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Whats Sirius Really Like?
Sirius and the Sirian Unity
A geomorphic drone about to reshape the landscape on the Sirian Ring
The first probe to enter investigate the binary system of Sirius (the brightest star in the Terran night sky) expected to find a fascinating but lifeless system, rich in rare elements and metallic asteroids but due to the eccentric orbit of the two stars unlikely to have a viable world far enough from Sirius for carbon-based life to evolve.
What it discovered on the greenhouse world of Sirius III came as something of a shock to the scientists back home. Analysis of the scorching hot surface of the world uncovered curious “forests” of a diamonoid material across the solid surface of the planet (Sirius III seas being a deadly mix of molten light metals)
When a lander robot was put together using the probe’s limited Neumann capabilities it discovered that the structures were artificial in origin, being fashioned by silicon based nano-machines which fashioned the carbon on the world into crystal like structures in which they lived, reproduced and harnessed energy from Sirius A.
Such a bizarre and presumably artificial eco-system warranted further exploration and with the ample resources of the Sirius system (Sirius has 7.4 times the abundance of elements other than hydrogen when compared to Sol, a rich system in itself) funding for a manned mission was not hard to find.
A consortium of Japanese, British, German, Russian and Korean companies, orbitals and institutes funded the venture that departed Sol in 2085. Setting up base camp on one of Sirius Prime’s 14 asteroid moons in 2098 the early days of Sirius were comparable to Barnards Star for its story of isolation, scientific achievement, and the claustrophobia symptomatic of life spent in flimsy space stations and asteroid caverns.
But Sirius’s ample bounty allowed the early colony to prosper, a twenty kilometre wide biosphere cavern was created on First Rock to give the thousand or so scientists, astro-engineers and support staff a relatively natural setting in which to do their work.
The first sample-return probes from the surface of Sirius Prime revealed the true technological wonder of the nano-machines. Despite being made up of mostly inorganic compounds they mimicked life in every aspect even down to using DNA-like molecules of silicon to transmit information from one generation of nanites to the next. Not only had the nanites evolved into many species constructing their own designs of "http://www.angelfire.com/realm2/comgalaxy/nanotech.html">diamond trees” (or diamond warrens, diamond corals and even diamond spheres which with the help of strong winds roll across the tempestuous plains of the world) but one enterprising team of Japanese programmers believed they could be reprogrammed (or trained, depending on your view) to work for humanity.
Cracking the code was tricky and took 30 years during which the advances in nano-technology on many other worlds threatened to overtake the Sirian projects but with a planet full of nanites able to be “bred” to construct orbital towers and space habitats the potential was inspiring.
Konigsberg Habitat c.2160
During the 22nd century many groups flocked to Sirius to take advantage of economic boom the re-programmed nano’s brought. Setting up a habitat in one of the many hundreds of thousands of rich asteroids in the system was as simple as letting loose the right breed of nano’s and Neumann units on a rock, sitting back with an entertaining spool and waiting for the money to come in.
Despite giving the impression of a “gold rush” and the subsequent capitalist anarchy that would ensue, co-operation was a key feature of the blossoming Sirian culture. The prospect of living life as a grizzled prospector alone for months on end in a tin can or cave didn’t appeal to most (notable exceptions being the near-legendary recluse Ole’ Smoky who is said to live in the frozen belts of Sirius B, more on him later!)
Harvester drones prepare to collect nanites from the molten seas of Sirius Prime c. 2250AD
By 2200AD the standard practice was for a publicly owned company to be set up in an asteroid which after mining and developing the rock began a move to more high-tech industry (obviously nano-templates and nanites were the principle industries) and constructing vast space habitats, to rival those orbiting Earth. With no natural biosphere to seek refuge on maintaining the environment in the asteroids was of paramount importance requiring constant monitoring and upkeep
Leasing out various services such as waste management or volatile shipment to companies based on profit was shown to be inefficient and dangerous (such as the Neo Seoul disaster of 2147 and the temporary abandonment of Wolfgang Habitat due to poisonous levels of CO2 in 2213) and thanks to a number of Neo-Marxist movements that sprang up on a number of British, German and Russian ethnic colonies during the 2150s an advanced form of socialism became the norm culminating in the Techno-Socialist Unity foundation amongst various habitats around Sirius Prime in 2165AD
This wasn’t the sort of socialism of the 20th century with an oppressive security force clamping down on dissent and individuality suppressed by a power hungry elite but more a democratic cybernetic collective where the state is every sentient being in the colony. Some factions in Sirius fearing some sort of Soviet style dictatorship or fearing public opinion could get in the way of a fast buck fled to more capitalist systems such as Barnard’s Star or Epsilon Eridani but for most the transition from the lassiez-faire free-for-all of the 22nd century to Unity of the 23rd was a sensible response to their environment.
With most habitats running along the same ideological lines fears in other systems of some charismatic dictator seizing control of the system, building up some vast “Red” army and storming other nearby systems became widespread. Such worries were unfounded for three reasons, one being establishing a relativistic empire of force would be extremely difficult (as the Beta Comae war proved), the inhabitants of Sirius like most people in the known universe were very cynical people, who could spot someone with delusions of power and oppression a light year off and finally one of the key points of the declaration of the Techno-Socialist Unity in 2165 was that no one habitat, group or entity could gain power without consent of others.
But for some the left-wing ideology of Sirius was scary, whether it was deep-seated prejudice against socialism or a racial memory of the pain and terror that had plagued Earth during the 20th century (but then that era was commonly referred to as the closet humanity ever came to destroying itself.) The more conservative systems such as Epsilon Indi, Delta Pavonis and Sol shunned Sirius while more revolutionary places such as Iota Persei and later on Alnair and Arcturus held up Sirius as an example that in space anything could and should happen in the world of politics.
With the advent of warp travel the Sirian nations expanded their operation to nearby resource-rich but lifeless systems such as Procyon, Fomalhaut, Vega all hot white stars surrounded by disks of asteroids and proto-planets and ignored by most. Just as the inhabitants of Barnard’s Star set about colonising red and orange dwarf systems in the Core so the Sirians had a talent for making a go of colonies around young, hot stars and in metal rich asteroids.
Trade with other star systems exploded as cheap imports of nano-tech; robotics and cybernetics flooded the fledgling interstellar economy. This brought even greater wealth to the system which was channelled into more ambitious astro-engineering projects such as the vast shipyards of Bristol around the very large gas giant Marx which orbits Sirius B and the 750 kilometer diameter habitat ring Engels. Despite incredible wealth coming into Sirius and its colonies the kilo-scale engineering projects required great community spirit that in turn strengthened the socialist nature of the Unity.
With the economic stability and extropian nature of Sirius it became a vocal supporter of the Community, even for a while being the front-runner for housing the official Community real-space infrastructure. The Sirian Unity promoted revolutionary movements throughout Community space (such as its involvement in the overthrowing of the racist regime of Arcturus, and as some have argued personally responsible for its subsequent Communist successors) but were always wary of those who would advocate extreme violence and anti-democratic beliefs in spite of socialist sympathies.
By the 25th century Sirius had become a strong voice in the Concourse with almost three hundred system’s claiming close association with it and thousands of asteroid colonies throughout inhabited space proud of their connection with the Sirian Unity (as well as taking a great pleasure in being awkward with the capitalist policies of their adopted systems)
The Sirians had grown to be a powerful force to be reckoned with and had established diplomatic and trading connections with nations outside of the Community, mainly with Velge colonies who shared a similar heritage of socialism and co-operation in adverse environments.
Sirian trading vessels became ubiquitous in foreign space and in the face of their socialist roots were quite the fierce competitors for lucrative trade routes though their nature caused prejudice amongst some of the more traditional Sagre worlds
During this period of great expansion the Sirians themselves became a more and more ingerated society with quite a few examples of collective mind groups appearing throughout its many habitats and systems. Projects melding the minds of organics with that of artificial consciousness were started in a bid to create unity between the two types of mindkind (though such technological and philosophical undertakings were common around this period) and Sirius became one of the first examples of a successful partnership between organic and artificial intellects.
Were it not for the Sirian’s die-hard support of the Community some have argued that they could have become quite a powerful independent nation in the galactic arena but towards the end of the 25th century many younger generations of Sirius and its allies felt that their culture was becoming too stifling and featureless and left to set up their own societies around young hot A and F class stars, notably in the Hyades Sector and later in systems such as Rolze Theta, Bellatrix and Hadar.
Also as Sirian ideology became more and more accepted systems that used to swear allegiance to Sirius loosened their ties with the mother system and went their own way. The Sirians became victims of their own success as their once revolutionary ideals became more diluted and copied in the Community
Movements sprang up in Unity systems championing diversity and disunity claiming that Sirian ways were becoming too rigid and oppressive. This minority is most vocal in the more settled Core sectors where life is comfortable and habitats are huge and spacious rather than outward colonies where co-operation and harmony are more key to survival than an ideological viewpoint.
Today the Sirian Unity exists at the left wing of most politics within the Concourse always ready to argue against the mega-corps and capitalism at its most rampant. It played a key role in the Zarquon war with many vessels of the powerful Sirian Navy at the forefront of the war including the liberation of Cesola Prime and the defence and support of its friends in the Xiv sectors.
Sirius is one of the oldest systems in the Community and as such is packed full of history which hundred of millions of tourists flock to each year. These days most marvel at the pinnacle of Community mega-scale engineering the Sirian Ring, a Banksian type Orbital 200,000 kilometres in diameter and with a habitable surface area many times that of any one world in Community space.
Completed in 2705 it is now the focal point of society in the Sirian system, orbiting Sirius A in the habitable zone and home to almost 5 billion entities. Sirians are justly proud of their habitats which each century push the limits of engineering just that bit further. Some day they plan to build a Dyson sphere though such an achievement is quite some way away.
Finding the “mother lode” he set about building his own personal utopia utilising nano-tech with android copies of people from his past servicing his every material need and personal whim. Fading more and more into the dim outward belts of the Sirian system he has either transcended into some posthuman state, been overthrown by AC’s of his private utopia or left Sirius altogether.
Whatever the case Ole’ Smoky has entered the realm of urban myth with real stories of encounters with Smokey’s robot drones or one of the few occasions when outsiders have been allowed into Smokey’s domain being twisted out of all proportion and sensationalised in intergalactic media.
Whatever the current fate of Ole’ Smokey it is taken as a cautionary tale of loneliness and bitterness in deepest space and a warning that some people shouldn’t be left to their own devices!