“Kin” And Other iDictaBrain Cults
Or, The iDictaBrain Field Guide, Part II
by Bynum Walker, Religio-Technological Historian
The iDictaBrain has existed for almost a millennium. Even now, people get awfully excited about it. Think of the days before your 16th birthday. Remember how you felt, in those days before your iDictaBrain was switched On for the first time. You probably swung between Total Eagerness and Stark Terror. You could not imagine what it would be like, and trying to do so was your constant occupation. Try, Agent, to inhabit that headspace once again. I know it is hard, because obviously you can’t just load it up and relive the feeling, as you could for headspaces occurring after you were switched On. But try.
Now, imagine that iDicta tech is fairly new. Imagine that you are a psychotic First Adopter, your lobotomy scars still visible upon your brow, and your vision occasionally interrupted by the nightmare creatures of your own imagination, as were the iDicta Pioneers of 2590. You are different from the human beings you pass by on the street. They have no linked Avatar within the iDictaCloud. They are shadows to you. The glowing reality of things has moved inside you. Now, the iDicta-less majority seem to you but one step above the beasts that perish. And, to them, you are a monster, and your scars are but the outward sign of this monstrosity.
Your family is afraid of what you have become. They do not understand that you have mutilated yourself for anything other than a passing fad. They do not see that the seed of the future is now planted in your skull. If you visit, talk is cautious, and full of long silences. For you, these silences are full of interaction, full of exploration. You might be exchanging snaps, your family’s terrified faces for their family’s terrified faces, with a fellow Pioneer in Bengal or New York, who happens to be undergoing the same ordeal as you are at this moment. You might be seeing, not the tatty suburban living room of your childhood home, but the streets of a foreign land, as you enjoy a Holiday of the Head, courtesy of Goggle (formerly Google). Or you might be seeing the nightmare-creatures universally reported by Pioneers. In any case, for you, the silence is full. What the silence is for your family you find it hard to conceptualize. You are already apart.
Or think of the hedonistic days of the 2700s, when prenatal implantation was available only for those who could afford the tremendous (and deliberately inflated) expense of the procedure. Imagine that you are a member of this digital Upper Class. You qualify for the right sort of school, and you are equipped from your birth for the sort of career that will ensure that your children, too, will get that vital prenatal implant. Imagine your sneering contempt for the scars of the social-climbing middle classes, or for the digitally unenlightened hand-held devices of the destitute. Imagine the feeling of belonging you have with others of your class.
Really, if you think about it, it is no surprise that iDicta tech has been at the center of so many cults over the centuries. The feeling of belonging is pre-loaded. All it needs is a spark, and this feeling flames into madness.
Also called: Kinfolk, (s)Kin, The New Flesh
First known Kin “Upgrade”: 2684
Ideology: The idea as presented in the recruiting literature is that, by joining Kin, you are joining a digital family, one that you have chosen for yourself, and not one assigned to you by the randomness of natural processes. The actual idea, which cult members discover after receiving the Kin Upgrade (if they can be said to individually discover anything, ever again), is that each cult member is now a part of a gigantic single mind.
Upon Receiving Upgrade: First, a personality sim is generated. This is to prevent Kin membership from becoming obvious to the member’s friends, family, etc. It will ensure that the member still superficially acts and sounds as before. Then, the new member is Connected. Henceforth, the member will form a part of the thought processes of Kin. Sometimes, Kin has goals; usually, all it wants is to claim more new members.
Complications: Sometimes, several Kin enclaves exist at once. In that case, each Kin differentiates itself from the others. A Name is chosen; a personality arises. Generally, the extant Kins are rivals, and members kill rival members on sight. Sometimes, however, there is romance, and even, in a hideous way, love.
The most famous example of this romantic tendency is the case of Cyndi and Juan, two Kin-entities of the late 29th century. When a fertile member of one of these cults met a fertile member of the other cult, mating was always attempted. The children of such unions were initiated at birth, not into either the Cyndi-Kin or the Juan-Kin, but into a Kin called David. Unfortunately for the David-entity, initiation at birth meant that no personality sim could be generated, and thus members of David were so disturbingly different that they were confined to lunatic asylums or killed by angry mobs, and thus David could not act in the world or find his own romantic partner for his followers to mate with.
Mode/Locus of Conversion: Revival Meetings, Press-Gangs.
Danger to Agents: Extreme. The Upgrade is Intelligent and flexible, and, if necessary, all the brain-power of all other members will be brought to bear upon a new conversion. This means that your iDictaBrain, though it is terrifyingly advanced in comparison with those of the usual new members of a Kin, can be comprehended and subverted. You, Agent, may end your days as a member. Do not enter the Kin Upgrade Perimeter. If you suspect you are near such a Perimeter, scan. Look for Avatars that seem almost inactive in conjunction with high levels of iDicta activity.
The Kindly Ones
Also Called: The Good People, Nicists.
First known Kindly One Upgrade: 2739
Ideology: Human Nature is inherently wicked. With the help of the iDictaBrain, this can be corrected.
Upon Receiving Upgrade: The convert will be loaded with a list of forbidden thoughts and actions. Thereafter, all examples of forbidden thoughts and actions will trigger the pain-receptors of the brain, thus punishing the convert.
Complications: Well, there are several problems here. For one thing, the usual list of Forbidden Thoughts and Actions tends to reflect an intolerant and repressive moral code. Another problem is that the Punish.exe is not very sophisticated, and thus may, for example, punish you for an extra-marital affair for kissing your spouse, if your spouse has recently updated his, her, or their Avatar.
Mode/Locus of Conversion: Kindly Outreach Clinics, Prisons
Danger to Agents: Moderate. The Conversion will not work on you, but your advanced tech will be detected.