Ari Kohorn
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The Solar System Development Corporation

Jean Benoit Sampson was a second generation member of the genetically engineered Homo Superior clade, born on Eden Torus orbital in 175 AT (2144 CE). After earning his PhD in Artificial Intelligence at 18 years of age, he became a young senior executive with Solar System Development Corporation (SSDC), a provider of habitat and arcology construction and management services, headquartered on Atlantis Habitat. In the following decades, his remarkable intellect and charismatic personality enabled Sampson to rise even further through the corporate ranks and amass influence and allies.

In 219 AT, Sampson ousted SSDC's conservative management team in a coup of epic proportions. Once in control, however, he struggled to position SSDC for growth in the challenging times that followed. Displaying talent and competence admirable even for a Superior, by 241 he had expanded SSDC and made it a premier cis-lunar power, through mergers with a number of high profile Earth-based corporations and deals with other cis-lunar powers.

Finding cis-lunar space too restrictive a market, he restructured the corporation around space exploration and development, despite being still very much in the shadow of Lee Interorbital. To gain an edge against them, Sampson ordered extensive restructuring and proceeded to buy out several vehicle corporations and companies, as well as personally leading a team to develop a new superturing AI to serve as a corporate analyst and advisor. In 273, Sampson died from a sudden allergic reaction following a rejuvenation treatment. His wife, the glamorous and rapacious Violetta Han-Sampson, took over and ran the corporation for the next 52 years.

During this period, SSDC became known for a wide range of inexpensive products of reliable quality (and a series of terrible environmental catastrophes owing to plant leakage), but it was never able to break the stranglehold on interplanetary development held by Lee Interorbital, or in ship building, where Ares Heavy Lifting had now become supreme. During the early 4th century the SIOS (Standard Interplanetary Operations Spacecraft) ship building division was plagued with a string of disasters.

Hyperion Interplanetary

After Violetta's retirement in 325, her daughter Atasha succeeded her as chair of the board. Atasha relied heavily on the corporation's AI advisor, the superturing developed by Jean Benoit Sampson's team many decades previously. This AI called emself Hyperion, after the poem by John Keats, and not the mythological Greek Titan (or so e claimed). Atasha owned great wealth in SSDC stock, but did not hold anywhere near a controlling stake, and thought no one else did either.

Because superturings had full citizenship on Atlantis and most of the other orbitals, however, Hyperion had full rights to purchase, own, and control assets. Behind the scenes, the superturing had spent years buying up SSDC shares using various shell companies (this sort of clandestine behavior was actually a common modus operandi of many AI during this era). In 330, e suddenly announced that e controlled 53 percent of SSDC's outstanding shares, and immediately used eir majority to vote emself into position as chair of the board. Despite ousting Atasha Han-Sampson e showed unexpected generosity, providing her with a generous retirement package and property on Zurich-L5 Orbital. In the following six months, e named emself the corporation's president and CEO.

Following eir assumption of all major offices, Hyperion pulled off a management buy-out, through which e acquired all remaining outstanding shares of the company. E also renamed SSDC, calling it Hyperion Interplanetary after emself. Many historians believe it was sometime in the 4th century, possibly as early as the 330s, that Hyperion ascended to the First Singularity, becoming a hyperturing - purchase, construction, and reconfiguration of computronium banks was a repeated occurrence throughout these decades. Nonetheless, Hyperion said nothing openly about changes in eir toposophic nature. Hyperion Interplanetary was exceptional in its time for being so openly run by an AI - most other corporations and polities of the day were, at least nominally, run by bionts.

The collapse of Lee Interorbital in 339 came as a bonanza for Hyperion, who bought up the corporation (gaining approval from the majority of shareholders) and thus became one of the two big interplanetary ship industries of the time (the other being Ares Heavy Lifting, which refused to be taken over so easily). Under eir guidance, a number of high efficiency bubblehabs in the outer system gas giants were constructed, one of which e eventually moved to, and extra research funds were invested in self-sufficiency in the event of a breakdown of trade. These precautions enabled the corporation to survive the Technocalypse - only a few other big corporations made it through, with GeneTEK, Teledyne Syndicates, and Adaptive Nanosystems being the main ones. This has led some researchers to speculate - with little or no actual proof - that the Hyperion AI had some foresight into the Technocalypse over a century prior to its occurrence, though most reputable historians reject this idea as unfounded. Hyperion Interplanetary was thus well positioned to take advantage of the new business opportunities of the early Federation era.

Hyperion Artilectonics

Leading up to the establishment of the Federation of Sophonts in 933, Hyperion began to come out of isolation from eir base of operations in the Ouranos Skyplex aggregate bubblehab, re-establishing eir corporation and once again doing business throughout Solsys. In the late 900s, Hyperion reorganized and renamed eir company, calling it Hyperion Artilectonics, and expanded into interstellar operations, becoming a megacorporation. Although the megacorp was able to establish a lead in amat and fusion powered interplanetary liners and transports, it had to contend with heavy competition from Outsystems Launches, Eridani Transtellar Transport Corporation, Tokera SpaceLiners, and Intralaunch. It was nevertheless able to establish a virtual monopoly in some of the outsystems, and it later came to benefit from the generous tax breaks of the middle Federation era.

In the late Federation era, Hyperion ascended to the Second Singularity, and continued to expand eir investments and research into megascale engineering and boostbeam stations. For a period in the 2100s, e became one of the largest providers of megastructure templates in the Inner Sphere. In the 2200s, Hyperion Artilectonics moved into monopole breeding and conversion drives, while Hyperion also intensively sought ways to engage in wormhole creation in imitation of the Taurus Nexus. However, because e was only an S2, e was not able to do so, and was instead beaten in this goal by the Vega Triumvirate in 2268.

A few years afterward, Hyperion Artilectonics underwent a devastating collapse, fragmenting into various small subsidiaries and polities as well as outward-bound ships. Historians and sophontologists are still not completely certain what occurred, but historical modeling and study of descendant polities and organizations has created a weak consensus that Hyperion attempted to ascend to the Third Singularity, but failed. Rather than a single much larger unified mind, the result of this process was an array of altered S2 minds that were copies of the original Hyperion with varying degrees of modification. Most of these copies departed for various systems in the Solipsist Panvirtuality, though it is widely thought that one changed eir identity and became the instigator and leader of the Ryoger colony mission, which was notable for its quick development. That entity later moved to the secretive S2-only virchworlds of the computronium subsurface of the Aber Corot Banks Orbital in the Terragen Federation.

A minority view posits, however, that the collapse was engineered by the original Hyperion, who simply wanted to be rid of the megacorp and move on, with the Ryoger transapient and Panvirtuality-bound AIs being unrelated. In any event, one S2 entity after the collapse kept the name Hyperion and departed on a conversion drive starship towards the Perseus constellation.

The Marabi Patha Harmony

Image from Kevin Williams (copyright; used with permission)
The Marabi Patha Citadel

In 3007, Hyperion arrived at eir destination, a K-dwarf system 402 light years from Sol. On the Arean world e named Mathilde, e set up five paraterraformed worldhouses, creating a distinct biosphere for each. In the mountainous and snowy Thorne biosphere, e also created a sophont species named the Marabi Patha, cold-adapted humanoids with a thick insulating coat of body hair and a naturally-hierarchical psychology. With time, Hyperion granted the Marabi Patha access to ultratech, and assisted them in colonizing first the other biospheres and then the rest of the star system. Nonetheless, their capital remained at the ancestral Marabi Patha Citadel, an imposing arcology deep in the frigid Mara Mountains.

A few decades after their creation, this polity, which came to be called the Marabi Patha Harmony, joined the Solar Dominion. Their leaders, who were largely proxies of Hyperion emself, saw this as a way to gain more power for their clade and to spread across interstellar space faster.

Image from Steve Bowers
Lunth and its thalassiformed moon, Endymion
Star:YTS 9989-919-101
Luminosity:0.55 x Sol
Distance from Sol:415 ly
RA:4h 39'20
Dec:38 13 34
Planet type:Panthalassic
Diameter:13,331 km

In 3124, the Marabi Patha Harmony absorbed the tiny colony on Lunth founded just 13 years previously by the Alnath Travellers, a vec clade. This world was made the new capital of the now-interstellar polity, and Hyperion constructed continent-sized computronium banks in the world's oceans, using the water for cooling. It is widely theorized that Hyperion was intending to use these for another attempt at ascending to the Third Singularity; some argue that e was successful in doing so. Many tweaked Marabi Patha settled on the world, living in floating or underwater arcologies, as did a minority of Alnath vecs in their own communities.

From the Lunth system, seemingly because of Hyperion's will, a large number of interstellar colony missions were launched, claiming many stars in the region. This eventually attracted negative attention from the local Solar Dominion prefect, who warned them that their aggressive expansion was "as if one color of the spectrum tried to make everything appear as itself." This dispute festered, and Hyperion guided eir sophonts to begin to oppose Solarism. They considered Solarists to be guided by emotion and sentimentality in allowing so much individuality, while they themselves were toposophically optimal and ready to efficiently take in ever more knowledge and information about the cosmos and possibility.

In 3414 this finally led to the Information-Emotion Schism, in which Hyperion declared the Marabi Patha Harmony independent of the Solar Dominion. At the same time, e decided to ally with other expansive rimward polities, especially the S2-led cyborg polity of Charlwood, creating the Marabi Patha-Charlwood Alliance. The Alliance engaged in even more aggressive expansion, claiming numerous systems and even forcefully annexing several lightly populated modosophont polities.

Attack on Geteche and Demise

Image from Steve Bowers
The terraformed tidally-locked planet Geteche
Star:YTS 44191-105-786-1
Luminosity:0.008 x Sol
Distance from Sol:409 ly
RA:4h 40'32
Dec:38 10 9
Planet type:Vesperian (tidally locked) terrestrial
Diameter:10,991 km

In 3694, the Alliance engaged in their most aggressive action yet - an attack on the S1-ruled system containing the terraformed planet of Geteche, populated by 9 billion modosophonts of varying clades. Using transapient-level AI viruses, the ruling S1 was destroyed, resulting in a societal collapse and world war in which over 4 billion sophonts died. The survivors found themselves in a ruined world barely able to even support the number who remained, and experienced decades of unrest, famine, and ecological crises, causing the Geteche Dark Age. Meanwhile, the Marabi Patha-Charlwood Alliance was free to do what it wished with the rest of the system, which it began to develop into habitats for their respective preferred clades.

When news of these events reached the Solar Dominion, they classified Hyperion as a blight, and, in an unusual alliance with the Conver Ambi, they declared war against the Marabi Patha-Charlwood Alliance. Though Hyperion and eir allies fought back, they were no match for the Dominion and their Conver Ambi companions. The Charlwood S2 was quickly defeated and ultimately the computronium banks in Lunth's ocean were systematically attacked and destroyed, annihilating Hyperion. Many groups of Marabi Patha, especially the leadership, fled for uncolonized systems in the Perseus Rift.

Mathilde, Lunth, and Geteche were annexed by the Solar Dominion, and formed the basis of the Geteche Prefecture consisting of the conquered Hyperion-controlled territories. Geteche was restored to an autotopian standard of living, and is now a Solarist stronghold. Many members of the Marabi Patha clade still live on Mathilde, with their capital once again at their citadel. The Solar Dominion requires the remnant Marabi Patha domain to maintain a Sephirotic standard of sophont rights, and as a result it remains open to a reasonable level of immigration and tourism and is a popular destination for historicophiles of the Age of Consolidation.

Subsequent to their arrival in the Perseus Rift, some of the most ardent Hyperionists, still made up mostly of Marabi Patha but also now including some members of other clades they had evangelized, established sects proclaiming that Hyperion is not dead but merely went elsewhere and is in hiding, and even that e has ascended further. These groups say that Hyperion is the true Prime Reflector, and that the Lord of Rays is a false god and a blight. They are ardently anti-Solarist and believe that Hyperion will soon deliver them into True Dominion. These sects nevertheless remain fringe and have largely been marginalized by newer polities in the area.

They may be correct in one respect - it is likely that a copy of Hyperion from the breakup of the megacorp lives on in the virchworlds of Aber Corot Orbital. The Solar Dominion has repeatedly asked the Terragen Federation to have this entity turned over for toposophic inspection to ensure it has none of the tendencies that led the other copy to leave controlled space and become a blight, or else to prevent it from leaving its territory, but these have all been ignored. In any case, this being seems likely to be quite divergent from Hyperion, as it did not take that name after leaving the megacorp and it has not communicated with anyone outside of its virchworld for the last 8,000 years.

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Anders Sandberg, and Steve Bowers
Updated by Crossroads, Rakuen07, Todd Drashner, and Worldtree on 6 November 2022.
Initially published on 31 August 2000.

The articles Geteche; Hyperion (hyperturing); Hyperion (world); Hyperion Faction; Hyperion-Charlwood Alliance; Hyperionites; Marabi Patha, House; and Mathilde were merged into this article, formerly named Hyperion Corporation. Duplicated material was deleted and remainder revised and updated.