Docii, The
Image from Steve Bowers
Three Docii drift in the atmosphere of the gas giant Bambalen
Aerostatic vec clade originating from the Diamond Network, known for their peculiar mindtype that predisposes them towards extreme patience and docility.


Whilst there are several major variants of the Docii clade all retain the same radially symmetrical body plan. Docii morphology is divided into three main sections: a small central body, typically half a litre in volume that contains the brain surrounded by smart matter for digestion and repair (capillaries thread through the body allowing clear repair gel to gain access to any point). Descending from the body are eight thin, translucent tendrils finishing in beads of material that can flare out to form a variety of digits. Tendril length varies from 2-8 metres in size with opposing pairs always being of the same length. Body and tendrils weigh 5kg on average (though there are far larger and smaller Docii in existence). On top of the body sits the transparent balloon; capable of expanding out to several meters in diameter and compressing to a dense spike the balloon allows members of the clade to be selectively buoyant. The balloon skin also doubles as the primary energy harvesting mechanism; capable of shifting to darker shades and acting as a solar array. For rapid charging induction loops can be found in the tendril tips and at a pinch the smart matter of the body core can break down organic material. A small toroidal superconductor battery around the brain can store up to two days of power. Senses are distributed all over the body as tiny, multisensory specks. Communication for Docii is almost entirely by radio however some variants can project images onto their surface and even manipulate their balloon size quickly to emit sound.

Docii possess no in-built means of reproduction and no physical sexual characteristics, though both gender and sexual activity can exist in Docii groups (the latter often via exoself linking). Whilst there have been many cases of new clade members being manufactured the vast majority of Docii are sophonts that have adopted the clade template.


The psychology of Docii is close to that of many human-derived clades (especially those with heightened empathy), a fact that precipitated their migration from the Diamond Network to the sephirotics (along with their desire to be embodied). However there is one significant difference that is a relatively rare trait in the terragen sphere. Docii are not capable of experiencing boredom, anxiety or restlessness (as asomniacs they also lack any need for sleep or comparable periods of unconsciousness). Instead when they lack interesting or intrusive stimulus they grow increasingly lethargic and enter a mental state colloquially known as "Zen". This feeling cannot be fully understood by sophonts who have not been augmented to experience it (or at least had knowledge grafts to pseudo-remember it), however it is broadly described as being a combination of contentment, timelessness and patience. The longer a Docii lacks experience that interests or alarms them the more "zenned out" they will become.

As a consequence the clade is known for being very passive with behaviour that is reactive rather than proactive. More often than not a Docii will not seek out new activities or experiences directly, preferring to sink into the zen state until something occurs in their vicinity that rouses them. Much of a Docii's life is spent in some level of zen. It is not unheard of for individuals and groups alike to spend years in this state; one unverified report suggests that an entire pod spent eight centuries in extreme zen whilst floating in a gas giant atmosphere, only rousing when a bubblehab passed into view. When asked Docii often describe the experience in contradictory ways, for example: being a state of intense focus as well as total derealisation, or of being both an instant and an eternity of time.

Docii - scale
Image from Avengium
A diagrammatic comparison of scale between a human and two Docii variants


Being social creatures Docii are rarely found alone, preferring to travel in groups known as "pods". The population number of these groups can be of any size, even up to several million, however larger groups are more likely to split up. Being aerostatic the clade spends much of its time floating at high altitude. Consequently Docii prefer living in environments with plenty of open air such as freespheres, terraformed/worldhoused bodies and large habs. Barring a few variants most members of the clade possess little ability to actively manoeuvre themselves in the air. Instead they float where the air currents take them. During flight Docii will dip in and out of zen (when not talking amongst themselves or browsing the net) surveying their environment as they go. If the pod spots something interesting they can descend to the ground, lowering their buoyancy until their tendrils can grip the floor allowing them to pull themselves where they like.

Despite their appearances and mindtype Docii can be both fast and highly energetic, even manic. Many records exist of a sedate pod drifting down to a settlement only to explode into activity. Being strongly empathic, Docii are rarely aggressive (though some cultures find them rude) but when not "zenning out" they commonly try to fill their time with as many novel experiences as they can see around them. In the skies of the gas giant Bambalen many bubblehab nations have developed festive rituals around meeting a pod. Environmental optimisation protocols are set towards leisure and entertainment and regular activities are suspended whilst the pod visits. Despite the size of the world at 140,000km in diameter it is host to the largest known Docii population; some 90 billion spread between tens of thousands of pods. Consequently even with ample skyspace, bubblehabs run into pods on a yearly basis.


The first Docii originated in the Diamond Network. Little is known of their time there as the memories of these progenitors were heavily edited upon emigrating (whether by choice or forced upon them is unknown). What is known is that the thousand members of the pod were of a toposophy more suited to life in the diverse and harmonious sephirotics. They were sent in an inflatable capsule 80m in diameter with a weak power source, poor communications antenna and less than 100km/s of delta V. The capsule was detected approaching a relay system governed by an Archai from the Communion of Worlds in 7,199at. The craft was travelling at just 0.08c from the direction of a Diamond Network cluster 66ly distant. A shepherd was dispatched to retrieve the capsule, carrying with it a CoW ambassador avatar. Memories released by the ambassador revealed a cramped interior stuffed with zenned out Docii. Within short order they roused and greeted the CoW representative, apparently entirely content with their centuries of isolation during transit.

After being welcomed (and subtly screened by the ambassador's immune system) the Docii were transported to the nearby system of Lavee. There they became minor celebrities as they spent all their time travelling from hab to hab in small groups engaging in every activity they came across. As time went on periods of zenness in the population became more common, prompting the local population to strive to come up with new and exciting experiences for the new comers. During the 73rd century it became a common cultural practice to attempt to entice zenned out Docii when one came across one. Gradually the pods grew in number, largely through converts attracted to the lifestyle of intense activity followed by long absence. To this day in Lavee Docii are known as "Desert Blossoms" for their uncommon but beautiful bursts of life.

Despite integrating into Sephirotic life with relative ease there are some that are wary, even hostile towards the Docii clade. Within the first century of their arrival in the Communion of Worlds conspiracy theories arose on the Net accusing the Docii of being a memetic attack by the Diamond Networks. These theories pointed to the overly pliant nature of the new clade along with their alarming (in the group's view) success in converting others to their lifestyle. Whilst no records of violence against Docii for this reason exist several angelnets have reported taking measures to prevent harassment against the clade. The Docii themselves have no firm consensus on the accusations with responses ranging from outright denial to amused indifference. In one particular case a Docii convert enthusiastically endorsed the conspiracy saying it was the reason they chose to adopt the phenotype in the first place (whether this statement was genuine or mischievous is unknown).

In the current era there are an estimated 270 billion Docii throughout the terragen sphere. The lion's share still live within the Communion of Worlds but pods have migrated to all the sephirotics and beyond. Their nomadic lifestyle means when they are encountered it is not uncommon for them to be in the process of migrating to a new system, a new polity. Over the last two centuries a homegrown population has formed in the Kiyoshi system, the clade's traits being particularly suited to the Way. Eighteen billion of the vecs spend most of their time drifting through the skies of the megastructures, content to zen out until the next experience.
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Development Notes
Text by Ryan B
Initially published on 12 July 2017.