Traveller's Notes: Moltenceti
Image from Arik
>>message date 8648 AT forth rotation, Mehr—Bahman
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Excerpt from "The Clouds of MoltenCeti" by MoltenBlue, chapter 1

"Come, Child. We are old here in the old drum of MoltenCeti. Old like the seasons. Though I made them and make them again each time. You are a small creature of flesh and you cannot live in this heat. Not without my help. You are the protagonist of your story and we must take care of the story so that it will survive. You would like to look at the habitats we've grown here? Excellent. I ask only a simple favor. Do you want to grow this story? Expand it and invite your new friend into it. This is how our story will survive..."

===Day 1===

Sylvian! Finally! I'm on MoltenCeti! I've been waiting on the list for fifteen years for this! Spent plenty of time doing other activities, of course...traveling and whatnot, but I'd been really into the MoltenCeti biome stories for so long, having a chance like this felt like I'd died without backup and gone to heaven! I'd played so many virtual games over the years, joined in on the crystal group meditations and virtual tour sessions... my last few partners were pretty focused but still thought it was a bit annoying how involved I got in the Moltenceti fandom- you did too, I recall :) - but I feel like my life opened up again since Cephas left.. anyway..
The MoltenCeti Habitats are an old habitat swarm here and I feel it everywhere I go. I took a shuttle from Promethius, via Atlantis, to where the Habitats orbit further sunward. We beam-rode over to the FatJewel, the large mckendree cylinder orbiting with a few others a bit further out from Icarus's orbit and the power sats. The FatJewel cathedral is huge- it's massive mechanosystem terrarium of specially created hothouse neogen biomes , free of any predation by design. It's a crystal heaven here. So perfectly balanced.. I wonder if I'll see any of the characters in real life? 4catepillar, or the Amethyst Crab Crowd, or the Egg Fleet... who knows?

The official, and unofficial fan builds of recreations in virch don't quite do it justice, of course, but the tour guides said there's nothing like really being able to study the transap-run experimental ecosystems quite like this. They're right..I've never really appreciated how well the caretaker here, MoltenBlue, has built up all the stories and characters based on the local animals to really show us how beautiful the MoltenCeti ecology really is! Reading those stories for years and playing the ecology-filling games really built our devotion to them... they've been maintaining this ecology so well because we're all donating public resources to the cause for centuries. Molten Blue the caretaker makes some pretty compelling arguments and games. You just can't help yourself, to follow their arguments, right?
I've heard stories about some place called the surreal Rush like a thousand light years away but it's not... MoltenCeti...There's probably three hundred or more distinct biomes in this habitat cloud- neogen creatures that couldn't exist on a real planet because even in the wild wild universe we live in, environments like this couldn't naturally exist apparently. Gossamer creatures and egg swarms and all the others! There's no other faith or fandom like it, Sylvian!
(I mean, there probably is, I'm just really into this one)

===>>day 5===

The beginning of the convention today was so incredible! Only about two thousand embodied people were allowed to attend the ceremony- all the ones on the guest list. We'll be able to talk afterward about what we saw- most of it anyway. Obviously MoltenBlue's booth was the most crowded but i managed to get in early and get some actual signed 4caterpillar exoskeleton pieces. Maybe i'll see one of its live bodies in the next few weeks too! Some fan artists a few booths up were making little statues that you could pose with one of MoltenBlue's avatars, so i did that. We can re-fab that later when i get back! Anyway, tomorrow i'm really looking forward to going into the real ecosystem!

===>>Day 8===

After we left the first day of the convention, We had to back ourselves up, fork our minds and copy into the bodysuits we'd be using for a month. We'd all been in line for for decades to come see it in person. A few virtuals shared a vec body recreation cosplay of 4caterpillar from the game series to be embodied like the rest of us. I was talking with this one person who'd been a Hwii dolphin most of her life and even after thirty years in a group mind with a few Hwii vecs she said this was unlike anything she'd experienced, and she'd been on the invite list for over ten years!
She was really into the Egg Fleet stories too and last evening we started writing a pretty good eco-fictional narrative story while we were there in Amathyst (this year's dialect of the MoltenCeti crystal crab fandom, if I hadn't mentioned before. The sentence structure's nonlinear and the way you're supposed to use adjectives is pretty interesting! I'll send you the dictionary and the language lessons so we can geek out together later!

The whole group stuck around a whole session today listening to the local laws and customs, told in an old style lecture with a puzzle at the end. Just so we know where not to go while we're in MoltenCeti habitat swarm. We know there's a few habs further in system run by the United Atlantean Solar Authority but they've kept classified. What's going on in there, I wonder?
The whole fandom's been speculating and there's some crazy group at the convention who say they're preparing a whole new plot line for the crystal crab population in the 4rth quadrant involving some redemption arc where their parasites become symbiotic or something, which is crazy. Not nearly dramatic enough for the 100th season finale. The tour guide said those habitats house the defenses for the caretaker god or something. Actual serious stuff. I wonder what it's all really for? Some of the folks on the tour ignored all that and said it was some collaboration with Solipsistic Diamond AIs. Weirdos. They're earth-origin-denialists anyways. I heard them arguing. Couldn't separate fandom from reality I guess.

>>===Day 12===
Excerpt from "The Clouds of MoltenCeti" by MoltenBlue, chapter 7

"This is not a home for you if you were born into flesh. This is MoltenCeti. Beautiful, Inhuman. Indolphin. Unbiological. Many of you will visit and none of you will stay here without changes. Our mouths will eat you. Our winds will bowl you over. Our air will burn you and crush you to the crystal ground. This hasn't stopped the other ones before you though. Will you still choose us? Join our kingdom? You will. We are a higher life. Resilient, virile, and far less yielding to the harshness of the universe."

Towards the end of the month, they'll show us the hot crystal- mechanosystem based ecosystems in one of the high gravity habitats. That one's really wild. Apparently the caretaker managed to create an ecosystem that produced creatures which use some form of "natural" holography in their mating displays and every year in the spring the display's supposed to be incredible. Some kind of rainbow glitter hills in the mist or something... The ads I think they're sending you might be a bit melodramatic, but I hope they're fun. They're running a ecological history campaign this time.
Where did all of this bot ecosystem come from originally? I know transapients apparently understand how to make ecosystems from scratch but this is really on another level.

For now we'll stick to camping in the forest section. Sleeping is weird in this body.

Day 13

I've kept up the collaboration with 6Coral, the Hwii writer mentioned earlier. We're getting along splendidly and she even told me about her life in the group mind. A bit cultlike, apparently. She's probably going back to being embodied in a completely hylonano vec Hwii body when we leave here. I seem to remember the transition back into flesh like that can be especially dreamlike for a while. I'll remember the roaring of the hot wind here, standing over the moors of the Egg Fleet when I leave and I'll remember the way my sonar could see inside their shells. I'll probably want to go to our local MoltenCeti terrarium & emporium more frequently when I come back.
But back to the travels...

We went to the old city section of the FatJewel cathedral today- the only area with actual buildings set above the shell of the station around here. It's built around the hub of the south end so the spin gravity was much lower. That's why such a delicate stained glass cathedral has survived for so long- almost a thousand years from when they first added it to the habitats! (Ok there's been some maintenance and repairs, in that time... but still..) 6Coral and I meditated for a few hours on the main floor and put in a good word for you with the cathedral's avatar. Neither of us are too spiritually inclined but we did talk to a few folks who actually use the multi-faith space properly. I'm sure Old Yultuzay will think it very amusing and gratifying when I tell them about how, even here in the boiling heat of a crystalline mechanosystem zoo's old temple, I'd meet a human in a temporary vec body putting down a prayer rug to thank Allah for the beauty of terregen artifice with nature.

Day 18
Excerpt from "On the lives of the blue Fox butterflies" by Moltenblue chapter 4

You are the protagonist of your story. You must take care of the story so that it will survive. Do you want to grow this story? Expand it and invite your new Friend into it. This is how our story will survive...
Come old butterfly, do you see the blue fox caterpillar shuffling before you? Look at the little pointed ears glittering in the light of your headlamp! Look into the fat mirrored eyes and touch its twelve blue paws, and we will ask it to tell us two stories. One is the story of growing up in the forest with the rest of its den, eating the shelled nuts that grow on the bushes, growing old, meeting another one, who we will call Two, and building up a glittering little home as a mating display. In this story you the fox caterpillar succeed, and your line continues.
You will tell me another story then, in which the two do not meet and instead choose different partners. In this story the two do not choose one another, since you have selected for brighter fur and a smaller build. These two are the smallest in the family, and within a few hundred generations, they would be light enough to climb the trees to get the fruits higher up.
Will you begin this game?"

I saw a blue fox caterpillar today! I don't know if it was one of the named blue fox caterpillar Two or Azule from the documentary, but from the tail markings it might have been. We got a sample to analyze later to identify it anyways. If it's a new one I'm naming it Vandermeer. Very weird, but cute.
Anyway, we're off to the hot springs later.

===Day 21===

I finally found out where the bot ecosystem came from! They've been keeping it under wraps for quite a while but this year they finally decided to declassify the story! you'll have to sit down for this one..
The original ecosystem was taken from samples off Tjetvir! Apparently the whole set of habitats were built around samples given in some early trade deal with the Diamond network caretaker in the neighboring Zeta II system. Wild stuff. I wonder if the whole point of keeping the ecosystem around was actually some kind of immunization experiment/ countermeasure research into the diamond network's offensive systems?! or is this all just a plot in the MoltenCeti stories? I mean, it checks out from what i've read and there's been a few fan-theories about stuff like that for decades...

===Day 24===

Wow I still can't get over that reveal. I think it was a reveal? Maybe it'll mean something else.. I'm sure my avatar who's telling you all this will talk about it more before i get back..
It's our last day here in the MoltenCeti habitat and we all said our goodbyes to one another. I think my exoself is now some kind of friends with almost three quarters of the tour group. But that's what happens on an exclusive trip like this. Everyone bonds one way or another. It helps if you make yourself incredibly extroverted during the final festival week with a little settings change in my DNI but I'm sure I could have worked my way up to it naturally too, albeit at a slower pace. Anyway...
We looked out one last time over the curve of the landscape and watched the plains glitter. The habitats haven't changed all that much since the cylinder was built, but I could see the river banks off in the distance flowing out into a delta where the Crystal Crab Crew used to live for a while, according to cannon. Maybe the real ones really lived there ten years ago and maybe they didn't. It wouldn't matter if half the stories were fabricated on some level, because technically, the whole MoltenCeti habitat is. But it's here and beautiful and complicated down to the cellular automata that make up this place. I wouldn't trade it for anything else.
They'll keep acting out adventures and ecologies here anyway .
I'm looking outward one last time, and a few kilometers to the east is the canyon the story writers used as inspiration for "The Caterpillar King" which I know you'll have seen both animated and with embodied actors by the time I get back. Whatever. 'Real' or not, We'll marathon it together.

See you soon, your friend
A. Moebius

For more Information about the rest of the Zeta 1 system

Zeta 1 Reticuli

by Arik (2020)

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