Welcome to another Monday Minute! Where I provide you with (so far always way over one minute’s worth) goodies about either the Cosmothea setting or system (or any other random QT Games madness I feel like tossing in that’s shorter than the old days of long posts). It’s a quick dose – a quick fix of Cosmothean goodness. This one touches on augments – Cosmothea’s answer to the mutant, which like the term augment, has been misunderstood over time due to people using it loosely. Still with me? Let’s unpack this…
The term augment, when used as originally coined by Dr. Rhal Tomus, a humanus geneticist on Tandem, referred to someone who was born with genetic abnormalities resulting in the manifestation of either physical, mental or psi abilities not normally associated with a given race. Technically one didn’t have to actually demonstrate their abilities to be ascribed the term, but such was more often the case than not, and it was often after the fact that geneticists began testing the extent of the abnormality and the limits of one’s abilities.
While some mutations are harmful, resulting in a variety of unhealthy side effects, including underdeveloped organs and a greatly shortened lifespan, other mutations proved merely odd or inconvenient, without any significant benefit, but still others proved to be extraordinarily useful. Sadly, many such cases die before they receive proper care, and society tends to reject or stamp out those who are significantly different.
Fear has driven this problem underground as individuals and families seek to avoid being ostracized for being different or gaining unwanted attention or retaliation. This has hampered governmental efforts to understand, respond appropriately to and control the presence of augments. This has further enlarged the rift between the normal and the augment.
The term was later expanded to include anyone who exhibited genetic differentiation resulting in enhanced abilities, whether as a result of a freak, exotic accident, xeno infestation, synthetic augment injections, or due to some other unusual efforts to tinker with ones genetic structure). Some have erroneously expanded the term even further to include anyone who dons a cape or fights crime while wearing a mask. Just as not every augment is a superhero, not every superhero is an augment.
For reasons not yet fully understood, the human/humanus alone have the greatest concentration of augments among them, averaging one augment per 25,000 among the survivors of earth and one in 37,000 among the humanus-controlled regions. By contrast, augmentism among xeelotians of Alliance space appears only one in every 375,000 xeelotians and among taagers, the odds drop to one in 733,000.
Augments have been reported among nearly every major race, and if historical accounts dating back to primitive times can be believed, there have been many augments among us on dozens of worlds over the past several millennia.
The one region of space where augmentism seems the scarcest, is within the Hordaq Empire. While some powerful augments have been reported as being born within the empire, most were captured and brought there to be dissected or brainwashed and trained for their Death Squads. The Hordaq have gone to great lengths to acquire augments and discover how to spawn and control augmentism. They are known to send out spies and bounty hunters to capture augments. During the wars, augment labs were discovered on numerous hordaq-controlled worlds, some were reproduction and training centers and others slaughterhouses built to satisfy their obsession to uncover the secret of the augment gene.
While the Hordaq Empire has been condemned for their treatment of augments, neither the Humanus Republic nor the Interstellar Alliance are completely innocent in their own endeavors to unlock the secrets of augmentism. Even so, with rare exception, their efforts have been far less violent than with the Hordaq, under whose care, augments tend to have very short life spans.