Welcome to Ten Forward Fridays, where a new playable species is presented for the Star Trek Adventures roleplaying game, filling in some gaps until official material can be released.
This is the first week in Technological Species month, focusing on artificial life forms. First up is Human Augments.
The most famous Augmented Human is Trek lore is Khan Noonien Singh, first seen in 1x 24 The Space Seed. Khan was an ambitious, aggressive, and pragmatic figure, albeit one who could be reasoned with. At the end of the episode he is defeated, not through violence, but through a negotiated compromise. Initially, Khan was suggested to be the result of selective breeding, but this was quickly retconned and revised to be genetic engineering. This episode also introduced the “Eugenics Wars”, which can be argued to be the Third World War mentioned in several Star Treks series. This conflict was quickly used as the justification for the absence of gentic modification in the Star Trek universe.
Human Augments returned in the series Star Trek: Enterprise, with a trilogy of episodes starting with 4×04 Borderland, who were derived from the program of genetic engineering that produced Khan (and was noted in that storyarc to be flawed, creating emotional imbalance). Another very different human augment also appearance in later seasons Deep Space 9. This character’s story arc established that genetic modification to correct medical ailments (i.e. gene therapy) was legal in the Federation, but augmentation was less accepted: humans who had undergone genetic enhancement were ineligible to serve in Starfleet.
While Earth had banned genetic engineering since the 21st Century, other colonies were more liberal in their practices, with entire colonies established to explore the science of genetic engineering and selective breeding. A human from any era could hail from one of these colonies, perhaps falsifying their records to hide their origin. It’s also possible for a character to descend from Human Augments that remained on Earth and escape detection; perhaps having several unaugmented humans in their ancestry could partially correct their aggressive tendencies. It’s also possible to play a genetically enhanced individual of a non-human species, using the existing rules for having a mixed heritage.
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