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In the comic Freefall, the fictional Bowman's Wolf is a species of transgenetically engineered Red Wolf (Canis rufus), whose genes were sequenced by EcoSystems Unlimited as a proof-of-concept model. This test was conducted to judge the feasability of producing a series of fully sentient beings from creatures native to a planet named Pfouts.
Pfouts' life uses right-handed amino acids, making the planet incompatible with Earth life forms, whose amino acids are left-handed. Human colonists would therefore not be able to eat the local flora or fauna there, and imported farming stock would likewise not survive. Since full-scale terraforming is prohibitively expensive, the alternate plan was to enhance native animals to human-level sapience. Artificially uplifted Pfoutsian creatures would share Earth's culture (lacking one of their own), and be able to take advantage of their world's resources — and potentially trade with Earth, which would otherwise have no access to those resources.
Under the direction of Dr. Bowman, 14 "Generation Zero" prototype wolves came to full term (3 males, 11 females.) After project "Pfouts" was canceled, "a series of clerical errors resulted in the inadvertent release of the Bowman's Wolf to the general public," resulting in all pups being placed in the care of compatible human families before EcoSystems Unlimited could begin their specimen sterilization and disposal program.
Dr. Bowman and his now-adult wolves are currently engaged in a social, ethical, and legal battle with EcoSystems Unlimited; the goal is to appeal to the company's greed (since appealing to their nobility and generosity obviously wouldn't work) while also proving the inherent technological viability of restarting the "Bowman's Wolf" project.
Florence discovers that Dr. Bowman is himself a genetically-uplifted chimpanzee, one of EcoSystems Unlimited's failed earlier experiments. The chimps had turned out to be "a race of sociopaths" who "weren't good at understanding the feelings or needs of others. They got upset when contradicted and would scream and throw dung at people when it occurred." However, "those traits did make them surprisingly good CEOs."
From a business perspective, "Bowman's Wolves" have demonstrated themselves to be a perfect "proof of concept" experiment, in that they are totally dependable, highly adaptable to social interaction, and have enough "Human Safe" fail safes built into them to give most critics pause. Since their diet and biology are quite similar to that of dogs, medical and food infrastructure (which for a more divergent species would be sorely lacking at best) are already in place on most worlds, so their cost-of-maintenance is quite manageable. (Besides, veterinarians often cost less than human doctors.)
The work and help they could provide in their expected life span of 160 years (also the lifespan of humans in this story) should cover any economic risk inherent in owning one. The only caveat is that, for all purposes, they are still considered "free thinking/free will" property, much like sentient robots, with the additional distinction that all their derivative products (e.g., "pups") remaining the private property of EcoSystems Unlimited.
It has been stated that, of the three males, one is in a monogamous relationship with one of the females, and one is "married to his work." The third considers his genetic material so valuable for procreation that he insists on being paid for it — setting the price high enough that he wouldn't have to work to support himself. This situation does not bode well for the continuation of the species.
Bowman's Wolves in furry media
- Name: Ambrose, Florence
- Sex: Female Bowman's Wolf
- Earth age: 26
- Place of birth: ???, Earth
- Genetic "Parents": Red Wolf, some bear DNA, "some coyote blood"
- Gestation parent: Earth female St. Bernard Dog.
- Owner: Scott Ambrose, son of an Italian woman and a Thai man.
- Present assignment: Senior ship's Technical Engineer onboard the "Savage Chicken," registry number 1071-CCN, Captain Starfall, Sam, commanding.
- Primary weapons: Screwdriver, Toothy smile.
- Back-up weapon: Duct tape (and lots of it)