“Onboard the Mayflower were a dozen Incubation Chambers large enough to bring a human fetus to gestation.” See E/A Population Dynamics. Six were large enough to bring cattle or similarly sized mammals to term. Except for power requirements, which were minimal but crucial; the fluid circulation system must never shut down, they were self contained and sealed against any forms of viral contamination.
There were also almost two thousand prepared embryos including multiple samples of various strains of domesticated animals and a range of other Earth native species. More than a few of the wild samples were from species which existed only in zoos or DNA banks. And yes there were human embryos too. We were a real Noah’s Ark.
Prior to reaching planetfall on Alchiba all twelve were started. Four with cattle, two with bison, four pigs and two sheep. The gestation times were figured so all would be due about a month from first landing. This was an ambitious plan but the thinking was that if no edible fodder for the animals was available the tubes would have all been tested and a second attempt made with the timing determined by the availability of crops raised for their use. The units would be sent down as soon as arrangements could be made planetside to care for them.
As soon as the original Liberty Town Council was formed a spirited debate ensued concerning the future use of these Incubators. The points in contention included.
1. How many to allocate to humans and how many to animals. There was a case made that their use for raising humans would be immoral; overruled for now but sure to resurrect itself.
2. Who gets to get their genes in the tubes? If we’ve got exactly as many couples as we’ve got tubes allocated to humans then we’ve got no problem. If we have more couples than tubes how do we decide who gets in? Lottery? If we’ve got fewer (which we almost certainly will, especially after the first ‘rush’ - if one happens) do we just reallocate the unused ones to animals, or do we ask for volunteers to donate their genes and volunteers to raise the resulting kids? If we do that, who’s genes do we use / how do we decide?
3. Should we instead use the human embryos on the Mayflower to insure the greatest possible genetic mix in our population as a hedge against selective disease vectors and an expansion of the genetic base and protection against inbreeding?
The original consensus was to let the first group of domesticated animals, those now only twenty some days from term out to see how they survived on the native grasses. The pigs diet would be supplemented from human food slops which so long as we were eating mainly the canned rations were minimal, but with only four pigs to start with they at least were very likely to survive unless struck down by predation or disease.
The second group would also be animals in a mix the same as the first. There was some sentiment to include two horses in this second population, replacing the bison, but the realization that the bots could perform all of the transportation and farm labor functions of a horse, with out the care and maintenance ruled them out for the time being. There was also a strong case made for the inclusion of a couple of dogs but again, as the species choices were being argued, hunting, sheep, guard dog, it was pointed out that the bots could take over their function also for the time being. Until this second group began to ‘Hatch’ the debate on the bio-ethics and human use of the tubes would be in full swing.
See E/A Incubation Tubes Human Use and Bioethics....
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