Atlantis (Zeta1 Reticuli II)

Inner sphere old core world, a long-standing NoCoZo Tier III society

Atlantis (new)
Image from Phil B and Steve Bowers
Today, after terraformation, Atlantis has considerably more ocean than land surface

Atlantis: Zeta 1 Reticuli II

SystemZeta 1 Reticuli
PlanetZeta 1 Reticuli II
Planet Typeoriginally XeroVenusian, terraformed to Eugaian
Distance from Primary0.9 AU
Diameter10,081 kilometres
Density1.3 times Earth
Gravity1.026 g
Day23h 18m
Axial Tilt: 26 degrees (resulting in major seasonal variations)
GeographyThe surface is 80% ocean, with five major continents and two smaller ones. The major continents are Terminal (temperate, subtropical and desert, with Galt's Gulch on the eastern shore), Heinlein (subtropical and tropical, main city New Carthage), Madeleine (mountainous with a very varied climate, stretches across the equator), Lichtenstein (polar, with parts arboreal and the highly settled Mediterranean York peninsula) and Jahn (mostly hot temperate). The two minor continents, Completion (composed of several major islands linked by shifting sand bridges) and Koslowsky (jungle) are both located in the tropical zone.

Madeleine, Terminal, Jahn and Koslowsky surround the warm Vinge Sea, the source of many tropical cyclones but also the most heavily trafficked part of the planet. West of Madeleine and east of Completion lies the deep Freud Sea, and west of Completion the unimaginatively named Great Sea.
AI overseersAlthough the population of the planet and orbitals include a number of SI:1 (and a smaller number of higher toposophic) sentients, there are no official overseers as such, unless one includes the Invisible Hand (or remote nodes thereof)
SymbolNone official. Sometimes the logotype for the Atlantis Foundation is used, a slanted 'A' with the horizontal line extended into a forward-pointing arrow. There have been many suggestions for an Atlantean flag, but the only widely accepted version is simply a map over the planet.
First Colonized1636 A.T.
TimekeepingThe day is 23h 18m. The standard time measure divides the day into 14 longhours, each with 100 minutes. The year has no months (mainly due to problems agreeing to name them) but is divided into numbered seven day weeks. One year is 385.3 days long, giving 55 full weeks and a leap day every third year. (times look like 202.43.Wed.13.84.43,
Psyche Art and Culture...
MetapsychologyAtlanteans are used to speaking their mind and debating things. They regard all other worlds outside the NoCoZo as far too low key, filled with untrustworthy yes-people. They want to set up trade with everybody else. What good is an interstellar civilisation without trade?
MetaethicsLibertarian, Non-interventionism
Religion and Ideologya very typical NoCoZo world in many ways. Ideologically it is the epitome of a Tier III society.
LanguageAtlantese (Anglish Language family), New Anglish and Douh are also also widely spoken
AestheticsAtlanteans dress as they like, there are few styles that extend outside small groups. Since outdoors life is common, robust clothing and boots are often used, but Atlanteans are known for creative styles. New materials or shapes are popular, and currently nanotech fabrics made of micromachines are all the rage: still very expensive (which of course makes them even more stylish), but with interesting possibilities as they are able to change and reform in delightful ways. Carrying a weapon is usually regarded as either stylish or silly (is it Gun Pride day already?). Wearables are often combined with jewellery. The squids are often worn as headbands, headsets, diadems, coronets, laurel wreaths or even Mickey mouse ears. Atlanteans tend to be inventive. Every so often, Daedalean, Promethean, Hayekian, and other interplanetary cultures go in and out of fashion.
ArchitectureAtlantean buildings - whether those on the surface or in the huge orbitals, are often movable or modular, easy to move to a new location. Whole cities can be moved if needed (or wanted), and people do tend to move around for a variety of reasons. Zeps, ultralights and other air vehicles are popular since there are relatively few large roads. Cities hence tend to have rather variable populations, and many are more like parking lots around a few static buildings. Sometimes many people arrive, sometimes the city is out of season.

Atlantis Map
Image from Anders Sandberg

Territory and Population

Populationsurface: 138,505,400 sophonts. orbital: 516,219,000. Average life expectancy at birth: 430 metric years (estimated; Surface).
Population breakdown(to nearest million)
Surface62 million baseline or nearbaseline and mild heteromorph
18 million cyborg
12 million bioborg
5 million incarnate virtual (with cybershells or bioshells)
8 million vec
5 million splice
4 million tweak and moderate to strong herom
3 million superturingrade ai
2 million provolve
2 million su
14 million miscellaneous aioid (turing or above)
2 million other
Orbitals120 million baseline/nearbaseline and mild heteromorph
90 million non-incarnate virtual
84 million tweak (mostly microgravity and space adapted)
48 million cyborg
32 million vec
30 million bioborg
25 million splice
21 million provolve
15 million incarnate virtual (with cybershells or bioshells)
10 million xenoprovolve
9 million superturingrade ai
5 million su
4 million aioid
20 million miscellaneous aioid (turing or above)
3 million other
TerritoriesAtlantis, Orbitals, all of Cis-Atlantean Space, several minor moons and a few cloudcities of the Eujovian Hayek
Immigrationlaws are very strict on the surface, on a little less so in the Orbitals. There is an average of 180 year waiting period for a prized Blue Card
Emigrationcurrently 3.0 million per tenyear
Government and Administration...
Government TypeNone (libertarian anarchist)
National holidaysFounding Day, Liberation Day, Gun Pride Day
ConstitutionAtlantis Charter
Legal systemstandard NoCoZo law applies, with local modifications
Foreign PolicyStrong Trade and Venture Capitalist links with NoCoZo and other friendly worlds
Economics, Local Infrastructure...
EconomyLibertarian Capitalist
CurrencyAtlantis uses a system of private currencies, where each person, family or group 'prints' its own currency backed up by their personal capabilities or resources; these currencies are then seamlessly converted by the wearable computer systems. There exist everything from Ingdahlian Rands to Flax Scrip (backed by marijuana) to corporate currencies.
Major IndustriesLegalistics, Fashion and Lifestyle Design, Extreme Gaming (Mecha are very popular), Business Machines, Insurance, Expert Systems, Uploads and Virtualonics, Advertising and Madvert design, Armaments, Vehicles production, Custom Architectonics, Habitat design and nanofabrication, Personoids, Warlawyer production
Median Tech LevelUltratech
AngelnettingPartial angelnetting in some orbitals. None on the surface
Major OrbitalsMcDaggart Orbital, Jerimi, Maxmore, Janison, Newdisneyorbital, Madison
Major SpaceportsMcDaggart Orbital Spaceport
Hazard Rating...
normalsurface 0.85; orbitals 0.2 (non-angelnetted), 0.1 (angelnetted)
Gunpride day, Warsports, etc.anywhere from 4.5 to 9.5
Visa Restrictionsnone (non-permanent residence only)
Freedom of Movementvisitors are advised that Gun Pride celebrations in Galt's Gulch have an extreme hazard rating
Environmental RequirementsAtlantis and most orbitals are baseline standard environments. Some orbital sectors are modified for extremophile, vacuum-adapted, or other non-standard clades
Sites of InterestMcDaggart Monument, New Carthage CBD, Newdisneyworld Themelands, the Great Koslowsky Rainforests, Surf's Up and 200 Kilometer Beach (Completion), Madeleine Alps and Ski Resorts, Galt's Gulch and environs

Atlantis (Zeta1 Reticuli II)

Surface buildings on Atlantis
Image from Anders Sandberg
Surface buildings on Atlantis

The Early Days

Atlantis is the most successful of the so-called Free Worlds - corporate worlds specifically set up for the purpose of being a tax or data haven - during the middle Federation period. It was organised by Atlantis Foundation, a group of libertarian hyperturings and their various superturing and superbright agents. Foremost among these was the corporate superior Nathaniel McDaggart, owner of a space freight company. Their goal was to create a "free haven for free thinking individuals". Would-be colonists signed a contract of non-initiation of force and other parts of a social contract, pooling their resources in the foundation. Eventually enough groups and individuals could support capital for the colonisation project, and in AT 1395 the sub-relativistic colonisation ship Mayflower was launched towards Zeta 1 Reticuli II, the whole planet being purchased off Jupiter Transystems. Jupiter Transystems had botched the terraforming - bombarding the lifeless world with too many comets, resulting in a watery world that the original tenders, Hildago Emergent Order - (who had requested no more than 45% ocean surface) had no interest in.

Mayflower arrived at the end of Hippocrates, 1636 AT, finding a habitable world with seven major continents. Shortly after the initial landing the Auction was instituted, establishing the land ownership rights and constitution of the planet. McDaggart TransPlanetary bought Terminal (originally McDaggart Terminal), where the "capital" Galt's Gulch was located. Atlantis Foundation acted as a coordination function for the colonisation effort, originally handling the space systems. Later it mainly became a registry for land rights, public notary and accreditor of courts.

Atlantis PT NC
Image from Steve Bowers and John M Dollan
Atlantis before terraforming, without clouds, showing surface features

During the initial colonisation phase the colonist groups settled down across the planet. The settlements were widely dispersed, but long-range communications and transports had been pre-planned. Originally shuttles and planes were used, but TransPlanetary soon manufactured zeps. Many groups and settlements quickly specialised themselves, according to their phenotypic and genotypic predispositions and cultural background and ruling ai, such as McDaggart TransPlanetary (transports), the Ricardians (general labour), Transhuman Research Institute (research, education and development), Explorers United (surveying and exploration), Xie Manufacturing (heavy equipment), Akston Farming and Mulligan Capital & Investment. Local police forces and PPLs emerged to protect people.

Atlantis first non Free Zone nation state, Hope Colony, was founded in 1651, by a group of malcontent youths and people who feared that Atlantean society was doomed. Hope Colony persisted for 20 years before finally dissolving in 1671. In the centuries following, several other states have been founded, but few have persisted.

Atlantis PT C
Image from Steve Bowers and John M Dollan
Atlantis before terraforming, with clouds

Interstellar Expansion and the Penglaist Era

By the 1700s the Federation had been eclipsed by the new empires and Houses, and the Zeta Reticuli Free Zone was formerly established to encompass the system, and all icy halo objects out to 2 Light Years, while ships and habitats were sent out over a much larger distance, where they came into contact with and established trade and cultural links with backyarder, neo-novaeist, haloist, backgrounder, Homo cosmoi, rogue sapientchimp spacer, and other deep space communities that were not a part of the Federation civilization.

After only a century this period of glorious expansion came up against a new force. The Penglaist Empire was in full swing and already annexed a number of nearby star systems. This became the first serious outside threat to the First Federation. The Zeta Reticuli Free Zone became an island of neutrality in strongly politicised space.

The NoCoZo Period

In 2368 Zeta 1 Reticuli I and II formally became part of the Non-Coercion Zone, but while automatically gravitating to the NoCoZo, Atlantis was far too individualistic and finely grained anarchic to really be able to gather enough capital to fund stargates. Some external NoCoZo corporations and local major consortia funded a few, but Atlantis remained fairly weakly connected to everything else.

Rule of the Clans

During the 3200's clans became an organising force in social life. They began among the migrant workers of the Ricardians but the idea caught on; formal family networks became an added level of security and contacts. Some clans, like the Dabreen and the McDaggarts, developed strong traditions and styles, while others became little more than networks.

The Version War and After

News of the outbreak of the War led to some tension between Atlantis and the Tartatus Commonwealth. On the other hand the smaller Commonwealth was loath to attack the well-armed NoCoZo Atlanteans. The initial outcome was an Atlantean blockade, forcing the Commonwealth to remain on planet. The arrival of the Combined Negentropist-Dominion 141th Tactical Squadron changed the tide, and almost the entire Atlantean fleet was destroyed or disabled. The revisionists used Tartarus as a base of operations, and as Zeta Reticuli was also fairly close to Merrion, it would be a good staging area, but also easy target for relativistic fleets. But occupying a planet with well-armed ultratech libertarians was not a good idea. Guerrilla action becomes really nasty when the whole society is equipped with fairly advanced weapons and has strong anti-authoritarian memes, and they soon realised that complete spacepower/fleet superiority does not confer automatic territorial occupation. The occupation quickly became such a massive drain of resources that the Revisionists are forced to withdraw.

During this time, the Zetareticulite Confederation on Prometheus remained strictly neutral and served as go-betweens and trusted third parties. It is not known how much the situation would have escalated were it not for their presence, but in any case throughout the war, Atlantis was kept under blockade by the Revisonists so that it could not provide any industrial or informational support for the NoCoZo. However remained largely standardization side throughout, except for a brief occupation by a revisionist force.

During the Integration, construction began on the Liberty Stargate, but this was deactivated with the start of the Version war, and the controlling ai put in stasis. The exotic matter (at the time still quite minimal) was appropriated under the Terms of War Booty by the revisionists, the wormhole was never opened, and after the way the ai was reassigned elsewhere. Only much later (during the ComEmp period) was the stargate Mutual Benefit opened to traffic, providing a link to Tau Ceti and a much needed boost to Atlantean (and general Zeta Reticulan) economy.

In the decades immediately after the war, Atlantis had a quite militant population, since they had actually fought a real war. This had been exacerbated by military-patriotic memebots and madverts that had been widely distributed by the resistance during the war years and especially the occupation period. After the war many were still be a quite revanchist (militant) while others equally pro-peace. During the ComEmp this led to some interesting power struggles.

Copernicus 17, 4836 AT the first Gun Pride Day was celebrated in Galt's Gulch. Many of the founders felt that they ought to celebrate the right to bear arms, the bigger the better. Battlemechs were a particular status symbol, but antique (Information Age) Automatic Rifles were also in highly prized. This later became a tradition, when the citizens get together, show off their weapons and playfully blow up things.

In 4850 a major debate was started after some risky experiments with HE viruses at the TRI about how to handle insurance and security. A widespread insurance system was instituted, putting economic restraints on irresponsible actions. The insurance firms today have tremendous influence; while there are practically no laws except the basic libertarian constitution their policies rein in behaviour economically: blowing up your neighbours property will cost you a lot, and your insurance premiums will skyrocket. Killing people will ruin even the richest. In time this also evolved into the current system of maturity: children are gradually insured more and more, given more and more control over their insurances and finances, and when they reach their IQI (Insurance Quota for Independence) with self-signed insurance they are regarded as their own people. This means that there is no fixed age of maturation, some people become independent at a very early age while others remain "children" for decades.

Atlantis TNC
Image from Steve Bowers and John Dollan
Atlantis today, without clouds, showing surface features

In 4876 the second largest outbreak of violence in Atlantean history when a conflict ensued between the PPL Glick Law and its subscribers on Lichtenstein over outstanding debts of a retroactive added charge the subscribers had refused to pay. The PPL tried to make the subscribers to pay or impound resources in payment, which resulted in violence. The Glick Eruption, as the incident became called, lasted for two weeks and 132 people were killed. In the end the PPL was forced into bankruptcy, both due to extensive legal action and the sheer expense of fighting against a widely distributed armed population that did its best to sabotage the organisation. In addition, many of the employees deserted it at critical points. The whole Eruption made many Atlanteans question the idea of PPLs from a practical point of view (beside the danger of similar incidents, the PPL had shown itself to be vulnerable in a critical situation -- could other PPLs withstand real threats?). One effect was the foundation of the Dronamraju Republic on Completion 4887.

The Dronamraju Republic was intended by its founders to act as a "mutual society", where the economy was based on pooling resources and having expert systems distribute them justly; outwards the Republic acted as an ordinary Atlantean company. In addition, security was upheld by a security force run by the government. While the attempt attracted more attention and followers than usual when somebody founded a nation, it quickly ran into problems. Due to constant quarrels with orthodox libertarians the republicans gradually isolated themselves, a move towards cultism that has often occurred in nations on Atlantis. Slowly the tone got harsher, as the republicans struggled to keep their nation working. Inefficiency and laziness became more and more firmly discouraged, often incurring "fines" of non-access to goods from the expert systems. The Republic found that many Atlanteans did not want to deal with it, or offered it worse deals than to groups they approved of. There were also claims that outside agents were trying to infiltrate the Republic and sabotage it, making it close its borders and instituting mandatory surveillance. At this point it became more and more clear to outsiders that the republic was failing fast; many outside groups actually began to work to convince people to leave (but various rules and debts made this hard to do legally). Over a span of 20 years the nation moved from an idealistic democracy to a police state. From time to time purges were instituted, as "illoyal" fractions were discovered and forced out of office or work. Finally the Republic went bankrupt in 4915; the expert systems found themselves with insurmountable shortages, the government couldn't do anything about it. A riot in the capital Dronamraju turned into a revolt. At first it looked like the government would fall, but it turned the security force on the population. The resulting collapse was the largest outbreak of violence ever on Atlantis, involving thousands of people; ironically more people lost their lives than in the Eruption which caused the foundation of the Republic. Most of the victims were not victims of violence, but rather an infrastructure that collapsed or turned against them in the last-ditch attempts by the government to keep people under control. After the Republic dissolved Atlantis Foundation took over the land, mostly selling it but keeping the ruins of Dronamraju as a warning for future generations of the dangers of having a government.

Rule of the Monks

In the economic uncertainty following the breakup of the ComEmp a number of strange religious groups developed. The most significant of these, and the only one to establish a longterm theocracy, were the Rand monks. Dating back as far as the late Integration period, and originally based in the Medius mountains, they presented themselves as an example of how to live a life in uncertain times. They sought to live a truly objectivist life, without the Kantian stupidity they considered to have ruined not only Atlantean society but the entire Inner Sphere. Following a five hundred year reign they were displaced by a similar but somewhat more supernaturalist religion known as the Cult of Sacred Profit. However, this only lasted a mere thirty years, before the traditional Atlantean pragmatism rose up to overthrow it. Although practically every religion exists somewhere on Atlantis, the Atlanteans seldom hold a faith long before moving on, and the Cult of the Rand Monks was a rare anomaly in their long history. While many proudly proclaim to adhere to lifelong truths, most tend to be slightly sceptical and practical. The system still contains Randist outposts and offworld habitats, but the monks are no longer taken seriously, and most Atlanteans tend to see their five century reign as something of an embarrassment, and a part of their history they would rather forget.

The Rise of the Social Immunists

The Social Immunists were rather more successful than the Monks in shaping Atlantean society. Founded in the early 6000s, the superbright-run IPD Society decided to create a social immune defence, as a protection against malicious memes that had began arriving from some of the outer volumes worlds. Their idea was that unless vigilance is constantly tested, parasites and freeriders will spread. So over the next millennium the the IPDS instituted a system of both informing people and organise "tricks" to keep people alert. While they no longer have the influence they had in their heyday, IPD-inspired guardian groups still exist throughout the Zeta 1 Reticuli system, having a variety of goals, all trying to influence society at large. Many Atlanteans dislike them for their meddling, even if they agree with their goals.

Atlantean Society Today

Even to this date Atlantean society remains very decentralised, especially on the surface, while the orbitals tend to be very large and spacious. In this society, and practically every human activity can be found somewhere (which is amazing given the limited number of Atlanteans). It is largely a telecom and televirch civilisation, with trade and business as paradigm. It is a contract culture where nothing is real unless it can be bought or sold - trade is important even in human relations, and trade is generally regarded as the noblest profession (although relatively few regard themselves as pure traders, since almost everybody is a trader by offworld measures). The confusion exhibited by offworlders when arriving on Atlantis tends to amuse Atlanteans; many of the "foreign embassies" have clustered together in Galt's Gulch more or less by default, not really seeing that their physical location is irrelevant.

Despite the image many outsiders get, Atlanteans are not very violent. Most Atlanteans firmly believe that coercion is the root of all evil; coercing someone robs them of their free will and rationality. Sane people interact freely, trading services rather than demanding or begging for them. Violence is financially discouraged: being violent and rude tends to raise the insurance premiums, and acts of violence tend to lead to expensive lawsuits. Murder is almost certain to ruin one's reputation and end up in a PPL jail. Many Atlanteans born with violent tendencies get therapy to reduce them in order to lower their insurance costs. On the other hand, many people are killed or wounded in accidents every year, and Gun Pride day can be quite risky sometimes (in many areas it is mandatory to have a backup upload done and sign a waiver before entering during Gun Pride Day).

Relations are good with other worlds in the system, and parts of Atlantean society, especially some of the orbitals, have strongly absorbed Daedalean and Promethean memeticities.

Related Articles
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 21 December 2000.

Fiction relating to Atlantis

Traveller's notes - Atlantis
Minor date correction, (July 2022)
Additional Information

Fiction relating to Atlantis

Traveller's notes - Atlantis