by Max Barry

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by The ✵ Dɪᴠɪɴᴇ Sᴜᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴄʏ ✵ of Khoronzon. . 112 reads.

Race and Castes (WIP)

Dossier on Race
Compiled by the Central Information Repository of the Divine Supremacy of Khoronzon

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While Khoronzon may be culturally almost entirely alien from the rest of the world, in matters of physiology it ultimately counts as just one of several kinds and groups of transhuman that inhabit the Earth - albeit with a non-human component of decidedly alien origin, irreconcilably distinguishing it from all others. As the descendants of the ravenous Plagueborn who so notoriously despoiled the planet a few centuries ago, the people of Khoronzon remain both feared and reviled to this day by their more "native" human counterparts - a predicament in no way alleviated by the Khoronzonites' own feelings of superiority and the self-reinforcing feedback loop of mutual hatred and genocidal sentiment between the two clades. Yet perhaps the most distinct feature of the Khoronzonite race is not its particular descent and historical background, but rather the eagerness and prowess with which it has moulded its own form throughout its existence, moulting again and again from the carapace of past generations under an all-encompassing plan of its own evolution. It is a people dedicated to continuously superseding itself, from the civilisational down to the cellular level - that it possesses the means to put this drive into practice may be what its adversaries have most to fear.

I. Plagueborn

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In progress...

Artistic depiction of the First Plague War
World-State era, circa 2081

II. Reproduction

Gestating fetus in a Dendrogyra womb-capsule
Hatchery VT07, Yxradhar

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For much of its history, Khoronzon has to increasing degrees eschewed conventional procreation and family structures in favour of industrialised spawning, conceiving and raising children in massive birthing and educational complexes known as hatcheries. Initially located only within the Supremacy's most technologically and infrastructurally developed urban centres, the presence of hatcheries has since spread throughout the nation to the point of universality, accompanied by large-scale consolidations of cities and transport networks and fully replacing human reproductive and familial practices in Khoronzon's population, through both the sheer prevalence, efficiency, and cultural importance of the hatchery system as well as the innate infertility of hatchery-born citizens.

Each hatchery is built around a colony of Dendrogyra biosynths, largely amorphous biomechanical constructs wired into the hatchery's additional infrastructure and machinery, which store the genetic material from which new generations are constructed and draw from it to form and gestate embryos within their wombs. The hatchery machinery surrounding them serves to hold them in place, optimise the gestation and delivery processes, implant fetuses with subcutaneous microchips, and update stored genetic code according to eugenic plans, while the Dendrogyrae themselves remain capable of independent operation in the event of severe infrastructural damage. The structure of the hatchery's spawning grounds is then organised into four subdivisions, designated K, O, S, and V in descending order of size, production capacity, and average gestation speed - the first refers to spawning chambers geared towards biosynths of various types, while the latter three refer to the castes to which the future citizens growing within them belong.
Besides serving as an industrialised replacement for natural reproduction and greatly facilitating eugenic planning and population control, a notable side effect that hatchery spawning has had on Khoronzonite society is a dramatically different, almost libertine view of gender and sexual relations. Prior to the development and proliferation of hatchery technology, the biological necessities of sexuality were prioritised over its social functions for the sake of population growth; however, as the former started to phase out, the latter, rather than being discarded along with it, was retained as its sole component. As such, both formerly competing aspects have been entirely separated, with procreation being transformed through an industrial revolution of its own into a vastly more efficient productive force, in tandem with the total decoupling of sexual activity from demographic demands which, alongside the replacement of biological families with communal hatchery raising, has incrementally served to unanchor prior notions of gender from the reproductive roles they once represented.

III. O-class

The O-class, or oshnohv-klass, is the most numerous and "lowest" caste within the Khoronzonite citizenry, as well as the most biologically similar caste to unmodified humans - indeed, in the Supremacy's initial caste system that preceded its current O-S-V division, the rough equivalent of the O-class was made up of its "fully" human subjects until intermixing with the Plagueborn-descended upper castes led to its dissolution. Its members comprise roughly 65% of the citizenry, currently numbering at approximately 1.8 billion, and make up the majority of its labour force outside of highly knowledge-intensive professions and large-scale administration.

In progress...


IV. S-class


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The S-class, or stahlv-klass, is, broadly speaking, the Supremacy's main administrative and intellectual caste, making up the bulk of the state bureaucracy and information-centric labour force. Originating from the main, "upper" citizenry of Khoronzon's preceding hierarchy, it had since been repurposed into its current state following the genetic and societal integration of much of the human population into what is now the O-class. It makes up 30% of the citizenry, with a current population of 840 million.

In progress...

V. V-class

The V-class, or vhirshin-klass, is the ruling caste within the Supremacy's hierarchy, constructed with the greatest degree of genetic fine-tuning alteration and, despite extensive modifications having taken place over the course of Khoronzon's eugenic history, bearing the closest biological similarity to the original Plagueborn from which the Supremacy was founded. It constitutes 5% of the citizen population, at roughly 140 million.

In progress...


VI. Outsiders

Baseborn captives rounded up as obliteration fuel
UR-01 Obliteration Plant, Krukhyast

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Inclusion in Khoronzon's caste system is a defining factor of the nation's citizenship, one which many within its borders fail to meet. From the very beginning of its existence as a state, the Supremacy has had a sizeable population of untouchable subalterns in fetters to those of higher descent - initially comprising the human population of Siberia, it has over the following two centuries become an umbrella designation for a variety of groups, some bred by the state as slaves and livestock, others living and forming societies independently of Khoronzonite authority.

By far the most populous of these groups is that of the "feed-thralls", or hravskottsy. At a population of over 5.7 billion, their presence would make Khoronzon by far the most populous state on Earth were they included in the nation's official census, yet their place in Khoronzonite society is no higher than factory-farmed cattle. Bred in dedicated hatcheries and engineered to perfection for the purpose of noophaging, feed-thralls are small, frail, physically atrophied beings, whose bulbous heads house greatly enlarged, constantly overstimulated brains, geared towards the primary purpose of feeding the greatest number of Khoronzonite citizens with vital phylaxic tissue in the most efficient possible manner. Designed to attain relative maturity at an extremely early age, feed-thralls have an average life expectancy of only five years, at which point they are sacrificed monthly to the noophaging masses - each year, approximately 811 million are butchered in this manner, while another 348 million are used as fuel for power generation in Khoronzon's noetic obliteration plants.

Beyond the grasp of the Khoronzonite state, other non-citizen groups exist within the nation's borders, dwelling in obscure corners where its presence is faint and escapable. These racial pariahs are divided into two subclasses - humans, the last surviving progeny of Siberia's original population, and baseborn, descended from non-hatchery-spawned Khoronzonite fugitives. Living in perpetual avoidance of the Supremacy's authority, they frequent and reside in only those places its agents lack the time and will to keep under surveillance - mining tunnels, disused city fringes, and inhospitable rural wastes are where they make their homes, often leading lives of perpetual wandering in search of food, shelter, and secrecy. To join with the Supremacy is rarely an option - only scant few baseborn do so willingly, and are invariably subjected to intensive physiological and psychological alteration to condition them to Khoronzonite society, while humans and those baseborn who refuse to integrate are treated as nothing more than subpar feed-thralls, to be thrown into the engine of the nation and burned up for the sliver of vitality their lives are worth.