Etamui: Style and Costuming

Everything the Etamui touch is modified in some way, made stronger, better, faster, whatever as long as it’s not baseline. This extends in many ways to their clothing choices, though how it manifests is related to class and accessibility to materials and the knowledge of how to use them.

Given the pervasive monitoring systems going on in the stations, digital camouflage (or dazzle) is something that sees heavy use. The Glitches utilize it on practically a daily level, though everyone takes a go at it, whether when slumming, engaging in illicit meetings, or even getting out of the limelight for just a night. 

Costuming tip: Check out the Etamui Lookbook pinterest board for aesthetic and visual concepts!

SciDevs

Given their access to the latest research, materials, and with the time and processing cycles to spare, the SciDevs are often on the bleeding edge of fashion (in the case of biomods, rather more literally than most people would like to think on). Sleek edges, and a purposefully muted palette with pops of color, often lit up, are the current in. Mods are kept close to the skin, or embedded entirely, mostly for the sake of not ruining lines (and in part proof of access/concept). You can often tell a high end athlete by their (purposely) visible seams where heat is vented during extreme exertion.

Costuming tips: Look through the SciDev lookbook. Go for vinyl fabrics, shiny materials, whites or blacks or grays with flashes of neon color. Have fun with makeup: sharp edges and angles, drawn-on seams or circuit lines. If you’re a little bit tech-savvy, incorporate some EL wire. If you’re not, then glowsticks work great too!

ProdOps

Where the SciDevs go for keeping lines constrained, ProdOps often go for a look that is much more flamboyant. After all, if you can fix it, manipulate, or make it, why not flaunt it. While patterns are still highly geometric, the color palette gets out of the grayscale more regularly, and the mods are heavy on both form and function. Hair extensions that light up are the current de rigueur amongst those who are in performance art, while those working with things that require better sight are very much into visible eye-mods, all the better if they’re thematically appropriate for the work they engage in (finally, the excuse to buy fashion contacts you [as a player] have been looking for!).

Costuming tips: Look through the ProdOps lookbook for inspiration. Go wild with makeup! Use cords, cables, and wires as accessories. Light-up hair clips and hairpieces are inexpensive and easy to find at a local party store or online.  Put some straps and belts on over a bodysuit. The options are endless.

Gawans

The workhorses of the Etamui, everything is heavier, more durable and built to last (rather than getting swapped for this season’s fashion) amongst the Gawan. Their mods may be constantly visible, and look rugged, but they’re lovingly crafted and well maintained. Their clothing is of a similar nature. Bulky, built to last, but with a definite eye towards lines and usefulness and always well maintained. You’ll not often see worn hems, or patches that aren’t lovingly seen to with this group.

Costuming tips: Look through the Gawan Pinterest board for inspiration. Jackets, cargo pants, motorcycle gear, boots, and bracers all work well for this look.

Glitches

Which brings us to the Glitches, who scavenge what they can from the upper classes, whether that means clothing, materials, or mods (a deceased SciDev isn’t going to be using those mods anyway and really, you’re just making it easier on the incinerators by pulling the inorganic materials out of the bio before dumping it). Things often come to them well used up, but they make good use of it through layering and some serious DIY Or Die aesthetic. There is one point though, to which the rest often are seen imitating the latest in Glitch aesthetic, and that’s in Dazzle. Given that it’s a survival skill as well as looking killer, they have reason to keep constantly developing new styles, better color combinations, and different patterning.

Costuming tips: Browse the Glitch lookbook. Camouflage the heck out of your face with colorful patterns, accessories, and hairstyles that disrupt facial recognition. Start with athletic wear and add several more layers on top of that simple base.

The Transhumanist Exceptions

Adherents to the Spiritualist sect of transhumanism are the most likely to seek an inhuman appearance. If you’re a Spiritualist, you might have altered your body to look like anything: an elf, a cat-person, an abstract concept, a metal being. Go wild with your costuming.

Matricists and Shapeshifters might also possibly have less human appearances, though their aesthetic goals are less likely to be mythical or animalistic and more likely to be superhuman or different aspects of the human experience. Some might be looking to appear in a way that is disruptive, shocking, or unsettling to others, in an attempt to help awaken or enlighten the people around them, or to have a different social experience for themselves.

Written by: Lia Lilley
Costuming tips by: Dani Higgins

Etamui: Space Stations

The space stations of the Etamui are enormous, able to fit up to a million people comfortably, and with life-support systems to sustain double that for a limited period of time. In shape, they resemble a pyramid of donuts, with a flattened cylinder in the center and on top of the pyramid. Top, of course, being relative – the base of the cylinder is parallel to its orbit around Etamu. The central cylinder does not rotate, while the others do, providing the gravity that allows their inhabitants to live in comfort. The outermost ring, with a radius of 2 km, rotates at a speed of 140 m/s, which leads to approximately 40 rotations an hour; the inner rings move slightly slower to maintain the same level of gravity.

The innermost two rings are the Production ring and the Facilities ring, where the ProdOps live. Production, the ring closest to the central column, handles the fabrication of the vast majority of supplies necessary to keep the station running, while Facilities, the second ring, is responsible for the upkeep of the station itself. Though the largest fabricators, big enough to print the massive pieces of metal that make up the rings themselves, are located in the central column, Production contains numerous smaller printers and mills of various sorts. It also holds most of the farms where the bulk of the food is grown, though Facilities contains the smaller farms and hydroponics units that produce more specialized food.

Glitches tend to live in these two rings, primarily concentrated around the warehouses of Facilities. At any given time, large portions of the Facilities ring hold supplies that are packed away in case of emergencies, supplies which are often touched no more than once a decade. These complexes of storage units provide an excellent place for Glitches to hide out.

The third ring is the Research and Development ring, where the SciDevs live. Along with housing for its residents, this ring contains numerous labs where the SciDevs conduct their research. The primary hospitals of the station are located here, as are the facilities where the vast majority of the artificial births are incubated. Fabricators for specific items, like the components that go into most bio-mods, are located here.

All living quarters, no matter the ring, are divided into village-like structures similar to the kampungs in modern Indonesia. Each one contains a primary school, a small medical facility, and a store for nutrients and fabrication supplies. Every pod can, in an emergency, be sealed off from the rest of the structure via airlocks and remain self-sufficient for up to a month.

Each ring can, when necessary, connect to the central column via long arms, though these are usually retracted. Once a year, however, they reconnect, so the central column’s massive engines can restore the slight loss of rotational momentum that the rings experience as they revolve through space. This is also how their rotation was started in the first place – once the central cylinder had produced sufficient components to build the shell of a ring, it connected to the stationary ring and slowly pushed it to the right speed.

The rings can also connect to each other via flexible plastic tubes that can withstand the difference in momentum between the rings for the duration needed for someone to pass from one to another. However, because of that difference in rotational velocities, the tubes do not remain connected when not in use. Someone who wants to pass from one to another must wait until the airlocks on both rings are lined up. Such transit is rather disorienting, as the tube stretches beneath the traveler’s feet and gravity does not remain entirely constant in one direction.

Transportation around the rings is provided by a fleet of small shuttles that run on electromagnetic rails around the outside of each ring. The lack of friction allows them to obtain a high rate of velocity, traversing the circumference of the rings in a matter of minutes. For the comfort of passengers, they max out at 200 km/h, though they could easily go faster.

Written by: Emily Randall

Etamui: Government, Rights, Economy, Occupations

Government

The government of the Etamui is in many ways a direct democracy with compulsory voting. Every citizen is expected to do their civic duty and participate in the process. Referendums can be put forth by any citizen that will come forward to a global vote, and every citizen is expected to weigh in on it.

Administering a large series of space stations, however, is not an easy task. There are two mechanisms in place to help alleviate the load.

The first is the use of Sortition. Any eligible citizen can be selected to represent their district, and they will be called and expected to participate in this duty (much like Jury Duty in the United States). The Sortition is used to appoint members of a Council and into specific roles (such as magistrates), who are in turn are responsible for a lot of the day-to-day administration of the Etamui. At any point their district can hold a Vote of Recall (which is limited to the district performing the recall) and have an individual replaced, though they are eligible to be selected again.

Most of the day-to-day administrative tasks are handled in this way.

The second is through the matter of delegation. A citizen may grant their vote for most referendums to a member of the Council who they believe represents them (who may or may not be from that individual’s district). Then—except for the most important of referendums and any vote of recall—the Council member is assumed to represent that individual’s interests until or unless the individual chooses otherwise.

The Council handles most day-to-day administrative tasks, handles initiatives that do not require a full vote from the populace, puts together legislation that can either be handled by just the council or by the populace as a whole, and appoints people for government positions that are not selected via the Sortition.

This causes particular stress between the Gawa Forge Cluster and Celestial Station, because most of the administrative functions are centralized to Celestial. If you live on Celestial then it is just a short walk and the neuralnet connections are all very fast, but if you live in Gawa Forge Cluster it can be a significant commitment that takes a great deal of time and frustration if you end up being assigned somewhere in Celestial or being selected to join the Council (which you can join remotely and suffer the time penalty in communication, but it is most effective to show up in person to effectively represent your district).

Every citizen is absolutely equal, of course. Just some (e.g., the SciDevs) are more equal than others (e.g., the Gawans).

Rights

Fundamental to understanding the Etamui is understanding their view of rights. Every citizen of society is guaranteed several fundamental things:

  • Food (covering basic nutrition only, think original soylent in our world) and water.
  • Housing (basically in a capsule hotel)
  • Medical care.
  • Education.
  • Basic implants depending on what you are genetically engineered for, usually implanted in childhood.
  • Clothing (basic, plain, but functional ).
  • A job with an Enterprise if the government can find one suited to your implants, genetics, and abilities.

Glitches, lacking the basic implant, are not citizens of society and thus are not eligible until they accept the implant. There are some relief organizations to provide supplies to Glitches, but these provide haphazard assistance at best.

Anything beyond that is supported by the work that you do which gives you Celestial Credits (cc), though gift giving is a very common substitute.

Work and Currency

Every citizen is expected to work either directly for the government (assuming they have been picked in the Sortition) or for an Enterprise of some variety.

Any citizen is eligible to take the Assessment at any time, which informs what the individual is best suited for. Most enterprises (but not all) will only employ you if you have the appropriate Assessment.

There are, of course, ways of influencing the results of the Assessment and there are certainly augments that can help one be Assessed in a particular way, but these things are not openly discussed and are frequently expensive.

The major currency used is the Celestial Credit (cc). For the economy nerds reading this (because it’s not necessary to understand in order to play Temet Nosce), it’s a proof-of-stake cryptocurrency. This currency mints blocks relatively quickly, but does still require consensus for verifying transactions, making it difficult to use in the Gawa Forge Cluster since most of the major stakeholders are in Celestial Station.

The Celestial Credit is used to purchase most luxuries: everything from better food and tea to better lodging and clothing. According to Celestial Station, this is the only acceptable currency, and certainly it is the most widely accepted.

In the Gawa Forge Cluster, because the Celestial Credit takes longer to process and is under the control of Celestial Station, it is not uncommon for Enterprises to pay their workers using their own enterprise-specific cryptocurrencies when can then be used to purchase things from that enterprise (including, often but not always, Celestial Credits) or, sometimes (from Enterprises that have entered into an agreement), from other enterprises in the Gawa Forge Cluster.

Enterprises

Rather than have companies the Etamui have a concept of Enterprises. All enterprises are considered to be (de jure) socially owned by society in general and the employees in specific, though in practice truly socialized ownership is rare. Enterprises are allowed to select their own employees, but any employee who has passed the appropriate Assessment may also be assigned to any Enterprise (with mixed results). The Council (or the People) may also at any point require certain behaviors of Enterprises, and Enterprises will naturally assist.

Usually one “climbs the ranks” (such as those ranks exist) inside of an enterprise through a combination of the correct assessments (showing proclivities toward, e.g., management) and seniority.

Forming an enterprise is relatively straightforward (if you are on Celestial Station, anyways). You register it with the Council, get a few regulatory approvals, provide a societal good justification, and you are good to go.

Glitches

Glitches have, from the standpoint of the Etamui, “opted out” of the system. They are allowed to do so, of course, but they aren’t citizens and thus aren’t entitled to the same rights (or carry the same responsibilities) as citizens.

They can, of course, accept the neuralnet implant, take the Assessments, and become full citizens at any time.

They usually trade goods as their major form of economic participation.

Written by: David H. Clements

Etamui Religion: Transhumanism

Sects

Transhumanism is, at its core, the belief in and active work towards the potential of active transformation of humanity into something post-human. It is a nearly universal belief on Celestial Station––when one believes in anything at all, that is. However, there are several transhumanists sects that vary wildly in their practices and approaches:

  • Singularitarians (or Singularists), who believe we’ve already achieved the technological singularity and just don’t realize it or are in denial about it. They treat the neuralnet with all the respect and reverence of a deity, and treat computerized objects with the care one might show to a demigod or messenger of a deity. Programs are prayers. God is in the machine.
  • Matricists, who believe that we’ve already gone beyond humanity and uploaded our consciousnesses into the neuralnet. They claim to believe all our experiences are virtual, rather than actual, and life only has the consequences you allow it to have. They think that if you can truly understand that experience is an illusion, you can do anything at all and attain godlike power; to work towards this end, they engage in any number of activities to free their minds. Martial arts, drugs, trance-inducing neuralnet programs, meditation, and reckless activities to try to awaken their minds. Some matricists die of this enlightenment-hunting every cycle. (Supposedly, the matricist sect began as a joke. Some people still participate in it as a joke or recreation. Some certainly do seem to be true believers, though.)
  • Spiritualists, who believe that the spirit reflects the body, and the body reflects the spirit. They seek to modify their body to show what they feel their spirit looks like, or to influence what they want their spirit to be. If they can align body and spirit just right, they might achieve enlightenment, or empower themselves with supernatural abilities. Often their modifications make them look alien, inhuman, animalistic, or give them a deviant kind of beauty.
  • Shapeshifters, who strive to be more than a singular individual, using technology and modifications to “become” or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple perspectives. They believe every person is a multiplicity and in losing their individual selfhood, they can join with the collective consciousness of humanity. Ideally, this is a very serious philosophy and practice. In actuality, this is the domain of those privileged and wealthy enough to be able to take on new roles and afford the constant biomods needed to change their appearance and merge with another perspective every few cycles (though people with less access to such luxury can still engage with this through virtual reality, drugs, and neural programs). These are often SciDevs who engage in cultural tourism, “slumming it” with Glitches until that becomes uncomfortable or loses its appeal, and they declare they’ve learned what they were meant to learn from the experience before moving back to the Research and Development ring.
  • Uplifters, who believe that all sentient beings deserve to be sapient and have that sapience recognized. They advocate for enhancing animals and plants towards greater cognitive capacity, and also strive for increased self-awareness in artificial intelligence. For many, it’s because they feel humanity deserves to not be alone in the universe. For others, it’s that they believe many animals, plants, and/or artificial intelligences have already achieved sapience but it’s not respected or recognized sufficiently by humanity, and they want to join with other sapient beings in the pursuit of transcendence.

Basic Tenets

  • Seek perpetual growth and progress in all aspects of human existence, taking an active part in one’s own biological evolution. Mankind shall be the director of its own destiny.
  • Transcend the constraints of body, mind, and society.
  • Empower people with conscious choice over their lives, bodies, and deaths.
  • Knowledge, culture, and resources should be shared among the population for the betterment of humanity and swifter human evolution.

 

Basic Practices

These vary by sect.

  • The only one that exists across almost all transhumanists is that of modifications. Biological, genetic, and cybernetic modifications are ubiquitous aspects of transhumanism, viewed as ways to push the evolution of humanity or the self to the next stage of the species.
  • Spiritualists, Shapeshifters, and Matricists often engage in some form of meditation to increase self-awareness or seek enlightenment. Sometimes this is a sitting meditation focused on the breath; other times it’s with biochemical or virtual assistance to enter a trance state.
  • Singularitarians often engage in prayer and program-driven communication with the Superintelligence of the neuralnet. Some engage in divination by scrying the code of the neuralnet and claim to have received information from the Superintelligence through this practice.

Miscellany

What happens after death? This belief varies wildly by sect and individual. Many transhumanists believe there is nothing after death, only oblivion, and so this is part of their drive to seek to extend life indefinitely. Matricists believe (or claim to believe) that consciousness is uploaded into the neuralnet and lives on therein. Spiritualists and Shapeshifters often subscribe to the belief of some form of reincarnation or another. Uplifters and Singularitarians may have any number of beliefs about the afterlife.

Dream: To reach the next stage of humanity’s evolution, and the next after that. Pleasure and being free from suffering.

Nightmare: Stagnation. Suffering. Ignorance.

Light side, positive qualities: At its best, transhumanism encourages compassion for all living beings, egalitarianism, sharing of resources, helping the sick and poor, and universal care and education.

Dark side, negative qualities: At its worst, transhumanism becomes a rationale to take away the choice of individuals in order to enhance the greater good or the evolution of humanity as a whole.

Etamui: The Factions

In the Introduction to the Etamuiwe briefly reviewed the four primary cultures or factions of the Fanseeth. In this post, we’ll dive a little deeper into those factions. This post assumes you’ve read Introduction to the Etamui.

SciDevs

The wealthy intellectual elite, developers of the future, guiding humanity into the next stage of evolution. They are researchers, programmers, developers, scientists, philosophers, and technological artists. They primarily live on the glitzy Research and Development ring of Celestial Station.

  • Other names: Labs, Labbers, Brains, Leets, R&D, RTD, Intellects
  • Stereotypes and views of other cultures
    • ProdOps: The foundation of Celestial Station, without which we could not do our most important work of advancing the future. They are the steel, sturdy and unthinking; we are the wires, sensitive conductors of brilliance.
    • Gawans: We need them for supplies; they need us for direction and technological advancement. They could choose to join us on Celestial Station at any time, they only need apply. It makes no sense that they fuss about being under our rule. Don’t they realize we all work best together? Ingrates.
    • Glitches: An incomprehensible drain on the system.
  • Light side, positive qualities: Creative, inventive, wanting the best for everyone.
  • Dark side, negative qualities: Elitist, ethnocentric, thinking their way is the only/best way and that they know what’s best for everyone else.

ProdOps

The working class of Celestial Station. They perform skilled labor and hands-on work in the highly functional Production ring and Facilities ring of the Station. They are technicians, repair, maintenance, and public works employees. They are lab techs, nurses, and can also be artists or performers, though in a more physical or visceral capacity than the SciDev artists.

  • Other names: Techies, Maintens, Prods, Ops, Proddies
  • Stereotypes and views of other cultures:
    • SciDevs: They’re pretty stuck up and haven’t really worked a day in their lives. But anyone who works hard enough and is smart enough can score a SciDev position. The opportunities are out there.
    • Gawans: If more of them visited Celestial Station, they wouldn’t be in such a hurry to be separate from us. It’s a wondrous thing we’re all building together.
    • Glitches: Freeloading slackers.
  • Light side, positive qualities: Hard-working, team players, down-to-earth.
  • Dark side, negative qualities: Just-world fallacy, thinking that anything bad/good that happens to you is because you earned it.

Gawans

The distant, tense child of Celestial Station – though don’t tell them that. They receive fewer resources, less assistance, and all the cast-offs of Celestial Station, but are still subject to Celestial rule and law.

  • Other names: Forged, Forgies, Asters, Forgers
  • Stereotypes and views of other cultures:
    • SciDevs: Elitist and out-of-touch. Most have never been off their cushy station or seen a lick of real work. And then they try to tell us how to live our lives? They need us way more than we need them.
    • ProdOps: The rank-and-file Celest. They keep voting the same Labbers back into power and don’t see how they’re taken advantage of.
    • Glitches: Victims of circumstance, trying their best to fight back or opt out. There’s better ways to do it but they don’t know how. Maybe they’d like to ship out to the Forge.
  • Dream: Independence, respect, being the equal of Celestial Station and having agency over themselves.
  • Nightmare: Being cut off from the rest of the universe, loss of independence, the things that are dreamed in the dark of space.
  • Light side, positive qualities: Tough, independent, ingenious. Strong cultural identity.
  • Dark side, negative qualities: Temperamental, divisive, somewhat clannish.

Glitches

There are robust government assistance programs for the poor, the disabled, and the Glitches. However, acquiring government assistance means submitting to a network implant, and many Glitches are explicitly opposed to this.

  • Other names: Stealthers, Untagged, Unrexed, Hiders, Errors, Tuberats, Malwares, Metamorphs
  • Stereotypes and views of other cultures
    • SciDevs: They’re trying to control everyone. Keep track of us, shape us in their image. Have to submit to them to get their “help”. No way.
    • ProdOps: Programmed robots. Nothing more.
    • Gawans: Maybe worthwhile. Maybe we can build something better. Or maybe we can’t trust them at all.
  • Dream: Comfort, pleasure, respite.
  • Nightmare: Loss of independence/individuality, loss of autonomy. The stories of gremlins infesting the understation.
  • Light side, positive qualities: Fiercely independent and individualistic. Resourceful.
  • Dark side, negative qualities: Paranoid. Socially hostile or suspicious.

Gender in the Four Worlds

Cultural norms around gender vary wildly among the four major peoples in the Temet Nosce setting.

Fanseeth

The Fanseeth do not use a particularly descriptive nor prescriptive methodology of gender. They do not concern themselves with it overmuch as a theoretical concept; individual Fanseeth may have one or another gender identity, but all anyone really cares about is how well you can do the work of surviving on their harsh world.

Their sense of gender is largely dyadic, though they have some allowance for variation on the theme, and they mostly use he or she, with some people choosing to use Spivak pronouns because they do not feel that they fit either category.  Singular they is used, but “she” is considered the default gender for the purposes of written text and is considered correct in formal settings.

Clothing has frequently had gender markers, but the specifics of what clothing has gone with what gender changes over time with what is fashionable.

Children of Earth

Gender among the Children is truly a genre, descriptive rather than proscriptive, roles that are chosen rather than assigned. These are very rigid roles that the Children believe date back to ancient Earth, with specific expectations around behavior, ship and household responsibilities, and clothing. However, the roles are chosen regardless of physical sex. Minors are considered genderless and referred to with singular “they” pronouns until they come of age and indicate their gender (though the coming-of-age ceremony varies by culture). The various religions, fleets, and caravans have different allowances, stigma, and rituals for changing your gender later in life.

    • Woman: She/her, active/projective, action/protector, family “hands”; tends to be choleric temperament.
    • Man: He/him, passive/receptive, caretaker/nurturer, family “heart”; tends to be phlegmatic temperament.
    • Androgyne: Zie/zir, balanced/both, mediator/negotiator, family “head”; tends to be melancholic temperament.
    • Neuter: They/them, neither/neutral, passionate/play, family “gut”; tends to be sanguine temperament.

Etamui

The people of the Etamui believe themselves to have evolved beyond gender, and view gender as an antiquated, primitive concept. They typically use singular “they” pronouns instead.  There are certainly still people who identify as gendered and use a gendered set of pronouns, but among the Etamui there’s a lot of stigma about this; it’s seen as rustic, backwards, or unevolved.

Gendered pronouns are most commonly used by Gawans and Glitches, when used at all; the SciDevs and ProdOps most commonly eschew gender.

Nurani

One of the things that the Nurani observed in splitting away from the Etamui was how rounding out the pronouns entirely ended up erasing identity in the process. They kept the bones of the Etamui system, but have more significant variation in private.

Thus in public settings and formal documents they will use “they” has a singular, but individuals frequently have other genders that they express in private and that are the purview of close friends. It is very fashionable in written text that takes the omniscient third person perspective to provide genders for the characters that the readers may know and the characters do not, to create a more intimate feel.

All genders wear the same clothing and makeup.

There is no expectation that the private gender of individuals won’t change.

The most common pronouns for this private use are he, shexe and thon.

 

Writing credits: Dani Higgins and David Clements

Introduction to the Etamui

The Etamui inhabit a variety of stations in orbit around the G-type star Etamu, as the five planets (Eena, Isithixo, Lagua, Sharbai, and Hrabanaz) are inhospitable to human settlement, and anyway, who needs planets when you can engineer a perfect living environment on a space station?

That’s the basic Etamui philosophy: Human ingenuity can improve on anything the natural universe has to offer, and the next step in evolution is for the species to take its advancement into its own cybernetically enhanced hands. Human flesh is limited; technology can enlarge the human experience and assist in becoming more than human, evolving beyond the restrictions of meat and bone. This Transhumanist belief that pervades the Etamui applies to bodies, minds, societies, and environment alike – even souls, for those superstitious individuals who believe in such things.

They’ve been working on this evolutionary process for generations, now, and Etamui research produces the most advanced tech of all the settlements. Everyone is modified to better fit their work and lifestyle; trends in cosmetic mods build on top of the functional or occupational mods. This has led to something of a strict class division, where children (organically-born or machine-born) are further engineered for the jobs that best suit their genome makeup; people are encouraged to combine their genes in ways that will produce optimally specialized offspring.

The Four Cultures

The Etamui can be categorized into four main cultures: SciDevs, ProdOps, Gawans, and Glitches.

SciDevs live primarily on Celestial Station (the inhabitants of which are often called “Celests”), specifically on the Research & Development ring that revolves around the central column of the station. They are the intellectual class, doing the research and development work. Some are artists or musicians using or developing technology to express their creative process. Others are medical experts advancing techniques to install cybermods or biomods into human organisms. Still more are virtual reality programmers, cybernetic devs, and engineers.

ProdOps also primarily live on Celestial Station in the Production ring and the Facilities ring. They’re the working class, doing skilled labor and hands-on work. They are technicians, repair, maintenance, and public works employees. They are lab techs, nurses, and can also be artists or performers, though in a more physical or visceral capacity than the SciDev artists.

Gawans live on the Gawa Forge Cluster, a networked series of stations, refineries, and ships at the Gawa Asteroid Belt. They are miners, cargo pilots, laborers, refinery operators, and industry workers. They face more risks to health and safety than the Celests and they know it. The Gawans sometimes view the Celests as soft or self-indulgent or stuck-up, but they all view Celestial Station as an entirely different reality than life in the Gawa Belt. Some of the Gawans operate predominantly on smaller outposts by one of the planets, mining the resources on the mineral-rich planetary bodies, but are still considered Gawans (or “Forgers” as some prefer, to avoid the Belt-centric terminology) and have more in common with the people of the Forge Cluster than they do with any Celest. Gawans tend to be less hyperspecialized than the SciDevs or ProdOps in their modifications, due to the harsher conditions of going out into the Belt and planets.

Glitches are those outside the Etamui social structure. Many of them live on Celestial Station, hidden in abandoned sectors, or areas under construction, or in storage units, or in the lesser-used tubes that connect the rings. Sometimes they are SciDevs or ProdOps or even Gawans who’ve opted out of the role they were assigned by their genetics, and were unable to afford the biomods and cybermods necessary to adapt them to their preferred work. Others are the descendants of those who opted out of the system, born into the cracks and dregs of society without the in-utero modifications or early childhood mods or instruction and training that would allow them entry into Celest society. Some are deliberate rebels, some are criminals, and some are outcasts or rejects from society for any number of perceived “defects” that they didn’t have the funds or willingness to correct. There are biohackers and rogue cybermodders here in the tunnels, so Glitches usually still have mods… they’re just less safe, less polished, and more experimental than the SciDev administered tech.

Of course, not everyone agreed with the extravagant modification of the human form and function. Early on in the establishment of Celestial Station, a number of people left to create their own settlement, preserving their humanity in its more organic, natural state. We’ll talk about them in a later post: the Nurani.

Writing credit: Dani Higgins