Shadowrun: Shadows of Giza

Just what is Morpheus Labs?

Morpheus Labs is a small and fairly recent Company owned and run by the American University of Cairo. They specialize specifically Psychology and Neuroscience, but also dabble rather heavy in Dream Research and REM study. Maintaining a staffing bracket of only fifty six employees, the company feels less like a corporate R&D firm and more like an independent facility that’s been subcontracted out. The company is small enough that employee relations remain personal; the grind of corporate lifestyle isn’t apparent and quite a bit of freedom is allotted to its workforce in order to maximize creative potential.

The company’s CEO is a man by the name of Victor Sandusky, though the employee grapevine has warranted him the nickname “Tricky Vic”. While not per se an insult, Vic is never seen around the office. Employee email notifications are always filled to the brim with company updates by the man, company meetings are met with video feeds of his likeness, and he’s always absent during executive gatherings of any sort. While this doesn’t seem to hurt the organization productivity, the Man seems content to manage his company remotely. That being said, he seems to make up for his absence through his own take on Safety briefings, Protocol updates and news in his own style. While one cannot dismiss his attendance record, he receives straight marks for keeping his employees up to date.

The company even stocks the fridge on its own dime based on studies claiming supplied food improves workplace morale.

While not managing curfews, the facility is based within the University proper and most of its employees spend their lives entirely within the campus walls. Housing is distributed for a fee that isn’t horrendous and while it would be cheaper to live within greater Cairo, the dangerous nature of the city lends most folk to take up the appealing offer.

Campus lifestyle is a touch different to lifestyle outside the walls. Maintaining its “American” heritage, the language most often spoken there is English. A stark contrast to the Arabic most often spoken within the city. While a large amount of the students and workers there hail from the Middle Eastern region, a surprising 40% sport western ethnic backgrounds. The result of this paints a night and day atmosphere between the university and the City Beyond. Much more so when one ventures into Giza proper.

Within the last decade, Morpheus Labs began work on a project called “Bormanus” named after the Celtic God associated with secrets revealed through dreams (Though the company grapevine casually refers to the project as “B-Mo”). In summary, the project seeks to create a method where analog memory in the human brain can be quantified. Where it can be placed on a disk and traded, or implanted into a new source without the time normally required for such experiences. The usefulness of such technology is obvious and doesn’t need to be stated. By implanting memory into a new source, you basically revolutionize the written word.

Rather than take a hardware approach to the problem, the Firm opted to instead focus on suggestive states in REM sleep. Using rats, the company managed to manufacture a dream maze for the rodent with Pavlovian incentive down a certain trail. When awoken and placed in an identical maze as produced in the dream, results displayed an overwhelming success rate in the rodent’s first attempt.

When the research went public, the company’s PR exploded. Every news feed on the BBS ran segments on the capabilities for such technology, how it would change the world and revolutionize the human experience. Along with soapbox however, came doomsayers. They claimed that to quantify memory would be to remove a vital aspect of the human condition. What’s the point of an artist when you could download how to paint like Picasso? What’s the point of enlightenment when it could be bottled and consumed in a fraction of a lifetime normally required?

Naturally a moral debate echoed across the BBS despite clear oversights in the differences a mouse finding cheese and a downloadable meaning of life. Regardless however, it became clear that this technology was on the forefront of the next technological revolution, and whoever controlled it first would pave the future.

Enter Aztechnology.
The Aztlan based megacorp took specific interest in the technology and poured a large amount of resources in completing the race from a late start. Immediately after duplicating the result, the Corporation pushed into realm of human testing. While some success was achieved through the series of experimentation, it’s what happened after going public that really shook the scientific community.

After displaying evidence of a successful memory implant in a human being, Aztecnology PR exploded much in the same way as Morpheus Labs. What wasn’t expected was the side effects displayed in the test subjects. Not being able to justify the implanted memories, every subject used in the test lost some level of grip on reality. Various subjects found themselves diagnosed with schizophrenia, pronounced aspects of intense paranoia, and many even attempted (or succeeded) suicide.

The after effects were a PR nightmare for Aztecnology. The BBS flayed the corporation’s image and for a short time, they became the laughing stock of the scientific community. It’s widely assumed that any knowledge about the questionable side effects were never meant to see the light of day. This is supported by several attempts by Aztechnology to cover up the evidence. In turn, it’s likely that the story came to light due to a security leak from an outside source. This however, is purely speculation with little ground.

Meanwhile, the overnight fame of Morpheus Labs bolstered requirements in security measures by the previously tiny company. Curfews, operational security regulations, and restrictions became much more apparent in the previously Lasse fare community. While understandable considering the volatile circumstance of the situation, Morale has taken a hit and many of the employees maintain an overwhelming feeling of being boxed in and monitored. Meanwhile the question that seems at the top of everyone’s news feed is…

…Who’s coming out on top of this tech race?

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