| Deidre Griest, ca. 2020|
(Illust. by Denise Schroeder)
|1st Minister of Science of the Sozvezdie Soviet|
May 1, 2016 – incumbent
|Prime Minister|| Malaclypse Fnord (2016 - 2021)|
Joseph Lacroix (2021 - current)
|Preceded by||office created|
|Born|| Deidre Constance Griest|
October 10, 1982
Providence, Rhode Island, Earth
|Alma mater||Cornell University (BSc., MSc.)|
|“||To the rational mind nothing is inexplicable, only unexplained.||”|
Let’s get one thing straight off the bat. It’s Deidre, not Dee. Never Dee. Under no circumstances whatsoever should you call Deidre Griest “Dee.” Bad things will happen if you do. With that in mind, let’s get rolling.
Born third out of five to a well-respected old-money Providence family, Deidre’s parents expected her to live the same sort of life they did, as did their parents and grandparents before them. Destiny had other plans for young Deidre, though. Gifted with high intelligence and imagination, Deidre swept through secondary school, received a full ride at Cornell University, majoring in physics and mechanical engineering and was on track to receive a Rhodes scholarship when something happened that shifted her destiny again. While tooling around one night on her motorcycle, a drunk driver zigged when he should’ve zagged and clipped her while moving at speed. The wreck ended up causing severe damage to her right arm, not enough to force amputation but more than enough to make it mostly useless. The months of hospitalization and rehab forced Deidre to turn down the scholarship offer and threw her into a period of forced inactivity.
With nothing better to do, she started checking out old haunts on the internet and discovered The Game. She threw herself into it, and ended up as one of the major players through the Game’s endgame. Once out of the hospital, she went returned to Cornell to finish up her degree and start her postgrad career. Cornell provided her the tools she needed to build a battery-powered exoskeleton for her right arm; this Mark I cyberarm restored a good deal of function to her arm and allowed Deidre to feel (mostly) whole again for the first time since the wreck.
When the wave crested, Deidre’s connections to the university tinkerer underground gave her access to some of the first samples to come out from wherever they’d been hiding. Handwavium interested Deidre in a very personal way. Even back in the beginning, there were rumors to the effect that ingesting the stuff could have very interesting results. After several years of having a mostly-useless right arm and hand, and only getting 50% functionality using her cyberarm on a good day, Deidre was willing to take a gamble on “very interesting.” She procured a nice large sample of handwavium and then deliberately set off what might’ve been the first intentional biomod in history. Setting up a fishtank full of straight handwavium and a set of cameras to record the process, Deidre shoved her right arm, prosthetic and all, into the tank and literally sat there while the handwavium did its magic. Eight hours later the wreck of her arm had been replaced by a carbon-composite replica of a healthy arm that had full range of motion, full tactile sensation and a working USB 2.0 port in the elbow. She also had eight hours of video showing the process of the handwavium modifying her damaged limb and the prosthetic into the new cyberarm.
With data in hand, Deidre used her experience with biomodding to write a doctoral thesis: “Interactions of the substance ‘Handwavium’ with biological and mechanical material.” It was one of the earliest academic studies to deal with handwavium, and it was rejected by the university on unclear grounds. Stung by the rejection, Deidre dropped out of sight to become a professional mad scientist, taking her handwavium samples with her. She surfaced for the big Game meeting where Mal Fnord proposed his big plan. Since Earth didn’t seem to have any use for her insights, Deidre signed up as the official technical advisor. Her hand-bred handwavium (the ‘Griest-1’ strain) was the root of the ‘Faget-Lozino-Lozinskiy’ strain used on Ptichka and all subsequent space shuttle refits and new construction. It was also during the Ptichka refit that she began experimenting with the mind-machine interface in her cyberarm. Deidre remains silent on the details, but one of her experiments resulted in a fully-operational artificial intelligence loosely based on her memories and mannerisms. She originally named the AI “Deidre 2.0,” but pretty quickly everybody started calling it “Dee.”
After the Oshkosh Terror Gang had their day, the newly-formed Soviet Air Force named Deidre as Chief Designer and resident mad scientist.
Deidre’s most obvious handwavium ability is of course her cyberarm. The current (2022) version of the arm is the Mk. V, which has several upgrades based on her own research as well as a few goodies from the Whole Fenspace Catalog. Outwardly it hasn’t changed much from the Mk. II prosthetic’s carbon-fiber shell, but the internal workings have been modified to decrease weight and increase overall strength and data capacity. The arm’s major quirk is that, unlike most cyberlimbs, she can’t remove it for maintenance or overhauls.
Deidre also has a tendency to self-experiment, at least with minor cosmetic things. Her latest project has been “mood hair,” a network of LCD crystals grown within the follicle and extruded like normal hair. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “blue hair day”, aside from serving as a warning to others.
Random Facts & Personal Data
- Deidre and KJ DuPree had a romantic relationship through the later phases of the Game and (supposedly) even up to the early part of the Ptichka refit. It fell apart due to irreconcilable similarities. Bickering and competitiveness aside, they still get along well.
- Surprisingly, she’s not really a cyberpunk fan. Claims it’s “too mean.”
- More than a decade after she left New England for the last time, still has a bit of that snooty upper-crust accent, which she exaggerates for effect at times.
( Keeps a copy of her doctoral thesis handy, on the off chance that a groundside university still might be interested.
- A closet White Wolf gamer, her current main character is a Lunar Exalted that she runs in an ongoing online campaign. She has the suspicion that the rest of the Oshkosh Terror Gang would tease her incessantly if they found out.
Ghost in the Shell (all iterations), Transhuman Space, Battle Angel Alita, Eclipse Phase, Schlock Mercenary, Charles Stross, Alastair Reynolds, Vernor Vinge, Girl Genius, Full Metal Alchemist