Enif Prefecture

Isolated Solar Dominion department, mostly lost in the Version War

Enif Prefecture
Image from Steve Bowers

Life and Death in the Enif Prefecture

Enif PrefectureA department of the Solar Dominion in Pegasus, 700 light years from Sol. The Bellerophon Archipelago extended from this location along a series of wormholes, which were destroyed in the Version War.

An isolated prefecture

The Enif Prefecture was formerly a volume of thirty or more worlds and thousands of habitats colonised by the Solar Dominion, in a part of space several hundred light years distant from the rest of Dominion territory. It was connected to the Solar Dominion by a single long distance wormhole, and was isolated and vulnerable.

The Prefecture was based around the stable yellow supergiant star Enif, a sister star to both Sadelmelik in the Mutual Progress Association, and Sadalsuud in Keter. The Enif Prefecture was mostly lost in the Version War to Metasoft, and the distant Bellerophon Archipelago was cut off and abandoned for thousands of years (see the Walloo disaster)

The Shabti servantbots

Before the Version War, some prefectures of the Dominion of the Divine Sun, particularly the Enif Prefecture used subsophont aioid workers, often known as robots in other volumes, but known in these prefectures as "Shabtis" in reference to Old Earth prototypes.

Originally, in Ancient Egypt, on old Earth (Sol System), in certain high ranking Old Kingdom burials servants were found buried with their masters. It is not known if these were sacrifices, or more likely included when the servants died naturally, perhaps of age or disease, during the tomb construction.

This practice died out in later periods and a "magical" substitute for the servants were included. These small model servants were known as "Shabtis" and expected to do all the work in the afterlife. Some burials contained several hundred figures, often equipped with tools for working the fields. Typically 'Overseer' shabtis were also included to keep the magical workforce in check.

Much later, Solar Dominion Shabtis were created during an historical obsession with Ancient Egyptian matters, especially on Karnakk orbital in the Enif system and the surrounding volume.These semisophont slave devices were often smaller than human size, although some "overseers" were larger, and typically green or bronze in colour.

More than twenty worlds in the Enif prefecture suffered memetic subversion of their robot workers by Metasoft in the period prior to, and during the Version War, when the peculiar cult of "death" in the Enif prefecture allowed a unique form of invasion.

Death and Judgement

Death was generally voluntary, and became a form of fashion statement in the Enif prefecture.

It is important to remember all sophonts and singularity transingularity entities in the Civilised Galaxy are potentially immortal. Everyone would have at least one back-up in storage (copy/upload, and geneprint if a biont) so if anything happens to them they can be resurrected in a nanocloned body (like medical insurance). Of course this only applies to pets, some societums (collections), and those who are "wild" but with access to tech.

But since we are talking about citizens of the Dominion (which implies a new category, the "zar" - the freebeing or sir/madam or master/lady, the citizen of a sephirotic empire) everyone has most assuredly full access to complete high quality backups.

However the process of life retrieval/backup varies greatly from polity to polity. When an individual in a sephirotic empire choses to die and is uploaded in any way into the databanks e might be:

  • stored inactive for a time, choosing to come back at a particular time, or at the whim of the local Power
  • run as an active copy in the cybercosm - this allows for rapid change in the individual, or even multicopying into a dividual (as they are known)and in a relatively short time, possibly ascension of toposophic levels)-this is an analogy to the Book of the Dead in Egyptian lore, in some ways, but in most ways is very different.
  • subject to storage or reconstitution by the local AI in some more abstract form, as part of a group mind, deconstructed into character traits as per Derrida modelling, partial emulation, etc
  • given reincarnation in a different body at some point, perhaps with part of the memory removed or disabled
  • judged and possibly found wanting and "punished", or treated less favourably in the 'afterlife'. This form of judgement was generally the practice in the Enif Prefecture.
On choosing to die, the latest upload of the Citizen of the Prefecture in question was examined by the Balance. If the Balance determined that the upload in question was sufficiently 'light', it was allowed to reincarnate. If not, it was deconstructed into elements in the Derrida data banks (see appendix B), for a more integrated form of afterlife.

If there were multiple backups available, several of the most recent were 'judged' to determine the karmic path of the upload - has it been improving its balance? Or sliding down into the dark? - and this information was also utilized in determining whether it should be reborn or not...

The status gained by a sojourn in the Databanks, whether followed by reincarnation or not meant it was a popular choice at the end of a full lifetime, and was combined with a show of disposable income.

Wealthy Solarists could be buried with their Shabti when they chose to "die" - the robots were mostly about 10 cm tall, and it was seemly to have 401 of them, (ref New Kingdom Egyptian ushebti, with 365 workers and 36 overseers) though some people could only afford one, or none.

Revolt of the Shabtis

In 4543, all the deactivated votive robot Shabtis in the underground burial chambers were unexpectedly reactivated by airborne Metasoft viral subverters and came digging their way out of the ground - an event dramatised in the popular DocuHorror virch "They Came From The Tomb. The local human population fought back, but the memetic effect of this deliberately terrifying attack was too powerful, and the Enif prefecture fell.

The Bellerophon Archipelago was lost when the wormholes connecting it to Enif were destroyed, and such worlds as Jabez, Idina and Walloo were disconnected from the Nexus for hundreds of years. Two thirds of the rest of the prefecture became Metasoft territory, including Enif. This remained the situation after the Version War ended.

However in 6909 Enif unexpectedly flared dramatically, overcoming the Metasoft control measures in place around the star. Two-thirds of the local vecs and many of the remaining human-derived citizens were killed, some permanently.

The Solar Dominion sent what assistance it could and the reconstruction of the system helped cement the peace between the Dommies and the Droids. Enif is now a frontier system between aioid and bioid, but the old prefecture is still a politically sensitive and volatile area.

Free Shabtis can still be found on some of the liberated worlds that Metasoft kept after the war (as part of the general astropolitical redrawing of borders). The Version Tree used these subverted bots (which had been carefully cleaned of any Dominion sympathies) for memetic purposes, illustrating the difference between the Dominion exploiters and their own enlightened Version Tree where even subsophont rights are recognised.

[note - on the level of the first toposophic this "battle for hearts and minds", which continued well into the middle ComEmp period, was played out as an amusing and challenging game of memetic strategy. But for ordinary sapients this was all real. Minds of second toposophic and above did not seem interested, apart from a couple of observers and sociologists from FAS and one or two other sephirotic empires, who felt an obligation to record it all for posterity]

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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers and John B.

Initially published on 04 September 2002.