Society of the Editors

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“Welcome, brothers and sisters, to the 171st Meeting of the Society of the Editors!” For security reasons, the three Grand Stewards addressed the small room via holocast from three undisclosed dimensions. Their holograms showed two men and a woman, flickering from interference, standing side by side in the traditional garb of the Editor. Their bare chests crawled with tattoos representing their hard-earned user rights. Some of the younger members craned their heads from the back of the room.

“I think that black one is Rollback,” whispered one acolyte to another, incredulous. “And… is that Oversight on his shoulder?”

“Oversight’s not that big of a deal, kid,” admonished an older member from the next row, gesturing to his own shoulder. “Now shut it.”

The Steward on the left stepped forward. “We have two important pieces of business today. The first is a happy one: let us give a warm welcome to our incoming Editors. Welcome, Cohort of 2172! May your edits be always uncontested!”

The whisperer and three others stood and bobbled to polite applause, dropping back into their seats with evident relief.

“We will proceed with your ceremony after this meeting,” continued the Steward. “And then refreshments.”

He drew back, and the second Steward stepped forward. “Brothers, let us recite the oath.”

A great rustling of cloaks and screeching of chairs commenced as all stood. Together, they began:

“I am a servant of humanity, nameless.
I am a protector of reality, tireless.
I am a keeper of secrets, guileless.
I am a moulder of the cosmos, timeless.”

It went on in this way, each tier of Editors dropping out as they reached user privileges they had not yet reached, until finally only the three Stewards delivered the last four lines:

“I renounce the world in which I was born.
I abandon the reality in which I was formed.
I swear on my own humanity to craft a better universe,
For my brothers and sisters, my species, and my world.”

The third Steward stepped forward. “Fellow Editors, I bring sad news. One among us has made a choice; she wishes to return to her home and family.” He raised a hand to quiet the growing murmurs. “Sister Angelica, will you step forward?”

One of the older Editors stood and made her way to the front of the room. Another met her there, an Adminstrator with a small holotablet. “Angelica,” the Adminstrator said in a gentle voice, “Do you know what is on this tablet?”

“Yes, Administrator,” she answered softly.

“Brothers and sisters,” he continued. “This is the life that our sister Angelica has chosen. She has spent many weeks composing it and it has been approved by the Stewards. As our final gift to her, we will make this life a reality. She shall have no memory of this place or our mission. Sister Angelica, thank you for your service.”

“Thank you for your service,” murmured the crowd.

“May you be happy in the path you have chosen.”

The crowd repeated.

“Go. Live well.” The Administrator pressed a button on the holopad, In an instant, with a brief inrush of air, Angelica was gone.

The center Steward stepped forward as the Administrator went back to his seat. “And now, brothers and sisters, we begin the celebration of new members!”

The acolytes stood and made their way forward.

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