- Distributed Consciousness: Sharing of memories and thoughts is possible via intensive implants and broad-spectrum signals with AI mediation, but only between bioprinted clones, the brain patterning between individuals is too different. This path is held in particular suspicion after one movement was declared nihilus following an internal war, their descendant forming the Outworlder polity of the Emilia Collective.
- A variant is the telepathic collective, in which the original undergoes radical hemispherectomy and grows a clone around the removed half of their brain. As with identical twins the original and clone usually share enough natural QEParts to form a telepathic link. By replacing the removed hemisphere with a bioprinted clone organ this process can be repeated, but bandwidth diminishes with subsequent iterations.
- Cybernetic Expansion: First, the potential posthuman has a digital simulacrum of their brain made, these are not considered sentient by Federation law but are typically used as a sort of “interactive memorial” for the dead. Then they load the simulacrum into a quantum supercomputer capable of running multiple instances of the program, and wire the machine directly into their brain implants. The simulacrums vastly increase the user’s multitasking capability while plugged in but they tend to retreat from the external world as time passes. Their meat bodies lying in hibernation while they mentally explore countless simulations and calculations.
- Pseudobiological Growth: In it’s simplest form one removes the genetic limiting factors on their growth, allowing their body and brain to continue growing until their mass requires cybernetic reinforcement or a microgravity environment to support itself. However, many end up embracing radical bodysculpting into a body shape more capable of supporting its’ bulk, with many drawing inspiration from mythology. Dragons are frequently popular.
- Soul Merger: While conventional techniques of recording and saving brain-states don’t allow different individuals to “share memories”, there are translation programs that can attempt to extract a holo-audio sequence that another brain can view through conventional senses. Some people have tried to convert that translation into direct memory information they can use, and either voluntarily or coercively take the brain states of others and add them to their own.
- Ghul Liege: The “Ghul liege”, unlike most of their kin, is not satisfied with one hard-to-kill body, they have to have several. Along these lines they modify their VN microbots to not only maintain their bodies indefinitely, but to convert other bodies into clones of the original host. At first, the VN bots install a remote puppeting system so the liege can prevent their minions from wandering off, but over the course of several months the minion’s brain is reformatted into a copy of their liege’s brain, connected by microwave network. If the liege is killed or otherwise disconnected their minion may become an ordinary ghul if the process is less than half complete, they may even have the VN bots removed from their system in Fed-space, but if the mind-cloning is near finished they become a new vector for the ghul liege to spread.
The Noospherist religion is distinguishable from most faiths in that it does not believe in a divine creator or an immortal soul, rather they believe in emergent phenomena from the primordial chaos. Balls of acid and lipids form cells, cells join together into biofilms, specialized cells in films form organs, complex biofilms become multicellular organisms, a central nervous system enables communication between organs, these impulses invoke responses, responses become reflexes and behaviors, behaviors become memes, memes and reflexes and impulses all meet together in a sufficiently complex CNS to form the cacophony known as “consciousness”.
Noospherists believe that the interaction between conscious beings forms a sort of superconsciousness similar to Jung’s “collective unconscious”. Within this collective stray bits of parahuman brainpower and sets of memes form into entities known as egregores. Early humans, so the narrative goes, attempted to deal with these entities by wrapping them around fictional and/or historical characters, allowing them to be addressed and theoretically negotiated with. Initially known as “gods” and “spirits”, later societies added their “emblems,” “founders,” and “mascots” to the morass.
The Church of the Noosphere makes no secret of the nature of these entities or that their acts of worship are attempts at negotiation with them. While most Noospherists don’t believe egregores have any direct control over the physical world, they can influence the people who host their component memes and that’s enough to worry many people and organizations.
The Church tends to describe archetypes rather than naming specific egregores, allowing converts to slot their existing gods and national heroes into them. The “One True SecLand Church” tends to name notable members of the House of Silver as their egregores for instance.
Names: Ra, Caesar, Selkd the Uniter
The source of authority, they who provides guidance and direction for society. But whose power must be tempered lest the populace be reduced to cogs in a machine.
Names: The Blind Lady, Lirdrill
They who bring punishment to wrongdoers and recompense to those wronged. Kept separate from the Imperator as a check to their power.
Names: Prometheus, Argentum
The force that knits order from chaos. Societies, lifeforms, and celestial bodies alike. Tends to be a favorite of the SecLand Church as the progenitor of the genus they revere was a genetic engineer.
Names: Coyote, Loki, Florida Man, Kumiho
The necessary agent of chaos that prevents institutions and entities from becoming too stagnant and set in their ways. Commonly mistaken for a creation of the Kitsune secret society rather than its progenitor.
Names: Thanatos, Azrael, Jack
The prospect of death is nothing but pure terror to the near-immortal parahumans of the Federation. They expect to live for a very long time, if not forever, and the possibility of their eternity being cut short is horrific. Death represents the self-destructive impulse, the decay of all things unmaintained, the ultimate punishment. Their worship is almost exclusively focused on holding them off, much as medical micromachines hold off personal death. But some Destroyer cults borrow from the official cult of Death.
Names: Fortuna, “the Dice”
The randomness inherent in life is clearly apparent in the Federation’s clan-based economy, where the circumstances of one’s birth can decide one’s entire life path. The cult of Fortune tends to be one of the most “magical”-thinking deific cults in Noospherism, thinking that the egregore can influence quantum wave collapses in the supplicant’s favor.
The Janssen incident of 1534 Post Exodus is widely believed to have popularized the “Para-Imperium” nickname for the Federation of Parahuman Species.
Janssen is a carbon world with eight times Earth’s mass inhabited by a few thousand miners with extreme pantrophic modifications to withstand the planet’s gravity. For the first couple centuries of the system’s occupation one of the Houses of the inhabited moon of Janssen IV avoided taxes for planetside operations by disguising their cyborg workforce as AI-driven robots. Their attempts to maintain this ruse culminated in the death of the system’s Emissary, drawing the attention of the Federal Guard.
While most would agree that the House’s Exile was justified, many felt that the Guard’s heavy-handed approach, in particular their use of ortillery, was unjustified. This had the unintentional effect of giving many in the Rim Worlds the impression that they were more subjects than members of the Federation.
The names, ideologies, and memberships of the various factions in Federation politics tend to change once or twice a century, but in general they tend to fall somewhere along two axes of political stances. Agorist-Oikist, and Centralist-Localist.
Oikists favor laws and legal protections for the institution of the House, in general this means a preference for allowing Houses to police their own instead of involving the Civil Police, but the more extremist forms want to institute penalties for anyone leaving their House of birth without the primus’ permission.
Agorists on the other hand hold the individual’s ability to market their own skills or produce themselves to be sacrosanct. They prefer laws that make it easier for House members to seek gepatronoj outside their House, as well as infrastructure projects to aid commerce. Some extremists have attempted to establish colonies with no government or Houses, but they’ve inevitably collapsed into feudal anarchy as members’ tribal identities coalesced around their gepatronoj.
Centralists and Localists, sometimes known as Federalists and Confederalists, are pretty straightforward. The former favor the central Federal government in Alpha Centauri and its Emissaries filling more of the functions their party wants; while the latter want to leave it to the planetary, habitat, or continental government. Their primary concern, though, has been the wormhole network and monopole distribution. Wormholes enable regular commercial links between star systems but they also bring the system into the fold of the Federation, rather than the Federation simply having a presence in system via the Emissary and their garrison. In addition wormholes are incredibly expensive to produce, requiring the output of a small star to open. Monopoles allow irregular commerce between star systems via conversion drive and can be produced by planet-side particle accelerators, but the Federation has maintained a tight grip on the technical details behind their creation and has been slow to proliferate the necessary plants.
After reading and listening to so much Greco-Roman history, I thought of writing about the modern day in the same terms popular historians use in relation to Ancient Greece and Rome. Continue reading “Future Imperfect”
On sharing the last post with a sci-fi group on Telegram one person had a few questions.
The clan-based economic system implied by the Federation’s profit-sharing schemes bears further elaboration.
Imagine if your great-aunt or great-great-grandfather signed the lease on your home and could revoke it if you refused to join the rest of the family on a colony mission or didn’t want to mate with a member of a family they wanted to form an alliance with? And upon refusal you not only find yourself homeless, but nobody else will rent to your Houseless ass? Now imagine that you manage to find an employer who will vouch for you, but your contract with them requires you to do whatever they request, up to and including enlisting in the military or committing crimes? That’s what it means to live in a clan-based society like the Federation.
The compilation of the first three years of Para-Imperium stories and worldbuilding articles is finally available in both print paperback and ebook formats. For those who find it easier to read on an e-reader or phone, or on paper, than on a website. I can confirm that to be the case for myself at least.
Featuring a cover by Norman Rafferty of Ironclaw, Farflung, Myriad Song, and other RPG fame.
Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794638458
Smashwords Ebook: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/919898
Includes such stories as:
Dandelion Seeds: The voyage of a seed ship carrying the legacy of Sol System, gone horribly wrong.
Family Ties: A detective story ala Altered Carbon, except with legal continuity identity.
Anthrophagy: The horrific account of the results of rampant nanotechnology, previously published in Thurston Howl’s Seven Deadly Sins anthology.
And FATE Core rules for roleplaying in the Para-Imperium universe.
I’ve recently been applying to local furry cons for a vendor (or Dealer’s Den) table so I can promote my work, and sell books. A couple days ago Aquatifur informed me that they had a last-minute cancellation and offered me a table.
So, I’ll be at Aquatifur in Wisconsin Dells, Chula Vista resort, January 11th to 13th hawking The Pride of Parahumans. Hopefully the cover to my story collection will be ready by then and it will be ready for print.
Feel free to come and see me.