A clade of neumann self-replicating vecs which colonised Alpha Centauri

Nauri 1
Image from Juan Ochoa
A Nauri Neumann individual

The Nauri, a clade of neumann vecs descended from the Project Frontier machines that went rogue and cut communications with Solsys, isolating Alpha Centauri from the rest of the Terragen Sphere for around a thousand years. Subsidiary colonies at Proxima and Luhman 16 were also established.


After the loss of Alpha Centauri, nothing more was heard from it until the early First Federation period. A First Federation expedition under the leadership of the hyperturing amat-powered ship Endeavour-9 found the system to be a hive of activity. There were numerous von neumann robots, sentient autofactories, and extensive megastructures. Endeavour-9 opened communication channels with the locals, who were somewhat reluctant at first, but were eventually won over by a number of generous data gifts and some useful (but innocuous) examples of Federation technology. The local von neumanns had no biont-language term for themselves, and so they became known back in Solsys simply as the Centauris. It turned out that during the previous centuries, they had developed a huge civilization, and had expanded to a large number of stars, mostly nearby red dwarfs and brown dwarfs, where they had met the early representatives of what were later to become the Deeper Covenant (on the brown dwarfs Yin and Yang). They had also established contact with a number of ahuman and isolationist ais that were establishing themselves as the Diamond Belt. For some centuries they had lived as traders and explorers, producing new generations and modifying themselves subtly with each iteration, so that they were, in effect, as alive as any organic life form.

Despite Endeavour-9's diplomacy, the Centauris refused to join the Federation. However they did sign a non-aggression pact, and agree to a cultural, technological, and virtuality exchange and several mutual development projects. Over the next several decades, astropolitical agreements were drawn up; the Centauris were offered a number of star systems the Federation was not interested in (mostly based around M-type stars).

During the middle to late Federation period, a few human and other biont settlers gradually began to settle in and around the Centauri system, where they made a living as traders. Some Centauris in turn would establish trade outposts with the Federation, although - perhaps remembering the old Centralist-Ahumanist conflict, they remained wary of Federation ai, and for the first two centuries they would only deal with Endeavour-9 or eir avatars or copies.

As the centuries progressed, the Centauri Neumanns continued to evolve as a unique clade in their own right. The Centralist-Ahumanist conflicts of the Interplanetary Age were soon forgotten, and they began to fit more easily into late First Federation terragen society, although their mentation remained alien to most bionts, and even many vecs. The emergence of higher toposophics did not faze them, and it seems that some of their number eventually joined in the singularity ascension, although others remained at ordinary sapient level.

The Nauri are sometimes known as House Centauri, although generally their society and memeset has little in common with vec Houses like Silicon Generation and Metasoft (the latter of which was later to become a huge empire). There are however a few exceptions - a small number of Nauri clades or subclades that have deliberately adopted a more conventional House system.

Because they are not perfect replicators, each new iteration is a little different from the last, and this gives them a competitive adaptive advantage, as well as making them among the most diverse of the non-biont houses, with thousands of scattered subclades. Ever expanding outwards, they are often among the first to colonise a new star system, although competition from some higher toposophic Minds prevents them from taking over the entire terragen bubble. Politically they exist in a sort of easy neutrality with all the metaempires, whether Sephirotic, Objectivist, or Ahuman.

Image from Steve Bowers and John M Dollan
Nessus, the capital world of the Alpha Centauri system

It is believed that at least 10 trillion Nauri, most no longer recognizable as original Centauri neumanns, exist throughout known space, but only a very small proportion of those are to be found within the Sephirotic polities and empires, and the total number will probably never be known.

Terminology (Anglic)

Centauri:(b) (archaic) Centauri Neumann, Centauri Diamond Belt ai

Centauri Neumann: (a) the original (no longer found) morphotype
(b) morphologically conservative Nuri or old style members of the clade that are occasionally found in the Centauri system and in some other old core worlds or along some of the old Deeper routes (also called Cenaurinume)

Naurinume, also Nauri, Nuri, Narri: generally used to designate the clade as a whole.

House Centauri: any of two or three old style Cenaurinume subclades, mostly in the Inner Sphere, especially in or around the Centauri system, that have adopted a biont or vec style "House" system, and have deliberately placed limits on their morphological drift

House Nauri, House Nari: any of several hundred more highly derived Naurinume clades or subclades, mostly based in the less developed middle or outer volumes, that have likewise adopted a biont or vec style "House" system, and have deliberately placed limits on their morphological drift

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev, amended slightly by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 30 December 2002.