ENTRY 126: The Lilith Sequence
Transhumanity hovers on the brink of extinction, and in such trying environmental conditions its individual members continue to try new strategies to ensure the survival of the species. If hardship brings out the best in humanity, it also brings forth its weirdest, and even the most bizarre scheme is sure to have a handful of volunteers and adherents. Digital uploading succeeded, as did uplifting and many forms of genetic engineering; many other morphs and projects failed, leaving behind damaged or forgotten remnants of imperfect augmentation technologies, failed immortals in a universe that considers them accidents, false starts, and rejects.
Before the Fall, Dr. Anais Forquah pioneered a parthenogenesis procedure for humans known as the Lilith Sequence, which allowed women to produce a self-fertilizing egg to form an embryo, which the woman would then carry to term and birth as a clonal daughter. Aimed primarily at the reproductive market, Forquah envisioned a world where women would be free to choose their own method of reproduction, so lesbians, single mothers, and women whose partners could not conceive could have children on their own terms and schedule. Detractors raised the usual fuss, particularly the early bioconservatives, as well as scientists who feared the loss of genetic variation would spell doom for the human species, and social pundits who claimed women would induce pregnancy only to abort them to provide a steady supply of fetal stem cells for profit. Whether these fears would have born out is unknown, for the Lilith Sequence was not a popular or inexpensive procedure, and was quickly co-opted by space corps postulating parthenogenesis as a cheap method for producing long-term Amazonian colonies.
Post-Fall, the Lilith Sequence became little more than a curiosity, one more tool in the arsenal of genetic engineers, but an unpopular one that was rarely called-for. “Lilitu,” carriers of the Lilith Sequence still exist, but the Amazonian communities envisioned by the early space corps have so far failed to materialize. Instead the procedure is used as Forquah imagined it would be—by those who wish to have children, but where traditional conception is unavailable or undesired. Lilitu who wish to bear children more traditionally typically resort to artificial insemination.
Lilitu is a positive trait that can be applied to any female or neuter human or human-derived biomorph (i.e. no uplifts, no synthmorphs). Male Lilitu are possible at the gamemaster’s discretion, but tend to hormonal imbalances and require medical assistance for reproductive matters.
Cost: 0 CP
The character reproduces through parthenogenesis, and any children produced are essentially infant clones identical to the parent (barring individual mutations on the genes). Ovulation and conception are typically stimulated through sexual contact and orgasm; most lilitu use contraceptive implants or medication to avoid unwanted pregnancy when they desire non-reproductive sexual intercourse. Children born of lilitu are also lilitu.
Using the Lilith Sequence
While not the central focus of most Eclipse Phase games, reproduction is one of the major behavioral drives of the human species, and in all of its variations and complications provides a wealth of plot-lines, scenarios, and motivations that players and gamemasters can draw on for background, characterization, and adventures. Better than that, reproduction is a subject of endless fascination and interest to most people, and one that a lot of science fiction authors have given plenty of thought to—at least in the theoretical approach. Very few of them have addressed what it might be like for a lilitu in their day to day life, how they interact with other people, the special considerations that they live under, and what they want and desire. So while some people may be squicked out at the idea of auto-cloning lesbians or neuters, keep in mind that your job at the game table isn’t to read your erotic fanfic about how clonal kid A was conceived, but deal with the real effects of a character that has to seriously consider the risks of pregnancy even without normal sexual contact, or raising kids in a habitat, or maybe has a complication that requires specialized reproductive medicine help. Those can be played as plothooks or background noise, but they’re real issues with a cool twist, and if used carefully players might dig them.