The Athenaeid postbionts were a product of the late First Federation, the first individuals being decanted from exo-wombs in 1923AT. The manifesto of their creators is clear: the creators were aiphobic, anthropoic baselines and Sus, well-funded by some elements in the Great Houses who wanted to create a homorphbiont able to compete with the ever-improving hyperturings and their descendants. The project was unabashedly bigoted against AIs and uploads and strongly favored biotech.
One oddity of the Athena Project was that it failed before it began, at least in its goal of matching transapient AI development in a biological body. This was because creating basic transapience (SI:1) within the limits of a human-scale biont was a particularly difficult challenge, and the emergence of S:2 transapients in 1618 AT meant that the resulting clade would already be far outmatched.
The explanation from supporters is that they hoped future refinements in technology might enable higher toposophic mentalities to be housed in a homorph body. Admittedly, this was an era where the limits of computing technology and transapient architectures were less understood than in the Current Era, so this explanation is generally accepted (when understood in the context of the bigotry of the supporters). But even then, S1 entities were known to run at hyperfast speeds on diamondoid processors. Without utilizing external computronium Athenaeids could not match the native processing speeds of transapients running on diamondroid computronium, which would ruin the vision of their creators to create a 'transapient, biological human.' (Athenaeids, of course, did not adhere to the vision of their modosophont creators for long and today are not shy about using external computronium augmentation.)
The other oddity of the project, noted as soon as the Athenaeid specifications were released to the public, was that the critical bionano processors of the Athenaeids had capabilities developed by SI:2 entities and the transapience algorithms running on those processors clearly showed efficiency only developed by SI:2 entities. Project supports responded to these observations by pointing to the technical director of the Athena Project, Nine Songs, a transavant whose skills resulted in remarkable work in the fields of genetic engineering and bionano design. Dr. Songs was upheld by the Athenaeid Project's supporters as the genius behind the Athenaeid brain, but e is unlikely to have originated the brain design. The Project's supporters argued (beyond the point of reason) that Dr. Nine Songs, if e didn't design the Athenaeids' brains emself, was a genius who was able to reverse-engineer advanced transapient hardware and software. Unfortunately for historical truth seekers, Dr. Songs was killed in Great House feuding in 1941 AT. The collapse of the Athena Project in 1973 AT (when a number of Athenaeids sought independence) was accompanied by extensive corruption of the Project's records by both sides. A few Athenaeids endorsed Dr. Songs as the designer of their brains, but offered no proof. Other Athenaeids universally espouse the discrete intervention of some second toposophic transapient, though they claim to be unaware of which entity was responsible.
The Athenaeid Project collapsed in 1973 AT when its creation abandoned it. The Athenaeids had little interest in their modosophont creators' goals. After engineering the buyout of their creation debts and freeing themselves from the economic and legal shackles imposed by their creators, they scattered into different pursuits. The backers of the Project, meanwhile, became the shamed posterchildren for anthropoist humans and suffered significant losses in social standing.
At the Project's collapse, there was no great bonds to keep Athenaeids together. They had not been raised in an environment that encouraged childhood bonds to other Athenaeids. The clade probably would have become extinct if not for the formation of a business alliance in the 2300's that, by chance, involved several Athenaeids. The positive social aspects of that alliance encouraged pair bonding and reproduction among the Athenaeids, which led the formation of a small clan. The business alliance and its offshoots later aligned with the Terragen Federation where some Athenaeids thrived and proliferated in a niche role in the Federation's administration. Today, they are particularly good at translating transapient communications to biont modosophonts and vice versa, making them popular as spokesbeings and ombudsmen for the Federation's administration.
In the millennia since their creation, Athenaeids have scattered far and wide through terragen space, though they are staid in some matters. Athenaeids have a statistically higher likelihood of retaining their original form than many transapients, though some will take on new borg bodies; modify themselves heavily to experience extreme conditions; upload into virch; transcend to levels requiring much larger (often non-biological) processing substrates; and so on. Their only notable concentrations of Athenaeids are in the Terragen Federation and the NoCoZo.
The Athenaeids of the Terragen Federation have loosely organized into what some modosophonts refer to as a Great House, though the "Athenaeid House" has little resemblance to the standard Great House. Notably, this "House" lacks organization and has even less hierarchy. For lack of another term, the Athenaeids of the Federation also refer to the organization as the "Athenaeid House," though there was a one-decade period in the 8000's when a percentage of the transapients attempted to relabel it as "Our Thing" and enforce a uniform involving ancient Terran business suits and fedora headware before growing tired of the joke.
The Athenaeid House, such as it is, is basically a social networking system to help Athenaeids exchange information of interest, streamline intra-House trading of favors and boons, and avoid conflict among each other's pursuits. Athenaeids in the network who are considered to have higher social standing are known to help mediate intra-House disputes. Social standing in the House seems to follow seniority but, as with many transapient matters, it is never that simple. Individuals may have different social standings in different situations. Their standing more closely correlates with applicable experience on the situation than simple seniority. And Athenaeids who hold a larger number of favors tend to have high standing, but the number of favors might be symptomatic rather than causational. An Athenaeid with a lot of favors has probably aided a lot of eir fellows, and is thus worthy of respect. Senior Athenaeids tend to have more favors and experience than younger ones, hence the superficial correlation with social standing and seniority.
Athenaeids, at least in their first few centuries, tend to retain their native biont form and have the relationships that produce the next generations of Athenaeids. This seems to be some innate preference related to a survival imperative to protect their biont body, though they are not shy about using DNI to command as many avatars, bots, and other extensions of emselves as any other transapient. Indeed, the most common departure from their native form are uploaded forks that can range more widely without risking eir core body.
The Athenaeids who sever ties with the House claim to do so because a majority of those in the House are part of the Federation's rigid class structure, and thus their favor trading and activities revolve around Federation matters. The separatists are not personally antagonistic with the Athenaeids who remain in the House, but rather interested in avoiding the socio-memetic influences of higher Federation transapients and archailects. The largest portion of the separatists has settled in the NoCoZo, which seems to suit their interest in "more stimulating and free-form environments," and they are developing a social network and some clan compounds of their own. The remainder of Athenaeids is throughout Terragen space following their own interests.
Currently, there about 10,000 known Athenaeids, about two thirds in the Federation, a fifth in the NoCoZo, and the remainder scattered through Terragen space.
The anthropoic notion that Athenaeids would somehow be the epitome of the human form and represent them in the "fight" against ever-improving AIs was given lie in their brain architecture (discussed below), which only has remote elements of human neurophysiology. And like many Sus, the rest of Athenaeid anatomy is also only superficially human. The anatomy certainly is derived from a human genome and physiology, but the modifications are massive.
In appearance, Athenaeids are able to pass as tall, powerful humans, tending toward agility over bulk strength. They range from 1.9 to 2.1 meters in height and are specifically meant to convey, at least in the males, a Greco-Roman notion of the perfect human physique. This height and physique advantage might impress provincial humans, but is ridiculous on worlds where low-gravity tweaks and nebs may be well over 2 meters tall. It is, however, indicative of the dysfunctional memes that infected the Athenaeid creators. Females are likewise athletic, rather than having the softness of the Greco-Roman female ideal. Athenaeids are not otherwise given to physiognomic excesses, avoiding (for example) exaggerated secondary sexual traits or very unusual colorations. (Hair tends to be white, blond, or ebon, while eyes are gray, violet, or blue. Skin color is variable, as discussed below.)
Athenaeids possess all of the common Superior and neb genemods. Their natural lifespans are about 1000 years and physical maturity is reached at about 20. End of life issues are not accompanied by neb-type signs of aging, but rather accumulating systemic flaws, cellular errors, and brain substrate dysfunction that build up rapidly (20 to 40 years) into a "perfect storm" beyond the ability of Athenaeid's impressive health to handle. Only modest bionano implants and/or genetic "refreshes" are needed to fix these issues and perpetuate their youth.
They are also "hardened" against radiation by several "soft" techniques, though not nearly to the extent of Radiation Nation members. Their skins are, by default, a light tan or olive, but respond quickly to UV light by darkening and may become an ebon black. The coloration change rate and final darkness is driven by UV intensity, usually completing in less than an hour, or even minutes in extreme cases. This coloration change may be suppressed or triggered with some concentration for cosmetic purposes. Their cells and organs are protected against heavy metals and other toxins, and quickly breakdown or filter such poisons.
Like Sus, Athenaeids have improved strength, around four times that of a neb of comparable size and build, and faster muscle contractions that support improved speed and reflexes. Part of this strength, like Superiors and non-provolved chimpanzees, is due to Athenaeids' ability to gang more of their muscle fibers into an action than a neb. Another part of their muscular advantage stems from subtly altered joint designs, which improve muscle leverage and incorporate stronger tendons and ligaments with larger attachment areas. Their bones incorporate fibrous reinforcement and some polymer filling, making them markedly stronger in tension and compression to better handle Athenaeids' strength. An Athenaeid has to work hard to sprain or dislocate a joint, let alone break a bone. Joint surfaces are likewise reinforced and heal better, so an Athenaeid is unlikely to see joint damage from excessive exercise. They also have robust spinal column design that resists neck breakage and is unlikely to suffer nebs' "bad back" issues. With Superior lungs, a powerful circulatory system, and their robust musculoskeletal system, Athenaeids are both capable of feats of high endurance and can function adequately in elevated gravity, up to about 2G's. (They can walk and operate in 3Gs, but require acclimatization and are much more prone to injury than high-gravity tweaks.)
Athenaeid skins are reinforced with subtle elastogens to tolerate vacuum exposure in the manner of space-adapted tweaks. The requisite elasticity and toughness gives them a youthful, wrinkle-free appearance throughout their lives. Their eyes are protected from vacuum, dust, and other irritants by transparent nictating membranes. The membranes contain nanosecond photoresponsive protein crystals to protect against high-intensity flashes (nuclear and laser), and provide polarized filtration of light. Their marrow scavenges excess nitrogen (affixing it for vitamin and amino acid production pathways), leaving Athenaeids less vulnerable to the bends if they have some time to adjust to new atmospheric pressures. Completing their space adaptation is a series of closure mechanisms to protect ears, the nose, and other body openings. While protected from space, Athenaeids are not as adapted to space as a proper space-adapted tweak. They lack the mechanisms to endure the temperature extremes of space for more than a few minutes and they do not have the elaborate oxygen storage features beyond a Su's respiratory efficiency. Finally, their internal reinforcement of bodily membranes is less than that of a space-adapted tweak, which complicates fast transitions from a terrestrial environment to vacuum. (An Athenaeid caught in a sudden decompression will need to partially depressurize their respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts to avoid embolisms, although depressurizing the latter may be accompanied by some detrimental side effects.) Athenaeids, like many nebs and Superiors, do not suffer bone density loss from extended periods in zero-G.
The proteins forming the shock gel that protects Athenaeid brains is also produced to a lesser extent in their intramuscular and visceral fat and the strengthening mechanisms of their other connective tissues reinforce their blood vessels. With all the above reinforcements, Athenaeids are tolerant of physical abuse that would pulp a neb. Their durability is nothing like the capabilities of combat tweaks or military bioborgs, but a terminal velocity fall in a terrestrial environment is probably not terminal to an Athenaeid. (Agonizing and injurious, but not terminal or permanently crippling.) Likewise, prim and low tech weapons are less effective against Athenaeids than nebs, though that depends on the weapon. (Stabbing knives are more likely to reach something vital than a club or low-powered, chemical-propelled projectile.)
Athenaeids were built with some expectation of the collapse of civilization (locally at least), or of being stranded on undeveloped planets. Their digestive system is thus rather robust and versatile, able to digest difficult foods like cellulose and battle the fungi and germs of rotting food. In civilized environments, their preferences are usually for common neb fare.
Finally, Athenaeids are capable of breeding true without technological assistance. They are born as males or females (50/50, despite the clade's name), with no integral option for alternative genders. (That is easily correctable with modern biotechnology, of course, but the default DNA of Athenaeids supports a neb reproductive strategy.) They do have several sets of genetic information in their germ cells: some organelles (including mitochondria) have their own DNA; the nanosomes that produce their brain, modified nerves, and memory palace encode their blueprints for duplication; and the nuclear DNA from two parents. Like many nebs and Sus, Athenaeids have conscious control over their fertility. Gestation, should a female Athenaeid carry the child rather than use an artificial womb, is 9 months. Athenaeid females have most common "MomMods."
The Athenaeid brain is an interesting hybrid of technologies that reflects an attempt to have a transapient (S1) brain in a genetically viable, reproducible nearbaseline "chassis."
The Athenaeid brain, down through the spinal cord, is a bionano gel processor supported by a web of blood vessels and bionano production cells. Additional storage and processing is provided in the compubone skull and spine.
The bionano gel processor incorporates several processing technologies. The substrate is a gel where complicated biochemical reactions carry out massively parallel molecular processing, supporting certain kinds of cognition as well as communication between processing and storage elements. The processing and storage elements embedded in the gel are microscopic diamondoid units similar to sub-scale Ultimate Chips.
As a consequence of providing a high surface area for a blood supply, the processor develops knurls and small lobes suggestive of a human brain but ultimately different in texture. ("Cauliflower" and "broccoli" are sometimes used as analogies.) That blood supply delivers the oxygen and glucose that supports the processor's energy needs and extracts waste water and carbon dioxide. The supporting production cells include nanosomes that encode the bionano processor, and the nanosomes are passed along with germ cells between generations much like mitochondrial DNA.
The bionano processor, which appears to be the product of a SI:2 designer, is less volumetrically efficient in terms of processing power than Ultimate Chips. However, the processor also runs at much lower power levels and is therefore compatible with a homorph biont's metabolism. While a SI:1 transapient's processing needs could be met by 3 Ultimate Chips (not counting storage), demanding 300 Watts to do so, the Athenaeid brain obtains equivalent bits-per-second processing with 108 of its cubic centimeters at 3.6 Watts. The associated storage, equivalent to another 30 Ultimate Chips, is about 1080 cubic centimeters and requires only about 7.2 Watts; storage access being much less power-intensive than processing. This (approximately) 1200 cubic centimeters of processing and storage, which are intermixed into a homogenous volume, are further inflated by the supporting web of blood vessels, production cells, and a protective shock gel layer to about 2000 cubic centimeters. The total brain volume of 2 L is slightly larger than most human brains (which range from 1.2 to 1.9 L), but Athenaeids have a Su-like body: tall and strongly proportioned. The extra skull volume is not noticeable on such a frame.
The efficiency of the chemical energy extraction of the processing substrate is similar to cellular metabolism, so the delivery of 3 calories of blood glucose only provides 1 calorie of useful energy for the process. Thus, the Athenaeid brain draws about 30 to 35 Watts from the metabolism, comparable to the 24 Watts (500 kilocalories per day) of a human's brain. And despite the similarity in size and power requirements, any cubic centimeter of an Athenaeid brain could meet the processing requirements of about 40 modosophont intellects.
Supporting the brain is an external memory (many Athenaeids call it their "memory palace.") This is a compubone processor restricted to the skull and spinal column. It provides more than enough storage to back up an Athenaeid's personal memories, and supplies some supplementary processing capacity. The low processing power and access delays prevent it from being truly integrated with their personality, so Athenaeids tend to perceive it as an external memory or data base. Most are educated to perceive it as a virch library or a memory palace, though other perspectives are possible. Though best used for storage, the compubones have enough processing to be useful for non-time critical tasks, augmenting the total processing capacity of an Athenaeid some 10 to 15%. Most Athenaeids learn to use this external memory to provide memetic security, filtering DNI and Known Net interfaces, and to run modosophont-level sub-personalities in this processing space.
Athenaeid brains, despite the above computer terminology, have the structure and interface of a biological brain. The brain is an adaptive neural net learning machine that is not programmable into rigid routines like a subturing inorganic processor, nor is it susceptible to "simple" computer viruses. (Memetic infections are another matter.) Many Athenaeids utilize implanted or wearable processors for longer-running rote calculations, which would otherwise be tedious to perform with the necessary exactitude. Not that such "burdensome calculations" are comparable to what might burden a modosophont's mentality. Like much-less capable Su brains, the Athenaeid brain effortlessly handles large amounts of basic math, higher dimensional analyses, and Fourier processing, while possessing the mammoth pattern recognition and data sorting capabilities needed to support translogic. However, an Athenaeid may get bored performing (for example) a high-resolution planetary weather simulation and hand off the "grunt work" to an actual computer in the same way a modosophont would turn to a calculator. Some Athenaeids train their compubones for such tasks.
As children, Athenaeids have many mental features comparable to Sus: they are Willosophs, slearners, Luckies, and have the aforementioned math-related talents, and their memories are fixable and erasable. They do sleep, but for only short periods (and often leave a Su-equivalent portion of their brain alert to monitor their environment), and have Su-like resistance to phobias, panic, and shock. They multi-task far better than Sus. As they mature into full transapients, their mental capabilities are much more subject to conscious control.
An interesting feature of the brain it is not volatile per se. If bereft of oxygen and nutrients, it ceases computations without losing data. The gel processing material will not, on its own, decay (though it is biodegradable at the hands of hungry microbes, fungi, insects, and larger carnivores.) The supporting cells (blood vessels, nerves, processor production cells, etc.) will die and decompose normally. Thus an Athenaeid can suffer serious brain damage from extended suffocation but will leave easily recovered memories for much longer than a neb's corpse, potentially years in the correct mummifying conditions. In less extreme circumstances - like a traumatic head injury or stroke - the damaged regions of the brain will resume function as soon as damage to supporting cells is healed.
And, at birth, an Athenaeid possesses genetically-engineered direct neural interfaces to prepare them for a life of controlling a vast exoself. This DNI that allows them access to a breadth of sensors (such as local angelnetting) and manipulators (local bots, nanofabs, angelnetting, etc.) comparable to a typical hyperturing. It is not unusual, though, for Athenaeid parents to keep their children isolated from the Known Net for some years, or until their teens, to encourage formation of a strong identity and avoid memetic infections.
PSYCHOLOGY & BEHAVIORS
Athenaeids embody the common description of lesser transapients: "They may appear completely "normal" for long periods of time, perhaps in part because of the constraints under which all sophonts live and in part because they choose to appear so, but eventually a transapient will act in some completely alien way, for reasons that may or may not be explicable to a modosophont."
Athenaeids do seem relatively "normal" to modosophonts for long periods of time, acting in human-like fashions by (for example) forming what appear to be marriages with other Athenaeids and friendships with modosophonts and transapients. They usually raise their children in a superficially human fashion. They partake in human-like pastimes of dining and sports. With "feet in both worlds" as bionts and transapients, they are usually at least as good as the Darwin clade at interacting and communicating with modosophonts, especially humans, verbally and through body language. Their most widely known career is as ombudsmen in the Terragen Federation between transapient leadership and modosophont citizenry. And Athenaeids tend to stick to a human-like body. It's easy for modosophonts to mistake Athenaeids as understandable and even predictable.
These behaviors don't necessarily represent the internal mind-state of Athenaeids, though. For example, while Athenaeids seem to have a survival instinct-driven preference to retain their birth bodies, it should be remembered that Athenaeids are born with direct neural interfaces and multitask at a level far beyond Superiors. By the time they are adults, Athenaeids will be utilizing countless simultaneous sensory perspectives, bodies, avatars, and remote manipulators with the same level of sensor input as their native body. It is also not correct to say their native body is "just another remote" to Athenaeids because (at a minimum) it is often their primary computing center and represents a redux strategy (self-healing and reproducible chassis independent of technological assistance), but an Athenaeid's attitude toward their body is closer to that of a backed-up vec's than a human's.
Further, contrary to the perception that Athenaeids are (for transapients) possessive of their native bodies, many Athenaeids will explore the wider universe through uploadedforks. This is a technique that isolates their biont forms from dangerous environments and allows "harmless" exploration of exotic environments. After such virtual experiences, a fraction of Athenaeids are prone to shifting to more virtual-oriented lives, thus putting their lives in multiple, virtual backups rather than a single biont body. Such Athenaeids either leave their original body in a simple maintenance mode with no more than a Superior-level intellect present for "housekeeping," or even put the biont body in nanostasis as a backup avatar. Interestingly, there is an age-dependent bimodal distribution of Athenaeids who keep their biont bodies active: younger Athenaeids (under a few centuries old), and older Athenaeids (more than a millennium old).
While Athenaeids mature into a familiar, human-like form, their infants and toddlers can be unnerving to modosophonts familiar with human maturity rates. Athenaeids grow and physically mature at about the rate of humans, with similar stages (infant, toddler, child, puberty, etc.) However, their coordination and intellect develop much faster, for different reasons. Their intellect, obviously, has further to develop from infancy to adulthood, and thus develops rapidly compared to humans. Their physical coordination develops rapidly as part of a redux strategy to make Athenaeid children less of a burden on parents in an uncivilized environment, and to avoid stressing a rapidly-developing intellect that would otherwise be trapped in a helpless body. Within about ten days of birth, an Athenaeid infant - superficially similar to a human infant in appearance - is able to walk and exhibits the comprehension of a precocious human toddler. Athenaeid toddlers also look like neb toddlers, but have the physical coordination of a neb adult and intelligence of a bright or superbright. When communicating or seen in motion, these younger Athenaeids children can slide deep into the Uncanny Valley for some witnesses.
The Athenaeid brain reaches its adult size at about age 10, but its full capabilities take longer to develop as the neural networks evolve with education and experience. As note above, translogic functions do not begin to operate continuously until the late-teens, though younger Athenaeids will have flashes of translogic. Mature Athenaeids claim proper development of their transapient mental functions require several decades of tutelage and education by other Athenaeids, but this may be referring to education and training rather than physical development. Analysis of the nanosome encoding of their bionano processor indicates the processor should be physically complete by 20-25 years.
Childrearing is another aspect of Athenaeids that is both normal and bizarre. Athenaeid children are born as modosophonts, so some basics of Athenaeid childrearing are the same as used by many modosophont clades. Adults use pair bondings, group marriages, etc. pool resources and labor to nurture Athenaeid children into well-balanced adults. The children are physically mature by age 20, but the "naturally raised" Athenaeids are not considered to be adults by other Athenaeids until they are about 50 years old for reasons mentioned above. The extended "young adult" phase is one spent mastering translogic and exotic modes of thought, and practicing their application in constrained real world tests (e.g., profiting from manipulating modosophont markets, media, or memes). Typically, multiple families will use a common "clan compound" (a space habitat or large planetary building) to further pool resources, labor, and parenting experience. It is probably because of these compounds that Athenaeids have relatively little intra-clade strife and good conflict-resolution skills because most were raised in these cooperative and pleasant environments. (This sort of childhood experience is not universal, of course. Some Athenaeid parents prefer to bring up their children or forks in accelerated virtual environments in a more timely fashion, while some Athenaeid impatient children will be allowed to accelerate their mental development in the same fashion.)
The childhood experience of Athenaeids is similar and different than that of human children. As with human children, the modosophont Athenaeid children are nurtured and guided by caring adults that are more experienced and knowledgeable than themselves, and often seemingly several steps ahead of the children. The difference is that Athenaeid children cannot model the mind state of their transapient parents, while the parents can flawlessly model the mind state of the children. (And, indeed, may have modosophont emulations of the children running in their brains.) Any predictable behavior exhibited by the parents is likely done purely for the benefit of the children, not because the parents are actually predictable by the children. Because their flawless memories allows perfect recollection of their childhoods, a coming-of-age moment for Athenaeids is when they begin to finally comprehend their parents' decisions throughout their childhood, and are able to present a correct version of the syllabus to which the parents taught.
Their careers, pursuits, and hobbies have some superficial resemblance to modosophont interests, but any Athenaeid activities are usually part of a deeper and larger plan. One known Athenaeid clan home, a McKendree Cylinder pair known as "Fata Morgana II," is a case in point. The habitat would be a "dream home" for many modosophonts by itself, but more than a half dozen goals beyond a luxurious home were achieved by the construction of the habitat. Fata Morgana II also provided its designer with an opportunity to sculpt the landscape in an example of perfect art (modeled on the Tar Vara habitats); exercise engineering knowledge under externally-imposed constraints; and generate revenue. There was no real estate quite like Fata Morgana II in the New Brooklyn system, so it promptly attracted modosophonts when opened to investors. This, in turn, provided the owning Athenaeid clan with a population of modosophonts that would unknowingly take part in the socioeconomic lesson plans of Athenaeid children.
Trying to pin down Athenaeid interests more specifically is difficult. They seem as diverse as any human populations' interests (e.g., sculpting habitats' terrain, perfect art, travel and exploration, etc.), but with a whole new dimension opened by transapiency. Athenaeid "ombudsman" work in the Terragen Federation may not be due to any great love for intertoposophic translation, but rather because it a position of leverage in a powerful and wealthy nation that Athenaeids utilize to meet their own, less-known goals. Likewise, the Athenaeid population in the NoCoZo is not necessarily there simply because the NoCoZo granted more freedom, but rather because they could get into a position of leverage with less "drag" from obligations to higher transapients.
In short, Athenaeids also embody the other half of the description of a transapient: "but eventually a transapient will act in some completely alien way, for reasons that may or may not be explicable to a modosophont."
IMPLANTS AND AUGMENTATIONS
An unenhanced Athenaeid is a highly capable entity but, like most sapient bionts, ey will seek implants, personal equipment, and other augmentations. A few implants might be inexplicable to modosophonts, but most of these items are similar in basic concept than those used by modosophonts: wearable or implant computers; backup caches; nanoweave clothing; implanted medical systems, etc. The items do tend to be more capable and powerful because all such implants are versions meant for transapient users.