Monday, June 14, 2010

Asylum-Chateaus on the River Senube

Twelve great rivers flow into Riskail and all twelve of them combine together to form the River Senube which splits Devukarsha right down the middle.  The River Senube is a confluence of a dozen other rivers, each flowing into Riskail from another world in another solar system.  Fully half of those solar systems are in entirely other galaxies.  It's kind of a big deal, except for the people who live there in Devukarsha.  They've gotten used to it.  That's what people do.  Get used to things.

But some people, they do not, will not or cannot get used to things. Even moral prostheses and ethical filters, appended AI and the most skillful modifications to the brain can do nothing if they are not voluntarily allowed or accepted.  Certainly, most of those individuals requiring such things do get them voluntarily.  Eventually.  But there are those people who probably ought to make use of such things, who would definitely benefit from them, and who reject them out of hand for personal reasons.  Such is their right. 

Liberty is a core-concept for the civilizations and societies of Riskail.  Freedom to choose is a major issue and bone of contention amongst the various societies, political parties, factions, sects and cultures.  Wars have been fought over this issue and will be again.  The interpretation of Liberty is very much akin to the discussion surrounding Responsibility.  What is Society's responsibility to the individual and vice versa?  Those who tend to agree clump together into societies and establish city-states and the like.  But few groups manage to maintain a consensus for very long.  Some adopt means and methods to handle disputes, arbitrate disparities, settle conflicts which are overseen and managed by the city-state as is the case in Drovang or Eevong as well as Devukarsha, for the most part.  Others, such as the more Libertarian-oriented City-State of Andralimos, leave it entirely up to the individual and assess fees against the accounts of everyone concerned for every little thing that the government can charge.  The original idea being to discourage anyone's reliance upon the government.  Now it's a system distorted by the wealthy.  But that's for another day.

Central to the pursuit of Liberty is the ability of the person to make choices which enhance their personal Liberty without infringing upon that of their neighbors.  To make the most of one's Liberty, a certain level of Competence is necessary.  To become a registered adult within Polite Society, one must demonstrate and offer proof of competence.  Those that pass muster are admitted to the responsibilities and rights of an adult.  Those that fail, refuse or decline to be considered for adulthood are considered minors and wards of their families or the state until such time as they begin to seek certain forms of emancipation, such as attending anything beyond a creche-school, seeking to make profit, attempting to enter into business, claiming property or exercising any of the rights reserved for citizens including participation in duelling matches over matters of honor.  Anyone who feels that they are competent to participate in Polite Society, especially in these sorts of areas, either proves themself fit and competent, or they are designated incompetent.  There's no middle-ground.  Either you are capable and willing to make healthy, appropriate choices and take your place within Polite Society as a functional adult, or you are incapable, unwilling or deliberately refusing to do so.

Those people deemed incompetent are placed into probation by the Courts and allowed to participate in the various remedial therapies and techniques offered by the Clinics.  When they reach the minimum level of stability, capability and discernment established for an adult they are welcome to be tested in order to prove themself as an adult and integrate into Polite Society.  Should they persist in refusing to participate in remedial hygiene, and voluntarily reject society's attempts to integrate them, then they either accept exile or they are remanded to the custody of an Asylum-Chateau.

To do anything less would be uncivilized.

Asylum-Chateaus are not exactly the same as Gulag-Asylums, though they do have distinct similarities, and in at least one instance, the Asylum-Chateau of Diodati, they do serve double-duty as a refuge for the voluntarily incompetent and the deliberately criminal.  But usually, the Asylum-Chateaus are places of refuge, sanctuary and isolation where those remanded into their care live peaceful, if restrained and stunted lives.  Always the offer is before them, to receive such prosthetics or implants or mods as would enable them to see more clearly the faulty logic of their childish arguments or the warped thinking at the root of their discontent, discomfort and ennui.  But nothing is forced upon them. They cannot be allowed to walk about society freely as they are not responsible, and refuse to take responsibility, for their actions.  To allow them to go free would be the height of irresponsibility on the part of society.  That was the way things were done during the Age of Toxicity, but no more.  To allow a damaged individual to perpetuate their damage freely unto others who did not opt for such treatment is unacceptable and Polite Society intervenes to protect itself and its members from such an abusive situation.

Those flawed and fractured individuals obsessed with dominance-dramas and infatuated with violence are often those who seek exile as an option.  There is a sort of romantic Thoreau-esque appeal to roughing it out in the vastly distant Wildernesses beyond all the Known Worlds.  But Walden was written by a guy living in his parent's cabin and who had his mother doing his laundry on a regular basis.  Still, there are those who persist.  The non-conformists who uniformly reject what they do not know and embrace an idealized solution to all their problems propounded in ignorance and fear.  But such is their right, and who is to say that they are entirely wrong?  Polite Society is not about conformity, despite the misintrepretation of those who refuse to avail themselves of the moral prosthetics and intelligence enhancements freely provided to those in need.  It is about informed consent, voluntary committment and the pursuit of excellence within a shared, mutual framework of Liberty, Community and Personal Merit.  But these are people who do not listen.  They already are absolute in their convictions and beliefs.  They see no place for themselves in this milieu and so seek to escape it, to remove themselves from it, to go out past the farthest buoy or marker and to enter into the unknown that they might begin afresh and start over from scratch (though few of them truly know or appreciate what that really, truly means...)

According to their wishes, they are sent up-river or down-river or out through one of the Sea-Gates to a place very far removed, extremely remote, and isolated where they have no responsibility to society and society absolves itself of any further responsibility to them.  They are left to their own devices and seeing as how they rejected society, they are not given anything more than the bare minimum deemed appropriate by consensus; the means for creating shelter, procuring food, and protecting themself from predators.  They have voluntarily rejected their inheritance, and so few resources are squandered upon them for they are seen as little better than petulant infants and ungrateful ignoramuses who are best forgotten -- however there is always a slight chance that perhaps they might be some sort of progenitor of a tribe of Noble Savages, or the forebears of some distant offshoot of humanity.  Perhaps they will encounter the mysterious Tribes that are out along the Periphery of the Known Worlds.  Possibly they might find their way into any number of isolated enclaves or villages set-up in the Far Wilderness by potentially like-minded rugged individualists.  Maybe they'll learn how to survive beyond the Deep Infrastructure, bereft of the everpresent nanosphere's support systems.  Or not.

It is a grim business for most, and a fatal one for those not truly prepared to begin with nothing but their own two good hands in a wilderness reserved just for them.  There are those who call this Coventry, but their reasons are unclear and probably antiquated.  But the persons choosing this exile are of little interest to Civilization as so very few ever find their way back.  Most live and die out past the Perimeter and are never heard of or from ever again.

But not all such individuals choose exile.  In fact, most who voluntarily defer their adulthood out of a refusal to submit to therapeutic enhancement or adjustment instead seek admittance to one of the Asylum-Chateaus.  The most pleasant and well-known of the Asylum-Chateaus are those located upon various small islands on the River Senube, mostly past the Low Esplanades and out amongst the Estuarial Regions.  There are a few others, but below you will find a list of the Twelve Asylum-Chateaus that are the most common and least exclusive ones available. 
  1. Jindrath
  2. Malkinth
  3. Vasmar
  4. Diodati
  5. Zed-Gilead
  6. Louvet
  7. Moliere
  8. Zudesh
  9. Gascar
  10. Siendu
  11. Thiedmont
  12. Poijume
Asylum-Chateaus are, in general, surrounded by drone-cultivated gardens, rorschach-topiaries, floral-mazes, and comforting statuary.  The various paths, walkways, delicate bridges, private gazebos and other areas of the grounds are meticulously maintained by discrete robotics, with a few Nebru, Dryanni, Nymphs or the like on-staff for lending a more organic, human-ish touch to things.  Embalmbees sometimes tend the wildflowers surrounding the Asylum-Chateau grounds.  These are sanctuaries of peace and tranquility well-suited to contemplation, deep thought, meditation and coming to terms with things.  Recovered, Rediscovered, and Retrocarnate peoples are often referred to one of these places to help in their re-orientation and re-assimilation process.  Louvet, Moliere and Zudesh all serve the needs of those coming out of Monte Lazarre and the Helical Cathedrae.  Siendu specifically focuses upon the needs of those experiencing troublesome or difficult reincarnatory traumas, such as those not fully integrating into their new bodies, etc.

Others, such as Poijume, Vasmar and Diodati are not what they used to be and few go to these places any more.  Vasmar is particularly notorious for the breakdown of its clinics and the deranged massacres that took place there during the Second Revolution.  It is rumored to be a very bad place to visit and occupies a place of silence and dreadful repose in the middle of the Misericorde Canal.  Even Navarre might think twice before entering those unhallowed and restless grounds.

All Asylum-Chateaus have one or more private, limited-access gates to various therapeutic locations, often isolated sub-estates located on marginal worlds outside of the bounds of those most commonly accessed publicly via the Plazas, River-gates, Sea-gates, etc.  In almost all cases, these therapeutic locales are only accessible via the Asylum-Chateaus.  This is a very valuable thing to those who would consider taking over one of the more run-down and no longer registered or active Asylum-Chateaus.  There are literally hundreds of obscure and mostly unexplored worlds that can only be reached by way of the gates locked away behind the sanctuary walls of the Asylum-Chateaus.  But only a few are unregistered such as Thiedmont, and even fewer are unclaimed or abandoned such as Gascar.  No one has trespassed the grounds of Gascar since the cannibal-plague wiped-out its staff and did unmentionable things to the inmates over seventy-five years ago.  Nor has anyone visited the silent grounds of Malkinth since the first part of the last century even though it appears to be perfectly functional, entirely circumspect and completely up-to-date on all its records and reports.  One would do well to keep in mind that what is officially entered into a public-access database might not be as accurate a depiction of reality as one might otherwise hope or expect.  There are those who lurk furtively behind unregistered walls and some things prefer not to comply with the niceties of Polite Society though they dwell deep within its very heart.

There are gangs, roving bands and groups of thrill-seekers who deliberately seek out such places as Gascar or Thiedmont in order to trespass on purpose, record their clandestine explorations and either explode urban myths or stage elaborate hoaxes for the fun of it all.  So far none have returned from Thiedmont and those that have escaped Gascar have destroyed their apparatus, deleted all their files and left the city if not the world.  Those very, very few who have escaped, and not one has done so intact.  Yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...