Let’s Talk About Sects

So in my world featured in Sojourners of Shadows – our world in the future, but changed by supernatural and scientific events – we have cyborgs, and these beings are broken up into sects. Now there are those who go their own way, some are even forced to. Of these, some walk the earth alone, surviving as they can, while others team up with who or whatever they can, in order to live, overcome or ascend in rank.

But for the main part, cyborgs live in organisations, the same organisations that created them. Cyborgs cannot be born cyborgs. They begin human. When a child is born within a sect, it is worked on and developed as it grows up. To this child, this is neither unusual or wrong. It is all part of becoming a cyborg. Not all are born within a sect, though. Many humans are captured and converted. Some go willingly, but most do not. For cyborgs, they are helping the humans. For humans, cyborgs are an enemy to be dreaded.

To understand my cyborgs and their sects, we need to go back to the beginning. When the Shadow World is unleashed, the human race responds in various ways, often acting desperately and rapidly. The shackles come off. Cyborgs are created in certain parts of the world so that improved soldiers can be sent into battle. This is also the origin for super-soldiers, the superior mutants bred to win. Cyborgs were obviously more expensive and harder to make, however, so the process was more selective. The technology was difficult too. Some of it was shared around to increase the capabilities of all nations to defend themselves, but not all of it.

When cyborgs proved their worth – in battle but also that it was possible at all – the military took as much control of it as they could, but others were involved, and people in general wanted more of a say. Many feared these robot-humans, others revered them. More soldiers were altered, but soon rich people began to have minor work done. They also funded further development so their adapted additions were superior. Also, they sought to look less robotic. Of course, those in it for the power and might pushed for a more mechanical side.

Soon the debate was on. Should a cyborg be more human, more machine, or seek a balance?

But the cyborgs represented change. Everything was changing then. Nations were collapsing. Droids and mutants were being made. Magic was soaring. The social structures people were so used to were collapsing. Many welcomed it.

For a long time before the Shadow World was brought to ours, people were looking for change. Many people looked at our race and loathed it. Greed, corruption, sloth, ignorance – all the usual traits we exhibit so well were, according to many, bringing about our end. There were cults seeking the apocalypse, others merely hoping for some kind of great transformation.

Cyborgs became a major draw to such people. This was the time for people to ascend to a new level of existence.

Of course, there were many who believed that being a cyborg was too privileged a status to allow just anyone to join up.

Jamshid was, and still is, a man of two cultures – east and west – who used his considerable wealth and influence to gain a lead in the cyborg world. He and his associates were having advanced changes made to their bodies long before it became an option for the masses. He has nothing but disdain for this later development. He created the Order of Exclusive Excellence so that his elite could remain so. They are few but well protected in their base. They recruit, but those chosen have to prove themselves via rigorous testing. Their standards are high and their manner in handling qualification is ruthless.

The Grand Master was once a general and a God-fearing one at that. A patriot too. When the nations fell and the institutions he held so dear were overrun, he lost his faith in God and in defending his people. Cyborg soldiers were the future but to be unfettered by commitments to such ideals. Yet he knew the power of religion and the military. So he created the Order of Mechanised Tyranny. This was a sect that chose unity over individuality, that carried all the rigour and obedience that religion and the military could bring, yet without a god to pander to or a civilian population to be burdened with. They are the most aggressive of the cyborg sects. The most feared as well.

When the masses were given the chance to join the new cyborg race, those that did seek it received lesser work and had to obey various masters at first. Then came Prime. He was a preacher and leader of a cult that had hoped for a major change in humanity for some time. He saw this as their only hope for survival. He proclaimed that the human race could not survive in this new world. He urged his followers and many more to seek the change. When they did, he pushed for more. As authority grew weak, as the Grand Master led his troops away and Jamshid withdrew into hiding, Prime’s people took control. Thus began the Order of the Hybrid Complex. This was to be a collection of beings who had free will, who were united by choice and a shared dream, and who followed a balance of machine and human. They grew worldwide to be a numerous sect.

Prime, Jamshid and the Grand Master are three beings who knew the world before everything changed. They are most likely the only three such left. They are far more machine than man by now, yet not one has lost the fervour and focus that led them to becoming these leaders. Each still seeks to prevail over the others as well, along with the many other powers and forces around the world.

These are not the only cyborg sects. There is the Order of Symbiotic Harmony, where unity is sought, to the extent that thoughts are monitored and influenced by the leader. The Order of the Original Construct is a sect most believe to be no more, where the machine was dominant to such an extent few resembled humans any more. There is also the Order of Organic Triumph, which is very strong on individuality and puts the human over the machine.

There are more besides these.

Being a cyborg isn’t simply a case of being a human with robotic parts. Not for the most part. Some loners are mercenaries, others work as weapon-makers, and there is even the occasional self-made cyborg. But for the vast majority of cyborgs they are involved in a constant war of ideology. Being a cyborg is a way of life. There can be no compromising. There can be no peace. All sects war with each other in their pursuit of reclaiming a world currently lost to chaos and strife.

Of course, their division is to the advantage of everyone else. A united cyborg race would likely sweep over humans and mutants and monsters alike. Even other machines.

We’ll talk more about all of them later.

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