Scoutcat Companion Animal
These have been used IMTU for a long time now and I've occasionally mentioned them here, so I figured I might as well share the beastie.
They have been run as an NPC by myself in games past, but I suppose if someone wanted to expand the concept a bit they could use the Robots rules to run one as a player character, which might be fun.
You may think the price is high but I don't want the things to be commonly available to the public. To get one if you are outside the Scouts is really to either find one in the open market that some Scout is selling and never activated (so the imprinting and learning programs haven't been used already), or get one from the manufacturer if there is an overstock.
Once the animal is taken out of the freezerbox and activated the programs in the initial boot up will imprint the owner to the Scoutcat, as well as begin the learning routines for languages and environmental skills like walking, climbing, etc.. The initial routine needs about 24 hours to bring everything up to full operations, during which the animal will thoroughly explore and test it's environment and engage in periodic conversation - which becomes more complex as time goes by.
The striped tabby base was chosen by marketing after research into the most comforting and "friendly" patterns, colors, and type of cat breeds. So you can have any kind of cat you want as long as it is a striped tabby.
Tabby stripe base with oversized eyes. Datalink jack at the base of the neck on the upper side allows to live link to communications systems and other electronic equipment lacing useable controls (such as pressure pads and many touchscreens). The jack is covered and not accessible by the cat, however.
UPP= 1B166(no SS)
Quadruped / semi-manipulative front paws / standard tail
Mass = 2kg
Carnivore Digestion + Secondary Batteries
Standard Respiration & Environmental Requirements
Larynx for Speech / Alloy Teeth / Alloy Retractile Claws / Enhanced Medical Assist ("Medipurr")
Non-fertile male or female as requested by assigned Scout
Weapons = Alloy Teeth (-2 damage) Alloy Retractile Claws (Normal damage)
Senses: Enhanced : Night Vision in UV to IR, Smell, Low Decibel
Hearing, Tracking Smell, Taste,
and Telescopic Vision
Skills = Commo-2
Recon - 2
Sensors - 1
Scoutcats were developed by Sendai-Geneteknika, GmbH as companion animals for Scout single-ship operators on extended missions. The animal is commonly programmed to the Scout's individual tastes to allow for meaningful companionship through the animal interacting in the Scout's hobbies and interests. The cat is capable of learning and developing a personality that has a tendency to become closer to the Scout's own, but this actually enhances its mission. It does sometimes provide for much amusement among Scouts depending on the group personality of the "Team".
The cat can use most controls on communications and computer equipment on a ship, but manipulation of large objects, such as steering wheels, are beyond its physical capabilities. Because they have a larynx, Scoutcats can speak and will have a vocabulary and ability to communicate beginning at the approximate level of a human 6 YO, and then expand through personal interaction with the Scout it is imprinted to approximately that of a 9YO. This allows the cat to function as an emergency communications specialist and have a meaningful verbal interaction with the Scout, though other individuals may not relate well to the animal depending on their experience.
The "medipurr" enhancement aids the Scout teamed with it to heal, relax, sleep better and more consistently, and resist disease by boosting the immune system. The game rule for this is a healing rate increase of 1 Attribute point regained per day when injured or ill. This is in addition to any other healing.
Scoutcats are internally equipped with a 100 PWR radio communications device set for subvocal transmission and reception directly through the cat's mandible. Communications with the set will be silent to anyone near the cat. The communications system provides a remote datalink to the Scout's pocket computer (or other communications/computer setup) and allows the Scout to then 'see' through the Scoutcat's eyes and 'hear' through its ears for recon purposes. The communications system is rechargeable, using the motion of the cat (breathing, locomotion, stretching, etc.) to provide charging power.
The datalink jack in the back of the cat's neck allows the system to be upgraded by swapping out additional sensor and/or communications equipment such as more powerful communicators, jammers, recording devices, and EMS detectors. It also provides a means to charge the Scoutcats's internal batteries if needed in a hurry (about 1 hour using a standard electrical source).
A lightweight remote manipulator harness for the animal plugs into the link so the Scout can use the waldo system in the device to operate equipment the cat could not otherwise, which is highly useful in emergency situations involving hazardous environmental conditions. The remote manipulator claw can only support up to 1 kg mass, but it isn't intended for much more than providing a remote hand with a longer reach for the Scoutcat. It cannot be used for firing a weapon. At all. Ever. No.
The cat comes in a freezerbox similar to a low berth capsule and will imprint on the first activation to its owner/handler. The cat also comes with a remote manipulator harness, instructions manual, and warranty. The lifespan averages 20 years and the animal is self-sufficient for most maintenance involving the organic components, since it is essentially an organic cat with cyborg components. The cybernetic side of the cat will require specialized skill and tools for repair and periodic tune-ups. The Scoutcat eats any protein-based food a Scout will and excretes less than a normal cat does due to a very efficient digestive system - something handy on a small Scout Ship.
TL-10 Price: 75,000Cr.
"I may have been grown in a vat, but I wasn't decanted yesterday."
tc++ ru ge+ !3i c+@ jt au ls pi+ he+