The Hyades Cluster, also known as Melotte 25 or Collinder 50 is an open cluster of stars 151 light years from Sol. This region has a long and eventful past, from the Taurus Nexus era to the trade wars within Metasoft.
The cluster was first reached by ahuman AI entities, possibly by the renegade TIJM complex from the Solar System, in approximately 700 A.T.. This group of entities began to rapidly increase in toposophic complexity, until they apparently became the most advanced group of intelligences anywhere in the Terragen Sphere at that time. However none of this was known to the humans and prohuman AI in the Inner Sphere until 1558, when exotic radiation was detected originating from the stars in that region.
In fact the ahumans had created the first network of traversable wormholes in the Terragen Sphere, a network which connected many of the stars of the Hyades cluster as well as some of the other nearby stars in Taurus and Gemini. By the time the first human exploration craft arrived the ahumans had vanished, perhaps into a baby universe of their own creation.
The Taurus Nexus, as it became known, soon became a powerful human/AI empire, but during the First Consolidation War the Hyades were lost to the newly formed Terragen Federation.
During the Second Consolidation war around half of the brighter stars were annexed by Metasoft; this became the so-called Hyades Sector of the Version Tree. The humans in this region mostly emigrated to the other Terragen Federation systems nearby, or towards the periphery.
In 9862 a subsection of Metasoft in the Hyades sector broke loose due to copying-scanning interface issues. It claimed Metasoft was growing inflexible and top-heavy, while Metasoft claimed the section suffered from a faulty patching. What followed has been one of the most well publicized (and popular among critics of Metasoft) trade wars in recent time.
The former Metasoft Hyades Sector is solely inhabited by vecs, AIs and a scattering of cyborgs living in the massive habitats around the young stars. It is a centre of heavy industry, especially the production of antimatter, neutronium and wormholes. It is governed by a software parliament, where individual citizen-objects can vote to provide priority to their representative agents.
Politically the Sector is somewhat desperate for allies. Metasoft is undercutting its prices and likely behind sabotage, the Terragen Federation are not interested in supporting them (perhaps waiting until they become truly desperate), NoCoZo trades but understands how to exploit its weakness and the Solar Dominion has demanded outrageous wormhole tolls. The two groups that appear most close are Keter (for some odd reason) and the Cyberian Network, which has already started using the Sector as a datahaven.
Text by Anders Sandberg, with additions by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 07 November 2001.
changed link to 'basement/baby universes' June 2022