- “DO YOU REPENT YOUR SINS.”
- “ARE YOU READY TO BE REBORN.”
- “PLEASE REPORT TO RE-EVALUATION OFFICE B34-49-C. MAY YOUR DAY BE BLESSED.”
- Conversation between Ophanim warden and a returning demon on Sanctorum
Sanctorum, the home of the Angel society. Scarcely is there another Elysian society that has gone through such extreme lengths to reshape Humanity into a more “perfect” society, and on the surface it has worked without flaw. The people of Sanctorum are happy, healthy, and hallowed in their self-reflections and meditations, leading tranquil lives of happiness. Their labour is automated and their goods and services free for all citizens to participate in.
The shadow-side of all this is a constant current of societal expectation, cultural engineering, and social manipulation to keep everything so tranquil and blessed. Many outsiders would balk at the extensive operations of the surveillance state, both public and secret, to keep the Angels as they are - pristine and unworried of earthly vices and needs.
Sanctorum is one the earliest settled planets of the Elysian Colonies, and it shows: while working with human technology only allowed some of its deep valleys and river estuaries to be inhabited, contact with Skrell has rapidly advanced the progress of shaping the planet to the ideals of Angels. With extensive help of a Diona swarm, Sanctorum became a sculpted beauty of a single biome, perpetually maintained with carefully managed orbital and planetary infrastructure to provide an uniform climate.
These efforts resulted in a planet alternating at most between spring and summer seasons, with temperate biomes throughout all meridians and latitudes. This is a stark contrast to the native environment, which had a fairly normal seasonal cycle due to Sanctorum's elliptical orbit around its star. Not that the Angels much cared about something so unruly and uncontrolled.
Obviously, the human heritage of Angels cannot be wiped away - Angels have always been humans and are still compatible with them in many fundamental ways, such as the organs and blood types - however, Angels might be one of the most extensively modified sub-species of Humanity. Not only are functional wings extremely commonplace but also the other trappings of avian species, such as hollow bones, magnetic sensory organs, and metabolisms tailored for periods of long flights. Angels are also mandatorily modified to eliminate many congenital quirks and sanitized of much “junk” DNA for no reason other than to make even their genetic code seem “pure”. This has led to a susceptibility for tumours and other abnormalities that the body usually handles through having these extant, dormant DNA strings for redundancy against genetic-damaging effects.
Beyond that, Angels often style themselves after liturgical, cultural, and pop-cultural references to Angelic beings from across the stars, with a heavy emphasis on judeo-christian pop-cultural references. Single-pair winged Angels and multi-winged Angels predominantly exist on the same level of societal respect - one is either a citizen, a warden, or an outsider. Or worse - an exile.
Exceptions to the otherwise flat social hierarchy are the Cherubim, Ophanim, and the High Choirs. As one of the recognized extremes of transhumanism, these beings are hive-linked Angels who have been chosen for their exemplary lifestyles embodying the virtues of Sanctorum society and are tasked to uphold these values through more direct means.
Cherubim are an amalgamation of four Angels and act as evaluation officers and therapists, offering deviant Angels an out and correct behaviour through therapeutic measures, sometimes including a temporary merge with their hivemind to instill the values of Angel society more directly.
Ophanim are dozens of to nearly a hundred Angels united in synthetic bodies resembling flaming wheels of watchful eyes and holographic wings built around an anti-gravity generator. These creatures float through the air of Sanctorum, protecting peace and prosperity while continuously spying on citizens to report and suppress deviant behaviour of their lesser brethren.
Finally, High Choirs or Lordships are thousands of Angels unified for one purpose alone: rulership of Sanctorum. The magistrates, administrators, judges and politicians are amalgamated into the role of a High Choir and only those who have proven worthy are absorbed into their Totality.
Needless to say, aside from the temporary merging with citizens for therapy, these mind-unions are a permanent affair - removal from the hivemind is difficult, leading to memory loss and personality of the individual mind and might actually just cease their subjectivity forever. The longer a mind is a part of the whole, the more inextricably intertwined they are with it and the more removal becomes outright impossible. Many inside the Elysian Colonies and the general Diaspora express discomfort when finding out what these beings represent.
At first glance it’s no wonder why many Elysians regard Sanctorum as paradise. With its global mild climate and many urban centers, the planet looks like a pristine pearl of civilization. Glittering towers of glass and marble, sculpted cities, and excessively clean environments are married to sweeping operations of light industry and agriculture, of roving fields of agricultural products, a remnant of the time where Sanctorum was still just a designated farming planet of its earliest settlers. Unsightly heavy industry and polluting processes have been entirely offloaded to other planets, moons and orbitals to keep Sanctorum as it is: a land of milk and honey.
Maintained is this state of perpetual prosperity by the unusually large amount of automated labour, unprecedented in any other human-descended society. This is largely thanks to the hiveminds of the Ophanim and the High Choirs who have the malleable brain power spared to perpetually check and intervene in value drifts of operated drones and automated processes, keeping them from being hacked or corrupted by natural phenomena.
This bounty of industry is available to all citizens free of charge. Indeed, to live on Sanctorum is to live without the burden of knowing scarcity - food, housing, entertainment, and healthcare are all available without any stipulation and requirement beyond upholding the values and laws of Sanctorum. Money is virtually non-existent aside from the occasional trade with outsiders and visitors to obtain curiosities, curios, and cultural artifacts of interest.
The life of an Angel is an indolent journey to harmony, the main goal of Sanctorum. Expressing themselves as they want through artistry, volunteer work, and other such activities, they simply enjoy their life and try to strive for living a fulfilled, saintly existence - with many striving to receive the honour of joining one of the hiveminds, especially a High Choir. To this end the warden hiveminds exist to shepherd them into such an exalted existence, guiding them to fully establish themselves as a potential part of a harmonious and unified whole. Cherubim gently and ceaselessly work to correct the errors of Angelic behaviour - greed, sorrow, anger, lust, and pride are only some of the examples of such - while Ophanim patrol the air and streets of Sanctorum settlements to provide a more hands-on approach to suppress disharmonious behaviour.
Those found wanting and struggling with such a goal are naturally corrected, first by detainment and therapy in re-evaluation offices which can extend to temporary unification with a Cherubim to more directly instill values of Sanctorum society into them. Continued deviancy and misbehavior sadly leads to exile and transport to Infernum. Approximately twenty percent of all Angels born or created in clone vats are found wanting in such a regard. A small but noticeable population trickle feeds to their sister planet of exiles and undesirables.
Those who have been found worthy are invited to join a hivemind, with the greatest honor of them all to be part of a High Choir. This call is irresistible to most Sanctorites, their life goal fulfilled and eager to join this Ascension. And therein lies the goal of the planet: to create a Humanity beyond the petty needs of the individual, to join hands and make of the many, one, perfect and whole. Naturally such lofty goals are hard to achieve. Progress is slow and a majority of Angels do not manage to join a hivemind, much to their dismay.
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