Historic versus Current Terms for operants in the Empire

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Guardian: Originally a natural state (inoperant) human who undertook an exhaustive course of study and physical preparation intended to prepare them to compete with operants. Now generalized to include various level of operant. Modern usage for natural state humans who qualify via the traditional means is First Order Guardian, but almost nobody bothers with the full course.

Second Order Guardian: born natural state human who has become operant and qualified to a minimum basic level in all operant disciplines including teleportation. As knowledge has expanded and new ways of using operant disciplines more efficiently have been discovered, current operants are all strong enough to learn to teleport. By far the largest group of operants, numbers-wise, well over half of the total number.

Third Order Guardian: born operant to operant parents who has qualified to a minimum basic level in all operant disciplines including teleportation. Being born operant in this fashion is an advantage over Second Order Guardians, but not an insurmountable one. A little more than one sixtieth of the Imperial population.

Fourth Order Guardian: second power tier (counting up) of natural state humans who become operant. Those who advance in raw power past the threshold for Fourth Order report that absolute power requirements drop for the same effect, and that it becomes easier to maintain passive ongoing defenses. Fourth Order Guardians typically continue to claim Second Order status for as long as they practically can. Roughly one sixtieth of the Imperial population is Fourth Order or above, and the vast majority of those are approximately equally split between Fourth and Fifth Order.

Fifth Order Guardian: second power tier (counting up) of born operants. Third Order Guardians become Fifth Order at a slightly higher power threshold (roughly 1 isquare thirty or 1/40th) than Second Order transition to Fourth Order, otherwise they are analogous. Generally pretend to be Third Order as long as they practically can. Roughly equal in numbers to Fourth Order Guardians.

Sixth Order Guardian: third power tier (counting up) of natural state humans who become operant. Rarest of all operant types - a total of nineteen known in the entire Empire. There is a second qualitative change that occurs with increasing power. Capable of producing splinters, an energy based extension of the Guardian's personality. Usually pretend to be Fourth or even Second Order if their publicly known capabilities do not give them away to be Sixth Order.

Seventh Order Guardian: third power tier (counting up) of born operants. Approximately 120 known, all descended of Merphon, the first emperor. All known children of Seventh Order Guardians have been born at Seventh Order power, otherwise the relationship between Seventh, Fifth, and Third Order Guardians is analogous to the relationship between Sixth, Fourth, and Second. Also capable of producing splinters.

Eighth and Ninth Order Guardians: Theorized fourth power tier of those originally natural state humans and those born operant, respectively. No known examples exist.

mindlord (historical): any human who was operant. Still known due to historical means, but rarely used.

operant (historical and current): any human whose mindlord powers have been switched on. Current connotation is an incompletely trained operant, or one that is too weak to teleport, therefore not yet qualified either Second or Third Order Guardian.

predecessor man or predecessor human (historical): one who did not carry any of the genetic markers for operancy. Original meaning now extinct; the markers are universal within Imperial humanity. This term was revived during the Ston Rebellion and Interregnum, applied to those who were inoperant, whether they carried the markers or not. Often used as term of contempt by the stons. Current use is highly frowned upon, and generally results in social ostracism.

natural state human: someone who is not operant, whether they carry the genetic markers for operancy or not.

martsi (historic) a weak operant, born a natural state human but who has had their operancy activated by a subsequent event. Vaguely analogous to Second Order Guardians except only operancy was required to be designated martsi.

nattsi (historic) born operant, albeit weak. In broad, equivalent to a Third Order Guardian without the tests of their ability.

teltsi (historic) operant who was born a natural state human, but is now capable of teleportation. Somewhat analogous to a modern Fourth Order Guardian

tantsi (historic) born operant capable of teleportation. Somewhat analogous to a modern Fifth Order Guardian

pentsi (historic) extremely rare operant born a natural state human, but has hit the power boundary of the third level of operancy. Similar to a modern Sixth Order Guardian.

ultsi (historic) Merphon's descendants of the Fifteen Houses (his fifteen surviving children). The acid test of an ultsi was whether all of their children were born ultsi. It was (is) possible to be born nattsi or tantsi and progress to ultsi, but extremely rare, and the Fifteen Houses were not kind to competition, especially from without. Very similar to a modern Seventh Order Guardian.

cot (historic) operant who became operant through natural means. Usually highly trained, more focused, and more efficient than stons.

ston (historic) operant whose operancy was triggered in utero by specialized treatment. Generally less controlled and less efficient than cots, but vastly outnumbering them for a time, resulting in the Ston Rebellion and Interregnum, during which time the Empire was destroyed as a political unit and the population of humans fell to a point roughly 1/3000th of the former level. As a result, the ston activation treatments are no longer offered and even surviving former rebels agree that they should not be.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on October 16, 2017 8:00 PM.

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