Planet X is a deeply mysterious place in the Universe. First discovered around 2085 by the Virgin Galaxy Deep Space Probe, no ‘being’ from Earth has ever actually been there. This is partly because Planet X keeps changing its celestial position quite markedly but primarily because it is shrouded in thick gaseous clouds. To this day even the composition of those clouds remains largely unknown and no space probe that has entered the planet’s upper atmosphere has ever returned intact. Planet X is now followed through the cosmos by Virgin Beacons that denote it as a ‘no-go’ area.
On occasion ships passing near to Planet X have received communication signals, strongly suggesting the existences of some advanced civilisation. Three manned missions have all ended in apparent disaster, with each ship disappearing and none of the astronauts ever being seen or heard of again.
The one exception was the Locator 27 space probe, that returned some biological matter to it’s orbiting mother ship. DNA subsequently extracted from this sample led to the birth of the now famous hybrid, Joosthava X Minot.
In the late 22nd/early 23rd Century, interest in being able to make use of time had blossomed. Early experiments conducted by President Professor E. Poch in the mid-22nd Century had demonstrated the principle of ‘capturing’ time from the edges of black holes.
However, various issues led to Professor Poch’s experiments being suspended. First of all, too many of the spaceships used to extract the time wound up being dragged into the black hole or enveloped in lethal gases from black hole ‘burps’. Secondly, the small amounts of time that were captured by these early experimenters couldn’t be used in an even vaguely controlled manner.
It was only in the 2190s when the first time battery was developed that it became possible to store and the discharge, with some control, packets of time. However, packets of time are notoriously unstable and managing them is as much an ‘art’ as a science. Only a small handful of individuals study time mining as the dangers that confront a trained time miner at work are so great. Statistics show that only one in twenty time miners live into their thirties though in many cases, rather than definitively dying, they simply disappear.
ClonaCat was founded around 2110 by Tjoorbaert Morabitz, at the time the World’s most famous genetic engineer. Tjoorbaert was also a massive cat lover and believed that other people like him would pay small fortunes to have their beloved pet cats cloned and re-created after death. Tjoorbaert was certain that he could do far better than earlier experiments at domestic pet cloning that had not quite fulfilled needs.
However, just like the early experimenters in this niche market, Tjoorbaert found that the cats he created were never totally the same for the owners as the pets they had just lost. ClonaCat was looking like a failed enterprise until fortuitously, scientists working there on the horse genome, reactivated some ancient genes and created the first unicorn on Earth. This led to a whole new sports activity, unicorn racing, and ClonaCat became a prosperous concern through the selective breeding of unicorns for racing purposes.
The income from their unicorn ‘arm’ enabled Tjoorbaert to continue his research into the domestic cat genome, work that was accelerated by the arrival of a cat called Azz-leX. This cat appeared to Tjoorbaert literally out of the blue one evening (well appeared on his doorstep anyway) and turned out to be the ‘perfect’ cat with an incredible IQ. Not only that, but Azz-leX also provided humanity with the Azz-leX transposon, the cure to the DSR virus that had started to devastate the human population around 2170, near the end of the first interstellar war with the Mud Lizards.
ClonaCat ceased to trade in around 2180, being subsumed by CloneMate, another major cloning company of the time. CloneMate then used the expertise that ClonaCat scientists could bring to make the first generation of rubanon based artificial intelligences (AI’s). Cat, the Inspector’s companion, was the first off the production line and the only output from CloneMate that held a completely expressed copy of Azz-leX’s genome.