The zetii were faced with a problem early in their evolution. They were intelligent beings developing a sophisticated culture and needed a way to reliably record the combined wisdom of their society. As they have no possessions, and had no wish to alter their environment in any way, they could not use other material objects to record information as humans do. Instead, they devised an elegant solution, developing an order that came to be known as the Starwriters, who are specially trained to recall vast quantities of information subliminally.
The Starwriters, who are always females, are capable of memorising huge amounts of data, but do so at a subconscious level. In their everyday life, they may have as good or bad a memory for events as any other zeta. When acting as a Starwriter however, they descend into a form of trance; that the zetii name the fourth level of consciousness. Then, two overlapping mental structures are provided for them to arrange the data upon: they hear a locking song, and they see some distinct but repeatable event — usually the movement of one or more heavenly body in relation to another.
The locking song is sung by one or more Dreamweavers, specially trained, experienced Starwriters, who will have composed the song with an understanding of how to access and deepen the level of consciousness the Starwriters will have attained. The locking song may or may not have recognisable words, to the uninitiated it sounds like a murmured chant.
The astronomical visual cue may be the passage of a planet across a star or one of the many constellations categorised by the zetii. In some cases, these are events that will repeat every night, in other cases they may happen only once a year, or in the case of some comets and eclipses, at intervals of up to hundreds of years. These considerations are taken into account when selecting the cosmic event to be used. The more unique and rare an event is, the more value is placed on it as a recording opportunity.
For more complex information the Starwriters sometimes enter into a form of shared consciousness. This is a very complex concept to explain in human terms, however, it can be compared to linking computers together. Humans sometimes link a number of individual computers together in order to process large amounts of calculations. When this is done, the whole assembly of computers becomes a sort of supercomputer, yet each unit has only a part of the information and in itself would have no meaningful answers. The exchange of information that allows the individuals to network in this way takes place in the form of quiet but very rapid sounds that pass between members of the group involved in what sounds like a cascade of sounds. A similar technique is sometimes employed by the Calculators. Always males, the Calculators essentially perform mental arithmetic or data processing, but this is a great oversimplification. They perform the calculations necessary for the zetii to analyse their detailed observations of Ocean and the stars above her.
The Starwriters perform a vital function in zetii society. It is only by building on the wealth of wisdom accumulated over countless generations that they have been able to develop into such a sophisticated culture. Their ethos of living within their planet’s means, and being at one with their environment, is only practical because they have such a range of recorded experience of what the environment’s limits actually are.
As mentioned, the Starwriters usually record or access data when in the fourth level of consciousness. It takes training to be able to reach and attain this state as those sentient creatures potentially capable of achieving it usually slip from the second or third levels directly into the fifth or sixth. A simplified explanation of the main named levels of consciousness is as follows.
|First||Enlightenment, unity with the Universal|
|Third||Awake but with unconscious influences: “daydreaming”|
|Fourth||In the unconscious mind but still under conscious control|
|Seventh||Totally unconscious, bordering on comatose|