Negentropy Alliance patrol ship

Image from Steve Bowers
Lawkeeper Eshnunna in extended mode

Category of Godtech Warrior-Priest Ship used by the Negentropy Alliance, each uniquely and personally appointed by the Judge, to protect citizens and other complex (far from thermodynamic equilibrium) structures within Alliance space, and even beyond, if the threat (Perversions, Blights, autowar aggression, etc.) is deemed to warrant it. Negentropist ideology will not allow them to stand by while a star system, home to a diverse and complex culture, is reduced to a cruder and more entropic state; even if it lies outside of sephirotic space.

A Lawkeeper is essentially a high transapient (SI:2 with SI:3 transavant spikes and SI:1 subsystems) mobile ISO, equipped with advanced reactionless drives, shielding, and weaponry. As needed, it can alter its shape or break up into a fleet of smaller vessels (such as when passing through smaller gauge wormholes) to optimize itself for specific operations. A typical Lawkeeper may be around a kilometer in diameter when in spherical mode, extending to a length of eight kilometers when configured for rapid acceleration.

Lawkeepers use Displacement Drives, employ multiple distributed Conversion Reactors to generate power, and can synthesize anything from construction swarms to amat when needed. They are equipped with a range of transapientech systems, as well as several offensive-defensive godtech devices provided to each in a sacred initiation ceremony and as a Sign of Office by the Judge Emself on Negentropy Prime.

A Lawkeeper is not a seraiph; the controlling AI mind is still an independent sophont being rather than a direct extension of the will of the Judge. But it is a sophont that is so dedicated to the Principles of Negentropy, and the will of the Judge as the ultimate arbiter of those Principles, that the difference is often considered to be little more than semantic rather than significant.

Most Lawkeepers carry lower toposophic (sapient and low transapient) "crew". These are more correctly diplomats and liaison officers who are there to interface with clades, polities, or civilizations that might be intimidated at the thought of having to deal with a high transapient ISO directly. These crew are intended to represent the very best of their clade, and many are specifically gengineered (if bionts) or constructed and programmed (if vecs) for that task. However, a significant percentage of a Lawkeeper's crew are volunteers, and to be accepted for a Tour of Duty on a Lawkeeper is one of the highest honours an Alliance sapient can achieve. Even greater is the honour gained from fulfilling eir office in a creative and efficient way that helps maintain and encourage the increase of Negentropy, or which furthers the role of the Alliance in the Civilized Galaxy. Many are the tales and virch-interactives of Culture Heroes, actual historical figures, who were volunteers that served with distinction.

Despite the formidable weaponry at eir disposal, Lawkeepers and eir crew are always polite and diplomatic when encountering new clades or civilizations, even low tech ones. Politeness and elaborate etiquette are often a very important part of successful meetings and relationships between interstellar and inter-toposophic civilizations where each party has little or no idea what the other party's motives are.

Lawkeepers visit polities not only within Alliance space, but also (if invited) embark on good will tours to other sephirotics, and to polities and regions beyond Sephirotic civilization. Sometimes a neutral polity or civilization in the Hinteregions or Outer Volumes will face a threat from a superior aggressor and call upon a Lawkeeper for aid or mediation. The Lawkeeper and eir sophonts will always try to resolve the situation in a peaceful manner, but if this fails, e will not hesitate to deploy force. Lawkeepers generally have little to do with Hiders, Cloudharvesters, and other secretive clades that keep to themselves and don't interact with the rest of the galaxy.

Curiously, Lawkeepers played little role in the Version War, except when defending important centers of Alliance civilization, or at the end, working with Communion Empaths to help in the peace process. This has caused some to think that the Version War really had nothing to do with the higher order toposophics, or worse, was deliberately engineered by them as a way of "rearranging the furniture" of the lower toposophic civilization. Even today, archailectologians and Negentropist-watchers argue about the more subtle role and memetic purpose of the Lawkeepers.

Some examples of Orion's Arm spaceships
Size comparison chart of spaceships used at various times in the Terragen Sphere (including a typical Lawkeeper class vessel)
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Todd Drashner, Stephen Inniss
Initially published on 05 December 2003.

Updated 9 Sept 2014