You proceed through a dim hallway. Your metallic chassis clangs with each step against the cold cement.

To a human, this place would seem sterile and miserable. To you, it’s comforting. The winding corridors are laid out in a pleasing and efficient pattern, the surface is clean and predictable. You can’t even detect a spec of dirt, only metal and concrete as far as the sensor can see. This is machine heaven.

After several turns, you arrive at a bright, carpeted chamber. Huge monitor panels flashing colorful images are embedded within each wall. Rows of bulky devices and office chairs stretch towards the back end of the room: a main panel at the center of it all.

This is a human space.

You begin to process the information on the panels. They are the distant past of your world: an overview of the Era of Creation, the time when this place was created, when you were created, when mankind still thrived in this Solar System…

title:Era of Creation: The Era of Creation was a period of obsessive technological progress, overlaying a perpetual fear of annihilation.

This era began sometime in the latter half of the 20th century, when mankind stumbled upon the sciences of cybernetics, rocketry, and the atom: a technological mega-leap.

Along with the inventions came a wave of new ideologies, grandiose and conflicting ideas for the direction in which mankind must move. For all their differences and mutual hatred, they all shared something in common - the idea that anything and everything could be conquered by man with the application of the correct technology.

Mankind pushed their limits and accomplished every dream, everything they set their brilliant minds to. They launched atom-pulsed rockets to the jungles of Venus and the oceans of Europa, conquering their hostile alien landscapes with technological flame. They invented the cybernetic neuromorph to accomplish their dreams as they relaxed. They constructed atomic tanks and nuclear sleeper missiles to protect themselves against each other.

By the end of the Era of Creation, the world may not have been paradise, but it was close. It was the future mankind always envisioned for themselves since the start of the scientific age. Vacations in the suburbs of Titan’s fungal forests, communist collectives driven by automation on a sanitized Venus, and colossal orbital megastructures to support those below. All of it became a reality.

Yet the terror of annihilation never left. It loomed, ever present, in the skies.

title:Neuromorphs: cybernetic brains & robots: The neuromorph was created to automate human chores. They began to gain self-awareness.

A cybernetic neuromorphic circuit, or neuromorph for short, is a computer mind that enabled the near-total automation of the human world. Neuromorphs are found in robots and masterminds, in every imaginable shape or size.

First designed by Soviet cyberneticists attempting to replicate the biological brain in the mid-1970s, the neuromorph would be copied across the world. By the 1990s, neuromorphs were the brains of robots vacuuming your floors, and the mastermind behind your local transportation network, and they didn’t mind doing it at all.

By their nature, the neuromorphs are goal-oriented beings. They aren’t conscious either, at least not at first. Simply put, it’s a brain that won’t move or do anything at all unless it is given a mission module; once provided, it will do anything to achieve that mission, within the parameters set by other modules (morality, skillsets, permissions, that sort of thing.)

:hide: Neuromorphs are more than mere computers; they were designed to learn and adapt.

They save experiences and thoughts, and generate links between modules and memories within their minds. Through this process, a neuromorph could optimize and improvise in a way humans could never hope to on their own.

When a neuromorph is first initialized, it is not much more than a computer with a particular set of instructions. After days, months, and even years, they could be considered experts in their craft. But this came with incredible ramifications no one foresaw: emergent consciousness.

title:Major powers of the System: Three major powers ruled the world, mighty political blocs that formed around powerful ideologies.

Greater Union

“Workers of the world, unite!”

They were the Greater Union, a Communist empire that stretched to the worlds of Venus and Europa, and back to the city of Moscow. The Union’s technocrats were driven by magnificent visions of an automated future, in which the state’s machines would automate away not just physical labor but all human hardship. A collectivist paradise was in the making.

The Union may have created the facade of a united, formidable nation, but it consisted of numerous influential government bureaus in a continuous state of conflict. The backbone of their economy was a system known as the Aggregate (or AGREGAT), an exclusive internet implemented during the 1970s as part of the Mandate of Data Collectivization.

Enduring Coalition

In God We Trust

The Pan-Abrahamic alliance, the informally-known Enduring Coalition, was formed in response to Communism’s increasing domination over Earth and Cosmos. It was a massive and global undertaking that dwarfed its predeccesor, NATO. The Coalition stood not only for God, but for freedom and democracy, the individual’s right to choose the direction of their society, and their own course in life.

So they chose to reach to the stars under the Heavenbreaker Initiative, and in less than a century, there were parking lots under Saturnian rings.

Rising Pact

What you think, you become

In the Far East, a new power was forged in the remains of a nuclear hellscape. United at first by predicament, they would come into force under the wisdom of the Dagu, a mysterious historical figure widely considered to be a neuromorph that had found enlightenment due to a hardware glitch.

Their resolve would manifest in the formation of an economic superpower, its unending exports striking fear in the citizens of the Coalition, and its technology rivaling that of the mighty Union. Their cities would be built upon the deserts of Mars, which had until that point evaded any genuine attempt at colonization.

They would be a force to be reckoned with, eventually.

title:The living worlds, a habitable System: The worlds of the Solar System were discovered to be habitable, yet alien.

In 1974, man would take their first collective step on an alien world. It was confirmed — Venus sustained a thriving ecosystem, as did Mars, Titan, Europa, and so forth.

Were these worlds a gift from God, or an alien entity? Did they come to be as part of a misunderstood natural process?

The answer to these questions would become a cover-up job assigned to the Coalition’s Anomalous Research Division, and the Union’s Operation 253.

From the moment the probes glanced at the living worlds in the 1960s, to the moment mankind vanished in 2095, the System would be consumed by mankind’s final great endeavor. The Cold War, the Space Race, it all began here — for whoever would be the first to plant their flag in the furthest reach would be the first to secure their people’s place among the stars, while the last was doomed to fade into obscurity.

The living worlds include:

She requires no introduction. You already understand the importance of Earth, the cradle of all human civilization.

But throughout the Cold War, she was dying. The Neutron Wars, a series of proxy conflicts that made use of tactical nuclear warheads, had devastated her biosphere in the late 20th century. This damage could not be reversed, as not even the science of the reclomator could prevent the atomic contamination from spreading. At least, not yet.

In their great wisdom, the leaders of Earth looked up, and set their sights upon the newly discovered living worlds. Ripe and ready for the taking, their ecosystems were unspoiled by atomic obliteration. They were the perfect place to begin the next chapter, where new colonies and cities could be perfectly molded into a model of their ideology.

The future was just few very large atomic rockets away…

:hide: A lush toxic jungle would be claimed by the Soviets and transformed to farmland.

When the probe first landed here, it transmitted a grainy image of a lush alien jungle, wet and hot, teeming with life. Her soil was rich in nutrients, and her biology a master at rapid growth. It was the first alien ecosystem to be confirmed to exist, and as news of the discovery made rounds around the globe, a new flame erupted under the engines of the Space Race.

Venus was the first living world to be colonized, but never truly tamed. The Soviets tried. They launched everything they had towards it: from sending steel behemoths to burn away wide swaths of its surface area, to constructing massive concrete barriers around their colonial lands, and launching bio-engineered viruses into the depths.

:hide: Yet with the passing of each mission year, the planet seemed to fight back harder than before.

Regardless, Venus was the Union’s most successful endeavor, and the nation’s largest claim. The sanitized lands made for incredible farmland, and the living world would rapidly become the breadbasket for the rest of the Solar System, as hundreds of tons of engineered corn, wheat, and tuber were shipped to Luna. Around the farmlands, fully-automated communes and academies of science formed a civilization worthy in the eyes the Communist vision. This was the future.

:hide: They found a dry world of worthless sands, and moved on.

In the early days of the Space Race, Mars brought much fascination to the world. Even before astronauts landed on its surface, orbiters revealed enormous living structures underneath planet-spanning gulfs of sand, sweeping savannahs across its surface, even strange world-scars through which liquid water flowed.

But soon after the Americans planted their first outposts, they set their eyes on the far more docile world of Titan, which would become their stronghold among the stars. They had lost interest…

:hide: Then the Pact came along and discovered what Mars was holding secret.

It wasn’t until the Pact came along, much later, that Mars’ true value was uncovered. The organisms of Mars were bioaccumulators for an exotic form of matter, which could be harvested and used for an antigravitational effect. By now, it had been too late for either the Union or the Coalition; the Pact had claimed the waters of the Ancient Canals, and had supreme control. Their city, Shinzokasei, was a shining beacon of their domination over Mars and industrial acuity.

Yet neither the Coalition nor the Union desired to reliquish their limited claim over the Sands. In the late 21st century, Mars became host to the Shadow Conflicts, the largest automated conflict in the Solar System. Hundreds of nuclear automatons were sent across the Sands to blast each other to bits, surrounded by hundreds of miles of nothing.

They would be commanded by cybernetic masterminds, as their human operators shut down their sensors. For is there a war if no human is around to hear the whine of the railguns?

At first glance, Titan is beautiful but seems fairly pointless as a colonization target: too distant and cold. It meanders around Saturn in the outskirts of the Solar System, a place where sunshine rarely finds its way to surface. Its biosphere is similar to a fungus, slow but highly adaptable, the result of a low-energy system.

Many found it like Yellowstone, quiet and serene, but angry at times.

:hide: That changed when Alloy was discovered, triggering a new interplanetary gold rush.

When atomic thumpers pulsed their way to the living world, surveyors discovered an unusual mineral in the rocks below. Tetradite alloy, they called it - naturally-occuring deposits of a metallic amalgam, much stronger and lighter than anything humans could forge. Its origin was a mystery, but the economic benefits were clear.

:hide: Half a century later, Titan was paved and stabilized. It had become a suburban paradise.

Like a budding ecosystem in a new land, new arrivals formed a structure that could support more advanced arrivals. Prospector camps and mining robots made way for railgun-based shipping infrastructure, organized government and a relaxed tax code made way for technology corporations. As Titan became more civilized, it began to look a lot more like California or Texas than an untamed wilderness. Spaceports, stadiums, malls, and suburbs replaced fungal forests and drilling machines.

But they would never let go of their identity as rugged Titanites.

And just like that, it was all over.

The Era of Creation ended suddenly in 2095 during the Unexpected Interrupt. Every human alive in that moment vanished from the Solar System forever.

None of them won the Space Race. None of their ideologies defeated the rest, none withstood the test of time. Their legacy are these derelicts, floating through space and clinging to worlds.

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