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Artificial womb technology is a common luxury in society by those who can afford its exorbitant costs. Wealthy families and noble houses use it as an extension of their own power. However, artificial wombs are not used to make childbirth any safer. Instead, it is used as a way to grow and replace workers. The struggle of delivering a child after carrying it for twelve months is considered a superior way to have children and is regarded as a mark of prestige. These children are seen as the true nobility, while vat grown children are considered part of an extended family created to serve the main branch.

Sperm and egg samples are taken from members of that specific bloodline and fertilized. Genetic heredity is not documented, as it is irrelevant so long as the bloodline to the house is preserved. Each individual is born with a genetic physical marker, which marks them as vat-born. These individuals are born completely similar to regular people, with all faculties intact. However, they are infertile, preventing them from spreading their genetic material. They are raised separately from true born and trained to take on the essential but under-valued roles of a house. These are the soldiers, guards, house servants, and other positions required to keep the house running but are undesirable or present too much risk, freeing the true born to take on more valued roles.

It won't take too many generations of vat born to realize that they actually have the ability to overthrow their true born relatives, as having access to weapons and knowledge of inside house business grants them a unique position of power. I need this setup to work long term as a functional system, without any violent revolts from the lower classes. How can I make this stable and prevent vat-born from ruling over their trueborn cousins?

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    $\begingroup$ Carrying a baby for 12 months, you say? Uplifted sealions, I presume. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jul 26 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ You should probably also ask why the females of this species, whatever it may be, put up with this. Childbearing and childbirth is absolutely rubbish for most people. If the guys want it so badly, they can get their own wombs grafted to them and appreciate the effort first hand. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jul 26 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ (also "trueborn" reminds me of the old battletech backstory for the clans. the warriors all came from vats, having been carefully bred from only the best stock,were the elite caste and were called "trueborns". the other castes were largely natural humans, called "freeborns" by the warriors, and were very much looked down upon by their genetic superiors) $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jul 26 at 15:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Starfish Prime females put up with it because this was a religiously conservative society for all of its history. Nobility adopted the tech as a matter of practicaliry, but it is still stigma against it among them. They wanted to separate themselves from the taboo of being "tank born" to preserve their integrity. $\endgroup$ – Incognito Jul 26 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ in my opinion if its only specific job like only in military this may can work despite it still have some risk, like glorifying them through propaganda or brainwash through family name,religion, etc. but turning them into multiple job close to the noble i think the safest way is by give good payment,healthcare,low discrimination all the good stuff treat them like normal human (at least upper caste or have more right than peasant) rather than turn them into unpaid slave labor. $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Jul 26 at 16:08
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A kill switch

These vat-born already have specific genetic markers, so it is not much of a stretch to include a genetic defect that needs specific treatments that are not avaible anywhere else, or you can implant a small explosive in a vital organ, that goes off when they stray too far from home or when tampered with.

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  • $\begingroup$ Insulin dependency, perhaps? John Hammond would be proud. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jul 26 at 13:23
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs it'd need to be something a lot more sophisticated and inconvenient than that. Insulin production is non-trivial, but it has been a solved problem for some years, as has the diagnosis of diabetes. The real problem is securing access to the production facilities, and yet being sufficiently robust to accidents and supply chain issues that your servants don't all drop dead just because someone crashed a feedstock truck and the next delivery isn't until next week... $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jul 26 at 14:55
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By making them infertile

It's not like they can build much of a life for themselves away from the family, they're not going to create a clan of their own, by remaining loyal to the family in their duties they're propagating their own genetic material.

Indentured servitude

We've already been over how financially ineffective slavery is, but setting a salary and telling them they're free to go as soon as they've paid off the debt is another traditional option that loses a little less money.

but ultimately:

You can't

Crushing revolutions is a core part of the history of any country. Why should it be any different this time?

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    $\begingroup$ Infertility isn’t an issue if they can seize control of the baby-making machines. Though that gets dark fast... $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jul 26 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs, the workers seizing the means of (re)production? Who would suggest such a thing! $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jul 26 at 13:26
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    $\begingroup$ That made me laugh more than I think it should have... $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jul 26 at 14:22
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    $\begingroup$ Seizing the means of reproduction can lead to blindness, you know. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jul 26 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ @xavon-wrentaile It does indeed. However you’ve assumed that by ‘baby-making-machine’ I meant only the artificial wombs. To be clear: I did not. Like I said: it gets dark fast. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jul 27 at 11:41
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Building on @cyber101 answer, if this society is able to change the genes of the vat-born people, it should be a simple matter to instill an instinctual fear of a certain sound, thought, feeling. This has been studied in mice in real life.The study looked at epigenetic inheritance in laboratory mice, training them to fear the smell of acetophenone by wafting it around the chamber while giving them electric shocks.

They found that both the children and the grandchildren of these shocked mice reacted much more strongly than the control group. In addition, they made sure the parents never met the children by having another group that was born from in vitro fertilization with sperm from males sensitized to acetophenone.

We have no idea how fear affects the sperm of a male mouse. This phenomenon has not been studied in humans for obvious reasons.

Still, I'm sure that by shocking the earliest vat-born in response to revolutionary thoughts after they have been injected with a CRISPR like serum that makes their DNA malleable could potentially explain their aversion to rebelling against their slavers.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your answer is headed in a good direction, but as it is now it looks like a comment. You should expand it by elaborating on the content of the link. $\endgroup$ – Renan Jul 26 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the tip, just did it $\endgroup$ – Ishan Phadke Jul 26 at 20:18
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Selective breeding

Implement selective breeding, only breed new servants from the most loyal existing servants. Have a screening process for loyalty as the servants are raised and execute those who appear to be disloyal. Have a screening process for intelligent and execute those who are too intelligent as the could pose a threat.

Indoctrination

The servants could be trained to be happy with their role as servants, like in the novel Brave New World.

Limit knowledge and spread of information

Give the servants access to a minimal amount of information, not reading or writing unless it's required. Have the servants only interact with other servants that share their duties. If it's hard to spread information, it's hard to organize a revolution. Limiting servants vocabulary would also be a good idea for limiting spread of information.

Drug addiction

Make the servants dependent on a highly addictive drug that the nobility distribute to hardworking and obedient servants. A revolution would be almost impossible to organize if the withdraws are bad enough from the drug.

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    $\begingroup$ Humans are pretty rubbish at breeding true. The chances of it being practical to breed for loyalty are slim to none. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jul 26 at 14:52
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To add to other responses: A punishment chip: Any thought of rebellion sparks a killer migrane. Sounds dumb, but if you're biologically afraid to rebel or question orders, you won't even consider it. It'll be our basic instinct to not touch fire because it hurts - in this case, even considering independence will literally hurt them.

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Tradition, and because you treat them well.

No really. Why were any servants in real history ever loyal to a particular house? They got paid, had a warm place to sleep, and betrayal could mean death. A vat-born uprising in one house would be put down by the others. Why don't they all rise at once? Well, lack of communication (you'd be killed as a spy for conversing with another house), but also why would you bother? You may not be in charge, but as a member of a noble house you are downright pampered compared to the poor masses outside, even if you are cleaning bathrooms. And if you're a soldier, you get to go out and kick some peasants around, fun!

With a proper education, traditions, a lack of outright abuse, and a little vigilance, the vat-born would tend to stay loyal to their house.

More extreme measures like genetic fears or implanted poisons might be preferred by some houses of course, and such measures could be used narratively to indicate the bad(er) guys.

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I would say that Erathiian is at the right path but his answer should be extended. First I would answer Starfish comment:

Humans are pretty rubbish at breeding true. The chances of it being practical to breed for loyalty are slim to none.

As OP wrote that the pregnancy for his spices lasts for 12 months we are not talking about humans but other species. Further more the "genetic marker" and artificial womb do imply that the technology is a bit more advanced than ours at this point in time.

But to answer OPs question:

Selective Breeding

I would say that selective breeding is a no-brainer but in stead of going for "loyalty" I would suggest going for humility and lack of ambitions. If the technology allows it I would suggest screening every sperm and egg for a sequence of DNA that is responsible for non-assertiveness, humility, being content and lack of aggression. Of course you cannot be 100% sure that the offspring will have those traits thus you need to implement

Brainwash... eee I meant free education Observe the pupps from day one and select them according to their characteristics. Aggressive but non-individualistic and humble for army, other with another traits for house servants. Those that are deemed unfit should be put to death and made into food for others (cannot let good meat go to waist ok?).

When you have separated your vats indoctrinate them 24/7. It is incredible what a good portion of brainwashing could do to any intelligent being. And you do not need to isolate them early later. Look at Jehovah Witnesses, they are very heavy indoctrinated and rarely go against their "royal family", but if they do they lose everything. That is you have to generate a structure where the royal family is everything and means everything. Further more the VAT should own next to nothing and be confined in their childhood and early years of adulthood to "in-house" society.

I would suggest to not go actively against the VATs and do not oppress them without a reason. Drugged down servants do poor jobs and are less effective. Further more if you start oppressing people to hard then even most humble and non-assertive people may get pissed.

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Hierarchy

It won't take too many generations of vat born to realize that they actually have the ability to overthrow their true born relatives, as having access to weapons and knowledge of inside house business grants them a unique position of power.

This is not actually consistent with history. Hierarchical societies like this have functioned for long periods of time, only disrupted from outside. Egypt would be an example.

Part of the problem may be that you aren't including enough hierarchy. Consider

  1. True born nobility.
  2. Advisers (vat born).
  3. Priests (vat born).
  4. Weapon carriers (vat born).
  5. Scribes (vat born).
  6. Personal servants (maids and valets; vat born).
  7. Staff (cooks, cleaners, etc.; vat born).

Priests, weapon carriers, and scribes would also have ranks within them. The highest ranking would report to the nobility directly and become the advisers.

Now, the weapon carriers won't identify with staff enough to revolt over abuse of the staff members. And they won't want to lose their higher position nor their chance of advancement, so they won't revolt themselves. So weapons are secured.

There's a similar issue with scribes, who are effectively the management class. They may identify with others a bit more, but they still don't want to lose their position. Beyond that, the weapon carriers would roll over them in a fight. So management is secure.

Personal servants don't want to get demoted to staff and don't have weapons.

Staff don't want to be killed and don't have weapons.

Indoctrination

You can add to this with indoctrination. That would often be run by priests in traditional societies. The priests would explain how the true born nobility is closest to God (or gods). And they would then go down the hierarchy. If staff are good, in the afterlife, they will live like nobility. Or maybe their souls will come back as personal servants. Whatever. The point is that their suffering will be rewarded after they die.

You can do this without priests as well. That's just the traditional way to justify a hierarchy.

Split them up

Another way to increase their loyalty is to make each of them loyal to their own noble. So rather than it being the nobles versus the underclass, it's broken up into houses. Even if they think most of the nobility stink, they will like their own noble. And if they didn't and revolted, the other nobles would help put down the rebellion.

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If you're going to start changing their genetics (by marking them), have the genetic engineers include a gene that makes them loyal to the Royal House, receiving a feeling of euphoria to be useful to their nobility.

This loyalty is ingrained in them at the genetic level, giving them a great sense of purpose. They might even believe that being born knowing and feeling their purpose on such a deep level makes them, in a sense, superior to the Nobility, who are born naturally and must claw blindly through their lives seeking purpose of being. Not only do they gladly serve the Nobles, but they do so out of a feeling of pity.

Now assume some outsider comes in and tries to start a revolution. The engineered are already happy, and look at this outsider with great suspicion. Why would they want to change anything?

As the engineered put it, "what greater joy can there be in existence but knowing and fulfilling your own purpose?"

There is no need for the Nobility to force anything on the engineered. A happy and content worker doesn't need to be controlled, with all the mess that entails. It's the ultimate form of "catching more flies with honey."

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