The Talentarian

(Well, obviously I’ve been thinking about Mars rovers since yesterday’s movie-watching, so here, have some inspiration results…)

“…the Wayseeker rover, launched by the Spaceflight Initiative in 2208 and arriving in the following year, was the first Talentar probe to make use of a polymorphic software-derived artificial intelligence to enable full local autonomy, rather than relying on extensive teleoperation and command sequence transmission from Eliéra. Designed to perform a variety of geological and atmospheric studies, including clarifying water availability and mapping local resource concentrations in preparation for later in-person scientific and potential colonial missions.

Wayseeker performed far above expectations, completing its original mission to schedule within the first six months after landing, but then continued to operate for almost twelve Eliéran years, performing extensive resource surveys of Kirinal Planum and the western, shallower end of Quinjaní Vallis, before contact was finally lost during a particularly fierce dust storm near the end of 2221.

“The Wayseeker rover was rediscovered, largely intact, and excavated by an expedition sponsored by the University of Talentar in 2614. On examination of the rover’s non-volatile memory banks, the leaders of the expedition discovered early signs of an emergent AI developing within the rover’s experimental polymorphic software matrix, presumably catalyzed by its greatly extended run-time and increased need for autonomous decision-making. The emergence, however, had been terminated by the rover’s loss in the storm – a regrettable loss to science, as such an emergent intelligence would have greatly predated the awakening of the first documented sophont AI, CALLÍËNS, in 2594. In accordance with emerging trends in cyberethics and popular enthusiasm of the time, the University’s cognitive scientists and wakeners completed the uplift of Wayseeker to full digisapience.

“Ve rapidly found veirself catapulted into the spotlight as an instant celebrity and a hero of Project Copperfall and the ongoing Talentarian colonization effort, culminating in the 2616 vote by the Shareholders’ Assembly of the Talentarian Commonwealth which unanimously proclaimed Wayseeker, as the de facto first and oldest colonist on the planet, First Citizen Perpetual of the Commonwealth, with all associated honors and stipends attached thereto.

“Today, Wayseeker – still wearing veir original chassis, with only necessary repairs and upgrades – remains the First Citizen Perpetual of the Commonwealth, happily performing the ceremonial duties of the office and welcoming newcomers to the planet, although ve prefers to eschew politics. Ve also serves as curator of the Copperfall Museum in Quinjano Dome, and as Visiting Professor of Talentarian Geography and Ecopoetics at the University of Talentar, although ve is in the habit of taking long leaves of absence from both posts to undertake personal scientific expeditions into the Talentarian wilderness, and to spend some time alone with ‘veir planet’.”

Talentar Blossoming: the Early Years,
Vallis Muetry-ith-Miritar

Do You Want to Change the World?

“If you want to learn how to make worlds, come to the University of Talentar.

Our rusty world and its youthful wine-dark – and wine-colored, red as a fine Vintiver port – seas have been the test-bed for every ecopoetic technique in the manual. Since first Copperfall, we’ve changed the face of the eutalentic world we found in more ways than we can count.

Comet herders have brought ice, nitrate, and clotted carbon from the far Shards to fill its oceans and thicken its air. Vast soletta arrays and deep thermal boreholes warm the new waters and melt the polar caps, while canals, carved in an instant by nucleonic cutters, open up crater lakes and let them flow freely across its face. Now-ancient bacteria break up oxides for breathable air, and leach ammonia and methane, too, into the building atmosphere.

A nanoecology of mechal elementals now thrives across the world. Blackeners and smart clouds tune the planetary albedo; high in the stratosphere, self-replicating haze absorbs harmful excesses of ultraviolet light. Warming rods capture solar heat and conduct it deep into the ground to free the permafrost. Aerator swarms stir up the regolith and break up the hardpans. Landcorals, saltshapers, and exotic cyborg lichen thrive in the badlands, locking up salts unwanted by later stages of the planned evolution.

Meanwhile, the bioecology spreads in their wake. Miritar plants, crafted to thrive on that barely-modified regolith, bind the dunes and eat halogens, releasing potent greenhouse gases to warm the world. Behind them advance the dirt farmers, brewing true soil in all its microbial subtlety, such that true plants and animals can thrive – both those hardy imports that can survive, and neogens made specifically for the new world, designed to take their place in the ecological web being woven by the ecotects, the mezuar treeherders and selyéva gardeners. Bigenetic organisms, plants and animals sharing a common genome and producing each other’s seeds, spread life across the new living wilderness. In all but the highest of cold highlands, the rieltelir-modified may walk freely outside without masks – and could do so everywhere did our design not wish to retain those highlands.

Our world is where ecopoesis began; it’s where ecopoesis has made most progress; and it’s where you can get hands-on experience with every aspect of every stage of the process.

And ecopoesis, too, is an ever-growing art and industry. The Worlds are expanding faster every year, and of all the new planets discovered, the majority of those considered potentially habitable are eutalentic, in need of the helping hand of a talented ecotect and crew.

Contact us today for details of our introductory and advanced courses.”

– voiceover for an advertisement published by the U. T. Faculty of Megascale Ergetics

[P.S. If any talented artist/videographer types are interested in making the video for which this is the voiceover, please do contact me. I usually hesitate to include notes like this, but I can see the imagery in my head, and it is awesome.]