The Worlds Revealed

In partial apology for the lack of artwork thus far, I bring you a map of the Associated Worlds, constellation by constellation!

[The Associated Worlds]

(Click through for the full version. Caution: it’s a big image, 3049 x 3030.)

Key-wise, gold constellations represent the Imperial Core and Fringe, blue the mainstream Associated Worlds, purple the Expansion Regions, and green the Periphery. Red constellations represent the off-the-edge-of-the-map places, namely the Leviathan Consciousness and the connected constellations of the Voniensa Republic. Thin lines are interconstellation stargate connections; thick lines are special high-capacity arterials.

The major connected sets of those are the Worlds’ major trade routes: in green, the Lethíäza Trade Spine; in red, the Mercantile Corridor; and a rough circle in black at the edge of the major Worlds, except where it shares a link with the Spine between “58” and the Azure Fade, the Circumferential, or Golden Band.

I’ve annotated the approximate locations of the major powers, and also (in small text) of a few minor powers that have been mentioned and about which there might be curiosity.

(Oh, and when it comes to those constellations currently numbered – the aforementioned “58”, “E76”, and “P13”, et. al.? Apart from a couple of potential spoilers, that’s my innovation space/creative breathing room. Pay no attention to the Doylist explanation behind the curtain.)

 

Lumenna-Súnáris System (9): Inlétanós

I/8. Inlétanós

Class: Melíeréan
Orbit (period): 14.48 au (20,126 T-days/55.14 T-years)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.2
Radius: 47,449 miles
Mass: 2.968 x 1027 kg
Density: 1.59 g/cm3
Cloud-top gravity: 6.69 g

Axial tilt: 16.4°
Rotation period: 11.8 T-hours

Black-body temperature: 69 K

Satellites: 12 close moonlets, spectacular ring. 1 major moon. 5 eccentric moons.

A streaky sphere of pale yellow swirled with green, Inlétanós is the outer system’s kinder, gentler gas giant, best known for its truly spectacular ring system visible from anywhere in the system.

It is a relatively quiet backwater in the future, albeit occasionally used for gravity assist – its lack of major moons didn’t encourage much development here, and being both more distant and having a higher gravity did not encourage more than perfunctory gas mining. Ice mining, on the other hand, was briefly a local industry before the Outer Planets Aesthetic Collective bought the property rights to the ring and stopped it.

Its major population in the future is spread across habitats typically built into its shepherd moons and many other moonlets, both residential and tourist. It does, after all, have some of the most spectacular views in the System.

I/8/a. Lórachan

Class: Thiorastan
Orbit (period): 567,844 miles (1.603 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.01
Radius: 491.8 miles
Mass: 5.61 x 1021 kg
Density: 2.76 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.062 g

Axial tilt: 4.8°
Rotation period: 1.603 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 69 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 53 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0% (except short-lived sulphur pools)

Lórachan is another Io-like moon; not as radiation-thrashed and flux-tube-equipped as Kerasta, both due to its wider orbit and to the relatively benign magnetosphere of Inlétanós vis-a-vis Melíeré, but the tidal effects are still great enough to produce all the sulphur geysers and magmatic outpourings that one could wish for, if not quite as violent as its inner cousin.

Without a powerful flux tube to draw upon, Lórachan has not attracted the same power generation-seekers that Kerasta had, and settlers in the Inlétanós sub-system have generally chosen the more benign environment of the moonlets; minor resource harvesting bases and scientific research are about all that Lórachan has attracted.

 

Lumenna-Súnáris System (8): Melíeré

I/7. Melíeré

Class: Melíeréan
Orbit (period): 7.24 au (7,116 T-days/19.5 T-years)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.12
Radius: 38,372 miles
Mass: 9.81 x 1027 kg
Density: 3.08 g/cm3
Cloud-top gravity: 5.43 g

Axial tilt: 22°
Rotation period: 14.0 T-hours

Black-body temperature: 98 K

Satellites: 9 close moonlets, ring. 3 major moons. 2 eccentric moons.

Melíeré is exactly what it looks like: like its closest counterpart, Jupiter, it’s a hydrogen-helium mesogiant with the traditional turbulent gaseous envelope around a whole bunch of metallic liquid hydrogen around a core. It’s a big, brawling, orange-red, yellow-streaked behemoth of a planet that successfully dominates the gateway to the outer system. Unlike Jupiter, it doesn’t have a single, distinguishing “Great Red Spot”, but it is known for enormous storm cells, the linaurrauken, which come and go upon its surface like pale blotches.

In the future, it becomes very significant in the outer system, first as a gravity assist, but also due to the plentiful energy resources available in the system and its relative proximity, in gravity well terms, to the e’Luminiarien Belt. It also acquires the families of gas mining stations common to major gas giants in the Empire and the Empire Nucleonics station for bulk-producing metastable metallic hydrogen.

It has a ring – not a spectacular Saturnine ring, but one which you can see from anywhere in the system, and a family of moons, of which three are major (I’m going to skip lightly over the moonlets and sub-moonlets at this time) and could be considered the equivalent of the Galilean moons: Kerasta, Isimír, and Cysperia:

I/7/a. Kerasta

Class: Thiorastan
Orbit (period):
383,389 miles (0.489 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.):
 0.02
Radius: 522.7 miles
Mass:
 8.809 x 1021 kg
Density: 3.53 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.085 g

Axial tilt: 1.40°
Rotation period: 0.495 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 98 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 75 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0% (unless you count short-lived sulphur pools)

Kerasta is very like Sol System’s Io: a seething, wracked sulphurous hellscape of tidally heated tectonic and volcanic fury. Expect sulphur geysers, molten rock, and general no fun on the surface here, and needless to say, the given surface temperature is for the parts that aren’t currently buried in the middle of the latest eruption. And then there’s the radiation, because just like Io, it has a flux tube.

Popular future activities in the region of Kerasta include some minor resource harvesting, tapping power for local activities out of the Kerastan flux tube, burying things that you’re very unlikely to want to see again, and types of extreme sports that would be considered pathologically idiotic for anyone who didn’t have a backup.

I/7/b. Isimír

Class: Inachian
Orbit (period):
613,423 miles (0.990 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.):
 0.01
Radius: 716.5 miles
Mass:
 1.525 x 1022 kg
Density: 2.37 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.078 g

Axial tilt: 0.29°
Rotation period: 0.990 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 98 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 84 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0% (externally)

Isimír’s surface is generally hostile, since Isimír has no magnetosphere worth speaking of, and as such its surface is routinely bombarded with horrendous amounts of radiation. It’s also not terribly interesting, being – in its essentials – one very large sheet of ice with occasional cryovolcanism when the crust is cracked by tidal forces.

The ocean beneath the ice, though…

Isimír has a lot of tidal activity keeping it warm, an order of magnitude more than even Kerasta. Between that and warm hydrothermal upwellings from its core, the Nighted Ocean of Isimír has long since given rise to its own autochthonous life, tiny plankton- and coral-analogues that thrive in the icy darkness.

In the future, there’ll be great colony cities here at the bottom of shafts through the crust, clinging to the bottom of the icy crust, and an ecosystem which is not, technically, the result of an ecopoesis project – it’s the result of artistic assistance to evolution, introducing new lifeforms designed based on the biochemistry and potential of Isimír’s native life.

I/7/c. Cysperia

Class: Cysperian
Orbit (period):
920,134 miles (1.819 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.):
 0.01
Radius: 1,391 miles
Mass:
 1.250 x 1023 kg
Density: 2.65 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.169 g

Axial tilt: 1.12°
Rotation period: 1.819 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 98 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 103 K

Atmosphere: Thin nitrogen-methane atmosphere.
Atmospheric pressure (sfc.): 0.21 atm
Hydrographic coverage: 30% (thin hydrocarbon lakes)

Cysperia is the outermost of the major moons, with a small iron core – enough to give it a mild magnetic field and some protection from the radiation environment – and a mantle of mixed rock, ice, and silicate clays above its own briny ocean (this one, alas, lifeless).

Slightly more hospitable than its inner neighbors, Cysperia is both the future focus of most colonization efforts in the Melíeré sub-system, in partially-buried dome cities to shield from the radiation, and the gravity anchor for the majority of its habitats, other than those built into the lesser moons.

 

Lumenna-Súnáris System (7): e’Luminarien

I/6/n. e’Luminarien (“The Belt”)

Class: Asteroid belt
Orbit: 2.24 au (avg.)
Orbit (ecc.): varies, mostly under 0.25

Blackbody temp.: 176 K (avg.)

Next up, dividing the inner more-or-less rocky planets from the outer gas giants, and scattered over a much bigger area of space than that average suggests, we have the e’Luminiarien (approximately translated “the little traveler’s lights”).

You want rocks? We got rocks. Lots and lots and lots of rocks. Metal-rich rocks. Silicate rocks. Carbonaceous rocks. Icy rocks. Just pick how far you go into the belt by which kind you want to end up with, and there’re all the rocks you could ever want.

And that’s the belt. Naturally, in the future, there are mining operations and stations ranging from the massive (“Andir Drift: Gateway to the Belt”) to the tiny (“Jini’s Oxygen Shack”) scattered all over the place, by the thousands if not tens of thousands.

Here are three of the most notable big ones:

1 Andir

1 Andir is The Big Asteroid That Isn’t, Except By Courtesy. Technically, it’s a Andirian-class geopassive planetesimal, or what we’d call a dwarf planet, but since it’s sitting right smack in the middle of an asteroid belt in all its hundreds-of-miles-across glory, it’s an asteroid by courtesy.

And as the biggest thing out there, in the future, it’s the administrative, commercial, and population center of the belt. Andir Drift, which grows to take up much of its volume, is a hollowed-out beehive habitat that’s got more docks, cageworks, factories, malls, homes, parks, bars, etc., etc., etc., hanging off it than most of the rest of the e’Luminiarien put together, is the administrative capital of the region, and is probably the one place you can be pretty sure every resident of the belt has visited.

But don’t call it a planet. The locals hate that.

6 Mélciö

6 Mélciö, which is a partially differentiated metallic asteroid similar to Vesta, is operated by a number of loosely federated scientific research stations, gathered there partly by unique facilities (the combination of minimal gravity and heavy shielding available by those willing to use the core lab, for example), and partly because of the number of very important breakthroughs that have been made there over the years.

Lots of people hoping that brilliance will rub off on them, in short.

32 Avénan

A carbonaceous asteroid nearer the outer edge of the e’Luminiarien, 32 Avénan and the smaller cohorts set in orbit around it are technically Imperial Navy Fleet Station Avénan. This used to be the Prime Base for the whole damn Fleet back in the day, before stargates were invented and the IN moved as a whole to Palaxias System, and it’s still where the First Capital Flotilla bases out of.

It’s also rather more open to public viewing than most IN bases because of its great historical importance.  It’s where the Consolidation ended and the Aeon-Long Peace began, for a start. It’s where the Talentar Revolt was negotiated to a successful conclusion, for another. As such, it’s also the headquarters and face of the Admiralty’s sophont relations “flotilla”.

 

 

Lumenna-Súnáris System (6): Talentar

I/5. Talentar

Class: Eutalentic
Orbit (period): 1.49 au (664.3 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.03
Radius: 2,137 miles
Mass: 9.4 x 1023 kg
Density: 5.51 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.54 g

Axial tilt: 26.1°
Rotation period: 23.5 T-hours

Black-body temperature: 216 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 230 K

Atmosphere: Primarily CO2, some nitrogen, trace components (pre-ecopoesis).
Atmospheric pressure (sfc.): 0.21 atm (pre-ecopoesis)
Hydrographic coverage: 0% (pre-ecopoesis)

Satellites: 3 moonlets.

So, here we are, next world of the system: Talentar. It’s eutalentic, which is the fancy IGS classification term for “Mars-like”: geologically quiescent, cold, and dry, with thin, mostly-CO2 atmospheres. And it’s very much like that: it could be Mars’s twin.

Which naturally made it the immediate best prospect for a colony and then for ecopoesis, much like, say, Mars – which meant Project Copperfall, followed by Project Redblossom. This is why so many of the figures here are given as “pre-ecopoesis”.

Prominent features visible at this time include Talarí Mons, a large shield volcano near the equator that became the base for the orbital elevator, and the Ashen Planitia from which it rises; Rel!in Crater, whose distinctive shape made it the basis of the zero meridian; the large southern polar depression that eventually became the Meridional Sea; Kirinal Planum, the large plain north of said depression that became a large expanse of “Talentar prairie”; the Five Valles, five large canyons in a claw formation, none as individually large as the Vallis Marineris but which together are a hell of a lot of chasm; the future site of Quinjano Dome, the planetary capital where the chasms come together; Lorai Vallis, site of a famous military cock-up in the Grand Colonial Charlie Foxtrot; and so forth…

And now, the satellites. All figures given for these are pre-ecopoesis, because the ecopoesis involved moving them…

I/5/a. Móstal

Class: Aggregate
Orbit (period):
6,294 miles (2.91 T-hours)
Orbit (ecc.):
0.0
Radius: 6.33 miles
Mass:
 1.4429 x 1016 kg
Density: 3.254 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.0009 g

Axial tilt: 0.01°
Rotation period: 3.56 T-hours

Black-body temperature: 216 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 209 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%

As its planetary class indicates, Talentar’s innermost moon is… a rubble pile. And as its orbit indicates, one that is probably going to break up rather messily if untouched for the next few million years.

What that means in turn is that Móstal, for practical purposes, consists of a flag and some radio beacons and some fancy netting to keep it together when they had to move it to keep it out of the way of the orbital elevator…

I/5/b. Víërtal

Class: Silicaceous
Orbit (period):
12,740 miles (7.27 T-hours)
Orbit (ecc.):
0.0
Radius:
4.784 miles
Mass:
 7.6325 x 1015 kg
Density: 4.08 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.0008 g

Axial tilt: 0.02°
Rotation period: 7.88 T-hours

Black-body temperature: 216 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 209 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%

Víërtal, by contrast, is a bit more solid. It’s an actual silicaceous asteroid, look!

Its history has mostly been quiet: due to its solidity and its convenient altitude and habit of whipping around Talentar a good three times every day, it made a convenient base during the initial colonization. It still houses domes into much later eras, notably including the local space-traffic monitoring and defense systems, but it is, for the most part, a backwater.

It also had to be moved in order to build the orbital elevator.

I/5/c. Avétal

Class: Chondraceous
Orbit (period): 26,905 miles (22.30 T-hours)
Orbit (ecc.):
0.0
Radius:
3.87 miles
Mass:
 1.9672 x 1015 kg
Density: 1.93 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.0003 g

Axial tilt: 0.4°
Rotation period: 29.3 T-hours

Black-body temperature: 216 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 185 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%

And finally, Avétal, the outermost moon. Another relatively solid one, albeit less like a silicaceous asteroid in composition and more closely resembling a carbonaceous chondrite.

It’s been busy all through the lifespan of Talentar as an inhabited world, for various reasons: having lots of harvestable volatiles, and being relatively easy to get to in delta-v terms among them. But they, strictly speaking, aren’t the main thing.

What’s the main thing?

Look at the orbital period.

Now go back and look at the rotational period of the planet.

If you’re an orbital elevator consortium wondering where you’re going to find a nice, convenient countermass to move into position just above talentosynchronous orbit, those numbers should make you very happy indeed.

Or, rather, they did, and that’s why Avétal as a moon is wholly owned and operated by the Talentar Skyhook & Spaceport Consortium, ICC.

(Once we get to the modern era, of course.)

 

Questions: Clearing the Decks

‘Cause I have a backlog left over from 2015, that I haven’t found time to answer yet, and it would be nice to go into 2016 all fresh and pine-smelling. So, without further ado:

…okay, one other thing that isn’t a question. It’s an art suggestion, for anyone who wants it.

A steampunk Xbox controller.

Well, okay, but it is kind of relevant. It’d illustrate the differences in technological evolution – or at least technological packaging between there and here during some of the equivalent centuries. Say, the lack of convenient plastics, because of lack of oil on an artificial, young world, and as such the way that ceramic engineering became a high art. That controller, for example, is almost certainly encased in a tough porcelain-based composite.  Add some nice polished brass buttons, some sapphireglass inlays, and, ooh, see if you can extend the control sticks to thumb-powered 6-axis sticks, and you’ve got your very own alien artifact.

…and now back to the questions:

An odd thought hit me while reading over your recent post on why AIs exist:  How would Imperial law deal with the case of a “malicious uplift” (i.e. granting sophonce to a formerly non-sophont entity that was originally someone else’s possession)?

Good question.

Well, the first thing I should note is that this is probably (for values of probably equal to the writer reserving the right to change his mind) not possible. Which is to say, sapience engineering is a distinctly complicated endeavor, which is usually performed starting at the zygote level. For one thing, it’s not just a matter of building a bigger, better cortex – that cortex might imply skull modifications to hold it, and a metabolism upgraded to support it, and adjustments to senses and manipulators, and so forth. Not something you want to try in the field with a proteus nanovirus; at the least, it’d mean a long stay in a healing vat.

And for another, you can grow a fancy cortex, but you can’t shape it by and fill it with life experience. You have a good chance of ending up with a technically-sophont vegetable.

But let’s say it is possible, as a hypothetical. In that case, it’s a simple enough matter of standard Imperial law, considered in its usual atomic fashion. The new sophont is legally in the same position as any other sophont, with all rights and responsibilities thereof. The uplifter is the de jure parent to such degree as is necessary, as is anyone who participates in the creation of a new sophont, and is also arraigned for theft, having deprived the original owner of the use of his property. (Depending on the opinion of the court of his motives, this may also result in his above-mentioned parental status being abruptly terminated.)

(This may also be complicated by the way in which prosophont creatures (say, non-uplifted dogs), which are the best candidates for uplift, cannot technically be property, only minor associates similar but not identical to other dependents, but the legal effect is much the same.)

Are there any particularly outstanding incidents, whether amusing, horrific, or some macabre mix of the two, from the days when all the fancy wonder-techs that the Empire now takes for granted were still having their bugs worked out?

Plenty. Progress is messy, and there’s a reason there’s a Monument to the Martyrs of Science.

But that would be future story-fodder…

With regard to the Repository of All Knowledge:

In short, its charter essentially reads: STORE ALL THE THINGS!  It does its very best to live up to that, even the part of it that “wastes” tremendous amounts of data space on obsolete records and trivia.  But then, the archivists know what happened to the last people to dismiss “trivia” too blithely, and that’s not going to happen again, not on their watch.

Which raises the question; who were the last people to delete “trivia”? And what kind of appropriately horrible fate lead to…

I do not have the exact details of the incident in question, but in general-outline terms, it’s the case of someone deciding that the centuries-old details of some minor vegetable blight not really needing to be moved to the new fancy records system, especially those ancient boxes of musty-smelling handwritten notes. No-one’ll ever need those, right?

And then a few centuries after that, when it turns out that this epidemiologist really would have found those useful with regard to a much more serious medical issue…

…well, that’s when someone’s rep score just drops a hundred points overnight, and the Aláthiëlans and Atheléites get to preach a lot of sermons about how Information must be preserved, dammit.

Do the various darëssef have any stereotypes associated with them by those on the “outside looking in”?  (Put another way, if you got one representative of the best of each profession at a table at a dinner party and they got into a mock-serious discussion about Who Has the Unquestionably Best Job in the Universe, what are some of the things they’d tease one another over to “prove” that their particular job is better than all the others?)

There are some. But I should note that these are pretty weaksauce stereotypes by our standards, because making sweeping generalizations about large groups of individuals is, well, not really their specialty. I understate. (At least where the things that aren’t actually in the Code are concerned, anyway.)

Something which is only reinforced by the tendency for people to have the sort of lengthy and varied resumes that would make most, if not all, of the people having such a discussion members of several darëssef simultaneously.

But there is some of that. Everyone knows that acquiescents are prone to be somewhat distracted. (Because they might be literally talking to god.) Aesthants are known as mercurial and impractical. (Although in Eldraeic, the latter means “this will be a bastard to implement, but it’s really cool“.) Executors carry the reputation of being somewhat pedantic and obsessive (“And aren’t you damn lucky we are!?” reply the executors.) Hearthmistresses are somewhat more careful and conservative than the average (by local standards, i.e., will make sure you pack a lunch before launching yourself into the unknown reaches of space). Plutarchs are always on the lookout for opportunity and it often seems like they’ll trade anything, anywhere, anytime, with anybody. (“Look, seriously, just pass the salt, okay?”.)  The rúner are very calm, very self-controlled, as if they had to give themselves permission for everything they do. Sentinels are stern, verging on cold, but mostly unteasable because you really, really don’t want to have to do their job.

And go not to a technarch for counsel, for they will provide you with a 600-page dissertation on the problem, related problems, new problems you will have after you solve this problem, solutions to those problems, eight appendices, citations, a note explaining why it was the wrong problem anyway, and a clockwork widget/three-line script that successfully replaces your problem with a completely different problem.

From “Sliding Scale of Shiny vs. Gritty”:

One wonders just how bad the the cognitive dissonance would be (for Imperials) if you engineered thing to look like they were entropic when they weren’t (or vice versa)

The former is merely extremely poor taste. The latter, on the other hand, is probably the smoking gun for some kind of devious fraud and/or criminal conspiracy.

Also, how much spheroid has been explored and charted? Had probes already passed beyond furthermost reach of the spheroid, like Voyagers? If Precursors indeed transplanted “greenlife” from Earth to Eliéra, they must have effective means of cross gulf of tens of thousands of ly without recourse to portal network – namely, some sort of FTL drive.

The Worlds themselves are, approximately, 3,300 light-years from coreward to rimward (about the whole width of the spiral arm they occupy), 4,100 light-years from spinward to trailing, and 2,000 light years from acme to nadir, which is basically the entire width of the galactic disk. That’s about 100,000,000 stars, but of those, only about 10,000 are actually connected to the stargate plexus, so those are the best charted.

Relativistic missions are exploring the others, and pushing out a few light-centuries beyond the borders, but they’re only touching a fraction of what’s there. The ones that look interesting from a distance, specifically; and since the Super-Size Synthetic Aperture – a phased-array telescope with a virtual lens nearly 1,000 ly across – has an absurdly high resolution up to great distances, they’ve got a very good handle on what the targets are throughout the galaxy.

As for the Precursors… maaaaaybe. Or maybe their portal network isn’t there any more, for one reason or another. Or maybe they just didn’t mind travelling slowly. Not everyone necessarily uses the same timescale we are using.

1. So Waserai born hermaphroditic but change their biological sex after fully mature(or circumstance dictates), like some Earth animals?
2. How many aliens are bipedal?
3. So general Eldraeverse tank designs are basically alike Dropzone Commander’s UCM tanks?
4. May I ask rough summary about Safir and Voctonari? If you have notes or conception, of course.

1. Waserai are born as hermaphrodites, and remain so in their pre-pubescent state; after puberty, they adopt a (psychological) gender role, and this determines (presumably hormonally mediated) which aspect of their genitalia matures/dominates and which, well, subsides, for want of a better word. It’s not unknown for this to switch back and forth a few times until they settle down into their adult gender.

It’s also not unknown, although it is relatively rare, for it to change again later in life if something alters their self-image in the right way, and to a substantial extent.

2. “A lot”.

Which is to say, it’s one of the most common body plans (frees up all forelimbs for use as manipulators without multiplying limbs all over the place with the associated energy cost), but while it’s probably the most common, there are still plenty of non-bipeds around, in particular those that didn’t evolve from land animals.

…and I’m not going to get into specific numbers.

p.s. hexapodia is the key insight – Twirlip of the Mists

3. I’m not familiar with Dropzone Commander, so I can’t really say. The IL’s tanks are described here, and in general, there’s a fair bit of similarity between species. They all have to make them work with the same physics, after all.

4. Much detail is waiting to be revealed elsewhere, especially when the unspoken details of their societies become relevant, but…

You could think of the voctonari as spider-aliens, were the main body of the spider to be a cluster of bubbles, each of which contains its own brain. Yep, the voctonari are a collegiate intelligence, polysapic, with multiple minds to every body.

…I would prefer not to say more about the sefir at this time.

From “Trope-a-Day: Genocide Dilemma”:

Interesting concept. I wonder why Galian and a handful of unsavory groups have not yet been erased from face of the Galaxy. Also, I am curious Galian mean certain species, nation, or both.

On the latter, the galians/Galians are one of the cases in which the species and nation are more closely identified than most. (Although there are a few galian expatriate communities who can for the most part never go home again.) The reason for that, is fairly familiar – it’s because the Galians are a bunch of racist jerks with intense disdain for anyone not chosen by their particular god.

As for the former – well, I refer you to these wise words of Lorith Amanyr. I mean, sure, they’re assholes now, but ethically speaking, it would be much better – and much less entropic – to fix them than to just wipe ’em out. And much more intellectually satisfying, too.

p.s. BRASS DANCER

After all, it’s not like they pose a serious threat, or anything.

(Also also, casually whacking people you don’t like who aren’t an imminent threat is hard on the reputation, and may encourage other people to clump together into something that is a threat. This would be strategically embarrassing, and the First Lord of the Admiralty and/or the Minister of State and Outlands wouldn’t get invited to the better sort of parties any more.)

I am curious about meaning and definition of these diverse terminologies-digisapiences, neogens, post-technological speciation, polytaxic species, nomads and suchlike-.

digisapiences: sophont artificial intelligences, the ones with consciousness and free will and other characteristics that make them people.

neogens: life-forms that were cooked up from scratch in the lab, not naturally evolved or simple modifications of the same.

post-technological speciation: the tendency of a species, once it develops technology, to take control of its own evolution and as a consequence turn into a set of closely-related species rather than remaining a single one.

polytaxic species: The term itself is somewhat poorly coined: what it refers to is a case in which multiple related species, biologically speaking, evolve in parallel and constitute a joint society, one “species” in the interstellar-race sense. A well-done example would be the Ylii from the game 2300AD; a less well-done example would be Star Trek‘s Xindi.

nomads: Species that have abandoned, migrated from, lost, or otherwise no longer have an identifiable homeworld, just a wandering spaceborne population.

From “Cultural Transfers”:

prehaps Dwarf Fortress would be to thier tastes. after a few scope and graphics upgrades, of course.

Probably not DF, I think. The genre is right – simulations are a very popular genre – as is the degree of complexity (and how), but DF as it is played puts too much emphasis on the And Now Everything Explodes slaughterfest part. The local market would want more constructivity, less breakin’ shit.

Very interesting. How many civilizations have been died out by this stupendous form of stupidity? And how many polities do not recognize civilian rights of AI or restrict/control them through “a bunch of extremely sophisticated coercive mechanisms” or commit other morally reprehensible acts against AI?

Except for the people mucking about with making gods, the former is actually a relatively small number. It takes extraordinary dickishness to annoy people (even people you’ve enslaved) to the point at which they start considering genocide to be the optimal option, and extraordinary incompetence to not have anyone get away in the end.

As for the latter – it’s also a relatively small number, mostly concentrated among rogue Shadow Systems states and less salubrious chunks of the Expansion Regions. (Well, and the Republic, of course.)  Which isn’t to say that there aren’t several other polities that would like to, but there are a number of big players (the Empire, the Photonic Network, even the League of Meridian) who are willing to exchange certain diplomatic words in the interests of preventing this sort of thing. Also, certain bullets.

Also, given the fact that Eldraeverse is a relatively life-rich place, how much percentage of species successfully achieved space-flight independently, without making themselves extinct or at least, stone age and in need of outside assistance?

…that’s not really an answerable question, inasmuch as there’s not really any control as to when in your species’ history the Worlds’ c-horizon is going to overrun your star system and set the answer in stone…

Hm.

I’m going to say that maybe half to two-thirds of the species in the Worlds’ had achieved in-system spaceflight of one degree or another before that happened, and of those maybe 10% had dabbled in subluminal interstellar spaceflight. And the error bars on that first number are very large indeed.

It’s also very much not the case that those are necessarily the successful members of the interstellar community later on, either, I should note.

Finally, can I safely expect Milky Way Galaxy and beyond would be teeming with life as much as Associated Worlds, or this effluence of life is limited solely to Associated Worlds and other such “pockets”(besides, sapient life-emergence must be frequent enough for 80 worlds or so Meridian League or the likes can be claimed as diverse polyspecific society)?

The state of the galaxy varies from location to location. You can say that about much of the middle third of the galaxy. You don’t find much life in the inner third because that close to the galactic core, the radiation is not your friend in general, and the prevalence of supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, and other such things is not your friend in specific. You also don’t find much life in the outer third, because when you get that far from the core, the systems are generally too poor in heavy elements to support much in the way of life.

In the middle: well, the problem is that while the prevalence of supernovae and gamma-ray bursters is less, it doesn’t go away. The prevalence of life in the region of the Worlds is typical for those chunks of the galaxy that haven’t been sterilized recently, but these effects flatten out bubbles of the mid-galaxy with depressing regularity, making a life-map look rather blotchy.

(Which is just more evidence that the universe is BROKEN and should be FIXED.)

Do the eldrae have any terms used like the english “crazy mofo” where it can be a term of respect for a particularly non-rigid thinker?

Hm. I think… probably not.

On the other hand, they do have “If it’s crazy and it works, it ain’t crazy.” as a well-established idiom.

From “Trope-a-Day: Precursors”:

“Also, reputedly, near-solipsists who were literally incapable of conceiving that another entity’s opinion might actually matter, short of a major mental break.”

They were humans weren’t they?

Heh.

I’m pretty sure that local sophontologists would diagnose humans as mostly suffering from the exact opposite problem: far too much group-norming to be considered a psychologically well-adjusted species.

Y’know, if they’d ever met any.

How many homeworlds are named “home”, “dirt”, “place were we are from”, “goddess of our ecology”. Or for flying or swimming species, “sky” or “ocean”. I’m guessing: most to all.

Not quite all, but most, yes. At least some of which now have new common names assigned by the IGS.

(Unrandomly selected example: Eliéra would most closely gloss as little harmonious place.)

 

Lumenna-Súnáris System (5): Eliéra

I/4. Eliéra

Class: Sylithotectonic (simulated)
Orbit (period): 0.993 au (361.1075 T-days; 333.33 local days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.023
Radius: 5,000 miles – special
Mass: 5.614 x 1024 kg
Density: 6.2 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.94 g

Axial tilt: n/a
Rotation period: 26 T-hours

Black-body temperature: 265 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 284 K

Atmosphere: Standard atmosphere.
Atmospheric pressure (sfc.): 0.94 atm
Hydrographic coverage: 60%

Satellites: 1 major (Seléne); 1 moonlet (Elárion).

Ah, yes, Eliéra. Homeworld of the eldrae. The jewel at the center of the Empire, and therefore the universe. The shining center from which the light of Order, Progress, and Liberty beams out into the galaxy.

And, curiously enough, not actually a planet at all.

It’s a Precursor-built Big Dumb Object. (Well, okay, technically it’s actually a Big Terrifyingly Smart Object, but that’s the accepted term/acronym…

…yeah, you know what? From now on, hereabouts, I’m redefining BDO to mean Big Damn Object, which strikes me as much more in the spirit of the thing.)

But anyway: it’s not a planet. It’s a flat disk – well, okay, not quite. It is almost a flat disk, with smoothly curved edges because while it’s 10,000 miles in diameter, it’s only 200 miles in height. Those smoothly curved edges mean that you can, in fact, sail right around the edge of the world to the other side and never bump into an actual “edge”; or at least you could were there not a giant perpetual storm where the two sides’ weather systems slam into each other in the way. It’s also almost flat because the builders wanted it to look flat, meaning that it’s actual gross shape is slightly convex, such that it looks flat after the refractive index of the atmosphere is taken into account. It spins like a flipped coin along a spin axis tangential to its orbit, which provides it with a day-night cycle.

At this point, several questions ought to be leaping to mind:

1. How does it keep its shape?; and
2. Those figures for volume/mass/density don’t look right.

I mean, Eliéra, as you would expect from its gravity, masses about 0.94 what Earth does. Its crustal density is a little heavier than Earth’s density, but not by much. (6.2 g/cm3). And yet its volume, being a disk 10,000 miles across by 200 thick, is only about 1/17th of the Earth’s.

You should definitely, at this point, be wondering how the hell that adds up.

Well, that would be the lump of Mystery Matter™ down at the core layer that lets it hold shape under its own weight, and which is also responsible, it is believed, for the physics-defying weird-assitude of its gravity field.

(Said weird-assitude, as brought up here as the divide between Terrestrial and Celestial Gravitation that had entire generations of physicists and astronomers beating their heads on things and complaining about how much they hate special cases, is that said Mystery Matter™ does not obey the inverse-square law. Gravitational attraction to it is governed, instead, by the Because We Are World-Constructing Sufficiently Advanced Precursors And We Bloody Well Say So Law.

The practical result of this is that if you are in low Eliéra orbit, say a 10,100 mile orbit (i.e., 100 miles above datum), your stable orbit will skim the atmosphere in what is basically a disk shape orbit matching the gross shape of the “planet”. If you are in high Eliéra orbit, contrariwise, say a 100,000 mile orbit, your stable orbit will be a perfect near-circular ellipse, just as it would be around a perfectly normal planet, and your altitude above datum will vary accordingly. Stable orbits in between occupy shapes in between, exactly as if there was some meta-law changing the BWAWCSAPAWBWSS Law smoothly and continuously into the inverse-square law depending on how far away from the Mystery Matter™ you happen to be.

The consensus on this is that it is (a) space magic, and (b) fucking weird.)

3. How the hell does the geology/ecology work?

Mechan Ically.

Well, okay, not entirely. The Precursors who built it were very clever geotects and ecotects who arranged for as much to happen in a perfectly natural way as they could, but that couldn’t apply to everything. It’s very hard to have planet-like geological processes without a mantle and molten core, for example.

So, instead, they buried down in the big sealed core layer (that contains the Mystery Matter™) a giant massively-parallel array of nanocomputers – this being why it’s a Very Smart Object Indeed – complete with a whole ecological maintenance team in the form of “mechal elementals”, what its first civilizations assumed were nature spirits of one kind or another, that do the work of filling in the essential missing bits.

Which is to say: it’s a giant machine that worlds just as as hard as it can.

4. Does it have seasons? How does it have seasons?

Because binary system.

For half the year Eliéra is between its suns, and night is – instead – a faintly red-tinted as-bright-as-the-full-moon twilight, and both sides of the disk receive insolation at once. For the other half of the year, it’s opposite to the second sun, and its primary washes out its secondary’s contribution during the day while nights are actually dark, peaking at midwinter when Lumenna actually occults Súnáris.

The actual difference in solar input is very small indeed, but when chaotically amplified through feedback loops in the “planetary” atmohydrosphere, that’s how it has seasons.

5. Something else?

Of course, while I’m trying to answer the common but-hows, I’m too close to this to really have a good grasp on what they might be, so if you have more, please feel free to ask in a comment.

Moons

As for its satellites, it has two, both far enough out to be in comfortably conventional orbits.

I/4/a. Seléne

Class: Selénian
Orbit (period): ~325,000 miles (15.77 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.01
Radius: 1281.2 miles
Mass: 1.35 x 1023 kg
Density: 3.30 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.20 g

Axial tilt: 4.77°
Rotation period: 15.77 T-days

Black-body temperature: 265 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 246 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%.

Seléne is Eliéra’s major moon; it is very much like our moon, except for being somewhat more distant, and somewhat fatter, although curiously enough the apparent size from the surface is fairly similar.

Relatively low metal, silicate-rich, lots of fun stuff in its regolith, first to be colonized, you know the drill here. In later years it comes with helium-3 mining briefly, autofacs, cities, resorts, far-side observatories, and many millions of embodied sophonts living up there.

I/4/b. Elárion

Class: Gelidaceous
Orbit (period): ~1270000 miles (170.79 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.31
Orbit (inc.): 136.2°
Radius: 238.6 miles
Mass: 5.052 x 1020 kg
Density: 2.14 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.012 g

Axial tilt: 51.4°
Rotation period: 0.46 T-days

Black-body temperature: 265 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 246 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%.

Did I say conventional orbits?

Elárion is Eliéra’s weird-assed moonlet. An obvious extrasystemic capture (just look at that strangely-inclined, retrograde orbit), it’s a little (asteroid-classed, by the book; just smaller than Ceres) gobbet of ices and tarry organics that somehow wound up as a far and a distant moon.

From space, the surface seems oddly pink-red, due to said tarry organics. From Eliéra’s surface, of course, it’s barely visible, but those with good eyes looking hard enough in the right place can make out a tiny, tiny red dot in the sky.