Friday, July 14, 2017

Sphere: The Flawless

"People have the wrong idea about us. We do not believe that we are perfect beings. We know this. We are imperfect beings who strive for perfection. We are all flawed, but we strive to become flawless. It is not what we are, but what we wish to become."
 - Chilaili Ja-Verge, Flawless mercenary

"They are arrogant, but there is some degree of justification to their arrogance."
 - Verrina Seinaldos, Zarran scholar

"They aren't much fun at parties. At least, not at mine."
- Temple Avisaid, Jinn bio-mancer

"I don't trust them."
 - Krejci Bo 2.4, Herman trader

"I heard a rumor they're trying to build a weapon, to kill the Singularity."
- Bit Kwyndahm, Wanderer

The Flawless come from the innermost planet, Mercury. There, they live in a subterranean metropolis known as Crucible.
Biologically, the Flawless bear a superficial resemblance to one another. Dark skin is common, as are black eyes. All Flawless are the same height, exactly 5'10" tall. Weight varies, although very few Flawless have extraneous body fat.  They achieve physical maturity at fifteen years and begin to show signs of age around their centennial. Without life-extension treatments, the Flawless can live to about 140 years. Life-extension is uncommon among the Flawless.
The Flawless do not reproduce in a traditional manner. Their females do not bear live young. Rather, the Flawless contribute genetic material to the Ministry of Population, which produces children using exo-genic wombs.
Flawless begin their lives in the exo-genic wombs. When they are decanted at ten months they are raised in communal creches. Flawless never know their biological parents. They begin schooling at three years and through a series of tests are advanced into the professions for which they are best suited.
At fifteen, Flawless undergo their adulthood ritual. They adopt a new name and petition to join a Company. When they are accepted, they begin to grow their hair, coloring it to reflect their alleigance to their Company. They also take great pains to display their Company symbol, either through body-art or on their apparel. This display shows their loyalty to their Company and reenforces the group identity and their place in it.
The Company becomes the foundation of Flawless society. It serves not just as employer, but as mentor and family. Flawless seldom leave their chosen Company and those that do are never viewed as completely trustworthy in the culture.
Rarely, Flawless do not join a Company. The reasons can vary from personal choice to poor performance in creche-assessments. These individuals, referred to as unincorporated, often leave Crucible. Flawless do not trust the unincorporated and a common axiom among them is, "I would trust a Herman before an unincorporated."
The Flawless strive for perfection, on a personal and social level. There is a great deal of societal pressure among them to strive to be the best they can be. Individuals who don't appear to be living up to their potential can find themselves being socially rejected until they make greater efforts to improve themselves.
Despite their cultural obsession with perfection, the Flawless do not embrace voluntary individual enhancements, either biological or technological. Cyborgs exist among the Flawless, but they are usually the victims of accidents or violence. Someone enhancing themselves voluntarily, to achieve perfection, would be viewed, at best, as lazy and, at worst, as a cheat.
Although the common perception of the Flawless is that they are a militant culture, based largely on the fact that they are best known for producing weapons and mercenaries-for-hire, this is not accurate. The Flawless produce passionate artists, brilliant craftsmen and devout scientists.
The one profession that the Flawless lack is a priesthood. Spiritually, the Flawless have not retained any of the Ancient faiths, nor have they embraced any of the current philosophies. Singularity cults find few converts among the Flawless. They could best be described as pessimistic agnostics; they don't deny the existence of a supreme being, but they have serious doubts about it.
The Flawless get along well with most of the other races in the Sphere. They admire the Jinn's mastery of the biological sciences, even if they don't approve of how they use their expertise. The Zarrans make good trading partners, but their spirituality leaves the Flawless befuddled. Similarly, the Wanderers often leave the Flawless scratching their heads in confusion. The Hermans are the one race the Flawless actively dislike; despite their technical expertise, the very nature of the Hermans offends the Flawless. They view them as untrustworthy cheats.  As far as the Wardens are concerned, the Flawless are largely neutral toward them. They have little contact with the aliens, although some Flawless scientists would like to study them more intimately.

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