Near-Baseline Human

Modosophonts 1
Image from Arik

One of the most common clades in the Terragen Sphere, Nearbaseline humans can be found in every major Sephirotic empire and most minor polities on the Periphery. Nearbaselines have been part of the Terragen Expansion from its earliest days, and in the millennia since then their vast numbers have given them enormous influence over modosophont societies. They slowly separated from Baseline humans over time, adopting the most popular genemods for themselves and their children, while not carefully controlling their development as Superiors do. The result has been an astonishingly diverse collection of human-derived cultures with many advantages over Baselines, though which ones they possess varies from one Nearbaseline clade to another.

Certain genemods have been adopted by almost all Nearbaselines, such as fertility control and life extension, while others are found only within specific local subcultures or ethnic groups. As a result, it is rare for Nearbaselines to be interfertile with one another, and interclade reproduction in the modern age is usually carried out by artificial methods for this reason. They can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from Tweaks, especially those with more extreme aesthetic modifications, but Nearbaselines still require earth-like conditions in which to live, while many tweak clades have adapted to very different conditions (such as a lack of gravity). Nearbaselines with minor adaptations for hostile environments, such as extra body fat for warmth or darkened skin for radiation tolerance, are usually not considered to be Tweaks.

Compared to their Baseline predecessors, Nearbaselines enjoy long natural lifespans of around four hundred years, robust health thanks to their enhanced immune systems, enhanced empathy, improved mental health, modular genetics for easy modding and greater compatibility with artificial implants such as Direct Neural Interfaces. They are usually not Superbrights, as although mental enhancements like innate calculating ability and inducible idea incubation are common among Nearbaselines, they are not integrated in such a manner as to produce truly superior intelligence. Nonetheless, even an average Nearbaseline would have been considered a genius by Old Earth standards, due to the endless opportunities for education and improvement that the Sephirotics provide.

The term 'Nearbaseline' dates back to First Federation census surveys, as a means of distinguishing Baseline humans with only one or two minor enhancements from Tweaks and Superiors, who tended to make more radical changes or even overhaul their entire genome. Since then, Baselines have declined almost to the point of extinction, and are so rare that the label 'Nearbaseline' has long since become redundant. The term persists to the present day due to cultural inertia if nothing else, though it is worth noting that many 'Nebs' are they are commonly known do not identify as such, regarding themselves first and foremost as members of their local subculture or polity. In addition to this, it is common for Nearbaselines to adopt Cyborg or Bioborg implants while still remaining mostly human. This has lead some commentators to regard the concept of 'Nearbaseline' as a spectrum of human-descended beings rather than a distinct category.

Despite the fact that divisions between different populations of Nearbaselines are far from clear, the Institute of Biological Taxonomy on Erasmus recognises some 36,000 modern subspecies of the clade. Some of the variants that developed early in the history of the Terragen expansion have become particularly widespread in the time since. These include:
  • H. s. lunensis, originally native to the domes and tunnels of Old Earth's moon and now found on low acceleration orbitals and moon-sized bodies across the Terragen Sphere.
  • H. s. mediaphilus of the Nova orbitals and a number of other NoCoZo worlds.
  • H. s. barnardensis and related subspecies; H. s. pacificus.
  • H. s. novaeterraensis, originally of New Earth, Terragen Federation.
Some argue that the more radically divergent Nearbaseline clades, such as the low-gravity adapted H. s. lunensis, would be better classified as Tweaks, and the preferred terminology is often more a matter of politics than of science.

Image from Bernd Helfert

One noteworthy trait of modern Nearbaseline cultures is that despite their willingness to modify themselves in line with the latest trends and fashions, relatively few of them ever permanently alter their form to a different clade of being. Many Nearbaselines will spend a century or two engenerated as a Provolve, Xenosophont or a Vec for the sake of variety, but most return to their original bodies, and the Nearbaseline population has held steady and even increased over time. This phenomenon has puzzled demographers and detractors alike for millennia, who often wonder how such conservative beings have persisted throughout the ages when they could become far more capable entities such as Superiors or Uploads.

Some have pointed out that enhanced abilities confer little advantage in a post-scarcity society where automated systems can meet all material needs. Others claim that their presence across Terragen civilisation from the very beginning has given them an advantage over clades that emerged later, as environmental and political systems have tended to be developed for human needs first and foremost. Whatever the reason may be, Nearbaselines continue to have a great deal of influence on modosophont society and culture by their sheer weight of numbers. Even now, they continue to settle new worlds, explore new ways of being and on rare occasions even ascend to the next toposophic level.

  • Andromorph - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Male-only erotorganic, usually a hu-animal splice (bull, stallion, etc.) with heavily erotoginized genome, exaggerated primary and secondary sexual characteristics, and exceptional sexual performance. Often used as a companion-sentient or in the sex-trade. In less civilized parts of the galaxy, may be referred to as a boydoll or toyboy (or worse). c.f. gynamorph.
  • Bright - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A sapient being of S0.3-0.4 toposophic. (hu baseline of IQ 100 is S0.3)
  • Chins, Chinis  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, after original concept by Kevin Self
    Originally slang terms used to identify a group of Humans claiming relatively pure ancestry of Mongoloid, specifically Earth Chinese, origin. During the Federation period the term came to refer to non-Penglaiese
  • Elsirac Ordinaries  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Ingenious non-nanotech baseline/nearbaseline human clade. Forced to flee Peta Dromanis after the Version War, the tribes of the Sirtis Desert found a new home in the MPA habitat Elsirac Ring, at Arkab Prior B. The ruling faction known as 'Ordinaries' adopted the macrotech way of life, rejecting augmentation and nanotech, and have created a wealthy and sophisticated society on this dry world.
  • Fedhed, Clade  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Pseudo-historical nearbaseline biont clade created by the vec Dimimimon4 in the mid 5th millennium AT.
  • Fouriers  - Text by Tony Jones
    A clade whose vision includes a Fourier transform analysis of everything they see.
  • Fullminders  - Text by Tony Jones
    In the first century A.T. it was discovered that the average human brain had a number of gender-related abilities.
  • Goliaths  - Text by D. David Barbeau
    Large-bodied hominid clade.
  • Hidim  - Text by Tony Jones
    A clade whose members are able to visualize and think in higher numbers of spatial dimensions as easily as baselines do in three dimensions.
  • Homo plebus  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The plebhu, or Common Nearbaseline. Considered by some to be a species group, or a series of H. sapiens subspecies.
  • House/Clade Stevens  - Text by Anders Sandberg, amended by Steve Bowers 2021
    Human house/clade, derived from the Stevens family of Epsilon Indi.
  • Humans  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; additions by Stephen Inniss
    The term "human", or hu, is generally applied to Terragen near-baseline modosophont biont hominids, specifically Homo sapiens and closely related or derived species, who bear moderate bodymods, or none at all, and are not radically different from the original human stock in overall form and behaviour.
  • Hyl Op  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Human-derived clade inhabiting Ghane III (Solar Dominion).
  • Ireaders  - Text by Tony Jones
    Modification — later clade — with increased linguistic ability, extending it to give an instinctive childhood ability to learn not only spoken but also written language, as easily as an unmodified baseline human learns to speak.
  • Labela  - Text by Michael Walton
    Nearbaseline human clade notable for their beauty.
  • Lucjordanians  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Interstellar trader House/Clade.
  • Luckies  - Text by Tony Jones
    Highly successful neural modification clade skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities to which they could respond positively.
  • Marians, Clade Mary  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Widespread haloist civilization/clade.
  • Methuselahs  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Early human clade designed for maximum lifespan even without medical intervention.
  • Minervans   - Text by Mike Miller
    A clade derived from the Athenaeids that lacks transapience.
  • Morrigans  - Text by Mike Miller
    An offshoot or subclade of Minervans designed for combat.
  • Nearbaseline Human Genemods   - Text by Ryan B
    Relative to Old Earth baseline humans, typical nearbaselines are genetically as well as environmentally gifted in a host of ways, though they are often superficially quite similar.
  • Neb  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Colloquial term for a human nearbaseline.
  • Neotens and Soneotens  - Text by Tony Jones
    Clade of neotenous humans, the Neotens were originally engineered during the twelfth century A.T. as an early form of pet human. Soneotens (Sophont Neotens) date from the late fourteenth century A.T.
  • Parthene, Clade  - Text by Steve Bowers
    After a short period of mining, Astraea was abandoned until colonisation in 220 AT by the all-female Parthene clade of superbright genetic tweaks.
  • Pet Humans  - Text by Anders Sandberg, Ryan_B
    Pet humans, Homo parvus, are a human subspecies created as pets or toys; most are highly neotenous and remain cute and childlike for their entire lives.
  • Plebhu  - Text by Stephen Inniss, from the original by M. Alan Kazlev
    An ordinary, undistinguished human, usually a nearbaseline. Depending on the speaker and context this may be simply a description, but in some usages the term implies mediocrity, or may be intended as an insult.
  • Posthuman  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A human who has attained an S1 or greater toposophic. Entities of tremendous physical, intellectual, and psychological capacity, self-programming, self-constituting, potentially immortal, unlimited individuals.
  • Protector  - Text by David Jackson
    A product of several centuries of germline genetic enhancement, eugenic refinement and memetic indoctrination, Protectors are biological baselines/nebs bred to guard baseline/neb individuals of high political status from such unpredictable events as accident, assassination, etc.
  • Pumping  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Cheap augmentation process which involves the nearbaseline "pumping" eir genome with su templates that they become almost-su, but without the integral cohesion, talent and ability of the su.
  • Retro Abo  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A population or individual that is the result of an attempt to reproduce the morphotype or even the culture and behaviour of some past clade, race, or local population. The term most often refers to individuals or groups who resemble past human baseline or nearbaseline groups.
  • Scrabo Prior, Clade  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Nearbaseline human (plebhu) clade from Arkab Prior in Sagittarius (MPA). Nearly all members have the traditional nanotattoos, capable of rapid colour change, used for moodomorphic displays, advertising, animation and graphic games.
  • Slaria, Clan  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Nearbaseline clone-culture clade from the HR 8323 system (originally Clan Solaria, but changed during the Version war when fighting the Solar Dominion).
  • Sleepwalkers  - Text by Tony Jones
    Modification and widespread genemod - allowing baseline human-equivalent functioning and interactions on a minimal level of consciousness. Used as a means of social control in some unethical polities.
  • Slinguists  - Text by Tony Jones
    Modification — later a clade — more advanced than Ireaders, having not just an instinctive childhood ability to learn written communications, but made that highly efficient childhood learning process a permanent second 'layer' of ability when learning to communicate.
  • Smilers  - Text by Tony Jones
    Human superclade who have had their mental processes modified to always be happy (includes Vidikiddies - Smiler clade that has adopted a form of hyperdependent infantilism, living in small parkland communities).
  • Superbright  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic name for a genomically-enhanced human (later, also provolve and splice), with intelligence far above baseline.
  • Temverson, Clade  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Heterodox Solarist neurophilosophical holotemporalist nearbaseline clade - 5900s to present.
  • Toposophic Mindmaps  - Text by Worldtree
    One of the many ways that toposophic phase space can be represented is the Mindmap diagram.
  • Toy Humans  - Text by John B
    Dependence-tweaked human-clade.
  • Twin Clades  - Text by Matthew C. Johnson
    Biont clades which have been gengineered to consistently produce twin pregnancies.
  • Unluckies  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Ex-experiment nearbaseline clade gengineered to be "unlucky".
  • Wildhu  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Human bionts (may be baseline, nearbaseline, or even moderate tweaks, rianths, cyborgs, superiors, or other clades or subclades that might identify as 'human') living without the supervision of higher toposophic intellects. They have their own governments, industry, and so on just as in Solsys and on Old Earth as they were prior to the rise of transapients.
  • Willosophs  - Text by Tony Jones
    A flexible and long-lived human clade with certain child-like qualities.
Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss after the original by M. Alan Kazlev.
some additional comments by John B, Updated by Extherian (2018)
Initially published on 14 August 2001.

Additional Information