"What, you couldn't tell? I'm lab meat. They grew ten of me in a vat, pumped us full of drugs, dumped a decade of combat training into our brains and then sold us off. Like a box of puppies, if the puppies were roided out killin' machines."
Michelle (Comic 39 - Ask what she means)There are people who are referred to as lab meat: test-tube grown people specifically intended to be human weapons. (They are also sometimes generally referred to as 'tube cops' due to a majority of lab meat being grown intentionally to be cops, but not all 'lab meat' is a cop. Sometimes they are bodyguards, sometimes they are professional sportsmen.) They are a lot larger than regular people, capable of incredible strength and made to be 'expendable' in the emotional long-run. Caius and Michelle are lab meat.
Typical characteristics Edit
Lab meat is typically grown in batches, so each batch is technically a group of clones. Every clone shares the same physical characteristics and mental data, and they are created, off the bat, at the age of their physical peak and prime (that is to say, around their twenties). Mentally they are adults already, with sufficient training in combat and other relevant knowledge to their created purpose, but the actual time they have spent alive does even come close to equating their mental age. Their super-human strength allows them to carry around extremely heavy artillery or breaking down barricades without need for a tank or other similar vehicles.
Caius claims that all lab meat are gay due to a 'gay gene', to prevent breeding. While Michelle is dubious on this and Fuse has questioned the science behind it, Caius has challenged them to find him lab meat who isn't gay. So far, no one has risen to this challenge.
Lab meat is expensive, so Vasquez Law Enforcement could only afford one, and Shirai bought an entire line of failed cage fighters at a discount to use as bouncers at Club Elegance.
No one tries to engineer lab meat to have useful psychic powers for multiple reasons. In low part, there are reasons against it due to the social stigma of psychic mutations and its connotations. Much more problematically, however, there are two main reasons: first, mutations are hard to produce consistently. Secondly, if lab meat is born with a 'unique' power, this is counter-intuitive to how control is kept over tube cops. It would be very difficult to control lab meat that decides to step out of line, if they have a very useful psychic power to go with their rebellion.
Limited life span Edit
There is a limited lifespan of approximately ten years max on 'lab meat', something that doesn't often come up as common public knowledge due to most tube-cops dying in the line of duty. It's unknown as to exactly why this is the case; it could be because super strength comes at a price, as a 'genetic sprint' (as opposed to a marathon), or those who produce 'lab meat' deliberately design the DNA to break down eventually for commercial reasons, or something else.
The list of things that will invariably go wrong with lab meat is much, much longer than it is for 'regular' human beings, as they have compromised susceptibility to cellular degeneration in exchange for their superhuman strength and accelerated growth in their mental faculties.
Jane Doe is, however, working on it.
Lab meat versus "elite" soldiers Edit
"Elite" lab meat typically isn't. The most elite of elite soldiers are made in messed up conditions, but genetic engineering doesn't play into it in quite the same way.
Tube cops are mass produced and the process is, to put it one way, sloppy. A lot is sacrificed in a lot of places so the tube cop can flip a car over, and they're speed grown and pumped full of downloaded experience--which is useful, but it doesn't measure up to the real thing. Muscle memory's hard to engineer in a laboratory setting. Propaganda doesn't always translate well in the upload. Sometimes old feelings or extra memories make it through the process (see: Caius).Sometimes the guy you want to take elite fighting memories from had a few secrets. Super elite soldiers are bred and raised, not grown in a lab.
I will say there are tube cops that are tube coppier than Michelle and Caius, but they're not used much and I wouldn't call them elite. They're closer to what Nimrod was if they made Nimrod on purpose. Like, imagine a tube cop with straight up superhuman strength, but they have to fix him cybernetic implants just to let him walk because fuck legs, look at those arms, baby.
- Discord quote from Morgenstern
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Comic 302 - Go to sleep
- ↑ Comic 39 - Ask what she means
- ↑ Discord quote from Morgenstern: "I'll add that it's not just the stigma, but nobody wants their expendable muscle slaves to have psychic powers--and mutations being mutations, they'd be hard to produce consistently... which leads to unique tube cops. Letting a tube cop think they're unique is counter-intuitive to how control is kept over tube cops."
- ↑ Discord quote from Morgenstern: "If you've got a hundred genetically engineered soldiers, you want them ready to die for you. A genetically engineered soldier with something special might start thinking his life is worth more than that. He might hesitate to throw his life away, or he might hesitate to fight for you at all. He might start thinking for himself, and nobody wants that. And if you've got one genetically engineered super soldier with psychic powers that turns on you? Dealing with that is going to be very, very hard. It's part of why the mass clone setup is so successful--if one tube cop turns on you, you can just send five more guys identical to him to stop him. That's a little harder if the one guy has mind lasers."
- ↑ Comic 327 - Walk into the dark
- ↑ Comic 442 - Check the truck for tracers
- ↑ Comic 557 - Bring ice cream to Dr. Finch