Audubon Engenerator, The

Engenerator
Image from Steve Bowers

An Engenerator is a device for creating a biological body for an uploaded mind, based on the DNA of the person's original body. Engenerator technology was developed in 1490 on Eden, specifically to allow virtual humans an opportunity to participate in real life culture as an embodied citizen.

The Engenerator creates a thin armature the same basic shape as the organism to be reproduced, and over the course of a few days grows and constructs tissue of the appropriate type using recordings of the original DNA. The memories and instantaneous mindstate of the uploaded person are transferred at first into the armature, which then gradually loads these memories into the developing brain tissue, thus creating a functioning adult copy only a few days old. Finally, any synano or bionano modifications are added and the armature dissolves harmlessly in a few weeks or months (in most cases).

The Audubon Interstellar Engenerator

The first use of engenerators as a method of interstellar transfer was in 1555, during a colonisation expedition to Audubon. The second wave of expansion by Jupiter Transystems, Takicorb and the other exploration megacorps of the time included missions to every F, G and K- type sun within 50 ly of Sol, generally preceded by automatic probes. The J-T colony ship Phillip Henry Gosse set out from Solsys in 1380 for HR 8501 near Gamma Pavonis, twenty years after the autonomous explorer Karel Tchapek. At an average speed of 0.2 c the Gosse would arrive at HR 8501 in 1600 AT, one hundred and thirty years after the smaller and faster Karel tchapek. The superbright human crew of the Gosse (all somewhat bored) began to experiment with the new engenerator technolgy purchased by the parent development company from Eden and transmitted to the ship by comm laser.

The CaptainCEO of the Gosse and his team designed and sent an augmentation programme to the basic nano assemblers on the Karel tchapek, which were originally designed only to build solar collectors and a long-range antenna. With this the crew tele-constructed a Nanobio-Engenerator at a distance of nine LY, then in 1555 sent copies of fifteen crew members ahead to assist in creating habitats in the HR 8501 system.

When the Gosse arrived the copy crew had been constructing asteroid orbitals for thirty-six years, and had already established a pressurised blister 100-km long by 20 km wide on Audubon, a 4000km Arean-type planet. With this advantage the rest of the five thousand settlers, once brought out of bio-stasis, were quickly able to establish a successful local economy, and able to increase the population by natural reproduction and by engenerated copies.

Some members of the original crew were resentful of the success of the copy crew and established a ghetto on a dry moon of Linnaeus, an 18,000-km microjovian at the edge of the comfort zone. Rivalries caused limited but bloody conflict as both factions attempted to bring water from the outer system and from asteroids in orbit around HR8501B.

The Linnaeans in 1780 gained the contract, financed by the Terranova Foundation, to set up experimental colonies on systems further out from Sol using the Engenerator augmentation package, for which they still held the copyright. The resulting colonies were not visited by any relativist ships carrying living beings for more than a thousand years, and by that time the well-known difficulties with the Engenerator system began to become evident.

Because the engeneration process was complex it was generally supervised by an expert subsystem belonging to the local transapient; in many cases the local transapient decided to modify all the engenerated individuals to suit er own goals. In particular at the Bolobo system the transapient known as Zak (originally the interstellar probe mind Sir Isaac Newton) modified all er citizens with a mind control subroutine, essentially eliminating free will in that system.

Since the early days of the Audubon Engenerator such long distance copying has become much more reliable and accurate, either using transapient technology and quantum information to 'teleport' unique instances of individuals from location to location at light speed or slower, or using classical information to make multiple emulations of sophont minds and bodies in several different locations at once.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 18 May 2002.


Fiction relating to Engenerator Technology

On the Boat.