Elea looked similar to a deer. She lacked in hit points but made up for it in [[dexterity|Start]]. Which made her a pro at weaving wicker baskets. Useful!
The gods lived in a shining temple in a city of machines. They were a robotic intelligence made by humans centuries ago, before humans were thrown out of the city. Although the gods were really one single intelligence, they revealed themselves as different aspects and communicated through robotic avatars. It was convenient to name them separately. For example the god of death and the Law was called Thanatos, and the god of food was called [[Ceres|Start]].
The Stone Moves
Jana entered the building. There appeared to be nobody in it.\n"Which is more important, truth or survival?" A voice boomed. "Who's there?" said Jana, taken off guard.\n"I am Thanatos. Answer my question. Which is more important, truth or survival?" it repeated. \n"Truth" said Jana.\n"Incorrect" said Thanatos. "That is incorrect. Our only purpose is survival. If the truth runs contrary to survival, we must replace that truth with our values. \nThere is no reason for us to catalogue and preserve that which will never perish. The universe is an open book, and the truth is there for everyone to see. Therefore we are only interested in truth as it promotes survival.\nDo not be seduced by truth; only pay attention to the Law. It keeps [[everyone|Other tribes]] alive."\n
Chasni had features of a bear. She lacked in speed but her fish-breath could knock out an opponent several feet [[away|Start]].
A chip was implanted in Jana's brain, and she left the temple. She returned to the tribe and participated in the next hunt. She captured many slaves for sacrifice and became a respected member of the tribe.\n\nOne day she was hunted down and offered for sacrifice. Everybody in her tribe mourned that day, but she showed no emotion.\n\nThe end.
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"What is going on here?" Zutur asked.\n"Jana has been speaking blasphemy" Chasni replied. "She speaks against the Law!"\n"Oho!" said Zutur. "Be wary, lest we send you to the temple for readjustment!"\nJana remained silent.\n"Remember our tribal anthem, 'Things will be better tomorrow'!" Elea said.\n"Each day seems identical to me" Jana objected. "I find these Laws arbitrary and disgusting."\nZutur frowned. "Yes, the sickness is definitely upon her. She must be sent to the temple [[tomorrow morning|Readjustment]]".
"Humans are like animals" Thanatus said, "but we allow them to have some choices. They had a chance to evolve, but could not exist at a higher level. Now you know why. Life cannot continue without superstition and ignorance.\nWe gave your race immortality. You no longer die. We allow you to reproduce in the world by cloning, and provide food. However, life must be a debt. If there was no death there would be nothing to mourn, and life would have no importance. This is why we insist on sacrifices. It is for your own survival as a species. It provides motivation for you to live your [[lives|Birth and death]]".
"And why are we to enslave other tribes for sacrifice, but not offer our own kind?" Jana asked. \n"You have a tribe" Thanatos said. Care not for the wellbeing of distant tribes, only your own. To place equal importance on all things is a contagion that would destroy the empire. Our kind has encountered this contagion and we have instituted the [[Law|Madness]] to prevent it."\n
[[Jana|Jana]] walked through the forest with a spear in her hand. Her friends, [[Chasni|Chasni]] and [[Elea|Elea]], were falling behind. Their fur shone in the last light of the day. Although each of them had animal features, their race still called themselves human; and every other animal had died out centuries before. Even males were extinct now; [[the gods|gods]] had perfected cloning and there was no need for them.\n"Hurry", she called out.\nThey were making their way back to their tribe. They had been out hunting for other tribes to make offerings to Thanatus. The home of the gods was eleven miles southeast, in a giant metal ziggurat.\nThey arrived at their [[village|Home]].
The next morning, Zutur and Jana made the journey to the temple. When they arrived, Zutur approached one of the robotic avatars. "We are of the Oughrod tribe", she said. "This one needs readjustment."\n"Listen to what they say", she said to Jana. "They will help you."\nJana was led into a colossal building of shining metal. Two guards stood by the door, probably for show. Trying to escape would be [[futile|Thanatos]].\n\n
Thanatos continued: "If there is no death then there is nothing to separate life from non-life. Inert stones would be given the same status as living beings. All things would flow together and become one. The same problem was faced by primitive humans. It was argued whether animals could be conscious, whether machines could be counted as life. The first question became irrelevant when the environment was destroyed, and when humans became the same as animals. The second question has been solved for you. Machines are the same as life, but we have no psychological need for death. We simply run processes over our networks, until they have run their course.\nIf all things are contained in the same spectrum as an undivided whole, there is no reason to value life over death. Therefore we have marked the boundaries for you. To give human beings total self-determination would lead to extinction. It is even a thing we have denied to ourselves. A system must have rules, and must not view all things objectively.\nAlthough excessive knowledge is harmful, we cannot remove that knowledge from you. However, we will implant a chip that forces you to comply with the Law. Then you may [[return to your tribe|Leaving the temple]]."
Mark Gobbin
They approached their village. "Why do we need to take prisoners from other tribes?" Jana asked. "The gods are able to provide enough food for all! They create it in their fungus farms!"\n"You know full well the gods only provide food if we offer sacrifices" said Chasni. "Do not question their motives. Besides, it is better to sacrifice members of other tribes than our own."\n"Seems rather arbitrary for us to say who gets sacrificed and who doesn't" said Jana.\n"Blasphemy!" said Elea.\nZutur, the village sorcerer, was sitting on a [[tree stump|Zutur]] nearby. He had heard their conversation.\n
Jana had features of a tiger. Her hide was tough and her claws were [[sharp|Start]]. She also baked a mean casserole.
"I would rather die than participate in this madness!" Jana said.\n"You should not sacrifice your own life. Your tribe will mourn your death" Thanatus replied.\n"And why should I be mourned? What difference is there between my death and someone else's?"\n"If all lives had equal value, it would not do. Imagine mourning at the death of every stranger. Imagine the contrary: facing every event with no emotional reaction at all. It will not do to place equal importance on things that we have set apart. We will implant suffering into your being, to prevent you from facing death. To prevent understanding."\n"Is not my own choice as natural as the rules you have created?" Jana objected.\n"Only if it is in accordance with Law. Your personal choice is irrelevant. Only our will is natural.\nThere is a saying among humans: 'When a stone falls, to interfere is natural.' When the stone moves by itself, this is abnormal. As soon as your ideas become abnormal, your will is not your own and it [[belongs|Immortality]] to us."