Pantropic Modification

In certain environments the Parahuman Baseline actually proves disadvantageous. Technological tools can mitigate most of the discomfort but for long-term inhabitation, or an embargo on certain technologies, bodysculpting and gene therapy to adapt to the environment can be worthwhile. Several “templates” are in fairly common use.
Spacer: The original baseline, retained by the Centauri population but vanishing from the Cetan and Eridani gene pool between Exodus and Contact. Those born without this mod can choose to take it through nanosurgery, as well as plating their bones with titanium to prevent degeneration in zero-g.
Aquaform: The oxygen concentration of Terran water is insufficient to sustain an endothermic metabolism, but it can supplement it. This mod adds gill slits to the sides of the neck and between the ribs, while closing off the alveoli of the lungs with sphincters while submerged, along with extending the webbing between digits. With this mod alone most can go fifteen minutes or more between breaths of air, combined with Spacer mods this time can be extended to two hours.
Arid: Amplified renal system combined with subdermal water sacs to prevent water loss. On hot worlds enlarged ears with veins for heat radiation are popular as well.
Heavyworlder: Gravities between 1 and 1.5 gs can be handled with some simple bone reinforcement and hard body training. If you want to live on a planet with 2 gravities or more you need far more drastic modifications. Over the course of several months in a healing vat at steadily increasing gravity (usually in a specially designed Bernal sphere) synthetic muscles and bone are layered on until the subject looks somewhere between a gorilla and an elcor from Mass Effect. All heavyworlders are quadrupedal, relying on waldos or occasionally lifting a hand-foot to grab something.
Low-Oxy Atmo: A lighter version of the oxygen retention modifications included in the parahuman baseline intended for thin planetary atmospheres or high altitudes. So modded parahumans have their ribcage expanded to accommodate larger lungs along with slightly elevated hemoglobin and myoglobin levels. Spacer mods function just as well in thin atmospheres as any, but they require a much heartier diet and many Cetan or Eridani colonies, as well as Outworlds, favor this mod.
Polar: Adapted to icy planets with very low surface temperatures. Usually patterned after polar bears or arctic foxes with small ears, expanded nostrils, thick fur, blubber and frequently black skin with transparent fur.
Cytoran suite: Designed specifically for the heavy metal rich environment of Cytoran, the entire population of this savage Outworld can tolerate downright toxic levels of lead, aluminum, and osmium in their diets, and they need to. During growth their system deposits these metals in their bones in the form of metallic glasses, making their skeletons extremely hardy but on the off hand that they do break the ingestion of a decent amount of native meat can accelerate the knitting process. Once this bone mass is grown their digestive tract simply stops absorbing the metals and excretes them harmlessly.

Some Outworlds of Note

Tero Besto: During the early decades of involuntary colonization there was an experiment with altering the memories of the “colonists”. Tero Besto is one of the more notable and long-lived examples. In this case the settlers were led to believe they’d come directly from Old Earth, with no memories of the Federation, their actual homeworld of Tau Ceti, or humanity’s role in creating their ancestors. By all accounts, it was a success, the majority of the population believe that they arrived on the planet of their own free will and then destroyed their advanced technology to prevent the Destroyers from finding them. Colonists were assigned to different ancient Earth cultures and dropped in clusters around the planet, which has led to the rise of countries roughly paralleling those of Earth’s 19th and 20th centuries. 500 years after colonization they have achieved a level of technology resembling the late 20th century, but lacking a space program or radio communications thanks to the historical warnings against those technologies.

It’s presently unknown how many, if any, of the planet’s inhabitants know the truth of their origins. Traders sometimes visit but the major governments try to conceal the evidence of their visitations, passing off any offworld technology as “Kolonoj artifacts” and publicly ridiculing those who claim they’ve met envoys from a Galactic Federation. Some Federal officials have expressed concern that someone who believes the UFO stories will try to invent radio in an attempt to make contact.

Carack: One of the biggest failures of the memory alteration project. The colonists here were initially led to believe that they were natives to the planet but the inconsistencies in the fossil record soon refuted that. They had rediscovered radio and were just venturing out into space with plans to build a starship that would find their true homeworld when the Destroyers (conspiracy theorists claim the Federal Guard) detected them and razed the planet.

Cytoran: This planet’s high gravity has led the native flora and fauna to incorporate a high level of metals into their physiology. The colonists not only had their memories altered, but their excretory systems were modded to compensate for the more toxic metals and utilize some of the useful ones, this is one of the few Outworlds where the locals retain baseline hemoglobin levels. Unfortunately, the department failed to take into account the fauna’s behavior, almost all megafauna rely on bioaccumulation to acquire the metals their hardy skeletons require.

In other words, they’re carnivores, and very hard to kill without artillery.

Lacking the natural defenses of the planet’s native fauna many colonists were devoured by pseudo-saurian monsters that shrugged off their bullets. When the colonists had been reduced to a single shrinking settlement the Federation’s observers decided to intervene with a deployment of battle drones and power armored Guards. Unfortunately this intervention led to the colonists treating the offworlders as divine messengers, and one or two of the command staff might have proclaimed themselves gods.

These offworld gods only walked among their grateful followers for a few months before the Senate back on Secland finished deliberating and concluded that they could not justify an extended Federal Guard presence on a planet of Exiles, but they could provide the technology for the Exiles to help themselves, under supervision of their “gods” of course. The new official Emissary and zir “pantheon” gifted their most loyal followers with seemingly medieval weaponry that concealed stellar-age technology ranging from hull alloy blades to “flaming” axes and swords containing plasma projectors, and even some limited Fog hive implants. These devotees formed the beginning of a new class of augmented warriors called “Venturists”.

Traders arrived just a couple decades later, anticipating a new market in genuine natural “monster” parts and Venturist life stories. Every few years they would import a new set of equipment and augmentative “potions”, many cartels maintain semi-permanent presences in the towns and cities on planet just to sell their nanofabricated products to new Venturists. Over the generations the Venturists have effectively become the predominant form of government on the planet, forming “guilds” in the larger walled cities and ruling as petty kings and lords in the periphery towns.

While Venturists are usually too busy fighting off monsters to make war against one another, they can still find the free time to tyrannize their domains. Their augmentations make them difficult to dislodge, save by another Venturist, who often turn out to be just as bad as their predecessors. It’s estimated that for every just ruler there are two slaving despots and three boozehounds.

The Core Worlds Part 3: Epsilon Eridani

Epsilon Eridani
Population: 4.2 billion
Climate: 30% warmer than old Earth, partial terraforming. High CO2 content
Orbital Period: .6 standard years
Rotation: 108 hours
Government: Technocracy
The third of the “Core” worlds, Eridani has been shaped by its long history just as much as its “sister” systems. Settled by one of the last colony ships out of Sol, the crew was left in a panic by the sudden destruction of the world they had left behind and thought they should keep running. However, their ship had only been designed for a one-way trip and could not hold out far beyond their intended destination of Epsilon Eridani, they not only would need to stop for refueling and repairs, they’d need to rebuild the ship entirely. They set up a colony on the most inhabitable (if barely) planet in the star system and dedicated as much of the infrastructure as possible to building a new starship. As the biofabbed workforce grew the crew realized that they could use the planet as a starting point for many more colony ships that could spread parahumanity across the cosmos. When the first new ship was complete half the original crew left aboard it, the other half stayed behind to direct construction of later ships and train the biofabbed (and their natural-born descendants) to crew them. Over the centuries more and more habitats were constructed to exploit new mineral deposits all over the star system and the population grew. Their single-minded purpose and the hostility of the natural environment made a totalitarian government seem a necessity, but the founders impressed upon them a necessity for the finest minds to be recognized. The government was essentially a single monopolistic company devoted to making starships, the highest ranked engineers decided the fate of the colony, promotion was, in theory, meritocratic. In practice Eridani became a familial oligarchy like so many others who came before them, half of whose highest echelons left the planet behind every generation. Dozens of colony ships were launched before contact with Centauri, Eridani colonies are still found every so often. It was a simple arrangement for the two worlds, Centauri had advanced propulsion and communication technologies, Eridani had a star system devoted to building ships, both wanted to spread their people out across the galaxy, they gave little trouble when the system was admitted to the Federation. Now, Eridani is the Federation’s primary center for building starships, most of the Federal Guard’s warships and countless mercantile craft were built there. The system has almost as many stargates as Centauri, freighters carrying rare elements for shipbuilding coming in from the frontier regions, and new freighters going out to their new owners throughout the Federation. However, a number of Centauri have emigrated to Eridani looking for work, whose democratic ideals threaten to shake the foundation of their technocratic society.

The Core Worlds Part 2: Tau Ceti

Tau Ceti:
Population: 8.4 billion
Climate: 10% colder on average than Earth, not terraformed, mirror amino native life
Orbital Period: 1.6 Standard years
Rotation: 30 hours
Gravity: 1.2 G
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
History: Shortly after Tau Ceti was settled an ideological movement that believed genotypes must be maintained to prevent homogeny from dooming the species emerged and grew to encompass a significant fraction of the population. The group’s solution to the supposed problem was to separate each “species” of parahuman, based on their non-human gene donor, into different “clans” that would settle different regions of the planet. The clans grew in population rapidly, bumping up against the borders designated at founding in less than a century. War broke out. Clans rallied behind charismatic warrior-nobles and weaker clans swore oaths of fealty to stronger ones to save their own skins. These wars continued until contact with the first probe from the Centauri system, realizing that there was another civilization out there and that they were capable of interstellar travel the clan heads held a council to decide what to do about it. The majority ruled that they needed a single man to represent their world when the outsiders came in person, they elected King Hideo Fink of the feline clan as the official ruler of Tau Ceti. When the official diplomatic envoys and information merchants arrived he dealt with them, when the first stargate was constructed his grand-daughter negotiated the terms for the merger of the two world governments. But many in the major clans resented the loss of their sovereignty to first another clan who hadn’t even had the courtesy of besting them in battle and now to these off-worlders? They re-organized their armies and led assaults on the Federation enclaves. Praetor Lirdrill did not tolerate this defiance and sent the first units of the newly mustered Federal Guard to suppress these rebels. Surprisingly, she and the king of Tau Ceti found unexpected allies in many of the minor clans subordinate to the rebels. These minor clans had been exposed to the democratic ideals of SecLand and saw an opportunity to gain some measure of independence in the brewing war. This set the precedent for future “interventions” in planetary government by the Federation. When the dust was settled the surviving rebel elements of the clans were deported beyond the present borders of the Federation and a parliament was set up to govern Tau Ceti. Each clan, major or minor, was represented equally in the upper house of parliament while the lower house represented geographical regions by population independent of clan. It has been that way ever since, despite grumbling by old conservatives and young romantics, both are free to leave for colonies where feudalism is still practiced.

The Core Worlds Part 1: Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri System:
2nd planet from Alpha Centauri A
Population: 10 billion
Climate: 10-15% warmer on average than Old Earth, terraformed, multiple biomes.
Orbital Period: .874 Standard Years
Rotation: Accelerated to 24 hours
Government: Mixed Democracy/Oligarchy
History: SecLand, Terra Secundus, New Pallas, The Capital. The first exosolar planet colonized by terragen life and the center of the Federation of Human Species. The first seed ship to SecLand came from the Republic of Pallas in Sol System and immediately set to work building their settlement, known then as “Second Landing” and now as “SecLand Arcology”, and a network of observatory satellites and orbital weapons platforms in case future colonists proved hostile, or the great foe that had reduced the Solar System to rubble found them. The second colony ship, this time from the Society for the Preservation of Parahuman Species from Vesta, arrived 25 years later. Hampered, as it were, by the cargo space taken up by their onboard gestation labs and war factories for an anticipated invasion. However, by the time of their arrival the Pallas colonists had built up defenses that gave the crew, already demoralized by the loss of Sol, sufficient pause to consider negotiations. After a quarter of the SPPS crew had been spaced it was agreed that they would set down on the far side of the planet from the Pallas arcology, and their scientists would turn their expertise in biology to terraforming the then-barren world while New Pallas built up their mutual defenses and infrastructure. The third and final colony ship, this one from Earth and carrying over a thousand live and fully grown humans, arrived fifty years after the first ship. This craft brought a wide range of skills and knowledge, living knowledge, to a planet whose inhabitants up until then had primarily only known life inside their half-built habitat structures. The humans emigrated nearly equally to both colonies, over the centuries they interbred with the parahumans, with the net result being that many SecLanders have less fur or their facial features are closer to human than many further colonies. Today pure-bred humans, and parahumans (excepting uplifts), are miniscule minorities on SecLand with only a couple million individuals. The average SecLander resembles a blend of at least half a dozen species of Terragen origin.

For centuries the two colonies lived in relative peace, New Pallas breeding like rabbits while the SPPS cloned new citizens in bulk. But when the terraforming of SecLand had reached the point where colonists could breathe the atmosphere tensions re-established themselves between the two old enemies. With terraforming nearing completion some wondered what use New Pallas could have for the SPPS, on both continents. To that end the SPPS began to covertly build weapons in their Arcologies while New Pallas shifted their orbital satellites slightly. The humans of both colonies made a brief attempt to broker a peace, but when the mass-produced faces of the SPPS met the yellow eyes and pointed ears of Pallas they realized that they no longer had much in common as well. It all came to a head when the SPPS concealed a lethal virus in food shipments sent from their farms to the cities of New Pallas, thousands died in the months that followed. By the time the New Pallas government realized what had been done every SPPS arcology had unveiled surface-to-orbit mass drivers that could shoot down their enemy’s satellites. Even then, many arcologies were leveled by orbital strikes. Then the land battles began. The cybernetically augmented citizen-soldiers of New Pallas facing off against the bioprinted legions of the SPPS. The fighting raged on for months, then abruptly, it ceased less than a year after the war had begun. You see, the SPPS had underestimated New Pallas’s skill with biotechnology, crafting a virus that could be deadly to all the diverse inhabitants of the Republic had been difficult, but a dirty little secret of many 21st century regimes were the techniques to engineer a virus that had disastrous effects when it interacted with a specific gene or genes. And the Society for the Preservation of Parahuman Species had only used a couple genotypes for their army, and even fewer for their ruling priest-scientists. Once the virus had been grown any SPPS unit that came into contact with the enemy was dead within a week, in a month the ruling class had been reduced to a few paranoid individuals who had sealed themselves in hermetic bunkers. Specialized by repeated cloning into an effective caste system, and their soldier castes suddenly extinct, the surviving SPPS arcologies found themselves helpless against New Pallas occupation forces. Their ancestral enemies crushed, the House of Silver turned their sights upward.