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Solar System in 10,600 AT, The
Ring of Fire
Image from Steve Bowers
The Ring of Fire around Sol in the Current Era

Sol and the Inner System

Sol

The star Sol is the site of the primary processing core of the Fourth Singularity AI God known as GAIA. The so-called Ring of Fire encircles the solar equator at the level of the photosphere and consists of banks of plasma processors running the mind of the Goddess of Earth. The Ring is some 3000 km across and is believed to extend at least that far beneath the solar 'surface', although exact measurements are difficult to make using modosophont or low transapient technology due to GAIA's refusal to allow close observation of her operations.

Remote mass detection and gravity wave imaging have identified several hundred wormhole data busses positioned along the circumference of the Ring. It is generally believed that these are used to both coordinate GAIA's internal mental processes and provide communication links to Her operations around the Solar System and beyond.

Solar Environs:

GAIA has forbidden access to the volume extending from the photosphere out to a distance of 30 million kilometers in all directions. Restriction swarms divert or destroy any craft or probe that enters the volume and the Solar Organization in turn has imposed draconian punishments on any violators who survive the experience, up to and including confiscation of spacecraft and personality Rewrite for repeat offenders.

The restricted zone is occupied by a number of installations created by GAIA, mostly industrial complexes used for everything from the creation of anti-matter to void bubbles. Virtually all such structures operate from orbits that are timed and inclined to minimize any shading of the Earth, even though the reduction in overall solar insolation experienced by the planet would be minuscule, even if every piece of hardware was arranged to intercept light heading toward the planet.

Positioned some 50 million kilometers above the solar surface, and at latitudes that make them nearly invisible from Earth or the rest of the planets are over 100 Class 2 sunlines, known collectively as the Lifelights or sometimes GAIA's Jewels. Each Lifelight consists of a 10,000km diameter constellation of thin-film optical phased arrays configured to operate like an actively controlled light-sail on their inner surface and a medium power laser emitter on the outer. Each unit of the array acts somewhat like a statite, balancing light-pressure and emitted energy to maintain its position above the Sun. Energy absorbed by each unit is re-emitted as laser light and directed along paths above and below the plane of the ecliptic toward the Outer Solar System, where it it is intercepted, defused, and redirected by large swarms of smart reflectors towards various dwarf planets (most notably Pluto and its moons) and habitat clusters.

The Lifelights were created in 8050AT as a cooperative project between the Solar Organization, the Out-System Development Alliance, and GAIA. Although nominally operated by the Alliance and the Solar Organization, it is generally assumed that GAIA is actually in control of all Lifelight infrastructure one way or another.

The Solar polar regions are each home to extensive installations that are used to extract matter and energy from the Sun and direct it to large complexes located about half an Astronomical Unit out from the star. These complexes each house several Deep Well Industrial Zones - used by GAIA for the production of heavy elements and various types of conventional matter hardware - and the weylforge systems (currently powered down) that created the internal comm-wormholes used in the Ring of Fire and around Solsys. The complexes and their supporting mass-streams are protected by GAIA-created restriction swarms and Sol Org edict and approaching either is strictly forbidden.

Despite Her extensive infrastructure within and in proximity to Sol, GAIA seems to have had little or no effect on the natural processes of the Sun as they relate to Earth. The 11 year sunspot cycle for example, remains unchanged. Although GAIA is extracting material from the Sun, She is doing so at a rate far below that generally used to modify stellar properties and so far the extraction process has apparently had no impact on solar burn rate, class, or estimated lifetime.




Mercury

Population: 36 billion sophonts (64% sophtwares, 18% vecs, 4% Martian tweaks, 3% superiors, 2% cyborgs, 9 % other).

Government: Mercury Administration, democratic council overseen by the S1 entities known as the Lares; composed of 86 sub-polities, many with considerable autonomy; member of the Solar Organization, with close ties to the Fomalhaut Acquisition Society.

Planetary Surface: The surface of Mercury consists of a five layer shellworld. Each layer has a separate atmosphere with airwalls used to prevent mixing and pressure equalisation. The chambers below ground are lined with diamondoid, while the upper layers are supported by thick columns of diamondoid and adamant. Each layer maintains a different internal environment ranging from pressurized networks of interconnected caverns to open habitats simulating the surface of a terrestrial Garden World, to a recreation of the original surface of Mars. The new planetary surface has been constructed to resemble Mercury as it appeared during the First Federation, complete with mining scars and solar power arrays. This layer supports a number of inhabited mega-mechas and walking cities, many of which attempt to stay at a given position relative to the slowly moving Sun in the sky. At the equator a moving city only needs to maintain an average speed of 5.8 kph, although this speed must change somewhat at different times in Mercury's eccentric orbit. The largest moving structure is the Night Serpent, actually several habitats connected by (and to) a mobile Lofstrom loop.

Orbital Space: Mercury orbital space is dominated by Caduceus Alpha and Caduceus Beta, massive orbital rings located at altitudes of 10,000 and 20,000 kilometers respectively. Each is connected to the surface by pendant elevators which transport passenger and freight capsules to the rings where they are then launched to more locations in Mercury local space or beyond. Each ring supports thousands of of ai, a-life, and upload communities, with a total sophtware population numbering in the billions. In addition to acting as transport hubs and population centers, the rings function as cooling radiators when in shadow.

Mercury Environs:

Further out from Mercury are the independently orbiting habitats and power collectors of the Helios Band, including Helios Major and Clarke Docks, bustling hubs of activity and host to large numbers of interplanetary and interstellar craft. Larunda Platform is an open-frame microgravity structure designed for the use of space-adapted vecs. The Helios Band includes many minor computronium nodes running virtual cybercosms, boostbeam stations, and heritage antimatter farms.




Venus

Population: 117 billion sophonts (65% sophtwares, 9% nearbaselines, 7% vecs, 6% superiors, 4% cyborg, 3% To'ul'hs, 5% other)

Government: Venus Governing Authority (VGA) a protectorate of the Solar Organization.

Planetary Surface: With terraforming recently completed, the Venusian surface is covered in a beautiful saltwater ocean punctuated by a number of continents and islands with a wide variety of climates. The flora and fauna have been tailored to closely resemble that of Old Earth. While there are several important population centers such as Parmenides along the west coast of Aphrodite Terra, Horrocksville on the island of Eistla, and Lomonosovgrad in the Sedna Sea, most of the surface population live in small diffused settlements. Water craft are ubiquitous and range in size from a few meters to housing entire cities. Currently, only 2 billion physical inhabitants permanently live on the surface and the Solar Organization is taking steps to prevent overcrowding.

Orbital Space: The large dynamically-stabilized sunshade known as the Parasol in L1 orbit protects Venus from the Sun's more harmful effects. An impressive orbital band called Diadem encircles Venus where the vast majority of the population lives, the ancestors of many of these residents had long lived in Venusian orbit in earlier habitats. Diadem is also the main computronium node for the planet's S2 AI overseer Anchises, who manages most day to day operations on behalf of the Solar Organization. Separate from the band, other stations abound. New J'ufar, a large Bernal sphere designed to support a sizable population of To'ul'hs, is in distant orbit around the planet and serves as a reminder of To'ul'h colonization in the pre-terraformed era.

Venus L1 point: The Parasol is located in the the Venus L1 point. For security reasons, no habitats or installations other than those dedicated to maintenance of the Parasol are allowed to occupy the L1 volume. Several small asteroids (1-10km across) are have been emplaced for use as raw material nodes for Parasol operations. The sophont population of the L1 point is zero.

Venus L2 point: The Venus L2 point is occupied by the Haiven Swarm, a complex of some 500 computronium nodes (average diameter - 10 km) hosting a portion of the SolSys cybercosm and a population of approximately 1.5 trillion upload, virtual, and a-life sophonts. At the center of the Swarm is the transapient habitat known as The Haive. The Haive is home to a half dozen Second Singularity and several hundred First Singularity intelligences.

The Haiven Swarm is one of the oldest computronium clusters in the Terragen Sphere and, due to its great age, the majority of its population is highly adapted to virtual environments, often based on abstract, multi-dimensional, or mathematical elements that are nearly incomprehensible to embodied sophonts. As a result, only a small minority of the Swarm population concern themselves with life outside the cybercosm - but this still translates into tens of billions of individuals actively taking part in SolSys culture and civilization.

Venus L3 point: The Venus L3 point hosts a shuttle station of the Beamrider Network. A complex of solar arrays and asteroid based boostbeams launches and decelerates shuttle craft traveling to and from passing beamliners, accelerating them to 30% of the speed of light to rendezvous with outgoing beamliners before they are reaccelerated to cruising speed and slowing incoming shuttles launched from the beamliners as they decelerate into the outskirts of the Solar System. Spaceport facilities within the L3 point are extensive, but are primarily designed to accommodate cargo, vecs packaged for transit, and biont passengers in stasis, rather than active sophonts. The total population of the L3 point at any given time, including spaceport staff, support personnel, and their families rarely exceeds several thousand (80% sophtwares, 10% vecs, 5% near-baselines, 3% vac-adapted humans, 2% other).

Venus L4 point: The Venus L4 point is home to the Demeter Swarm, a grouping of some 20,000 multi-level habitats ranging in size from 100 to 500 kilometers across. It is home to one of the largest hedonics centers in the Inner Sphere and offers everything from such ancient amusements as gambling, live theater, and sex clubs to more modern pursuits such as zero gravity sports, virtual drugs, and Death Parlors.

The Demeter hedonics center is officially operated as a joint venture between the Solar Organization, an alliance of several NoCoZo entertainment and hedonics concerns, and the First Singularity overseer of the Swarm, generally known as Herodotus Nxt. However, GAIA is commonly rumored to also have a hand in its operation as a way of distracting would-be tourists from wanting to visit Earth.

Venus L5 point: The Venus L5 point is home to the Aphrodite Swarm, a grouping of some 50,000 habitats ranging in size from less than a kilometer to nearly 1000 kilometers across. Unlike the Demeter Swarm, the Aphrodite Swarm is first and foremost a population center, rather than an entertainment venue. However, it is home to a sub-campus of the Deep University, with a specialty in Terran Studies. Total Swarm population is approximately 10 billion sophonts (2.5 billion embodied, multiple clades, 7.5 billion sophtware).




Earth in the Current Era is in the middle of an ice age

Ice Age Earth
Image from Wyrmshadow

Earth

Population: An estimated population of ~50 million sophonts, consisting of the Children of GAIA (60% rianths, 20% provolves, 10% tweaks, 5% bioborgs, 2% baseline humans, 1% ai, 1% upload, 1% vec).

Government: The GAIA archailect has total jurisdiction of Earth and over a number of asteroids that She has pushed into Earth orbit and converted to ISO nodes.

Planetary Surface: The vast majority of the planetary surface is uninhabited wilderness, restored by GAIA to a state equivalent to the Pre-Industrial Age. The New Ice Age has expanded the planetary ice caps and glaciers, covering approximately 60% of the land area in the Northern and Southern hemispheres (not including Antarctica) in tens to hundreds of meters of ice. Notable exceptions to this state of affairs are the two dozen Heritage Sites scattered around the planet under protective bionano bubbles, the small villages, farms, and installations of the Children of GAIA, and the base station for the single beanstalk allowing access to the surface. The equatorial regions of the planet remain entirely ice free, although the reduction in moisture and overall cooler temperatures have moderated their climates considerably from what they were prior to the Great Expulsion.

Planetary Transport: The Solar Organization maintains a fleet of long range aircars for use by tourists or Sol Org officials traveling on business. Within the Heritage Sites, visitors may walk, hike, or occasionally make use of various domesticated beasts of burden provided by the local Children.

Orbital Space: Terran orbital space is utterly controlled by GAIA. Her computronium nodes, observation satellites, and orbital weapons platforms are the only things allowed to operate within 100,000 kilometers of the planetary surface, other than Sol Org tourist shuttles traveling between Luna and the beanstalk docking station in geosynchronous orbit.

Luna:

Luna in 10600 AT
Image from Steve Bowers
Luna in the Current Era; the Far Side from Earth is covered in worldhouses, while the Nearside is kept relatively pristine
Population: 1.063 billion sophonts (47% sophtwares, 12% lunar gravity tweaks, 12% vecs, 10% provolves, 10% near-baseline humans, 7% superiors, 2% vac-adapted lunar gravity tweaks)

Government: The Lunar Home Council - Luna is a major center of Solar Organization operations for the Inner Solar System, so much so that it is often erroneously believed to be directly controlled by the Sol Org or to operate as a sort of 'company world'. However, it actually maintains a small, independent set of departments and operational directorates known as the Lunar Home Office, which is overseen by the Lunar Home Council - a group of six hyperturings who have dedicated themselves to the governance of Luna itself, apparently as a hobby, or possibly some type of game.

Planetary Surface: The surface of Luna is heavily developed although, due to restrictions imposed by GAIA, the majority of development is found on the Lunar Farside, on that portion of the world (82% of the hemisphere) that is never seen from Earth. Approximately 20% of the Farside surface has been worldhoused, with the worldroof enclosures adjusting their transparency and internal illumination to accommodate the extended day-night cycle. Nearside development is either sub-surface or carefully scaled or otherwise designed to be invisible from Earth's surface.

A number of boostbeam systems are dotted around Luna, on both Nearside and Farside, and are used to launch and decelerate the many interplanetary craft traveling too and from this busy world. Those on the Nearside are camouflaged to be invisible from Earth. Magnetic launchways also stretch across the surface to accelerate craft into orbit, where they may rendezvous with various installations or spacecraft. Large optical and radio frequency communication installations also dot the surface, routing the many messages and sophtwares traveling to and from other locations in SolSys or beyond.

Over 20 million Lunar vac-adapts make their home on the surface, usually in small communities designed not to be visible from Earth if on the Near-side, and in the Farside population centers of Windy River, Aether, and Greysea.

The Lunar interior has been honeycombed with artificial tunnels and caverns, many of them tens of kilometers across and hosting a variety of environments recreated from Old Earth or other worlds deemed 'interesting' by the local population. Magways criss-cross the world and allow a traveler to reach even the most distant destination in less than an hour.

Orbital Space: GAIA's edicts limit the size and number of installations and spacecraft that can operate within the Earth-Moon volume. As a result, Lunar orbital space is very sparsely developed compared to most worlds. While there are an array of monitoring, navigation, and communication satellites circling the world, the hotels, habitats, and recreational facilities found around most worlds of comparable population are absent here.

Earth-Moon Lagrange Points:

Due to GAIA's edicts, the Earth-Moon Lagrange points are mostly empty. The exceptions are various communication and observation platforms (observing both Sol and Earth), and the five components (one per Lagrange point) of Close to Home, a distributed computronium core virtual environment catering to over 500 billion sophtware tourists per year. Each node of the Close to Home complex is a one kilometer radius sphere coated in PQDA technology which is used to absorb solar energy (rendering the nodes non-reflective and invisible from the planetary surface), radiate waste heat, generate high bandwidth communication and transit links for visitors, and provide an observational baseline ranging from hundreds of meters to hundreds of thousands of kilometers across. Images of the Earth are picked up by the highly sensitive phased array optics on the surface of the nodes and loaded into the many virtual environments contained within, either to be viewed directly or to add a 'realistic touch' to the many virtual recreations of famous locations on Earth, both natural and Terragen made (although the majority of the latter were eliminated by GAIA millennia ago).

The Earth-Moon Volume: The general Earth-Moon volume is largely empty of development except for Sol Org observation platforms and a scattering of monitoring satellites installed by various Institutes, megacorps, religions, and other parties interested in Earth, GAIA, or both.

Sol-Earth Lagrange Points

Meta-stable gravitational points located in-between the orbits of Venus and Mars, very similar to the Earth-Luna orbital region. Historical records suggest that these Lagrange points were uninhabited during the Interplanetary and Nanotech Ages, though some archives suggest automated facilities such as solar energy collection swarms, interplanetary cycler stations, or deep space telescopes were present. During the First Federation period when habitat construction picked up again they became prime real estate.

Sol-Earth L1 - The Solar Estates: Originally an overpopulated and impoverished orbital swarm developed to absorb the refugee overspill after the Great Expulsion. Currently, an exclusive 'residential area' for embodied sophonts wishing to live relatively near Earth, but without the strict immigration rules and population control of the Earth-Moon volume (although GAIA's edicts require that no swarm component can be visible from Earth's surface, necessitating the use of camouflage systems). Along with a few ancient habitats retained as museum sites, there are a large number of tourist hotels, pilgrim accommodations, and interplanetary cycler stations. The current embodied population is roughly 3 billion.

Sol-Earth L2 - The OtherRealm: A swarm of computronium and Virtual/AI habitats surrounding a Lightways local node intermixed with a smaller number of rotating habitats used by embodied sophonts traveling along the Lightways via engenerator technology. The OtherRealm is largely shaded by Earth, and GAIA's edicts forbid any mirror-based or other external illumination systems that would be visible from the planet's surface. As such, the various swarm components are coated with PQDA systems tuned to absorb as much light as possible, while internal conversion reactors supply any additional energy that might be required.

The OtherRealm is famous across the Inner Sphere for its continuous virchworlds that are largely based on fantasy narratives from across Old Earth and Terragen history, while continuing to evolve into new and unique virtual universes. Current sophontware population is over 800 billion.

Sol-Earth L3: - Prometheus Swarm: A solar energy swarm that evolved into a microgravity mechology, similar to a vacuum reef. A popular tourist destination for many vecs from Metasoft or Silicon Generation. Current embodied population is 4.8 billion, mostly vecs, but also some microgravity tweaks and cyborgs.

Sol-Earth L4 - Amazonia Orwood: A Dyson Tree ecology that is a popular nexus for the 'bohemian' sub-culture in SolSys, with a strong Zoeific Biopolity and NoCoZo influence. Many of the individual Dyson Trees are home to various artist collectives, philosopher communes, and Nuage communities. Its population in the Current Era is 4 billion (60% virtual, 30% embodied).

Sol-Earth L5 - The Terrastrium: This extensive orbital swarm is home to some 50,000 habitats built to recreate different locations and time periods of Old Earth human history, from the Neolithic to the Nanotech Age.

The Terrastrium is a popular tourist destination for those who want to visit Old Earth, but are unable to due to the strict visa limitations. Many of these habitats use characterbots for historical recreation, but a large number of nearbaselines and other mondosophonts volunteer as re-enactors to play various roles for their own amusement, for payment, or more obscure reasons. Because of this, it is home to a very large population of retrohistorical and retro-abo enthusiasts who live in the swarm permanently.

Most of the habitats in the swarm are large enough to contain entire cities from different periods of Earth history, but there are also thousands of smaller structures, some of which are replicas of famous historical locales such as Harlem High or NuiBrussels. Most of the smaller habitats are actually tourist stations or residential areas; while others are sub-campuses for Institutes such as the Arcturus Institute of Alternate History and the Fellowship of Independent Historians, which specialise in Old Earth history or anthropology. There is a strong Terran Federation presence, with the Eclecticism/Authentisim memes being extremely influential.

The current population of embodied sophonts is roughly 10 billion, which fluctuates due to the large number of tourists that visit each year.




Mars and the Asteroid Belt

Mars

Blue Mars and the Biston Museum Ship Museum
Image from Steve Bowers
Blue Mars; the space elevator can be seen in the distance, as well as the Biston Museum Ship Museum
Population: 491 billion sophonts (93% sophtwares, 4% Martian tweaks, 1% Vecs, 1% Superiors, .5% Cyborgs, .4% nearbaselines, .1% other)

Government: Martian Republic, a parliamentary cyberdemocracy whose principal organ is the Senate; composed of 139 administrative districts; member of the Solar Organization.

Planetary Surface: As the first planet colonized in Terragen space, Mars hosts an array of ancient settlements which, besides the capital of Olympia, includes Robinson, Xianhongshan, Icaria, Labyrinth City, Newton Crater, Chaos, Tharsis, Mariner City, Ius, Tithonius, Coprates, New Cydonia City, Aresopolis, Sirenum Mons, and Lucky Strike along with newer cities such as Zephyria, Hellas Ocean Arcology, and Airy-0. Having been partially terraformed for thousands of years, the Martian atmosphere, while containing too much carbon dioxide for baseline humans, supports a wide variety of tweaked flora and fauna. Martian society is largely conservative, with many restrictions regarding new construction and embodied population growth. As such only 5.3 billion embodied sophonts, nearly all Martian tweaks, live permanently on the surface. Being geologically inactive, Mars makes considerable use of underground habitation with much of the population living within spacious, artificially lit caverns. This leaves large sections of the Martian countryside as either uninhabited wilderness or agricultural fields farmed by bots.

Orbital Space: Mars is currently serviced by nine beanstalks. The most used connects the re-positioned remnants of Mar's moon Demios, now known simply as Aerostat Terminus Alpha, to Juventae Bay on the surface. Martian orbital space has several constellations of large habitats arranged at various altitudes. One of the best known of these habitats is Ezekiel's Wheel, a Stanford torus and an important center for various Jewish sects. Another station of note is Biston which houses an impressive array of Museum Ships. Many habitats are composed entirely of banks of computronium for sophtwares, most of which are uploads of past Martian citizens. These uploads account for the vast majority of the Martian Republic's population.

Phobos:

Over 99.9% of Phobos' mass was mined during the late Interplanetary Era. What little remained was fitted in the early 1700s AT with a conversion drive and structural improvements. Ever since, the moon and its around 5,000 residents have traveled throughout Solsys, visiting various planets, moons, and asteroids, and even returning to Mars several times.

Deimos:

What remains after mining is now repositioned as the anchorweight of Mars' most used space elevator, and is more commonly known as Aerostat Terminus Alpha. About 2,000 zero-G tweaks still inhabit the old living spaces inside Deimos.




The Asteroid Belt

Population: ~160 billion sophonts (47% low gravity and micro-gravity Tweaks, 15% Uploads, 15% Vecs, 10% Provolves, 5% Cyborgs, 5% Nearbaseline humans, 1% Baseline humans, 1% Splices, 1% Rianths)

Government: The Asteroid Belt is home to literally thousands of different governments, ranging in size from single habitat city-states, to nations or alliances encompassing hundreds or thousands of habs, asteroids, and computronium nodes. While all nominally independent entities, in practice millennia of long association and interaction have evolved a low key, but surprisingly effective federal structure in which local matters are handled by the various local governments while system or Belt spanning issues are the purview of the Solar Organization and its hyperturings.

Belt Space: While the largest dozen or so Belt asteroids have been honeycombed, converted to micro-gravity shellworlds, worldhoused, or some combination of these, the vast majority of Belt development has seen the various asteroids used mainly as resource nodes rather than habitats. Individual asteroids or small clusters of different types of asteroids have been fitted with thrusters, shifted into stable, organized orbits, and equipped with automated resource extraction systems. Materials from these are transported to nearby clusters of small to medium size habitats, some spun for gravity, many operating in low gravity or freefall conditions. Most are situated in the shadow of their home asteroid to provide additional protection from solar flares and radiation, although with modern shielding and medical systems such positioning has been reduced to a matter of cultural tradition, with little practical basis.

Low thrust shuttles and ferries ply between nearby rocks, while constant acceleration liners and the occasional boostbeam cross longer distances. The Transys is ever present, but less widely used due to a local preference for 'homegrown' systems.

Ceres:

The surface of Ceres is completely paraterraformed, enclosed in an artificial membrane supported by an array of tower arcologies, each extending some five kilometers above the Cerean surface. The internal environment of the Cerean worldhouse is largely similar to that found around the Mediterranean region of Information Age Old Earth. Approximately a third of the surface is divided up into individually sealed environments, ranging from tropical rainforest to arctic tundra.

The outer surface of the worldhouse roof is dotted with various installations, including space ports, anti-collision point defense systems, and communication and energy transmitter/receiver units.

The majority of the Cerean interior is honeycombed with tunnels and chambers ranging from tens of meters to tens of kilometers across and extending from just below the surface all the way to the core. In a variant of megastructural migration, it is not uncommon for the local population to abandon entire groups of chambers for extended periods, sometimes lasting as long as a century, while semi-autonomous bot and vot systems restructure the interiors and their associated biomes in unique and often surprising ways. The opening up and revealing of a long unseen set of chambers is often a source of local excitement and can also bring in tourists from across Solsys and beyond in some cases.

The polar axis of Ceres is a notable departure from the more common multi-chamber design of the rest of the interior. The axis has been hollowed out through the entire asteroid, creating a single chamber some fifty kilometers in diameter and over 900 kilometers in depth. Filled with air and artificial light sources the Underworld, as it is called, is home to mix of vertical ecologies, arcologies, and individual dwellings, some attached to the chamber walls, some airborne, and some gradually sinking (or rising, depending on where they are in their cycle) in a controlled manner as they are gently pulled down by the faint Cerean gravity well, oscillating slowly back and forth through the center of the planetoid.

Total Cerean population is some 8 billion, spread throughout a habitable volume equivalent to several times the surface area of a terrestrial class planet. Major population centers include Ceres City, Kerwan Landing, Occator Freeport, and Rongoville.




Jupiter, Saturn, and the Outer System

Jupiter

Population: 1.2 trillion sophonts (50% sophtwares (various clades), 30% Jovian tweaks (various forms adapted to local gravity and various pressure levels), 10% Vecs, 5% Free Bubblehabs, 3% Cyborgs, 1% Radiation Nation, 1% other).

Government: The Conclave of Storms - a cyber-democractic confederation that includes representatives from most (although not all) of the various Jovian nations. Individual representatives are chosen by their home nation by a variety of methods, including secret ballot, government assignment, random lots, hereditary obligation, or even trial by combat. The representatives of the Conclave gather in person every five years, but otherwise meet virtually with each representative sending a Copy of themselves to a location in the local cybercosm where they carry out the business of government while sending mental updates to their originals on a daily basis (or more often if required), who report in turn to their local national governments. The Conclave is technically a member of the Solar Organization, but acknowledgement of the authority of the Sol Org tends to wax and wane over the centuries as does the interest of the Jovian population in the wider Civilized Galaxy.

Planetary Surface: The 'surface' of Jupiter is made up of multiple layers of rapidly moving gases in a variety of forms from cyclones larger than planets to globe girdling bands. Jovian bubblehabs are spread across dozens of different atmospheric layers ranging from the 'ancestral' 1 bar level where the first floating colonies were established all the way down to depths where the local pressure and temperature would both crush and cook an unprotected neb or Superior instantaneously. The hundreds of Jovian nations include several different Tweak clades, vecs designed for the local conditions, and a large population of uploads, ais and a-lifes living in floating computronium banks, usually at the deeper levels. Three different vec clades have moved from living on bubblehabs to converting themselves into floating forms themselves, each with a different mix of internal capacities and a customized supporting mechosystem allowing them to live naturally within Jupiter's atmosphere. In addition, the Free Bubblehabs - a distributed and diverse nation of sophont structures that have chosen to operate as lone individuals without inhabitants - can be found at various locations and altitudes around the planet.

At least four different floating bio-ecologies (each radically different from the others) have also been established at widely separated locations on the planet and it is anticipated that all seven different life systems will begin to encounter each other and interact some time within the next five thousand years, likely with results that will prove highly interesting for all concerned.

Orbital Space: Jupiter orbital space is one of the busiest volumes in the Solar System. At the lowest level, a planet-spanning Transys network of orbital rings and mass-streams supports several hundred skyhooks connecting the various atmospheric levels and allowing rapid point-to-point travel to destinations both on-planet and off. Despite this, the sheer size of Jupiter means that it may take an average Inworlder days or even weeks of travel to reach their nearest skyhook access point.

At the middle orbital levels, seven orbital bands, each containing thousands of habs, factories, and computronium nodes (adapted to use or shield themselves from the local radiation belts) support a busy population (mostly sophtware, but with a growing percentage of Radiation Nation tweaks that have recolonized the volume in the last several centuries) connected by comm-sats, shuttles, and Transys pods. Interstellar craft (both starships and Beamrider Network shuttles) regularly travel between the various orbitals, the Jovian moons, and the wider Solar System and galaxy beyond.

Jovian synchronous orbit is mostly occupied by a mix of habs, communication platforms, and computronium nodes. However, fully a third of the orbit is taken up by the ever-changing belt of the structure known as the Odinring. Originally conceived as a circum-Jovian topopolis habitat, the Odinring began construction in 8992AT. However, when the project was roughly one-third completed, a coalition of bubblehab nations sued to halt construction on various grounds ranging from the potential environment impact of the megastructure to religious freedom violations due to the alteration of the heavens that it would create as a side-effect. The legal battles have been ranging back and forth for over 15 centuries, with judgments, appeals, counter-suits, settlements, and petitions causing the project to start, stop, and even reverse from year to year. The Odinring, as a result, remains mostly uninhabited, although the central third of the completed portion has been sealed off, made habitable, and turned into a hedonics center where visitors can entertain themselves in a variety of ways, including gambling on the outcome of the ongoing court battles.

At least one urban legend contends that the entire affair is a confidence game to bring in extra revenue to the Solar Organization and the Conclave via the lucrative surcharges they each gather from the ongoing gambling bets (both locally and across the Known Net) that are made each year over what legal maneuvers each side will engage in next. There are also rumors of various Hider groups squatting in the ring at widely separated locations, but these remain unconfirmed.

The Io-Jovian flux tube and plasma torus remain in place. While they were a navigational hazard for unprepared ships and satellites in the early days of Jovian colonization, modern shielding and medical technology make their associated radiation and EM effects virtually irrelevant.

Inner Satellites/Amalthea Group:

Population: Often transient, averages 1.2 billion sophonts (50% Cyborn, 20% vec, 10% space-adapted Radiation Nation, 10% Simico, 5% ai, 5% all others).

Government: The Prior of the monastery and eir council of advisers has overall authority over the habitat. The monastery is not a member of the Solar Organization, but recognizes it as the primary secular authority of Sol System.

Habitat Description: The inner moons of Jupiter, made up of Metis, Adrastea, Amalthea, and Thebe, have been largely dismantled for raw material to fuel the construction of the Odinring, orbital bands, Transys, and other orbital infrastructure of the Jovian system. The remaining material has been re-engineered into a monastery habitat of the Kja Observance. The 300 kilometer diameter multilevel spherical mesh habitat is primarily configured for the use and comfort of space and radiation adapted vecs, tweaks, and cyborgs, although accommodations for other clades are readily available. The majority of the population in the Current Era consists of radiation tweaked Cyborn, using bodies adapted to the vacuum and free-fall conditions. Much of the habitat is also given over to a self-sustaining mechosystem designed to provide useful products and materials for the inhabitants as well as decorative habscapes for both meditation and general viewing pleasure.

Galilean Moons

Io:

Population: 300 million sophonts (90% To'ul'h tweaks, 5% T'oul'h adapted vecs, 5% all others).

Government: The Conservatory of Action - a hybrid mix of Terragen style cyberdemocracy and To'ul'h Polmusic-derived policy making. The Conservatory is a member of the Solar Organization.

Planetary Surface: The interior of Io has been seeded with a modified Rheolithoid ecology, which has been designed such that a side effect of its operation is that the intensity and location of the moon's many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are both mitigated and localized to regions that are deliberately left uninhabited (or mostly so - some thrill seeking groups and individuals have deliberately established settlements in these areas - they usually incorporate powerful transmitters to Backup facilities in orbit and tend to be rebuilt often). The more stable regions of the surface that remain have been extensively worldhoused and a tweaked To'ul'hian type environment established in most cases. A mixture of the To'ul'h population displaced by the terraformation of Venus (suitably modified for the low gravity and high sulfur conditions), their descendants and offspring, and emigrants who are interested in experiencing the Ionic To'ul'h lifestyle make up the bulk of the population.

Orbital Space: Io is surrounded by over a dozen orbital rings. The primary ring encircles the equator and supports a number of short beanstalks and a magnetic launch/docking system for traveling to and from local space and beyond. The remaining rings mount power magnetic field generators and work together to create an artificial magnetosphere for the moon to divert the intense particle flux of the Jovian radiation belts. The resulting auroras are often visible as naked eye events for those living within Jupiter local space and can be readily viewed with even a modest telescope across interplanetary distances.

Europa:

Population: 16 billion sophonts (60% Europan, 30% aquatic provolve (various), 5% aquatic neogen (various), 3% vec (aquatic or vac-adapted), 2% all others).

Although the Europans make up the majority of the population, they are joined by a host of other aquatic sophonts (usually gengineered or bodymodded to live under the local conditions of cold water, low light, and high pressure) including Acties, Brain Kelp, Eudore, Kanuma, Madi, and various clades of sophont cephalopods including (it is rumored) a community of the famous Architeuthis sapiens order known as the Night Poets.

Government: The Chorus of Currents - a legislative group mind made up of local representatives of each Europan district, chosen by a variety of methods ranging from secret ballot to hereditary obligation, depending on the clade of the majority population in a given district. The Chorus is a member of the Solar Organization.

Planetary Surface: The interior ocean of Europa has been re-engineered into a moon-spanning multi-level ecosystem. Conversion-Fusion hybrid reactors arranged in a three-dimensional grid throughout the ocean volume generate heat, light, and synthesized heavy elements which are harvested by specialized neumanns, processed, and excreted as the organic compounds which form the basis for the entire ecosystem. Millennia of gengineering and neogenics by the Europan natives and their allies have produced a rich and complex ecology that extends from just beneath the thick ice roof all the way to the relatively frigid high pressure depths near the moon's surface.

The outer surface of Europa is mostly undeveloped except for various communications or anti-impact point defense installations. However, a number of small communities or individual dwellings, mainly inhabited by a mix of vecs, humans, and others, are dotted here and there across the landscape. Most who live on the surface either enjoy the isolation, the ever changing view of Jupiter and its moons, or both. Virtually all surface inhabitants employ bodymodding or enhanced medical systems to deal with the effects of Jupiter's radiation belts.

Orbital Space: Europan low orbit is occupied by a large orbital ring, which supports eight beanstalks connecting to the surface, magnetic levitation systems to launch or catch Transys capsules, and infrastructure for travelers of all sorts from bionts to vecs to sophtware. Various small habitats are incorporated into the ring, mostly as transit and transfer facilities for those that may want them. A few are used by sophonts who, like those who live on the surface, wish to be able to view the Jovian system directly, but prefer to do so from orbit.

Ganymede:

Ganymede in the Current Era
Image from Steve Bowers
Ganymede with its three angled orbital rings is a hub for interplanetary and interstellar traffic
Population: 45 billion sophonts (50% aquatic provolve (various), 20% Europan, 10% aquatic neogen, 10% vec (aquatic or cryo/vac-adapted), 5% Methanoid, 3% cryo/vac-adapted cyborg, 2% all others).

The aquatic population of Ganymede is, if anything, even more diverse than that of Europa. Ganymedian aquatic sophonts (usually gengineered or bodymodded to live under the local conditions of cold water, low light, and high pressure) include Acties, Brain Kelp, Eudore, Kanuma, Madi, Streyas, several different octopoid clades, two different merpeople clades, five different Panthalassan xenoprovolve clades (including a large Lignosagittiae conclave), and a large community of the Envome clade known as the Gently Waving Fronds in a Friendly Current.

Distinctly different from Europa is the much more heavily populated lunar surface (total population ~ 9 billion), consisting mostly of cryovecs, Methanoids, and cryoborgs, plus the rare near-baseline human or other sophont who chooses to make their home here.

Government: Ganymede has no formal government. The overall society operates as a meritocratic adhocracy, in which the sophont(s) deemed most competent in a given subject at a given moment is automatically considered the leader when dealing with issues relating to that subject. In practice, this is managed by a combination of extensive public profiles maintained on each individual in the local network (including their education, interests, skills, and demonstrated accomplishments and capabilities as observed by the community angelnet) and a network of Project Managers (chosen by random lot from the general population, flash educated by specially designed knowledge grafts and skill modules, and assigned terms of service ranging from a few days to a few months), who work to ensure that all groups, teams, collectives, organizations, etc. that may form operate as smoothly and amiably as possible.

Planetary Surface: The interior ocean of Ganymede has been re-engineered into a moon-spanning multi-level ecosystem very much like that of Europa. Conversion-Fusion hybrid reactors arranged in a three-dimensional grid throughout the ocean volume generate heat, light, and synthesized heavy elements which are harvested by specialized neumanns, processed, and excreted as the organic compounds which form the basis for the entire ecosystem. The primary difference between the Europan and Ganymedean world oceans is that the waters of Ganymeded are considerably warmer and more brightly lit (comparatively speaking) and that a signficant fraction of the heavy elements created by the hybrid reactors are pumped to the surface to support the mechosystem there.

The surface of Ganymede is home to a cryobot-based mechosystem, which in turn supports a large population of cryovecs of the Metasoft Forming School. These artistic machines spend much of their time carving nests out of the ice, and covering the surface with their sculptures and art. They share their world with several hundred Methanoid habitats, and collaborate with them on the development of low-temperature neogens for fun and profit. Of particular note are the jointly built arcologies, carved entirely (and elaborately) out of ice and pressurised with methane to act as comfortable Tweak homes. A number of cryoborgs also make their home on Ganymede's surface, including a temple of Cold Monks from the Sophic League. Vast fields of nanotech-based "plants" cover much of Ganymede's surface, growing their stalks and seeds from rock and ice.

Orbital Space: Ganymede orbital space is one of the busiest locations in the Jovian system. Transys pods, interplanetary spacecraft, and the occasional interstellar vessel are all coming and going at any given time. To support this volume of orbital traffic, Ganymede is encircled by three orbital rings, one around the equator and two running at 45-degree angles to the equator. This arrangement allows ground-to-orbit beanstalks to be deployed across a large portion of the surface, not just at the equator. Connected by a maglev-based rapid transit system linking all three rings together and combining seamlessly with the wider Transys network, the rings of Ganymede allow fast and easy transport to any point in the Solar System or beyond.

Callisto:

Population: Orbital Population- 22 million sophonts (a broad mix of races and clades, mostly various near-baselines and Superiors, with some others - the population is all transient, staying for periods ranging from several days to several months, depending on their ability to persist in the local virtual environment.)

Surface Population - 1 sophont - the S2 transapient known as The Game Master.

Government: The Game Master is the undisputed ruler of Callisto and its immediate orbital environs. While e theoretically defers to the Solar Organization, in matters on, within, or immediately around Callisto, eir authority is functionally absolute.

Planetary Surface: In many ways, Callisto's surface is very similar to that of Europa. Other than communication and anti-impact systems, the surface is largely barren and undeveloped. The most obvious difference between the surfaces of the two moons is that there are no sophonts living on the surface of Callisto, that the various installations deployed across the surface are built using Second Singularity technology and are therefore largely incomprehensible to modosophont intelligence, and that the communications systems are much more extensive.

Beneath the icy crust of Callisto lies a buried ocean, even deeper than that of Europa. Like the ocean of Europa, the ocean of Callisto has been modified to support an extensive ecosystem. Unlike Europa, the purpose of this ecosystem is not to provide a home for sophont inhabitants, but to operate as a biological computing substrate running the virtual reality scenarios of the Game Master. According to the accounts of the few transapient visitors who have been allowed to observe them, the artificial lifeforms of the ocean are simple and have no more variation or diversity than is necessary to create a stable ecology focused on maintaining large reef like structures of biocomputing substrate. Most of the organisms in the ocean, and the substrate itself, share and transmit data via modulated light flashes, filling the darkness of the abyssal sea with a continuous storm of multi-colored light. Periodic recordings of the Callisto virtualities are uploaded into the Known Net using the surface transmitters, making the scenarios available to most of Terragen civilization.

The Game Master's scenarios, colloquially referred to as the Diamond's Arm, depict an alternative history in which the ahumans won the early battles between the ahuman and hu-friendly AIs and went on to exterminate or enslave all biont and hu-friendly life in the Terragen Bubble. While widely and generally dismissed as historically inaccurate and sensationalist apocalyptic nonsense by serious historians across the Civilized Galaxy and most of what is considered 'polite society' in SolSys the "Diamond's Arm" virtualities have becomes a major tourist attraction within some segments of Terragen civilization. Tourists come from across the Terragen Sphere to take part in the various scenarios directly, living in the habs of Callisto's single orbital band and using high grade virtuality systems to suppress their memories of their lives in the real world, making their life as a desperate refugee or hider or slave in the Diamond Arm seem as if it is their only existence. For reasons known only to itself, the longest amount of time that the Game Master allows any participant to directly experience a scenario is three Old Earth months. However, the rate of attrition within the different virtualities is generally quite high and many visitors last no more than a few days, or even hours, before experiencing virtual death and being ejected back into the ril. The Game Master does not allow any single participant to experience the Diamond Arms directly more than once, and so once ejected they have little choice but to leave Callisto once again, while someone else takes their place.

Orbital Space: Callisto is encircled by a single sparse orbital band. The band is made up of several dozen spherical habitats, each some ten kilometers across. These house the tourist/participants of the Game Master's scenarios, as well as limited facilities for non-participant tourists or other visitors. In addition, the moon is orbited by a number of relay satellites used to transmit the Game Master's scenarios to the Solsys localnet and the Known Net beyond.

Outer Moons

The outer moons of Jupiter have been disassembled and combined with material extracted from Jupiter and imported from out-system to create the moon-brain housing for the Third Singularity entity known as Infinite Tonality.




Saturn

Population: 2.1 trillion sophonts (46% ai and upload, 27% nearbaseline and rianth humans, 2% human superiors, 5% provolves, 11% vecs, 5% cyborgs (usually human-based), 2% sapient structures (bubblehabs, orbitals, arcologies), 3% neogens). Outside the official census are many undocumented modosophonts in the Deeps of the planetary atmosphere. The majority of these are probably ai entities associated with Saturn's native S3 transapient, but others are descendants of Dropout bubblehab dwellers that are either sheltered by or tolerated by that being.

Government: No single government represents Saturn in the Solar Organization. A complex network of agreements, over and above the Solar Organization's governance, regulates trade and travel and territory between the hab networks, individual habs, and various collections of freeholds. Some very large alliances along clade and cultural lines apply within the region. Representations to the Solar Org are negotiated individually. In the rare case that local relationships break down, the local entities typically refer the issue to the Solar Org for mediation. Negotiations are complex, even with mediation, and have been known to drag on for centuries. Though there is huge variety in the affiliations of the people and polities on and around Saturn, a recurrent theme is an affinity for one or more of Saturn's past ages. The Saturnian region is overall one of the more conservative and conservationist in the context of the overall Solar Org, and clades and cultures long extinct elsewhere may still be found either in their original form or as re-created in later ages, with varying degrees of accuracy, by historical enthusiasts.

This picture of Saturn's governance applies only to the moons, orbitals, and the upper reaches of Saturn's clouds. Deeper inside Saturn's atmosphere is another region entirely, beneath what is known as The Veil. It is understood that beneath The Veil there exist a number of isolationist and semi-hider cultures, distant descendants of the ancient Dropout cultures, and an even larger number of virtual and AI entities of various toposophic levels. The Veil is maintained by a mysterious S3 transapient, known by a variety of local names, who has occupied the Deeps since late Second Federation times. This being is highly reclusive, but based on reports from other transapients E is said to be in regular communication with GAIA, though the nature of the relationship between the two is not clear. Subtle influence from that being is quite possibly the reason behind the diffuse governance and the tendency towards Authenticist Restorationism in the myriad polities of the Saturnian region.

Planetary Atmosphere: The millions of bubblehabs in Saturn's atmosphere are still most commonly at in the half-bar to two bar level comfortable to Terragen bionts. A disproportionate number of the inhabitants are human nearbaselines or rianths, though these long ago ceased to be a majority of the planetary population. Some are descendants of the ancient settlers dating all the way back to years around the Sundering, or from the flowering of cultures under the First Federation, but even more are descendants of various groups that have made pilgrimages to Solsys and taken up residence, with or without retro-abo modifications. For instance, human nearbaseline clades such as Valinoreans, the Warriors of the Western Stream, the Han Hegemony, the Sons of Kronos, and the cyborg Laputans may still be found in the clouds, along with many others of much more recent origin. Other sophonts of almost any description may be found somewhere in Saturn's clouds, but for a variety of historical reasons the atmosphere has not been colonized by free-living m-life or b-life organisms other than of course the bubblehabs themselves. By local covenant, the local population above The Veil has long been capped, and reproduction and immigration rules are quite strictly maintained. What occurs beneath The Veil is less well known, but emissions from the computronium there suggest a healthy population of modosophont and transapient AI entities.

Orbital Space: Though it is as busy and dynamic as the region around any of the heavily settled Inner Sphere gas giants, Saturn's orbital space is best known for its abundance of historically important habs. A few of these date all the way back to late Interplanetary and early Federation times. The ancient hab of New Antioch, a major regional influence in the recovery from the Solsys Dark Ages, survives to this day, though its original habmind emigrated several millennia ago. Almost as old are some of the Institute for Primate Provolution's historic holdings such as Prime Habitat, Kasekala, the various smaller habs such as Goodal, Galdikas, Fossey, and Jolley, and even its three great Bishop Rings at Saturn's trailing Trojan, Atlantis, Mu, and Lemuria, all now relegated to museum and relic status. The Institute for Vec Progress has sold or converted most of the numerous habs that were built for refugees during the Version War, but retains a memorial of those times in a hab known as The Shrine of the Adamant Martyrs; it is a popular site for visits by vec visitors to Solsys. Another interesting historical hab is Echo Two, the old headquarters of The Refulgence, the society that touched off Solsys' Authenticity War during the Age of Re-Evaluation. The old cult is long extinct, but the hab itself is still in place in its symbolically retrograde orbit, and has been chosen as the coordination node for the ongoing and painstakingly accurate restoration of Saturn's rings. A very significant portion of Saturn's orbital population consists of tourists, scholars, and pilgrims living on temporary visas, many of them in temporary bodies or as scions. Every year a small percentage of these gain permission to remain, to the ongoing consternation of the region's many preservationists. Most recently a small group of Jade Chime Singers secured permission to refurbish one of the derelict orbitals and modify it to their own environmental requirements, with a 300 year lease.

Saturnian Moons

Mimas:

Population: Fluctuates around 15 billion modosophonts, all virtuals, and the ruling S2, Ariadne.

Government: A member of the Solar Organization, but in practice there is no need for any oversight other than Ariadne's.

Surface: Mimas has been completely disassembled and converted into computronium. It contains a single virchworld known as the Labyrinth of Harmony. The population fluctuates, but is usually around 15 billion. Visitors to the Labyrinth are grouped into teams of 100, then sent in on a mission to find the exit. Each team is completely invisible and undetectable to the other teams. A team may break up temporarily in order to investigate various branching paths more efficiently. The various sectors of the Labyrinth at first appear to be normal places, themed after locations both real and virtual from across the Terragen Sphere, but its maze-like nature becomes clear upon exploration. Driving vehicles of various sorts, talking to non-player vots, and utilizing hidden passageways between sectors are all necessary to win. It usually takes hundreds of subjective years to finish, but visitors report that they not only had fun, but developed a close bond with their teammates. They typically also report that it was a very uplifting and spiritual experience.

Orbital Space: A portion of Mimas was used to build a single habitat called Gate of the Labyrinth. Embodied sophonts who wish to enter the Labyrinth go into stasis here and have the virchworld transmitted to their DNI. About 700 million sophonts are here at any given time.

Enceladus:

Though many other clades have settled there since, Enceladus is still predominantly inhabited by members of clade Tro'el, some living in original or restored versions of habs that go back as far as First Federation times. The old geoflex computing facilities ware rebuilt in the 5500's, and are still in operation.

Tethys:

Tethys is home to a variety of clades, but it is most famous currently as the headquarters of the Network for Understanding, an Inner Sphere Institute with a membership that consists primarily of vecs and ais with Empath enhancements, and has extensive contacts with the Communion of Worlds. In a rare instance of modosophont-level Original Research, they are embarking on a study of the toposophic map as it relates to cognition regarding interpersonal communications, apparently without any direct help from transapients.

Dione:

Dione is most notable in the Current Era for its historic NeoPig settlements, some of which date all the way back to the Dark Ages.

Rhea:

Rhea is something of a backwater in the region, but it still manages to attract some interest with its four replicas of Rhea City: one as it existed just before the Magon Affair during the Interplanetary Age, one of the uninhabited structures immediately afterwards, one as it was during the Dark Ages after refugees from Old Earth settled there, and one of the city as it was during the early centuries of the First Federation just after the Universal Declaration of Sophont Rights. These displays, animated by a combination of sophont volunteers and subsophont vots, bots and biobots, are particularly popular with visitors from the Terran Federation.

Titan:

Much of Titan's subsurface habitat is still given over to various Cisph polities, though in the Current Era many are of derived clades rather than the original type. Many of the sealed arcologies on the surface are inhabited by low-grav nearbaseline humans, rianths and provolves of standard-temperature Terragens. The free-living population on the surface consists mostly of cryovecs of various clades, and a few methanoid neogens who are adapted to the local atmosphere. Small groups of cryovec Tilonians have colonized the more permanent bodies of methane. There is even a very small group of Muuh who arrived in the late 101st century and live in a small hab near the faint traces of what may have been the tholin baths of a Muuh settlement some millions of years ago. They appear to be a small group of Muuh historific enthusiasts who hastily and impulsively rushed (in Muuh terms) to the site when they heard of it after Terragen-Muuh contact. They describe their community as a temporary encampment, though they brought the seeds/spores to generate a small Muuh Archive that is itself an attraction for visitors. Titan is a somewhat barren and hostile desert world by Muuh standards, and requires the Muuh equivalent of an envirosuit, so their motivation for settling there is not entirely clear. They do however provide some rather entertaining tours of the archaeological site, though some question the accuracy of their descriptions.

Iapetus:

There are a number of habs on Iapetus devoted to clades of Dogfolk, and there are a number of interesting clades of vecs who famously self-evolved from 'feral' near-sapient ice-mining bots during the Dark Ages and emerged to join the rest of Solsys during First Federation times. The vec settlements are all currently within the Solar Organization framework, but various of them have also have ties to Metasoft, the Terran Federation, or the Silicon Generation.




Uranus

Athelan
Image from Steve Bowers
The Athelan suprashell is suspended 15,000km above the cloudtops of Uranus.
Population: 53 billion sophonts - Athelan: 48 billion Uranus: 5 billion (42 billion 30% Martian tweaks, 21% sophtwares, 15% vecs, 10% near-baseline humans, 10% provolves, 9% superiors, 5% bioborgs)

Government: The Consensus - A form of cyberdemocracy in which each citizen is entitled to utilise govware (usually directly installed in their exoself) that maintains a virtual political intelligent agent. These digital representatives exist within a virchworld optimised for policy development and debate and represent their respective citizens as laws and policies are proposed, debated, modified, and then finally voted upon. As with all cyberdemocratic systems, citizens must regularly synchronise beliefs and values with their representative, as well as absorb debate summaries their representative has been involved in. The majority of the population perform this process every month or so, spending up to twenty hours in a deep sleep.

Supraplanetary Surface: The Athelan supraplanetary shell is still incomplete, but is home to the majority of the population (48 billion). The remainder live on the heavily modified moon of Titania, in orbiting habitats, and in bubblehabs (or as bubblehabs) in the atmosphere of the planet below. The Athelan shell itself consists of a supporting grid of dynamic orbital rings supporting an outer geodesic layer comprised of 200,000 triangular cells ~480km to a side; in total the shell boasts 40x the surface area of Earth. It is this layer which plays home to the shell's residents. Cells are isolated from each other by boundary walls (often decorated as natural features such as mountains) over ten kilometers in height. This relative isolation allows for a variety of engineered/natural environments. Tunnels within the boundaries can be programmed for neighbouring cells to be as interconnected as they like.

The local Transys consists of a network of maglev based travel pods using the energy of the supporting orbital rings to provide rapid transit to anywhere on the shell, the Ringways, and beyond.

Planetary Surface: The Uranian clouds are home to millions of bubblehabs, hosting billions of sophonts. The great distance of Uranus from Sol has always made artificial illumination the norm in the local bubblehabs, and the construction of the Athelan shell, while initially resisted by the Uranian inworlders, is now seen as largely irrelevant. Rich virtual environments (something of a local artform, with each bubblehab priding itself on its own unique style) networked together into an extensive cybercosm linked to the Known Net means that many of the sophonts living in bubblehabs are more widely traveled than their shell dwelling cousins.

Multiple skyhooks suspended from the Athelan shell allow ready access to orbit and high speed transit links to multiple locations around the planet, although only a small percentage of the bubblehab population makes use of this technology compared to the inhabitants of Jupiter and Saturn.

Orbital Space: Uranian orbital space is dominated by the Ringways, a network of orbital rings extending beyond the surface of Athelan and supporting several dozen smaller 'plate' habitats at different gravity levels below that of the shell surface. The various plate habs range in size from a few hundred kilometers on a side to continental dimensions and are home to a variety of neogenic ecosystems.

Titania:

The shell of Titania, containing the remnant black hole from the DWIZ used for construction of the Athelan shell, has been worldhoused and converted into a low gravity habitat and contemplation center for a variety of faiths, including Kja Observance, the Beneficence, Ecopaganism, and Sophism.




Neptune

Population: 7 billion sophonts (45% sophtware, 31% nearbaseline human, 9% low gravity tweak, 9% vecs, 2% space adapted humans, 4% other). The majority of the Neptune system population lives on the large, cryovolcanic moon Triton and in various virch clusters. The Arcadia Ring and Eyes of Neptune are considered separate political and demographic entities.

Government: The Neptune Sufficiency is a member of the Solar Organization. The Sufficiency, 'Nessie' among Anglic-speaking modosophonts, is a transapient-run government that manages resources, infrastructure, and civil and criminal law.

Planetary Surface: The clouds of Neptune are home to only a few tens of thousands of bubblehabs, supporting a population of only a few tens of millions. Individual bubblehabs or small bubblehab groups are largely independent and self-sufficient, although there is a fairly brisk inter-hab trade in designs, templates, programs, as well as periodic social gathering of habs to promote mixing and interbreeding of the various hab populations.

Multiple skyhooks suspended from a low-orbit mass-beam network encircle the equator for those wishing to travel to or from the planet.

Orbital Space: Neptune orbital space is dominated by a sunline - carefully designed to be functionally invisible from Earth and the Arcadia Bishop Ring.

About a third of Neptune's total population is resident on the large, retrograde moon Triton as either low gravity tweaks or uploads, where they live in modest computronium clusters and pressurized habitats. The other moons of Neptune are lightly inhabited and often marked with mothballed von Neumann ice mining facilities. Of these, only Proteus has a substantial population of about 20 million space-adapted modosophonts and vecs involved in extracting heavy elements from Proteus's anomalously metal-rich core.




Pluto

Population: 43 billion sophonts (8% nearbaselines, 18% low gravity tweaks, 3% cyborg, 9% space adapted humans, 11% vecs, 45% sophtwares, 6% other) live on or in orbit around Pluto and its several moons.

Government: Plutonian Confederacy (PC) and a member of the Solar Organization. The PC is a confederation of a number of different polities collectivly acting as a democratic constitutional representative republic. The constituent polities enjoy considerable autonomy at the local level and vary in government form from cyberdemocracy, meritocracy, borderline freemarket anarchy, and others. The PC does not have an AI overseer but does elect/employ a number of superturings. The PC is also an important member the Out-System Development Alliance and hosts the alliance's headquarters.

Planetary Surface: Currently, the Plutonian surface boasts a number of arcologies and worldhouses where a majority of the tweak population lives. Thanks to the world's low gravity, extremely tall buildings can be constructed with relative ease. The largest settlement, Newaldrin on the shores of Sputnik Planitia, consists of tapered diamondoid towers some reaching 65km in height. The largest worldhouse is a popular Antarctic revival theme park of dubious historical accuracy, located in the Cthulhu Regio. Pluto also hosts an intricate network of tunnels and caverns carved into the world's ice based mantel and rocky core, many of which are thousands of years old. One of Pluto's defining features is the well-maintained system of retro-historical maglev trains that crisscross the planet connecting various polities. Known as the Ninety, the maglev system gets its name from its 1,000 kph speed which on the surface reduces the already weak gravity by 10%. By the Current Era, Pluto's atmosphere has thickened somewhat after millennia of industrialization, generating a slight greenhouse effect.

Plutonian Orbital Space: Five beanstalks stretch from the surface to service a slender orbital ring called the Horseshoe due to its noticeable gap because of Charon's synchronous orbit. A space elevator known simply as The Bar spans the roughly 19,600 km connecting the twin dwarf planets and contains a number of facilities and space docks. Hundreds of other stations orbit Pluto, with many of the larger structures visible from the surface. One of particular note is Port Elizabeth, an ancient Stanford torus dating back to the First Federation era, that has witnessed the signing of numerous treaties and continues to serve as sought after neutral ground for diplomatic and commercial summits. Pluto is an important junction in the Beamrider Network for the Kuiper Belt, containing a multitude of massbeam projector arrays. The Plutonian system is serviced by a Lifelights stellar sunline that supplements other power sources, an important factor in the PC's long time participation in the Solar Organization. Pluto is also known for being a longtime hub between the Solar Organization and the myriad of Hider and Haloer clades that inhabit the far-flung reaches of the outer solar system.

Plutonian Moons

Charon:

At nearly half its parent planet's diameter, Charon is easily Pluto's largest moon. It is also the location of the Cyclopolis, a complex with several modules capable of spinning at different rates to simulate the desired gravity. The Cyclopolis serves as the seat of government for the Plutonian Confederacy, and regional administrative center for the Solar Organization. Much of Charon's hinter regions are populated by vecs and various mining concerns.

Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra:

Pluto's four other remaining moons are small and have chaotically rotating orbits due to the changing gravitational dynamics of the Charon-Pluto duopoly. Still they contain a diverse assortment of rockhugger singlehabs, computronium nodes for several long running virchworlds housing most of the systems sophtwares, and other facilities.




The Kuiper Belt

Population: The exact population of the Kuiper Belt is unknown. While the various worldlets illuminated by the Lifelights or otherwise associating themselves with the Solar Organization have a combined population of some 200 billion sophonts, they represent only a fraction of the total number of inhabited bodies in this region. Further complicating matters is that many of the Kuiper and Oort communities represent some of the oldest (and some might argue, strangest) Terragens civilizations in existence. Thousands of years of environmental and cultural isolation has led to the creation of civilizations based on long term hibernation, group minds, computronium supported virtualities, and radical space-adaptation tweaks resulting in bodies tens of kilometers long and only centimeters across (to name but a few examples). The very concept of individuality has virtually disappeared in more than a few places.

Because of this uncertainty, estimates for the total population of the Kuiper Belt (Sol Org associated and not) range from a low of 250 billion to a high of half a trillion sophont beings.

Government: The Kuiper Belt has no single, unified government. Individual habitats or habitat clusters have their own governments, covering virtually the entire range of ways that sophonts have developed to govern themselves over the centuries. The Out-System Development Alliance acts as a clearinghouse and coordinating body for joint projects of mutual interest to different habs, and wields considerable social capital and political power, although technically it has little formal authority. Those habs serviced by the Lifelights pay at least nominal allegiance to the Solar Organization. Those that are not, may or may not even acknowledge the existence of the Sol Org, let alone its authority.

Kuiper Space: Warmed by the Lifelights (whose energy is intercepted by large collector arrays and then redistributed to multiple local receivers), several hundred of the larger Kuiper bodies have been enclosed, liquefied, and made habitable. Their individuals designs and populations are highly diverse, ranging from 'traditional' spherical masses of water hosting various aquatic sophonts, to surreal looking masses of vacuum adapted foliage anchored to a central icy core - not dyson trees so much as living works of art built using the same basic principles - but employing sometimes radically different design philosophies. Intermixed among these are clouds of habitats orbiting Hotpoints or bathing in the light of reflector arrays. Further out, bordering on the greater darkness of the Oort Cloud, large Frosthives are home to populations of cold and vacuum adapted bionts, cyborgs, and cryovecs.

Trans-Kuiper Space: The space between Pluto and the Oort Cloud is dominated by Sol's wormhole links and the local Lightway infrastructure connecting to nearby stars. The throats of Sol's two wormholes - the <{A4793e71d86d23,Einstein Gate}> to Tau Ceti and the Sothis Bridge to Sirius - are located just over 327 AU from Pluto's orbit, although their Transitions extend almost the entire distance back to that body's location. Further out, within Sol's gravitational focus at around 550 AUs distance, are the hundreds of Stellar Lensing Receivers linking Solsys to every star within 80 light-years. While the Transition zones of the local wormhole gates overlap into the space occupied by some of the SLRs, the effects of this are minor and easily compensated for.




The Oort Cloud

The Oort Cloud of comets begins some 50,000 AU from Sol and extends out as far as 200,000 AU. Both the population and the influence of the Solar Organization are very thin here. Tens of thousands of habitat clusters drift in the darkness, usually anchored to one or a few comets that have been brought together for the purpose. The very oldest and largest clusters may encompass dozens of comets collected across centuries and host populations of thousands. Fusion and conversion hotpoints or reactors are the primary source of energy, although the vast, starlight harvesting mirror arrays developed in the earliest days of the Oort Diaspora can still be found in many places. Travel is usually slow and highly efficient, with nanostasis being the norm on all but the shortest trips. Many clusters have large populations of uploads and ai, sometimes running in slowtime to conserve energy, other times running fast so that the waste heat of their thinking can help warm the corporeal members of their community. Most sophonts are adapted to low levels of heat and light, often resembling their Backgrounder cousins, although few communities subscribe to the isolationism and hostility to AIs and transapients of most Backgrounder cultures.




System Infrastructure

Energy

Like most systems, Solsys lacks a single source energy grid, instead using a mix of conversion reactors, free-flying and hab mounted solar arrays, and superconducting storage systems, often connected by high flexibility beamed power networks. The size of these systems can vary greatly, depending on the local population or other energy needs, and it is not uncommon for additional generation or transmission capacity to be deployed or flash constructed on no more than a few hours notice and then powered back down or recycled into something else when it is no longer needed.

Communications

Communication within Solsys is managed by the local system-net, which incorporates everything from short range DNI interfaces coating walls and ceilings to the nearly two dozen wormhole comm-gates linking the different planets and major habitat clusters to each other and the Known Net beyond.The wormholes are provided and controlled by GAIA and it is generally believed that She reviews all information that passes through them, or even all information that passes through the system-net as a whole.

Transportation

The backbone of the Solsys transportation network is Transys, which accounts for some 80% of all non-data transport within the Solar System. The remaining 20% is divided up between beamrider and reaction drive liners traveling to outlying areas or for recreational purposes, interplanetary cyclers (themselves often mobile communities or recreational centers), and Sol Org or private craft.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Todd Drashner
Stephen Inniss, Crossroads, Terranova210486, MacGregor, Steve Bowers, Duddy9, Selden, Rynn, Cray, Extherian, Rakuen7, SeanR
Initially published on 09 August 2018.

 
 
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