Citizenship Trial Tradition / Ritual in Mudewei | World Anvil
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Citizenship Trial

'After a few more years they're youths and get to start thinking about the citizenship challenge.'   'So everyone does it.'   'Yep. If you want to be a Stenza citizen, at least. Civilians get to chill and think about other lines of work. Of course you have to be a citizen if you want to do something like combat medicine, but not necessarily so to build or maintain ships, for example.'
— Ta'zhen and the Doctor
Welcome to what I presume is your first alien planet. Don't touch anything.
— The Doctor
  It is the edge of madness, alone in the vast wilderness with an alien sky over your head. You are low on food and water, trudging Eastward as told, in search of something called "the ruins". The wind whips at you, stealing your breath and replacing it with dust. You cough, but there is more dust to come. You squint through the sandstorm, hoping you got it right, and you see a vague shape in the distance. This must be over, you think to yourself as you stumble forward. The shape becomes clearer and clearer with each step....   Until your forehead smacks into a cool metal surface.   The doors open, and a medic reaches out his hand. You made it. You won. It's finally over.


Each Droga has had its own form of "coming of age" rites for as long as there have been Stenza, although historically it has been more expected of youths to undergo them and they were somewhat less dangerous than they would become. Following Unification, however, the ritual became more codified and gained a legal standing as recognized on The Twin Pillars. It would not become a true occupational hazard until other planets were discovered and it was found that they could be used as arenas for the trial. At around the same time, military positions and related careers had become increasingly closed off to those who had not become citizens, and these two combined to lead to the trial becoming much more optional. As a result, there became a legal and cultural differentiation between citizenship and civilian status, and being a civilian was less associated with being young or inexperienced.   This distinction became the standard in Stenza culture until the present day, and the advent of new technologies (and those usually going to the military) meant that citizens had "first crack" so to speak, depending on their position and knowledge. However, higher-ups recognize also the need for civilian careers as a form of military support, such as certain medical professionals, mechanics, and food manufacturers. The idea of "civilian as citizen support" has led to a sort of conception that civilian and citizen are either "options" or "stages", rather than distinct labels centered on who has rights to what.   However, especially in the military, a distinction had to be made between people who wanted to join and were able to, and people who did not and were not. The challenge became harder over time, evolving into a lengthy ordeal of survival on a known inhospitable planet. One who was cunning or could brute-force or "out-endure" their way through to the end could not only become a citizen, but was also allowed and encouraged to join the military. They were wanted for their hardiness and ability to push through and get a job done, and were rewarded with a vast array of career options to choose from.   Sometimes, however, a specifically challenging ordeal can be chosen for political reasons: to get someone from a clan you don't like out of the way, or someone from no clan in particular out of the way. It may also be a subtle means of punishing a Droghi's vote or decision or, if applied often enough, an under-the-table version of clan-killing.


After an individual has completed their training--learning every basic of hand-to-hand and some use of weapons for purposes of self-defense, emergency, and maybe sparring to get laid--they are presented to the clan leaders' council, and a planet is chosen for them as an arena. The prospective citizen is sent to that planet with a little bit of water (or ice, usually), and perhaps a small item of food, as they will be left there often overnight. The goal is to survive the rotation and reach a predetermined destination, where the challenger is met by a medical team for evaluation following the event. Often the planet will be populated by obstacles, such as Infantry Drones or the last stragglers of a native population who has a serious, and justified, problem with the Stenza. The challenger must fight through or evade these obstacles on top of the harshness of the environment in order to "win", and gain citizenship.   (Note: A similar version of this was adapted for use by Ilin in his Rally of the Twelve Galaxies. Many contestants are ill prepared for it and this is partly why the death toll is so high.)

Components and tools

The participant is sent to some inhospitable hellhole with a canteen of water or similarly hydrating substance, and a piece of food resembling a granola bar. It is up to them to be responsible with these items.


There is one participant in a citizenship ordeal, the person seeking citizenship. Before and after the ordeal, however, a host of ranking personnel or medics may also be involved, to evaluate readiness, select the arena, evaluate the participant following the ordeal, and provide necessary medical treatment.


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