Birth and Death

In a world of eight billion people, most of them poor, only the universal availability of contraceptive implants and child-limit laws as imposed by nations like China and (since 2030) India prevent runaway overpopulation bringing back the bad old days of the Collapse. Even so, the population is growing steadily and most babies are conceived and born the old-fashioned way. But only most…

Options for procreation have expanded considerably since the beginning of the century, if you have the money to indulge yourself. Babies who are genetically tinkered with to enhance certain traits and suppress others have been around for a couple of decades. Rarer and even more expensive are children into which non-human genes have been introduced, but they exist..

For the Elite, cloned children, exact duplicates of their single parent or clones “enhanced” by genetic tinkering, are very popular. And for the very richest of the Elite, clones which have had the parent’s personality imprinted onto a computer implant, so that they’ll even act in many ways like their progenitor, are seen as the very best answer to corporate succession problems.

At the other end of life, a combination of scarcer resources and scarcer land in heavily urbanized environments has changed the way people approach death. Cremation in carefully controlled, carbon-capturing, facilities has become the societal norm, and those who wish burial are looked on as more than a little odd and old-fashioned. In the metroplexes and mega cities, as well as in space, the resources of a dead human body are too rich to be lost and companies have begun offering “human recycling” as an alternative to plain cremation. Viable organs and cybernetics are harvested for resale and the remainder is processed into fertilizer for farmscrapers or raw material for biochemical firms. The next-of-kin usually receives a commemorative memento of some kind and a payment based upon the overall worth of the recycled materials. Some companies are none too scrupulous about proving next-of-kin status, thus offering a lucrative source of easy cash to boostergangers and body snatchers.

For corporates and the Elite, matters are as usual a little different. For a start, any corporate-owned cyber ware will be reclaimed before a corpse is released to the family. For a second, terminal illness is often a prompt to copy the personality of a top executive for later re-use. Finally, some corporations, especially space-based ones, have wordings in their contracts about recycling, often with the profits being split with the company. After all, they probably clothed and fed the deceased in life, so why shouldn’t they get some return on that investment in death?

Birth and Death

Edgerunners Langy Langy