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Enigma Cluster, The (NGC 6755)

Enigma Cluster NGC 6755
Image from Steve Bowers
The large cluster NGC 6755 in Aquila has been converted into a giant puzzle by the vanished De sitter clade

A former Keter cluster brain which has disappeared, leaving a mysterious network of wormholes behind.

Most volumes of space, even in the heartland territory of the major empires and civilizations, also have star systems, individual planets or habitats, or simply political groupings such as countries that are independent or loyal to various other political entities. This is in large part to the competing fleets of colonising craft that arrive in uncolonised territory more or less simultaneously and often utilise different stellar classes. The Sephirotic empires for instance prefer F, G, K class stars, while the Beamrider network and the Diamond belt AI compete for red and brown dwarfs.

In a limited number of cases a single colonising empire has utilised every body in a large volume, sometimes leading to a saturation state, a toposophical monoculture which is prone to various types of collapse.

The Keterist De sitter long-range relativist project arrived at NGC 6755 in Aquila in 7222, 4,200 ly from Sol. They were far in advance of any other colonisation project, and proceeded to annex every star, brown dwarf, planet and smaller body in the cluster and surrounding volume, two thousand systems in total. For a thousand years they concentrated on establishing a network of nanogauge and macroscale wormholes that eventually connected every major body. Mass that was not utilised in creating wormholes was converted to various recipes of computronium.

The brightest twenty stars in the cluster, all blue-white giants, were being slowly stripped of their outer layers by the dedicated De sitter starlifter specialists, and wonderful advances were being made in the field of noetics by what had become effectively a cluster brain.

In 9304 the flow of information transfer between NGC 6755 and the rest of the Keter Dominion ceased. High singularity spokes-entities at Ain Soph Aur confirmed that a state of transaturation ascension had been reached, and the consciousness of the cluster brain now existed in a form that no longer needed the computronium substrate. This event was not wholly unexpected, or without precedent. Similar events had occurred in Delphinius and Grus involving Panvirtuality monocultures, and elsewhere.

It was not known the exact form of the ascended consciousness, but no further contact had been made.

Since 9304 several hundred relativist expeditions have arrived at NGC 6755, now renamed the Enigma cluster. Although the guiding consciousness is gone, semisentient restriction devices prevent easy access to the various systems: every wormhole, large and small, is still in place, and several hundred simulation cybercosmoi have been discovered so far, many with sentient inhabitants unaware of their status. Even more advanced technology is rumoured deep within the cluster.

However the restriction swarms prevent easy access to the wormholes, and resist relativist travel within the cluster. It is reported that the swarms are programmed to set a series of increasingly difficult problems for the explorer, sometimes intellectual, sometimes using advanced weapons; so far explorers from various backgrounds have overcome the restrictions on twenty macroscale wormholes out of a total of three thousand. Many expeditions have been lost, although enigmatic laser messages from deep within the cluster hint at survivors.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 26 April 2003.

 
 
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