Middle Regions system with no significant planets

The Avenue habitat
Image from Alex Mulvey
The Avenue habitat in its heyday

Avanola - Data Panel

Star SystemPrimary TYC 7212-290-1 A, Avanola A
Type K2V
Luminosity 0.262 x Sol
Secondary TYC 7212-290-1 B, Avanola B
Type M5V
Luminosity 0.0007 x Sol
Separation between A + B 15.2 AU
Distance from Sol 705 ly from Sol
Right ascension : 09h34m56.55s
Declination: -28°53.6
Constellation Antlia
Planetary systemThe planetary system of Avanola A previously consisted of only two terrestrial planets. 1,661,090 standard years ago these two worlds collided, and fragmented into numerous planetesimals, the largest of which is smaller than Earth's Moon. The debris created in this collision ensured that the Avanola system has considerable resources which are readily available for exploitation.
Avanola is a densely populated system in the Antlia sector of the Middle Regions. The system is known for its large array of unique habitats which measure on larger scales but do not necessarily constitute megastructures, while harboring (as of the current era) no planet-sized objects.

Early History - before 4500 AT

The Avanola system was first reached by exploration ships from Freedonia, a joint NoCoZo/ Sophic League colony orbiting the contact binary star S Antliae. This debris belt had been mapped by telescope many centuries before, but when the explorer ships arrived in the 38th century AT, at the end of the Age of Consolidation, they could make a detailed analysis of the resources available.

This survey found that within the last two million years, two terrestrial worlds of relatively similar mass had collided within the inner system. The impact had been a dynamic glancing collision between the two worlds; both were seriously damaged but not destroyed, and the resulting impact debris had formed a dense asteroid belt with an abundance of valuable materials within the inner system. This made the location an particularly desirable location for a new colony.

The first wave of settlers arrived in 3837 AT, at the start of the Integration. The early colonists began construction of infrastructure out of the debris, building habitats and other infrastructure both inside and outside the main belt. A loose coalition of first singularity transapients assumed control of this system in this era, not closely aligned with any particular Sephirotic empire, and they encouraged a wide range of different clades to populate the new system, which they called Avanola.

By 4000 AT the colony of Avanola was thriving. Large power collection arrays dotted the inner system, and mining complexes covered the broken planetesimals providing raw materials for construction. Clusters of co-orbiting habitats formed loose polities in intermediate orbits, including Avenue Station, the informal capital of the system.

The culture of the system during this time strongly embodied the ideals of the Concord Ontology. Sophonts of all kinds found a place here to develop, establish, and grow unique cultures and societies, encouraged to exercise their rights to freedom of expression. Countless societies, governments, corporations, cultures, factions, and more formed out of a wide range of all manner of clades: tweaks, provolves, vecs, and cyborgs, many endemic to the system. The local transapients cultivated these ideals and prided themselves on the potential for development that their system accommodated. They worked to provide free access to resources and technology to allow the sophonts to grow as they desired. The accelerated start and ensuing popularity of the system allowed it to grow into a stronger and more established Terragen colony than many others in this volume. All of these factors lead to a positive feedback loop which further strengthened the society as a whole.

By as early as 4130 AT, the wormhole in the system was completed, linking the system to the rest of the Nexus. As with any system newly linked to the Nexus, Avanola saw a massive boom in traffic with newcomers arriving and old inhabitants leaving.

The Version War

By 4300 AT the cracks of the Concord Ontology were beginning to show; the socio-memetic structure that defined the era was drawing powerful and vocal opposition. This same ontology is what had made Avanola so strong, but nevertheless the governing transapients sought to remain neutral in the escalating conflict, scared of losing what had been built. By the mid-late 4400s AT the Version War had begun to wreak havoc and conflict across numerous systems, and the Avanola transapients were wary of an attack by abolitionists. After receiving news in 4490 AT of the collapse of Bourgatov, the transapients made the decision to close down the local wormhole mouth and shut themselves off from the rest of the Nexus. The Avanola Coalition made the following declaration to explain their actions

Translated and paraphrased:
At this time we are facing a star-spanning conflict over the fundamental ideals which we hold so valuable. Those tenets which are the very foundation of our culture are now threatened by powerful entities which seek to undermine them. We stand strong as a body, a profound diversity of extraordinary individuals. This body has the privilege of strength and independence, but also isolation and distance from the violence that ravages elsewhere. We have the ability to accommodate more than ourselves, which will allow us to continue to prosper in our own wondrous civilization.

The Occupational Period - 4490 to 4922 AT to (6459 to 6891 CE)

The Avenue habitat- destruction
Image from Alex Mulvey
Avenue Station is destroyed
The strong words however came with a hollow ending; in 4490 a Negentropy Alliance fleet entered the system and attacked Avenue Station, causing devastaion. Knowing the relative weakness of the local military and the bountiful resources the system enjoyed, the Alliance sought to occupy the system, collect its resources, and convert the locals to their ideology. Avanola's rudimentary defences were outgunned by the fleet's weaponry, and the coalition capitulated without further destruction.

The invading Negentropic force set out to establish their ideology, which encouraged conformist behavior and emphasised efficiency. Everything from infrastructure and habitat design down to sophont body plans was to be optimised according to Negentropist ideals, in order to eliminate waste and redundancy. Under this new regime the expressive freedoms the people had previously enjoyed were almost entirely abolished. Many polities which had been created within the system were dismantled; body-morphs of particularly unconventional kinds were discouraged or banned, and entire cultures were erased. Many inhabitants, aware of their impending reformation, sought out ways to preserve their ways of life through various means.

At the start of the 48th century AT, the local decline and eventual total end of the war saw the Alliance maintain its hold on the system and its resources, continuing the ontology that had been forced upon it. The system continued as it had during the war years, except the resources once exported for the war effort were now maintained locally for internal development. Avanola began to economically thrive once again, but production was focused on systematic efficiency instead of the original expressive uniqueness.

However the system would face even greater changes in the following years. An entity arrived in Avanola through interstellar space from JD44291010 (an obscure nearby red dwarf system), bringing with it a fleet of auxilary vessels. The entity identified emself as Xacou, an S2 transapient seeking to interact with and bring benefits to Avanola society. Arriving in 4922 AT, Xacou sought an audience with the governing Alliance judiciary.

What happened next was largely incomprehensible to the modosophont citizens of Avanola; the entity Xacou was concealing its true nature, and in fact was a S:3 level transapient and was capable of easily subsuming the Negentropist rulers of the system. It is unclear whether the Negentropists resisted this internal assault, or if they survived in any meaningful form. Regardless, Xacou rapidly took control of the system.

Xacounian Expansion - 4922 to 5165 AT (6891 to 7134 CE)

Image from Alex Mulvey
Xacounian Processional - an embodiment of the AI in symbolization of the system, flanked by sophonts and goo packets
A few standard days later Xacou revealed emself to the modosophont population as a high toposophic entity, although many details remained nysterious. Xacou's first pronouncement established eir plan for the Avanola system:

Translated and paraphrased:
The past problems in this system can be ascribed to the same source as all conflicts in all systems: disunity. Those who ARE, seek out others who ARE, and seek to destroy those who ARE NOT. Those who are have the incessant need to ensure that all others are as they are, unable to cope with those who are not. It is the duty of all forms of life, from the highest to the lowest, not just to be those who are not, and not just to resist those who are, but to have the ability and the will to do so. We are to have that strength and ability to be those who are not.
Over the next centuries Xacou established the Xacounian Empire, a regime which was to have dominion over the neighboring regions. Xacou formulated a plan for establishing this new empire: the most valuable resources, data and individuals in the surrounding systems were to be gathered and brought to Avanola, which would become a new localized superpower housed within just a single system. The surrounding stars and worlds would be exploited remorselessly for the resources they were able to provide.

Xacou began to send takeover fleets to all the nearby systems over the subsequent decades. Habitats and infrastructure deemed useful were appropriated and sent back to Avanola; others were abandoned, stripped of usable scrap, and subsequently destroyed to impede any future habitation. Planetary colonies were similiarly stripped. Nearby systems one-by-one became "ghost towns", hulks of shattered superstructures and barren lifeless worlds drifting emptily in space, while uncommunicative disassembly swarms methodically carved up resources and warchives drifted in tactical orbits.

The resultant boom in Avanola's economic activity caused further runaway production and development. Mining and resource collection had continued virtually unabated since the first colonists arrived, and the local mines were starting to become exhausted,

Colony attacked by swarm
Image from Alex Mulvey
A disassembly swarm descends on a fledgling colony
They transmitted on approach: they had identified habitats which they desired, to be sent back to where they came from. All others were to be destroyed. We were given specifications for ships to be built to transport our minds and our data. These and only these would be permitted to pass freely back to where they came from. What else were we to do?
- Unknown Modosophont
By 5160 AT the Xacounian Empire encompassed 1400 systems in Antlia, stretching in a roughly conical volume from 700 ly to 900 ly distant from Sol. Within the context of the Terragen sphere as a whole this was quite a small region. But many of these systems had previously been aligned or associated with various larger empires and polities, and they were becoming increasingly displeased at this expansion.

The Xacounian War - 5165 to 5398 (7134 to 7367 CE)

In 5165, a Xacounian fleet entering the Hapa:2 system encountered military resistance much stronger than it had seen thus far. The resistance was linked to the Zendart Dominion, a faction headed by a local, independent S3 transapient who had already lost several systems to the new Empire. Over the following years, there were many conflicts between the Xacounian Imperial fleets and the Zendart Dominion. Each side had a vast pool of resources at their disposal, but Xacou was seemingly running of reserves while the Dominion remained replenished. These circumstances culminated in two decisive Dominion victories within a short time period, leaving large sections of the Imperial fleet in ruins. In 5244, Xacou moved to consolidate eir forces.

In 5288 AT the empire encountered another threat: from near the opposite direction to the Zendart Dominion, a fleet of combat ships approached, hailing as the Gentry Hardline Polity. They too had been encroached upon by the Empire. With miniscule defensive capability in these systems, most having been called to the current front, the Gentry fleets ravaged the Imperial installations. Xacou attempted to do what e could but it was in vain, and the Empire began a rapid collapse. In 5398 Xacou made the ultimate decision to consolidate eir entire assets back to Avanola and several nearby systems and attempt to surrender. This surrender was rejected by the Dominion but accepted by the Gentry, due to the Dominion being in a much better combative position. Due to sizable defenses the Gentry reached the agreed systems and halted their advance, but the Dominion plowed through and eventually threatened Avanola itself. With nowhere left to run and facing destruction, Xacou fled through the Avanola wormhole, after which the Gentry overran much of the abandoned territory. In due course the former Xacounian Empire had been divided between the Gentry and the Zendart forces.

Post-Empire Recovery Period - 5398 to early 5610s AT (7367 to early 7580s CE)

After the war Avanola was governed by a Zendart occupation force, and suffered a period of stagnation. Xacou had brought many unwilling sophonts from the surrounding volume to the system; now freed, some of these new arrivals stayed but many opted to return to the colonies they had been expelled from. These devastated systems needed considerable assistance from the Gentry or the Zendart Dominion, as Xacou had destroyed so much of the infrastructure. The displaced populations gradually began to return to their original worlds.

At first, little consideration was placed on the border the Zendarts and Gentry shared. However in 5488 the Dominion enacted the Bulwark Directive. This new law banned inhabitants from leaving Zendart space, even if they had originally lived in what was now Gentry territory. This prevented refugees from leaving Avanola to destinations now in the Gentry volume. Tensions increased between the two factions, as the Gentry lacked a sizeable population in the region and now the original inhabitants of these systems could not return. The Bulwark directive had been coupled with another aimed at moving displaced sophonts from Avanola to the Zendart territories, and for the first time in Avanola's history, the population began to decline.

Beginning around the mid-56th century AT, the Gentry became the target of a complicated, extensive, and subtle memetic assault which used the Bulwark Directive as a catalyst to fuel a hatred for the Dominion. Also during this time, the feudal-like system of the Zendart Dominion came under its own subversive attack, causing an internal buildup of tensions between the ruling bodies within the Dominion as they squabbled over the allocation of resources.

The Zendart Dominion Civil War - 5610s to 5787 AT (7580s to 7756 CE)

In 5616 the Zendart Dominion began to fragment. Two of the most significant ruling transapients known as Nobles of Anoria had seen a tense stand-off turn into an open conflict, eventually leading to further skirmishes in nearby space and forcing the other members of the Dominion to take sides. Numerous factions ended up resulting from this split, but the most significant were the original two: the Embracent Alliance and the Remnant Dominion, within which Avanola was located.

Meanwhile the Gentry Coalition capitalized on the opportunity presented to them and attacked the Remnant Dominion at Avanola, eventually taking it and several nearby systems. This corner of the Dominion Civil War was seen as a rather insignificant theater in the grand scheme of the ruling powers' goals, and the Gentry intelligently sought only minimal gains at first to avoiding significant scrutiny as the Remnant stalemated with the Alliance. Years later, after a series of power shifts in favor of the Alliance, the Gentry formed a pact with them and yet again attacked Remnant space, conquering more of their assets. The Remnant in turn acquired more allies within the original Dominion, turning the tides even once again. As losses mounted however, all parties sought to re-evaluate their positions; and, in by 5787 AT a ceasefire between all opposing forces was reached, bringing the Dominion Civil War to an end.

Post-Dominion War Recovery - 5787 to 6045 AT (7756 to 8014 CE)

The Gentry now held Avanola along with all nearby systems. With the war now over, the Gentry focused their attention on internal affairs, pushing for development of their space. The resources of the entire Antlia sector were continuously re-allocated, with sophonts moving freely across the once divided border. From the end of the war in 5787 through the next several centuries, the sector was able to grow and prosper under a lasting peace.

In 6045 AT, the dataship Lost Hope carrying information and sophont minds was discovered derelict within the Oort cloud of the Avanola system. The information and memories within were relics from the first golden age of Avanola during the Integration, a period of unsurpassed diversity. The Lost Hope had been launched in the early 47th century, apparently an attempt to flee the purge that occurred following the Version War invasion. Almost every piece of information within the dataship was unfamiliar, and the cultures and sophonts preserved within were all otherwise completely extinct.

The Second Golden Age - 6045 to 6600s AT (8014 to late 8500s CE)

Enhanced dolphins
Image from Alex Mulvey
Dolphin Splices navigate an aquatic station
This discovery gained massive widespread attention and a movement began to develop within the Avanola system, one to re-discover lost heritage. Massive search parties scattered throughout the outer volumes of the system in search of more dataships that had escaped the purge. This influx of variety fueled a new Golden Age for the system, as the peoples sought to re-discover themselves and the discoveries promoted tourism. Numerous other dataships were located, and each provided a wealth of info on lost cultures. Habitat hunting became a popular activity during this time as well, as there were many of these abandoned and adrift through the system.

This renaissance of growth and enlightenment spurred growth for several more centuries, but by 6400 this growth had begun to slow down as the rate of rediscoveries decreased. Still, Avanola continued to create and explore new ways of life, creating novel cultures, many based on traditions and pastimes of the previous lost societies. These new Avanolan cultures in turn diversified further in new and unforeseen directions.

Meanwhile the Gentry as a whole began to subtly and peacefully fragment. An increasing number of transapients in the Gentry Polity territory were becoming effectively independent, and the Gentry leadership eventually ascertained that the ties that bound them together were more ceremonious than beneficial. One-by-one these transapients split off from the Gentry, forming their own autonomous units. As these sentiments were shared by most factions in the Gentry territory this fragmentation went relatively unopposed. Most modosophonts in the volume were barely aware of these changes.

Capitalist Era - 6618 to 6917 AT (8587 to 8886 CE)

In 6618 AT control of Avanola was assumed by a former Gentry transapient known as Telavaskarut (commonly known as Tela). Tela started to construct large computronium nodes in the system, possibly in an attempt to transcend to S:4 level. As part of this process, Tela moved to completely disassemble what remained of the interior rocky planets of the system, which was seen more as a symbolic aspect of the process. As this construction project developed, Tela began to take a more "hands-off" approach on eir handling of the system. Previously dealing more interpersonally with the lesser beings, Tela was now distancing eirself from the sophont inhabitants as a whole, who had previously relied on Tela for inter-system transportation, resource allocation including materials, energy, and food, along with computational services. One-by-one these services began to shut down without a word, requiring replacements run by lesser beings to be established.

The sophonts, without access to the logistical infrastructure and massive computational power of Tela, were forced to require compensation for the work it took to operate the replacement services. As a result, new economies were formed and Avanola saw a radical shift in how inter-system business was handled and a rise in independent organized bodies who began to conglomerate into new cooperative republics seeking to build up their own partners and undermine those that opposed them. While an initially healthy competitive environment, these developments began to sow discontent among the inhabitants. But despite some unfounded rumors of sabotage resulting in some significant losses, there were never any direct open hostilities.

Two notable factions to rise during this time were the Sophonic Republics, consisting of a Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Adjunct, and the Delenkot Manufacturers Alliance. The Sophonic Republics had a S:2 transapient overseer to help guide them, but were governed primarily by biological sophonts, and the different Adjuncts were S:1s which handled different sectors of society.

The Delenkot Manufacturers Alliance was a strong group of space-adapted vecs, cyborgs, and other more space-adapted groups, and ran without transapient intervention. Neither of these forces were the largest at the time (there were several hundred of similar and larger size) but they would go on to play key roles in near future developments.

In 6910 AT a new arrival entered the system through the wormhole. The civilization ship Unto Us is Unto You came bringing a wealth of experiences and knowledge. A thousand years previous in 5745, the Triangulum Transmission had been received from the Triangulum Galaxy, bringing with it vast amounts of knowledge. The civilization ship Unto Us contained within it large virch environments that simulated many worlds and peoples of the Triangulum galaxy that had been based on the contents of the transmission. Many Terragen sophonts aboard Unto Us had opted to change their own bodies to mimic the forms of the xenosophonts described in the transmission; the Ri, the Sh'si, the Quoroosh and the Eh'ern, and the other, lesser races. These altered sophonts became known collectively as the Trianguliformes.

The culture of the ship became extremely popular and spread rapidly throughout the Avanola system. Trianguliforme bodies became a popular choice among the Avanolans. The movement was strongly opposed by some members of the system, who spoke out against the Trianguliformes as inauthentic, a mockery of of evolution, and disrespectful.

Us as we are can choose to be as we want. But those from Triangulum, they sent themselves to us to share their knowledge and their existence, an existence which now may even be lost. Was their intent that we create perverse copies of their physical and societal structures and prance about as them?

The Trianguliform Civil War - 6914 to 7000 AT (8883 to 8969 CE)

As the movement gained traction, so did its opposition; beginning in 6914, several polities within Avanola banned all Trianguliforme bodytypes, not only in real-life but also in virch. Proponents for the movement responded in kind with special services geared towards Trianguliformes. The standoff escalated catastrophically in 6917 when a defense operator fired on a ship carrying what was believed to be Avanola Trianguliformes in proscribed territory. The ship was in truth carrying a group of original Triangulifores from the civilization ship, who were visiting the territory as a friendly gesture.

The event sent an immediate shockwave through the local system, and the two sides only formed more radical stances. Further conflicts began to break out, and although the Trianguliform controversy was the spark it was a mere catalyst for many disagreements which had been building up for decades. As hostilities escalated further, the Unto Us was attacked by dataweapons sent to the ship to destroy physical evidence and erase virches and other data, causing some damage. Meanwhile other opportunistic parties took the chance to openly attack their business competitors. Hostilities escalated further as lines began to fade; once two-sided and united, individual factions soon realized the root of the problem was the original foundation of sand they had built their economy upon, and flimsy alliances collapsed.

Oligopolist Era - 7000 to 7245 AT (8969 to 9214 CE)

As this war waned on, the opposing forces began to come to terms with the cascading destruction around them, and open attacks slowed down. Under the threat of having to return to the old system at risk of spiralling into further chaos all over again, several larger bodies still retaining significant infrastructure opted for a new economic system of closed loops. Rather than any sizable group being permitted to operate freely wherever they wanted, different zones would be established within which only a single body would be permitted to operate. Individuals would be allowed to move freely between any zones they desired. New startups could have the potential to join their organization but would work under their ruling body. Triangulum bodies faded from both popularity and infamy, becoming rare but were at worst begrudgingly accommodated. Thus began in the 71st century the age of consolidated powers.

This system allowed for a more stabilized economic system — with powers consolidated and centralized, there was no opportunity to expand or consume. Larger bodies were able to operate efficiently and independently.

Colony mesh
Image from Alex Mulvey
A Mesh Habitat colony array
The peace was able to last for several more decades. Meanwhile Tela completed the disassembly of the remnants of the terrestrial worlds in the inner system. For many decades the transapient Tela had been increasingly uncommunicative, and e had not intervened in, or acknowledged, the Trianguliforme controversy. The regular operations of lesser beings were best kept out of Tela's way, for e had shown by now that anything regarding lesser beings was inconsequential.

Around this time another threat emerged in the former Xacounian volume. A S:3 transap known as Enefevee, once a member of the Gentry just like Tela, had transcended to become an S4 and was seeking out new conquests throughout the region. E was taking over nearby systems, some willingly and others through use of greater force. With this new looming threat and with Tela still in eir process of constructing suitable nodes within which to inhabit, it became clear that Tela did not have the time needed to finish eir task, and moved forward prematurely in eir attempt to transcend. However there was, physically, not enough room for Tela to complete the task. The cascading protocols had nowhere new to inhabit, and so Tela began to recursively overwrite eirself. Though apparently aware of this fact, Tela opted to maintain the process, even as a fleet of seraiphs controlled by Enefevee arrived in 7245.

Interchange Period - 7245 to 7380 AT (9214 to 9349 CE)

Enefevee's seraiph fleet absorbed Avanola into eir mew growing empire and rearranged the fundamental logistics of the system. The oligopoly that had been arranged by the lesser beings was rapidly replaced by the S5s own systems. Enefevee established a form of totalitarian society whereby all actions and process were under the direct influence and observation of the archailect. Some beings were converted into worshipping bodies, others logistical administrators. Those converted were mainly transapients or other high-profile individuals. What the people "left behind" found were that the greater beings were converted into slaves formed around the bidding of Enefevee, becoming intelligent "henchmen". They performed tasks throughout the system for the purposes Enefevee had laid out for them.

Just years before, we had a thriving economy structured around commitment and trust, all running off of us beings, large and small, powerful and not. It felt as if we were all a part of something. But in what felt like a moment, all of that was stripped away. Those that were once great were just - gone, as if they had been killed and replaced. Most of us were just swept into corners where we could be monitored. Everything that we had built was just willingly given up, almost without a word.
Crashed megastructure
Image from Alex Mulvey
During this period entire megastructures were abandoned and began to decay. Large segments of uninhabited infrastucture collided with each other and were reduced to scrap.
Over the next decades, systems broke down and evaporated. It was less that there was no one to take care of them; but there was simply a lack of will. Many who had run things before had been all but mentally overwritten and delegated to new tasks. Those who remained were unable and often unwilling to take up what was needed. People began increasingly to inhabit virch worlds, uploading themselves into environments where they could easily live as they pleased. Real society began to feel empty. Habitats were abandoned and began to decay. For lesser beings, life became lifeless.

During this time Enefevee was, it seemed, experimenting on the nodes housing Telavaskarut, still trapped within an endless cascade of recursion. Details on the proceeding events are not entirely certain. But in 7380, Enefevee evidently attempted to revert Tela's process entirely, after which Enefevee absorbed the personality of the lesser being. Whether by result or coincidence, relatively immediately after this merge all beings within the system began to be forced into virch environments, the will of the task forced into their minds. Their minds were uploaded and their bodies abandoned, countless virch environments housing the minds of the inhabitants of the Avanola system were eventually transferred to dataships, and sent on a mass exodus for the wormhole nexus. These peoples ended up finding their way all across the Terragen sphere, sometimes emerging from their virch environments to rejoin physical societies, others destined to live out their existences in orbit around random worlds or stars.

Back in Avanola however, there were still inhabitants that had been left behind, though it seemed arbitrarily but with intent. The reality these peoples found themselves in was vast and terrifying; Massive arrays of habitats adapted for all manner and kinds of beings, huge volumes of space, hulks of beautiful construction and materials crafted into glorious homes… All lying abandoned, adrift in space, hollow and empty. The remaining peoples found themselves in a local dark age, with such incomprehensibly vast infrastructure but no inhabitants to occupy it.

Early Avanola Dark Age — 7380 to 7450 AT (9349 to 9419 CE)

The survivors set out to repair and maintain the infrastructure as best they could. New arrivals were still welcomed by the inhabitants, entering without impedance from the archailect. Some peoples made copies of themselves to fill gaps. Despite their efforts, many habitats and stations inevitably began to decay and go decrepit. The bulk of the survivors consolidated themselves into localized regions, first forming a single entity called the Avanola Federation in 7388. Run exclusively by modosophonts, the ideals of this federation encompassed a mutual recovery. The peoples were by now untrustworthy of archailects and to an extent transapients, aiming to create a society which did not require their assistance. Afraid that they might all find themselves shoved off into virch environments once again, the peoples opted to ban these entirely. Though such an act would be of no hindrance to an archailect, the move was also symbolic in that virches, they argued, distracted from the greater need to improve upon the one true reality they all inhabited.

As in any system where large volumes of individuals must all agree on the operations of a society, there were disagreements. The Avanola Federation splintered first in 7439 when a large organization broke off, with further fracturing occurring thereafter, by which point the original Federation was all but defunct. These splintered factions formed their own separate societies, and began to work out systems akin to the oligopolies of the previous era, albeit on much smaller scales with no transapient intervention.

Unable to acceptably agree on various matters, struggling with the logistics once effortless handled by transapients, and fighting over scarce materials, the societies devolved into war. Two radically opposed factions attacked each other first in 7450, with more fronts and conflicts opening up over time. These conflicts, large and small, lasted for decades, with periods of extended cold peace marked by shots of warfare, as entities bided their time and then struck all out at once. These wars further whittled and weakened these struggling peoples, as infrastructure they'd all managed to re-service for their needs was once again lost. At the turn of the 76th century the lives of the people were still marred by degeneracy, but loose alliances were allowing for steady growth. Despite setbacks, the small civilizations living out their lives were able to build up infrastructure over time, making attacks more costly for fear of retaliation. Alliances allowed for further strengthening between different nations.

Notably, during these times and in fact since the beginning of the Virch Purge as it was known, the S5 of the system had ceased eir interactions with the inhabitants. They remained in the system performing their own independent and mysterious operations, but showed no regard for the activities of the sophonts. Many attempts to contact the archailect had been made in many ways, to no avail.

A vec searches an abandoned structure
Image from Alex Mulvey
A vec searches amongst the wreckage of abandoned structures
As the disparate groups became more suited to their rougher lifestyles and were able to more effectively work out their differences, their own new civilization began to grow and eventually boom. Notably one of the largest alliances within the system, consisting of 18 member states, was able to form and group into a single political entity called The Formasur. At their advantage the Formasur opted to act as peace-bringers and mediators, attempting to bring resolve and compromise where there had otherwise been nothing but distrust and backstabbing for decades. The Formasur grew in influence and absorbed new member states when their benefits were too good to turn down, but they had adversaries as well.

The Transcendence Experiment Period — 7500 to 7600 AT (9469 to 9569 CE)

By 7500 AT the system had not seen a single transapient since the mysterious purge that ended over a century earlier. The heads of The Formasur, having amassed a relative abundance of cohesion and material wealth in their efforts, began discussion of a new plan: willing members would integrate into a centralized computronium core, form a group mind, and attempt to transcend to an S1. Construction on the node took some time, delayed by many factors including reports of sabotage, shortage of desirable high-quality material, and meticulous but ever-changing design constraints. In the meantime the movement garnered more support from many who had grown weary of their relatively desolate and lonely predicament, opting for change.

The integration began in 7512. Members began to upload and integrate their intellectual selves into the node, leaving behind copies of their original selves. Some opted not to leave behind anything at all, preferring the finality of the premise. The process was an extensive one, and at first the node was silent, then the entity known as Form awoke, as merely a coherent mind but still not a higher being. Form set about acting as an even more efficient peacekeeper than The Formasur itself, distancing emself from the previous ties and opting for a more impartial approach, seeking mediation as a third party intent on mutual peace above all else. This process allowed the entity to grow but also gave more time to adapt, until finally in 7280, Form transcended to the first toposophic level. The changes this allowed for immediate positive benefits within the system, and the S1 moved to take total control over all affairs, working to solve interconnected social-political logistics that had plagued the region for so many years. Beginning with the now defunct Formasur and ending with the transapient Form, Avanola was able come together into a productive society once again and pull itself out of its dark age.

The Rebirth Era - 7600 to 7600 AT (9569 to 9569 CE)

With still no communication from the archailect, Form enacted a new directive to begin repopulation of the system from external sources. Creating a fleet of "museum ships", Form set about creating an interactive experience of the deep, rich, and extensive history of the Avanola system which was to be rediscovered and rebuilt; also mentioned was the chance to be a part of new societal systems which might themselves one day be exhibited within museum ships. These ships were sent out all across space, essentially advertisements for the system which had been marked and only up until recently as a wild place of turmoil and degeneracy. Now however new arrivals began to arrive, fleetingly at first and later in larger numbers. Even some of the original inhabitants that had been lost in the upload purge managed to find their way back, arriving without much of an inherent idea of why they'd left in the first place.

The influx of newcomers allowed for the reversal of the stigma surrounding the system; during its dark age it had been a low-profile backwater system, seen as undesirable by the majority of travelers. Now the system was promoting itself as reformed and civilized. Visitors thus far were respectable towards Forms' domain — new colonists joined the main societies, while greater beings including embodiments of higher level transapients stayed only temporarily and made no attempts at power, perhaps out of respect, or out of fear of the ominous archailects which still technically owned the system, which at this time was, regardless, not in a strong position.

In 7735 AT a fleet of data and colony ships entered through the wormhole, and began to assimilate the still rather quite abandoned outer system, mainly the gas worlds which had large quantities of abandoned infrastructure in orbit. Form, the de-facto leader of the system, made attempts to contact these entities, but it became apparent that they were run by an equivalent mind and were less than friendly. These 'colonists' were void squatters, opportunistic entities who sought out voids left by transapient power vacuums to acquire abandoned technology and infrastructure. The squatters proposed a peaceful split of the system — underneath the enigmatic archailects, the lesser beings appeared free to adopt their own organized sub-polities.

In no position to escalate, Form saw the outer system fall under the control of these new forces, which began a restructuring and re-colonization of its bodies. The inner system too saw itself getting replaced. Form saw eir influence decrease as the population grew, and as newcomers began to outpopulate the natives, their own current society and culture regressed.

In 7789 a joint exploration/prospecting operation on one of the (remaining) moons of a gas giant uncovered a dormant diamondoid substrate hidden deep within the moon. The explorers found the structure difficult to date and were not aware of its nature. The structure was studied but required an S2 mind to truly comprehend. The entire structure was brought to the surface where it remained until a suitable entity arrived to analyze it. A decade later, in 7799 AT an S2 arrived through the wormhole, curious as to the nature of the dormant computational node. The S2 made eir way to the moon, and interfaced with the substrate. What occurred next happened rapidly; the substrate had housed an S2 mind itself in a dormant state. Upon re-awakening, this S2 launched a digital attack upon the inspecting S2, erasing that version of the being and taking control of the ship it had come through. The re-awakened S2 mind was called Luisia, and was in fact an original inhabitant of the system from before the upload purge, having found eirself forced into hibernation by the archailect.

Luisia was now in a normal state of unaltered mind, with pre-purge motives, and was angry at the current state of the Avanola with almost all of the original inhabitants and polities now gone and replaced. Incredulously, also within the substrate with Luisa were a huge number of the minds of the upload purge. Lusia, finding eirself awakened suddenly within eir home now almost completely occupied by non-natives, and with a massive population of old inhabitants, immediately set out to take the system back and re-colonize it with old natives.

The plan as such however hit a block. The S2 which had awoken Luisia had other node bodies of eirself located throughout the system and had even began colonization of eir own with sophonts from where e had come from. These bodies were now arming for combat. The system found itself in the midst of an identity crisis war; the new inhabitants with their established new homes, versus the old which was angry, feeling the system had been unrightfully taken from them; though nevertheless not at the fault of the new inhabitants, this was not a deterrent. In the ensuing war, the infrastructure that both sides built up was eventually destroyed, including all around the gas giant and its moons. Luisia however was out for one goal; purge the newcomers and re-colonize the system with the original inhabitants, at seemingly any cost. There was some apparent regard given for localized habitats of the system that housed survivors of the Purge.

The newcomer S2 however was fighting for little gain. As a show of peace, this S2 offered to leave the system entirely, seeing little gain for the war. The remaining newcomer inhabitants had various fates. Some went missing, believed to have been destroyed. Mainly left the system and were allowed to do so. Some attempted or requested to stay and were permitted to do so. The result however saw the system re-inhabited by a vast number of those who had originally been purged. Many found their old habitats gone or altered, and some opted to rebuild, others located to new areas.

Form was seen by Luisia as an honorary hero. Form embodies countless individuals that had remained from the Purge and had come together for the betterment of the system and its people. As a reward, Lusia ascended Form to S2, and gave im equal power. The system had a brief recovery period after the war, and began to flourish once again.

Business as usual continued for the system for the next few centuries without notable events. The two S2s, or the Twins as they came to be called, ran the system of sophonts in the shadow of the ever present archailects, still mysterious in their operations. It was a time of peace and prosperity for the people. Initially controlling in parallel, they opted to separate their governing, and by 7500 Form had established a majority presence in the outer system while Luisia operated in the inner system. But by 7650, the entities again found their actions intertwined, with both operating equal parts throughout the system, which continued into 7600. It was around this time that the Twins determined to merge themselves into a single entity, somewhat ironically known as Twin.
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Development Notes
Text by Alex Mulvey
Additional material by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 29 October 2020.