Lauro, Clade

Clade Lauro
Image from Arik

Introduction

Although humanoid, and often mistakenly believed to have originated as a splice clade, the Lauro are officially classified as a Superior neogen race. The species was originally created to populate the Evermore megastructure by the archai known as The Twelve. The first known generation appeared in 6997 and over the following two millennia an aggressive policy of population growth was practiced until they stabilized in 9173. Today the Lauro number approximately 32 billion and practice a much more conservative rate of growth.

Currently less than one billion Lauro maintain permanent residence outside the Evermore complex and these examples are spread across the Disarchy / NoCoZo / Negentropy Alliance borders. They are talented negotiators and diplomats living in a region of sometimes violently conflicting memetics. The Lauro have never openly waged war on any of their neighbors and seem to pride themselves on providing a measure of peace and stability to the region.

Description

Author's Note: Because the Lauro are humanoid, and to provide a common point of anatomical reference, the baseline form will be used for comparative purposes throughout this article.

Lauro males average a height of 190.5 cm and females average a smaller 178 cm. They are heavier than a baseline of equivalent size due to variations in bone and muscle fiber density. Average unaugmented males weigh 105 kg and unaugmented females average 86 kg. Their overall form is tall with long, graceful limbs and an athletic musculature. The arms are 15% longer than those of a baseline of equivalent height while the legs maintain similar proportions.

Their skin is coppery tan in color and seems to retain a smooth, youthful appearance regardless of age. Erythrocyte cells located in the skin can cause them to turn a deep red color depending on mood.

A distinctive pattern of dark brown spots adorns the upper body. This pattern could be described as diamond shaped with the first point located at the torso center front just above the abdominal muscles. The opposite point of the diamond is located at the base of the spine with the side points located just past the connection of the trapezius and deltoid muscles and onto the shoulders. The spots are larger toward the sternum / spine (depending on facing) and smaller as they spread outward and down. In addition to the main grouping a small section of spots follows the area of the trapezius along the back of the neck.

Their hair is naturally black and limited to the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, axilla and pubic area.

The head is distinctly different than the baseline form. The skull itself is larger, or specifically the braincase is larger. The frontal bone angles slightly back with a soft crease down the middle and the brow line is somewhat more pronounced than what is considered baseline norm. The parietal and temporal bones are slightly longer, causing the back of the head to extend rearward and gently up.

The face is reminiscent of those seen on many terran mammals with a mildly protruding snout. Lauro lips are thin, shiny and black. The nose is flat and wide with large nostrils and a moist black leather. The eyes are slightly larger than baseline norm with round pupils. Natural iris colors are brown, orange or yellow with an outer thin black ring. At rest the iris fills nearly the entire visible area of the eye.

The ears are located near the top of the skull with pinnae (ear flaps) akin to those of an Odocoileus Virginianus (white-tailed deer). These pinnae will usually be found standing erect but relaxed. It is not unusual for their ears to twitch and turn as the Lauro instinctively address sounds within their vicinity.

As herbivores their teeth share a similar structure to those found in many other species within the Terragen sphere. The incisors are flat and spade-like while the molars are flat and squared. All of the teeth are packed closely together to provide an excellent cropping / grinding mechanism for eating. Unexpectedly they maintain the pointed canines of many naturally evolved herbivores, although their use in defense seems unlikely. There is some conjecture that this feature was maintained for the same biological viability used to explain other features such as sexual reproduction.

As a whole they have a pleasant body odour by hu standards. Their carefully engineered immune system, pheromone composition, and highly efficient digestive track have eliminated most potential negative odours. Health can be a factor and an unpleasant body odour is an excellent sign of underlying medical issues.

Communication, Senses, Locomotion

Communication

The Lauro are able to control the active length of their vocal folds with a range from 12mm to 25mm. They also have active control of the larynx giving them a frequency range of 125Hz — 300Hz. Combined with their perfect pitch Lauro are both exceptional impressionists and able to vocalize in any of the 11 classic vocal types (Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Contralto, Castrato, Sopranist, Countertenor, Tenor, Baritenor, Baritone, Bass-Baritone and Bass).

Communication involves not only verbal cues — including wide shifts in pitch and frequency — but also facial expressions and body language. When angry or threatened the erythrocyte cells in their skin can shift to a deep red color providing an observer an immediate sign as to their mood. This color change may be accompanied by growling vocalizations. Their ears are also very expressive; examples are drooping if depressed or sick, flattened back if angry, flattened forward if playful and fully erect when interested or focused.

Eyes/Vision

The eyes are larger than those of a baseline hu — approximately 166.66% by volume and measuring 3.23cm in diameter. Placement on the skull provides binocular vision with a 200-degree field of view. Visual overlap ensures they have high quality depth perception. 10.6 million cone cells divided into 5 types provide a spectral response from 320nm to 900nm. At their rest state Lauro have an average visual acuity rated at 6/3. Semi-conscious control of the ciliary muscles within the eye allows this to be increased to as high as 6/.6. The cone cells are approximately 20% more sensitive to light than those of a baseline offering superior color recognition in lower light conditions. Below 80 photons per receptor cell vision still becomes monochromatic and subject to the Purkinje effect. The 150 million rod cells are spaced at a ratio of 160,000 per mm^2 and are linked to interneurons at a 1:1 ratio. This connectivity coupled with superior neurological filtering provides true 1-photon activation. The net effect is 24x the low light sensitivity and 16x the low light visual acuity of baselines. Transition from high light levels to low light levels begins in 3 seconds and can shift from maximum to minimum tolerance in 10 minutes. As with baselines, if light is reintroduced during this transition the process must be restarted. While not immune to flash blindness, the speed of visual transition reduces effective time of blindness by nearly 50% over the baseline average.

The increase in visual capabilities does come at the cost of a substantial increase in the size of the optic nerves. Within a Lauro this nerve cluster is nearly 12mm x 18mm as compared to the 1mm x 1.5mm bundle found in a baseline hu. Some variation in skull design and the actual physical routing of the optic nerve serves to reduce its vulnerability to some degree.

A third translucent eyelid offers a couple of protective features. The first is defense against particles in dusty or windy conditions. This third eyelid offers enough security to allow partial vision even during a sandstorm. The second use is for underwater where the lid keeps water from washing away protective eye fluids and reduces potential irritation.

Ears/Hearing

Lauro have exceptional hearing with a range of 20Hz — 64kHz. The pinnae have a large number of small muscles at the base allowing them to be focused forward, backward or sideways to pinpoint the source of a sound. Using sound alone members of the clade can identify the source within 7 cm at a 1-meter distance. If submerged the same group of muscles will be used to lay the pinnae back on the head and pinch the ear channel shut in order to stop water intrusion. A similar tactic has also been observed in high noise environments.

Smell

The Lauro have approximately 14x the sensitivity to smell as measured against a baseline hu. This is accomplished by having 2.25x the sensory cells lining the nasal passages. Specific cells within the nasal cavity are also attuned to pheromones given off by a potential mate.

Taste

Due to an increased number of fungiform papillae when compared to baselines, Lauro are supertasters. Average clade members are 20% more sensitive to taste than a baseline hu.

Brain Structure

While there are many similarities of function the arrangement of the Lauro brain is significantly different than that of a baseline. The temporal lobe is located at the topside while the parietal is located on the underside. The brain is 25% larger by volume and has vastly superior connectivity for inter-lobe communication and sensory processing.

Additional subdivisions within the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes coupled with the improved connectivity make the Lauro naturals at multitasking. This ability allows them to focus on two separate tasks simultaneously without impairment.

The high inter-lobe connectivity also provides great benefit as demonstrated in the clades pattern recognition skills. Although on a general level this allows them to see patterns within ideas, words, symbols and images that would elude a baseline, it is within the context of social or behavioral cues that this ability becomes truly evident.

Due to the pons constant processing of information and experience and their naturally high neuroplasticity the Lauro are efficient slearners. This processing also has a tremendous effect on their need for sleep (see Environmental Requirements, Sleep).

Design of the frontal lobe — especially the areas involved in behavioural and impulse control — give them enormous focus. They are able to perform even the most mentally taxing endeavours for multiple hours without distraction or boredom. This behavioural/impulse control allows them to override what might be considered natural emotional responses. Immediate examples of this are feelings of panic or anger due to a variety of environmental or situational stimuli. Although susceptible to artificial external stimuli, such as the subsonic frequency following response, Lauro are far more capable than baselines at dealing with these effects due to this override capability.

A further subdivision of the frontal lobe, related to problem solving, is known as the compotus apparatus. This sub-lobe appears to specialize in mathematics and calculation. Using the compotus apparatus they seem to have an almost computer like ability to solve even complex equations in their heads.

The cerebellum is larger than that of a baseline and due to its design and superior sensory processing, the Lauro have incredible balance, coordination and spatial sense.

Various differences in the anatomy of their brains grant the Lauro a much higher degree of neuroplasticity when compared to that of a baseline. The first contributing factor is the more robust brain-arterial system that clears away neurotoxins encouraging efficient operation of the astrocyte cells and synaptic operations even into old age. The second factor is the higher volume, and continued production throughout life, of neurotrophins such as the Lauro equivalent to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). These neurotrophins promote the continued survival, differentiation and growth of neurons, especially in the areas involved in memory, learning and higher thinking. Variations in their response to stress hormones, especially those produced in the adrenal glands, protects the Lauro from the reduction in neurotrophins suffered by baselines subjected to prolonged stress or depression.

Although not immune to the effects of damage to dependent neural tissues, and the associated loss of function such as vision or speech, the Lauro regenerative abilities make these situations temporary. Just as in baselines some brain injuries will cause a change in the individuals personality. While the physical changes are only temporary, they will have a skewing effect on memories and/or perceptions of experiences taking place during that time. Injuries to non-dependent areas of the brain, such as those associated with memories, may cause a permanent loss in that the cells themselves will recover but the associated data may be lost. (Authors Note: The use of back-up technology can serve to minimize the effects of such an injury.)

Respiratory Development

Average lung volume is 10000 cm^3 with examples as high as 12000 cm^3. Without training an unaugmented average Lauro has a VO2 max of 53 mL/min/kg. Significant cultural factors lead most members of the population to maintain a high level of fitness and the actual average VO2 max is closer to 105 mL/min/kg. With specific training they can achieve even higher levels with champion athletes having measured as high as 143 mL/min/kg. One rumour has surfaced of a Challenge winner rated at 170 mL/min/kg although this report has not been substantiated and is currently attributed to fandom mythology.

Although the Lauro are not water breathers they are exceptional swimmers. The current Lauro free diving record without fins, set during the Challenge of 10411, is 243 meters. The static apnea record is 11 minutes 24 seconds.

Skeletal System

Outside of the skull (described earlier) the variations between the Lauro and the baseline skeletal system are remarkably few. Subtle changes in end shape of the bones can be accounted for by the altered skeletal muscle connectivity. Lauro, male and female, have twelve ribs. The bones of the rib cage are slightly wider than those in an equivalent sized baseline, reducing the spacing between them and offering better protection to the vital organs beneath. The sacrum has subtle changes in its form including a thicker, more durable, Apex and a no Coccyx.

Skeletal Muscle

Due to increased muscle fiber density per square centimeter and superior skeletal connectivity Lauro are three times stronger than a baseline of equivalent size. Energy for work in the skeletal muscle system is similar to that used by baseline humans and Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is still the primary mechanism for energy delivery. Like baselines ATP is delivered utilizing three systems depending to different levels of effort. The first stage is fundamentally the same as first bloodstream ATP is utilized and then intramuscular creatine phosphate is converted to ATP. This initial system covers the first 10 —12 seconds of activity. Unlike baseline humans Lauro do not have a glycogen — lactic acid system and therefore no anaerobic metabolism. Because of this no lactic acid builds up in the muscles and they do not suffer the pain and fatigue experienced by baselines. In place of this system is a specialized set of wide flat organs called the laembus. The laembus nearly cover the entire backside of the lungs. Stored within these organs is a substantial supply of creatine phosphate. After only a few seconds of intense activity blood and oxygen flow is increased to the laembus and the creatine phosphate stores are converted to ATP. The increased blood flow allows this newly produced ATP to be delivered to the working muscles as needed. These secondary creatine stores are for short-term energy as well and will generally be depleted in two and a half to three minutes. Within two minutes of continued intense work the aerobic metabolism will be running at full ATP production. This process first utilizes the glucose stored in the digestive track and then the fatty acid stores. The aerobic system will continue providing energy as long as the glucose/fatty acid stores last. In extreme cases, such as starvation, the aerobic system will begin breaking down skeletal muscle proteins into amino acids for continued ATP production.

Digestion

The digestive system works in six phases. Phases one and two are fundamentally similar to those of most herbivores. The flat teeth work to grind their food, breaking the cell walls mechanically and prepping them for digestion. The saliva delivers enzymes that also work to begin the process of breaking down the food molecules. From there it passes through the oesophagus and into the stomach. The stomach uses hydrochloric acid to further break the food down into chyme. Unlike many other mammals the stomach is very specialized and is not responsible for any nutrient absorption other than water. From the stomach the chyme is pushed into the alpha intestine where the acid is neutralized and the vitamin and mineral nutrients are removed. The alpha intestine is also responsible for absorbing any remaining water. From the alpha intestine the neutralized chyme is moved to the bravo intestine. There, enzymes produced within the bravo intestine begin the process of converting the food to D-glucose (dextrose), which is then sent to another organ called a baonoc. Within the baonoc the glucose is stored until directed for release by the phytiary gland. Normal maximum volume is 9cm x 9cm x 5cm and able to hold 620 grams — or 2480 calories — of glucose fuel for the body. Attached to the bravo intestine is a cecum like organ that aids in the digestion of cellulose. Undesired weight gain is avoided by a healthy phytiary. If the baonoc is full, excess food material is processed as waste. Feelings of hunger do not even occur until after the baonoc is close to depletion. Males have a natural 10-12% body fat composition and females maintain around 15-18%. If these levels fall below 10% in males and 15% in females the phytiary will trigger an increase in food intake (hunger) in order to replenish these stores. The final phase of the digestive process is where unused or unusable material is processed out of the system via the colon as feces in fundamentally the same way as other species.

Endocrine System

The Lauro do not have a thyroid, pancreas or pituitary gland as the phytiary gland has replaced all of these functions. This single gland is responsible for monitoring blood glucose levels, controls how quickly the body burns energy, produces protein and sets the bodies sensitivity to hormones as well as maintaining overall homeostasis. The phytiary is approximately 30 grams and sits squeezed between the stomach and the baonoc.

They do not have adrenal glands attached to the kidney as found in a baseline. Instead these are part of their equivalent of a thymus near the heart.

Lifespan and Reproduction

Longevity

The Lauro have the standard longevity features common to nearbaselines and superiors and have a standard unaugmented lifespan of 800 years.

Mating & Courtship

Sexual attraction is generally determined by both visual cues and pheromone markers detected by special cells in the nasal passages. There are approximately twelve different varieties of pheromone markers - six male and six female - with any one individual having only one type. Pheromone attraction will only occur when an alternate type is detected in a potential mate. All pod siblings will be of a common type.

Culturally sexual encounters are regulated by a number of legal and contractual obligations as agreed upon by the participants.

Although they will reach full size in the mid-teens a Lauro will not achieve sexual maturity until their early 30's.

Natural Childbirth

Natural childbirth, while possible, is heavily frowned upon for general use. The ability is only maintained to ensure the population is biologically viable should such a requirement ever arise. Clade members, male and female, maintain fertility control implants as a standard feature to avoid unintended pregnancy. These implants are controlled via DNI and while they may be deactivated at will the individual still requires a period of days to regain natural full fertility levels.

Embryogenesis is somewhat unusual when compared to other mammals and has many similarities to amniotes. During gestation their limb development is decoupled from the development of somites and other transient structures. This allows limbs to be semiautonomous in development and able to recapitulate later. This factor plays a vital role in the clades exceptional regenerative abilities (see Recuperative Capabilities). A side effect of this function is that an unborn Lauro is viable outside the womb after 140 days, although it will only have the first vestiges of limb development at that time. This can be compared to the tadpole stage seen in many amphibians. Normal childbirth occurs 301 days after fertilization and gestations are always singular. Females assume a crouched position on all four limbs to facilitate delivery.

Currently less than .001% of living Lauro were born via natural childbirth. Even these are typically turned over to the Nannies for educational development although this transition may not occur until the child's fourth year. Many Lauro refer to such children as "prims" in reference to their primitive origins.

Artificial Reproduction

Children are created using a synthetic womb system. This allows the developing fetus to be carefully monitored for genetic defects that may lead to a variety of disorders or anti-social behaviour. If the system determines a developing child has any such features that cannot be permanently fixed it will be recycled. Material for these wombs either comes from specially generated genetic templates or from material provided by citizen donors. Groups of children grown in artificial wombs in a common gestation period are known as batch siblings.

Child Development

After birth the infants are turned over to the Nannies. These dedicated hyperturing caregivers are responsible for nurturing and educating the children over the next 21 years — including their memetic development.

During this time the children are raised in mixed gender groups as large as ten. These groups are called pods and will be formed from either batch siblings (born from artificial wombs) or prims that have been entered into the program by their parents. Batch siblings and prims are never in mixed pods as the memetic training needs of each seems to vary slightly. Although age is a non-issue for batch siblings, prims will be matched as closely as possible.

From the fourth year onward a Lauro child spends approximately one third of it's time in virch training. Using subjective time these virch trainers offer approximately four times the educational experience possible using real time systems. By the time a Lauro child reaches adulthood they will have received 198,560 subjective hours of individualized virch training. During these years memes for creative thinking and individuality are strongly encouraged along side memes of productivity, community and social thinking. The end result seems to be confident, driven citizens who are socially and community oriented, and able to develop plans and ideas on their own. Additional training includes ambidexterity and the observational skills associated with the so-called lucky and empathic adaptations.

Upon reaching their seventeenth year of age the children are moved to a new area where they begin living in near complete independence. Although the Nannies maintain limited contact, and an ever-watchful eye, they primarily offer only support and occasional advice. At twenty-one years of age a child is considered an adult and they are fully integrated into society.

Environmental Requirements

Diet

Lauro are dedicated herbivores with a complete amino acid / vitamin profile so food is required only to supply energy. Popular items are high carbohydrate fruits and also vegetables and nuts. Approximate food intake to maintain health is 2700 calories. Due to the active lifestyle of most Lauro the average intake is closer to 4000 calories. Additional increases may occur if intensive physical demands occur such as training, disease or injury. High-end Lauro athletes are known to consume 10000 — 12000 calories per day during competition. If eating natural foods most individuals will eat four or five times per day. One popular artificial food is nothing more than a vitamin and mineral enriched glucose syrup with flavouring. Using these artificial foods an individual can pack in all the calories their baonoc can hold in a single sitting. (Authors Note: These packs have been described by many non-Lauro as quite flavourful and appealing as a sweet snack.)

Despite their minimal biological needs regarding food the Lauro are known for creating complex dishes with a wide array of exotic flavours. Some have pointed out that inferior baseline sensory capabilities cause them to miss out on many of the subtleties found in Lauro cuisine.

Sleep

The Pons is somewhat larger than that found in a baseline human. The additional size allows portions of the Pons to process spatial, procedural and declarative memories on a constant basis relieving the clade of the need for REM sleep. Although some non-REM sleep is still required this need is greatly reduced by the ongoing regenerative functions of their metabolism. Average members of the clade are able to receive the full recuperative benefits of sleep after only 3 hours in any circadian cycle.

It is not uncommon for Lauro athletes (amateur and professional) to go for extended periods without sleep during training or actual competition. While the only observed ill effect seems to be a rise in irritability and a slight decrease in natural immune system response some sleep is required and cannot be completely ignored. After such prolonged periods (7+ days) it is usual for individuals to sleep for longer periods of up to 6 hours the following 2 or 3 days.

Recuperative Capabilities

Lauro are able to regenerate all cells with equal ease. To a healthy individual a damaged eye, spinal cord or tendon, heal as readily as a cut finger. As a secondary effect of the semiautonomous develop of limb structures, even a lost limb could be regenerated given time. While modern medical technology has eliminated the need to wait, without aid a healthy Lauro could regenerate an entire arm in roughly one standard year, a leg takes nearly twice as long. During this process bones start as cartilage structures and then stiffen over time. Dependent on the severity of the injury a recovering Lauro may experience an increase in caloric intake to provide energy for the process. Also of note is that while a lost limb will grow back it may take an additional amount of time to recover/retrain certain associated complex motor functions.

For the most part Lauro do not suffer the drop in blood pressure often associated with traumatic injury and commonly called "shock". This is accomplished through a four part interconnected system that reduces the effects of opiates released into the body during such trauma. The first part is simply their highly efficient digestive track that removes opiates from their food and disposes of them as waste. The second part is the engineered nature of the opioid peptides produced by their bodies and the lower rate of their release into the system. The third portion is an opioid antagonist that is naturally released into the system if blood pressure drops after injury. This substance seems to have a direct effect on maintaining mean arterial pressure. The final part is how their brains register pain and trauma. Although the initial stimuli register as strongly as any encountered by a baseline, these signals taper off quickly. In this way a Lauro receives the appropriate signals required to warn of threat or injury and are then freed of those signals in order to deal with the situation.

The unaugmented immune system is fundamentally the same as that found in a baseline. The engineered nature of their genetics has made allergic reactions, autoimmune and hereditary ailments all but nonexistent. There are only two differences worth noting. First, the Lauro immune system is able to detect and target cancer stem cells eliminating them while precancerous. Second, they are able to utilize their higher potential body temperatures to better effect than a baseline. Rather than causing a fever interleukin will signal the hypothalamus to raise the body temperature as if in a hot climate (see Ecological Adaptations). This is an effective defense against many bacteria, as their bodies can maintain much higher temperatures than is safe for a baseline. This has little or no detrimental effect on the individual and is known as 'running hot'.

(Authors Note: It is standard procedure for those Lauro born via artificial womb to receive a nano-immune system augment. The vast majority of those born naturally also receive this augment.)

Ecological Adaptations:

A healthy Lauro has a standard core body temperature of 37°C.

Lauro red blood cells are ovoid, rather than round as in baseline humans, allowing continued blood flow even in extreme states of dehydration. They are capable of tolerating about 20% dehydration and nearly 30% reduction in body weight due to water loss before cardiac arrest sets in. Note that cognitive abilities, reaction time and general energy levels decrease as dehydration reaches levels of 12 — 15% and increase as the maximum tolerable levels are reached. The kidneys are much more hearty than those found in baseline humans allowing the thicker — potentially syrup like — waste to be processed.

Temperature sensitive cells in their skin send signals to the hypothalamus, which can trigger a raise in their body temperature to match the environment. In high temperature conditions their body temperature can rise to as high as 40°C without harm and a Lauro will not sweat until the environmental temperature exceeds that level. Despite these adaptations they are susceptible to hyperthermia if their core temperature rises above 44.4°C. Death is probable if their core temperature rises above 48°C and immediate above 52°C.

As humanoids without significant protective hair or layers of fat the Lauro face similar challenges in cold climates as do baselines. When facing exposure to cold the Lauro anatomical process can be broken down into four stages. Please note the data provided is based on a Lauro subjected to exposure without protection. Even light protective gear can dramatically alter their survival capabilities.

Stage one occurs when their core temperature drops 1° - 2° C, generally occurring in environmental temperatures of 8° — 10° C. The first stage reaction is similar to that of baselines and involves simple shivering. As with baselines this reaction is supported by Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Utilizing the creatine phosphate stores in their laembus organs the Lauro are able to support this process considerably longer than the baseline norm before other tissues are broken down. Worth noting is that the Lauro do not develop cutis anserina (i.e goosebumps) because they have never had the associated body hair. During stage one if the temperature sensitive cells in their skin determine the environmental temperatures are below freezing they will trigger a secondary rush of baonoc glucose into the bloodstream. This excess glucose is absorbed by the bodies cells in preparation for potential freeze tolerance. During this glucose rush the heart and brain will receive priority and the limbs will be supplied last. This prioritization of glucose supplies may allow a Lauro to survive with lower levels of available glucose at the potential risk of lost limbs. As might be expected this rush will also trigger feelings of hunger in order to replenish the baonoc stores.

Stage two occurs when their core temperature drops 2° — 4° C, generally occurring in environmental temperatures of 5.5° — 8° C. Shivering becomes more violent and will continue as long as energy stores last or core temperature continues to fall. During stage two if laembus creatine phosphate levels drop below 10% the phytiary will release a thermogenic hormone that increases their bodies ability to convert fat and then muscle to ATP.

Stage three occurs when their core temperature drops 5° — 11° C, generally occurring in environmental temperatures of 0° — 5.5° C. Shivering stops. At this stage Type VI antifreeze proteins become active. These proteins offer protection from freezing/frostbite in temperatures as low as —30° C. Once these antifreeze proteins go active it will signal the body to enter a process of vasoconstriction where blood flow to the extremities is greatly reduced in order to maintain core temperature.

Stage four occurs when their core temperature drops more than 12° C with external temperatures below 0° C. Once stage four is reached Type VII antifreeze proteins become active. The Type VII proteins are ice nucleators and will initiate a controlled freezing process. Ice crystals form in the spaces between cells with the unfreezing glucose syrup protecting the cell interiors. As long as environmental temperatures do not drop below the —30° C limit of the Type VI proteins the Lauro can survive this freezing process to be thawed potentially months later. Insufficient glucose supplies prior to freezing may lead to death as ice crystals will form within the cell interiors destroying them.

Lauro are protected from kinetosis (i.e motion sickness) through a combination of adaptations in the vestibular apparatus, the cardio vascular system and the cerebellum's ability to process multiple sensory inputs. In the event that visual information is in conflict, the cerebellum will shift focus to the vestibular apparatus for orientation. Secondary information is provided by the cardio vascular system in the form of blood pressure variations within the body.

Psychology

Intelligence

The Lauro are catalogued with Superiors for overall classification and Superbrights for social / political / communication skills.

Personality & Sociability

Extensive training, advanced observational/empathic skills and a high intelligence allow the Lauro to become social chameleons. A substantial portion of their childhood training is devoted to learning the subtleties, traditions and languages of other cultures so that they may behave in ways that make those around them feel the most comfortable. This ability makes them exceptional negotiators by nature and often by vocation. Those who encounter them usually describe the Lauro as friendly, articulate and pleasant to be around.

Generally calm a Lauro will go out of their way to avoid socially inappropriate conflict. It is important to note that while they may indeed be labelled peace-loving they make no claim to being pacifist.

The Lauro seem to have an almost instinctive need to challenge their bodies and minds to the breaking point in unusually dangerous events. This trait is readily seen in many of their most popular pastimes such as the Challenge or even extreme Minimum Power racing competitions.

Society

Social groups

As most of the current Lauro live or were at least raised within the Evermore complex the culture there is considered the primary example of clade social dynamics. Due to the nature of their childhood training and development the Lauro do not have standard family units. Instead these loyalties and attachments extend to the pods they are raised in. It has been noted that pod-siblings often demonstrate loyalty bordering on the irrational toward one another.

Although casual sexual encounters are on an individual basis, courtship and marriage are complicated events within Lauro society. Prospective mates will find themselves under extreme scrutiny from the entire pod and losing their approval will most likely end the relationship. Intra-pod relationships are strictly taboo. Once a union is approved the Lauro follow the traditions of their NoCoZo neighbours with every factor of the marriage outlined in a detailed contract. Monogamy is generally practiced, but not enforced, the details of such being subject to the particular contract involved. Most marriages have a standard 100-year expiration clause, although these can be extended at the liberty of the parties involved. The ceremonies involved when entering, or extending, a marriage are a grand celebration lasting many days.

Outside of the Evermore system pod oriented politics still have a strong influence on daily life. When a prim is born outside the Evermore complex the common custom is for the parental pod to assume the role of family and provider. Although the basic educational needs, and some memetic training, can be conducted outside the care of the Nannies, full acceptance into Lauro society will not be granted until their final approval is given. Such approval may require an aspiring Lauro citizen to enter a specialized training program before hand. Based on the extent of training required, as determined by the Nannies, the individual may be fully uploaded into a virch environment with a highly accelerated subjective time in order to expedite the process.

Religions & Spirituality

The primary religious/spiritual philosophy in Lauro culture can best be described as humanistic naturalism.

A secondary underlying henotheistic philosophy is also present with The Twelve serving in the role of primary caretaker and patron.

Ascension Beliefs: The Lauro practice two primary beliefs in regard to ascension. The first is Evolutionary-Ascensionism (those who are strong enough and/or smart enough will ascend) and the second is Ascension-Responsibility (it is the responsibility of a society to ensure those who ascend are stable enough not to become blights or perversions).

Polities of Residence

Evermore is the center of Lauro society and has been described by outside observers as their cultural "promised land". This fact coupled with their less than expansionist viewpoints has caused them to concentrate in a fairly limited area of Terragen space. Today Lauro can be found spread out across the Disarchy/NoCoZo/Negentropy border worlds with a very few spread beyond that.

It is extremely uncommon for a single Lauro to move to a new system and stay for any sort of extended period of time. Instead they tend to move as pods or extended family units. This serves to provide them a support structure they are familiar with and also allows them to maintain their cultural heritage — even if only in private.

Their abilities in social situations allow an average Lauro to easily integrate publicly into a new culture while still being able to maintain their own in private. Most will avoid long-term immersion into cultures they find opposed or offensive to their own. Because they have at least some common ground with all of their current neighbours in the Disarchy, NoCoZo, Negentropy and even the Caretaker worlds this has yet to be an issue of practical concern.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Chris Shaeffer

Initially published on 28 November 2007.