More world building…
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SERFS: BODIES OF WORK
Serfs make up 90% of the ziggurat’s population, and inhabit the ziggurat layers closest to the earth, which account for approximately 50% of the ziggurat’s architecture. Serfs are born to do work, and are implanted with adaptive augmentations at a very young age to support this work. They inherit the same work as their parents, unless their DNA suggests that they’d be better suited for a different type of work. There are four categories of serfdom: conduit, fabricator, recycler, and servitor. Each category is composed of diverse bodies of work, ranging from unskilled generalists to highly-specialized roles filling important niches. Regardless of what role has been chosen for them, a serf is a serf, and they all work in exchange for food, shelter, and free movement.
Conduits are technical workers that specialize in repairing, operating, and maintaining the ziggurat’s vast data systems, sensor arrays, and communications fixtures. They are the serfs seen crawling under, over, or inside the ziggurat’s rafters, data closets, and raised floors, ensnared in a morass of cords and fiber-optic cables. Their bodies are augmented to traverse tight or treacherous spaces, resist electrical shock, or transform into useful tools.
Fabricators are manual laborers who support construction projects, operate heavy production machinery, and make repairs to the ziggurat’s superstructure. The ziggurat is always in a state of simultaneous disrepair and optimization, and fabricators are the serfs who must execute on the higher castes’ ever-changing vision. Those not building the new are operating the old, whether processing scrap into sheet metal, or keeping the ziggurat’s reactor at acceptable tolerances. Their bodies are augmented to manage workloads once suited for cranes and tractors, and interface with drones that have either the strength or precision they lack.
Recyclers are salvager crews who leave the safety of the ziggurat to harvest spare parts and raw materials from the dying planet outside, and do so before the recyclers of other ziggurats get to these resources first. While recyclers technically do less active work than the other roles, the majority of their downtime between sorties into the waste is spent in clinics, being detoxified and reassembled. Their bodies are augmented to grant them the enhanced strength, reflexes, keen senses, and toxin resistance needed to survive their dangerous work.
Servitors are service workers who administer systems, process bureaucratic inputs and outputs, and see to the basic biological needs of all humans in the ziggurat (along with the wants of the higher castes). Servitors are the most visible and varied of serfs. Their work can be as impersonal as the cook preparing slop, or as intimate as the sex worker assigned to a knight precinct. Their bodies are augmented to suppress stress caused by acute boredom or interpersonal conflict, and cosmetically transform to match the aesthetic most conducive to their work.
While the different types of serf intermingle throughout society, they are more likely to develop stronger bonds and found families amongst the people that they spend their every waking moment working with. They also self select because the clergy is adept and creating divisions among them.