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Rebuilding

It is said that, at one point in time, an alternative energy source was discovered. This source was incredibly powerful, yet nearly inexhaustible. It’s hard to tell exactly how or when this discovery was made, but the aftermath leaves little doubt to its potency. Very little remained of the civilized world after the disaster.

There was a kind of electro-magnetic shockwave that emanated from the capital city. Nothing mechanical worked after its passing. Inevitably, there was chaos – from the little we’ve pieced together, the weak soon gave way to the strong; strength and cruelty reigned over wisdom and foresight. It was well over a century before a semblance of structure appeared again in the world.

It was small governing bodies at first, nothing more advanced than tribes looking after their own, and gathering resources to stay alive. That’s when the mining began. Coal became the most valuable product, and there certainly seemed no lack - entire regions of once-verdant areas were now gaping fissures, opening new passageways to retrieve valuable minerals. As time went on, societies restructured themselves into stronger and more functional groups. Although some may argue we are doomed to repeat our mistakes, these early civilizations seemed aware of the need for a complete rethinking of how to govern the populous.

Lune

The first Maven was named Lune. Her upbringing remains a mystery, however it is known that she became a tribal leader of an upland mining colony at the age of nineteen. What distinguished her to many, and often perturbed, was her dominant power of intelligence – there was no problem, issue or crisis she could not solve. Lune could have established her own religion if she saw fit, and in broad terms, she did.

Lune’s religion was not of prayer and sin, but of knowledge. She began a pilgrimage across the wasteland, visiting towns and villages, amassing a following of those she deemed “worthy.” Age, gender and race were inconsequential – she was looking for the most skilled representatives of various crafts and areas of thought. At the end of her twenty year journey, she held the first Maven Council.

It was a gathering of one hundred people. Their skills ranged from masonry to botany to calligraphy. Maven Lune’s purpose was then made clear: the government of tomorrow was not made of bureaucrats voted in by popular decision, easy to corrupt and become disenchanted. It was made up of people who represented the highest skills of their sector, and each of them would govern not by region, but by Schools. If a geologist made a discovery, he would report to the School of Applied Physiography, which would be governed by a specific Maven. In this manner they would exercise authority over all.

Mavens and Opicus

The Mavens themselves are quite strange. It was Lune’s concept to establish an early educational system that began testing at a very young age. Mental and physical aptitude were gauged constantly. Children of lower intellect would be released from further education, to work in jobs of manual labor. Those who rose above their classmates would ascend to the next level of training, to see if their skillsets would meet the necessary requirements. This level was called Proviso Quod, and it was very intensive – the students (usually in their early teens) would be separated from their families and discouraged from social interaction. Competition between students had the potential to reach critical levels, but the Mavens believed this “survival arrangement” expelled those who were not ready or capable.

Anyone who failed to succeed the Proviso Quod were separated from their peers. While it was not public knowledge, these students would be taken to a remote (and classified) location in the lower poles, and set into a rigorous new training program. But while the Proviso would stimulate knowledge, this system enhanced physical advancement. These “students” had become referred to, in slang, as the “Opicus,” rejects from the civilized world, forced to endure years of brutal physical hardships. Combined with the effects of neurotoxinal and hormone enhancements, the Opicus who survived were intensely formidable warriors.

The rest of the world knew nothing about this secretive establishment in the poles. The southern areas below the 60th parallel were nearly inhospitable. Some of the worst volcanic disruptions has occurred there, making the air sulfurous and toxic. The Opicus had to learn to survive in that environment, and as a result permanently damaged their lungs with a disease akin to pneumoconiosis. When they were returned to the Maven Council, special issue respirator masks were issued and could not be removed. Once garbed in ceremonial crimson, they were given rank as “Sentinels,” a merciless authority intent on enforcing the law as written by the Mavens.

Sentinel Ultio was the first to be tested upon his return to the council, in a demonstration to Maven Lune. This, unfortunately, proved to be a failure of foresight. Upon his arrival, and without hesitation, Ultio slew Maven Lune where she stood. Since that tragedy, the Opicus were administered high potency dextro-methylphenidate to control mood and behavior.

Crisis

As time progressed, the government was able to restore order. Mining was still the prime directive, as fossil fuels were critical to human survival. However, as society grew more dependant upon them, the realization dawned that this energy source would not last forever, and consumption would only grow. Thus it was up to the Maven Council to work as one, to apply each of their own knowledge bases in solving this global crisis.

It has been three hundred years since the death of Maven Lune. Her practices are still in effect, yet despite her efforts, corruption still plagues the bureaucracy. The common people, the working class, harbor a growing vehemence towards the Mavens and their Sentinels.

And yet, as this new civilization reaches a watershed point in their evolution, hushed rumors suggest the inexhaustible energy source of old has been discovered again.

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