With their limited resources and numbers, the ancient Cendarii who roamed the stars required the guidance of a single entity which would outlive any number of them to ensure stability: The System. No living Cendarii knows who build it or where it came from, but The System has guided the Collective for countless generations. It decides which changes to make to the gene banks, which classes of Cendarii to produce each cycle, and the general direction the Collective should head.
While it doesn’t handle day-to-day operations and individuals are free to make their own choices, it does put general guidelines in place to nudge the Collective toward goals it deems important. Primary goals may include things like exploring certain regions of the cosmos to find potential new homes, collecting information about certain topics, and maintaining social stability of the Collective.
Some Cendarii scholars theorize that The System may be a divine artifact, as it has the ability to grant temporary Divinity to Cendarii through the use of Divinity Protocol. More cynical individuals believe it to be a device used to steal Divinity for their own ends, a machine devised by their distant creators. But despite the massive library which houses the Collective’s entire knowledge, nothing concrete is known about the ancients who may have constructed it. It’s quite possible The System leaves the Collective in the dark on such subjects on purpose…
Such thoughts have sparked small movements to break the Collective free of The System, but such rebellions are always quashed by the paladins in short order.