Metasoft Baseline Reserve world in Gemini

Dilmun Climate
Image from TSSL and Steve Bowers
Climate regions on Dilmun

Star: JD 8110109
Type: G1V
Luminosity: 1.17 x Sol

RA: 7.39
Dec: 24.211
Distance from Sol: 2101.8 ly
Constellation: Gemini
Colonised: 5390 AT
Terraformation Completed: 5740 AT

Planet: Dilmun
Radius: 6248 km
Semimajor Axis: 1.11 AU
Period: 1.13 standard years
Day Length: 26.9 standard hours

Using moderately advanced terraformation tech this planet was terraformed in 350 years by the Teleological Tendency, in order to create a human Baseline Reserve. A Ceres-sized minor planet was towed into place to act as a stabilising moon; in a relatively close orbit this moon provided two thirds of the tidal force exerted by Luna on Earth.

Terraformed Dilmun

The Tendency announced the completion of its terraforming in 5740 AT. Dilmun's physical parameters were close to Earth's, with the exception of the axial tilt, a mere 2 degrees. The terraformers left a higher proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to prevent too much ice building up on the poorly insolated poles and to compensate for Dilmun's slightly lower overall insolation. Still, Dilmun lacked noticeable seasons and had high temperature differences by latitude. Low hydrographic coverage also led to extensive interior deserts. Dilmun hosted a ring of superhot rainforest, a series of mild temperate forests near the ocean, pasture and farmland that required heavy irrigation, stark grassland with sparse irregular rainfall, desert dunes, and ice that waited near chilly evergreen forests, with little transition in between.

The Tendency aimed to make the most numerous plants at least potentially edible by humans, alongside grasses to feed domestic animals. Trees bore nutritious fruit, berries and nuts; many flowers had drinkable nectar. Any poisons (in acorns, for example) were reduced or removed.

Several vigorous crop species had already spread extensively, though the Tendency preferred to design crops which had to be planted, in order to prevent ecological collapse. Nonetheless, hardy grains and tubers seeded themselves across the grasslands. Most crops derived from Earthly staples. In particular, potatoes, maize and rice were used as bases for plants in all inhabited regions, variously adapted to local conditions. Also popular was a carrot-like plant with a more fruitlike root, and a suite of edible dry-adapted plants developed from cactuses. Each new settlement sported its own assemblage of additional crops, to enhance diversity and to drive future trade.

Dilmun's fauna was much more limited. Sea life and arthropods had few restrictions, and kept a diverse representation of Earth, excepting only the most dangerous. Land vertebrates consisted mostly of amphibians, lizards, turtles, songbirds and small herbivorous and insectivorous mammals. Only a few carnivorous mammals made it: a few bats, small cats, and otters. Large wild herbivores were similarly restricted, and tended not to have the proper environment anyway; some zebras, monkeys, kangaroos, tapirs, and deer were the only ones. Some fauna was modified for different environments or niches, or to round out the overall ecology, and a few hybrid species existed, apparently in order to confuse anyone trying to develop a theory of evolution. This included two additional large herbivores; armadillos crossed with antelopes, and rabbits crossed with elephants.

The Tendency did provide domestic animals. They did not include any riding animals or beasts of burden, which, as Our Lady had pointed out, encouraged technology and large empires. Each settlement had its own kind of fowl, while modified cats, dogs, sheep, pigs, goats and guinea pigs were standard. They also introduced a neogen, the Wooly Spider. With a small amount of spider, sheep and silkworm genetic material, these resembled human-scale spiders with some vertebrate-style internal morphology, covered in soft wool which could be used for fabric and producing different styles of webbing at different life stages, evolving from soft silk to heavy armor to strong rope.

Dilmun regional place names
Image from TSSL and Steve Bowers
Regional Place Names on Dilmun, assigned by the first colonists.

The First Settlements

Many baselines already lived in domed habitats on Dilmun's surface by the time the Tendency announced that the ecology was ready. A few scouts had even travelled alongside the vecs through the forming biosphere. The first day of 5740 AT saw a massive planetwide unveiling ceremony, in which all the habitat domes were dismantled and all those in space habitats landed. The last of those who declined to participate left the system. Thenceforth, there would be no use of technologies beyond the early agricultural age: no metallurgy beyond bronze, no large construction, instead, small villages and towns, filled with hand-made craftsmanship.

As people took on their new roles, they were no longer to discuss the outside universe or the possibilities of higher technology, as had already been the procedure on such worlds as Wurm and Heimat. Not all settlements handled this the same way. Some told as much of the truth as they could; humanity came from elsewhere and had taken refuge on this world. Some concocted a mythical past for themselves (sometimes based on myths from Old Earth), or imagined a history that tied their settlements to their new home. Elsewhere, the first generation simply acknowledged that they were new here, and left their descendants to puzzle out explanations for themselves.

One of the largest settlements was distinct from the rest. Newcomers to Dilmun, attracted by Our Lady's proposal, they belonged to a Neo-Abrahamic religion. While they drew on all of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, they claimed that those holy texts had been corrupted and that they alone had reconstructed the originals, producing a highly annotated Bible and Quran. God, they believed, existed in random quantum events, and was the organizing pattern which determined destiny and dreams. Manifesting in spiritual experiences, God had established a covenant with humanity, with the purpose of an ordered, stable society. After death, people could either join God's pattern, if they had sufficiency expressed divine will in life, or recede into pocket universes or dark energy, considered the source of negative influences. The splinter sect that moved to Dilmun believed that when humans had begun modifying themselves and creating other beings, they had stepped beyond God's ability to slowly and subtly influence the course of events, and that God's wrath would destroy Terragen civilization, as had happened to previous xenosophont civilizations, unless a refuge remained of untarnished baselines. They saw Our Lady's proposal as a means to that end, and they saw Dilmun as a restored Eden, after millennia of wandering, only this time they would not eat the fruit of knowledge. (They even claimed Our Lady as a saint of their own, perhaps even the Second Coming, though it is most likely she had secular leanings.) They were allowed to retain their holy texts, where the scientific references were vague and abstract, telling only that humans had wandered long and far in other worlds, had created demons of their own, until God's grace had shined on some, and Paradise had been returned.

Few other texts remained from pre-Dilmun life. These were mostly religious, for many of the mortalists had become mortalists due to traditional religious reasons. Among the surviving texts were Confucian, Daoist, Platonist and Buddhist ones, along with non-annotated Bibles and Qurans, while the Vedas and Yoruba beliefs survived in oral tradition. (Representatives of highly heterodox Zoeticism and Solarism existed in greatly modified form.) Stories also survived, largely from the myths and history of Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Homeric Greece, early China and the Precolumbian Americas, as well as some of more recent origin, edited to fit a bronze age mentality. Many stories dealt with Our Lady, while obfuscating what exactly it was that she had responded against. All these tales were scattered across the world, based only on what had seemed most important in each distinct community.

Few of the original settlements had any real 'theme' to them, but communities did form of those with similar beliefs. Some sought to follow more closely the model of a particular Earthly culture. While there was much diversity, a few strong trends distinguished early Dilmun from Old Earth's bronze age. One was racial and linguistic uniformity: little distinction existed between race apart from small tendencies from the founder effect, and the fact that Neo-Abrahamists had much higher rates of ancestry from the Middle East and Latin America. Nearly everyone also spoke related dialects of a language distantly descended from Old Anglish, though unrecognizable after millennia of change with short baseline generation times. The Neo-Abrahamists, however, revived Hebrew, while Classical Arabic and Vedic Sanskrit also survived. The original settlements furthermore shared pacifist ideals. Greater equality was present, too. Although women often found themselves burdened again by childcare, egalitarian ideals led to more power-sharing. Without the ideal of god-kings or hereditary virtue, rulers had to prove themselves by merit. In some places this came through appointive religious hierarchies, in others through councils of respected elders, elsewhere by election or lot, while others required rulers to prove themselves through a great work. Little organization existed beyond the level of a single town, but a few places formed alliances, held regular gatherings of leaders, or even formed loose confederacies with their own higher rulers watching over them. Organizations of craftsmen quickly formed to perpetuate their knowledge and promote their interests; merchants too formed wide-ranging groups.

Image from Steve Bowers
Dilmun as seen from its moon

To be continued...

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Development Notes
Text by TSSLInitially published on 18 December 2014.

Download Dilmun for Celestia here place it in your Celestia Extras file, then use this link to open Celestia at Dilmun
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