Rental Bodies

Rental Body
Image from Steve Bowers

A Rental Body, also known as a Temporary or Remote body is a bot or biobot body that is used to temporarily house the mind of a virtual person, or a partial or complete copy of an embodied person, or can be teleoperated by DNI to act as a surrogate for an individual. Any person who cannot appear at a location personally but needs to interact with the local environment physically can use such abody.

Similar to rented vehicles, Rental Bodies can be customized to fit the requirements of the tasks needed to be accomplished by the renter. Sapient rights of the bot body are treated as proxy rights of the controlling sophont

Although they are often, quite literally, 'rented', that is, leased on a temporary basis to the user in exchange for currency, in other cases rental can be bought outright, or even supplied gratis in some locations.

Many modern rental bodies use a utility fog facemask to simulate the head of the operator and provide for easy identification. It is also possible to display another person's face, and even for a person to use a body of a different sex (or a hermaphodite or neutral body) but in many polities there are laws, regulations and customs associated with using other people's images. Rental bodies in most polities have special software that prevents misuse. Criminals often like to use rental bodies; they hack the identification software and change their appearance to commit crimes. Although this is difficult, it does occur with enough frequency to be noteworthy.

Rental Bodies can, in some worlds, be used as a great temporary transport vehicle for aioids, or vecs who are being repaired.


Rental Bodies were developed in the Interplanetary Era, in an effort to return functionality to those who were injured and could not be healed by the medical technology of the time. Before the development of destructive uploading, a rental body could be teleoperated via direct neural or direct cranial link by a paralysed, bedridden or agoraphobic person, allowing them to continue with relatively normal lives.

Using rental bodies as remote-controlled surrogates became a popular lifestyle choice for some people at that time; they could be used to take "vacations" without ever leaving home, or to engage in risky lifestyle choices such as rock climbing or skydiving. Often the rental body would resemble an idealised version of the remote operator, some of whom rarely left their own homes in reality or even deliberately neglected their real bodies. To this day the use of surrogate bodies instead of face to face interaction is routine in some societies.

Rental bodies have been used by uploaded humans since the First Federation era as a substitute for real bodies. Uploaded individuals can be sent by communication beam to a distant world, where they may be incorporated into a rental body on a temporary or permanent basis. This procedure eventually developed into biological engeneration, where the uploaded person is downloaded into a biological recreation of their original body grown from their own transmitted DNA.

Today, rental bodies have achieved such acceptance as to gain some social as well as business and therapeutic uses. The bodies can be modified with a staggering degree of options. Some militaries have used them as replacements for foot soldiers, allowing their troops to be operators, safely out of enemy range.

Related Concepts

Related technologies include the use of Eidolons, where a virtual entity or remote operator uses Utility fog to create a physical presence, and Scions, where a sophont uses one or more partial or full temporary physical copies of emself to carry our duties on eir behalf.

When a transapient entity wishes to communicate with sophonts of a lower toposophic level, e will often use a proxy avatar, a so-called 'Proxav'. The Proxav generally has a similar toposophic level to those e is intended to communicate with.

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Development Notes
Text by Michael Boncher, amended by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 10 November 2004.