Ascension Maze

Hemel Deur
Image from Chris Shaeffer
The Hemel Deur, a famous Transcension Maze

Cries of jubilation alerted me to the ascension almost as fast as my exoself. Running from the refreshment tent I joined the crowd in looking towards the maze. It was a mountainous edifice, a pyramid festooned with spires and bridges, the only structure on this continent. At the very top a graceful draconic-vecform stood on a balcony surrounded by a swarm of remotes. I'd never laid eyes on it before but I didn't need to query the noosphere; this was undoubtedly my Queen. All of us had travelled across the void of interstellar space to watch her take this journey. Silently I wept at her majesty. Our years of waiting had paid off. Our beloved protector had breached the first toposophic.

Narrated memory from the Rowen maze observation encampment, 6221a.t

Ascension mazes are ultra- or godtech constructs built and maintained by higher toposophic beings for the purpose of guiding lower toposophic minds towards safe ascensions. The majority of ascension mazes take the form of large arcology structures or space habitats. However, a few mazes are much larger constructions (up to near solar system scale) and offer the seeker the opportunity to ascend through two or more levels, assuming that they are willing to dedicate the time required. The world of Path in the Sophic League offers users the option of ascension to the Second Singularity, while the Ascension Hyperline topopoli and the Strange Attractors in the Keter Dominion offer ascension to the Third singularity, each by different paths.

Transcension Maze
Image from Steve Bowers
A Strange Attractor transcension maze in the Keter Dominion

When a user travels through an ascension maze, they are exposed to a series of tests, exercises, and augmentation procedures that gradually increase their mental and physical capabilities. The process is of varying length but can often take years, ideally it ends in a safe ascension though very rarely some ascendees have failed to return. Most maze users exit (or are expelled) without achieving an ascension on their first attempt but retain some form of novel physical, mental or psychological augment. It is common for multiple trips through a maze over long periods to be required before a successful ascension (attempts to game this system by immediately re-entering are rarely accepted by the maze). Some prospective ascendees spread their activity across multiple mazes in different empires in the hopes of gaining synergistic benefits from each.

During the course of their journey through the maze, the structure employs a combination of nanotech, biotech, and occasionally godtech technologies to provide sustenance and compatible environments for each user so that they may have adequate rest between challenges. The resources for these technologies are generally extracted from the local planetary or solar environment by automated systems associated with the maze (the ascension Hyperline topopoli employ stellar extraction and deep well technologies to mine the local star for raw materials) although in the NoCoZo several mazes require the user to provide the raw materials for their ascension as a condition for entrance into the maze (those of the NoCoZo are notorious for steep payments in return for extra capabilities upon success).

Hemel Deur 2
Image from Chris Shaeffer
The Hemel Deur from 'above'

Finally, a number of virtual ascension mazes have been created in the last several millennia. Readily accessible across the Known Net these transapient run virches devices offer users the option of attempting to ascend without the need to travel to the location of a physical maze. The TechnoRapture Overcode Environment is one of the more well-known virtual Ascension mazes extant in the Terragen Sphere today.

Related Articles
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by Todd Drashner with additions by Mike Parisi and Chris Shaeffer
Initially published on 04 April 2007.