Campaign of the Month: September 2014
Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.
As scientific progress blurs the lines between biology, technology, awareness, and identity, the concepts of species, culture and race are increasingly confused. Concepts of “human rights” are increasingly replaced by “sentient rights” as thinkers explore and develop what it means to be a rational, self-aware being.
|Homo apollinaris||AI Hybrids||Synthetics|
Humanity, Homo sapiens, a physically unremarkable species of bipedal hominids that arose in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. Through abstract reasoning, language and tool use, advanced problem solving and innovation, and the development of rich social structures, humans came to dominate their homeworld and eventually launch themselves out among the stars. With permanent self-sustaining populations living in nineteen star systems, and a limited presence in dozens more, the total human population today is estimated between 30 to 50 billion – depending on the definitions and criteria used.
Despite being the single largest minority group in human controlled space, unenhanced humans are something of an underclass, frequently pitied or despised for their inherent weaknesses.
Giving rise to biologically superior humans sometimes collectively referred to as Homo superior, pre-implantation genetic selection and advancements in human biological engineering have done much to eliminate the inherent weaknesses in the human body. All but the most disadvantaged families have access to the facilities and expertise to make sure that their children won’t be at risk for inherited diseases, birth defects, or a range of other health hazards that have plagued humanity for most of its history. On average, such people are healthier, smarter, and longer-lived than their ancestors.
A variety of retroviral treatments are capable of altering or enhancing specific traits. Though this remains very limited, as genetic engineering is an exercise in informed chemistry more than intentional design, cutting edge “designer babies” are available to wealthy parents and colonial populations are frequently altered to better adapt to the specific risks of their new homes. There is significant difficulty in making any dramatic changes stick through multiple generations, so usually each generation requires a new regimen and set of treatments or else drifts back toward the “Terran Standard”. Cloning is a common method of alternative reproduction among the wealthy elite seeking to preserve their valuable and expensive genes.
While fundamentally human in origin, metahumans have been subjected to some process that blurs the lines of humanity. Philosophical distinctions aside, most metahumans are considered apart from the rest of society and frequently face persecution, though many can reasonably hide their true nature.
The common citizen does not frequently interact with alien intelligences, but a variety of nonhuman species have been encountered in the course of humanity’s journey into the stars. Synthetic intelligences are far more commonly seen in the streets, though a wave of negative public opinion in the aftermath of the Ascension has seen their freedoms and rights curtailed.