Been thinking about the plot and backgrounds the past few days. After the pain in my teeth and jaw got less and I was able of thinking again. I’ll write now a bit about Naga’s tribe and her past. But first, a word about spirits.
Most people are familiar with spirits of some sort. If only just the Holy Spirit of the Christian legends. But do you know what machine spirits are? That article explains it well. I’m fascinated by the Warhammer 40K universe and I use it a lot in my own creations. So I borrowed the machine spirits as well… But. I have changed them a little. In this story here and in my own beliefs I treat every machine like it had a spirit in it. For me, AI an sich is a machine spirit, the opposite of the truth in the Warhammer 40K universe. If a device uses energy to function it fills the machine spirit criteria.
OK. That’s clear. Now, how are machine spirits (in MY universe) made? Have you seen the anime Ghost In The Shell? How about the second movie, with the ghost copy facility? That’s how machine spirits are made. A more crude way is to take the consciousness of a human and plant it into a machine. The human will remain braindead and sleep forever, and the machine will have an own mind, personality and ability to make it’s own decisions and maintain itself. The human programmers can limit the functions of the mind, for example forbid the machine spirit from maintaining itself. Thus every single repair has to be done by a human. It’s like telling a person he/she is not allowed to cure their illnesses themselves, but they have to go to hospital to get cured by others. Oh, that’s our healthcare!
Naga is having a machine companion, the BigDog from Boston Dynamics… It has no head, only one eye, and sand hurts it’s legs. This “dog” has a machine spirit, the mind of a young boy named Aru, planted into it’s brain. The dog has no access into the files regarding the boy’s identity, wherabouts or memories, but the files exist and Naga finds them. That confirms her doubts that the machine spirits are of human (or animal) origin just like the natural, genuine spirits. Nag can connect herself to the dog’s cyberbrain to discuss things with him. These meetings happen in a sort of a cyberspace where the dog takes a human form, the face his machine spirit was given by his creators. Naga is very curious about the depth of the dog’s consciousness. He claims he cannot understand human emotions and that sometimes Naga’s voice has a not recognisable tone (when she has an emotional reaction, is nostalgic or tries to find out more about the dog’s machine spirit), but he’s using this as an excuse when Naga gets too close. The dog was assigned as Naga’s companion when she began her job as a scout/assassin.
Naga was born into a tribe living high up in the mountains close to the capital of the land. Her people live in the caves and are skilled hunters. They do not have families like we know them, the tribe is their family and all the adults care for all the kids. The kids usually have no names until a hunter chooses them as their apprentice. Some become hunters, some healers, some shamans, some remain in the common rooms forever, working the fields and gathering herbs.
The night before Naga was born, her mother went to the birth giving cave alone even when she was very weak and suffering and the tribe was worried about her. Everybody else gathered in the big cave by the fire, praying for the mother and child to survive. While they were praying, the goddess Malassanka appeared before them. She is one of their main deities and the one who decides over life and death. In her right hand she holds the spirit of life and the spirit of death in her left hand. Behind her is the wheel of life, with the rest of the life’s spirits. The wheel started to spin and the spirits of life and death joined it. When it finally stopped spinning the spirit of life was on top, directly above Malassanka’s head. That was the sign that both the mother and the child had survived. The shaman Balyek who raised Naga claimed that right after Malassanka’s decision he could hear a baby crying. In the morning after Naga’s mother came to the big cave and she was healed and her child was healthy too.
When she was a few years old, Cir, the greatest hunter, chose Naga along with five other children to become his apprentice. But Cir had bad intentions. Unlike the tribe’s tradition, Cir decided to let the children fight for their survival, and the strongest would become his apprentice. There were 4 boys and 2 girls. From the beginning, Cir favored one of the boys. He got all the food and the others were left hungry, he was given the best position in the hunting chain, he got a good knife and the rest were given scraps. After a few months the rest of the children started to team up against the favored one. For a little less than one year the rest of the tribe let this go on, until the six kids were mere skeletons with lots and lots of injuries. One couldn’t walk and Naga had been stabbed into the right eye. The infection was spreading over her face and she was about to lose the sight in her left eye as well. Cir had given none of these kids a name. The rest of the tribe, lead by the shaman Balyek, stood against Cir and told him that if he would not decide for one child he would never again get a chance to raise one. Cir decided to pass. He was too proud. The kids were taken away from him and Balyek chose Naga to become her apprentice. He healed her and gave her the name Naga. It means a blade, but it also means outcast.
A lot of the young children decided to go to the city and join the emperor’s army of cybernetically enhanced Heaven’s Soldiers who constantly battle over the control of the capital against the world’s greatest scientist, Luther, and his army of abominations. Sounds like WH40K again. Yes. I created this part into another story in 2010 after reading the first WH40K novel of my life. Now I have a whole bunch of them… Anyway, after being raised by the worldwise shaman who once went to the city to learn more himself, Naga decided to leave too when she became adult. Balyek had given her curiosity, taught her to doubt and seek the truth, and Naga saw that she could not learn more if she stayed with her tribe. As many of the children raised by hunters were gladly taken in by imperial offices Naga tried her luck and was taken in as a scout. After finishing her training in less than two years she became a full qualified scout. She was asked to join the imperial assassins because of her special skills and she accepted.
The shaman who raised Naga taught her to use a blade, but also taught her the use of a spear with a machine spirit. Not as complex as her dog though. Balyek knew a lot about spirit weapons, as well as machine spirits and weapons with them. Naga’s signature weapon that Balyek gave to her has two ends: one end uses genuine spirit energy, the other is guided by a machine spirit. She can connect with her weapon by a cable just like the dog, and use her cybernetic right eye to lock a target and land precise shots, even if she is occupied with close combat or having a conversation with the dog in cyberspace. Her eye has multiple functions from scanning the surroundings to analyzing matter and data. She also uses another device over her healthy eye, both to protect it and enhance her sight. She has brain implants and her body has been genetically modified to endure long walks, sandstorms and heavy battles. She also has several body implants. The price of becoming imperial agent. Still, she hasn’t given up her tribal wisdom and the pride of a free woman.
To the end a little bit about the emperor and Luther and their disagreement. Luther is a very old scientist, a genius who invented the perfect synthetic human. The research was funded by the old emperor who wanted to start a war and unite the world’s all different folks and tribes and rulers under his rule. Luther though decided it’d be a waste of his perfect sangu, and kept the results of his research a secret. (Sorry I don’t remember right now what the word sangu means, it was something with holy blood. I have it on paper but not gonna dig it up right now.) His first – and only – sangu had everything of it’s finest: a heart that uses the old world energy and will never stop beating, a body that never breaks (except it does, but that’s another story 😉 ) and a natural healing ability that makes all injuries heal very fast. This sangu got the body of a young girl from another world. Luther has a gate in his lab through which he could access another world and after finishing his work he hid this sangu, the young girl, into that world and closed the gate. The girl was raised not knowing who or what she was but she does find out, in that other story… Annnyway, the old emperor died and his son got the throne, and started asking after what happened to the research. Luther agreed to support the new emperor with his war plan and began to build a series of lesser sangus. He never managed to recreate his first, and that drove him insane with the time. After delivering several hundred lesser sangus Luther decided to stop. The emperor got mad, attacked Luther, who in secret had kept producing sangus and experimenting with both mechanical and cybernetic enhanced entities. His experiments got more and more twisted and fought a bitter war against the emperor who was now producing fully mechanical “sangus” and raising up genetically enhanced Heaven’s Soldiers. The emperor leads also a war against an independent country in the east, but has had some of his highest officers go rogue and start wars of their own. Luther stays closed in his lab in the high tower that rises in the middle of the now ruined city, untouched by time and numerous attacks due to an energy shield. Luther is human but he uses a life extending machine to stay alive and regenerate. All his servants are machine spirits that he controls. But he has a secret. In the heart of the tower, in a tightly secured vault there is a blue glass coffin. Inside it is a child, sleeping forever in a blue power field that protects him from aging.
Wish I get to writing about waking him up one day… ^_^