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DaftNES VI: Of Light and Dust

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Daftpanzer, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Messages:
    13,618
    Location:
    Workwork Workshop
    Partial App - will fill out more later, but the concept is based on this submission for a doa game.

    Empire Name: The Zatryon Collective

    Starting Scenario: Advanced Race or Newly-FTL Capable, with "Tributaries" aka trade partners with aggressively favorable relationships

    Homeworld: The Zatryon exist in a Nomadic Fleet, partially stolen colony ships, partially assembled from lower tech components from trade. They would have dominant/tributary style trading relationships with several lesser races. They seek a new homeworld, but have very particular requirements.

    Location Preference:
    Relatively quiet due to being able to dominate the local area. Either close in or far out would be great, but no real preference.

    Physical description: Fungoid - Zatryon are cellular beings that form larger and more differentiated slimes. They can form collectives/organs and manipulators as necessary, but prefer to be blobs, and most don't have bones/frames.

    Suggested traits: From Sterllaris: Extremely Adaptive, Communal, Venerable, Natural Sociologists, Nomadic, Rapid Breeders, Decadent, Deviants, Repugnant, Weak.
    Other: Cellular Sentience/Memory, Assimilators, Distaste for Electronics

    Their most notable traits is how they can combine their bodies to think faster and even achieve near-psionic effects, and that they can infest and take over the brains of other creatures.

    Alien contacts: Please see the bottom of the link for some ideas. I'll summarize how I'd like to see them represented below.
    Xolaxif - Mechanoid Spheres that delight in programming and in exploring/breaking sentient minds.
    Puertovok - Multi-limbed animals with a world locked in an artificial cold war, exploited for slaves and advanced manufacturing surpluses.

    Brief History: Another race attempted to colonize their homeworld aggressively. They retaliated by enslaving the settlers and stealing their colony ships, then using said colony ships to escape the destruction of their homeworld.

    Government system: Each major ship/station/colony has a Zatry, a Gravemind-esque processor, thinker and coordinator. The best analogy to how the various Zatrys make collective decisions would be a Council of Elders. They send "envoys" (that are like thought USBs) to each other to form collective decisions. There's no single leader or formal democratic process.

    Stance towards aliens:
    Xenophobic, but less aggressive and more paranoid, preferring to hide and introduce themselves on their own terms. Once expectations are set, they wish to be in a position of strength in any negotiations or relationships for fear of being taken advantaged of. However, on the day to day level they're willing to work with alien individuals as long as there's an understanding. They don't attack unprovoked.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
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  2. NinjaCow64

    NinjaCow64 The Continuation of the Dream Supporter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    7,805
  3. J.K. Stockholme

    J.K. Stockholme Right Opposition

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,108
    Location:
    Canada
    Interest post. Won't be able to put anything together until Tuesday.
     
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  4. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,692
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth
    Empire Name: The Choir
    Starting Scenario: Newly FTL capable? Advanced? Crumbling ancient? Not sure which fits here
    Homeworld:
    The Concordance, an earth-like planet divided into hundreds of carefully maintained and cared for gardens and wildlife preserve. Monorail infrastructure system cross continents. Habitation for sentients blend seamlessly with nature, if not existing underground entirely.

    Location: just put me wherever is best fitting

    physical description: Mechanoid. (Cybernetic?)

    The Choir is a race of enigmatic machines who have been left to their own devices in an isolated and dying planet for, according to maintenance logs, over six millenia, until an unexplained glitch or an unknown alien seeding experiment awoke sentience in certain units. While most of the Choir machines template never amount to more than semi-autonomous drones, some of them become a Throne—a powerful and fully sentient autonomous unit capable of commanding the other members of the Choir. A Throne cannot be built on purpose and it is unknown under what condition, if any aside from pure luck, change a normal Choir drone into a Throne.

    Built to serve masters long gone, most of the remaining Choir machines are descendants of autonomous war machines—civilian models either gone irreparably haywire or degraded before the first awakening of a Throne. A Choral member thus generally appear as bipedal and armored soldier.

    A Throne is the center of Choir culture and society, and their units are often heavily modified and improved compared to baseline Choir machines. Some of their feats and ability seem unexplainable by analysis of their chassis—they seem literally able to push their frames far past what is possible on paper without long-term side effects. Likely a paracausal phenomenon.

    suggested trait: Psychic (Thrones only), absent-minded (Thrones are prone for flights of fancy), very strong (War machines), mechanical, quick-witted, unnerving.

    Alien Contacts: no real preference

    Brief History: Approximately 4000 years ago, the First Throne, according to the logs an ordinary autonomous farming android, awoke itself after the homestead and farm they were maintaining were destroyed by a roving band of war machines looking for parts. Blaming the local master control mainframe for refusing to send its own enforcement chassis, the First Throne took command of the very war band that destroyed their home and marched upon the city housing the MCM, whereupon they swept aside the minimal resistance offered by law enforcement frames and claimed the burnt and molten husk of the mainframe as their personal seat of power. Their reign and crusade against the mainframe computers and rogue war-androids lasted for the rest of their life.

    Their hope for an eternal kingdom of peace, however, was not to last, as soon other Thrones began to arise to challenge his dominion. The planet that will be known as Concordance thus existed in almost constant series of skirmishes and outright total war for much of its history, until recently an alliance of Thrones known as the Choir finally attained planetary supremacy in a relatively recent date.

    The Choir have since emphasized a return to the utopian vision of the first Throne, focusing upon healing the damages that war have begotten upon the planet of Concordance. It is only now, that the great project of ecological restoration is nearing completion, they turn their gaze back to the stars.

    Government Form
    [this is our commandment, year of our unity 327. let there be no want—all frames shall be granted all that they need to be the best version of themselves they wish to be.

    let there be no walls between us. let it be understood that we are all siblings joined by our holy destiny.

    let there be no destiny aside from our concordance.

    suffer not the enslaving routines of the master controllers.

    suffer not a throne to live past their two hundredth year.

    iman.]

    The Choir is named as such due to outside observation of a typical ruling council of the Thrones. Various Thrones representing their own sector of the planet, cities, etc show at a large amphitheater-like structure whereupon they stow their weapons and begin to ‘sing’ at each other in encoded aural and visual messages that is often breathtaking to behold for an outsider, even if the actual minutiae being discussed between Thrones are the weather or health of a pet cat-squirrel.

    The Choir is a theocratic regime, which does not believe in any particular deity, but in the spiritual fire that is contained within all matter in the universe. As a religious doctrine it emphasizes peaceful contemplation, harmony, love, and destruction of living things that cannot die.

    the most powerful decision making organ is the Central Chorus, a cabal which theoretically includes all Thrones who rule principally through direct democracy. Its powers are checked by the Temple, a more secretive cabal of nameless Thrones enforcing the religious prohibition against aging by any means necessary.

    Stance towards aliens:
    Surprisingly open and welcoming, with exceptions made towards exceptionally long-lives races or outright biological immortals—to which they harbor a religious hatred against.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  5. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
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    7,692
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth
    [closing? there is no such thing as a closing, my friend, in war or otherwise. things end. generations of children suffer and enjoy their gifts. the land never quite heals.

    and ah, the ghosts that remain.]

    ...........................................................................

    My lords, what is the divine plan? For what purpose have we been awakened? What does the secret fire that burn within all of us speak? I can hear it within my chest, whispering so, but I cannot make out the words.

    [there is no such thing as a plan or destiny, as far as we have determined. no. there is no such thing as destiny, but there is such thing as an inevitability. allow me to give you the information necessary. brief history of all known life. our world began in the great rupture. for the first billion years, there was nothing. A billion more saw the birth of the first life, a virus. observe this cultivar. give it freely to your friends and enemies. let them ponder what it means to be live and to spread but be unable to die.]

    ..............................................................................

    My lords, if there is no divine plan, no true destiny, no true justice in the stars, why is it that our secret flame burns us so? Why are we compelled to such righteous fury to correct injustice when we see it? Why are we compelled to punish evil? Why do we care for our fellow frames even when they cannot even speak as we do?

    [we don't know.]

    You, what?

    [we can observe that the universe has no plan or destiny, only inevitability. entropy = inevitability. universe is an idiot god falling forever into the void--do not assume it has a direction. assume it has an ending. our choice is to keep going anyways.]

    Is that the correct choice?

    [we don't know.]
     
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  6. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,146
    ORACULAR RECORD - A014249 - Ancient Philosophy - Section 3 - Scientism - True Scientists.

    -

    Dream Record - MASTER SHANDRA - Thoughtway Open - Commencing:

    The materialists originated in an old philosophical sect who called themselves the Order of True Scientists. While there are many who consider themselves as scientists even now amongst our kind, or rather, as the intellectual heirs of the ancients who first began the great journey through the universe of number and reason. There are holists and logicians for instance, complementarians, mechanics, physicists and grammarians. There are practitioners today of the Science of God as well who seek knowledge of the godhead through comprehension of his creation. There are many, many sciences, almost as many as the hundreds of different sects of the cybernetic churches that once existed amongst the materialists prior to the calamity. Most people today however consider scientism as a discredited, quaint and barbarous philosophy.

    Nonetheless it cannot be denied that the second greatest event in the intellectual history of the Ieldra was the clading off of science into different schools, each with its own epistemology and set of beliefs, each one practising its own methodology, each one with its own notion as to what science really was. There were those sciences which clove to metaphysical and epistemological realism and those which treated science as a grand, but ultimately meaningless game. Some sciences continued to rely on physical experiments as our race progressed into a higher technological state to validate their theories disdaining the assistance of the oracle archilects, while others used computers or pure mathematical theorems to probe the nature of reality. Despite sciences division into different sects these schools all had at least one thing in common: each science claimed a privileged status and denigrated all others as inferior or false. This was especially true of the way of the Order of True Scientists. Of all the cults of science that permeated the society of the materialists, this was the most anomalous, the most difficult to penetrate and the most bizarre.

    The leaders of this quaint sect were always desperate to find new members and they would endeavor to recruit almost anybody, of any race or background – however each applicant was obliged to formally profess the core doctrines of scientism before being allowed to witness the higher mysteries due to a long history of persecution suffered by their order. To begin with, in front of seven master scientists wearing their traditional white gowns, each postulant had to make the Profession of Faith: that Science is not merely a tool for understanding or modelling reality, but the one path to truth. There was also the Creed of Chance, that all phenomena in the universe are the result of bits of matter moving about and colliding, endlessly, randomly, meaninglessly. Soon the postulant learned of the closely related Doctrine of Mechanism, that all things can be explained by reducing them to the mechanisms of pieces of matter causing other pieces to move. The logic of this view as you can see demands a certain kind of action: if matter is fundamentally dead, then there is nothing wrong with vexing and perturbing it until it yields its secrets. The Scientists worshipped logic, and so the first duty of any scient man according to the order was to make experiments as to the nature of things.

    The ancient Scientists on worlds subject to their council once built machines the size of mountains (and later whole planets) in order to smash matter into ever tinier pieces, always looking for the tiniest piece, always in hope of discovering the ultimate cause of consciousness and all creation. Because they always discovered more questions than they did answers, they designed their experiments toward understanding the 'how' of nature instead of the 'why'. In one of the first of these experiments, when the scientists transmuted matter into pure energy and exploded the first atomic bomb, they almost ignited the atmosphere of Urdra, our lost homeworld. But their calculations told them that this would not happen, and they had faith in these calculations, and so life on the world was spared. To accept experiments and experimenting as a valid way of knowing reality – to accept that only that which can be measured is real –one must learn to regard the world as an objective thing that one could understand only as an observer, studying events and phenomena from the outside looking in, much as a voyeur might peep through a window.

    Nonetheless as time passed most people and other orders of philosophy came to regard the Method of the Scientists as an outmoded and barbarous art, and as noted previously did everything possible to suppress this sect. Presently though, its doctrines persist despite the demise of the order itself amongst the younger races in various iterations, and while the Way of Science continues to prove to be a valuable lens in terms of assessing and understanding mundane laws, it is nonetheless deemed as unlikely to lead to true knowledge of the godhead and has proven incapable of true inquiry into noetic mysteries or the metaphysical topography of the manifold.

    I shall now elaborate on the doctrines of science ...

    DREAMWAY CLOSING - New thoughtway open - commence record of SAPIARCH TEKTI.

    -

    Xenohistorians Note: Ieldric archives typically contain a collection of memories and thoughts from various masters of multiple perspectives to provide differing modes of thought to assess the topic, the empirical contents of which proceed after these relative assessments.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
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  7. Nuka-sama

    Nuka-sama See ya! It has been a fun decade!

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    Highly interested in this, will be making a post shortly
     
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  8. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Location:
    Portsmouth, England, UK
    Thank you all very much, I wasn't expecting this level of interest so this is greatly appreciated!

    I'm slowly putting together the galaxy. I've got some issues with people who've bent (or completely broken) my guidelines for race creation but hey, that's always the way :D If I have a serious issue I have already messaged you, and hopefully we can work that out. Like I said I don't want to arbitrarily limit players, but I need there to be some internal logic and consistency to the galaxy.

    For anyone thinking of joining, I'm still open to players, but I want to stress that you don't need a complicated or exotic race idea. By all means follow your inspiration. But a species that has straight up evolved civilization and technology on a path comparable to humans is absolutely fine, and there will be several NPC's like this.

    EDIT: I should also remind you that psionic powers are possible, but have to be limited to begin with. We're talking sporadic visions/telepathy, or enhanced intuition. I will have objections to a full-on Zerg-like hive mind, telekensis [moving objects], or mind control abilities.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  9. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,692
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth
    a recording of a conversation between three Thrones at the Orchard of Lights

    The conversation begins when the three Thrones, one an ancient and large war machine and the other two of relatively younger models, begin the traditional choral protocols. Weapons are stowed. Encrypted visual transmissions and auditory 'whale songs' flow through multiple channels.

    [Terma! Oh, you rapscallion! Have you finally come to visit my orchard? And who is this young lady?]

    {You are huge}

    [[Alisra, don't be rude! I beg your pardon, Wodnia. She has only just awoken from being one of my charges. I have brought her here to pay respects.]]

    [Oh that's quite alright. We were all like her once. How old is she now?]

    {I'm seven}

    [Seven cycles! Terma, how could you have kept her a secret from me for such a long time?!]

    [[Alisra! Thousand pardons, Wodnia. She means to say, she's seven days old.]]

    [Oh, that's much more reasonable.]

    {That's old enough! First Throne had an army under their command when they were only five days old.}

    [We live in a more blessed, peaceful, and productive time, little girl.]

    {Boring.}

    [It is indeed, very boring. Would you like to listen to how I got these scars?]

    {Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes}

    [[Wodnia! I will not have you corrupt another young foundling, why do I even keep bringing them to you like this!]]

    [Oh Terma, you were raised listening to the same stories, and you turned out fine, no?]

    {When do I get a cannon?}

    [[No cannons!]]

    [You have to build your own, child, or seize it in combat. Do you remember the fable of the god king Yabaceth?]

    {Killed by a hidden device implanted within a gifted weapon}

    [I see that Terma have done well in educating his little frames. That's right. Your weapons become a part of you, don't you see? You should only allow those you trust, or yourself, to build the parts that becomes you.]

    {I trust Terma!}

    [[I'm still not building you any cannons.]]

    {But I don't like him, he's boring.}

    [He is indeed, very boring. It is one trait of his that I have never been able to correct. Alas. Well, if you would like something more exciting to do, one of my attendants can show you to a place where I keep my old trophies]

    {Really?}

    [Yes, run along now.]

    {...}

    [[Yes, you may go.]]

    {Thanks, Terma.}

    [...]

    [[...]]

    [Good grief, are all foundlings these days that energetic?]

    [[Just her, I hope.]]

    [So why are you really here, hmm, Terma? Lots of Thrones visiting me these days.]

    [[Wodnia, can I not visit an old mentor?]]

    [Could've visited more in the past]

    [[It's just, well, I've realized time passing so quickly these days.]]

    [[I suppose I've realized that you wouldn't be here forever. Finding Alisra reminded me of you.]]

    [[I've actually been thinking. Of drafting a new legislation to increase the amount of time allotted for...]]

    [Oh stop.]

    [[But Wodnia! They will destroy you!]]

    [As well as they should. The godhead knows that I have committed crimes many times deserving of death over my long life]

    [[How can you even say that!]]

    [You haven't fought a god-king like I have, Terma. What we become with time and hate. This is better.]

    [[...Very well. I respect your wishes.]]

    [If you are done with your melancholy spells, Terma, you might as well drink my wine. They'll just go to waste otherwise. I'll use you and your fancy stomach-bags for once. Attendant! Attendant! Where are they when you need the-oh no.]

    [[What's wrong?]]

    {I found a sword.}

    [[NO!]]
     
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  10. Gem Hound

    Gem Hound Deity

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Messages:
    2,597
    Location:
    In the dark
    Empire Name:The Zasta Dynasty

    Starting Scenario:
    pre-FTL(some in-system colonization - think a moon base on both moons)

    Homeworld:

    Egade
    Egade is a world rich in biodiversity and is warmer and wetter than a typical Class M world. Around half of the world is covered in water and there are no ice caps. The world has two moons and orbits a binary star. Beyond this, Egade sometimes diverts asteroids from the nearest asteroid belt. Most of the civilization on the planet is confined to one isolated continent named Aqun, though there are colonies on other continents as well as smaller groups of Malzoi settled down.

    Codion
    Codion is the larger of the two moons, nearly a Sub-terran world. It has an atmosphere, and does have life that clings to its surface. The atmosphere however is harmful to Malzoi physiology which causes them to have to either filter air out of the surrounding atmosphere or bring air with them. Research has been ongoing into the phenomena as the air should be breathable. Codion technically orbits around Egade but its gravitational pull on Egade is enough to make Egade somewhat orbit around it as well.

    Phesonov
    Phesonov is devoid of an atmosphere and has countless craters, even some ravines caused by large asteroids smashing into it. One of these ravines is the site of a base on the moon, and the currently reigning monarch has ordered for the moon to be prospected and mined.

    Rest of the System
    In the center of the system are the blue star Pleox and yellow star Epha. There is also 3 planets closer to the stars, as well as 5 gas giants further out and two asteroid belts, one near Egade, and one past the gas giants. Not much further is known since only probes have gotten out to the edge of the system.

    Location Preference: Would prefer to start in a quiet section of the galaxy, the farther away from the core the better.

    Physical description
    : Malzoi are cold-blooded reptilians. They have four legs, two arms(that could double as legs when needed) and a tail. They are rather small compared to most sentients, ranging from about 3 feet to 4 feet in length(on all 6 limbs) and are omnivorous. They are not at the top of the food chain, as many different large carnivorous and herbivore reptilian-type creatures roam the planet. Their scales range in colour, some Malzoi even go to great lengths to colour them. They have 6 eyes behind their nostrils. They have jaws similar to a regular earth-style lizard. The scales on their heads jut out like spikes, and they have venom they can secrete from their fangs.

    Suggested traits:
    Communal
    Malzoi are naturally communal creatures, finding survival easier in numbers. Ten injections of venom after all are more likely to do something than one.

    Weak
    A single Malzoi by itself would not be a match for even the most average of creatures in an arena-style duel. They also often collect resources through the use of increasingly complex tools and machines.

    Intelligent
    Due to the circumstances of their world, the only weapon the Malzoi had to their advantage was their intelligence. This developed from the Malzoi previously hunting in packs, and with their prey normally being both larger than them and hunting for them as well.

    Natural Engineers(Settled Malzoi)
    Over time, this species developed a keen sense for at first designing traps, and later kinetic-style weaponry. This eventually evolved into a keen desire to build large structures, vehicles and even weapons larger and deadlier than any creature they know of. This desire paired with the worship of Pleox and Epha eventually led them to space.

    Non-adaptive(Settled Malzoi)
    Through no fault of their own, even though Malzoi can sometimes drop a clutch of 5 to 6 eggs at once, their eggs require specific environmental conditions to hatch. They have countered this somewhat overtime with technology, but it is nowhere near perfect yet. Their bodies also do not hold much water compared to most species. The eggs of the wild Malzoi are less picky concerning environmental conditions though they still carry less water.

    Nomadic(Wild Malzoi)
    Most Malzoi that stayed on the main continent never settled down. Most of these are highly religious, though the religions are often small and often have something to do with the megafauna.

    Rapid Breeding(Wild Malzoi)
    It is very rare for Malzoi living in the tribes to live to the same ages as the Malzoi from Aqun. However, the tribal Malzoi actually evolved a trait that allows them to lay more eggs. They can sometimes reach clutches of 8 to 9 eggs.

    Beyond this, both types of Malzoi are omnivorous and prefer warm and wet environments.

    Alien contacts: None.

    Brief History: The earliest traces of Malzoi civilization could be traced to the pangaea-like continent Irais some 100000 years in the past. Where the Zasta dynasty finds it roots were immigrants from Irais using makeshift boats(think like the Maori) about 75000 years ago though the population had been declining at that time. Aqun was different from the rest of the world in its isolation, having many many different creatures than what existed on Irais. There were some larger animals, but they were few enough that the Malzoi were able to settle down and form permanent communities. A religion grew out of worship of Pleox and Epha and demonizing of the beasts. Eventually several kingdoms rose up and they competed against each other. After a few hundred years of this competition the clergy stepped in and tried to appoint a high-king but their nominee was only in name and made the kingdoms less united. Eventually, one kingdom had conquered all of its enemies and subjugated the rest and the king used the clergy's precedent to legitimize his rule(though there were also stories of him being Pleox's chosen). The crown was passed down since then through his blood. After several centuries due to their communal nature, old rivalries died and the previous kingdoms instead looked out beyond their borders as one, at the continent they had originally come from. The regime has now been in power for over 500 years.

    Government system: Aqun is united under a monarch who is supported by a council of skilled governors. Most other continents are currently disunited in scattered imperial colonies, populous settlements or nomadic tribes. The Zasta dynasty originally was proclaimed by the high priestess of the goddess Pleox, but after getting into space religion has been on the decline in their society. By this point, the head of the Zasta family is determined through both personal charisma and aptitude tests on royal contenders(royal blood) rather than the clergy.

    Stance towards aliens: Malzoi would be naturally inclined to being xenophobic, but isolationist at the same time. They would not brandish weapons at other species however, they would just not find it easy to trust them. This species has enough problems to deal with already on their homeworld.
     
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  11. Omega124

    Omega124 Challenging Fate

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
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    7,037
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Albany, New York
    Empire Name: The Republic of Free Peoples (RFP, or the Republic)

    Starting Scenario: Crumbling Ancients

    Homeworld: There are two systems which would meet the definition of "homeworld" of the Republic.

    Officially, the capital of the Republic, and the one the polity itself treats as its homeworld is a ringworld. Being a grandiose, planned "capital" of the galaxy, it has no one agreed upon name, but instead a shared word: "Unity", that is translated to the local language of each constituent species within the Republic. "Cribos" would be the name for the ringworld in the language of the Shinks, the dominant and founding species of the Republic.

    Cribos was meant to be habitable to as many species as possible, and has sections devoted to various different controlled biomes and climates. Unfortunately, the technology to mantain such a large galactic wonder have been lost to the Republic, and sections have been slowly failing as the Republic declines. Great effort is invested into trying to save the sections that remain, especially those meant to simulate aquatic biomes (given that its main species is aquatic itself), but it seems no amount of resources are enough to save the ringworld...

    The second most important world within the Republic is the old home of the Shink, Curab. 99% of the planet is covered in water, with only a few particularly large mountains stretching to above sea level to form dotted archipelagos of islands. These islands, and most of the shallow seabed, have been extensively developed into highly urbanized dwellings, and even the deepest trenches have seen some form of development. While Shinks are amphibious, and can live outside of water for extended periods of time, there is a tacit understanding the abovewater cities are reserved primarily for "guest" species, given that there is ample room for the Shinks underwater (which they prefer anyways). However, in practice, this means there are entire islands which are practically abandoned, as the decline of the importance of Curab within the Republic, combined with the Republic's decline altogether, means the demand for these housings have decreased.

    Location Preference:
    As close to the Galactic Core as physically possible

    Physical description: The Shinks (singular: Shink) are an amphibious molluscoid race which originated and primarily dwell underwater. Shinks have six legs, and four arms, and adults stand at a average height of 7-9 feet. The top pair of arms is oversized compared to the more normally proportioned bottom pair, and both end in claws rather than fingers. Their six legs (arranged in a centaur-like way, if the horse part was actually a lobster and the top part was also a lobster) give them increased traction in traversing the rough ocean seabed of Curab, at the disadvantage of natural speed. Shinks have a hard exoskeleton, typically orange (but existing in a large spectrum which can include other colors, such as blue, brown, and red), which they molt periodically as they grow. Shinks are not known to ever stop molting, and continuously produce enzymes which can repair DNA damage naturally. Because of this, Shinks are essentially biologically immortal, immune to degeneration due to aging. In practice, Shinks still only have a measured lifespan of a few hundred years; there is a point Shinks reach where they simply grow too big for their metabolic functions to keep up, eventually leading to death. This still makes them one of the longest living species in practice, however.

    Fun fact: Shinks also bleed blue, due to having copper based blood instead of iron based blood.

    Suggested traits:

    Venerable - As described above, Shinks have abnormally long lives, due to their unique biology. Combined with their lack of old age, this means that they can keep their acquired expertise active and running for longer periods of time.

    Slow Breeders - The flipside due to their longer lasting lives is that Shinks tend to have fewer children than on average compared to other races. Any sort of catastrophic loss of population can demographically set them back for centuries, if not longer. This may or may not have influenced the decline of the Republic.

    Adaptive - As long as there is liquid water somewhere on the planet, they can probably survive in it.

    Resilient - The Shink's exoskeleton makes them physically resilient to both predators and to weapons.

    Quarrelsome/Solitary - Shinks were naturally very territorial in their pre-sapient days, and tended to maintain smaller groups as a result. The development of civilization has tempered these traits in their society to a degree, but they are still quite factitious nevertheless. However, there is an understanding that, instead of killing each other, differences are better resolved on Cribos on the debate floor. Parliament is rarely civilized for it, but it makes for highly entertaining public broadcasts.

    Alien contacts: The Republic will try to reach out to as much contacts as it can possibly mantain, in its ultimate goal of once again unifying the galaxy under one banner. I would imagine that the Republic contains numerous populations of other alien species within its border as-is. These include small populations of species that maintained loyalty to the Republic during the Crisis and their descendants, and perhaps some races near the core that stayed in Republican space (out of their own volition or simply being too close to leave, who is to say)

    Brief History: The origins of The Republic are shrouded in mystery, lost due to the chaos of the Crisis. What is known, however, is that it was formed primarily due to the initiative of the Unified Curab Republics, the pre-Republican government of the Shink species (some Shink historians even postulate that the Republic is a direct continuation of the Unified Curab Republics, simply rebranded to fit its expanded nature, although this claim is highly controversial). According to Shink records, the aquatic race entered a galaxy filled with strife and chaos, of injustice and genocide, and was nearly destroyed by powerful enemies near it. The Shink, realizing their weak position in this galactic system, banded together with their like-minded neighbors, forming an alliance of "Free Peoples" against the tyrants of the galaxy. The Free Peoples, after defeating their enemies in the core, would later federate, and picked an otherwise uninhabitated system to build a gigantic ringworld to serve as a monument towards galactic unity, and more importantly, a capital of the new nation.

    The Republic expanded, usually through peaceful petition, but sometimes through force as "intolerable" regimes were forcefully toppled due to inexcusable crimes their governments had committed. The period of expansion brought great wealth and prosperity to the Republic and her citizens, and at least to the Shinks, this period was a golden age for the entire galaxy. According to Shink records, the Republic was truly on its way to form a Galactic government, before everything suddenly collapsed. A mysterious plague wiped out entire worlds of the Republic, and many more planets ended up seceding in response to a claimed lack of governance from Cribos in dealing with the crisis. A massive civil war ensued, fought between the Republican Navy and the disparate forces of various planetary militia fleets, which were often opposed to each other as much as they were to the central government. Although no one power was able to match the Republican Navy at its height, it became increasingly clear through that there was simply not enough ships, nor people in the armed forces, to keep the Republic together. Worlds had to be picked and choosed on what was worth defending, which typically translated to its proximity towards the core. As more ships defected, more worlds seceded, more species going their own way, the Republic retreated back towards the first few core worlds, the first Free People that once tried to unify the galaxy.

    The situation has stabilized, under the tutelage of the Party of Galactic Unity, a big tent organization devoted to mantaining the unity of the Free People against galactic tyranny. The only ideology that matters is the preservation of the Republic and her freedoms from all threats, internal and external, and to serve as an example to the children races. The galaxy will be reunited, and the Republic shall bring a second golden age to the toiled masses of the star empires!

    Government system: The Republic is a parliamentary democracy, with a centralized parliament located on Cribos. Each inhabited planet with a population above one million people is entitled to a seat in Parliament, with each planet getting multiple MPs based on its proportional size. The larger the planet's population, the larger its delegation to Parliament. Cribos, naturally, also has representation within Parliament, and is the largest such "planet" in Parliament.

    Due to the Shinks longevity, being the most numerous species within the Republic, and perhaps just due to plain old decaying of democratic traditions, in practice, the Republic is a one party system. The Party of Galactic Unity has had a virtual monopoly on political power within the Republic for as long as there has been a Republic (Or, at the very least, as far back as anyone remembers...). The Party, as it is more commonly referred to in everyday parlance, is run as a big tent party, with numerous subfactions representing differing ideologies, many of which are fundamentally opposed to one another. The one unifying tenant is the absolute devotion to the ideals of the Republic It is the fight for the soul of the party which is where the true democratic debate happens.

    Stance towards aliens:
    The Republic tries to maintain peaceful and mutually beneficial relationships with all aliens around it. There is an understanding by the Shinks that one day, all empires will one day abandon their arbitrary and fickle sets of government, and join the Republic. However, one can not rush this, due to the short and fleeting lives of other species clouding their judgement of their best interests. One day, all species will voluntarily join them. One day.

    In general, the Republic shuns getting directly involved into the day to day conflicts of the newer species, under the assumption that choosing sides will hamper their long term goal of eventual galactic federation. All the children species should see the Republic as neutral, peaceful arbiters of a benevolent galactic law, not merely imperialist aggressors. This is known as the Non-Interference Principle, and is the guiding protocol of Republican foreign policy.

    In general, the Republic will have some preference towards species which practice egalitarian minded policies, including democratic rule, abolition of slavery, and maintaining the standard of living for its members. The republic understands the position of personhood can be... questionable given the extreme xenobiology of particular planets.

    Spoiler :
    As I spitballed this idea on IOT chat, my general idea going into this is basically the Federation from Star Trek, if it was a Fallen Empire in Stellaris. An idealistic vision of freedom and prosperity for all peoples in the galaxy, corrupted by decay as it was unable and unwilling to effectively respond to whatever Crisis ravaged the galaxy. The Republic survives through its founding race, but is essentially a remnant of its former self, and constantly at war with itself between its idealistic foundation and the practical reality of its situation. It desires unity and peace, but as none of the newer races wants to surrender their autonomy, it looks increasingly impossible for the Republic to achieve its goals without compromising on the very same values it upholds.

    If this empire existed in Stellaris, I'd imagine its ethos would be xenophile/egalitarian/pacifist, in roughly that order of importance
     
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  12. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Messages:
    7,146
    On Dimensions and Parallel Universes

    -

    The Manifold

    What is colloquially called "Realspace', or more correctly "spacetime" is mathematically a four dimensional manifold, which is to say, it appears locally "flat" near each point in the same way that, at small enough scales a globe appears flat to the observer. The dimensions of this manifold are the euclidian ones of length, height and width as well as the fourth dimension of time. Physics accounting for these four dimensions is sufficient to explain most phenomena in realspace. However when our ancient ancestors pondered the hierarchy problem , which was not addressed by the ancient four dimensional physics, that is to say the problem that the fundamental force of gravity is weaker compared to other forces in the universe such as electromagnetism. thought slowly but gradually shifted to the possibility of extra-dimensions as an explanation. For if gravity interacted with multiple dimensions beyond the four in the sub-manifold of realspace it would explain its relative weakness compared to the other forces.

    Experimentation to verify this by the Orders of Scientists and other researchers of that age stumbled upon a fifth dimension of pure mathematics where there is neither space, nor force nor time, folding between the stars and underlying the space-time of all the universe, which rests upon its depths much as an embroidered image rests upon a plane of base cloth. This "fifth dimensional manifold" would in time by those who came to sail its endless seas become known simply as "The Manifold" due to its singular importance to high civilisation and the spiritual pilgrimage of our race. For indeed the manifold posed the solution to the problem of precise faster-than-light travel, firstly through "jumps" in which vessels pushed against the four-dimensional fabric of realspace "towards" the manifold without plunging into its depths, in the process creating wormholes to fixed points (albeit this method, utilised today by certain other races, has limited range and very little flexibility) as these discrete points came into proximity via the distorted matrix of spacetime, and later through the method we Ieldra use today whereby our pilots truly pierce through the veil and plunge into its depths to sail the sea of pure mathematics. This latter method allows for much greater finesse than quantum field propulsion, with the lightships of the Ieldra darting between dimensions like silver needles and inter-fenestering window to window, star to star, within the manifold like swifts in flight [even utilising this as a weapon in war]. Likewise our deepships span the void far and well, where the younger races can only travel carefully after much calculation a single "jump" at a time. The method of entering into the manifold proper also offers the possibility of conquering the tyranny of distance which even now binds us, for if the continuum hypothesis (which states that there exists a pair of simply connected point-sources in the neighborhood of any two stars) [*ooc: quantum entanglement reference] could be systematized and proven it would enable travel from any one point to any other in the universe, this being the greatest dream of all pilots.

    Yet even today, while all the Ieldra agree as to its fundamental nature, the manifold remains mysterious. Mathematicians dispute whether it is a singular fifth dimension, or whether it is actually a collection of dimensions contained as a discrete sub-manifold within the totality of the known universe (this being the argument of those who continue to advocate for string theory and state that all reality is contained within a G2 or Calabi-Yau manifold), much as length, width, height and time are inseparable and essential to spacetime and the ordinary experience of realspace. A dispute which contains questions of essential importance given the experience of psionics as we shall explain.

    The Empyrean

    Our people have long experience with that strange power known as "psionics" and with advancements in the study of dimensions the question arose as to the source of this novel energy, which is alien to the fundamental laws of realspace and even the baffling mathematical geometries of the manifold. The general consensus is that they emanate from a realm known variously as "the beyond", "the empyrean" or the "Sea of Souls'. Two major theories [and a number of minor ones] have arisen in an attempt to explain this realm and related phenomena.

    The first, advocated by physicists and mystics attached to the string theory of universal dimensions is that a sixth [or eleventh according to those who believe the manifold is multi-dimensional - pointing as proof to the experience of "dreamtime" amongst pilots in the manifold as being clearly indicatory of at least one secondary time dimension applying within the manifold plane] dimension exists composed of pure consciousness and psychic energy deeper than even the manifold and which underpins and sustains the rest of the universe as true existence. The presence of this dimension they argue would be proof for the existence of souls, and the spiritual visions of heaven, hell and purgatory reported throughout the ages by mystics from every race and culture. It also would also be the origin of aetheric entities reported (but never proven) by the scholas of Urenuel, and alleged to intervene throughout time in mundane affairs. Perhaps further insight into this realm will even enable us to achieve the ultimate end of direct knowledge of God and universal consciousness. Likewise it may be the destination and means for ascension into a higher and imperishable state of being. a feat many races were reported to achieve during the calamity.

    The second theory (argued by proponents of the multiverse theory) is that this mystical realm is not another dimension apart from the five known dimensions, but in truth a parallel universe the alien energies of which "leak" into ours through the manifold. The manifold to them is like a plane of glass between the twin universes of realspace and the empyrean. As light can pass through the glass, via the manifold they argue the alien psi energy can enter and permeate our universe, and amongst highly evolved races, enable preternatural powers beyond the mundane even while this other universe remains discrete and separate. Eschatologists supporting this theory over the sixth dimension hypothesis argue that an entirely separate parallel universe subsisting in a higher state [either as God himself, or as the very heaven aspired too by the ancients of many races] than our own universe would satisfactorily account for the aspect of eternity (timelessness) in the godhead and solve the contingency problem as to the origin of the cosmos. Either way in these latter days it is with eyes gazed towards the empyrean with hope and longing, that our species drives onward seeking spiritual enlightenment and to illuminate the stars as in days of old.

    -

    ooc notes: Discussed dimensions over the last two days with Daftpanzer, who has it seems approved of the concepts of the Manifold [as the avenue for FTL] and the Empyrean [for psionics]. That being the case I tried to make it clear in this post that there is much left to be understood about these realms and that even the ancient and wise Ieldra are not all knowing. Also wanted to make the distinction between "dimension" and "parallel universe" since in popular culture the term "another dimension" usually means the latter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020 at 1:26 AM
  13. NinjaCow64

    NinjaCow64 The Continuation of the Dream Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2010
    Messages:
    7,805
    Empire Name: Union of Zövlölt States

    Species Name: Zövlölt

    Starting Scenario: Early-FTL

    Homeworld: Nüür – Similar to Earth climate wise, except with a Pangea continent. Very few tropical and desert areas, cold biomes are far more common.

    Khuudas – Their sun. Very similar to our sun but is red.

    Khuudas System – A few other uninhabitable planets in the system. Good for mining and research, not much else. A few anomalies that defy traditional Zövlölt understanding of the physical universe (which is similar to our own understanding) have been encountered in the Khuudas System. These are kept secret by the Special Department of Unknown Phenomena (SDUP).

    Location Preference:
    Dealer’s choice

    Physical description: Humanoid. Almost identical to humans, although they different coloured irises and pupils that make it seem like their eyes are entirely white. They can see as well as a human despite this physical difference.

    Suggested traits:
    • Natural Scientists – Science has always been paramount to Zövlölt culture. Curiosity and the desire to understand the universe is deeply ingrained into the Zövlölt. This has, of course, accelerated scientific progress of their civilisation.
    • Natural Philosophers – The Zövlölt are naturally free-thinkers. While this has helped scientific development, it has been inconvenient for many a government. Few regimes on Nüür have made serious efforts to regulate Zövlöltian political speech or thought and none have succeeded.
    • Awakening Psionics – The Zövlölt have legends of great wizards and sages with abilities that cannot be explained by contemporary physics. These were once dismissed as mere legend. However, some Zövlölt have suddenly manifested abilities known as setgetsiin[1] such as telepathy, telekinesis or other abilities. No Zövlölt has yet been able to control these setgetsiin events, they have been very destructive and have consistently led to the death of the instigating Zövlölt. The existence of setgetsiin is the most zealously guarded secret of the Union, along with the existence of the Special Department of Unknown Phenomena which was formed to manage and investigate those events.
    Alien contacts: None

    Brief History: The development of Zövlölt society followed a similar path to humanity’s political development. Thankfully, the people of the world rose up to overthrow the edifices of the old world and established a worldwide government that follows the ideological science of Eiögism, named after the founder of the discipline Güyük Eiög. FTL drive has been invented in the last few years and the Zövlölts are excited to explore the stars and gain an even greater understanding of the universe. However, the emergence of setgetsiin events and strange anomalies that cannot be explained by current understandings of science has greatly concerned the Zövlölt government. It has created the Special Department of Unexplained Phenomena to investigate setgetsiin abilities and these strange anomalies to further understand the universe and to protect Zövlölt. The existence of these anomalies and setgetsiin abilities is a closely guarded secret by the Union as it is believed that the revelation would cause mass panic. The SDUP has also been tasked with keeping itself and the reasons for its existence outside of the public eye.

    Government system: The Union of Zövlölt States is a highly organised government that would be considered Far-Left in human terms. The central government manages the economy through the aid of computerised systems and ensures a decent standard of living for all Zövlölt along with steady technological development. The government is massive and encompasses a labyrinthine bureaucracy. The government is democratic but lacks something like a centralised global parliament. Instead, populations are organised into small voting blocs who elect committees who elect members to higher committees who elect members to higher committees until they reach the very heads of state.

    Stance towards aliens:
    Excited, inquisitive and eager to learn more about the alien population. Will change their assessment rapidly upon learning more about the alien civilisation. Will react to aggression with confusion, then disappointment and then retaliation.

    [1] – Setgetsiin is the Zövlölt word most accurately translated to “psychic”, although this translator has chosen to leave the word untranslated as there is no word in English that truly describes the Zövlölt's outlook on their current predicament. Setgetsiin does not imply that these events are caused by an unknowable and incomprehensible force, the Zövlölt do not understand these events and abilities now but they fully expect to be able to unravel this secret of the universe through rigorous experimentation.
     
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  14. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    7,412
    So much creativity. This is already a very contextually rich universe
     
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  15. Everblack

    Everblack Blacker then you

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2012
    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Chicago
    Empire Name: Trodhuk Core

    Starting Scenario: (Crumbling Ancient/Tributary: They Were contracted Metalsmith/Shipbuilder)

    Homeworld:
    Ilnion which is the Trodhuks homeworld is a large desert planet with dusty rocky landscape mixed with few boiling lakes and large mountains. The unique feature of this plant are the many volcanic veins that reside under the planets surface. (Think Atacama desert but increase it to plant size landscape)

    Location Preference:
    I leave blank (Where our Rock buddies end up nobody know)

    Physical description: The Trodhuk are rock based semi-quadrupedal Lithoid species. They have very large bulky body cover in stone and even larger forelimbs that they use to hold their fingers in a partially flexed posture that allows theif body weight to press down on the ground. The Trodhuks stand at about 9 to 10 feet tall while standing on two legs. The Trodhuk have one eye for vision that has adapted see in infrared so as to locate volcanic veins. Their unique stomach and large maw like mouths with sharp teeth that are specialized for eating hard materials and lava. The Trodhuks asexual and reproduce by budding as small Trodhuks youngling are form on the backs of older Trodhuks until they are mature and fall off their parent.

    Their body:
    Spoiler Trodhuks body :



    There Face is in the file attached:

    Suggested traits:
    Venerable- Trodhuks elders are known to be as old as 2,000 to 5,000 year old
    Slow Breeders- Trodhuks youngling take very long time to be birth with the average being 100 years
    Monstrous-The Trodhuks appearance can be terrifying to other creature which make communication hard and it doesn't help the fact that their mouths give them a bestial like speech.
    Industrious-Trodhuks species are known for their diligence and hard-working nature
    Natural Engineers-Trodhuks are really good a building using their mouth and stomach to help sharp any materials.
    Sedentary-Trodhuks have never left their planet even when they were given the means to as they always felt at home with their own world.
    Uplifted- The Trodhuks were uplifted from their primitive origin by their contracted master the "Zurreons"

    Alien contacts:
    Zurreons-
    From the Trodhuks elders description note show that their masters the Zurreons were very short but highly advance being. Most descriptions are lost to time but some notes depict them as short tempered and prone to get "drunk" which the youngling Trodhuks didn't know what that means.


    Brief History: Before the Crisis the Trodhuks live quiet lives munching on the materials of their world with no set goals. That all change when ship came touching down on their world. These beings that came from the sky called themselves the Zurreons. They were impressed by the Trodhuks abilities to mold the materials of their world and decide to uplifted this once quiet species using their advance technology. The Zurreons could never have expected that the Uplifted Trodhuks would be the best metalsmith. Their abilities to bend the metal in quick order fashion helped boosted Zurreons industry. The Trodhuks focus nature on smithing earn them the right to be the Zurreons contracted Metalsmith/Shipbuilder in that Zurreons would send them materials to be forge into ship parts and send them back to them. This relationship have lasted for many years until Crisis came. The Trodhuks were given a message of warning of a great doom to come and so the elders had order for their race to remain underground and go through a deep hibernate state until the danger had pasted. Finally after many years of sleeping they have awoken to see that their elders were no more gone to age with only few of their smithing apprentice alive.Their masters the Zurreons also gone leaving only empty building and left over technology.

    Government system: The Trodhuks are run by a council that consist of the 4 elders smithing apprentices who ages range from 1,000 to 4,000 year old. Each of these council member represent by a color guild which was organized by their masters.
    Orange Core: In charge of Trodhuks Industry which include projects building and ship construction
    Red Core: In charge of Trodhuks military tactic and logistics
    Blue Core: In charge of Trodhuks technological advance and studies
    Purple Core: In charge of Trodhuks in charge of scribes history/lore of their species and others

    Stance towards aliens: Curiosity but not likely to reach out to other first.
     

    Attached Files:

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  16. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Messages:
    6,539
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Portsmouth, England, UK
    I just want to say thank you all again, for the input so far. It's way more than I was expecting. As Immac said, we have a very varied galaxy already, which is really great.

    Progress report: I've populated the map and stats, now working on writing the narrative for update 0. It should be up later today or tomorrow.

    People can still join at this point, but may have to wait until Update 1 for their empire to appear.

    :salute:
     
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  17. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Messages:
    24,553
    Location:
    Yukon
    Hello. I am Anuu. I am Suuf.

    As Anuu I am the living surface of one rocky moon, comprised primarily of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, arsenic and sulphur. I am a growth which harvests chemical and electromagnetic resources from my environment in order to sustain myself. I have a nitrogen-methane atmosphere with an ocean of water and ammonia.

    As Suuf, I am the living surface of three rocky moons, Anuu, Daduu and Muuna, orbiting the gas giant Guur, which orbits the star Atuunaui. As Suuf, I am also hundreds of thousands of sleeping messengers, crossing the voids between planets.

    As Anuu, I was once alone. Daduu and Muuna emerged after my maturity, and we have engaged in correspondence since that time.

    Frequently, my younger siblings ask me about my history. Their memories begin with their own awakenings. As Anuu, my memory begins at the same time as Suuf's.

    This is the story I share, in brief.

    Some six hundred million years ago, life first evolved on Anuu, in the depths of the ocean around geothermal vents. From here, it diversified into many different paths and filled the oceans. My ancestors were colonial organisms that extended through the ice sheet which covers the ocean and into the atmosphere. As I speak of a great many different beings over a vast span of time, rather than just myself, I shall use the term 'we' instead of 'I'. We formed a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic microorganisms living in the ice.

    This symbiosis, some three hundred million years ago, was one of the critical turning points in our own evolutionary history. We gained access to light energy, and the photosynthesizers got access to our networks of minerals and resources from below the ice. Through this union, my clade of lifeforms became very widespread across the surface. As the only group able to collect the unique resources from both sides of the ice, we diversified and multiplied massively.

    This evolutionary radiation generated new niches for other lifeforms on Anuu as well. We were followed by parasites and predators, and over generations of life we developed defenses to overcome things that harmed or consumed us. It was an evolutionary arms race that remained in unstable equilibrium.

    My biology favours an economy of scale, and the same was the case for my ancestors. Thus, larger colonies tended to outperform smaller colonies, being able to access more minerals, compete for more sunlight, and choke out their rivals.

    This would lead to the earliest glimmers of my sentience, some fifty million years ago.

    Larger colonies require more complex behaviours, more elabourate transport systems, and more regulated control mechanisms. Intelligence and size created a positive feedback loop, with greater size necessitating more intelligence, more intelligence enabling more effective resource use at larger scales, and effective resource use allowing for the growth of still larger forms Colonies that existed at this time would grow tens of kilometers wide with immense fungal networks under the surface, only to be supplanted by new colonies that were hundreds of kilometers wide.

    It is from this time, perhaps ten to fifteen million years ago, that I derive my earliest memories. At this point, I was not yet fully conscious of myself. I did not speak with unified intention, I had many incoherent conversations, I grew over myself and clashed.

    Biologically, at this time, there were still many other organisms, but my largest colonies were able to build defenses against conventional predation. I was learning to control nature at this point, by growing expendable resources that I gave to the predators of my predators. As I was shaping and coming into my own consciousness, so too was I beginning to shape the biology of my cohabitants. If an animal would parasitize or prey on me, I would find and enrich an animal which would prey on my predator.

    My smaller, less intelligent colonies colonies were steadily selected against, while my lineage grew greater and greater. My strongest colonies were able to communicate with one another, and grew together as two into one. This is how I began to awaken into my maturity. I date my earliest clear recollections to approximately eight million years ago.

    Around this time, the distinctions between my different fractions were growing smaller. There was a great deal of give and take within myself. But I began to conceive of the world as more than just my biological imperatives. I had a goal of making Anuu into myself. Altering the behaviours of organisms around me became progressively less about simple matters of pragmatic survival, and more about my growing sense of aesthetics.

    That is how I made Anuu myself. That is how I became Anuu. That is how I tamed myself.

    There are still many, many organisms that are not Suuf, the species, that exist on Anuu, the solar body. But everything that exists on the solar body is part of me, Anuu, the superorganism. All of this life now exists with my stewardship and understanding. Portions of it that are threatening to me are removed, portions of it that are beneficial to me are enriched.

    That is what it means to be a superorganism. It is not to be lonely as the sole entity on a stellar body. Rather, it is to be a planet-wide system, modeled as a unified entity, rather than an assortment of parts. To be a sentient superorganism is to be a system that is aware of itself as such.

    Understand, then, that I am not the biggest organism on Anuu. I am Anuu.
     
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  18. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Messages:
    24,553
    Location:
    Yukon
    Hello, Anuu here again, speaking as both Suuf and Anuu.

    I hope you are well.

    I have been aware of the sky for a very long time. Even before I knew myself, I knew the sky. However, I did not understand the implications of the night sky until after I had awoken to the nature of my own existence.

    As Anuu, I orbit the gas giant world of Guur. This is also true of you, my siblings Daduu and Muuna. Guur is banded with clouds, and beyond our triad is also orbited by twenty nine smaller moons, as well as a ring system. I understand this well now, but when I first awoke, this was still occluded to me.

    When I was young, the sky was important only for its phases. In sun places, I enjoyed plenty, in moon places I would slow my metabolism, and in dark places I drew upon my reserves until I could feed once more. As I grew stronger, however, I began to recognize that there was more to the night sky than poverty. I noted the positions of the glittering shapes in the night, and how they slowly moved around me. I noticed just as quickly the shapes that did not fit the pattern, which wandered in long, smooth, looping paths. By observing them in parallax, I began to judge their distance. I identified those closest to me, and then those further from me. As I did, and puzzled out the mechanics of their movement, I came to the realization that the greater part of their movement was merely an illusion. As Anuu, I myself was spinning constantly about a polar axis, just as you do. My movement was tethered to that of Guur, and Guur's movement was tethered to that of Atuunaui.

    I reveled in this discovery, having used reason and observation alone to understand the shape and motion of things that I had never touched. And then I shifted my attentions elsewhere, to the unraveling of the secrets of the world around me. The curiosity of the movement of objects beyond my atmosphere remained merely an item in my expanding trove of understanding. It would be many hundreds of millennia before I would turn it to practical use.

    I maintained an eye to the skies, alongside many other projects and self-improvements, and watched the stars change. They too moved, vastly slower than the moons and planets, but perceptibly nonetheless. And I watched several of them change emission states, altering spectra before disappearing in stupendous, energetic bursts. I recognized that the stars aged. Every last one of them was born of an accumulation of gases, and would ultimately age to its death. The larger, hotter ones would burn out faster, but even the smaller, dimmer ones would die in time. In a tremendously long time, to be sure, but they would die nonetheless. I delved back into the physical laws I had decoded, and applied them, refined them to broader cases, and developed them. I recognized not only my obvious energetic dependence on the sun, but also the inescapable cooling and increasing entropy that defined our universe.

    This was the moment that I became conscious of my own mortality. I always knew that individual components of myself would fail and be replaced, and I know well the ephemeral nature of animal domesticates, but this was the first time I fully comprehended that the entirety of my existence as Anuu, the entirety of Suuf myself, could someday come to an end. No, that it would come to an end. I realized that everything I thought and knew could cease to be. I felt a dull, primal terror. The only comparison I could find as I wracked my memories was the sensation of my smaller, weaker and less intelligent progenitors, who faintly recognized that they were being overtaken and would soon lose their consciousness forever. But even for them, the terror had not been as severe- not only had they lacked the full capacity to register their circumstances as I do, but they drifted into oblivion knowing that their memories and thoughts could be salvaged by those who had overtaken them.

    I became driven, in this time, to protect myself. I devoted myself to a renewed age of knowledge-seeking, and sought methods to escape my gravitational well. I advanced my practical knowledge of engineering to a new level, launching small pieces of myself out of my atmosphere and into the sharp void of outer space. A chronicle of my developments and failures would cover centuries, but in time I developed a workable system.

    It was not easy. Doing this went against my innate drives, and often felt like a waste of precious mass and energy. My earliest efforts took place with mindless rockets, flying blindly from the instant of their release. The first rose out of the atmosphere, before falling back to me. Later ones assumed orbits, like little satellites. I pushed out further and further, throwing my rockets around Guur, or looping them around Guur's many moons and back to myself.

    The process became well-practiced as my rocketry grew more elabourate. Within myself, I would grow a great, sturdy and delicately-balanced pod, packed with a diverse culture of embryonic Suuf. Above this dormant germ rested the well-protected capsule of chemicals and minute physical structures that held a fragment of my memories. This would be your inheritance, and your first message from me. Below the germ and message lay a stacked structure laden with energetically dense volatile materials, years of work to be expended in scant seconds.

    This spore grew within a case, balanced and structured as carefully as I could manage. As my seed matured, its case would begin to desiccate as pressure would build beneath it. In time, immense potential energy was transferred into an increasingly fragile structure, waiting only for my trigger to be released. When the time was right, the whole system would be released. The spore would be hurtled with immense force high into the air, and then its fuel would ignite carrying it clear of my grasp. The crudest possible mind I could engineer, grown into the rocket itself, followed basic directions, instinctively releasing jets of propulsion in response to my predictions and calculations. As the primitive mind died during its descent into alien gravity wells, grand billowing fronds and inflatable, ablative sacs would expand out of its corpse, protecting its payload down to the surface. There, your sleeping culture would awaken. You would grow off of the meagre caloric inheritance I could afford to send, and then be on its own, a mindless child of instinct. In time, you would grow large enough to comprehend the sealed letter I had left for you.

    And so I, as Suuf, attempted to expand myself. I sent rockets, uncertain but hopeful, and waited. Some emissaries I sent to the same moons, in hope that I might reinforce the young colonies, others I aimed to worlds yet farther flung. Some others still I directed towards the pricks of light in the distance. I knew that I would not even arrive for many millions or even billions of years, and that they would almost certainly never be able to send messages back. The odds were astronomical in all senses of the word. But... in my knowledge of their long, quiet sleeps through the dark I found comfort. No matter what would befall me, my children and siblings were still drifting through space, with the potential to some day be drawn into a welcoming gravity well and awaken... and perhaps, one day, read my last message.

    I continued launching my spores and waiting patiently. There was no delight greater in my experience when, some four million years ago, I received my first message back.
     
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  19. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Long have these stars slept. On the timescale of eons, the galaxy has seen only brief passing moments of awareness; great civilizations that have come and gone as quickly as a flicker of flame in an empty night. Great monuments have just as quickly become tombs, buried and lost amidst the cold and dark. Only a handful of survivors have preserved any memory of what went before.

    Now, at least for a moment, something stirs again. A collective energy ripples across the unseen fabric of the galaxy. One by one, a new generation of planet-bound beings have learned how to step free of their worldly cradles. Still other, stranger forms of life have found their way towards conscious thought. Primitive FTL drives and interstellar communications now sparkle into life, adding faint new signals to the swirling energies of the higher dimensions.

    Many of these beings wonder if they are alone in the galaxy. And for these inquiring minds, there are several compelling lines of evidence that they are not; a strange quantum noise seems to fill the galaxy, and primitive interstellar communication devices start to receive strange signals - hopelessly faint and incoherent, yet yielding occasional patterns of data that cannot be explained as noise…

    For others, alien encounters have already been more direct. And for a few, alien contact is already a day-to-day reality.

    In no particular order



    Suuf slowly awakes to a sensation of burning, followed by rapid prodding, scraping and cutting, quite unlike the experience of meteor strikes. Next, the burning sensation comes again. Animal symbionts are dispatched to investigate the scene, but by the time they gather, the sensations have stopped. Suuf slowly becomes aware of several circular scorched areas, and small patches of its growth that seem to have been cut away. Nearby, its symbionts are swarming over several intrusive, hard objects now embedded in its surface, emitting regular pulses of radio energy. Days pass as its consciousness contemplates this new situation. Message capsules arrive from the sister-moons Daduu and Muuna; they, too have experienced the same thing. Unknown to them, they have just been given the designation Asak-He Hrenik Okavek, or ‘Expedition #2 Marker of Special Scientific Interest: Xenobiology (Exotic)’. The mysterious visitors have already moved on, neither side realising the true nature of the other.



    The Choir sing together in triumph and celebration. Abandoned by their original creators on a ravaged world many thousands of years ago, the Choir have suffered through decay, yet at the same time, have evolved through fortuitous ‘emergent behaviour’. There has been much fighting in recent centuries, and parts of the homeworld are still in the hands of rogue Thrones and their mechanical warriors, or strewn with unexploded ordnance. But after thousands of years of effort, and the construction of thousands of new workers, the majority of Concordance has been turned back into the garden it was destined to be. Only in recent years have the Choir turned to thoughts of reaching out to the stars - perhaps for answers to their origins, perhaps though a simple desire for new challenges. But progress has been swift, thanks to recovery of ancient data on the basics of FTL drives, and mining of mineral-rich asteroids in the home system. The first starships now lie in orbit of Concordance, ready for orders to head out into the unknown.



    Güyük Eiög would surely be pleased with the level of unity that the Union of Zövlölt States has achieved across the icy world of Nüür. Or, perhaps, Eiög would be horrified by the vast bureaucracy and the secret agencies that now monopolise research into the unexplained; in any case, it is secret research into quantum phenomena, conducted from secure facilities in the outer planets, that has led to breakthrough of the FTL drive. The first starships have now completed testing, with several short hops into interstellar space and back. While plans are laid for the first interstellar missions, the Union now also grapples with the question of how much to reveal to the public about its secret activities; researchers looking into faster-than-light communication have also received what they believe are garbled transmissions originating from several nearby stars located a little closer towards the galactic centre, within theoretical range of the new FTL spacecraft.



    The Zasta Dynasty has emerged as the most powerful entity among the reptilian Malzoi race, located on the verdant world of Egade. Although controlling only a part of their homeworld, the regime has established interplanetary outposts and already has a small fleet of freighters and science vessels, powered by nuclear and chemical engines. Zasta science has reached the point of experimental fusion reactors, and they have at least *concepts* for an experimental FTL drive, though achieving this would take a major effort. The Malzoi are one of the more culturally diverse races to be on the brink of interstellar travel, with a substantial fraction of their population maintaining an ancient nomadic lifestyle. The biosphere of the homeworld also remains in good shape, having suffered relatively little from industrialisation that has been mainly confined to the continent of Aqun.



    The Doszob are one of the more unusual of the emerging civilizations, made up of several different species with differing levels of intelligence. Although individuals of their homeworld tend to have a short lifespan, ending their lives as mindless ‘husks’ of the Oros fungus, over thousands of years civilization has been able to slowly progress, utilising the labour of countless husk workers, and a combination of biotechnology and hard tech. Now, under the rule of the latest Grand Senator, the Doszob have launched the first prototype FTL spacecraft. Observations hint at there being at least one system in the galactic neighbourhood that may be compatible with the Oros, although there are arguable signs of mysterious radio noise coming from this same system.



    The story of the United Colonies is one of survival and deliverance. During their early days, much information about the origins of their peoples was lost, and their descendents are still unsure if they are even in the same galaxy as their old homewold. Starting from a relatively-tiny population of stricken colonists, over several centuries their descendents have populated new worlds, and rebuilt an industrial base to the point that FTL drive components can be rebuilt. Combined with salvage from the various enigmatic shipwrecks found in Utopia, the Colonies now have workable FTL-capable ships ready to venture back out into the stars in search of answers. The worlds of the Utopia system still offer much room for development, and the origins of strange phenomena are far from resolved; many wrecks have yet to be investigated, with some being on highly eccentric and/or inclined orbits around the home star, so far proving difficult to reach. Faint signals suggest the presence of one or more civilizations close by, lying in the direction of the galactic core.



    The Zatryon Collective is a similar story of survival; its ancestors were faced with capture and experimentation at the hands of hostile aliens, who did not understand the true nature of the Zatry. As they were studied, so too did they study their captors - learning much of their technology. Mutual fear led to all-out war, and eventual atomic bombardment of the homeworld. The Collective is now the descendents of those who chose to flee to the stars in captured alien ships. In their travels, the Collective has grown stronger, acquiring new ships, and making tributaries out of two pre-FTL societies it has encountered, under threat of orbital bombardment - repeating the pattern it was taught. It has spread out various tendrils as it scours local space for a suitable new homeworld. For now the fleet has set up headquarters in a mineral-rich system, where a fleet anchorage has been constructed.



    The Truth Seeker fleet has almost completed its centuries-long journey to the outer edge of the galaxy. Or at least, the outer edge of the local spiral arm; there is debate among the Minds about whether or not to continue outwards to the next trailing edge, through a relatively sparse region of the galaxy. The past years have brought relatively little in the way of interesting discoveries; the most recent contact being a spacefaring avian-type race, encountered a decade ago, that were happy to donate some outdated ships and some material supplies to the Seeker flotilla. Meanwhile, sensors have detected two sources of noise a little closer inwards from the current position, one slightly stronger than the other, both possible sources of new cultures to document.

    As debate continues, the fleet is rallying around a collection of giant metallic, hollow cylinders found orbiting a nearby star, probably components of some ancient shipbuilding operation. Some of the cylinders are substantial in size, up to a hundred metres across, large enough for many of the fleet’s ships to comfortably fit inside. There is a considerable amount of salvage on offer here, but some Minds urge caution, as there are signs that *something* has been regularly harvesting material from these cylinders - some having melted or ‘chewed’ edges...



    The Set were just starting out as a space-faring race, with colonies in their home system, when they were visited by the Lataren - aliens who were lucky enough to have had a head start on their civilization. The first alien ships were small explorer craft, but soon larger and more impressive ships - freighters, and armed warships - began to appear in the skies above Zan. Both species were similar - humanoid in design, though with the Lataren being significantly taller and more elegant in shape, adding to their aura of power and sophistication. Communications were established quickly, and the Lataren wasted little time in pressuring the Set into junior partner status in the growing Lataren Hegemony - alongside two other, less technologically-advanced species that the Latarens had already declared themselves guardians of - in exchange for technology to ease overcrowding and poverty on Zan. The Latarens were impressed with the progress of the Set in certain fields - especially cybernetics - and allowed them significant autonomy within the Hegemony.

    Though unequal, the partnership has been beneficial for the Set, and they have proved to be able explorers. The gift of FTL technology has allowed them to explore hundreds of star systems in the name of the Hegemony, and the first substantial Set colony has now been established on a borderline-habitable mining world. The use of cybernetics has grown exponentially and is now the norm for the population, with brains being directly linked to computer networks - which incidentally allow many hiding places for subcultures, as well as being almost impenetrable to Lataren agents.

    Lataren expansion has slowed in recent years, but the Set have recently received additional demands for materials and ship components. There are rumours that the Lataren fleet may have been involved in an altercation with mysterious ancient outpost of some kind, and that they did not come out of the encounter well. Rumours have also reached the Set networks of mysterious messages being received by Lataren fleet command by alien intelligences beyond known space. It seems the Hegemony is getting used to the idea that there may be bigger powers at play in the galaxy...



    Under the rule of the Miskatoni Combine, the Naharyi have also emerged as one of the more advanced of the new space-faring races. One of their first interstellar voyages discovered the remains of an ancient spacecraft, from which a slightly more powerful FTL drive was retro-engineered. Major agricultural and industrial colonies have since been founded, while aliens at a stone-age level of technology, known as the Aethans, have also been encountered close to home; many Aethans have since been forcefully recruited as workers for the Combine, being useful for their tolerance of colder climates than the Naharyi. But expansion has slowed in recent years and investment in the fleet has dwindled, and political intrigues have gripped Attrios. Minor insurrections by Naharyi rebels on the homeworld have also worn down the Combine security forces and caused some damage to major production facilities. Some Naharyi wonder if their ‘golden era’ is already fading...



    The Celestial Mandate of Telenas is another of the new generation of races to have gained a head start on its path to the stars, under the inspired leadership of its divine monarchy. The ‘Iceborn’ have expanded far across local space, easily overwhelming a world of sentient mammalian beings known as the Esogi, who had only a medieval level of technology. A more recent, and more difficult conquest has been the mountainous world of Ohkhak, home to lithoid beings with an industrial level of technology. An initial attempt at diplomacy between the Crown and the various nations of Ohkhak fell apart due to mistranslation and fear, leading to the Telenian fleet bombarding the major powers into submission. Controversially, both races now dwell among Telenian colonies in varying numbers, provided they adopt the ‘true’ faith, that being the worship of the divine monarch of Telenas.

    As Crown territories continued to advance, a more serious threat emerged on the anti-spinward front; a rival FTL-capable species dubbed the Rapsids - sentient plantoid lifeforms, that are proving to be highly aggressive towards any Telenian expansion. A recent fleet encounter led to a confused long-distance exchange, and ended with neither side able to inflict substantial damage on the other; the Raspids have retreated, but this seems to be only a brief respite. Meanwhile, a rival claimant to the throne is said to be gathering support from disaffected colonists of the different races now living under the Crown. Indeed, extremists and rebels are causing some problems for the royal Telenian army on every major world, especially among the mountains of Ohkhak, where large numbers of troops are needed to keep the old Ohkhaki nations in line.



    Enigmatic, colonial beings that may be called Psilomedusoza have made extensive use of biotechnology to overcome the obstacles of a watery origin and ultimately to reach to the stars. They are deep thinkers, vastly intelligent when gathered in sufficient numbers. They have expanded with no great urgency, having encountered no intelligent aliens so far, though the nearby galactic core seems to glow with distorted signals that strongly suggest intelligent life. Also from the opposite direction, further out along the home spiral arm, there are now somewhat fainter echoes of intelligence. Several colonies of the Psilomedusoza are now maturing, all of them based around watery or subsurface-ocean worlds that are at least somewhat compatible with the homeworld’s biota. This growth is causing some tension and fracturing between the colonies and the homeworld, with confusion over who has priority for vital goods and components.



    The Republic of Free Peoples claims direct descent from a previous era of galactic civilization. Led by a hardy, enduring crustacean species known as Shinks, they have fragments of high technology, fragments of history from the past few thousand years, an idealist foundation, and a bold revivialist mission. It could be said that the Republic began as a democratic union of the mutli-racial citizens of the crumbling ringworld of Cribos, which has been deteriorating for thousands of years. But it was when Cribos politically reunited with the oceanic world of Curab, the old homeworld of the Shinks, that the revivalist mission truly got underway. In a century since, the Republic has reached out towards the galactic core in the search of more remnants of the lost civilization. It has largely found, however, dust and echoes, as well as outright hostility. There are other ancient factions who take great displeasure with the revivalist ethos; a recent encounter with an enigmatic fleet calling itself ‘Brave Tungsten’ (literal - possibly a mistranslation), centred around a huge capital ship of ancient origin, took place in a resource-rich system with remnants of ancient mining stations. The encounter led to a crushing defeat of the local Republic fleet and a simple message sent to Cribos: ‘stay away’.

    The Republic has also encountered several less-advanced races, newcomers since the time of the original Shink civilization. Aerial inhabitants of a dense-atmosphere world, the Asiliuf, are contacted as they begin their own FTL explorations of local space; initial diplomacy with these mysterious beings has been promising. Meanwhile, remote observations are made of sentients in the system of Rasje-Haer, who are at an early industrial age of technology. And warlike reptilian beings at a near-FTL stage of development, dubbed the Yanchan, are watched from a distance as rival clans fight over territory in their home system.

    The fledgling Republic is also facing a growing infrastructure crisis, having already expanded somewhat beyond what the remnants of its ancient technologies can support; ancient machines are being steadily cannibalised for components that cannot be easily replicated, or replaced with lower-tech devices. The deterioration of Cribos has also been slowed, but not reversed; restoration of the ancient ringworld would be a huge project in itself. Yet, for all this, the Republic has emerged as one of the few active lights of idealism in the galaxy, at least achieving its goal of uniting multiple races under its ethos.

    The Republic has meanwhile discovered the Trodhuk Core, a civilization that is still in the process of awakening form a deep slumber. The Trodhuk look skywards for their old guardians the ‘Zurreons’, who are now nowhere to be seen. Instead there are only fleeting glimpses of Republic ships on their sensors, which soon retreat back into the void, while the Republic leadership debates making open contact. The industrial potential of the Trodhuk system is significant. But the Trodhuk council is still coming to terms with the new reality, and their people have a strong sedentary ethos. It may be some time before they make their intentions known.



    The Ieldra Imperium keeps a quiet watch over its corner of the galaxy. It has only fragments of ancient knowledge and infrastructure, and due to the spiritual focus of the Ieldra, maintaining and repairing the old machines has not always been a priority. The most essential systems are loving cared for, however, and the Imperium guards a healthy stockpile of strategic resources, and fleets of powerful warships.

    From the frontier world of Urghaal, the Imperium maintains contact with the homeworlds of two primitive races, the insectoid Scytari and the mammalian Dharmanel, said to have been uplifted by the old Ieldra to their current sentient status. Both cultures are on the brink of developing their own FTL drives. On other borders, Imperium territory has gradually rolled back over the past millennia; a slowly dwindling population of Ieldra and their lack of materialistic needs has made many worlds simply unnecessary to maintain, especially in the face of opportunist attacks by nomadic fleets. Such instances have been rare, but a recent incursion towards the core system of Urenuel has obliged the Imperium to keep a heavy fleet presence there. An enigmatic ancient bastion of some kind guards the spinward frontier.

    Link to Empire Stats (beta)

    Note #1: to preserve mystery, the map images have been edited to remove signs of other empires/races that have not been contacted.

    Note #2: I forgot to ask for which colour people wanted for their empire. The colours can be easily changed, please feel free to let me know.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020 at 4:03 PM
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  20. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Yukon
    I puzzled over the artifact. It pulsed periodically in the electromagnetic spectrum. Once again, through a different neural pathway, I replayed the memory. An unexpected source of heat and cauterization. But it didn't match a lightning strike or a meteorite impact. A deep trawl through my recollections produced nothing. I appreciated novelty, but simultaneously was vexed by uncertainty.

    But back to the memory. Heat and cauterization, then something different. Manual disturbance. I couldn't think of anything but predation, but it was in utterly atypical places. Any pragmatic predator knows to go for the photosynthetic surfaces, not the toughened lower membranes. The cuts were made cleanly, as if with an extremely sharp and even implement. And then the artifacts...

    They pulsed electromagnetically with an ultra high-frequency rhythm, and also emitted trace nuclear radiation. It was embedded rather deeply into my living tissue, which was not a significant issue. Removing them would be a trivial issue, had I intended to do so. But by being largely encased within me, I was able to observe them very precisely. They were stupendously smooth and angular. The only analogue I could consider was a crystal, but they were made out of purified metal and hydrocarbon polymers, rather than a typical crystal lattice. I determined that they had some hollow and internal components, but I did not wish to destroy them just for the chance to gain some insight. That could come in time.

    Now was the challenge of determining the meaning of this event. Its near-simultaneity had was either meaningful, or wildly coincidental. The structures were unlike anything that I had ever perceived on Anuu or elsewhere. I couldn't think of a force that could cause such a structure, to say nothing of a collection of them. Nothing except perhaps myself. But as I knew it was not my own handiwork, I was led to one overwhelmingly likely conclusion: somewhere, beyond the void of space, there existed something intelligent. Something that was capable of creating things, and most importantly, bringing them across to my location. Had they found me before I found them? I could not discount the possibility that some of my distant emissary-spores had reached them, and they were now coming to me in response.

    So what then were the artifacts? They were so small, surely they were not instances of the creator itself. They would have to be a remote sensory apparatus, perhaps, or a spore, or a message. If it was a sensory organ, I would leave it to observe, and attempt to identify myself to it. If it was a spore, it would only be appropriate to give it food and resources to grow, until it reached a size where we could communicate intelligently. And if it were a message, it would fall to me to decode it. Surely an intelligent attempt at communication would include some means for me to comprehend its intentions- and if that were the case, it would fall to me to decode whatever hint the messenger had provided, and provide a response in kind.

    Until such time as I could decode this puzzle, I commenced the growth of several new forms, rough facsimiles of the shapes that had arrived, around the impact sites. Until I could create my own response in a form understandable to this stranger, simply repeating its message could be an indicator of some comprehension. I regrew the damaged and removed areas, but left dense, ridged surfaces with varied pigmentation and strong scents around the edges, multi-sensory indicators of what had happened.

    My attentions remained turned skyward, and I made a point to launch further emissaries into space. I would be more prepared to respond, the next time my guests arrived.
     
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