|SDV - IX|
|Sensor Disruption Picket|
|Mobile Production Base|
|Mobile Research Ship|
|Played by Richpur in CYOE3|
- 1 Date Systems
- 2 The MCV Conestoga
- 3 The ISS Daedalus
- 4 Cultural Exchange
- 5 The Systems Coalition
In order to make any sense of the following texts it is important to have a basic understanding of the calendars used within.
The Council Standard Calendar starts at year 1 with the landing of the MCV Conestoga on Nova Gaia. This system was based on the new planet’s motion so has a standard day of approximately 25¼ Earth hours and a year consisting of 372 of these days. 1 CSC year therefore equals 391.4 CAEC days or approximately 1.087 CAEC years.
The New Arcadian Calendar starts with year 0 at the year 173 in the CSC and uses the same standard days and years.
The Revised III Gregorian Calendar used during the early years after the ISS Daedalus arrived in the latterly named Clotho system begins with the birth of a religious figure at some point between the years of –6 and 8 and uses a variably divided standard year across the duration of use. (It is recommended that any student wishing to place events into this reference frame first take course 1H62.) All reference to early Moirae history have been retroactively redated using the CAEC.
The Clotho Arbitrary Equalisation Calendar started with the year 0 when Clotho reached stable rotation. The CAEC Standard day is exactly 24 hours long; the standard year exactly 360 days.
While modern Arcadia still operates on the NAC, the CAEC is the standard dating system for all operations outside low orbit.
The MCV Conestoga
A Modular Colonisation Vessel of the Titan class; designed for massively parallel rapid colonisation of worlds with an ECR (Earth Compatibility Rating) of 0.95 or better. One of the late C block runs, the Conestoga arrived in the Attica Delta system with a full complement of 400,000 men, women and children split into 80 independently deployable habitation pods.
Technically a trinary system, Attica A is the central class F star with two sisters B and C balancing on the edge of ignition.
Attica Δ b exists toward the center of the system’s temperate zone. From orbit the planet looks similar to Earth, with approximately 75% sea coverage and a predominantly green land mass covered in a thick layer of primitive algae. Every few hundred million years the co-alignment between Attica c and the flaring BC pair will dose the surface in radiation. The only animal life on the surface is that which has emerged from the water in the roughly thirty million years since the last co-aligned flare. (Class 0)
Attica Δ B and C are the sister stars of the system. Their orbits are close enough that passage disrupts orbits further out than a few radii; yet marginally eccentric, meaning that actual meetings occur on timescales of around one per 60-65 million years. This leaves them with only four satellites between them, and the periodic flare ups caused when their gravitational fields interact render these inner systems uninhabitable.
Attica Δ c is the outermost planet of the system; a small, dense core surrounded by over five hundred kilometers of nitrogen ice. (Class U)
Officially classified as Attica Delta b in the initial survey the sole habitable planet in the system was subsequently named Nova Gaia.
As the Conestoga spiralled round Nova Gaia in low polar orbit she scattered habitation pods across the planet, each landing at a location initial surveys indicated as a potential colony site. Co-ordinating the overall colonisation effort was the ship’s council: a board of the senior officers in command of each pod and now in charge of ensuring the success and integration of each of the initial 80 colonies.
With 400,000 people to support and only supplies to maintain them for 36 months the first few years were crucial and the colonisation proceeded with an almost martial air; every man and woman had 16-hour workdays. They were on a literal deadline.
Three years of constant battle against the omnipresent algae later, the first terrafixed crops were harvested. Work continued apace: factories were built to support the growing fishing industry; homes were built as civilisation moved out of the modules and onto the planet proper. After another three years the settlements were nearing self-sufficiency and some people began calling for time to relax and recuperate in spite of the original colonisation plans.
After a short period of consultation the council voted: the colonisation would continue according to schedule, it would still be far too easy for one disaster to take an entire colony down and there wasn’t enough spare capacity at the other settlements to lend aid. Lives are more important than Leisure was the reasoning, and few could disagree.
Half a decade passed, as more settlements expanded beyond the minimum levels stipulated in the original plans dissent started to emerge. The breaking point came when public swimming pools were added to the regulation construction list. On a planet that was three quarters water and with no predators near the shorelines this was not accepted as an urgent requirement. No matter what the plans called for, it was time someone looked at them with a bit of common sense.
The council met to discuss the issue. By this time a significant minority thought that it was time to relax the schedule, allow the colony to develop naturally without the rigid limitations of plans drawn up before the planet was even discovered. After a decade in power however, a majority of the commanders were used to having orders followed. The ‘disturbances’ were deemed contrary to the good of the colony and security forces sent in from less prosperous settlements to end the dispute.
The council split. In total sixteen commanders walked out on the council, condemning the actions of the remainder. By the end of the month communications between the two sides were sparse and civil communication even less common.
With the dissenting voices in their midst gone the Council consolidated, the colony needed a capital to control the remaining settlements from, and so one was built. Spire, a rather grandiose title for what amounted to a five-story administration building surrounded by houses, but it was planned with expansion in mind. To maintain cohesiveness the commanders remaining on the council moved into Spire full time and delegated oversight of their individual settlements to the newly formed Council Security Service.
The original commanders council was only intended to be a short-term organisation, with the new intention to maintain overall control of the colonisation effort all the way to full integration and re-establishment in space the Council needed more legitimacy and a way to replace members as they retired. To this end they instituted elections to take place whenever a new member was required to represent a settlement. Elections were anonymous and open to all non-council members of an area ‘in good standing’. Of the 65 council positions only 23 changed over the next hundred years, each time being filled by a person amenable to the existing council.
By the mid 40s it would have been easy to call the Council lands a utopia: cities were clean, industry efficient, education and healthcare free, food provided and civilisation continuing to push into the algae encrusted wilderness. The pervading aura of weariness brought on by constant 14-hour days and continual productivity assessments showed the price.
In late 108 the gaps in the integrated colonisation schedule left by the 16 independent settlements began to be felt. High-speed maglev lines were being built with gaps where the missing territories should have taken over, the same institutional inflexibility that had pushed the colony forward through the last century had now reached an impasse and was left floundering for an excuse.
Rather than answer the question of just why they had built transport connections to places that didn’t exist the Council put the blame on the Independents for not having built the places the lines were heading to. Before continuing with further development the independent regions would have to be brought back up to speed with civilisation.
Independent Parallel History
After their split from the Council in 12CS the sixteen Commanders returned to their own settlements and took a more personal role in development. Over the course of the next few years each formed a local advisory board to guide colonisation efforts as they diverged from the original plans. One of the first actions of the new boards was a joint review on existing projects, many were swiftly downgraded and the labour allocated to them cut dramatically; by the time the summer of 15 came round the average mandated work day had dropped below 10 hours and the overseeing security enforcing the schedule had been replaced by a more relaxed police force.
Industrial and agricultural development continued at a reduced rate, with some time being taken to investigate the ecology of the planet they had found themselves on rather than attempting to replace it completely. Most of the discoveries were only of interest to biologists, but the algae they had been struggling to remove turned out to be remarkably efficient at extracting chemicals from the seawater. Without the need for complex desalination plants fresh water became immediately plentiful and, in an ironic twist, the construction of private swimming pools became a new fashion.
By the time the first Commander was allowed to officially retire in 87 the independent colonies has spread out into the surrounding lands, each a central city surrounded by several townships and hamlets. In most cases the oversight position was left vacant after the original Commander retired, in one the position was granted to the aging Commander’s daughter who had spent the previous 18 years on the local advisory board in her own right; in another case when the Commander died in late 93 at the age of only 138 the position was made honorary and filled by his pet raork – an amphibious mammal of similar temperament to a common housecat. On its death in 102 the position was finally vacated.
In the spring of 117 the first reports of abnormal personnel relocations in Council territory made their way back to the boards.
The Unification War
When the Unification War really started is a matter of some debate. The Council declared the Independent settlements to be outlaws in early 109 and began militarising the Council Security Service, finally invading the Independent Territories in winter of 117.
The debate occurs because it wasn’t until mid 118 when the first of the outlying townships were assaulted that anyone on the Independents’ side realised they were fighting something more serious than a few bandits. The local police forces proved less than effective.
The first of the town militias were a purely voluntary delaying action. Armed with mining charges, fire-engines full of gelatinous synthetic petroleum and what few firearms were available they set out with the knowledge that they were not expected to win, nor even survive; merely to buy enough time for their families and friends to evacuate.
As refugees began streaming into the capital cities looking for shelter from the coming armies the combined boards declared a state of emergency and called their Commanders back out of retirement. The centralised militia that formed under their guidance had proper weapons, were better organised and knew what they were facing.
It was clear from the start that some of the Commanders had expected some sort of confrontation with the Council at some stage, as the most capable and qualified commanders in the new army were frequently their descendants. At the start of 119 the Independents won their first victory, pushing the Council forces back from the northern settlement of Craktao.
It was equally evident in the Council lands that despite their preparations they were not prepared for organised resistance. Recruitment into the CSS increased considerably and much of the existing forces were stripped from Council cities and sent to the front.
Soon the tide once again turned and the Independents’ were pushed back out of the reclaimed townships before any civilians had chance to return, even collect their belongings. With a swift return looking ever less likely pre-fab shanty towns sprung up around the few well protected cities. The newer recruits into the Council’s armies soon came across the real face of their enemy, and it looked rather less delinquent and hedonistic than they had been told.
With the Council pulling security from their cities to prosecute the Unification, their control over information returning from the front slipped and the general population came to their own conclusions over which side they would rather be on. Open protests cropped up in the seemingly lax environment only for them to quietly stop in a matter of hours. With deeper public unrest brewing at home and newer recruits showing ‘unsatisfactorily sympathetic tendencies’ toward their enemies the Council started to fracture, some urging to withdraw and solve the domestic problems, others insisting that the war must be finished first. While they were deliberating the decision would be taken out of their hands.
Alderworth was the last township left between the Council forces and the regional capital of New Babylon. Defended by 2 Independent Militia Companies under the leadership of a Captain David Jameson, third generation cousin off the main Jameson line. The attacking force was more than three times their strength, a full battalion of mechanised infantry. The battalion came to a halt just outside weapon range on the other side of the plain and a single vehicle headed towards the Independent defence line. Under the watchful eye of half a company and several sniper teams the sole occupant stepped out of the vehicle and in full uniform complete with starred shoulder boards approached the Captain.
“Colonel Jacob Miles,” the man choked out with a salute. “3rd Mechanised Battalion. We stand ready to assist you.”
The Council had made a fatal mistake. Three days earlier the list of ‘unfortunate casualties’ from a quelled protest had included two names that changed history: Rachel and Josephine Miles – the colonel’s two daughters.
News of the defection of an entire army proved impossible to contain, and neither the colonel nor Independent command felt inclined to keep the reasons secret. Across the Council military communication network squads, companies and even platoons simply disappeared.
The retaliation strike from the combined Independent and ‘Rebel’ forces advanced into Council territory largely unopposed, the remaining CSS forces left out of position and with large portions of the loyalists being recalled for ‘domestic service’. Skirmishes broke out over the first few metropolii but once the guards had been taken out the populations proved rather amenable to a change in government.
Then came Arcadia.
This first true battle of the last stage of the Unification War began as autumn of 121 and took place along the approach to the city of Arcadia. For three days the Council forces fought a running battle against the liberating armies before finally being overrun. (Full details and tactical analysis of the battle covered in course 2H2AT). When Independent forces entered the city however they found nothing but scorched buildings, cooling pools of glass and ash. The entire population were dead; the city had been firebombed during the second day of the battle. Looking out across the devastation the commanding officers were left with one thought: “We were too late.”
From that day on the war changed: no more delays. The next fortnight was a textbook demonstration of blitzkrieg tactics. Almost a quarter of the Independent forces were lost during the rapid advance but they succeeded, Arcadia was both the first and last city to be destroyed.
At the end of the second week the combined army hit Spire only to find it almost undefended, the Council sealed in the central council chamber behind their personal guards and the rest of the garrison refusing to fight for a government they could no longer believe in. Following the accepted surrender of the garrison forces a message came from the Council, they surrendered.
Minutes later the reply was delivered via several strips of plastic explosive and the ingress into the council chamber of six heavily armed strike squads followed by the High Commander of the Independent forces and two generals from the CSS. The arrest, military tribunal convicting the entire council of crimes against humanity and subsequent execution took another seven hours.
While the war officially ended that day it took another four months before council loyalists left behind by the assault could all be rounded up, and it was spring of 122 before thoughts would turn to recovery.
With the civilian governments of both sides in disarray the responsibility for the restoration once again fell on the surviving Commanders, but conducting a full-scale war at the age of over 160 had taken its toll and before long the duties and everyday administration of the recovery effort were taken up by their successors.
In 129, after seven years of clean up and re-housing the first estimates of how long it would take to fully repair the damage done by the Council’s colonisation policies were revealed – upward of seventy years.
Thirty three years later, and with the control of the restoration beginning to pass into the hands of a third generation, the position of ‘Commander’ was unofficially made hereditary and given legal ownership of the lands over which they held jurisdiction. Another four and with the Independent cities and towns fully repaired and reoccupied; and the populations of the surviving metropolii now spread out in towns across the ex-council lands; attention finally turned to the shell of Arcadia.
Arcadia – A New Beginning
For over forty years Arcadia had stood as a memorial to those that died within; now decay was setting in. At the first full meeting of all Commanders since the end of the war it was decided that they deserved a better monument than a crumbling ruin.
Never before and never since have so much solemnity and so much explosive coexisted in one place as when old Arcadia was laid to rest.
Over the next decade Arcadia was rebuilt anew; the capital city of a now united planet. Real centralised government was applied sparingly, leaving most power in the hands of the Commanders; instead the capital was home to the meeting place. Even after half a century there were few who would willingly use the word ‘council’ so the name of that assembly was drawn from deeper in the old Earth archives: Landsraad – Assembly of Landowners. At the same time the New Arcadian Calendar was created to replace the Council Standard, marking a final end to that dark era.
The original Landsraad consisted of sixteen seats held by the lines of the original Independent Commanders. While over time a number of minor seats have come and gone as individuals are appointed to advisory positions or given jurisdiction over certain areas, the sixteen major seats have remained constant.
200 NAC – 2 Centuries Later
Two hundred and fifty years after the end of the Unification War, three hundred and seventy three since the MCV Conestoga landed on Nova Gaia, colonisation was finally and officially complete. With a stable population of 1.8 billion it was time to head for the stars.
It took only four years for the first system survey shuttle to set out into the outer system on a mission to map any changes to take place over the last four centuries. While initial results were of great interest to Arcadian scientists, it was another nine years before the find that would spark global interest in the space project – the discovery of a jump node near the outer edge of the system.
For four years the node was watched closely while an unmanned probe was designed. While little more than a jump core with a high spec sensor array and automated navigation system the design was intended more as proof-of-concept than a fully functioning survey craft; that honour would be granted to a future manned expedition once the safety of the node and system were assured. Finally in 219 NAC the probe was ready, testing complete and the node showed no signs of destabilising so with great anticipation the Arcadian Voyager left Attica Delta.
Scientists and Commanders watched the relayed transmission in first elation and then shock as the probe signalled a successful transit, then for a few brief seconds reported the presence of a large unidentified vessel before the transmission stopped abruptly. Arcadian Voyager II was rushed to completion and immediately dispatched to determine the accuracy of the ill-fated first probe’s transmissions. This time the transit signal was barely recognisable over the ECM output on the far side of the node and even the garbled transmissions cut out after only a handful of seconds.
With the system now looking decidedly hostile manned survey was out of the question, instead the Arcadia System Defence Force came into being. With a hostile force on the other end of the jump node the development of defensive craft was constrained to what could be constructed using existing infrastructure. While the survey fleet by this point boasted a full half dozen system survey vessels, each with a complement of 20; they were already approaching the limit of what could successfully make orbit, without adding the mass of armour needed to withstand battle. Having eliminated larger ships the only plausible option remaining was strike craft. Single person fighters were swiftly developed and brought into service, sent out to patrol the node as soon as they were finished. It took until mid 220 for the fleet to produce its first dedicated capital ship, an unarmed and barely armoured tanker to allow fighters to resupply on reaching the exclusion zone rather than using a quarter of their flight time just getting to the node. With the security of Arcadia at least temporarily assured work began on jump capable fighters using the same cores as designed for the Voyager probes.
In late 221 a force of four hundred jump-fighters had been assembled and the first manned expedition through the node was launched. As the flotilla entered the new system they found themselves facing a fleet of much larger vessels. Attempts at communication resulted in no reply except a rapidly rising level of ECM so the flotilla went offensive. The power output of the hostile ships was impressive, the speed and manoeuvrability less so; after a few losses to the initial heavy bombardment the Arcadian fighters flew rings around the enemy ships, destroying them without further casualties.
With the initial incursion successful one refitted survey ship was brought through to provide sensor cover. Vessels of the type just engaged were discovered scattered throughout the system, while they had proved ineffective against fighters it was certain that against a less manoeuvrable target they could be devastating. Only one target came to mind for such a sizable fleet: a planet – Arcadia.
The assault swiftly continued into the system, the lumbering behemoths of the enemy fleet being taken out before they could have chance to regroup. As the assault entered the inner system vessels of a different, much sleeker, design were detected fleeing the approaching fighters. All attempts to follow proved in vain with the standard blocky warships positioning themselves to block pursuit and erecting massive distortion fields. While they made little attempt to defend themselves, by the time the last of the enemy warships had been defeated there was no trace of any other vessels ever having been in the system.
With the system secured it was finally given a name: Tyros, and for the first time they had chance to properly examine the wreckage of the people they had been fighting. Dozens of the bulky warship husks were salvaged and brought in to be dismantled, not a single being, living or dead could be found on board; indeed there seemed to be little habitable space of any kind. The great ships’ more suicidal tendencies began to make sense, though the existence of a wholly automated war fleet was a worrying development.
Not having the infrastructure to maintain a prolonged presence in Tyros majority of the Arcadian flotilla returned to Attica. Though they had won they were very much aware of how vulnerable Arcadia could have been. The real enemy had escaped and there was no telling when they might return. Attention turned to building up the production base in Attica in preparation for a more prolonged war.
In early 225, after five years with no sign of a return the last patrols withdrew through the node. It would be another fifty years before the Arcadians returned to Tyros.
The ISS Daedalus
The Institute Survey Ship Daedalus was never intended to be a colony vessel, indeed with living space for barely 100 it would be nearly impossible to start a viable colony with such a restricted genetic base. When the node storm hit the ship was hastily retrofitted, the three main sensor modules being replaced by a pair of automated mining and assembly pods and a combination stasis hold and mainframe that by the time of completion had gained the designation “Ark Zero”. Ark Zero contained the sum total of the Institute’s genetic archives and scientific databases.
A single class G star with approximately three planets.
Limbo b is approximately 0.6AU from the system’s star, combined with a dense atmosphere comprised of carbon and sulphur dioxides this maintains a surface temperature around 650’C - high enough that plutonium is a liquid. (Class U)
Limbo c is a planetary core fragment with a highly eccentric orbit, while the untold millennia since the impact that ejected it have left little mark on the body; the high levels of ultra-heavy elements found in it ensure that scientists rarely have to look far for otherwise exotic material. There is no trace of the body this fragment came from. (Class U)
Limbo d is a rocky planet of approximately Earth size and mass; unfortunately at a minimum orbital distance of 47 AU it is far too cold to support life. (Class U)
A single class B star with two planets.
Atik b is a gas giant with a system of six moons on the outer edge of the star’s temperate zone.
Atik c is a smaller, colder gas giant with high concentrations of nitrogen and methane.
A red giant / white dwarf binary with one very old, very battered planet.
An Unfortunate Beginning
The Daedalus arrived in its first new system only to find an obvious lack of planets to colonise. With little else they could do they put colonisation plans on indefinite hold, gave the system the title ‘Limbo’ and continued with what the Daedalus had originally been designed for, surveying. Twice over the next five years the crew’s hopes were raised by the discovery of an active jump node, only to fall again when the connected systems proved as inhospitable as the first.
As the ship returned from setting up resource operations in Menkib the first shipments from Atik were arriving in Limbo; construction of a habitat to house the crew and archives began. Before even the station superstructure was complete the design goals had changed three times, on each occasion gaining larger laboratories. When it was finally finished the station had more space dedicated to sensors, labs and computers than living quarters and recreation. With a seemingly insurmountable problem to resolve the crew soon realised that they needed help.
When presented with a need for intelligent, resourceful people; a large, well equipped science station; a catalogued genetic archive of a significant fraction of humanity and a complete absence of oversight from an ethics committee, the solution was obvious.
The recombined genetic records from the most capable individuals in the archives were used to seed a complete generation of a thousand clones. Without the capacity to care for and properly educate children the clones were taken to full maturity over the course of thirteen years, after which a network of synaptic overlays was grown inside the cerebral cortex allowing them to be taught before being decanted.
In –170 CAE, after two years of education, the new generation emerged into the world, naïve, even childish in their innocence; but complete genii with an instinctive grasp of concepts beyond the ability of most people. This combination resulted in some very ambitious brainstorming sessions.
Since the problem was a lack of habitable planet, the initial suggestions addressed this directly: Limbo d is a suitable planet with the wrong thermal input - ideas on correcting this ranged from constructing a lens to focus more of the star's output in the correct direction (rejected: too volatile;) through moving the planet to a more suitable orbit (rejected: thrust requirements for piloting a rotating body of planetary mass through system too high;) to dismantling the entire planet, shipping it to the correct location and rebuilding it (rejected: too little benefit for invested time and effort).
But what if there was a greater benefit for the same level of effort? Maybe a planet wasn't the best solution available. The scope of possible projects snowballed rapidly; Dyson spheres of all kinds, habitable rings built around the star, annular planes with an oscillation induced in the central star to create day and night. Eventually reason was imposed by the older crew; if there were need for habitation for thousands of trillions in tens of millennia if could be started at a later date, for now a smaller structure would suffice.
What passed for reason amongst that collection of prodigies with no noticeable deadlines nevertheless resulted in plans for a ringworld over three million kilometres in diameter. Rotating at a rate of one revolution per day this would produce an acceptable level of pseudo-gravity and an appropriate day-night cycle, as well as supplying as much habitable area as any five planets once complete.
The next thirty years were spent creating the material technologies necessary to attempt such an endeavour and in –143 the first ten million kilometre ring of interlocking multi-wall fullerene cable was complete. With raw material streaming in from both neighbouring systems it took only another three years for the addition of new cable to become a completely automated process and progress on construction to accelerate with only minimal supervision. As the micron scale ribbons of a new world were woven into shape the structure gained a name: Clotho, after the Greek Fate who spins the fabric of life.
The large amount of automation involved in constructing Clotho’s foundation left a lot of spare time for other research. Among the most influential of the outcomes from these side projects came in –106 with the development of active stasis. Previously stasis had been a rather complex process only used for prolonged periods and had had similar psychological effects to narcolepsy if used frequently or without adequate restabilisation periods. In active stasis select sections could be kept operational at a reduced rate. The usual psychological effects could then be eliminated by inducing beta and delta waves to simulate normal sleep patterns while under the effects of low level stasis.
With active stasis giving all the mental benefits of normal sleep while simultaneously slowing metabolic processes it was possible for it to replace the usual eight hours of sleep. Effectively reducing aging rates to sixteen hours a day and increasing potential life expectancies by up to 30% the process soon earned the name ‘Lachesis Stasis’, from the second of the Fates, measuring out each mans allotted lifespan.
A New World
After a hundred and forty one years of construction the foundations of Clotho were completed; over the next eighteen months the ring was slowly brought up to full rotational speed. Everything was stable, internal stresses matching projections across the entire acceleration curve. Spinning serenely in the middle of the system’s temperate zone laid a shining silver ring swathed in vast swirls of deep purple.
With one rotation lasting slightly under twenty four hours and a full orbit calculated to take precisely three hundred and sixty one rotations (giving a surface day of exactly twenty four hours and three hundred sixty days a year) the previously used Earth calendar was no longer appropriate. A new system based on the final results of Clotho’s calibrations began. It was the year 0 CAE.
Split into seventy two zones, each with an area of almost thirty five million square kilometres, there was a lot of new area to cover. Work on synthesising a biosphere began as soon as the first zone seals were verified.
By 11 CAE allergy problems across all of Generation Zero had shown that their immune systems simply weren’t up to handling life outside of a clean environment. With the increased level of genetic manipulation available after an extra two centuries, work began on Generation One, the first fully genetically engineered generation.
The first of the Geneered had barely been active for twelve years when Generation Zero started to die; the first passing away at the age of two hundred and nine from a combination of old age and stress caused by exposure to the very biosphere they had helped to create. In late 44 CAE the last of the generation followed; all of the thousand lost in the course of only six years.
Determined not to repeat the same mass simultaneity generation 2A was started almost immediately, with plans to produce small generations on a more frequent basis from then on. It is thought that gaps in memory overlays designed with a focus on mental education as opposed to general life combined with a lack of complete habitation area and the now universal practice of sleeping in stasis pods to make that first generation reject more traditional methods of procreation.
Finally, eighty eight years after work began, Zone 1 was pronounced operational, a completely artificial, self regulating biosphere. If a slightly under populated one with less than one occupant per thousand square kilometres. Over the next forty years the population more than doubled with the introduction of generations 2B in 90 CAE and 2C in 120.
In 133 the genome sections responsible for eidetic memory were isolated and incorporated into selected portions of the upcoming third generation of geneered. When generation 3A were tested between 1 and 2% of those with the correct genes not only displayed a photographic memory and perfect recall, but could also use the knowledge close to instantaneously and in some tasks could outperform the computers being used to test them.
While generation 3B were growing advances in micro-engineering produced the first internal network maintenance implants. Previously the synaptic overlays used to bring each generation up to an acceptable knowledge level during gestation would disintegrate and be flushed out of the body during the first few years of life; now that they could be maintained safely in-situ it was possible to use the overlay to both read and supply information directly. Unfortunately at this point it was not possible to safely re-implant those of earlier generations – that took another thirty years to develop.
By the time generation 3C was born in 201 the population of Clotho had reached three hundred thousand, roughly two thirds of whom were able to communicate via the neural network and almost four thousand of whom had unprecedented ability to parse information, analyse and calculate; though fully cultivating this ability was purely a matter of choice, a choice only made by half those so capable.
The Atik Incident
Work was just beginning on the fifth biosphere zone in 210 when contact with automated resource transport 174-VI in Atik was suddenly lost. The CSV Chandrasekhar, being one of only three manned vessels in the system, went to investigate the loss of signal. The vessel was soon found drifting with a significant portion of the primary hull missing. Analysis of deformation and scorching of the remaining hull showed that the vessel had been hit by a relatively small object that had exploded shortly after impact; subsequent examination of the debris field revealed that the ‘small object’ was a rudimentary jump drive with guidance computer and the remains of a low yield fusion warhead payload.
The last system survey in 163 had detected the fading remnants of a transient jump node in the immediate vicinity; after locating the node and finding it active the Chandrasekhar erected a field of sensor buoys and began scanning the node. Results showing that the node has stabilised were still coming in when the node flared and a missile of similar mass to the one that had taken out transport 174-VI emerged at speed and rammed a sensor buoy, destroying both in the resulting explosion.
While primitive the attacks were undoubtedly effective. The science vessel retreated to a safe distance and a number of automated mining vessels were assigned to guard the node against further intruding missiles.
When the next attack came at the end of 212 it proved to be more than an order of magnitude larger than anticipated; each of the twenty vessels tasked with the node’s defence attempted to lock on to a target. While finding it difficult to isolate their targets (the sensors were originally intended to track rather more predictable objects like rocks) it was possible to aim in approximately the correct direction. The targets were however not moving fast enough to be missiles so the sentries held fire and sent a request for instructions to the system’s control station. Before a reply could be received the intruders opened fire and the blockade was soon overrun.
As the invaders swarmed across the system raiding shipping and destroying mining operations the few manned control structures in Atik were evacuated and returned to Clotho, leaving the last remaining automated vessels fighting a rear-guard action to prevent pursuit. To minimise the chances of the route being found travel through the Atik-Clotho node was barred and by mid spring in 213 the node sat in the middle of a sea of mining charges and construction of a more dedicated blockade fleet was beginning in Menkib. Should their attackers find their way into the system they would not succeed so easily a second time.
While destructive, the incident had established that they were not the only humans in this part of the galaxy, if indeed they themselves were strictly human with the level of genetic and bio engineering now prevalent. It was only now they realised that merely calling themselves ‘human’ would not be sufficient, they needed a name. After a brief but intense debate they decide to take their name from the same origin as their new homeworld; they would be the Moirae.
In 236, with biosphere zone 5 now nine years behind schedule and humidity falling below acceptable limits, the first trip into Atik in twenty three years was launched. It found the system completely deserted. The blockade was relocated to the exterior node in Atik and shortly afterward mining operations were re-established. While zone 5 never truly returned to its planned state, becoming the first zone to feature extensive deserts after completion in 249, the renewed influx of resources allowed the balancing oceanic archipelago environment of zone 6 to be completed by the end of 252.
The mid-late 260s proved to be a period for landmark event; with the first portable force fields in 264, the population passing the 1 million mark with the advent of generation 4C in 266; and finally with the arrival of a hostile fleet at the Atik blockade in 267.
When the Arcadian Tyros Exploration Fleet commanded by Duke Commander Michael II Vernius emerged from the node to find the Atik Defence Force under System Administrator Amanda Cole it was the first time that manned craft from the two civilisations had been at the same meeting. With a much wider sensor palette and more qualified science personnel manning the detectors on the Commander’s flagship than had been available in the single seat fighters of fifty years prior, the Arcadians could now tell the difference between ECM and high intensity scanning. Following several tense minutes where each fleet sat looking at the other, communications between the two civilisations were begun with the opening line from Administrator Cole.
“Can I take it that you do not wish to start a war today?”
After a brief exchange amounting to each agreeing not to kill the other it was agreed that Commander Vernius would join the Administrator on her ship for further discussions. Two major discoveries came from that meeting for each side. The Arcadians discovered that they had inadvertently started and fought a war against a mining operation; and that the people those vessels had belonged to were some centuries ahead of them technologically. The Moirae found out that the initial attacks in the conflict had come about due to the Arcadian’s ignorance rather than innate aggression; and that a hundred years of mental contact had left them slightly out of practice when it came to interacting with outsiders.
It took some time for more than unofficial co-operation over the further development of Atik/Tyros to happen, largely due to the Moirae not having any official government structure. While the two civilisations’ fleets stood down and Arcadian production turned toward more productive ends, the Moirae cobbled together a government.
A full meritocracy was considered and swiftly rejected; the most capable people should not be wasted in government. Several other systems were considered before it was realised that they did not require a government to run anything; they only needed a government for outsiders to see, talk to and sign treaties with. The Moirae Triumvirate came into being in late 268 CAE. To the Arcadians, learning that a culture named after the three Fates was ruled by three women came as no surprise. The selection criteria for the Triumvirs would have. Since the positions were largely ceremonial and the Moirae genetically engineered for most of the more usually required traits there was little use in selecting based on ability; instead the Triumvirs were to be the public face of the race, and the Moirae were not above a little vanity.
Finally in 269 CAE (276 NA) the Triumvirate visited Arcadia. One of the first items dealt with in the new treaty was the end of two years of informal collaboration in Atik/Tyros; the system gained a third, combined name: Tyrik. During the creation of Clotho’s biosphere zones the Moirae had made significant advances and now had the ability to terraform the moons of Tyrik b, a prospect beyond their abilities only a century earlier; what they lacked was the population to colonise them. In 272 the trial terraforming of Tyrik b-I began, with Arcadia supplying the manpower and resources, and the Moirae supplying the technology.
During 274 CAE the first Arcadians outside of the Landsraad were allowed onto the surface of Clotho to assist in the creation of zone ten, which was being based on the native Arcadian marine ecology. Despite living on the ring for a minimum of three years the sheer scale of habitable area compared to the sparse Moirae population meant that contact was largely limited to those that made effort to meet their development colleagues. While the impact of Moirae culture on the Arcadians was in most cases limited to a sense of awe, the Arcadians’ tales of ‘family back home’ caused a revival of natural procreation and in some scattered cases relationships developed between Arcadian and Moirae resulting in applications for permanent residency.
Moirae geneering had made most traits dominant by default, so these hybrid children retained the geneered neurology required for compatibility with a neural network and the dominance of pure Moirae children in the immediate generation ensured that the children followed their peers example. Left out of a significant part of their children’s development it swiftly became popular among the Arcadian parents to have minor retroactive genetic modification and buffer implants, allowing them to converse with their family and friends without being vulnerable to the ambient chatter.
Slow progress toward a more complete integration was made over the early parts of the 4th century CAE, with immigration at a low but growing level. Then came the Mk XIII buffer implants. At first the fairly routine upgrade to buffer throughput and capacity went unremarked, then came the first diagnosed case of what would become known as ‘buffer psychosis’. While the new series were just as capable of filtering unwanted input and preventing unintended transmission of a person’s thought stream, the level of traffic that could be instantaneously accessed was greater than an unaugmented mind could cope with; those afflicted would become catatonic as the mental feeds drowned out their physical surroundings.
While the problem was swiftly resolved without loss of life and the existing Mk XIIIs modified to include a lock holding the access levels down to that of the Mk XIIs, the realisation that the separation between born Moirae and immigrant Arcadians was a fundamental wetware issue put an end to calls for further integration. By the start of the 5th century immigration was down to levels akin to two hundred years previously.
Rise of the Moirae
Discovering that an average human being couldn’t cope with the level of communication that served as the core of their society lead to in depth research into whether sufficient augmentation could be achieved without fundamental alteration of the person’s underlying psyche and personality. After extensive simulation they found the answer: No. This realisation shattered the Moirae’s perception of themselves as ‘only human’ and resulted in a cultural backlash.
It didn’t take long for the first in a wave of ‘personal utilities’ to be released. Based on miniaturisation and redesign of centuries old gravitation, the ‘3D motion’ package allowed anyone (with an innate understanding of gravitics, the ability to calculate real time trajectories in a rotating frame of reference and an internal energy supply) to fly. While the last requirement necessitated the additional augmentation of molecular capacitors beyond previously considered levels, the implants proved very popular among a people trying to distinguish themselves from baseline humanity without compromising their humanity.
By the year 487 CAE the implants were so ubiquitous that the line ‘All floors of a public structure should be accessible without requiring the ability to fly.’ was added to the building code to prevent unnecessary discrimination against the few ‘ground bound’ Arcadian immigrants.
While more mundane applications and utilities were introduced on a regular basis it wasn’t until 539 that the next revolutionary step was taken with the first implantable forcefield networks. The success of this technology was ably demonstrated in early 540 by Alex Shepard with the first unaided spacewalk while supervising the terraforming of Tyrik b-III.
With the Moirae still numbering only around a hundred million and mostly staying confined to the Clotho system outside of specific highly advanced projects, it was inevitable that the general population already considered them a rarity. Talk of one of them stepping into an airlock seemingly unbothered by the exterior being a vacuum was initially treated with much the same scepticism as being informed that a Nessie had entered a tap dancing competition. When the Gateway project started in 622 and brought them into the Attica system and in clear view of monitoring cameras the formerly derided claims became almost mythic in their retelling, with the origin of the tale drifting ever further back beyond when the feat had become possible.
While to the Landsraad, the scientists and the more informed of the Arcadian population the Moirae were merely very advanced allies, some small elements started to appear in the general population that talked about them as though they were the gods themselves.
The discovery of a nascent node connection between Attica and Clotho in 583 had lead to long term monitoring platforms being constructed at both ends. For the next thirty years little would come of it, but eventually progress began to be made into how the nodes formed. In 618 plans for a process that might force the link to stabilise were proposed; they spent the next year conducting small scale tests, culminating in the sending of a short data burst through the metastable node before it collapsed.
Construction on the Clotho gate began immediately, with specialists transferring to the Attica gate once work on their area was complete. The latter of the two structures was completed in 625 and final tests were scheduled for the end of the following year, when both Arcadia and Clotho would be on the opposite side of their stars from the forming node so as to minimise the possibility of unforeseen consequences affecting them.
The end of 626 came and went with little note of its passage while repairs to a power relay in the Attican gate were conducted. Finally, in early 628, the node was opened; the two systems stayed connected for all of an hour before power levels on the stations fell below recommended limits and the node shut again, but the test was successful. Additional power generation brought recharge times down to only three days, but it wasn’t until another decade had passed that they could apply the theory developed during monitoring of the initial openings and bring the node to a stable level.
The gates themselves stood watch over the node they had brought into being until they were shut down in 708, eighty years after their first activation. While the Attican gate was dismantled and sections were transported to the surface to appear in museums and technology centres across Arcadia, the Clotho gate was converted into a dedicated research complex and, while admittedly less efficient than the more modern facilities, is still kept up to date and in use to this day.
The Systems Coalition
(circa 820 CAE / 808 NA)
- Clotho Class 3/2 Ringworld Population 315 Million
- 44 Zones Currently Complete – Zones 45 & 46 Under Construction
- Extensive Research Facilities
- Arcadia Class 3 Planet Population 6.4 Billion
- Extensive Production Capacity
- Tyrik b (I-IV) Class 2 Satellites Population 840 Million
- Extensive Production Capacity
- Tyrik b and c are the primary sources of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen used in biosphere creation on Clotho.
- Extensive Automated Mining and Production Facilities
- Stations only manned by several controllers.
Total Population: 315 Million Life Expectancy: 205 Natural 270 Lachesis (All cases.)
The Moirae come in three distinct varieties: Born, Geneered and Migrant. Born Moirae are, as the name suggests, those born to at least one Moirae parent. Geneered are those from one of the genetically engineered generations, a practice still continued to ensure genetic diversity is maintained as the population grows. Migrants are Arcadians who have chosen to undergo retroactive geneering and implantation; most commonly due to family connections.
While the initial neural overlays are implanted at a only 12 they only become active around the age of 16 and continue to adapt and grow with the child until full maturity in the early twenties. More active implants including those for flight, air shielding, pulse maser strategic artillery and holographic projection are only fitted after the age of 25 once the individual has passed a test showing that they have the ability necessary to handle it.
Total Population: 7.3 Billion Life Expectancy: 180 Average 240 Lachesis (Limited to more progressive lines.)
From outside the Arcadians can be split broadly into two groups: those belonging to one of the sixteen Lines holding a permanent seat on the Landsraad, and everyone else. From inside the situation appears slightly more complex.
The major seats on the Landsraad are hereditary but generally passed on at retirement rather than death. The sitting Commander, his/her spouse, predecessors, immediate heir and heirs secondary form the core Line Major; other relations including in-laws are indirectly part of the Line but not the Line Major. Minor seats are held by individuals and released either upon retirement or death.
Arcadia is split into 16 roughly equal regions governed by a single Line. Colonies and stations are often joint holdings and controlled by the Landsraad, but some are built by and wholly under the jurisdiction of a single Line.