Light Speed Frontier

Pioneers exploring the Outer Volumes sometimes find that the system is already occupied

Light Speed Frontier
Image from Steve Bowers
The blue line marks the approximate limit of exploration in the Outer Volumes of the Terragen Sphere by 10000 a.t. Outside this limit lies the so-called Light Speed Frontier, where some sporadic long-range colonisation efforts have already occurred. Each square is one kilolightyear on a side

The outer edge of the Terragen Sphere

On the outer frontier at the edge of the Outer Volumes, pioneers have long been witness to the so called Light Speed Frontier. After arriving to a new system on the very forefront of the terragen expansion wave, pioneers sometimes find that the system is already inhabited by a transapient power, which claims part or all of the system for its own. Though some of these are independent powers or allied to an ahuman empire, the vast majority seem to have sephirotic roots. And most seem to have arrived decades or in some cases centuries before the modosophont pioneers. Some systems are important enough that they need to be secured long before the edge of sephirotic space reached the location.

A great part of the powers of the Light Speed Frontier appears to be Caretaker Gods. While a normal modosophont can do little to disturb most transapient plans for a system, it is a fact that a single modosophont is easily capable of destroying or heavily damaging an entire ecosystem, whether intentionally, collaterally or out of ignorance. The rarity and fragility of life bearing worlds means that caretaker gods often step in early to ensure their protection.

Systems which have already been claimed by Caretaker Gods (such as those established by the entity Lernaea) are generally closed and forbidden to the explorer ships which are active on the Frontier; also closed to exploration are those worlds claimed by Diamond Network AI, or entities aligned with the Panvirtuality. It seems that many of these entities, as well as the Caretaker Gods mentioned above set off in long range exploration craft several millennia before the present, some leaving before the Version War (or perhaps as a direct consequence of that conflict).

Though this frontier past the frontier is called the Light Speed Frontier by the average sophont, it doesn't really move at the speed of light. At average it appears to expand at little more than 0.1c faster than the speed of the regular frontier.

Some parts of the Frontier are closed to exploration by Treaty; the large, but mostly empty region to rimward which is known as the Muuh Empire is closed to Terragen expansion currently, despite the fact that the Muuh are thinly spread and use very different worlds to human-derived clades.

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Development Notes
Text by Thorbørn Steen
Initially published on 29 March 2007.