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Morphic Adaptation Unit Universe
Categories:Fictional Worlds and Universes
Created by: Elrod W
First Appeared:

Description

The Morphic Adaptation Unit (MAU)
Usually one of many demonstration units, lost centuries ago from a fleeing and damaged alien freighter. The little alien device can impart nearly any change or alteration to a lifeform that the imagination can dream up, with certain exceptions.

Permissions

Open for new stories: yes
Permission required:
RESTRICTED Permissions: Danni and her band of MAU-created Trekkies are ABSOLUTELY and TOTALLY off-limits to any author who wishes to write in my MAU universe.
Permissions contact:
Questions contact:

Rules

Retrieved from BigCloset: http://bigclosetr.us/topshelf/book/4714/elrods-mau-morphic-adaptation-unit-universe-rules
Formatted for easier reading here by cj on 2015 Aug 12

Revised Rules for the Morphic Adaptation Unit, Mark 5

Foreward:
Some may consider these rules and notes to be extreme. Some may find
them offensive. I have been told that I should write "minimal" rules and
let people play, like has happened in other universes. I tried that;
even with reasonable guidelines, my universes have been radically altered
by adventurous authors. If the story universe is to stay open, it is
with some stronger guidelines to help keep things in line with my
original creation. So if you consider these notes and guidelines to be
extreme, invent your own universe and don't muck up mine. Thank you.

Below is the background story on the units, the rules, some additional
information in the form of the MAU Company's FAQs, and my final notes on
characters I've created.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prologue

First Tm'skor was having a bad day. This had started as a very routine
day on another routine freight run on just one more routine Fwirthian
freight ship. He was looking forward to a peaceful retirement after 84
cycles of dutiful, if boring, service on the Fwirthian merchant fleet,
including the past 12 cycles as First, commander of a vessel. Of course,
as a member of the merchant caste of Fwirthi, he lacked the imagination
to see how dull and boring his job really was.

Dull, that was, until this morning, when his ship was suddenly surrounded
by warp holes, each one spitting forth a M'Platwiri attack cruiser. Even
as the bells rang the alarm of the pirate attack, bolts of energy
splashed against his hull plates. The ship groaned in protest as his
pitiful crew, soft and helpless, shrieked their terror, dashing about in
confusion and abandoning their duty stations. Even Tm'skor was
frightened and confused. Fwirthian merchant ships were not crewed by the
military caste; as such, they were easy prey for the M'Platwiri pirates.

Rather, they should have been. The fates stepped in, and spared Tm'skor
the fate of being captured by the pirates. As he stumbled about his
bridge, confused and frightened like the other Fwirthian crewmembers, he
collided with his navigator, and the pair smashed into the navigation
controls. Of the buttons depressed randomly by the flailing captain, one
commanded the engines to engage and the warp generator to activate. The
ship, still drawing fire, vanished into a warp hole.

Wounded, spewing freight containers from the ugly gashes in the hull, the
ship popped out of its warp hole in a backwater of the galaxy, an
uninteresting, backward system with one nondescript yellow star and only
one reasonably habitable planet. First Tm'skor and his crew ignored the
system. It wasn't on their route, and as such it held no interest to
their unimaginative minds. And because their orders said nothing about
recovering cargo lost from battle damage (such conditions couldn't have
been imagined by the traders commissioning the cargo!), they ignored the
countless canisters trailing their ship like a ribbon of confetti, each
carrying nearly three thousand cubic meters of cargo . As soon as the
essential systems had been repaired, they swung around the sun, set a new
course, and dropped into another artificial warp hole. Behind the ship,
a trail of cargo canisters, not having a warp hole as a destination, felt
the tug and pull of the tiny sun and its tiny planets. Many fell almost
immediately into the sun. Others were smashed against moons or planets.
For centuries to come, though, most of the cargo canisters would drift
through the system, lost forever to the shipping company and its
customers. Occasionally, one would end up falling into the sun. Other
times, a rare collision with other astral debris would rip open a cargo
canister, freeing more cargo items to join the lengthening trail of
flotsam and jetsam in a cometary orbit around the small star.

Eventually, bits and pieces of the cargo and canisters, some still
bearing the legend of the Gamalfi Company, skimmed the atmosphere of the
third planet. Most of the debris broke up quickly, disintegrating in the
awful heat, but some of the smaller pieces of cargo was made of sterner
stuff.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

General information about the MAU

The unit comes packaged for shipping in a seamless metal box, about 9
inches by 15 inches by four inches thick. It is incredibly light, and
also resistant to virtually anything a normal person could find to attack
it. (This includes blowtorches, hammers, pick-axes, drills, being run
over, etc. You get the picture. This is one tough little box!) The
only thing visible on the box are some alien symbols, which if
translated, would read:
Gamalfi Corp.
Morphic Adaptation Unit, Mark 5
To activate evaluation unit, press HERE


HERE happens to be anywhere on the symbols. When activated, it stretches
itself to a box about the size of a telephone booth. (For those younger
readers who have never encountered such a strange contraption, a phone
booth is about 1 meter x 1 meter, with a height of 2.1 meters.) The
device will self-right, and move itself to a stable and level position to
complete opening. Three sides are bare; the fourth is covered by a door
on half, with controls on the other half. The door has a purplish
crystal, which causes the door to be opened. When the door 'opens', part
of the side simply disappears, and reappears to 'close'.

The controls are the picture of perfection in a user interface. There is
a ruby control plate looking like a 3-fingered hand (or bird- or
dinosaur-paw print), and above it, a rectangular display surface.
Touching the ruby control plate causes it to read the mind of the user;
thereafter, the system displays the form as directed by the user's
thought patterns. After thinking about a body or change, the display
shows the effects. When a user removes his or her hand, the display
freezes in the last configuration.

On first use, the display will scroll through alien characters; these are
the Gamalfi Corp's standard disclosure, license agreement, and disclaimer
from damage. It also says, very clearly, in perfect Fwirthian script,
that the unit has been activated for a 4-day evaluation period, and that
changes subsequent to that period would require electronic payment to the
Gamalfi corporation. Pressing on the crystal plate indicates that the
user accepts the terms of the license agreement, including the time
limitation.

Note - despite advanced technologies in the galaxy (many of which make
Earth-bound humans look like neolithic cavemen in comparison), no-one has
been successful in decoding the extremely eccentric Fwirthian language,
let alone the wacky script writing. It is impossible for a human-
manufactured computer to decode the script.

Changes are limited only by the imagination of the user, but with a
couple of safeguards. Intelligence cannot be reduced, nor can the unit
alter a body to a less-fit state. In other words, it can't deliberately
inflict damage or harm to a user. An MAU can easily be used for cosmetic
surgery, sex change, and with thought, to repair damage (such as broken
or missing limbs, damaged heart, or even mental damage). This fits
perfectly with the purpose of the MAU to enhance the user.

The change is limited by rules of physics, chemistry, etc. If a user
thinks of a magic-using Merlin, for example, the device will create the
costume perfectly, but cannot alter physics to make 'magic' possible.
The more detail a user knows about a complex or advanced technology, the
greater the accuracy of the changes. For example, if a user is an expert
in nanotechnology, a reasonable facsimile of a Borg could be created.
If, however, the user knows diddly-squat about nanotechnology, the change
would be cosmetic appearance only. The device is able to accurately work
with genomes; altering sex is a simple genetic manipulation. The result
will be genetically accurate - if two users were to transform into a
male/female pair of centaurs, for example, any offspring would be
centaurs. Attempting to make money would result in copier-quality money
unless the user was an expert in currency technology and details of the
currency. An average user attempting to create diamonds would probably
get rhinestones, whereas someone who knows that a diamond is a pure
carbon crystal would get pure diamonds. To restate the principle, with
advanced technologies or materials, one has to know something of the
desired item in order to get accurate results.

The MAU will 'scavenge' materials from the neighboring region if required
to make the changes; making diamonds, for example, would scavenge carbon
from CO2, etc. The scavenging function will not harm a nearby living
creature. The device will attempt to use materials from an unrefined
source. In other words, if someone were to create a Mr. T with lots of
gold chains and jewelry, the device would attempt to find unrefined gold
within the operating radius rather than pulling the gold from nearby
jewelry, coins, etc. Taking refined materials from someone else without
permission would be a major ethical violation to the Fwirthians, and as
such, they provided protection against the device engaging in theft, even
inadvertently.

The MAU contains a quantum computer which cannot only perform incredible
(by human standards) feats of genetic manipulation, but has a built-in
library of Fwirthian technology. Some of these technologies include
gravity manipulation (e.g. artificial gravity in spacecraft, gravity-
neutralizing units such as would be used in a 'Back to the Future' flying
DeLorean), warp-hole creation for FTL travel, advanced spacecraft
propulsion, etc. The user has to, however, have some idea of what to ask
for in order to achieve the accurate results in a transformation. Trying
to create a flying superhero (e.g. Superman) would result in a cosmetic
change, whereas trying to create a hero with an 'Iron Man' suit with
anti-grav propulsion and strength-enhancing mechanics would possibly
result in the desired transformation - especially if the user knew more
details about the expected result and if the expected results meshed with
Fwirthian technology. Some weapons may be created, provided source
material is available. Again, the results need to be consistent with
physics. A 2.2 TW laser that runs on a pair of rechargable AAA
batteries, for example, would be impossible, and thus not created. (One
would, however, probably get a good Hollywood stage-prop mockup of such a
futuristic, if impossible, laser.)

When the evaluation period expires, any and all changes are basically
permanent unless and until either payment is made or an unexpired unit is
found.

The unit will NOT work on a pregnant woman, even for a cosmetic change.

After the time expires, the following message is displayed, albeit in
Fwirthian.

We are sorry, but your thirty-eight Febulon evaluation license has
expired. To continue using the Mark 5 Morphic Adaptation Unit, please
remit 52,495 Fwirthi Rakburs to the Gemalfi Corporation within eight
Febulons. Thank you for trying the Mark 5 Morphic Adaptation Unit.


The message continues for about 20 hours (8 Febulons), after which the
box restows itself. It will be capable of being reactivated if 3
conditions occur: 1)
the device must have moved at least 300 miles from
the point of its activation, 2) at least 3 months of time must have
passed, and 3) it can never be reactivated by the original user.

MAUs are rare. Repeat, MAUs are RARE! One might consider that dozens or
hundreds of shipping containers were lost, but if one considers the size
of the solar system, the density of MAUs is infinitesimally small. It is
highly unlikely that a person would encounter one in a lifetime.
Encountering more than one is quadrillions-to-one odds.

No one really knows when the MAUs began to fall to Earth. Some of the
past date suggests some of the enigmas of history could be attributed to
MAUs. Current estimates place the first reliable MAU use corresponds to
the giant Goliath of biblical history.

The US Government has a secret agency which is attempting to solve the
riddle of the MAUs. The agency has not directly figured out how the
devices work, but through interviews with victims, have deduced the basic
operating parameters. The agency has recovered many expired MAUs, but so
far, has either not moved them far enough, or has not allowed sufficient
time to be able to reactivate the devices, or quit fiddling with the
devices before the requisite time has passed. The government's primary
concern is to attempt to understand the MAUs so that they can counter any
attempt by a hostile power to use them as weapons. Scientists are
attempting to decipher the Fwirthian script. Users of the MAU may be
contacted by a special set of secret agents who investigate anything that
sounds like MAU use. The government agency is NOT an evil X-files-like
cabal.

The agency as it exists now was founded in the early 1980s. The original
Director was named Chuck Danielson or CD. He's the only named person with
the agency. Everyone by a code name, somewhat like the MIB series.
CD's first encounter with the MAUs was during the Vietnam War, and a
further Cold War incident with the MAUs led to the creation of the
agency. Its work, of course, is classified at the highest level
possible. Not even the President or the National Security Advisor know
details of the MAUs or the Agency.

Of course, the government had some 'prior knowledge' of the MAUs before
the 80's. Much of this 'lore' was lost due to the extremely high
classification level of the data, which has never been declassified.
Some past secrets have probably been lost.

The agency strongly suspects that other governments (both friendly and
hostile) are aware of the MAUs, and have reason to believe that some
plots by foreign hostiles center around finding an active MAU. This is
a driving factor for the agency's obsession with finding a working MAU
and unraveling all of its secrets - to understand how the MAU could be
used against the US. The agency has
headquarters in DC and a secret lab in an undisclosed location that is
studying the MAUs. To date, it is not confirmed that the agency has been
able to reactivate a unit, despite the passage of both time and (in many
cases) distance. It is strongly suspected that the agency has so many
collected units that they simply study the new ones, leaving the old (and
potentially reactivatable) units in their storage facility.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FAQ from the Gamalfi Customer Service Department:

Q. How many units were lost?
A. Hundreds of freight containers were lost; only a few of these burned
up in the sun or smashed into planets or moons. Most are left circling
the sun in cometary orbits. A dozen or so containers burned up in the
Earth's atmosphere, spewing the units all across the Earth.

Q. How many units were in each container?
A. Given the shipping size and the volume of a container, it is assumed
that each container held over twenty thousand MAUs. Some of the
containers were mixed-cargo, so the total number is much smaller.

Q. Why does the unit leave changes permanent?
A. It takes energy to make a change, along with massive computer power to
direct and focus that energy. A 'temporary' change would imply that the
MAU would instill the user with sufficient energy and computer power to
undo the changes without the aid of the MAU. Containing this much
energy would be harmful to the end user. Besides, for how long would one
need an enhancement to perform a basic task before using the MAU to
change back?

Q. How much can the MAU alter thought processes?
A. The MAU can alter the thought processes only to the extent necessary
to make the user comfortable with the change and to behave in accordance
with what is expected. For example, if a creature were changed from male
to female, the MAU couldn't change his mind to that of a bimbo. It
could, however, make his libido high - assuming that was what his thought
pattern directed. It cannot make the male comfortable mentally being
female, nor change sexual orientation.

Q. Can an MAU cause damaging changes?
A. No.

Q. Can a person reuse a MAU after a suitable wait?
A. No. The MAU recognizes the brain waves of repeat users, and will not
open, let alone function. Anti-theft protection for the Gamalfi Corp's
intellectual property, you know.

Q. How long is an MAU dormant after a use?
A. At least three months. It also has to be moved, although that part
hasn't been figured out by anyone yet. The minimum distance is 80,000
Small Keflecs, which is roughly four hundred miles. (Remember, this is
Small Keflecs, not Great Keflecs. Otherwise, the unit would have to be
transported interplanetary distances to reactivate!)

Q. When you say that the unit deactivates in 4 days, does that mean that
the transformation wears off in 4 days, or that the unit's ability to
work deactivates, leaving the character stuck in a transformed state?
A. The device deactivates, precluding further use. The user is stuck
with the last transformation. We _do_ provide a warning that the demo
license is about to expire!

Q. Can the booths be used an unlimited number of times or with multiple
people?
A. The booth can be used an unlimited number of times within the 4-day
time span. Other people can use the booth as well, so long as the time
from first use to last use is no longer than 4-days. As an example, say
Bob find the booth on day 1. He does some transforms, and on day 2,
shows Phil. Day 3, he shows Rita. On day 4, they show Brad. All 4 are
using the MAU, but at the end of day 4, it doesn't work anymore for any
of them, since the unit was activated by Bob, and his license has
expired.

Q. How could a user possibly figure out how to decipher the symbols, if
they are truly alien symbols?
A. The symbols aren't deciphered by the people. That's the conundrum -
they use the device, despite lack of directions, because of curiosity,
and the lack of directions ensures that they get stuck because they can't
read!

Q. Does it have a countdown sequence like in Independence Day that sounds
like it's counting down - even though the symbols are unreadable to the
protagonists. Or maybe when they get altered, they remember bits and
pieces of the information, translated to their language, from what would
have been the ingrained instruction manual? And as the story progresses,
they have to piece it together, and see if they can figure it out before
the deadline is met, whenever that is.
A. Good suggestions. Maybe in the Mark 6. Gamalfi Customer Service
appreciates your suggestions for improving the Morphic Adaptation Unit.
As a way of thanking our customers, you are entitled to use a Morphic
Adapation Unit, Mark 5, for twice the standard demonstration period with
no additional fees. Please enter the supplied key code in the user
interface when you first activate your MAU demonstration unit.

Q. Isn't the idea of the unit is to let a potential customer try
something in the hopes that they'll buy it. Isn't it more likely that,
at the end of the demonstration period, the customer would change back?
A. Remember that this is a limited-time demo shareware. Everything works
just fine - until the time expires. Then one has to pay to continue
using it, especially to undo changes which are currently in place.
Please note that it is not practical to change a user to be self-
correcting without great risk to the user (see question above). We
Fwirthians use the MAU as a tool to adapt to a task, and no more.
Borrowing a tool allows the user to see how useful it is, with the hope
that the user will be convinced to purchase the device. It has proven to
be a very successful marketing strategy.

Q. Maybe this could be what happens. The system has failsafes so the
users don't mess things up when they initially transform. But if the
system isn't paid in that alien currency, the failsafes deactivate, e.g.
A human turns into a furry.
Intelligence decreases by 50%
36 C-cups go to 48 EE
Libido triples
A woman in her early 20s reverts to a 12-year old.
Does the subject get a warning of what will happen?
A. The Gamalfi Company appreciates your suggestions. This was tried with
the Mark 2 and 3 MAUs. Negative feedback from the customers, coupled
with an extremely high rate of purchase of demo units, has caused us to
delete this feature. (The numerous lawsuits were also persuasive.) As
to warnings, the unit clearly displays the End User License Agreement at
the time the unit is unpacked, and an additional warning is given the
first time the unit is used with less than 24 hours remaining on the demo
license. What more do you want?

Q. What is meant by 'less-fit-state'?
A. 1) The device uses the mind and genome of the user to extract
parameters of how the bodies of user's species normally operate. This
information is then used to 'bound' the alterations. Age cannot be
significantly increased or decreased, as age-related issues might cause
the subject harm. The normal parameters allow a + or - 30% change in
age, again bounded. An 80 year old person would not be permitted to add
years, as the initial age is frail. The 80 year-old would, however, be
able to reduce the physical age. Repeated use would allow an
enterprising 80 year-old to reduce his or her age to around 20 years.
2) Pregnancy cannot be either created or destroyed by the unit. The
unit will not work on a pregnant woman, even for cosmetic changes, due to
risk to the unborn.
3) The mental image being used as a model for the new form generally
conforms to some purpose, e.g. lingerie model or linebacker. That
purpose defines some limits to the system to assist in deciding what is
and is not suitable for transformation.
4) It might be less of a bother to just refine that to say the MAU can't
introduce disease or decrease intellectual capability. It can, however,
be curative; a person with serious illness or injury could be relieved of
that affliction through the MAU.

Q. Is it the case that the device designs the new form at the genetic
level for fitness of design, e.g. it doesn't allow a form that contains a
genetic disease or malfunctioning organs.
A. This is correct. The device, by scanning the user, can interpret the
normal parameters of bodily function, and will not allow changes that are
outside the normal functioning.

Q. What about things like breasts?
A. What about them? The unit knows, from the user's knowledge and
decoding the genome, that breasts are mostly ornamental, and increases in
breast size are merely decorative, unless the user wishes the breasts to
be lactating, in which case the device will comply. If too large an
increase is sought, the MAU will make corresponding changes in other body
structures, such as muscles and skeleton, to accommodate the extra load.

Q. Are there any other restrictions?
A. The device will scan the mind for moral restrictions inherent in the
user's species. These moral restrictions will be adhered to strictly.
Say, for example, a user wished to turn a pre-teen girl into a woman of
major age for the purposes of copulation. Such changes are not within
the bounds of moral behavior and would (attempt to be) screened. Note
that if the user is psychopathic, morally deficient, or amoral, change
limitations would be difficult to apply. As a safeguard, all MAU devices
within 2.5 Great Keflecs communicate via a proprietary data interlink,
thus allowing sharing of basic parameters of a species and civilization.
This safety feature was added after the disastrous lawsuits that resulted
when the MAU Mark 4 device was introduced to the YYthrillio race and a
few deviants used the devices to violate many significant taboos.

Q. Anything else?
A. Nothing that Gamalfi Customer Service can think of right now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Final notes:

Danni is the ONE and ONLY person to have ever re-used an MAU. This was
accomplished after she accidentally turned herself into a very accurate
replica of the Borg Seven of Nine (from Star Trek: Voyager), complete
down to highly-detailed Borg nanoprobes and human-machine cybernetic
interfaces. This was possible through Danni's PhD-level knowledge of
nanotechnology as well as the vast Star Trek lore which had been created.
The Borg interfaces, coupled with massive work on the part of the nascent
Borg hive (which she also accidentally started), allowed her to interpret
the MAU binary programming language.

Danni and her band of MAU-created Trekkies are ABSOLUTELY and TOTALLY
off-limits to any author who wishes to write in my MAU universe.
C & D
are the most common investigators of the agency. Others may be created,
but the authors should treat them as MIB, but without the fancy toys.
They are investigators only; they are not X-files sinister agents.

Unknown Entry Links
Fictional Worlds and Universes in TF and TG media

originally posted by cj on 2015-08-02, 3 edits, entryid=9286