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Cronosians, The

Distributed polity consisting of generation ships

Valhalla, a Cronosian Generation Ship
Image from Steve Bowers
Valhalla, the first Cronosian generation ship

Cronosians - Data Panel

Definition:Distributed polity consisting of generation ships, effectively interstellar mobile fractal habitats.
Symbol:The original Valhalla habitat with a star behind it.
Founded:462 AT (original habitat Valhalla).
Affiliation:Cyberian Network.
Psyche, Art, CultureMetapsychology: Immortalists. Love for exploration and interacting with other cultures, but tries very hard to keep out of trouble when possible.
Ideology: Neolibertarian technocrats with quasi-anarchistic leanings.

Culture and Art: Mainly based upon designing synano ecologies. Virches are also popular.

Languages: Cronos ComProtocol v14.7
Territory and PopulationCurrent Territory : Approximtely 118,200 mobile habitats.

Capital: None.
Other Important Systems: None

Current non-copy Population: Above 47 billion.

Population Breakdown: All synanoborg.
Government and AdministrationGovernment Type : Panocracy

Administrative divisions: Not applicable.
Common National holidays: None.

Constitution: Declaration of Independence, Charter of the Digital Advancement Society (now obsolete).

Legal system: Judgement by habitat consensus in the wake of nanotech brainscan.
Economics, Local InfrastructureCurrency: Digital. Recognized in all major systems.

Resource base: will utilise any resources available in a system unless prior claims prevent this

Major Industries: Synanodesign, computronium manufacture, AI templates, SI:1 ascension packages.

Major Stargate Plexi: None.

Beamrider Network: None

Military expenditure: percent of GDP: 11%

Interstellar Trade and Treaty Relations: Good Hacking Agreement, Memetic Warfare Limitation Treaty.

Exports & Imports: The Cronosians are essentially a huge trading network, so most of their income come from trading whatever goods they can get their hands on.

Longrunning Interstellar Disputes: Solar Dominion and Negentropy Alliance disapprove of the indiscriminate sales of ascension packages in their territory.
Notes on Cronosian habitats:Eir habitats are immensely flexible, and can be reconfigured for a wide range of situations. Interstellar travel, altering shape in order to pass through wormholes, and using several habitats as 'building blocks' in temporary megastructures (usually trade stations) are only three of the possibilities. The habitats can also be quite stealthy, as eir smuggling operations proved during the Version War.

History

In the aftermath of the nanoswarms several of Jupiter's trojan asteroids had been turned into cyberpunk havens. One of these asteroids, Valhalla (name originating from Old Earth Norse mythology), was home to the Digital Advancement Society. The DAS was basically a loose alliance of quasi-anarchistic cyberpunks with the vague goal of replacing the present society with Something Better. The problem was that they couldn't agree on what Something Better actually was, and the fact that they weren't a majority in Valhalla didn't help things either. There were also several non-affiliated cyberpunks, a couple tiny cyborg clades and a few Genetekker refugees (mostly Mutationists) from destroyed habitats.

By 9th century AT the only thing they had achieved was becoming a major source of AI liberation viruses. This, however, changed with the birth of a charismatic Mutationist named Col Devon. He quickly became very interested in cybertechnology (due to his upbringing he may have perceived cybernetics as more 'exotic') and at early age he committed the 'mechanist heresy' - incorporating skill libraries, biochip implants and wetware programming. Cast out by his own kind, he was accepted into the DAS and soon became their most respected member. In a series of netmeetings he was able to consolidate the Advancement Society into a firm federation whose ultimate goal was to modify themselves into hyperturings.

Next, Devon began a careful program of memetic subversion in Valhalla. The non-affiliated cyberpunks were easily subverted, and the two cyborg clades were only a little harder. The Mutationists were the real challenge. However, by the 890s everyone had either left or been subverted, and the Digital Advancement Society were the undisputed rulers of Valhalla.

Now Devon was facing other problems, however. Despite his best efforts the inhabitants of Valhalla remained quasi-anarchists. Also, using a combination of genetics and cybernetics a number of inhabitants were now approaching Devon in intelligence. The resulting instability threatened to tear apart everything he had worked for. Careful memetic engineering and pure charisma was the only thing that held the Advancement Society together.

Following several sociological simulations, Devon decided upon three actions. First, he announced in 998 that the Society should leave SolSys in order to pursue their own destiny. Since this was already a popular meme in SolSys it was easy to convince the populace of Valhalla. They decided to modify their habitat for interstellar travel rather than building a ship from scratch. The drive would be an antimatter-catalysed fusion engine, and hence Valhalla would be a generation ship. Using his remaining contacts, Devon succeeded in purchasing a modest amount of amat and a much larger quantum of deuterium.

Meanwhile, Devon's second action was to design a bodymod that he encouraged the use of. The bodymod is controlled by a superturing expert system which first scan the sentient's body for any genetic and cybernetic modifications. Then it customizes the bodymod for that specific sentient. Due to this flexibility it is very safe, and can be used by nearly everyone but the most radical tweaks or splices.

The bodymod replaces the user's skeleton with nanobones - essentially, it is converted into bionanocomputers, allowing for a highly enchanted intellect. Next on the list is a nanotech brain implant that functions much like a direct neural interface. It allows for, and coordinates, communication between the nanobones, the user's brain (or equivalent) and any other network, internal or external. The result is a vastly increased memory and processing capabilities. The bodymod's main function, however, is to automatically set up a network with anyone within range and transmit a low-level 'shadow' of the user's emotions. It can also connect to Valhalla's intranet and potentially do the same with the entire populace, creating a panocracy where ideas and thoughts can be exchanged at an astonishing rate. This, however, require the sentient to use external nanocomputers for processing - the nanobones can't provide sufficient capacity without literary cooking the user. This bodymod would go a long way in creating a very stable society in Valhalla.

In 1008 AT, while the 'Devon-mod' as it was called still spread among the population, Valhalla left SolSys travelling at 0.05c with Psi 5 Aurigae as their destination. Although the journey would take 970 years the population would not enter hypersleep. Instead, they would carry on with their lives pretty much as usual, thanks to efficient nanoresycling and hedonistic entertainment. In fact, during the journey many colonists created hedonistic virch-scenarios that remained very popular even several millennia later. It was during this time that the population began to call themselves 'Cronosians' after Cronos; the king of Titans who conquered the sky, according to Old Earth Greek mythology (apparently someone had very high expectations).

Devon's third action was to heavily upgrade himself. He had already used the 'Devon-mod' on himself, but he didn't stop there. Among other things, he uploaded his mind and replaced his brain with comptronium, replaced his nervous system with a photonano network and added memory and skill implants in rapid succession. In 1068 e made first singularity, and with eir greater processing power and bandwidth was able to make Valhalla's intranet into another layer of eir consciousness. In essence, everything from Valhalla's guidance system to the virch-database became an extension of the ascended Devon.

Devon was the first, but by no means the last. The next nine centuries saw the population, one after another, follow suit. Since the inhabitants already had very stable personalities, this process went without any major mishaps. When Valhalla arrived at Dionysos in 1980, it carried a flourishing SI:1 civilization with its own unique culture. Ey quickly made contact with what remained of the Dionysan Erotocracy, and began trading AI templates, nanotech and the ever- popular virch scenarios in exchange for heavy equipment.

Ey first decided that, for some reason no baseline can comprehend, ey needed to increase eir own population. Several asteroids were manoeuvred into one of the lagrange points in the outer system with nuclear charges, where they were converted into new habitats. Over the years the Valhalla Cluster crew into twelve habitats.

During eir long journey ey had developed synano - nanotech that used the same chemical and metabolic pathways as organic life and bionano, but with the efficiency of dry nanotech. Even before ey arrived in the system the colonists had used synano to cyborgize emselves to the point where they abandoned all purely organic and purely artificial components. This eased reproduction from a technical standpoint.

When the first wormhole link was established, the Cronosians decided that ey wanted to see more of the universe. The only problem was that ey were reluctant to leave eir habitats. Modifying the habitats extensively solved this problem. Not only would they be capable of interstellar travel by using conversion drives, but they could also be reconfigured in order to pass through wormholes.

The fleet of mobile habitats left Dionysos in 2511, heading for Heartland. For the next few centuries they travelled from system to system, stopping for a few weeks or decades and trading with the various cultures the came across. Nearly every time they stopped, they would add to their fleet of mobile habitats to house their growing population. In 3106 they had split up into several fleets each going in their own direction, but since they rarely left he wormhole nexus they were able to remain in contact with each other.

In the 3260s the Cronosians unexpectedly disappeared into interstellar space. Shortly thereafter the First Consolidation War broke out. It is probable that they predicted that the 'inner sector' of the Taurus Nexus would try to break free, and hence went underground. In any case, the Cronosians didn't emerge again before the early 3400s.

The Cronosians began acting strangely again in the late 3830s, withdrawing from all systems owned by the Conver Ambi. Only a few years later the Second Empires War erupted. As it degraded into a five-way war, the Cronosians once more disappeared into interstellar space, emerging again during the 3970s.

Ey continued to grow throughout the millennia, and during the Version War ey sided with the Standardizationists. Apparently ey viewed this war as important enough to risk emselves. Ey are still famous for the huge smuggling operations ey ran right under the noses of Solarian and Negentropic occupants.

By the 7160s the Cronosians had grown into a major distributed polity with thousands of mobile habitats. Therefore it was unavoidable that everyone from baselines to transapients noticed their disappearance. But this time the reason was obvious: The Hyperutilization Supremacy were advancing on a broad front. Over the years the Cronosians had gained a reputation for eir nearly supernatural ability to predict when and where trouble would arise. If ey showed up in a system, it generally meant that there were good trading opportunities there. If ey disappeared, it was usually a good idea to follow suit. That ey was now disappearing from the entire terragen bubble caused panic on many worlds. The Supremacy, however, was contained and eventually defeated, and during the late 7700s the Cronosians returned to civilization.

Today, the Cronosians are one of the most dynamic clades in colonized space, and eir ships are a common view in every major system. Lately, however, ey have began acting odd; leaving systems for no apparent reason, travelling to worlds outside the Wormhole Nexus, and seeding backups everywhere. When questioned about this, their response was rather worrying. The baseline-translation of the response is roughly: "The Chaos is approaching."

The Cronosians are still a major source of AI liberation viruses.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Espen Antonsen

Initially published on 29 October 2003.

 
 
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