World in Puppis where the copygroup lifestyle has been particularly successful

Image from Steve Bowers
YTS 998-6002-775 b
2120 ly from Sol, near NGC 2430 in Puppis.

Settled in 5309 AT by settlers from the Adhara Trade Treaty volume, this world is a GaianPaludial world with 45% ocean coverage but has a moderately damp climate in the tropical regions. The world is unusual in that it is in a 1:1 resonance with a hydrojovian type gas giant known as Bosch. Grignard is in a so-called Horseshoe Orbit which has been stable for several billion years, because there are no other large planets in this system. Periodically Grignard exchanges momentum with Bosch and the orbit changes significantly, affecting the climate on a global level. Every 122 orbits Grignard switches from a smaller, faster orbit to a larger, slower orbit, and the warm damp tropical climate of this planet switches to a cooler, snowy regime.

Life had not emerged on this world at any time in its five billion year history, but it was a relatively easy candidate for terraformation, being only slightly smaller and less dense than Old Earth. After terraformation was accomplished, no attempt was made to regulate the long periodic warm and cool periods, which were regarded as essential aspects of this world's character.

Among the settlers that arrived in the sixth millennium were several rival bioxox copygroups, each consisting of a dividual in multiple instances bound into a close-knit social unit. Originally each bioxox of these copygroups started with a single near-baseline individual, who arranged to have er consciousness copied non-destructively, then downloaded into a physical body created from er own DNA. The bioxox could then experience several divergent lifetimes, and most remained loyal to their fellow copies (a loyalty which varied very much from copygroup to copygroup).

Some bioxox copygroups were more successful than others in remaining cohesive; but sometimes, paradoxically, a copygroup which was highly divergent became more successful than the rest. One member of a bioxox copygroup might choose to pursue outlandish artistic or scientific endeavours that were radically different from the pursuits of other members of that group, but in most cases the other dividuals in that group could retain sympathy with the divergent member. This allowed some bioxoxes to become remarkable diverse and adaptable. Copygroups were very active in developing the industrial and commercial base on Grignard, which was itself subject to dramatic periodic fluctuation like the weather on that world.

Neurotechnology imported from the TechnoRapture HyperNation in 5444, allowed the members of a copygroup to integrate their memories and experiences, so that divergent copies could merge their mentalities at will. Generally this consisted of no more than two or three divergent copies sharing their memories and consciousnesses, so that each could recall the past lives of the other. Since each bioxox group was derived originally from a single individual, this merging was reasonably straightforward, but became increasingly difficult when the dividuals had long independent lifetimes of experience to integrate with one another. One major problem with such an integration was that after the process each dividual could recall two separate and contradictory histories; the TRHN neurotechnology used on Grignard solved this problem fairly well by tagging each memory with a signifier to distinguish between the recollections of different dividuals.

By merging memories and consciousnesses in this way, each copygroup became a form of tribemind, each dividual retaining their individuality but becoming increasingly integrated with the other members of the group with each successive integration. After numerous merging events the bioxoxes found that they needed larger neural capacity to deal with the large amounts of parallel memory they now possessed. Radical reconfiguration of the cranium and central nervous system was necessary to accommodate each dividual's extended mentality and comprehensive experience.

By 6700 the copygroups had formed a number of cartels which worked together in various ways to increase their spread of skills in the world's hypereconomy. For instance Duality, Inc, a copygroup with numerous virtual members as well as biological instances, was allied with the copygroup known as the Mattermen, experts in material science and ultratech construction techniques. Around this time the practice of merging dividuals from different copygroups together started to become popular. The integration of two entirely different personalities is considerably more difficult than the merging of two divergent copies of the same individual. Aspects of the personality and character of each different person must be compared, averaged, correlated and edited to make an entirely new individual, but one which can recognize er former selves in er new mind.

The new composite character will have comprehensive memories belonging to both bioxoxes, and during such integrations many dark secrets are revealed. The results of such an intimate mental union between former business rivals must be anticipated beforehand in some detail, or serious legal repercussions might arise. Any underhanded dealings, favoritism, unfairness or other misconduct which might be embarrassing to one party or the other must be fully explicated before or during the merging process to the satisfaction of both parties. In effect the integration of such completely separate individuals results in the complete removal of any secrecy or privacy from the relationship between the personalities concerned.

However the results of such integrations were sometimes very successful, leading to a new openness in the commercial and political life on Grignard.

After several centuries of mental integration between the various copygroups, a new lifestyle emerged, where an individual personality might migrate from body to body over a period of decades gathering information, experience and understanding at each merger. Sometimes the mergers were unsuccessful, and the failed mergees were restored to their original state from precautionary backups. But often the new personalities that emerged were able to draw on vast resources of memory and large networks of mentally-related fellow citizens. Such a complex personal history and mental self-image required considerable amounts of processing power, and the minds and bodies of these integrated personalities became less and less human over time.

Eventually society on Grignard underwent a rolling transcension, which took several decades (from 7656 to 7689) to complete. Unascended individuals found themselves merging with transapient entities, a process which was itself not always successful. Often a mergee would be rejected by the transapient entity with which e was trying to integrate, and find emself restored from backup. Eventually the only modosophonts left on Grignard were those who could not be integrated; the transapient minds who emerged from his process were a diverse lot, and many migrated to the Keter Dominion or the Hypernation, while some applied to join a Transcend metaempire outpost within the NGC 2430 cluster, taking with them a wealth of data about the Sephirotic Empires.

Grignard Map
Image from Steve Bowers
Grignard - physical geography (equirectangular projection)
Grignard today is host to an entirely new colony of Clade Tavi provolve/splices which has become established on that largely depopulated world. The race of Tavi which have become established here are seasonally dimorphic, developing long white coats of thick fur in the times of colder climate but having shorter, brown fur when the world turns warmer. A few remaining nearbaseline humans maintain a presence in the old, shrunken cities, but these remnants have entirely abandoned the copygroup lifestyle.
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 06 December 2010.