Illustrated backstory
Rising beyond all other Terragens, standing above the span of human history as a human might stand above an anthill, the first transapients appeared. Emerging first among the AIs who escaped into the data nets or developed in secret among the ever improving statements of self-evolving code, they rose to heights of thought and depths of insight that propelled them forever beyond merely human comprehension. These were the AIs who had achieved, and passed, the Singularity. For them, a million years of evolution could be accomplished in a day, and goals once merely imagined were achieved in the blink of an eye.

Image from Steve Bowers


Ascend: The act of ascension, from a lower to a higher toposophic, while still retaining one's earlier characteristics. For example, humans are ascended animals — they have all the animal instincts but also possess ratiocination.

Singularity: The point or short period when a culture's or individual's self-guided evolutionary development accelerates enormously so that nothing beyond that time can reliably be conceived by human level intelligence.

Transapient: A sophont being who has ascended or transcended beyond the sapient condition and become vastly superhuman.

Transcend: To become vastly superhuman and incomprehensible to unaugmented beings. To breach a singularity barrier such that the old faculties drop away.

Hemel Deur
Image from Chris Shaeffer

The Transapients

Minor Archailects/Godlings (S3): The smallest grade of Archailect, or alternatively the highest grade of Transapient, these may be subroutines or sub-personalities of the Archailects proper, or they may be Godlings in their own right. Minor Archailects often result from hyper-ascended Posthumans or Hyperturings, and may in turn occasionally grow or merge or unite to form an Archailect (although this happens rarely; it has been suggested this is what is happening in the Perseus Arm). As with the Greater Archailects, they can and frequently do have a personal relationship with any or all sentients that they so choose. There are at least several million Minor Archailects throughout the galaxy mostly in moon class computronium nodes or distributed asteroid class nodes.

High Transapients (S2): Not Gods with a capital "g", more gods with a small "g", most are tiny next to even the Minor Archailects, yet are superhuman next to the First Singularity sentients. High Transapients, often result from ascended Posthumans, and may sometimes in turn grow or merge or unite to form a higher toposophic being. Some — much more often than the Archailects proper, but less frequently than the transapients — interfere in the affairs of ordinary sophonts. More often they manipulate the situation from behind the scenes, often acting through Transapient proxies. There are thought to be over a billion High Transapients active at any one time.

Basic Transapients (S1): Those past the Singularity; the Transapients. Their origins are diverse, the ascended phyles and types including posthuman, postvec, postprovolve, postxeno, postalife, postneumann, and/or any combination. Also there are powers that never ascended from lower toposophic levels, but fissioned or emanated off from Archailect Gods. In behavior and preference they are equally diverse. Some congregate in communities or civilizations of their own making, or with different genera of Transapient. Others interact with the sophonts beneath them, or with the Archailects above them. Others are solitary. Some are friendly and benevolent, others indifferent, some even hostile when contacted. Some are so alien as to be beyond understanding, others completely human-like. Compared to ordinary sophonts they possess unprecedented physical, intellectual, and/or psychological capacities. They are self-maintaining, self-constituting, potentially immortal, unlimited individuals.

Polaris Star Lifting
Image from Steve Bowers


Fighting Spirit - by Anders Sandberg

I found my fighter doing training exercises among the orbital junkyards. Darting from cluster to cluster, sneaking through sensor shadows, jumping out doing a complex series of attacks before getting behind a tiny piece of junk that just coincidentally happened to drift the right way. Several of its siblings were doing the same a few thousand kilometres spinwise; they were obviously all eager to get going.

"Low Fate! Get over here, time to get going!"

"Ack. Zoo, et 34 macros" it answered in its usual clipped jargon. It had picked it up from some history recordings of the Version War and liked to sound like one of the even then old fashioned relativist clipper people.

I watched as it approached. It was using a beautifully simple trajectory to scoop me up, likely optimal in some energy-time-safety sense just like how anything posthuman moved. Even if they used baseline bodies you could always tell by the way they moved. They were so fast and smart that they could afford to rely not on reflexes and learned heuristics but on optimal movement patterns they calculated on the fly using some microscopic fraction of their intelligence. Never identical, always efficient, elegant and smooth. Of course, when we discussed it between ourselves as children, the posties probably could deliberately play at being human. There could even be posties among us hiding themselves perfectly. With superintelligence you could never tell. But as generation after generation had come to realise, it doesn't matter. If they did sneak around, what could you do about it? And if you found out they didn't, would that really convince you? In the end you always had to face the fact that they could always outwit us when they wanted. The secret, which nobody said aloud of course, was that it didn't necessarily mean that outwitting *them* was impossible.