Oikoumene Dyson

Image from Copyright Rudolf Herczog
The Oikoumene Swarm has numerous habitats with Earth-like environments

Oikoumene Dyson Swarm - Data Panel

Status:MPA Inner Sphere Habitat Swarm and Societeum Complex
GalactographySystem: Oikoumene

Primary: Zeta Serpentis

Stellar Type: F3 V

Companion: none

Region: Inner Sphere, 75.7 ly from Sol

Planets: Ten original planets and two asteroid belts, all disassembled and used for dyson building material.
AIAI overseers: Oikoumene Distributed Intelligence (ODI)

AI's ethos: Gardener
Polity Name: Oikoumene Dyson

Symbol: A baseline-friendly icon of a stylised rotating dyson swarm with millions of clickable habitat icons (each with a different, but mostly prim/lo tech, stylised culture) is commonly used.

Affiliation: MPA

Founded/Colonized: K4H von neumann probe arrived 1521; Diamond Belt neumann colony thought to have been established c. 1470s - 1480s

Tech Level: Varies by habitat and polity - most usually Prim and Lo Tech, with a few Hi Tech civilizations. These Hi Techs are allowed to migrate to the Skypalaces. The Skypalaces are Transapient Tech.

Habitats: Dyson Swarm
Psyche, Art, CultureVaries by habitat, local society tech level, and cultural orientation.

The Prims are mostly animistic. The Skypalaces are widely believed by all prim and low tech clades and societies to be the dwellings of gods and ancestors; visitors from the sky (tourists and scientists) are likewise considered to be either ancestors visiting from the afterlife or representatives of the gods. The Oikoumene Distributed Intelligence does not allow visitors to interfere with the natural development of these cultures.

The Skypalaces, while retaining local pride, are heavily pervaded by standard galactic fads and fashions; in this regard they are no different from the rest of the Sephirotic galaxy.

Language: In the Skypalaces the citizens speak standard Galactic and Djadese, although the hereditary language of their ancestors is also retained and widely spoken, often with heavy galactic jargon that makes it unrecognisable to an original speaker. Other habitats each have their own languages and language families; depending on population and geographic isolation between local tribes, there may be as many as several thousand different languages per habitat, the total number of languages is about a hundred billion, not counting regional dialects.
Territory and PopulationPopulation: (excl. virtuals) All figures approximate - 3.5 quadrillion (anywhere from several hundred to several billion per habitat, most prim habitats average anywhere from a thousand to a half a million; lo tech habitats will frequently have populations from several hundred thousand to several hundred million.)

Population breakdown:

Managed Sophonts - All sapient phyla and categories:

Bionts -

managed prim bionts - 2 quadrillion
managed lo tech bionts - 1 quadrillion
managed hi tech bionts - 5 hundred billion

AI/Virtuals/Artificials -

managed artificials - 5 hundred trillion
turingrade managed virtuals - 100 quadrillion (computronium banks)

Free Sophonts - Skypalace and equivalent:

non-superbright bionts - several hundred billion
non-superbright cyborgs - several billion
turingrade artificials - ten billion - (vecs and aioids)
virtuals - several hundred billion
superbrights and superturings - 5 billion
transapients - several hundred million - (Skypalaces, and a few off-limits managed worlds, including the lost Unity Colony; includes posthumans and other postbionts, postalife, and hyperturings)

Territories: Oikoumene Dyson, a number of Skypalace colonies and territories in the Outer Volumes

Immigration and Emigration: No immigration to ODI-managed habitats. Immigration to Skypalaces strictly regulated. Emigration about 100 million a year, mostly from managed habitats that have attained hi/ultratech status and graduated to galactic civilization. About 10 million skypalacers will also emigrate
Government and AdministrationGovernment Type: non-advanced habitats under direct control/caretakership of ODI.
Skypalaces are separately governed by cyberdemocracy/nanodemocracy/aiocracy (depending on polity)

Administrative divisions: Each Skypalace has its own autonomy

National holidays: (Skypalaces) Varies by habitat

Constitution: (Skypalaces) Each has its own Constitution, most along MPA lines (Beta Arae Protocols), with some Dominion, Negentropist and Communion influence

Legal system: (Skypalaces) Incorporates a mix of MPA (Beta Arae Protocols), Dominion, Negentropist and Communion jurisprudence
Economics, Local InfrastructureEconomy: (Skypalaces) mostly based on tourism, information exchange and databases built around the near limitless sophontological diversity of the trillions of prim, low tech, and smaller number of hi tech societies and cultures, advantages through mediatorship between ODI and the rest of the galaxy, also a lot of foreign investment and Outer Volumes development projects

Currency: Skypalaces- MPA Credit, also locally valid information- and energy- exchange tokens
Accessible Worlds - local currency, but the exchange rate with the MPA Credit is extremely good
Other Prim and Lo Tech Societies - differs by habitat and culture, usually naturally acquired objects or precious metal

Major Industries: Skypalaces -mostly based on tourism, information exchange, cultural ethnological, and sophontological templates, academias (ethnology and other branches of sophontology), mediatorship between ODI and the rest of the galaxy
Accessible Worlds -Tourism, arts and crafts

Angelnetting : Standard in all Skypalaces

Major Orbitals: About 10,000 Skypalaces, of which about 100 are regularly used for commerce with the rest of the galaxy
TravelStargate(s): 4 Wormholes (5000-meter gauge)

Cycle Routes: None

Major Spaceports: Each Wormhole Terminus is serviced by a large Skypalace and space port, shuttle service from there to the rest of the palaces.

Hazard Rating :
Skypalaces - 0.0 (angelnetted)
Accessible Worlds - 1.0 to 3.0
Restricted Prim and Lo Tech Worlds - 1.5 to 5.5 (depends on locals)

Visa Restrictions :
Skypalaces - standard screening applies
Accessible Worlds - anywhere from several days to several months waiting time, some conditions apply, especially for the less touristy habitats. Don't be surprised if your first application is rejected. Academics and Artists find it easiest to get permission.
Restricted Prim and Lo Tech Worlds - special permission from Sophontological Institute or Tourist Board, and permit acknowledgement by mediating ODI genii

Freedom of Movement:
Skypalaces - No restrictions, apart from industrial or other dangerous or high security areas.
Accessible Worlds - Anywhere from none to highly regulated. The amount of supervision depends on the world, and the visitor's visa rating.
Restricted Prim and Lo Tech Worlds - travel is only allowed in special areas, or by special dispensation from the ODI geni.

Environmental Requirements: Depends on habitat, which is adjusted for specific clades. However, a large number of habitats have baseline-friendly conditions (no environment suit required).

Oikoumene Dyson predates the emergence of the Sephirotic empires. In AT 1521 a K4H von neumann development project reached Zeta Serpentis only to find an entrenched colony of Diamond Belt neumanns already developing the inner asteroid belt and dismantling one of the gas giants. The K4H decided to dig in on the outer belt, as well as appropriate some frozen kuiper bodies and an inner rockball. The two aioid colonies opened communication channels. What happened next is not clear, as transmission back to SolSys was lost (or deliberately ceased) shortly after, but it seems that over the next few centuries the two aioid factions began rapidly exchanging information and data, and finally cooperating. The result was a hybrid that combined the megacorp development neumann colony's instructions to create biont-friendly habitats, with the Diamond Belt colony's emphasis on resource maximization, computronium infrastructure, and defensive systems

When a second K4H expedition arrived in AT 1895, they discovered a partial dyson, still under construction, already consisting of millions of huge habitats of varying configurations and biont habitability. Again transmission ceased, apparently the result of insystem defenses being activated. The Corporation wrote it off as a loss, and the Zeta Serpentis system was declared a hazard zone by Astrographic Institute on Stirling Orbital, Jove Trojan, SolSys

Even before this, it seems that opportunistic space explorers and adventurers had struck out for Zeta Serpentis. And the mention of millions, or billions, or garden-like habitats served as a magnet for private developers, idealists, adventurers, and more. The possibility of danger only added to the excitement, and for a while the jaded Federation came alive with stories of adventure and rumor in the new megaworld, which had been named "Oikoumene" by an enthusiastic mediacorp rep (the name then stuck).

Over the next six or seven centuries, many expeditions were launched by idealists, adventurers, cranks, and claim jumpers looking to make it rich, or establish a perfect society, or even (as was the case of the famous Unity-led expedition from Tau Ceti) open up friendly communication with the strange dyson colony. Not one returned, but subrelativistic flybys by scouts and sentient warships showed that already some of the habitats seemed to be populated.

In 3194 a third toposophic MPA artificer ISO, fascinated by the vast project, made contact with the distributed intelligence of the dyson, and was able to establish communication channels and protocol and information exchanges between Oikoumene and Djed. This was followed by a wormhole link to Medius - originally a nanoscale link that was rapidly inflated to macroscale (100 meters). Oikoumene had joined the Nexus.

With full communication and travel between Oikoumene and the rest of the Terragen Sphere, it now became apparent what had happened to those who had previously attempted to reach Oikoumene. With only a few exceptions of warlike types who had been quickly eliminated, each had been installed in a habitat. They had got their wish. Except that their ships had been recycled or dismantled, and all contact with the rest of the galaxy lost. Some had died out completely, some reverted to primitivism, a few flourished, and several had even - using the resources they brought down with them - managed to maintain a high tech standard of civilization. Most of the time the colonists were left to themselves; at other times, when they became too expansionistic, re-invented space flight, and threatened to populate the other habitats themselves, they were killed off.

With the help of Dominion, Negentropist and Communion Empai mediators, the Oikoumene intelligence was encouraged to adopt a more progressive sentient rights policy to eir charges, and a number of transapientech "skypalaces" were set aside, both for habitat dwellers who had progressed past the limits of their environment, and for visitors from the rest of the civilized galaxy. At the same time, idealists, utopians, neoprims, and havenists poured through the stargate, demanding to be given a habitat of their own. Most were rebuffed (and thanks to the MPA's implementation of the sentient rights protocols) they were not eliminated or enslaved and sent back whence they came, a few fortunate ones were established in new habs. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason why one group would be rejected, another accepted (at least not to the sapient applicants)

Oikomene Dyson Swarm
Image from Steve Bowers
Seen from a distance of 20AU, the Oikoumene swarm mostly is visible in the infrared spectrum
Throughout the centuries and millennia, more habitats have been populated, more wormhole links established (and some earlier links enlarged), and more skypalaces built. The population gradually grew until it reached several thousand trillions, but even so more than half the habitats remain fallow at any one time, and even the populated habitats may be sparsely inhabited (e.g. by prim hunter gatherers with only the faintest memory of their origins in SolSys). There are also special vacuum environment habitats for vecs or vacuum adapted bionts. While a few habitats are fully open to the rest of the galaxy, and others are strictly off-limits, many are accessible via special permission (for example anthropologists and ethnologists wishing to study prim or low tech cultures in their natural environment, or biologists who want to sample the different flora and fauna on the various habitats), although scientists and tourist operators tend to mutter that it's even harder than getting permission from GAIA (or the Solsys Organization Tourist Board) to visit Old Earth.

According to the local transapientech communities who handle the tourist trade (and benefit from it), and act as intermediary between the Oikoumene Intelligence and the rest of the galaxy, the whole of Oikoumene, with its countless millions of habitats of every shape and size and configuration, and countless trillions of sentient beings, is a vast work of art, a living, dynamic, space architectural garden and sculpture. For the rest of the galaxy, it remains one of the wonders of the universe, and the first of the great habitable dyson swarms that were to enable such vast population and living space in the terragen sphere. Oikoumene has been imitated many times, especially in the outer volumes, but none have matched the sense of fame and magnificence of the original (although that may be more because of inaccessibility rather than any inferiority).
Related Articles
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 17 June 2003.