Thym Olep
Thym Olep
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The Thym Olep are a clade of Kja-Observing vecs originating from several worlds and habitats along the Metasoft Perseus border, having first appeared around 3550 AT. Like other Kja Observers, they believe in an indescribable, uncomputable (though not necessarily metaphysical) quality possessed only by biological beings, referred to as "Kja," which only they and other aioids of similar mental and sensory configuration are able to detect. As a result of this belief, they and other Kja Observers seek to attain Kja for themselves, either by adorning themselves with biomass on their external surfaces, or by integrating biological elements into their structures.

The Thym Olep fall into this latter category, but where they differ from other Kja Observers is in the specific nature of their implants. Members of the Thym Olep believe that Kja is specifically associated with biological reproduction, and as a result they choose to integrate various biological components that allow them to experience this aspect of organic life for themselves. In its simplest form, this may entail outfitting themselves with containers that function as growth chambers for bacteria, unicellular fungi, or other fast-reproducing micro-organisms. Others, especially neumanns, may choose to make biological reproduction part of their own mode of replication, encoding the mind-state and bodyplan of a "child" vec as DNA that is then decoded by themselves, an engenerator device, or another Thym Olep in order to create the new vec. In the latter case, Thym Olep may graft biont-derived reproductive organs onto themselves, in order to facilitate genetic information transfer.

Among Thym Olep, the act of exchanging genetic information is not always necessarily tied to reproduction; it also may function as a mode of general-purpose data transfer. During the monthly Metasoft accounting rushes, the frequency and vigor with which Thym Olep engage in this form of communication results in spectacles which many biological sophonts find either highly amusing or deeply disturbing (often both); as more than one nearbaseline human observer has put it, "it's enough to make a bonobo blush." The implants and associated behaviors of Thym Olep belonging to the Quantitative sub-sect of Kja Observance likewise tend to be regarded as impressive or excessive, depending on who one asks.

Over time, the beliefs of the Thym Olep have bled into various other clades and sects of Kja-Observing vecs - sometimes literally, as some groups have taken to exchanging genetic information via transfusions of blood, hemolymph, or other biological fluids and cells not necessarily associated with reproduction. These other Kja Observers are not all regarded as members of the Thym Olep, however, as they do not necessarily share their singular fascination with reproduction as a means to obtain Kja.

The Thym Olep are also notable for their achievements in developing artificial, purely-biological "wombs" capable of manufacturing vecs and other inorganic machine-based beings. These use a combination of bionanotech and macroscale biological tissues to accrete metallic and synthetic compounds into vec components, which are then assembled with the aid of various muscular organs into mature vecs. The innovations of the Thym Olep in this area substantially contributed to the development of syntech during the mid-late Fourth Millennium AT, though their strict adherence to biotech approaches for this particular application meant that their designs would eventually be supplanted by synano alternatives across the wider Terragen Sphere.

Today, Thym Olep may be found in many regions beyond the Metasoft Domain, especially in the NoCoZo and Zoeific Biopolity. There is substantial overlap between the Thym Olep and many erotogen clades and communities, with some Thym Olep believing that the physical sensations associated with many forms of biont sexual reproduction to be yet another way of experiencing Kja.
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Text by Andrew P,
Initially published on 26 June 2024.

based on an original stub article by Anders Sandberg, published 09 January 2002