The Assignment is the process that an individual chooses to become Corp, Incarnate or simply remain human at adulthood, the age of 21 solar standard years. The Assignment is an important rite of passage for everyone on the planet, it is both a coming-of-age milestone as well as a permanent, significant change in a person’s biology.
The Assignment is classified as a universal human right, enshrined in the Aohu Accord. Every person who comes of the age of majority, 21, will be obligated to go to a credited clinic where they will be given a choice to either receive a Nanoblood infusion or lineage genes. They are also to receive appropriate information to make a sensible choice (materials are usually dispatched years in advance). Any individual can choose to defer their Assignment for any length of time and remain human in the interim. Some individuals simply defer their assignment indefinitely and stay human forever. GENECIA made the Assignment mandatory because no human should be born Incarnate or Corp by default: Everyone would be born human and then given an informed choice at adulthood. If an individual's parents would be corp, their children would have nanites in their bloodstream from birth, however, they are not activated, and simply remain dormant until Assignment. Similarly, children of Incarnate parents have their lineage genes embedded in their DNA, but these are not activated until Assignment day.
What kind of DNA / nanites does an individual inherit?
For individuals who already have parents with either incarnate or corp ancestry (or even both) they can choose to be assigned one of the heritages that they already possess. For instance, a human with two biological parents: One an Atlantaen and the other a Corp with Node nanoblood can choose one of those choices (they are already inside his body) and the assignment process simply activates one or the other. If he chooses to inherit the Node Nanoblood, his eyes and veins will 'light up' and gain the characteristic pink and blue glow (Node's corporate colors) – the activated Nanoblood will boot up his brainware for the first time, and scrub his DNA clean of foreign matter, eliminating the Atlantaen DNA. His OS will then ask him to import settings from his mobile device and so on. If he chooses instead to become atlantaen, he will experience a slight fever as his supercharged immune system eats the nanites in his blood. His heart rate will begin to elevate as his first shift inevitably happens. He would have received a document prior telling him to find a body of saltwater large enough to accommodate his mass, as he will undergo a long painful shift from human into fish form for the very first time and he will have gills as opposed to lungs. Once his first shift cycle completes, he would be able to initiate a shift on his own terms, and eventually he would be able to partially shift too.
Generally, a human with no corp or incarnate ancestry can be sponsored by another individual who is already assigned. That donor can give their nanites or lineage genes to the individual. E.g.: If my human friend is getting assigned, and I have Avatar Industry Nanoblood, I can donate that to him and he will also have the Avatar Industry variety of Nanoblood. Because of their genetic memory, Progressive Incarnates are usually very reluctant to donate them outside the family.
What happens in the assignment
The way that an Assignment is conducted varies by the jurisdiction of each Civil corporation. Sometimes the Assignment is not as smooth a process as one thinks, very much how a driver’s license is issued in different countries.
Assignment experience in New Shanghai
New Shanghai is a cosmopolitan, high tech city with a very diverse population. It's no wonder so many people want to move here despite the astronomical cost of living. At the very minute of your 21st birthday, you receive a politely worded email from the New Shanghai Association welcoming you to your upcoming adulthood along with a slew of coupons you can use for discounts for various state-linked services from firmware upgrades if you chose to be corp, to free dew claw removal for long-term animal-form runs. Your doorbell rings. The credentials of the New Shanghai Association flash on your door display. A state-sponsored auto-car waits for you at the pickup bay of your apartment. You get in and are whizzed along, utilizing even the priority lanes, to the permanent assignment center.
You arrive at a large building with plenty of foliage. Families can be seen taking pictures with the newly assigned- a young Corp girl waves hi to you on the ride in. She is having a picnic on the lawn outside. You don't remember her, but its likely that her HUD is showing her information that she might be your schoolmate or neighbor. You don't know. Your appointment was pre-booked via smart algorithms and you are brought to the waiting room with dispensers for coffee, tea and even a one-armed machine that assembles gourmet sandwiches for guests. Shortly after, you are ushered in to meet two counselors. One is an Anubian in hybrid form, clutching a tablet with furry hands. She is mostly human but her manicured canine teeth and eyes are a dead giveaway.
The other has gleaming silver veins and silver irises. The lines of her illuminated veins almost matched with the geometry of her clothes. Each counselor invites you to a separate office and spends half an hour giving you a full briefing on the history, culture, implications of choosing either race. You are then returned to the waiting room, and the counselors bring in a security case which they promptly open. In it are two POTION injectors, one labeled "Corp", the other "Incarnate". You ask which variety of Incarnate does the Incarnate syringe represent, to which the Incarnate counselor says "Gallian, just like your mother. This syringe will catalyze your existing lineage genes. You can't change your lineage unless you go for a geno-purge first. But we've spoken about the complexities." The silver-eyed counselor smiles: "We will leave you here to choose. You can take your time and we are just in our offices if you need us. Whenever you are ready, simply place the applicator to your neck and press the button." The Anubian counselor turns before leaving: "Your choice is irrevocable. Even if you try to use the second syringe, the first one will be dominant." With a swish of her tail, she too leaves the room.
Assignment experience in San Miguel
If you live in the crime-ridden police state of San Miguel, this is what your experience might be like: your invitation will come through a messenger; a suited man finds you at your place of work. He asks: "Are you Shawn Siow, citizen number 00012948?" Before you can mouth a reply, he continues, impatiently: "It is time for you to be assigned. Please report to this clinic." At which point he flicks you a sealed piece of paper, in it, is printed the address of a clinic that is on the other side of the city.
You can't afford a car trip and you think you would probably get robbed along the way. However missing the appointment means a default which by San Miguel law is punishable by unpaid civil labor, just like the surly-faced messenger. When you make it, you see a long queue, with plenty of people cutting in ahead. Some have been waiting for hours. Once you are at the front, the vandalized machine that greets you has an LCD screen with the state-required human witness on civil labor duty. "Don’t talk to me, stick your hand in." A receptacle opens up and you hesitantly place your hand in it. Your wrist is promptly restrained. The cracked screen shows that your identity matches the entry in the Lumaki database. Then, rather ominously, two buttons light up on the screen. "Hey, aren’t you going to tell me more about what my heritage choices are?" You ask, nervously. "Not my problem" says the witness, "you should have read that crap months ago. It's probably in your spam folder." One button is blue, the other red. They aren't even labeled.
The Assignment and Education in Aohu
During the Administration Era, GENECIA imposed certain cultural topics as a compulsory learning experience for primary school - unbiased presentations of each human sub-race and each child would be able to learn as much as they wanted of each race without being filtered out by human teachers or their parents. This caused some ultra-conservatives to withdraw their children from the school system even though it was free of charge. The intent was for minors to have the maximum exposure to the various genetically distinct cultures prior to their assignment at the age of 21, where they would make the irrevocable decision to become Corp by injecting themselves with Nanoblood or Incarnate by activating or implementing lineage genes.
Adults may opt to defer their Assignment indefinitely. Essentially, they chose not to take part in the genetic tampering or the technological implants championed by the Incarnate and the Corp. These 'pure' humans are commonly referred to as "Unassigned" humans and are actively recruited by the Gnost.