biomechanoid (bio-me'ka-noid) adj. having a physiology that consists of organic, inorganic, and synthetic materials. - n. an organism that has been biologically engineered in a process that incorporates some application of mechanical engineering and the organism in question incorporates synthetic and inorganic substances into its biological structure.
- - New American Dictionary
- Copyright © 2099
replicant (rep'-li-kant) n. a biomechanoid organism with a human appearance.
- - New American Dictionary
- Copyright © 2099
In 2061, a small asteroid crashed into South Pacific-Indian Ocean area. The asteroid was just big enough to do massive damage but not big enough enough to be a planet killer. It caused massive death and destruction to the Asian subcontinent and disrupted the weather patterns on a global scale for a few years. These weather disruptions had a devastating effect on many animals worldwide. There was a massive wave of refugees of all kinds away from the devastated areas. Many ended up on the West Coast of North America. Other parts of Asia became 'super-concentrated' with people--due to all the refugees moving about.
In March of 2068, a team headed by Dr. Edmund Romberg sent a probe from Earth to Jupiter in less than two minutes using hyperdrive. Invented by Romberg and his team, hyperdrive works by creating an intense virtual mass field (related to artificial gravity technologies) that expands towards supercritical levels, and causes a quantum transition of everything within the field to a tachyonic state. While in this state matter can only travel faster than light, and thus has great difficulty safely interacting with the sublight universe. This state is often called hyperspace, although it isn't actually distinct from normal space. Speed is controlled by altering the strength of the virtual mass field - shedding mass will speed the ship, while increasing mass will slow it.
The creation of faster than light travel sent governments and corporations everwhere into a frenzy, as everybody attempted to maintain a monopoly on the technology. But less than a week after the discovery Dr. Romberg had posted the complete technical schematics for the working hyperdrive, plus the science behind its operation, to a dozen different websites worldwide. The next few years saw a period of rapid expansion and colonization.
In the early 2070s, two technological breakthroughs were made--both as a result of side-effects of influx of manpower and money from displaced refugees and sudden interest in all things related to space travel. The first was that in 2071, extraction techniques for oxygen and energy from lunar rock cheaply and efficiently were perfected. The second was that innovations in the field of both synthetic biology and mechanical engineering led to the creation of the first "biomechanoid" animals in 2073. While outwardly indistinguishable from 'real' animals, the physiology of these biologically engineered creatures consisted not only of organics, but also inorganic and synthetic materials. These aspects were so intrinsically incorporated into the biological structure of animoids, that once created their bodies were able to synthesize them naturally.
By 2075, the climate was still disrupted. Huge numbers of refugees moving about and clustering in huge groups in a limited number of areas were having a major effect on the local ecosystems--and the smoke/dust/debris from the asteroid impact was still causing damages on a global scale. The first lunar colony was successfully set up. Soon--there's was a second and a third and fourth.
In 2076, most of the major countries--either unilaterally or in cooperation with other countries--began 'encouraging' their residents to move off-world to all the colonies that were springing up. Most of the colonies were small (mining colonies and so forth) but techniques were slowly improving and places were being scouted out quite quickly. Advancements in biomechanoid design were improving by leaps and bounds. 'Officially', human experimentation was outlawed. 'Unofficially'--there were a number of secret projects going on.
The first successful human biomechanoids were created in 2079. They came to be called "Replicants." A highly irreputable U.S. mining consortium decided to use the Replicants for slave labor in some of its more dangerous mining colonies--with phenomenal success. Unfortunately the story leaked out. There was a great deal of confusion over whether or not the mining company actually did use 'slave labor'. The mining company's lawyers argued that since the process of bio-engineering Replicants incorporates applications of mechanical engineering and their physiology contains inorganic and synthetic materials--they are not truly human--therefore, by definition, the workers weren't slaves because anti-slavery laws only applied to human beings. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and the mining company won. The laws in various other countries also concluded that Replicants are not human and therefore accorded them no rights nor protection.
In 2080, Eldon Tyrell (an extremely bright researcher with phenomenal business skills who was part of the original research team) left the mining company (with a few of his assistants) and started up his very own 'Replicant' company, dedicated to researching and developing new and improved Replicants. People and organizations started using Replicants as everything from sex slaves to domestic servants to workers--both on Earth and off-world.
In 2090, a combat team of NEXUS-3 Replicants staged a bloody mutiny against the Tanhauser Gate colony. It was put down--but quite a few humans were killed in the process. In response to "The Tanhauser Incident", the United Nations declared Replicants illegal on Earth in 2091. The U.N. ordered all Replicants on Earth be taken off-world or destroyed within 28 days. Many Replicants on Earth hid and blended in with the human population. Special police squads nicknamed "Blade Runner" Units were formed to hunt down the Replicants on Earth. In 2092, Dr. Johann Voight, a psychology professor, informed the U.N. that his "Voight Empathy Scale For Diagnosing The Maladjusted Psyche" will be able to help distinguish Replicants from humans. The Voight Scale was tested in major cities around the world with a 75% success rate.
In 2096, the Tyrell Corporation secretly introduced the NEXUS-6 Replicant models to off-world colonies. Their programming was so advanced, the designers feared they may eventually develop their own emotions. They countered this by bio-engineering them with a four-year lifespan. By 2097, the NEXUS-4 and NEXUS-5 Replicants had learned to vary their answers in order to get a more positive result on the Voight Scale. The success rate dropoed to just 37%. A new test was called for. In 2098, Dr. Lurie Kampff, a psychologist specializing in lying and lie detection, began to expand on the late Dr. Voight's work, incorporating his most advanced lie detection equipment. The "Voight-Kampff Altered Empathy Scale For Identifying Artificial Intelligence" was secretly tested in New York, Beijing, Paris and Tokyo with an astonishing 98% success rate, even with NEXUS-5's who can pass on the Voight Scale. In February of 2099, the new Voight-Kampff test was put into use and regulated tightly by the U.N., who only issued the device to major cities. Blade Runners must receive training and certification before they can administer the test.