones to light everything on fire in the name of “progress.”
The alchemical age led to a revolution of industry. Though many minds focused on the development of alchemical combat suits and weapons of war, the applications of azothite were seemingly endless.
Like so often happens, innovators partnered with the wealthy and focused on another sector of public life that could be transformed—both for societal wellbeing and for profit: healthcare. Across nations, the concept of what it meant to heal the body—or the mind and soul—were approached in wildly different ways. The use of azothite was no different.
The first experiments produced results so horrifying they were destroyed by inexplicable fires. But as they progressed, loss became synonymous with opportunity. Assuming you were willing to risk life, limb, and sanity.
The N.E.E. condemned such experiments, some said ironically, as inhumane, despite reports of their own testing being done off the books. But it was the published papers that led to new medical schools, world-renowned inventions, and a transformation of what it meant to be a physician, healer, or shaman.
The question posed was simple: why cure when you can improve?
After all, that was what azothite was for—not just for combat and space travel, but to bring about a next stage of humanity. Some healers took on a new name, thaumaturgists, or “miracle workers.” Debates erupted over the right of such people to play at being deities, crafting new eyes for the blind that could see in the night, new limbs to function with superior strength and agility, and any manner of oddity that suddenly placed those “blessed to lose” with advantage over others.
Healing was no longer the goal. Stolen technology soon appeared on the streets, and underground channels for acquiring “life-improvement” technology populated rapidly. The modifications became deliberate, a choice outside of necessity for those who could afford it or steal it. Many Terrans did it out of the misguided belief that they would be rendered irrelevant if they couldn’t keep pace with the abilities of the alien races and of those modified humans who had gone to the thaumaturgists.
As philosophers questioned what it means to be human, various Terran governments scrambled to pass and enforce new regulations. But the widespread fascination could not be undone, and the backlash from attempts to shut down research centers only encouraged more radical experimentation.
Why, after all, should only the mercenary companies reap the benefits of azothite?
The work of the thaumaturgists continued.
And on that ominous note, I leave you. Should I survive my reckoning with the Goopcat Supreme, I might see you all again.
We’ll be back later this week with more short story content, and some new art!