The funny thing about the name E. chose—Heaven’s Battle Front—is that his is a peaceful tribe. They are not warriors, but explorers, he said, and anyone over 16 (who grew up in the tribe) could join. E. described the tribe as a large, family-like community that was divided into sub-tribes, each with its own leader, and all of whom comprised a council of leaders. Members of the tribe were expected to be family-oriented, adventurous, ingenious, resourceful, and courageous. The test for initiates is to set out on what E. called a “pilgrimage,” but is actually more properly a quest. There would be no time limit, but each aspiring member would head out into the world with the purpose of bringing back something of value—something like a new technology or a technique. Everyone is sent out with only a few resources: a map, a little money, and a compass. After finding something of value, they then return and present it to one of the leaders. You need to be a bit savvy about choosing which one, though E. admitted that it’s common for leaders to accept your find “out of kindness.” He was equally quick to point out, however, that your fellow tribesmen would hold you in a certain regard depending on what they thought of your contribution.
E. only needed the slightest prompting from his mentor to decide on his tribe. One thing she said that was helpful was to ask about an “emotional tribe”—a group that shared a set of interests or values. They tossed around ideas like sci-fi fans or video gamers initially, but E. settled on something else entirely. He finished his ritual well ahead of everyone else in the group, leading me to think that he’d already had a pretty good idea of his ideal society. I love how each member is expected to make a concrete contribution to the tribe given scant resources. I also love how each one needs to go out into the world and “explore lands or ruins.” But I did want to know if the contribution could also be the invention/creation of the initiate, rather than something discovered in a foreign civilization.