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Author Topic: Clan Genetics Program  (Read 930 times)

Dr. Banzai

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Clan Genetics Program
« on: 11 January 2021, 13:14:04 »
Sorry if this was brought up in the past, but I didn't feel like scouring 10+ years of posts to see if there's a duplicate question/thread on the subject.

As I as talking with my wife on BattleTech (she has no experience with the game or novels), I was explaining the Clans and their genetics programs. She looked at me horrified and asked if the Clans are a society that would not tolerate physical disabilities. I have to admit, this never occurred to me before, mostly because the stories and history of the Clans would focus on the 0.1% of their population that was conceived and born in Iron Wombs, where such disabilities were removed by the scientists when combining the DNA for their warriors.

But, I do recall in Trial by Chaos one of the reasons the Labor Caste were becoming disaffected with the Ghost Bear leadership was that they were still being "assigned" marriage partners to produce offspring that would benefit the clan's workforce. This raises the very ugly question of what happens to those born disabled in Clan society. Are they as bad as I believe them to be?

Jaim Magnus

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #1 on: 11 January 2021, 13:32:34 »
I don't recall seeing anything one way or another. Given the Clans views on such, I can't fathom them tolerating physical disabilities. Any 'imperfect' trueborn embryo is likely discarded by the scientists. Freeborns would be a different issue. Their families may be able to assist them, but I imagine most would end up relegated to the lowest rungs of Clan society, or even into the Dark Caste.

The only exception MIGHT be for scientists, but that would also depend on what the physical disability is.

A further caveat would be that for trueborns, most 'imperfections' could be corrected at the embryo stage. And anything that manifests later in life has a high change of being corrected/repaired by Clan medical science. Just depends on whether the individual is deemed worth the use of resources or not.
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AlphaMirage

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #2 on: 11 January 2021, 13:35:31 »
Well I think there is an essential primer hidden in the early fiction. During the Terran Hegemony era they 'fixed' almost all inherited issues at the germ cell level for every colonist departing Terra. That said space radiation likely reintroduced some and added others.

For the Clans it would be Clan by Clan, more Warlike Clans would probably just expose them, a less bloody minded one could find a spot for them in the Merchant or Tech caste.

There is a very interesting article on atomic rockets concerning the disabled in microgravity and how they might even do better there for a while. An injury leading to disability could be rectified with prosthesis.

The criminal oversight for the setting is the sparse info on civilian life in the Clan. This is probably something that changes based on whoever your 'Warlord' or Warrior in charge happens to be and how dedicated the Scientist caste are to their mission. We do get an idea that a 'marriage' is often just rubber stamped as long as there are no genetic issues

Jellico

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #3 on: 11 January 2021, 15:36:17 »
Hard to imagine many congenital disabilities making it to birth. They will either be medicated or aborted (please don't jump into that discussion) away, true or freeborn. We are basically facing these kinds of ethical choices now. That said some genetic problems do get through, even for trueborn. Mainly the sort that don't effect combat ability under the age of 30. Eg we have examples of the sheer size of Elementals destroying their backs and hearts.

Arranged marriage I am more meh about. Marriage by choice is a cultural option that comes and goes depending on circumstances. Though it is worth pointing out the regular dumping of genetically similar sibkin into the general population every year would require some management.

Stormlion1

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #4 on: 11 January 2021, 18:40:40 »
Something to note, the Clans always made it a point of saving rescources so I honestly dont see many in the Clans tolerating anyone with a disability unless its correctable in some fashion. Bad eyesight is easy and I could see even a person with deformed limbs finding a place but at a certain level the scientists and warriors much less the leadership of the other castes tolerating things like mental issues or personnel confined to wheelchairs or even personnel in comas.
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Jellico

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #5 on: 11 January 2021, 19:05:40 »
Deformed limbs are easy. This is a society that can regrow limbs. While it might not be worth talking a worker out of the line for the months needed to regrow a body part, a baby is just sitting there for a year. Maybe sterilise them because you don't want it to happen again. Of course take a sample just in case you have a future Einstein.

Generic Clanner 24601

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #6 on: 12 January 2021, 00:31:27 »
It wouldn't surprise me if the GB and SR simply shunt any children with any problems that are too much of a pain to deal with on the native populations. "Hey, you think killing children is bad? Well, here you go. You deal with them." It would take them off the touman's hand without causing friction with the native populations.

I think the Homeworlds Clans probably kill anyone remotely abnormal regardless of how the Clan handled it before. Obsession with "Taint" throughout history has never been kind to people that veer off the norm. Add that Clans have understandable concerns about Society meddling legacies, I cannot see them tolerating anything remotely unexpected.

phoenixalpha

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #7 on: 12 January 2021, 04:19:17 »
I imagine amongst trueborn that it's not that much of a problem as such issues would be spotted well before birth and, I imagine, depending on the issue at hand - either termination or fixing the issue before birth through surgery or genetic treatment.

Freeborn on the other hand would be different. I would say that it would depend on the views of the parents and the Clan in question. More liberal clans and parents would take care of the infant as normal. More militant parents (perhaps trueborn washouts) and Clans would view such infants as a waste of resources.

Dragon Cat

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #8 on: 12 January 2021, 05:04:26 »
Deformed limbs are easy. This is a society that can regrow limbs. While it might not be worth talking a worker out of the line for the months needed to regrow a body part, a baby is just sitting there for a year. Maybe sterilise them because you don't want it to happen again. Of course take a sample just in case you have a future Einstein.

I'd say this sums them up mental issues wouldn't make it to birth but physical the Clans could easily deal with

It's sort of like a warrior being injured in combat they either get a regrown limb or a cybernetic one allowing the person to continue to contribute
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Metallgewitter

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #9 on: 12 January 2021, 05:41:16 »
For the regrown limbs: wouldn't that depend on the warrior though? If that warrior is not the best he might never get a fully regrown limb bust just a cybernetic prothesticl imb. Or in rare cases like Pael Kershaw that might be the only option left (he was allergic to regrown limbs if you can believe it). Though i think thatthe trueborn should usually be without any real genetic disabilities because the scientists monitor the gene pool and eliminate any negative genetic "malfunctions". Freeborns on the other hand... I know that the scientists often "matchmake" to keep the best qualities so maybe disabilities are rare.


marauder648

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #10 on: 12 January 2021, 09:18:58 »
I think the cold, hard and quite horrid truth is that the Clans would probably 'remove' any freeborn child that was born with a physical or mental impairment for the most part. As a lower caste member, especially if you're a worker, you either work or you don't get food credits, you don't get shelter for the most part. It also depends on the Clan, the more zealous Crusader types might well basically 'Do a Sparta' and terminate the child if it was found to be developing with an impairment because, in the Clan's society, they're little to no use. You might get one where it could be special sure she's got a stunted leg and can't do physical work, but she's also exceptionally intelligent and is prime Scientist Caste material.

Trueborn would have no physical disabilities, that kind of thing could be detected early on and either corrected or if it was bad, the child would be terminated in the iron womb and there might well be an investigation into HOW this happened.
What Trueborn Warriors would have a wide range of would be psychological conditions due to how Clan Society works, especially for the Warriors. You're expected to succeed at the cost of the person above you and alongside you. Whilst looking over your shoulder to ensure some younger Warrior does not set their sights on you and try and replace you, either by beating the crap out of you or killing you.
Throw in things like PTSD, deep indoctrination that starts at childhood and so on.
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Zeruel

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #11 on: 12 January 2021, 09:23:53 »
For the regrown limbs: wouldn't that depend on the warrior though? If that warrior is not the best he might never get a fully regrown limb bust just a cybernetic prothesticl imb. Or in rare cases like Pael Kershaw that might be the only option left (he was allergic to regrown limbs if you can believe it). Though i think thatthe trueborn should usually be without any real genetic disabilities because the scientists monitor the gene pool and eliminate any negative genetic "malfunctions". Freeborns on the other hand... I know that the scientists often "matchmake" to keep the best qualities so maybe disabilities are rare.



But if one is born with the deformity like a missing limb or some such, a cybernetic limb doesn't make sense because you'd have to keep replacing it as the child grew (waste of resources)...would make sense to regrow the limb

As for adults, it's not about warrior status, as we've seen Khans with cybernetic limbs...it's more that the warrior in question felt that the resources needed to regrow a limb were not needed when they can use a cybernetic limb
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Atlas3060

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #12 on: 12 January 2021, 09:26:35 »
Are they as bad as I believe them to be?
Speaking as a fan of the RasDom I'll say that yes, the Clanners are as bad as you can believe.
The core mindset of the Clans is domination and also a subservience to the top tier of their castes. Typically that means warriors but certain ones like Diamond Shark/Sea Fox it could be merchants for all I know.

These factions are written up as Spartan Mongols mixed with even more military and a desire to "play" at war early into their arrival.
They're going to be horrible to folks that can't perform duties to serve their Clan.
If you're a freeborn or solahma, you are on the low end of the totem pole especially.
Though we don't have a lot of solid concrete evidence in multiple publications, I understand why, I still think the evidence we do have suggests that yes they would be horrible at society building with people who have disabilities.
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Talen5000

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #13 on: 12 January 2021, 12:13:52 »
Sorry if this was brought up in the past, but I didn't feel like scouring 10+ years of posts to see if there's a duplicate question/thread on the subject.

As I as talking with my wife on BattleTech (she has no experience with the game or novels), I was explaining the Clans and their genetics programs. She looked at me horrified and asked if the Clans are a society that would not tolerate physical disabilities. I have to admit, this never occurred to me before, mostly because the stories and history of the Clans would focus on the 0.1% of their population that was conceived and born in Iron Wombs, where such disabilities were removed by the scientists when combining the DNA for their warriors.

But, I do recall in Trial by Chaos one of the reasons the Labor Caste were becoming disaffected with the Ghost Bear leadership was that they were still being "assigned" marriage partners to produce offspring that would benefit the clan's workforce. This raises the very ugly question of what happens to those born disabled in Clan society. Are they as bad as I believe them to be?

I'll put it simply - there are no disabled within the Clans.

That's an overly broad statement in many ways....but genetic "flaws" won't happen. They'll either be corrected or removed. And which path is chosen depends on the cost of doing so...the Clans are more likely to correct a minor genetic flaw of a scientist or warrior than they would a simple labourer.

And yes - eugenics are a thing with the Clans. One of their core values. They will not abide by genetic weakness. Disability through injury can be addressed. Disability through faulty genes? Not gonna happen.

So - don't worry. Noone (or very few)  is born with a disability in Clan society.
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Dr. Banzai

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #14 on: 12 January 2021, 12:16:26 »
I'll put it simply - there are no disabled within the Clans.

That's an overly broad statement in many ways....but genetic "flaws" won't happen. They'll either be corrected or removed. And which path is chosen depends on the cost of doing so...the Clans are more likely to correct a minor genetic flaw of a scientist or warrior than they would a simple labourer.

And yes - eugenics are a thing with the Clans. One of their core values. They will not abide by genetic weakness. Disability through injury can be addressed. Disability through faulty genes? Not gonna happen.

So - don't worry. Noone (or very few)  is born with a disability in Clan society.
That's ... not something to be proud of.

marauder648

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #15 on: 12 January 2021, 12:29:25 »
That's ... not something to be proud of.

For the Clans, it is. Although you can drive trucks through the loop holes in the logic of Clan society and pick apart its flaws, i'd still say that they're a very good attempt at making an alien race, because their society and outlook is so outside our norms that it just comes across as alien. And the Genetic Program is one of those things that is very much outside our thinking. To us its (rightfully) horrific, to them, its a Tuesday.

As cold as Talen's comment was (suiting his/her Smoke Jag symbol) its 100% true. If you're a Trueborn and whilst gestating you have a genetic issue, its either fixed, or you're terminated.

If you're a freeborn labourer and you're born disabled, then you're a drain on resources and are 'removed'. Baring in mind that in some of the fluff it states that once you get to old age as a labourer and cannot work, then in some Clan's case they'll stop feeding you and housing you and then its a case of waiting for nature to 'take its course'. This outlook can vary from Clan to Clan but still.
« Last Edit: 12 January 2021, 12:46:22 by marauder648 »
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idea weenie

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #16 on: 12 January 2021, 13:50:21 »
For the lower castes, would actual genetic tinkering be used, or would it be more along the lines of fertility clinics mixing sperm and ova together and judging the results?  The 'best' out of the available eggs would then be implanted into the new mother, and she would carry the child normally.  The other eggs might be frozen if they were 'acceptable', or destroyed if not (such as if the child developed Rett Syndrome)

The Clans could argue that the investment in fertility clinics is more efficient as that way the child will be more likely to be healthy.  Combine that with checking on the mother and child at steady rates (determined by the scientist caste) to ensure that the child remains healthy.  If something happens, then the Clan will want to know about it (such as Ectopia Cordis).

In a strange example, a Clan might be more obsessed with cleaning up a toxic area to prevent cancers, as the higher rates of cancers reduce the amount of work a Laborer can produce.

So Clan space could be among the most pregnancy and childbirth-friendly locations, but instead of seeing the children as people those children are seen as cogs in their war machine.  The Warriors might treat it as being similar to making sure a factory produced LRMs correctly.  Both need attention to make sure they are produced correctly, and both are expendable.  But they will only be expended for a good reason.

(Yeah, this is getting into all sorts of nasty 'breeding the master race' politics  :yikes: )

Atlas3060

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #17 on: 12 January 2021, 13:50:28 »
In a way it's why I detest the Clans from a street level but enjoy having them here from a story telling perspective.
They are aliens without the rubber masks like so many other sci fi titles.
The value system is so warped in our perspective, but the reading material does try to offer their reasonings.
Yes those reasonings can be flimsy and still utterly detestable.
It really does help sell that horror when they come invading a world.


(Yeah, this is getting into all sorts of nasty 'breeding the master race' politics  :yikes: )

So we're going to stop that right away dear readers.  C:-)
« Last Edit: 12 January 2021, 13:52:42 by Atlas3060 »
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Dragon Cat

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #18 on: 12 January 2021, 13:58:06 »
In a way it's why I detest the Clans from a street level but enjoy having them here from a story telling perspective.
They are aliens without the rubber masks like so many other sci fi titles.
The value system is so warped in our perspective, but the reading material does try to offer their reasonings.
Yes those reasonings can be flimsy and still utterly detestable.
It really does help sell that horror when they come invading a world.


So we're going to stop that right away dear readers.  C:-)

Take these facts spin them 100 times in the rumour mill as well as real facts based on the actions of the Jags and Falcons and many worlds have a right to be worried

The amusing side of it being for the most part the Clans will leave a worlds population be as long as they don't interfere with the Clans actions and I'd guess the general health of the population would rise due to superior clan medicine and medical equipment
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For those looking for everything online I've also got them on the OurBattleTech website
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As always please enjoy and if you have any questions about my AU (or want to chat about ideas I could incorporate into it) feel free to PM me.

Zeruel

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #19 on: 12 January 2021, 14:05:45 »
For the lower castes, would actual genetic tinkering be used, or would it be more along the lines of fertility clinics mixing sperm and ova together and judging the results?  The 'best' out of the available eggs would then be implanted into the new mother, and she would carry the child normally.  The other eggs might be frozen if they were 'acceptable', or destroyed if not (such as if the child developed Rett Syndrome)

For lower castes, it's the fertility clinic route, the scientists have genetic records of everyone and match couples; the iron wombs are used for the warrior caste
« Last Edit: 12 January 2021, 14:08:40 by Zeruel »
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marauder648

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #20 on: 12 January 2021, 14:14:34 »
Quote
In a way it's why I detest the Clans from a street level but enjoy having them here from a story telling perspective.
They are aliens without the rubber masks like so many other sci fi titles.
The value system is so warped in our perspective, but the reading material does try to offer their reasonings.
Yes those reasonings can be flimsy and still utterly detestable.

Darn well said!

I suppose what colours folks perceptions is that in like 99% of the media, what we see is the Warriors. I can't recall any of the older story books for example mentioning the lower castes other than basically going "The Labourers" for example. But as media has grown and changed over the decades since those stories were written we see more human sides of the Clans when you step away from the Warrior (lest you refuse their Batchall!)

For example there was the book Forever Faithful, which shows how much of a mess the Smoke Jaguar's civilians were in after they'd been shorn of the leadership of the Warriors. Because their civilians literally knew no other way and then were 'freed' by the Inner Sphere who didn't understand the mindset of the Lower Castes, they were then reduced to the Bandit Caste almost en mass, doing what it took to survive. In the one where there's the Wolf op on Strana Mechty which results in the theft of the McKenna's Pride we get a good look at the Guilds, as the Merchant Castes and Lower Castes and they're far more human than the Warriors, yet still so different to what we'd see as normal to be a very alien culture.

Regarding the Genetic program, it seems that the Clans did take at least adequate care of their lower castes, and even workers had access to medicine at the Star League level (which would be needed for living on the generally harsh worlds of the Pentagon and Kerensky Clusters). And whilst it varies from Clan to Clan how they treated their Lower Castes (if you was a Smoke Jag lower caste and was born with an impairment physical or mental well..good luck) whilst more liberal Clans (Diamond Sharks for example) would probably look into seeing if something could be done. After all the mother's just spent 9 months worth of time making a baby, thats an investment in resources, if we can get something back from that then great. If not and its a severe issue, then...well yeah.

I'm really glad that they are exploring the lower castes more in more recent books and publications, they're so often forgotten.




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Atlas3060

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #21 on: 12 January 2021, 15:40:00 »
Regarding the Genetic program, it seems that the Clans did take at least adequate care of their lower castes, and even workers had access to medicine at the Star League level (which would be needed for living on the generally harsh worlds of the Pentagon and Kerensky Clusters).
Pretty much good examples of the situation.
Depending on the Clan and it's attitudes towards the Lower Caste, it can range wildly; but due to their distaste for wasting resources at least it is expected to see some level of medicine and procedures along maybe Terran Hegemony strength.

Just make no mistake Banzai, they aren't doing this because helping others is good.
They aren't doing this because they have the means and, by some societal code, the obligation.
They do this either because "Well this is a strong worker and this procedure will give us hearty workers at a generation projections of..."
or they do this because
"Why is the furniture crying about their 'child' what is this 'child' they speak of? Bah fine, I need more laborers for our plans as we conquer the following places..."
« Last Edit: 12 January 2021, 15:41:36 by Atlas3060 »
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Jellico

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #22 on: 12 January 2021, 16:27:18 »
If you're a freeborn labourer and you're born disabled, then you're a drain on resources and are 'removed'. Baring in mind that in some of the fluff it states that once you get to old age as a labourer and cannot work, then in some Clan's case they'll stop feeding you and housing you and then its a case of waiting for nature to 'take its course'. This outlook can vary from Clan to Clan but still.
Thank you for not pussyfooting around it. I understand it is a sensitive issue for many in the US, but in the case of the Clans abortion is a quick and easy solution to most of these problems which doesn't tie up a productive worker for 9 months.
If you have spent any time around livestock, especially high value stuff, it is all pretty normal.

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #23 on: 12 January 2021, 17:28:59 »

The “Welfare” section of Clans: Warriors of Kerensky (p. 59-60) is pretty clear that “If you do not contribute, the Clan will cast you aside.”  Those who “perform consistently below” their work “targets” can “even be caste out of Clan society”.  The Clans “find tasks suitable to the skills of old people” but “if you do not work, you starve.”

The Clans also “run their health care systems as a kind of triage, casting off those who do the least for the Clan in order to save resources for those who do more.”  “Older people and those suffering critical injuries are less likely to receive treatment,” which is “especially true for low-skill manual workers, where replacements are readily available.”  “If it is more ‘cost-effective’ to replace an individual than to treat them, the Clans will do so.”

Based on all that, I would assume that, like their ancient forebears, the Clans practice some form of child exposure and/or infanticide when: 1) a handicap cannot be efficiently avoided or treated medically, and 2) the handicap is so severe that the individual cannot contribute to their Clan.  Given their advanced medical technology and willingness to find a place for everyone in the workforce, one would hope that these instances would be rare.  But a chilling example of alien Clan society, nonetheless.

A corollary thought is that the Bandit/Dark Caste may rescue or take in some of these infants and children.  Ancient stories are full of abandoned children regaining their place in society.  A Clan version could make for an interesting Shrapnel series or novella.
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Talen5000

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #24 on: 12 January 2021, 17:29:51 »
For the lower castes, would actual genetic tinkering be used, or would it be more along the lines of fertility clinics mixing sperm and ova together and judging the results?

Neither.

Marriages are arranged so desired genes are matched. Children are encouraged within marriage but while the Clans don't otherwise care, children outside your arranged marriage is not encouraged.
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In a strange example, a Clan might be more obsessed with cleaning up a toxic area to prevent cancers, as the higher rates of cancers reduce the amount of work a Laborer can produce.

The Clans would certainly try to avoid carcinogens. Genetic purity is a big deal. That means cigars are carcinogen free, it means they don't use DU ammunition or armour, it means they don't use fission plants or power systems. Such aspects aren't always avoidable though

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So Clan space could be among the most pregnancy and childbirth-friendly locations, but instead of seeing the children as people those children are seen as cogs in their war machine.  The Warriors might treat it as being similar to making sure a factory produced LRMs correctly.  Both need attention to make sure they are produced correctly, and both are expendable.  But they will only be expended for a good reason.

(Yeah, this is getting into all sorts of nasty 'breeding the master race' politics  :yikes: )

The Clans aren't known for having a big liking or reverence for life. The citizens of a Clan are a resource, to be grown, nurtured, expended and sacrificed as necessary. A human life is akin to a resource...money, ore, equipment. Waste is to be avoided if possible
"So let me get this straight. You want to fly on a magic carpet to see the King of the Potato People and plead with him for your freedom, and you're telling me you're completely sane?" -- Uncle Arnie

Talen5000

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Re: Clan Genetics Program
« Reply #25 on: 12 January 2021, 17:35:49 »
After all the mother's just spent 9 months worth of time making a baby, thats an investment in resources, if we can get something back from that then great. If not and its a severe issue, then...well yeah.

No...she didn't. She spent however long it took to get the foetus scanned. She's not going to be able go hide the pregnancy unless she runs away...nor would she want to.

Horrific as we see eugenics, to the Clans it is normal and everyday. The disdain for human life isn't limited to the warrior caste.

Noone is born disabled within the Clans and a genetically flawed embryo is not long for its world.
« Last Edit: 12 January 2021, 17:38:47 by Talen5000 »
"So let me get this straight. You want to fly on a magic carpet to see the King of the Potato People and plead with him for your freedom, and you're telling me you're completely sane?" -- Uncle Arnie