Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Spherai or Spherelocked

The Spherai (Sfear-Eye) or Spherelocked are altogether not quite uncommon enough.  They are the interred remains of transgressors who've gone too far, criminals and worse who have gone so far beyond the pale that they have been locked inside floating metallic spheres that serve as the last and only resting place for their bones, blood and genetic profiles as well as the final repository of their memories, accounts and personalities as well.  All of it locked, shielded, shuttered and firewalled off from the rest of the worlds, often forever.

To be sentenced to this fate by the Courts is no little thing, no trifling matter at all.  Only the most heinous acts and despicable depradations merit this extreme measure to ensure the safety of the community and to remove the most recalcitrant and willful threats from circulation in such a way that the offender can remain observant of those around them, but no longer be allowed to interfere unlawfully or to impose their will unjustly or inappropriately upon others.  Where once they used their hands to work evil, they no longer are allowed to have hands.  Where they spoke falsely, they no longer have the capacity to lie or to mislead.  Where they once chose the short-term benefit of the easy way at other's expense, they now have a long, hard road ahead of them if they wish to reclaim their humanity.  If they can prove to the sphere in which they are imprisoned that they have indeed learned wrong from right and are capable of functioning as a healthy and well-balanced human being, then the sphere will take them away to a distant place where they can start over.  But always with the memories of their past misdeeds indelibly etched into their minds as the sphere takes up residence within their newly enfleshed body where it will wait and watch like a conscience that will erupt forth to once again imprison them if they transgress ever again.  Only there is no chance of redemption, only deletion, should they push things this far.  There are no third chances.

It is a kind of imprisonment that teaches, in time and after a fashion, the bitter truth of the choices and the consequences of those bad decisions and harmful acts that each prisoner has committed.  But it is a final lesson for the majority of those so sealed away from further physical interaction with their fellows.  Most of them will never be granted permission to inhabit a physical body ever again.  Their crimes were so unimaginably horrific that they have been sentenced to imprisonment within a sphere and all their genetic material confiscated, impounded and sealed away with them.  To be sentenced to the spheres is to forfeit all forms of incarnate existence, including clones or children of any kind, type, sort or style.  All existant descendents and replicas of the convicted are subject to analysis and screening to determine their fitness to continue.  Those too closely affected by the convict's genetics are either exiled, banished or removed.  It is a horrible thing.  But a cancer cannot be allowed to spread.  Steps must be taken to prevent it from spreading.  Sometimes this entails drastic steps.

The spheres enable a low-grade form of telepathy that automatically cuts out if the inmate tries to force it in any way and each sphere also acts as a high-gain empathic pick-up that scours the immediate surroundings and feeds all the emotions encountered directly into the inmate locked within.  Where the individual once lacked compassion, the sphere forces them to both experience every emotion of every person around them.  They can neither turn this off nor ignore it.  Ever.

When they capitulate, and they all eventually do, the sphere instructs them as to their crimes, the impact of their crimes, and makes them feel everything directly, immediately, with no obfuscation and no dissembling, no excuses, no lies and no way out.  Just the truth and nothing but the truth.  Forever.

No Spherai can address another member of Polite Society without first gaining express permission from them to do so.  Most people refuse to deal with them.  If they had been reasonable people, they would have been exiled to a penal colony or simply banished.  By the very nature of their punishment these are not nice people and they are intrinsically untrustworthy.  Only a few doughty souls such as the Sisters of Mercy take pity upon them and try to assist in the rehabilitation of these profoundly lost souls.

Their names have been stricken from all public records and even from their own minds.  They each have a number and a psicon that is used in reference to them until such time that they earn back their name and identity through whatever community service a person with no name, identity, hands or other limbs can perform.  But their nature as repeat offenders with a high rate of recidivism makes such an effort unlikely at best.  They didn't get to be this way without having already burned through every other option and opportunity for rehabilitation, recovery, personality modification, psychological reprogramming, egoic restructuring or even what simple acts of making suitable recompense or showing remorse, contrition or regret for their actions when it could have mattered or done some good.  These are the worst of the worst, the ones so deliberately hellbent on harming others that they have been culled, sealed-off and no longer allowed to trespass against others ever again.

The sentence is a harsh one, but the punishment fits their crimes, or so say the Magistrates of the Courts.

Long ago, during the traumatic years of the hypertoxic Age of Insanity, such individuals would have been passed through any number of wasteful, futile and ultimately dehumanizing institutions that only served to make things worse.  Others would have been executed or allowed to run roughshod over the rest of their fellows due to some anachronistic quirk of the so-called legal system of the time.  Vanjeffrist's study of the convoluted processes involved in these matters is most enlightening and is highly recommended.  Polite Society emphasizes the rights of the individual who acts in good faith over the predatory abuses of those who seek to use the system against others. 

When some deeply damaged being seeks to repeat their damage, to perpetrate their maliciously hurtful and harmful acts against unwilling members of Polite Society, and they either refuse to accept the risk of entering into duellist status or are abusing their status as a duellist, then it behooves the caretakers of civilization to step in and set matters to rights.  This is the role of the Magistrates.  They keep the peace and maintain the conditions under which civilization is possible.

It's not a perfect system by any means, but it is a rational and fair one.  Evil is not allowed to perpetuate itself through other people's inaction or their neighbor's cowardice.  Polite Society is entitled to an immune system as much as any organism that is a part of it, indeed, without such a system, Civilization would break down as it did long ago during the Age of Insanity.

And there is absolutely no truth whatsoever to the rumors that the Magistrates have become corrupt and complacent.  The individual who recently had been wrongfully sentenced to the spheres in retaliation for some as-yet unrevealed personal offense has been set free and all due reparations have been made to the complete satisfaction of all parties directly concerned.  That matter is closed.

Move along, move along.  Nothing more to see here.


  1. Interesting. What sort of crimes gets someone imprisoned in one of these? Are their any societal forces that oppose their use?

  2. The Courts determine who qualifies for such a punishment. The Magistrates who make-up the Living portion of the Triumvirative Assembly. There are also various Tribunes who speak on behalf of the identified/registered social classes/castes also have a chance to speak as 'friends of the Court,' to represent communtieis, etc. The system is supposed to remain free of corruption, however, as with any human institution, it has some flaws that do get manipulated, but these excesses tend to get smoothed out over the years by immune-system functions built-in on very deep levels. Those who abuse the system eventually are identified and their perfidy addressed, eventually. Independent, outside agents are always rewarded for spotting such things, for example. It is hard to mess with this set-up, but Magistrates do so on a regular enough basis that there are all sorts of docudramas and netvids that tell this sort of story over and over.

    Yes. There are several factions who oppose the Courts and their spherical cyber-gulags, but most of them are working within the system, thus they are mostly ineffectual.

    One radical sect has taken it upon themselves to track down the Sphaeri and liberate them from their bondage. They have discovered a means and a methodology for cracking the Spheres and they are 'liberating' those Sphaeri that they can locate, but their efforts are often hampered by the very people whom they have liberated. Those broken-out are not always sane, rarely balanced, and almost always traumatized by the liberation process and lack the support of the Sphere which they very seriously needed to function within Polite Society...thus forming a very tragic criminalized outcaste society that did nothing wrong per se, but are in violation of the Court's mandates.

    It's a mess.

    As for the specific crimes necessary to get sentenced to the Spheres...there's a story or two on the way about that coming up for Riskail.

  3. Just make sure Zod is locked up nice and tight!


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