Highly derived aquatic tweak race, Sol System, 1st millennium A.T. to present.

Europan 2
Image from Arik and The Architect
Europan clades are fully aquatic, capable of breathing underwater
"As the freezing water got to his knees, a screen inside the water-proof control panel— set on the white metallic wall in front of him — burst to life. The unstable, distorted image on the screen showed something floating in the ocean outside the airlock, under the spotlight. The creature wasn't wearing any suit. It looked like a new kind of Europan tweak. But regular Europan tweaks would never leave the city or the research stations they worked with. And this seemed to be a more advanced biodesign, an engineered hybrid humanoid, obviously spliced at the genetic level: a human torso seamlessly flowing into a fishlike body with dorsal and ventral fins, ending in a coiling snake tail. Its human arms possessed hands with opposable thumbs, and supported fins that seemed to retract at will like handfans. Judging by its facial features, Odys
assumed the creature was a male. Just below the tweak floated some kind of fish, about the same size as him, apparently possessing a hard shell and powerful-looking fins. The tweak was holding a large kelp leaf on which a message glowed in blue bioluminescent letters:


-Snapshot from "Ocean Untamed 627 AT"

Europanthropus aquaticus

The Jupiter moon Europa was a veritable treasure of ice and volatiles, and together with the other ice mines of the jovian moons it was one of the economic cornerstones of the Gengineer Republic. Water ice could be accelerated cheaply using the Oberth Effect, and exported to customers across the Solar System. But the Gengineer Republic began to raise their prices in the 4th century AT, causing a major problem for orbitals in the Inner Solar System who were forced to pay exorbitant fees for their water.

At the same time many of the tweaks of the Republic found Europa somewhat lacking. The inner ocean predicted in the 1st century AT existed, but was quite lifeless (excluding the remnants of the 383 hoax perpetrated by White Fraction geneticists). Many believed Europa ought to be colonised and if not terraformed at least ecopoiesed.

In 495 AT, after having settled voluntary groups of merpeople from Earth and coming to the conclusion that they would never be able to live outside of their fully protected habitat, Jovian Genetics & Adaptation began the process of developing an integrated Europan ecosystem and humanoids adapted to a life in the dark, salty, high-pressure seas of Europa. The design was ambitious: a fully aquatic human, equipped to deal with low temperatures and extreme pressures as well as the anoxic chemical environment of Europa. The undersea biospheres of JGA developed a tweak form with a thick black skin covered with chromophores for signaling and sensitive to vibration. Legs were removed in favor of a flexible swimming tail, while the head was streamlined. The result was a being not unlike that could be described roughly as a deep sea man-shark. The largest changes were metabolic. JGA found that it was very hard to maintain a human-temperature metabolism in the Europan environment, and eventually settled for a radical redesign that made the Europans cold-blooded. Compared to ordinary humans they were sluggish, at least when in cold water, but as they warmed up due to the environment or exertion they accelerated and could for brief periods easily outspeed a baseline human.

Chandelier city on Europa
Image from Steve Bowers
The Chandelier city of Atlantis, beneath the ice of Europa
When the Technocalypse hit, initially JGA was spared. By then, there were a few thousand Europans living around the chandelier city of Atlantis, and a few dozens living just a few kilometers lower in JGA's undersea stations. But in 582, JGA lost contact with their remote undersea bases which remained totally isolated. The project R & D AIs working in the various bases were faced with a double existential threat. They had to find a way to remain autonomous and a way to avoid malware infection. They decided to set up stringent protocols of communication around themselves to avoid being infected and to pool their resources and merge into a single distributed entity in order to move themselves onto a biotechnological substrate. To achieve, this they saw they needed to improve themselves first and after overcoming all the barriers, they finally found a way to ascend to S:1 level. The S:1 entity called itself Poseido and went on to create an entire Europan ecosystem around thermal vents on the ocean floor whose cornerstone was a new generation of Europans adapted to life at such crushing depths, but also able to thrive anywhere in the ocean.

Poseido managed an entire ecosystem, including medicinal plants, corals that grew under control into full mansions, recycler species, especially of microbes, and also various species of large deep-sea behemoths. Poseido also organized the Europans into a hive society and used them as safe proxies, immune to infection. Eventually, in 627 AT Poseido decided to plot the destruction of the shaft linking Atlantis (the undersea city, hanging downwards from the ice) to Alagonia (the surface capital city). Atlantis was completely evacuated, except for a few merpeople still living in pressurized habitats. After that, the Europan civilization experienced a golden age in complete isolation that was only mitigated by the scarcity of necessary chemical elements. Poseido managed to shift its consciousness to a biotechnological substrate, but found itself unable to progress on the toposophic scale and remained at S:1 level up until Europa was contacted by S:2 level transapients from the newly-formed First Federation.

Europan 1
Image from Steve Bowers
A snake-tailed Europan variant clade
In 1022, the First Federation contacted the Europans, and found them to be part of a stable ecosystem with carefully-controlled population levels. The explorers found about 400,000 human-derived Europans and about as many large individuals of various other species created to benefit the ecosystem as they enjoyed it. Poseido tried to manage the situation but found themselves far outclassed by their younger Federation relatives. The Federation wanted to develop Europa (at this time there was even some talk of stellifying Jupiter and terraforming the moons), and the Europans were ideal for the task. Over a span of just a century European society went from a simple pre-industrial society to a part of the interplanetary community. The strain was rather extreme, and many Europans experienced serious future shock and anomie. But many prospered, seeing new possibilities in the BeyondWorlds and the various projects the BeyondWorlders wanted to involve them in.

Europan biotechnology also proved to be useful, especially since it circumvented many of the Federation regulations on replicating technology by being a "traditional and indigenous technology". Since controlling and managing it required much experience, skilled bioshamans were in high demand throughout the 1000-1100s (eventually more streamlined forms of biotechnology and nanotech superseded the old Europa technology, but "Europan-style" biotech retains an air of antique quaintness that tends to be revived around every five centuries or so in the Inner Sphere).

In the end, the Europans dispersed across human space, clading into many deep ocean aquatic lines. Especially well-known are the Iri-Kakkak Clade of Poseidon and the Deep Mekelonites of Mekelon, who have extensive investments in relativist starships and exploration.
Image from Anders Sandberg
The glyph of Europan Nation. Note the almost literal adaptation of the original JGA corporation symbol
A population of about 6 million still live on Europa, almost all E. aquaticus. On surface habitats are a small number of the highly modified and amphibious E. semiterrestralis living together with various beyondworlders (non-Europans). In the orbital bands around Europa those two species along with E. spatialis coexist with beyondworlders. There are believed to be at least several dozen (and very possibly several orders of magnitude more) species-distinct clades dispersed through colonised space, the most well-known being E. spatialis, E. poseidonensis, E. aster, E. neospatialis, E. cosmoi, E. thallassophilia and E. bythomekelonis.
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Development Notes
Text by Updated by The Architect 2020
from an original article by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 05 September 2000.

Page uploaded 5 September 2000, last modified 16 April 2007, snapshot added june 2020