Monday, August 17, 2015

Genetic Dynasties

“Aggressive genetic engineering leads to an increased rate of cancer and cancer-recidivism amongst all age groups. However, the older the recipient, the more likely high rates of transcription errors will result.”

Excerpted from Wang Lu’s “Memo Advising Against Tampering,” an Amtech report on post-birth retroviral engineering, compiled in 2089 and eventually submitted to the ASC for consideration in 2101

Gengineering is a complicated, difficult, and expensive process. Further, the Allied Systems Conference has agreed to a number of gengineering conventions that make it legally dubious to undertake. Applicants for gengineering must present documents proving full citizenship in an ASC signatory corporation as well as numerous blood and gene sequencing tests. Due to the risks associated with post-birth gengineering (including very high cancer rates), the ASC levies a nearly crippling premium on all gengineering labs which engage in post-birth work. Indeed, insurance carriers will frequently refuse all insurance to gengineered citizens.

However, pre-birth gengineering by use of retroviral rewriting (r-writing), is somewhat common among the wealthiest upper citizens. The first uses of r-writing on embryos were made legal in the 2040s under old Earth governments, but remained prohibitively expensive. As the Piketty Effect* predicted, the wealthiest entrepreneurs who could afford r-writing and other more primitive forms of gengineering produced offspring with tangible, objective benefits. The first Calculators** were born from the ranks of the ultrawealthy.

Once the ASC protocols were in force, the various fines and insurance bumps made certain that gengineering one's offspring would be forever out of the reach of the bourgeois and working classes. As the capitalist class slowly transformed into a society of rentiers and copyright owners, gengineering produced other tangible benefits.

These stratified groups of gengineered ultrawealthy have become somewhat commonplace among the upper echelons of corporate society in the 22nd century. Thus were established the so-called Genetic Dynasties of the early 22nd century. These dynasties trace their lineage back to a pair of ur-parents who added the final gengineered touches to their offspring. The wealthier families may have two or three cadet branches (altered by different means, or with different ends in mind) amongst their dynasties.

This lineages are well-known for sharing certain traits. For example, the now defunct Meng Dynasty shared Calculator-level mental abilities and abstraction, Augments that were specially designed to interface with gengineered neural changes, and a tendency to require a great deal more sleep than other human beings. Indeed, most dynasties possess one or two strange quirks that are the result of early efforts at gengineering, from a common eye color (the Olovsk Dynasty), to progressive neuralgia (the Dauphin Dynasty).

Sample Dynasty Template (Meng)

21 points
The Meng Dynasty, once a powerful Luxing company lineage, has been in disrepute for at least a generation. A Luxing banking scandal engulfed the family's patriarch as well as most of their holdings and swamped them with litigation. When Janus Arbitration terminated the Meng citizenship in Luxing, some members of the lineage turned to hired guns to clear their names.

No Meng has held a high corporate office since.\

Advantages: Lightning Calculator, Talent: Math Ability (two ranks), Tiny Computer Implant [Photographic Memory (Temp. Disadvantage Electrical -20%, Recorded data only -20%)]
Genetic Signature: Extra Sleep (two ranks)

*so named after prominent 21st century French economic theorist Thomas Piketty, who hypothesized that in an unregulated environment, capital would tend to concentrate in the classes that already had capital.

**the 22nd century term for all human beings possessed of superhuman calculation skills, taking the term back from the computers which held it for several hundred years.

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