Trope-a-Day: Endless Daylight

Endless Daylight: A property of more than a few worlds in the Empire. Some, like Eurymir, because they’re tide-locked, and the noon pole always points at the sun. A similar situation applies to the hexterranes of Coricál Ailék, which are oriented such that “up” is always sunward, and the danglehabs of Esilmúr, in which down is always sunward.

In other cases, it’s because the world inhabits a binary system. Eliéra, for example, has this periodically – in a manner of speaking – because for half the year, the summer, it is located between the two suns, and as such each side of the world receives some insolation. (Although, obviously, not identical – it still has a day-night cycle; it’s just that it alternates between full daylight and a red-tinged twilight that’s bright enough to read by, somewhat more so than a full moon.)

Trope-a-Day: Dyson Sphere

Dyson Sphere: The Empire has two, although neither by that name, the concept *there* having been devised by Cirys Minaxianos. One, a Cirys bubble, is at Esilmúr (Imperial Core); a thin layer of light-sail material surrounds the star, held up by photon and solar wind pressure in much the same manner as a statite, and managed by magnetic manipulation and selective releases of solar wind. The material, in turn, is coated with energy-producing solar foil, powering massive arrays of antimatter production facilities.

The other, a three-layered incomplete Cirys swarm is at Corícal Ailék, where the Transcend keeps its brain: the innermost being golden-winged energy-collection complexes skimming the corona of the star and powering the rest of the swarm, the middle layer being fractal chandeliers of organic crystal nanocircuitry, providing the Transcend with its massive processing power, and the outermost being the hexterranes, a lattice of hexagonal habitat-plates providing living space here at the heart of the light.

The Fire at the Heart

Corícal Ailek.  It’s not the oldest star system in the Transcend, nor the most central – two gates from Eliéra via Palaxias, one gate from Cinté, and one gate from Tessil – but it may well be the most important; the seething brain of the transcendent overmind itself.

Corícal had five planets once, according to galactographic records, but only the oldest, the indigo-green hydrogen-methane ice giant Saviáná at the far fringes of the system remains, its moons hosting refueling stations (some dating back to the system’s days as a stopover on the Cinté-Tessil route), reception habs for visitors, and the system defense force.  The four small rocky planets that once orbited closer in to the primary have long since been dismantled, torn apart for construction materials along with the majority of the system’s asteroids.

After all, it takes a lot of material to build a Dyson swarm.  Or even a partial Dyson swarm; the Transcend is yet young, and evidently feels no need to expand Corícal any faster than its processing needs grow, and so the three layers of the Corícal swarm still only fill a fraction of the circumstellar sphere.

The most complete of the three layers is the innermost, orbiting so close to the Corícal sun as to skim its corona.  Golden-winged polyhedra soak up light and particles alike, beaming power and fuel to the complexes and terranes further out, and soothing the temperamental star’s emissions.

Further out, AI-hosting complexes, immense fractal chandeliers of organic crystal, orbit; photonic computronium glimmering with information light, communication lasers flashing between them and binding the Transcend’s core mind – for though it is scattered across processors throughout the Imperial worlds, this is the center to which they all answer – into one single whole.

And outermost, within the life zone of the star, orbit the hexterranes; open-topped hexagonal habitat-plates, walled to hold atmosphere, organized into a great free-floating lattice that will one day surround it, with scattered wells to vent the heat from the inner layers.  Under the yellow-white light of Corícal, scattered across rainbow skies by the crystal computers of the middle sphere, the hexterranes play host to dozens of environments – oxygen, halogen, ammonia, methane, hydrogen, sulfide – each with its own paradisiacal ecology perfected for the comfort of the sophonts who inhabit it, or who come to visit the cathedrals, loreworks, contemplationaries, and estates of these cities on the edge of the heart of the light.

– Leyness’s Worlds: Guide to the Core Worlds

Trope-a-Day: Big Dumb Object

Big Dumb Object: Oh, plenty.  Leaving aside those belonging to elder races – and thus little known due to the ability to enforce the Do Not Taunt rule – the Empire has a partially completed Dyson Sphere in the works at Corícal Ailek (it’s where the Transcend keeps its brain; and it’s the swarm kind, not the shell kind) and another at Esilmúr (a primary antimatter production facility; the solar-wind-inflated-bubble kind), and the Photonic Network has at least one under construction somewhere in its interior.  Then there are assorted Stellar Husbandry Arrays floating over Imperial stars and keeping them running nice and smoothly and for rather longer, in theory, than they otherwise would.

Some spacedocks/construction slips probably qualify in the minor leagues due to the sheer size of a fleet carrier/grapeship megafreighter, as does the Conclave Drift drift-habitat that houses the Conclave of Galactic Polities, and I suspect that the manufacturer would strongly contend that the Ring Dynamics, ICC Interstellar Stargate (Mark III), a.k.a. the big framework/space station/support machine that wormhole ends get wrapped in, absolutely counts for these purposes.

And there’s more…