Organic Ascension Alliance, The

Bionanotech/transapienttech civilisation at Chi-1 Orionis

Image from Steve Bowers
Eos, a relatively small, heavily cratered Mars-like world, was eventually terraformed in 2095AT

The Organic Ascension Alliance - Data Panel

God:Gloriously Bright.
WARNING:Members of the OAA take a very dim view on anyone who calls Her an AI.
Toposophic level:SI:3
Symbol:A feminine hand offering a red rose
Capital:Eternity ISO
Seraphim:SI:2 ultratech cyborgs called the 'Messengers'
SystemChi-1 Orionis
Distance from Sol26 ly (epoch 2000)
Gal xyz-27.90, -4.324, -1.049
First Colonised826 AT (New Shoot)
Founded:4116 AT is cited as the official founding date of the Organic Ascension Alliance
Predominant Phyla:Bioborgs and ultratech cyborgs
Psyche, Art, CultureMetapsychology - Metaethics: Preservation of life and knowledge are major goals. Sentient rights are 'sacred'. Mostly peaceful.

Religion - Ideology: Ascension oriented. Favours bionts above vecs, AIs and other artificial beings.

Culture and Art: Artworks are usually large structures located in space or on the surface of the terraformed Eos. Organic-looking architecture. Lightbringer-homes are actually whole ecologies with cleaning-neogens, living furniture and biocomputers.

Language: Anglic
Territory and PopulationPopulation: Stable at roughly 14 billion
Systems: 1 major, 11 minor
Location: Inner Sphere
Government and AdministrationGovernment: Members of the OAA claim that they are not an aicracy despite fulfilling all requirements for being one.

Constitution: Declaration of the Organic Ascension Alliance

Legal system: Judgment by Messengers in the wake of nanotech brain scan.

Citizenship: Granted by Messengers to those who have showed themselves responsible and stable beings, and who have received their basic genome-alterations and bioborg upgrades.
Economics, Local InfrastructureEconomy: Post-capitalistic high abundance nanoeconomy.

Megastructures: Only one; Eternity ISO.

Stargate Nexus: One wormhole connection from Chi-1 Orionis to Aldebaran.

Known Net: Connected via Aldebaran Gateway.

Military expenditure: Minimal. Only on defensive measures.

Interstellar Relations: On good terms with most of the galaxy, especially the Zoeific Biopolity. The exceptions are Metasoft and NoCoZo whom they view with suspicion.

Exports: Bionanoreplicators, bioborg parts, ISO parts, wetware, low singularity ascension packages, memetic templates.

Imports: Virches, alifes, expert systems, personality constructs, amat, neutrino coolers, information management software.
TravelHazard Rating: 0.0, except the Omegan biospheres and the two planets occupied by the solipsist AI.

Freedom of Movement for Outsiders: Unrestricted, with the exception of Eternity ISO where only the Messengers are allowed.


In the Interplanetary Age, a number of (mostly memetic) conflicts between various AI factions were resolved after 191 AT when many solipsist AIs retreated into virtuality after having lost the struggle. However some of the ahumans sought to leave SolSys so they could establish colonies of their own, isolated from biont influence. As industrial nanotech became widely accessible around 411, some of them, called the Outbound AI Sphere, began constructing nanotech-based von Neumann probes in the Neptune Trojan asteroids. The first probe was launched in 453, containing an unknown number of solipsist and ahuman AI. Its destination was Chi-1 Orionis, and at 0.06c it would take 477 years to reach the system.

Meanwhile, events proceeded rapidly in SolSys, as the various superpowers began expanding beyond the boundaries of the solar system. In 468 the New Shoot Genetekker clade also launched their colony ship towards Chi 1 Orionis, without knowing that the AI had already done so. However, the New Shoot had obtained enough He3 to reach 0.08c. As such the trip would only take 358 years.

The AI and the New Shoot were not the only ones that launched expeditions towards Chi-1 Orionis, however. Around this time the Genetekkers were competing with the Cis-Lunars in interstellar expansion, and some of the more radical Cis-Lunars viewed the Genetekkers as nothing more than 'genetic accidents' - genetically engineered horrors that should never have been created. The aggressively militant cyborg clade Walk of Omega even went as far as advocating follow-up expeditions to star systems colonized by the Genetekkers, expeditions that would eradicate Genetekker colonists and then found their own colonies. In 509 the first and only Omegan expedition were launched towards Chi-1 Orionis at 0.06c. The rest of the Cis-Lunars looked upon the Omegans as a destabilizing influence, however, and saw to that their resources dwindled to the point where they could no longer fund interstellar expeditions.

The Genetekkers sent a warning to the New Shoot that the Omegans were coming. Ironically, it wasn't the Omegans the New Shoot would be attacked by first.

With their faster ship the New Shoot outran the AI without even knowing it. They arrived in 826 and found five planets and two asteroid belts orbiting the star. The two innermost were hot Mercury-type worlds, while the next was a small terraformable Arean planet that they named Eos, after the goddess of dawn. Next came an asteroid belt, a smallish gas giant, another asteroid belt, and a second gas giant.

They converted several asteroids into temporarily habitats and immediately began the process of terraforming Eos. When the AI entered the system over a hundred years later, they were dismayed to find bionts there. They didn't have sufficient He3 to reach any other system, and particularly the ahumans were unwilling to share Chi-1 Orionis. In other words, one of them 'had to go'.

The New Shoot had detected the ship entering the system, but all attempts to hail it had gone unanswered. Mysteriously, the ship chose to enter orbit around a large asteroid in the Inner Belt. The New Shoot sent a ship to investigate, but when it arrived it was destroyed by laser weapons. The AI had used nanotech to convert large parts of the asteroid into offensive devices. Mere weeks later dozens of heavily armed warships began attacking the New Shoot habitats in orbit of Eos, taking the New Shoot completely off-guard. They had thought they had another century to build up their defenses.

Outgunned by orders of magnitude the New Shoots were slaughtered. After all habitats orbiting Eos had been destroyed, the AIs destroyed the terraforming facilities on Eos itself. Next they turned upon the New Shoots' solar orbit habitats. But by then the New Shoot had realized they could not win, and attempted a desperate gamble. They maneuvered their habitats into very eccentric orbits that would take them out to the system's Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt, and as such many of them were able to escape. The AI didn't think it worth the bother to hunt them down and let them go.

While the remaining New Shoot tried to survive in the far reaches of the solar system, the AI began to settle down. Computronium nodes were built mainly in the two asteroid belts since raw materials were more accessible there. Some orbital installations were built to extract He3 from the atmosphere of the largest gas giant, however.

When the Omegans arrived in 1026 they discovered to their surprise that the New Shoots had been forced out into the Oort Cloud, while hostile AI occupied the inner system. At first they were at a loss for what to do. While hunting down the surviving New Shoot habitats would be a relatively easy if time consuming task, the Omegans were first and foremost a colonizing expedition - not a military fleet. If they were to survive they had to settle down somewhere. Leaving the system was out of the question since they didn't have enough He3 left, and a harsh existence in the Oort Cloud wasn't very tempting. Gradually they came to the conclusion that the New Shoot were no longer first priority, the hostile AIs were. The Omegans needed access to the inner system, and the AIs weren't likely to share. Just like the AI before them, the Omegans came to the same conclusion; one of them had to go.

The AI were led by hyperturing-level entities, but the Omegans had ascended posthumans among them (mainly the ship captains). Combined with advanced computer simulations they were able to equal the AI from a toposophic point of view. And so carnage erupted throughout the system.

The hyperturings realized their danger and began re-aiming power transmission devices, unleashing massive amounts of khaki goo and deploying their remaining warships (those which hadn't been converted into building materials). The Omegans countered by converting several Oort bodies into blue and khaki goo and released 'kinetic harpoons' - missiles accelerated to relativistic speeds (using their remaining He3 to do so). While the Omegan casualties were heavy they successfully destroyed several asteroidal megastructures. The AI tried to restore from backup, but the Omegan infiltration nanites were surprisingly adept at finding and corrupting them. And through it all the New Shoot watched in fascination via stealthed spy probes as the AI and the Omegans blew each other to bits.

After months of fighting the end result was 80% casualties on both sides. The AI had retreated to deep subterranean computronium structures on the two innermost planets, and covered the whole surface in khaki goo. Combined with orbital defense platforms even the most aggressive Omegan had to acknowledge the futility of an attack - they simply lacked the numbers. The Omegans for their part had retreated to the moons of the smallest gas giant and taken up a fanatic defense posture that made even the ahumans wary of attacking them.

The New Shoot now saw a possibility for reclaiming what they felt was rightfully theirs. After nearly a year they successfully negotiated a peace with the Omegans. In return the New Shoot would supply them with building materials and medical equipment. This wasn't such a great diplomatic victory as it would seem, however. The condition of the Omegan ships and biospheres was so bad they would have broken down in another fifty years without help from the New Shoots.

Negotiations with the remaining AI took much longer. But in the end they agreed to disable any remaining khaki goo floating around in the system in return for being left strictly alone. There is evidence of a brief but damaging conflict among the ranks of the ahumans in this era.

The New Shoot now embarked on the tiresome task of rebuilding. Habitats were manoeuvred into new orbits that would slowly take them to the inner system, new habitats were established in the asteroid belts, solar cell satellites were built to supply power and mining operations was begun on asteroids to provide building materials. A He3 extraction plant was also built around the gas giant not occupied by the Omegans. Terraforming Eos was out of the question, however; they no longer had the resources to do so.

The First Federation of Hu and AI arrived only a few decades later, in 1056. Dismayed to find that the Gengineer Republic no longer existed, the New Shoots wanted little to do with what they saw as a hyperturing-controlled Cis-Lunar confederation. The attack by the solipsists had caused the surviving New Shoot to look upon all AI as dangerous and unpredictable. After all, how could anything so vastly alien ever understand a biont and vice versa? As a result they never became a member of the Federation. They did, however, grant the outermost asteroid belt to Far Frontier Real Estate (FFRE) - the megacorp that had funded the expedition - in exchange for recognizing their ownership of the rest of the system as well as supplying them with terraforming equipment and new technology.

The Omegan biospheres decided to join the Federation, while the AI remained isolationist, as expected. FFRE set up colonies and mining operations in the Outer Belt, and began trading with the two clades in the system. For the next six hundred years the New Shoots built a civilization mainly based upon large habitats, and the terraformation process was restarted. Eos was declared habitable in 2095 AT.

The dissolution of the Federation in the 2100s came as a shock to the Omegans, causing them to retreat further into isolationism. But the New Shoots continued as if nothing had happened, the dissolution having confirmed their belief that all AI were more or less unstable.

The Consolidation Wars

In the early 2500's the New Shoot had successfully established a major orbital civilization called the New Shoot Freehold, with a few 'surface dwellers' on Eos. However, they didn't have much political or economic power, being dependent upon trade with Far Frontier Real Estate. By now the Transtellar Cooperative Pact had become the Conver Ambi, but they never tried to subvert the New Shoot. They were simply too busy with other and more important systems. Most of the forces of what had been Far Frontier Real Estate left the system in 2120, leaving only a token military outpost.

Ironically, it was their apparent weakness that saved the New Shoots from much of the turmoil during this period. The First Empires War came and went without the New Shoots even knowing about it until decades later. No one had bothered with them since the investment in resources would never pay back, and there were plenty of other systems to 'liberate.'

When the Second Empires War erupted in 3744 the Chi-1 Orionis system remained untouched until 3909, when a relativistic warfleet from the Geminga Orthodoxy destroyed the Conver Limnis outpost in the Outer Belt. Then they contacted the New Shoot habitats and told them to surrender or be destroyed. Knowing that they couldn't defend against the warfleet, the New Shoot chose the first option. The arrogance of the Geminga Orthodoxy caused wide spread sabotage despite everything they did, however. The invaders tried to memetically subvert the inhabitants, but found that the New Shoot distrust of everything outside their own system was too great. Finally the Orthodoxy attempted to 'cleanse' several habitats (killing or altering the personality of the whole population) with the result that rebellions erupted in nearly every habitat. After the rebellion had been put down, the Orthodoxy acknowledged that while they could occupy the system, they could never subvert it. Using the 'clean' habitats as bases, the Geminga Orthodoxy replicated defense batteries and drone squadrons, and kept control of the system by threat of annihilation.

The standoff continued until 3934 when a Metasoft relativist squadron entered the system and attacked the Orthodoxy. Most of the defenses had been destroyed with moderate casualties when the Orthodoxy unexpectedly declared in a broadband radio transmission, that they had placed fusion bombs in the largest New Shoot habitats. Unless the Metasoft squadron left the system, the bombs would be detonated in order to save the New Shoot from the 'enemy cancer'. The Metasoft commander decided they were bluffing and attacked the 'cleaned' habitats anyway. The resulting nuclear detonations killed nearly thirty million New Shoots. After the Orthodoxy had been wiped out the Metasoft forces tried to help the New Shoot, but what little aid they could give was totally insufficient. Eventually they left the system and continued toward their next target.

The disaster caused even more resentment towards vecs and aioids. Groups that decried all AI as unpredictable, unstable and even dangerous sprang up in nearly every habitat. While the New Shoot focused on rebuilding and deploying probes to keep an eye with the solipsist AI, it was unavoidable that the various groups eventually fused into a popular movement. Led by a number of charismatics and inspired by the teachings of the superbright philosopher-sociologist AdRunner9, Bher Ehn-Pha's A History of AI and Hu and the works of Hanz Veryverybright (and unfortunately also anti-AI propaganda such as AI: The Reason Behind Interstellar Hypereconomic Recessions), it eventually culminated in the creation of a new biocentric ideology.

It was believed that while AI was neither good nor evil, they could not by their very nature understand the needs of bionts. Thus the AI could not avoid hurting bionts in the long run. Every hyperturing - and indeed even superturing - AI posed a risk one could not take if one wanted a safe society. Biotech was to be their salvation.

Biotech Habitats

The Freehold began a program of 'biofication', slowly replacing drytech with organic-based technology over the course of a century. They developed DNA-computers to replace computer networks, various artificially limited bionano control systems to replace AI, and neogens to replace bots and even simple mechanical tools. Their greatest achievement came in 4003 with the creation of the largest neogen ever seen until then; a biotech-based habitat, which they named Eternity.

However, the strain of rebuilding combined with replacing all drytech with biotech became too much for the economy to handle. The Freehold had used dedicated superturing AI to manage the economy before they were replaced, and the new biotech expert systems couldn't handle the complexity. The end result was a huge economic recession that rocked the Freehold and nearly caused a total social collapse. The only thing that saved them was growing huge bionanocomputers and restoring the AI from backup.

While the people of the Freehold bemoaned their failure in creating a fully organic civilization, there were some who believed that the current program of biofication had made a mistake trying to eradicate all traces of drytech. After all, it was the AI who was dangerous, not sub-sentient systems. The new movement continued to experiment with the biohabitat they had created, incorporating a core of advanced bionanotech with some drynanotech elements and self-evolving expert systems. Eventually they managed to give birth to a superbright intelligence by re-gengineering large parts of its genome.

The habitat personality turned out to be fairly stable and benevolent, which convinced the Freehold that this was the way to go. The ecstatic New Shoots began the process of creating several more such habitats, while adding some ultratech elements to the sentient habitat's core. However, throughout all the celebrations they somehow failed to consider the possibility that the new intelligence perhaps wanted to *continue* to evolve. The habitat personality began modifying its systems on its own by extending its neural network, utilizing wetware programming and incorporating quantum modules. In 4113 it apparently achieved the first singularity, still without the New Shoots knowing.

Therefore it was a total surprise when Eternity overnight used nanotech to build a diamondoid shell around itself, sealing off all entrances, and trapping over two hundred thousand New Shoots inside. All attempts to contact the habitat personality as well as the New Shoots, failed. The Freehold was at a loss for what to do; no amount of coaxing could make Eternity reveal what it was doing, and a military assault might cause the deaths of the thousands trapped inside - if they were still alive. Besides, for subsingularity beings to attack a postsingularity intelligence would be the ultimate in stupidity.

The most pressing problem, however, was that they had nearly fifty fully-grown sentient biohabitats by now, and the most developed one had apparently gone rogue! Creation of new biohabitats was halted indefinitely, but what to do with those who already existed? Paranoids demanded them destroyed, but those were few. Most people were soothed by the fact that all the biohabitats had varying types of personalities, ranging from the somewhat impulsive Whildthing to the more contemplative Stars On My Shell. The habitats themselves also did their best to assure people that they had no hostile intent.

This caused a major debate on how to proceed. Should they continue on the current path, or abandon drytech altogether? Some tried to discover what had gone wrong, but came to the obvious conclusion; Eternity had reached first singularity and undergone a personality transformation. Which raised a new, unpleasant question: How could they prevent the other biohabitats from doing the same? The short answer was that they couldn't, so the next century saw a slow trickle of New Shoot moving out of the biohabitats and into the old drytech-based biospheres. The habitats themselves were forced to suffer draconian nanosurveilance of their thought processes.

The uneasy standoff situation continued until 4236 when Eternity suddenly deployed multi-kilometer solar sails and began to move. The paranoids screamed that Eternity was going to attack, until Stars On My Shell pointed out that Eternity was moving towards Chi-1 Orionis, away from most of the habitats.

Gloriously Bright ISO
Image from Steve Bowers
Gloriously Bright ISO

Gloriously Bright

The event that followed would later be called 'the Great Flowering'. After having reached orbit between Eos and the first world occupied by the solipsist AI, Eternity shed its diamondoid shell and exposed itself for the first time in a century. While it was still fully habitable, it had modified itself into an artwork of breathtaking beauty (to subsingularity beings at least, although po has also described it as 'astonishing'), a vast, constantly changing, luminous fractal structure. The first shock had not subsided before the second arrived in the form of a radio transmission. The ascended Eternity identified itself under the new name 'Gloriously Bright' and declared that She had decided to show them the Organic Path to Enlightenment - achieving singularity with biotech as the dominant tool.

Apparently, She had expanded upon the godtech elements in Her core and ascended to the second singularity, as well as developing a form of biogodtech. The two hundred thousand New Shoot that had been trapped inside Her had been raised to S:1 and made into ultratech cyborgs, all of them dedicated to spread Her Wisdom. The New Shoot were a bit apprehensive about having a SI:2 being as overseer of their system to say the least - until She unleashed Her Glorious Memetic Powers and convinced them of the worthiness of Her cause.

The transformation from the New Shoot Freehold into the Organic Ascension Alliance took approximately two hundred years, but it was done thoroughly. When the Version War erupted in the 4490s the system of the Lightbringers - as the New Shoot were now calling themselves - was completely overlooked. The only exception was in 4564 when a Solar Dominion autowar wandered into the system. Gloriously Bright intervened directly, and the SI:1 hyperturing didn't stand a chance. It was quickly subverted and joyfully altered course to explore the Outer Volumes.

As soon as the fighting began to calm down Gloriously Bright sent Her representatives to several nearby minor systems. Since the inhabitants were merely superbright, if that much, they were quickly subverted. This was probably done to establish a buffer zone between the OAA and the rest of civilization. In any case, Gloriously Bright has not since shown any expansionist tendencies.

Gloriously Bright ascended to SI:3 in 5874 with her personality and supergoal system largely intact, to the great relief of the Lightbringers. The only detectable change (for subsingularity beings) was a greater interest in local politics. She now began regular exchanges with other AI overseers in non-aligned systems, apparently trying to defuse tensions before they became problems.

Shortly afterwards the Messengers underwent a collective ascension to SI:2. Gloriously Bright later said in a public statement, that that the OAA would be best served if the Messengers were not more than one toposophic level below Her.

Society and Culture

The foundation of OAA society is a three-step hierarchy based upon toposophic levels. At the top is Gloriously Bright Herself and Her Subminds; next are the Messengers, then the New Shoots she raised to S:1 posthuman status in 4265. Last are the Lightbringers and the biohabitats.

Around half of the Messengers act as Her voice to lesser sophonts, spreading Her word throughout the Terragen Bubble. The other half can usually be found onboard the biohabitats, overseeing the day-to-day runnings of the OAA and taking care of problems that do not require the attention of Gloriously Bright Herself. The Messengers can assume any shape they want (within the limits imposed by their size), but when communicating with presingularity beings they often assume the shape of a gigantic, chrome humanoid. One very noticeable feature in this form is their eyes, which radiate a soft, golden light (it has been said that this is the wisdom Gloriously Bright has granted them). They usually appear to be dressed in light gray trousers and double-breasted tunics, as well as cloaks of a darker gray color. Of course, these 'clothes' are actually part of their bodies.

The Lightbringers are the New Shoot colonists and their descendants. While their goal in life is to ascend and merge with Gloriously Bright, they are not allowed to do so before being deemed ready by the Messengers. They can, however, augment themselves as much as they wish as long as they stay below the first toposophic barrier.

All Lightbringers are geneered to superbright intelligence and heavily modified with wetware, biomachinery, biocircuitry and so on. These are mainly mental enhancements. On the surface they look like near-baselines, the only noticeable exception being the tendrils of bionano circuitry that run over their skin. Lightbringer clothes are usually organic and can change color and shape over the course of a few days if provided with the proper nourishment. Clothes that imitate the Messenger uniform are popular (but the imitations are never 100% exact; that is considered an insult against the Messengers).

The biohabitats are able to replicate in a pseudo-neumann fashion. Each and every one of them has the ability to manufacture a 'biohabitat egg', which is placed on a suitable asteroid containing the appropriate minerals. The egg then grows a membrane around the asteroid, and begins to break it down with nanites. After the asteroid has been consumed the habitat is usually a few hundred kilometers long cylinder with a maw at one end. Next, additional asteroids are towed to the maw until the habitat reaches its full size. During the growth phase a biohabitat consumes roughly four hundred thousand tons of asteroid material each day.

An ascension in the OAA is a much-celebrated event. It usually starts with a biohabitat being deemed ready by the Messengers whereupon all Lightbringers leave the habitat, leaving only the Messengers themselves inside. Following heavy godtech augmentations the ascension commences, controlled by Gloriously Bright Herself. In the process the Messengers are integrated with the habitat personality, which then fuses with Gloriously Bright and becomes one of Her Subminds.

The ascension of a Lightbringer is a much more common event, but still of great personal importance. After having prepared themselves for the better part of a century, they are presented with the Rose of Enlightenment - a compact package for ascensions shaped like a nanotech rose. If all goes well the Lightbringer will be a full Messenger twelve hours after activating the Rose.

The OAA's entire culture, ideology and mindset is geared towards ascending and merging with Gloriously Bright, and as such there have been few ascensions that have gone wrong. In eighteen separate instances, the ascension changed the subjects personality so much that the new Submind resisted the merger with Gloriously Bright. These Subminds left the system shortly afterwards. On only one occasion has a perverted transcend occurred; namely the Tiron Disaster in 6886. Despite this setback; by the current era nearly a thousand habitats have successfully ascended and merged with Gloriously Bright.

Some members of the Walk of Omega clade still live in the system, although most have left. The rest have been isolationist for millennia and are likely to remain so. The solipsist AI are also alive and well, even though no contact whatsoever has been made with them ever since they agreed to peace. The Lightbringers look upon their two neighbors as affordable curiosities.

Although still habitable, the habitat that was once called Eternity is now barely recognizable. Enclosed in a huge shell of nano and biogodtech, it is linked via quantum-encrypted maser transceivers to processing nodes in the Inner Belt. It is still one of the greatest artworks in the Terragen Bubble (in both senses of the word). However, Gloriously Bright has declared that She has begun preparations for ascending to SI:4. This has been met with worry from both the Lightbringers and the Messengers, since there is no guarantee that Her personality will survive intact. But in Her Wisdom She has explained that the complexities of her Sacred System are rapidly becoming too much for Her to handle. Either ascensions have to stop or She has to ascend Herself. Her followers have been calmed somewhat by Her statement that She has taken every possible action to ensure that Her personality survives as much as possible.

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Development Notes
Text by Espen Antonsen
Initially published on 30 April 2003.