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Bizarro World

Artificial antimatter planet in deep space

Bizarro World
Image from Steve Bowers
The annihilation of a small party of tourists in 10001 AT caused massive distruction



Warning! This world has a Hazard Rating of 9.8. Do not approach without the protection of the local agency.



Star; none
Distance from Sol 5010ly
Constellation Carina

"Bizarro World" is an artificial planetoid (or artificial Stevensonian object) in deep space approximately 0.05 light-years from Relief in the NoCoZo, and is unique for being constructed entirely of anti-matter. It is a tourist facility catering to modosophonts interested in the unique environment.

ORIGINS

In 9337 AT the self-proclaimed "post human of the 1.51st toposophic" artist Glittering Gamma emerged from eir art studio in the clouds of Neptune with a proposal: make an entire planet and ecosystem of amat, which would be "the ultimate work of Perfect Art."

The idea, due to Gamma's tireless and hyperbolic promotion of it, found some support among modosophonts, but the project fell well short of the backing necessary to build an entire planet. This changed abruptly in 9341 when a higher toposophic entity (suspected to be behind the Relief system) quietly funded it and created a corporation to organize the effort. Glittering Gamma was ensconced in the corporation as Executive Director of Artistic Vision, from which e terrorized engineering offices and business development groups alike with imperial proclamations and unplanned conferences that tied up personnel for hours (see Note 1, below).

With the founding of the Bizarro World Corporation, the concept of the antimatter planet underwent an abrupt shift from Gamma's publicized vision for it. The largest engineering change was to downsize it to a planetoid of about 1,000 kilometers diameter, which would require far less raw material than a full-sized planet. Second, the planet would be themed on an Information Age fabulist story of superheroes and the oddly reversed home of one of their nemeses, Bizarro World. Far from simply walking through terrain that "would be mind-blowing works of Perfect Art — but made of antimatter!" (per Glittering Gamma's claim), tourists would take the role of various superheroes or their reversed alter egos that populated the antimatter planet. It was an understandable extension of the nearby system Relief.

CONSTRUCTION

The premise was simple enough: Q-Mirrors could readily convert matter into antimatter, and a large enough Q-Mirror (or group of them) could convert sufficient matter to build a planetoid. The antimatter world would be isolated from population centers by being placed in deep space, and then protected from interstellar matter and local solar winds by a system of magshields and debris defenses in common use across Terragen space.

The largest technical challenges in Bizarro World—s creation were those of logistics. The selected site was 0.05 light-years from the nearest large mass reservoirs (Relief) and, like any artificial planet, a lot of mass had to be accumulated. Given the construction deadline of several centuries, the mass also had to be accumulated into the planetary form with extensive cooling to avoid large-scale melting from the release of gravitational energy. And because of the desire for a rocky planet, heavier elements - i.e., rarer elements - were preferable. An anti-matter deepwell industrial zone or other transmutation system was possible, but added an undesired delay. Accordingly, Bizarro World was scaled back to a paraterraformed planetoid. In one of the interesting events in the world's construction, most matter was not delivered from the Relief system, but rather by a grazer wormhole (Note 2) drawing on an unknown system. Matter deliveries began in 9,375AT. It took 253 years to accumulate the necessary matter, which was kept separated by elemental type in great freefall 'corrals' outside the future Quarantine Zone.

During the centuries of matter accumulation, the project engineers had constructed mammoth Q-Mirror arrays and an entire planetoid-building infrastructure made of anti-matter hardware. It would have been possible to start assembling the artificial planetoid as soon as the first shipments arrived, but the artistic aspects of the mega-scale engineering project demanded a greater spectacle. Accordingly, the giant Q-Mirrors began receiving their matter feeds almost simultaneously on 9,600 AT and sending streams of anti-iron and anti-nickel to a target sphere several astronomical units away in the matter-free Quarantine Zone, a volume of space designed to avoid catastrophic amat accidents. The streams of soft anti-metal powders collided with the sphere from opposing directions to cancel their momentum and struck with sufficient velocity to adhere to the micro-gravity target. As the target's mass grew to a point where it generated useful levels of gravity, the streams were slightly redirected into a spiraling accretion disk. A similar, smaller target was gradually built into moon, Htrae. The various feed streams and two accretion disks were, of course, arranged to interact in aesthetically pleasing manners for viewers.

Dynamic compression towers based on the growing core supported electromagnetic coils through which the accretion disk circulated. These coils converted the momentum of the metallic feedstock into heat, which was radiated by vast droplet radiators arching creatively above the accretion disk in electrostatically- and electromagnetically-controlled fountains. In this way, the gravitational energy of the in-falling material was bled off before it was stored as unwanted heat in the core. (In fact, the core was allowed to reach 600C to aid solidification of the powdery feedstock.) A thin rocky mantle and volatile-rich crust were layered across the large core. The end result was a Hadean planetoid somewhat larger than Ceres but with significantly higher gravity, 0.1 G, and it was complete in twenty-five years.

Conventional paraterraforming produced a Gaian environment for Bizarro World. Because of carefully pre-positioned materials, the terraforming was completed in less than a decade. The world had 60% saltwater ocean coverage and arranged land to benefit from oceanic-driven precipitation cycles, leaving few deserts and many lush forests and grasslands. The low gravity allowed for a deep atmosphere at a modest 1-bar surface pressure. The Bluesky Worldhouse was established at the 0.5-bar level, about 60 kilometers above the surface, and is ballasted with water to help resist air pressure. The Worldhouse is designed with high tolerance for damage, as might occur from micrometeorites of matter hitting it. The world was given a 12-hour rotation to help stir ocean currents and atmospheric circulation with Coriolis effects, while Htrae had a 36-hour orbit. As Htrae mounted a conversion luminaire to illuminate Bizarro World (a moon, not the sun, lit this reversed world), the planetoid had a 24-hour day-night cycle and moderate tides. The ecosystem was thoroughly terrestrial with a few cosmetic changes. A biogeocomputer was seeded through the mantle to serve as the planetoid's S2 caretaker AI, and the basics of conventional ultratech industry to support the consumer needs of any visitors or residents was established on Htrae. Of course, it was entirely antimatter. The world was completed in 9625AT and opened to the first tourists in 9627.

The world sat in the center of a quarantine zone several AU in diameter. This matter-free zone was the end result of a defense in depth of interstellar medium diverters (identical to Lagrange magshields, but not located at Lagrange points) and an assortment of sensors and defenses similar to those used by interstellar vessels, ranging from comet-busting lasers mounted on Htrae to anti-matter smart dust and remote monitoring platforms spread across hundreds of AU. The magshields diverted interstellar gas and dust to Q-Mirrors that processed them into amat for Htrae—s luminaire. The Visitor's Center, an armored station built of normal matter, slowly orbits Bizarro World at the edge of the quarantine zone and serves as a security checkpoint for willful attempts to smuggle matter into the zone.

Further beyond the quarantine zone is a commgauge wormhole. Many tourists arrive virtually via this wormhole because, understandably, their original matter forms will not be allowed on Bizarro World. Instead, avatars, scions, forks, and similar copies of tourists are transmitted from the Visitor Center to Bizarro World where rental bodies or engeneration are used to create antimatter bodies for the duration of the visit. The Visitor Center also has an impressively armored backup storage unit, which should help visitors weather the worst plausible catastrophes, such as a sizable matter comet somehow reaching the planetoid.

BIZARRO WORLD

Large quantities of antimatter did not differ from markedly from matter. It did not have unusual color (anti-elements having the same band gaps as their matter counterparts) or chemistry, it did not exhibit anti-gravity behavior, it did not travel backward in time, or otherwise exhibit bizarre behaviors sometimes ascribed by modosophonts to amat. Electrical charges were reversed, but this was usually a minor detail for electrical engineering. As a result, had Bizarro World simply received a purely terrestrial ecosystem, it would have been indistinguishable from the same ecosystem made of matter (to baseline senses).

Glittering Gamma (i.e., the corporation) did not want an amat world that was indistinguishable from matter. So, Bizarro World's ecosystem was genetically engineered to possess a range of cosmetic modifications. The world's life is marked by extensive use of complementary colors compared to their terrestrial counterparts, plus odd anatomical cosmetic modifications to make them look bizarre compared terrestrial life, often with angular and planar features. (Modifications are limited to keep the species viable and healthy.) This followed the Information Age depiction of the fictional Bizarro World.

While Bizarro World—s artistic director considered the color choice a key decision in popularizing the planet as a tourist destination, visitor surveys consistently highlight the uniqueness of the physics and various action-adventure tours. The latter is a result of the board of directors' decision to build on the original Bizarro World theme and stock the planetoid with a population of characterbots representing both Bizarro 'natives' and Information Age superheroes. In the low gravity, many bodies are able to simulate flight with discrete electric air jets. Tourists may sign up for adventures defending or invading Bizarro world, or otherwise living among the contrarian natives. Rental bodies may include various amounts of Ultimate Muscle to properly fit in the theme of superheroes.

The most popular action-adventure tours take place on an isolated island-continent of Bizarria with improbable cubistic terrain. Here, the theme of 'matter world' invaders gains additional realism by the use of tiny quantities of matter, plus liberal use of virch overlays, pyrotechnics to simulate minor matter leaks and 'matter guns,' and the occasional real matter bomb. Once per month, a Bizarria city is targeted for destruction by a real matter bomb. (The cities are designed for rapid reconstruction by bots and construction swarms for the next group of tourists.) Tourists, of course, must plant or find the matter before it detonates. Counter-invasions into a very normal 'matter world' (c0AT Earth) are handled by virch. As the Bluesky Worldhouse is sixty kilometers above the ground and all participants are backed up, matter bombs up to several hundred kilotons are used safely in these adventures.

For the remainder of the tenth millennium, tourists were also allowed to visit Bizarro World in their matter bodies utilizing elaborate, multi-shelled amat/matter isolation suits. (The basic concept was a matter interior shell isolated by vacuum and magnetic fields from the amat outer shell.) The transapient-designed suits were foolproof, but 373 years was sufficient (according to the Bizarro World Corporation) for terragen society to produce a bigger fool and thus provided cause to end the matter tourist visits to the surface. The 45-gigaton explosion resulting from the temporary demise of ten modosophont tourists (totaling about 1,000kg of matter) during a millennial New Years special tour is blamed on the tourists by the corporation, but few find the claim credible as the transapient design of the suits appear foolproof to modosophont-grade fools. But without angelnet data files covering the moments leading to the explosion (supposedly destroyed before they could be backed up away from the hundreds of kilometers damaged by the explosion), this cannot be verified. Many commentators suspect terrorism or some other form of attack, although no-one has claimed responsibility.

The short term fallout of the explosion included massive devastation of Bizarria and damage to nearly ten thousand square kilometers of Worldhouse by flash-boiling the water ballast in areas where the heat and radiation overwhelmed the Worldhouse's nanosecond switch from transparency to broad-spectrum reflectivity. Further, the rising fireball directly burned through three hundred square kilometers of the roof. Secondary effects, like the heat damage to Bizarria's ecosystem, were exacerbated by the reflection of so much heat from the Worldhouse. Fortunately, by the time of the explosion in 10,000AT terragen engineers had accumulated a sizable body of knowledge in emergency, large-area repairs of Worldhouses and only four percent of Bizarro World's atmosphere vented before a patch was in place. The long term result is that matter is almost entirely banned from the Quarantine Zone. The rule is violated occasionally by hyper-wealthy individuals who can afford the ludicrous rates the corporation charges for such access. The funds from such visits have formed a permanent endowment that covers most regular operating costs even when tourism rates drop.

In addition to tourists, workers, and sub-sophont characterbots, Reverso World has accumulated a resident population of bionts and vecs who seem to enjoy the bizarre scenery and odd, reversed culture of the characterbot cities. As of the current day, there are almost two million modosophont residents, plus a few lower transapients.




NOTE 1

While Glittering Gamma was the self-important Executive Director of Artistic Vision of the Bizarro World Project, the extent of Glittering Gamma—s actual contribution, like eir actual toposophic level, is debated. The debate falls into two camps: that of Glittering Gamma and eir entourage, and everyone else. Far from being a 'posthuman of the 1.51st toposophic,' Glittering was a bright nearbaseline human, though e has launched numerous lawsuits, duels, and social metric manipulation campaigns against those who describe er as anything less than transapient. This has led modosophont detractors to claim, "The only thing transapient about 'Gee-Gee' is the size of eir ego." A cursory analysis is adequate to reveal that any 'decisions' or 'proclamations' the 'Executive Director' made about Bizarro World's direction post-date decisions by the transapient board of directors and engineers. Leaked personnel files indicate Glittering Gamma's job description and organizational status code was identical to those of other junior marketing agents in the corporation. It is generally assumed that Glittering Gamma's diva behavior was tolerated or encouraged because it stimulated revenues and interest in Bizarro World - most tourists seem to assume Glittering Gamma's hyperbolic description of Bizarro World were meant to be entertaining irony because the end result of the project, while interesting, was definitely not a post-human work of 'Perfect Art'.

Glittering Gamma lived on Bizarro World for several centuries and then retreated to eir studio on Neptune, which e ran as a singularly unsuccessful 'transcension clinic.' (The only success story was Glittering Gamma, who claims to have reached the 2.33rd toposophic at the beginning of the Eleventh Millennium.) Gamma disappeared in 10,533AT. E was last seen entering the Pleasure habitat of Relief after a brief visit to Bizarro World. Investigations into eir disappearance have been unsuccessful because few entities care, and because Pleasure is a very distracting habitat to perform an investigation.

NOTE 2

Bizarro World was constructed primarily with tools consistent with S3 to S4 technology except for the grazer wormhole. This has started an entire new wave of theories about the silent S3 entity that seems to run the Relief system and the Bizarro World Corporation. The majority assume that Relief's high transapient is only a tool for some unidentified archai, which does help explain the endurance of Relief against so much pressure.


 
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Development Notes
Text by Michael MillerInitially published on 24 December 2015.

 
 
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