Aolai (Gamma Leporis)

Ao Lai System  :
Memorial to Silverback Elder : Ao Lai system

Ao Lai (Gamma Leporis A & B)

System:Ao Lai (Gamma Leporis A & B)
Region:Inner Sphere
Distance from Sol:29.3 light years
Orbital Dynamics:Components A and B orbit with a period of 18,774 years and an eccentricity of 0.57 (they may be as close as 375 a.u. or as far apart as 1357 a.u.). As measured from the plane of the ecliptic in Gamma Leporis A, this orbit is inclined by 25 degrees. Stable orbits for lesser bodies may be found within 125 a.u. of components A and B, or in their mutual Oort cloud at distances of greater than 2590 a.u. from the two stars. In the first century After Tranquility A and B were 864 a.u. apart. They passed periastron, their closest approach, in the 32nd century, and were at 1230 a.u. by the beginning of the 105th century. They will be at apastron, their most distant, in the 130th century.
Metallicity:85% of Solsys standard
Subsystem A:Name: Shan Xing (Beneficence)

Stellar Type: F7V

Mass: 1.2 sol

Diameter: 1.3 sol

Luminosity: 2.6 sol (As seen from Jin Bu Hua it is presently half again as bright as an Old Earth full moon, and shines in the northern hemisphere).

Planets: Originally two Cytherian worlds, one EoGaian world, two EuAreans, two jovians, and three cryojovians. Grace (terraformed eugaian) at 1.6 a.u. has been joined by 13 artificial eugaian worlds constructed from other mass in the system and arranged in a rosette. These worlds are named Benevolence, Loyalty, Diligence, Favour, Honour, Love, Mercy, Patience, Kindness, Friendship, Valour, Humility and Respect. Additional eugaian planets are under construction.
Subsystem B:Name: Jin Bu Hua (Provolution)

Stellar Type: K2V

Mass: 0.63 sol

Diameter: 1.0 sol

Luminosity: 0.25 sol; as seen from Shan Xing it is presently as bright as an Old Earth crescent moon, and shines in the southern hemisphere.

Planets: The original arrangement (one eovenusian, one eogaian, one eoarean, a massive asteroid belt, two jovians with extensive systems of moons, and two cryojovians) has been heavily modified. The eogaian (Hope, now at 0.5 a.u.) has been terraformed to eugaian. Artificial Eugaian planets have been fashioned from the available materials and have been arranged in a rosette together with some equivalent planetary masses of computronium. The additional eugaian planets, named after the classical virtues, are: Faith, Charity, Fortitude, Justice, Prudence, and Temperance. Additional eugaian planets are presently being manufactured from Oort Cloud materials.
Planetology:Two of the original planets (Grace and Hope) are now close analogues of Old Earth. Numerous artificial planets have been placed in Klemperer rosettes around their primaries; they are at various stages of completion. The oldest have been computronium nodes or settled eugaian planets with complete ecosystems for several thousand years. Much of the other matter in both systems has been converted into computronium, commgauge wormhole links, orwoods, or habitat rings.
Important Local Artificial Intelligence:AI overseer: Sun Wu K'ung; rumoured to be SI:4. Several other transapients are known to be active in the system. These include several former occupants of the office of Primus: Hanuman I, Ozomatli, Lord Greystoke, Hanuman II, and the venerable Jane. At any one time aspects of various New Beneficence transapients may be present around Gamma Leporis A. The New Beneficence archailect has a local presence as well (the precise nature of eir relationship with Sun Wu-K'ung and the other IPP transapients is unknown).

AI's Ethos: Unpredictable and eclectic; appears to value autonomy of lower toposophics.

AI's Current allegiance: None external to the IPP
Ao Lai
Image from Arik, from an idea by Vaktus
Flag of Ao Lai
Government and Administration:Government Type: IPP meritocracy/democracy, many local variants; New Beneficence overmind (some areas); various dependant local polities.

Administrative Divisions: Numerous, by habitat, planet, and clade

National holidays: Discovery Day (IPP); Freedom Day (IPP); Observances on the 52nd and 33rd year of each century (NewBe); Nativity, Resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost (EOCC); numerous others by religion, clade and polity.

Constitution: Covenant of the Cache (IPP controlled areas); otherwise varies by local polity.

Legal system: IPP dispute resolution system

Foreign Policy: Generally unaligned. Presently in dispute with some NoCoZo elements; some lingering cool relations with aspects of Metasoft. Warm relations with the New Beneficence; good working relationships with most Institutes, the Caretakers, Pan-Sophontist League, Sophic League, the MPA, and the Zoeific Biopolity.

Interstellar treaty organization participation: Tragadi Accords, ComEmp Non-Aggression Signatory, Sentient Rights Protocols (Full Installment), Garden World Environmental Protection Signatory, St Andre Convention Signatory, Beta Arae Accords Third Party Principles, Ecosphere Protection Declaration, Halford Honour Warrior Agreement, Animal Rights Accord, Society for Cultivation of Orwoods, Tipaza Ethics Agreement, Compact of Eden, anti-Amalgamation Defence and Mutual Aid Organization, Good Hacking Agreement (with Cyberian Network), Bonitsa Baseline Protection Treaty, Memetic Warfare Limitation Treaty, Mekelon Astrogation Information Exchange Agreement, Paradigm Containment Organization member, Jekuamine Organization Accords Signatory, Monastic Exchange Program (with Sophic League), Encyclopaedia Galactica Institute Associate Membership
Primary Polity:Name: Institute for Primate Provolution

Symbol: tree on a field of stars

Affiliation: independent institute

Founded/Colonized: first colonized 868AT to 2052 AT. (Beneficence); Occupied for 200 years by an ahuman AI which mysteriously disappeared.
Re-colonized 2252 AT to present (New Beneficence) and 2271 to present (IPP). IPP headquarters since 7040.

Timekeeping: many local variations
Economics and Local Infrastructure:Economy: Information based gift economy; personal reputation and social connections are very important in transactions.

Currency: none universal

Major Industries: genetic and memetic provolution templates, mostly primate-based; ecosystem design; gene/meme/biome system repair (primate based); various arts; tourism; education

Angelnetting: extensive, though not ubiquitous; intensive in remaining New Beneficence zones

Major Orbitals: extensive development of Bishop rings and Orwoods
Psyche Art and Culture:Metapsychology and Metaethics: Mixed Inner Sphere memeticity with conservative and bioist leanings; Keterist, Caretakerist, Pan-Sophontist, New Beneficence, and Zoeific memes are common. Diversity and independence in subsingularity thought is encouraged.

Religion/Ideology: Many types, mostly in primate-based versions. Neo-Taoism, New Beneficence, and Evangelical Orthodox Catholic Christianity (in various clade-based variants) are the most common.

Language: None predominant; the 45th century Neo-Whorfian philosophers and the subsequent Great Diversification movement led to the revival of hundreds of extinct Old Earth languages among human nearbaselines and thousands of new languages in provolve subclades. Multilingual individuals are extremely common, and translation software is ubiquitous. In the past Bojiangnese, Academic Coronese, Brev, and various Anglic languages have been proposed as common languages for this mixture, but none presently has more than local influence.

Aesthetics/Architecture/Style: Strongly variable from region to region; the Clade Patternism meta-style of architecture and community design has lead to strong variations according to the local population's physical characteristics and innate biases. Use of biological materials and technology is extensive but not to the degree seen in Zoeific or other more strongly bioist regions.
Territory and Population:Population: Estimates only, as some polities do not release population information. It is believed that there are approximately 120 billion embodied subsingularity individuals (20% human nearbaseline, 22% primate-derived provolves, 10% primate-derived superiors, 15% primate-derived tweaks, 5% miscellaneous Terragen bionts, 10% primate-derived bioborgs, 5% primate-derived cyborgs, 5% vecs, 3% primate-derived sybonts, 5% others (xenosophonts, utility fog entities, etc.), and that an equal number number of active subsingularity entities (mostly primate uploads) inhabit the local computronium. There is a large but unknown number of transapients; apparently most but not all are of human or other primate derivation.
Watchword - to Relay 4 (Gliese 250)

Twig (information transit only) - communication between Gamma Leporis A and B

Spaceports: numerous in both systems; an active exchange on the Beamrider Network Hazard rating: 0.1 to 1.1; up to 5 in some provolve reserves

Visa Restrictions: Officially, none

Freedom of Movement: Baseline and some provolve reserves, provolution project areas, and system defensive installations are off-limits under system administration; some polities and persons may restrict local access as well for reasons of their own.

Environmental Requirements: Most habitats are set very close to terragen standard

Sites of Interest: Underwood (Orwood complex, Gamma Leporis B), Flower Fruit Mountain (on Fortitude, Gamma Leporis B), Shrine of the Beneficent Ascension (on Grace, Gamma Leporis A)

Gamma Leporis A
Image from Steve Bowers
Gamma Leporis A, a Klemperer Rosette with fourteen artificial planets.

Gamma Leporis B
Image from Steve Bowers
Gamma Leporis B, part of the AoLai System. Here the artificial planets are spaced between computronium nodes; the planets are several times as massive as the nodes.

Hope and Honour
Image from Steve Bowers
Hope and Honour, two of the twenty-one artificial Earth-like worlds in the Gamma Leporis system

I am a kind of farthing dip,
Unfriendly to the nose and eyes;
A blue-behinded ape, I skip
Upon the trees of Paradise

— Robert Louis Stevenson (Old Earth poet)


Ao Lai, the "Monkey Kingdom", is best known in the present day as the headquarters of the Institute for Primate Provolution, though it is still famous as the site of the Beneficence technorapture and as the first colony and former headquarters of the New Beneficence movement. Like the other major Inner Sphere systems, it is rich in history and densely populated. Also like many of the other worlds colonized in the early years of the Terragen expansion it retains considerable cultural influence.

Impressions and Appearances

Ao Lai is not easily summed up in a few words. Steeped in millennia of history, populated by many thousands of cultures, it is incredibly diverse, and exceptions may be found to every rule. Indeed, due to the IPP's memetic influence in the system diversity may be said to be one of its few unifying characteristics. The cosmopolitan, settled areas are as urbane and sophisticated as anything found in the Terragen sphere, but there are corners of Ao Lai that seem as wild and barbaric as any colony on the Periphery. As the headquarters of the IPP, Ao Lai is famously the home of baseline presapient primates, and early or lower level primate provolves, but it has well developed populations of all sorts of modosophont clades. It also has a very high rate of toposophic ascension, perhaps due to lingering New Beneficence influences, and as a result it has a considerable transapient population. Though bionts predominate among the embodied sentients, there are entire civilizations of vecs, sybonts or utility fog beings, especially in the outer and extreme inner system, and there are whole worlds for AIs to experience tucked into the system's massive banks of computronium.

There are a few common notes in Ao Lai's symphony other than the contrasts themselves. The strangeness and serenity of the Beneficence and New Beneficence have not entirely faded from the system, and form a constant background, overlain though it may be by the many subcultures of the IPP. The IPP itself has shaped the system for many millennia now, and is a dominant influence. Everywhere at Ao Lai there is evidence of the IPP's long academic tradition, of the deep conservatism of the IPP's basic mission of preservation, and its equally ancient and apparently contradictory tradition of constant striving for change and improvement. Equally pervasive has been the IPP's longstanding promotion of clade diversity, and (in the more positive sense) bioism. Over all of this is nearly a millennium of the rule of the IPP's most recent Primus. The formerly stodgy and reliable IPP has acquired a new and more dynamic, but less certain character under Sun Wu-K'ung. Overall Ao Lai has aspects of a nature preserve, a university, a major corporation, and a hedonistic pleasure dome. Some have compared Ao Lai to an ancient arboretum or botanical garden, in some places neglected and overgrown, that is undergoing a new phase of remodeling and construction, with many exotic additions. Others, perhaps less favourably, have described it as an orchestra that has gone from classical concert to carnival music.


Ao Lai has known several waves of planetary development. The first was under the Beneficence colonists, who added an Earth-like ecology to the system's existing EoGaian planet, Grace, around Shan Xing (Gamma Leporis A) and terraformed another, Hope, around Jin Bu Hua (Gamma Leporis B). They also created a number of orbital habitats (mostly standard Bishop rings) and converted many of the smaller planetoids into computronium. Most of this work was completed during the First Federation era.

A second wave of development preceded the Beneficence technorapture of 2052 AT. Most of this seems to have involved the creation of computronium nodes and underlying communications infrastructure. Whatever being or beings occupied the system in the brief Interregnum afterward, they seem not to have made any permanent changes. The computronium nodes, communications infrastructure, and the biospheres of the two Terragen-habitable planets were apparently still intact when the New Beneficence arrived (though the artificial habitats had been left in shut-down mode and were for the most part lifeless when they were re-colonized in the late 2200's and early 2300's).

The New Beneficence seems to have been content with the state of the existing system, though they are well known for their megascale engineering projects elsewhere in the Terragen sphere. However their tenants on Hope, the Institute for Primate Provolution, immediately began to engage in a massive program to create earth-like planetary bodies around Jin Bu Hua. This set of projects, which continues to the present day, is directly related to the IPP's original goal, which was to reconstitute and propagate their entire cache of baseline primate species, and protect the provolve and splice descendants of these species from abuse and manipulation.

As an initial move the IPP created backups of the Bishop rings that had already been built in Solsys, and even gave them the same names (Atlantis for the New World primates, Mu for the Eurasian primates, and Lemuria for the African and Madagascan primates), but they were not satisfied with this. The most conservative leaders in the IPP community felt that the proper interpretation of that goal would be to give each of these species something approaching its original natural "lifespan" (a matter of millions of years) and an opportunity to evolve naturally into descendant species (a matter of tens of millions of years). Clearly, they said, such a goal would require at least one environment as stable as was Old Earth prior to the advent of humanity, and preferably several such. Given the projected lifespan of Terragen civilization (less than a million years, according to xenoarcheological evidence concerning similar civilizations and considering the implications of the Fermi Paradox), and given that artificial structures eventually fail without maintenance, that meant planets. The establishment of primate stocks on Old Earth itself was considered insufficient, given the erratic behaviour of GAIA and the possibility of action against her in the future by fanatics of one sort or another.

The result of these considerations was a massive project, begun under Primus Hanuman. The design was for a fourteen-body Klemperer rosette co-orbital with Hope, to be created from available mass in the system: 6 new earth-like (eugaian) artificial planets to be named for the remaining six Virtues of the Old Earth Western tradition (Faith, Charity, Fortitude, Prudence, Justice, and Temperance) and 7 corresponding computronium nodes to house the planets' guardians (and later, should Terragen civilization become extinct, to provide stability to the Klemperer rosette's long term orbital patterns (smaller rosettes being unacceptably unstable without active management). The IPP calculated that such an arrangement would be stable without active maintenance into the far future.

The first artificial eugaian world, Fortitude (fashioned from one of the original planetary bodies) was habitable by 2870. The remainder were completed within the next millennium. Hope and Prudence have been reserved entirely for populations of Old Earth baseline primates (the entire content of the original Cache) and the millions of other species required for a complete supporting biosphere. Their climates are rather similar to that of Earth during the late Miocene, with mild temperatures and extensive forest (though there are areas of savanna as well). Together with two sister planets around Shan Xing, these two planets are the largest single sign of the IPP's commitment to its ancient goal, established when it was merely the Institute for Primate Preservation. The other planets are inhabited by various primate provolve or human nearbaseline groups, and some of the many subsapient tweak and splice descendants of various original primate species. All of the IPP's artificial planets completed under this plan are completely earth-like in every respect. Even their geology is designed to evolve naturally over the next two billion years like that of a natural garden world. This peculiar combination of MPA-style worldbuilding with Caretakerist impulses has long been held up as a sign that the IPP always did carry more than a hint of fanaticism under its veneer of stuffy academia.

Eventually, as the New Beneficence moved its focus to other stars and the IPP's projects expanded, the IPP created a 14 planet Klemperer ring incorporating Grace at Shan Xing. The IPP has continued to create smaller orbital habitats (mostly Bishop rings), but early on it also seeded both systems with orwoods. These now cluster thickly about the two stars and support a very large sapient population together with considerable volumes of "wilderness".

To keep the system stable a network of mass streams transfers momentum between the different planets. Dynamic compression members can, in principle, move planets on a timescale of decades, so this sort of 'station keeping' is quite straightforward. The mass-stream network does double-duty as a transport system for getting around Ao Lai without using reaction drives. A traveler can board a pod on a given planet and travel to any other in the system in a matter of days and be landed gently on the destination world.

In the last millennium the ambitious monkey-king of the IPP has greatly expanded the scope of these initial projects, and the IPP is importing huge quantities of material from the Oort Cloud with the aid of MPA experts, incidentally ruining the symmetry and elegance of Hanuman the First's original plan. Some say that the MPA's involvement is purely for the interest of the project, though rumours have it that Sun Wu-K'ung won that aid in the transapient equivalent of a card game.


Ao Lai has thousands of separate cultures at any one time, and it is difficult to generalize. However, most are very open and free-wheeling, and tend to be inventive. The entire system is what experts call a Novelty Node. It generates new memes and memeplexes that have significant impact across the entire Terragen Sphere, particularly among nearbaselines and other primate-derived clades and to a lesser extent among some of the vec and AI clades. NoCoZo trend watching companies have stationed permanent observers at Ao Lai, so as to be the first to anticipate the Next Big Thing. The reasons for Ao Lai's status as a Novelty Node are various. The IPP's own culture of developing diversity and unique ways of thinking among its own clades has definitely been a factor, as has the IPP's strong set of interstellar connections, and the movement of IPP personnel from distant parts of the Terragen sphere to Ao Lai and then back again. Conspiracy theorists attribute Ao Lai's influence to memetic meddling on the part of the IPP.

Perhaps one of the clearest indicators of Ao Lai's role in promoting diversity has been the Clade Bias meta-school of Patternism. This very persistent memeplex has meant that local customs and patterns of settlement, architecture, and art may differ radically from one region to the next, since each is selected from a set of optimal solutions according the genetic and memetic background of the clades concerned. The converse of this of course is that they are often quite inconvenient and uncomfortable for visiting members of other clades. Few human nearbaselines, for instance, are able to live comfortably or even travel easily in the network of green tangles, dizzying heights, and solitary dwellings preferred by Clade Mawas. Neither would they be comfortable in the noisy, brightly lit, close-packed dwellings of Clade Pataprov. As for the surroundings preferred by the Metal Monkey clade, they would likely promote nightmares in small children and other sensitive individuals. On the other hand the diverse human nearbaseline communities at Ao Lai are some of the most pleasant and stimulating to be found in the entire Terragen sphere, and are justly famous in that regard. The influence of the Clade Bias school has been felt throughout Terragen civilization, with millions of local adaptations and variants.

Another of the most influential cultural movements that began at Ao Lai was that of the Neo-Whorfian philosophers of the 45th century, and the following Great Diversification movement, which lead to the resurrection of thousands of extinct Old Earth languages amongst the human-derived clades. At Ao Lai, most of these languages have themselves fused or evolved in the time since, but recognizable descendants of such formerly obscure languages as Hakka Chinese, Rotokas, Wadjigu, Ubykh, Haisla, Welsh, Cree, Basque, Old English, Yeli Dnye, Leco, Lakota, Biao Min, Ega, Chontal Mayan, and Saami remain to this day, together with some of the commoner languages of the Industrial and Information ages and some of the more interesting post-Technocalypse forms of speech. Each of the nonhuman clades is similarly diverse, making Ao Lai a modern Babel (much to the disgust of orthodox Solarist or Metasoft believers). There have been occasional attempts to develop a lingua franca, none with any lasting effect, though Bojiangnese was an early favourite, and Academic Coronese and Brev are widely used by senior IPP members. The ability to use or understand several languages within one's own clade, and to speak (or at least to comprehend) several out-clade forms of communication is to this day a mark of social status in most of Ao Lai's cultures. Again, the influence of this movement is long-standing, and it has become a part of the fabric of Terragen thought.

Ao Lai has also been an important node for the distribution of some schools of thought based on developments by Ecos Ascending, and the IPP was one of the forces behind the spread of Brev in the 68th century. This follows a long-standing pattern under which the IPP has promoted memetic enhancement at the personal and intra-clade level as part of its overall provolution work.

A preference for biotech over hylotech is characteristic of most of Ao Lai's biont cultures. Many structures are grown rather than manufactured or nanofactured and even the local drytech often uses sophisticated "seed" designs that have a somewhat organic look. Those individuals and cultures with a penchant for technical augmentation often tend towards bioborgism rather than cyborgism. However, this rarely takes the form of the more extreme attempts of some Zoeifics to accomplish anything and everything biologically, and few of Ao Lai's sub-polities are actively bioist. The original NewBe colonists were a diverse group, and that doubtless had its influence. Also, Ao Lai was for many years the refugium and emergency headquarters of the IPP's daughter organization, the Institute for Vec Progress, and that friendly association has left its mark. Still, there is a notably "green" tinge and "wet" texture to most Ao Lai cultures, to the extent that even vecs at Ao Lai are more apt to use biological implants than vecs in the Terragen sphere generally.

Cities and Installations

The vast array of settlements at Ao Lai is too great to describe in detail. They encompass everything from the famed Garden Cities of Clade Ngagi (the IPP's famous first Gorilla provolve clade) to the Villageworlds of the human baseline preserves to the semi-military shipworlds of the Metal Monkey clade. The extensive tangles of the Orwood Belt, known as the Underwoods, support a range of anarchic, mostly primate-derived clades. The Arcadian complexes, gardens, and hot springs of Flower Fruit mountain, with their classic neo post Federationist architecture, are an aesthetic marvel, but one of many. So are the Abergist-inspired megastructures in the outer system. Some of the old settlements and installations built by the Beneficents and New Beneficents are still maintained and inhabited, and surviving structures are considered among the most impressive examples of the art and architecture of that era.


Ao Lai was first settled by the famous Exodus Beneficents in 868 AT. It was they who created the foundations of the system's infrastructure, and development continued apace until their spectacular and near-miraculous technorapture (or, as some hardened sceptics have it, hoax and mass murder) in 2052 AT.

For approximately two hundred years after the wholesale departure of the Beneficents, the system was occupied by some unknown AI or group of AIs hostile to all subsingularity life. No data exist from that period. Many regard "year zero" of the system's history to have begun with the arrival of Ukarima Lovejoy's small band of New Beneficence believers in 2252 AT, since the prior population left only their orbital installations and terraforming.

The New Beneficence developed space around Gamma Leporis A, and constructed a shrine to the ascended Beneficents on Grace, but leased Gamma Leporis B to the IPP, which was eager at that period to move its operations beyond Solsys and was then becoming established as a truly interstellar Institute. During this period there was some considerable commerce with the remaining members of the Eridanus League.

The Version War saw a huge influx of refugees to Ao Lai. Some of these were New Beneficents fleeing hazardous areas, or various non-Beneficent groups who were sheltered by that organization, but most were IPP personnel and their charges, or entire societies that had been developing with IPP help and were threatened by the hostilities between the war's major combatants. These could not be accommodated at IPP headquarters in Solsys due to impediments created by the Solsys Organization bureaucracy. Many were diverted to the Gamma Leporis system, which was well protected and had the capacity to support a large number of immigrants. A significant minority among the refugees were members of the Institute for Vec Progress, a daughter organization related to the IPP. The IVP was persecuted by Metasoft extremists for supposed Revisionist sympathies, and they and their protégés were subject to pogroms and genocide in the vec community. In fact, the IVP only survived by moving its headquarters to Ao Lai for the duration. This action on the part of the IPP antagonized Metasoft without gaining any corresponding protection from Solarists, whose proposed alternative standard was also rejected by both the IVP and the IPP. Most of the vec population still at Ao Lai is descended from these refugees, though the IVP has long ago moved its own headquarters away from the Inner Sphere entirely. Sympathy for, and cultural exchanges with, the vec refugees and their descendants is likely one of the reasons why hard line or extremist bioism has rarely taken hold at Ao Lai in the time since. On the other hand, many residents of Ao Lai remain suspicious of any vec who uses the Metasoft standard. At the peak of hostilities Ao Lai closed off its stargate to all foreign traffic and during that period the system formed some aspects of its modern meta-culture among the clades and cultures present at the time.

Ao Lai's history since that time has been relatively uneventful by the standards of Terragen civilization in the rest of the known galaxy. There have been periods of cultural stagnation, but none that led to any widespread hardship, warfare, or oppression (though with the usual local exceptions). In the present era the role of Ao Lai as one of the Terragen Sphere's cultural leaders is again on the rise.


Access to Ao Lai is not difficult, either in bodily form through its stargate or in virtual form over the Net. The managing AI, Heimdall the Fifth Ascended (one of the many descendants of the original Heimdall stargate guardian series), allows free passage to all sentient beings without any discernible toll. E does often engage travellers in conversation, but does not insist on it (and in any case few refuse, since conversations with em are often informative, profitable, or even illuminating). It is understood of course that e passes any information gained on to the angelnet systems at Ao Lai, but this seems to be for security purposes only and the information has never been published.

Formal security at all public-access gates into Ao Lai is the province of the Metal Monkey Clade and certain of its transapient descendants. This scrutiny is discreet and imperceptible to most travellers, but is thought to be extremely thorough. Innocents who are unwittingly carrying something dangerous to the inhabitants of Ao Lai are generally advised of the fact, or even (if their own wellbeing is threatened) offered a remedy. However every year a tiny fraction of persons bound for Ao Lai vanish without a trace. In every known case these individuals have been traced back to various blights, to terrorist organizations, or polities and associations hostile towards the IPP. None has returned in recognizable form, and the Metal Monkeys are silent as to their ultimate fate. Like much else about Ao Lai, the IPP, and even the New Beneficents, this silence has been the foundation of many a rumour or conspiracy theory.

Other than IPP personnel and clients, and members of the New Beneficents, the largest single class of visitors consists of tourists from various Negentropist polities. This might seem surprising, given that the system's ruling transapient is chaotic and anarchic by Negentropist standards. However the Negentropists have long been fond of Ao Lai and the IPP, as the system exhibits two of the prime axioms of Negentropism (Preservation of Information, and Preservation of Life). In the past the primus of the IPP has been regarded as a living embodiment of these two principles in the form of the Scholar and the Priest. The most recent Primus is often regarded as an embodiment of the Fourth Axiom as well, in the form of the Trickster, though the Judge has made no specific pronouncement in this regard. Some, though, believe that the Negentropist visitors are simply seeking a little wasteful fun under the cloak of proper Negentropist belief. Visitors from the Zoeific Biopolity are nearly as frequent as Negentropists, since within the realm of primate-based provolution the IPP is second to none.

Ao Lai Timeline

933 AT:Exodus Beneficents arrive at Gamma Leporis and begin extensive development in both systems
976 AT:Cache of primate data discovered at Solsys; foundation of the IPP
1166 AT:First Federation ship arrives at Gamma Leporis
2052 AT:Beneficence technorapture
2252 AT:New Beneficence re-colonizes vacant systems at Gamma Leporis
2271 AT:IPP leases space at Gamma Leporis B from the New Beneficence; commences planet-building
2870 AT:IPP terraforms Fortitude
3480 AT:Cultural Renaissance (The Snow Superiors) at Flowerfruit Mountain on Fortitude; Clade Patternism becomes the dominant meta-school of architecture and community design
4600 AT:Many IPP personnel from outposts threatened during the Version War are sheltered at Ao Lai, as are members of its daughter organization, the Institute for Vec Progress. Over 3 billion refugees settle at Ao Lai; many remain after the peace
4590 AT:Neo-Whorfian thought leads to the Great Diversification movement; this endears the IPP in general and Ao Lai in particular to neither Solarist nor Metasoft forces
7040 AT:Migration of IPP headquarters to holdings at Gamma Leporis (later named Ao Lai)
9340 AT:Wu-K'ung chosen as Primus; development at Ao Lai, including formation of thousands of planets from its Oort cloud; provolution projects accelerated

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Development Notes
Text by Stephen Inniss
Paragraph on mass streams by Todd Drashner
Initially published on 01 June 2005.

Mentions of wormholes from the 2052 AT Beneficence technorapture adjusted in April 2022