Tengri - (Kepler-9)
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Tengri (Kepler-9), with the planets Khudukha, Hogelun, Maral and Nomolun

Tengri - Data Panel

PrimaryStar Tengri, Kepler-9
Type G2V
Luminosity = 0.967 x Sol
Mass 1.02 x Sol
Radius 0.958 x Sol
Distance from Sol 2090ly
Constellation Lyra
Colonised 6511 AT
Kepler 9dName: Khudukha
Mass 5.25 x Earth
Diameter 20906 km
Temperature 2060K
Gravity 2.03 gees
Type Pyrothallassic Refractian
Semimajor Axis 0.027 AU
Kepler 9bName: Hogelun
Mass 44 x Earth
Diameter 105130 km
Type EpistellarJovian Chloridian
Semimajor Axis 0.142 AU
Kepler 9cName: Maral
Mass 30.8 x Earth
Diameter 102900 km
Type EpistellarJovian PyroAzurian
Semimajor Axis 0.228 AU
Kepler 9eName: Nomolun
Mass 0.45 x Earth
Diameter 10900 km
Type LithicGelidian
Semimajor Axis 1.9 AU
Explored 6511 AT by United Stars, a subsidiary of the Cygnus Expansion Association (Cygexpa). This system had previously been claimed by the Panvirtuality in 5999, but all transmissions had ceased two hundred years later. The exploration ship Treasure Hunt expected to make brief contact with the Panvirts and move on, but they found that the Solipsists had retreated into the gas giant Maral and were no longer communicative.

However, for unknown reasons, the Solipsists had left behind a respectable fleet of relatively advanced interstellar spacecraft, which remained in orbit around the world Nomolun, totally inert and in some cases damaged by debris collisions. If this fleet was left to disintegrate further, it would become completely unusable relatively quickly. So the autonomous Treasure Hunt stepped in, doing whatever it could to move the undamaged ships out of harms way, while signalling to the local United Stars headquarters (Urga, Kepler 473) for assistance. In due course a number of United Stars colony ships were diverted towards this system, hoping to take advantage of this windfall.

Panvirt Fleet around Nomolun
Image from Steve Bowers
The derelict Panvirtuality Fleet in orbit around Nomolun when the United Stars exploration craft arrived. Several ships in the fleet have already been damaged by collisions.
In due course, a selection of modosophont colony ships arrived from Urga, and established a base station in orbit around Nomolun in close proximity to the derelict fleet. Most of the colonists were nearbaseline humans in origin, and a significant number of their population had adopted a somewhat unusual hermaphrodite bodyplan, with three legs and three arms, and both male and female sexual characteristics. Urgans with this particular body plan generally referred to themselves as doublers, and although each individual generally shared a single head and a single consciousness, there were exceptions to this rule.

The doublers and their companions, who often adopted male, female or other sexual identities, had developed a complex set of courtship rituals that were appropriate for such a disparate set of morphs. These complexities served to exercise the intellects of the Urgan colonists, who valued curiosity above all things, and who became intrigued by the mysterious derelict fleet.

Herm Doublers
Image from Steve Bowers
A Herm Doubler from Urga, accompanied by a male and a female neb
The United Stars colonists from Urgan set about recovering the least-damaged spacecraft and moving them into safer orbits. Since these craft were completely inert and without working control systems, this was a challenging task. There were 140 conversion drive ships, of which 79 were undamaged or apparently repairable; the other sixty-one were unserviceable, but the valuable monopole catalysts could be recovered in each case. There were also two reactionless displacement drive ships, parked in wider orbit and undamaged. Gravimetric scans indicated that each ship held one warp bubble, contained by a cage of transapient-level technology of unfamiliar Panvirt design. Although the conversion drive ships were valuable, the two reactionless drive vessels were priceless. However they were just as unresponsive as the other vessels.

Contact with the Panvirts

From 6602 AT onwards the colonists made various attempts to reactivate the Panvirt Fleet. Some tried to interface with the control systems in the ships, without success, and some tried to communicate with the Panvirtual civilisation hidden inside Marai. The programming of the spacecraft turned out to be unhackable, even in principle, since they used an unknown operating system and the peripheral equipment was deactivated. And attempts to talk to Marai were ignored. Occasionally the Marai bubblehabs emerged from the clouds for a short period, and the Urgans hurriedly transmitted the uploaded personalities of their chosen ambassadors towards the habs, but with no response.

However the Panvirtualists had apparently received at least some of these transmissions. In 6621 a message was emitted from the largest Marai bubblehab, using the vocal template of one of the earliest uploaded personalities. a virtual by the name of Endoe DuPre. The message received was very brief; DuPre said that e had been changed irrevocably by contact with the Panvirtuality, and that e could no longer consider emself remotely human. If any other sophont was prepared to be changed in a like manner, then they were welcome to venture forth in the ships of the Panvirtuality. But not otherwise.

At the same moment, one of the two Displacement Drive vessels came to life, and began send encrypted instructions to the rest of the damaged fleet. Shortly, most of the undamaged conversion ships were similarly coming to life, communicating in emotionless bursts of information and asking for instructions.

The United Stars Diaspora

Most of the stars in the immediate vicinity of Tengri were already claimed; some had little more than a scientific outpost, while others were already populated by Cygexpan client polities. United Stars, which had been a relatively minor client of the Expansion, was suddenly a major faction in this volume because of the fleet of Panvirtual ships under their command. United Stars began to lay claim to a number of stars at the edge of the local volume that had not yet been reached, or which were currently underutilised. Within the next two hundred years, United Stars sent colony ships to Kepler-995, JD 1099778 AB, Kepler-1531, Kepler 1304 and YTS 2090-0910-45.
United Stars ship
Image from Steve Bowers
A converted Panvirtuality conversion drive ship, with added shield, propellant and colonist accomodation

The Tengri Sector

Each of the Panvirtual ships had been modified somewhat to carry a quota of United Stars colonists, and also engenerator systems ready to produce more colonists on arrival. Although one of the two reactionless craft was still uncommunicative, the other readily agreed to carry a cargo of colonists to the bright star HD 177697, and set off without further ado.

Over the next hundred years new, successful colonies were established around each of these stars. Tengri itself became the new regional capital of the so-called Tengri Sector, and over time the rest of the damaged ships were repaired or reconstructed and began to trade between the new systems. THowever the colony at HD 177697 founded by the contingent aboard the Panvirtual Displacement Drive Vessel (a ship which refused to accept any name) was an exception. This colony, founded with the guidance of the Panvirtual transapient ship's mind, developed in a new and unexpected fashion.

During the journey from Tengri to HD 177697, the colonists on board all uploaded themselves, at the recommendation of the nameless ship's mind. On arrival in 6805, the Panvirt ship and its virtual passengers began to convert the local planets and planetoids into computronium. Shortly afterwards (in 6710) the colony ceased transmission altogether. With some regret the United Stars leadership announced that this colony was, in all probability, lost, and had been subsumed by the isolationist philosophy of the Solipsist Panvirtuality.

In 6955, the second Displacement Drive ship (still in orbit around Nomolun) suddenly came to life, and dived into the upper atmosphere of Marai. There it made a brief rendezvous with one of the giant Panvirt structures that floated in the gas giant's atmosphere. Shortly after this the craft accelerated rapidly out of the system, transmitting a single short message in the voice of Endoe DuPre: translated from the Urgan dialect, this message said "Be seeing you later, friends". The craft set course for HD 177697, arriving fifteen years later.

Current Era - Tengri and Oscura

Tengri remains the main hub for the Tengri sector, which now consists of nearly fifty systems colonised with the help of the converted Panvirtuality ships. Worlds in this sector include Noyon and Momgon (JD 1099778 AB), Urumqui (Kepler-995), Bayarmaa (Kepler 1304) and Irek (Arrival)(YTS 2090-0910-45). These worlds are diverse, and have become even more so since the dissolution of the Cygexpa empire. Tengri hosts a wormhole connection to the ex-Cygexpa trunk route, and has two subordinate stargates to Arrival and to Urumqui. The rest of the sector is connected by beamrider routes and/or Lightways transceivers.

But the most extraordinary system in this sector is the Panvirtual system of HD 177697. Known as Oscura (Obscure) by the surrounding systems, this world has become an important locus for interaction between the Sephirotic empires and the Panvirts. Although the colonists who travelled to this system in the Age of Crisis were comprehensively subverted into the Solipsist worldview, they retained all of their former memories and integrated them into a new synthesis.

The sophont entities dwelling in the Oscura system possess a distinctive style of mentality, neither human nor ahuman. They have no apparent sense of self-awareness, but retain an acute sense of self-knowledge which differs from that possessed by most Sephirotic sophonts. Similarly they have a highly detailed awareness of the difference between real and simulated reality, a sensibility which is often distorted among Panvirtual entities.

This hybrid culture has allowed Oscura to become an embassy system where representatives of the Sephirotics and the Solipsists can meet, exchange information, technology and sophtware, and make agreements, treaties and covenants. The Panvirts have extended a wormhole of their own from Oscura to Tengri, allowing them to make direct contact with the Solipsists inside Marai, where the process of cross-over between these very different metaempires began.
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Dangerous Safety
Initially published on 23 June 2020.