Continuing from... http://eclipsephase.com/how-do-you-represent-gender-and-sexuality-eclips... That thread on the sociological/psychological effects of sex and gender issues got seriously sidetracked into weird pregnancy issues which is itself a pretty fertile topic of discussion (pun unintended). I'm going to jump back here and edit in major points covered thus far when I get a moment, but for now, let me just weigh in on this:
My initial assumption on reading the core rules was also that all pods lack any functioning reproductive organs. Which is to say, yeah, all the plumbing is in place for the fun side of things (with some morphs) but, we aren't really going to bother with the womb and the ovaries, and testicles are just for show. This is generally in keeping with the idea behind pods, where you clone and accelerate the growth of the more important bits (mostly just the structural stuff), then because people are in a hurry, various underdeveloped organs are chopped out and replaced artificially. Most notably 90% of the brain, but probably also the heart, lungs, digestive tract, whatever random bits came out undercooked. Transhuman's notes on dealing with extremely different morphs though just offhandedly says, at one point that "egos sleeved in a scurrier have the rather innocuous side-effects of estrus and a desire to hide food..." Estrus is more commonly known as "going into heat." It's that thing a fair number of mammals do where most of the time they have no sex drive at all, but at a certain point in the year, females become very fertile, and just kinda hang out with their hind end up in the air releasing pheremones like there's no tomorrow until a male (or several) catches a whiff, drops anything they might have been doing, and rushes over for some good ol' fashioned procreation, before resuming their regular schedule of also not caring about sex the rest of the time. I'm grossly oversimplifying things, but the whole thing is pretty inherently tied to their fertility, with both sexes. That's why getting your pet fixed works. Spay a female (read: remove their ovaries) and they no longer go into estrus. Neuter a male (goodbye testes), and they cease to care when they catch a whiff of a female in heat. Humans aren't wired the same way, because we're basically constantly fertile all throughout the year, and there's not much point in maintaining the mental software to check "is it worth trying this whole sex thing at the moment" when, barring surgery/medical complications, the answer is always going to be yes. Someone with a more rigorous expertise in these things is free to correct me on that. Ergo, we are forced to conclude that scurriers are fertile. Which actually kinda makes sense, because unlike humanoid pods, where you're trying to get an adult human in as quick a span as possible, the premise behind scurriers is "hey, let's jam a cyberbrain into one of these weird little exoplanet ferrets and drive'em around." Presumably they grow to adulthood in a much shorter span, and their internal organs are weird enough that one isn't going to mess with them. So you just modify the basic genestock to taste, clone them or farm raise them to adulthood, scoop out half their primitive little brains, replace them with a computer, and upload away. As for dealing with the estrus bit, if you're in a male scurrier and no females are around, presumably it's not an issue aside from having no real sex drive to speak of, beyond whatever fantasies your dirty little transhuman mind brings along. If you're a female, there are points in the year where you are not going to be able to get anything productive done, although I'm sure there's enough hormone blocking built into the morph not to be completely debilitating. And if you're unlucky enough to have a male in the area while going into heat, odds are you're going to make a new friend in a hurry, and shortly find yourself in a pregnant morph. Obviously though, you aren't going to just give birth to a litter of regular scurrier morphs. At best, you'd have the original dumb little baseline alien critters. At worst, stillborn, mildly deformed versions thereof. Depends how much genetic modification is involved, and how much is just taking the baseline critters and adding cyberbrains. Hard to say which option is creepier though honestly. The latter's traumatic, the former is... you suddenly having to mother some mindless rodents. Well, on a semi-related Well, on a semi-related subject and one dear to my heart, let's discuss pods and sex. Googleshng, you mentioned one exception to pods being infertile in Transhuman. I assume you're talking about the mention of scurriers having heat cycles? I don't necessarily think that means fertility, simply that they have the urges and equipment, which it's fair to assume pods have. We know pleasure pods do, biological things are assumed to be gendered (sexed? What's the trans-friendly term to say they have male and female parts and physical organs are actually what matter here?), and to get meta-gamey any pod can take the sex switch mod, which assumes genitals. So, it's probably safe to say pods can have sex, but it's explicitly stated they can't reproduce. Why? I imagine this is more than just a matter of being genefixed that way like uplifts are, otherwise they too would likely have genehackers removing that. My own personal take is that due to their partly synthetic nature, their DNA just doesn't create enough to live without the machines. They can be grown in a lab, but a womb just isn't enough life support (alternatively, their organ failure causes them death after birth?) However, I'm not sure all pods are synthetic enough for that to be the case. Scurriers for example seem entirely biological aside from the tail and cyberbrain (and I'm pretty sure it's stated pods are grown with underdeveloped brains that are replaced with cyberbrains, so they wouldn't be brainless. So yeah, started rambling there, but I'm curious how others interpret pod infertility.