A few of our readers explained they had some difficulty accepting various aspects of the Cadre Soldiers’ lifestyle in Angry Ghosts.
“How could the Cadre have forgotten Earth?”
“Why are they so cold and militaristic?”
“Why is emotion such a sin?”
Excellent questions, and we’re glad you asked. To answer them, we’re posting a continuity draft on the forgotten history of Cadre One:
A small, black budget research facility, located in a remote solar system, witnessed the attacks which eradicated humanity from Earth and the colonies. Due to the illegal nature of genetic research occurring there, the facility was a closely guarded military secret, giving it life saving anonymity. Supply trains were designed to be infrequent to protect its secrecy; and because none were coming or going at the time of the attacks, the enclave escaped all notice of the invaders.
The researchers watched terrified, frenzied transmissions from ships trying to escape Earth’s destruction. Once all transmissions ceased, however, the enclave knew their homeworld was annihilated. They turned to one another and to the metallic confines of their outpost, contemplating a dismal and uncertain future. With so few resources, it was clear they could not endure forever. Food, air, water, all the systems which provided for their life support required replenishment periodically. And they required constant maintenance.
Worst of all, the balance of male to female survivors was heavily lopsided toward men. Relationships strained under the wanted and unwanted attentions. Personal assaults escalated in brutality, and it was not long before jealousy became murderous.
The enclave faced an unimaginable possibility: the last survivors of humanity may drive themselves to extinction. The event rattled the enclave to its core. The murderer was held in isolation as a Star Chamber of senior officers decided his fate. In the final moments of the chamber meeting, the enclave’s only law was formed: “Anyone who harms, or allows to be harmed, another human is a threat and must leave.” The murderer was exiled by the other researchers, banished from the outpost in a small, unsteerable capsule to die in deep space.
Such passions were an obvious threat not just to harmony but to survival. To minimize future incidents, the researchers worked on a pharmaceutical curbing libidinal instincts. The libidinal inhibitors had an unexpected but welcome side effect of diminishing emotions, as well. Users of the drug felt less bound by depression, loss, anguish, and fear. Without such distracting thoughts, the enclave was able to focus entirely on what was practical. Productivity soared.
For a time, resources held out, yet the limits of the gene pool were clear. Planned pregnancies yielded fewer viable children, the rest terribly defected. With so much health risk to the females, and their inability for strenuous work during pregnancy, it was decided viviparous reproduction was no longer acceptable. The enclave officers discussed and planned a new facility to incubate future generations. To offset the genetic defects, the researchers applied the knowledge gained from their genetic experimentation.
The new breed benefited from enhanced musculature, acute senses, sharp intellects, lightning reflexes. But in their blundering through the genome, the researchers created many who were hopelessly insane, autistic, or sociopathic. These individuals were initially lobotomized to recover, at the least, their labor potential.
With additional experimentation, the enclave learned how to integrate small chipsets into the lobotomized brains which could be programmed with tasks. These “reconstitutes” become the lowest echelon in a newly emerging society.
Free from any kind of oversight or moral restriction, the enclave expanded on the syntheses of man and machine, advancing the combination of human brain and powerful processors. After years of experimentation, they were ready to try integrations with healthy brains.
For centuries, the outpost endured by enhancing their recycling processes and carving resources from the rocky asteroid. Yet it was clear resources would not last forever. Eventually, someone must leave the enclave to collect resources.
But how? From where?
The enclave turned its telescopes to space and searched, receiving occasional broadcasts from enemy ships deep in space. Everywhere they looked, the enemy was nearby, and the frustrated people argued at length over what should be done.
At last, they realized the alien ships were the best targets of all, abundant with machinery, fuel, life support, nutrients. Forced by their desperation, all of the enclave’s production bent to their new goal of capturing and collecting an alien vessel.
Bit by bit, art, music, and literature fell to the pragmatism of daily survival. New machines required new programs to operate, cramping the already stuffed memory banks. Data on life outside the enclave became unaffordable luxury, even data on their home world, Earth. With computer storage space so limited and the scale of their designs so large, all data not immediately required for survival was crowded from the system’s memory. Efforts were made to preserve Earth’s memory by verbal tradition, but each generation inherited a greater workload from the previous. Less class time was devoted to the verbal passage of memory in favor of more practical, useful instruction.
The General of the enclave watched the effect on his people, saw how they were losing themselves in longing for Earth, for their ancestral home and its promise of better life. He decided such distractions were ultimately counter-productive, and he ordered any remaining data on Earth and the colonies destroyed. There is no more Earth, he explained. No reason it should still be getting in our way. As he expected, productivity increased.
The General maintained a basic file for himself and for future Generals, that should the opportunity arise, they might someday return. But over the decades, the file was repeatedly lost to system errors and failures. It had to be rebuilt from human memory. Details became abstracts, definites became approximations. Eventually there was no point to maintaining any file at all, and the knowledge of Earth became a verbal tradition, passed from one General to the next.
Capturing an enemy ship meant risking their life saving secrecy. There was no misunderstanding: discovery meant extinction. Hence, great precautions were taken to conceal their soldiers’ identity during attack. They planned carefully, designing a non-reflective transport, selecting the best soldiers and equipping them with overwhelming firepower, devising tactics, accounting for every contingency they could conceive. For decades they toiled. At long last, a team of three soldiers was ready, and they were dispatched to wait along a deep-space lane of travel.
With utmost solemnity, the soldiers ambushed an enemy freighter, killed all aboard, and returned home with their quarry. Enriched by supplies from the captured ship, the enclave was sated. In time, however, even these resources ran low, and it became necessary to collect again.
The enclave had grown.