Incarnates are people who are imbedded into mechanical bodies. They once had biological bodies, although for some Incarnates that was so long ago that it has faded from memory. Incarnates are nearly immortal, for even if one mechanical host begins to fail they can upgrade to a newer model. Or as some put it, they are “as immortal as their funds allow”.
Incarnates are people and have souls, in fact it is their soul or psyche that has been translocated into a different body. The soul is not software that can be replicated, but a unique living thing, so if an Incarnate is destroyed then the person dies.
Due to their long lifespans, Incarnates tend to become increasingly detached from mortal lives, and increasingly fixated on a small number of topics, for which they become unmatched experts. The Bushi’Rygas for example are obsessed with ritual Rygas blade combat. This is not universally true for all Incarnates, but is more often the case than not, and leads to many Incarnates becoming dependent on more well-rounded allies.
“Incarnation” is the transformative journey of a soul into a device also called an Incarnation. The device now contains their soul and is imbedded in a machine body such as a harness, vehicle, or ship. Most Incarnates can physically transfer their Incarnation from one body to another.
Incarnation is a one-way process that cannot be reversed. So while an Organic could someday become an Incarnate, there is no way to go back.
Sometimes forced Incarnations are performed for critically wounded patients, prisoners, or refugees. Sometimes the Incarnates are put into storage if bodies are not available or inappropriate. This is a common practice for prisoners–the prisons of the future are warehouses.
Kinds of Incarnates
Most Incarnates are “normal people”, but there are several different kinds of incarnates. All Incarnates they have the same rights as other people and each other.
A Familiar is an Incarnate whose soul came from an animal rather than a person. Some people give their pets immortality by transferring them into machines. A “robot dog” or “robot eagle” is probably a Familiar, with an actual animal soul inside.
Ghosts are AI or programs that have become fully sentient and are no longer indistinguishable from people. As Incarnates they have the same rights as other people.
Polyincarnates are Akashi Incarnates–people who have split their presence into multiple incarnations, existing in multiple places at once.
Necroincarnates are Incarnates who died before or during their Incarnation. The souls of these individuals are weakened by the experience, losing much of their individuality and strength of spirit.
The Mot create their rank-and-file Omegas as Necroincarnates, usually by forcibly Incarnating captives (dead or alive) and putting them through complete conditioning, rebuilding their bodies and minds into their dreaded “corpse soldiers”. Omegas are left in their original bodies, which are no longer truly alive, but given motive force by cybernetic implants.