Monday, January 10, 2011

Geriatrics

The living legacy of the Toxic Age, Geriatrics are those individuals who are afflicted with unremediable aging. The common forms of rejuvenation, regeneration or longevity cannot or will not work for them either by some quirk of their heritage, lingering traces of malware in their personal DNA, resonant feedback effects, various feral or deliberate viruxes, or possibly a perverse choice motivated by some outmoded religion, discredited philosophy or simply personal spitefulness. Some Archaics willfully choose to become Geriatrics as they age as a matter of personal philosophy or conviction. Whatever the reason or cause, these individuals age into senescence, becoming frail and requiring prostheses of various sorts. Most opt for implants or symbiotes if those systems can help them. Others inhabit nanospheres that support their failing bodies, supplement their mental faculties and provide memory support.

Aging is a strange thing to witness for people well used to the idea of being maintained by self-repairing nanological sub-systems, regeneration therapies and the rest of the modern medical technologies. It is a horrific and terrifying prospect for those who suddenly find themselves overwritten and their support systems crashed and no way to establish their identity or to get them rebooted...

The aged and the old, often the most conservative of all social groupings, were among the first in line to take up residence in micro-gravity environments or to attempt to re-wind the telomeres of their DNA through nanoscale autosurgery. The earliest implants were replacements and back-ups for organs that couldn't be transplanted immediately, but soon developed from temporary replacements to long-term solutions to superior enhancements.

Before the mechanics of death and memory were fully grasped, back during the Toxic Age, superstition masqueraded as science and religion was wielded with the sensitivity of a drunk driver. People were allowed to die simply because they no longer had any money, or were no longer eligible for medical care because they gambled on insurance and lost. The insanity and outright inhumanity of those times remains legendary and shameful. It is not to be forgotten. Never to be repeated.

Geriatrics are a reminder of the way things used to be, living examples of how humanity used to be before medicine became a hobby and an artform amongst Polite Society.

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Not all Geriatrics are what they seem. Many are covert Cybrists, Mechilists or even nascent Amortals seeking to stave off their first death until the politically opportune moment. There are distinct advantages to appearing old, infirm and frail amidst the gloriously healthy, robust and beautiful people all around them. Some take a strange pleasure in discomfiting the naive or the ignorant. Others like to mess with the vanity of the young.

Geriatrics speak a referential pseudo-cant unique to their experience. Only one who knows the aches, pains and inevitableness of a failing body can truly appreciate their contextual jargon that plays off of the old medical conditions that their prosthetics enable them to cope with or the historical trivia and esoteric nostalgia that they cultivate as part of their ritualized process of growing old.

A large number of Geriatrics subscribe to one or another variation on the idea that they are undergoing a form of transformation, that they are going on to the next stage in human development and that those who use the freely available techniques for life extension, renewal and rejuvenation are somehow stunting their development, perhaps even engaging in an unnatural practice that may well have dire philosophical or metaphysical consequences.

Many consider this a form of negative wishful thinking on the part of the Geriatrics, but who really, truly knows?

What if they are right, after all?

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