Enhancer
Also known as a matter enhancer or an enhancer device. A semi-mythological clarketech device that is very popular in pop-culture dramas.

Typically, the heroes discovers the device (it is usually a sphere no more than a few centimeters in diameter, although rings and amorphous globs are also popular) when attempting to escape the villains who are preparing to blow them out of the sky. In a moment of inspiration, the heroes slap it against their hull, enhancing it so that it easily repels the enemy's attack and our heroes manage to win/escape/save the day. Another variant has a small portable clarketech device with an independent AI giving the wearer tremendous power.

In the case of genuine enhancer devices, these do exist, but are rare, unpredictable, and most often godtech. Some are simply the home of a small "genie in the bottle" system, normally used by archai for minor repairs, that has come into the hands of the SI:<1. It can figure out how to rebuild and optimize things at enormous speed, but has the drawback of not caring very much about trivial beings below the Third Singularity - so if misused it might accidentally use people as building material or "enhance" them in unexpected ways.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Todd Drashner and Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 24 October 2001.