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Space: Above and Beyond

Updated 30 Jan 2004

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The A.I.s

The In-Vitros


The Latin phrase "In-Vitro" means "in an artificial environment outside the living organism." Thus, in Space: Above and Beyond, "In-Vitro" refers to the group of humans who were not only fertilized outside the womb, but had also gestated in a tank, to be "born" as young adults.

During the A.I. War, the cost in human life was devastatingly high in the civilian population as well as in the military. Terror attacks claimed far too many. Combat and battle claimed even more. Everyday, the losses mounted. Humankind made the decision to increase its numbers artificially, not with the electronic intelligences that were now the enemy but with artificially gestated humans who could become highly skilled soldiers. Government and industry worked together to build a multitude of In-Vitro facilities around the country, facilities where these soldiers could be grown and trained.

After artificial fertilization, In-Vitros gestate in tanks, with umbilical cords at the base of their necks delivering the nutrients and basics they need as they remain suspended in a sleep state and under accelerated development. After about six years, their physical development is equivalent to a natural-born human at eighteen years of age. When they are "harvested" from the tank and awakened, they have the physical qualities of a fully grown human, but none of the intellectual or emotional attributes. They don't understand love of self, love of family, love of friends, or love of country. They don't understand the human world or anything about its society and how it evolved over the millenia. And nothing is done to remedy that deficiency. Instead of receiving any social education, they are indoctrinated into the art of killing. Watched daily and trained by Monitors, they are never allowed to question anything. If they do, they are considered "defective" and promptly "erased." They are never released outside the facility until it is time for them to enter combat.

But for the A.I. War effort, the entire In-Vitro undertaking proved a disappointment. Because In-Vitros lack the understanding and considerations that mature through life from the first moment of self-cognizance to the onset of adulthood, they lack the desire or determination to fight for any cause. They soon gained the reputation for being lazy and shiftless. Some "natural-borns" even considered them expendable. Many derisively called them "tanks" in reference to their gestation chambers. Others call them "nipple necks" in reference to the navel at the base of the neck.

With the A.I. War finally over, humankind found itself with a population of In-Vitros lacking purpose and reason. A social movement arose to incorporate In-Vitros into human society, to educate and develop them, to cultivate them for labor or possibly even other ventures. In response, there is a palpable backlash against it.

There are, however, a few In-Vitros who rise above all that. They make the effort to bear up under the bigotry. They seek to understand the cultural legacy of humanity from the great classics and mythologies to the marvelous humor and drama portrayed in cinema, art, and literature.

Two prominent In-Vitros in this drama are Lt. Cooper Hawkes and Colonel T.C. McQueen.


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Morgan and Wong talk about In-Vitros Morgan and Wong talk about In-Vitros   Kate Kate
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Space: Above and Beyond is Copyright and TM, 1995, Hard Eight Pictures.

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