Near-Baseline Human

Image from Bernd Helfert

Nearbaseline humans, sometimes called nebs, are the most numerous embodied hominids in the known galaxy, and collectively the various nearbaseline clades and subclades make the largest single population of non-virtual sophonts in the Terragen Sphere. Note that non-embodied virtual sophonts derived from human templates are more numerous than embodied humans, but these entities can be changed into radically different infomorph types with relative ease, so are generally considered separately.

Depending on their ancestry, near-baseline humans may have any of a number of innate advantages over true human baselines, as well as numerous other differences that are the result of local adaptations, or cultural fashions and traditions, or pure chance (see nearbaseline genemods) but the one thing they have in common is that they are still recognizably human in form, and are interfertile either directly with the rare baseline human population or with some other nearbaseline populations. Though they may be bright, or even superbright, and though they may have some extraordinary physical abilities and highly extended "natural" life-spans compared to a baseline human, they lack the entire coordinated suite of physical and mental advantages that distinguish the superiors, and though they may have the ability to survive and thrive in some conditions that might kill an ordinary baseline human they lack the extreme adaptations that distinguish the tweaks. Likewise any nonhuman animal genome they carry is not so evident as in a rianth, and any hardware or bioware they may have chosen to integrate into their bodies is less extensive and vital to their existence than is the case for bioborgs and cyborgs. It is estimated there are perhaps three quadrillion nebs all told, depending on one's definitions (there is not always a sharp division between nearbaselines and many of the other hu categories).

Despite the fact that divisions between different populations of nearbaselines are far from clear, the Institute of Biological Taxonomy on Erasmus recognizes some 36,000 modern subspecies of Homo sapiens in addition to the baseline Homo sapiens sapiens. Some of the types that developed early in the history of the Terragen expansion have become particularly widespread in the time since. Most common of all is a general human type widespread throughout the Inner sphere, H. s. plebus (with at least ten thousand "races" according to some experts), but there are many others. 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; and H. s. proximacentaurensis. H. s. novaeterraensis, originally of New Earth, Terran Federation, can be quite difficult to distinguish from baseline humans, but the population of nearbaselines that is closest to the original Homo sapiens sapiens stock is Homo sapiens quarkensis, from a long-lived and somewhat insular culture on Quark, one of the continents of Corona, an otherwise su-dominated system.

A few individuals or populations of nearbaselines are the result of attempts to "pump" the genome to Superior-equivalent status piecemeal, without any fundamental revisions. Such persons, the pseudo-superiors, are sometimes called psuuds, suddies, or sooboos. This process has its hazards; such persons may develop mild to severe psychological or physical dysfunctions. These so-called "pumpers" are faced with a painful choice: they can return to one of the many stable nearbaseline forms, foregoing some of the advantages they have gained (a process sometimes referred to as "flushing"), or they can undergo the radical coordinated set of genetic and phenetic advances required to become a true superior and thereby leave behind some aspects of their original personality. Though processes and templates for both courses are available through a number of organizations (most notably the Institute for Primate Provolution), there are always those who lack the will, or in some societies the resources, to make this change. If their dysfunctions are severe, they may become part of the refuse of the Terragen Sphere, and live in sewerslums and other uncivilized free zones in varying degrees of misery and poverty.

Bigots of other clades often wonder aloud how such conservative beings as nearbaselines have managed to persist to the present day as such a large fraction of the Terragen population. They may attribute this to the long head-start that nearbaselines populations have over all others, or to a vulgar impulse towards excessive reproduction, or to the poverty, ignorance, or ideological blindness of nearbaseline individuals and groups who have been unwilling or unable to improve themselves. The truth of the matter is simpler and more obvious: most standard Terragen habs are designed to accommodate the human form, if they are not outright tailored to it, and Terragen societies are descended from human societies even if they are not entirely created by humans and are often quite favourable to them. The modest improvements over the basic human condition adopted by nearbaselines make them well suited to the environments that they themselves have created.

  • 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
  • Diaspora, Human - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] The history and condition of humanity following the Great Expulsion.
    [2] humanity (or biont terragens in general) as a starfaring race scattered among the stars.
  • Dulls - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Impolite term Superbrights and near-Superbrights use to refer to those sapients (whether baseline or superior) of lower than their own level of intelligence.
  • 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.
  • Goo, Pink  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A curious disparaging term for the human species, in reference to the fact that it as has spread out across the galaxy, replicating and filling available niches.
  • 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 with some additions by Steve Bowers
    Human house/clade, derived from the Stevens family at Epsilon Indi II.
  • 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 nano.
  • 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 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
    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 Arik
    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".
  • Vacc-Suckers  - Text by Elliot Schutjer
    A failed clade of early Interplanetary Era tweaks that were designed to operate in open space without protection.
  • 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
Initially published on 14 August 2001.