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The Domimatrix stepped into the Madhaven Core Enclave council chamber with all the haughtiness and commanding presence of her model, her leathers gleaming in the dim light and accentuating her killer figure. Behind and beside her followed a smaller female figure, clad in a similar, if rather more scant, assemblage of tight leather straps and mesh panels, long black hair swaying from side to side with each stilleto-heeled step. The smaller human moved across the hall floor with grace and sureness equal to her larger companion’s, which was decidedly at odds with the glassy-eyed, but calm, look affixed to her face. It was a very different appearance from how the same human had looked the previous times she had been in this room, first as an angry, defiant, and very scared young Coalition pilot spouting dire threats, then as a manic, nearly mindless, screaming animal straining her restraints and looking at each and every shadow as if it held enemies. It was clear, though, that the Domimatrix’s ‘little project’ had born fruit; few normal humans exposed for so long to Madhaven’s psychic atmosphere recovered to be apparently so self-controlled. 

The Sensysop waited until the Domimatrix had come next to her in the circle of Councilors, before quietly inquiring, though already knowing the answer from her own reports from the nanochanger labs deep under the city.

“So...how much of her is actually left?”

The Domimatrix grinned a sharp-toothed and very satisfied smile. “Most of her brain, internal organs, and some skin. Most of her spine’s been replaced. The important parts remain, though. She may not look it, but she’s turning out to be a most proficient apprentice. Once you get past the good-little-citizen-indoctrination, the self-denial, and the defensive blinders, she takes instruction very well, and she has a WICKED little imagination when asked nicely.” The Domimatrix looked down with possessive pride at the smaller human standing next her, idly toying with the ‘tools’ strapped to her arm gloves, apparently unconcerned with the scrutiny paid her by the larger presences around her, “I think I’ll keep her.”

Evolved machines they might be, more than a few of the Madhaven Network Council members hearing that couldn’t help but shiver a bit, whether out of sympathy for the former(?) prisoner (the meatbags seemed to have such poor integral firewall protections) or some small fear for their own sanity, they couldn’t tell. 

Hierodalite NeShemar Transformation []

aka ‘Submatrix’, ‘Submistress’, ‘Submantric’, ‘Ghostboys/girls’

The Ghost Riders don’t, as a rule, take many NeShemar under their wing at the core of their holdings, as Madhaven has a notorious reputation for destroying both bodies and minds. Those who live in Madhaven are typically exceptionally mentally strong, or the recipients of extensive cybernetic implants that help shield them from the prevailing atmosphere of insanity that pervades the ruined metropolis, but these individuals tend to be rare. This made keeping regular humans in Madhaven for extended periods of time a hazardous proposition, and one particularly obsessive Domimatrix didn’t like the effects it had on her favorite prisoners. Rather than move out of the ruins zone, invest in full (and potentially disfiguring) cranial augments for her pets, or see her ‘toys’ go insane and die, she prevailed upon her colleagues to research more elegant solutions to the problem. Eager for an excuse to play with networks, organic and electronic, and/or hack other nations’ databases for interesting technologies to apply to the problem, enough Ghost Riders came aboard the project to actually yield results; the Hierodalite. 

Hierodalites can be considered either advanced biohumanoid cyborgs or techno-bioborgs; advanced nanotechnology having been worked into them to reinforce or replace skin and bones, shield vital organs, enhance musculature, reroute nerves, and add other capabilities. Much attention is paid to the spine and brain, advanced nanotech creating shielding systems that would protect the delicate signals of the brain from being overwhelmed by the psychic ‘noise’ of MadHaven. The overall result is a perfectly normal-looking human(oid) who is effectively shielded from the degenerative psychic effects of Madhaven, can survive the city’s dangerous terrain, and bare-handedly punch out any belligerent mutants who give them a hard time. 

Hierodalites are typically made from prisoners taken around Madhaven, further worked over mentally by the Domimatrices, and made over physically by Ghost Rider Tinkers. Most Hierodalites belong to the retinues of Domimatrices (usually those that indoctrinated the prisoners), where they serve as assistants in interrogations (some prisoners find them even more frightening than the Domimatrices themselves). However, Hierodalites are also occasionally used as go-betweens between the Ghost Riders and outsiders. While there have been an increasing number of voluntary conversion Hierodalites with considerable leeway of movement amidst the Ghost Rider organization, the majority of them continue to be drawn from the ranks of prisoners taken in conflict. The two groups can often be quickly told apart by their manners and dress; the voluntary converts appearing no different from other NeShemar, while the forcibly impressed and indentured often wear skinsuits or harness-gear in imitation of their Domimatrix ‘programmers’. 

While Hierodalite transformation may appear to be a boon to those seeking a power-up from the Shemarrians, it should be remembered that it originated as a way for a fetish-obsessive interrogator A.I. to keep her PETS from tearing their own throats out. Most Hierodalites are the end result of extensive and exhaustive mental indoctrination and brainwashing to make sure they are loyal first and foremost to the Ghost Riders, and especially to the creating Domimatrix. Indeed, the scholarly Wayfinders are quick to point out that the very name of the class, Hierodalites, is derived from the ancient word Hierodouloi, or temple slaves (though this can be interpreted to mean temple prostitutes, or slaves that have been freed, only to dedicate themselves wholly to the temple divinities). To the more altruistic, liberty-minded, and knowledgeable EShemar, the origins and nature of most Hierodalites strikes them as disquieting, smacking of a species-supremacy complex, with machines (the Ghost Riders priding themselves on refusing the Ecotroz Awakening) programming organics to be their servants. The Ghost Riders are quick to counter with the query how this is any different from the early days of forcible recruitment and identity reformatting of NeShemar during the Shemarrian Civil War. Thus the Hierodalites are something of a bone of contention with some high-principled EShemar in their dealings with the Ghost Riders. This is especially true in the Shemarrian Star Nation, where it’s rumored that the spread of the Hierodalite process from Rifts Earth has replaced the practice of Ghost Rider infiltration teams disposing of inconvenient witnesses to their covert ops by dropping them on Horrorwoods colonies, with Hierodalitic impressment instead.

“I thought I saw Corporal Nana Chiigu on the remotes today....you know, that air support pilot they lost a year ago? Before they wised up, pulled out, and left the survey remotes behind? It was hard to tell, what with the angle of the camera and the low light, but it sure looked like she was still alive, but what she would be doing walking the ruins of Madhaven in high heels and wearing a skintight outfit, I have no idea. Then she got swallowed up by one of those ruin worms....came up right under her...thought that was the end of it...only a few minutes later, the worm came back up, and Nana...or whatever LOOKED like her, tore and kicked its way out of that monster’s guts and kept walking on. Nothing HUMAN would be able to do that! I’m thinking something, some sick monster, took Nana’s form and is wandering Madhaven looking for prey. Even remotely monitoring that hellhole from hundreds of miles away, it’s messing with our minds.”

Powers/Abilities[]

Psionic ElectroMagnetic Dampers[]

Spinal-mount dampers. +1 save vs all psionic attacks, +1 save versus magic illusions and mind control. 

Extraordinary Physical Endurance (Minor)[]

The Hierodalite mod remakes the recipient into a minor megadamage being, via an intermesh of nanofibers and layers of nano-deposition smart-matter skin through the person’s body, supporting them, reinforcing joints and muscles, and creating a damage-resistant subcutaneous armor. The enhanced P.E. also protects the recipient against magic and poisons. 

  • Fatigues at 1/10th normal rate.
  • +1d6+5 P.E. 
  • Effectively becomes a megadamage being with 4d4x10 MD +2d4 per level of experience. 

Mind/Body Attunement[]

The recipient’s nervous system is amped to be more in tune with themselves; +1 APM, +2 on initiative, +4 save versus Horror Factor, +1 save versus poison and disease, and +2 save versus possession. 

Hypnotic Brain Conditioning[]

Special attention was paid to providing the transformed human with special deep resistance indoctrination and mental shielding; +5 save vs mind control, +4 save vs illusions and Horror Factor, +2 save vs all other psionic attacks. Impervious to Possession.

Increased Physical Agility and Dexterity[]

If anybody understands making networks respond faster and more efficiently, it’s the Ghost Riders, and they’ve applied this know-how to juicing the nervous systems of their NeShemar. Increase P.P. to 22, +1 APM, +2 on initiative, automatic dodge, paired weapons, and +5% to physical skills requiring physical dexterity.

Physical Transformation[]

The recipient of the Hierodalite aug is physically optimized; they are icons of good health. +1d4 P.E., +1d6 P.B., +1d6 SPD, +2d6 Hit Points, +4d6 SDC, and +1d6 to P.S., plus it is considered to be Extraordinary.

Heightened Sense of Balance[]

Adapted to better adapt the person to living in ruins where the ground can shift unexpectedly (plus, with all the work the Ghost Riders were already doing on the nervous system, the inner ear and sense of balance were child’s play). The vagris nerve is modified to control the urge to vomit under disorientation, and such cues as inner ear signals can be consciously ‘overriden’ with less difficulty. +2 roll, +5 to maintain balance, +10% to Acrobatics, Gymnastics, Climbing, and Movement: Zero Gravity, and the recipient can fire an aimed, Called Shot or burst without penalty while moving, tumbling, or spinning.

Cybernetics[]

Oxygen Filtration Systems and Storage Cell[]

The sinuses, respiratory tract, and one lung of the Hierodalite have been modified into a bionic lung system. Added because of poor air quality in some of the warrens and tunnels under Madhaven. Totally effective at filtering out airborne toxins (and 94% effective against nerve gases), and has a 2 hour reserve (with three hour charging period). 

Eye Protection[]

The equivalent of an implanted contact lens that can seal the eyes against tear gases, dust, and mold spores. Also polarizes against glare.

Low-Lite Optics[]

The optical nerves have been modified to be able to see in low light conditions. 

Sub-Vocal Radio Receiver/Transmitter[]

The ears and throat of the Hierodalite are fitted for ‘Ghost Rider telepathy’; the convert can silently hear and send messages. Effective range is 6 miles (more advanced than the commercially available bionic system). Has a reprogrammable encryption system (the Ghost Riders being fairly nuts about communications security). 

Headjack[]

Buried under faux-flesh plugs in the head and neck are neural interface plugs. Typically, only the Ghost Riders are aware these exist and can access them. 

Additional Cybernetics[]

Hierodalites are able to tolerate additional cybernetic implants (and most will have typically 2d4), but not radical bionic ones. Most Hierodalites (or their Ghost Rider overseers) will favor sensory or cosmetic implants. One Domimatrix favored upgrading her retinue with enhanced hearing. motion sensors, and other non-optical sensory implants, and teaching them blind-fighting techniques, the better to be able to counter their Altaran Blind Warrior Women counterparts in blind combat. 

Total Bonuses[]

  • Effectively becomes a megadamage being with 4d4x10 MD +2d4 per level of experience, + combined Hit Points and SDC 
  • +2d6 Hit Points 
  • +4d6 SDC 
  • Minimum P.P. 22 
  • Automatic Dodge 
  • +1d6 +1d4 +5 P.E. 
  • Fatigues at 1/10th normal rate 
  • +1d6 to P.S., plus it is considered to be Extraordinary. 
  • +1d6 P.B. 
  • +1d6 SPD 
  • +2 APM 
  • +4 initiative 
  • +2 roll 
  • +5 to maintain balance 
  • +8 save versus Horror Factor 
  • +1 save versus poison and disease 
  • +7 save vs mind control 
  • +6 save vs illusions 
  • +4 save vs all other psionic attacks. 
  • Impervious to Possession. 
  • W.P. Paired Weapons 
  • +5% to physical skills requiring physical dexterity 
  • +10% to Acrobatics, Gymnastics, Climbing, and Movement: Zero Gravity 

Note 

Most involuntary Hierodalite converts have been extensively brainwashed to the point that while they retain their old OCC skills, they are effectively starting a NEW OCC as a servant of the Ghost Riders. Will count as Cyberhumanoid Cyborgs for purposes of skills and advancement.

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