Hider Habitats
Image from Anders Sandberg
A rare meeting with a clade of hiders in deep space

There are many ordinary sophonts who do not trust the ruling superbrights and hyperturings. Some who have the resources to do so flee outwards to the periphery, seeking to start a new world. Others conceal themselves in great worldships plying the vast distances between the stars, or in small resource-poor systems not connected to the main stargate nexus. Many establish habitats in the icy bodies of the Oort clouds. Some hide out even in the midst of great cities, using high level encryption to ensure they are not monitored. A few even seek to overthrow the established order, but most hiders prefer to keep to themselves, nursing their paranoia in private, developing their own unique cultures, their own trade links, their unique technologies, genemods and cybermods. Prospecting for relics and artefacts undiscovered by other civilizations, and networking with other clades and phyles that share their stance. Their numbers cannot be estimated, for there are no censuses in which they will willingly register themselves. Even their quantum encrypted messages are full of disinformation and false leads. Polities of ordinary sophonts, and even the high singularity powers do not know how many there are, or where they are. Or if they do, they're not telling. To be a Hider is to be outside the reach of the civilized galaxy; to be an individual, not a pawn in memetic battles among hyperturings, or a prospective recruit for the megacorps, their subliminals and their madverts. Hiders seek to be free, to be truly free to be themselves and develop their own culture and traditions, their own memetics, their own mods, their own laws and standards and principles and ontologies. And to obsess over conspiracies, and dream for a day where one day the megacorps, the interstellar empires and the hyperturings will no longer enforce their hegemony over mindkind.

Why Hiders Hide

Hiders are defined not by their motives but by what they do — they are Hiders because they are just simply hiding. The reasons for their hiding are secondary, and there are myriad reasons why Hiders might want to hide. For some it is from a desire to stay out of sight of the main part of Sephirotic civilization so as to avoid being ruled by the Archai; this may apply to transapients and higher grade ais as well as to modosophonts, since they are as much at the mercy of the fates as nearbaselines are (for all intents and purposes). Others hide because they have made enemies, perhaps a powerful individual, group, polity or clade of sapients or transapients. Others hide because they only fear they may have annoyed someone or some faction. Others are fleeing the authorities or the law. Others are subversives or wannabe subversives and want to stage a revolution. Others are just looking for a different lifestyle. Others are just loners or isolationists and simply want to be by themselves. Others hide because of the Things in Bulk Space. The reasons to hide are almost as numerous as the Hiders themselves.

Some things that Hiders do, and don't do...

Hiders cut back as much as possible on any noticeable signature. They want to hide, not be detectable. This puts lots of limits on their technology. Heat is a problem, because the surroundings are at ~3° K. Not much room to bleed heat there. . .
Hiders don't want trails pointing to them. They might set up a ship in a loop which never quite gets to any of the hider habs, that sends off 'stealthed' projectiles in precise orbits to cover some of the remaining distance. These are analogous to the "dead drop" procedures in espionage. These stealthed drops are tied to a strict schedule- if missed then there will be no communication for that cycle.

Hiders will usually be somewhat paranoid. Many are also quite xenophobic, conservative and resistant to outside information. This is a variable factor which often depends on how badly they have been treated in the past as well as on the local polities' take on Hiders.

Hiders may try to hide in the middle of nowhere — or they may try hiding inside the system. Some areas, especially the more robust angelnetted zones, may be more resistant to such 'parasitic societies', but many may be leaving themselves somewhat open.

Note that the above are generalizations. Hiders being Hiders, one really cannot make definite statements about the whole of this sociophylum.

Image from bernd Helfert

  • Backgrounders  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    During the dark ages, between 500 and 700, several cyborg communities escaped into the oort cloud from the Technocalypse. Gradually they developed their own culture, the Backgrounder Culture.
  • Ban of Silence, The  - Text by John B
    This Hider clade has publicly announced its goal of preventing powerful signals from leaving the known galaxy, regardless of the cost, for fear of drawing attention of beings with technology beyond Terragen ken. They are adamant in their belief of the threat posed by such beings as the supposed Dawn Hunters and the Leviathan.
  • Bok Swarm  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Class of extremely large and wide ranging habitat swarm built within Bok globules
  • Bugs In The System  - Text by Todd Drashner
    One of a number of vec hider clades characterized by extremely small (insect size) bodies that live in the interstices of civilization.
  • Chillers  - Text by John B
    Chillers are a family of technologies used to reduce ship temperature (and, hence, IR radiation) to the background level.
  • Cloudharvesters  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Low-energy civilizations in interstellar gas clouds; the member of such a phyle or civilization.
  • Dawn Beacons  - Text by Dalex
    Transmitters designed to attract the attention of hypothetical dangerous xenosophonts such as the possibly mythical Dawn Hunters to some other location than that of a civilization that created the beacons.
  • Discwuzit  - Text by James Ramsey
    Term for a clade of peculiar hiders, believed to have evolved from neumanns or madverts of some kind, that make cynical and pessimistic comments on a wide range of topics, usually via the Ghost Net. They have considerable intelligence capabilities but often give people a 'sour grin' when an inadequate answer is provided to one of their persistent questions.
  • Discwuzit Deluge  - Text by James Ramsey
    A term for a self replicating swarm of Discwuzits usually associated with luddite clades and houses.
  • Discwuzitian Diaries  - Text by John B
    A record of some of the many millions of comments made by members of the Discwuzit Clade on the articles of the Encyclopaedia Galactica. The comments are often argumentative, humourous or paranoid, but always laced in the wry pessimism that is the clade's trademark.
  • Drift  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Type of Backgrounder habitat or worldship designed to slowly travel across interstellar space.
  • Ebony Xerocracy, The  - Text by Liam Jones
    Ex-hider polity with a long-lived high-tech society.
  • Feral - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    [1] A sapient being that seeks to live free of hyperturing supervision. As used by those who do not, this usually associated with romantic or shock-value associated memes of unpredictability, aggressiveness, lack of hygiene, baseline atavism, etcetera.
    [2] Generic term for modosophont rogues and malcontents, either dangerous or potentially so to other sapients. Some live a degraded existence in their biospheres and ships (not having the resources of the AIs, the adaptability of the tweaks, the ability of the cyborgs, or the comfort of the AI-devotee nearbaselines). Others, with access to ships, become pirates, black marketeers, and petty thugs.
  • Frosthive  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Class of Haloist habitat built to extend the useful volume of a comet or Kuiper belt body.
  • Greensong Accord, The  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    An agreement between many of the transapient powers to limit their interaction with Hider clades.
  • Haloers  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Inhabitants of the Kuiper and Oort regions of a solar system (also called K-Belters, Oort-Miners, Outerists, Haloisters, Halos).
  • Hider Symbiotes  - Text by Tony Jones
    A technique by certain Hider clades to allow them to remain on life-bearing worlds, sometimes even in the very heart of their sophont community, and yet also to remain undetected.
  • Hulkchasers  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A generic term for adventurers who seek out hulks not only for profit, but simply for the sheer joy of it.
  • Hulkriders  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Hulkriders are believed to be Hulkchasers that settled permanently in a space hulk, either through choice or through being subverted by the defense systems or the relics left behind by a transcend.
  • Hyxuym  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Deep-space planet with Hider colony
  • Iguanaphont  - Text by A Pork Chop
    Provolved humanoid iguanas
  • Leavers  - Text by Tony Jones
    Those groups who chose to leave Terragen space altogether and set off to unexplored parts of the Galaxy.
  • Marians, Clade Mary  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Widespread haloist civilization/clade.
  • Niaanyo  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Hider world in deep space, occupied by vecs, rat provolves, and other clades
  • Oort Cloud  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A spherical shell around most stars containing numerous small bodies consisting of ice and dust. A typical Oort cloud is about 0.5 to 1 light years from its primary and has an aggregate mass about that of Earth.
  • Serendib  - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg
    Legendary/mythical very advanced hider colony in the Inner Sphere.
  • Shadow Federation, The  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Informal grouping of Hider clades, popularly believed to be the closest organisation that the Hiders have to a superpolity.
  • Stevensonian Class Worlds  - Text by John M. Dollan and Steve Bowers
    Stevensonian type worlds, also known as Rogue planets or Planetary Mass Objects (PLANEMOS), are former planets that have left their solar system of origin and reside in interstellar space. They are more numerous than planets, but are difficult to find. These worlds are prized by Hiders and Backgrounders.
  • Went, The  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    A hider clade at the centre of a major diplomatic event between the Panvirtuality and the Version Tree.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev and John B

Initially published on 15 March 2001.

Additional Information