humans, metas, breed, necs, sharcs, meatboys & meatgrrls, tritons, asex, trix and posthumans
"So I don't have the brains of a meta; the strength of a shark and I'm not as cool as a breed. So what? We humans have been around for a long time, and we're gonna be around for a lot longer."
The human race is the most dominant race on the planet: both socially and physically. Anti-meta groups may say that normal humans are under threat, but the norms' greatest advantage is their numeric superiority.
White males are no longer kings of the heap, indeed there have been many rises and falls of various ethic and social types. Humanity has certainly homogenised over the decades; being a particular colour no longer means you come from a certain country. It is believed that culture, rather than race, that defines a person.
Metas: They're just like us except those genemods are supposed to make them a bit better.
Breed: These people are a strange bunch. They started off human, but they've taken the biopunk ideas just too far.
Necs: Creepy on the whole. I mean the goth look is okay, but looking like a vampire is beyond me.
SHARCs: Aren't these people the badassess of the breed camp? Breed look weird enough, but their teeth and nails are just for effect right?
Meatkids: Is all the bioware safe? Their size scares me.
Asex: I don't get it with these guys, still each to their own.
Trix: Hey, did I tell you about my mate who got pulled by a trix? Ha!
Humans have no statistic modifiers or special abilities. Likewise, there is no point cost to play a human.
"Meta-human: as the name suggests, I am evolved; changed; superior to the norms of this planet."
You were altered before your birth due to your parents' wishes. They wanted the best for you and the corporate research labs could give them it: for a price.
The genetic modification of an egg is not impossible by modern twenty second century standards. Some genetic diseases have been suppressed or weeded out of the gene pool. What costs are the drugs, patented genes and the licence required to alter a human. Conspiracy theorists would say that it keeps the rich supersmart and the poor - at best - average. A theory not without its basis in truth, as meta parents cannot pass on their supergenes without special controlled drugs (but normal reproduction is possible).
Metas look no different to the standard human (or mehum, that's "mere human" to the non-metas), although you will not see a very ugly one or grossly under or overweight. Unlike the rest of the human population, they don't suffer from birth defects as these genes have been weeded out of the Meta genome.
Humans: We are not stupid, we realise that our genetic stock and supergenes are based on the norms of this world.
Breed: A strange subculture defined by its need to alter their body. Freakish to look at and no doubt peculiar mentally.
Necs: These people I cannot understand. Surely it is best to make what you can of life, rather than concentrate of the images of death. Do you not think so?
SHARCs: Ah, not a sight for a dark alley. Monsters only to be feared if fought. Alas, if only these savage warriors were as unmatched in brains as they are in brawn.
Meatkids: If only their minds were as developed.
Asex: Interesting idea, but not for myself.
Trix: I worry for mankind's development sometimes.
Metas are gene-modded humans - they look good, live longer and are smarter than your average <ahem> "standard human". You won't see an over- or underweight meta, their metabolisms are tuned to keep them fit (ironically, they don't much working out). Because of their higher intelligence Metas are frequently better educated and therefore go further up the corporate food chain. As a result of this, they tend to be better off - so they wear better clothes, live in nicer areas, etc. Now you know why the norms don't like them.
Metas have increased mental capacity and technical ability. However, they lack the physical prowess of the average human, not to mention manners in many cases. Metas have +1 INT (max: 11); +1 DEX (max: 10); -1 HT, -1 STR and -1 CHA. Common quirks include arrogance, wealth and superb memory. Many metas are also very attractive due to cosmetic surgery, however, some have distinct rejection problems with cyberimplants. Playing a meta does not cost any additional character points.
"In a world of cheap beauty and shallow style, I and my crew have taken the alternative choices."
Although breed are not genemod creations, they are not exactly normal either. Breed are not born, they are made; made under a mad surgeon's knife with bioware decoration and a dream stolen from Clive Barker. Would-be breed are always young and often male; especially from the sprawl areas of the world. Breed are predominately "biopunk" in appearance. They will use cyberware, especially weapons, but there "natural biological" image means more to them.
The most common form of breed are demonic in appearance. They have matt skin, often it is dark yellow, green, but hellish red or raven black are not uncommon. Their eyes are a single colour (often all white, yellow or red are common) although cat eyes are popular too. A breed's teeth are always razor sharp and feral looking. They don't have nails but grafted claws from some unknown beast. A breed's hair is either completely missing; a punk mohawk or freakish thatch of dreads (with bones in).
Other forms of breed include the necs (or necroforms) and the rarer aquapunks. Necs are literally a breed of goth, while aquapunks are Breed with fishboy mods and gill implants. Never bet against an aquapunk surfer.
Humans: I used to be human once. Can you tell? HAHAHAHAHA!
Metas: These are stuck up motherfuckers. They don't like the norms and they don't like us enhanced people either.
Necs: I mean I don't look like Mr Normal, but necs really push the envelope; know whadda mean?
SHARCs: Whoah! Cool 'ware. Shit, I wish I'd had gear like them when I was remade. Badass or what!?
Meatkids: Hmmm... pumped up norms.
Asex: Radical ideas, but I'd miss love.
Trix: Ooo! Get her - the queens of Breedism?!
Breed are basically surgically altered humans - anything that makes them less "normal" is okay by them. They don't have standard eye, hair or teeth - at least by basic human standards. A breed's eye will be animal iris, all one colour or sometimes obviously cybernetic. There skin won't be basic either, expect pale white (UV resistant!), demon red, sooty black, snakeskin, fur (in colder climates) or animal prints. Ears can be full of piercings or pointy-Ork. As for teeth - well - oddly, normal is pretty common, but vamp teeth or a full set of pointy nashers are sometimes seen.
Body-wise, Breed don't tend to be any bigger than a norm, but they are stronger due to muscle grafts and strong body pride. As for fashion sense, Breed like to push the alternative envelope - think streetsports, Mad Max stylee and sometime fetish gear. Just to buck the trend you'll sometimes see them dressed in suits.
It costs four character points to play a breed. Breed characters have an all over unnatural skin tone; single colour eyes; a mouth of vamp teeth (2D4 damage); animal claws (2D6 damage) and are either bald or have a wild punk hairstyle. They gain +1 QUI and +1 STR (both max: 11). However, they have -1 CHA and - 1 DEX due to their alterations. A breed's biosculpting mainly affects their skin and hair colour. The face is altered by the implantation of the teeth and muscle mods warps their frame. Someone who has been remade, may only be recognised by their friends on a difficult  perception roll.
"Death? It is but the beginning."
Necs are into gloom, doom and by imitating the dead they hope to gain power over it. Indeed many new necroforms have already died, only to be brought back by hospital or field staff. Some of these minor deaths are voluntary, with the journeying nec in search of truth, or the ultimate trip. Move over gothdom, necros are here.
Necs take their role in life very seriously, so much so, that in spite them being akin to breed, necs have lost the sense of humour and some of their humanity. Necs are closer to breed than they would like to admit.
Necs style themselves on the gothic vampire of popular horror fiction. They are rebuilt to be tall, pale and quite often very attractive. While vamps are into the death look, most are predominately disinterred in blood drinking, the teeth are strictly for show.
Humans: I remember being human: until I embraced the darkness.
Metas: Metas are uptight and very boring.
Breed: Our surgical cousins, but despite their humour and attitude, they still fear the final death.
SHARCs: Moronic killing machines.
Meatkids: Scary meatheads, but they fear age and, of course, death.
Asex: I have sympathy for these folks, as they, like us, do not fit in.
Trix: Playing the norms at their own games.
Necs follow the Goth / Vamp code to the hilt. Think pale skin, thin, long dark hair and of course, vamp teeth. Clothing ranges from very tailored early 20th century dress (Edwardian / Victorian) to streetscum (grungy punks, spiky hair, etc.) or sharp business suits (intimidating!). For the most part, Necs are Andrew Eldrich or Durham-Red (see graphic) wannabees (from anyone not from the UK around in the 80s, AE was the lead singer of The Sisters of Mercy). Some of the more extreme ones think they have some sort of vampire powers, the rest are just into the goth movement.
Vamps are biosculpted, they are always have beautiful appearance and vampire teeth. A standard vamp (without the body job) costs three character points. The more dedicated nec has had a full body design and can see in low light conditions (due to bio-optic implants with low light only). These characters cost eight points; they have a beautiful/handsome appearance and have retractable vampire teeth (the teeth are not poisoned).
"Government, chairpersons of the board. May I present to you the first SHARC agent....."
"SHARC : Semi-Human Artificial Construct. An engineered humanoid designed for the battle field and social control. Corrupted to 'shark'"
~ Rough Guide to EuroStates.
Sharks are not what Joe public would call normal. They are about six to seven feet in height and are heavily muscled. A number of companies can produce sharks, but there development cost and training prevented them from becoming too widespread. They are okay as people go, they are not rocket scientists, but can hold a decent conversation. In fact, they are more human than a lot of the norms you meet nowadays. There were designed for the numerous wars that plagued earth a few decades ago. In more recent times, they have enjoyed greater rights as citizens rather than corporate property.
Despite a few cosmetic differences, sharks are normally six to seven feet in height and very stocky. They have powerful ropy muscles and thick skin. Their faces are defined and mean looking: their silver-white eye membranes don't add to their appearance either. All sharks are sterile unless they obtain a breeding permit (and the drugs) from the relevant authority.
Humans: I am told that I am based upon the fittest members of your race.
Metas: Metas are clever, I respect their wisdom.
Breed: Weirder looking than me, but seem okay.
Necs: I do not understand these. Why pretend you are dead when life is all around?
Meatkids: Humans who want to be like me.
Asex: Not man or woman. But why?
Trix: Not like asex... but similar.
SHARCs are tough bastards and have an interesting appearance - after all, they didn't choose it, they are born like it. A SHARC's eyes are pale silver and have no pupil. There skin has been toughened to resist knife attacks, yet it is still as sensitive. The colour ranges from earthy tones to even an all over army-cammo pattern (especially American Sharks). They tend to go for tattoos, but piercing doesn't appear very often. Hair wise sharks are frequently bald, often shaving their heads or having very close crew-cuts. Occasionally, you'll see a shark with long hair, but it's not very often.
A shark character costs eight character points. They gain +2 STR and +2 QUI (max: 11), but loose - 1 INT, -1 CHA and -1 DEX. Sharks have a natural equivalent of skin lacing: this gives them 4/4 AP all over (thus, they do not benefit from this treatment). Additionally, there eyes react very quickly to resisting bright light and they can see well in low light conditions (treat as bio-optics with low light and anti-dazzle).
"A metal implant you say? How strange! I'm a 100% natural - well, 55% bioware the truth be told."
With little to start with except there natural assets, some streetkids start working out and get into the hired muscle market. They need to stay ahead of the pack if they're to continue to get work. For some reason meatboys only go in for bioware implants or drug augmentation - they don't like cyber. Cyber is, for them, to over the top and not as "perfect" as bioware.
Most meatkids are male, although you do get the occasional meatgrrl too. Either sex is damned strong and you don't want to piss them off. Meatkids aim for employment as bodyguards or hired muscle if they can. Occasionally, you might see a corporate meatboy - the kinda guy who has implants that most boyz would sell their soul for.
Humans: Hey, I'm human - just pumped up a little.
Metas: These pencil necks are way too snotty. I could snap them like a twig.
Breed: Freaky bastards, but mostly okay.
Necs: Creepy lot necs. I don't understand what they're on about half the time.
Sharks: Don't get me wrong, I'm happy like I am, but SHARCs have a lot of good stuff going for them.
Asex: I thought necs where weird, at least they don't go for this gender shit.
What if today's hardmen had access to muscle grafts and Dark Age's bioware? Meatboys have obvious muscles and stocky frames. They don't tend to go in for a lot of cyberware, although a datalink isn't too unlikely nowadays. They keep their hair pretty short - that's both the men and women. Body art remains popular and sporty clothing (especially if it shows there physique off!).
Meatboys have a lot of bioware and drug treatment to get were they are now. All of them have vat grown muscles and with the human growth complex treatment and nerve resheathing, they are pretty big. Playing a meatboy, or meatgrrl, costs ten character points.
Because of their implants, meatkids have +4 STR and +2 HT and +2 SIZ. The meta-steroids tend to make them act a little twitchy, so they have -1 CHA. They also have a promise (four points) never to have any cyberware (they may only have items from the bioware section in the cyberware section). Meatboys have a compulsion to pump iron (two points) and will often be working out or exercising. Because of the drugs and implants they have had, meatkids do not gain any benefits from the following implants: bio-weave; muscle grafts or speed & body enhancements.
Note: While it may appear that meatboys are more powerful than SHARC characters, bear in mind that SHARCs are not restricted when buying cyberware NOR have they had the implants that make meatboys powerful. A SHARC with extra bioware implants? Now there is a scary thought.
"Governor, I strongly suggest you fund the SEA-SHARC programme. The pirate skirmishes are becoming alarmingly organised." - Capt. Staff Susan Sykes, 2072 (a week before the Atlantis-2 riot).
The SHARC program proved a great success during the turbulent twenty-first century. Geneering and implants had given the military the SHARC and the government funded biotech companies waited for a place for their new product. Law and order were a very big problem on the sea. Piracy was rife and submersible marauder craft just made things a whole lot worse. The temporary loss of Atlantis-2, the indian ocean research station provided the impetus for the military. Within a month, the first Triton SHARC team was sent in. Although the first tritons were just implant modified SHARCs, a year later saw the first triton child born. The triton population is not very high, even today.
The triton is very similar to the SHARC, however, there are a few key differences. Tritons are able to hold their breath some time, failing that, they have gills as well. Although, they are also not quite so tall or as strong as your typical SHARC. A triton's eyes are specially adapted so they can see perfected under or above-water. Indeed, they can lurk just on the water's edge, seeing above and below with no problem.
Besides the ghostly double slitted eyes, a triton's skin can also change its basic colouration. A triton is normally a pale caucasian/light blue (weird huh!). However, they can either darken their rear half or go midnight blue if they wish. You'll know if you piss a triton off - they go very dark very quickly and the stare from those eyes..... Tritons have no bodily hair, although they do have eyebrows and eyelashes. Some of the younger tritons have had syn-hair implanted - this is either blue-black or stark white. Due to their implants, tritons are well insulated and do not like very hot climates, preferring temperate - or even near-arctic conditions.
Humans: My distant cousins I guess.
Metas: Metas worked on my systems.
Breed: I was born like this, they choose to look different.
Necs: Fakers - death should be respected.
SHARCs: My brothers and sisters.
Asex: Are these another sex?
Meatkids: Ah - I admire their strength and dedication.
Trix: Man, woman or both? Humans are so strange!
Strange how we know very little about 70% of our planet. The future saw a shift to researching the oceans as our land based resources dwindled. Tritons are SHARCS designed for the sea, their eyes are double-slitted - like a cat's eye, but with slits horizontal and vertical (a strange design so they can see out and in water). Their ears are very close to their skull, indeed some Tritons remove them and replace them with small cybernetic versions. A triton's skin is one of their most striking characteristics, they have no body hair (except eyebrowes and eyelashes) and the skin is blue-black on their backs and back of the arms / legs, while it is a pale colour on the face and chest. If they stay out of water for a short period, the skin can change back to human standard!
A triton character costs eight character points.They gain +1 STR and +2 QUI (max 11 for QUI), but they loose -1 from DEX, INT and CHA. Their colour changing skin is very tough and is a good insulator (2/1 AP and gives +2 against exposure). They do not gain any benefit from any skin lacing treatments. As mentioned above, their eyes allow them to see above or below water without any problems. As with the standard SHARC eyes, they have natural anti-dazzle and low light abilities. A triton's toes can be stretch out width ways by about half or an inch.
The toes are webbed between increasing their swimming ability. Because the toes are not naturally splayed, tritons can use normal human equipment and footwear (like wetsuits and flippers). This adds +1 to swimming rolls and speed. Due to their affinity with water and no fear of drowning, all tritons have swimming +2 (excluding the bonus mentioned above). A triton can hold her breath for up to half and hour (or fifteen minutes if swimming). They also have internal gills which operate in salt or fresh water.
Because of their slightly inhuman appearance, tritons suffer at the hands of bigots and anti-genetic fanatics. All tritons have the icon quirk and suffer intolerance or bigotry sometimes (2/10 chance of a luke-warm reception, this means a -2 communications penalty).
"I don't get this man/woman thing. I have opted out of the sex battleground."
An asex person is not just disinterested in sex, they don't have a sex - well, at least not in the male/female sense anyway. The name is one of those strange mediaisms that has stuck. Altered by bodysculpting they appear to be somewhere in-between the sexes. Asexs do not have any sex organs or breasts (or nipples for that matter). There voices are somewhere between the range of a man's or woman's. Some people are born to become asex, just as transsexuals want to change their gender. However, there are some people who choose to become asex for other reasons.
Some asex believe that this is how they should be; some feel that sex clouds feelings and decisions; while others feel trapped into society's stereotypes: man or woman; gay or straight. Not surprising considering all the ideas and movements over the past centuries, each one telling us what we should be doing to be a man or the perfect woman.
Addressing asex people can be difficult, but whatever you do, never ever called one an "it". Popular terms include hir (his/her), sie (his/hers) and also ve, ver or vis. SHe gets dusted off, but never catches on. Like other people who are born under the knife, asexs have their own subculture and standards. They also have neutral names, ones which either sex could have, or sometimes hippy names: Chris, Jo, Sky Moon, etc.
Clothing and hair styles vary wildly from the simple jeans and t shirt to sports gear, kaftans or tunics. Hair can be long or short, but is neither definitely feminine or masculine. One thing you will not see an asex wearing, is what they call gender clothes: powersuits, miniskirts or other femme or butch clothing. Paradoxically, army fatigues and work gear remain popular.
For the most part, asexs are calm and easy going. They make good friends, although while they can love platonically, they can never lust. Most of modern society does not have a problem with asexs. However, people of some religions or those from wholesome traditional backgrounds (re: inhibited or bigoted) can be rude or even violently.
Humans: I'm still human, just neither sex.
Metas: I'm a person, not an experiment.
Breed: These folks are probably the most open minded around.
Necs: Why worry about death, when life is so rich?
Sharks: A race of our making, what boxes have we forced them into?
Meatkids: Body proud and firm believers in the Cult of Strength.
Trix: Yes, shallow party people. They play society's sex game to the hilt.
Asex are truly Androgynous. They don't have big shoulders, hips or breasts and their choice of unisex clothing and hair style only accentuates this. (The name and idea of these people comes from Greg Egan's Distress. Particularly, the young rebel Akili Kuwale).
Asex are like normal humans except for there lack of sexual desire and equipment. There physique is a sort of sexless morph between a man and a woman. Spotting someone who is now an asex requires a difficult perception test. Asexs could disguise themselves as either sex, depending on their dress and body language. For whatever reasons, they would rather not. It costs eight character points to play an asex.
"Why be pigeon holed? Play both fields."
As if the socio-sexual game was not complex enough, along comes the trix (tri-sex or trisexuals). The name was a joke among those on 'the scene', but it has stuck. Trix, or tris (said "tries") are both sexes, male and female, but are not true hermaphrodites. They cannot both sire and give birth to children, many choose not to have either.
A trix can decide for either gender given the body changing implants they use, the right clothes and that they act correctly. When it comes to sex, they have the equipment for whatever partner they choose. Typically, trix are extroverted and lovers of life - that's not to say a few don't decide to remain hidden (for whatever reason). Some swing more one way than another, although there are more trix who were once male than ex-females. Trix personalities are as varied as non-Trix people.
When a trix is in a role, as they call it, they use he or she as they want. When they talk to other trix informally, they use the asex lingo. Confused yet? Trix get a bad deal from the fundamental groups out there: some feminists are none too keen on them and hetero power groups are intimidated by them.
Humans: My fellow man and hir diversities.
Metas: They should relax and party a bit.
Breed: Okay, so I'm not straight laced, but these guys... whew!
Necs: At least some of the androgoths are getting with it.
SHARCs: Ooo, so big and butch!
Asex: So cold, don't they love any more?
Meatkids: Meatheads or muscleboys. One coin, two very different sides.
Trix are surgically altered humans - they've been altered so they can switch between sexes. A detailed medical scan or physical examination will reveal their true nature. Transsexuals are nothing new to the 22nd century, but Trix are. They can alter their body shape to a minor extent, increasing or decreasing male or female attributes. (Storm Constatine's Hermetech has Zambia Crevecoeur who starts off male and agrees to a strange experiment. As for others, well When Gravity Fails has plenty of gender swapping, but that's more transsexuality than trix culture).
Trix are like breed, necs and asex in that they all are bodjobbed humans. To play a trix costs eight character points.
The conversion process starts with a biosculpt and then a series of bioware implants that can adjust the shape of the face, body and to a certain extent, the skeleton. This allows the Trix's face to become delicate or rugged, limbs lithe or bulky, etc. Height can change by up to 4 inches and the muscle implants also change the mass of the arms and legs.
These implants do not allow 'shapechanging' more an either/or swift between one sex or the other (granting +4 to disguise). The change over process takes about 10 - 15 minutes, although some Trix have been known to force the bioware process by having the bioware controls 'hacked'. Such a process is dangerous and causes D6 damage through pulled muscles etc. The change over process is initiating by a series of gestures - normally hand movements - which trigger the bioware processors. Trix with dataplugs or neural computers, can use those instead.
As a rule, Trix do not tend to have cyberlimb replacements as it goes against their culture (difficult willpower check to go against the flow). Should a trix be revealed for who they are to someone who actively dislikes them, all COMMS tests will be at -2.
"You're only young twice."
Medical technology has provided reliable organ replacements and research into neurological disorders (anti-altzhiemers and CJD), has lead to people living longer than ever before. People are living longer, or should it be the those that can afford the technology are. Posthumans are people who are very long lived. They look around mid 40s to early 50s, but they are a lot older than that - ages of 110 to 130 aren't uncommon. Biosculpting and a continual health check-ups, keeps them ticking over very nicely thank you.
Posthumans are frequently well off and as a rule are well educated. You don't get to live that long unless you've had top health care or got the money to buy it. Certainly, the increase in posthumans has lead to a consolidation of wealth and power amongst the older generations. Of course, this doesn't stop the up-and-coming movers and shakers from challenging the status quo.
Humans: I am human, I've just had a little medical help here and there.
Metas: Snotty upstarts. They should respect their elders.
Breed: Freakish aren't they. No clue to what those implants might have long term!
Necs: Talk about sombre. Lighten up, we've conquered death.
SHARCs: A wonderful example of biotechnology.
Asex: I'm lost for words.
Meatkids: Very fit aren't they? I'd be worried about those meta-steriods though. Bound to drive up your insurance.
Trix: Good looking perverts. Shouldn't be allowed.
Posthumans aren't immortal - let's get that straight. Once full body cloning and memory transfer has been mastered - the world will dance to a new tune, but at the mo, nobody gets to live forever. Neural transfers are still the stuff of science fiction. That aside, posthumans are very long lived and they'd like to keep it that way. They will be making regular appointments with their health adviser (via the Net, or even face to face) and always taking the healthy option.
You can break the posthumans down into a couple of groups. The Statics want to hang on to everything they've worked for. If that means keeping everyone in order and everything just so, so be it. Don't mess with them, they play for keeps. Statics are their jobs, they revel in them - you'll need a damned fine expert system to catch one out.
On the other hand, there are the Retired. These guys want to kick back and enjoy their money - they've worked hard to get it, but you can't take it with you, right? Expect to see them taking it easy on their own airship, or touring the sites of the Oribitals. Some Retireds spend their time with the arts, they've got plenty of time to read all about rare Greek myths, learn to paint or produce music.
Some posthumans go much further than that, though. They were young once, now they can do all the things they couldn't afford to, or didn't want to. Some of the antics these young-bloods get up to would shame a trix. The fastest cars, the best hotels, if you've got it - flaunt it!
Playing a posthuman costs six character points. They are not as strong as your typical unaltered human. Sure, there replacements have kept them going, but the body and mind can only go on for so long. Adjust STR by -2 and HT, QUI & DEX by -1. Increase INT and CHA by +1 (they've learned a few tricks over the years). APP will be at worst average, but more have been adjusted to be attractive.
Standard include rejection (minor) (cutting edge biotech and old-school cyber doesn't always mix) and loaded (increase starting funds by $4000. That loaded rank 4 if you are keeping track). However, the age-reducing treatments were not cheap and reduce their original fortune by a small amount (-4 CP). They also have a mild phobia of augmentative cyberware (standard replacement organs are okay - anything else is too risky!) and compulsion (2 points) to exercise and stay healthy (so, no hard drugs or extreme sports!).
Posthumans get the College Education skills package as standard and their background must be corporate brat, burb kid or highrider. [NB: the ref may overrule this if the character's background can give a very good reason. Street-trash millionaire kind of thing]. Additionally, they have an extra 15 points to spend on a range of career or pick-up skills (but not stats!).
Common, but not compulsory, quirks include silver tongued (they know how to manipulate people), company rank (even if retired) or a code of honour (corporate) aren't that unusual. Allergy, immunodeficient, hard of hearing, bad sight or even deaf could affect someone who hasn't kept up with their treatments. Contacts, enemy or a dependant aren't unlikely either - unless they have outlived all of them.