Parental Vecs
Parental vec
Image from Steve Bowers
Vecs sent on colony missions to raise children born in artificial wombs in distant colonies. Most parental vecs are humanoid in shape, although some are less humanoid in appearance than others. Several early interstellar colonisation efforts used the 'seedship' strategy, where frozen gametes, zygotes or simply digitised DNA was carried on board unmanned ships to save mass. The fetuses would be raised in artificial wombs until ready to be born, then would be raised by the synthetic parents.

The Parental vecs would be programmed with carefully chosen human cultural traits and characters, in order to enculturate the newly born human infants. They were often characterbots, modelled on real or fictional humans associated with the culture that sent the original seedship. Without such parenting the children would have been deprived of any cultural influences and would have lacked advanced language, social skills or the technical skills required for the function of the colony.

Sometimes the Parental Vec/seedship strategy failed to a greater or lesser extent for various reasons. At Diwali the synthetic humans declined to activate the artificial wombs, as they decreed that the environment on that world was too dangerous for humans. Instead they created their own Synthetic human culture, one of the first in the Inner Sphere. Some modern commentators identify a failure in the already protective programming of the Parentals on this world.

At Caph the strategy worked too well, and the Parentals decided to increase the efficiency of the birthing process, causing a runaway population explosion and rapid collapse following a natural disaster. Certain commentators suggest that this disaster was engineered by the newly emerged Sephirotic archai, who did not wish to be challenged by a rapidly expanding population of vecs and humans consuming the so-called cosmic commons.

The Parental vec strategy is still sometimes used in the Modern Era, especially in the Periphery, but safeguards against these kinds of failures are invariably in place.
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 07 October 2009.