Blog

Plan 1
7th Dec, 2018

Time to start sorting things out. The basic idea is to collect three separate backgrounds together under one umbrella of ‘Philverse’. These three being ‘Philhammer’, ‘Sciror’, and ‘Visions of the Near Future’. These all link to each other and build upon each other. Visions of the Near Future lays the foundation for Sciror, which in turn lays the foundation for Philhammer. In effect, they are all one setting, with a timeline divided into three eras. This setup means you can start from Philhammer and drill all the way down to Visions of the Near Future and end up here, in the present day.

Philhammer

To make the distinction between Philverse and Philhammer clear: I’ll be referring to my revision of Warhammer as Philhammer. There will be no separate website for ‘Philhammer’ as it contains GW IP. I’ll be updating the articles, and filling out some of the missing details. I have to catch up on a fair bit of background. Philhammer covers the hidden science of 40K, the effects of the Dark Age of Technology has on contemporary Imperial design and culture, and attempt to explain how the ‘grimdark’ background can make sense to a modern, sceptical, tech-savvy, audience. In grounding 40K in reality, and explaining warp based technologies, it makes it easier to suspend your disbelief – or at least that is my aim.

Sciror

It was pointed out to me by other fans that because ‘Philhammer’ has so many of my ideas supporting it, that it had become its own setting. So I decided to run with it and develop a background-setting using all the ideas of Philhammer, ripping out all the GW IP, and see what happens. Thus Sciror was created. At its heart, it is a drop in ‘replacement’ setting for the ‘Dark Age of Technology’ from 40K but seen from the other side of history and the more positive perspective of the ‘Golden Age of Technology’. It details the civilisation before the fall, why the fall happened, and the effects of the fall.

The fall comes about when the machines of the Supremacy leave humanity to their fate after the ‘Psidemic’ (world altering psionic manifestations). It replaces the popular trope of ‘machine betrays man‘, from films such as Terminator, with ‘man betrays machine‘ (there still isn’t the exact tv trope – suggestions in the comment if you have one?).

Things get complicated: In working up this background I realised that: if Sciror could explain 40K tech, then it could explain any sci-fi. A lot of other sci-fi has the same issues as 40K, and I figure other creatives may encounter similar problems while creating their own worlds. So I then changed the concept of Sciror to ‘meta-framework’ for creating backgrounds. Anyone can create their own background for their setting using Sciror as a springboard for their vision. All the technology is explainable, interoperable, and you can concentrate on the story. If a fan of your narrative wants to know how something actually works, from their modern-day perspective, Sciror explains it. Sciror will still detail human advancement over the centuries, but it’s stable, a ‘vanilla’ core of logical exploration of ideas about the future. All the action happens in scenarios branching off from this core, where events like The Fall become a ‘what if’. Here are the ‘what ifs’ that will serve as an example of backgrounds created with Sciror: ‘Stare in the Abyss’, ‘Psidemic’ (The Fall) and ‘Twistasy’, which I’ll be jumping between in a chaotic manner during development.

Displacement Point: The idea of Sciror is to create a ‘displacement point’. Instead of using the modern world as our frame of reference, we move our perspective to an imagined point in the future and use that as a basis for storytelling. I think this can work as we live in stories, our perception of the world is a narrative, and we have so many stories through modern media that we can imagine a future world much more easily than in the past. More importantly, when we think of a setting that is incomplete, we quickly fix it by borrowing from other settings to fill in the gaps. This natural ability, and wealth of resource material, means we can create a common ‘dreamscape’. A place where all stories come together, and interact with each other, using our common culture. Then we can start designing new stories taking this new ‘reality’ into account. It will create an unusual situation that if you know ‘Sciror’, the stories will make sense: in the same way traditional sci-fi references our world, this new sci-fi will reference Sciror. Stories based on stories. Using fiction as a basis for future imagineering. If you do not know Sciror, then it is probably going to be a culture shock as everything is different, and I want to make it different.

Visions of the Near Future

Here I’ll be designing and imagining solutions to today’s problems. Which will act as a springboard for Sciror. These solutions create the base narrative, the foundation, onto which I’ll raise Sciror. By designing for the ‘here and now’, we can create narratives that are restrained by reality, and hence more believable. Anyone can judge the designs and see if they accept them. For example, if I design hab-unit: you can quickly decide if you would want to live there or not. If you do, and you think the design is a good idea, then you are ‘hooked’. Then it’s time to reel you in. Once your logic accepts the premise, it is much harder to put the brakes on, and then we are on the Philverse train to the future. At least that is the plan.

This all means you can start at Philhammer and follow the logic, and narrative, all the way back through history and end up in the here and now: looking at designs for our modern world. The reverse will also be true, that you can start from here and end up in 40K. I mentioned hab-units, and I think that is the first thing to tackle, as living space is so personal. You will know if you like it or not. I’ll post my stages of Ecorium development, as this spans all era, and see how it takes. Will it hook?

Back again
18th Nov, 2018

It’s been a couple of years since I last posted on my blog. I had to step away due to family commitments. Now that my role as a carer is coming to an end, I find myself thinking about Philverse, Sciror, and WarSpike more and more. Lots of ideas have been running around in the back of my head while I’ve been away, no matter how much I tried to suppress them, and they are starting to bubble up to the surface. They need to be expressed; otherwise I’ll explode, so I’ve starting to work them up.

As part of my Near Future designs, the first stepping stone of the Sciror timeline, I want to touch upon architecture, psychology and politics. Before I went on hiatus I started to think about these things, and how to lay a foundation unto which I build and justify the setting. My CORR housing post was my first outline of how to deal with a housing crisis in Britain, and how to build on the green belt land. I rendered up this image a couple of years ago;

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Space Marine – Modus Operandi
11th Feb, 2011

This post follows on from the previous post: ‘Space Marine Capabilities’. The concept is to extrapolate the battlefield role of Space Marines using the capabilities defined in that post, and drawing in other concepts and definitions defined in ‘Philverse’. Where possible I will add a link to any concepts referenced. Now we have an idea of what a marine can endure, it clarifies what their role on the battlefield really is – or what it should be.

Invincible?

Now we have an understanding of what a Space Marine’s Power Armour can physically resist, it seems glaring obvious that they are vulnerable to fixed weapons and heavy weapons. Space Marines may be small in comparison to an APC or IFV, but they are not going to want to be caught out in the open. This means they will have to use cover like everyone else. However using cover is not really ‘shock troop’ enough for Space Marines, we need a way to get them into combat far quicker, yet with the element of surprise (the whole idea of shock!). One of the fluff heresies I introduced was the idea of active camouflage.

Active Camouflage

This means the outer ablative layer is going to get an application of active camouflage material (rather than a Predator like cloaking field  – which would be great but a bit too high-tech). This material will mimic the surrounding terrain and materials. In combination with this active camouflage surfacing, the armour also needs a way to manage it’s heat signature. This can be done with a thermoelectric layer to recover heat energy and convert it to electricity for storage. Therefore the armour would emit very little heat and this would counter vision enhancement gear that scans for IR (infrared) and T-rays (Terahertz radiation).

This means it is quite hard to detect a stationary Space Marine while their active camouflage is on. This would depend on surroundings. While in soft cover they would be very hard to make out even when directly looking at them, but they would be much easier to see in desolate terrain like a desert (for some missions they may need an active camo cloak to breakup their outline). In the dark they would be virtually impossible to see (even if lookouts are equipped with IR gear, and other advanced scanners).

Colour of fear?

The use of active camouflage does require some justification. There is a famous quote in 40K that camouflage is the ‘colour of cowardice’.

It is also true that the Marines primary aim is to kill the enemy. If camouflage allows them to circumvent heavy weapons, avoid looses, allowing more marine to survive to kill the enemy behind those heavy weapons – the Marine may accept this as necessary. In effect their camouflage allows them to get to enemies ‘hiding’ behind heavy weapons.

It may be that camouflage is frowned upon only in certain situations. Standing up and getting your head blow off with a heavy weapons is worse than sneaking about. Camo is the lesser of the two; sneaking about trumps having no head. A Marine may not like sneaking about, but they console themselves that any dishonour they feel will be taken out on the enemy – ‘How dare you force me to sneak about!’.

Another areas where active camouflage really shines in counter guerilla warfare.  Guerilla fighters will flee from marines, often with the aim to leading the Marines into a heavy weapon kill zone, so the marines have to sneak up on them. In this instance ‘camouflage’ allows the Marines to engage enemies who will flee. In this instance it’s a  lot like hunting. Though for this role I imagine the Scouts would cut their teeth.

Shock

The idea is for the marine to get across open ground and behind enemy lines without detection. Once behind enemy lines they are clear of most fixed weapons and can resort to shock tactics. The first is changing the active camouflage layer to their chapter colours, which makes then highly visible (most marines have very bright chapter colours). For an enemy to suddenly be confronted with massive 7-8′ Space Marines, encased in small arms resistant armour, in and amongst their number is going to be quite a shock and the resulting combat is going to be chaotic (this is a big reason for my notes in the bolter, as having Power Armour be bolter resistant would greatly reduce the casualties of friendly fire: so the Marines can really let rip). The enemy are probably armed with small arms and this is not going to affect the Marines. This means the enemy is likely to rout as the marines can mow them down with impunity.

More shock

Another way to get into the enemy complex would be via drop pod. Using the ideas I put forward in my drop pod article, they marines can smash into the enemy complex at high speed, creating a huge blast crater on impact, and deploy. They could use the edges of the crater for cover and many bunkers would be damaged.

Battlefield Role

Taking all this into account a Marine would remain hidden for the most part until they are behind enemy lines. Once behind enemy lines they would change back to their chapter colours and let rip. This would be extremely shocking to the enemy, and disrupt enemy lines. Being attacked by Marines from behind, while all your heavy weapons are facing the other direction, is going to cause chaos.

Table top game

I suppose if you translated this into the table top game, the marines can be ‘teleported’ in. This ‘teleport’ is not a real teleport, it merely accounts for their stealth abilities. Such an attack would force psychology tests and most likely make many opponents flee (or at least move away to regroup).

Looking at this type of attack, it would seem appropriate to allow the IG to deploy Marine allies in this manner as a surprise attack.

In the open Marines would be harder to target, and modifiers would apply. Renegade humans would be very vulnerable to Marines, but aliens may be far more capable.

I suspect the Eldar could track them (through psionics), so could the Nids and Necrons, maybe even the Orks have an idea where the Marines are by instinct. In these instances perhaps the Marine player could use ‘blips’ from Space Hulk to disguise the true nature of his units.

Small arms would be less effective: so uprate their armour value in some way. There would also be a few special rules – like weaker values when facing power weapons. I’m not too keen on the Armour mechanics, perhaps simply added the value to the T score? Another debate for another time.

Space Marine Capabilities
26th Dec, 2010

This is an overview of what a Space Marine can do according to the ‘Philverse’ explanations of 40K technology. The aim is to provide a framework that re-enforces the heroic image of the 40K Space Marine. As 40K matures and pushes more and more into new media like computer games and movies, it seems the capabilities of the Marine changes to match the new medium. I know the Black Library’s position is to take 40K and make it ‘real’, and therefore bring 40K to life, and that approach yields very different Marine compared to the table top game. The same holds true for computer games like Dawn of War. None of these various media versions of Marines seem very compatible with each other, and often each new expansion seems to drift towards Marine mediocrity.

This can lead to Marines being portrayed in a way that does not seem to match what they are. Often they seem to acting like trigger happy ‘mooks’ or ‘cannon fodder’, and end up being killed off in droves. This popular image jars with supposed tactical prowess, robustness, and fire-power of the Angels of Death. It makes even less sense when we consider their rarity, and the difficulty of the conversion process of man into marine.

Either they are the ‘elite of the elite’ (and should act like it) or they are not (and should not be purported as such). It would be nice to have an overview of what a Marine can actually do, and how they act. To define their abilities and character in a ’40K cheat sheet’. This could help to avoid the Marines ending up in roles that make little sense for a Marine – often nothing more than new clothes to wrap up the same old mooks.

The idea of this post is simple enough: work out how marines can function on the battle field if they really are as good and smart as they are said to be. To close the discrepancies between what they, and their gear, is said to be able to do – and how it ends up being portrayed. I’ll start with my ideas on Power Armour, and how effective I think weapons should be against it. When I get the chance I’ll follow up with some more ideas. Remember this is ‘Philverse’ version of 40K, and while I’ll try and match 40K canon as I see it, I may diverge in my musings…

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Temple of the Machine God
1st Aug, 2010

Every Imperial world that uses STC technology has a Temple erected to the Machine God. These temples vary from techno-gothic castles, to vast fortified industrial complexes with a towering spires surrounding a gravity lift. No matter the size, the temple is the Adeptus Mechanicus’ presence on that world – their base of operations. All technology built on a Forgeworld and delivered to an Imperial world passes through the temple. The temple sanctifies the technology, ensures it is working, and is responsible for passing it on to the inhabitants of that world.

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Autosense
8th Mar, 2010

This is a clarification (reimage) of the technologies found in power armour autosense used by Space Marines in 40K.  The idea is to ramp up he technology yet remove the tech feel and plunge the marine into spiritual relationship with his armour – one that makes sense to our modern mind set – and to show off the ethos and power of archaeotech. At the same time I wanted to build in some wriggle room that accounts for all the descriptions of autosense found in Black Library novels and codex colour text; from primitive HUD to the guiding hand of the machine spirit.

Autosense is a device that collects information via artificial sensors, processes and filters that information, and then feeds it directly into the mind of the wearer. This completely bypasses the wearer’s natural senses. A helmet with autosense does not have eye slits to look through, holes to let sound into the ear, it is completely (hermetically) sealed as part of life-support. Instead the helmet has artificial sensors mounted outside the armour.

Artificial sensor array: The Autosense make use of several highly advanced artificial sensors.

  • The core visual sensor is wide spectrum, with particular focus on the THz wavelengths know as T-Lux. This band of light is in between infra-red and microwaves and has characteristics of both. In application is has the effect of being full on heat vision, but is also has a penetrating effect, so heat emanating from inner layers are also clearly seen. This gives a passive ‘x-ray’ effect able to penetrate clothing (but not metal objects), and will expose hidden weapons. It will also expose hidden snipers, and other hot objects much as a thermal camera. Lazgun blasts can be traced back to origin.
  • The audio system is very sensitive, with Doppler effect processing for excellent sound placement in 3D space.  It allows the system to place all noises within the environment accurately, and range them, including sniper locations (of the sniper’s weapon emits noise). It is so precise that it can function as a form echolocation.
  • Smell is about as acute as a dog’s nose, and combined with molecule recognition the Autosense can detect the presence of many substances and direct the marine to them (note: A Space Wolf’s nose is more sensitive)
  • Taste is not catered for.
  • Touch – optional: the suit is covered with micro-hairs (similar in concept to a crab suing hairs to feel through it’s carapace) this allows the suit to feeling what is touching the surface of the armour, and internal strain gages allow the feeling over pressure. A marine can even feel the wind on his armour.

Artificial Instincts: The Autosense collects a vast amount of information through the artificial sensors, far too much for a human mind (even a marines!) to process all at once, so the Autosense has to filter and process this information into a feed that a human can absorb. In order to do this, and make the most of the sensory information collected, the Autosense utilizes cortex technology. This cortex technology is a dedicated machine sub-brain that is able to recognise threats by analysing the vast stream of incoming data, and passes these perceptions on to the marine as ‘instincts’. It is, in effect, a technologically enabled ‘sixth-sense‘. These instincts alert the marine to threats they can not usually see, and are prioritised in relation to the marine’s own instincts. If the marine takes notice of these artificial instincts and focuses in on a threat, the Autosense will instantly enhance the image to make it clear what the threat is.

This instinct feed is often interpreted as a ‘spirit guide’ and the Autosense plays into this perception. This guiding ‘spirit’ is the ‘machine spirit’ of the armour. It’s not the actual technology or AI, it’s the marine’s perception of their interaction with the Autosense and the feeling of presence.

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Power Conservation in Space Marine Armour
24th Jan, 2010

The Imperium makes heavy use of thermoelectric devices and materials, an advanced form of technology based on the Seebeck effect we know now, to convert heat into electricity. The STC power-packs found lining the interior of the multi-fuel engine fireboxes, and powers the ubiquitous Imperial Guard’s Lazgun, are thermoelectric devices. These power-pack are made up of a stack of layer core, much like a heat-sink, coated in a highly efficient thermoelectric material. When heated these layers convert the heat into electricity and store it in a battery.

These materials can also be incorporated into flexible materials and fashioned into a EES (extreme enviroment suits). Many environments where humans have to work in 40K are hostile, with extremes of temperature that would freeze a man solid or set their flesh ablaze in an instant, and to protect the wearer from these extremes the outer layer of the EES is often a super-insulator. While this is great for isolating the wearer from the enviroment, it also means that within the suit there is a build up of heat generated by the body. This is were the thermoelectric layer is vital as takes the build up of body heat converts it into electricity. This cools the body and keeps the internal temperature of the suit constant (as the parameters of the design only has to deal with body heat, and sub-system heat, it is easy to optimise the system), and the generated electricity is then used to power life-support subsystems via a rechargeable battery. Subsystems include the comms, air scrubber pumps, and water auto-sense gear.

Space Marines: These thermoelectric materials and devices are used in construction of the highly advanced Space Marine Power Armour. The armour incorporates a thermoelectric layer under the super-insulator ceramite armour plates. This not only cools the hyper-metabolism body of the marine, reclaiming spent power and feeding it back into the enviroment sub-system, it drastically reduces their IR (infra-red) signature make them virtually invisible to heat sensing equipment. Space Marines always appear at ‘ambient temperature’ when viewed through any heat sensor, auto-sense, or thermo-goggles.

Red Suns
8th Oct, 2009

The Red Suns are a new addition to my DIY Chapters. They are based on Japanese culture and mythology. In essence they are ‘Samurai in Space’ in the same way Eldar are ‘Elves in Space’, so there will be a fair bit of twisting of preconceived ideas.


I’ve tried to get a bit of flavour into the chapter, and reimaged the Japanese culture – I want it to be fun for a Japanese fan too! I suppose I hope it will have a similar effect to how European culture was reimaged in the old PS2 game ‘Vagrant Story’. Well there is only one way to find out…

The Red Suns info page

Marine Power Armour Stealth tech
30th Sep, 2009

This has been added to the Tactical Gear page of the main site. It details the marine’s steal technologies, both evasion and detection. I wanted to introduce some ideas for tactical options when out in the field, especially is caught in the open. Active camouflage is something modern militaries have been working on for a while, though how useful it would be against IR sensors etc. is debatable (hence I also threw in IR suppression tech.)

Active Camouflage

The armour is covered in coating which adapts its colour to it’s surroundings. Depending on the coating types the surface of the armour can alter it’s appearance, colour, luminance and reflective properties to allow the marine to blend into his surroundings. The camouflage is used by the marine when out in the open (not within STC like structures/ Ecorium) and allows them to close with enemies that may fee the Emperor’s justice.

  • Dark Age technomancy: A mythical cloaking device. A marine wearing this disappears and can not be detected.
  • ‘OLED’ based AC: The armour is coating in a form if ‘organic light emitting diodes’ only more complex and technically ‘alive’. The armour collects video data of the surroundings an maps it onto the surface of the armour, and can match most luminance levels. It is not perfect, the marines can still be seen, and any movement really gives the game away. If stationary the marine is practically invisible, though ‘unnoticeable’ would be a better description, especially in complex and detailed environments like jungle or rubble.
  • Pigment based AC: A simpler form of AC similar to ‘e-paper’. It lacks luminance, and can not match ambient light levels.
  • None: Some Chapters do not have this function, or refuse to use it. The armour is locked to chapter colours, or painted over.

Some radiation is harder to suppress like infra-red. To deal with this the armour’s cooling system is routed through heat exchangers to power up ‘Thermoelectric cells‘. The takes all heat and converts it to electricity and is mainly a power conservation system. Combined with the ceramite insulation properties of the armour, the conservation system as the side effect of dropping the IR signature of the marine to virtually nil. The marines can still be seen, the outline etc. but they blend in with the background temp perfectly. However if they stand in front of a heat source their body will block it and they can be seen. Positioning is important when utilizing IR ‘invisibility’.

Use of this AC function allows marines to suddenly appear from nowhere and get into the thick of melee causing havoc (and uses the local enemy as a ‘meat shield’). Once in close the armour flashes to their Chapter colours as they butcher the enemy. If the enemy is ruthless and fires on their own kind in an attempt to kill the marines they find that marines are quite hard to kill and such actions can be detrimental to morale. This ‘sneak and explode’ style of combat is the hall mark of marines, but they also use sniper tactics and will often take out artillery and other snipers before getting into the thick of it (they do not assume the enemy command will respect the lives of their own side). The marines are less famous for this tactic but only because they are so good at it – as often the enemy has a clue where or who the sniper is.

Eye system

The auto-sense system includes two front mounted (stereoscopic) vid-sensors in the helmet. These sensors are surface mounted into a recesses, so that behind the eye is solid armour. The sensors are linked to the Convent, which in turn is linked directly into the marines’s visual cortex. The auto-sense system bypasses the marine’s natural eyes. The eye sensor has a number of interesting technologies.

  • Wide spectrum: The sensors can detect a wide spectrum of radiation, including infra-red and ultraviolet (black light). All the information is processed by the Covenet to render the image the marines will see. Often non-visible light is used by the Covenet to figure out what object are, and outline and mark them with icons.
  • Non-stick: The eye lens of the auto-sense system is hydrophobic and naturally resists water, and other fluids. It is a form of non-stick surface, like Polyester (teflon), only better. Fluid and gore may simply not stick and is repelled.
  • Eyelid: In reality the non-stick coating is not 100%, and some sticking occurs; scratches or acid damage would give some purchase. It is almost impossible for the marine to use his armoured gauntlets to wipe his eyes as they are too hard, even the padded grip tips do no yield enough due to their solid backing. To clear the lens of contamination a mechanical lid, made of a tough transparent membrane, is used. It is housed in the upper part of the eye armour.

Trial of Fear – Update
16th Sep, 2009

This has been added to the Space Marine Creation page on the main website. It is a reworking of the trail of fear and incorporates some ideas that have been floating around in my head for a while. I was reminded of it when posting on WarSeer abut marines. There are a lot of things that need updating and bring into line with the background (or explaining the loop holes better 😉 )

A full battle brother’s blood and bodily fluids contains potent genetic maintenance agents that if ingested by a normal human will alter their genetic structure. This agent is the basis of the marines acidic and poisonous spit, and the ingestion of this is fundamental first step in altering a human into a marine. All chapters require the recruit to drink the blood of the chapter from the chapter’s grail. The grail ritual appears in all the chapters, and in all cases it includes the drinking of the blood of full marines and in some cases the blood of the Primarch!

Once these agents are ingested the effects on the body are traumatic and pronounced and many recruits will not survive. The Space Wolves ‘Canis Helix’ is probably the strongest of these agents and many die in the ice fields of Fenris screaming in pain. The Blood Angel’s seems just as virulent and perhaps produce the greatest physical changes, those mutants who survive the blood of Sanguinius and the sarcophagus emerge as a vision of their Primarch.

Genetic Alterations: As the agent invades the body now produces a range of hormones and proteins that are mostly completely useless to the normal human body, and in many cases harmful to the human body. As the recruit endures the levels of these new hormones and chemicals rise and induce great pain and madness. The perceptions of the initiate so they see things that aren’t there and are prone to suggestion. This is the time when the Chapter moulds the core mind on the future marine. Working with the sickness induced by the new hormones, the initiate is put through the ringer of madness until utterly broken. Then they are rebuilt and taught how focus, how to deal with pain. As they learn these lessons they are injected with geneseeds, which as they grow, the use the hormones and this in turn lifts the madness, restoring metal functioning. The initiate is then thrown into the Trial of Solitude.

Geneseeds: These new proteins and hormones are designed to support and feed ‘geneseeds’. Geneseeds cultivated chimera stem cells that under the influence of the new hormones and proteins flourish into new organs that further modify the initiate’s body. The geneseeds are invasive and can cannibalise surrounding tissue and convert them, they act like targeted cancer. As geneseeds are added they absorb the new hormones, and they absorb a lot when growing. New geneseeds have to be added at regular intervals to balance the system, and the penultimate geneseed of the Progenoids which regulate the whole system. The Progenoids can not go in until all the other implants are in place.

The first implant results in a major cardiovascular alteration often referred to as ‘a second heart’ but that is a gross simplification. This is sometime accompanied with corrective surgery, though many Chapters will leave a recruit experiencing complications to die.

Implants: Secondary ‘Heart’ geneseed implanted, Ossmodula geneseed implanted.

Psalm Verse: Text II

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