A clade of Uploads and Vecs named after the first of their kind, roboticist and yachtswoman Janet Tilonia.
Born in the early First Federation period, Janet Tilonia lived on the world of Penglai (Sigma Draconis I) situated in the Inner Sphere system of the same name, quite close to the Solar System. Although a roboticist by profession, she was also a keen amateur yachtswoman. As she grew older, she conceived the plan of uploading herself into a yacht, so that she might forever be able to sail the seas that she loved so much.
Over more than a decade she carefully designed her new body, an ocean-going robot with sophont-level processing power, powered by the sun, as self-repairing as possible, with auxiliary maintenance robots, but with its main means of propulsion being by sail rather than any self-powered means.
When the design was perfected, Janet Tilonia had herself uploaded into it, and set off about her new life on the oceans of Penglai. She has sailed them ever since, while also making a number of further contributions to robotics and oceanography.
Since then, the basic Tilonian design has been copied by any number of other sailing enthusiasts who have also had themselves uploaded to it, and Tilonians can be found on water-worlds (such as Panthalassa) across Terragens space. The Tilonian design has been modified by its users over the millennia, so that now they are found in any number of different sail and hull configurations. They have also inspired similar designs for other environments, such as gas giants, cryogenic worlds and so on.
While many of the original Tilonians are biont uploads, more and more of them were 'born' Tilonians, and so can be classed as true Vecs rather than Uploads. A significant percentage of these opt to give up the Tilonian lifestyle for more 'practical' forms.
Tilonians form one member of an extensive super-clade of 'recreational' sophonts with technological or mechanical bodies, ones sophonts inhabit for fun or because they want to rather than have to or because they were born to it.
Text by Tony Jones
Initially published on 06 February 2006.