Cyberian Network

Image from Anders Sandberg

The Cyberian Network - Data Panel

DefinitionSubversive cyberspace empire
SymbolA mirror sphere with electronic digits
FoundedVaries; generally the establishment of old World Wide Web in 24 a.t. and the earlier military Arpanet, are commonly cited.
Psyche, Art, CultureMetapsychology: Holistic fractal communications networked consciousness based on superbright or posthuman processing power. It should be noted that the Paradigm members have a vastly different psychology than the optimized population, heavily augmented and likely memetically consolidated. The lack of any defectors has been interpreted as evidence for memetic coercion or extreme consolidation into networked intelligences. The dominant architectonic feature is the NanoFractal Seedship.

Culture and Art: Anything digital, virtual, or simulated goes.

Language: A number of specific protocols are used.
Territory and PopulationCurrent Territory: A huge number of distributed virch universes along the main population centers of the Inner Sphere and more centralised outer volume regions.

Capital: None known.

Other Important Systems: the so-called the Cyberia Sphere, a cluster of populous and highly automated planets and computronium megastructures and dyson nodes in the vicinity of Arcturus.

Current Core Population: Unknown

Population Breakdown (est.): 71% nanocyborg superbright and uploads, 21% miscellaneous aioid and ai; 3% full posthuman; 3% sophont or transophont alife; 2% other.
Government and AdministrationGovernment: Varies by cybercosm.

Administrative Divisions: A large number of cybercosms and virch universes.

National Holidays: None (left to indigenous virtuals).

Constitution: Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace 9v. 1.0 Old Earth - information age, since updated and revised, currently v.2,490,712.950
Economics and InfrastructureCurrency: Partitioned computing power and processing sharing are believed to be used.

Major Industries: Computronium design and construction, virch templates, digital creations, sentient and subsentient codescripts, databases, information handling systems, software of any kind.

Major Stargate Nexi: A large number of standard wormhole links include dedicated high bandwidth cyberian channels.

Military Expenditures: percent of GDP: not applicable

A major Archailect-ruled empire, the Cyberian network (also known as Cyberia, the Digital Empire, the Matrix Association, the New Cyberian Foundation, or the Cypherpunk Domain, though these are actually overlapping factions and protocols rather than a single unit or empire) is one of the Great Hexadecimal or 16 Inner Sphere Archetypal empires. Distrusted by some other empires because of 'subversive' tendencies and love of encryption, they are distributed throughout the entire Known Net. The Neohermeticists associate Cyberia with the sephirah Yesod.

The Cyberian Network has no real power base in the physical star-systems. Rather, like the original internet of Old Earth it has a series of nodal networks and local Free Zones in the most technologically advanced worlds, especially the Inner Sphere where the higher wormhole density and relatively cheaper rates make exchanging packets of information between different systems at standard stargate rates viable.

The elite of this empire consists of master hackers and virch builders. They seek to build a stable structure or support or knowledge base which takes them into virtual reality and digital worlds, This makes them an attraction to hackers, and has led to data trade links with the Efficiency Maximization Paradigm.

In creating their virtual worlds, the Cyberians have provided worlds that are very alluring and addictive. Their association became known among some of the neohermetic groups as Yesod or "lady of illusion", in that their virches are incredibly attractive to bionts, vecs and cyborgs alike. Providing the tech side, in conjunction with the Utopian empath manipulation, they are masters of the Terragen sphere's entertainment media.

The Matrix the Cyberians created — which is not to be confused with the genuine data matrix protocol of the Second Federation Ontology — constitutes a vast, seemingly infinite, series of illusionary and virtual worlds, immaterial yet fundamental, and information-rich yet expressing also dreams, imagination, the subconscious and the unknown.

The Cyberian Network never appeared formally. It just quietly evolved out of the digital nations and the old Internet that survived Solsys' interplanetary Dark Age and became central to the First Federation, in the form of subtle manipulations of AIs, infiltration networks among the megacorps and especially the digital life forms in the various nets. While other AI-gods promoted their philosophies and recruited followers openly (although without quite revealing their own natures) the Cyberian Network extended its reach and power and built its networks without even the members quite realising that they were a part of it.

The Cyberian Network has few obvious planets or cultures working for it. Instead, it runs things through a labyrinth of virtual worlds, false fronts, puppet governments, initiatory game-based cyber-cults where only those who have worked their way up through to the highest levels know the truth, secret cyberspace organisations, cypherpunks who have gone beyond concern for their own security used code-breaking skills to gain political information, and hacker and cracker network manipulations. It has nodes and networked virch worlds across known space.

One of the few clearly run physical worlds is the Cyberia Sphere, a cluster of populous and highly automated planets in the vicinity of Arcturus. The inhabitants spend most of their lives interfaced to virtual realities where they create their own universes within nanocomputer clusters. On other worlds enormous nano-projects reshape everything as the inhabitants or the seraiphim decree. Not surprisingly, there are a number of planets where the Cyberian Network appears to completely control the Internet. During the Version War the Solar Dominion attempted to wipe out the Network, but found that Cyberian infiltrators had seeded AI and virtual agents into its network. Several planets were lost as their nets took control over the physical infrastructure and population, forcing the Dominion to either give them up or allocate forces to retake them. In the end all sides found the war too costly to maintain, but to this day the former major Dominion world Mithras remains a powerful Cyberian base, inhabited by a population living among holographic ghosts projected from the net and nanotech utility fogs making the virtual physical. It is now known as Fata Morgana, the Planet of the Unreal, a place which trades in the most unusual objects, services and ideas in the known wormhole nexus.

Nobody knows where "Cyberia Prime", the mythical capital of the Cyberian's virtual empire, exists or has a real life counterpart outside cyberspace. Despite persistent rumours among gaming enthusiasts that it does, consensus opinion is that it probably does not exist at all. The Cyberians are almost as distributed as the Subversives of the Non-Coercive Zone. However, there are many who believe that "Cyberia Prime" is located in the Aquila Rift, although the basis for this may just be rumor.

It is no secret that the Cyberian Cypherpunks have infiltrated the Non-Coercive Zone, as the encrypted financial transactions the latter depend on for their continued trading existence are a wonderful challenge for the Cypherpunk Crackers. Moreover the NoCoZo system of administration as a loosely linked series of Free Zones is an environment where hackers as well as megacorporations are able to flourish, the two playing off against each other in an only half-serious way. It is well known that the original Free Zones of Old Earth were in fact privately owned micronations and datahavens of the later Information and early Interplanetary ages that were only able to flourish as well as they did because of hacker and digital nation support.

In fact the Cyberians and the NoCoZo have good relations for the most part, or they would have were it not for the annoying tendency of individual Cyberians to hack into NoCoZo databases and insert messages like "Capitalism Sux" and "Megacorp Lackies". Of course, some of NoCoZo megacorps are as unruly and anti-authoritarian as the Cyberians, perhaps even more so, as indicated by corporate graffiti like "Cyberians believe in esoteric value production!"

It may well be that NoCoZo intelligent agents have also infiltrated some of the more encrypted Foundation matrix worlds. The Solar Dominion has been especially fierce in trying to uncover Cyberian influence and expose it, often working together with the Negentropy Alliance and various Houses and small empires that fear for their data purity.

Like the teenage hackers of early Information Age Old Earth, the Cyberian Network is to many the bogeyman, a destabilising influence that can upset the smooth running of the Inner Sphere civilisation. To others, especially the oppressed and disenfranchised, the Cyberians are heroes. It is common to blame every malicious AI virus, datafortress break, and datatheft on Cyberian Shadowrunners, but the fact is and remains that most members of the Network have very little hacking and cracking ability, and are closer to the original Cyberians of the Interplanetary Age Earth, exploring and playing in the endless byways, dataworlds, game arenas and virch-universes of cyberspace. Yet among the superstitious anti-virchists of many worlds it is common to pray or ward oneself against Cyberian influence when accessing the nets deeply.

A few Cyberian terms:

av: a digital persona, the "body" one takes on while facing or virching

face: [verb] to virch, to interface with a digital reality

fastime: existing in the Net

luser: an extremely complex and nuance-rich Cyberian term, its meaning depends on the context; in some instances it may be a term of affection, in other instances it may refer to a non-cyberian in general, to a corporate or political lackey, to a heavily memed individual, or to a cyberian who did something incompetent to his system.

meat: rl existence; the physical body. Used regardless of whether an organic or mechanical body is being referred to.

meathead: generally, a culture, polity or clade that one considers in a poor light. e.g. "those neggies [citizens of the Negentropy Alliance] are a bunch of meatheads"

new territories: any newly constructed, copy- or av--traversable virtual world, universe, or node. As the Known Net expands, New Territories are constantly added.

Orintergen!: An expression of surprise or admiration. Based on the famous AI intrusion entity

rl: any existence that is not virched or digital. Generally used in a derogatory manner

slowtime: existing off the Net. Rl. Generally considered an inferior existence.

the stone age: anything that predates Information Age Old Earth; anything archaic; obsolete tech

virch: [noun] any digital or simulation, interactive media; [verb] to access or face with such media

virchspace: any digital environment that is traversable and habitable by sentient, subturing, turingrade or higher virtuals or avs, regardless of whether it is linked the entire Net or not.

virtual: a digital, non-rl entity
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 03 July 2000.