By Chuck Cuvier
Science Reporter, Nepleslia Prime News
A cybernetic shark augmented to human levels of intelligence is rejecting bids to have it considered a human being, citing how the restrictive dolphin hunting laws would damage its lifestyle.
The shark, a four-year old male affectionately named 'Rex Finbar' by the staff at Nepleslia Prime Bionics, is the result of a two-year project to create aquatic assistants as Nepleslians expand into the pristine blue oceans of the primary colony cite. The augmented sea creature was allowed to explore the oceans free-range after it was ascertained that it was trustworthy and fitted with an explosive brain implant. He currently works as an ocean cartographer, although his weekly stipend from the government is vastly bellow the norm for his Nepleslian compatriots, which he claims is made up by his nomadic lifestyle and self-sufficiency in regards to food and shelter.
Rex says he doesn't want to be the citizen of a nation that would starve him to death due to restrictive hunting laws.
Numerous studies and experiments have been performed on Rex since his expression of self-awareness in YE 30, including the implantation of cybernetic sunglasses and the addition of Azorean-derived sonic impellers to greatly increase his underwater mobility. Despite increasing weaponization of his body, the shark is largely considered 'verbose and clever' by his handlers, and 'better than most Marines when it comes to kids'.
The main dialogue surrounding the shark seems to be whether or not he should receive full rights as a citizen due to his advanced intelligence and service to the colonial efforts, but there has been significant overlap over the whale and dolphin debate. Rex states that even if he were to receive a pay raise due to being considered a normal human, he wouldn't be able to feed himself due to the licenses associated with being a hunter on Nepleslia Prime.
As a consequence of this, Finbar has turned to the public for support, championing the cause of mass-marketed whale and dolphin meat.
The shark currently refuses to attend hearings for his admission to full citizenship, preferring the fish and dolphin-laden sea zones of the Bardock Rift and the Huntsman Barrier Reef. As a point of solidarity with the whaling industry, he broadcasts his location to nearby whaling vessels and has been known to assist them on ventures in the reef. Much beloved by the industry, Finbar has even been offered a position as a spokesman for the fisheries.
A Bigger Fish
Finbar's story, first covered in the Seadog Press, has been generating support for the lessening of the moratoriums among young and working Nepleslians in the Prime City area. Compared to a census taken three weeks ago, a recent study of 1000 Nepleslians has shown an 11% rise in support for the revision to the fishing laws on whales and dolphins.
Finbar's legal guardian and lead researcher on the 'scout shark' program, Doctor Elle P. Rana commented: "Rex is a person, staking his very personhood on a cause he believes in. As much as he cloaks this in personal survival, he's just as concerned about many of his younger siblings undergoing education at our test facility."
"But like many sharks, he's a creature of principle. Getting an exception for himself or a half-dozen modified sharks wouldn't be enough of a revision to the current laws. He has [...] the heart of a fisherman. Benefiting from special attention while his human kinsmen are economically disadvantaged would just be completely unacceptable."
"We're doing our best to support him while he survives as a second-class citizen, and the whaling industry has definitely been a great help on that front."
Captain Ivan Kremenik, known to some as the 'grandfather of the Whaling Renaissance', stated that he 'hopes everything goes well for the huge goddamn fish'. In a recent interview with NPN, he stated: "Any man who hunts the whale with us is a man. Even if he's actually a boy, a fish or a damn woman."
He later apologized for sexist comments in the quoted interview.
Rex thanked the public for their support, and in a press conference yesterday expressed: "...sincere thanks towards the seagoing community."
"Together, we can keep the ocean bloody and our bellies full."
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