Friday, May 1, 2015

121. The Birds with Human Eyes

The proliferation of biomods and hobbyist genetic engineers makes it easy to forget how much research had to be done to bring transhumanity to its current position, and how many dead-ends were explored. Laying the ground-work for the now basic enhanced vision augmentation was the long-term project of military research groups, biotech startups and university research teams. Spin-offs are common, especially when the products of your work are living, reproducing things.

As a part of the comparability testing on their avian-to-human gene splices, a biotech firm (eventually acquired by Somatek) modified several bird species to develop human eyes. As a comparability test, the modified birds successfully demonstrated new methods of avoiding rejection paving the way to human testing. Before the birds were to be destroyed, however, they caught the eye of a wealthy investor, who bought all of them and paid the firm to create some that would breed true.

The birds were always too creepy to be popular,their human eyes expressing inhuman emotions, but that creepiness also gave them a certain appeal. Today the descendants of those human-eyed birds can be found as exotic pets among Somatek executives and pet owners with a taste for the truly strange.

Mechanics

Birds with human eyes can be treated as smart hawks without enhanced vision [Moderate]

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