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InVitros are a genetically engineered subspecies of Humans in the science fiction television series Space: Above and Beyond.



The Invitros were created during the traumatic 21st century on Earth at the time of the AI War when the artificial intelligences known as the Silicates rose in rebellion against their Human creators after being infected with the "Take a Chance" virus. During the ten year struggle, the machines engaged in terrorist acts against mankind which led to the creation of genetically engineered and created to fight against the Silicates. (Episode: The Dark Side of the Sun) Entire platoons of such soldiers were created in order to combat the machines. However, it was known that a number of InVitros refused to fight leading to casualties amongst the Human military forces. Eventually, the platoons were disbanded and dissolved with the InVitro's being assimilated into the civilian populace. This was not the case with all InVitros as certain members distinguished themselves in the military such as T. C. McQueen who managed to get an elite status by joining the ranks of the 127th Angry Angels squadron. A growing rights movement eventually formed in the years leading to 2065 that demanded more rights for the InVitros. In that year, the Tellus colony missions Board of Governors was given a directive from the United States Senate that stated that the space launch would be scrapped unless a minimum of ten InVitro's were onboard. This resulted in ten normal Humans being removed from the mission which included Nathan West. (Episode: Pilot, Part 1)

This was because during the AI War, Natural Born losses were greater than anticipated and the cost in human life was devastatingly high in the civilian population as well as in the military. Terrorist attacks claimed far too many. Combat and battle claimed even more. Every day the losses mounted. Humanity made the decision to increase its numbers artificially, not with the electronic intelligences that were now the enemy but with InVitros who could become highly skilled soldiers. Governments and industry worked together to build a multitude of InVitro facilities around the world, facilities where these soldiers could be grown and trained. The InVitros were first farmed by the InVitro Authority to fill the labor force gap after the population of Earth was decimated by a sterility-causing plague. Engineered with the best the genome has to offer, without the randomness of natural selection, InVitros are conceived from 'parents' that never actually lived as two human beings. They were composites of DNA from many sources thrown together in a petri dish to optimize the chances of getting the best traits possible. The race is a step up from cloning in that no two InVitros are alike; however they can share DNA with another InVitro created from the same batch of constructed chromosomes. Genetically designed to be stronger, faster and less prone to illness, the InVitros were suppose to help bring the decaying human race back to its feet. They were created to be a servant caste, occupying jobs that were too dangerous, demeaning or strenuous for "Natural Born" humans. After they are born they serve a five year period of indentured servitude to reimburse society for expenses associated with their creation.

After the InVitros were conscripted into the Armed Forces against their will, they proved to be poor soldiers. With no conventional families to protect, a lack of patriotic fervor toward nations that saw them as expendable slaves, and no vested interest in the A.I. War's outcome, the majority of the InVitros refused to fight. Out of guilt and dissatisfaction, the InVitro platoons, an abysmal failure, were dissolved. (Episode: The Dark Side of the Sun) The InVitros returned "home" without familial or community ties to guide their main-streaming and soon became a rebellious race of socio-political untouchables. The refusal to fight in the war against the Silicates has led to a stigma that continues to haunt InVitroes everywhere, years after that particular war ended. Now, persecuted and reviled as disloyal cowards, most are outcasts, living on the outer edges of society. They have gained the reputation for being lazy and shiftless. Some Natural Borns even consider them expendable. The additional artificial "navel" present at the back of their necks (where the artificial umbilical cord/neural implant was attached in the gestation chamber) became the only visible distinguishing feature, making them easily recognizable and an easy target of constant discrimination.

In 2065, it was known that there were at least ten InVitro's stationed at the Tellus colony until its destruction by the Chigs. (Episode: Pilot, Part 2)


These Humans were members of the species that were artificially born and grown in gestation tanks. This led to them getting the nickname of Tank by regular base born Humans. It was stated that they were concieved from parents that never lived. (Episode: Pilot, Part 1)

After being created by gene splicing, InVitros gestate in artificial gestation chambers or tanks (from which the derogatory term "tank" derives), with the natural umbilical cord delivering the nutrients they need as they remain suspended in a sleep state and under an accelerated growth rate and an artificial cord at the base of their skulls (on the back of their necks) that is connected to a neural network that inputs basic education through direct sensory input to the brain. While floating in the neutral-buoyancy tank that is the artificial gestation chamber, a series of sophisticated retroviruses attack the genome of the InVitros, prematurely activating segments of DNA responsible for growth and maturity. By triggering these genes in a closely timed sequence while providing them with a steady flow of nutrient rich protein medium, their bodies are able to reach maturity at a rate far more rapid than naturally. After six years, their physical development is equivalent to a natural-born human at eighteen years of age.

It was known that there was only 27% success rate in the gestation process of subjects within the tanks. This led to the comment by one InVitro that their kind were bad gamblers as they used all their luck just to get born. (Episode: The Dark Side of the Sun) The fact that that many InVitro's refused to fight in the AI War caused a great deal of resentment amongst natural born Humans against them. This was because they had lost loved ones to the Silicates and believed that the cowardice of certain InVitro's had brought about their deaths. Following the disbandment of the InVitro platoons, a number of further InVitros were created with such individuals feeling that they did not ask to be born. This led to a level of resentment amongst the InVitro's who felt that they were abused by Humans and Humans who hated the Tanks for not fulfilling their duties. There was a Human Rights movements that championed increased rights for the InVitros. Sentiment amongst certain Humans was that "Tanks" were lazy and that they did not care about anyone or anything. Some believed that InVitros could not dream but this was not true as they were capable of doing so with some even dreaming that they had parents. (Episode: Pilot, Part 1)

Many casually call them "tanks" in reference to their gestation chambers. Others call them "nipple necks" in reference to the navel at the base of the neck. InVitros are a segment of the population who have finally carved out a small niche for themselves in a society that used and then discarded them as mistakes.


  • Tyrus Cassius McQueen :
  • Cooper Hawkes :


  • InVitro's were a recurring element in the Space: Above and Beyond television series.


  • Space: Above and Beyond:

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