Amethyst Habitat
Amethyst Habitat
Image from Steve Bowers

Amethyst Habitat is a McKendree Cylinder in the Daleth Orbital Band around the star Resshuna (Groombridge 1618). It is the largest individual spin habitat in the band, and the 3rd largest in the system.


Amethyst was commissioned in 8481 AT by the Resshuna Outsystem Development Alliance, an organization run by seven of the system's S2 transapients, who are nominally assisted by many S1 and modosophont designers. Aside from a handful of old Bernal Spheres, kilometer-scale virch nodes, and isolationist singlehabs, it was the first habitat to be constructed in the newly designated Daleth Band, the fourth orbital band around Resshuna.

Construction was completed in 8513, with ecopoiesis ongoing for the following three years. A call for applications to settle the hab's zones and computronium sectors went out on the system Net that same year; with transapients and modosophont organizations being invited to apply to found polities on Amethyst. However, a glut of supply elsewhere in the system, in the form of recently finished habs in older orbital bands and still unused space on the Jessen buckyhab, meant that only three applications were received - from the local Utopia Sphere seraiphs, a human upload node that came to found Amethyst Ultima, and the multiclade socioartist collective Myriad Morphs that would go on to create the Benthic Congregations. The call was extended to the wider Known Net in 8517, resulting in dozens of applications that were assessed according to the Development Alliance's inscrutable and reportedly highly complex criteria. Just five years later, all but one of the remaining zones were settled (though it would take decades or centuries before population reached planned levels). The last zone had been allotted to CawC2-CawF3, a provolved corvid society of group minds, but after much delay they ultimately opted to migrate to Kiyoshi instead. This zone later became the Kimbu Hedonic Jungle in 8539.

Amethyst came to the particular attention of the wider Terragen Sphere in the 10570s as the popular immersive first-person virch travelogue series The Scenic Route came through the system. Tourism numbers to Amethyst itself are kept under strict limits to prevent disruption, but virch experiences and ecologies simulating the hab have been created and are freely available on the Known Net, and virch societies themed after or even combining elements of Amethyst polities have been established in many major systems, at least for the time being.


Amethyst's spin produces an internal pseudo-gravity of 0.5 g. The lower gravity enables the habitat to be larger in diameter without needing magmatter, while also allowing lifeforms and structures inside to be twice as tall as in a 1 g environment. Amethyst is 9,000 km in length and 2,400 km in diameter, for a circumference of over 7,539 km, and a basic interior surface area of 67,851,000 km2, larger than the combined land area of Eurasia and Australia on Old Earth. There are also many intra-habitats in the form of plates and ledges, as well as extensive lit and unlit caverns inside the hull, that add more usable area. As in many habitats, to assist navigation, one of the endcaps was designated 'north' and the other 'south', with west and east defined relative to that, and altitude used when needed to measure distance above (or below) the ground relative to the central axis.

When first built, the interior of the habitat and the intra-habitats were covered in a complete neogenic ecosystem, themed as a naturally evolved complex biosphere (had one existed) in the liquid water zone of the star Resshuna. The ecology's tree-like land flora are mostly purple in color, from which the habitat derives its name. The habitat is about 57% ocean and 43% land, distributed in such a way that desert areas are relatively uncommon. 20% of the total area was immediately set aside as a Wilderness Preserve in three separate zones, while the remainder was allotted to the cultures that settled the habitat. These were permitted to modify the environment within their zones as they chose, but in all cases at least some of the original biota remain, even if modified.

Amethyst's main interior is lit by a luminaire running the length of the habitat, which powers up and down to simulate a 30-hour day/night cycle. The exterior is covered in solar panels, contributing most of the energy needed by the habitat, with the remainder provided by nearby satellite swarms of panels and beamed in. Interior to the panels are layers of computronium totaling 20 meters thick, running the habitat's virchworlds and containing its virtual citizens. The hab has a standard angelnet which inspects and repairs it as needed.

The habitat's total embodied population is presently around 620 million, while the virtual population is estimated to be between 90 and 150 billion. As with most habitats, some virtual citizens at times take on temporary bodies to experience life in the physical interior, while many embodied citizens regularly visit some virchworlds that are compatible with their mindtype via DNI. The four virtual polities and nine embodied polities are largely self-governing in their respective widely differing manners. As is common in the Inner Sphere, some of the polities that were formed on Amethyst are directly affiliated with particular Sephirotic Empires, while others are nominally independent. The Sephirotic-aligned Resshuna Council, widely agreed to be under the de facto control of the system's sole third singularity mind Glittering Oasis, oversees Amethyst along with the rest of the system. The Council ensures that sophont rights are followed, as well as apparently preventing conflicts by ensuring that any expansionist or excessively natalist traits that evolve in a culture are funneled into the construction of new habs or migration to other systems.



Wilderness Preserve
Population: 0 permanent, but on any given day has hundreds of thousands of visitors among those who receive the necessary permits (method of permit distribution varies widely between polities)
Governance: Direct administration by Resshuna Outsystem Development Alliance's Division of Ecological Study

Occupying 20% of the habitat, the North, Central, and South Zones of the Wilderness Preserve contain the hab's original biota, with examples of every kind of biome and species as originally generated. Tourism is kept to a very low level for its size in order to ensure minimal interference with the ecology's natural operation, but virch doubles are readily accessible on the local net. The North Zone is famous for its mountains and canyons, home to colorful cliffsponges, while the Central Zone is a humid rainforest best known for its bioluminescent furslugs. The South Zone is largely oceanic, with its floating woodreefs and their ornate fractal symmetries being a popular sight.

Republic of the Northern Metropoli
Population: 104 million
Governance: Cyberdemocratic bureaucracy

An affiliate of the Terragen Federation, the Republic of the Northern Metropoli occupies much of the area around the northern endcap, as well as extensive cavern systems underground and fifteen ledge intra-habitats at various heights on the endcap itself. Although best known for its eponymous five large cities ranging in population from 5 to 19 million - three of which are located on the surface, one mostly underground, and one on an endcap ledge - the Republic contains many smaller cities and towns, and even countryside areas. Most citizens of the Republic are nearbaseline humans or humanoid vecs, though some more diverse vec and biont forms are also present.

Benthic Congregations of the Vanda Ocean
Population: 151 million
Governance: Varies by clade; inter-clade disputes handled via third-party mediation

Occupying the northern portion of the hab's Vanda Ocean, at any given time the Benthic Congregations consist of over 1,200 distinct sophont clades (on average), spread across 3,600 reef communities together with nomadic clades dispersed between them. Mutability of form is high in this polity, with the local culture considering it embarrassing to remain in the same bodyform for more than a standard year. While in a bodyform, each individual partakes in many different activities with several hundred local members of their clade, known as a congregation. At the same time, some cross-clade relationships are maintained as well, between individuals and between congregations. Bodyforms chosen are typically neogenic, though some closely resemble provolves of fauna from Earth or other garden worlds.

Sky Vagabond Tribes
Population: 22 million
Governance: Direct democracy

These tribes have no territory on the hab's surface, instead occupying bubblehabs that travel throughout Amethyst as followers of the Vagabond Way, a variant of megastructural migration. The bubblehabs travel as voted on by their inhabitants, joining up with and departing from other bubblehabs and sometimes visiting one of the other polities in the hab, both ril and virtual. Design of each tribe's bubblehab is considered an especially prestigious art form.

Megacity of Mammon
Population: 46 million
Governance: Corporate, anarchic market-based, in constant flux

A NoCoZo affiliate, Mammon is a single continuous cityscape situated in the mid-northern latitudes of the hab. In keeping with the local interpretation of the NoCoZo's ethos, Mammon is in a continuous state of remodeling as part of the business cycle, as firms offering all sorts of goods and services rise to dominance, compete, and in turn are replaced by newcomers. Although the city as a whole is a little over 2,000 years old, most buildings and places within it are, on average, only several decades old. Many sophonts who live here are constantly seeking to develop or invest in a product or service which will make them wealthy and famous, though this usually only lasts for a few months before tastes change yet again and they find themselves reliant on savings or even philanthropy before the next opportunity comes.

Kimbu Hedonic Jungle
Population: 9 million
Governance: None (negligible social interaction) outside of basic protection by angelnet

The original biota of this jungle has been heavily gengineered and cyborgized by the polity's founders, a secretive group of superturing and/or hyperturing AI known simply as Dennett's Librarians. Sophonts who inhabit the jungle simply wander around and partake of the various fruits and biobots found within, of which it is said that no two are alike. When ingested, the biocomputronium embedded in the environment activates and interfaces via data links with the sophont's DNI, creating a unique, immersive, pleasurable dream lasting minutes to hours and involving all the senses (and sometimes simulating new ones). Fruit and biobots with similar traits tend to share highly abstract qualities in the dreams they cause. Inhabitants of the jungle typically stay for several years, exploring the various 'dreams' and states of mind that can be found.

Triplet Cityhives
Population: 71 million
Governance: The Flow A member of the Zoeific Biopolity, the thousands of Cityhives vary widely in size and design, but all share three traits: a high population density, a structure formed of gengineered organisms, and a citizenry in which each sophont occupies and controls three bodies simultaneously (the eponymous Triplets), connected via data links. Sophonts immigrating to this polity typically require extensive psychological augmentation in order to coordinate, control, and sense all three bodies. Typically (though not always) the three bodies are similar in form to one another; however, each triplet is usually highly unique compared to the others in its cityhive.

Eastmoor Range Puzzlescape
Population: 27 million
Governance: Consensus-based in local communities, overseen by angelnet

Originally a large mountain range, this polity has extended into voids underground as well as networks of connected bubblehabs kilometers into the air. Life in this polity centers around finding and reaching the Orb of Victory, hidden in a secret location somewhere in the polity's borders. Traversal is very difficult and involves not only finding the way through the mazelike environment, but solving many different kinds of challenges to open up new routes. Each challenge can take anywhere from hours to weeks to solve, and often involves use of augmented or virtual reality. Some sophonts navigate the Puzzlescape alone, while others do so with up to dozens of teammates either temporarily or permanently. The vots and bots in the angelnet regularly reconstruct different portions of the Puzzlescape completely anew. Immigrants to this polity are psychologically screened beforehand and assisted in self-modification so as to ensure the experience is appropriately challenging - neither too easy nor too difficult.

Symphonies of the Southern Bay
Population: 190 million
Governance: Local seraiphs of Chesed

The southernmost polity inside Amethyst and a member of the Utopia Sphere, the Symphonies occupy the Southern Bay of the Vanda Ocean and much of the surrounding land. Here as elsewhere in the Utopia Sphere, sophonts are guided through the Triadic Cycle by Chesed's local seraiphs. Each seraiph has their own personality and stylistic flourishes in the symphonies they conduct, but each Cycle is unique in what is offered. Portions of the local environment are constantly being rebuilt into new forms for different symphonies, perhaps being a peaceful garden one day, a feast the next, a thrillseeker's playground the day after, and so forth.


Archipelago of the Spheres
Population: Estimates range from 51-98 billion
Governance: Varies widely by individual virch, but all overseen by the Mirror Court

A member of the Cyberian Network, this polity consists of billions of virchworlds ranging in size from small rooms to large islands, each for a different purpose but usually hosted by one of the Spheres that each citizen spends their time associating with. As in the rest of Cyberia, a citizen is typically a member of hundreds of different spheres. Many virches have exotic physics compared to the ril and each other, so Archipelago citizens usually have many psychological augmentations to comprehend the many different environments they spend their time in.

Ecstatic Octametric Hyperspace
Population: Estimates range from 23-36 billion
Governance: Group of 4 S1s, nicknamed the Tetrary by ril-based sophonts (local names not translatable)

A member polity of the Technorapture Hypernation, citizens inhabit a virchworld with a physics model consisting of 8 spatial dimensions and 32 physical forces. The strength or nature of these forces seems to vary based on location within the space, resulting in different communities having different types of body and art forms (which are sometimes the same thing). As with most Hypernation virches, it is difficult to describe to outsiders, but those who have visited typically report a highly unique 'flavor' of the virch not found elsewhere.

Oneirolabyrinth of the Inner Light
Population: 9 billion
Governance: Not applicable

The Oneirolabyrinth exists within the mind of the S2 being called Manipura by modosophonts, a citizen of the Sophic League. The 9 billion sophonts who join Manipura's meditation find themselves alone within an ever-shifting virtual environment. Those who have completed the labyrinth say that as they navigate and explore the world, they are subtly guided in their emotional state in subconscious ways as well as by the events that occur in the virch. Around 37% of those who leave opt to immigrate to a Sophic League system, with many of these seeking to augment themselves to transavanthood or to ascend under the tutelage of a buddhabrain there.

Amethyst Ultima
Population: 7 billion
Governance: Cyberdemocracy

Amethyst Ultima is a simulated terrestrial planet with the original ecology of Amethyst. Although many cities and much infrastructure are present, the majority of the surface is set aside as a nature preserve. Many sophonts explore this area in 'non-interactive mode', in which they observe the simulated life with all physical interaction with it turned off. Originally equal to Old Earth in size, this virch was expanded in 10593 due to population growth, with the radius doubled and the area expanded fourfold. The existing surface was cut and stretched over a portion of the expanded planet, with the rest filled in with new continents and many new species. Expeditions to chart and settle the new area are ongoing.

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Text by ProxCenBound
Initially published on 04 August 2023.