Homo Sapiens Xenus only bears superficial resemblance to humanity. Homo Xenus has the basic hominid profile, two arms, two legs, and a head. From DNA up, Homo Xenus is almost entirely new, it's genetic code engineered and spliced together by the sentient AISC Thoth. The new form of humanity has many advantages over baseline and even augmented humans.
Standard Biomodifications - Homo Xenus isn't screened for genetic diseases, their DNA is armored against them. The same goes for other genetic disorders as well as immuno-augmentation rendering them either immune or highly resistant to most known diseases.
Standard CogNet Implants - Homo Xenus comes default with semi-organic bio scanners and the cyberware required for innate connection to the CogNet. While they can still use handheld devices like a muse, or an S3 rig, it is not required. With this basic augmentation, each homo xenus has a hosted companion program in their hardware. This virtual servant can access and do things for the homo xenus by directly interacting with outside technology. This innate and high speed connection can allow a competent homo xenus to control technology with CogNet access on a level that resembles magic.
Circadian Controller - Homo Xenus requires less sleep than homo sapiens, and can still operate in a half sleeping stage by allowing their resident companion the ability to control their body while they rest. Thus, homo xenus doesn't have to spend hours unresponsive and supine.
Metabolic Enhancement - the GI tract has been modified, it's performance enhanced, and it's function streamlined. Homo xenus has a greater ability to consume food goods, including things that are not considered palatable by homo sapiens. Likewise, the new breed lacks the same food triggers and humanity, and isn't genetically driven to consume sweet or salty food. This metabolic enhancement cuts the effectiveness of recreational drugs in half, and also removes the subconscious desire for the state of being intoxicated.
Advanced Intercranial Cyberware - as Homo Xenus is grown rather than born, it is easy to have the embryo grow around hardware, rather than surgically implant it. Advanced cyberware inside the skull by default is an enhanced memory system, giving the Xenus eidetic memory and the ability to handle numbers with the ease of a calculator. There is also a cortical stack that allows hardline connection between the brain of homo xenus and an outside computer system. This isn't a crude jack or plug in through the skull, but rather a superconducting quantum interface such as those found in SQUIDbands.
Bioregulator - similar to the biofeedback system in a suit of power armor or in a pocket-doc, the bioregulator is a mixture of cybernetics and biotech, and is functionally a new organ. This organ can regulate the metabolism, the function of the respiratory system, can augment the immune, endrocrine, or excretory system, and augment healing as needed. Homo xenus heals quickly, and can survive very long periods of time on very little in the way of supplies.
Asexual - the biggest physical change is that homo xenus is entirely dependent on a process of exogenesis. Each homo novus is designed and grown in an artificial womb. As such, there are no homo xenus genders, no male, no female. The physiology is androgynous, combining the typical male musculature with a more female skeleton and build. Lacking a reproductive system, homo xenus is not driven by either testosterone or estrogen. They are likewise completely oblivious to sex and all things pertaining to it.
Homo Sapiens Xenus can trace it's creation back to the Anunnaki and the early days of phenocladistics. The engineers and scientists working on the various clandestine projects of the Anunnaki projected that there was a basic limit of how far human DNA could be modified and augmented before the law of diminishing returns came into play. The hidden masters made the decision then that the course of action to take would be to engineer a new human DNA genome from the ground up for the purpose of replacing the archaic and increasingly limited homo sapiens genome.
This project has largely been handled offworld at the Anunnaki's Achlys Station and it's connected genetics repository. There, their sentient Covenant class AISC Thoth took apart the human genome and built a new one from scratch using the homo sapiens and homo sapiens novus as templates and guides. Limitations were built into the new clade as it was determined that sexual reproduction was distracting, random, and wasteful. Unburdened by the biological urge to rub reproductive systems together, homo xenus would be free to pursue intellectual goals rather than the tedium of breeding. Likewise biology is messy and random, and a homo xenus can be tailored to the whim and need of society, rather than the luck of genetics. Finally, lacking pair bonding, sexual relationships, and the social requirements for raising children, homo xenus doesn't waste time, energy, or resources on sexual competition, sexual courtships or displays, or in conflict between genders and gender roles.
A Homo Xenus is created by a machine, either using genetic material donated by an existing homo xenus, or from the genetic repository of xenus bloodlines. Currently there are only two systems capable of producing the clade, the biocreche on Achlys station, far away and behind Neptune, and on board the Anunnaki research ship Ravensbruck. It would not be difficult to commandeer any clone facility or high end medical center and convert it to start gestating homo xenus in short order.
The individual undergoes a rapid growth process, reaching puberty in approximately two years time. During this incubation time, the growing specimen is in near constant contact with an AI through the implants it is growing around. As the specimen grows, it is conditioned with simulated life experiences, and rather than one at a time, most homo xenus specimens are grown in batches. These sibling companies all share the same simulated life experience, and through it bond with each other and establish the required social structures needed later in life. Sibling companies, or SibCos share genetic ancestry and are functionally clones of each other. The individuals are given distinct markings so that non-Xenus observers can tell the individuals apart. For the homo xenus, this isn't an issue because their cybernetic implants allow them to communicate instantly with each other through thought and emotion.
Homo Xenus has an open ended lifespan, and unless something causes catastrophic damage, they are functionally immortal. With their cybernetics and regular computer connection, upon death, the xenus' digital companion can function as a proxy of that individual. Thus, the wisdom and experiences of a single exceptional member of the new clade can carry on as a virtual avatar, be uploaded into a waiting mainframe with a chance of kickstarting sentience, or copied into an autons cybernetic body.
The homo xenus being designed by a machine is very comfortable around machines, and they have what would seem like an almost magical ability to use and understand them. Part of this is the companion program supplying motor control skills to their hands while they work, to the constant connection with the CogNet's augmented reality features, to the fact that the xenus has weak electricity sensing pores in their hands. One of the few weaknesses of the clade is that if they are deprived of CogNet access, or something shuts down their companion, they can become confused, disoriented, or non-functional.
The test groups working with homo xenus typically have kill switches that allow them to deactivate the cybernetic links in the specimens, either shutting their hardware down, disconnecting them from the network, or even accessing and controlling them through their companion. This is currently only being used as a safeguard system while the Anunnaki work out the bugs and kinks in the design process of Homo Xenus. Eventually, Homo Xenus will have an almost religious relationship with entities like AISCs, with the individual communicating invisibly with the vast intelligences through a literal conduit in their brains.
On of the major issues with technological integration in the Cosmic Era is the Uncanny Valley phenomenon. Humans are often unsettled by things that look too close to actual human, such as some of the high end androids and gynoids that are manufactured. This reluctance is why despite being inferior and obsolete technology, autons remain in production and use. The alternation of homo xenus and the removal of gender by default moves the entire clade into the uncanny valley for baseline humans, but homo xenus is unaffected by the phenomenon. Their identity and sense of self is as plastic as that of a seibertronian.
The plan of the Anunnaki is to use Homo Xenus as first a 'warden' for humanity, and then ultimately replace mankind. The plan in decades if not centuries away from the level of reliability and scale required, and for the time being it is in the early phases of proof of concept. The biggest thing holding homo xenus are the Anunnaki themselves. Once the hidden masters find a way to truly conquer death and gain immortality for themselves, then they will begin producing Xenus in earnest.
Author's Notes: Homo Xenus comes from several inspirations, the Clans from Battletech, the Neo-Sapiens from Exo-Squad, and the legacy of the ubermensch. They are in almost every way superior to humans: unfettered by disease, untroubled by age, not bound to traditional family dynamics, and unperturbed by hormones demanding sex and fighting.
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Terms used in conjunction with Homo Xenus
Chimp - insult, lower than homo sapiens, one ruled by base biological desire, one lacking courage, intelligence, or the sophistication expected of Xenus society. Simian terms are also used as racial slurs against homo sapiens.
Codex - term used to refer to an individual's genes, a representation of self, and their potential. Insulting a codex is grounds for a challenge, such as asking if the codex was known to be damaged before production, or if it was discovered afterwards? Genetic hubris.
Frag - insult, incomplete as a fragment, one who has failed in their given role. To frag - to fail. Fragger - one who failed. Fragged - broken or otherwise compromised. Fragman, a person who only knows misery and failure.
Freeborn - a human born through normal sexual reproduction, technically used as an insult towards Homo Sapiens and Homo Novus augments. Also known as fuckborn, lowborn, and genesludgers.
Game of Challenge - a game of challenge is any sort of game fought out between two or more interests that lacks an outside reward such as rank points, settling of grievances, promotions, and so forth. These are a step above training matches, and typically done in a friendly manner.
Game of Grievance - rather than resorting to physical violence, emotional outbursts or otherwise disruptive behavior when there is a problem, homo xenus is conditioned to handle interpersonal disputes through the use of CogNet dueling and 'card battle games'. This allows hostility to be defused, teaches each member to be as prepared as possible, and that those who cannot win fights shouldn't start them.
Game of Raiding - While materialism is seen as not just a hallmark of the Petroleum Era, but of Homo Sapiens in its entirety, homo xenus has a completely different approach. When a resource is in contention between two factions, such as two sibcos fighting over the better bunk facility, they will resort to games of raiding. These simulated battles home martial and tactical skills without inflicting actual casualties or injuries, and are played out in virtual environments. They are similar to the FPS melees that are currently popular in console games.
Geneseed - a sample of a xenus' genetic code, in the context of being used to create a new sibco of homo xenus. Also a reference to genetic legacy, and the asexual reproductive process.
Loot - anything gained from the defeat of a foe, agreed to before the start of a game, or the commencement of a physical competition. Colloquially translates to 'that which is desireable' or 'the spoils of conflict'
Sibco - sibling company. Rather than solo, homo xenus is born and raised in batches or companies. These are treated as siblings and are the only family connection the species demonstrates.
Trial of Position - Where disputes are settled with virtual games, promotions and evaluations are handled through holosim situations. In a trial of position, the challenger seeks to raise their level within the homo xenus society. The 'defender' is a teacher or other administrator, and typically has the upper hand, so that an aspiring xenus cannot simply win through dull brute force, and must be cunning and clever instead.
Trueborn - a human born through computer engineering and genetic manipulation of donor genetic material, this term can be applied to homo novus engineered from birth, and automatically applies to all homo xenus members.