|This page contains information copied or paraphrased from the OCD FLEET site.|
The standard Board RESPAWN Pod is a hemispherically tipped cylinder, approximately 4 metres tall and 3 metres in diameter. There are numerous thick cylinders attached to the sides of the pod, which connect to various ancillary systems held elsewhere (these are mainly power conduits and matter-injection supply systems). The front half of the cylinder is sealed to the back with a complex airtight seal. When the RESPAWN process is complete, the halves separate, and then hinge apart to allow removal of the the contents. There is a small observation port in the front section, made of thick, heat-resistant glass, tinted to remove dangerous radiation.
The RESPAWN matter-injection process is performed at near-vacuum, in order to simplify the recombination of molecular structures. Depending on the Boardie, the injection nozzles are switched between various matter supplies - from the standard "organic precursor" mix of polyamides, fats, oligosaccharides and other simple organics, to an energised plasma mix for the energy-based Boardies, and other more complex substrates for more unusual entities still.
All of which sounds rather clinical, for what is essentially a miracle on tap. To put it in layman's terms, RESPAWN can raise the dead. Not in the drooling zombie manner (that would be Necromancy, and the Boss hates Necromancy), but in the good-as-new, you'd-never-know-it-happened sense. All it requires is a functioning POST to power the teleport, a line-of-sight to the FH or her satellites within 37 seconds, and the fatal injury to leave a body (purely robotic Boardies are not handled directly by standard RESPAWN pods - instead, they use dedicated download systems linked to duplicate bodies).
The first working Mark 1 RESPAWN nodes were completed several months after the Battle of Mohaborad. While the technology and expertise had existed before then, the impetus to actually begin such an ambitious project was only provided in the vast losses of that battle. It is founded upon a merging of several complex systems, themselves the product (serendipitously) of various personal or group projects by high-ranking Boardies.
Most notably, RESPAWN relies on the Reality Control Array (itself a product of research associated with the so-called Board Instrumentality Project, and with origins in work by Nikolai Tesla) to track individual Boardies, and their lifesigns. The mutability and manipulation of the self-aware soul is a well-known area of metaphyiscs, if one has the proper capabilities, and as soon as a Boardie is registered as deceased, the RCA is deployed (in pick mode) to divert the soul from its normal destination and into the RESPAWN conduit system.
Once within the RESPAWN conduit system (a simplified "addition" to the existing soul transport system, produced as the result of portal research by M-Division), the soul is directed to a free RESPAWN pod. There, it is held in place by another RCA pulse, while molecular spinnerettes spray a carefully chosen mix of organic chemicals (or the equivalent, for non-organic or extremely alien Boardies) into the surrounding area. Nanotech assemblers, and the soul's own morphogenic field (suitably stabilised by the carefully chosen pod geometry) act to create a first approximation copy of the soul's old body within minutes.
This body is capable of walking, talking and otherwise functioning as a normal body of its species, as soon as the soul adjusts to its home. Over the next few days, residual traces of nanoconstructors, as well as the soul's own action, remodel the body towards a perfect copy of the soul's original housing. At the same time, the soul acts on the brain, both restoring memory and integrating itself into the new nervous system. During this process, the RESPAWNee requires almost continuous bedrest, in order to not divert energy and resources away from the healing process.
After 96 hours, the patient is considered to have completed the RESPAWN recuperation period, and is put on a one week course of remedial exercise to finalise his psychosomatic integration. At the end of that period, he is usually at 96% of his peak operational fitness, and ready to be extensively debriefed, and sent out on further field assignments.
The History and Theory of RESPAWN
As every Boardie learns during their basic training and induction, the modern RESPAWN system is the pinnacle of Board magictech engineering. What they are not told is that it was not the first such foray into such concepts.
The interwoven network of "conduits" which transport the souls of the dead to their next destination existed long before RESPAWN was developed to take advantage of it. Board paleometaphysicists have theorised that the system is fundamental to the nature of the local universe itself, and was created at the same time as the rest of the metaphysical fundament underlying reality. Certainly, it is the case that RESPAWN operates as well in Hell as it does in the more mundane parts of the universe. Both Maritza Herself, and the small minority of Boardies with Experience, as it were, have avoided commenting on the similarity of the post-death experience to RESPAWN. Even the most devious questioning techniques that Speculation could think of have failed to produce anything close to even a tiny hint.
The first known attempts to subvert the existing soul transport system to other uses date back to prehistory. Legends speak of a Wizard who gained great knowledge from the "Book of the Dead", and used it to render himself permanently unkillable. Each time his body was killed, his soul would reincarnate in a new body, less than a day later. Eventually, some valiant hero (whose name is lost to us) stole the Wizard's amulet, breaking his power, and ending his life permanently. Unfortunately, even the Board's resources have failed to discover any truth to this story, the remaining records being hundreds of years older than the facts they refer to. The Ancient Boardies, who were alive at the time, all seem to have either been elsewhere at the time, or aren't telling.
Moving into the periods for which we have direct records, the preponderance of myths concerning a hero or god figure who returns from the dead suggests that there is a common origin or principle at work. Further, the alleged ability of other figures to return the recently dead to life is even more suggestive. Of course, any such abilities at manipulating the soul conduit system must, presumably, have been granted by a Higher Power, although Maritza's reply to questioning about this is, predictably, vague and teasing. The Egyptians, certainly, intended their pyramids to channel something into the mummified bodies entombed there, although obviously this was less than successful in the designs which survive to today. During the early 16th Century, Leonardo Da Vinci appears to have been commissioned to develop a technique for restoring men to life, ostensibly for use on the battlefield. All records of this work are found only in certain notebooks held in the Vatican's private collection, and in copies of these available (at Dominion/B security clearance) in the Board's archives. It appears, from the designs, that Leonardo was unsuccessful, primarily due to an imperfect grasp of Theological Field Theory.
In the more modern era, it is known that all of the major governments of the 20th Century have dabbled in the area of resurrection technology. Both the Russians and the Americans pursued organic preservation techniques as a method of preventing a body from decaying while the soul was reintegrated into it. While both governments were extremely successful in this endeavour (the displayed body of Lenin, at least, attesting to this fact), neither has yet managed to gain a full understanding of the soul conduit system, according to Board Speculation reports. In Britain, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn are known to have resurrected many old examples of Egyptian magic, and may have been attempting a more mystical solution to the same problem. Certainly, this may explain the vast number of artifacts "recovered" by the British Museum from their various host countries.
Despite this long history of activity, there is no evidence that any attempts to build a RESPAWN system were successful until the Board's efforts at the dawn of the 21st century. Most members of the Board believe that this is simply because the Board possesses the greatest depth of scientific, engineering and magical experience (and the largest number of borderline sane creatives) in the world. Previous groups failed simply because they didn't have enough knowledge and experience.
However, while it is true that the Mark 1 RESPAWN design is obviously a more refined concept than its predecessors, it is also the case that no-one actually fully understands how it works. Even today, there is a small research unit devoted to trying to develop a complete RESPAWN theory, although many think that this is a hopeless cause. Indeed, there is a strong minority (including some of the originators of RESPAWN theory as it stands) who hold that RESPAWN only works because a certain deity wants it to.