Temporary Bodies

Temporary bodies, rental bodies, remotes, surrogates and related concepts

Rental Body
Image from Steve Bowers

A Temporary Body is an artificial robotic or biobot body into which an uploaded person may download their mindstate, in order to interact directly with the real-life universe. The mindstate is activated in a substrate located inside the body (often, but not always, in the head), and becomes mobile. These bodies may resemble the original person's form quite closely, or may be generic bodies with few or no distinguishing marks.

Temporary bodies were first developed in the Interplanetary Era, soon after the development of Destructive Uploading, allowing the uploaded person to have control over a physical body once more.

A biological person who opts for full engeneration will be uploaded, then downloaded into a new permanent body based on comprehensive biodata including genetics and epigenetics as well as micro and macroscale phenotype, effectively recreating their old body from scratch. However, downloading into a temporary body is generally a much faster process. Many downloaded sophonts prefer temporary bodies, since they may be more resilient and adaptable.

Although some polities provide temporary bodies free of charge as an act of hospitality, many require that the user pay for them in some way. Often these bodies are hired by the user from a local commercial source; these hired bodies are generally known as Rental Bodies; other bodies must be paid for in advance, or mortgaged in some way.

Virtual sophonts who have never previously possessed physical bodies may be downloaded into a temporary or permanent body; such downloaded virtuals are known as incarnates. An incarnate will often, but not always, choose a body that resembles eir own personal self-image.

Temporary bodies for aioids, or vecs may be entirely mechanical in nature, or take biont or bioborg form if preferred. Vecs often use temporary bodies to house their consciousness while their preferred body is being repaired. Many aioids and uploads have multiple bodies stored for use on different occasions (or whims) as a lifestyle choice.


Artificial bodies which are controlled by a user who is located elsewhere are known as remotes, or surrogates. Remote bodies are often used when the user cannot physically travel to a location but has very high-bandwidth connections with that location. Remote bodies are useful in environments which would be dangerous or uncomfortable for the user; surrogates are often used in social situations or meetings and other activities where the user cannot attend in person for various reasons.

Eidolons are remotes which use utility fog technology for part, or most, of their functionality. Using even limited amounts of u-fog can mean that a user can interact with other persons and environments as if they were present. Eidolons are also useful when a user wants to interact remotely with an environment that is significantly modified by u-fog.

Transapients and other toposophically advanced entities often use remote bodies known as avatars in order to interact with lesser beings. Sometimes temporary bodies are used instead, which contain a reduced or partial version of the transapient inside themselves and are capable of independent though and action; such reduced versions are known as proxy avatars, or proxavs.

Note that the term avatar is also used for a virtual body located inside a simulated VR environment which is controlled by a real-life sophont who is located elsewhere; both terms derive from the ancient Old Earth language Sanskrit, where the term avatara meant 'a descent to Earth from the heavens'.

Specialist bodies

Often, a temporary body or remote body might be significantly different and more capable than the original body. Temporary or remote bodies can be designed to survive or thrive in dangerous environments, or on a different scale of the original. Some temporary bodies or remotes are used to mimic the form of alien species, especially xenosophonts, allowing the user to interact with intelligent aliens inside a body which is familiar to that species.

Other bodies are significantly stronger, faster, or otherwise more capable than the user's original body, sometimes even achieving supersophont levels in various ways. Such highly advanced temporary bodies or remores are rare, but they are capable of effective use in police enforcement activities or even warfare.
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Development Notes
Text by Michael Boncher, revised by Steve Bowers 2015
additional material by Ryan B
Initially published on 10 November 2004.