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An Anthropological Summary of Households in the Area Under Consideration

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Eights are survivalists.

An earlier age would probably have called them hermits, but they have different motives for their hermitage than those ancient pioneers of living in a dark cave surrounded by tripwires. A hermit leaves society because they do not agree with some fundamental tenet thereof, and feels they cannot build the life they want inside of it.

An eight believes they have been forced out of society by necessity. The world is too dangerous, so they decide to become more dangerous than the world. They must have the skills of a hermit to survive their self-imposed isolation, but a hermit only makes themself difficult to reach - an eight believes they have constructed an impenetrable fortress.

They are not entirely heartless, even so. If you don't intend to bother them, they will graciously warn you about their protections. The fastness of an Eight is a well-signposted fastness; you simply can't march an army to their door, and they like it that way.


Sevens are paranoid.

Unlike the Eight, the Seven does not have a radical commitment to self-sufficiency. Possibly they tried it, once, but found they were incapable of sustaining it. But their motivation does not seem to be to have as little contact with the outside world as possible - they simply desire, very firmly, never to be surprised. Their nesting behaviour is a clear consequence of this - they have safe space to slip out for supplies, but only they know where it is. They can invite you in, but woe betide you if you come uninvited.

Sevens have a wide range of usually delusional beliefs about what forces require their elaborate security mechanisms, but the most common cases are an extreme interpretation of the total depravity of mankind, or a conviction that the world has been infiltrated by forces beyond the world who wish only to dismantle all that man has wrought. Very few Sevens are particularly bothered about the local government - in fact, they often even pay their taxes. A Seven who begins to get paranoid about the government usually builds their own self-sufficiency until they can go full Eight.

Unlike Eights, a Seven will only warn you about their protections if they like you, or at least believe you are not actively attempting to harm them and have something of use to bring them. Their paranoia makes such trust a rare and precious commodity.


Sixes consider themselves to be pragmatists.

These individuals are the most likely to tell you, in a jovial and well-meaning fashion, that a man's home is his castle. They are friendly and outgoing, and often have large families, which of course they keep within the walls and homeschool. Mostly the head of the household is male, although in the modern world you will sometimes find a female Six breadwinner with a house-husband or an older child in charge of the household.

Sixes regularly campaign for the continued freedom to plant minefields, and are the backbone of the political environment that enables the curious arrangement of households that can be observed in the field. They maintain that they are always happy to welcome a stranger if they come by the front door, but cannot be held responsible for those who attempt to sneak around the back - but unlike the paranoid Sevens, they will generally have a back entrance to their property themselves, or an extra-wide front door for better welcoming.

While it is rarely discussed publicly, it is well known that Sixes also tend to have a mean temper, and will sometimes shove a guest they dislike out into their personal minefield - claiming, of course, that the victim wandered off and explored places they had not been invited.


Fives are the aspirant middle classes.

Most of them aspire to be Sixes, although some of them secretly harbour urges to be Sevens or even Eights. They have begun their personal defence project, but can't afford the finishing touches, or the cavalier attitude that Sixes display towards, for instance, delivery-people. Most Fives do not yet have a family, promising themselves that they will settle down as soon as they have the requisite funding to raise them 'properly' - this is, of course, far in excess of what many others successfully raise a family on.

You do find occasional Fives who are already married with children, and more rarely you find single-parent Fives; the former have generally given up their Six-ish aspirations, deciding to settle for what they can get before their biological clock finishes ticking and winds down, whereas the latter will generally tell you quietly and tearfully, if you gain their trust, about how it was just one night, it was a terrible mistake, but they couldn't bear to part with it once they know it was growing within them, or once she told them that she didn't want it but she would carry it to term for them if they insisted.

If you are unlucky enough to chance upon a paranoid or survivalist wannabe five, you are likely to receive false directions for safe egress; otherwise, there are scattered reports of visitor-murder amongst the fives, but generally these are followed by sorrow and regret, so they tend not to be serial occurrences.


Fours would claim that they are the real pragmatists.

After all, if you have the wherewithal to become a Six, you've never really learned how to make do and mend. A four considers themselves the true self-made man (or woman - although in practice many Four women attempt to attract a Six mate and move in with them). Instead of having the resources to build a nigh-impregnable defence for themselves, they rely on the edge of uncertainty and the element of surprise; some proud Fours even boast that this works better than the Six's monotonous strategy, as uncertainty breeds fear in their potential assailants.

Not all Fours really believe in the necessity of security; many of them will admit, privately, that they have only installed their devices because it is a status symbol, a sign that you have resources to waste - maybe even a primitive mating signal, in that sense. Fours generally have large families in the way of the working class everywhere - expecting to lose a few of them, and have the remainder care for them in their old age.

Fours will often show you one safe way in and out of their territory, but will keep the rest to themselves - even going so far as to arrange decoy terrain and smooth over the areas of real threat.


There are two main varieties of Three: the Accidental Threes and the Aspiring Fours.

Accidental Threes didn't really mean to be in this neighbourhood, and generally did not install their own mines. They have generally taken some kind of employment that turned out to be steady, and settled in the area out of convenience, moving into the abandoned dwelling of someone who has left for marriage or has suffered an unfortunate accident. They might not even know where their mines are themselves - often an Accidental Three will known only one safe route, and avoid all other entrances.

The Aspiring Fours often start out as Accidental Threes, but soon buy into the urban lifestyle and begin saving for their next mine installation. They carefully map out the area, often with the help of the several children they often bring into the city - not all of which will survive the process, but Aspiring Fours know that getting children is easy, it's feeding them that's the hard part. Not all of an Aspiring Four's children will even be related to them - they will cheerfully borrow them from families who can no longer take care of their entire brood.

Accidental Threes are generally quite apologetic about their situation, and will gladly show you what they know about the local area, but it is often not very much. Aspiring Fours are a little more cagey with the information, wanting to know what's in it for them; occasionally they will even direct you deliberately into an uncertain area, using you to gauge the safety of the area for their future plans.


The term 'underclass' has gone out of fashion; nowadays we would call Twos the 'precariat'.

Found around the margins of urban areas or sometimes even in their own entirely separate enclaves, Twos are generally those who are unfortunate enough to have been herded into 'council' or 'social' accommodation. If they are employed, it is generally in several part-time or zero-hours jobs which can call on them with no notice at any point, and pay at best the minimum wage.

If unemployed, it is increasingly becoming a full-time job to jump through the hoops required to stay in their subsidised accommodation and continue to be able to feed themselves, never mind heating and new shoes and the rest of it. Nevertheless, Twos often have a handful of children - there are a variety of theories about why this is, ranging from obtaining larger governmental handouts to the observation that sex between Twos is a cheap and satisfying pastime but their access to family planning services is sporadic at best.

If they consider you to be one of theirs, Twos will alert you to the dangers of their local environment; often these are painfully obvious to the cautious observer in any case. Otherwise, Twos will attempt to maliciously misdirect you - and they have a complex and capricious set of rules about whether you belong or not, carefully constructed out of manufactured mutual resentments that keep them from looking up and blaming anyone else for their predicament.


Ones yearn to make a better society, but can't quite cut their ties with this one.

Your bohemian artist who lives five to a squat in an abandoned warehouse on the edge of town; your angry young man; your hippies and your dreamers, these are Ones. They wistfully preach of a world without mines, but they are too attached to the conveniences of modern life to shed their shackles and become Zeroes. They might try to grow veg on abandoned waste ground, but you'll always find them over at the corner shop secretly buying highly processed chocolate bars from international conglomerates and loathing themselves for it.

A few Ones are making a virtue of necessity, having been denied even the fingerhold on society that is apportioned to Twos, but usually if one really desires to be a Two it's not that difficult to get back on the public assistance wagon, or shack up with someone who is. However, many who drop out to this level decide that they are better off amongst the dreaming classes, who at least have their bitter and occasionally deadly arguments over abstruse philosophical differences, or who left their pubes in the last sliver of soap, not manufactured conflicts cynically designed by outside forces.

The locus of danger in a One neighbourhood is generally fairly easy to spot, and the inhabitants will sometimes guiltily point it out to you; however, sometimes it is not a historical artifact but a unilateral act by a crazed, possibly aspirant inhabitant, and those are much harder to avoid as most of the population only has a vague appreciation that it is out there somewhere - the last traces of their original sin.


Zeroes are your true free spirits: your wanderers, your noble savages.

These are the few that turn their back on Omelas. There is little out there in the open spaces between settlements, but they range far and wide, scraping together a living on the back of the world. Between themselves, they would claim they are just as diverse as the long series of city-dwellers - just not as well-known. Some of them are ex-city hobos who have made the countryside their den; some of them are true hermits, loners amongst nature's bounty; some of them are tribes which claim an ancient and storied history, long before the first city-dweller thought of building the first mine.

This diversity and mystery makes it hard to make any other sweeping statements about these people, save that they are always on the move. The barren land between cities provides scant sustenance for humankind, and a stationary group would easily exhaust an area if they do not want to succomb to the temptations of agriculture. And on this all Zeroes are agreed - it is agriculture that is the great evil, the slow death which leads inevitably to the building of mines.

There are occasional rumours of more settled Zero encampments, but on investigation one always finds a settled hierarchy of borderline Ones, huddled around their guilty secret in the centre of the area.