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Genetics - January 2nd, 2009, 9:36 pm

While genetic modification of humans has been possible for more than thirty years, most places are very hesitant to legalize it. Of course, over time it sort of sneaks in - first you're allowed to fix major flaws like birth defects. Then minor flaws like baldness. Then you can make minor benefits, such as a high muscle tone or very clear vision. A few places have moved on to allowing extraordinary modifications such as the hyper-dense skeleton modification.

All of these benefits - and many more - are available from other sources. Cybernetics, bionics, nanite enhancement, a few other means. These tend to be more acceptable, but you'll still find a lot of places have a fair number of genetically modified humans.

While the Crater doesn't actually ban any of the more severe modifications, they are an experimental culture and want to keep the variables to a minimum. So it - along with advanced-capability modifications from other sources - is not at all common.

Still, almost all the children have basic corrective genetics modifications, and some are significantly more notable.

The most obvious is Zoe, whose cobalt-blue skin is the result of what's called an "armageddon mod" - it makes her extremely resistant to radiation and cancer, along with making her unusually durable and giving her metabolism a bit of a tweak so she can survive for weeks without food and only a little water. Zoe's not terribly fond of that mod, but she's happy for the brain tweak her parents gave her to go with it. Yeah, that's not her "natural" intelligence.

Armageddon mods aren't in style. They're rather pessimistic, after all. But the twins have a more action-packed variant called the "survivor pack". It gives them a modest level of resilience, but focuses more on mild physical boosts, rapid, complete healing, and astonishing pain tolerance. Basically, it's not much help if the world is destroyed, but it could be handy if they ever get in, say, trouble with the mafia.

The twin's mother, Carmen, is genetically standard (born before it was even possible to have genetic modifications), but she's stuffed full of nanotech. She may not look it, but she's pretty much bulletproof and can lift a car. She's a huge exception to the norm here in the Crater, but because she's a superstar scientist, nobody complains much.

King's idiot-savant nature is not from his own genetic modifications - he has none. However, they are a result of his hippie parents' mods mingling and mixing chaotically.

Misshie, Pailey, Ken, Mike - these kids are all more normal, only tweaked to fix any problems they might have. They don't have any super powers, they aren't even terribly bright. They're the standard, and nearly everyone in the Crater is roughly at that level.

Rose is completely unmodified, so she takes her chances at the genetics roulette.

Ayers in on the other end of the spectrum, but more on that some other day.

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