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Middle Regions/Hinter-regions

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Image from Steve Bowers
A clickable version of this map can be found here.

Beyond the crowded Inner Sphere, the old and vastly powerful Main Centers, and the vibrant and often densely populated Provincial Centers, with their ordered civilization, their megastructures, and their benign Sephirotic transapientech autotopias, is a vast hinter-region of billions of solar systems and tens of billions of cubic light years of space, where the reach of the AI Gods is not as pronounced, the memetics are not as black and white, the angelnets not as ubiquitous, and the security not as pronounced. Nevertheless, the consolidated regions here, which are many and vast, are as safe as anywhere in the Sephirotic dominions. These hinteregions are technically included in the Sephirotic empires, and are often served by wormhole gates (albeit fewer in number, and of lower gauge). They can call upon help when in trouble, and consider themselves part of the civilized galaxy. They are also home to an astonishing diversity of polities, clades, cultures, and civilizations, many of which have only nominal allegiance to the archailect empires.

However, there are also huge areas and expanses here, away from the regional centers and polities and well-travelled nexus links, that aren't as safe; ahuman polities, no-go zones, blights, wildernesses populated by bizarre clades, or dominated by prowling autowars or old replicating swarms that no one has gotten around to cleaning up. Social, memetic, and unusual sophont experiments and free zones flower briefly, though very few survive long without higher toposophic protection. Idealists may settle here and set up utopias, and criminals and pirates may establish their dens. Yet somehow, low toposophic ecologies and civilizations do survive, like hardy weeds that, even when killed off, come back time and again. Hardy Bionano-Synanotech borgs, fast growing hybrid biohylonano-symbiotic orwoods, nanecologies supporting alifes and highly derived tweaks as alien as any xenosophont. Strange gods emerge from hyperturings, postbionts, postvecs, postalifes and postaliens, breaching toposophic barriers to establish new civilizations and empires. Some of these fail, but some do very well, eventually becoming major powers and participants in the galactic civilization as a whole. Provincial Capitals and Regional Centers grow rich encouraging trade, and Relativistic Traders make a prosperous career out of exchanging goods and computronium-encoded data, with these diverse civilizations and clades, bringing back wonders to the Inner Sphere and the Main Centers and driving the newest funky fad from the NoCoZo mediacorps, inspiring the latest philosophy among the Negentropist theologians, the most current self-actualisation from the Solarian Clades of Cool, the most interesting syncretic paths to enlightenment in the Sophic League ... then the fad is assimilated into the infinite richness that is Sephirotic culture, years and decades pass, and it is a new exotic empire or clade that brings novelty and challenges the sapients of the Main centers to see life differently.

All the while, linelayer ships are establishing new wormhole links, especially with the more profitable or interesting systems. The vibrant throb of the galaxy floods the little star system so connected, any local blights and replicating swarms cleaned up, predatory autowars are discouraged, and the new system becomes part of the civilized galaxy, sometimes with only nominal allegiance (or only at first nominal), and sometimes embracing Sephirotic ideologies with all the enthusiasm of a new convert. Eventually some of these newly assimilated worlds and polities and megastructures may become new regional centers, and even provincial capitals.

In this way, galactic civilization grows and spreads, and those who want freedom are forced to retreat once more from the unstoppable tide, to go further out to the hinterworlds or the Outer Volumes, and seek to establish a new home there.

 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 29 November 2003.