The Sheath

From Beacon Space

Seated in a carefully shielded and padded implant that makes the owner’s brainstem near indestructible lies the technological marvel that is a microcomputer with the processing power to handle constant monitoring and recording of the brain state and the storage capacity to maintain a complete backup of their entire personality and all of their memories. An incredibly complex neural implant in the base of the neck and the brainstem that has been commonly implanted in citizens of the Starlit Court for generations, the Sheath is the pinnacle of Starlit technology allowing for near instant, direct mental interaction with a range of interfaces.

Said to be named for the fact that it is seemingly the seat of the soul which many a knight has described as their greatest weapon, being that which gives them drive and strength. It is the Sheath that holds this weapon in safety so that it may be retrieved and returned to its rightful place in the Unseelie Court, among the mists that shroud the sacred Isle of Avalon.

Early Development

Initially the Sheath was designed as a direct interface to connect pilots with their mechs, allowing them more accurate control and faster reaction times. Integrating connections to the deepest parts of the knight’s brain with the main computer on board their mechs allowed them to bypass the delays in the nervous system. The first knights equipped with the early Sheathes out competed their equally trained brothers on the battlefield by orders of magnitude.

During the initial deployment of Sheath technology there were a few attempts by opponents to hack into them to interfere with the Knight-Pilots directly, this led to some of the most complex networking security and firewalls that Sihian technologists were capable of producing being standard issue on all subsequent models. To this day some of the hardest working members of the Court are those cyber-warfare specialists within the Order of the Fey that maintain and update these firewalls.

Integration of the Fae

As the development of the Fae and the brain scans necessary for them to function became more and more important to the Court this already extant brain interface became the core of research and implementation of the necessary technologies. Gaining the ability to house one of the Fae as a training aid and guide for the pilot and to monitor the wearer’s thoughts and memories and store an accurate model of them for upload to the Unseelie Court in the event of their death.

This has led to the Sheath gaining a higher degree of significance since it now holds both the recordings of the knights own memories and brain state for upload to the Unseelie Court on death and their Fae companions.

Importance in Knightly Service

Due to the requirement of the Sheath to pilot a mech at the most optimal level they were already considered critical equipment for knights from their early development. However with the introduction of the Fae and the accompanying chance for a tangible afterlife they became mandatory for all Sihian knights.

There are a few orders within the Court that have strict prohibitions on cybernetic enhancement, seeing it as detracting from their personal honor to rely on such external help in battle, even these orders have acquiesced to this upgrade as no Sihian could realistically be expected to give up on their chance to see Avalon.

Due to the Sheath storing the knight’s updated brainscan and their companion Fae, it is considered extremely important to retrieve should a Knight Pilot fall in battle. A lost Sheath is a terrible thing as it represents the loss of two Honored Dead.

The Modern Sheathed Populace

Modernly, every member of the Sihian populace that can be is implanted with a Sheath very early on in life. The only difference between Squires and Men at Arms is whether or not a Fae chose a specific young person to be Squired. Knights generally train the chosen Squires into great warriors, as they have been blessed by the Unseelie Court, their efforts and potential formally recognized and acknowledged.

At the end of their lifespans, every individual is incorporated into the Unseelie Court, not just Knights. It would be a dark religion indeed if the majority of the populace was consigned to the void.

In the cases of species that are unable to receive an implant, or in the case of a shortage of Sheaths, there are facilities which individuals are encouraged to visit to periodically scan their brains and store the most recent information of their soul, in case of tragedy. Most scan every few months, but it isn’t uncommon for more frequent visits or for longer intervals to pass between scans.