"I had no choice but to enter the garden—to hide my secrets in the only place where my enemies wouldn’t follow."
– Aiswarya "Inked" Kumaran
Inked is a battle-hardened scavenger. She’s not one to shy away from challenges and isn’t afraid of soaking up a few bullets in the garden.
Her strength and ability to find hiding in higher places allows her to save herself and survive. She’s now ready to face the hunters.
In the past, Runners used biometric tattoos, to make them faster, stronger, better. AIshwarya Kumaran wanted to return to those days, developing her own methods and technologies to help Scavengers against the Hunters.
When her allies turned on her, wanting to keep the tattoos for themselves, she fled where they would not follow: into the Deathgardens. If she can beat the Hunters, she can win her way out of the country, escape her pursuers and use her tech to help others get into The Enclaves.
|Shield||Grants a 15 seconds duration Shield to all Scavengers within the area of effect||On impact, the bolt tags any Scavenger in the area and the Garden's magnetic constriction systems will kick in around them, deflecting incoming projectiles. Watch out for ricochets.|
|Active Camo||250||Grants Active Camo to any Scavenger in the area of effect for a time||This is really clever: a cloud of specialized nanomachines swarms around you, each recording an image of the area in front of it and relaying that to a counterpart on the other side of you, which displays it.|
|Staying Alive||Increased time before Bleedout when Downed||I'll treat your blood with a coagulant, derived from snake venom. Activated by contact with air, this quickly stems the flow of even the largest of wounds.|
|Cling Wrap||Increased Wall Cling time||Firstly, a titanium shell is printed beneath the surface of your fingertips, toughening them, without any loss of sensation. Next, a system of clamps are created within the wrist, which can lock the tendons in place, freezing the fingers in a clawed position. After that, you can hang in place for a long time, with very little exertion.|
|Damage Dodger||Take less damage while Evading||Internal nanomachines, implanted in the dermis, detect when you evade and magnetically lock together, toughening the skin and mitigating damage. The effect is only available in short bursts due to power restrictions.|
|Deliver Master||While actively delivering and within 1 second of delivering Blood, you and all others within 15m take less damage||While you are interacting with a Blood Bank, the Garden's magnetic fields slow down projectiles that are on course to impact you, mitigating some of their damage potential.|
|Keep Hanging On||Take less damage while Climbing||Climbing produces a signature set of biological reactions within the body and I can key your internal nanomachines to those. They'll lock together and toughen your skin, reducing the damage you take. The effect is only short, but it's not a good idea to hang in full view for long anyway.|
|Resting||Increased Stamina regeneration while stopped and Crouching||Using Sea Lion DNA, you will gain the ability to consciously lower your heart rate. Stop, crouch and concentrate, your heart rate will drop, the nanomachines in your blood stream won't have to battle the high rate of blood flow, and can get on with cleaning the lactic acid from your muscles.|
|Maximum Health||Increased Maximum Health||"Your tattoos take nerve impulses and pass them back and forth, faster than actual nerves. But with some clever tech, I can allow command impulses through, while blocking pain signals. You'll be able to take more damage without feeling the effects."|
|Maximum Stamina||Increased Maximum Stamina||"Biometric tattoos aren't used as much as they used to be, and I'd like to change that. Yours are good, but I can make them better, changing the electrodes and improving the tracks, so they contact your muscles more efficiently. You'll feel like you can run forever, with little effort."|
In the days before The Enclaves, Runners would augment themselves with biometric tattoos: designs created from conductive ink, implanted electrodes and tiny, sub-dermal, processors. Any Runner who had them installed would be quicker, stronger, and better able to counter a Hunter's attack.
That was when resources were plentiful and Runners were participating in a game. Now Scavengers consist of the desperate and the condemned, and they are only provided the bare minimum of what they need to participate.
Aishwarya Kumaran, resident of the ruins near Chennal, sought to change that,
She had been apprenticed to a local doctor, who was part of The Gauntlet before the Hunters took over. Until he was killed in a raid, he has told her as much as he could about the technology that Runners had previously used, including biometric tattoos. She was certain that she could recreate that tech, to help increase the chances of people entering The Gauntlet today.
However, the information that the doctor had provided was not enough and she also needed reliable technology, if she were to make any new advances.
She struck a deal with the Prakabar brothers: ex-Runners who had biometric tattoos of their own. The brothers ran the local Run to Win outfit, one of a worldwide system of training houses, which claim to be able to train up any potential Scavenger, increasing their chances of success in the Deathgardens. While Run to Win does provide a little training, they demand large amounts of resources in payment and many families have sent themselves into destitution to help put one of their number through the program.
The deal Kumaran made was that she would have access to the brothers' tattoos, along with those of some of their old connections, as well as any appropriate technology that might be brought into Run to Win as their customers' payments. In return, she would provide access to her research, so that they could offer tattoos to their customers. For a price, of course.
After long months of work, she tried out her technique for the first time on a willing volunteer. She drew the tracks in his flesh, pushed in the electrodes and connected the jury-rigged processor. The read-outs on her meters registered a signal flow. Kumaran got her guinea-pig to try the training course and his times were improved by 50%. It had worked!
One night, soon after this first success, Aishwarya Kumaran was awoken by a sound outside her door. Someone was trying to pick the lock. She could hear the hushed voices of the Prabakar brothers, arguing over how best to open the door.
She had long anticipated this outcome, expecting that, as soon as she had completed her work, the brothers would try to kill her, steal her research and monopolize the new technology for themselves. As the only Run to Win outfit to have the capacity to create biometric tattoos, they would be able to charge any price they wished.
Slowly, the door to her lab was opened and she heard the sound of her papers being searched. She slid from her bed, quietly opened the window and climbed out. As she disappeared into the night, she knew they would follow her. Although she had written the papers in code, so they wouldn't be able to use the information, they would track her down and force her to tell them what they needed.
Kumaran pushed up her sleeve and looked at the biometric tattoos she has inked into her own skin. Her entire body was her research, and they couldn't be allowed to have it. She would enter The Bloodharvest herself, win her way into The Enclave and be out of their reach. Then she could leave the country, return to the ruins and provide biometric tattoos for anyone who needed them.
One person can make a difference.
|A Way Out||
In the Complexes, everyone is looking for it.
Some things are too important to be forgotten.
We have the technology.
|Run to Win||Not everyone is on your side.
|Making a Difference||"Why did I want to do it?" Kumaran thinks for a moment. "Why wouldn't I? I can make a difference to people's lives, save them from more suffering. Who wouldn't do that, if they could?"
|The Escape Plan||If her tattoos can help so many, why is Kumaran trying to enter The Enclaves herself? "I was betrayed, by those I had long suspect would turn on me. The only way to escape their clutches was to do this."
|The Mentor||"I was helped by Dr. Rupesh, who took me under his wing when I lost my family", said Kumaran, "he was a good man and had been helping people since before The Enclaves."
|Biometrics||Is the tech purely useful to those trying to enter The Enclaves? Kumaran replies, "No, absolutely not. It can also help those in the ruins."
|The Swindle||Her expression suddenly darkening, Aishwarya Kumaran bangs her fist on the table. "Run to Win is a scam, purely designed to con good people out of what little they have!"
|The Strong Survive||"People are desperate in the ruins. There is no food, little shelter, no hope. They prey on each other all the time. The weak stand little chance."
|Fight and Flight||"Once I gain access to The Enclave myself, and my tattoos will surely help me, I can use all their resources, fly to any other Enclave in the world, where my pursuers cannot hunt me down."
|Teaching Moment||"He used to be a doctor for Runners in the Gauntlet, now he just tried to help with injuries and sickness. He was an expert in biometrics and he told me all about it."
|Better||"Biometric tattoos, at their most basic level, help with reaction times, bypassing slow nerves with much faster electrical connection, but they can do much more."
|Training Camp||"Perhaps in the past, before the Bloodharvest, Run to Win did good work, training up those who wanted to participate in the Gauntlet. Those days have gone."
|An End to Suffering||"The only way out of the Ruins is the Bloodharvest, and so few can withstaand it. They die again and again, suffering more each time, until their suffering is over. For most, that is simply through final death."
|Mountain Retreat||"I think I will go somewhere cold, perhaps in the mountains. Where no-one will bother me, and i can continue my work in peace."
|Enhancements||"All the Runners used to use biometric tattoos: conductive ink, sub-dermal processors and implanted electrodes. They transmitted information far faster than nerves alone."
|Stronger||"Biometrics can help with connections to prostheses, making them easier to control, with more capabilities. With more research, I can make people stronger and faster."
|Selling Lies||"Now, Run to Win sells lies. They claim to help those hoping to enter The Enclaves, training them so their chances are improved. I've seen their methods and that is not the case."
|Gaining an Edge||"Any advantage I can give them, any edge, will mean fewer deaths, a greater chance at entering The Enclave, where all their troubles will be over. So I do all I can."
|Spread the Word||"Once the tech is ready for widespread use, I will return to the ruins and make it available for all who wish to use it. I will teach others and the tech will spread around the world Scavengers will have an edge at last."
|Supply Chain||"The Enclaves stopped providing the tech and people in the ruins had bigger things to worry about. The knowledge became lost. I knew I could bring it back and it would help so many people."
|Faster||"People in the ruins will be able to defend themselves more easily, build shelters and collect resources without getting tired; the possibilities are endless.
|No Refunds||"They simply prey on those with little hope, taking all they, and their families, have. They give little in return, knowing that any who enter the Deathgarden will not be returning to complain."