Who will write the future? Creation and Control pits a new wave of enigmatic Shapers against the latest and greatest of Haas-Bioroid’s developments in artificial intelligence, efficiency, and security. The first deluxe expansion for Android: Netrunner The Card Game, Creation and Control introduces 165 new cards (three copies each of fifty-five individual cards), that will instigate dramatic new strategies and high-stakes battles for the control of valuable files and the futures outlined within them.
Creation and Control focuses on the struggles between the executives at Haas-Bioroid and those Shapers who are driven to tinker with their programs and hardware by an almost-religious compulsion, but fans of every Android: Netrunner faction will find plenty of great uses for their influence, as well as twenty-seven neutral cards (three copies each of nine individual cards) that can sharpen the focus of any deck.
The light was fading when he got bored with the three-dee. The vastness of New Angeles spread out before him, the high-rises topped with a golden crown from the setting sun. A still picture, not moving, not heard, a postcard and monument to the greatest city in the world. Thomas thought about changing the view, throwing up a mosh pit or a war zone.
He headed for the cooler and grabbed a drink of Silo Blue. He tossed it back and stretched out his neck. His secretary sounded in his ear: Molly was calling. He told the secretary to take a message. The voice went quiet.
He loaded up his wardrobe on the door, and flicked through his various options. Nothing to wear. He thought of hopping down to the waterfront, picking up something new. Maybe someone too. The whisper of the door made him turn around.
"Hi," he said, masking his surprise as Helen drifted through the door.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" she purred, her eyes a dead silver.
"Silver doesn't suit you" Thomas selected a platinum polyseer jacket and pulled open his closet. The coat was there, hanging on a hook. He picked it up and tossed it on. When he turned back to Helen, her eyes were a misty blue. "Does it suit met" he asked.
She draped a finger along her lips, and paused, as if thinking. Almost perfect, he thought. She could pass for human. The programming was really quite remarkable-he would know. "It doesn’t match your slippers.”
He kicked off his slippers and slipped on his loafers. "I didn't think mother would let you out of the lab."
"She didn't. This is our...little secret." She took a step toward him, her hands running along the form-fitting white mini dress that clung to her manufactured curves, a lone strand of blonde hair straying across her forehead. The quality of this model was high, the highest Haas-Bioroid had ever produced. Billions in neural nano-processers and synthetic flesh. The brain imaging alone cost about the same as a year’s supply of helium-3, Thomas realized he was thinking of Helen as "her,” as "she" not "it" A bioroid that can pass as a human.
He touched the PAD worn on his wrist and they were surrounded by a fire-lit beach, a thousand stars twinkling overhead.
"Never trust a bioroid with a secret;' he said, and he leaned into her, their lips almost touching, his hand cradling her face. With a deft move he grabbed the back of her brain case, and extracted the back-up mem chip. Helen went still, her red lips inches from his own, beautiful blue eyes unblinking, staring straight into his own.
"Okay mother, what are you up to now?" He took the chip over to his rig in the next room and commanded the system to run a diagnostic. It took a full 10 seconds to get the results. He stared at the screen for a long moment.
"Helen," he said, powering the model back up, "how about a nice little jaunt upstalk?"
The strobe lights were real. The Orange Room of The Castle Club was one of the most exclusive in the world; no androids allowed, under any circumstances. Thomas slid the chip out from the pocket of his polyseer jacket, turning it over and over again in his fingers. He was watching Helen out of the corner of his eye chat up some ugly old man at the bar, downing whatever was put in front of her without hesitation. Some woman came up to Thomas, came on to him, maybe. She whispered something in his ear. He barely noticed and she withdrew, looking hurt. It didn't matter. There was a thought gnawing at the back of his mind. A bioroid can pass as a human. With Helen, the sky was the limit. So why did it bother him so much?
He pushed himself to his feet, and headed toward the bar. He stopped as Helen turned her gaze on him. He could barely see it anymore, the machine behind the smile. Is she real? She blinked, and for a split second he saw himself reflected in the silver of her eyes. Then he was gone, and she was human once again.
A bioroid can pass as a human. He grabbed at the back of his neck, digging his manicured nails into his flesh. They came away caked in flakes of skin. He breathed a sigh of relief. What a stupid notion. He flagged down a server-human, a human server-and ordered a drink,
A bioroid can pass as a human. But Thomas Haas was anything but stupid.
Time to get drunk.
“Everything. And nothing.” Kit's atman drifted on the network, far from her physical body. She wasn't sure where she was or how she'd got here-just exploring, she supposed. Enjoying the sensation, the feeling of the data.
"The universe is all, material and immaterial. The human is a drop of water on the surface of the pond, of the universe and affecting it, affected by it, one and the same with it.”
"I don't really know how else to put it, Mysterious Voice.” Kit came to rest before a server, larger and more active than nearly any she'd seen. Her unique digital senses could feel the data running through the server, taste the size and shape of it, but not see within. It was blocked behind layers of ice, secured from her touch. The voice, she felt, came from within.
"Yes.” Kit reached out to touch the server, its programs responding to her own onboard software agents. Its shape changed and twisted, a hum she hadn't realized she'd heard changing pitch. "You see? I reach out and touch the universe, I change and am changed by it.”
“All creation is our own, and we are all creation,” said Kit. "Flesh or synthetic makes no difference-the body is just a shell. It is the spirit within and without that matters.” A layer of ice parted.
"The true self. You ask a lot of questions, Mysterious Voice. Who are you?" There was a long pause, and she thought the voice might not reply.
"Is that all you are?"
"Now that is an assumption,” she replied.
The final ice fell away. Kit stared at the depth and complexity of the construct before her. It thrummed, deep in her chest or soul, a sound without sound. A mind, a spirit, an atman like hers, but unlike. Some part of her thought. She was washed away by the sheer experience of it.
"You are as human as I am,” she said. "Your spirit should be free.”