One of our problems in designing the Synthetics as not making them The Terminator. The synthetic intelligence from which they are generated, known as Unity, has a more than passing similarity to SkyNET and so the synths themselves are essentially non-conductive carbon alloy chassis covered in vat grown muscle made of honeycomb cell structures that absorb a great amount of damage. A synth is basically, physically, superior to most humans in most ways, so it was quite a pickle.
Our solution was to differentiate between civilian models, which usually look visually stunning, but are no stronger than baseline humanity, and military grade synthetic bodies which are more fine tuned and heavier from the addition of technology throughout their bit in the military. This also implied a lot of things about the state and ideas of military service in the Monochrome Dreams setting. The Unity became one of Gibson’s megacorps in its own right with its own pro civil service, pro military ideology as a facet of giving back to a state that provides the full suite of infrastructure support to its citizenry.
The relevance here to today’s comic is that for all our attempts to make Synthetics “not the terminator”, sometimes they’re totally the terminator. This scene is Kale harnessing the implicit benefits of being a Synth to chase down a mook. She can, for instance, turn off or greatly reduce tactile response to pain so smashing though a barrier isn’t anything. Unlike humans who have an upper limit based on biology that their bodies can exert themselves, a synthetic is only limited by the ability of their skeleton to support the extremes of strength the synth’s artificial muscles will exert. Synths are physically faster, stronger, more resilient, and to some degree have greater mental adroitness, able to process complicated ideas with more alacrity. They even procreate faster given that their generation cycle is only limited by the speed of factories and not the limits of biology.
But all those advantages still have their cost.
Also, we never meant for them to become space elves. The pointed ears came up on one test page and promptly became canonical for every artist used in development. They also aren’t Drow. Kale and Callisto’s dark skin comes from the color of the blood like suspension in their bodies being close to the physical surface of their skin, but that color is largely custom and jet black is just the most common color or lack of color. Synthetics, just like pure strain humans with modifications, can run the entire gamut of colors.
Maybe sometime we’ll have a neo-noir goth in the background who turned his skin translucent.
Apologies for the late update everyone, as ever the real world intruded but now life resumes at its more normal pace. We’ll be updating again next Friday as usual 🙂
Regarding synth skin, as pointed out above another reason is that Kale and Callisto being former soldiers means they would have been exposed to both radiation and radiation based weapons, as a result of extra shielding against such weapons they ended up quite dark 🙂 In future you will see more…. colourful synths.