Nemo Ramjet "Alltomorrows"
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Nemo Ramjet

Alltomorrows


All Tomorrows

A Billion Year Chronicle of the Myriad Species and Varying Fortunes of Man

Nemo Ramjet


To Mars

After millennia of earthbound foreplay, Mankind’s achievements on a noteworthy level began with its political unification and the gradual colonization of Mars. While the technology to colonize this world had existed for some time, political bickering, shifting agendas and the sheer inertia of comfortable, terrestrial usurping had made this step seem more distant than it actually was.

Only when the risks clearly began to present themselves, only when Earth’s environment began to buckle under the strain of twelve billion industrialized souls, did Mankind finally take up the momentous task.

All through the decades, traveling to, and later settling on Mars had been envisioned as quick, relatively easy affairs; complicated but feasible and manageable in short term. As the push finally came to a shove, it was realized that this was not the case.

It had to go step by step. Atmospheric bombardment by genetically-tailored microbes slowly generated a breathable atmosphere in a cycle that took centuries. Later, a few cometary fragments were knocked off-course to bring forth seas, oceans; water. When the wait was finally over, remnants of Earth’s flora and fauna were introduced as specially-modified Martian remakes.

When everything was ready, people came from their crowded world. They came in one-way ships; fusion rockets and atmospheric gliders, packed to the brim with colonists, sleeping in dreams of a new beginning.

The first steps on Mars were taken not by astronauts, but by barefoot children on synthetic grass.

A lander ferries the first people to the pre-terraformed eden of Mars.


The Martian Americans

For several hundred years Mars remained as a backwater; prospering but still dim compared to the splendor of Earth, which was glowing brighter than ever before. Thanks to the relocation of environmentally demanding industries to Mars, Earth could usurp everything, without having to damage its tired biosphere. This was the Terrestrial Heyday; the climax of economic, cultural and social development on old Earth.

This, however, was not to last. Like the gradual separation of America from her Colonial mother, the governments of Mars adopted a new, Martian identity. They became the Martian Americans.

The difference between Earth and the Mars was not only political. A few generations in the lighter gravity gave the new Americans a spindly, lithe frame that would look surreal in their old home. This, combined with a certain amount of genetic engineering, took the Martians’ separation to a new level.

For a while the silent schism between the two planets was mutually accepted, and the balance of power hung in an edgy equilibrium. But the Terra-Martian standoff did not, could not last forever. With limitless resources and an energetic population, Mars was bound to take the lead.


Civil War

The Martian turnover was expected to occur in two ways; either through long-term economical gains or by a much shorter but painful armed conflict. For almost two hundred years, the former method seemed to take effect, but this gradual stretch eventually did break in a most destructive way.

Almost since its establishment, Martian culture was suffused with an explicit theme of rebellion against Earth. Songs, motion pictures and daily publications repeated these notions again and again until they became internalized. Earth was the old, ossified home that held humanity back, while Mars was new; dynamic, active and inventive. Mars was the future.

This ideology eventually reached its semi-paranoid, revolutionary apex. Roughly a thousand years from now, the nations of Mars banned all non-essential trade and travel with Earth.

For Earth, it was a death sentence. Without the resources and industries of Mars, the Terrestrial Heyday would quickly devolve into a pale shadow of its former glory. Since a trade of essential goods continued, nobody would starve. But for every citizen of Earth, the Martian boycott meant the loss of up to three fourths of their yearly income.

Earth had no choice but to reclaim its former privileges, by force if necessary. Centuries after her political unification, Terra geared up for war.

Most thinkers (and fantasists) of previous times had imagined interplanetary war as a glorious, fast paced spectacle of massive spaceships, one-man fighters and last-minute heroics. No fantasy could have been further from the truth. War between planets was a slow, nerve-wracking series of precisely timed decisions that spelled destruction on biblical scales.

Most of the time the combatants never saw each other. Most of the time the combatants were not there at all. War became a duel between complicated, autonomous machines programmed to maximize damage to the other side while trying to last a little longer.

Such a conflict caused horrendous destruction on both sides. Phobos, one of Mars’ moons, was shattered, and rained down as meteorite hail. Earth received a polar impact that killed of one third of its population.

Barely escaping extinction, the peoples of Earth and Mars made peace and re-forged a united solar system. It had cost them more than eight billion souls.

Star People

The survivors agreed that massive changes were necessary to ensure that such a war never occurred again. These reforms were so comprehensive that they entailed not political, economical but biological changes as well.

One of the greatest differences between the people of the two planets was that over time, they had almost become different species. It was believed that the solar system could never completely unify until this discrepancy was overcome.

The answer was a new human subspecies, equally and better adapted not only to Earth and Mars, but to the conditions of most newly terraformed environments as well. Furthermore, these beings were envisioned with larger brains and heightened talents, making them greater than the sum of their predecessors.

Normally, it would be hard to convince any population to make a choice between mandatory sterilization and parenting a newfangled race of superior beings. However, memories of the war were still painfully fresh, and it was easier to implement these radical procedures in the wake of such slaughter. Any resistance to the birth of the new species did not extend beyond meager complaints and trivial strikes.

In only a few generations, the new race began to prove its worth. Organized as a single state and aided by the technological developments of the war, they rapidly terraformed and colonized Venus, the Asteroids and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

Soon however, even the domain of Sol grew too small. The new people who inherited it wanted to go further, to new worlds under distant stars. They were to become the Star People.


Colonization and the Mechanical Oedipi

Even for the Star People, interplanetary travel was a momentous task. Early minds had boggled over the problem and fantasies such as faster than light travel and hyperspace emerged as the only “solutions”.

Simply put, it was impossible to take a large number of people with enough supplies to even the closest star to make colonization feasible. The existing technologies could only slug along at mere percentages of lightspeed, making the journey an epoch-spanning affair. Enormous “generation ships” were conceived and even built, but these succumbed to technical difficulties or on-board anarchy after a few cycles.

The solution was to first go there, and make the colonists later. To this end, fast and small, automated ships were sent forth to the stars. On board were semi-sentient machines programmed to replicate and terraform the destination, and “construct” its inhabitants from the genetic materials stored on board.

A bizarre problem plagued such attempts. The first generation of humans to be manufactured sometimes developed a strange affection for the machines that made them. They rejected their own kind and perished after the massive identity crisis that followed. This technological Oedipus complex was not uncommon; nearly half of all the colony-founding attempts were lost through it.

Even then, however, the remaining half was enough to fill Humanity’s own spiral arm of the galaxy.

The Summer of Man

Right after Mankind’s colonization of the galaxy came its first true golden age. Reared by machine prophets, the survivors of the Oedipal plagues built civilizations that equaled and even surpassed their Solar forbears.

This diffusion across the heavens did not mean a loss of unity. Across the skies, steady flows of electromagnetic communication linked Mankind’s worlds with such efficiency that there was no colony that did not know about the goings on of her distant siblings. The free-flow of information meant, among other things; a vastly accelerated pace of technological growth. What couldn’t be figured out in one world was helped out by another, and any new developments were quickly made known to all in a realm that spanned centuries of light.

Not surprisingly, living standards rose to previously unimaginable levels. While this did not exactly mean a galactic utopia, it was safe to say that people of the colonized galaxy lived lives in which labor; both menial and mental, was purely compulsory. Thanks to the richness of the heavens and the toil of machines, each person had access to material and cultural wealth greater than that of some nations today.

During all this development, a curious phenomenon was observed. While alien life was abundant in the stars, no one had encountered any signs of true intelligence. Some attributed this to an overall rarity, while others went as far as divine influence; resurrecting religion.

Regardless of the theorizing, one question went truly and utterly unanswered. What would really happen, if mankind ever ran into his equals or superiors in space?

Two star people watch a holographic movie as they lounge under the remnants of their colonized world’s indigenous flora. For them, it is a life of continual bliss.


An Early Warning

During those times, a small discovery of immense implications warned humanity that it might not be alone.

On a newly colonized world, engineers had stumbled across the remains of a puzzling creature, considered so because it had every hallmark of terrestrial animals on an alien planet. Justifiably named Panderavis pandora, the colossal fossil belonged to a bird-like creature with enormous claws. Later research determined it to be a highly derived therizinosaur, from a lineage of herbivorous dinosaurs that died out millions of years ago on Earth.

While every other large land animal on that colony world had three limbs, a copper based skeletal system and hydrostatically operated muscles; Panderavis was a typical terrestrial vertebrate with calcium-rich bones and four extremities. Finding it there was as unlikely as finding an alien creature in Earth’s own strata.

For some, it was irrefutable proof of divine creation. The religious resurgence, fueled at first by mankind’s apparent loneliness in the heavens, got even more intensified.

Others saw it differently. Panderavis had shown humans that entities; powerful enough to visit Earth, take animals from there and adapt them to an alien world, were at large in the galaxy. Considering the time gulf of the fossil itself, the mysterious beings were millennia older than humanity when they were capable of such things.

The warning was clear. There was no telling what would happen if mankind suddenly ran into this civilization. A benevolent contact was obviously preferred and even expected, but it paid to be prepared.

Silently, humanity once again began to build and stockpile weapons, this time of the interplanetary potency. There were terrible devices, capable of nova-ing stars and wrecking entire solar systems. Sadly, even these preparations would prove to be ineffectual in time.

A reconstruction of Panderavis shows the creature’s rake like claws, with which it dug furrows in the soil to find its food. Opportunistic local animals walk alongside Panderavis, looking for morsels left over from its feasting.


Qu

The first contact was bound to happen. The galaxy, let alone the Universe was simply too big for just a singular species to develop intelligence in. Any delay in contact only meant a heightening of the eventual culture shock. In humanity’s case, this “culture shock” meant the complete extinction of mankind as it had come to be known.

Almost a billion years old, the alien species known as Qu were galactic nomads, traveling from one spiral arm to another in epoch-spanning migrations. During their travels they constantly improved and changed themselves until they became masters of genetic and nanotechnological manipulation. With this ability to control the material world, they assumed a religious, self-imposed mission to “remake the universe as they saw fit.” Powerful as gods, Qu saw themselves as the divine harbingers of the future.

This dogma was rooted in what had been a benevolent attempt to protect the race from its own power. However, blind, unquestioning obedience had made monsters of the Qu.

To them humanity, with all of its relative glories, was nothing more than a transmutable subject. Within less than a thousand years, every human world was destroyed, depopulated or even worse; changed. Despite the fervent rearmament, the colonies could achieve nothing against its billionyear-old foes, save for a few flashes of ephemeral resistance.

Humanity, once the ruler of the stars, was now extinct. However, humans were not.

Qu triumphant in the fall of Man. To his left floats a nanotechnological drone, to the right, a genetically modified tracing creature.


Man Extinguished

The worlds of humanity, gardens of terraformed paradise, seemed strangely empty to the Qu. Often there were no raw materials available other than people, their cities and a few basic niches of ecology, populated by genetically modified animals and plants from Earth. This was because humans had erased the original alien ecologies in the first place.

Offended by another race trying to remake the universe, the Qu set forth to punish these “infidels” by using them as the building materials of their vision. While this led to a complete extinguishment of human sentience, it also saved the species by preserving its genetic heritage in a myriad of strange new forms.

Populated by ersatz humans, now in every guise from wild animals to pets to genetically modified tools, Qu reigned supreme for forty million years on the worlds of our galaxy. They erected kilometer-high monuments and changed the surfaces of entire worlds, apparently to whim.

One day, they departed as they had come. For theirs was a never-ending quest and they would not, could not stop until they had swept through the entire cosmos.

Behind them the Qu left a thousand worlds, each filled with bizarre creatures and ecologies that had once been men. Most of them perished right after their caretakers left, others lasted a little longer to succumb to long-term instabilities. On a precious few worlds, descendants of people actually managed to survive.

In them lay the fate of the species, now divided and differentiated beyond recognition.

A mile high Qu pyramid towers over the silent world that once housed four billion souls. Such structures are the hallmark of Qu, and they can be seen on every habitable world they passed through.


Contents

To Mars ............................................................................................. 3
The Martian Americans ................................................................. 5
Civil War .......................................................................................... 7
Star People ....................................................................................... 8
Colonization and the Mechanical Oedipi .................................... 10
The Summer of Man ....................................................................... 11
An Early Warning .......................................................................... 13
Qu ...................................................................................................... 15
Man Extinguished ........................................................................... 17

Worms ............................................................................................... 19
Titans ................................................................................................. 21
Predators and Prey ........................................................................... 23
Mantelopes ....................................................................................... 26
Swimmers .......................................................................................... 28
Lizard Herders .................................................................................. 30
Temptor ............................................................................................ 32
Bone Crusher ................................................................................... 34
Colonials ........................................................................................... 36
Flyers ................................................................................................. 38
Hand Flappers .................................................................................. 40
Blind Folk .......................................................................................... 42
Lopsiders .......................................................................................... 44
Striders .............................................................................................. 46
Parasites ............................................................................................ 48
Finger Fishers ................................................................................... 50
Hedonists .......................................................................................... 52
Insectophagi ..................................................................................... 54
Spacers ............................................................................................... 56
Ruin Haunters ................................................................................... 58
Sentience Reborn ............................................................................. 60
Extinction ........................................................................................... 61
Snake People (Descendants of the Worms) ................................. 63
Killer Folk (Descendants of the Human Predators) ..................... 65
Tool Breeders (Descendants of the Swimmers) .......................... 67
Saurosapients (Livestock of the Lizard Herders) ........................ 69
Modular People (Descendants of the Colonials) ........................ 71
Pterosapiens (Descendants of the Flyers) ................................... 73
Asymmetric People (Descendants of the Lopsiders) ................. 75
Symbiotes (Descendants of the Parasites) .................................. 77
Sail People (Descendants of the Finger Fishers) ........................ 79
Satyriacs (Descendants of the Hedonists) .................................. 81
Bug Facers (Descendants of the Insectophagi) .......................... 83
Asteromorphs (Descendants of the Spacers) .............................. 85
Second Galactic Empire ................................................................... 87
Gravital (Descendants of the Ruin Haunters) .............................. 88
Machine Invasion ............................................................................ 90
When Considering the Invasion .................................................... 92
Subjects (Many descendants of the Bug Facers) ....................... 93
The Other Machines ........................................................................ 96
The Fall of the Machines (Return of the Spacers) ...................... 98
The Post-War Galaxy ...................................................................... 100
The New Machines ......................................................................... 102
Second Contact ............................................................................... 104
Earth Rediscovered ......................................................................... 106
Return ................................................................................................ 108
All Tomorrows ................................................................................. 110


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