Topic: The First Two Years

A view of what happens during the first two years of a Da Vincians life.


Da Vincians are speed-grown from embryo to fully functional adulthood in the span of two years, in the same floatbed that they will use the rest of their life for nourishment, getting rid of waste, decontamination, and sleeping. During the growth period the skills, knowledge, and personality of each person are developed and coaxed forth by a complex range of stimuations, sessions, and dream sequences.


Local system time reads 04:12 when yet another cluster in the TAU primary breeding module lights up with a newly generated ID. Autonomous construction units obey, rapidly going through the initial assembly of yet another floatbed. In hours it will be hauled through service tunnels into the tower core to await embryonic injection. No human decision is involved. To some people, being forced to simply watch the process happen means more lost resources, and yet another human to take care of and make space for.

The floatbeds are constructed and stored deep inside the tower, in the Core. Here life begins. Once the floatbed is in place status lights turn on, sperm meets egg, and a new human starts growing, immersed in highly nourishing liquid. Within months the basic shape of the body is done, organs are in place, and muscles and nerve system start jittering and jerking from electrical stimulations.

Everybody experiences the growth phase slightly differently. For some it consists of a series of images, for some there are only sounds or smells. Some experience complex emotional landscapes instead of visuals. Many recall hearing subtle whispering that went on and on. Some report an eerily pleasant memory of fingers gently touching the folds of their brain.

Some have lucid memories of becoming. Some only retain vague dreamlike images or sensations. Few remember nothing at all.


You are floating in pleasant murky light. The voice is back, whispering inside your head. Making images flare in front of your never-opened eyes. Your mouth quirk in pleasure. You like playing. "If you add the Foyken Constant and divide by X you get the Florian Sequence. The Florian Sequence is vital for the selection of proper enzyme-F modifiers. Picture the numbers floating in front of you. Now, add the constant and see what happens."

The brain receives the most care right from the start since there is so much to learn and know. Education phase starts early, just a few months into the growth process. It is accomplished by direct stimulation of the brain making the developing Da Vincian solve tasks, crack problems, do tests, and go through simulations.

The TAU modules run on parallel tracks feeding the brain with knowledge while simultaneously rushing the fledgling personality forward into a pre-adult state. After a few months a Da Vinican already has a strong sense of self, and after 6 months he or she has passed beyond basic school topics. The closer to hatching, the steeper the curve. At the time of hatching a colonist will possess the equivalent of several PhDs in various fields, and will have worked in-vitro with solving complex issues from the waking world outside.


You have come to associate the heavy feeling in your head with sleepiness, that you need to let go for a bit, and just drift. But images flash inside your mind. Storm clouds building. Cyclone front fifteen clicks to the east. Your thumb finds your mouth, a pure reflex, oddly comforting. "This is Fischer, weather report, planetfall +640. Humidity is up, corealis force is increasing. Nitrogen levels are too high. I don't know why, but they are. And we're experiencing oxygen lag again." The voices of people ahead of you, working outside to rescue the colony. You must get out there, quickly. You must help solving the issue. But something is wrong, Confusion flickers on the surface of your cortex. Fischer is no longer active. Fischer is dead. Why is he filing reports?

Da Vincians are raised on the wrong data. Every one of them is brought up to believe there are a few hundred people out there, that they will be among the first selected few. This is caused by an older rogue module, the one that hatched the first hundred colonists. Old weather reports, random database extractions, and old training simulations infiltrate and pollute newer and more up to date material. This results in confusion and disorientation when people are finally released into a vastly different reality. While the terraforming is certainly still off track, the colony is facing a host of other more pressing problems which new colonists are less than prepared for.


She is sitting across from you again, on the floor. You know girl is a person like you though you are not really sure what girl connects to. Girl is staring at you. She is hostile. You cannot escape. Anger floods your system. It builds, flows into your hands, makes your fists curl up. It is unbearable. You punch girl in the face, watch her crumble and lie still. Then agony strikes your head. The punch burns between your eyes, making your mouth water with a salty taste. "You are experiencing a ghosted neural image. This is girl's pain. You caused this. This is how she feels when you hit her." The voice is soothing, but shadows of displeasure simmer at its edges. You are terrified.

During all stages of the growing period Da Vincians go through a complex series of emotional experiences designed to build a strong sense of ethics. The purpose is to create well-rounded, socialized, and capable humans, and the founding principle is to teach people to know themselves. To accept the basic human nature with all its flaws and strengths. To teach them to think beyond themselves, to experience empathy and compassion. To teach them non-violent and non-destructive ways of expressing their needs, urges, fears, emotions, and desires.

When a Da Vincian is released for the first time he or she will know war, violence, aggression, and anger. But also compassion, love, cooperation, and forgiveness – and what comes of both sides of the human spectrum. The process is not viewed as brainwashing, but rather as an attempt to cover all angles. The choice of how to behave lies with the person itself.

During this phase Da Vincians are also made aware of the origins of the colony, where it comes from, that there is a link back to Earth. But the presentation is done with a heavy slant on belonging on Da Vinci. This is designed to create strong ties to the colony and lessen interest in Earth, but also creates resentment and tendencies of isolationism in some.


The face is back, a sensation floating in your mind connected to PERSON and CONCERNED. You instinctively query the database but come up empty. Need identifier. "Hi, I am Vincent. I am a peopleworker. I know your name is Venia, and that you chose it because you liked the Roman civilization entry. TAU tells me you're an IFNJ. So am I. Anyway, when you are released I'll be waiting to meet you. I'm here to help. It's 6 hours to your release, and, uh, I'm waiting out here. I know TAU ran the pre-release tutorial so you should be, uh, prepared. Your beta wave count makes me think you are anxious still. Don't be. It's, uh, going to be different than you think, but you are not alone."

Reactions to being released from the floatbed for the first time differ. Some are lucky enough to have somebody – perhaps a peopleworker – waiting for them when they come sliding out of the floatbed for the first time. Some find themselves on their own, either because TAU is remarkably inaccurate about release times, or because nobody could find the time.

Everybody has to cope with changes in temperature, coughing up liquids to breathe air for the first time, and having to use their body in a non-fluid environment. For some it is no worse than just waking up slowly. For some it is like stepping through thin glass and suddenly being there, feeling everything as opposed to dreaming about feeling it. Many report feeling cold, weak, lost, and turned upside down for a short period.

The majority also experience a swift transition from order to chaos. Nothing is as crisp and well planned as the training period with TAU. Reality is messy, problematic, difficult, unstructured, and confusing. TAU does not take into account the current state of the colony when training new people. While people outside can relay messages to those in-growth, consensus is to not mention the discrepancies. There are concerns about what will happen if people in development get conflicting input.


Gordon spends the first 10 minutes of his waking life retching liquid and gasping for breath like a stranded fish. He knows something is wrong from the moment he opens his eyes. People rush past, apparently unconcerned with this momentous and utterly confusing moment in his life.  When he finally finds his way to the recreational area he sits in the grass for hours, staring into space. Slowly realizing that nothing is what he expected. Unable to decide on a course of action. How long Kena has been standing there in front of him, he doesn't know .But she simply smiles, sits down, and just stays there with him until he starts talking. Weeks later when they are crunching project data together on the ring account, she admits he looked like an easy catch for a new supporter. He feels less hurt than he should. It's a good ring and they take care of him.

After the initial shock of release most Da Vincians tend to find their own niche in the community, and hook up with a ring. They gain friends, tap into the social networks, and quickly learn the value of knowing somebody who knows somebody. Some latch on to the bigger picture, and get involved with the terraforming and overpopulation issues. Some sink down into daily life and start losing sight of the long-term goals. Some start bending the rules and toying with people around them.

The floatbed stays personal property, the closest thing a Da Vincian comes to having their own quarters. When tired, hungry, seriously hurt, or in need of further speed-training, they return to the floatbed, gulp down the liquid, and fall back into the semi-awake trancelike state they spent their first two years in.


Hayle makes people around her worry, though she rarely notices it. There is nothing obviously wrong with her, but something is unsettling about the way she smiles, the way she holds herself, the way she likes to walk close to the rails in the canyon and stare for hours into the murky abyss below without a word. Everybody agrees Hayle is a top notch engineer, that she is one of those people that buys the colony time by coaxing more months out of aging machinery. But there's something about her...

It is a rarely discussed but commonly accepted fact that not all makings go well. The personality modules are not free of bugs, and the process itself places the human mind and body under great strain. Glitches and inconsistencies occur, especially in the personality development processes. Isolated pockets of the divided swarm agents have been known to act up, sometimes causing confusion, sometimes creating minor personality flaws.

Last edited by Darkhawk (2008-04-14 13:39:21)