Titan


Titan Data Panel

System:Solsys
Primary :Sol
Planet:Saturn
Moon:Titan
Planet Type:Titanian type Icy moon with thick nitrogen rich atmosphere; this world is (of course) the example world for this type
Distance from Primary:Saturn orbits Sol with a semimajor axis of 9.58 AU. Titan orbits Saturn with a semimajor axis of 1,221,870 km
Radius:2576 km
Gravity:0.14 g
orbital period:Titan is tidally locked to Saturn and orbits that world every 15 days and 22 hours / Saturn has an orbital period year of 29.66 standard years
Atmosphere:Dense atmosphere (1.6 bars) of nitrogen and methane, with traces of several organic compounds
Average Surface temperature:94 K (-179C)

For many reasons Titan, the dominant moon in the Saturnian system, was an early target for colonization and has become one of the richest worlds in the Sol System. Titan is a very large moon, it holds more than 96% of all the matter in orbit around Saturn and is the second largest moon in the Sol system. Its size has given Titan many of the features that have been the base of its wealth.

Titan is a geologically active world. In many ways it is a cryogenic version of an early Earth: it even has plate tectonics. This is both a blessing and a curse; Titan is a differentiated world, its lighter elements are in easy reach at its surface but most of its heavy elements are locked away in a rocky core under more than seventeen hundred kilometers of low pressure ice, a sub-surface ocean (or cryomagma) of ammonium sulfate and water, and a final layer of high pressure ice. The cryomagma is heated from within by the decay of radioactive elements. This layered structure of Titan is unstable; water ice is less dense than liquid water and ammonium sulfate is more dense than either. Low pressure ice sometimes forms over pools of super cooled ammonium sulfate at the bottom of the ocean, this ice then ascends buoyantly to underplate the outer layer of ice. This action carries with it plumes of water, ammonia and methane (which are even less dense) with such force that it finds its way up through the crustal ice to form cryovolcanos, a dense nitrogen atmosphere, and erosion features on the surface.

Titan is the only SolSys moon with more than just trace gases for an atmosphere, in fact its surface pressure was/is 1.6 times that of Earth. And with Titan's lower gravity it extends quite a bit farther than Earth's; any orbital closer than 1,000 km must continually fight atmospheric drag. 98.4% of Titan's atmosphere is nitrogen, a valuable commodity during the Interplanetary Age, and during the Mars terraforming project Titan's atmosphere was reduced by a third. It has since been restored through increased cryovolanic activity.

Titan's weather system is dominated by a single, pole-to-pole, Hadley cell. This not only creates a usable amount of wind energy for any colonists it also circulates the methane to the top of the atmosphere where ultraviolet light and ions from the sun breaks it down into reactants which then form more complex chemical compounds like ethane, diacetylene, methylacetylene, acetylene, propane, cyanoacetylene, hydrogen cyanide, benzene and tholin. These chemicals rain-out with the methane during the cold seasons to form hydrocarbon lakes at the poles. A fair portion of this liquid soaks into the icy crust and returns to the sub-surface ocean as energy rich cold seeps.

History

By 330 AT Titan had become the Australia of the Solar System; a world which had agreed to accept convicted criminals from Earth or the Earth/Luna system as colonists. These convicted criminals were those serious or persistent non-violent offenders who were given the option of an extended work period on Titan working for certain megacorps; after a period of one half a Saturn Year (that is to say, after fifteen Earth years) these Optees were generally able to eventually work off their debt to society and become free Titanites or return to the Hothouse Earth and constant surveillance.

As Titan is one of the most resource rich worlds in the Solar System, the companies working there became wealthy; and only a few companies used this unusual source of labour - most used vecs and neumanns like other megacorps; but those who did (such as the Chronos Corporation or Tou-sing Nitrogen) had the advantage of colonists provided free of charge by the Earth Authorities.

The great majority of Option Colonists became valued members of Titan society, which became one of the most wealthy in the System; but some recidivists became members of the local organised crime syndicate, The Ring, which was based in the main population centres of Huygens Orbital in orbit around Titan, or in Dragon City on the surface.

The megacorps and their convict workforce were not the first colonists on Titan. The original settlers to Titan came very early in the Interplanetary Age from various regions of Earth, a group made up of like-minded individuals belonging to a new faith who wanted to live an isolated life away from what they considered the ineffective and inefficient cultures of the mother planet. Their religion evolved from an organised Agnosticism that slowly made the move back to a faith which was unlike most existing faiths. This new faith was based on the assumption they were not infallible in respect to God but were the most accurate in representing the supreme being through the process of elimination of what he was not. They were quite vocal about their beliefs but were sometimes viewed negatively as they tended to clash with the dominant faiths on Earth, and therefore became labelled as a cult. It was due to this backlash that the faith's leaders advanced the idea of colonizing Titan.

The financing of the colonization effort was done entirely through the faithful's own investments and although the 2 to 3 million congregation was small when compared to other religions it did host some very wealth individuals. Even so, it took a number of yearly fund-raising drives before they could purchase a suitable ship. To purchase the balance of the colony's equipment tickets for the ship were auctioned off. This meant that the 12 thousand initial colonists were the movement's wealthiest and/or most faithful, but it also sowed the seeds of doubt.

The initial colony was launched in 206 AT and although the ship had a powerful fusion drive it was heavily loaded so the trip would be a long one, long enough that the passengers opted to spend the time in cryostasis. Unfortunately the faith's leadership had also elected to be on this first flight.

When the ship arrived at Titan in 216 AT the colonists awoken to find the congregation back in the Earth/Luna system had been subverted. It seems that as soon as the colonists had entered cryostasis a fierce, 10 year long, memetic war was launched on those left behind by the new faith's rivals. This war was planned well in advance of the ship's launch, in fact it's now known that the purchase of the ship itself had been secretly subsidized by at least two of Earth's major religions of that time. And if that weren't enough the ship's comm-links, already hampered by time delays and low bandwidth, were being selectively jammed so that any effort to win back their congregation only made things worst.

Although there is no doubt the faith's leaders had intended for their ship to make multiple trips to bring most, if not all of the congregation to Titan that was now seen as a lost cause. Some of those on Titan blamed the colonisation project for their loss of the congregation but most just dismissed them as never being true believers in the first place. Over the next few years driven by fear of further contamination which could lead to further loss of members the colony's population became more fanatical, secretive and intolerant, which eventually led them to break off all communications with the solar community. These faithful now began call themselves the Cishp, in reverence of their founder they now referred to as the prophet Aurek Cishp.

As the colony maintained radio silence many believed that the colony had perished under the pressures of surviving in Titan's hostile environment. To the people of earth they were thought to be gone and lost, a belief that was only reinforced by a gruesome act of deception. When the colony first detected the approach of newcomers they opened up their tombs and moved the frozen bodies into the abandoned surface habitats. The faithful were able to remain in stealth mainly because they had made a gradual migration over the preceding century to the subsurface ocean where they obtained new energy resources and materials, slowly dismantling their old wind farms and abandoning surface strip-mining as they did so.

352 AT was an unexpected year for the new colonists, and especially for the convict colonists in Dragon City, as it was marked by the first contact between them and the Cishp. First contact was accidental and occurred when a survey team of the Cronos corporation found some odd thermal signatures near the surface. When the survey team investigated more closely they discovered a group of humanoids and vecs hastily trying to repair what appeared to be a severe steam leak. Contact was awkward at best, but the survey team managed to learn who they were, what areas they claimed and that they preferred to limit contact as much as possible. In particular the Cishp expressed that most of the subsurface ocean be kept off limits and claimed this was to protect sensitive seeding projects from intrusion and contamination from unregulated industrial procedures outside designated industrial zones.

Though 352 AT was the first year of formal contact, many colonists had formed myths and stories around humanoid ghosts said to be spirits of Titan or some unknown myth like the Greys, it was latter discovered that these "ghosts" had been stealthy Cishp scouts investigating the newer colonists. Once contact had been made some nation states and megacorps tried to intitate diplomatic relations to acquire Cishp data and expertises on Titan and to begin trade relations, but the Cishp were reluctant to cooperate due to suspicion of what they considered potentially harmful newcomers; particularly after they learned that most were descended from the scourge of Earth's population.

Although settlements like Dragon City kept growing and thriving, as did Cishp settlements, their contact was limited even though many colonists and megacorps were interested in the Cishp's polymer technology and architectural techniques that made highly efficient use of Titan's resources. The colonists knew that the Cishp had moved into Titan's subsurface ocean and that these settlements were more populated and larger than their own, some even suggested that Cishp might number in the hundreds of thousands, but it wasn't until later that the truth was discovered. The Cishp actually numbered just over a million, achieved thanks to an intentional high population growth rate estimated to be at around 3.8%; maintained through practices like naturally and artificially impregnating females whenever possible and the use of artificial wombs. Cishp devoted a large part of their resources and workforce into giant creches with the mission of creating faithful followers, these creches achieved their mission through the use of basic AI which helped educate and indoctrinate young Cishp.

Even though the Cishp relations with the other colonists were limited, as desired, they began feeling the pressures brought the newer arrivals. For example they felt that control of their land was slipping from their hands along with a dulling of their survival edge on Titan: Or at least these are considered the reasons why the Cishp unexpectedly became more involved in Titan society.

In 368 AT the new rental body technology finally reached Titan and the Cishp were quick to see the usefulness of it. They could interact with the newcomers *face* to face while retaining the security of physical isolation. They started small, renting the limited numbers of bot bodies supplied by the megacorps for short periods and generally acting like tourists, but within a few years they were mass producing their own version and flooding the market.

Their first major initiative began in 375 AT when they formed the Cishp Bind (which later became one of the major theocratic conglomerates of Titan) as a way to open their own rather large industry (up until then mostly geared to supply their own needs) to the volatile market; but not as a competitor, instead the Cishp Bind worked with the megacorps to supply them with cheaper (often intentionally cheaper than it should be) refined volatiles than they could produce. Additionally the Cishp became more noticeable in colonist settlements like Dragon City where they set up new plants to employ the local population. Cishp preachers began frequenting public places trying to convert people and Cishp entertainment was distributed widely.

While unknown at the time it was later discovered that the Cishp Bind was part of a series of complex and convoluted covert operations over decades that involved the slow but persistence erosion of the identity of these settlements and their parent corporations through conversion and cultural influence, while working with the corporations under the pretense of mutual profit; eventually this strategy would lead the corps to rely on the Cishp's services as contractors for various administration and maintenance services. Eventually the corps would be gradually absorbed into Cishp society. The methods involved were various but they included subtle conversion, economic investment (often taking the less profitable end of deals with the parent corporation to lead it to eventually use Cishp services such as control of dissident colonists) and even setting up staged communities, full of rental bodies, within the surface settlements.

The Cishp also obtained an extra edge on the rest of Titan society by investing heavily on Dione very early on after 375 AT. This investment was geared towards "cultural development" of the larger cyborg and biopunk settlements while the small Cishp enclaves quitely began the construction of deep minning shafts to obtain heavy elements and geothermal energy from its core. The Cishp Bind also was on a mission to find any of the Geoflex AI seeds, sent by one of its partner corporations on Earth; one was found that seemed to have failed to initiate and, according to the Cishp, was beyond repair and swiftly recycled into ore. Others believed that the Cishp found the AI seed almost intact but non functional which they secretly transported back to Titan where it was reprogrammed to serve them.

It was known at the time the Cishp had a council of elders, composed of their priesthood, as their ruling body. Because of the complex, almost imperceptible nature of their strategy some commentators suspected that the Cishp had covert guidance from unknown transapient entities. Other evidence comes from covert infiltration surveys of the late 380's, into areas of the subsurface ocean designated by the Cishp as off-limits, which suggested large computronium banks embedded onto the icy ocean floor. Others contest this evidence as being fabricated. The truth of the matter was more complex.

Destructive uploading technology had reached Titan even before first contact was made between the Cishp and the newcomers and the Cishp had used the seven years between 368 and 375 AT to acquire this tech and make good use of it. After an initial testing period the council of elders uploaded themselves into a virchspace modeled after the, then current, Titan society. Moving their minds to virtual meant they could think at an accelerated speed, as long as they had the right computronium resources, and running simulations at high speed allowed them to test different strategies before actually acting. They also copied themselves so they could test different methods of intelligence augmentation. In due course the council settled on a type of tribemind with each member electing to merge with a different set of expert software in order to round out the tribemind's abilities.

In 381 AT the operations on Dione had returned some Geoflex nanites and the Cishp began to convert parts of Titan's rocky core into computronium. This allowed the council of elders to greatly expand and accelerate their efforts. Although the council had become a superbright entity comparable to the other corporate heads and state leaders of the time they were able to outmaneuver their rivals on Titan through a brute force intellectual approach that is now know as bloatware. They simply ran more simulations in greater detail and at higher speeds than anyone else.


By the mid 400s it was apparent that there was a reason for the Cishp's comprehensive use of rental body technology; the Cishp weren't regular hu anymore as they were extensively adapted to Titan's subsurface ocean. Up until this time nobody had actually seen a Cishp in person as all face-to-face exchanges were done through their vecs or bot bodies.

By 509 AT the Cishp, through the Bind or their other interests, had managed to carve out nearly 2/3 of the surface area of Titan for themselves or the culturally dominated settlements. Still their efforts to secure the moon weren't enough to completely subvert it to their culture or religion. Many other settlements where thriving on the surface by exporting volatiles but thanks to the their efforts the Cishp managed to play a dominant part in the industry.

Once the nanoswarms became a major concern, Titan like most other outer system colonies was able to avoid being badly damaged by closing off all transport and trade with the inner system. Nanoswarm damage was negligible and the colony actually enjoyed a period of wealth and independence from the inner system like it hadn't seen before: The human inhabitants of Titan and Cishp were united through cooperation of their megacorps and states, and the moon became more reliant on the outer system worlds for trade; supplying the Saturn and Jupiter markets with manufactured goods as the export of volatiles to the inner system collapsed. Titan had fully moved from a resource based economy to a high tech manufacturing based economy however the Titanite industry in general did have to adapt to lower availability of heavy elements.

One of the ways Titanite industry adapted to the lack of heavy elements was to implement stricter recycling procedures and to begin mining the crust ice for trace elements once more, but all of these procedures weren't enough to sustain a growing population of 350 million moon wide. This lead the Titanites to take advantage of the swarm ravaged Mars; forcefully occupying it under the pretence of help while importing Martian resources under the strictest blue goo protocols. The Cishp dominated moon of Dione also saw the full authoritarian ability of the Cishp Bind and their corporate partners.

One minor threat to the Cishp during the nanoswarms was the formation of a new church, the EOCC, in some of the ice mining habitats orbiting Saturn. Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Christianity was still small at the time, but it would grow.

As the threat of the nanoswarms receded Titan received a large influx of refugees from ravaged habitats, planets and latter, as a result of GAIA's expulsions, from Earth. Titan promised many that ships to leave the solar system would be provided however, due to the strain of handling so many refugees, very few of these promises materialised and it is known that most of these ships did not make it past the Oort cloud. Most of these refugees found themselves destitute once on Titan where they had to do porly paid menial or dangerous jobs or fell into crime, prostitution and other undesirable employment; but at least they were safe from the nanoswarms and violence of the inner system.

Meanwhile Titanite society (convict descendants and Cishp) was thriving, there were new royal-like families in command of large corporations and volatile refining states & powerful syndicates, the Cishp fanatical as ever enjoyed a large and powerful corporate structure society and the priesthood, by way of the Cishp Bind, kept Dione and some settlements on Mars under control through the use of their brutal keepers of the faith/order.

After the centuries of nanoswarms, trade relations with the rest of the system began to grow once more and the volatile industry began anew, albeit in a smaller scale as the terraformation of Mars had slowed down and concern grew about preserving Titan's own atmospheric conditions. The Titans had left Mars but relations remained strained for a while.

Conditions on Dione had also improved vastly over the past centuries. Conditions went from an oppressive and fear controlled conquest ruled by brutal defenders of the faith to a world of peaceful cohabitation, full of tradition reaping the rewards of a healthy industry based around heavy elements mining and geothermal power extraction as conditions through the Saturnian system improved. Even though the Cishp Bind had wrecked havoc on the Dione population it eventually went through an emancipation phase involving broad assimilation of the Cishp faith and gained electoral power through the mass immigrations from Earth during the great expulsion. At the time just before Titan joined the Federation Dione was an integral part of the Cishp Bind and the broader Titanite society, home to millions of faithful and large Cishp populations, where the bitterness had faded into memory as a tragic event.

Titan joined the First Federation in 1134 AT, mainly to reap the benefits of colonization of other low gravity worlds and moons with subsurface oceans. Many Cishp around this time also resettled into Oort cloud habitats, many of which became ancestors of the hider clades. Later into the Federation Era Titan banned export of volatiles to avoid further deterioration of the moons environment and shifted its industry towards a more environmentally friendly path.

Currently Titan is part of the Solar Organisation. The moon is a major tourist destination for Cishps and Titan derived clades as well as Muuh who had inhabited the moon millions of years in the past. The large cities and impressive ecology of the subsurface of ocean are major attractions too. Indeed, there may be a link between the Muuh tourist site and the ecology of the subsurface ocean. The ruins of the Muuh tholin baths were uncovered in what was Cishp territory and there's has been speculation that the Cishp may have discovered other facilities of the Muuh settlement. What the Cishp did, or did not, find is unknown but comparisons of the cellular coding material of the two biospheres have shown no commonality.

Titan's Ocean

Ever since the Atomic Age there has been informed speculation about the possibility of life on other worlds in the Sol Sys. Unfortunately each time humanity dared think they might find such life their hopes were dashed and the prospects lessened. Mars seemed like the best chance; Earth-like, close to the sun, and known to have been warm and wet in the past, but nothing was found. Next came Europa; not only did it have a subsurface ocean but radiolysis of its surface ice had given it a tenuous atmosphere of molecular oxygen, which is delivered to this ocean through the icy crust's subduction zones. And with Europa's ocean being just 100 km deep it was known to be liquid down to its hot rocky core, which meant hydrothermal vents, of the type found to be supporting deep sea ecologies on Earth, were possible. Sadly, again nothing was found.

Titan's ocean was always a long shot; as a larger world Titan's ocean was deep enough for a thick layer of high pressure ice to form around its rocky core, which might prevent hydrothermal vents (but not cold seeps) from feeding the ocean, and Titan's thick nitrogen atmosphere would keep free oxygen away from any subduction zones. Free oxygen is the key to having an evolved ecosystem. Without it even an ecology based on chemosynthesis is restricted to a small number of chemical feedstocks in limited supply. When these supplies run out the biosphere has to evolve a way to use an external energy source, such as sunlight, to turn inorganic matter into more complex chemical products or face a decline; and sunlight wasn't available deep beneath the icy crust of Titan. Even if there had been life on Titan it would never have evoved beyond bacterium. Fortunately Cishp gengineering proved to be a game changer. Naturally evolved ecologies have to start from the bottom (single celled life) and work up but the Cishp were able to create a higher order life-form that could exploit novel energy sources to support the base of the food chain. This keystone species is a neogen plant analogue known as E-kelp because it uses electrosynthesis instead of photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and free oxygen.

The Cishp had moved to the subsurface ocean mainly to mine heavy elements from the salts and take advantage of the warmer temperatures but decided to enrich their new home with a biosphere. Having given up on returning to Earth to collect the rest of their followers they had dismantled their ship for much needed resources and reassembled its fusion reactor deep beneath the surface as a power plant for their settlements but a world wide ocean ecology would need another source of energy.

E-kelp is a versatile collector of energy; it uses several strategies to generate electrical energy and store it in a spongy tissue that acts as a capacitor, which its cells then tap into to power the electrosynthetical reaction. Titan orbits Saturn mostly outside of that planet's magnetic field but once each orbit it passes through the extended tail of Saturn's magnetic field. As it does so the changing field strength can induce an electrical current in a suitable conducting circuit, E-kelp has such a circuit. E-kelp is actually two closely related sub-species that both anchor themselves in the icy layers that sandwich the global ocean: One grows upward by the use of floats and the other hangs downward by replacing the gas in those floats with a heavy fluid. They thus remain stationary and vertical when the magnetic field passes. The second way E-kelp generates electrical energy is through the piezoelectric effect. There are crystals in the stems of the E-kelp's leaf-like structures and as these "blades" flutter in the ocean's currents the mechanical stress induces a voltage across the crystals. The third way E-kelp generates electrical energy is through the Seebeck effect. Titan's ocean has a temperature gradient and as the E-kelp hangs vertically in the water column one end tends to be in a higher temperature zone than the other end. The linear fibres that give the E-kelp's stalk its toughness are made of two different materials that are joined in a thermopile-like structure at each end.

Once the environment had a source of oxygen the Cishp could go about the work of ecopoesis in the usual bottom-up fashion. They started with bacteria; bacteria is ubiquitous in any ecosystem and Titan is no different. Bacteria floats in every cubic centimetre of water and coats almost every surface in a thin film. Most of it is inactive and harmless, just waiting for food to come their way. Where food is plentiful, like the pools of super cooled ammonium sulfate at the bottom of the ocean, the bacteria grows in thick mats. The Cishp made certain to give each strain of bacteria the capability of bioluminescence so there would be light in this new ecology. The pools of super cooled ammonium sulfate cast a particularly strong glow into the environment, as do the cold seeps in the crustal ice, but most of the animals and plant analogues are also strongly bioluminescent because they have a symbiotic relationship with one strain of bacteria or another. The E-kelp for example has nitrogen fixing bacteria in its floats and the forests of this 'plant' are so vast over the surfaces of the core's icy mantle & crustal ice that they form jaw dropping carpets of light that become visible as visitors descend or ascend and continue as far as the eyes can see. Even in the mid-ocean 'clouds' of light can be seen as the ocean currents, or the passing of a large animal, stirs up the floating bacteria.

The animal life is quite impressive too, with a range of forms too extensive to fully list here. They range from beautiful tiny creatures to filter-feeder animals of monstrous size and sleek predators, all using bioluminescence for one reason or another.

Most of the engineered ocean life is of similar in physiology to Cishp cryophilic biology and wouldn't thrive in warmer environments. This ecosystem has been meticulously designed by the Titanite Institute of Exploratory & Artistic biology to create a unique, extensive and impressive ecology that some regard the most impressive of all the other subsurface ocean ecologies in the Solsys. Although the Europans are quick to dismiss such claims as pure nonsense and that the effort lacks soul compared to Europa the fact remains that most of the Europan ecology is restricted to the anoxic water around the many volcanic rift valleys in Europa's seabed, while the Cishp ecology is not.

Settlements

The Cishp cities are not distributed on the surface like in many other bodies in the Solsys, instead like Europa the settlements lie beneath the surface of moons crust in its vast ocean. These cities take advantage of its rich ocean to produce some energy and mine its salts for heavy elements. Because of the moons low availability of heavy metals most structures are based on CHON polymers and compounds plus nano-carbon & diamonoid materials.

The cities' architecture normally relies on tethers, anchored to the moons icy crust, to which modular parts like housing, recreation and industrial modules are attached. These modules normally operate in an amphibious principle which mean they have water and air compartments to suit the different needs of the Cishp. There are always some modules, or even entire tethers near crust lift ports at major Titan cities, dedicated to the more standard environments used by most vistors from other habitats that serve as embassies and residences. Baselines and derivative clades that use a similar environments do need to use environmental suits or an appropriate modification to fully explore the Cishp cities.

The surface isn't as heavily populated as the ocean but it is home to large cities and to most spaceports, airborne high altitude wind farms and most of the other massive industrial infrastructure. The surface is also scarred by extensive strip mining and ancient volatile extraction facilities. The surface also has large touristic settlements surrounding ancient Muuh ruins & pristine hydrocarbon lakes frequented by Muuh and others from the terragen sphere.

The Cishp - Physiology

At first they were mostly regular baselines struggling to settle the extreme but promising Titan, but as soon as they reached and built the first ocean settlements they began to modify themselves to adapt to their environment, not to the surface environment but to this new ocean which presented its own challenge. To begin with the ocean is very saline, saturated to a significant portion with ammonia and with organic compounds. Their first modification was to build a tolerance to ammonia and from there they progressed to tweaking themselves to the cold temperatures of the ocean and to obtain a suitable marine form.

By the mid interplanetary period the Cishp had changed significantly. They had fats and proteins so resistant to ammonia that some even worked best at high concentrations. This was done because they had incorporated high a concentration of ammonia into their biology to work along antifreeze proteins to increase their tolerance to extreme cold beyond previously known tolerances; so much so that the Cishp considered even temperatures of -60 c comfortable. But unlike the Muuh, who are also adapted to subzero temperatures to such an extent they can be frozen solid, the Cishp retain a high metabolism and stamina in comparison and have, through the use of retemorphic engineering, core temperatures at around 2 c. The Cishp can still be considered a good example of a cryophilic clade even though they maintain a core temperature higher than their environment.

They have a rather large but flexible physiology; regular Cishp stand at an average of 3 meters height with a bulky & broad body shape with significant fatty deposits for core insulation that also serve the function of storing ammonia in the form concentrated urea if their bodies are forced to temperatures much higher than the ocean's -19 c. If the transition is rushed it can cause pain for the Cishp similar to a baseline condition known as the bends. Though they maintain a humanoid physiology their spine & lower extremities are designed to allow them the full range of mobility required for agile swimming.

The Cishp normally live in a water/ammonia environment from which they extract oxygen through a set of gills, though they have a redundant pair of lungs that can be used in a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere when required: So in many ways it can be said that they are amphibious. They are often referred to as the walruses of the outer system because even though the Cishp are adapted for extreme cold they remain quite homothermic, similar in comparison to arctic marine mammals - plus the Cishp are quite large in size in comparison to many of the clades that were around in the Interplanetary Age.

But because the Cishp have become so specialised there is a limit to how much they can adapt, for example they cannot withstand temperatures higher than -10 c or pressures lower than 1.7 atm, which is why when the Cishp are at baseline environment habitats they usually require a refrigerated & pressurised environmental suit.

Cishp culture

At first the Cishp where considered to follow a lifestyle reminiscent of old earths puritans, though they followed quite different beliefs; for example they strongly objected to morality provided by religious traditions as they believe God left no guidelines to please its wishes and that even if he did God is too complex for any other intelligence to comprehend its desires. In this way their beliefs mirror those of early deism. A monotheistic God was and still is central to their belief system but unlike most religions they prefer to define it not by what he might be but by what he is not from observable circumstantial evidence.

Currently this Titan clade and its derivatives, which not only inhabit Titan but many other Titan-like worlds and habitats, are still relatively isolationistic and still retain a certain attitude of superiority gained from their heritage. But most Cishp, unlike their ancestors, follow cultures that might diverge significantly from world to world and most, with the exception of revivalist Cishp, interact fully with galactic society. A large number of Cishp have even ascended.

Most Cishp are not baseline level intelligence anymore but brights or superbrights, and there's a portion of them that have become SI:1 and some Titan elders, those that derived from their ancient government and priesthood, are at least level SI:2. Many of these can be found ruling a world with high Cishp and derivative clade concentrations.



Titan
Image from Steve Bowers
Titan has a thick atmosphere of nitrogen and methane, with traces of several organic compounds
 
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Development Notes
Text by Felipe Brando Cadavid

Initially published on 17 October 2008.