3 rattlers from a private colection

the Narcissus Pattern Hessian Hood is an instrument of torture devised by the british during the last days of their empire.

though its use is banned throughout the sector, reports persist of its being employed by the leaders of harkonnen-aligned trade cabals in punishing bad debtors.

the hoods differed widely in design, but a basic model would consist of a lockable helmet equipped with an armoured two-way mirrored visor and a programmable arrangement of SBLEDs, usually rigged to draw power from the wearer's blood flow. the two-way mirrored visor would mean the wearer would provide a lamp for their captor, whilst unable to see anything but their own face.

in one notorious example of its use (revealed to us in decrypted archives recovered during the brutal unobtainium wars) condemned prisoners, or ‘solipsonauts’, would be fitted with an NPHH, providing the sole source of illumination in a vast and otherwise pitch black dungeon, temporarily revealing to his wretched compatriot souls the horror and squalor of their imprisonment. however vile the scene, the light would represent a rare and welcome reprieve from absolute visual deprivation.
in the early days of their incarceration, the prisoners all worked together in attempts to remove the helmet and retain the lamp, which fruitless efforts quickly became attempts to develop methods to keep the solipsonaut as comfortable as possible until their inevitable death by dehydration, which then became a dozen or so experiments in passably humane euthanasia, which finally became well-tested techniques for swift capture and merciless incapacitation.
eventually, when a randomly selected prisoner was taken in their sleep and reintroduced as a solipsonaut, a macabre competition would ensue; the solipsonaut - fully aware of what awaited them - would frenetically try to find the sharp edges and steel staircases they'd obsessively noted by the light of their stumbling predecessors, whilst the other prisoners would do anything they could to keep the light shining. they'd snap arms and legs, gnaw through tendons, stomp on spines; all that good stuff.

by the end of the war, an emerging solipsonaut would be almost immediately intercepted by the other prisoners, who over decades had learned to sprawl themselves in stinking layers around the dungeon entrance, covering any hard surfaces and edges that the solipsonaut could potentially use to break their neck or sever an artery. having subdued their prey, the other prisoners would spend a few precious cycles swapping old jokes by the slowly fading light of a mewling upturned face.

elsewhere, in the JUICERS, those custodial institutions that existed only to extract surplus value from their inmates, the NPHH would be used in their obscene harvest rituals, usually in conjunction with a rattler. a rattler was a garment that emitted sound. it would be worn by an inmate favoured by the guards, and was traditionally fitted with a bell or speaker torn from some desecrated sacred structure, providing the means to guide a solipsonaut along carefully choreographed routes.

a standard issue military rattler - the bell in this instance having been taken from behind the bar of a protestant pub