This article only covers organic Freespacers. For information on machine-based Freespacers, see S.I.
The Deoradh, more commonly known as Freespacers, are a race of nomadic shipdwellers that can trace their history back to the earliest days of interstellar travel. Deoradh can be translated as stranger, exile, or as they're more commonly known to outsiders, Freespacers. Saorstat Deoradh roughly translates to 'the landless nation' or more commonly, the Free State.
They are descendants of traders, refugees and privateers; a collective of those displaced by war, famine, disease, and poverty, who had banded together for protection. It is believed a past event caused this group to exodus and re-locate to unexplored space for reasons lost to time. The lack of habitable planets in the region (or rather, within the reach of their relatively slow rocket engines) forced them to take up the lifestyle of shipdwelling nomads.
The Freespacers are generally noted for their pacifistic, communistic and anarchistic tendencies. Little in terms of rigid social or political structure exists. The race simply groups into Freespacer Fleets, which are in essence mobile and tightly knit communities. As an entire race of travelers and nomads they have a great deal of empathy regarding any fellow spacefarers. They will often greet complete strangers with open arms and offer them as much aid as possible. However, due to their origins as an unwanted and displaced people they are highly resentful of any sort of large government, especially those that show traits of imperialism, militarism, or despotism.
Due to their short life spans, the Freespacers rapidly evolved a physiology perfectly adapted to withstand the poisons and high radiation of their ancient starship technology. So finely tuned is are their bodies to their starship environments that they cannot survive more than a few days outside their ships without special life support, lest the starve their bodies of much needed elements and radiation.
| || “In the beginning the Great Maker created the universe. But the Maker thought it boring. So he said, 'It could do with a bit more mess, couldn't it?' he cleared his throat and bellowed, 'Let there be sentience,' and the progenitors were born. And he watched his children go forth and multiply and spread across the heavens.
“But all was not well. Trouble began to spread, just as the children once had. Lost souls wandered the heavens in search of hope. Hunger gnawed at their stomachs, disease ravaged their sickly bodies, war brought upon them suffering. And over these lost souls spread the shadow of death.
“The Maker saw this and said, 'Let these lost souls learn to embrace their suffering, so that they may draw strength from it.' And indeed, their suffering hardened them and unified them, and a new people was formed. And the Maker said, 'Let this new race cast off the old, so they may begin again,' and it was so. On a great exodus they left behind their old home, in hopes of finding an untouched world on which they could prosper in peace.
“But all was not well. Decades past as world after unsuitable world was rejected. The ships began to age and become frail, their engines starved for fuel. The aging systems began to leak toxins and chemicals into the air and the water, causing the race to fall ill. The reactor shielding began to grow brittle and crack, and radiation was released onto their ships.
“The Maker saw this and said, 'My children have come far and shown me their worth. They have not found a homeworld on which to prosper, so unto them I will bear gifts of perseverance. Let them evolve so they can better survive their journey.' And evolve they did. They embraced the radiation, and upon them it inflicted many deaths. But for their perseverance they were rewarded, and the radiation embraced them in return and began to heal them. They embraced the plankton and lichens that grew in their water and food, but their bodies tried to reject them. And they grew ill, and again many deaths were inflicted. But once again they were rewarded, and the lichens and plankton began to breathe air into them and nourish them.
“From their evolution came prosperity. With the renewed strength and vigor, they began to toil and harvest the fruits of many stars and asteroids. They multiplied, as did their ships, and they spread across the heavens.
“The Great Maker saw this and smiled. And life was good.”
– The Art of Never Again, Chapter 008: Now We Are Free
|“Our short lifespans and rapid evolution has granted us a unique gift: symbiosis. We, our technology, and our ships create the perfect ecosystem. The lichens and plankton feed off our heat and radiation, and we in turn feed off their nutrients. Our ships shield us from the hazards of the galaxy, and we in turn maintain them. Even our dead and our fallen ships are recycled into nutrients and elements, so that they can feed our crops and produce new vessels.
“Autotrophs, humanoid, Automata, and starship. We have a relationship closer than friendship, and more intimate than love. How does one improve upon such perfect harmony?”
– Suhail Eight Five, 85-0566-7494
The Art of Never Again, Chapter 045: The Fallacies of Genetic Engineering
The original ships the Freespacers left known space in, while designed for long-range travel, weren't designed to run for decades of perpetual use. Eventually when spare parts ran out they began using patchwork methods to repair the systems, causing many of them to leak radiation and chemical wastes into the atmosphere. Using a combination of biotechnology and evolution, the Freespacers eventually managed to adapt to this inhospitable environment, though not without a cost. In order to adapt to such extreme conditions they were required to evolve a highly specialized biology. As such, they cannot survive long in any known environment outside that of their own starships. Even terrestrial environments can cause illness within hours, death within days.
Also, see the FAQ
Freespacers are also unique in that their bodies are composed of both plant and animal matter, a product of early Freespacer attempts to create a balanced shipboard ecosystem. Lichens can often be seen growing on the skin's surface, and bloodstream contains significant concentrations of plankton. These survive off of thermal energy of the body and local radiation, breaking down industrial chemicals that accumulate in the blood steam. The Freespacers can tolerate these chemicals, but have difficulty processing them on their own, so these cells are quite important to their health. The host's body also benefits by feeding off the byproducts of these chemical breakdown such as oxygen and nutrients, as well as preventing the buildup of excess toxins and chemicals.
However, this means they are required to pay careful attention to their diet, radiation, and chemical intake in order to ensure both their humanoid and plant elements survive. If the plankton or lichens were allowed to starve and die, the volume of toxins and dead matter would usually be too much for the body to handle resulting in the death of the host. A Freespacer can stay outside their ship up to 6 hours before the plant cells being to suffer, and up to 18 hours before serious sickness occurs. Death can happen in as early as 30 hours.
Both elements have multiple genome copies and rapid DNA repair mechanisms, granting them high resistance against radiation. They can withstand an instantaneous burst of several dozen times a normal lethal dose for humans, and retain full viability.
The Freespacer genetic code has been engineered for heightened metabolism and growth. The increased metabolism allows them to produce natural antioxidants faster and allows them to process toxins in greater bulk than they would be able to otherwise. While theoretically their powerful DNA repair mechanisms should allow them to live a long time, they have purposely engineered themselves have reduced lifespans. This allows them to faster weed out undesirable traits, and provides numerous psychological benefits such as reducing the occurrence of self-centered thought; why spend your life hording wealth if you won't have much time to enjoy it? See Psychology for more detail. Their earlier preprogrammed death is also a necessity to reduce resource drain on society by removing the elderly, allowing them to maintain higher productivity than they would be able to otherwise.
See Lifecycle for more detail on stages of life and rate of aging.
Unfortunately, their generations in the vacuum of space have left the Freespacers with extremely weak natural immune systems. The few organisms that are brought aboard the ships through trading and mining are almost always immediately killed, due to the deadly environment. And, as Freespacers metabolism increased and they began consuming more energy, the immune system effectively degraded to help compensate.
The Freespacers also possess highly developed biomedical technology and neuro-implants. Not only can they increase the base aspects of the mind, including intelligence and memory, but they can also use Mindware to install information into the implants. Mindware helps the mind assimilate vast amounts of data over a shorter time that traditional education requires. This is naturally of great importance since the short life span of the species would make standard methods of education impractical. These implants also allow the Freespacers to directly interface their mind with digital networks.
Freespacers also commonly use an artificial device called a 'Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator', placed inside the chest cavity near the heart. They are essentially a small generators powered by radioactive decay that produces heat, electricity, and radiation. The heat is used to increase the core temperature of the Freespacers slightly, increasing helping the symbiotic plant cells flourish and therefore increasing the body's health. The electricity is used for powering neural implants, while the steady dose of radiation helps prolong the time a person can send outside a ship before suffering ill effects.
In theory the Freespacers could still naturally reproduce, but their ships' dangerously high background radiation and accelerated growth makes a baby's natural development risky at best. The fact the whole race is based on a limited population (those who initially fled into unknown space) would also mean inbreeding would eventually occur. New children are instead created by splicing genetic samples and then randomizing certain parts of the genome. Then certain undesirable traits removed, such as genetic disease or low intellectual capacity. The final product is then sent to the cloning vats to produce the new child.
|”…And from our laboratories and cloning vats, we produced a second generation of our race. With greater perseverance and endurance, so that they could be our ever vigilant sentinels and protect us from our enemies. To harvest the fruits of stars and asteroids. And after them came a third generation. They would be our thinkers, our enlightened, to better study our enemies. But our Masterminds grew more ambitious they produced a fourth generation, though this generation did not come from cloning vats as those before them did. Instead the Masterminds butchered the clones, keeping only the minds. Then they fitted them with every apparatus, every device they could think of to enhance it. Artificial limbs. Organ upgrades. Sensors with perceptions far beyond ours. Outwardly the metallic shells of great beasts and abominations, but within lay the cunning and brilliance of our greatest minds.
“As the first Type Fours stepped from the laboratory, their abominable appearance caused us look on in horror. For the first time we began to question ourselves. We had inflicted torture, butchered our children… And from what remained shaped these beings. What had been our original objective? Were we trying to protect ourselves from slaughter by our enemies, or become better at it than they were?”
– Fleetmaster Ksora Seven One, 71-2631-4559
The Art of Never Again, Chapter 127: Fixing the Human Condition
This article is only provides a brief description of each caste. For more detail on culture, lifestyle, and so on, please click the respective links.
The society of the Freespacers is divided into castes based on their degree of cybernetic enhancement. The general assumption is that the greater the intellect, the greater the reasoning and leadership capabilities. While they may rarely discriminate between castes in everyday activities, in situations where disagreements arise more often than not does the higher caste have the final say.
Type Ones are natural-born Freespacers, rather than cloned and incubated. This caste is extinct within Freespacer society, due to the high miscarriage rate in their toxic starship environments and the great disadvantage children face when they are born without mind-enhancing implants.
Type Ones are virtually extinct within Freespacer society, so have virtually no role or cultural effect upon it.
Type Twos are indoctrinated from birth to be the ideal working class. Loyal, hard working, and completely selfless. They are taught how useless a single life is in the grand scheme of the universe, but are told that together as a race they can achieve great things and build entire civilizations. This ideology makes causes them to form tightly nit communes, and makes them willing to die to protect other members of their species without hesitation.
Type Threes are the only caste that isn't influenced through indoctrination, parentage, or a selection process. As the specialist class in society (doctors, engineers, and so on), they are actually encouraged to think freely and develop new techniques and ideas. As such they vary greatly, not unlike the standard citizen of any nation.
Type Fours are effectively human brains that have been transplanted into a mechanical body. The brain is hooked up to a complete computer system and partner AI, vastly increasing mental capabilities several times over. But to the horrific nature of having one's entire body removed, only the most serious minded and strongest willed volunteer for this upgrade. This and their multiplied mental capacity makes them the intellectual elite of the Freespacers. They usually perform the same types of specialist roles as Type Threes, but because of their extreme intelligence they are also looked to as the de facto leaders of a community.
The Type Fives are considered their own separate race due to their physiology (or therefore lack of), and are not covered in the Freespacers article. For more information on them, see Synthetic Intelligence.
Type Fives (or Synthetic Intelligence Entities) are those have transcended beyond the limitations of the physical world. They are Freespacers whose minds have been converted directly into a digital program, which roam the information networks and powerful computer systems. Their mental capacity greatly surpasses Type Fours not only in intelligence, but in creativity, self-awareness, comprehension, and all mental facets. Type fives are very akin to artificial intelligence in function, but unlike their kin are capable of experiencing the full spectrum of human emotions and self-awareness.
Free State population by caste and race
|Caste||Organic Population||SI (Machine) Population|
Note: Type Fives do not have physical bodies in the traditional sense, therefore are not factored into the total population count.
Click a thumbnail for a more detailed view.
The following chart is designed to help show more clearly how old a Freespacer is physiologically per actual year. Please note the Lifecycle discuss age chronologically, so refer to the chart in order to see the 'true' physical age.
Note that rate of aging is how many years they age, in human physiological terms, per chronological year at that stage in life.
|Chronological Age||Physical Age||Rate of Aging|
The Freespacers are all commonly born from cloning vats and genebanks. Their ability to sustain themselves in their toxic environment does not fully mature until adulthood, so infants and children suffer from relatively high mortality rates in their natural environment. For this reason nursery facilities and with carefully adjusted environments are used to manufacture and raise them.
A sample is often taken from the 'Genebank,' a cryogenic storage unit containing hundreds of genetic samples. These samples undergo genetic tailoring in order to weed out unwanted genetic traits or behavioral problems. Significant portions of the genetic code are then randomized or modified, allowing the Freespacers to turn a few genetic samples into a wide and varied gene pool.
These clones are then grown using incubation vats. Implants are installed some time during infancy, along with micro-sized robots which can modify the implant size as the child grows. These infants are kept in a state of drug-induced perpetual sleep while basic programming is done through hypnopaedia (sleep learning), as a faster alternative to the traditional trial-and-error learning stage a toddler undergoes. Once a child reaches two years of age they are finally awakened for the first time.
Once awakened they are introduced into a communal nursery with other children. They will end up spending the majority of their childhood in an state of induced sleep and hypnopaedia just as during infancy, but with many breaks in between to develop social skills and facilitate minimal muscle growth required for healthy living. This process continues until they reach adolescence, the age of five, by which time they will have completed the equivalent of a high school education.
Though technically only adolescents at this point, they are released from their nurseries into society proper and are given the rights of full adults. They will take their time to explore and experience society first hand rather than simply from digital books during the next year. At the same time they are also expected to work with different members of society as apprentices so they can explore different trades. By the time the said year is up, when become six years old, they are expected to have decided on a career to specialize in (though this can be changed later in life). If they haven't decided on a trade by that time they will be assigned one, but by that time usually only the undesirable jobs are left. If they refuse to work at all or do so poorly they will be 'recycled' by the community so they won't become a longterm resource drain.
As they near the the age of twenty, or middle age, their rate of aging increases exponentially. This is considered a humane way of killing off soon-to-be unproductive workers, a necessary evil in a society perpetually starved for water supplies. However, the Freespacers reuse genetic samples to reincarnate the majority of their populace once they die. The only exceptions are those that have proven to be the least productive or undesirable, making Freespacers work harder and providing further justification for preprogrammed death.
The reincarnation process usually involves a copying over of personal digital files stored in the implant of the processor body. These are usually personal journal entries, images, favorite programs, and audio/video files. While this is not true memory transfer technology, providing a child with stark insight into its predecessor's mind will often cause it to develop some of the same beliefs and perceptions.
If dwindling resources prohibits the reincarnation of a person at the time of death, the implant files and genetic sample may be stored away until a later date when resources will allow an increase in population. As an alternative, unless their final wish specifically prohibits it, they may be Emulated and have their brain converted into a template for a Synthetic Intelligence.
See Synthetic Intelligence for more detailed information.
Freespacers coexist with a type of artificial intelligence known as Synthetic Intelligence (alternatively Syntelligence or Automata), which are essentially self-aware machines based directly on the minds of Free State citizens. The practice of mechanical spirituality by the Freespacers, their pacifist tendencies, and the fact that Synthetic Intelligence are directly created from Freespacer mind templates all have attributed as the cause for their unique human-machine equality and close relationship.
The Freespacers are an extremely virtually-oriented race, spending more time in the virtual world than any other known civilization. As a solely shipdwelling society the self-sufficiency and conserving resources are among the highest of their highest priorities. The Freespacers do not possess any luxury goods that consume unnecessary resources, such as drugs, food flavoring, high quality clothing. With tight constraining of material resources and the widespread use of neural implants, the Freespacers have turned their attention to the virtual world for leisure and recreation. Virtual reality simulations are the predominant form of leisure among the Freespacers, usually in the form of competitive games, interactive books and movies, and simulated vacation resorts.
Parents and leaders actually encourage children to play games to help develop skills for later in life. Whether it's a competition of intellect, a fleet command simulation, or engineering puzzles, virtual reality provides the children of the Freespacers with recreation, training, and simulated experience.
Growth acceleration was originally encoded into the Freespacers genes as an emergency measure. The fact they are very primitive starship technology and no habitable planet usually results high mortality rates among the race, from both hazards of the galaxy and the occasional poor ice harvest. In order to restore their rapidly dwindling numbers certain children were engineered to have an accelerated growth and life cycle. However, the forerunners found the short lived to be unusually selfless and loyal in comparison to those with standard life spans. After all, why spend your few precious years working to hoard wealth when you'd have no time to enjoy it? The short lived instead accepted their inevitable fate and live life to the fullest, putting their best efforts towards helping the race as a whole and thinking little of their own welfare. Due to this psychological attribute, the forerunners saw fit to endow all future generations with this modification.
Freespacers have an extremely strong sense of community in comparison to other races. They have little sense of personal property or privacy, since all ship crews commonly live in one large common room and share material goods. Even information and their activities in the virtual world are tracked by Type Fives. This lack of privacy helps encourage a more closely knit society, and has reduced crime and corruption to the point it is virtually non-existent.
Freespacers tend to be much more direct and forward than other species, often saying exactly what they think about a situation even if it may offend others. This is often attributed to their short lifespans, which discourage time-consuming rituals and protocol.
This is especially true when it comes to relationships; their short lives rarely give them the luxury of playing complex emotional games or courtship rituals, so they tend to move much more quickly than other races. Their very strong sense of community and lack of greed (therefore jealousy) in society also causes them to be quite polygamous.
Another unforeseen consequence of their shortened life spans is that they tend to be far more apathetic about death than other cultures. They accept death as a natural part of life, living by the philosophy that it is more productive to be thankful for those that lived rather than mourning the ones lost, and that those that have passed on would not want their loved ones to be sad.
See Freespacer FAQ for more info on names.
The second name is usually chosen by friends of the individual. It can only be granted when his or her acquaintance believe the said individual has enough life experience or wisdom. The age of naming may vary, but generally names are given no earlier than early adulthood. While everyone eventually receives a second name, not all choose to share it. Indeed, many shy or private individuals may never reveal their second name to more than a few people. Second names are usually names of constellations, stars, or stellar phenomena. A second name will often change when a Freespacers is re-cloned after dying.
The third is the serial name, a ten digit number used to identify their origin, lineage, and the age of their genetic sample used for cloning. It's common use is similar to that of surnames in other cultures, to be used in the context of polite detachment. Though due to the inconvenience of reciting the full code, only the first two digits are used when referring to an individual in such a manner. The serial name never changes even if the individual is re-cloned.
|“Never again shall we be at the mercy of the corrupt. Never again will our blood be spilled in for the sake of greed. Never again will the cries of our people remain unanswered. Never again!”
– Colonel Lucius Graziani
The Art of Never Again, Chapter 001: The Exodus and the Exile
Many Freespacers live and swear by the Art of Never Again, commonly referred to as 'The Book.' The Book was originally a survival manual and military doctrine for going to war using guerrilla and maneuver warfare. It was popularized by the fact this doctrine played an important role in the survival of the race, before they were driven from known space. The original version of the Book has been banned throughout many regions of civilized space because its in essence a guide to guerrilla and terrorist warfare: It describes in detail ruthless methods for defeating a larger enemy including psychological warfare, assassination, torture, exploiting corruption and bureaucracy, and even techniques for interrogation and 're-education.'
Having been in complete isolation and peace for over a century, the Freespacers saw no harm in placing the entire collective knowledge of their race into one data depository. The Book is usually revised at least once per year and is constantly being expanded. Recent revisions are hundreds of thousands of pages long and are stored in digital format. These revisions contain the original copy as well as many other additions: a comprehensive guide on peace time conduct, diplomatic policy between other Freespacers caravans and foreign powers, and a census of all the Motherships currently in service, popular philosophy, psychological profiles of other races, historical records, and more. It also contains hundreds of technical schematics for everything from computer systems to starships to improvised explosives. As an unspoken rule most devout Freespacers keep a copy of the Book with them at all times, either in a datapad or inside memory implants. In many respects the Book is treated as a bible, not just of religion, but of the entire race's collective knowledge.
|“You dirtdwellers… You terraform planets, twist subspace, and build weapons of colossal and shattering power. You seek to subvert the universe itself for your own convinence! You should learn to adapt to the universe, not the other way around. Its only fair, after all. The universe was here first.”
– Druidess Nihal Eight Six 86-3017-8302
The Art of Never Again, Chapter 435: Grin and Bear It
For more informations on Freespacer religion, see the article on Mecha-Druidism
While religious practice tends to vary depending on the specific fleet, the majority of Freespacers are polytheistic with elements of animism, mysticism, and druidism being part of common practice. Without a habitable planet, they have turned to worshiping the spirits of machines rather than nature. They believe that starships, Automata, and any sort of machine has a 'machine spirit.' To discard one simply because there is a better available is treated with the same contempt as abandoning a fellow Freespacer.
Balance is very important to the Freespacer, whose entire lives depend on the balancing of plants and Freespacers in their shipboard ecosystems. They believe that changing the universe to suit yourself, such as terraforming, is an inherently flawed concept. However, changing yourself to suit the universe, such as genetic engineering, is perfectly acceptable. This is because they believe universe naturally reverts to a state of chaos, therefore any species that can naturally survive in chaos is destined to prosper in any situation. Those that rely too much on their technology will certainly fail if their creations do.
The majority also believe in an afterlife, a place known as the Gaia. In most texts it is described as a place where water runs free in rivers and lakes, where fruit grows in abundance, and oxygen is in unlimited supply. A place where one can spend eternity and live without the burden of struggling to survive against the void of space, but still be free to roam as one pleases. However, this place is not reached until one's “final” death. If one is going to be reincarnated by having their implants and memories transfered to a younger, duplicate clone, their spirits wait in a place known only as the Otherworld, or Limbo. The Otherworld is depicted as a starport or shipyard of some sort, where souls wait for reincarnation or for a ship to take them to Gaia.
There are countless gods and spirits worshiped by the Freespacers. The majority acknowledge a supreme god; The Great Clockmaker, more commonly referred to simply as the Maker. Beneath this supreme being there are numerous other patron god and goddesses, each with it's own church. The Freespacers doctrine of efficiency is apparent even in their religious worship. Rather than unproductively chanting or praying, they believe that the only way to earn a deity's respect and support is to work hard at a given task.
A list of the commonly worshiped deities include: