Giant, self-contained nomadic interstellar spacecraft

Passing Through- worldship
Image from PortalHunter
The worldship Passing By, a former asteroid colony fitted out with reactionless drive by Yave

Worldships are nomadic interstellar ships, typically moving at speeds below 0.5 c where relativistic effects are unimportant. Worldships evolved from the generation ships used for colonization in the Sundering Era and Federation Age, some of which are still en route, and most of which have been subsequently upgraded to worldship status. A few worldships are eccentric and isolationist, peopled by paranoids and hiders, but most are peopled by sophonts who are happy to live in a self-contained environment plying the distances between the stars. Worldships are often home to idiosyncratic cultures and subcultures, and unusual lifeforms or life-like phenomena.

In the Current Era most worldships are in continuous contact with the rest of Terragen civilisation, and are often visited by faster spacecraft of various types, bringing new passengers and taking away any inhabitants who may have tired of the worldship lifestyle. Often the worldship will have Lightway transmitters capable of sending and receiving sophont mindstates using engeneration. In short, a worldship is little different to any other inhabited world or habitat in the Terragen Sphere, apart from the fact that it is constantly on the move.

Image from Anders Sandberg
One of the smaller empire ships of the Solar Dominion, merely 8 kilometers long and with 400,000 permanent inhabitants. It is mainly a diplomatic vessel, facilitating cultural exchange and trade in the Perseus Rift and Cygexpa border. The biosphere has two different climate zones regulated using advanced chaos control and a subtle utility fog to replicate gravity. Beneath the sea the ship holds 345 bays containing extra housing, smaller crafts, museums, diplomatic mergers and nanofactories.

Image from Todd Drashner
Worldship in flight

Some systems (such as New Brooklyn) regularly send out new worldships to wander the galaxy, or to explore the outer edges of the Terragen Sphere; others are content merely to welcome them on their travels, and exchange goods, information and population with them. A number of systems do not welcome these giant ships and complain of espionage or cultural imperialism.

Twelth Fleet Worldship
Image from Steve Bowers
A worldship from New Brooklyn's twelth fleet
To date the largest worldships are the Civilisation Ships of the Curatorial Progress Negentropy Civilization (CPNC), built jointly by the Fomalhaut Acquisition Society (FAS), Negentropy Alliance and the MPA.

Related Articles
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Additional material by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 12 December 2001.

Fiction featuring a worldship

Deceleration Phase