Anze is a civilization of uploaded and synthetic consciousnesses, running on easily-available, efficient, readily repairable and upgradable hardware. While interaction over a network is possible and frequent, many prefer embodied interaction, and so nearly everyone has at least one, and usually more than one, physical chassis, nearly always custom-designed or self-designed for practical, aesthetic, or other purposes.
Anze is a strongly socialist society. Everyone, denizen and visitor alike, is given all needs and some basic luxuries with no questions asked. Money is not a completely abolished concept, and still exists as a means of trade for less basic luxuries, but poverty simply doesn't exist, as no money is needed to live comfortably. Many Anzeans, whether out of a desire to help, a desire to acquire some luxury, or simply boredom, will take a few jobs, though it's all but unheard of for someone to have more than a few of their bodies working at any one time, so only some of their minds need to be occupied with work, leaving the majority of the consciousness to do as they wish.
An Anzean chassis can be used in two different ways. The more common is the distributed mode, where an arbitrary number of chassis can be connected to a single consciousness, which is running on a central computer referred to as a core unit, usually located in the individual's place of residence. Each chassis contains a minimum of two types of compute unit: the synthbrain, usually located in the chest area of bioform chassis and bioconverted chassis, or wherever is convenient in non-bioform chassis; and the auxbrain, one of which is located in each head of a bioform or bioconverted chassis, or near each sensor cluster of a non-bioform chassis. These are actually identical hardware, only separated in name by the tasks they're used for.
Each synthbrain and auxbrain is fully as capable as an Anzean core unit, which leads to the second mode of operation: the direct mode. In direct mode, the Anzean's consciousness is loaded directly onto the synthbrain of a chosen chassis. This is frequently more comfortable for recently uploaded individuals to use, but most eventually switch to having a separate core unit, as having a core unit stored somewhere safe is generally preferred over having to restore from backup if one of your bodies is damaged too badly. Many also simply find it easier to control multiple chassis from a core unit, rather than having one primary and many secondary chassis.
Obtaining a new chassis is a fairly trivial matter. A pre-built chassis is easy to get, roughly the equivalent of a few hours' work. A custom-made chassis is a bit more, but still easily achievable for anyone who wants one to get--it will cost about the value of a day of work, plus whatever the one commissioned to design it agrees upon, if they wish to charge a fee. Any chassis can be customized, however; individual parts can be swapped out, even mixing bioform, bioconverted, and non-bioform chassis if the wearer wishes. The process of modifying a chassis is trivial, and individual chassis parts can also be purchased for much less than the cost of a full chassis.
- Auxbrain: Any synthbrain used for auxiliary processing that is located in the same chassis as its controlling synthbrain. Most commonly one used for processing sensory input, or other high-speed input processing. They are also responsible for output, such as speech processing.
- Bioconverted: A bioconverted chassis is one that was originally a biological being, before its original occupant had their consciousness uploaded and their body converted into a chassis, either for their own use or to give to another. These chassis all still require food to continue working, so they're higher-maintenance than other types, but many Anzeans find them more comfortable to wear.
- Bioform: A bioform chassis is a fully synthetic chassis made to resemble biological beings. The amount of the chassis that consists of conventional machinery and batteries, as compared to synthetic muscle and organs, varies from one to another. Sometimes the word bioform is taken to also include bioconverted chassis.
- Non-bioform: A non-bioform chassis is one that doesn't bother to look biological. There's no limit to the shapes they can take; vehicles, buildings, and core units are all common options, though anything is possible.
- Consciousness: A word with approximately the same meaning as it has in other worlds. Philosophers can debate for hours about what exactly it means, but in Anzean terms it's whatever runs on a synthbrain and considers itself a consciousness. A single consciousness usually controls many minds, though the exact way in which this works can vary from person to person. It's not uncommon, however, for multiple consciousnesses to run on the same hardware in parallel, or for two to merge or one to split; identity is very fluid on Anze.
- Core unit: A synthbrain housed in a small, unobtrusive piece of hardware, commonly similar in appearance to an Earth computer tower. This is a type of very minimal non-bioform chassis, and most Anzeans use one as the central compute unit for their entire being, wearing one or more additional chassis in distributed mode.
- Mind: Distinct from consciousness, a mind is a processing thread running on a single synthbrain. A single Anzean can, and usually does, have multiple minds running in parallel, usually one on each auxbrain. Some special-purpose auxbrains may not have a full mind running on them, however. Typically, although not always, all minds running on a single Anzean's auxbrains are the same, with each being used to provide an additional parallel train of thought, attention span, and sensory processing unit. Chassis-central synthbrains may or may not also run minds, and the core unit usually does not.
- Synthbrain: The main compute unit of any Anzean (save for the few biological inhabitants who choose not to upload their consciousness). An Anzean consciousness runs on one or more synthbrains in a hierarchical architecture, with one central core unit responsible primarily for being a backup and delegating all tasks to other synthbrains, one central synthbrain in each chassis that acts as the immediate point of contact for anything that chassis is doing, and one or more auxbrains in each chassis that are used for auxiliary processing tasks. All synthbrains, regardless of what they're called, are architecturally identical and any can be used in any of these roles.