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Gigaverse, The
Gigaverse, The
Image from Worldtree
A group of virtuals examine a floating model of their Matrioshka Hypernode which contains the Gigaverse. The orbiting structures would appear as dark, non-luminary objects in the Matter-world. Labels in the image have been translated for EG readers

Table of Contents

1. History
2. The Gigaverse (overview)
3. Near Realms
4. Far Realms
5. Planets


Delta Leonis - Data Panel

SystemLocation:
- Distance from Aksijaha: 64.45 ly (J2000)
- Distance from Sol: 58.43 ly (J2000)
- Constellation: Leo
StarNames: Zosma, Delta Leonis, 68 Leonis, Gliese 419 (GJ 419), HD 97603, HIP 54872, HR 4357
Physical characteristics (prior to disassembly):
- Mass: 2.061 x Sol
- Radius: 2.557 x Sol
- Temperature: 8,085 Kelvin
- Luminosity: 24.973 x Sol (bolometric)
- Spectral type: A5IV
- Age: 858 million years
Present status:
- Matrioshka Hypernode, Omega-class
Planets
Note: All Extended World Classification System labels and numerical data describe the system prior to modification

1) Malindi: Skolian SulfoliTerrestrial OxyTelluric LapiMinervan Agonian
- Semi-major axis = 1.462 AU, Orbital period = 1.231 years, Eccentricity = 0.118, Mass = 0.378 x Earth, Radius = 0.761 x Earth, Temperature = 537 K
- Moons: 0
- Present status: Disassembled to facilitate construction of Hypernode

2) Baikonur: SulfoliTerrestrial OxyTelluric LapiYdratian CapnoCytherean
- Semi-major axis = 2.355 AU, Orbital period = 2.517 years, Eccentricity = 0.142, Mass = 1.824 x Earth, Radius = 1.146 x Earth, Temperature = 983 K
- Moons: 3
- Present status: No stellar illumination, atmosphere frozen onto surface

3) Kiruna: TholiTerrestrial OxyTelluric LapiRhean OceaThermal AquaGaian
- Semi-major axis = 4.764 AU, Orbital period = 7.243 years, Eccentricity = 0.0762, Mass = 0.916 x Earth, Radius = 0.980 x Earth, Temperature = 314 K
- Moons: 0
- Present status: Terraformed with gengineered and neogenic Earth-like biosphere

4) Arnhem: HydroJovian CarboTelluric GeliJotunnian HydrogeoBarian
- Semi-major axis = 12.31 AU, Orbital period = 30.08 years, Eccentricity = 0.0581, Mass = 56.72 x Earth, Radius = 8.715 x Earth, Temperature = 204 K
- Moons: 164
- Present status: 163 moons disassembled for computronium and habitats; largest moon intact and home to indigenous microbial biosphere

5) Canaveral: AmmoNeptunian CarboTelluric GeliJotunnian AquaCytherean
- Semi-major axis = 21.85 AU, Orbital period = 71.14 years, Eccentricity = 0.0152, Mass = 6.833 x Earth, Radius = 3.449 x Earth, Temperature = 147 K
- Moons: 59
- Present status: 52 moons disassembled to build supramundane world

6) Kourou: MethoTerrestrial OxyTelluric GeliRhean MariTepidal AzoGaian AquaAtlantean
- Semi-major axis = 96.28 AU, Orbital period = 658.1 years, Eccentricity = 0.235, Mass = 2.194 x Earth, Radius = 1.527 x Earth, Temperature = 74 K
- Moons: 14
- Present status: 1 moon partially converted to artisun

7) Hesperides: Terrestrial OxyTelluric CereRhean AzoArean AquaAtlantean
- Semi-major axis = 302.4 AU, Orbital period = 3,663 years, Eccentricity = 0.393, Mass = 1.227 x Earth, Radius = 1.255 x Earth, Temperature = 40 K
- Moons: 6
- Present status: 57% of planet worldhoused in wide variety of climates, moons disassembled to provide matter for worldhouses
PopulationS0: 2.41 quintillion
S0 (excluding the Gigaverse): 85.8 billion
S1: 5,273
S2: 12
S3: 1 - Lawgiver of the Jungle
S4: 1 - Uncountable Qualia

The Gigaverse is a collection of one billion virchworlds housed in a Matrioshka Hypernode constructed from the A5IV star Delta Leonis, located 58.43 light years from Sol. As it is deep within the Inner Sphere, Delta Leonis has a long history of Terragen settlement and development extending back over thousands of years. At present, the system is ruled by the S4 archailect Uncountable Qualia, a member of the Technorapture Hypernation. The modosophont population is presently about 2.41 quintillion, nearly all of whom dwell in the virtual universes of the Hypernode. While a few of these virches are of environments that are recognizable and pleasing to an unaltered nearbaseline, the vast majority consist of exotic physical models requiring sensory modalities unlike anything existing in the ril. Tens of billions of other modosophonts, mostly embodied, live in habitats scattered across the system, or even on the surfaces or in the atmospheres of the various planets, as do transapients from the S1 to S3 levels.

History

As a bright star not far from Sol, Delta Leonis was observable by baseline humanity for millennia Before Tranquility. Its planets did not begin to be detected until the late
Information Age, and at the time were only given catalog names (for example Arnhem, the first discovered, was called Delta Leonis b by astronomers of the day). Further study with better instruments during the Interplanetary Age eventually revealed a system of 7 planets, one of which was even in the liquid water habitable zone. However, despite intensive study no biosignatures were detected, and the system remained obscure outside of scientific circles.

As determined by later study of their ruins, a small isolationist AI colony arrived around 900 AT, likely from the red dwarf AD Leonis, a system inhabited by Diamond Belt ahuman AI and containing some planetary-surface computronium nodes of similar design. They made a home on Hesperides' cold, icy surface and sustained themselves with fusion energy, but sometime in the 1300s, they built a new ship and departed for places unknown. The only evidence of their presence that remains is the inoperative ruins of their computronium and supporting infrastructure. Based on study of the computronium, it is estimated that the collective consisted of about 6,000-8,000 superturing-equivalent AI minds.

During the early Federation period, continued exoplanetary study confirmed that the third planet from the star, later called Kiruna, was a high-quality target for Terragen colonists and possible terraformation. The planet was close to Earth in size and surface gravity, and even possessed oceans of liquid water on the surface. There appeared to be no pre-existing life to be concerned with, and the atmosphere was already thick and could feasibly be thinned to 1 bar with available technology. In 988, the Strength of the Lion colony ship was launched from Solsys to Delta Leonis. The mission was made up in large part of descendants of victims of the Great Expulsion from Earth some 367 years previously, and largely consisted of members of pro-terraforming groups that considered life in space habitats inferior to a full planetary biosphere. Many descendants of those expelled by GAIA had by then gotten used to life off-planet and did not seek to return to such a lifestyle, but those who did were often keenly interested in the study of exoplanets that could be candidates for terraforming. Prior to launch, the crew voted to accept their historians' proposal to name the system's 7 planets after early space launch sites from each of Earth's (as traditionally divided) 7 continents.

The mission arrived in the system in 1521, with an initial population of 43,000 baseline and nearbaseline humans and 5 superturing AI advisors. After arrival, several asteroids and comets were reassembled into two Stanford Tori to hold the population after awakening from biostasis. After years of debate over how Kiruna should be terraformed, as well as detailed study of its topography and planetology and development of the necessary neumanns and gengineered plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms, terraformation commenced in 1537. The initial settlement of 40,000 was founded on an isthmus between seas, and was an arcology named Striving.

In the following decades and centuries, the colony continued to grow and work on further designing and balancing the planetary ecosystem and economy. The population grew, and new settlements were founded, ranging from arcologies to cities in sealed underground cave complexes or roofed-over canyons. Later, open-air cities began to be constructed as the atmosphere thinned and the need for supplemental oxygen while outdoors decreased. During this period, the local civilization remained in close contact with the rest of the Federation and benefited from advances in science and technology developed elsewhere. At the same time, exploration and the establishment of scientific outposts in the rest of the local planetary system gained speed, and the AI ruins on Hesperides were discovered. Although only very simple chemistry was found in Kourou's oceans of liquid nitrogen, highly complex molecules of clearly biotic origin were discovered in the lakes on and within the ice shell of Arnhem's large moon Sydney, revealing the existence of a biosphere of microorganisms within that world's subsurface water ocean. This spurred on a great deal of scientific interest, as such early examples of alien life were of much interest throughout the Federation.

In 1907, the terraformation of Kiruna was declared complete, celebrated with a planet-wide festival lasting an entire local year (7.243 standard years) by the then 220 million people living on the surface. In 1975, Superturing Advisor Two ascended to the First Singularity, and renamed emself Foremost of Kiruna, while the other four advisors continued service underneath em as envoys. As the centuries passed, the population of the Delta Leonis system continued to not only grow but to diversify, with larger numbers of sophonts beginning to establish and show interest in living in various space habitats and off-Kiruna settlements, although they still remained a small portion of the total population for the next millennium due to the ongoing presence of pro-terraformed-planet sentiment. Additionally, various local types of tweak and vec were developed, together with a growing upload population (though many uploads emigrated via the Lightways). After news arrived of the dissolution of the Federation in 2099, Foremost of Kiruna declared the independent Delta Leonis Republic, a nominal cyberdemocracy with its capital in the Tundral Forest Arcology Complex near Kiruna's south pole. In practice, however, Foremost of Kiruna - and later other locally ascended S1 transapients - exerted a strong degree of memetic influence over local culture and politics. In the mid-3rd millennium, the population of Kiruna itself leveled off at around 9 billion modosophonts (mostly nearbaseline humans), and many historians argue that influence from Foremost of Kiruna played a role in this.

While Kiruna's overall population stayed roughly stable, various cities and regions rose or fell in importance and size. Colonies on the other planets continued to grow, especially the bubblehabs in Arnhem's atmosphere. Throughout the late 3rd millennium, most off-Kiruna colonies were granted independence as their population took up larger proportions of the system's population. During the late 4th millennium, many of Arnhem's small moons began to be disassembled to construct McKendree Cylinders and other smaller habitats. Worldhouses began to be constructed on Hesperides and over the millennia steadily grew bigger and more numerous. Acceptance of the Concord Ontology resulted in an increase in infotrade as well as travel and immigration via the Lightways and Beamrider Network.

In 4176, the S3 Lawgiver of the Jungle, of the Zoeific Biopolity, purchased development rights over Canaveral and 52 of its moons from the few million local inhabitants. Most were required to leave, though some moved to the 7 small moons that were not selected for disassembly to observe the construction and resulting polity. In 4426, Lawgiver of the Jungle's project was complete - a supramundane world named Patchwork filled with neogenic ecosystems and species of sophonts. During the Version War, the system remained neutral and was spared from attack, although the period was a time of relative isolation, partially compensated for with increased cultural cross-pollination between the local societies. Delta Leonis was connected to the Wormhole Nexus in 4715, resulting in a large increase in immigration and emigration as well as influence from the growing archai empires.

For the next several millennia, there were few major changes. 16 small moons of Arnhem were disassembled and converted into a computronium node in the early 6th millennium to run numerous simulations of the future evolution of Sydney's biosphere, while the remaining small moons were reconstructed into collections of space habitats. Gradually, several ascensions to S1 occurred, a few even by nearbaseline uploads. In 5228 Foremost of Kiruna attained the Second Singularity, but in a transcension event. E cast off eir former name and departed through the Nexus for parts unknown.

By far the most momentous event in the history of Delta Leonis was in 6005, when Uncountable Qualia, a member of the Technorapture Hypernation and at the time an S3, used a combination of commercial purchases and memetic influence to attain full development rights to the central star. The intent was to construct a full Matrioshka Hypernode, although e promised to set aside a very small portion of the starlifted matter to power a Class 3 Sunline that would provide insolation equal to that of the star to all of the planets and habs that wished to receive it. Historical studies show that the lesser sophonts agreed to this in large part because they had been convinced that the immense population, and therefore influence, of the Hypernode would draw more attention to their much smaller polities and cultures, and hence increase their prominence and influence across the Terragen Sphere. It has also been suggested by archailectologists that Uncountable Qualia permitted a small part of eir resources to be used inefficiently on the sunline rather than much more efficiently in eir virchcosm as a show of eir generosity and benevolence, making it more attractive to a greater diversity of immigrants.

In 6009, construction began with the disassembly of the small rocky planet Malindi. The few thousand local vecs had departed for elsewhere in the system as part of the purchase agreement, leaving the planet uninhabited. Malindi was converted into infrastructure for starlifting, and the material extracted was in turn used for energy to lift further material and to construct other necessary infrastructure, the sunline, three deep well industrial zones to provide more heavy elements, and more and more numerous computing nodes in a complex array of orbits. Each node was built with a store of hydrogen fuel for conversion reactors and layers of different kinds of highly efficient computronium used to extract as much energy as possible. During the early part of construction, Uncountable Qualia transferred emself to dwell within the Hypernode, soon ascending to S4 under Technorapture Hypernation guidance, and thereafter added plasma processors to the computing infrastructure. As Delta Leonis dimmed and changed color, the sunline powered up to compensate, ultimately being used to illuminate Kiruna, Arnhem, and Canaveral. In 8783, Uncountable Qualia announced via the Known Net that the Hypernode was complete, and that the Gigaverse was welcoming any sophonts who wished to join.

For the next roughly two thousand years until the present day in 10600, there has been a growing stream of sophonts of all types immigrating via the Nexus and Lightways to the Gigaverse. Most immigrants are already virtuals, although many embodied sophonts across the Civilized Galaxy have uploaded themselves for the purpose of joining the Gigaverse, including a small but notable cohort from the local system. The Gigaverse is already a major center in the Terragen Sphere, and yet there is no indication at all that its current population is anywhere near the final one, and indeed the computing capacity of a Hypernode is so great that it could become orders of magnitude larger than it is even now.

System

The Gigaverse

Population: 2.41 quintillion (100% virtuals)

The Gigaverse contains one million virchuniverses each consisting of one thousand
virchworlds, for a total of one billion virchworlds altogether. Each virchuniverse has a highly distinct physics model and resulting set of possible sensory modes and experiences. One virchuniverse, known to its residents and many ril-based sophonts as the Near Realms, uses basic models that correspond to the real universe. The remaining virchuniverses are collectively known as the Far Realms. However, it must be remembered that each of the universes in the Far Realms are as different from each other as they are from the Near Realms.

While the whole Gigaverse runs at a uniform 100 times ril speed, each virchworld differs in subjective size. The smallest are the size of a large gas giant, while others are as large as a star cluster - but typically with much more complexity and much less empty or monotonous space. Some virchworlds have impenetrable edges, while others loop back on themselves in some or all dimensions.

Unlike many cybercosms, the individual worlds and universes of the Gigaverse are not immediately accessible from one another. Rather, a sophont must navigate through the virtual space to the portals connecting each world. These portals vary in appearance based on the world and the physics model, but always stand out from their surroundings and are clearly marked with the symbol of the Gigaverse - a stylized diagram of the complex orbits, at all different angles to each other, of the computronium nodes making up the Hypernode that contains the Gigaverse. Each portal is large enough to accommodate several average-sized sophonts going through at once, and can be expanded as needed if traffic later increases. Each virchworld contains a limited, predetermined number of portals, each connecting to a single virchworld, which in turn has its own set of portals to be found.

The overall topological diagram of the Gigaverse and the connections between its virchworlds is therefore that of a complex network, with a random pattern of connections. Each portal is typically a very large distance from any of the others, and most are difficult to find when first discovered, requiring much collaboration and exploration. In more developed and populated worlds, travel between the portals has often been made quick and easy by the local sophonts. Almost any given world can be reached through at least several different routes, some shorter than others. Though in theory Uncountable Qualia could have designed the Gigaverse such that every world was accessible from every other, it is generally theorized that this structure was chosen to cultivate a memetic of exploration, to encourage the sort of personal and group development necessary to find and travel to new worlds, or both.

The population of each world varies widely. Those in which Uncountable Qualia places immigrants often have the highest populations, with population decreasing on average the further away a virchworld is from such entry points, though there is still much variation between worlds throughout the network. Many of the virchworlds are extremely distant in the network, requiring traversal through up to tens of thousands of worlds, and as a result there are many worlds that still have very low populations due to being found by very few. In fact, it is estimated that, as of 10600, there are around two million worlds that still have not been discovered.

While passage between virchworlds within a virchuniverse is seamless when a portal is found and entered, portals between virchuniverses are much longer and more complex, usually containing a series of habitat-sized 'vestibules' in which gradual adjustment of one's mind and senses to enable comprehension of the new universe is developed.

Within any given world at any given time, some sophonts are engaged in exploration, whether looking for new portals to other worlds, or just seeking to know their own better. Others spend their time experiencing what their world has to offer in the form of art stimulating various senses and various mentally complex activities developed by other local sophonts or, on occasion, by Uncountable Qualia emself through eir avatars. Most sophonts both explore and experience local creativity, to varying degrees, though some are resolutely focused on one or the other.

Many worlds contain dangers in remotely populated areas which can cause 'death' to the sophonts engaging in exploration there. If a sophont dies in a world, regardless of how long they lived there, they are restored in the world they were previously in, and permanently barred from re-entering the world they died in. Any worlds connected to the world they died in must be reached through other routes through the network if they are sought. Any dependent beings, such as offspring or subsophont pets, are sent out with the sophont who died if dependent solely on them, or else remain in the original world and can visit the expelled sophont by traveling to their new world. These mechanisms are widely theorized to heighten the stakes when exploring any given world and thus encourage personal development that takes exploration seriously, with careful study, extensive preparation, and attention to detail.

The population of the Gigaverse grows via both immigration and reproduction, and while there are no 'naturally evolved' sophont lifeforms, there are very many forms of subsophont life of all levels of complexity. It is clear to observers that Uncountable Qualia very highly values psychological diversity within eir realm. Both embodied and virtual sophonts of almost every clade of any significant size have immigrated to the Gigaverse. More revealingly, Uncountable Qualia has banned reproduction via simple copying. Instead, all new sophont descendants created within the Gigaverse must be made of a mix of toposophic traits from two or more existing sophonts, thus increasing diversity in a way analogous to the way sexual reproduction in biotic life increases genetic diversity. Many native subsophont species have also been 'provolved' by the sophont inhabitants of the virchworlds. The resulting variation between individuals and between social groups is very high, leading to the potential for interpersonal or intergroup conflict. Such issues are largely left up to each individual or group to resolve in their own way, but if after a long time this does not occur and the problem instead gets worse, Uncountable Qualia's avatars are known to intervene in subtle or overt ways to restore peace, including through relocation and psychological editing.

Any modosophont anywhere in the Gigaverse who wishes to ascend to a higher toposophic can contact Uncountable Qualia for guidance, and if the sophont opts to go through with the process and is successful, they are invited to join the Technorapture Hypernation and asked to leave the Gigaverse. This has led archailectologists to develop two main hypotheses for why Uncountable Qualia created the Gigaverse, known as the Finality Hypothesis and the Instrumental Hypothesis. The former states that running a society of this sort is simply what e wished to do, while the latter postulates that it is only a means to an end, with the final goal being that of developing a diverse set of new S1 (and eventually higher) members of the Technorapture Hypernation.

Near Realms: These one thousand worlds use physical models very similar to that of the ril, and several of them are where immigrants from the physical universe begin their journey. Generally, several of the Near Realms worlds must be traversed before reaching the Far Realms. The total population of the Near Realms is about 982 trillion.

These are just a few of the Near Realms most famous outside the Gigaverse, but the others are no less complex for being more obscure:

  • Most immigrants begin at Ril's Landing, a landscape over 30 million km across consisting of varied but generally Earthlike climates and biomes, home to about 2.2 trillion sophonts in scattered settlements and cities. While most individuals only stay here for a short time and then depart for other worlds, others have made their home here and even engage in expeditions through new biomes to extend the maps of this world outward and establish new settlements, sometimes even finding new portals to other worlds in the process.
  • Endless Forms Most Beautiful is made up of 20,000 planets all sharing dense orbits around a central star, with ad hoc modified physics to keep the system stable. Each planet has what appears to be an independently evolved ecology of complex organisms, each with unique biochemistry and a plausible evolutionary history, and each open for study and protected from damage by settlers by simulation fiat. The total population is about 672 billion, living everywhere from research outposts on newly explored planets to worlds with continent-spanning cities interspersed with ecologically-rich local jungles and savannahs.
  • The Upper Lofts consists of a wide variety of indoor-type rooms and environments, connected together in a maze-like configuration. The world extends in all 3 dimensions for at least 250,000 km, and contains many artifacts and creatures that 'violate' the local laws of physics. There are also many locations where the rules of normal Euclidean space are violated and distant parts of the world are connected through a single doorway, or where local space is much larger or smaller, or a different shape, than would normally be the case. Few live here for long, but on average about 18 billion sophonts call this world home.
  • Oceanus Cosmica is a vast water ocean extending in every direction, occupying a volume 10 million km across that loops back on itself in all 3 dimensions. Light is provided by 'lightpoints' like miniature suns that power the local photosynthetic organisms, which serve as the base of the food chain in this neogenic ecology. There are also 'rockpoints' of all sizes suspended in the water serving as anchors for sessile marine life to grow. There are of course many swimming organisms, creating a food chain from tiny plankton-eaters all the way up to colossal predatory leviathans tens of kilometers long, with no known upper size limit. Around 1 trillion sophonts live here, most of them in large arcologies built on and within certain rockpoints and with their own endemic flora and fauna.
  • Everlux is a small star cluster with hundreds of planets as well as cloudlike space-based ecologies, run with a physics model in which light is emitted at lower energies than in the ril. As a result, both lifeforms and inert but warm objects glow abundantly in all manner of colors. The population is concentrated in 'biocities', in which local lifeforms are arranged to create sophont settlements. Local sophonts often have mindtypes that are fascinated by the light-based phenomena present in this world, and that are able to perceive almost the entire spectrum, with creating and watching 'symphonies of color' being a popular pastime. The population of Everlux is about 886 billion.
Gigaverse_1
Image from StableDiffusion
Overlooking a biocity in Everlux, with several different types of space ecologies in the background

Far Realms: There is no way for unaltered mindtypes native to the ril to truly comprehend what the Far Realms are like. Only analogies can be used to give a little bit of insight into their nature.

In the physical universe, all sophont experiences consist of data input into their senses, mental processing, and at times acting back on the world via data output to one's body to create further data input. This holds true no matter the chosen activity: everything from music, to cuisine, to scenery, and more consists of data input to various qualitatively unique sensory modalities. Making art, playing games, social interaction, and so forth consists of acting back on the world, and in turn sensing the results via the same senses; hence the same facts hold true. For those who did not have these modalities, it would not be possible for them to understand what these experiences are like or why and how such experiences are enjoyable. A similar comparison has been noted regarding interactions with
xenosophonts from exotic environments in the ril, but in the Far Realms this applies to an even greater degree.

The most common ril-based senses include detection of the intensity and wavelength of photons, pressure waves in the local medium such as air or water, and the texture, temperature, and chemical makeup of a touched object. In the Far Realms, the entire world consists of data that a ril-based sensorium cannot measure or comprehend. Because the Far Realms are not constrained by the relative simplicity of ril-based physics, it is normally the case that they consist of many more kinds of simulated matter and interactions, and therefore sensory modalities and properties, than what is encountered in the physical universe. As a very simplified illustration, there may be multiple types of 'photon', with multiple simultaneous types of wavelength; there may be many different simultaneous types of 'sound'; there may be a near-endless variety of properties of 'matter' roughly equivalent to chemical makeup or texture, each itself with endless possibilities. These are just a few examples, with many other sensory modalities sharing multiple characteristics of these or even having other properties that cannot be analogized to the ril. All of these things interact with each other in numerous and complex ways, each creating sensations, objects, concepts, and subsophont lifeforms with no ril equivalent.

In addition, it is very common, though by no means always the case, that the Far Realms contain at least one (and sometimes many) additional spatial dimensions, complex geometry or topology, and other exotic data structures. As the Far Realms typically are much more complex than the ril in their number of dimensions and fundamental physical phenomena, this exponentially increases the total complexity of these worlds, requiring a corresponding increase in cognitive complexity. Therefore, while residents of the Far Realms are still modosophonts, they are usually of higher, often much higher, cognitive complexity than an average nearbaseline or equivalent. Additionally, the virtual bodies of sophonts visiting or emigrating to the Far Realms must take on completely new forms in order to experience and exist within them, though there is still much variation of form within each world.

"Oh my daughter, how could I ever explain to you how beautiful, how rich, the Far Realms are? Our language does not have the concepts. A mind such as yours cannot contain it. I am glad that I made sure that I would visit you and see your new children, and yet I must now leave again. I cannot remain in this impoverished world. If you had to never again see the beautiful intricacies of biology, never hear music, never taste flavors ever again; if you had to live in a world flat, small, grayscale, silent, and textureless, with a gestalt of one dimension, then you might know how I feel. And you would be craving to return just as I am."

"I must admit, I do wonder what my mother's life is really like up there. And yet, it's led her to view my life - the sort of life she once lived - as bland and near-empty. Honestly, it's scary to lose appreciation for that. I think it's better that I not know. I don't want to lose my love of the real universe and my relationships here for something I could just as well never know about."


-Dialogues Between Heaven and Earth - An Ethnographic Study of the Cultures of Delta Leonis, Striving University Publishing, 10544 AT

Malindi

Population: N/A (disassembled)

The innermost planet of the system, Malindi was a hot, dry, and rocky world. Population had always been low, and even at its peak was only made up of a few thousand solar-powered vecs with a culture focused on carving cliff faces. The planet was disassembled to create the initial infrastructure for the construction of the Gigaverse.

Baikonur

Population: 2.8 million (54% nearbaselines, 35% vecs, 3% uploads, 8% other)

Originally a planet with a steamy atmosphere too hot for water to rain to the surface, the few thousand inhabitants of Baikonur's bubblehabs voted to turn down Uncountable Qualia's offer of sunline illumination, instead opting to allow the planet's entire atmosphere to freeze out, turning it into an airless ice world with a few rocky mountains sticking up above a globe-spanning glacier. The planet now has some small surface worldhouses and underground cities, but mainly serves as a recreational destination for the rest of the system to try out and compete in various high-gravity zero-atmosphere winter sports. Its largest moon Chennai had a small, dense underground hab complex during the Federation era but today it is without a permanent population and used only for competitive mock battles and other recreational activities.

Kiruna

Population: 9.6 billion (93% nearbaselines, 2% uploads, 2% neogen, 1% vecs, 3% other)

With its 9,079 year history, Kiruna has seen a lot of change, both on the planet and in the wider star system. To this day, it remains a stronghold of nearbaseline humanity, though its cultural history is complex and diverse (relatively speaking). The population lives in everything from arcologies, to cities that would not be out of place on Interplanetary Age Earth, as well as sea-based towns that travel the oceans, and small, rural settlements and rustic communities. Much of the local ecology looks like that of Earth at first glance, though a closer examination reveals that by now this is more of a stylistic theme than a true scientific classification, as most organisms are of species that never existed on Earth. Additionally, plants gengineered to use purple pigments to match the spectrum of the local star have become common in several biomes, especially in the tropics, where these species now make up 38% of the tree cover. Kiruna itself is still a nominal cyberdemocracy, though it is now more overtly ruled by an S1, Katin Tulingrin, who formerly was a regional governor and nearbaseline before undergoing uploading and later ascension, and who has been re-elected for the last 460 years.

Arnhem

Atmospheric population: 14.1 billion (36% nearbaselines, 22% tweaks, 15% neogens, 12% provolves, 8% splices, 7% other)
Orbital population: 37.2 billion (52% nearbaselines, 32% tweaks, 8% provolves, 5% vecs, 3% other)

The atmosphere of the gas giant planet Arnhem contains numerous bubblehabs of many different designs inhabited by many cultures and clades, each with their own history. Descendants of settlers from Kiruna, neogenic sophonts both immigrant and designed, various provolve and
xenoprovolve groups, novel tweak clades, and splices between any of the above can be found here. The vast majority of the bubblehabs subscribe to a locally-adapted version of the Vagabond Way ideology, which extols permanent travel and finding new things to experience. On Arnhem, this means that the bubblehabs are constantly joining up together to form small floating continents, exploring one another's habs, and after a period of time disconnecting only to re-aggregate later in all new patterns.

Arnhem's 163 smaller and asteroid-sized moons have been disassembled, leaving only Sydney, which was by far the largest. Sydney is home to a native ecology of microscopic organisms living in the liquid water ocean under the ice shell, kept warm and fed by abundant volcanism on the seafloor. The organisms are based on foldamer type XNA-delta-26S-8, as classified by the Ken Ferjik Astrobiological Survey. Millennia ago, 16 of Arnhem's disassembled moons were reconfigured into the Sydney Biosphere Future Evolution Computing Facility, which uses high-speed computronium to simulate numerous replays of billions of years of evolution of the Sydney biosphere. In 8.7% of these runs, complex life finds a way to develop, typically made up of sessile and slow-moving organisms, some of which employ bioluminescence, creating different kinds of "reefs", "jungles", and other biomes. Copies of these experimental virchworlds, especially the ones with complex life, have been sent via the Known Net across the Terragen Sphere to be experienced firsthand.

The other 147 moons have been turned into orbital bands of space habs, including many McKendree Cylinders, Bishop Rings, and Dyson Trees, though other types can also be found here. Some habs are zero-G, while others are set to spin at a wide variety of gravity levels, ranging from 0.01 g all the way up to 4 g. Nearbaselines are somewhat common in these habs, though there are many low and high-gravity tweaks and other groups as well.

Canaveral

Supramundane world population: 22.5 billion (97% neogens, 1% nearbaselines, 2% other)
Moons' population: 32 thousand (76% vecs, 12% uploads, 8% nearbaselines, 4% other)

Canaveral is surrounded by the supramundane world Patchwork run by the Zoeific S3 Lawgiver of the Jungle. When first created, Patchwork was laid out in 20 distinct biomes, each covering an equally-sized slice of the surface with hundreds of thousands of species. Every biome has a unique and distinct biochemistry, and each has its own native sophont species designed for low-tech lifestyles. Since then, each biome has been left to interact (seemingly) naturally and without obvious interference, creating a complex patchwork of biomes that in some places are extensively overlapping and intermingled and in other places are apparently mutually toxic or antagonistic, creating sharp boundary lines. Lawgiver of the Jungle has been known to intervene to prevent conflict between the sophont species or ecological destruction, and also permits a small percentage of non-local sophonts to inhabit and travel the world. In turn, some of the locally created sophonts have opted to leave Patchwork either temporarily or permanently and to travel elsewhere in the system or to other parts of the Terragen Sphere.

Canaveral's 7 small moons that were not disassembled to build the supramundane world are home to a motley collection of small habs and settlements. Many vecs from Malindi came here after they had to leave, as did a few of the former inhabitants of the disassembled moons and the bubblehabs in Canaveral's atmosphere.

Kourou

Population: 4 thousand (100% vecs)

Kourou's cryogenic oceans of liquid nitrogen were claimed in the 31st century by an offshoot of the reclusive vec culture Silent Seas, made of boat-like individuals who spend their days in solitude and only once a standard year come together to share stories of the sights they've seen. There has been some pressure to redevelop this world into a neogen liquid nitrogen ecology that could last into deep time, but locals elsewhere in the system have defended the vecs and their lifestyle. Kourou's largest moon Bogota has had a small artisun installed to compensate for the extinguishing of distant Delta Leonis and maintain the planet's climate, rather than making use of the sunline. Kourou's other 13 moons are little more than asteroids and remain unused at present.

Hesperides

Population: 2.4 billion (33% provolves, 30% xenoprovolves, 19% tweaks, 14% nearbaselines, 12% splices, 8% uploads, 3% other)

Hesperides' culture has long had a provolutionist and even pansophontist element dating back to the earliest settlers from Kiruna, with about 1.5 billion of the population living under the local governance of the Delta Leonis Provolution Society and its controlling S2, Mindfull. About 57% of Hesperides' surface has been worldhoused, though this is broken up into separate structures of many different sizes and internal climates. The planet's 6 small moons and some matter mined from the planet's surface have been disassembled and processed to provide a solid, insulating foundation for the worldhouses and various elements for the worldhouse biospheres. Some of the larger enclosures contain an Earth-standard climate, while some smaller ones contain sulfuric, chlorinic, To'uh'lian, petrolic, and other environments for the various clades of xenoprovolve that live in them. The largest xenoprovolve clades include the Chloromice, small 6-legged omnivores with polyvinyl chloride-based 'fur' from a Halogenic world, and the Tentacled Oilfish, medium-sized aquatic predators from the petrolic garden world Tannhauser. Hesperides also contains underground complexes of inhabited tunnels of various climates, as well as computing nodes running small virchworlds styled after earlier historical periods of Kiruna for the benefit of uploads from those eras who wish to live like they did when embodied. As Hesperides is so far from Delta Leonis, the local inhabitants all use fusion or conversion energy fueled with local ices, and hence the sunline was never needed out here. The ruins of the early AIs who abandoned the system long ago are set aside as a preserve, with a small trickle of visitors each year.


 
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Development Notes
Text by Crossroads
Data panel by The Astronomer and Dangerous Safety
Initially published on 04 December 2022.

Everlux image created by Stable Diffusion AI art software "EnstilAI" Prompts by Worldtree, 2022
 
 
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