The planet Jafalgia is one of the many baseline reserve worlds established by the Metasoft Version Tree, noted for its rich artistic culture. The planet itself is named after Zolkim Jafalge (870 - 1015 a.t), a Vestan human statesbeing who played an instrumental role in the establishment of the First Federation in 934 a.t. As is typical with baseline reserves, Jafalgia is located in what was once a relatively isolated region of space. However, as different nations and polities have expanded into new territories, this is no longer the case. When first reached, Jafalgia had a highly oxygenated atmosphere, and was host to a primitive biosphere. Using relatively advancedterraformation technology, Metasoft was able to render the planet habitable for baseline humans in less than a century.
Prior to the Second Vec War, the majority of baseline reserves maintained by Metasoft were quite primitive. Jafalgia was somewhat unusual, in that it had access to hi- and ultra-level technologies. This was due to the caretaker vecs' interest in observing the development of an advanced baseline culture. However, hi- and ultra-tech on Jafalgia is still somewhat restricted, and relatively primitive in comparison to greater galactic civilisation. Ascension was not allowed to take place on the planet itself, and baselines seeking to ascend to posthuman status had to transfer elsewhere. Jafalgia was not initially given access to a traversable wormhole (to lower the chances of cultural contamination), although had a connection to a comms-gauge wormhole, allowing the planet's inhabitants access to the Known Net.
Even before the planet's settlement, it seemed that Metasoft were determined to make it one of their most diverse baseline reserves, as evidenced by the variety of architecture found in the cities constructed across the planet prior to its settlement. Indeed, each continent appeared to favour its own types of settlement - for example, a large number of Minimal Surface Cities (MSCs) could be found across northern Glarn, while the south of the continent was home to various types of walking cities (such as scrub-slugs and mega-mechas). The southern-most continent of Shir seemed to favour more conventional arcology-style settlements, although hanging cities (similar to those found on Nova Terra) were quite popular along the Frandish Isles. Lastly, the small island-continent of Zell seemed to prefer more old-fashioned cities (so-called "sprawls"), with only a very few arcologies (although these numbers have increased since). Additionally, there exist many kinds of floatcit in the oceans between continents, as a great many cities which do not fit into any of the above categories (such as Brith and Dellip).
Once these cities had been constructed, Jafalgia's baseline settlers made planet-fall. Most of these settlers belonged to certain religious sects which prohibited the use of genemods of any kind, and frowned upon all forms of life-extension and backup technology. Throughout the 53rd and 54th centuries, an attitude of human supremacy swept across the planet. However, this prudish and reserved civilisation would not last for more than a few centuries.
Rise Of An Artistic Culture
Lavoisier 25, 5400 a.t marked the birth of a figure remembered on Jafalgia to this day: the virch sculptor Haliki Movarion. Movarion was the only child of clerics Deker and Jarki Movarion, and was born in Quinjus Arcology, Shir. Since childhood, Movarion felt out of place living in such a conservative community, and took up virch sculpting as a teenager. Most of Movarion's early work was highly satirical in nature, mocking his homeworld's prudish and fearful society. Needless to say, Movarion's work was poorly received by the majority of Jafalgians. Facing ostracisation from his peers, Movarion considered giving up on his Virch artwork, before being contacted by a relatively obscure society of liberal Jafalgian artists who found his work highly amusing, and convincing him to continue with his art. It was not long before Movarion acquired a cult following on Jafalgia - his work was greatly inspiring to those who had also found themselves bored with their planet's reserved society. When Movarion was 37 years of age, he contracted neuroflux, as a result of his somewhat unconventional use of nanotech implants. Although easily treatable, to the surprise of many, Movarion announced his decision to ascend to posthuman status (with permission from Metasoft caretakers). Around this time, Movarion was contacted by his parents for the first time in fifteen years, who unsuccessfully tried to dissuade him from this course of action. To this day it is uncertain whether or not this process was successful, although a number of theories have emerged on Jafalgia.
By the early 56th century, Jafalgian society was gradually becoming less and less conservative. On 11 Einstein 5520, the Minimal Surface City of Sturrick (one of the planet's more liberal cities, located in northern Glarn) was visited by the hypersapient performance artist known as the Quizical, who treated its population to a highly surreal musical performance (later known as an "extravaganza"). The Quizical would hereafter perform musical numbers in different locations across Jafalgia roughly once every thirty or forty years. The exact origin of the Quizical is uncertain - some have speculated that e may have been the artist once known as Haliki Movarion, although it is more likely that the entity was merely a memetic tool used by Metasoft in order to stretch baseline creativity to its limits. If this is so, Metasoft appears to have been highly successful, as the Quizical inspired more and more Jafalgians to open their minds and create artwork of their own, giving rise to such movements as the Lateral Violationists and the Animergence. Its mission completed, the Quizical ceased all public appearances in 5703; exactly what became of the entity is currently unknown.
Emergence of New Artists & Cultural Revival
By the early 58th century, Jafalgia had established itself as one of (if not the) most artistically diverse of Metasoft's baseline reserve worlds. Naturally, this resulted in a large number of outsiders taking interest in the world's culture, with a great many artists (many of them cyborgs) wishing to visit the planet for themselves. In 5783, to the shock of its inhabitants, Jafalgia's Metasoft caretakers announced their decision to allow a small number of outsiders to visit the planet for themselves, and (if they wished) remain there for the next century in order to experience its rich cultural heritage. Although this decision was initially welcomed by Jafalgians (who were pleased that cyborgs were recognizing baseline hu's creativity), it was soon one that they would regret. Many non-baseline tourists decided to continue creating their own artwork on Jafalgia. Over the following decades, artwork produced by posthuman/cyborg artists began overshadowing that produced by baseline hu. The planet's baseline artists were frustrated and confused - angered that the artwork they had strived to produce was being ignored, and clueless as to why Metasoft would allow this cultural contamination to take place.
The 5800's is typically regarded as a period of cultural revival for Jafalgia, with the planet's rich artistic culture returning to its baseline roots. This era marked a significant increase in the number of baseline artists, who sought to prove that they were more than capable of competing against cyborgs and posthu in the artistic world, rather than simply waiting for the visitors to leave in 5883. One notable figure from this era was the opera composer Chorbo Landali, who composed and starred in seven operas based around the lives of overlooked baseline artists between the years of 5830 and 5865. Landali's operas (all of which are considered masterpieces by baseline standards) were dramatizations of the lives of various baseline artists, which helped draw more attention to relatively obscure human writers, painters and musicians on Jafalgia and beyond. Other noted baseline figures from this era include the surrealist poet Feldi Galsu (5796 - 5880), the Dead Dancers of Vuddish, and the cave painter Yenda Nisk (a.k.a the Neo-Troglodyte, b. 5812, asc. 5891).
Many historians have speculated that the reason for Metasoft's allowing of tourists to visit Jafalgia (which they had previously been quite strict about) was a plan set in place in order to push baseline creativity to its limits, forcing humans to compete against posthu/cyborg artists. Some have even gone as far as to suggest that these foreign artists themselves were merely puppets of Metasoft, as the Quizical may have been. Whether or not this is true, the Jafalgian Cultural Revival was ultimately a success, and baseline artists are respected on this world to the present day, even with the prevalence of non-baseline artists.
Jafalgia has changed little in the past five millennia or so. However, as with a number of other baseline reserves, Jafalgia's system did receive a wormhole connection after the events of the Second Vec War, and receives a limited amount of tourism each year. Hi- and ultra-tech on this world is less restricted than it was in the sixth millennium, and despite some protest, ascension is still not allowed to take place on the planet itself. The planet is renowned for its artistic culture to the present day, and is home to many writers, artists and musicians, baseline or otherwise. Although many have expressed the view that Jafalgia has proven that baselines have much to offer to the artistic galaxy, some have criticised this, claiming that Jafalgia receives far too much credit, overshadowing baseline artists living in other polities. Additionally, some posthuman artists retain the view that most artwork produced on this planet is petty and simplistic (despite being considered genius by baseline standards). It should also be noted that a number of conspiracy theories have formed over the apparent abundance of baseline geniuses on Jafalgia, with some suggesting that Metasoft augmented the intelligence of the planet's inhabitants. However, there is little weight to any of these claims.