Aboard the generational starship, the Sunspot, where the diverse populace is conceived and incubated by the ship’s Evolutionary Engines and live birth is restricted to the fauna of the garden, Ni’a is brought to life as the child of Phage. Phage is a Network entity that claims to be the conscious manifestation of Entropic Decay Itself, and Ni’a, with a body every bit as human as their peers’, learns that they have inherited some of its ability and awareness.
Simultaneously, another child, Bashiketa, is born from machine, but unlike Ni’a or their peers they were not the product of the evolution engine, touched by Phage or not. An ancient experiment as old as the ship itself has come to fruition, and Bashiketa is its legacy. Raised as one of the Monsters, Bashiketa is disconnected from the Network and untouched by the culture of the rest of the ship, and yet they have disturbing visions that might tell of its origins and purpose. Their caretaker and inheritor of the experiment, Fredge, seems ill equipped to guide them. But even worse, Bashiketa has been born with an old curse that the evolutionary engines, technology, and culture of the Sunspot have been designed to analyze and counteract, severe physical dysphoria.
Despite attepts to unravel the causes of dysphoria through use of the evolutionary engine, a small persistent percentage of children are still born with it. So early medical intervention, by use of the same nanites that were used to build the Sunspot, allows each child to subconsciously and gently alter their own body’s developmental path to treat and counteract any dysphoria they might have. This is a very recent innovation that Bashiketa, as a Monster, has not had access to.
But even if they were to give up their Monster heritage and accept the help of the nanites, Bashiketa might hold the secrets to what dysphoria is. And Ni’a might have the key to unlock it.
And in the process, they may even learn why the Sunspot exists in the first place and where it seems to be going. After all, despite the upheaval of the last generation, the Crew are still not talking about it.