The 24th Chromosome

In the mid-34th century, MASAL designed and developed the 24th chromosome. Once the scientists who worked with the super-computer were satisfied that it was safe, it was introduced to the population, initially by injection. The liquid contained transcription-RNA within an artificial virus for delivery directly into the nucleus of the cells. It passes through the blood-brain barrier and delivers this therapy to the brain as well.

It was mandatory that all citizens receive the rejection but a sizable segment, later known as the mandasurte, refused. To guarantee that it was passed on to subsequent generations, the chromosome pairs were diploid, meaning two pair per person rather than one. This way, a person with the 24th chromosome could mate with a person with only 23 and the child would still have a working set, although they would be called mosdurece, meaning half-blood.

The 24th chromosome had many effects on the human body, the most obvious one was the development of organo-metallic elements integrated in their neural pathways which serve as gravitic transmitters and receivers. In other words, people with functional 24th chromosome transceivers could communicate mentally. One unexpected byproduct was the Overmind which quickly arose and became, essentially, the ruling force behind the people now known as the Vuduri.

Other effects of the 24th chromosome were improved resistance to infection and rapid healing. But beyond the ability to communicate telepathically, the most striking change were to the eyes. The Vuduri developed a second, internal, iris which served almost as "built-in sunglasses" that reacted instantaneously to too much light. The retina developed iRods which could detect infrared and uCones which could see into the ultraviolet. Also, the retina became reflective, essentially a mirror. A second, tiny mirror developed right in the middle of the pupil creating, in effect, a telescope using Maksutov-Cassegrain optics. A side-effect of having a reflective retina, called a tapetum (like that of a cat) was the eyes of a Vuduri would appear to glow, even in dim lighting.

Another, rarely discussed change was that the Vuduri do not have hair below their eyeballs eliminating the need to ever shave!

Unfortunately, there was one other change, more profound, that was designed to be recessive. In other words, its effects would not be seen initially and would only occur when the proper pair of Vuduri mated. Once this genotype expressed itself as a phenotype, the eyes of the person changed. They became very dark, almost black. But the internal changes were far worse. This last change caused either half the brain or later the entire brain to develop, not as a human brain, but as a computing engine built of the biological equivalent of memrons. These people, known as the Onsiras, were essentially human robots that reported to MASAL. It was his long-term plan to convert all of mankind into these living machines, under his control.

The change did not occur as quickly as MASAL would have liked and he became impatient. He precipitated the Robot War and decimated the population, preserving those individuals most likely to give birth to Onsiras and eliminating those least likely. The mandasurte were particularly vexing since they would never evolve into an Onsira so MASAL established the prison world of Deucado to clandestinely kidnap and imprison them and ultimately eliminate them.

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