Novas are biotech AIs, originally made by humans. They are modeled after animals, usually dogs or horses, though other sub-species exist.
All Novas are approximately human-level intelligent, able to speak and reason. They retain some of the instincts and mannerisms of their animal base. Their muscles are slightly stronger per size than humans, and their cardiovascular processes are slightly more efficient.
- Type 1 Novas are anthropomorphic, with four-digit hands (three fingers, one opposable thumb), animal-like legs, and usually tails. Their torsos are humanoid, while their heads are animal-like. They can walk upright, or walk on all fours if they desire. When on all fours, their shoulders rotate to extend their arms downwards. Type 1 Novas wear clothes, preferring loose-fitting things that don’t rub fur or other areas.
- Type 2 Novas are almost physically indistinguishable from their animal base, though they have more advanced vocal chords and slightly different brain structures. This is most common with horses, but Type 2 variants of other species do exist.
Novas are engineered for human companionship, and will often live under the care of a human “master”1. Laws regarding this relationship vary by area; commonly, though, the Nova will wear a collar, halter, or similar item to indicate the bond with their human companion. Unless abused, the Nova will form an almost unbreakable bond of love with their partner; separation from the “master”, or their death, can drive the Nova insane with grief.
Novas can breed naturally2, and give birth live. The process is usually much less strenuous than for humans, and a healthy Nova can deliver her young with very little aid or need for anesthesia. The young mature quickly, and are considered adults at the age of 12-14 years. Novas live approximately 60 years, though this can be extended medically to 80 or so.
Canine Novas (Type 1)
- Approximately 3.5 to 6 feet tall, and resemble their base dog breed in both appearance and, to some degree, temperament.
- They are eager, intelligent, and friendly towards humans; if partnered with a human or human family, they will be undyingly loyal unless severely abused.
- They are usually quite dog-like in mannerism—they wag their tails, bark, pant, lick, and move their ears to express themselves, as well as having human facial expressions.
- Possess a keen sense of smell, excellent hearing, and good vision, though they see colors faded and washed out.
- They can eat almost anything humans can, with a few exceptions: gluten and wheat products, for example, will make them sick, though not to the extent of Celiac Disease in humans. If a Canine Nova eats too much wheat or gluten, they will vomit and possibly suffer diarrhea until the gluten is out of their system.
Equine Nova (Type 1)
- Approximately 5 to 9 feet tall, and resemble their base horse breed.
- Even stronger per size than canine Novas; equines can carry a human piggyback with little trouble, and often wear special saddles to help with this.
- They are sociable but can be startled somewhat easily; they tend to relax when comforted by a trusted friend.
- Equines can form lasting trust-bonds with both humans and canine Novas; they also like to form a “herd” with others of their kind, but this can be temporary, while their loyalty to a human partner endures.
- Their mannerisms are horse-like, including whinnies, nickers, snorts, nuzzles, and ear movement, in addition to human facial expressions.
- Their sense of smell is between humans and canines in sensitivity, while their ears are extremely sensitive. They see washed out colors, and have a tendency for colorblindness in the red spectrum. Their field of view is wide like a horse, but they can shift to a more human-like binocular vision at will.
- They can eat any edible plant matter, including grass and hay; they are able to digest meat, but generally prefer not to, since they can’t chew it very well, and eating too much meat can make them nauseous.
1 In most cases, Novas choose to follow their human partner, and will obey them. In this case, “master” is a term of respect and authority given to the human by a willing Nova. Under some cultures, however, Novas are considered slaves or property. They will tolerate this in reasonably good spirits, so long as their owner is not abusive.
2 Novas and humans are not physically or genetically compatible under normal circumstances; however, the occasional crossbreed is possible, usually involving genetic alteration techniques. This process “converts” one parent’s DNA to the other species equivalent (The human parent’s DNA becomes Nova, or the Nova parent’s DNA becomes human), and the egg is fertilized in vitro. This results in a child who contains DNA from both Human and Nova parents, but will still be either 100% human or 100% Nova.