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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Antikythera Nova Pt. 1: Premise and History (REDUX)

This is the first of what will likely be three posts for my science fiction space setting Antikythera Nova, as part of my attempt to post easily digestible "micro-settings".

You'll notice that this is a REDUX- I decided I wasn't happy with the first post, and I don't want to move forward with the other posts until I think I've got this very basic first step to an acceptable point. I got some good advice about how to make this better, so hopefully this version succeeds where the first failed. I'm going to leave the original post as well for posterity, but unless you're really demanding to know more about this setting RIGHT NOW, stick to this ;). Hopefully this is an improvement, but if not, then expect a REDUX 2 in the near future...

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In a galaxy consumed by war and chaos, human and alien alike squabble in the shadows of familiar-looking computational eldritch beings. Nobody understands who they fight or what for, as centuries of misunderstood tensions based on accidents and lies come to a head. For all of their technological achievements and special abilities, mortals and gods alike fight for the high-energy cintammani crystals and for a sense of purpose in a cold and uncaring universe.

Over the course of 500 years, much has changed for humanity. The world powers of the 20th century mostly receded or collapsed; their greed, bloat, and outdated infrastructure were their undoing. In their wake, new powers rose in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, benefiting from infrastructure built from the ground-up with 21st century technology and sensibilities in mind.

After a tumultuous early 21st century, these new nations advanced and thrived, not just technologically and economically, but psychologically and socially as well. It was just a matter of time before humanity took its "second small step". The generation ship, Malik Tous, departed on its 300 year journey to colonize the Antikythera Sector of the Pickman Galaxy, from which it would not return.

It was a difficult journey, to say the least. Over the course of 300 years, the peoples of the ship nationalized, warred, committed genocide, and in some cases even splintered throughout the universe. 200 years and one dark age later, the human peoples of the Antikythera Sector achieved a relative state of peace and stability within the Kaddai Federation of Planets (KFP), and the Hun-Long Confederation (HLC).

These two factions have been separated for so long that they are only capable of communicating in mathematical code and broken dialects of ancient languages. They know little of each others ways of life, nor do they remember why they separated in the first place. Except for the occasional skirmish over a newly discovered, cintammani-rich planet, the sector is blanketed in a perpetual, cold curtain of fear and misunderstanding.

Meanwhile, on Earth, humanity went on to explore another new frontier. Without the trials, tribulations, and limitations of the generation ship, humanity progressed exponentially, evolving into the post techological-singularity being(s) known as the Singularities. They converted Earth, and much of the matter in the solar system, into "gray goo", pure computational (sub-)nano machines. Some of the transhumans, who chose not to merge with the Singularities and who more closely resemble their ancestors, work in symbiosis with the Singularities, acting as harbingers, travelling the universe to find suitable sources of cintammani for the Singularities to convert into or power the computational matrix of gray goo.

The intelligent alien species known as the gabor, after an aggressive encounter with these transhuman harbingers on their cintammani-rich worlds, aggressively retaliated against both the KFP and HLC, confusing them for the transhuman harbingers, although neither human faction were even aware of the existence of the Singularities or any of the events on Earth since the departure of the Malik Tous half a millennium prior.

By the time all parties realized the misunderstanding, there was too much bad blood for the war to stop. The KFP and gabor fight a hot war that nobody wants but nobody wants to stop, even as each decides how to respond to the (ominously silent) Singularities. As best as the KFP can tell, the HLC have factionalized- some embracing the Singularities, others allying with the gabor against the KFP. The gabor themselves seem to have factionalized, or maybe it was never so simple as a single gabor nation and the KFP are only just realizing this now. Nobody really knows what's going on- it's a galaxy in chaos where human and gabor alike squabble in the shadows of eldritch computational gods. Each faction must decide whether they want war or peace; and whether they want individuality or singularit(ies).

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