Neotens and Soneotens
A clade of neotenous humans, the Neotens were originally engineered during the twelfth century A.T. as an early form of pet human, a permanent well-behaved baby for those who wished to have such without the perceived down-sides of having a child or having an actual baby. A 'family-based' fashion accessory for those rich and powerful enough to want such a thing, and to ignore the laws against such things that existed in many places across Terragens space.
As such the Neotens are not sentient and are also essentially non-sexual, being created entirely through cloning. They were also modified to have cleaner and more efficient digestive systems, being able to eat anything and producing only dry faecal pellets as waste. As time went on the original Neoten species changed and diversified to meet the demands for them from other clades and types.
During this period some Neotens came into the hands of several groups who disapproved of the whole concept of pet humans, though they accepted to need for human diversity. As such they wished to turn the Neotens into a fully sophont race on a par with baseline humans, from where they could develop on their own.
In time, and with some effort, this was achieved, and the Soneotens (Sophont Neotens) were born in the late fourteenth century A.T. Unlike their non-sophont predecessors, they are sophont (in general at the baseline level) and capable of sexual reproduction (which can, to those not used to the whole concept of neotenous humans, be a rather disturbing thing). They retain the appearance of babies, but can walk and talk.
In time many such Soneotens have re-engineered themselves back into having a normal non-neotenous human lifecycle, but others have retained the neotenous condition, seeing it as part of themselves even though it may be, to say the least, inconvenient. Both types of Soneotens, as well as Neotens of various kinds, have spread across Terragens space, diversifying all the way, and are now to be found in most polities with a human component. Soneotens (and even on occasion, usually unintentionally, some Neotens) have also achieved higher toposophic levels.
Text by Tony Jones
Initially published on 26 March 2004.