Blank Species in The Matrioshka Multiverse | World Anvil


Everything you see in the Matrioska Multiverse may constitute spoilers for other worlds I'm working on. Proceed with caution!
Patricia held the cowering, shivering woman's hair away from her eyes with one hand while rubbing her back in what she hoped was a reassuring way with the other. Patricia wondered if this was what the elder blanks called 'ugly crying' - indeed, the woman's countenance had become a sodden mess when the full reality of her situation had dawned on her. This must be why the boss wants us to keep them in the dark about their true nature for so long, Patricia thought. These humans get weird about the whole 'not biological' thing, don't they?   The woman managed to speak through gasping sobs. "I-I'm not... real? How can I...?"   "I think it'd be hard for a 'not-real' person to ask a question like that - to feel compelled to ask, to experience that existential dread that would lead one's mind down such a path." Patricia offered a smile. "If it helps, consciousness was a thorny philosophical problem even back when we were all physical. It's just gotten a little, er, more complicated than it used to be..."
  Insofar as any non-biological, information-based entity can be thought of as a 'person,' blanks are the people of the Matrioshka Multiverse.   A blank is a discrete sentience found within the computronium that makes up the Matrioshka. Blanks may be thought of as the minds - or even souls - of sentient beings as they are implemented within the Multiverse's neuromorphic mechanisms, whether originating in systems found outside (in the Origin Instance) or created via the activities of other blanks.

Basic Information


A blank in its natural state, when observed in a non-instance space, closely resembles an undifferentiated, archetypal skyphoform. As a blank reaches maturity, whether through long association with the culture of The Substrate or within an instance, this appearance increasingly shifts to resemble the blank's own internal self-representation, though this also comes with a burgeoning ability to reshape one's appearance as required for various situations. Importantly, an unembodied blank is most often invisible and intangible within an instance, though various effects of The Word can be used to alter this state of affairs.

Genetics and Reproduction

Different classes of blanks come into being within the Matrioshka Multiverse through different means:
  • Elder blanks come into being through Wurth Harkin's attempts to recreate living beings he knew as a being of living flesh and blood. Alternatively, still-living creatures in the outside Origin Instance can be 'uploaded' into the Matrioshka via a process of thurough neurological scanning (creating an image) and potentially the installation of a brain-computer interface to 'initialize' the new blank. Human-like artificial intelligences sometimes skirt this definition and that of choir blanks (see below), as they may or may not be uploaded versions of human consciousnesses outside of the Matrioshka. Elder blanks can reproduce sexually and have a degree of control over what traits their offspring will inherit from both parents.

  • Choir blanks are pre-existing artificial intelligences or similar machine-based intelligences brought into the Matrioshka via guest immigration. They often fill administrative and maintenance-related roles. Choir blanks can reproduce sexually and have a degree of control over what traits their offspring will inherit from both parents, though they also have the capability of designing and building wholly new and unique blanks from scratch.

  • Instance blanks are those which are created as a result of biological reproduction occuring witin instances. They are wholly unique entities created through the fusion of the traits of their forebearers. Instance blanks usually experience a cycle of reincarnation wherein they may pass through an instance repeatedly before achieving the requisite level of development to join Substrate society as independent beings.

  • Construct blanks are otherwise automated processes which have been granted sentience either through the grafting of conscience from another class of blank or via the whole-cloth creation of a purpose-built human-like artificial intelligence for them. They are tied to the instances or domains in which they serve as aspects of important functions, such as the maintenance of physical laws and natural cycles, and are sometimes thought of as the 'fey' or 'nature spirits' of their native instances.

  • Hybrid blanks are a unique class of blanks which are created when blanks of different classes 'mate.' Hybrid blanks can be created through any means availiable to their parents and tend to fit better into the roles of one parent's class over the other.

  • All blanks which originated within the Matrioshka Multiverse (as opposed to those who joined from a prior artificial or biological existence) are known as descendant blanks. The ancestries of descendant blanks may be long and convoluted - as the subjective time frame of the Matrioshka is much faster than the subjective timeframe of the original instance outside, blanks have had many millenia of subjective time to mingle and interbreed with one another.

    Growth Rate & Stages

    Depending on it's native class, a blank can take decades to centuries (Matrioshka subjective time) to mature into a member in full standing of Substrate society. While blanks are formed fully cognizant and learn quickly, they may not acquire the long-term perspectives of their peers right away and, for the safety of everyone in the Matrioshka, must learn how to make their way in the world in keeping with the Substrate's continued existence and shared moral principles. Instance blanks, especially, may require many generations to fully attain the development required to join the Substrate.

    Dietary Needs and Habits

    The continued existence of blanks is provided for by their connection to the hardware of the Matrioshka. Therefore, as long as the Matrioshka draws power from the True Instance, blanks can exist outside of an instance without need for food, water, air, or sleep. When embodied, blanks exhibit these biological needs as appropriate for the circumstances of their embodiment.

    Genetic Ancestor(s)
    Genetic Descendants
    Scientific Name
    Homo Apparatus Spiritus
    Geographic Distribution
    Related Organizations
    Related Technologies

    Articles under Blank

    Cover image: by Ferdinand Stöhr


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