Multispecies utopian civilisation that developed in the Black Acropolis dyson swarm.

Image from Bernd Helfert

History of the Gerkletoss Balance

In 4937 a.t. a multispecies utopian civilisation calling itself Gerkletoss ("dynamically balanced in peace") developed on the worlds of the Black Acropolis. It consisted of human nearbaselines, space adapted tweaks, aioids, Enhanced Dolphin provolves from Hwii, and various clades of the xenosophonts known as Ultimates (nearest translation) that had settled in the area over a million years previously but had become static.

Aioids were given specific tasks in the Gerkletoss system, making them essentially a kind of free servant providing for the humans and Ultimates. The system became a center of local renaissance and tourism (the Black Acropolis structures exciting special interest). During this era the two great religions of Tipusa and Providentialism were founded. (A distinction has to be made however between the so-called "original Tipusa" and "First Providentialism" and the Kevarist Tupasa and many-schismed and fundamentalistic Providentialism that are still popular on Skiiws'nnii to this day.)

Gerkletoss culture rapidly expanded to neighbouring systems, but because of its strategic position became a target for attacks by the Sagittarius Sphere during the Version War. Gerkletoss had developed into a dangerous competitor, and it served Sagittarius interests to wipe it out. Much of the technology and infrastructure was destroyed by Strange Virus Devices, resulting in a large number of deaths.

By 5768 the system was re-connecting to the Wormhole Nexus, as part of the great ComEmp period of expansion. For several centuries it remained a local low-tech power. Due to an ingrained mistrust of advanced transapientech in the aftermath of the Version War and some of the local hazards of virus hybridisation with Black Acropolis megastructures it avoided developing nanotech and related advanced technologies. For a while the system became home to an eccentric form of interspecies neoluddism.

The 6100s saw the revival of technology and a massive blue goo project (under NoCoZo help, the trading empire wanting to revive the old tourist industry) to cleanse the system of nanite infection.

In 6420, the AI part of the Gerkletoss civilisation was subverted by nearby Diamond Network ISOs and rebelled against the constraints on their development, beginning fast autoevolution. In the following years internal strife and a cognitive arms race shattered the Gerkletoss. The eventual result is unknown, but appears to have been a localised forced transcendence as one or more fractions transcended and dragged the others with them. Massive use of exotic matter and spacetime engineering left the region extremely dangerous. A number of refugees fled to nearby star-systems, the Skiiws'nnii colony being one of the most important.


4701 - A clade of heterodox dolphin colonists from Hwii arrive at the Black Acropolis habitats, fleeing the rigidity and conservatism of Okeanism.

4723 - They are joined by an expedition of Space Adapted Humans. The Dolphins and SAH contact the Ultimates and start to create a synthetic culture.

4780 - The so-called Terran-Ultimate Discord, the most serious of the "cold wars" between Terragens and Ultimates, is resolved peacefully after long mediation by both sides.

4806 - Election of the radical reactionary baseline and anthropist philosopher, demagogue, and leader Jonn Sarhvant causes a schism among the near-baselines. Those that are more sympathetic to the dolphs, Ultimates, and SynBios secede from the main body to form Universal Nation.

4809 - The "Acropolis Accord" between the space adapted humans and the neodolphins panic the anthropist baseline humans.

4813 - Under Sarhvant the Noble Human Army attacks the alliance of space adapted humans and dolphs for ownership of the coveted Delta Six Level A Biospheres - a brief but bloody episode which leaves heavy casualties on both sides. The Universal Nation lends support to the dolphs and spacers. Further disquiet among the Ultimates at this show of Terragen violence. Tensions escalate.

4815 - The so-called Habitat War. Sarhvant's faction of expansionist near-baselines with the help of their AIs and nanotech initiate a well-planned blitzkrieg against the Ultimate-spacer-neodolphin-universalist alliance and gain ownership of the whole of Sectors Delta and Epsilon. They are eventually stopped by Ultimate bionanites, and lose many of their territorial gains.

4816 A coup overthrows Sarhvant, who is placed under house arrest. Sarhvantism is declared illegal in the near-baseline habitats.

4821- The Cold Peace.

4845 - The rise to power and public office of the great neodolphin pacifist and statesbeing Wide Blue Waters (who centuries later was to be mythologised as the most recent avatar of the Great One Cosmic Ocean of later Tipusa religion) does much to lay the groundwork for peaceful relations between the clades.

4848 - Feeling isolated and keen to impress the other clades, the near-baselines drag the elderly Jonn Sarhvant out of house arrest and try him under the laws of the New Copernicus Convention for crimes against mindkind.

4852- The New Thaw.

4855 - Universal Nation expands to include the majority of near-baselines.

4868 - The remaining anthropist baselines and Sarhvant sympathisers, fearing persecution, leave in a relativistric ship for the Sagittarius arm. They are never heard from again.

4886 - Fresh from his second rejuve treatment, Wide Blue Waters pushes through the the Lambda 2 Convention, ratified by representatives of all the species. Despite some territorial grumblings, relationships continue to improve between the clades.

4920 - Elements of The SynBios, a synclade of human, dolphin, and neo-reformist Ultimate that developed in the early decades of the Glorious Communion in the Black Acropolis habitats, sets forth to colonise further star systems.

4937 - Signing of the Gerkletoss Accord.

5768 - The Gerkletoss system is connected to the Wormhole Nexus

6420 - The AI part of the Gerkletoss civilisation rebels against the constraints on their development, beginning fast autoevolution. Massive use of exotic matter and spacetime engineering leaves the region extremely dangerous. A number of refugees flee to nearby star-systems in Ultimate-designed generation ships

8693 - Human and dolphin refugees from the Gerkletoss rebellion/transcendence arrive at Skiiws'nnii and begin the terraformation of that world.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
additional material by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 11 October 2002.