The Arkanian-Offshoot Program is a series of genetic experimentation and cloning operations designed to reintroduce the struggling Arkanian species back into the galaxy in greater numbers. It is the brainchild of Con Semper, who currently oversees the program on behalf of House Arkoh. "Offshoots" are those individuals of mixed genetic heritage, either being themselves or descended from Arkanians who were genetically modified by their own scientists.
History of the Arkanian Species
The Arkanians are a species native to the frigid planet Arkania. Science and education are highly valued in Arkanian culture, and the species has a long history of scientific advancement, specifically in the field of genetic manipulation. Many Arkanians believed their people to be the pinnacle of evolution in the galaxy, and they used these feelings of superiority as they honed their skills both in the genetic augmentation of other species in the name of charitable enhancement, and in the alteration of portions of their own species to be more useful laborers in various industries. Those Arkanians genetically modified to better servants or workers are called Arkanian Offshoots. While the Arkanian population exploited the Offshoot's usefulness, they were commonly thought of as lesser beings and diluted.
Over the millennia this manipulation of the species resulted in a number of different sub-species, so much that it was difficult to determine what constituted an "Arkanian." Their relentless pursuit of knowledge and scientific mastery isolated them from much of the civilized galaxy, and earned them a high degree of suspicion and distrust from the major governments who believed that the Arkanians disregarded all ethical boundaries in their experimentation. They were one of the few species barred even from inclusion in the Republic. This resulted in the galaxy not being as sympathetic when their planet fell under attack by or occupation by the Sith Empire, or when plagues and diseases ravaged their numbers.
Currently, populations of native Arkanians still live on Arkania, but their numbers are mere fragments of what they used to be. Offshoots, or those believed to be descended from Offshoots, are not well received on Arkania by those of "purer blood", and those Offshoots in diaspora in many cases are suffering the long term effects of aggressive manipulation of their genetic code. Because of millennia of solitude, war, disease, and genetic dilution, recognizable Arkanians are a rare sight outside of Arkania leading many to believe the species in endangered or approaching an extinction vortex.
Origins of the Program
Con Semper, a Arkanian-offshoot Clone War veteran, mercenary, and privateer, did not feel a strong connection to the people of Arkania until he wanted a son. Semper desired that his child grow up an Offshoot like himself, rather than have his now rare Arkanian blood diluted any more than it already was. Semper had dabbled in genetic engineering in the past, and working with some other Arkanians it took months to engineer an embryo from his own genetic material.
During his time in the Avance Coalition Semper accepted a job with Alpha Medical Services where he discovered his zeal for biology and the field of medicine. After rising to second-in-command, he decided to return to the field of genetic engineering and initiated Avance's first cloning program, creating single clones of some of the Coalition's most notable figures. After several failed trials he finally perfected the art.It wasn't until he had joined the Trade Federation and established House Arkoh that he realized something greater could come from the practice. In addition to using the House to resurrect his people's ancient way of life, he could use cloning and genetic modification to repopulate the dwindling numbers of his own species.
To prepare for the program, he needed more genetic material. After isolating his own portions of Arkanian DNA, he lacked not only a complete genome from which to clone individuals, but also the genetic diversity needed to sustain generations of a growing population. Semper began to scour the galaxy in search of the other living offshoots and collecting samples of their blood. Many were sickly, or only had faint traces of their Arkanian heritage in their DNA. After years of searching, Semper was finally able to piece together a complete Arkanian genome assembled from the fragments he collected. This genome provided a foundation which was able to be augmented with other fragments to produce other Arkanian genomes to provide the needed diversity. Semper's collection, while growing, was still insufficient for re-population by immediate cloning. Once establishing a sophisticated laboratory underneath the Arkoh Palace in the Hassaria System, Semper devised a three-phase program.
Outline of the Program
Phase I of the Program consisted of using Semper's collection of Arkanian DNA to genetically modify already existing mature, humanoid specimens. All participants were volunteers, ranging from the destitute to the adventurous. House Arkoh has done much to dispel the rumor that becoming an Arkanian-offshoot is the single way to get ahead in the Hassaria system, but the persisting notion was a significant factor in recruiting. The procedure itself was carried out in Semper's medical facilities underneath the Arkoh Palace, using a technique called the Semper Procedure developed exclusively for this operation by Semper and Paul Luz. The technique is derived from the Metamorphosis Plague, and uses a synthetic virus implanted with the constructed Arkanian genetic material. This synthetic virus (known as AV0790) attacks the cells of the patients and injects an enzyme with breaks down the cells original nucleus and nearly simultaneously injects its own new nucleus into the cell. The inoculated cells then replicate by normal cell mitosis until the tissues they form begin to resemble Arkanian tissue. Varying the concentration of the AV0790 serum given to the patients affects the speed of the transformation. Early trials supported the hypothesis that a slower procedure carries a higher risk of failure, but lowers the risk of pain and other medical complications. Likewise, a higher dosage results in a quicker and more reliable transformation, but also carries with it higher risks of complications and pain. At the end of the procedure the participants were genetically Arkanian, with only traces of their former genomes remaining, depending on the dosages they were given. Many applied for to be the first official Offshoot created by the program. Out of the applicants, Semper chose Captain Arslan Ti-Rhea, the commander of his own flagship, the Vindicated. With Ti-Rhea's speedy and stable recovery, the Program was officially approved and opened to the public. One hundred willing participants from Phase I were selected for participation in Legacy, the first Offshoot Colony on Arkania.
The techniques developed in Phase I of the Program also has other surprising medical applications. One of the developers, Zuguruk'Ari Paul Luz was suffering from a difficult strain of the Metamorphosis Plague in Year 17, and was admitted to the medical facilities beneath the Arkoh Palace. Doctors there determined that because the strain that had infected Luz was slower moving, both tissues (his own Baragwin tissue and the newly-forming Mirialan tissue) were combating the other with immune and autoimmune responses. Because neither the virus nor his body could get an edge, his systems were rapidly dissolving as his entire body was under attack. In a rash move, Con Semper instructed the doctors to inject Luz with a potent and fast-acting strain of AV0790, AV0790B.6, which was able to overwhelm the two opposing immune systems and reestablished him. The result was such that when Luz recovered he was an off-shoot, 3/4 Mirialan, and 1/4 Arkanian, and a blood relation of Con Semper. It is thought that with only minor adjustment this procedure could be used to help combat the Metamorphosis Plague.
The initiation of Phase II of the Program was marked by the transition from genetic modification of willing participants to the cloning of more genetically-pure Offshoots. Most of the medical facilities under the Palace previously used for Phase I were converted to cloning laboratories, and additional Phase II locations were constructed aboard the remote Eren Research Installation. Because of the limited diversity in the Arkanian genomes preserved by Semper and his researchers, Phase II employs a mixed technique of developing clones based on the complee genomes, and use of the Semper Procedure on donated humanoid embryos which are nurtured much as clones would be. Accelerated growth techniques are kept to a minimum to extend the lifespans of the Phase II subjects and provide them with as normal a life as possible. This prolongs the maturation process and thus the project itself, but Semper insisted it was best for the long-term goals of the Project.
Once the Offshoot clones are born, they are raised by Phase I families and those who have adopted the Arkanian way of life in the Hassaria system, or are sent to Arkoh-supported boarding schools and temples elsewhere in the Galaxy. They are instructed in the Arkanian history and culture as well as the Federation history, and each will be allowed to join on of thee Trade Federation's many industries, or to serve the House in one of many different capacities.
Phase III has yet to be initiated, but by design cannot happen in a controlled laboratory setting. This Phase consists of a generation of naturally born Offshoots and pure-blooded Arkanians by parents who were themselves subjects of Phases I and II. With only sight genetic modifications as the Arkanian genomes become more robust subsequent generations will prove increasingly more pure, and the Arkanian species will be reintroduced into the Galaxy again.
Arkanian Colony: Legacy
In Year 17Day 127, The Trade Federation -acting on behalf ofCon Semper and House Arkoh- secured permission from Mandalore, the ruling government of Arkania to establish a colony of Offshoots from the Program on their ancestral homeworld. Guided by the Force, he selected a frozen plot of land and landed his Veltraa-Class Cruiser, unloading a population of about one hundred Offshoot clones, tents, winter survival gear, and many storage containers of supplies. The storage containers themselves, once unpacked and emptied, would form the first stage of permanent housing. The colony was named "Legacy", and it is the mission of the colony to repopulate the planet with Offshoots, establish positive relations with the native Arkanian population, and work towards the strengthening of pure Arkanian bloodlines. The residents of the Legacy Colony were received mildly by the native Arkanians, and Mandalore has pledged their protection of the Colony should relations sour.