Xenoprovolve

xenoprovolve2
Image from Luke Campbell

A xenoprovolve is a near-sophont or subsophont non-terragen life-form that has been provolved to full sophonce. Xenoprovolution presents special challenges for Terragens who attempt it, since it involves deep understanding of entirely xeno hereditary material and sometimes of a radically alien environment. In some cases, provolution is accomplished by creating novel xenobiological analogues of Terragen hereditary material and grafting them into the xeno genome, or through the use of symbiotic bionano, or the addition of heritable technological add-ons to create a bioborg or cyborg sophont. The most 'authentic' xenoprovolves are those created purely with local materials, with results not unlike what might have occurred as a result of evolution.

As with provolves of Terragen origin, sometimes the species concerned is extremely unlikely to ever develop sophont-level intelligence in its natural environment, and radical provolution is necessary to create the new mentality. Often such radical provolution results in entirely artificial results, and the resulting societies and individuals are influenced as much by the prejudices of the person or organization that is the agent of provolution as by the intrinsic nature of the original species. Such beings are often regarded as simply another clade of Terragen, albeit one with an unusual origin. The Rheolithoids of Fuego fall into this category. Other species are close enough to sophonce that only minor provolution is necessary. In such cases the process of provolution may be regarded as only replicating the natural development of that species into intelligence; this results in a relatively 'authentic' xenosophont, with unique attributes that have emerged more from the intrinsic nature of the original species than from the provolution process itself. The Lignosagiitae and the Jade Chime Singers are an examples of such species. A third category of potential xenoprovolve is that tiny minority of species which were at one time sophont but have since evolved into subsophonce and could be provolved either to create a new clade or to replicate the original sophont species. In this category one may include the Thyrestra, a species that once possessed of a civilisation but went into decline after an atomic war. Yet a fourth category would be lazurogened xenosophont species. If the former inhabitants of Doreen were ever lazurogened they would fall into that category. As with radical provolves, these might be regarded merely as unusual Terragens, since only the most extraordinarily complete records would allow the re-creation of a true xenosophont species. Finally, there are some xenoprovolves that were created by non-terragen agencies. The Soft Ones are apparently of this kind, though most regard them as if they were a naturally evolved xenosophont species since they have existed as an autonomous clade for far longer than the entire span of Terragen civilizations.

Xenoprovolves are more common in the Terragen sphere than true xenosophonts, but are still a novelty. Once created, they are often given celebrity status, at least for a while, before the next species takes their place on the Nexus mediacasts. As with provolves of Terragen stock, some adapt very well, founding their own civilizations and allying themselves with existing clades or Sephirotic empires. Others, even more often than is the case for ordinary Terragen provolves, find things much more difficult and may need to be provided for by compassionate transapients or by modosophont charitable societies. Some of these less successful clades have ended up in theUtopia Sphere while others can be found scattered in enclaves throughout the Middle and Outer Volumes or in orbitals and on planets in their original home system. It is estimated that the number of xenoprovolves in the Terragen bubble at present is at least 20 trillion, although most of those belong to a relatively small number of fast-breeding clades; some less successful species are represented by no more than a few thousand individuals.


xenoprovolve
Image from Steve Bowers

 
Articles
  • Angel Hair  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Few Jovians have their own indigenous ecologies, but some gas floating balloontype organisms have been provolved, either by the Mirrored Owls using hylonano to join their group mind structures, or by the Premacy in the Argo expansion direction by geneering for an increase in size to accommodate larger nervous systems.
  • Jade Chime Singers  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    The affectionate, charming, musical, and hideous Jade Chime Singers are among the youngest and most exotic of the Terragen clades. They are the sole living example of a sapient clade from a chlorine world.
  • Lignosagittiae  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Sub-sophont alien xenophylum found in the ice ocean of Fuego, 485 ly from Earth.
  • Postalien - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A non-terragen (alien) who has attained the status of an S1 or greater. Sometimes called a postxeonosophont. Almost all of the currently recognized postaliens in the Terragen sphere are ascended To'u'lhs.
  • Rheolithoids  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Silicon based non-sentient "lifeform".
  • Screethraw, The  - Text by Liam Jones
    Alien presapient mechology which has evolved within Ishtar's Necklace
  • Thyresta  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Extinct alien species, inhabited New Montana (YTS-4885002-3825-IV; MPA).
  • Walking Mountain  - Text by Bill Glover
    Dinophytus sapiens - Late Federation and Consolidation Age plant provolve.
  • Xenobiont  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for alien (non-terragen) lifeform. May be animal-like, plant-like, protistan, exotic chemistry, or any other possibility. Does not have to be sophont. In fact just as on Earth, very few alien species ever evolve any measure of cognitive intelligence.
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev; additions by Stephen Inniss

Initially published on 14 August 2001.