Sirius

Sirius A+B
Image from Steve Bowers
Sirius A (before starlifting), and Sirius B a tiny white dwarf (right)
This picture is highly foreshortened to show the two stars together; in fact they are separated by 19.8 astronomical units on average

One of the first industrialized extrasolar systems. Due to the strict regulations on amat production and light economy in the solar system, Prometheus Incorporated began building massive amat production facilities around Sirius A. The corporation monopolized the system (it helped introduce various colonization exclusivity laws in the Federation at the time), essentially running it as a single giant factory.

Over time a sizeable research cluster developed in orbit around Sirius B, doing studies on high energy engineering and degenerate matter. As transapientech moved towards the development of reactionless drives and wormholes, Prometheus poured more and more money and intelligence into the research in the hope of gaining control over the emerging technology. It failed, and over the 2200s the corporation quickly declined. Amat production remained profitable in smaller scales, and most of the extensive facilities were abandoned.

The Sirius B cluster on the other hand remained in the forefront of physics. It became an independent research company, Sirius Dynamics. Over time it bought up most of the abandoned amat facilities for macroengineering, wormhole and exotic matter production. It was here were methods for stellar mining and magmatter production were developed. The somewhat isolated corporation developed into a peculiar culture, dominated by physicist-engineer cyborgs and AIs. Over time it became ever more obsessed with dense matter, experimenting with ways of encoding information, processing and consciousness in degenerate matter and neutronium.

Eventually an ambitious project to artificially cool down Sirius B into a "stellar hypercrystal" through controlled neutrino cooling was begun. The surrounding systems, especially the neighboring Solar System, were not happy about the plans. After some tense negotiation the Sirius Dynamics clade agreed to relocate in 4115. They emigrated into the Keter Dominion and were never heard from again. As a last gesture, officially to preclude any mis-use or scavenging by primitives, they detonated all their system facilities using antimatter.

With the departure of the clade the Sirius system became a Solar Organisation Protectorate Territory. During the Second Federation period a small garrison and Grade E fleet facilities were established, with habitats for the servicebeings and their families. The Solar Organisation tried to encourage migration and establish a viable local economy, by means of generous tariffs and tax benefits, but the resource-poor nature of the system discouraged investors. The only exceptions was Sirius Energy, an amat startup which developed a promising energy farm before being prosecuted and closed down for embezzlement and data laundering. Over the following centuries the amat farms were managed by a succession of companies, with varying degrees of profit or loss, before being handed over to the Sirius Development Scheme representatives.

The situation was worsened by the fact that a number of derived backgrounder, space people, cosmist, heteromorphic, sapientchimp and assorted paranoid clades had occupied various cometary bodies and planetisimals of the outer belt regions (no-one knows when they had arrived; they had obviously been there for some centuries, but Sirius Dynamics made no mention of them). Resentful of the SO presence, which they saw as an occupying army, they resorted to sniping with ai viruses and the occasional khaki goo nanite. The small SO presence, although scoring a number of minor victories, lacked the resources and ability to clear the system, and in the wake of the bad press that resulted from the bungled attempt to annex the Barnard Belt, the Solar Organisation headquarters back at Vesta was unwilling to commit more resources into a similar operation. A kind of unhappy standoff developed, which was to last, with periods of truce, mutual suspicion, and occasional periods of uncomfortable if civil relationship, punctuated by sporadic atrocities committed by either side, for some 200 years.

Immigration proved hardly more successive. The established clades wanted nothing to do with the system, and its incipient terrorist uncertainties. The only interest came from more eccentric clades. The Dogonites, a neo-nuage-derived culture of nearbaselines from Herschel Deme (Triton Geosynchronous Orbit), who believed that aliens from Sirius had provolved humanity during pre-Bronze Age Sumerian times, before themselves departing for places unknown, considered it their duty to look after the ancient Home of Humanity's Patrons. They were soon joined by the Sothists, a nearbaseline religious clade from Istria Habitat (Cis-Lunar orbit) who favoured theriomorph bodysculpting and claimed that actually it was actually the "GodDog Star" who had provolved humanity. Over the following centuries more eccentric clades took advantage of the SO Sinus Development Scheme migrated.

The Dogonites became heavily involved in the amat farms. The Sothists however considered that the ant electromagnetic radiation from the star (the so-called Light of Sirius - they did not discriminate between spiritual and physical radiance, considering the two to be simply dual aspects of the same "glory") was the Radiance of the GodDog and hence not to be used for anything other than sacred purposes (such as settling the universe in accordance with the Precepts of the High Priest of Sothism (at the time a certain Heku Attun IV, then showing signs of mild Extension Psychosis). The Sothists contacted a paranoid clade of Sapientchimps who helped them wage a campaign of sabotage against the Dogonites. Fortunately neither the Sothists nor the Sapientchimps showed much competence with ai viruses and nanite replicators, and little serious harm was done. Nevertheless it did add to the tension of the situation, and the SO regional authorities were forced to declare martial law.

Eventually the situation with the paranoid terrorist clades in the outer system got so bad that a Communion peace keeping force was called in. The Communion empaths were neutrals, and agreeable to all sides. Following the conditions of the 6402 Communion-mediated Treaty of O'Steen both SO and the paranoids agreed to keep out of each other's way - the SO forces and the Dogonites staying in the inner system, the Sothists and Sapientchimps having selected asteroid clusters (chiefly Farlon Megaplex and the Gagarin Trojans) and the various background clades keeping to the outer comet belts zone.

The Version War Era

This arrangement was to break down more than a few times over the following centuries, especially during the Version War, when in 4487 the Sapientchimps and Dogonites signed a Mutual Protection Treaty with the Revisionists. The Solar Dominion sent a corvette, the Ardsley, and a support ship, the Escanabo. Both vessels were too old to be of much good in the main war. Nevertheless the Ardsley completely outgunned the SO Sirian Territorial Battalion and the token Communion presence. The Solar Organisation protested vigorously at this violation of their neutrality, and there was talk of signing a treaty with Metasoft. But by this time the stargates were being targeted and planets bombarded, and no-one wanted to see this happening in the Sol System. In 4488 the Solar Organisation closed down their three main stargates, leaving the relatively short-range Dominion vessels stranded some twenty-five light years from home (the Communion empaths had already settled down for the duration).

The Sirius system escaped the devastation that was to wrack much of the Inner Sphere during the war. In 4520 a single battered Metasoft relativistic autowar (a model 4000 autowars heavy battledrone, no. 7213b-2509+) wandered into the system, quickly destroyed the Escanabo and was about to engage in and annihilate the Ardsley (along with all the allied Sothist and Sapientchimp habitats in the system) when the empath leader at the time, Councillor Fair Waters, mediated a surrender, while all politically sensitive information on the Ardsley was quickly erased. Heavy battle drone no. 7213b-2509+ left a small vec garrison to ensure compliance with the Terms of Surrender, and departed. Legend has it that it was destroyed in an encounter with remaining elements of the Dominion Fleet Sebek off Tremnont, but this has never been confirmed. The garrison survived however, and eventually came to be accepted as part of the curious ethnic mix that is the Sirius System.

Little remained of the original Protectorate Territory colony, except for the old Sol-Sirius stargate (which escaped destruction during the Version War, more due to its sheer strategic irrelevance than anything else), a large number of old habitat Clusters, populated by the descendants of the original migrants, and paranoids and a few more recent miners eking out a living from the Sirius main belt. These habitat Clusters became known as the Twelve Solaria, and gradually these small worlds became insular and withdrawn from the rest of Terragen society.




starlifting sirius
Image from Jim Wisniewski
Farming the stars: a necessary process to sustain any advanced civilization. The new Sirius Power Collection Swarm

The Starlifting Project begins

A new wave of immigration, consisting mostly of virtual sophonts known as the Noëa (pl. Noëadrim), began to arrive in the eighth millenium, and established a new hegemony known as the Sirian Heirarchy.

Since 7000 the Sirian Hierarchy have begun an ambitious project to starlift Sirius A; pictured above are the first of billions of devices placed in orbit to commence the process of stellar engineering which will extend the lifetime of the star for billions, perhaps trillions of years.

The ring of magnetic accelerators has spun Sirius A into a flattened disk shape. Tuned lasers, shining inwards from the sphere of solar collectors, give the plasma the extra boost it needs to leap off into space where it cools and is collected. As the process continues through millions of years the star will shrink, yielding up nearly two solar masses of hydrogen in the process. Then it will settle into a comfortable red dwarf stage, and the collectors will be linked together into an unbroken sphere supported by light pressure. Before, its fuel would have been spent in a scant billion years, wasted into the void of space in the blink of an eye. After it is lifted, the fate of the Dog Star will not be death, but life. It will burn for a trillion years, as will the ten new stars built from its liberated substance, and its light will support the existence of uncountable lives.

The new collection swarm began to cut off the light from the old habitats of the Twelve Solaria, until the Noëadrim came to an arrangement whereby the Collection Swarm would transmit light towards those habitats for perpetuity. Today the Twelve Solaria are increasingly seen as tourist destinations, since Sirius has a direct wormhole link to SolSys, one of the major tourist destinations in the Terragen Sphere.

One particular popular destination is the still intact Ardsley warship, currently a Museum-Restaurant in orbit around Sirius-B.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg, Xaonon and M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 09 September 2000.

Fiction relating to Sirius

Chaos under Heaven.