1. Yuri Strike
    Offline

    Yuri Strike Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    far far away

    Special abilities that genetic engineering brings

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Yuri Strike, Dec 13, 2011.

    I'm modifying the settings of my sci-fi story which centers on gun fights and vehicle combat. Basically, it's about a bunch of people trying to kill each other for their different beliefs and interests.

    The protagonist is a gun akimbo who was genetic engineered in a secret lab and later saved. Thanks to the inhumane experiments she received, she became the first ever super soldier and gained the power of synesthesia. Unlike Canaan, she doesn't rely on her eyes to activate synesthesia, she cannot switch the power off as she wish, and her eyes do not glow the rainbow colors of doom.

    However, she still needs more supportive abilities since her firepower, when compared to the other dakka maniacs, is rather low. What I've come up with were either too"phychic" or too"superhero-ish" that they won't fit into my story. Besides the protagonist, there are more genetic engineered enemies that haven't been given neat abilities yet.

    I know my sci-fi is a total softie, but at least it's harder than LEGO.

    The question has troubled me for a long time and I appreciate any help.
     
  2. cruciFICTION
    Offline

    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Connect the second optic nerve behind the eyes. It's a vestigial organ which isn't connected properly, but it allows us to see higher frequencies of light, like in infrared (probably) like some nocturnal creatures.

    There's plenty of things. Look at what different animals can do and try and replicate that. Work with sensory nodes; some snakes are basically blind, but have sensory nodes on their faces that detect heat signatures coming close by. It'd be good for ambush tactics in the dark, creating a tingling sensation or something in the skin like that. Harden the skin and make it leathery (unless she needs to be attractive). Things like that.
     
  3. Yuri Strike
    Offline

    Yuri Strike Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    far far away
    Thank you!

    Other vision-linked abilities are based on cybernetic enhancement partly because synesthesia makes people color blind.

    I really like the sensory nodes and leathery skin, they would work wonderfully on either sides.
     
  4. Protar
    Offline

    Protar Active Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    UK
    Can I just ask how synesthesia is a power? I have to say it hasn't given me much in the way of baddassery personally.
     
  5. Anonym
    Offline

    Anonym Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    10
    How do you define "synesthesia", exactly?

    Consider taking anything a person is normally capable of, and making it better: reaction time, coordination and dexterity, IQ, spacial perception, predicting behavior and underlying motives, etc, etc.

    Often, the most plausible way a physically "weaker" character is able to best a stronger or better equipped opponent is through trickery or out-smarting them - the element of surprise/catch 'em off guard, lulling 'em into a false sense of security or exploiting their personality: playing into the big bad's megalomania and narcissism so as to trick him into going into a lengthy and superfluous rant about his army being unstoppable or how his world domination is inevitable - then she stabs him in the eye.

    Not great examples, but maybe they'll help. Good luck, sounds interesting.
     
  6. Protar
    Offline

    Protar Active Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    UK
    Also something I noticed, unless we are talking about wildly different things synesthesia does not necessarily cause colour blindness.

    As for powers specifically simple heightened strength and reflexes etc. could do, but for more fun things perhaps try stuff like animal senses e.g detecting electrical waves like sharks.
     
  7. Yuri Strike
    Offline

    Yuri Strike Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    far far away
    Well...Since your senses are perfectly linked together, you are capable of detecting even the slightest change. It could be life-saving.

    I had to admit the way synesthesia works in-story is a lot more like Hollywood science. Basically, this is what happens when the rule of cool collides with reality...

    I'm going to strengthen my FMC on reaction time, coordination and dexterity, or even adding acrobatic gunslinging skills to go with it.

    Thanks for all your suggestions!
     
  8. Protar
    Offline

    Protar Active Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    UK
    Oh I see. You'll need to make it quite clear that synesthesia works differently in your universe and perhaps even give it a different name. IRL there's no perfect linking of the senses. I have it (albeit mildy.) and I'll be the first to tell you about my poor hand-eye-coordination, bad eyesight and slow reaction times. Even those who have it very strongly don't get anything other than seeing sounds as colours and so far as I know it's usually only two senses linked up.
     
  9. Makeshift
    Offline

    Makeshift Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Finland
    Fiction is always fiction, but I don't really like unplausible elements. I'm in theory still a huge superhero fan and therefore I often try to think what would be the most plausible superpowers to have. Using the animal world as an example of what genetics can do is a great idea. Superhuman strenght, speed, stamina, superior senses, regenerative abilities etc. still work, but I think you're looking for something more original. Pretty much all of the superpowers I can think of have been used for some superhero. Remember that it's not really character's powers that make a good story, it's how you write. Search Wikipedia for Tardigrade and Honey Badger for animals that are pretty tough and could serve as an inspiration for genetic engineers.
     
  10. Justin7
    Offline

    Justin7 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    1
    How about the mundane? There's some things genetic engineering could provide us with that no one seems to think about. What about teeth that regrow when you lose them? Tougher skin that resists cuts? Strong but more flexible bones and a ribcage that extends over your naval to protect the rest of your vital organs?

    For less mundane, there's the obvious rapid regeneration. As others have suggested, ability to see the infrared spectrum. There are plenty of options for natural weapons. My personal favourite would be an ability to speed up and slow down reflexes as will (since with fast enough reflexes, time appears to move slower).
     
  11. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    "Synaesthesia" usually means that your brain confuses the different senses; for example, a sound may appear as something visible, or a touch may cause you to think you smell something. If you're talking about an enhanced ability to combine the information from the senses, I think you need to make it clear that you're using a special meaning of "synaesthesia".
     
  12. Yuri Strike
    Offline

    Yuri Strike Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    far far away
    Wow. I have never imagined that I would talk to a person with synesthesia in real life...and it doesn't seem pleasing at all. Protar, I'm sorry to hear that.

    Mundane aspects? Good suggestion.

    And of course, more research.
     
  13. Lorddread
    Offline

    Lorddread Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Australia, Northern Territory
    How about a adjustable metabolism?
     
  14. CidTheKid
    Offline

    CidTheKid New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    1
    There are also much more subtle things you could add.

    For instance, I remember reading somewhere about how the vast majority(98% IIRC) of a persons genetic code was wasted, vestigial, or actively harmful, which was the cause of problems as you grew older.

    Assuming those elements were "dealt with", Your protagonist is simply going to have a much longer life without having to deal with things like heart disease, Osteoporosis, cancer, etc. She'd probably still age, but at a much slower rate.
     
  15. astroannie
    Offline

    astroannie Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    SE Texas
    Stinging cells in the skin and/or hair.

    Reduced BO.

    The ability to read the moods in other's BO and/or breath.

    ability to control farting (and possibly emit poisoned farts of some kind .... this sounds gross but some 19th century guy could make his sphincter open and his bowel suck air in as well as control precisely how it came out, he was known as "<name> the fartiste").

    If you haven't, read "Friday" by Heinlein. His "Artificial Person" is believable.
     
  16. astroannie
    Offline

    astroannie Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    SE Texas
    Stinging cells in the skin and/or hair.

    Reduced BO.

    The ability to read the moods in other's BO and/or breath.

    ability to control farting (and possibly emit poisoned farts of some kind .... this sounds gross but some 19th century guy could make his sphincter open and his bowel suck air in as well as control precisely how it came out, he was known as "<name> the fartiste").

    If you haven't, read "Friday" by Heinlein. His "Artificial Person" is believable.
     
  17. Protar
    Offline

    Protar Active Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    UK
    (sorry for late reply lol.). Nah it's still fairly cool, I like seeing letters and numbers as having their own colours. The aforementioned problems I have are unrelated and aren't cripplingly (apparently not a real word.) bad. But certainly synesthesia is little more than a cool novelty for me.
     
  18. Ellipse
    Offline

    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    I wouldn't say synesthesia is your brain confusing your senses. It's more like your brain is organizing information in a different way that is easier for you to work with.

    As for more suggestions for genetically engineered abilities, how about an increased metabolism that gives the MC enhanced reflexes and healing ability? The human body is capable of some rather amazing feats. Have you ever heard from someone that was in a gunfight speak of how time seemed to slow around them? That's actually their mind speeding up its processing power to cope with being in danger. And usually, the body has to shut down other non-essential functions (such as digestion) temporarily when that happens. It's a survival instinct that can't be consciously controlled, but imagine all the stuff you could do with that ability if you could turn it on and off at your will. :)
     
  19. The Magnan
    Offline

    The Magnan Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    439
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Probably Earth
    You could have cybernetically enhanced limbs or alternatively have gifts spawn and not like in Heroes or X-Men. But gifts that reflect personality, experience, and memories. I call it mental engineering since the gift is influence by the brain. Or how about manipulating blood, an idea I plan to use is having a character who can use his or her blood as a weapon - (spikes, bullets even). You could even have the gift involve over time afterall it is alien to body. The future effects could be anything. If I do think up something more, I'll edit this post.
     
  20. Yuri Strike
    Offline

    Yuri Strike Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    far far away
    Sorry for the late reply...

    I love all these new ideas! Now I have a full list of genetically engineered people who have distinctive powers.

    The protagonist is capable of doing crazy stunts that are either impractical or impossible...like "leap n' fire". Or holding her guns horizontally and firing cross-armed. (Now that's just being stupid.) But that doesn't really cope with her personality and experience...Magnan, I haven't considered about this before you mentioned.

    Again, thanks for helping me out.
     
  21. psychotick
    Offline

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,374
    Likes Received:
    314
    Location:
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    I'd see genetic engineering as more likely to create an enhancement of what we've got, not a radical new ability. And even then it's likely to come with costs. As CidTheKid mentioned the vast majority of our DNA is junk DNA, or vestigial. It's inactive but comes at a metabolic cost as cells reproduce. Removing it would come with another cost though. Cells would reproduce faster, potentially enhancing healing etc, but that would theoretically mean that you would also age faster.

    Increasing synesthesia might give your character greater chances of spotting enemies etc, but it would also likely add to the confusion people would experience.

    Friday's genetic agent, wasn't boosted to incredible levels. She was boosted to the best level that a human could attain - and then of course trained to use her abilities from birth.

    Cheers, Greg.
     

Share This Page