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New to Orion's Arm + questions :)
(08-27-2018, 08:42 PM)aeolianalien Wrote: Hi guys, nice to meet you.

Hi - Welcome to the forums! Smile

(08-27-2018, 08:42 PM)aeolianalien Wrote: I recently discovered Orion's Arm through coming across the "Yes, Jolonah there is a Hell" story by Darren Ryding. I came across it on a forum thread about the worst fates ever suffered by sentient beings in fiction. I was amazed by the story and went onto read the other stories about the Queen too which are also great.

Darren is definitely one of our strongest authors, although the Queen of Pain stories can be a rather disturbing intro to the setting for some people. I'd also recommend his story Under the Looking Glass - which is a little bit dated/out of step with our current Canon on some minor points (OA is constantly evolving), but is also very well done and does a great job of introducing more cool concepts that exist in the OA setting. Darren's not very active with the project atm, but we always enjoy it when he drops by.

(08-27-2018, 08:42 PM)aeolianalien Wrote: I have been looking through the Encylopedia Galactica and have been stunned by how in depth the universe really is. I have particularly enjoyed reading about the Great Expulsion and some of my favourite subjects have been the Virtual Havens and the Utopia Worlds, which I suppose could represent the opposite of the Queen of Pain. It is interesting that whereas on one hand there exist in the universe those who suffer on such an extreme level, there are also those who experience constant euphoria. 

One of the principles we've long built OA on might be summed up as 'We don't seek to create Utopia here.' - meaning that we don't aim to depict a future that is either purely wonderful or purely awful. The real world doesn't work that way and we don't want OA to work that way either. So although the myriad people of Terragen civilization have solved pretty much all the problems that plague our world today (indeed, they would consider most of our problems to be trivial) - there is still struggle, and striving and both wonderful and horrible things are going on every minute of every day, often on scale that dwarfs anything ever seen in real life (or RL as we often shorthand it).

I have a couple of questions:

1) Could you explain how it is possible that the Queen of Pain can alter the bodies of her victims and also make them immortal? In the story she is described as not being a simulation (being a biological entity that started life as a cat) her victims are also described as being enlarged to massive proportions or being turned inside out, or  having new eyes and mouths grown on them. I think there is some sort of mention of "hypersentient utility fog" which I understand to be trillions of tiny nanobots. I can understand how they could alter surroundings but not how they could physically alter a being's body or render them immune to senescence?[/quote]

We have various members with backgrounds in bioscience or medicine who will likely jump in here with more extensive answers, but at the most basic level:

We don't know for sure (as in we couldn't give you a detailed paper on how to do what the Queen does), but we can plausibly extrapolate from RL things and then speculate a bit beyond that. To present my brief take on it:

In RL there are currently various research projects in the areas of both regenerating/regrowing skin and limbs and also in 'tissue printing' where the basic technology of a dot matrix printer has been adapted to 'print' living tissue with the goal of again producing skin (think grafts for burn victims) and eventually organs (think of a future in which people didn't have to be put on a waiting list for a replacement organ that they hope will prove compatible, but could just have one printed up from their own cells in a few days or a weeks or the like). And of course there is the field of genetic engineering, which hasn't actually been around that long, but is already starting to have an impact on the way we produce food, or treat disease or the like. There are also the RL fields of nanotechnology (seeking to create devices that are very small indeed) and synthetic biology - seeking to modify or create simple lifeforms (think viruses or bacteria) that have never existed before and that could do things for us far from what natural lifeforms have ever evolved to do.

Now project all those developments forward some thousands of years. Not just years or decades of advancement, but 3000-5000 years or more.

We might speculate that the Queen (who is a super intelligence billions of times more powerful than human intelligence) has designed her body via biotech to be able to do things like grow a 'womb' for one of her victims that can essentially operate in reverse - breaking a body down cell by cell, while keeping it alive the whole time. Then it starts building it back up again cell by cell (with the cells created first by the body of the Queen and later by the victims body after the Queen modifies their DNA) into something that we would consider monstrous. Extra limbs and organs might be 'tissue printed' by the Queen's internal processes and grafted on or, more likely given the biological nature of the Queen, might be induced to grow right from the victim's body. Think of something link a cancerous tumor (and how fast cancer can grow when it really gets going) that instead of just being a mass of tissue, actually grows into whatever the Queen wants because She is either actively controlling the process via the product of complex hormones and such the same way a mother's womb controls the process of growing a baby (but consciously controlled by the Queen) or because she can directly alter the DNA of her victims to do it for her at will.

This sort of understanding and tech is also available to less advanced minds in the setting, and (as you've probably seen) genetic engineering is very common - so modifying the DNA of a person (including the Queen's victims) to 'reset' all the time and become immortal (or at least very long lived) is a common thing. The Queen's stated claim/goal of keeping this up or surviving literally forever may (or may not) be hyperbole.

(08-27-2018, 08:42 PM)aeolianalien Wrote: 2) Could you point me to some of the other most fantastical points of the OA universe?


Well, for my part, I might suggest:

In the area of bioscience and genetic engineering and such:

The Harren

Vacuum Adapted Humans (Specifically, the various races and clades linked to in the Related Articles section).

Orwoods/Dyson Trees

In the area of really big habitats:

The Ocean of Ys



In the area of Infrastructure:

The Wormhole Nexus

The Beamrider Network

The Lightways

In the area of Daily Life:


Direct Neural Interface

Personal Medical Systems and their Capabilities

Out of time, but hope this helps. I'm sure others will be weighing in with their thoughts as well.

Once again - Welcome to OA!


Messages In This Thread
RE: New to Orion's Arm + questions :) - by Drashner1 - 08-27-2018, 11:04 PM
RE: New to Orion's Arm + questions :) - by Rynn - 09-03-2018, 08:10 PM

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