ENTRY 071: Garden-of-Me
On Vo Nguyen, the bioconservative stronghold orbiting Earth, the nursery-spaces for children were designed to be integrated with low-level hydroponics bays, so that the young transhumans could see green growing things, and learn their properties and how to care for them, and look back up at the planet of their ancestors which they might one day return to and reclaim. Most of these spaces have since been abandoned, or converted, as the demand for them failed to materialize. Various individuals and organizations have purchased or leased the use of these spaces for their own ends: commercial light hydroponics, living quarters…and a single garden.
Wiry, wood-like vines yield freckled pink flowers, and which slowly ripen into lightly furred, peach-skinned fruits. Tiny pseudo-arthropods with clear, tough exoskeletons tend the soil, farm aphids, and are consumed by little chameleons. Cup-like flytraps sweetly reek of decomposing meat to attract scavenger flies, and burrowing earthworms up to three feet in length are visible shimmying through the transparent earth-boxes, wending their ways around roots. All told, it is a testament to ecoscaping—but for the majority of inhabitants of Vo Nguyen, this garden is reviled and rarely visited. Because every living thing in that garden—every plant, insect, and lizard—is a genetically engineered chimera containing some human element. Digestive enzymes from human saliva fill the flytraps, the scuttling insects are armored in shells of keratin based on human nails, fruits are pigmented with human-derived melanin…and so forth.
- Sensation surrounds the expansion of the Garden-of-Me, which introduces its first mammal—a tiny transgenic chimera that resembles a cross between a field mouse and a tiny simian, with long paws and a nearly-human face. Competing groups are looking to capture or destroy the four specimens (two male and two female) before they are introduced: a religious sect which objects to their existence, an anti-bioconservative group that wants the creatures crucified in the garden to troll the bioconservatives, and nano-ecologists that believe the specimens aren’t transgenics at all, but actually a supposedly-extinct species. Any or all of them could approach the PCs for their assistance—as strangers to Vo Nguyen, they are most likely isolated from its warring sociopolitics and can operate with less scrutiny. In exchange, the PCs could get valuable introductions and make contacts on the habitat that would take months or years to develop otherwise.