The Emple-Dokcetic civilisation emerged from the Lirantiq nexus. During the 6500's the Lirantiq vec civilisation on Bambata began to expand outwards. The reason was beside the traditional needs of resources and trade that the Lirantiq also sought their origins - for some unknown reason their founder(s) had erased all history files and memories of the time before reaching Bambata. The most likely origin given the present information is either Atogier refugees after the polar anti-assassination 5867, or a lost or escaped fundamentalist science experiment. The Lirantiq made contact with a number of other cultures in the local volume, gaining valuable astrographical knowledge and trade ties that the Emple-Dokcetics would later exploit. In the period 6500-7100 Lirantiq set up a local wormhole network, far outside the core wormhole nexus. The nexus of linked worlds was mainly inhabited by vec and splice clades (many derived from Version War refugees or Com Emp emigrants), although the Gorca Pleroma was closely baseline human derived.
The cultural mix between the Lirantiq and the various other cultures and clades resulted in a number of subcultures, associations and creolizations that both undermined the stability of the nexus and produced a wide range of wildly experimental symbiotic societies. The Emple-Dokcetics emerged from the various attempts to combe Zarathustrism, splice animism and strains of Bot Marxism; while the process of synthesis took over a century, 7164 is usually denoted as the founding of Emple-Dokceticism. That year the artistic council of Myrna, a habitat in the belts of Arizt, announced the first modularization festival. The festival demonstrated the Emple-Dokcetic paradigm and spread the interest in the synthesis.
Over the next 200 years the Emple-Dokcetic culture emerged as the dominant culture in the Lirantiq nexus, assimilating the others within its loose network of trade, technology cooperation and body exchange. It slowly consolidated and reformed the involved societies. The emerging Emple-Dokcetic community sustained the Lirantiq exploration and trade, but initially at a very slow rate. Surrounding cultures were sceptical of the unusual vec-splice culture and its motives.
The Gehenna event, a detonation of 154 artificial supernovae in the M50 cluster in Monoceros, gave the Emple-Dokcetics an opportunity to demonstrate their ultratech shielding products; most systems in a 1kly wide sphere around the detonation either purchased Emple-Dokcetic shielding or attempted to copy or pirate the designs, with various degrees of success.
Since then the Emple-Dokcetics have expanded as fast as they can, bringing the message of the M50 disaster and the offer of selling shielding technology to all other inhabited systems. Most systems accept the offers (those that don't often change their minds when the first blasts approach or have to struggle with their own inferior solutions). The payment is usually re-invested in local business, and over time a profitable trade develops. Since the expansion ships often bring with them wormholes from the forges back in the Lirantiq nexus, it is common for systems to accept the chance to join it at the first opportunity, seeing the chance for further economic and cultural growth.
The core idea of Emple-Dokceticism is to resolve the tension between the Zarathustran supremacy of the self and one's expansive will to power, the ancient animist views of the Jsalka cluster and the views of Bot Marxism that sees each individual solely as a function in society through the concept of modular equality. All citizens have interchangeable parts, making it possible to not just link together individuals into temporary or permanent group organisms but also to reconstruct oneself within a wide range.
Joining together all individuals into a collective social mind has time and again proven to be a mistake, as demonstrated by the Gorca Pleroma around the time of the birth of Emple-Dokceticism. On the other hand unbridled individualism is not desirable for highly social beings. The modular equality solution to the dilemma is to make the individual and the self modular and interchangeable. This lowers or removes the barriers between individuals and enables enhanced altruism and understanding. When needed collective minds can be constructed, but they are viewed merely as temporary tools, and dismantle themselves after their purpose has been achieved. Pure individuality can also be reached, but is also regarded as merely a tool for the will to express itself. The typical state of an Emple-Dokcetic is being an assemblage of parts and subselves of different origins, a tool for the expression of the current transient (local) collective will. In the flow of Emple-Dokcetic society ideas, knowledge and goals flow fairly freely between the different temporary bodies and selves. Instead of having a self as an individual, Emple-Dokcetics view themselves as the current self, a transient tool that exists to fulfil its destiny.
The principles of Emple-Dokceticism do not exist in any clear-cut form, but rather as a large corpus of myths and small essays by various entities that developed during the formative years and have been refined by continual re-telling. The corpus is sometimes called the Dok. Together they delineate everything from the story of how the ideology developed, the practicalities of modular living, the philosophy to the ethics of modular equality. The Dok is a pervasive and subtle influence, seldom explicitly referred to but widely known and often implicitly used as a shared cultural context. As the Emple-Dokcetics come into contact with more and more non-Emple-Dokcetic societies, various compilations and collections of the Dok have been produced.
Emple-Dokcetic government is largely a consensus government. Many decisions are simply made by millions of citizen-complexes acting in similar ways due to prevalent views, with no need for any decision process. In issues where wills and views are divided larger minds are formed by interlinking, exploring and debating the pros and cons internally before dissolving into consensus. Instead of relying on central planning they employ free markets, but as the agents blur the line between seller, buyer and government the effect is partially also a planned allocation of resources.
Emple-Dokcetic bodies are composed of modules, mechanical and/or biological devices that can be linked together to build an infinite number of possible shapes. Individual modules have their own energy sources but easily link up to form networks or to the energy grid. They communicate through standard slots and wireless communication, forming ad hoc networks.
Mind modules contain high-level mental functions. Some are complete minds, but most are memory, cognition, perception, action, emotion or value modules that can be combined in many ways. The digital parts can of course exchange software across the net (uploading and downloading of useful skills or knowledge is very common), while experiences in the biological parts make them individually valuable. Auctioning off one's memories is not entirely uncommon.
There exist fixed special purpose bodies for certain duties or activities, but in general modular designs are preferred. Onto a suitable chassis manipulators, sensors and mental modules are combined. At the smallest level minimodules can build decimetre-sized flying, crawling or jumping gnomes. Standard-sized modules can create a wide range of humanoid and non-humanoid creatures, ranging from diplomatic units looking like fairly normal humanoid vecs to wild assemblages like cyborg centaurs, united crowds or living gazebos. At the largest some highly specialised modules are used to form much of starships, which are often more large individuals housing other individuals and some extra technology than mere devices.
Unused modules usually have rudimentary subminds (one result of Jsalka animism is a distaste for not making devices smart and hence ensouled), and communicate through various local low-power wireless networks. Usually they collect themselves into small random assemblages called Batuans that perform menial tasks, keep the modules clean, healthy and whole or otherwise act as the "mechanical subconscious" of Emple-Dokcetic civilisation.
Although their expansion has been studiously peaceful and non-threatening, many groups feel they are essentially forcing other societies into an Emple-Dokcetic hegemony. While the Emple-Dokcetics scrupulously keep their part of the deal, maintaining and understanding the shielding requires their expertise. Either experts have to maintain the shields for the locals, or locals have to upgrade so that they can absorb memory modules on shielding technology. The influence of being dependent on the Emple-Dokcetics and their technology makes the rest of society more amenable to absorb useful pieces of their technology, gradually ending up in the hegemony.
While there have been a few cases where they have been attacked, the Emple-Dokcetics have been extremely defensive. Instead they sneak away and circumvent the unfriendlies. If placed in a direct unavoidable confrontation they will likely not be a threat, but they have a tendency to predict and plan for potential problems long before they occur, defusing them in clever ways that seem totally unrelated to violence. When the transmilitants of Umstrip attempted to renege on a shielding deal and seize the advanced technology, they discovered that the Emple-Dokcetics had quietly bought controlling interests in the local amat manufacturing business and could easily deny them the necessary fuel. When the Eh-Quu-Tal attempted piracy against the Emple-Dokcetic system of Gabibakt they suddenly suffered a massive uprising back home.
The Emple-Dokcetic sphere is the fastest growing empire of the current era, a cultural juggernaut that has been compared to the Arabic expansion of the 1400-1300's b.a.t. - but totally peaceful. Although little is known about it in the Wormhole Nexus, rumours of the expansion of a new power and the destruction of an entire star cluster in the far Monoceros volumes are spreading.
Emple-Dokcetic technology mainly excels in two fields: module sociotech and designer matter technology.
Module sociotech is the arcane field somewhere between bionics, economics, applied sociology and philosophy that deals with the design of organ modules with desirable socioeconomic/psychophilosophical properties. Emple-dokcetics have mastered not just the design of devices that can smoothly interface with both biology and technology, but also fit integrally into their culture. This design science is quite unique; the only similar ones are possibly Keterist transcendence economics and the now lost arts of the Rajasekar civilisation.
The other field is designer matter technology. The Emple-Dokcetics learned much from their contact with the late era Gorca Pleroma before it entirely became a collective mind society (this event is also believed to be the root of the deliberate safeguards against large-scale collectivisation in most module designs). They developed methods of stabilising hydrogen and helium into stable macroscale structures using chromodynamic manipulations, as well as the construction and use of "designer matter", programmable surfaces able to mimic real or imaginary materials to a large extent.
The Emple-Dokcetic radiation shields are generally regarded as their masterpieces, enormous sails of nuclearly stabilised metallic hydrogen extracted from gas giants in-system, held onto frames consisting of particle beams. The shields are fuelled by solar radiation or matter conversion: if the energy supply fails the shield immediately dissolves into an ion cloud. As long as they function, they are very efficient reflectors of electromagnetic radiation and incidentally useful for a large number of other engineering applications such as solar sails, energy collection, ship shielding and megastructure cladding.
Functional Soup - Text by Alexander Chislenko, in Anders Sandberg's Transhumanist Terminology Posthuman state where knowledge, mental modules and access to physical bodies are shared between distributed infomorphs largely independent of the physical substrate of their world. Terms such as individuality become diffuse, and are replaced with teleological threads.