Baselines humans are essentially the same as modern-day humans, split into many races, religions, and ideologies. They have become this century’s untouchables, replacing the Jews and Muslims of the 21st and 22nd centuries. Baselines are those who have chosen for one reason or another to forego being augmented with implants, fiber optic neural pathways, mechanical prosthetics, or biological modifications. Price is no object; poor families are given subsidies to get augmented, should they need. Eschewing augments is a conscious chose, as most baselines are mostly opposed morally to the augmentations that make transhumans what they are. Baselines do not, however, completely reject technology; they utilize physical phones, radios, and computers; they own televisions and all other sorts of gadgets; they take advantage of medical progress. They are simply opposed to absorbing the technology within their bodies.
This population of people who choose not to become transhuman is the minority; as it always goes, this minority has become a generally poor, working, second-class group. Most transhumans treat baselines with disdain, suspicion, and hatred, believing that baselines are holding humanity back from its true potential, that they are archaic and backwards, akin to those who resisted the invention of the printing press.
Most baselines live in artificial rotating habitats orbiting Earth, having been enticed by governments and private industries to emigrate to orbit, with promises of new opportunities. The majority of baselines live in orbit, mingling amongst themselves, out of the way of the “big kids” – the transhumans and posthumans living on Earth. Life in the orbiting habitats is not the bed of roses they were promised; trade between Earth and the habitats is highly sanctioned. The enterprises owning the habitats are themselves owned by transhumans, so upkeep is delegated to the back burner and neglected. There’s a conspiracy floating around that the habitats are intentionally spun down to less than a full gee, so that any baselines able to afford a trip down to Earth are at a health disadvantage.
The baselines living on Earth are typically confined to the areas that are today considered third-world countries: specifically, in the tropics and deserts, in the hottest areas on Earth. Transhumans generally try to avoid the hotter climates, as their implants generate heat that needs to be purged. Hot climates make this purging more difficult and can cause severe heat strokes.
The oppression of and aversion to baselines has created a vicious circle. Plenty of baselines actually want to join the transhuman faction, or even think they are good enough to be allowed into the posthuman echelons, but the bias against them makes it hard to “ascend.” This creates a bitterness among baselines, which causes difficulty in negotiations, and so on. It has become very rare for a baseline to ascend into transhumanism.