More historically associated with dogs, cats and horses (i.e. domesticants), there were over the last century many attempts to further the species by this more traditional method.The pitfalls were the same and it must have been challenging and expensive keeping the gene pool big enough to avoid inbreeding pedigree weaknesses. As was to be expected, most of the experimentation was done on males in the military – it’s practically a tradition now, as we never run out of willing rank and ﬁle. Even with cloning as an alternative to naturally occurring humans, the majority created for such tests were inevitably males. If this isn’t chivalry, I’m not sure what is.
The human body wasn’t designed for space and hyper-accelerated travel; nor could it survive for very long in the open void. The goal was to fast-track bodies more suited for zero-gravity that could also withstand up to 20g of acceleration without internal rupturing. The program used cloning to save waiting for generational maturation and for a while debated whether or not to solve the short lifespan still plaguing the cloning industry. On the one hand, it kept a built-in shelf life as a safety feature against a clone revolution but on the other, it was stopping the program from going after that holy grail, the immortality market. Plate 6: One of the end results before the funding disappeared was Space Ranger Ted, born Theodore Loom. This miracle of best intentions was a confused, often dizzy, individual. The ocular advantages of a two-vision ﬁeld were offset by the inability of the visual cortex to process separate inputs. With vision being so intrinsic to brain development, Theodore was never going to become what they intended. He was, however, excellent with children, painting his tentacular extremities in rainbow colors and performing a whirling dervish act – which no doubt did little for his perpetual vertigo.
Plate 7: An offworlder, of Asteroid Zeta-37 beyond the Kuiper belt. Eyes and sockets enlarged beyond proportion, to soak in the precious and distant sunlight.
While not a breeding program per se, Offworlders were self-infected with a virus that loosened the strictness of DNA and RNA copying, thus facilitating localized adaptation to the new environment. The results were unpredictable but eventually useful.
Like their extinct avian namesakes, ‘canaries’ were bred as an early warning system for epidemics. Criss-crossed with canines, felines and all sorts of mammalians, including Homo sapiens*, came the breed of animal we now call canaries. Their weak immune systems and accentuated tell-tales (such as bright red noses and sweaty-ears when sick) could provide enough warning to medicate and protect their human owners from suffering the same condition.
Canaries are the most popular domesticant on all the worlds and throughout the fringe, safeguarding the health of more privileged creations. We can be such monsters. Breeding is considered a ‘normal’ process, attuned with Darwinism, though it is controlled and directed through human selection. Perhaps this means we have been beyond Darwinism for millennia.
* Incidentally, “modern” man is a further sub-species called Homo sapiens sapiens, though I don’t think this matters here.