Cyberian Network

Image from Anders Sandberg

The Cyberian Network — Data Panel

DefinitionSecretive cyberspace empire
SymbolA mirror sphere with electronic digits
FoundedVaries according to the account; from 1400 - 3400 a.t.
Psyche, Art, CultureMetapsychology: Explorative of the phase space of mental, phenotypic and environmental form. Anti-solipsist, pro-interventionist.

Culture and Art: Anything digital, virtual, or simulated goes.

Language: A number of specific protocols are used.
Territory and PopulationCurrent Territory: A huge number of distributed virch universes along the main population centers of the Inner Sphere and more centralised outer volume regions. Two thirds of computronium used to run virches are leased as enclaves within other empires, includes everything from matrioshka subunits to time-shared biont brains.

Capital: None known

Other Important Systems: The so-called the Cyberia Sphere, a cluster of populous and highly automated planets and computronium megastructures and dyson nodes in the vicinity of Arcturus.

Current Population: 92 to 920 quintillion virtual modosophonts, of which 10-100 quintillion are members only of the Network and no other Sephirotic. Merging/forking and temporary use of group minds prevent an accurate census. About 2 trillion embodied at any one time.

Population Breakdown (est.): >99.9999% virtual, high majority AI/alife (uploads minority). Embodied Cyberians are mostly in the form of temporary bodies.
Government and AdministrationGovernment: Hierarchical aicracy under Maya known as the Mirror court. Local customs highly diverse.

Administrative Divisions: A large number of cybercosms and virch universes.

National Holidays: None (left to indigenous virtuals).

Constitution: None known.
Economics and InfrastructureCurrency: Partitioned computing power and processing sharing are generally used.

Major Industries: Computronium design and construction, virch templates, digital creations, sentient and subsentient codescripts, databases, information handling systems, software of any kind.

Major Stargate Nexi: A large number of standard wormhole links include dedicated high bandwidth cyberian channels.

Military Expenditures: percent of GDP: not applicable

Cyberian Network

Virtual sephirotic metaempire mostly distributed in computronium clusters throughout other empires. The internal life of Cyberia is a chaotic and dynamic interplay between the hierarchical administration of the higher toposophic Mirror Court, the frequent radical mental changes of cyberian individuals and the interacting social spheres (including governments) that they may be apart of.


There are several contested dates for the origin of the Cyberian network. The first is in the middle of the second millenium a.t. when several virtual societies at Arcturus experienced local ascensions to the second toposophic within a decade of each other. It is believed this was due to the nodes based around Arcturus transmitting a method of S2 ascension to the others, subsequently some level of cooperation occured but the extent of this is shrouded in mystery. The second period identified as the beginnings of the network occured as the Nexus began to be formed. Several systems with heavy virch populations benefited from comm-gates in close proximity that allowed their virtual worlds to be interlinked. It was in this period in the early third millennium that the term "Cyberia" was coined, though exactly what it was referring to differs between historic accounts. During this time it is believed that hyperturings of different political groupings worked to foster similar memebases in different virtual societies throughout the nexus, however no formal polity existed. The third and most definitive period was during the Integration when, seemingly in the span of ten years after the Concord Ontology, thousands of virch clusters across the inner sphere declared themselves as part of the Cyberian network (though many used alternate, local names which roughly translated to the Cyberian Dreamscape, the Cyberian Sphere or the Phantasmal Labyrinth). It is theorised that this sudden mass formation of the official polity occurred either due to the sophistication of the Concord Ontology in facilitating cooperation between disparate toposophic clades or because it would reveal the machinations of Cyberian transapients behind the scenes.

The news of this network was a shock and subject of supreme interest among the zars of the time, not least due to the fact two thirds of virches were technically enclaves, running on computronium ostensibly owned by other cultures. Archai spokesbeings calmed the mood mostly by saying very little, the show of nonchalance eased any panic and was ultimately proved appropriate as deployment of the Concord Ontology smoothed over any negotiations of ownership and regulations between the dual-affiliated virches. Seven years after the first cluster announced itself as part of the network a Metasoft avatar casually announced it was working closely with Maya, the secretive archai of Cyberia, to ensure good relationships with the version tree. The lack of any appearance of Maya herself and the hints that she adopted female gender earned her the nickname "Lady of Illusions" and "Yesod" by the neohermeticists.

Whilst exact knowledge of how Cyberia came to be was scarce; interviews with virch zars that joined showed that their cultures had seemingly independently converged until sporadically various groups simultaneously had the idea to formally merge into a polity known as Cyberia. Despite this, myths grew out of the rumours, speculations and rare facts on the issue. The most commonly believed origin story is that a series of distributed S2 entities in the inner sphere had attempted to memetically influence each other for unknown ends. Somehow the result was to bring all of them into such strong alignment of toposophy and philosophy that they formed a tribemind and ascended to S3, shortly rapidly followed by a jump to S4. The tribemind nature of the entities created a pseudo-modular archai, one which naturally budded off specialist S3 clusters which in turn could dissociate into lower groupings. Conversely these members could smoothly reintegrate again with little to no risk of subsumption or perversion. Whether or not this describes the true nature of Maya and her Mirror Court is unclear to this day, but godwatchers have tracked similar unorthodox organisations in higher toposophic entities and marked consistencies with the operations of Cyberia. However the secretive nature of the non-modosophont parts of the Cyberian network, along with a plethora of quotes from non-Cyberian transaps describing Maya as "impossible for modos to grasp for unique reasons" suggests there is much more to the story.

Image from Keith Wigdor and Bing Image Maker
Social organisation

The Empire as a whole is an Archailectocracy under the rule of Maya, the lady of illusions. However there have been very few accounts of her personally interacting with modosophonts, or even sub-archai beings (she is believed to be S5 with some speculating S6). Instead the large scale operation of the Cyberian Network operates via The Mirror Court; an ever shifting hierarchy of beings of different toposophies administering progressively smaller portions of the network depending on their toposophy. At its most basic administration consists of providing cyber-immunity and maintaining any physical infrastructure, (either directly or via negotiating with which ever polity or entity owns the processor). Most admins are more involved in their hosted virches and regulate not only the acceptable physics models of said environments but also the behaviours and memetics of any sophont within their virches. Higher toposophic beings of the Mirror Court control larger portions of the network, directly administering the environment and sophonts immediately below them. Modosophont virches are administered by S1s (though in some cases this can be indirect with an S1 administering a modo virch whose inhabitants, or at least some of them, are admins of other virches). The area of a network a particular entity administers is rarely geographically contiguous, or even in close proximity, but instead can stretch anywhere within acceptable latency within the Cyberian network.

Modosophont interactions with the Mirror Court beyond the running of their virches are slim to non-existent. It is widely believed that this is true of any toposophic level, with the S1s having little interaction with the S2s beyond having their behaviour and environments administered. This arms-length cross toposophic relationship is believed to continue up to Maya herself. Occasionally modosophonts have appeared to be brought into collaboration with higher members of the court for specific projects, but verifiable memories of this are difficult to come across. The nature of the network suggests that if interactions between toposophic levels progress beyond administration the sophonts in question merge, becoming transavant. Potentially this can lead to a line of merged sophonts up to Maya. This popular theory accounts for the lack of modosophonts who remember working directly with higher members, along with the observation that ascension in the Network is most often the product of merging with a higher being rather than an individual ascension.

More impactful on modosophont everyday life and culture than the parameters of acceptable behaviour set by the Mirror Court admins is a secondary network of voluntary social institutions known as The Spheres. Cyberian spheres are groups of sophonts united in the pursuit of a single goal or purpose. There are billions of spheres of all different types; big, small, public, secret, powerful, insignificant, permanent, temporal, generalist, specific, autocratic, egalitarian, in addition to spheres with many different purposes: politics, hobbies, kin groups, friend groups, education, faith, entertainment etc. A common cyberian citizen can be a member of hundreds of different spheres. Membership frequently requires the use of psychoware and other modifications to be best suited to the theme and requirements of the group. Spheres may have their own exclusive virches (where they can act as local governments) and/or share restricted virtual worlds with others, but generally most Cyberian virches are open to members of all spheres.

Some spheres have higher requisites than others to join and may not allow new members if they are members of other specific spheres, or conversely only members who are already part of certain spheres. The combination of Mirror Court administrators, the option of sphere secrecy and the possibility that the leader(s) of one sphere may be under the control of leader(s) of another sphere make Cyberian life an incredibly complex and mysterious web of associations. This has led to many conspiracies and rumours regarding Cyberian culture, both within and without. The following is a short list of notable spheres, some of which are secretive or even unconfirmed but widely believed to exist.

Paradisvirchism: A faith-sphere that preaches the idea that in every virch, every illusionary schema, every sphere and every intersection of all it is possible to find "paradise", that is to say there is a state of being that perfectly encapsulates that condition. Members of this sphere believe that finding this unique paradise grants a special insight, such as the paradise to be found in an engineering sphere when the optimal design for a tool is found. Members of this sphere believe that by finding the paradise in many different aspects of life they will ultimately find the true paradise; a state of being that will allow them to ascend and be one with Maya herself.

Blightwatch: As the name implies this special-interest-sphere combs the Cybercosm for data on potential ascension events throughout the terragen sphere and attempts to predict where blights may occur. The sphere has had some marginal successes over the years, predicting blights that either later occured or were prevented due to timely messages from the sphere. None of these ascensions were within or near the major empires suggesting to many that the events Blightwatch predicted only occured because they were of no interest to prevent by the Archai (a rare few believe that the Archai may even have lacked the capacity to stop them due to statistical flukes in contingency plans). Many in the Blightwatch sphere believe that they are in fact under the covert influence of higher powers in the Mirror Court and beyond and have an almost religious dedication to their hobby.

Satyri: Regarded as some to be a highly intellectual sphere and by others to be a sheer nuisance the satyri are a secret sphere that pull off elaborate and often insulting public performances as a form of criticism. This can be as minor as reprogramming the smart matter in a public area to display caricature statues of sophonts in the area deemed "too serious" or as impressive as running a highly successful NoCoZo corporation only to spend all the profits constructing a megascale, nearly fully transparent diamondoid hand being inserted into an orbital swarm in the configuration of an anus. Groups like the Satyri fuel the distrust and hostility against cyberians in many cultures.

Cyberian Affiliation and residence

Formal citizenship does not exist within the cyberian network, thus association is very fluid. A virch wishing to join the network, regardless of where it is hosted, must simply announce its desire to be administered by the Mirror Court. If any Cyberian transap accepts then they will simply co-opt the operating system of the virch and incorporate it into themselves. This is an unpredictable process, both in whether or not it will happen and the extent to which anything else will change. In some cases there will be no detectable difference other than a single comment added to the virch code defining the primary admin as "Cyberia", in others the new admin will be very vocal as to its identity and set up all manner of internal changes. Rarely however have there been cases where a higher toposophic entity posing as a member of the Mirror Court has taken over a lower toposophic level virch, this is ascribed to the fear of Maya's retaliation which in one purported case led to such an entity in the periphery being handed over to the Queen of Pain.

Personal affiliation with the network is mostly determined by residence or sphere membership. The longer one has spent within a cyberian virch and the greater the number of sphere memberships the more strong one's claim to being Cyberian. The vast majority of Cyberians also claim affiliation with other minor polities and even Sephirotics. The only overt indication that one is a Cyberian (even to a resident of a Cyberian virch) is the extent to which their behaviour is regulated, and they are protected by, a sphere and/or admin of the Mirror Court. Both regulation and protection have in many cases extended beyond cyberian territory.

Given these fluid and far reaching relationships Cyberia has often found itself at odds with other empires and minor polities that do not want to share power with a local branch of the Mirror Court. Within the Solar Dominion and Negentropy alliance especially Cyberian affiliation is difficult to gain and their enclaves are more strictly controlled, conversely the NoCoZo and TRHN are constantly host to a plethora of Cyberian virches and sophonts.

Common Aspects of Cyberian Culture

As with any metacivilisation there are millions of local variations in culture. The following is a list of general trends that, if not followed by an enclave or individual sophont, is likely to result in loss of Mirror Court administration.

Love of the virtual world: Cyberian population resides almost entirely within the Cybercosm of the Known Net. They see the Cybercosm as the most vivid and dynamic reality and the rare times Cyberians are embodied in the Ril they return once their task there is complete. The vast majority of Cyberians were born as virtual beings, either as alife, AI or progeny of uploads. The number of distinct clades is estimated to be in the hundreds of billions.

Rejection of Solipsism and pro-Ril relations: The most common way for a virch to lose Cyberian affiliation is to succumb to solipsist ideology. Retreating into more isolated virches either as groups or individuals where reality is structured to personal tastes and contact with the outside limited is not common in Cyberia, at least on a permanent basis. Cyberian citizens are expected to remain not only social through membership of many different spheres but also to travel and interact with other virches and the Ril. This cultural trait has led to a reputation of interference from some Ril cultures as at any one time there are countless Cyberian virches dedicated to sifting through data on the Ril, travelling through their physical networks and intervening in ways large and small. Given the average timerate in Cyberia is orders of magnitude above the Ril for Cyberians this experience is often like exploring a frozen world as they hop from sensor to sensor in physical angelnets. Some ril cultures see Cyberians as fae-like creatures and possess myths of lightning fast beings zipping through their world; observing, advising and sometimes adjusting as they go. Exactly how Cyberians intervene with the Ril is as varied as any social interaction but can include anything from helpful appearance of answers to problems to inexplicable and annoying reprogramming of public smart matter infrastructure.

Psychological and physical lability: Cyberian societies favor the advantages of digital life such as easy self editing and fast running clock speeds. For cyberian societies there is little desire to remain in one physical ruleset, to maintain a consistent form or to keep a consistent psychology. Shifting clades, virches with different physical laws (including spatial dimensions) and mental faculties is part of every-cycle life. Whilst Cyberians can be recognised by encryption authentication systems and public metadata this shifts so regularly that the more extreme labile zars can be considered to be in a constant state of rebirth and death. Given the average clockspeed from a Ril perspective few Cyberian sophonts meaningfully last more than a few decades before they can be said to be nothing like who they used to be (some change so fast as to drift between multiple people mid-conversation). This culture seems to extend to the Mirror court too, though with increasing stability at higher toposophic levels (possibly to prevent perversion). It is not uncommon for the S1-S3 administrators of cyberian virches/clusters to radically shift in personality, identity and governing style over the centuries.

Perspective and illusions: In addition to altering their mind, forms (if applicable) and virtual worlds, Cyberian culture is often marked by the practice of altering one's perception of reality. Within the same environments two members of the same virtual clade are still likely to perceive things differently; whether that be as simple as swapping the sensations of sight and sound or as complex as a complete reimagining of the nature of all objects. Virch rules ensure that regardless of how one has engineered one's perception the interactions between objects are consistent to ensure that all can have a consensus understanding of events, regardless of how they look. For example: one sophont may perceive a greeting as a firm gripping of mandibles, another as the exchange of genetic strings via macropili, another as a topological transformation on the surface of an infinite plane etc. So long as the meaning for each is consistent there is no issue. Cyberians will often swap perceptive schema, also called "personal illusions", with popular schema occasionally spreading like wildfire through their spheres and the network due to their unique aesthetic nature or utility.

  • Arcturus Institute of Alternate History  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    The Arcturus Institute is a Cyberian organization, so named because it was founded by a society of uploads who were living in a set of cybercosms around Arcturus. It specializes in speculation on possible branching in early Terragen history. Some members engage in simulations, up to and including entire virch or embodied societiums of sapient beings.
  • Comparative Chronology  - Text by ProxCenBound
    Comparative chronology is the science of studying alternate possibilities and timelines, by means of large-scale simulations.
  • Cronosians, The  - Text by Espen Antonsen
    Distributed polity consisting of generation ships, effectively interstellar mobile fractal habitats
  • Crypto Anarchy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from Anders Sandberg's Transhuman Terminology
    The economic and political system based on libertarianism, encryption, untraceable net-mail, digital pseudonyms, cryptographic voting, and digital cash. Very popular among Cyberians.
  • Gurth Hexanode Repository, The  - Text by Thorbørn Steen
    Vast databank on the border between MPA and Negentropy space occupying six Dyson swarms
  • Maya (The Lady of Illusions)  - Text by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
    The ruling archailect of the Cyberian Network.
  • Mithras (Fata Morgana)  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Steve Bowers
    Iota Ursa Majoris V. It was an important Solar Dominion system, but was subverted by the Cyberians during the Version War. Some outsiders refer to it as the Planet of the Unreal.
  • Orinoco (Lambda Serpentis)  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Lambda Serpentis. Unsuccessfully terraformed world, now Cyberia Sphere.
  • Orintergen  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Cyberia infiltrator AI clan b. ?~5000.
  • Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris)  - Text by Mark Ryherd
    F star system 11.4 LY from Sol; part of the Diamond Belt.
  • Rengood  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Cyberian World in Aquila - attacked in the early stages of the Version War
  • Sepulchre Variations, The  - Text by Liam Jones
    One of the oldest collections of virchworlds, consisting of a vast array of grotesque and eerie iconography adapted to hundreds of different clades.
  • Version War  - Text by Anders Sandberg, M. Alan Kazlev, Peter Kisner, Aaron Hamilton
    A major Inner Sphere war of the Fifth Millennium.
  • Virtual Cats  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Digital subversion organization loosely aligned with Cyberia. It emerged in the 9200's from unknown origins, announcing itself as a digital company of sociocultural mercenaries. The Cats specialize in information warfare, sophisticated political and economic subversion, memetic warfare, and whole-system perversion.
  • Virtual Gibson - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Minor post-ComEmp Cyberian fastime clade found throughout the Known Net. Achieved brief fame when they established a trade pact with The Orthodox Diamond Light in 6932. They had a complex cybertheology, which involves the "giving of data" by virchdeities. It was claimed that some of their members are original infomorphs (or copies thereof) of the some of the original Interplanetary Age gibson sect, but this has never been reliably confirmed. Nothing has been heard of them since the "Case Manifesto" of 7612.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
alphaomega325, Avengium and Ryan B - updated and rewritten in 2018
Initially published on 03 July 2000.

Data panel added November 2011
Additional Information