Angelnet Utility Fog Modes

Utility Fog and human
Image from Juan Ochoa

Angelnets that employ utility fog can have many different settings. These are just some of them.

Constraint Mode - An angelnet can be set to restrict mobility of one or more of the beings inside its purview. This can be anything from gentle guidance (slowly growing resistance to motion except in the controller-desired direction) through to a full body cast equivalent. In extreme cases, angelnet controllers have been known to insert nanotechnic 'tendrils' into sophonts to constrain internal processes or assist in absorbing shock.

Gravity Mode - Users who cannot function well in very low gravity or freefall can be held in position by angelfog, and move about freely as if in their accustomed gravity field. In effect, the sophont becomes a puppet on the strings of the angelnet, but they can direct their own movement by muscle contraction and effort. Note that this is not a long-term solution in and of itself, as secondary effects of microgravity environments on bionts continue, including pooling of bodily fluids in extremities, as well as some biochemical changes. Note also that many baseline hominids find this mode quite uncomfortable, as their perceived physical motion may well not agree with their somatic sensations, leading to motion sickness.

Suspensor Mode - Common utility fog mode in which the fog supports the user in a manner imitating the neutral buoyancy effects of water. Unlike when in water, no breathing apparatus is required and the user may assume any desired position without interfering with the floating effect (although positions that may result in extended periods of blood flow to the head are automatically precluded for many clades while the user is sleeping). Suspensor mode is a popular method for sophonts living on planets and spin-gravity habitats to produce floating or limited flight effects for rest and recreation. It is also used (in a slightly modified form) to provide support and safety to sophonts operating for short periods in a gravity field or acceleration environment that is higher than what they are normally used to.

Masque Mode - An individual may choose an appearance that is different than their current state. This might be something as simple as different as clothing different than or additional to what is or isn't actually being worn or as complex as an entirely different body, voice, and surroundings (see Eidolon).

Medical Mode - If a being experiences an extreme cutting or puncturing injury, the local angelnet gushes into the wound and seals off the blood flow forcibly until emergency units can respond. If the area is too far from a civilization center for emergency assistance to arrive in a timely manner, the angelnet can 'pick up' and 'levitate' the sophont to a medical center. (See "service mode" above.) In extreme cases the angelnet acts as the hands and eyes of a remote doctor, who provides emergency medical care onsite.

Object Mode - When tactile interaction with a physical object is desired, angelnetting can take the place of many (not all) physical objects. The main limitations are temperature (many angelnets are unable to generate body heat without extensive modification and/or jury-rigging, for instance) and texture, as angelnetting at full contraction retains a somewhat 'grainy' feel as the nodes retain some separation. (Some more-advanced angelnets get around these limitations with 'props', sections of various textured and/or temperature-responsive materials kept handy for interactions and moved as the sophont comes in contact with them.)

Public information mode - The angelnet can communicate with citizens inside, or near, the angel-fog, using emitted sound and light displays, or more exotic methods if required. This function is useful in emergencies, or for contacting individuals who do not have DNI equipment (or who have temporarily disabled it). Individuals who have acted their privacy mode will not be disturbed except at the discretion of the local transapient. The angelnet may also be used as a temporary notebook or memory store by individuals who have no access to their own recording equipment.

Privacy Mode - An angelnet can be set to 'ignore' beings, or areas. This could be done so that maintenance sections might remain invisible, or defensive installations not intrude on baseline lives. This is one of the more frequent abuse modes, and is often considered a dead tip-off by angelnet controllers that some shenanigans are going on if one or more sections of the angelnet/utility fog go to privacy mode without prior approval.

Service Mode - The UF/angelnet transports consumables to individuals residing within it. It can "hide" objects in transit from individuals until such time as the "delivery" is made.

Teleport Mode - When a sophont wishes to travel somewhere within an angelnetted environment they specify where they want to go and the net 'teleports' them there. A section of angelnet at the 'destination' is bound over to the sophonts control and takes on their form (or whatever form they specify to represent them); this remote representation is known as an eidolon. Meanwhile the net surrounding the traveller takes on the form of the surroundings at the destination. As the traveller moves around inside the simulation (which uses the net as an omni directional treadmill allowing them to walk without actually going anywhere) their movements are duplicated by their projection. Whatever the traveller's eidolon experiences is transmitted to them via the net. Effectively the being has traveled instantly to a distant location without ever leaving home.

Whisper Mode - An angelnet activated in whisper mode greatly reduces sound transmission as it allows the nodes of the 'net to flex and sway slightly on the support structures, absorbing portions of the kinetic energy imparted via sonic waves. Of course, the angelnet is capable of generating most sounds at nearly any section of its extent, allowing stereophonic sound effects for any or all of the sophonts within it. Some types of angelnetting may have difficulty damping certain hi-frequency sounds, based on physical constraints.

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    One side effect of large amounts of low-tech utility fog (or other lower-tech nanites) in a terran-standard atmosphere has come to be called 'Angelnet Fog'. Effectively, each nanite or microbot acts as the seed for a raindrop, with water coalescing out of the atmosphere onto its surface. This tends (in poorly regulated angelnets) to lead to high degrees of mist and fog at ground level. It can be an interesting phenomenon to fly into an angelnetted city from above the angelnetting, seeing large, odd-shaped 'columns' of fog, only later to realize that what you're seeing is the angelnet fog surrounding various buildings.
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Development Notes
Text by John B, David Jackson, and Todd Drashner
Initially published on 26 August 2004.