Only Muties and Starships
Unity (Project Concordance)
Project concordance is an artificial human navigator code-named Unity produced through collaboration under the mutually beneficial Navis-TechnoMagus Unity Concordat programme.
- Communicae From Magos Xelta-Prime to Heir Apparent Tyriel (request to find a contract placement for subject Unity)
- Navis Nobilitae: House Minos
- Techpriest Faction: The Disciples of the Protein Matrix
‘Birth’ (age 0)
She was created on the ship Paragon in the flesh-vats located in the heart of the vessel. She was ‘born’ as a fully formed child with the appearance of a 6 year old Terran. The vat-chamber she was created in held nine other subjects which were extracted at the same time as her. Her memories of that moment are fractured; she remembers the harsh light and the cold talons of the techpriests as they implanted an identifying chip in the back of her neck and applied a temporary seal to the pineal eye, she remembers the whimpers of her nine vat-kin as they had the same thing done to them. She also remembers her sorrow as she looked back at her vat while being carried away, wishing for the warmth of the nutri-gel, and the comfort of the doctrine-reels which had taught her language, faith and so much more.
Omicron-02 (age 0 – 3)
For the next three years Unity was raised in the Omicron-02 wing with her vat-kin and knew nothing outside of it. The researchers referred to them by their identifying chip codes (Unity’s was ‘031017’) while the vat-born in the wing just used the last number to refer to each other (as all the digits until the last one were the same for each of them); hence Unity at this time considered her name to be ‘Seven’.
A Typical Day in Omicron-02
A typical day during this time would involve waking in her locked cell to a buzzing noise and the light-panel on the wall simulating sunlight. She would get up, her bed folding into the wall, and relieve herself in the facilities (the samples packaged and transported away). She would then place her left hand into a recess in the wall where it would be sterilised and sampled (some blood and a skin scraping taken automatically, packaged and transported away). The chemical wash would then activate in the room, cleaning her thoroughly, before her clothing would be provided in the recess. Once dressed her breakfast would also be provided through the wall recess. Once she had returned the meal receptacle to the recess then the cell door would open, and lock behind her. At first she had needed to be directed in this routine by a disembodied voice, but eventually it had turned into a habit. She spent a brief period in fruitless rebellion, but a freezing cold unescapable chemical shower can eventually tame even the most stubborn intentions.
Once turned out the children would generally meet up for the first time in the day and go to the recreation area to do their first hour of exercise – this tended to be energetic and competitive. Then a game of teasing Cleany the servitor would ensue; usually one of the children would collect water from the foutain and drop it on the floor (or, on a lazy day, just urinate on the floor) to watch Cleany frantically scamper out and vacuum up the liquid and sterilise the floor. Then there would be three or so hours in the teaching room for indoctrination (learning loyalty to the techpriests and house Minos, being programmed to respond in specific ways to code words, and learning the basics of being a noble navigator). Back to the cells to deposit more samples, receive another chemical sterilisation, and more food. Then out again to be locked in the recreation room for an hour of exercise, and then the laboratory shifts – taking turns in number order to go through to the dreaded medical room. This part of the day was always more sombre in anticipation of the pain and humiliation of their time in the lab. Unity was never sure whether One or Ten had the worst of it; sometimes One just couldn’t keep his lunch down from dread. Once the children had been to the lab they would usually be deposited back in their cell to read sanctioned materials, before receiving their final chemical sterilisation and meal, and sleeping.
Lessons (age 3 – 4)
Once the children were three terran years old and had gone through puberty their pineal eye seals were removed and they started being brought out of Omicron-02 to be trained by a real navigator in a huge room with big windows. His name was Heir-Apparent Steroth and he made sure the children called him that. Unlike the techpriests who seemed indifferent to the children, he viewed them with a cruel hunger, pushing them hard and violently criticising slow pupils. At times the techpriests would restrain his more violent outbursts until he calmed down or stormed out, shouting at them for producing slow, useless, dullards with his house’s money. Nonetheless he produced results, educating the children in the arts of warp navigation in simulation chairs and teaching them the lidless stare. Once he felt all seven1 children had the basics he brought in a dirty, terrified adult (the children were told he was a convict and murderer2) and forced the children to execute him so they could see the power of their lidless stare for themselves. Before the man’s blistering death he managed to tear his gag of for a moment and shout to the children; he said that they could be free, that their mentors were evil and murderers, that they should be loved. Where the others forgot these words, she remembered.
1 One had started collapsing from stress and was removed from the group for special study when he started bleeding out of his nose and ears, Three didn’t stop ageing at an increased rate and was removed from the group for special study, and Eight went a funny colour and died messily while complaining about a particularly weird test at the lab the previous night.
2 He was actually a crewmember – the Master of the Vents. He was indeed a murderer and convict; he had killed a techpriest and wounded others after a failed experiment escaped into his work area and died in his arms.
Shmoopy (age 3 – 4)
It was after the lidless stare event that Unity was selected to be the recipient of an experimental technique proposed by one of the younger researchers; ‘emotional enrichment’. This is another way of saying that this was when she was given Shmoopy. She fell in love almost instantly with the creature, and fell asleep cuddling him, wondering whether the flesh/metal join of his cybernetics felt like the ones on the techpriests.
Rogue World Concordatia (age 4)
At around four terran years after her vat-birth Unity, or ‘Seven’ was deemed ready for her first solo warp navigation of the ship Paragon; her jump was a short leg of a six-month journey, done under the guidance of Heir-Apparent Steroth. One of her vat-kin – Two – made a mistake with a jump and dropped Paragon far away in the middle of dead space. Here the ship located a renegade world covered with strange, alien ruins. Unity and her peers were permitted to explore. This strange, dead, alien world held riches and data that the tech priests were quite excited by. While they were distracted Two and Nine ran away, towards a strange tower. The tech-priests attempted to disable them with shock units built into the suits, but somehow these had been deactivated. Nine was gunned down and died, Two was injured but made it inside the tower. This experience was very distressing for Five who had strong feelings for Nine, and she had to be retired when she opened her eye on the Magos who had retired Nine. Needless to say she was retired too.
Kin No More (age 4 – 5)
After this incident the others weren’t quite right again: Ten went insane from the solitude while anticipating his lab test alone and chopped Cleany into pieces before being taken for special testing. Six succumbed to depression and stopped talking or doing anything, which eroded Four’s already short temper. He started hitting her in anger, and when it got too far they were both taken for special testing. With Shmoopy to whisper to and cuddle at night however, Seven was able to cope with everything. Her lessons and the experiments both became more intense, but each time she survived and continued.
When she began to develop her second navigator power (The Course Untravelled) and her first mutation she was relocated into more luxurious quarters (as a navigator should expect) and left to interact socially with the crew and adapt to her increased freedoms. Acquiring her first mutation was somewhat stressful, as all her hair fell out, but she had learned much of navigator mutations, and was relived she had gained one of the less unpleasant ones. She began special lessons with mistress Strida, a House Minos Agent, on what was expected of a noble navigator; including lessons in socialising, courtesy, and important navigator houses. One day a tech-priest came to her room and informed her that she would be departing on her first contract, he also told her that he and the other researchers were proud of their achievements in her, and he gifted her with a gun. Slightly stunned, ‘Seven’ stammered out a thank you before being told that she had been assigned a codename, which had been used on her identification papers. She was, from now and forever more, Unity.
In the time it took for her to be found an appropriate position and bodyguard, Unity began to be taken along to balls and functions for the first time. She was passed off as a bastard whose mother died not long after she was born; socially and politically unimportant, a ward of house agent Strida. Though the balls were dull and a little distressing (being snubbed by so many people) this ruse was necessary – she needed to inspire no curiosity, but also have enough house navigators and agents recognise her that no external suspicions were aroused (particularly suspicions from Mars and Terra).
Her ‘mother’ was in fact a sickly young navigator who died 16 years before childless and in seclusion named Arannia – a perfect cover for three reasons: One – an illegitimate pregnancy so young would explain the seclusion nicely, and two – it’s sufficiently scandalous for no-one to be hiding anything and three – being the child of such an unimportant person renders her instantly boring (what political gain would there be from expending social effort on her?).