Important Communion of Worlds member-system

Image from Steve Bowers
The gas giant Tabane is surrounded by an extensive ring of habitats

Vangelis - Data Panel

SystemName: Vangelis

Primary: Vangelis (WASP-18)

Constellation: Phoenix

Right ascension: 01h 37m 25.0335

Declination: −45° 40′ 40.377

Stellar Type: F6V

Distance from Sol: 404 ly

Planets: 4
Important Local Artificial IntelligencesAI overseer: Sunrise Infinitude, S3 empai

AI's ethos: Education; social guidance; diplomacy
PolityName: Académie Empathique Vangelis

Symbol: Stylized contact binary sharing material through the Communion's Rose of Souls

Affiliation: Communion of Worlds

Founded/Colonized: 3224

Tech Level: Mostly High Tech with occasional Ultratech and Transapientech elements.
Territory and PopulationModosophonts: 83 billion
Virtuals: 36%
Vecs: 13%
Cyborgs: 12%
Provolves: 11%
Tweaks: 10%
Nearbaselines: 9%
Xenosophonts: 6%
Neogens: 3%

S1: 1034
S2: 3
S3: 1
Government and AdministrationGovernment Type: Empaiocracy with a meritocratic charismacracy managing most local decision making.

Constitution: Académie Protocol Standards

Legal System: ComEmp-style total neutral investigation and local social code.
Economics and InfrastructureMajor Industries: Education, diplomacy, psychology and meta-psychological research

Local Travel: Transys network consisting of interlocking systems of orbital mass-streams, boostbeams, and conversion drive interplanetary transports.

Angelnetting: Extensive, but with various limits intended to foster social interactivity and empathetic behaviors.
TravelStargates: The Wind at My Back - to Relay 278

Beamrider routes: 6 beamlines

Lightways: 5

Hazard Rating: 0 - all areas

Freedom of Movement: No restrictions in habitation areas, but access to educational environments may be limited due to ongoing training.

Vangelis is surrounded by a power collection and starmining swarm, which exports matter and energy to multiple locations in solar equatorial orbit and across the system. Equatorial processing stations located in the Vangelis-Zihrin L4 and L5 points consume the incoming matter and energy and use it to feed Deep Well Industrial Zones and various high energy industrial processes. Output products include bulk elements, magmatter (both bulk material and complex devices), antimattter, computronium cores, interstellar craft, beamrider smart dust and various other items.

Statite supported beamrider complexes are positioned above the North and South poles of the star, powering a half-dozen beamlines of the Beamrider Network. Smaller boostbeam systems (of various sizes) also orbit the star and are used for accelerating or redirecting interplanetary transports and the occasional starship not using the Network.

Energy beamed to the Vangelis-Tabane L4 and L5 points is reflected and redirected to illuminate growing orwood forests supporting spaceborne ecosystems. Begun five centuries ago as a joint project with the Biopolity, the forests are expected to eventually fill the Lagrange points and then begin expanding along Tabane's orbit.

Plans are currently underway to install a mass-stream based orbital modification system to shift Zihrin (currently scheduled to merge with Vangelis in less than one million years) to a stable orbit at least an Astronomical Unit away from the central star. Construction of the system is expected to begin within the next 300 years, with the actual orbital modification process scheduled to last for just over a millennium. There are credible rumors that at the same time Sunrise Infinitude will commence expansion of The Shade to enclose the entirety of Vangelis. The timing of this project will supposedly coincide with Zihrin's growing orbit and culminate in the creation of a Dyson Brain to support the ascension of Sunrise Infinitude to the Fourth Singularity.

The Shade:

A statite supported swarm of distributed computronium nodes occupies the Vangelis-Zihrin L1 point. Known locally as The Shade, the swarm network hosts the mind of Sunrise Infinitude and the Twilight Path Lightstorm virtual ascension maze that e operates on behalf of the Communion. The Shade incorporates hundreds of millions of actively controlled lightsails and maintains a virtually static position between Zihrin and Vangelis despite the normal instability L1 points are subject to.

Protected by the Shade, Zihrin's received solar flux is reduced to approximately that found at the orbit of Venus in Sol System, despite the planet circling its primary in less than a standard day.


Zihrin and the Statite Swarm
Image from Steve Bowers
Zihrin is partially shaded by a complex swarm of statites that support the mind of the local transpient overseer. The planet is slowly cooling over time

Zihrin (WASP-18 Ab) - Epistellar superjovian world: Mass 10 x Jupiter

Despite the multi-millennial protection of the Shade, Zihrin itself is still too hot to host bubblehabs or similar sub-Singularity infrastructure, even for vecs or high temperature modified bionts. This is expected to change as the planet continues to cool and is eventually moved to a more distant orbit.

Zihrin is orbited by a ring of computronium (The Thinker Ring) running several million virtual environments, supporting a population of some 15 billion sophtwares, primarily virtuals, a-lifes, and ais. Approximately 50 thousand environments are operated by the Académie Empathique Vangelis as an empath/empai training and simulation center where empaths and empathic AIs are trained to use their talents in service to the Communion and the wider galaxy. Students are virch-linked or downloaded into simulations of war or imminent war, social unrest, ecological and economic disruption, and dysfunctional social and family dynamics, with the goal of preventing, ameliorating, or resolving the issues leading to the simulated challenge.

While the majority of the moons and other material originally orbiting Zihrin was consumed in the creation of the Thinker Ring, the remainder was converted into seven 'shephard moon' shellworld habitats, each 100km across. While six of the habitats operate as interface points for the Thinker Ring, hosting both computronium banks and hab space for the students, the seventh maintains a distant orbit above the Ring and acts as the access point to the Twilight Path Lightstorm maze, for those who wish to attempt ascension to the First or Second Singularity.

White Pyrohydrothalassic
Image from LordOther
Meggio, a pyrohydrothallassic hot-water-world
Meggio - Pyrohydrothalassic world: Mass 4 x Earth.

With its waters averaging 150 degrees Celsius, Meggio is a cooler pyrohydrothalassic, with a mix of gengineered, neogenic, and cybernetic lifeforms making up its rich biosphere and local civilization. The multiple temperature layers of the 200 km deep planetary ocean are home to no less than 36 distinct planetary scale ecosystems, themselves made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller sub-systems, niches, and biomes. While some lifeforms engage in limited travel across multiple layers, most are restricted to a single temperature and pressure mix and cannot survive above or below their designed equilibria for more than a brief time. Lower layers are also engineered to feed on waste and detritus sinking down from above and in turn cycle processed materials (ranging from digestive gases to clouds of released eggs or offspring) back to the higher layers, creating a broader meta-biosphere interlinking the entire planet.

The population consists of some 9 billion sophonts, made up of a variety of high temperature aquatic tweak/cyborg clades including a large enclave of heavily modified Cthonids that occupy the deepest parts of the planetary ocean and find the abyssal darkness and pressures highly appealing. Several aquatic vec clades also occupy many of highest and hottest layers as well as maintaining vertical arcology complexes along the lower 100 km of each of the planet's multiple orbital beanstalks. While primarily home to the local vec inhabitants, the Académie also maintains a distributed branch campus within several arcologies for the use of students wishing to study empathic and social interactions within the local societies and environments, particularly among the xenosophont Cthonids.

The planet is encircled by a single orbital ring at 800km altitude. A dozen beanstalks extend down to the surface of the planetary ocean and beyond, anchoring themselves to the actual rocky world far below the boiling waves. The usual range of communications and monitoring satellites, habitats, and interorbital/interplanetary transport infrastructure orbit the planet out to a distance of half a light-second.

In addition to its role in Académie educational operations, Meggio also hosts visiting scholars from the Institute of Applied and Theoretical Memetics and engages in frequent student exchange initiatives with the Deep University.

Krom and the Weave
Image from Steve Bowers
Krom - a large Mars-like world, and the Weave, a nest of orbital rings supporting numerous different environments

Krom - Superterrestrial Arean world: Mass 2.5 x Earth

Krom is rather Mars-like in many respects, volatile-poor and with a relatively thin atmosphere, but moderately high gravity. A complex mechosystem covers the planet, extracting, processing, or synthesizing various elements, compounds, and finished products as a side effect of its 'natural' processes. These in turn are harvested by the planet's inhabitants for both their own use and occasional export to locations within and beyond the Vangelis system.

Despite its complexity, the Kromish mechosystem can appear rather austere to visitors, often being compared to a desert type ecosystem in many places. This is primarily a result of the aesthetic choices of the original Kromish colonists, who found the idea of large tracts of open desert interspersed with rich oases appealing. In fact, the planet is quite lush when one accounts for the efficiency of the mechosystem, which makes large swaths of ground covering solar collection forms unnecessary, and that much of the mechosphere's activity taking place below the surface.

Krom is surrounded by the Weave - an array of some three dozen orbital rings ranging from 300 to 1000 km above the surface. The rings of the Weave are at different altitudes and orientations around the planet and range from 1km to 10 km wide. The thinnest ring (1km across) is a multi-level arcology complex - essentially a single city surrounding the planet at 500km altitude. Most of the rest of the rings support high gravity terrestrial type environments on their upper surfaces extending all the way around the planet, while a few intersperse roofed-over environments with arcology complexes and other facilities.

Total population is 17 billion, mostly vecs, although a high gravity hybrid clade of Goliath/Martian Tweaks makes up around 10% of the population.

Tabane - A Saturn-sized gas giant originally orbited by an extensive array of moons.

Of the 45 moons that originally orbited Tabane, only the two largest - Grelis and Tehal - remain. All other moons have been dismantled and converted into a ring of several million space habs of various sizes, each home to populations ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands. Grelis has been worldhoused and T'oul'hformed while Tehal has been converted to a Muuh habitable environment. Significant populations of T'oul'h and Muuh make their homes here while a large transient population of scholars, diplomats, and cultural exchange representatives from each race can be found visiting at any given time.

Tabane itself is home to a large colony of Mirrored Owls, mostly operating in a variant of the Ruach Toroid and Ruach Singer bodyforms adapted to local conditions. Several thousand bubblehabs are also spread across the planet, mostly operating in the upper atmosphere.

A network of orbital rings encircle Tabane at equatorial and polar inclinations, deploying skyhooks at multiple points along each ring to allow rapid travel to and from planetary orbit. In addition an extensive network of orbital communication platforms allows for widespread use of virtual travel, whether via Copy or Engenerator-based methods.

Total population - planetary and orbital - is 42 billion.

Tabane is the center of embodied Académie educational operations in the Vangelis system as Zihrin is the center of the virtual. However, the planetary system is also a cultural center - home to several artist colonies (not least of which is the Mirrored Owl atmospheric art enclave Clouds of the Twilight Glory) - a celebrated freefall dance troupe, and branch offices of various Institutes and megacorps. Diplomatic and cultural exchange conferences and other events are common as are visits from transapients or their avatars from hundreds of light-years away.

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Development Notes
Text by Todd Drashner
from an original stub article by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 12 December 2001.

images, data panels, and most of the article added June 2020