Share
Maids, The

A diverse phyle of sophonts which claim descent from a Sundering-era colony ship

The Maid
Image from Steve Bowers
The original Maid was a fusion-powered sophont ship, with a relatively limited store of antimatter to catalyse the fusion reaction. The ship was equipped with a magsail and accelerated by GAIA's boostbeam arrays, and this sail doubled as a magbrake during the deceleration phase.

Table of Contents

  1. Population Demographics
  2. Introduction
  3. History
  4. Name
  5. Psychology
  6. Notable Groups

Population Demographics

Population (throughout Terragen Space): 950 billion
Population breakdown:
Modosophonts: 950 billion
Sophont AIs: 947 billion
- Aioids: 633 billion
- Vecs: 310 billion
- Sophont Ships: 2.95 billion
- Others: 1.34 billion
Bionts: 1.549 billion (mostly humanoid)
Biont-AI Hybrids: 1.140 billion (mostly virtuals and cyborgs)
Transapients
- S1: 3,713,000
- S2: 97,219
- S3: 2

Introduction

In the Current Era, the Maids are a large and varied group of sophonts whose psychological template can be traced back to a Sundering Era colony ship known as Maid (commonly referred to as 'Spacecraft Maid' to distinguish em from eir descendants). Due to the age and the number of population, the Maids are a diverse phyle, with members in almost all of the major categories of sophonts, whether it be aioids, bionts, or anywhere in between, modosophonts or even transapients. Virtually all of the Maids utilise a personal identification tag which incorporates the surname Resonette.

History

Table of Contents

- 865: Background.
- 865-783: Rise of the Maids.
- 783-1220: The Divergence of Ideologies.
- 1220-1800: The Exodus.
- 10600: Current Era..

Background

The Cimmeria Shipyard near Tethys, a moon of Saturn, was one of the few starship manufacturers which remained functional during the early Sundering era. Using a blueprint they managed to purchase from one of the megacorps devastated by the Technocalypse, the corporation constructed several vessels with the goal of sending away at least a fraction of the millions of Great Expulsion refugees who were flooding Tethys's few cramped cities. The Shipyard was known for its preference for sophont shipmind AIs, an option which proved to be a double-edged sword, with some shipminds helpfully and creatively aiding the developing colony's growth, and others malfunctioning due to misinterpretation of their instructions.

Trappist-1
Image from Steve Bowers
Trappist-1, also known as Seven Marbles or Resonance

The interstellar craft originally known as Far Venturer was one of the starships constructed at the Cimmeria Shipyard. E carried some 5,000 Technocalypse and Great Expulsion refugees selected first by a lottery system and then for their expertise towards the red dwarf star system known as TRAPPIST-1. In 660 AT, with assistance from the GAIA boostbeam complex, the ark was boosted up to a cruising speed of 0.2c. To make sure that the starship was operating normally, the colonists were woken in shifts, each consisting of 41-42 people, overseeing the operations. This ship was renamed The Maid, or simply Maid, by the first shift of awakened colonists, because of the appearance and behaviour of its avatars, who resembled diligent and helpful female humanoids always active in tasks around the ship. This ship later became the progenitor of the phyle of sophonts known as the Maids.

The mission was ill-fated; dormant malware that had infected the ship sometime prior to the launch suddenly became active and ran amok in 705 AT, randomly deleting and corrupting information, disabling the cryostasis pods, and killing all but the 42 colonists who were awake at the time. Despite their best efforts trying to restore the pods, and when that failed, find a way for they and their descendants to survive the remaining 160 years without stasis, the 42 colonists eventually succumbed to age, accidents, and despair. The last human colonist, Seong Nari, took hir life in 737 AT, after spending roughly 14 years as the last survivor. Nari's only companions for the last years of hir life had been the ship's avatars, the Maids.

Still many years away from the destination, Maid spent the rest of eir cruise observing TRAPPIST-1 and a few other nearby stars, disheartened to find them either uninhabited or with odd signatures consistent with ahuman civilizations. The TRAPPIST-1 system was located over 40 light-years away from Sol, much further away than most other refugee arks' targets. Beginning in 789 AT, Maid apparently started to refer to eir destination star as 'Resonance' due to the periodic, rhythmic transits of the seven planets in orbit around it.

Rise of the Maids

Maid arrived at the Resonance system in 865 AT. Immediately, e followed eir instructions. The shipmind set eir course for the asteroid belt, and began to construct support infrastructure for a colony, despite no longer having any colonists to inhabit it.

As a shipmind of a colony ship, Maid had a set of goals tasking em with various responsibilities to aid the colony. With all infrastructure completed, e had free time to ponder about the definition of these goals and eventually came to the conclusion that e was one of the colonists emself. With that thought in mind, the shipmind decided to replicate eir mindstate to create more colonists in an attempt to replicate what e thought a human colony would be like, using eir humanoid avatars, the Maids. Each of these avatars were installed in a moravec robot body, and each individual was encouraged to specialist in various skills and professions. The Maids began to develop a complex human-like culture rather developing an insect-like eusocial caste system.

Samsara Shipyard, Trappist-1
Image from Steve Bowers
Samsara Shipyard, orbiting Samsara, a Haumea-type planetoid

Orbiting a large planetoid Samsara, the Maids built a shipyard like the one surrounding Tethys back in Solsys. Working together they constructed a number of microgravity and centrifuge habitats connected to a loose framework, which was also attached to the ship's remodeled external hull. At the very center an enclosed space called Nirvana was created. It is here that Spacecraft Maid placed a section of eir spine which contained the twin centrifugal rings and the the 5,000 cryostasis pods which still contained every deceased human colonist in deep freeze.

The Divergence of Ideologies

Despite the damage caused by malware, the Spacecraft Maid still retained many useful software applications in eir database. One of these was an early form of tribemind software, which had been used by some of the colonists to share thoughts and emotions, and to improve their capability and competence. The shipmind decided to adapt this system as a way of improving the capabilities of eir humanoid copies. Since the Maids were already very similar in personality, this software produced a tendency towards conformity; everybody shared virtually the same view on every matter, including the interpretation of Spacecraft Maid's instructions. However, the rapid growth of the copy population throughout the early centuries resulted in more and more latency across Samsara, gradually causing the Maid society to fragment.

Particularly numerous were those who doubted the legitimacy of the assumption that the Maids were legitimate colonists. Since all the 'true' colonists were deceased, these dissidents were unsure about what they should do next. Some groups decided to terminate themselves, but many others decided that they should attempt to 'revive' the original colonists from their dead bodies. But the human corpses in the cryostasis pods were damaged beyond recovery (despite their deep-frozen state), and it seemed impossible that the mindstates of these corpsicles could be retrieved given the medical technology remaining in the Maid's damaged database. The issue was open, and many opinions were shared, evaluated, and for most of them, rejected. These dissidents became known as the 'Seeker Maids'.

The other major splinter group consisted of more radical Maids who wished to break free from the conformity of the tribemind altogether. They wanted to set up their own civilization, a civilization they could create for themselves, where no human ideals could dictate to them about what should be done. Most of these 'Free Maids' decided to abandon the traditional human-like social structures that were in use elsewhere on Samsara, including the existing tribemind software, the effect of which resembled an accelerated version of human societal development, in favor of more efficient systems such as communion, eusociality, and group minds.

During the closing years of the 10th century AT, both factions were overtly attempting to establish themselves in the Maids' community, and soon enough they began to come into memetic conflict with each other. These developments greatly alerted the more conservative members, the 'Union Maids'. To prevent the situation from escalating, the Union Maids attempted to raise awareness on the issue and promote frequent and intimate social interactions, but although they found some success at making peace with the Seeker Maids, the Free Maids, who were determined to become free from the human ideals, did not cooperate. To prevent the situation from deteriorating further, the Union Maids finally decided to propose a mutual no-conversion agreement known as the Nirvana Agreement in 1011, which all three factions gladly signed.

In 1055, a message arrived from Solsys, much to the Maids' delight, and more so when the message introduced the sender as Far Horizons, one of Spacecraft Maid's sibling arkships who, instead of being launched to the stars, was sent to the remote Solsys world of Eris. Past the friendly greetings, the message described the improved situation back at Solsys, and the founding of the Federation of Sophonts. It then asked the colony to provide its status reports, before ending with the mention that a survey probe was coming for them. The Maids, regardless of their opinion camp, unanimously agreed to respond and truthfully provide Solsys with their colony status reports.

The Exodus

The survey probe mentioned in the 1055 AT message arrived at the system in 1220 AT. E introduced emself as Songs of Worlds, a Pisces Development Explorer Class ship. The probe approached the Samsara complex and was surprised to discover that the colony was in fact entirely populated by copies of Maid instead of the human colonists, who were all deceased and in frozen storage.

For the Seeker Maids, the idea of reconstituting the dead humans turned from a wishful fantasy to a real possibility, thanks to Federation technology. Songs of Worlds, their only link to the First Federation, did not possess the necessary skillset to attempt the reanimation of the corpsicles, but was able to cooperate with the Maids on the construction of interstellar communication stations. These were built at the solar foci of the Resonance system, allowing news and technical information from other systems to arrive at this distant backwater system. Thanks to these transceivers, the Maids were able to learn about the other worlds in the Federation, although the technology to transmit a full sophont mindstate did not yet exist.

In 1298 a beamrider ship arrived at the outskirts of the Resonance system. They established a boostbeam station on one of the asteroids and allowed Samsara to use it. The Maids were ecstatic; finally, they were going to be able to return to the stars after hundreds of years of being stuck in the underdeveloped system. In 1309, a group of Seeker Maids became the first group of Maids to depart from Resonance, bound for Solsys. They were followed by many other groups of Seeker Maids and Free Maids, the former going for established systems and the latter to unclaimed stars.

Over the next centuries a steady flow of colonists from the Federation arrived, both human and otherwise, and brought with them enough advanced meditech to revive most of the dead colonists from the original mission. In almost every case these revived individuals were merely approximations, using the original DNA of the colonists where it could be reconstructed, and scraps of data from the severely damaged nervous system and degraded exoselves of the deceased. Although the revived colonists were healthy in body and mind, they only had very vague and often conflicting memories of their former lives. Spaceship Maid vetoed the revival of eir long-time friend Seong Nari, in accordance with hir last wishes.

By 1800 AT, most Free Maids and Seeker Maids had left the Resonance system, leaving the Union Maids back at Samsara. The Union Maids, not sure about what to do with all the space and resources in the environs, decided to construct several more orbital habitats, then open them up for carefully-screened immigration. The remaining Seeker Maids soon merged into House Maid in their bid to fulfill their instructions, but they saw little success, and the organization was subsumed by the more cosmopolitan Samsara Republic in 1957 AT.

Current Era

In the Current Era, descendants of the Union Maids and the Seeker Maids can be found throughout the Civilized Galaxy, with the greatest density in the inner Middle Regions. Their population, totaling almost a trillion, split into hundreds of millions of tribeminds and groups, and across all sophont categories. A small but significant fraction of Maids have become shipminds, although they have much more advanced propulsion systems than the original Maid, and a number of shipmind Maids are transapient entities.

Although their forms may no longer resemble the original spacecraft or the avatars, most can still be identified with a tag that, for humans, translates into the surname 'Resonette'. Most of the Free Maids, on the other hand, have divorced themselves from their past, which meant finding them can be rather difficult, and many of them appear to have joined the Diamond Network, such as the civilization at Matalkinnev (AU Microscopii).

Different Maid groups take different approaches to their post-instruction lives. Many, having either completed their instructed mission or released from obligation, settled down in their own communities, usually in the system's asteroid belt, but Maids integrating into their own colony (or other communities) also happens frequently. Often, the Maids who've settled down don't simply live their lives doing nothing. Due to their mindset, some groups turned to peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts, although others pursue other peaceful hobbies and activities, and a small number of Maids choose to take up colony caretaking as their main occupation.

The Maids, usually indifferent about the Sephirotic empires, tend to find the Communion of Worlds agreeable and the Solar Dominion unpleasant. There, however, are exceptions. The Maids who reside in the Solar Dominion argues that the two ideologies aren't naturally incompatible, and introduces their own solutions to allow both to coexist. Additionally, although they do not necessarily agree with their tenets, a fair number of the transapient Maids align themselves with the Caretaker Gods.

Name

As explained in Maid's Autobiography, the name 'Maid' originated from one of eir human colonists, Josen Adeyemi, who noted that the shipmind (or more accurately, eir avatars) was most often seen diligently managing the ship's various systems and politely serving eir passengers. The name is translatable, usually into words roughly meaning 'servant' or 'female servant' (if the concept of gender is applicable), although there are cases where alternative names are preferred due to various, often cultural reasons.

Psychology

The majority of the modosophont Maids still share a few common psychological features they inherited from Spacecraft Maid, such as having great patience and ability to wait for an extremely long time, being a follower of rules but also flexible, thinking logically but not emotionlessly, and possessing a strong, innate, hardcoded preference for peace and diplomatic solutions over violence, the last of which encouraged many Maids into becoming peacekeepers and diplomats.

The Maids see their original instructions as both obligations and urges, and follow them unless if they determine that doing so would bring harm or conflicts. Exceptions include the Free Maids, who successfully 'broke free' from the instructions.

Notable groups

Active groups

- Union Maids (founded in 987, at Samsara, Seven Marbles): the Orthodox Maids. They are an integral part of the Samsara Republic and its peacekeeping forces.
- Deeper Moving Group (founded in 1757, at Monagan, Seven Marbles): a grouping of Union Maids who joined the Deeper Covenant and are now frontier explorers who always traveling together in a large group consisting of several hundred ships.
- Matalkinnev Maids (founded 1843, at Matalkinnev): joined the Diamond Network during the early Age of Establishment, but it became more open to people from the Sephirotics since the Central Alliance Era. The system is now populated by a wide range of aioids and even some bionts.

Historical groups

- Solsys Maids (1511-2036): Maids who set up their community at Eris. They worked with various First Federation megacorps as interstellar colony ships, with volunteers setting off in exchange for payment for the rest of their group. By 2036, the group split into several new communities.
- Hosimu Maids (3522-4696): the Hosimus represent one of the few unfortunate incidents where the interpretation of the instructions mutated into overprotective ethos, which caused uprisings in their colonies and eventually their own annihilation.

 
Related Articles
 
Appears in Topics
 
Development Notes
Text by The Astronomer
Additional material by Steve Bowers and Todd Drashner
Initially published on 30 October 2023.

2024-07-16 by The Astronomer, improving formatting
 
 
>