Because of their lengthy hertigate of survival in harsh climes and long, perilous journeys through the void of space, citizens of the Cobalt Protectorate seek to arrange their society so that the most skilled and trustworthy have their voices amplified. Keeping track of these traits - as embodied in the 'merit score' - requires a form of extremely durable long-term record-keeping with clear means of verification. The vitreous vitae, or 'profile chips,' are a modern solution to this age-old archival problem.
Mechanics & Inner Workings
A vitreous vitae is a tile of glass that has been specially-formulated to withstand the effects of time without warping or becoming cloudy. Microscopic bubbles are etched into the depths of the glass in layers with a laser, creating a durable digital record that can later be read optically. Another portion of the glass is hollowed out to form a space for a redundant record encoded in synthetic DNA strands; the owner's own genetic material, harvested either at birth or the time of their naturalization, is appended to the synthetic DNA for biometric identification purposes. Finally, a coating is applied to the outside of the tile to prevent certain wavelengths of light from getting through as a form of copy protection.
A vitreous vitae contains a complete record, accurate as possible, of a person's life and achievements as they are known to the Cobalt Protectorate. This is important for things like the allocation of votes during referrendum season and for the individual's potential sortition into a representative government body (i.e. the Clan Lords). A citizen's vitreous vitae serves as a permanent register of a person's accomplishments in life, and, thus, plays an important role in maintaining the complex web of recognition, qualification, and respect that forms the superstructure of Evermornan society. Bcause the vitreous vitae represent a major target for personal identity crimes of all stripes, including fraud, identity theft, blackmail, political corruption, and reprisals for past actions, they are held under close guard at all times. Furthermore, the laws around stealing or tampering with a vitreous vitae are among the strictest in the Protectorae because an attack on these records constitutes a direct peril to the owners' accrued standing as citizens of the Protectorate as well as an attack on the shared history of the community in which the vitreous vitae are held. Violators face the possibility of disbarment from the franchise in addition to any other penalties for the incident crimes under the penal system. Vitreous vitae are not meant to be handled by anyone but certain specially-trained and thuroughly-vetted individuals. Clan High Honors are a notable exception to this rule in that, though they are kept in a protective case, they are given to their owners rather than being placed directly into a hall of vitreous vitae.
Electronic / Cybernetic
Every Evermornan possesses a vitreous vitae somewhere in Protectorate territory; indeed the first records on a vitreous vitae are either of the citizen's birth or their official naturalization as a citizen of foreign extraction. In rare cases, as when a person travels to live in a different star system, a duplicate vitreous vitae may be created to be maintained closer to the citizen. In any event, all vitreous vitae have stringent version control standards to ensure that no fraudulent duplicates or made or the records altered without proper authorization. While vitreous vitae are thus common, they are not kept by individuals, but held by civil authorities in local halls of vitreous vitae, meaning that they are somewhat rare to see in person.
3" side to size, 0.5" thick