Edit: Draft 2 also. Let's see how we go this *exicting!* new number-draft system which I will struggle with.
[Science Fiction again. Part two for the Monarch story. Enjoying writing about space. It keeps me less cynical. Also all biological and technological stuff should be taken with a grain of salt.
Also cannot miss an opportunity to get a Venture Bros picture reference.
-The Egg Party]
by The Egg Party
Space Year 2233
The first androids were uninspired machines. It was difficult to find another word so perfect a description of them. More could have been accomplished with one of the greatest of innovations of humanity but this lack of inventiveness was by design. In an overly protective desire to make robots completely harmless, the Robotic Charter was created and, in it’s totality, led to a particularly boring first generation of AI.
Paranoia was the guiding force that led to the collection of UN member states universally accepting this stifling policy. The lesson that was learned in hindsight was that with the greater intelligence came more empathy not aggression.
This control did not cover why robotic engineers failed to create a machine with any true essence. It was later speculated that there was too much focus was on how that device could be better made in the human image. The creation of artificial life turned out to be a task of imagination, not mimicry.
However boring, these first robots were still a global phenomenon. The first decades of integrating them into widespread usage was tough; worldwide shortages and inefficiencies were a continual problem. Demand outstripped supply and production requirements for design resources.
Due to imbalances in both resource and economic demands, many nations did not equal access to increasingly complex robotic manufacturing.
Inadequate requirements of many rare earth elements caused temporary, dramatic geopolitical power shifts toward forward thinking countries who stockpiled . China was the main beneficiary of this forethought.
This led to the US, through NASA in combination with various private space enterprises(VSPEs), beginning the Second Space Race. This second innovative push did have have the lofty goals laid out in JFK’s speech ‘We choose to go to the Moon’. For many countries that were wishing to retain their pre-eminence it was no longer choice. Going into space was purpose driven; without resource, technological domination would lag. The Space Act of 2015 meant that the ownership of the resource found in space was based on a ‘finders-keepers’ law. And so the Coldrush began.
In bitter hindsight robots are seen as both the saviours and iconoclasts. They created the demand which enabled what was the basis for the resurgence in space exploration, a technological leap which eventually led to development of space flight enabling the continued survival of humanity. Robots also prompted vast conflicts both with and within human society.
Areas where personal androids were instituted on a wider scale were revolutionised in so many strange ways. A mixture of positives and negatives. Fringe groups such as the Anarcho-primitivists, Neo-Luddites, Committee for Liquidation and Subversion of Computers(CLODO), began to grow in popularity as many resented the benefits of the new robotic society.
In many of the richer countries such as the US, Australia, Norway, most humans had one or more personal helper robots. Helper robots were all low functioning androids which had no ability of self-determination. There also existed a spectrum of lower function robots which catered to all societal needs.
Automation made life boring for many, maddening for some. A huge class of the voluntarily unemployed, the immobile, the bored, did little but look at the ever crumbling environment on Earth and eat till they were sick. These particular individuals spent much of their time honing the long traditional craft of complaining.
Others created art, studied, fucked one another to the point absurd fetishism, escaped reality with drugs, did whatever distracted them from their overly pointless lives. Many felt devoid of any fulfilling sense of utility. Humanity had spent so long time advancing technology to the point where life was more convenient. When peak convenience was reached there came a delayed reaction, a universal realisation that the next step was not planned.
Complex eugenic therapy was one solution to an uncertain future. It rose in popularity in the decades after the Coldrush. The destruction and eventual departure from Earth was not an overnight realisation. The destabilisation of the planet was seen coming for a significant length of time. Altering human genetic structure was seen as a smart move in preparation for new planetary homes.
Genetic manipulation technology had changed drastically from the barbaric attempts in the past. It advanced slowly over time and eventually became a highly specialised science. Many would choose genetic characteristics before they even began the process of conception.
Genetic alteration transitioned into a process which could be done post birth and at that point it became a hobby for some. It also developed into a mental illness for others. The condition most commonly appearing was Genetic Identity Dis-associative Disorder(GIDDI), where a person does not feel comfortable unless they are continually shifting their biological make up.
Humans began choosing desirable genetic traits to propagate in a very unpredictable pattern. Local, national and international laws were attempted and then ignored. Global destabilisation and destruction prevented effective government prohibition of any genetic action was focused on space colonisation.
The only observable pattern of use for this technology was an underlying consensus for getting adaptations which were useful to the greater population. What was considered ‘useful’ was particularly broad.
New human traits were not strictly gained by altering the human gene pool and choosing the most advantageous genes from the whole population. Human inferiority complex around robots led to the advancement and diversity of the human race. What was left in the remaining living or databased gene pool was spliced into the human genome. Be that material from the vast genetic libraries or cages from the local zoo.
Apes and other primates were first due to similarity and ease, giving humans quadradextery and increased physical hardiness. While the use of both hands and feet in a planetary sense was of limited use, in space it was a huge advantage. Superior navigation of the tight spaces in zero gravity was a useful on any space vehicle. Domesticated animals were next due to availability, cats and dogs raining all over the human DNA sequence.
Failure in governmental legislature led to the ION Federation, the Intergovernmental body which replaced the United Nations, abandoning all attempts to curtail privatised genetic manipulation. Focus was reapplied to the widespread creation of the Monarch Hierarchy.
The genesis for the Monarch program was due to desperation. After centuries looking for alien life without result, despair set in. There would be no Deus Ex Machina, no great leap of technology provided by an outside source. Earth was lost. Humanity decided that there was nothing for it except to keep their own brand of life existing. They set to work spreading their own species throughout the universe.
This particular program led to the possibility of these neo-humans being able to survive long term space travel, allowing these migrant astronauts the ability to traverse the universe. They would find and inhabit neighbouring planets in the solar system. The rise of the monarchs was in many ways responsible for post-Earth humanity.
In the past humans had Kings who were often given their right to rule by a God. This kingly right was then passed down through subsequent generations of inbred clans. Often these doe-eyed, big-chinned maniacs would breed with other countries versions of their kings, queens and princes. And so it would go, happily ever after. Humanity decided that they would need to create and design their own Kings and Gods.
Humans took control in an attempt to manifest their own destinies in the sloppiest ways possible. As was said of the United States, is also true for the rest of humanity,
'You can always count on [humans] to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else'.
The Monarchs were created. Not entirely different to previous Kings, they were born with a great deal of responsibility foisted on them. Monarchs were created with the sole purpose of leaving Earth, forced to migrate to the unknown. It was a heavy burden but some groups remained critical of the whole genetic program. Anti-Monarch sentiment existed on Earth and many of the colony planets.
Some Monarchs mutinied on their outbound freighters, just roaming around in the interstitial spaces between home worlds. This group of humanity, Deadaleans, were diverse but many groups just became wasters, spending their days getting fucked up on Grid and causing mischief for the Federation. These self styled Pirate Kings were only a small segment of the diaspora. Most just went with it. There was a specific slogan for the program which was printed above each of above the space elevators which led to the Monarch shuttles which was created from extensive sociology research. The catch phrase was aimed at preventing last minute hesitation,
‘Just sleep on it.’
The flight of the Monarch was one of nature's examples of endless exploration. A living symbol of the phrase life finds a way. There were, on average, four main generations existing within the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. It starts with the first chrysalis bursting forth in Mexico. This generation flew north, heading up the various flight paths through to the United States. On various stops across the country, two more generations live and die. They were reborn in the seasonal breeding locations. The third generation finally arrived in the breeding grounds of Canada.
The fourth and final generation of butterflies are the true Monarchs. When born have to start the long trek of flying all the way back to Mexico. The forth generation flies three times the distance and lives three times as long of the preceding generations. For they have to go all the way back to where those distant relatives were born. Scientists used this genetic principle but interrupted the cycle; There would be no return.
Humans had improved aging, with the average lifespan reaching 150 to 200 years or more, but there was difficulty breaching that upper age cap. That was until the Monarch splice was put in place. After humans became part butterfly each fourth generation would live around 500 to 600 years. In addition to this they were physically the hardiest and the most psychologically stable. They were better able to handling flight both in the atmosphere and space. Stasis came more naturally to them with their genetic talent for living in either a cocoon or a chrysalis, natural stasis pods.
These Monarchs were given the task of leaving Earth. The distances were too great to have any normal human to survive the long sleep. The Monarch protocol was put in place, along with the 34th ruling, to spread life throughout the cosmos. Their job was a thankless one and the extended life span was scant reward. No Monarch would ever come back to the Earth they knew. It was a one way journey through time and space. Once arriving, the Monarchs would breed and produce Emigres. The slang term of or Mexicans still existing for the many that still remembered the derivations of the particular generations.
The Emigres were the first wave of the multiplying population to spring from the Monarchs. They would go on to breed the Patriots who went on the produce the Diplomats. Finally another Monarch generation would be produced and they would inevitably be send out once again to find a new planet. This frog jumping method was considered the best chance to spread as far as possible. Throw as many lines and assume that one or two would catch.
Kong was a King of an Orangutan variety protohuman. The main problem he faced in his stunted life was that of fertility. He was rendered sterile after a particular nasty accident when he was a child. Operation after operation led him no closer to getting his seed to swim strait. This meant he was trapped for a century on Mars playing with himself. Little use was seen for a sterile member of the master race. He was a second generation Monarch. His fore bearer Monarchs had been a test, sent to Mars to start a colony base in the Milky Way in the early days of the Federation. He had never even had an Earth to miss he was a space baby. He desperately wanted to see what he could find out there in the universe whilst completing his other personal plans.
The reason Kong actually got to leave was due to luck and merit. It took a long concerted effort. He spent that hundred years without a destination becoming the best darn-tooting aeronautical space mechanic that he could be. There was always a small place for a human element supervising the robotic help. There were problems which needed answer often too abstract for robots.
Emilia swung him a place on an outgoing freighter when she observed and understood his talent with his four hands. Furthermore she considered him a friend. Or as close to a friend as she could ever really imagine. There was a ship heading from earth with another group of Monarchs and they met them on their trajectory into the unknown.
It was one of the last Monarch ships to leave the stomped cigarette butt that was Earth and they needed numbers. The ship was heading to Eiron to refuel before continuing on to Planet Ableton. Irrespective of the conditions on said planet, that they were leaving Mars was good enough for both of them.
Emilia was valued on the space cruiser for a reason other than genes and procreation. She was also one of the abandoned. She was of Kong's group, one of the last to leave Mars. She had her own reasons for being left behind. She just didn't want to procreate. It was unappealing for a host of reasons.
Kong often consoled her, 'it's not for everyone. I reckon I must have just gotten your share of bottled up sexual energy.'
Mind you it was usually after a failed attempt at convincing her to touch his neglected parts. After the first failure they fell into a solid routine of Kong attempting to woo Emilia and Emilia deconstruction Kong's masculinity.
Emilia had struggled with this concept all her life. She was a damn Monarch for Christ's sake. Unfortunately asexuals didn't have a place in the continuity of humanity. The future or the past. They existed as independent blips on the time line of human history. They were partially removed from life, left to enjoy and consider the baffling sexual choices of their peers.
The reason Emilia got a position on the shuttle Laika III was due to her feline qualities. Cats became a popular splice due to their selfish and self-persevering nature. Shuttle Commander material. Didn't really matter if she didn't want to breed so long as she ensured the craft arrived to it's required destination. Landed on it's feet.
What made their particular exodus rather quick at the end was the final deterioration of Earth. Anything slightly hardy enough was cobbled together to make a spaceship and was sent out into the black.
It made sense as Kong walked over the carpeted spaceship.
He wondered out loud, 'Why the fuck would you put carpet in a spaceship?'
The question answered itself. Answered with his solution to most of his conundrums: humans. He found that he had become a more balanced person once he started to enjoy the extensive contradictions which tended to make up the universe.
The metal building and it's interior had been cut together to make the shuttle body. Historically the rotating frame of the ship body was an old governmental building used to house the department of infrastructure in city Atlanta, USA. The design had a bonus in that there was lots of toilets. Old hiding places for the government workers of days past.