Aut'akh

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Unathi
U. Sapiens / Sinta'Unathi
Autakimagedone.png
Home System: Uueoa-Esa
Homeworld: Moghes, Ouerea
Language(s): Sinta'Unathi, Sinta'Azaziba
Political Entitie(s): The Aut'akh Valley / The Communes

Overview

The Aut'akh are a decentralized, leaderless religious movement and society. Formed by a group of scientists and engineers on Ouerea after the Contact War, they took the Th'akh faith to extremes through ritualistic augmentation in the pursuit of self-actualization. After revealing themselves to the galaxy, these transhumanists seek to carve out a small space for themselves wherever they can seek refuge. Many disabled and elderly form these religious communes that seize and control their own spiritual destiny, and others who feel displaced by society - Guwan, those who claim their bodies and souls do not align, and even those of other species - they are found within these communes as well.

However, this cultish movement does not go unanswered: the Sk'akh faith publicly ridicules these tech worshipers, calling them "soul mutilators" and "a disgrace to sinta." On top of this, though being based on the faith, most if not all Th'akh shamans adamantly denounce the religion as honor-less Guwan. Finally, each commune faces unique challenges in trying to fulfill their own lifestyles and adapt to different climates.

Anarchists and Non-traditionalists

Aut'akh prescribe to the belief that, to appease the soul within, one must emulate the free spirit of a soul. In doing so, the radical religion has stepped away from the traditions and practices of unathi society, though almost all of them struggle to truly leave them behind. The biggest point of contention for Aut'akh is the clan hierarchy. These Aut'akh believe the spirits all view each other as kin should they act kindly to one another, and thus Aut'akh view each commune being closer to one big clan. After this, a majority of Aut'akh believe the caste system to be flawed. Simply put, it is used to keep power over others, and spirits do not have any rules or advisors they have to listen to, according to Aut'akh. The result is Aut'akh avoiding authority wherever they can, especially when it is used to their detriment. Lastly, a smaller number of these unathi dislike how society ostracizes those that do not fit into its rigid ideals. Guwan and those that feel they do not truly fit within the norms for men or women flock to Aut'akh, which only helps bolster their numbers.

However, even though they are considered radical by unathi standards, like all religions, most Aut'akh are not extremists and do not automatically resort to violence. NanoTrasen would not take to hiring extremists, so avoid direct conflict and lean on minor acts of disobedience, expressing your ideals to others (as any good cult should!), and perhaps not being too friendly with command, though even security and command might just be seen as cogs in the corporate machine. This said, some extremists do manage to slip through the cracks every now and then.

Augments and Prosthetics

Unathi are a proud and stubborn race, embedded in tradition even when going against it. Unathi prefer to have unathi-crafted augments and prosthetics, and thus, Aut'akh augments were created - combinations of modern prosthesis and brute force.

Aut'akh have a selection of unique augment and prosthetic options to choose from.

  • Arm and Leg prosthetics - Simple yet sturdy, Aut'akh limbs are extremely customized by shamans in the communes. They can often include Th'akh scripture or names of the individuals ancestors inscribed into the metal to imbue it with spiritual energy, along with other Mador runes and symbols.
  • Soul Anchor - A soul anchor is a mirror or a piece of glass placed behind the eyes. To Aut’akh, a soul anchor is a house to concentrate the soul. Many Aut'akh swear by it, and say that communing with their spirit is easier after having it installed. Usually, these objects are written with a name, place, object, or word with great value to the unathi having it added to them.
  • Calf Overdrive - Originally created with stolen pistons from a Hephaestus mining droid on Ouerea in the Aut'akh Valley, its design has been replicated and made even more dangerous by removing the safety mechanisms usually in place. These pistons, installed into the rear calves, give sheer power to a Unathi's speed at the cost of being extremely damaging to the body.
  • Protein Breakdown Valve - A small valve on the body that releases a traditional Unathi medicine into the stomach - forcing rapid digestion for immediate adrenal stimulation. Causes long-term damage to the stomach that must be cured with a hearty herbal tea, prayer, and rest.
  • Venomous Rest Implant - A small compartment connected to the blood system that administers a traditional Unathi healing agent: the venom of a Moghesian wasp.
  • Farseer's Eye - Augmented eyes to allow far-sight, though it strains the eyes heavily with use. Originally made by a shaman in the Wasteland constantly being chased by Maraziites, he traded his only weapons for a Hephaestus drone lens, and then crafted it into an eye-patch binocular. This was later replicated by his meeting with the Aut'akh Valley, and then the process repeated throughout the rest of the communes.
  • Hunter's Eye, Eye Flashlight - Augmented eyes that glow brightly red, used for intimidation and utility. Used by communes that work to undermine Hephaestus' power, the hunters that use these do not hunt for food: instead, hunting Hephaestus robots for their parts. Primarily seen use in the Aut'akh Valley and the Wasteland.

Job Restrictions

Due to a mix of religious and political views, Aut'akh are barred from command roles.

Unorthodox Names

Some unathi, especially those who denounce and leave their clan, take up a new name as their body is cleansed and reborn as an Aut'akh. These names vary, but usually the name has a key meaning. Origins for a lot of the mysticism in the religion come from the old Sinta'Mador, and thus some Aut'akh pick a word or combination of them from this ancient civilization’s language as their last name.

Whether your Aut'akh chooses a new last name is up to you, and whether or not it fits the character overall. With a name, consider what it means in Mador and why your character would opt for this word. (Since this is a dead language that isn't used in game, feel free to get creative!)

Lifestyle

The Aut'akh religion has aspects that deter from more conventional and traditional faiths. The faith, due to its polarizing and radical nature, doubles as a form of lifestyle for everyone who truly prescribes to its philosophies. More of the core tenets can be found here.

Each group of Aut'akh, formally referred to as communes, are clan-less and leaderless societies that seek to avoid putting power into any one individual. Responsibilities that require consolidated power are never solely on one person; any specific role has a rotation of people from the commune that pass off responsibilities after a certain period of time. Such roles might be managing and keeping track of credit stores, managing community projects, or even jobs that lack any true form of power over others but need to be done regardless, such as delivering and sending mail. Aut'akh shamans are the only considerable people of power, and are usually go-to figures when a commune needs representation in a matter. However, many Aut'akh are divided on whether or not these shamans are truly necessary outlets of the faith.

Besides such roles, each person leads a simpler life in the commune, where everyone is technically responsible only for themselves. Communes often have a very tight sense of community in a way that resembles how clans operated before. Trading is normalcy for each commune as most people do not have the skills or time to perform each task they need done themselves. These trades usually come down to routine due to familiar interactions with a small populace. While credits are still held by the commune as a whole for purchasing power with the outside world, material wealth is something that is sometimes avoided; most wealth goes towards attempting enlightenment via augmentation.

Usually, most prosthetics are made painstakingly slow from scrap and various items that other people throw out. Due to the lack of resources each commune utilizes, a given commune usually waits for the Factory to ship out requested replacements and simply "fit" them to Aut'akh in the commune; however, due to struggles in communication in tandem with other problems, Aut'akh must each wait in turn to receive new biotech.

Finally, Aut'akh that seek to liberate themselves from the bounds of society often experiment and partake in unorthodox practices for unathi, only solidifying these groups as cults. Forgoing labels is rather common, yet it goes far into extremes such as non-monogamous relationships and even nudity within the commune, though many "traditional" Aut'akh frown upon these considerably more radical practices.

Becoming an Aut'akh

Connecting with your spirit requires true emulation of a spirit's nature. In addition to living a life devoid of authority wherever possible, commune denizens put great effort into art or shows of self-expression. The truest form of self-expression, however, is connected to an Aut'akh's choice of limbs, augments, and similar. Much like how people commission artists for paintings, Aut'akh request prosthetics from a capable roboticist in the commune. Such figures that are able to make prosthetics are sometimes the shamans themselves; however, most communes cannot cheaply produce the main body of an augment or member, and thus requests are sent out to other communes, namely the Factory.

The process of creating or fitting a limb for an Aut'akh is involved and painstakingly done, as there can be no room for error. The flesh can be flawed, inert, or disabled; prosthetics should only ever be an improvement, not a downgrade, as a house for the spirit. However, the spirits have petty squabbles and disagree upon a myriad of issues, and similarly, different communes have grown apart on how perfection in mechanical limbs is displayed, with even some more minor disagreements within the same commune. An Aut'akh's first responsibility, however, is making sure that new tech is made to their own liking, and nobody else's.

The most popular tech among Aut'akh is the soul anchor due to its reputation to cause "baffles." "Baffles" are moments where unexplained figures from the individuals memory randomly appear. Many who experience these often describe seeing themselves in a different way, in a different life: past, present, or future. "Baffles" are said to be moments where someone should self-reflect and attempt to commune with their spirit.

Challenges of the Commune

Due to striving towards being a self-sufficient society, communes encourage and promote useful hobbies like aquaculture, sewing, and artisan crafts. These communities, regardless of how many people being productive, often still lack certain necessities or goods. Communes often face difficulties such as shortages of food, lacking proper medicine, hygienic supplies, and construction materials. While some communes rectify this with shared stores of credits to purchase these materials, many unathi die due to illnesses that could be easily avoided elsewhere. NanoTrasen and other mega corporations have taken great advantage of the need of these communities, often enticing pay not in credits, but discounted supplies to provide for a commune. This is a helpful pursuit for any in the commune, especially for roboticists, but this can often strip a commune of an important figure.

Rarely do non-Aut'akh know any concrete information about these communes; as a result, lies and rumors are spread about Aut'akh, and while helpful for keeping these communities hidden, this only demonizes and alienates Aut'akh further. "Aut'akh," due to the radical religion itself, has become a catch-all derogatory term for troublemakers, dishonorable sinta, and even just those simply with augments or limb replacements. Extreme rebuke isn't uncommon on Moghes, but due to the mixed environment and gradual change on Ouerea, the movement is scorned less actively. Aut'akh still draw gaze and suspicion heavily on this sister planet, though. The Aut'akh Valley and the Underbelly communes often find raids done by more zealous worshipers of other religions that try to hamper their efforts. Though they try their best to defend themselves and protect the community, most warriors deter from actually killing, especially on Moghes; one wrong move from these societies can lead to a raid, an angry mob, or worse. This results in attacks on buildings, stores of food, and communication relays.

Even within communes, discrimination runs rampant. Though shedding formal titles, affiliations, and other aspects of their old selves, unathi still end up facing discrimination they tried to avoid in their past life from more "traditional" Aut'akh. This group, usually comprised of elders or former warriors, still hold onto some of their old values partially if not entirely, and thus a fight is as internal for this religion as it is external.

Commune Shamans

The various shamans of each commune are either one of the original Aut'akh, or one of the first roboticists and biomechanical engineers to join this secretive religion. Each shaman, often known as paradigms or vikneza in Sinta'Unathi, usually can agree on the core tenets of the Aut'akh faith. These shamans do their best to not command actual power within a given commune, but merely offer "humble guidance" that suggests a course of action they think reasonable.

Much like the decentralized Th'akh faith, Aut'akh shamans generally differ on views regarding different matters. The shamans of Moghes may think it fine for unathi to keep credits for personal pursuits, while those of the Factory may be inspired by local dregs, seeing anyone that is "riccy" as being corrupted by evil spirits. These shamans also have varying views on rituals, communing with your inner spirit, and vary in extremity on how to protest governments and mega corporations.

Community Consensus

Typically if an individual commune is going to perform a large action that affects the commune, the community comes together for a vote called Consensus. The most common Consensus is whether or not to risk a public march or strike for augmented unathi to be respected in society. Some vocal minorities in the communes advocate for cutting off the hands of other unathi and see if they'd listen to their cries then - however, they are often berated by the elders.

Consensus is not needed for every single decision that an individual or group might make, but on matters that affect an entire commune. Individuals know their job and how to do it without needing to call for an entire consensus. Consensus is for major projects, such as development for a new community building, an activity that can affect the fate of the commune, or if a commune is low on credits.

Rituals and Routines

Aut'akh find that, through trial and error, different things appease and displease the spirits they come into contact with during day to day life. As most spirits are free and chaotic in nature, Aut'akh emulate this and are hardly slaves to routine, unlike their Th'akh worshiping cousins. However, what unique routines they do keep are very important to them.

Cleaning

Cleaning and maintaining prosthetics is arguably the most important thing for every Aut'akh. As augmentation is committed to a unathi to appease the spirit inside of oneself, it is important to make sure they are kept clean and shiny. Aut'akh develop their own ritualistic activities for before, during, or after one of these maintaining events. Aut'akh usually have unique rituals that are either passed down from parents, or developed over time for themselves. However, even though all Aut'akh have prosthetics, most still lack the advanced knowledge to fix them. The few dedicated artisans who help fix biomechs are busy and rarely have time to teach the commune much of their trade. As a result, most Aut'akh aren't versed in fixing their prosthetics outside of minor dents and damage. It is the important role of the shaman to be the one to repair and fix these technological members in a way that will appease the spirit housing these mechanical augments.

Communing with Your Spirit

Unlike Th'akh, most Aut'akh believe that, since the flesh and blood are imperfect, there is a disconnect between what the mind wants and what the spirit wants. All Aut'akh, in their striving to attain enlightenment, attempt to commune with their inner spirit whenever an important decision needs to be made. Whether a new augmentation, finding a partner, or something as major as leaving the commune for any reason, Aut'akh attempt to commune with their spirit as best as they can. These events are rather varied; they can usually include traditional methods such as meditation, but also have the potential to carry into extremes, like overindulgence (giving into desire, as what the spirits often do) or keeping away from the outside world for several days.

Ritual of Shards

While the commune embraces anyone that accepts their teachings, the reality of resource management means that they cannot provide the augmentation that all its members strive for. Priority is given to unathi that are maimed or otherwise physically handicapped, an the steady stream of Wastelanders means that the waiting list is very long for healthy initiates. However, a fully healthy unathi of at least 14 years old can ask any shaman to initiate the ritual. What it is varies by the shaman, but the requirement is always the same: it is difficult, dangerous, and typically selfless. Most early initiates were sent hiking the frigid cold in basic gear to deliver food to a reclusive shaman in the more extreme north. In modern times they are typical quests, large or small in importance, that would try the abilities of any unathi. If the initiate survives, they are given their first prosthetic.

Ritual of Rebirth

This is the process a unathi undergoes after receiving a certain amount of augmentation. Individuals who have already experienced great pain in their life, such as being maimed or disabled, may be allowed to more quickly receive their Ritual of Rebirth due to getting attaining many prosthetics.

Unathi who are undergoing this process will be put into a Sk’au in a ritual chamber to begin the process. The individual is kept unconscious within the Sk’au as appropriate runes and magic symbols of Mador are placed along it. These runes usually carry some significance to the person undergoing this ritual; people of importance to this lucky individual are permitted and encouraged to watch. An Aut'akh shaman, completely covered in energy harnessing runes, will assist in powering the Sk’au during the process to aid and guide the process of clearing the soul. It is claimed by many that, during such a period of unconsciousness, unathi undergoing the Ritual of Rebirth are visited by sinta that have passed, they currently know, or even individuals they haven't met yet.

The original Sk’au were known as Sepulchres by the Mador, but this term has been replaced with Sk’au Sarcophagi, or just simply Sk’au. They resembled a stone sarcophagus with finely chiseled holes that conductive metal would run through. It’s believed based on Mador runes that they held a spiritual or medical purpose. They could have been used to rejuvenate their drying skin, or to try and make their bodies more like the southern Sinta’Unathi to let them survive in drier environments, but the true intention is unknown. Modern Sk’au are very similar to cryotubes made of metal and glass. When filled with cryoxadone and aided with Mador magic, it allows anyone inside the Sk'au to be put into a comatose state as their soul is cleansed.

The Old Mador

Sinta’Mador (or just Mador) are an extinct species of Sinta who lived in the north pole of Moghes until around 200,000 years ago. It’s unclear when mador split from modern unathi, and most archaeological sites and museums were tragically lost in the Contact War, with surviving evidence in the hands of the Aut’akh. What is known is that mador could not survive outside the rain forests at the poles as their bodies would rapidly dehydrate and they would die. Before their extinction, they were technologically advanced for the time with an understanding of conductivity and masonry, with the one surviving city found under the ice by the Aut’akh believed to have the capacity to house 75,000 mador. What surviving cultural and religious elements about them has been re-appropriated by the Aut’akh.

The Fall of Sinta'Mador

With climate change rapidly cooling and drying the poles and unathi migrating north into the newly temperate regions, the mador's original, unknown religions were rapidly subsumed by a single faith. They believed that their god Xiaciapot’ele had died and that his energy was dissipated into the world, throwing it into flux. The faith believed that they needed to tap into this essence and utilize it themselves to reverse the apocalypse they were facing. The mador retreated into subterranean temples they dug out as the rain forests died in the rapidly cooling climate. They used all their available skills to try and "restart" the world. It lead them to plan and build constructs and Sepulchres out of stone and conductive metal to supplement their dwindling numbers and heal their dying people. They believed these devices could be powered by runes. These devices failed, and the other rituals were unable to prevent catastrophic climate change that turned the polar regions into ice. The last mador, sealed away in their last refuges, slowly starved or died from dehydration.

Mador Runes

Runes and rituals are a large part of Aut’akh culture, with the origins of their runes coming from the ancient runic language uncovered in the Temple of the Mador that is now the homeland of the Polar Commune. The Aut’akh believe these runes have intrinsic, ancient power in them. When assembled properly, these runes are capable of amplifying or channeling the power of an individual’s soul into whatever they are crafted on. It is believed these runes can allow inanimate objects to house a soul; this is where their heavy belief in the perfection of augments and prosthetics comes from. This also lends credence among Aut’akh that synthetics are capable of housing a soul too, should they be imbibed with similar magic, as reincarnation is a common belief among them.

There are 28 letters in the traditional Mador runic alphabet, and the Aut’akh have through intensive study and divination expanded the alphabet to 33.

The lack of extensive evidence on per-historical use of the runes has not stopped modern Aut’akh from claiming entire systems of divination from what few examples are available in the Mador ruin, based on the reconstructed names of the runes and additional outside influence. The runic language has also been translated into a coding language, which is what they use to wire their prosthetics. This has the added benefit of keeping a large sum of communications and coding tactics within the commune difficult to replicate by outsiders, and renders most of their technology and augments incompatible with the technology of the other factions.

Artifacts or modern devices that Aut’akh want to imbue with magical power are labelled with words of power. A mech would have words of power scrawled on it in important locations which are meant to amplify the pilot’s spiritual energy and empower the mech's abilities. Aut’akh that frequently go into battle would chisel runes of power on their weapons or augmented bodies to channel their own spiritual energy or amplify the strength given by their ancestors.

Notable Communes

A handful of notable communes exist with their general location known to some. For now, most remain hidden, but perhaps more will come into the light with time...

The Aut'akh Valley, "the Originals"

A large commune on Ouerea surrounded by mountains, the Aut'akh Valley is birthplace of the Aut'akh religion - a place for specifically augmented unathi to find sanctuary from the violence often found against their kind in cities and towns. It is largely disconnected from any government and is heavily guarded by the Aut'akh defending the clans there with their lives. Life here is simple, and more than half of the population is elderly or disabled with augments. The area is foggy and filled with natural lakes, and the area gets cold enough to snow in the cold season.

Tajaran and human merchants often fly in trade for supplies with the community coming together to pay for shipments of meats and other goods for credits. The Valley is far from rich and actually requires workers in other cities, even other systems to supply it with credits. Tau Ceti is one of the best places for credits to be earned - Hephaestus Industries and NanoTrasen have even benefited from recruiting directly from Aut'akh Valley. Many of the begrudging recruited are the younger Aut'akh who wish to send funds back to the Valley to keep the elders fed, but resent working for such large corporations. Nonetheless, the corporations serve as ample sources of income and staging grounds for Aut'akh to preach to disgruntled employees to join the religion.

Although technically safe, the Aut'akh Valley has seen struggles - food shortages in particular. Hunters are sent out to try and collect meats, but Hephaestus mining activity in the region has completely unsettled the wildlife. Instead of coming back with meat, some more zealous hunters decide to destroy Hephaestus mining drones instead in open acts of rebellion against the mega-corporation. They then offer the valuable salvage to an Aut'akh shaman for them to recreate, repair, and modify prosthetics.

The Undercity Communes, "the Underbelly"

Beneath many cities on both Moghes and Ouerea is a small commune of Aut'akh, created by one of the original Aut'akh from Ouerea. These communes have become safe havens for some individuals. Unathi, regardless of being Aut'akh or not, come to these communes when they are in dire need - a new prosthetic, a repair from an assault, or simply for a place to sleep for a night. These communes are often heavily guarded by Aut'akh warriors set on keeping these people safe, and because of the possible danger of attacking these communes, they rarely see attack. It is not unheard of, though; whole communes have been arrested by city garrisons or lynched by mobs led by nobles.

Aut'akh offer these services and niceties as it paints them in a better light: good word of mouth experience helps fight the endless barrage of rumors. Better yet, vulnerable unathi that lean on the help Aut'akh communes provide make ample candidates for recruitment later on.

Life in the Underbelly

The Undercity communes are usually called the "Underbelly" or Alpagozo in Sinta'Unathi. They are often located in warehouses, beneath market squares, or otherwise hidden from general sight. The best way to learn about these places is word of mouth, when an Aut'akh finds someone potentially in need of a spot to stay. If someone seems to be missing a limb or struggling to move in public, an Aut'akh may attempt to speak to them - often sought out for their desire to be more able-bodied. The Aut'akh will continue to be suspicious until after they are augmented or trustworthy. Until proven trustworthy, locations of these Underbelly communes aren't disclosed. Unathi that join communes to escape the pressures of obligation and society often seek others like them to join the cause.

An Undercity commune can range in sizes, though usually there is only one per city, however spread out. The largest known one is in Skalamar, the Izweski capital, where it manages to keep itself safe in the expansive sewer system. Leaving the commune's protection requires cloth coverings, which do well enough to hide scale-colored prosthetics. Failing to leave in "improper dressing" sometimes results in detainment until they meet the requirements to leave. Some unathi even go so far as to take the scales from their dismembered limb and implant them onto their new limb - some do this from nostalgia, but many more do it to survive.

Eridani Underworld Commune, "the Factory"

In the depths of Oran under the city, a small commune of unathi have made some order out of the chaos. The first Aut'akh to come here didn't have the credits or the legal standing to make it on top in the corporate over-world; however, they did have enough muscle to clear out a mining drone factory of drug-addicted dregs. A few years is all it took for a community of Aut'akh to grow, walling off the Factory and setting up a safe spot for them to fit. Over time, the surrounding local dreg community came to accept the Aut'akh in. Even still, some have treated the augmented unathi as just another gang they have to deal with.

The Factory, also called the Ti'kaoula or "Crankshaft" in Sinta'Unathi, still respects the rules of honor, and have made promises to never leave behind unathi or even local dregs who are in need of augments. Jury-rigging the factory with the help of dreg locals, Aut'akh-fabricated augments are being made by unathi, for unathi, across the galaxy. The augments are shoddily made at first, shipped to one of the other communes on Moghes or Tau Ceti, and then customized to fit by a shaman on location.

The Eridani Underworld commune is where most of the augments for other communes come from, and has jury-rigged a telecommunications radar to communicate with other communes. Maintaining contact to Ouerea is hard, however, as the Aut'akh Valley may have their communications destroyed by local enforcers or fanatics of other faiths. On top of this, even though they are the largest producer of Aut'akh augments and biomechs, the denizens of this Eridani commune face many difficulties actually shipping them off-world.

The Razortail Enclave, "the Ruffians"

Considered a bunch of ruffians by their sister communes, the Razortail Enclave is a commune located in District 7 of Mendell City: Sin City. In order to survive in Biesel, Aut’akh participate in organized crime as hired muscle, allured to the practice by the prospect of stealing from the megacorps and Biesel’s own government to help the slums of the district. Similar to the Factory commune on Oran, the Razortail Enclave is stuck in the poorer regions of the city, trapped there by a lack of wealth and a conviction to not stray too far from their ideals; however, unlike their sister commune, these sinta do not ignore the gang conflicts of the streets, and often themselves get involved to prevent their rank from kidnappings and having their prosthetics stripped from them—a barbaric practice in the eyes of these fanatics.

These Aut’akh, like the rest, are forced to compromise their ideology to help the commune make ends meet. Whether participating in the gang life of a poor district or resigning to work for a megacorp, the Razortail Enclave struggles just like the others. Particularly successful bodyguards working for gangs are rewarded usually with custom augments and prosthetics, some kitted with combat equipment to help with their less than legal jobs. Those that receive special combat prosthetics are always the radical Aut’akh from the commune, as most of them then turn around and use them to commit more violent acts of protest against Biesel’s government. Naturally, the presence of these customized parts bar these unathi from working for megacorps, and a majority of the Razortail Enclave, while seeing the gang life as necessary, do not condone turning oneself into a living weapon.

On the less extreme and more moderate end of the spectrum, the Razortail Enclave, while racking up a reputation as a gang to the unfamiliar, are a majority of Aut’akh who either refuse violence or cannot defend themselves. As such, some of them are still able to find work doing grunt work for megacorporations and local odd jobs.

Out of all the major communes, the mortality rate for the Razortail Enclave is extraordinarily high. Like the other settlements, they lack proper supplies for medicine and nutrition, but due to the high rate of crime in their area, Aut’akh here also suffer more murders in comparison, even though they are not fueled by hate for the cultish commune.

The Luthien Pact, "the Pacters"

One of the better off communes, the Luthien Pact was formed as a joint co-op between Zavodskoi and NanoTrasen on the barely breathable planet of Luthien. In return for being given an environment to sustain themselves, Aut’akh and synthetics work side by side with these megacorps’ top scientists to help run experiments and keep the regulated biodome running with old fashioned blue-collar labor. However, this situation also leads to no pay being awarded to the denizens of this arcology; some Luthien Pact denizens leave to work elsewhere in the Republic for NanoTrasen and forward their funds back to the commune; others hold out hope the Factory will pull through with a rare shipment of prosthetics to their secluded colony.

Aut’akh and synthetics alike were chosen for these harsh climates due to their ability to adapt, as well as the vulnerable situations both groups find themselves in. The resulting proximity of IPCs to the Aut’akh faith, in addition to the Aut’akh belief that synthetics can house souls when properly ordained, has led to a notable handful of synthetics converting to the Aut’akh religion. The unathi of this commune look up to these IPCs, seeing their form as the ‘end goal’ for Aut’akh of their kind. Nevertheless, this lofty ambition is still decades away from coming to fruition, and a majority of the commune here have only just received their first augment or prosthetic.

The scientists working at the Luthien Pact focus their studies primarily on two things. The Zavodskoi workers build advanced technology and test it out in the badlands, and NanoTrasen xenoscientists study alien creatures and their capacity to evolve in new environments. The burlier Aut’akh and IPCs accompany either group in case things go awry (and they usually do), and deaths related to these workplace accidents make up for the lack of discrimination-based killings they would usually see elsewhere.

History

Aut'akh came to prominence around the 2440s as more and more unathi caught wind of these unorthodox zealots.

Damage from the War

The Contact War left some unathi with permanent scars, both emotional and physical. Immediately after the war, prosthetics were widely unheard of and unavailable to the populace. Not only were they somewhat expensive to construct, but importing and delivering them became an entirely new set of obstacles, leaving these vital replacements largely unattainable by unathi for a long time.

Strong hatred from some warriors was reserved as a result of the end of this bitter, destructive conflict. Their resentment for losing the war and feeling emasculated coalesced into fervent despising of any kind of government: the Izweski for winning, and the former Coalition for failing to protect them. These scant, former warriors, scarred by their losses, remained largely in the Wasteland. They received help where plausible, especially from unathi helping with relief efforts on Ouerea.

Arrival of the Conglomerate

Some human and skrell groups started raising awareness of the situation on the nuclear-blighted planet; while some saw this as a charitable pursuit to aid devastated communities, others recognized the chance for profit. The Hegemon of the time, Hegemon S'kresti, though siding with and welcoming these foreigners, decided to keep an arm's length after the immediate repercussions of the Contact War, and kept any outside groups to Ouerea. He required their relief to be done through Ouerea and sent to the Hegemony after as a simple precaution.

A vessel from the Techno-Conglomerate was one of the first notable factions to stop at Ouerea and begin their relief efforts. However, NanoTrasen saw the potential of Ouerea as a staging ground for new business, and during this period of recovery from near-extinction, the mega corporation helped supply the Conglomerate with materials to make more prosthetics for unathi in need. NanoTrasen had only one stipulation: unathi who take up these prosthetics come work for them until their debts for these new limbs are paid off, after or during which they would be deposited on Ouerea. As a result of this promise, Wastelanders were given an opportunity to leave the forsaken touched lands and become whole again, all the while bringing their ideologies with them after a few years to the fledgling planet.

The Techno-Conglomerate was the introduction to unathi regarding the capabilities of technology interfacing with living beings. The abilities of these transhumanists dumb-founded some unathi and frightened others. A few of the unathi that lost the war had a revelation: the flesh, in its current form, was easily corrupted, frail, and weak. It cannot heal itself after a major loss, and can become sick due to the work of malign spirits. Thus, these embittered veterans became the first of the radical Aut'akh.

A Cult is Born

Led by the newly reborn paradigm Emzal Paossini, Ouerea proved to be an effective staging ground for the budding cult. With their fascination with the old ways of Sinta’Mador, paired with the technology and new “golems” of the Techno Conglomerate, Paossini combined their knowledge of the two into the first understanding of the Aut’akh cult. Due to conservative views being softened, most people of the planet did not actively work to remove or punish the first few of this religion for their ideals. The founders chose a spot to settle in a relatively discrete corner of the world: Hinshaw Valley, commonly known now as Aut'akh Valley. Construction began on the starting of a settlement by the more laborious unathi, while the rest went into nearby towns to preach the word of their revelation.

Appropriately, most Ouereans rebuked this message, and for a couple years this religion failed to pick up any momentum, remaining banished to an old valley. However, after a small handful of roboticists and zealots were recruited, they quickly taught each other the fundamentals for either role: the shamans taught these mechanics essentials for being a pillar of faith, while mechanics began the arduous process of teaching biomechanical engineering. The religion truly began to blossom when those preaching its ideals could show off their work and revitalized bodies.

Outsiders Welcome

Over time, Aut'akh began to develop their ideals. They saw that power was not solely corrupt: society itself was trained to keep people down due to this power. They learned anecdotally from fellow Aut'akh, that clans were ruled by powerful matriarchs who kept the clan under their thumb; nobility simply despised the idea of others gaining their status; ultimately, these evils were the result of powerful spirits manipulating weak, frail flesh, and thus detaching a body from the true desires of their soul.

These beliefs led to a variety of outsiders finding these radicals as appealing. Firstly, Wastelanders make wonderful additions to the cult; many already resent the Hegemony usually, and their opposition to this power provides a good point of relation for indoctrination. They also usually are impaired in some way, and the promise of being restored or even placed beyond their former body's limitations can be an appealing aspect. Next, those that feel they are ostracized from society due to their strict views on the sexes also find home here, due to that group and Aut'akh both being outsiders. Finally, even Guwan are allowed to join since these communes adopt clan-less structures.

Regardless of who joins and what they believe, Aut'akh still face discrimination from other Aut'akh, usually subtly. It takes time to train behavior and prejudice, and due to the religion being fairly new, traditional unathi within these communes often look down on various sinta who are normally considered in different castes.

The Forsaken Sinta

Unathi originally thought prosthetics to be helpful and game-changing: who wouldn't want to be in a fully capable body? A large portion of unathi, Izweski or traditionalists, were scarred by the Contact War. This was originally seen as the solution to restoring the workforce. The negative perception of Aut'akh largely led to the Sk'akh church decrying the use of prosthetics, claiming they "poisoned the soul and caused irredeemable damage." The church viewed and still views the Aut'akh communes as a threat to their power. Through talks with Hegemon S'kresti, they managed to convince the leader of the time to speak out against their use as well based on religious grounding, associating these "robotic replacements as a sign of the Aut'akh cult".

This turn in unathi belief did little to hamper the growth of the religion; Aut'akh had already spread to most major cities and towns, and weeding them out would be a large-scale, and brutal ordeal. In light of this, unathi started to develop behaviors and society learned to hate communes and their denizens. Anyone caught being unfaithful to their spouse, in a non-monogamous relationship, rebuking their clan, having a prosthetic, or even talking about their discontent with the Hegemony or other rulers was accused of being an Aut'akh. The term to most became synonymous with anyone who was a perceived troublemaker or heretic, more so than even Si'akh.