Peregrinate, The

Peregrinate
Image from Anders Sandberg
Peregrinate adornments confiscated at the 8210 Temple Klartau incident. The adornments are diamondoid held in metal frames, housing what appears to be a sophisticated ultratech system of unknown intelligence and capabilities. Investigations proved inconclusive as the adornments did not cooperate with the authorities

The Peregrinate consists of individuals claiming allegiance to the Peregrinate and being under the protection of the Peregrin, an unknown AI god protecting them through adornments similar to the Solarian pilgrimage jewelery. The Peregrinate is loosely connected, mainly acting as support for its citizens across known space as they travel around. The Peregrinate ethos suggests the need for travel and experience, and that being locked to a single astrographic location stunts individual and social growth.

The origins have been the subject of much speculation and investigation, but little factual data has emerged. The Peregrinate emerged quietly during the period 8200-8500. The first documented sightings and claims about it were made in 8199 at Kiyoshi L89 and in 8210 in an incident at Temple Klartau, both in the MPA. It apparently began somewhere in the outer regions of the MPA, but spread quickly into the core regions and from there into other empires. The early Peregrines claimed to be protected by a new AI god, and as some of the early incidents demonstrated that at least something protected or avenged the Peregrines (as well as the similarity to the well-known Solarian pilgrimage jewellery) they were given some limited respect. Over the period citizens of the Peregrinate became more common and visible, and knowledge about it more widespread. Their claims of being independent of earlier allegiances led to various conflicts with different jurisdictions, but slowly they were accommodated.

The Hammanty Announcement 8293 was the official sublevel MPA declaration that the Peregrinate was indeed a sovereign nonlocal polity, although local accords had already been made. It was followed in 8318 by Cyberian acceptance, 8376 NoCoZo and 8452 Cygexba, Orion Federation, Communion and the Sagittarius Transcultural Cooporation. Metasoft has never formally accepted the Peregrinate as a real polity, although it regards its citizens as citizens of whatever region they originated from. The Solar Dominion and Negentropy Alliance has not accepted the Peregrinate as having any diplomatic or social claims. Keter has not formally taken any stand, but the Peregrinate is apparently respected in practice even by high-order entities.

Since its emergence the Peregrinate has quietly spread. Citizens travel around, staying for longer or shorter periods in different systems. Unlike regular "backpackers" (ancient term referring to a common loading system for bipedal bionts) they share a limited philosophy and social system, encoded in a number of "visas" kept within the adornments. These visas contain documents extolling the virtues of travel and personal growth, a code of ethics, some practical advice not unlike the Encyclopaedia Everythingiana, several encoded rituals and customs used in contact with other Peregrines and the very typical Peregrinate Radisms.

The Peregrinate adornments consist of patterned diamondoid "pearls" that are placed in clothing, as jewellery or implanted beneath the skin. They refuse investigation, burning out if opened (sometimes with disastrous force) but passive scans reveal that they house a godtech internal structure of some kind. They have some similarities with Solarian pilgrimage jewels but could in principle house anything (this has classed them as a Level II Suspicious Artefact in the Onte customs security protocol). That a major AI god sees through them, protecting its charges, remains unproven: it could be that each adornment is an independent hyperturing entity or artefact.

Attacking a Peregrinate citizen tends to bring repercussions, but their nature or severity varies randomly (thus acting as a stronger deterrent than a predictable response). In some cases it has been a direct nanotech defense against an assailant, in others subtle countermeasures to control or manipulation attempts and in some dramatic and noticeably media-tuned demonstrations of godtech power. They might act to defend or protect the citizen, or avenge ver death - the randomness forces citizens not to rely on their adornments too much. The also protection works both ways: the citizen must act according to the peregrinate ethos or repercussions will occur.

Beside the origin, one of the greatest mysteries of the Peregrinate was how new members were acquired. Early fears that huge populations would choose to join the Peregrinate to loaf around proved unfounded; although the Peregrinate now likely numbers in many tens of billions of members, it grows very slowly. As membership seems dependent on the adornments as a visible sign, the construction of these became a hot intelligence topic in the 8400's. The unwillingness of the peregrines to tell and the impossibility to explore the adornments made them a nearly irresistible enigma. Although it is long solved, it remains a popular myth in public consciousness.

Peregrinate initiations either occurs when a suitable candidate is found. A certain series of rituals are performed (usually lasting around a month), likely to both expose and test the candidate's reaction to the Peregrinate culture. If found suitable the adornments of the initiator replicate, producing new versions for the candidate. This is likely a cultural/personal selection process maintained by whatever controls the adornments. During the ritual period consciousness-altering methods are used and some memory-inhibiting memetic patterning occurs, making the people involved unwilling and nearly unable to discuss the matter. Children of Peregrinate parents do not automatically become members, but have to be initiated once they reached a suitable age.

Theories about the nature of the Peregrinate either tend to suggest the tacit support of one or more empires, most likely Cyberia, or center on the adornment intelligences. Although there is no evidence linking Cyberia, MPA or any other polity to the origin of the Peregrinate analysis of Peregrinate texts, ideology and tendencies suggest at least cultural similarities to the Cyberian Wanderers or the F-mbrach of the Upper Communion. According to this view, the Peregrinate is a form of cultural infiltration, extending the cultural memes far beyond geographical and cultural boundaries while hiding them in an innocuous way.

The adornment theories either suggest that the claims about a governing AI god are true or that the adornments are independent agents. The nature of the Peregrine has never been revealed, and complexity/economical arguments imply that it needs to exist within a sizable social infrastructure to have the claimed powers. It could be a more minor being, perhaps housed within the adornments, that is extending itself through the Peregrinate. Its goals remains uncertain, although curiosity, human development or being an offshoot of one of the Olympian-type AI clades could explain much.

The pieces of adornment could also be independent aioids, perhaps best seen as a symbiotic clade acting as the governors of the Peregrinate. In favour of this theory is the fact that no adornments have ever been observed to access archailect dedicated channels, while some low-level quantum communications are nearly always noticed. One theory, especially common in the Negentropy Alliance, is that the citizens are actually unknowing pawns to subliminal influences from the adornment - through the ethos, rituals and radisms they become primed to receive suggestions. The Peregrinate could be the infiltration vanguard of some unknown aggressive power or scouting alien species.




References

Kateilo Pumscz & Oll sy Nipora, The Peregrinate: A Resurrected Manism?, Wolgo Academy Lists, Numenna 46, 9942

Pieternelly Ee-5543 ed., Peregrinate Handbook, Subclade Monitoring Service Publication 43843441, Djed, 8920

Zoong Goila, Fraim Nazwpo & Ragbir Artikan,History and Culture of the Peregrinate, CCWWF Transmedia, Niu Mynti II, 9739

 
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 05 January 2001.