Beyond: Genesis

It’s time to travel … Beyond

Welcome to the cold war of evolution. This is a reality where Humanity has advanced toward two specific sciences: robotics and gene splicing. Prior to this, Humanity lived on one single rock known as Terra (or Earth, to its inhabitants). They, like those of the Victorian era, reached what they believed was the pinnacle of research. They had established a colony on Mars, found ways to combat overpopulation, hunger, and disease. Terra was by no means a utopia; the entire world was city-based with rare exceptions of countryside owned by the richest few, but it was stable. Humanity had won the war against its nature. For many years, technological advancements slowed in comparison; they believed they had everything they needed. That all changed with Fusion Inc.

Fusion changed robotics globally – they were widely considered the reason we ever made it to Mars. In a few short years, their technological breakthroughs turned Mars from a colony into a world. They developed terraforming technology that was far beyond anyone’s wildest dreams; Mars became entirely breathable and inhabitable within twenty years of the first obelisk’s placement. The obelisks were their initial breakthrough – they had the capability of terraforming even the most dire planets – even new lifeforms would be created through them. Their robotics department was matched only by their research into gene splicing. They had learned to evolve Humanity through both cybernetics and genetic recombination with other creatures, especially ones existing off-world from Terra. Their co-founders, Alfred and Godfrey, were seemingly immortal; Humanity’s average lifespan had reached over one hundred years, but they lived for many centuries; some even worshipped them as deities, though their public appearances were extremely rare.

The first colony away from our solar system was upon a planet known as Meliorem – its location remained unknown to anyone outside the chosen of Fusion. They built a city upon it in their early years, and began experimenting with the possibilities of synthetic and organic beings spliced together; Project Genesis was born. Not much is known about the project, only that it catastrophically failed. In fact, it was such a disaster that Fusion deleted all records of its location, any scientific discoveries that were found, and only a few ever returned from the trip there.

Within days of the closure, the co-founders announced their split. Alfred was a firm believer that robotics and cybernetics were the future of mankind – only through advancements in that field could we possibility thrive. He remained on Mars, furthering his research there under his new company, Prototype Industries. Godfrey thought differently; he put aside robotics in favour of splicing, believing that our tomorrow would be achieved through quickened evolution of our DNA. He terraformed the most volatile planet he could find (possibly as a challenge), and created the most diverse ecosystem ever thought possible. The millions that flocked to his world were interested in one thing – splicing their genes. He named his world Cras, the Latin for “tomorrow,” and created DarwinCorp. Though both former friends disagreed profusely with one another’s ideologies, they agreed to strictly ban the mixture of synthetic and organic DNA through their formula. This was called Fusion’s Law, and was not only a law of science, but a practice banned across the galaxy.

As the years passed, thousands of colonies spanned the galaxy – all using the Obelisk terraforming devices to undergo new adventures. In the three core planets (colonies were only ever small sections of a planet/moon), corporations and business had taken over from governments. Land was owned by businesses, not countries – though there was not much difference. Colonies were funded by corporations. Most splicing colonies were pushed by DarwinCorp, or by its smaller competitors, whilst robotic colonies had a similar mind under Prototype Industries.

The Galaxy was as lawless as the corporations allowed. Some did not care about the pirates, or raiders, in empty space. Others would supply private military escorts and fund their own law enforcement within their colonies. The only difference between governments running the world and corporations was that there was a lot more advertisement. When Alfred and Godfrey finally passed away, their legacies lived in their creations and ideas.

A long distance message was recently received on Terra, becoming galactic news. It was an encrypted code that seemed to suggest it knew the location of the first colony. Not everyone was able to decipher it, and a lot of those who did could not afford the trip – it was potentially the furthest anyone had travelled, yet Fusion was able to accomplish it centuries before. Now, corporations are sending their best and brightest, explorers from across the galaxy are heading toward it, and even those with villainous intentions have set their eyes on it. Soon, they’ll arrive and discover what really happened on Project Genesis.

Terra

The population is nearing a trillion. The planet is covered in towering cities, skyscrapers that reach the clouds. Those of wealth live in the higher towers, with their own artificial gardens and resorts. The middle sections of Terra are for the majority of the workers, or those rising to the top. Most buildings are owned by companies, corporations, religions, and occasionally, the richest own an entire tower to themselves.

The lower third of cities are occupied by most of their working class or those working law enforcement or military in those sections. Many corporations will house their employees in their own towers; the 21st century longed for the idea of working at home – it’s a reality in modern-day Terra. The surface world is a shadowed place very few call home. Since all produce is now grown in labs, the surface is a tomb for the past. Most of the time, it’s visited in documentaries. None who live can remember a world that was not a concrete jungle.

Terra banned all instances of splicing between organic life and synthetic – any corporation found to do so is exiled from all business, and its employees often put to death. This is the agreed upon global law – may what happened to Genesis never befall our origin planet. Much of Terra remains purist in its ideologies, with minimalist robotics and cybernetics, and very few cases of splicing. In all honesty, avid splicers avoid Terra purely because of its lack of wildlife since the 24th century.

Mars

The population is three billion. The majority of the planet is run by Prototype Industries, or its associates. Many of its competitors live upon the planet. It is expensive to move to Mars, but when one does, they’ll find themselves with vast amounts of land in comparison to Terra. Most tasks and jobs are performed by robots, making it an ideal place for people to retire to.

Mars is the leading world in technological developments in the fields of physics and engineering. Its robots span from basic household appliances with simplistic AI, to combat drones, translators, and, more recently – human-like synthetics. Prototype Industries and DarwinCorp have grown so large that they compete with themselves; more like countries than companies in this day and age.

Those who come from Mars are likely familiar with advanced robotics – if not specialists in the subject, at least wise to it through the sheer volume on the planet.

Cras

The population is two hundred million. The smallest of the core worlds, but certainly the most dangerous, Cras is teeming with wildlife and they preserve it with extreme prejudice. Nearly all splicing companies began on Cras, with DarwinCorp leading the charge. The variety of different species on the planet meant that running into a recognisable Human was nearly impossible. Humanity drastically changed. All manner of animal DNA merged with human DNA meant that you could find people of all different shapes, sizes, colour, and features upon Cras.

Splicing companies were obsessed with new discoveries and change. The common term for those who lived on the planet (and subsequently similarly minded colonies) is splicer. Though many of them retain their human instincts, their features could be that of a reptile, fur from head to toe, perhaps wider than taller, two hearts, the ability to hold their breath underwater for hours – they were forcing evolution through biology.

New species were being discovered all of the time, meaning Cras is not even close to being abandoned; despite that, its population remains low as many splicers consider themselves explorers – always in search of a new gene pool to create their own species. Across all worlds, Humanity became God.

The Colonies

The population across all colonies is unknown, along with just how many colonies there are. Teleportation technology had been designed and used to get man from planet to planet; however, those who travelled great distances often arrived naked, arriving shortly after their terraforming Obelisk.

Colonies differed from one to the next, each with their own barrier that protected them from the atmosphere outside. Some colonies were filled with splicers, searching for new life. Others with those looking for new materials to further technology in other fields. Some were corporations trying to establish as much presence in the galaxy as possible. Culture, species, and ideologies were vast across the colonies and space stations.

Why did people decide to live in such remote areas? Often it was better than any other world. Too expensive to live on Mars, too dangerous to live on Cras, and far more land than is available on Terra. It was a risk being a colonist. Not every planet took to the terraformers; some destroyed by the obelisk not being able to handle the atmosphere, others fell to the wildlife and creatures created by the terraforming, and others simply disappeared.

On a few colonies, the robots had gone rogue and killed their masters. On others, splicers mutated, becoming freakishly different to Humans – many resorting to cannibalism – their colonies sending out distress signals before going dark.

Races of the Galaxy

Our galaxy is full of different species, but mostly of our own creation. It’s always a chance when terraforming a planet that you’ll create life that is more clever or more dangerous than Humanity. Splicers could be considered new species within themselves – many are so far mutated that their DNA is vastly different to a pure Human. Splicing can take anywhere from weeks to years before changing someone’s appearance.

Though all splicers are technically mutants, the term is only used when something goes wrong. Mutants, more insultingly known as “abominations,” can retain their memories, remain trapped in a new and deformed version of themselves or perhaps become far more primitive. It’s uncommon, but it happens. Usually, mutants can be defined by their bulbous features; limbs, face/jaw, or even just extremities. There’s several examples of colonies collapsing due to a mutant gene breakout, causing the colony to go feral.

Aliens might live among us; as long as they’re bipedal, it’s impossible to tell. Is this one person short and green with giant eyes because they’re an alien or because their ancestors spliced with an amphibian? If aliens do live among us, we’re unaware of them. Many theories have speculated that they most certainly do.

There are other realities to ours; scientists discovered that long ago. Mirror realities often lead to people coming through to ours – they’re known as doppelgangers. It’s widely accepted that doppelgangers should be extinguished as quickly as possible to preserve space-time and prevent time paradoxes. They’re extremely rare, and sometimes people might even have memories from their alternate reality selves – but a good knock to the head has been known to fix this. It’s thought that by killing them, they’ll return to their own timeline.

Robotics of the Galaxy

There are many fields of robotics, with tens of thousands of competitors trying to create the most perfect machines. The first entries into robotics were factory workers, e.g. automated diggers and mechanical devices. Then they went commercial with machines that could make coffee for you and bring it to your bedside, usually on wheels. The first range of bipedal robots were created by Fusion Inc, and were widely popular. They could be used for all manner of work.

At first, people were ecstatic at the idea – then came the riots. Across Terra, robots had been replacing workers in nearly all fields. They were nowhere near as effective in a lot of them, but they didn’t require pay. Some companies remained purist by only hiring Humans, but most took advantage of the robots’ cost effectiveness. A heavy class barrier was created and remained until the Mainframe Virus.

The Mainframe Virus was a travesty for the robotics industry. Fusion was not the only robotics company on the market, and many had built similar designs. Francis Irons, one of the top technicians for Fusion, had been bribed to shut down their manufacturing line by creating a computer virus. His malicious programming cost a million lives. Across the globe, his virus infected robots and caused them to attack their owners. It did not just affect Fusion robots, but also all of its competitors. When the virus was erased by Fusion’s top technicians, they found evidence that lead to both Irons and his contractors. He was sentenced to death by electrocution. A robot pulled the switch.

From that point on, companies began hiring Humans again. They proved cheaper as they did not require security protocols. Robots were still popular, but in most companies they were hired for manual labour roles and always had a support Human to monitor them. Engineering would earn you a fortune. With the help of cybernetics, Humans could also outperform robots in a lot of fields. Fusion Inc also lead the charge in creating the first line of war-ready robots, and many companies utilized them. Militaries often had a mixture of robots, cybernetic Humans, and splicers. In recent years, synthetic Humans had become more popular – it was often hard to tell the difference between them and us as many robots had been given free will and personalities.

Cloning technology had also vastly improved years after the death of Alfred (it’s been nearly three centuries since his death). Everyone is issued an implant upon birth, across all worlds. It’s illegal not to have one – it’s your entire identity. The implant is capable of creating an augmented reality for its user, which can allow it to monitor its own vitals, or creature’s statistics. They were first created by Fusion, but further edited by Prototype to become what they are today. They allow the user to see “evolutionary levels” of a creature – or themselves. The number is a simplified algorithm for how strong or dangerous something is, along with how healthy. When someone with an implant dies, they are able to be cloned by the implant (the old one shutting down with its former body) and most of their memories restored – though, often they’ll lose about fifteen minutes to an hour.