(To clarify the title of this post, while I was not half-asleep when I came up with this, and was, in fact, fully conscious, I'd just gotten back from a weekend of too much food, too much alcohol, and not enough sleep, so I was in an odd
So, those of you who are familiar with the Sailor Moon manga may be aware of the fact that one Tomoe Hotaru is genetically modified. Those of you who are not, surprise! Turns out, I'd misremembered something, badly, and this was never stated anywhere. But, dammit, I can't imagine the Professor neglecting to at least look into genetic engineering, because it just meshes so well with the eventual goal of his life's work.
Anyway, I am one of those people who looks at a situation like that, and eventually asks myself, "Self, if we were a mad scientist, specializing in super-lifeforms by way of gene therapy, with a willing and constantly available guinea pig in whom we could install whatever we wanted
, and the ethical brakes had come off, what would we do?"
Self's answer was as follows: "Well Kintatsu, the first thing we'd think of doing would be to install a tapetum lucidum*, thus granting our specimen superior night vision. You know what? While we're working on the eyes, let's get more rods and cones in the retina, and pack 'em tighter, granting superior visual definition. This kid'll be able to read a colorful flyer at night from 50 meters, yes, yes, good. And manga!Hotaru says she prefers dimmer light, y'say? Anime!Hotaru's eyes are noticeably brighter than everyone elses' during eye-focused pans? Perfect.
While we're focused on senses, let's improve on hearing. Hmmm, we can't really decrease the lowest detectable magnitude without radically altering the ear shape, which could be socially disadvantageous. Let's work on range, instead, get some ultra- and infrasonic frequencies in there. We'll be able to call her with a dog-whistle! Hee! Oh, wait, the highest frequencies tend to go first, we'll have to make her healing factor a bit more aggressive to keep that (not too aggressive, though, that's how cancer happens). Oooh, and she'll be able to detect imminent explosions a good 20 seconds
before they happen! We'll be able to avoid a repeat of the last time!
Hm, while we're still
on senses, let's improve smell, probably can't get it dog-good, but maybe horse? Yes, that seems plausible, let's do that, and maybe eliminate some of those blind-spots, I want her able to detect cyanide and
asparagus scented urine! Okay, maybe not asparagus urine, but definitely cyanide. And rohypnol. And ecstasy. You know what? Just all the drugs. Yes. Wait, I can't get that much variety without sacrificing clarity. Fine, all the harmful and unconsciousness inducing drugs, then. No, wait! Of course!
Let's just give her the ability to detect sleaze-bags, yes! Scent-based emotional detection is a GO!!!
And, of course, where scent goes, taste follows, so I won't even have
to improve on that, yes, good.
Alright, let's do touch now, hm, we want to increase tactile acuity, while reducing pain severity, shouldn't be too hard, reduce the number and spread density of pain receptors by a quarter, let the other three types fill in the gaps, easy enough. Except, eh, tell you later. Though now that we're on neurology...
Hmm, we want to keep grey matter, maybe increase it and make it denser, but we need a way to increase sensory integration capacity, soooo, ah, yes! Let's slightly
increase the length of the myelin sheaths in the white matter! Before you start on about making the neurons too inflexible, or making the sheaths too long to maintain a charge, each individual
increase will be insignificant, but they'll stack, speeding up her sensory processing rate by at least
a half-second, maybe more! You know what, put some sheaths on the periphery nerves, in the least mobile locations, maybe one every centimeter on the torso? Should increase her reaction time somewhat. Wait, maybe there's already sheaths on the periphery nerves, best check that out. While we're on periphery structures...
Increase her muscle density, definitely, this isn't even a question. Bone density, too, they need to be able to keep up, though perhaps we should hollow them out a bit, not much, but a bit, so as not to lose buoyancy, drowning would just be an embarrassing
way for our specimen to go. She needs a more effective immune system, too, pity we can't make it work like a crocodile's, nothing
gets past a crocodile's immune system. Except maybe prions, but they cheat. Perhaps model it after a horse's? The saying 'healthy as a horse' had to come from somewhere
, after all, let's look into that, and it should be similar enough to a standard human system to be compatible, if not, just tailor it to kill the most aggressive/mutable pathogens with extreme prejudice.
And remove the death gene, definitely. Why we didn't evolve away from that thing... ugh. There is no reason we should have to die of old age when starfish don't.
Hmm, presumably, we want to spread super-humanity to the world, but we've been ostracized from academic circles, thus making the acquisition of competent, similarly minded assistants... difficult, and unlike our specimen, we're not immortal, we don't have time
to work on every individual human on the planet. So, we're playing the long game, which means strapping a rocket to evolution's ass, so to speak. So, about that idea I almost brought up when discussing the sense of touch (ethical brakes are off
, you said?): you know how, as far as neurology's concerned, pain is just pleasure beyond what you can tolerate? I was thinking, while we reduce the pain/pleasure nerves' numbers and density everywhere else, we should increase
them in the erogenous zones, and also crank up her libido, greater drive for sex, plus increased pleasure during
sex, equals increased likelihood of engaging in sex, equals higher odds of reproducing (multiple times) and introducing her superior genetics into the general population, thus allowing a significant portion of the population to be superhuman in a few... hundred... generations. Hmm, come to think of it, best make sure her reproductive tract is in top working condition, fibrous tumors wreak havoc
on fertility. And do we know of any creatures whose females undergo meiosis their entire lives? Because we want that function, to keep the project on track down the line.
Of course, unlike Professor Tomoe, we
are not a middle-aged Japanese man in the late '80s/early '90s, and would thus think to ensure
our specimen is actually, y'know, heterosexual. Instead of, say, the homoromantic
asexual she appears to be. Woops."
Thank you, Self, for assuring me that the world is safer for the lack of me as a mad scientist. Good gods
, that took a disturbing turn near the end.
* The shiny layer on the back of, for example, a cat's eyes that makes them appear to glow in the dark (incidentally, this is a side effect of its main function, namely, exposing the retina to the same sample of light twice).
Okay, my brain decided to spring a fanfic off the implications of that last big paragraph. Here's
the FanFiction.net version, this is
the Livejournal post.