Spliced Universe Background
The funny thing about technology was that it constantly outstripped moral considerations. By the time the human race made it into space and began colonizing other planets, genetic engineering had become almost commonplace. First, scientists bioengineered plants and animals. A few diehard ecologists protested, but it was hard to argue with a process that stabilized the food chain and eliminated world hunger. As the procedure became more refined, humans were next. More protests followed, mostly from various religious communities. Again, though, the greater good prevailed, since the engineering eventually eliminated most genetic-based diseases and ailments.
Had the genetic manipulation stopped there, things would have been fine, but humans were slow to learn that just because you could do something, didn’t mean you should. After diseases and inborn disabilities had been eliminated, it was a short step to allowing parents to choose the sex of their unborn child or for their baby to have particular physical features. More than religious groups protested, but science had become the new religion and the nay-sayers were condemned for living in the past.
In general, the public was accepting of genetic manipulation, but the public didn’t know everything. Fifty years after genetically engineering an unborn child became common practice, a means was discovered to make the process even more sophisticated. Science had advanced bioengineering to the point where it was a cross between genetic manipulation and cloning. It was possible to create a human literally designed to fulfill a particular function or job and to mature them from unfertilized egg to fully grown in as little as three years, less if you didn’t want the ELF to be of adult age.
The public became uneasy.
At first the Engineered Life Forms were placed in jobs and functions that were not very threatening. As the debate continued about the ethics of, literally, creating a working class designed for unpleasant jobs, illicit human engineering took place behind closed doors, where the real money was. The public was twitchy enough about ELFs being janitors and garbage collectors, but when it became public knowledge that sex toys and soldiers both were being created in the lab, uneasiness turned to outrage.
Unfortunately, by that time the black market genetic engineering had become very lucrative and the engineers were unwilling to give up their cash cow. The know-how to create your own soldiers and the finances to do so were a dangerous combination and the rest of humanity had a fight on their hands.
And a nasty fight it was.
The war over genetic engineering lasted a generation, but birthed humans eventually won. Genetic engineering became anathema, but was never completely wiped out. Instead, it went deep underground, in a matter of speaking. Engineering Cabals existed all over colonized space and if you was determined enough and had enough money, you could have a soldier or a toy grown to your specifications.
Humanity had long since outgrown Earth and spread out across many solar systems. In the wake of the gene war, the planets remained tightly connected, forming the United Earth Domain. All citizens served a mandatory year in UED forces and many men and women chose to make the military their career. As for the rest, life existed pretty much as it had for centuries. Police still patrolled the streets, kids still stole first kisses in the playground and the pretentious still insisted on keeping up with the Joneses.
Those who served in the UED Forces might find themselves occupied with any number of tasks. In addition to their primary role in tracking down the remnants of the engineering cabals, the UED-F kept the peace between the various solar systems, explored the nearby space, and acted as emergency rescue when the situation warranted. Splicers, when cornered, fight fiercely and without any conscience, so UED soldiers have to be well-trained and uncompromising.
As for the ELFs, birthed humans looked at them with a mix of pity and responsibility. They could have looked on the splicers’ creations with disdain for being less than human, but instead birthed humans accepted the responsibility for having been lax in their watchfulness. Their ancestors had allowed the splicers too much leeway and a race of designer slaves had been the result. ELFs were typically looked on with affection and a feeling of protectiveness. The exception are pure clones, who are carbon copies of a specific human beings. These are viewed with a certain amount of revulsion, but are also rare. Most people who want an ELF want an idealized creation and not a copy that’s all too likely to have defects.
Birthed human: A human born in a normal manner. In other words, not an ELF.
Bonded: The tie between a sniffer and the human it imprinted on. If the human dies, the sniffer will too, although the opposite is not true. If a sniffer ELF is rescued before it is imprinted, UED will find the best possible match for a birthed human for it to imprint on. A child sniffer that is a sex ELF is bonded to another child sniffer sex ELF. The imprinting has to take place or it will die, but since the bonding involves sex, another child sniffer is considered a better alternative than an adult human.
Choice: When a splicer crèche is capture, the humans found there are given a standard choice – give up information or die. ELFs captured working at a crèche are considered innocents and are rehabilitated.
Crèche : Facility where ELFs are grown, decanted and trained. Are often, although not always, space stations.
Decanted: When an ELF is removed from the pod that it grew in.
ELF: Engineered Life Form. A genetically designed human being, created to have particular physical features or attributes. Most ELFs are designed for sex or soldiering, since those are the most lucrative product lines. An ELF is grown in a pod, a process that can take from eighteen months to three years, depending on the age desired in the finished product. After being decanted, an ELF lives a normal lifespan. Unless it has been designed to be otherwise, an ELF is capable of having children.
Grace period: When ELFS are decanted, they are blank slates. For approximately the first eight weeks of life outside the pod, ELFs learn incredibly fast, exponentially faster than a birthed human. It is during this period that an ELF receives training that will help it develop the personality that its owners want. Many ELFs are deliberately abused or ill-educated during this time in order to be easier to control. Others are left very innocent, so their owners can have the pleasure of disillusioning them.
Hatchery: Where newly decanted ELFs are kept for training purposes.
Pod: The unit that the ELF is grown in. Roughly cylindrical in shape, a pod is usually clear so that the genetic engineer can easily monitor its growth. Similar to birthed humans, ELFs get their nutrients through a cord attached at the belly. The resulting ELF belly button is a vertical slit, however, instead of the traditional round shape. Damage to the pod can result in damage to the ELF it contains.
Sniffer: An ELF that is designed to imprint on one human being. The imprinting takes place when the ELF first smells pheromones, therefore it is important that the sniffer ELF be isolated until its owner is ready for that to happen. A sniffer ELF can only remain without imprinting for a limited amount of time after being decanted, less than a year, without going insane. For a sex ELF, the second step to imprinting (after scenting the pheromone) is mutual orgasm. For a soldier ELF, the second step of imprinting is an exchange of blood. After imprinting is complete, the sniffer ELF must receive regular exchanges of mutual orgasm or blood or will become ill. Therefore, if its bonded partner dies, a sniffer will eventually die as well. Owning a sniffer, like with an ELF, is punishable by death. However, executing someone bonded to a sniffer will result in the sniffer’s death as well, so instead they are jailed and their sniffer brought in only when necessary to exchange orgasm or blood.
Splicer: Slang for genetic engineer. The punishment for a genetic engineer is death. Those found working with/for them are typically executed as well, unless they can provide information that will lead to the capture of other splicers. ELFs found working for splicers are considered innocents and are rehabilitated.
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