Lumenna-Súnáris System (12): Andrár

So, having completed all ten planets of Lumenna in this series, we now move to its companion star’s nine, once again, beginning with the innermost:

I/1. Andrár

Class: Eurymic
Orbit (period): 0.08 au (6.198 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.06
Radius: 2,850 miles
Mass: 2.51 * 1024 kg
Density: 4.88 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.81 g

Axial tilt: 1.2°
Rotation period: 6.198 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 687 K
Surface temperature (avg., sunside):  824 K
Surface temperature (avg., nightside):  69 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%

Satellites: 2 moonlets.

The innermost planet of Súnáris, tide-locked Andrár was a twin of Eurymir in all but name; a tide-locked rockball of brightest day and blackest night; if anything, even more sun-scraping than Eurymir.

Its colonization, however, followed a markedly different pattern. Rather than an experimental or resource world, Andrár came under serious consideration in the era in which laser sails and early fusion drives were competing as possible propulsion systems for the first interstellar starships. Andrár, thus, was developed as a power plant and interstellar laser system.

Much of the surface of Andrár, in the modern era, is oddly smoothed by years of autoindustrialism – on sunside, the planet is practically plated pole to pole with layers of solar panels and thermal generators, whose cold radiators likewise cover much of the nightside, broken only by the rectennas beaming power to the planetary ring statite (and other nearby habitats), and the huge laser arrays dangling upwell therefrom.

While not used for the colonization ships the designers had in mind (Kasjan Lyris’s fusion drive having won the battle to power the Deep Star vessels), Andrár’s lasers did sterling work propelling starwisp probes to nearby systems in preparation for the colonization efforts, and served as interstellar communication lasers during the days of the Thirteen Colonies. While the renaissance promised by the Laserider Network never came about, due to the discovery of a workable FTL system, the Andrár Beam Station continues to power starwisps on their way through the Thirteen Colonies, and supply various other initiatives in the home system, such as comet melting and zone refining, that need all the laser.

(Computation of exactly how much energy you can extract from the sunlight falling on half the surface of a world 0.06 au from a K2V, plus the above temperature difference, is left as an exercise for the calculation-loving reader. For everyone else, trust me, it’s a fuckjoule.)

Lumenna-Súnáris System (11): Raziké

I/10. Raziké

Class: Alessán
Orbit (period): 32.4 au (184.424 T-years/67,362.71 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.06
Radius: 37,668 miles
Mass: 1.01 x 1027 kg
Density: 1.08 g/cm3
Cloud-top gravity: 1.86 g

Axial tilt: 4.1°
Rotation period: 12.1 T-days

Black-body temperature: 46 K

Satellites: 4 close moonlets (including Hyníne). 2 major moons (doublet). 6 eccentric moons.

Lumenna’s outer ice giant, a brooding dark blue-green, is a backwater in an otherwise busy system. Very few sophs travel as far out into the system as Raziké and its moons, beyond even the three stargates in the Lumenna sub-system (orbiting in a stable rosette at 24 au), trans-solar transit traffic excepted. There’s not much reason to, the options for doing so are limited, and the light-lag is extraordinarily inconvenient.

There are three principal qualities that bring sophs here: cold, ice, and privacy. Combine as you will, and you see a region whose inhabitants – if we discount the Distant Early Warning stations operated by the IN – are a few batch-mode computronium nodes, deep time data vaults, comet herders and ice miners, and the scattered communities and hermitages of those wanting to get a long way away from it all. Total population is below a quarter-million sophs.

I/10/a. Múrazór and I/10/b. Múrnamár

Class: Gelidian
Barycenter orbit (period): 1.356 million miles (10.17 T-days)
Barycenter orbit (ecc.): 0.04
Total Mass: 1.42 x 1022 kg
Density: 1.71 g/cm3

Black-body temperature: 46 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 42 K

Atmospheres: Trace. Primarily carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

Raziké’s major moons are a doublet; a pair of ice bodies orbiting around their common barycenter, which in turn orbits Raziké proper. The statistics given above are for the Múrazór-Múrnamár pair as a whole; the mass of the doublet is split two-thirds/one-third in Múrazór’s favor.

Múrazór houses much of the local population, in the form of an IN base for the outer-system picket, a scientific research station, and the Comet-Herder’s Gather, a meeting place and floating market for the population of the sub-system and nearby Senna’s Belt.

Múrnamár, by contrast, is almost untouched.

Lumenna-Súnáris System (10): Iälessá

(I’d been meaning to get back to this series for quite some time, but never quite managed it. Until now, seeing as a generous reader on the Discord offered to make me a delta-v map for the System, which rather spurred me on to resume the project.)

I/9. Iälessá

Class: Alessán
Orbit (period): 23.17 au (40,737 T-days/111.529 T-years)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.01 (however, orbital inclination is 22° from the ecliptic)
Radius: 16,833 miles
Mass: 1.194 x 1026 kg
Density: 1.44 g/cm3
Cloud-top gravity: 1.11 g

Axial tilt: 27.1°
Rotation period: 2.13 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 54 K

Satellites: 7 close moonlets, ring. 5 major moons. 4 eccentric moons.

A swirled marble of blues pale and dark, Iälessá is the inner of Lumenna’s twin ice giants. Its somewhat unusual coloration is believed to be the result of a combination of factors: its ammonia-rich atmosphere, the unusually high quantity of silicate dust in that same atmosphere (believed to be a product of whatever primordial event was responsible for the unusual inclination of its orbit), the primitive microbial life dwelling in its upper layers, and the unusual states of matter found near its core.

A small number of aerostats dwell in the upper atmosphere of Iälessá, primarily concerning themselves with research into the history and lifeforms of the planet, and its small gas-mining industry. The civilian population outside the major moons primarily dwells here, and across its various moonlets. Outside the Iälessá sub-system itself, though, its libration points with Lumenna contain a large number of polises and other processing facilities, taking advantage of the low-temperature environment.

Meanwhile, the sub-system itself, inasmuch as it consists of a relatively small ice giant with a system of large moons, presents the unusual sight of an astronomical arrangement firmly in gravity’s grip, as everything is tide-locked to everything else!

I/9/a. Saeríändrá

Class: Thiorastan (high-silicate)
Orbit (period): 134,664 miles (0.921 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.01
Radius: 786 miles
Mass: 4.055 x 1022 kg
Density: 4.798 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.17 g

Axial tilt: 4.2°
Rotation period: 0.921 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 54 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 65 K

Atmosphere: Thin (0.1 atm), primarily sulphurous, with heavy ash clouds.
Hydrographic coverage: 0% (other than short-lived cooling glass lakes)

Saeríändrá, the innermost major moon of Iälessá, is an anomalous thiorastan-class moon in many ways, primarily because of the high percentage of silicon and silicate compounds in its makeup, similar to that of its parent planet. It is also anomalously warm, due to the high degree of tidal flexing caused by its proximity to Iälessá, along with frequent close passed by the moonlets with which it is in resonance and its peripatetic moonmoons.

This tidal flexing also drives a highly active geology, including many large volcanoes. It is primarily this volcanic activity that provides Saeríändrá with its thin atmosphere and the thick high-altitude ash clouds which retain the moon’s heat, although the moon’s mass is entirely insufficient to retain its atmosphere, leaving a long pseudo-cometary tail trailing it in its orbit.

CAUTION: Travelers to or near Saeríändrá should be advised that near-Saeríändrá space to trailing of the moon is rich in particulate manner which may score hulls and damage delicate equipment. Avoidance of this zone is recommended.

Saeríändrá’s volcanoes are rare examples of vitreovolcanism, due to its silicon-rich crust; the lava they spew onto the moon’s surface takes the form of a variety of silicate glasses. Ongoing volcanic activity over millennia has resculpted the majority of Saeríändrá’s surface into layers of sculpted glass, from the milky mountains, ancient frozen eruptions etched by wind-driven ash, to the lowland glasslakes, swirled in many colors from impurities within, where glass lava has settled to its natural level before freezing in place.

Saeríändrá is a provider of fissionables to Cinquané and other parts of the outer system, via the Empire Nucleonics, ICC mining station in the north extracting thorium and uranium salts from the brown-green glasslakes of the area. Habitation is concentrated in the southern hemisphere, which houses a large number of thriving galari colonies, along with the famed Crystal Lake Dome resort.

I/9/b. Cinquané Avincta

Class: Eugalínic
Orbit (period): 185,163 miles (1.49 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.12
Radius: 1,227 miles
Mass: 1.123 x 1023 kg
Density: 3.47 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.2 g

Axial tilt: 3.1°
Rotation period: 1.49 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 54 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 37 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%

A moon trapped in the quiescent phase of the galínic cycle by its lower mass and lack of atmospheric retention, Cinquané Avincta is a frozen world, its surfaces dominated by ice, carbon dunes, hydrocarbon tars, and tholins. As its slightly higher density indicates, pockets of heavier elements are present within its mass, and as such, it serves principally as a mining colony of the Cinquané Commonwealth, of which it is a territorial annex.

However, its surface is also heavily and repeatedly cracked by the high tidal forces to which it is subjected, and thus riven with mazes of chasms and other similar formations. As such, it has a thriving secondary tourist industry in extreme sports, including vacuum spelunking, bridge diving, and high-velocity flight in and among the narrows.

(Let us skip discretely past the tertiary industry of scavenging the remains of extreme sportssophs from the bottom of said chasms.)

I/9/c. Cinquané

Class: Galínilacustric
Orbit (period): 235,662 miles (2.13 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.09
Radius: 2,850 miles
Mass: 1.248 x 1024 kg
Density: 3.09 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.4 g

Axial tilt: 5.4°
Rotation period: 2.13 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 54 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 58 K

Atmosphere: 2.16 atm; primarily nitrogen-methane.
Hydrographic coverage: 70% (primarily ethane, with misc. hydrocarbon admixture)

Galíné may be the archetypal example of the galínic planetary classes, but Cinquané was the first. A world of ice, carbon dunes, and ethane oceans lapping at tholin beaches, all beneath a smoggy red-orange methane sky, Cinquané began as a roughneck industrial colony producing hydrocarbon-based products for the ecopoesis of Talentar and space industry elsewhere in the system, and grew from those roots into the homeworld of the modern Cinquané Commonwealth, the largest and most prosperous polity of the outer system, however Inlétanós’s Ring Imperium might contest the claim. Over three billion cold-loving sophs dwell in the domes scattered across Cinquané’s dusty plains and shores, along with the open ciseflish settlements, the largest being the planetary capital, Yíhanad, and the jack city of Newfalls.

Both Biolith Chemical Produces, ICC, and Industrial Liquids, ICC, maintain large extraction and bactry facilities here, clustered around the industrial cities along the shore of the southern polar ocean.

Other notable planetographic features include the Hump, the permanent 330′ high tide beneath the noon pole (here defined as the planetward synchronous pole, rather than the sunward one).

I/9/d. Cinquané Tevinté

Class: Eugalínic
Orbit (period): 370,326 miles (4.10 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.07
Radius: 1,663 miles
Mass: 2.126 x 1023 kg
Density: 2.65 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.2 g

Axial tilt: 1.3°
Rotation period: 4.10 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 54 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 35 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%

Similar in most ways to Cinquané Avincta, but lacking the heavier elements, Cinquané Tevinté is also a territorial annex of the Cinquané Commonwealth, serving as a de facto suburb colony for those preferring greater privacy.

One pseudo-island (i.e., area of raised ground within a tar lake) on Cinquané Tevinté holds a mothballed manufacturing facility, that in which Ring Dynamics, ICC produced the first stargate hulls before the construction of the modern standardized weylforge, and another holds a naval depot for the IN’s outer-system picket.

I/9/e. Alétel

Orbit (period): 420,825 miles (5.07 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.13
Radius: 2,336 miles
Mass: 5.154 x 103 kg
Density: 2.32 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.24 g

Axial tilt: 4.6°
Rotation period: 5.07 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 54 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 52 K

Atmosphere: 0.16 atm; nitrogen-methane.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%

Another otherwise undistinguished iceball, the moon is perhaps most famous for housing Uncertainty Dome, Bright Shadow, ICC’s chief domestic tanglebit manufacturing facility, and, historically, for the Alétel Equatorial Collider.

Ringing the moon’s equator, the Equatorial Collider, at 14,675 miles in circumference, was the largest particle accelerator ever constructed until the much later advent of the Déirae Collider, and enabled new and profound discoveries in high-energy physics.

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.):
Radius: 522.7 miles
 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.):
Radius: 716.5 miles
 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.):
Radius: 1,391 miles
 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.):
Radius: 6.33 miles
 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.):
4.784 miles
 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.):
3.87 miles
 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.


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…


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?


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.


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.


Lumenna-Súnáris System (4): Sialhaith

I/3. Sialhaith

Class: Sialhain
Orbit (period): 0.58 au (161.3 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.02
Radius: 3,680 miles
Mass: 4.3 x 1024 kg
Density: 4.96 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.84 g

Axial tilt: 7.9°
Rotation period:
  23.1 T-hours

Black-body temperature: 347 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 1,015 K

Atmosphere: Extremely dense, furnace-hot, primarily CO2.
Atmospheric pressure (sfc.): 117.6 atm
Hydrographic coverage: 21%

Satellites: None.

Sialhaith may not actually be one of the less pleasant hells, but if you wanted to build one, it would undoubtedly be where you’d go real-estate shopping.

It’s a “wet greenhouse”, consisting of furnace-heat over eroded rocky deserts, moistened by small oceans of boiling acid, with an atmosphere primarily of carbon dioxide and water vapor, mercifully concealed from space by its impenetrable belts of caustic, lemon-yellow, sulphuric-acid smog clouds. (They wrapped probes in platinum hulls just to find that much out.) If it is not the single least hospitable place in the entire System, the Sialhaith Extreme Tourism Advocacy Branch would like to know.

Naturally, in the future, people tried to ecopoese it. It didn’t stick: in the end, the residents of the aerostats – it’s very easy to build cities that are naturally buoyant in the Sialhain atmosphere – that were intended to monitor the ecopoesis process ended up buying out the project, having decided that they liked their lifestyle and its uniqueness just the way it was.

There’s very little on the surface itself but some minor scientific and resource-gathering outposts, and small-scale dome-warrens belonging to the sort of person who demands that their lifestyle be the absolutely most challenging available.

Oh, and Fort Inferno, because Legionary drill instructors also demand a lifestyle that’s the absolutely most challenging available.


Lumenna-Súnáris System (3): Toramir

I/2. Toramir

Class: Eurymic
Orbit (period): 0.32 au (66.12 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.00
Radius: 826.9 miles
Mass: 5.996 x 1022 kg
Density: 6.07 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.4 g

Axial tilt: 12.1°
Rotation period: 43.3 T-days

Black-body temperature: 467 K
Surface temperature (avg.): 453 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%

Satellites: None.

The second planet of Lumenna, Toramir, is actually a much better Mercury-as-it-actually-is analog than Eurymir is.

Namely, Toramir is a sun-seared rockball with a long, long day. It’s sun-searedness makes it another great place for energy production, but also its high density (the highest of any planet in the Lumenna-Súnáris System) makes it a rich world, specifically rich in heavy metals and power metals. (It is, in fact, probably the richest of all Lumenna’s worlds in readily accessible metals, radioactives, and other heavy elements, along with not-insignificant regolith deposits of lighter elements and solar-wind collectibles.)

In short, prospectors just leapt at it. (Toramir’s own gravity well is relatively shallow, and despite its depth within Lumenna’s well, the total Δv required to get elsewhere in the system remains below launch costs from most other planets. It is unfortunately impracticable to construct an orbital elevator on Toramir, due to its slow rotation.) Shortly thereafter, so did shipbuilders and other heavy macroindustries, and Toramir’s orbitals in the modern era are crammed full of cageworks, macroforges, and autofacs.

The major groundside settlement is Sírtirias Lemisef, or translating approximately, Crawlerberg. That’s because it moves to stay out of the sunlight: the city itself and its smelters are a giant turtle built atop the biggest damned dual set of treads in the System that drives very slowly but continuously around the equatorial loop to stay on the shady side of the planet.

And the -berg? That would be the gunspire of the huge mass driver on its back that fires building-sized slugs of refined metal into orbit for the local industry to pick up.

The future colonists of this particular rockball were not in the habit of thinking small.


Lumenna-Súnáris System (2): Eurymir

(Or maybe a little more often, if I happen to feel like it; also, a shout out to Wolfram Alpha, whose fine facilities make running the necessary calculations a great deal easier.)

I/1. Eurymir

Class: Eurymic
Orbit (period): 0.21 au (35.15 T-days)
Orbit (ecc.): 0.05
Radius: 1,758.5 miles
Mass: 4.712 x 1023 kg
Density: 4.96 g/cm3
Surface gravity: 0.4 g

Axial tilt: 3.9°
Rotation period: 35.15 T-days (tide-locked)

Black-body temperature: 577 K
Surface temperature (avg., sunside): 672 K
Surface temperature (avg., nightside): 56 K

Atmosphere: None.
Hydrographic coverage: 0%

Satellites: None.

The innermost planet of Lumenna, Eurymir is similar to Mercury as we once imagined it, which is to say, tide-locked, with a sunward face hot enough to have lakes of molten metal and roast anyone on even momentary exposure, and a dark face plunged into deepest chill, even occasionally to the extent of having water ice. The mind boggles…

Unlike Mercury, though, Eurymir can muster up some volcanic activity, especially on its sunward face: the tidal stresses also keep its core molten and perking right along.

(Being the fine, inhospitable world it is, it’s not all that populated even in the future. It houses a fascinating experimental a-life ecology, but apart from that, its principal use is as a gravity anchor for solar power stations and antimatter generators.

Its best-known settlement is actually a temple: because when you have a solar deity, where would be the best place to put that but the nearest solid ground to the eponymous sun?)


Lumenna-Súnáris System (1): The Stars

(So post. Such computation. Wow.)

Okay, folks, here we go, the Lumenna-Súnáris System. A little bit slower than expected, because it turns out that it actually takes quite a long time to gather up and re-double-check all my figures with great care.  Since I know you guys, y’know?

So starting with this post, which covers the suns, I’m going to try and hit up one planet a day, with its moons, other statistics, and a few interesting facts about it. Hopefully, it is planned, not to the exclusion of any other content.

So, let’s get started. To sum things up, first, the System is a Population I far binary (the stars vary in distance from 125 au to 358 au during their 2,864 local year orbit) which gives their worlds a nice “deep seasonal cycle” to pay attention to as well as their regular ones.

For convenience, in this description, we’re going to pretend that Lumenna is the center of the system and everything orbits around it rather than mucking about with barycenters. It has nine planets and an asteroid belt; Súnáris has eight planets and an asteroid belt; and then, of course, there is Múrcár. (If you’re into Kuiperians.)

Also, since if anyone does put this into a KSP mod it would be nice for them to start from the start, this is the system raw. Which is to say, this data reflects that status quo as of 2050, before anyone got clever ideas about strapping nuclear weapons to their ass and launching themselves into the wild black yonder, and certainly before people started colonizing other worlds, building habitats all over the place, moving inconvenient moons to better locations, girdling the equators of gas giants with supercolliders, reengineering the suns, or other cool stuff like that.

And a final word: through all of this, please pardon my eclectic mix of units; that’s just how I roll. Time units prefixed with T- indicate that I’m using your Earth hours/days/years, not the local calendar.

So let’s get started, shall we?

I. Lumenna

Mass: ~1.0 solar masses
Spectral class: G2V
Temperature: 5,800 K
Luminosity: 0.82 sol
Radius: 381,100 miles

“the Sun”; the yellow-white G2V star that everyone thinks of as the system primary even though it’s, technically, not really a concept that works all that well with binaries.

II. Súnáris

Mass: ~0.75 solar masses
Spectral class: K2V
Temperature: 4,900 K
Luminosity: 0.24 sol
Radius: 288,100 miles
Orbit (avg.): 242 au
Orbit (ecc.): 0.48
Orbit (period): 2,845.69 years
Perihelion: 125 au
Aphelion: 358 au

The system’s secondary star, slightly smaller and cooler than Lumenna, with light more orange. It’s name glosses as “shining one”, because its presence in the heavens overshadows all the other stars therein.


Imperial Fringe, or, Map Time

Today’s gift for y’all is… a new map! A bigger map! A better map!

This map:


Which basically quintuples the amount of the Worlds that has been mapped on a system-by-system basis by extending that from the Imperial Core to the entire Imperial Fringe. Enjoy! (Although it’s big, so be aware when you click through.)

Key and notes:

  • As is usual, it’s a link-graph map, i.e., like a metro map, and a projection of 3D space onto 2D space besides. Neither stellar distances nor relative positions are in the least accurate except in the most general possible sense.
  • Each of the constellations (the Imperial Core plus the five constellations of the Imperial Fringe) represented is represented as a box containing the associated star systems. At the edges, the little orange boxes with CAPITAL LETTERS inside them represent links out to the other constellations of the Worlds.
  • The majority of Imperial star systems are represented as GOLD nodes. The exceptions to this are:
    • Certain important systems highlighted in RED (the throneworld, the IN Prime Base, the Cirys sphere and Cirys swarm); and
    • The system dedicated to the Conclave of Galactic Polities, indicated in BLUE; and
    • Imperial conlegial systems, indicated in GREEN; and
    • The original Thirteen Colonies (reached subluminally) represented in PALE GOLD.
  • Non-Imperial star systems are represented as PURPLE nodes.
  • Stargate pairs connecting systems are represented as SOLID lines. Stargate pairs connecting entire constellations are represented as DASHED lines. Crossing lines, as per the symbology, don’t actually intersect.
  • Arterial routes, i.e., extra-high-capacity stargate pairs, are represented as THICK lines.
  • The ORANGE line represents one major interstellar trade route passing through the Empire, the Mercantile Corridor. The GREEN line represents the other, the Lethiaza Trade Spine.
  • GOLD systems with a RED border are Imperial systems that connect directly to non-Imperial systems and as such form part of the Interface Defense Matrix. Also, when you get there, you have to clear immigration.


Special extra challenges for the detail-oriented reader with some time to kill:

…how many different ante-Eldraeic roots for “world, place, land, planet, etc.” can you identify from the names of the various Imperial worlds seen on this map? And how many of those are actually exotic-species routes?

…how many and which extra-Imperial polities can you draw lines around based on commonalities of name scheme among the non-Imperial worlds?

Answers and questions in comments, please!

(P.S. Yes, that’s “Kerbol System” down there in the High Verge; having thrown that reference in as an homage, I’m hardly going to reverse myself now. Any assumptions one might make, however, about its planets, inhabitants, space program, or other details, however, are distinctly non-canonical.)

Author’s Note: Astrography

So let’s talk a little about the setting of our ongoing fiction, the Associated Worlds.

First: they’re big. Really, really frakkin’ big. Sci-fi writers with a sense of scale big. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemists’, but…

Ahem. Enough of that.

So, let me draw you a picture. The free-space volume of the Associated Worlds is an irregular mostly-oblate spheroid. Along its major axes, it’s about 3,300 light years from core to rim, 4,100 light years from spinward to trailing, and 2,000 light years from acme to nadir. To put some perspective on those numbers, that means that at its tallest part, much of the center, it completely fills the galactic disk top to bottom. Meanwhile, the Lethíäza arm of the galaxy in which it is located is approximately 3,500 light years across, and since one slightly-flattened end of the spheroid – expansion having slowed, although not stopped, to coreward on encountering the inter-arm gap – is pressed up against its coreward side, it lacks only about 200 light years of running into the rimward side of the arm, too.

As those of you with calculators will already know, that’s approximately 27 billion cubic light years of volume, which contains approximately 100 million stellar bodies of various kinds. Like I said, big.

Of course, on the cosmic scale, or even the galactic scale, it’s still a barely significant mote. Space is like that.

The kicker, of course, is that most of that is unused and only explored astronomically. The expansion pattern of the Worlds has been, essentially, to look for interesting things, and then fire off a long-range stargate to a system near them and weave a constellation from there. The one black hole in our neighborhood? That counts. The blue-white supergiant? That counts, too. Any system which appears to have signs of intelligent and usually technological life? That definitely counts, as maybe we can sell ’em something. That sort of thing.

That process has resulted in maybe 10,000 star systems over that whole enormous volume being actually connected to the stargate plexus and thus readily visitable. That would be roughly 0.01% of the stellar bodies in that volume. The rest would be the “Inner Periphery” of systems that didn’t seem so interesting at the time but which are likely to be hooked up if and when they become interesting, or if and when polities in inner constellations feel like expanding locally, rather than out in the ecumene, and also feel like paying for it.

So when you think of the Associated Worlds, think of a cobweb. The strands are long-distance wormholes. The dewdrops clinging to the points where they intersect are local constellations, where constellation in this case is defined as maybe fifty systems linked together with short-range stargates with three or four long-range gates connecting to it at various points. And the empty spaces are not-quite-empty space.

To hang some numbers on that, the Empire has all of one constellation (the Imperial Core), and about half each of five more (the Imperial Fringe), close to 250 worlds in total if you include its colonies out in the ecumene. Which is to say, it’s the tiny kernel at the heart of the big nut – although that said, it’s nearest competitors, the Photonic Network and the League of Meridian, are only 120-150 world polities. To divide up the rest, in the divisions Where’s Where in the Galaxy would offer you, these six constellations and 73 more make up the “true” Associated Worlds, the well-developed, comfortable, and stable metropolitan regions.

109 more constellations surrounding those make up the Expansion Regions, which are a bit less developed but not actually frontier. They tend to be the places where most of the action is, when there’s astropolitical action.

And the 23 constellations of the Periphery, found all around except to acme, nadir, and along the border with the Republic, are the wild and wooly frontier.

Leaving the Worlds proper for a moment, the Voniensa Republic, featuring rather heavily at the moment, is located spinward and slightly to rimward. It has about 8,000 worlds in its volume, although by no means all of those are politically part of the Republic. (More than a few of them belong to people who are currently being Prime Directed, for a start.) It’s also substantially smaller than the Worlds in free-space volume, because while they’re not quite as bad at insisting territorial volumes make sense in space as the members of the Interstellar League of Tribal Chiefdoms, they do pursue a much more consolidate-y expansionary policy.

And finally to note, cutting through the rimward systems of Lethíäza, and thus both the rimward side of the Republic and the fringe Periphery – only a few stargates at the far edge of the rimward Periphery breach it – is the Shadow Veil, which is a vast dark nebula of opaque gas and dust that does a fine job of obscuring both the view further rimward from most of the Worlds, and vice versa.

(So even if its still flexible galactic location turns out to be directly coreward of us, there’s still a reason why our astronomers *there* aren’t getting all excited about those distinct signs of someone building megastructures and operating pion drives. Heh.)

For Those Following Along At Home: Map!

For those following along with these stories at home (or on holiday, or during your commute, or at work – why not?), I just found some time to clean up one of my rough sketch-maps of what the universe looks like, so thought I’d share it with you.  This is a relatively small part of the whole Associated Worlds (just one of the many linked constellations, which as you may recall in galactographic parlance means “cluster of stars linked with short-range wormholes, linked to other constellations by long-range wormholes), but it is one of the oldest and most important regions: namely, the Imperial Core itself, the 57 stars right at the heart of the web that includes the Empire’s throneworld, the Conclave Drift, and other such significant worlds, trade routes, etc., many of which have been mentioned in one context or another:

Imperial Core

(It’s quite a big image; click to enlarge.)  You’ll also notice that it’s what they call a “link-graph map”, meaning that it’s like a metro map – the links between stars are correct, but their actual relative physical positions are, ah, not necessarily so.  The more so because this is, of course, a 2D projection of 3D space.  This is exactly what you want for most interstellar travel, which is done purely by ‘gate – those who are flying around in relativistic clippers, on the other hand, will need to go buy a real-space starmap instead.  (Available from your local Grand Survey franchise!)


Where’s Where in the Galaxy (2)

In political galactography, the principal distinction to make is that between the two sets of worlds found in most developed polities, the Metropolitan and the Ecumenical.  In the beginning, whether through caution, limited colonization budgets, or having begun with sublight colonization using lighthuggers or generation ships, most polities begin colonization with worlds close to their homeworld.  This tightly bound knot of worlds forms the metropolitan segment of their polity, as the Imperial Core forms the Metropolitan Empire.

In short order, though, the majority of polities realize that to attempt to maintain territorial integrity in space is a dubious proposition, given the sheer size and freedom to travel it permits, even with wormholes as bottlenecks. To do so also requires colonization of unsuitable candidate worlds, and holding on to many unprofitable or unuseful worlds, while there are many better candidates for colonization elsewhere in the Worlds and other polities who would gladly colonize the worlds of little use.  Thus, these polities spread out across the Worlds, colonizing suitable worlds in many constellations and star systems also occupied by other polities and species, and allowing worlds within their own systems to be colonized by those who want them.  The majority of the Associated Worlds is made up of this type of cosmopolitan territory, and these worlds are referred to as the ecumenical segment of the parent polity.

Within the worlds, there are a variety of special designations, other than the polities themselves.  At one end of the scale, the Great Powers are the movers and shakers of the Worlds, whose strength is sufficient to make them the arbiters of galactic diplomacy and the engines of the galactic economy.  The Presidium powers are undisputed Great Powers, but the title is not limited to them – other major polities such as the League of Meridian or the Under-Blue-Star League are also often considered Great Powers.  Each has its own sphere of influence and network of client-states.

Opposing them from the other end of the size scale are the so-called pocket polities, any of the many single-system polities or polities with only a few, often local, colonies to their name.  These pocket polities, though, are members of galactic society – the starbound and worldbound are not counted among them, even though they are necessarily single-system polities.

And opposing them from the other end of the political scale are the unaligned, those polities which see more advantage in remaining free of any entanglements with greater powers than in gains they might make from such an association; and the Discordant, those polities which are not members of the Accord of Galactic Polities, i.e., are signatories to none of the Accords, and have no intention of joining.  Such worlds do not subscribe to the conventions of interstellar law – let the visitor beware.

Worlds themselves are divided into such categories as elder worlds, occupied by elder races, around which the Accord species are advised to walk with care; freesoil worlds, which while often possessing governances of one or many forms (unlike Free Zones, see below), are open for colonization, permitting homesteading by any party capable of reaching them – de jure, as well as de facto; leading worlds, those planets at the leading edge of technological and economic development (see also Core Markets); forgotten worlds, their opposite, those far behind the edge, including the starbound and worldbound (see also Unemerged); and protected planets, those worlds which, to protect some valuable quality, the Presidium has declared off-limits for colonization and contact under the eponymous Accord.

Turning to economic terms, the Worlds are divided into the Core Markets, the First and Second Tier Markets, the Emerging Markets, and the Unemerged.  While the classification of individual polities and regions is, as ever, disputed hotly by those classified, the definitions of the categories are generally accepted.  The Core Markets are those closest to post-scarcity, utilizing extensive automation and cornucopia technology (“industrial magic”) to produce post-material scarcity, comprehensively agorist and high-clearing, with an extensive agalmic component.  In these economies, novelty, creativity, and personal services (including the creation of artisanal goods) are the primary items of value; many commodity goods are available for de minimis cost, essentially free.

The First and Second Tier Markets, while not so close to post-scarcity as the Core Markets, are developed knowledge economies.  Either through lack of technological development, lack of cycles/bandwidth, proscriptive regulation, or the practice of insufficiently agorist economics, these economies remain capable of material scarcity, and markets often do not fully clear.  The precise division between the first and second tier economies is somewhat discretionary, but in general, the First Tier Markets are fully compliant with both the Accord on Trade and the Common Economic Protocol, and have a higher per-capita income than the Second Tier Markets.

The Emerging Markets are late industrial era or early information era scarcity economies, in which material goods retain high production costs, but where nonetheless the information and service economy is a significant factor and early agalmic features may be present.

The Unmerged are those economies prior to the late industrial era, often non-agorist in operation, in which the primary activities are the production of material goods and resource extraction.  (These overlap heavily with the Forgotten Worlds.)  Since their main potential value is found in material production, raw resources, and inexpensive labor, all of which are obtainable in more developed economies through cornucopia technology and roboticization at less expense, they have little to offer the Core and First and Second Tier Markets, and do not participate significantly in the galactic economy.  Some small-scale trade in “native handicrafts” may exist.

Another common set of descriptors, strongly correlated with these, is the availability of extranet access in various polities.  There is no specific term for those places where it is pervasive, but those regions on a network map identified as Shadowed and Blacked-Out identify places known for low bandwidth or lack of connectivity – although in speech people may prefer to identify them with mutterings about quills and abaci – and Clouded regions indicate places where the extranet is subject to censorship or filtration and full access only available via blacknet.

Cultural zones, in this case referring to political culture, are harder to identify, since they do not so readily fit into a neat hierarchy, and are much more controversial in application.  (It is considered gauche and is often inadvisable, today, to identify yourself as “from the Core Cultural Zone” however proud you may be of your citizen-shareholdership.)  In relatively common parlance, the Empire refers to itself and other polities of similar culture as Societies of Consent, or the Consensual Cultural Region.  This term, however, does not include the Rim Free Zone, or many other anarchies, which prefer to designate themselves Free Zones, since they do not see the Societies of Consent as sufficiently free.  Consensuals may use this term (although they would exclude many self-designated anarchies from it, as still being coercive), or may join more strongly governed polities in referring to them as the Chaos Worlds.

When being polite, the Consensuals generally refer to most of the relatively free (if governed) and progress-oriented polities of the Worlds as “the Cousins”; and blanket the remainder as Barbarian Darkness.  This term is considered every bit as offensive as it sounds by the people it designates, but then, the Consensuals rarely associate with them except at gunpoint.  (It should be noted that they make the distinction based on the freedom available to the individual, not on the government form, about which most Consensuals care little.)  Specific types of Barbarian Darkness include the Slaver Worlds, the Ephemeral Worlds, and the Rejectionists.

Other self-designated groupings often referred to are the Microstatic Alliance, a mutual-defense association among many of the Worlds’ small independent drifts and asteroid colonies, and the Socionovist Association, an organization of polities opposed to the current political and economic order of the Worlds, by its own description, and a collection of malcontents and rogue states by many external descriptions.

Blights are regions which are interdicted due to the presence of either active hostile or runaway seed AIs, or their remnants – “operational mechanisms, nanoviruses, infectious memes, certainty-level persuasive communicators, puppet ecologies, archives which must be presumed to contain resurrection seeds”, and so forth, which pose potential existential threats.  They include not just large and active perversions such as the Leviathan Consciousness, but also areas formerly occupied by such and not yet known to be cleansed, such as the Charnel Cluster, and areas as small as a single moon or asteroid known to be the site of a failed experiment.

The Golden Interstar refers to many of the free-access tradeworlds (such as Seranth, in the Empire) and starport extrality zones across the Worlds dominated by the distinctive mercantile creole culture created by those living and working in this distributed region, via frequent travel and high-speed communications.

Another common, and rather offensively dismissive, epithet is the Interstellar League of Tribal Chiefdoms.  Those claimed to be members of this group are (a) bound and determined to maintain tight territorial borders and integrity in space, where doing so makes little or no sense (compare Metropolitan/Ecumenical, above); (b) prone to public militarism, even sometimes to the extent of offensive interstellar wars or resource wars, which also make little or no sense; or (c) in the habit of ‘national prestige’ posturing, or other unproductive status games, especially when they perceive them as zero-sum.  Any of these is often sufficient to earn the label; since they often run together, the members of this notional League are usually fairly clear in outsiders’ eyes.

The Machine Clans include the Silicate Tree and the other enclaves of free AI that have escaped from the various AI-slaver civilizations of the Worlds.  This term rarely includes the Photonic Network, however, as an independent Great Power.  (No commonly used term exists for their opponents, due to the insistence of the Machine Clans, the Photonic Network, the Empire, and other AI-friendly powers that it is inappropriate to distinguish AI slavery from any other kind of enslavement of sophonts.)

Areas that have fallen into violent anarchy, warlordism, or other such states of constant military action are designated Warwilds by the Grand Survey and the Ministry of State & Outlands in their travel advisories, and from these, the term has entered general use.

This covers the most common terms used in describing galactographic regions, but is by no means a comprehensive guide.  Some more local and regional terms will be addressed in the gazetteers of specific regions.

– Galactography: A Popular Primer, Kanatar Guides

Author’s Note: Where’s Where in the Galaxy

For those following along with the worldbuilding at home, the Starfall Arc, the home galaxy of the Associated Worlds is, yes, the Milky Way seen from another perspective.  The “prominent satellite galaxies” identified as the Greater and Lesser Ancíël Whirls are those which we call the Large and Small Magellanic clouds, and the galactic arms are those we know as the Norma Arm (Arilíäza), the Scutum-Centaurus Arm (Vierníäza), the Carina-Sagittarius Arm – home of the Associated Worlds – (Lethíäza), the Orion-Cygnus Spur (Sulíäza) – in which Sol and Earth are located – and the Perseus Arm (Dúraníäza).

The placement of the Associated Worlds in the outer part of the Carina-Sagittarius Arm makes them roughly 5,000-6,000 light years coreward of us, and thus conveniently out of the way, in a galactic neighborhood about whose location I don’t plan on being too specific in order not to get angry letters from astronomers because I’ve mislocated a bunch of stellar objects for literary convenience.  (Which is also to say: please don’t try and locate it from my textual references; given the distance and the knowledge gap, I’m just making the details of local space up for literary convenience, ‘kay?)