Alien world with a deep hot processing biosphere

Image from Steve Bowers
SystemStar YTS 6709-4410 A + B, Cook
Type K3V
Mass 0.4 x Sol
Distance from Sol 3246 ly
Reached 7852 AT

Planet Steelcliff
Type AquaTohulian (Pelagic Thermal)
Mass 1.2 x Earth
Radius 6660 km
Gravity 1.1 x Earth
The first alien BioGeoComputing system, discovered in 7852 AT. This planet is notable for the intensive processing activity which occurs in a thick microbial layer that lies beneath the planet's surface, and to a lesser extent within the surface biosphere.

Steelcliff is an isolated world towards galactic anti-spinward in what was then the Negentropy Alliance Outer Volumes. A series of specialised transapient-level contact specialists have studied this world for nearly three millenia, and have made limited contact with the entity or entities within.

Steelcliff appears to be running an unusual form of alien virtual reality environment, and certainly has sufficient computing resources to run many billions of entities. However the boundaries between each entity appear to be ill-defined, and they may possibly all be aspects of the singular planetary mind. This virtual environment seems to have been put into place at least forty million years ago, although the planetary mind does not seem to have clear records of its creation.

Other examples of xenosophont planets with a global consciousness in a biological substrate include Whisper, Clive's Brain and Kammerer. Despite their superficial similarities, these worlds appear to have very different origins, so global consciousness appears to represent a form of attractor state or convergent evolution.

On the other hand, some observers note that many of these worlds are relatively close to the so-called Low Emission Zone to antispinward, and they suggest that some, or many, of these worlds may have their origin within that zone.

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Development Notes
Text by Tony Jones
Additional material by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 21 July 2003.