Tuesday, January 8, 2013

008: Sacrophage

ENTRY 008: Sacrophage

Situated in the north polar region of Enceladus, Sacrophage is a semi-autonomous outgrowth of the Profunda habitat, used as an apolitical anarchist non-denominational pseudo-monastic retreat. There is no strict rule or hierarchy for the fraters (male), sorors (female), and zorers (neuter or intersex) participants of Sacrophage, but most members of the community seek escape from the information deluge of transhuman life, individual-focused philosophical inquiry, and general peace and quiet; disruptive individuals tend to be isolated or ignored until they leave. Members of and visitors to the Sacrophage community are allowed to work in three areas to participate in the community: the gardens, the radiotelescope, and maintenance. Each is supplemented by “miracles”—special projects undertaken by one or more of the monks to add to and enhance the small community. At any given time between 50-80 monks may be in residence at Sacrophage; visitors can swell the population to over 100, but this taxes the environmental system.

The Sacrophage Gardens are a smaller extension of Profunda’s biochemical enterprises, a series of eight small interlinked domes of oxygen-producing and carbon-dioxide scrubbing growing green things that supplement the community’s foodstuffs. Morphs can experience the quiet contemplation of planting, weeding, sowing, and nurturing their charges. Some monks prefer to carve out a slice of the gardens for their own projects, breeding specific flowers or fruiting plants, grafting, etc., while others enjoy the community of joint labor in the larger farming operations. The most popular miracle of the Sacrophage Gardens is the master philosopher-gardener Ao, an AGI sleeved in a macrobiomorph with the outward appearance of a great tree, with each leaf appearing as if it was made of human skin. Ao is the center of a wireless network in one of the Garden domes, connected to over a thousand sensors that allow it to track the overall health of the entire garden.

The Sacrophage Radiotelescope is the ear to the heavens, built into one of the older craters on Enceladus. Mostly inhabited by infomorph residents, the Sacrophage Radiotelescope mesh is for the most part deliberately austere, with each monk carving out their own sites to pursue their own interests. Residents and visitors are allowed to man the radiotelescope and watch the skies, to analyze and archive the recordings, to maintain and improve the code, and to repair and maintain the equipment itself, if qualified. The Radiotelescope output and archives are not remotely accessible to the rest of transhumanity, hence it receives the largest number of visitors. In part to stem the crowd of sky-gazers, a group of monks is working on a “miracle” project to provide a station-to-station system for backing up the archive in Profunda, allowing access to the records without disturbing the Sacrophage community.

Maintenance at Sacrophage is the header under which all the vital tasks of the community are accomplished: cleaning, repairing, monitoring environmental levels, sealing cracks or leaks between domes, etc. The physical and digital drudgework is as much a discipline to renew the mind and body as a necessity of life in the habitat, and many of the oldest and most trusted residents spend considerable amounts of their time sweeping, cleaning sewage ducts, and checking carbon dioxide and nitrogen levels.

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