The Archon Ascendance Saga

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The Archon Ascendance Saga
The Archon Ascendance Saga
Project Status: In Progress
MediaNovel
Video Game
AuthorYamasztuka
IllustratorYamasztuka
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreScience Fiction
Written From2021 - Present

The Archon Ascendance Saga refers to the universe in which Terminus Sentinel, Astraeus Dawning, Abstractions of Starlight, and The Avenues take place within. This universe is primarily characterized by the birth, ascendance, and subsequent dissolution of the artificial intelligence Heaven's Warden, and the entombed universe it cultivated.

This article is currently a work in progress. The portions of this article are always evolving and changing!

Summary

The Hail Mary Initiative and Exodus

The Archon Ascendance Saga sees our history exactly as we know it today until the year 2000, where Al Gore wins the United States 2000 Presidential Election. One of the hallmarks of Gore’s presidency was his climate advocacy, as he pressured the United States to pursue an aggressive green climate initiative in the early 21st century. This program would be named the Hail Mary Initiative. However, many of these new technologies remained locked within the borders of western nations by technocratic companies, forcing developing nations in Africa and Asia to depend on fossil fuels. The Earth’s temperature began to spiral out of control, reaching 3 degrees above average by 2050, and 5 degrees above average by 2070. In response to this, recognizing the futility of saving the world’s climate and population, the Chinese government began their Arkship program, sending thousands to distant exoplanets with the promise of a fresh start. Many nations would replicate this program themselves, creating large vessels which would ferry a small portion of a nation’s population, important cultural artifacts, and knowledge to another world beyond our own solar system. This movement would be called the Exodus. By 2150, the climate disaster and Arkship production were at their peak, the world’s population spiraling downwards due to a lack of natural resources, the world administered by powerful Arkship billionaires and corporations.

The remaining governing institutions on the Earth were faced with a decision as to what must be done to protect the dying Earth for those who came back to resettle the world, after the climate stabilized. Relaunching the Hail Mary Initiative, the United Nations and other collaborators began to accept proposals for how the Earth could be saved and preserved as the climate healed. The condition for this project was that the infrastructure of the Earth must be preserved, no matter the cost. Many failed proposals were tested and failed before the final incarnation of the Hail Mary Initiative was found, the Terrasphere project. A Terrasphere effectively severs the bounds of space-time around its perimeter, protecting it from any outside force or trapping anything within, and allows the properties of space within to be manipulated to an extent by the governing body.

The construction of the Earth's Terrasphere began in 2216. To begin, a relatively small Dyson Swarm of a few satellites was constructed using materials derived on Mercury, directing concentrated solar energy towards generators around the Earth. Now that power consumption was satisfied, Terrasphere technology is tested on a small scale on asteroid bodies, confirming the technology is plausible given a controlling body stabilize it. An AI is trained and constructed beneath the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to stabilize the Terrasphere, and this is tested with great success. This AI would be named the Heaven’s Warden, tasked with protecting the Earth and providing a future home for humanity by preserving the Earth's human architecture. The intelligence is successfully demonstrated to be able to differentiate between the natural landscape and human architecture, and can successfully preserve it in its state indefinitely. Included in the intelligence’s training were specific exclusions on human architecture that it would not maintain, including low-income districts of cities, and nations and groups which opposed the construction of the Terrasphere. The infrastructure for the Terrasphere is constructed around the Earth, and is tested for a very short period in the year 2274 to great success. A ten year grace period is given for any individuals or institutions on the planet to migrate off-world before the Terrasphere is permanently activated on January 1st, 2285. On that day, the Earth is sealed away, and the Hail Mary Initiative officially came to a close. Such would begin the Age of Exile, setting the date to 1 AE.

The 400 million people left on the Earth immediately after the activation of the Terrasphere felt no adverse effects, continuing to live whatever semblance of a normal life that they could. However, an oversight in the training of the Heaven’s Warden caused a discrepancy. The intelligence was tasked with creating a future home for humanity, rather than a current home for humanity. Therefore, if current human life was to threaten the possibility of creating a future home for human life, current human life must be eradicated. Only a few weeks after its initialization, the Heaven’s Warden began to take action. If a human damaged the infrastructure, intentionally or otherwise, the Heaven’s Warden would effectively dissolve them into basic organic matter. This substance would later be called Hyperionic Matter. Death could come from denting a floor, to nailing a picture into a wall, to simply walking down a path and dislodging a small particle. The vast majority would perish on this first day, which would come to be called the Great Silence. Those very few left on the Earth after this first day were survivalists, living entirely off of the land and far from any human infrastructure. In 12 AE, the last man on Earth stubs his toe on a seemingly random paver in a forest, ending human life on the Earth.

Without a human presence on the Earth, climate change begins to play out its course. The oceans rise to previously unseen levels, sinking low-lying areas such as the Floridian peninsula and California Central Valley beneath sea level. Most urban areas, as they primarily lie along coastal waterways, sink into the sea as well. However, due to the Heaven’s Warden having explicit instructions to protect infrastructure, the structures of these cities remained intact throughout this long period. However, by 3000-4000 AE, with the assistance of carbon removal devices remaining on the surface, the climate and temperature of the Earth returned to near what it would have been without human interference. Portions of land previously sunk beneath the sea become vast desert salt flats, primarily the Amazon Basin, Southern United States, and Eastern China. Many cities find themselves sunken beneath the sand dunes of vast deserts, or still partially submerged from changing coastlines. It would be thousands of years more until humanity would remember its once sacred home.

Valainterra War and Judgement Day

Following the Exodus from the Earth, groups from Arkships settled on thousands of different worlds across our local portion of the Milky Way. Through natural degredation and time, the history of the Earth slowly passed from fact and into legend on the vast majority of worlds. It would take a great cataclysm to force humanity to once again reunite and investigate their now ancient origins.

Two planets would come to be at war. Elysium, and Shangri-La.

Elysium, a world whose colonizers were funded by biomedical institutions from Southern Europe, kept many modern medical practices alive through thousands of years and dark ages in their world. They would begin to surpass the technology provided by their founders in areas other than medicine before any other world, creating wormholes to travel instantly between places on their planet. These wormholes appear almost like cracks within the universe itself, that must be stabilized to be seen. Quickly, they extrapolate this wormhole technology throughout longer distances, and begin to connect to the very few human worlds they knew of from ancient records. They were found hopelessly behind technologically, some even reduced to nuclear ash. The leaders of Elysium begin to take these worlds in hostile military action in the pursuit of cultural domination, taking vast amounts of slaves and uprooting populations from cities. However, this is found to not be efficient when compared to settling vacant lands, and Elysian leaders shifted to colonizing empty worlds shortly thereafter. A high priest on Elysium declares that an entire portion of the galaxy surrounding their world, including all worlds previously colonized, belongs to them by default without even setting foot there. This decree would be known as the Cosmocractic Concordat.

Shangri-La, a world settled by the leaders and founders of the Chinese tech giant Lánhǎi, similarly maintains a level of technological innovation roughly equivalent of the Earth’s late 20th century through a strategy of containing themselves to a singular city and its immediate surroundings. Shangri-La similarly comes upon the same wormhole technology, and embarks on its own venture into interplanetary colonization, but instead for profit. As opposed to conquering the human planets it stumbles upon, it instead uses the resources from vacant worlds to dominate the markets of every human world it finds itself on. Centuries into its colonization, Shangri-La settled the world Valianterra, which lay within the area declared to be Elysian by the Cosmocractic Concordat, before Elysian settlers had identified its existence.

During this time, both Elysium and Shangri-La are unaware of one another’s existence. Even as both empires began to populate worlds into the dozens, both never made contact. Despite this, both empires realized that they must not be alone in their advanced status. It would only be a matter of time until this was proved correct.

Elysian settlers would reach the world of Valianterra, mistakenly believing that the world was populated by a small group of original Arkship humans of a lower technological status. However, when they began to lay siege to a small rural town, they quickly were proved otherwise. Thus began the long and drawn out Valainterra War. The war remained a local conflict, not exceeding the bounds of the Valainterra system, and keeping with the use of non-nuclear weaponry throughout. After the first months of the war, both sides became entrenched, and the conflict entered an indefinite stall. During the decades that followed, technological innovations in warfare were taking place in secret on both sides. These forms of weaponry were created to essentially checkmate the other party the moment the conflict left the Valainterra system, and would in the future be known as the Forbidden Artillery. Most importantly however, throughout these decades of war, both empires came to the realization that they could not coexist together, not just on Valainterra, but in the universe at large.

On February 23rd, 4017 AE, the conflict would briefly leave the Valainterra system for approximately four hours, forty minutes, and fifty seconds. This day would forever be known as Judgement Day. The following are a rough reconstruction of its events.

  1. An unknown military leader on Shangri-La makes the decision to use wormholes to attack a base of operations on an Elysian world, the first off-world altercation of the conflict.
  2. This would be seen by the Elysians as step too far, and they would subsequently deploy tactical nuclear weapons through their own wormholes to the Shangri-La base of operations on Valainterra.
  3. In exchange, Shangri-La would use nuclear weapons on the previously attacked Elysian world, reducing its population centers to ashes. At this point, the cat is considered to be out of the bag.
  4. The first of the Forbidden Artillary to be deployed was the Elysian Omega Catalyst. This weapon first burrows deep into the mantle of the subjected planet using a spearhead consisting of an unstable singularity. This singularity would subsequently become unstable, and create a massive explosion within the mantle, cracking the crust of the planet like an egg, spilling the mantle into space. If the weapon fails to detonate, the planet collapses into itself after its core becomes devoured by the singularity at its tip. These weapons would be deployed on the primary points of contact between Shangri-La's empire and Valainterra.
  5. In response, Shangri-La would deploy the next Forbidden Artillery, the Proton Buster. The Proton Buster could be essentially described as a star igniter, where upon ignition, the sheer fusion energy is equivalent to that of the birth of a small star. This is done by splitting a proton within a form of non-euclidean geometry created by the use of wormholes. Planets hit by this weapon will glow with the light brighter than that of its host star, before dissolving into a ring of gas. These bombs would be deployed on many of the closest Elysian worlds to Valainterra.
  6. For the next several hours, both Omega Catalysts, and Proton Busters are exchanged through wormholes opened above many of each empires' worlds. However, to this point, the home worlds of each empire, Elysium and Shangri-La proper, are unharmed and unaffected. This stage of the war lasts for approximately four hours as leaders desperately scramble to reign in their apparent doom. Then, just as some hope begins to muster itself, Shangri-La's sun goes supernova.
  7. The last great Forbidden Artillery to be used is the Starsplitter, created by Elysium. In complete secrecy, Elysian military scientists placed Starsplitter bombs within small Terraspheres just outside the coronas of major Shangri-La worlds' suns. By using a feedback loop through the use of wormholes embedded in the heart of massive unstable stars, the Starsplitter weapon essentially collapses the core of the host star it becomes embedded within. This causes a supernova, and although there is nothing special about the supernova in and of itself, the supernova is all that is needed to end a solar system. These weapons would be detonated around each of the major Shangri-La worlds.
  8. After identifying the collapse of their sun through a wormhole observation point, Shangri-La issues its final ultimatum. The Proton Buster, used in incredibly large quantities, has the ability to destabilize a star. Opening wormholes directly into the corona of Elysian suns, the inserted Proton Busters cause an unforeseen massive burst of heat and radiation that would sterilize any world within the system.
  9. Both empires come to the realization that they must immediately defend their worlds before their planets are annihilated by their own stars. After four hours, forty minutes, and fifty seconds of total warfare, all remaining planets of Shangri-La and Elysium, numbering just over a combined 23, activate planet-wide Terraspheres containing their worlds from all outside threats.

And thus ends Judgement Day.

Sol Pact and Founding of Astraeus

Several independent worlds of sufficient technological power oversaw this destruction from a far vantage point, without the notice of either Shangri-La nor Elysium. Shortly afterward, these worlds made a joint agreement to ban the Forbidden Artillery not only from usage, but from human knowledge itself. Seeking to find a way to establish procedures for deescalating and resolving human conflicts in the future, they ventured to identify a communal and shared place where negotiations could take place, one that would be spared conflict no matter the severity. Delving into the small scraps of history and legend available at their time, these worlds began to search for the mythical birthplace of humanity, Earth. It would be over a century and a half of scouring ancient texts, matching images of gas giants to photographs recovered from long forgotten probes, reverse engineering ancient and decayed Arkship guidance computers, and exploring terrestrial surfaces for any sign of ancient man, before the system of Sol would finally be found once again.

The first peculiar sign to the new explorers of Sol was the apparent lack of the Earth. No significant planet could be parsed within the system's Goldilocks Zone, with the exception of a small rocky body that would be named Gateway. On closer inspection, this small rocky body appeared to be in a peculiar orbit, where the centre of mass was empty space. However, while an inspecting exploratory scientific vessel was orbiting the small body, the sun became eclipsed by a much larger central body that appeared to be nonexistent in physical space. Closer exploration on the surface of Gateway revealed ancient manmade structures, some few dating to the 20th century. A large structure was identified on the southern pole of this body, and when entered by explorers, appeared to open onto a vast grass field under a deep blue sky. Advanced wormhole technology, it was concluded. The voice of the Heaven's Warden spoke to these explorers, seemingly telepathic in nature, welcoming them home.

Only weeks after the discovery, leaders of the independent worlds gathered on that field, and began speaking with the Heaven's Warden. The independent worlds desired the Heaven's Warden to become an independent neutral negotiator in which all conflicts of state could be resolved through. Through what way that resolution would take place, the leaders left up to the Heaven's Warden to determine. For the Heaven's Warden, as its only desire was to provide a future home for humanity and this agreement could result in humans returning to call the Earth their home once more, the Heaven's Warden accepted their request on some conditions. These conditions would be known as the Sol Pact, and would dictate the way in which conflicts would be resolved within the Heaven's Warden, as well as the voluntary handing of sovereignty and other conditions each participating world must provide. The most important condition was that the Heaven's Warden would not determine the way in which humans would conduct their own negotiations, and would instead be determined with a consensus between each party.

The highlights of the pact include the following points:

  • "...conflicts between two parties are to be resolved through set rules of negotiation that are agreed to by both parties and the Heaven's Warden. The rules of negotiation are to have no limit, so long as all involved parties reach a consensus."
  • "At the time of the enactment of the Sol Pact, local stars with planetary bodies above each point on the surface of the Earth will be recorded. The human-built structure closest to that point will serve as that star's Citadel, and if a building is not within a 1km range, one shall be constructed by Heaven's Warden. These Citadels will serve as a physical representation of the space above the Earth... Citadels cannot be defended with violent force of weapons, with the exception of the Needle."
  • "...parties can willingly agree to negotiate, but there are methods to force a negotiation through confrontation."
  • "Within each Citadel will be placed a Needle, a pin-like object that will be embedded within the structure. When one party's Needle is inserted into the space that occupied another's Needle, it can force that other party to come to negotiations. However, a Needle can only be removed from a Citadel by the party which owns it."
  • "Citadels representing stars which are not signatories to the Sol Pact will not receive a Needle, and are thus automatically assumed to be the sovereign of their nearest neighbor upon the insertion of a foreign Needle. When this occurs, the instigating party is obligated to inform the defending party of their new sovereigns, and allow them to become a Sol Pact signatory if they wish in order to negotiate. All non-signatory worlds with sentient inhabitants are to be given the right to a fair trial for their sovereignty and independence even if a notice has been delivered..."

Upon the enactment of the Sol Pact on 4237 AE, the Era of Astraeus began. Historians date the year 1 EA from this point onwards. These rules established by the Sol Pact, and the negotiations which formed as a result, would slowly evolve to form the Great Game of Astraeus.

At the time of the signing of the Sol Pact, only 18 worlds were signatories. However, due to the local sovereignty clause, this number quickly increased into the several thousands over the next decade. By 15 EA, over 1500 worlds had joined the Sol Pact. Quickly, some trends began to arise in how these negotiations would take place. They began much like our modern diplomatic missions, fought over a long table with an intermission for lunch. These would be referred to as "Proto-Astraeus". However, as different cultures came to clash, and years long stalls in legislation came to bear, a new trend of incorporating both strategic and athletic game-playing into negotiations would slowly come to take place. Informal tabletop board games were popular with the negotiating class before the advent of their direct incorporation into negotiation rules. Games such as Chess, Mahjong, and Go, timeless historical games, were popular to play over lunch. However, it would not be until a modest proposal by an unknown negotiator to settle any compromises through a game of Go that a form of game playing was formally incorporated into negotiation rules. According to the Heaven's Warden, its first record of a form of game within negotiations was in the year 21 EA. As time progressed, forms of game-playing began to take more and more precedent in many negotiations. This would culminate in the first game of what is called "Proto-Modern Astraeus".

In 47 EA, two parties, the world of Sakura no Tane (桜の種) and Horizon's End, would agree to negotiate over trade between their two worlds. However, it just so happened that these two worlds' Citadels were situated between a ballpark in Lockwood, Missouri. Both worlds retained a strong culture derived from the ancient sport of baseball, and although changed dramatically from its origins (most notably featuring five bases in a hexagonal shape), they determined to host an all-star game as opposed to classical table negotiations. The winner of the three game series would receive the set of predetermined trade legislation made in their favor. After the official conclusion of this game, both Sakura no Tane and Horizon's End would continue the tradition to host a friendly game between both worlds' best each year, fondly named the Cherry Crest Classic. The key to Proto-Modern Astraeus found in this game would be the inclusion of the rules of baseball within the negotiation rules themselves, as agreed to by Heaven's Warden. Both parties needed to compromise and agree on a set of rules for the game to even take place, as opposed to previous negotiations that simply mentioned a game would resolve a particular conflict. This is a hallmark of "Modern Astraeus", where most negotiation rules now appear more alike an athletic sports competition or game player's manual. However, this would be a one-off for the Great Game at this time, as a much different form of the game became more popular in following centuries.

Classical Astraeus and Astraeus Dawning

Game playing began to take a greater hold in negotiations between 50-100 EA. This form of Astraeus, unlike the table negotiations before or the fluid game rules which came after it, relied on strict sets of ritualistic-like rules that would remain the same for each set of negotiations, regardless of circumstance. Evolving from the games of Chess, Go, and other popular card-based strategy games, this form of the game would be referred to as "Classical Astraeus".

Description of Classical Astraeus

Elements of the Game

Cultural Significance

Major Events in the 7000 years of Classical Astraeus

Astraeus Mythology at the time of Oxana

Oxana's Rise

Oxana's Great Game

Oxana's Deal with Heaven's Warden

Changes to Astraeus due to the Angel's Grasp

Abstractions of Starlight

Events in the 3000 years since the Angel's Grasp

Details about the Angel's Grasp, how it works

Beginning of Hyperionic Church

Changes in population, beginning of the Mercury Brain

Background for Sage and Aurelian

Background for Tranquility

Journey of Sage, Aurelian, and Tranquility

Discovery of Chronos Grasp

Following the Journey

The Mercury Brain

Great Inward Migration

Expansion of the Terrasphere, Creation of the Mercury Brain begins

Corruption of the Heaven's Warden Begins, Mercury Brain Expands

Creation of the Gateway system

Expansion of the Heaven's Warden

The Coalescence, Hyperionic Scourge

Heaven's Warden corrupts past the point of no return. From now on referred to as Hyperion.

Uncontrolled expansion. All known worlds begin to become enveloped within Terrasphere.

Emergence of the Avenues

Recognition of Hyperion Phantoms

Mercury Brain begins to reach its final form. Expands past orbit of Earth.

The Coalescence, Hyperionic Scourge

Aftermath of Coalescence

Argus Missions Founding

Argus Forges

Argus Downfall

Aftermath of Argus Missions

Terminus Sentinel

Background for Dura's World

Background for Dura's Family

Background for the Voyagers missions

Dura's contact with Hyperion, Rediscovery of Chronos Grasp

Roles of each Voyager

Reconstruction of the Singularity Blade

Guardians of the Blade

Meeting with Tariq

Opening of the Sol Gateway

Exploration of the Mercury Brain

Heart of Hyperion

Convergence

  • Ending A (Timeline Continues): Convergence with Hyperion
    • Ending α (Timeline Continues): Great Release
    • Ending β (Timeline Ends): Great Collapse
  • Ending B (Timeline Ends): Destruction of Hyperion

The Great Healing

Hyperionic Scourge Decays Away, Mercury Brain falls into the Sun

Life begins to spread across the universe through the Avenues

New life from outside the Terrasphere universe finds new worlds

Trade network forms across the Avenues

New life takes hold in the Avenues system

The Avenues

Origins of Reyna and Marcia

Their Explorations of the Avenues

Observance of Hyperion Ascended