Galactic History – The Mystery of the Carvago

An Enduring Legend

The Carvago has become one of the enduring mysteries of galactic history.  Unlike most “ghost ship” stories, the Carvago’s sightings have been widespread enough that the ship’s story has spread across multiple arms of the galaxy.  Given the distances involved, the persistence of the story lends it greater weight than many historians might otherwise give it.

The Carvago was a slowship, launched before the advent of the Bergenholm field.  It was one of the biggest engineering projects in human history to that point.  There had been other slowships built, many of them already decades into their long acceleration ramps and well past the Kuiper Belt.  But the Carvago, the pet project of charismatic visionary Eugen Viniate, was to be the largest in history. Continue reading

Galactic History: The Evacuation of Keder M’ell

Origins

“Keder M’ell” was the name chosen by the mixed group of gordoks, feshen, and humans who fled the Kesterev System to the star designated 4477 Ravati.  Proponents of a splinter cult from the Church of the Universe Manifest, they had reportedly begun experimenting with certain mind-altering drugs in an attempt to communicate directly with “The Universe.”  Several of these drugs were banned by all three of the Kesterev governments, due to extremely dangerous—often lethal—side effects.  This led to clashes between the cultists and all three governments, leading to an eventual split in the cult between insurgents and those who desired simply to leave to conduct their experiments elsewhere.  The insurgents stayed.  The more “peaceable” fraction boarded starships and fled to the red dwarf designated 4477 Ravati.

They could not have picked a more unlikely system to attempt to colonize.  Red dwarf stars are notoriously unstable.  Of two planetary bodies orbiting 4477 Ravati, one was a red giant of sufficient mass to almost be classified as a brown dwarf.  The other, a terrestrial planet of 0.6 Earth masses which the cultists named Keder M’ell, was tidally locked to the red dwarf.  Its atmosphere was mostly sulfur dioxide, lethally poisonous to all three races.  But it was precisely that inhospitability that the cultists apparently found appealing.

For the first generation, Keder M’ell remained utterly unknown to anyone but the colonists, who huddled in their buried habs and attempted to find new ways to commune with the Universe.  At least half of them died in the first ten thousand hours, both from drug poisoning and from accidents.  None of them had truly been prepared for the rigors and dangers of their new home, and they paid the price for it. Continue reading

Galactic History: The Fall of the Triamic Hegemony

A Flawed Edifice

The Triamic Hegemony might have seemed strangely monolithic to outsiders, particularly in a galaxy where a government that even encompassed an entire planet was rare.  But beneath the surface, the unprecedented edifice of the Hegemony had deeper cracks than any aliens realized.

The Hegemony was ultimately built upon a stratified alliance of triamic packs.  It was the result of centuries of wars for territory and dominance, out of which the order of precedence of the packs within the Hegemony slowly and painfully emerged.  To some of the more idealistic aliens, the Hegemony seemed to be a dream come true, a truly interstellar civilization of a high order of technology and sociological sophistication.  But it was built upon a foundation of hundreds of triamic years of ferocious bloodshed.  And, as it turned out, that foundation was far shakier than believed, even by most of the triamic. Continue reading

Galactic History: The Elbianian Terror

T

The Elbianian Nebula

The Elbian Nebula lies near the rimward end of the Orion Arm.  The remnant of a relatively minor nova, it is small as such stellar objects go, only about three light years across.  It would be completely unremarkable, if not for the cult that arose in connection with it, and the carnage that they wreaked.  The name of the Elbianian Nebula would become synonymous in galactic history for fanaticism, atrocity, and unprovoked aggression. Continue reading

Galactic History: The Qinglong Wars

As with the Alien Anthropology and Planetary Profiles posts, the Galactic History posts will reveal some more of the setting’s background, and be linked to the History and Background page.

Dreams of The Singularity

Throughout galactic history, even before the beginning of the Human Diaspora, there had been talk about “The Singularity,” wherein the development of artificial superintelligence would lead to a runaway chain reaction of technological improvement and the transformation of humanity itself.  Several groups attempted, over the century or two prior to the beginning of the Diaspora, and subsequently, to create such a superintelligence.  All ultimately failed; while machine learning advanced, and various “self-awareness” tests were ostensibly passed, the programs ultimately either crashed or rapidly degraded as their algorithms were unable to process the information and responses they made coherently.

Then, about two hundred years after the development of the Bergenholm field and faster-than-light travel, the AI called Qinglong appeared.

An AI God?

No records that survive say exactly where the AI was programmed.  Various stories told in the years since have placed it anywhere from Mercury to Titan and everywhere in between.  The programmer responsible for Qinglong, Long Pak, might have been from Earth, but no one knows any longer.

Qinglong claimed to be the superintelligence that was supposed to bring about the Singularity.  And the advanced tech that its followers and drones used in the years following seemed to back that up.  So did the fact that the AI did not crash within the first few months, or descend into disconnected insanity.  Few of Qinglong’s speeches to the Solar System and the surrounding systems survive.  Those that do appear to be long on grandiose rhetoric and declarations of its own superiority, and short on demonstrations of its transcendence.  Considering the history of such AIs, it should come as no surprise that the powers of the Solar System, fully developed for centuries by that point, dismissed Qinglong’s demands to be handed the reins of power. Continue reading