Solar Storms Overview
What follows is a collection of perspectives, in the manner that the major, playable species see the current state of the Milky Way and the surrounding Universe. It's an analysis of the setting's present, around solar cycle 120 in the Helios calendar, or not quite eleven thousand years in the future in Earth time.
There are several influences on perspective.
- By habitat - where one lives and grows.
- By location - nominally, what, specifically, are their surroundings, astronomically?
- By nature - how advanced a person's 'strain' is.
- By technology - how much technology has been retained, and lost.
- By species - what they are, and their general cultural origin.
While majority of people prefer to remain in familiar surroundings, the cerevate races in the Universe all have a similar origin - their homeworlds are gone, and, for a time, were forced to flee from place to place in order to survive. This is reinforced by the general exploratory and curious attitudes of their respective races - there are reasons they were chosen.
The Triad, in contrast, were relatively cloistered. They love to 'control' territory, but heaven forbid they -go- there. Extensively trained and shaped by the First, they act only when the tenets of their religion force them too. The Concord tries hard to break them out of this loop, but has only had limited success, and then only with the Khavene.
Some people choose to transform themselves into mirror matter versions of themselves, and a few species have even evolved in conditions assisted by ancient Renlai programs. These live in dark, mirror versions of reality, where the only common ground they share with normal beings is in artificial constructs created from exomatter.
For the most part, these are familiar surroundings, and people like having 'real' ground under their feet. Frequently terraformed, these are often left to more primitive societies. Either those that have evolved on their own or soon will, members of technological races wishing for 'simpler times', or natives that had to be relocated at the tide of some disaster such as the Virgon. Even the Shadow will move species out of the path of the Hydra.
The Triad also tend to claim these worlds, and frequently seek to launch crusades against them, as they are foes these empires are actually capable of defeating. This is compounded by the fact that the greatest blasphemers - humans, the Concord, and so on - have a great deal of interest in these 'lesser' races, and see them as a means by which they can be meaningfully attacked.
On less hospitable planets, such as Jovians and blasted, mercuric worlds, individual stations and bases are set up instead. These usually serve a direct function, rather than as an intended, permanent habitat.
Ships intended for long-term travel and habitation are fairly common among more advanced species. They usually have around 140 members, who make up the 'crew'. Exceptions run both ways - some might have as few as three, while the arks are capable of holding billions.
Shipgoers tend to fall into two categories. Those that want to see everything, and those that want to be left alone inside their own, insular society. The former cover a wide range of types, from pirates, to maverick traders, to mercenaries and adventurers - seekers of excitement, in a nutshell. The latter often fall prey to solipsism, and there have been reports of derelicts and occasionally still functioning ships where descendants have reverted to technically primitive states. Thus, extremes tend to be found aboard such vessels, and in between types are on a temporary voyage.
Space stations, sky stations, and planetary stations are the three typical scenarios.
- Planetary stations are typically found on the surface of a terrestrial planet or ice planet of some sort. Their purpose varies - either to perform extensive research, to prepare for terraforming, or, in some cases, to actually move the world as a whole for one purpose or another. In almost all cases, they are temporary.
- Sky stations are a bit different. Those that don't inhabit jovian worlds usually fall into the above category in terms of purpose. The most common sort - 'infesting' gas and ice giants - either serve as habitats or help to harvest deuterium from the atmosphere - frequently a bit of both.
- Space stations are usually Lagrange stations that rest at a semi-stable point in relation to a much more massive object's orbit. They tend to serve as transport hubs and small-scale habitats, twenty thousand beings is common.
People inhabiting stations are often traders and other social types, interested in meeting people. This does not always translate into knowing people.
Gargantuan artificial structures, sometimes termed exaliths and larger, are true megastructures in space. Mankind built its first such structure around a megafusor, and called it Ouranos Prime. A massive behemoth in space, it supported its own ecosystems, and many suspect it functions to this day around Lost Sol.
Most adopt a similar design - a central, spoked hub surrounded by a colossal ring structure, the most typical of which resemble wire wheels - from where the greatest the most common structures derive their designation - wierwell, ranging in mass from roughly that of Earth all the way up to Jupiter. People live on the inside of the ring portion, which is usually slightly convex from their perspective and concave from beneath. This gives the illusion of a horizon in one direction - and helps support the structure's overall biosphere, forming parts of magma convection systems that replace the actions of plate tectonics. The spokes attach to the north and south rims, where the edges are curled up to trap the atmosphere. Additional spokes - not directly attached to the ones going to the hub - lead down from the bottom, providing a boost to angular velocity. Occasionally, some will have additional, concentric, lighter-'gravity' rings up to the hub. Silverin is the most famous of such.
Another wheel-based design is the torld. These worlds resemble a cross between a coin and a torus, and are spun so that they approximate Earthlike, Marslike, or whatever level of gravity desired across the surface. Rather than rotate symmetrically to provide a day-night cycle as wierwells and their relatives do, they flip. This also influences their geometry, and some call them coins.
Not everyone appreciates these, as both designs are in a constant state of 'wanting to fly apart', and only tamed by copious amounts of exomatter. Still, they provide habitats for trillions of individuals - quite possibly representing half of all known sapient civilizations.
As with ships, most of these are populated by highly advanced civilizations, though portions of many have turned backwards over millennia. Some of these have opted to be left alone, while the renlai have not accounted for all of those that they built outside of the Milky Way.
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