The Quadrant Archive
QUADRANT MYTHS AND CUSTOMS: The following terms describe the main myths
and customs of The Quadrant. Choose any link to take you to a description,
or simply scroll down the page.
LINKS: The Great Purges, The
Portal, Sex, Marriage,
The Great Purges: Few
in The Quadrant remember back more than a year, and most have difficulty
recalling their activities even 2 to 3 weeks back in time. Fewer still have
clear memories of the monumental events surrounding a historical period
called "The Great Purges" which took place over thirty years ago,
and that these events dramatically changed life in The Quadrant. Indeed,
most in the Quadrant, if pressed, seem to believe that "The Great Purges"
never really happened -- that they are false memories or simply a story
or myth believed only by those who are unhappy or unsatisfied living in
the real world of the Q.
Though little detail is presently available, it is thought by some older
skolars (who give credence to the event) that a group of powerful elites
"reacted" to a set of overly "liberal" policies put
forward by the Frenell Directorship in 969 or 970. Apparently riding the
crest of a humanizing trend that had been developing in The Quadrant for
some years, Frenell and her appointees proposed increases in funding for
the Outer Boardz, shorter work hourz for Functionals, cutbacks in Security
and Enforcement allotments, and even floated the possibility of creating
a people's law-making body of some kind.
It is theorized that, taken together, these and other reforms put forward
in that period caused great alarm among the elite classes who saw their
interests threatened by a group "not used to wielding power and influence."
Certain of the elites banded together to pressure Frenell, but to no avail.
Then, in the crisis which ignited the Purges, Frenell was apparently assassinated
(along with several of her key assistants) while on a tour of the Outer
Boardz. Within hourz after the death of Frenell, Bren Goorla, an obscure
assistant Security Praetor, was -- with the immediate support of the Enforcement
bureaucracy and important elites -- declared "Interim Director."
His first act was to "double" the Security and Enforcement budget,
and his second was to arrest and detain any and all who participated in,
or acceded to, "Frenellism."
Given a "blank check" (by the elites of the Q) to set the dogz
on all reformers, Goorla lost no time initiating "The Great Purges."
Mass arrests were the order of the day, and many who had little or nothing
to do with the Frenell regime were removed from their posts (and their assets),
simply because those who were doing the "arresting" coveted them.
Thousands of talented and well-meaning people were allegedly exiled to the
Outer Boardz or Downshaft, and never heard from again. The chaos created
by this rising wave of reaction, spilled over into the Inztitut, and other
organz of The Quadrant, resulting in restrictions on certain studies (principally
history), stiffer penalties for so-called crimes against the Quadrant, and
limitations on travel between the Boardz and to Downshaft.
Though these measures do not seem harsh by today's standards, they certainly
"flew in the face" of the hopes, apparently held by some in the
Q of that period, that a new "Golden Age" was about to dawn. To
TOP of Page
The Portal: In an era of
no official recorded history, The Portal is unknown in its true form to
all but a handful of aging skolars at the Inztitut and a few others. It
represents the "door to the past" of The Quadrant, and thus stands
as a kind of Rosetta stone or symbol for historical knowledge among the
initiated. In the general Quadrant population, certain items used in rituals,
or given as gifts, appropriate the shape of a symbolic doorway (portal),
and often accompany both births and deaths throughout the Boardz, but the
significance of this (other than the shape) seems to have been lost. Although
the word comes up occasionally in "stories" which circulate orally
among the masses in The Quadrant, its meaning is totally obscured by common
usage which refers only vaguely to the past or past conditions (e.g., "port
it," meaning to forget it, etc.).
In reality, according to some skolars of the Inztitut, The Portal is (or
was) a small portable computer-like device which contains substantial amounts
of the recorded history of The Quadrant in its memory crystals. Reading
the contents of The Portal -- or machines similar to it today -- requires
a "key." Each key (a small powerful memory cylinder) unlocks a
set of thousands of laser beam reference coordinates, each able to read
holographic pages of information pre-recorded on the key by means of light
sensitive memory crystals contained in the device. This, in turn, allows
a user to review various recorded documents.
Supposedly, The Portal contains histories, handed down from skolar to
skolar at the Inztitut through almost a thousand years, and is said to reveal,
along with many other secrets, a "Golden Age" when things were
far different and more peaceful than they are today. Further, it is also
claimed, that locked inside The Portal is the greatest secret of The Quadrant
(placed there over 900 years ago by its creators), and that this will "open
the last door" to the "ultimate discovery."
Unique among machines of its type still in The Quadrant (many of the elites
have similar devices which hold various "records" kept for spying
and other political purposes), The Portal is said to be the only device
which can recognize and decode a series of "special keys," (allegedly
a total of 7) which in earlier times were said to have been dispersed and
hidden somewhere in The Quadrant.
It is reputed that each key has part of the code necessary to build
a master file which gives the location of a "great secret," but
all keys must be found and used to access The Portal in order to create
this mysterious file. If such a "last door" may be opened by a
user who can find and use all seven keys, that user will discover the secret.
Up to now, there is no record of such an event having taken place, and,
hence, no knowledge of what this great secret could be. To TOP
Sex: Sex in The Quadrant
for most is simple. It is fundamentally a process for propogating the species,
and also a source of great -- albeit short lived -- physical pleasure. There
are few sexual "tabuz" in The Quadrant (sex with children or with
the dead), and extra-marital sex is only "frowned upon" by older
Inztituters and some in the Recon 1 class -- in both cases, a strong commitment
to the marital relationship seems to preclude sexual relations with outsiders,
and can even be groundz for terminating the union.
For the rest in the Q, sex is pleasurable, exciting, and can often be the
essence of a day's or week-end'z entertainment (as the proliferation of
plezhurr domes throughout The Quadrant testifies), but is not perceived
as an activity which violates the marital relationship. The elite classes
spend a great deal of time servicing their own through the Kourtezan Guild,
various high-powered Virtual Entertainments, and other forays to the Quadrant's
"quality" entertainment establishments on Krania and Conzec Board.
The lower classes (on Recon 3, 4, and 5) have their own, lower quality facilities
(including small plezhurr domes, chem bars, and dreg bars) where a sexual
encounter can be created or purchased with little or no effort. To TOP of Page
Marriage: Primarily, an
official union between a man and a woman who decide they want to initially
live together and have a child or children (marriage is required to legally
bring a child into The Quadrant). Beyond this, relationships can vary --
on the Outer Boardz, few marriages last more than 5 years, but on the Inner
Boardz they may go on for 20 or more years. For the elite on Krania and
Conzec Board, marriage is simply another of the many luxuries that can be
taken up or discarded at a moment's notice. To TOP
Birth: When a "Nube"
(newborn child) is introduced into The Quadrant, the immediate family is
almost always present in the respective QSU Pregward where it is born. When
the child is presented to its mother, Pregward personnel position a symbolic
"doorway" (portal) festooned with colorful cloth over the head
and shoulders of the proud mother and baby, and the words "welcome
to life in this world" are intoned by all. The birth portal is then
given to the parents and the child is immediately given an "Initial
Interface Installation" (so it can begin to receive stimulus from The
System). The name of the child, the date and time, and its weight, etc.
are then recorded as a Quadrant POI (Point of Origin Instance) and sent
on to the Quadrant Information Bureau in Krania. To TOP
Death: Death, like birth,
in The Quadrant, is a relatively practical affair for most of its enfranchised
inhabitants. When a person dies, those present (usually family, but sometimes
only an official) position a symbolic doorway (similar to the birth portal,
only the color of the cloth is black) over the head and shoulders of the
deceased, and the words "thank you for your existence" are spoken.
The event is recorded, the screen apparatus is removed and cataloged, and
the body is taken to the closest QSU Healthanc facility to be rendered into
an inert substance (it is later sent to Downshaft with the other waste for
recycling). To TOP of Page