Hollow Men: empty husks inhabited by the bastard offspring of extreme science financed by Tunguska’s dirty money. There is no moral justification for the Hollow Men; these abominations answer to an urgent and true need of Tunguska’s reality. How can you avoid corruption of the security forces in an environment dominated by mafias that have made corruption their way of living? Dragnet needed an assault group that could be trusted completely, an intervention force that could not be infected by the insidious tendrils of any of the Tunguskan mafias, a unit whose members were constantly monitored in such a way that their loyalty could not possibly waver. But how can one have total control of a person’s life? The answer was provided by one of Praxis’ Black Labs: total VR immersion. A complete virtual environment that could be easily monitored by Dragnet’s hunter pseudo-AIs needed to be created. What the Black Labs developed was a simulated environment known as Limbo, idyllic and perfect, but also malleable, allowing experiences impossible in the real world. In Limbo, the members of this unit live fulfilling lives in their solipsistic worlds, connecting with the real and dirty reality only during their service time through tactical android bodies known as Hollow Men. And in this way, they completely reject the real world and their own bodies.
They undergo radical surgery; only their brain is left and is placed in a life support cylinder connected to the VR simulator. For them the only way of returning to the real world is through their tactical operation bodies, which for them are nothing but a VR combat game. But the moral horror of this unit is not the volunteers, but the “conscripted.” The Black Lab that started this project did something more than just develop the technology. They swept hospitals looking for pregnant women whose fetuses were malformed from exposure to cosmic radiation and bought the fetuses before they could be aborted, as established by the medical protocols for space. The brains of these unborn were incubated and connected to a special section of Limbo known as The Nursery, where they were subject to hyperstimulation techniques to expedite development, which caused them to “grow up” in a simulated environment. Once a certain maturity is reached, these young ones will have not only lacked possession of a real body, they lose the possibility of having a choice about it. Instead they simply leave The Nursery to access Limbo and join the unit. The conscripted are the most valued Hollow Men both for their loyalty to their unit and to their way of life, a characteristic probably acquired during their education and intensive training received in The Nursery. However, once in action there is no difference between volunteers and conscripted. Neither are afraid and neither back down, because for all of them it’s just a combat game with the same rules as the rest: play to win.