ENTRY 057: After Eden
Transhumanity learns from its mistakes. It helps that so many of them are in the same place.
After Eden is a small, specialized habitat in the Martian north pole with political and economic ties to the Jovian Republic and certain hypercorps. The majority (70%) of the four-thousand strong population consists of flats with gross genetic defects—conditions grown obscure after decades of genetic screening and engineering have winnowed many of the most egregious and curious genetic diseases that transhumanity have to offer, the result of mutation, genetic damage, and improper development. To the bulk of transhumanity, these are failures, dead-ends, monsters, and objects of pity, but to the researchers and caretakers of After Eden, they are a smorgasbord of strange genetics in the wild, which they sample, study... and encourage to proliferate.
A.E. is nominally an anarchist habitat with a rotating schedule of work which is accomplished on a volunteer basis by the residents, sometimes out of boredom and otherwise in exchange for privileged access to certain local scarcities like sugar, alcohol, and Jovian sportsfeeds. Caretakers and researchers also participate in habitat maintenance, which they have to balance with their medical duties, seeing to the personal needs of the residents and working toward specific research goals. The two populations, residents and caretakers, are thoroughly intermixed.
While open to visitors, mostly traders from other Martian habitats and visiting researchers, and billing itself as a medical community to care for genetically defective transhumans, After Eden is essentially a research penal colony. The test subjects are subject to behavior modification to prevent them leaving, and in some cases to remove sexual mores and encourage breeding between subjects that might be disinclined to otherwise cohabit—such as close relations. This feature remains controversial, as the researchers have enough biological material culled from the research subjects to create hundreds of viable embryos and examine the resultant genetic code, but such a sterile laboratory process does not replicate the developmental issues that may shape a fetus, and so the process continues.
Using After Eden
A.E. is the transhuman equivalent of the quiet little village with the dark secret it wears on its sleeve. While some visitors might consider it a freakshow, the habitat shows no less variety of forms than most transhuman habitats, with the exception that instead of possessing those forms by choice, they are a natural product of their genetic code and development. The real monsters are of course the researchers who twist the residents’ minds to keep them there, and to cull from their genes the next enhancements to the transhuman genome. This, again, may not be obvious—many of the residents require considerable aid for their basic existence, which is provided by their caretakers without fail. Ideally, the gamemaster should insinuate the nature of After Eden gradually, so that the PCs fully understand the nature of the moral dilemma—to “free” the residents would also mean cutting them off from the vital care provided by the caretakers and researchers.