replicant (rep'-li-kant) n. See also ROBOT (antique): ANDROID (obsolete): NEXUS (generic): a manufactured humanoid organism developed from synthetic DNA. Also: Rep, skin job (slang): Off-world use: Combat, hazardous exploration and colonization of extraterrestrial environments. On-world use prohibited.
- - New American Dictionary
- Copyright © 2076
In 2041, a small asteroid crashed into South Pacific-Indian Ocean area. The asteroid was just large enough to do massive damage but not large enough enough to be a planet killer. It caused massive death and destruction to the Asian subcontinent and disrupted the weather patterns on a global scale for several years. These weather disruptions had a devastating effect on many animals worldwide. There was a massive wave of refugees of all kinds away from the devastated areas. Many ended up on the west coast of North America. Other parts of Asia became 'super-concentrated' with people--due to all the refugees moving about.
In March of 2048, a team headed by physicists Hampton Fancher and David Peoples sent a probe from Earth to Jupiter in less than two minutes using hyperdrive. Invented by Fancher, Peoples and their team, hyperdrive works by creating an intense virtual mass field (related to artificial gravity technologies) that expands towards supercritical levels, and causes a quantum transition of everything within the field to a tachyonic state. While in this state matter can only travel faster than light, and thus has great difficulty safely interacting with the sublight universe. This state is often called hyperspace, although it isn't actually distinct from normal space. Speed is controlled by altering the strength of the virtual mass field - shedding mass will speed the ship, while increasing mass will slow it.
The creation of faster than light travel sent governments and corporations everywhere into a frenzy, as everybody attempted to gain a monopoly on the technology. But less than a week after the discovery, Dr. Fancher and Dr. Peoples had posted the complete technical schematics for the working hyperdrive, plus the science behind its operation, to a dozen different websites worldwide. The next few years saw a period of rapid expansion and colonization.
In the early 2050s, two technological breakthroughs were made--both as a result of side-effects of influx of manpower and money from displaced refugees and sudden interest in all things related to space travel. The first was that in 2051, extraction techniques for oxygen and energy from lunar rock cheaply and efficiently were perfected. The second was that innovations in the field of synthetic biology led to the creation of the first "animoids" in 2053. While outwardly indistinguishable from 'real' animals, these creatures were vat-grown from manufactured synthetic DNA.
By 2055, the climate was still disrupted. Huge numbers of refugees moving about and clustering in huge groups in a limited number of areas were having a major effect on the local ecosystems--and the smoke/dust/debris from the asteroid impact was still causing damages on a global scale. The first lunar colony was successfully set up. Soon--there's was a second and a third and fourth.
In 2056, most of the major countries--either unilaterally or in cooperation with other countries--began 'encouraging' their residents to move off-world to all the colonies that were springing up. Most of the colonies were small (mining colonies and so forth) but techniques were slowly improving and places were being scouted out quite quickly. While that was going on, advancements in synthetic biology designs were improving by leaps and bounds.
The first synthetically manufactured "humans" were created in 2059. They came to be called "replicants." A highly irreputable U.S. mining consortium decided to use the replicants for slave labor in some of its more dangerous mining colonies--with phenomenal success. The story soon leaked out. There was a great deal of confusion over whether or not the mining company was indeed breaking laws against "slave labor" – because there was a great deal of confusion over whether or not replicants can legally be considered "real" humans. Although the DNA of replicants is designed to be a close enough structural analogue of human DNA to where it is nearly indistinguishable, it doesn't come from any human or any biological source for that matter. It is entirely constructed. Although purely organic, replicants are truly synthetic beings. The mining company's lawyers argued that that fact means that although replicants are outwardly indistinguishable from humans, they are indeed not real humans--therefore, the company wasn't breaking any anti-slavery laws because those laws only applied to human beings. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and the mining company won the case. The laws in various other countries also concluded that replicants are not human and therefore accorded them no rights nor protection. Replicants are legally regarded as nothing more than biological androids.
In 2060, Eldon Tyrell (an extremely bright researcher with phenomenal business skills who was part of the original research team) left the mining company (with a few of his assistants) and started up his very own replicant production company, dedicated to researching and developing new and improved replicants. People and organizations started using replicants as everything from sex slaves to domestic servants to workers--both on Earth and off-world.
Over the next few years, the field of replicant biomechanics opened up a whole new avenue of employment and business. The multitude of "genetic designers" typically specialized in designing synthetic DNA used to grow a specific part of replicant anatomy (e.g. the eyes or musculature). Replicants became a prominent economic link in the chain mail of the developed world. Then, in 2070, a combat team of NEXUS-3 replicants staged a bloody mutiny against the Tannhauser Gate colony. It was put down--but quite a few humans were killed in the process. In response to "The Tannhauser Incident", the United Nations declared replicants illegal on Earth in 2071. The U.N. ordered all replicants on Earth be taken off-world or destroyed within 28 days. Many replicants on Earth hid and blended in with the human population. Special police squads called "Replicant Detection Divisions" were formed. Nicknamed "Blade Runner" units, they were created to hunt down the replicants on Earth. In 2072, Dr. Johann Voight, a psychology professor, informed the U.N. that his "Voight Empathy Scale For Diagnosing The Maladjusted Psyche" will be able to help distinguish replicants from humans. The Voight Scale was tested in major cities around the world with a 75% success rate.
In 2076, the Tyrell Corporation secretly introduced the NEXUS-6 replicant models to off-world colonies. They were so advanced, the genetic designers feared they may eventually develop their own emotions. They countered this by bio-engineering them with a four-year lifespan. By 2077, the NEXUS-4 and NEXUS-5 replicants had learned to vary their answers in order to get a more positive result on the Voight Scale. The success rate dropped to just 37%. A new test was called for. In 2078, Dr. Lurie Kampff, a psychologist specializing in lying and lie detection, began to expand on the late Dr. Voight's work, incorporating his most advanced lie detection equipment. The "Voight-Kampff Altered Empathy Scale For Identifying Artificial Intelligence" was secretly tested in New York, Beijing, Paris and Tokyo with an astonishing 98% success rate, even with NEXUS-5's who can pass on the Voight Scale. In February of 2079, the new Voight-Kampff test was put into use and regulated tightly by the United Nations, who only issued the device to major cities. Blade Runners must receive training and certification before they can administer the test.