Warning: Restricted World

Kemmerer restriction swarm
Image from Steve Bowers
The Restriction Swarm around Kemmerer prevents unauthorised contact with the xenosophont ecology of this world. Each swarm element displays the glyph of the Caretaker Gods to inform intruders that this planet is a protectorate.

Kemmerer - Data Panel

StarYTS 955673 7889 00
Stellar Type:G3v
Companion:YTS 955673 7889 00B K2 orange dwarf 2000 AU distant
Region:Carina Rush, 3667 ly from Sol, constellation Carina,
(1050 ly from nearest alien species, the Cthonids)
Planets:Lysenko: -120,000 km dia epistellar jovian -25million km orbit
Kemmerer: 10000 km gaian dia -140 million km orbit
Saint Hilaire: 130,000 km dia jovian -300 million km orbit
Koestler: 170,000 km dia jovian - 500 million km orbit
AI:AI overseer: Lady Mondegrin Oncehuman (ascended form of Gimelbenedita Bluesky Dacosta)

AI's ethos: Caretaker God
Polity:Name: Kemmerer

Symbol: Standard Caretaker God Warning Symbol

Affiliation: Caretaker God Protectorate- ex NoCoZo

Discovered: 9981 AT; Isolated 10004 AT
Psyche, Art, Culture:Metapsychology: Thanks to exchangeable chemically tagged chromosome microplasmids, desirable traits are selected by the organisms of Kemmerer during its lifetime. This eventually resulted in the development of intelligence, and intelligent self design, in a naturally evolved, all encompassing, intelligent ecology. Naturally evolved environmental minds (envomes) of this kind, are very rare, and the dominant mind on Kemmerer, the The Festuca sophonce, is the most advanced xenoenvome yet discovered.

The Festuca sophonce: (the so-called 'Decider' entity which makes conscious decisions for the envome) is noncommunicative, and the Joker mobiles are the only elements of the ecology that use sound communication.
The language of the Jokers was eventually deciphered, and their conversation was discovered to be almost completely dedicated to verbal display (known as 'wit') and dominance assertion (known as 'sarcasm'). When a Joker mobile dies it is apparently remembered by the sum total of it's spoken wit over the period of mobility or 'lifetime'.

Metaethics: These have to be inferred, from the fact that the other two continents on Kemmerer seem to hold remnants of defeated hyperecologies of different genetic makeup. The Festuca ecology also seemed ready to engage in bloody warfare with the NoCoZo expedition, having first displayed hospitable behaviour. It is postulated that violence is used internally by the ecology as a kind of entertainment, but this may be Terragen bias.

Religion/Ideology: Each Mobile is instinctively devoted to the hyperecology, yet in competition with other mobiles of a similar design- this may be a modified form of Darwinian evolution running in parallel with the designed evolution.

Culture and Art: Baroque boasting, Wit and Sarcasm, and Advanced genetic Horticulture

Language: Leafant Lingua Franca, decoded by the Bluesky ship AI (Complicated Shadows III)
Territory and Population:Population: The entire remaining Ecology on Festuca Continent can be regarded as a single SI:>1 Individual. However the designed mobile forms are independently intelligent, and due to their sarcastic method of dominance assertion seem also to be conscious and self aware, on a similar level to a baseline human. However the self preservation instinct seems to be absent, and individuals have no sense of physical danger as opposed to that of personal insult (which seems to have been artificially enhanced by the Ecology decider).

Population breakdown: Turingrade Approximate Created Individuals 700 million
(many trillions of less sophisticated mobile forms also present)

Territories: Continents:
Festuca now the only sophont ecology
Spartina remains of a defeated moss-like sophont ecology, now managed by browsing Festuca mobiles
Agrostis remains of a defeated algae-like sophont ecology, blue green in colour, managed by browsing Festuca mobiles
Government and Administration:Government Type Caretaker God
Travel:Stargates: nil (Dismantled 10004)

Major Spaceports: Nil

Hazard Rating : 9.0
Relativistic explorers advised to comply with all Caretaker God instructions

The Festuca intelligent ecology (envome) on Kemmerer is the most complex form of naturally evolved macrospecies known in the Terragen Sphere. A macrospecies in this context is a single genetic species of organism, which produces a large number of different phenotypes from a single gene pool held in common.

When such a macrospecies colonises new territory, it transfers all the available genetic material it has collected to its offspring ecology. However when it produces specialised phenotypes within its own ecology, these phenotypes only express part of the available genome. These suborganisms are in some ways similar to gametes produced during sexual reproduction on other worlds; however the suborganisms concerned are fully functional and independent, fulfilling a function within the ecology concerned. Some suborganisms are autotrophs, collecting sunlight or chemical energy. These autotrophs feed heterotrophic organisms, also produced from the macrospecies genome. Further subspecies prey on the heterotrophs, or act as decomposition agents when other suborganisms die or discard waste matter.

Non-Darwinian Evolution
Macrospecies are known on several worlds, and they will often fill an available environment to exclusion of other species. Sometimes competing macroorganisms interpenetrate each other's territories and come into conflict, while in other cases the macroorganisms enter various forms of symbiosis or commensalist relationships. Sometimes more conventional speciation occurs on these worlds, and the lesser species enter into symbiotic relationships with the macrospecies. On occasion the macrospecies will co-opt the genetic material of their symbiotes, until the independent species are themselves absorbed into the macrospecies genepool.

On Kemmerer the selection process, which decides which gene collections are to be expressed and which are not, appears to have started to select for increased intelligence approximately a hundred million years ago. The ecologies on this world swaps genes around like viruses and several million years ago several ecologies became intelligent enough to self-modify the elements of the ecology at will.

Less than two million years ago there were at least three advanced intelligent ecosystems on this world; two ground-cover steppe macrospecies and one forest-like species. However during a conflict which occurred on a worldwide basis the two ground-cover macrospecies were eradicated or suppressed, and are now managed by the victor, the so-called Festuca sophonce. This entity, an ecology covering an entire continent, appears to have attained a self-awareness and intelligence approximately equal to a first-level transapient (albeit a rather solipsistic one), but some of the self-designed species are also comparable to humans in intelligence.

It is believed that the defeated macrospecies could be reconstituted on other worlds, if the Caretaker Gods permitted it; it is also known that the Joker Leaf-ants are capable of independent existence away from the macroorganism, as several were smuggled away from the world before it was closed; but they are known to be dangerous and aggressive, and possession of such creatures is illegal in most polities.

Joker Leafants

Image from Steve Bowers
Leafants, unlike most animal-like creatures, are not bilaterally symmetrical, but instead show plant-like growth forms

The animal-like mobile species that is most like humans is the Joker Leafant, a kind of cross between a monkey, an ant, and a rubber-plant. These creatures grow like fruit on the outside of much larger plant-like organisms, and detach themselves in order to become mobile. But the limited area of photosynthetic tissue these creatures possess is not enough to keep them fully active, so they feed on their parent plants for extra sustenance. The parent plants exude a nectar rich in sugars and amino acids for that purpose.

The Joker mobiles compete with each other in their language of shrieks and sign-language in contests of wit, sarcasm and insults; very often the competition breaks down into mask fighting, which involves duels with their extendable jaws. The most successful of the duellists, both linguistic and martial, have their genetic load perpetuated by the ecology.

Kemmerer is too dangerous for ordinary sophonts, and is surrounded by a restriction swarm which (in theory) keeps any information from coming in or out; but illegal copies of the Joker phenotype occasionally are sighted throughout the galaxy, especially wherever low level brushfire warfare is likely or in progress.

  • Benedita Blue Sky (Benedita Dacosta)  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Long-lived bioxox paraterraformer (949 to recent, various copies).
  • Envome  - Text by Tony Jones
    Environmental Minds; entire ecosystems which have become intelligent.
  • Xenecology - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Study and application (in habitat design, biospherics, etc.) of alien (non-terragen) ecologies.
  • Xenobiont  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for alien (non-terragen) lifeform. May be animal-like, plant-like, protistan, exotic chemistry, or any other possibility. Does not have to be sophont. In fact just as on Earth, very few alien species ever evolve any measure of cognitive intelligence.
Related Topics
Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 22 July 2002.

Additional Information