Beta Hydri, Home of the Novagen Foundation
A terran cow wanders the plains of Eldorado. When the uplifts gained their freedom some radicals went about liberating all forms of animal life under the “humanoid yoke.” The fact such creatures were unable to survive in the alien wild wasn’t and issue
The colony ship Sepulveda sped away from Sol in 2149AD in a time of great optimism and excitement for interstellar colonisation. It contained a varied group of idealists, entrepreneurs, shiftless dreamers and ambitious transhumanists as it went on its 30-year journey to Beta Hydri a yellow sub-giant star 24.37 l.y. away in the direction of Centaurus.
Among the crew were a group of geneticists interested in the young science of Uplifting where proto-sentient animals such as great apes and dolphins are genetically modified to become fully aware. Such experiments were met with horror back in Sol with various groups proclaiming it to be “playing God” or against the laws of nature (which as a rule tend to be rewritten every century!)
So with a sizable investment from some large biotech firms who had found their interests continually hampered by eco-saboteurs even on Luna and Mars the up lifters set their sights on the world of Beta Hydri 5 (later rechristened Eldorado.) Even on the flight to Beta Hydri some groups on the ship expressed discontent with the uplifters plans. Their complaints varied from the “playing God” to worries about what was to be the fate of such beings after the experiments were complete.
But such worries became no more than heated debates between the crewmembers as the uplifters had put up quite a large amount of money for the project and besides the arguments passed away the endless void of space.
The early days of Eldorado where typical of the frontier at the time with setbacks, triumphs, amazing discoveries, hard work and stories to tell great grandchildren. The uplifting project in Brinville sped along with amazing success. The birth of three new intelligent species (one dolphin, two ape) was heralded as a great moment for civilisation and received quite some praise from other colonies throughout space.
But always there were those who either found the whole project unpleasant or immoral and their protests became more and more militant. Some groups even wanted the new species exterminated claiming the sight of neodolphins operating underwater mining craft and neochimps engaging in polite conversation over afternoon tea with the inhabitants of Brinville an abhorrence.
The history of the social and philosophical development of the first uplift societies is quite a story in itself, best told to outsiders in Johan Crastius’ epic spool The Genesis. By the turn of the 23rd century most Eldoradans had grown to like and respect the Novagen, they had brought a certain richness and variety to Beta Hydri that at the time was quite rare in the rest of space plus they were great workers who hadn’t grasped the fundamentals of trade unions and labour laws.
Some people though (especially those of a more academic leaning in Brinville) became suspicious of the use of their new “children”. By then the various biotech companies who had funded the project had by then coalesced into one mega-corp called DNA Systems and become by far the largest single economic power in the system as well as being very influential in the colony’s government.
Exo-wombs brought the generation of more uplifts to an industrial level, a quasi-religion of hard work and reverence for the mother-company was dreamt up to keep the new generation in line as they set about taming Eldorado and the other worlds (ape species with their prehensile feet where perfect for zero-gee and dolphins had a great special awareness living in the three-dimensional environment of the sea.)
Tensions came to a head when in 2221AD scientists, sympathisers and the first generation of uplifts launched an official protest at DNA systems behaviour and attitude. The response was arrogant and typical of the corporation who claimed that though the uplifts weren’t technically their property (that would be slavery wouldn’t it?) they did owe the corporation something for their genesis and besides they were happy being productive members of the local community.
Seeds of dissent were building among the uplifts though, who through contact with the colonists and stolen moments on the Supranet discovered that there was more to life than digging sewage systems and clearing jungles (which to some seemed like nice places to live!) The uplifts went on strikes, which were broken up by corporate lackeys, and colonists who felt they were being ungrateful (and secretly feared living in a world similar to an old earth fable called Planet of the Apes!)
In 2236AD a group of neo-gorillas led by the charismatic revolutionary Abe Crassus escaped from Work Village 24B near the city of Clunes and disappeared into the aboriginal jungle, resorting to “guerrilla” tactics to avoid the increasingly unpopular corporate security.
Despite propaganda attempts by DNA Systems to suggest that the escapees where responsible for attacks on local cattle interests (neo-gorillas, like their ancestors are vegetarian) and rumours of uplifts using farmsteaders in degrading menial chores as revenge (that only happened once unfortunately) public opinion on Eldorado and throughout colonised space was with the uplifts who had taken the role of an oppressed slave race fighting for its destiny in the media.
People always side with the underdog, even if its a collection of species that didn’t exist 50 years previously and the whole issue was brought to court in one of the first public trials within the Concourse. The case was the talking point of the 2230s with many spools being written about it for centuries to come.
The uplifts won their case and DNA Systems was broken up and given to the uplifts. The CEO, shareholders and those worried what the future might hold for them in Beta Hydri fled to nearby Delta Pavonis soon afterwards and the uplifts began building a new society.
With the advent of warp travel many new proto-sapient species became uplifted leading to a wide variety of species living on Eldorado. The humanoid percentage of the population became smaller and smaller as the number of uplifts grew from neo-whales to neo-gwangis. Tensions between the two groups occasionally became tense and during one hot summer in 2540AD in the city of Puerto Del Marco it led to riots when a neo-raptor serial killer killed five humanoids.
But throughout the troubles and strife the tireless work of the Novagen Foundation ,set up soon after the landmark court ruling of 2238, helped in easing the birth of new species and relations with the old. Acting like mini-Community for Novagens it supports uplift interests throughout space and decides which new species are to benefit from uplift tech. The headquarters of the Foundation is a resplendent biotech building on the coast near Brinville and regarded as a kind of spiritual place by Novagens
Beta Hydri is a prosperous system mainly thanks to the efforts of the earlier species of uplifts that never quite shook off their psuedo-philsophy designed by DNA Systems. Biotech is the system speciality mainly because Beta Hydr, being quite an old system is not as mineral rich as say Delta Pavonis. Many buildings are partly biotech or entirely biological in construction which with the pristine biospheres gives Eldorado a very organic feel.
Beta Hydri is fairly neutral in the heady world of Community politics, only raising its voice when matters personally effect Novagens such as releasing uplifts trapped in contract work in the Xiv sectors and Tythane or in the treatment of lesser advanced cultures such as Lurei and Arimani