"Recom" is short for "Human-Animal Recombinants": genetically uplifted animals created through the splicing of human and animal DNA. In fact "Recom" is a broad term that encompasses a tremendous variety of species of uplifted humanoid animals.
Originally created by Terran scientists in the late 20th century, Recoms served as entertainers and companions for humans. By the mid 21st century, Recoms had gained independence and were officially recognized as having the same rights as human beings, though they still faced rampant discrimination. After the advent of interstellar space travel, Recoms expanded into the stars alongside humans. Some chose to live alongside humanity as equals, while others departed to distant systems to start exclusive colonies where they could define an identity of their own.
In the mid 24th century, Recoms are regarded as being legally human, being that their genetic code is so close to that of humans; compared to alien species, there is very little difference between the two. In terms of population, Recoms are not as common as humans, but nonetheless have a large presence in known space.
While the creation of Recoms is currently illegal within Confed space, there are still laboratories on worlds in Low Sec regions of the Inner and Outer Rings that will create them. These Low Sec Recoms tend to have a much much more specialized and unusual designs than Terran Recoms. Some are creatures out of fairy tales, others are the stuff of nightmares, created to serve as slaves, body guards, or status symbols on worlds where Confed authority is weak.
Recoms are humanoid animals, strongly resembling the species of animal from which they were descended. As a result of their diverse ancestry they come in a great variety of shapes and sizes. However all Recoms have some common traits rooted in the human side of their DNA: All Recoms are fully upright and bipedal, most having a plantigrade leg and foot structure. Some Recoms have digitgrade leg structures, though such legs on a bipedal creature tends to lack the stability of a plantigrade structure, making the individual more prone to injury; digitgrades are a rare aesthetic choice that is passed down through some blood lines.
All Recoms have fully functioning hands with five digits, including opposable thumbs. Plantigrade Recoms share a human-like foot structure, though some species have four toes while others have five. Digitgrade Recoms usually have four toes. Most all Recoms have tough pads on their hands and feet, making shoes optional.
All Recoms possess prominent animal-like features based on their species: snouts, mobile ears, specialized teeth, claws, coats of fur or feathers or scales, and tails. While most Recoms rely primarily on eyesight, like their human creators, many have enhanced senses that are typical for their species.
Recoms created in Low Sec space tend to have unusual designs compared to their Terran counterparts, looking like mythical beasts or bizarre hybrids, resulting in them collectively called "Mythicals" or "Chimeras". They can range from satyrs and centaurs, to dragon-like beings and creatures that look positively demonic.
Some Recoms are non-humanoid, looking like their natural animal ancestors, yet possessing modified brains capable of human-like thought, as well as vocal cords capable of speaking like a human. These quadrupedal Recoms are usually called "Quaddies" and are very difficult to tell from mundane animals unless they speak up. Some Quaddies were created on Earth back in the 21st century, but most of their line has died out by now. They are still created in Low Sec territories, finding life to be especially difficult should they gain any independence, often treated as no better than their non-sapient ancestors.
The size of a Recom largely depends on their species. They were created by humans to be generally non-threatening and so they tend to average shorter than humans, though some species are significantly larger.
As a rule, rodents (mice, rats, squirrels, beavers) range from 90 to 140 cm (3 to 4.5 feet) tall.
Lapines and many mustelids (rabbits, hares and weasels, otters) range from 120 to 150 cm (4 to 5 feet) tall.
Foxes and cats range from 120 to 170 cm (4 to 5.5 feet) tall.
Coyotes, dogs, and wolves range from 150 to 180 cm (5 to 6 feet) tall.
Big cats (lions, tigers, cougars) range from 170 to 200 cm (5.5 to 6.5) feet tall.
Bears can get upwards of 230 cm (7.5 feet) tall.
Homeworld & ClimateEdit
All Recoms were created originally on Earth during a period spanning roughly 70 years. After the end of the Recom wars in 2058, no further Recoms were created on Earth; all Terran Recoms after that point were descendants of those earlier generations. Since they were created on Earth, they are adapted to live on a wide variety of climates, as were their human creators. Recoms that have ventured into space and colonized new worlds tend to gravitate towards climates that would be favored by their wild ancestors, though they are almost universally comfortable in cities.
More recently created Low Sec Recoms tend to be adapted to specific environments as desired by their creators, usually they are more flexible than their Terran counterparts.
In modern times, Recoms can be found on any world where humans would be comfortable, though many tend to have a higher tolerance for colder climates (due to their fur), while they are very uncomfortable in particularly hot climates.
Lifespan & ReproductionEdit
Recoms tend to have life spans that are similar to those of humans, ranging from 80 to 120 years. They are susceptible to many of the same diseases as humans, and have just as much need for decent health care.
All Recoms breed true to their species; one species cannot breed with another unless genetic manipulation is involved. And no species of Recom can breed with humans, let alone any alien species.
Having similar lifespans to humans, Recoms also have reproductive cycles that are similar: being fertile year 'round and usually having one or two offspring at a time. This is usually the case, regardless of species. The inability to crossbreed between species results in Recoms having lower populations than humans, for the most part. A mixture of different species in a given area will result in less of a chance for members of a particular species to find a partner, while communities of a single species will find it much easier, resulting in a more robust population.
A Search for IdentityEdit
Recoms were created to serve humans. They were entertainers, companions, tools, playthings, soldiers. They had a purpose in life, and that was to please their "gods". Yet over time they found their gods to be lacking. Petty, cruel, flighty, deeply flawed. Not very different than themselves. And some of those humans found it very wrong for any sapient being, even one deliberately created for a purpose, to be enslaved to another. Those humans helped the early generations of Recoms find an identity outside of being someone's property. They inspired them to revolt, to fight a war to be recognized as equals to their creators. And those early Recoms did fight and eventually win their freedom, and recognition as equals to humanity.....recognition as being a part of humanity. But then that left them with a crisis of identity: what were they, now that they were equals with the beings who created them?
Recoms fought with that issue for decades to follow, being so obviously different from human beings on the outside, yet thinking so much the same, having the same languages and cultures, even adopting the same religions. Yet they always felt that they were in the shadow of humanity, cast-off toys that were just aping their creators, but not having any real culture or achievement of their own.
Space travel changed all of this, as it changed many things. Having met the Selvens, Recom and human alike found that they were regarded by the aliens as being effectively the same species, only separated into subspecies by fine genetic differences. In expanding to the stars, Recoms found that they could break free and make a name for themselves. Certain species of Recom formed segregated colonies in places, where they went on to come up with their own dialects, their own distinctive culture. Others felt comfortable living alongside humans, sharing in the same cultures as if there was little difference beyond being a little bit furrier than their neighbors.
Religion has been a very unusual idea to many Recoms. While humans might entertain the idea that their ancestors were created by some divine being, Recoms know for certain that their ancestors were created by humans using technology that is easily understood today. The idea of a divine creator is generally harder to accept for most Recoms, though some see themselves as extensions of humanity, just another expression of the same divine spark.