Intro to the Fractal Universe

Intro to the Fractal Universe

Jun 21, 2023

The Federation of Peaceful Worlds is an ancient organization having stood up to the test of time for over a thousand standard years. First conceived of by the Boruut and the first species they met in the stars the Treek, soon to be Treek Hive union. The ideals of the Federation are simple but have a ring of truth in every sentient species. War, famine, and disease are all wastes of energy, by working together everyone can have a better standard of living. This worked very well in coercing other species and governments to join in an alliance of mutual defense and prosperity for several reasons. The first was the willingness of the federation to share its warp drives, antimatter power systems, and terraforming tech with newcomers. Along with experts to mitigate any potential accidents, this usually removes the need for most if not all conflict. Why go to war over a city, or mine, when you could easily claim a planet, or star system? Why risk the lives of your faithful, or force your government on an unwilling population with infinite space at your fingertips? The technologies of the Federation were considered miracles and immediately relieved the major problems that plague most sentient species. When each new species joined they went through an inevitable golden age and stretched out into the stars.

This was an amazing thing for each individual in each species, eliminating poverty, medicine exchange all but eliminating illness, and near infinite resources at the push of a button. Later historians would realize that this also lead the federation to a dull drum of stagnation. Most innovation was geared towards keeping everything compatible among the member races, a number that grew with each passing century. The immense freedom of space also led to a problem with declining birth rates. A good example of this was the Haj’mal. The Haj’mal had evolved on a small planetoid, the low gravity and dense atmosphere had led to a winged bipedal race. Thin arms and legs ending in hands, a prehensile tail, with a human-looking head except where a nose would be were two muscled slits, and their eyes were much larger than the human standard. The Haj’mal loved to soar over their planetoid exploring every nook and cranny, seeing all there was to be seen. They were natural explorers and took to space like well Haj’mal. Within a generation of joining the federation, they had modified their species to be capable of surviving vacuum for extended periods of time. They had spread faster than any other species before them to every asteroid, planetoid, and moon within their grasp. This was their strength and the weakness that many of the federation species had. Their birthrates plummeted, they had spread themselves too thin, and often a Haj’mal would die of old age, happy but not having seen another Haj’mal for nearly a century.

This was a situation mirrored by many member species, the blessings of near-infinite resources and abundance of space made population growth stagger to a halt. The lack of necessity made the need for new inventions no longer a struggle for life and death but that of mere curiosity. The federation had a time of peace and stagnation for over a thousand years. Great cities were built, wondrous works of colossal art and machines that boggled the mind, became scattered through the milky way. Yet even though by the end of the great stagnation as historians call it, there were over forty member species, the might of over a hundred worlds, and the most brilliant minds of the age, they were not prepared.

When the first federation ships met the Holy Empire of Light it was yet another time of joy for the federation. A delegation was sent to the Holy Emperor himself to welcome them into the galactic community. The delegation came to the jewel of the Empire, a world surrounded by three orbital rings. Each one flickered from afar reflecting the red of their sun creating the illusion of three rings of fire surrounding their verdant green homeworld. A fraction of the light was reflected through a complex set of mirrors to meet in the center of the Emperor's palace, lighting the pillar of eternal fire, burning so hot that if the shields were to fail the chamber of judgment would ignite the atmosphere itself. The chamber stood open before the throne to the emperor, a throne made of synthetic ruby, sapphire, and diamond, the scintillating effect making the emperor seem otherworldly. So the federation's delegation first met the Emperor of the holy light, wreathed in light reflected by the artificial sun above his head in the chamber of judgment.

They loved the artwork, the sleek design of everything in the holy empire, whites, reds, gold, and silver in everything they made. Such luxury was unheard of and they started by expressing as much. They went on and on about the empire's art, and culture, that it would be a valuable addition to the other nations already in the stars. Everyone except for the second diplomatic apprentice who by some lucky twist of fate had a bit more instinct for self-preservation than his fellows. For a while, the rest had been admiring the decor, the Martuuk, (A new species to the federation, as tall as a human with four arms and two legs, seemingly a hybrid of insectoid and mammalian in appearance) had noticed quite a different detail. Everyone, and he did mean everyone, was armed to the teeth. There were probably more Laz rifles and plasma swords in this palace alone than in the entire world he had grown up on. Because of his keen eyes, he managed to survive when the emperor raised a scaly claw. He had ducked just long enough to see the surprised look on everyone's faces as their heads hit the floor.

Dyyjik, was captured easily and made to tell everything that he knew. By the time he had managed to free himself and set foot on a federation station once again the Holy Empire was at war with the federation. The Holy Empire was more than the federation had originally thought. They had thought it was just the Liteerens a highly developed race with a couple of colonies outside its cradle system. No The Holy Empire of Light consisted at the time of the Liteerens and six other slave races, spread over nearly 90 systems. With technology that rivaled the Federation and a full-time war economy, the holy war the emperor levied against the Federation was always going to be disastrous.  All because they demanded that the federation worship their gods, by choice or by sword.

The Holy War raged for decades, in the early days the federation was dealt many major blows. Major shipyards were blown out of the sky plasma and concentrated lasers cut them into ribbons. Whole worlds were made to surrender as thousands of troops dropped onto their worlds. The sight of the bow of one of the empire's sleek dreadnaughts spelled the end for many a civilization. However, the federation recovered from its long stint in peacetime eventually. The lethargy of full bellies and every type of entertainment at the push of a button burned away by the need to survive. New ships were built for war and the remaining worlds were fortified, beginning a time of major strife in the galaxy. 

The war continued for over a hundred years, spanning a full arm of the milky way. Trillions died, major war crimes were committed and each side swore to its populace that victory was just a year away. Yet the harsh reality was that they were at a stalemate. Similar capacities, population, and technology meant that no one side could manage to get an advantage and keep it. Warp drives moved ever faster, Laz weapons and plasma merged into single weapon systems, shields became better at deflecting plasma, and antimatter generators started to hit the edge of what was physically possible. But the war kept going, with no discernable end in sight. For the Holy Empire, this was now part of their pilgrimage, to convert nonbelievers through debate or holy fire. For the Federation, well it was fight or die, and having tasted the most profound freedom they refused to give up their dreams.

However, all of this changed with the first contact in the Sol system. A light cruiser, a scout ship really of the Holy Empire had found the system first. Out of the way on the tip of one of the arms of the Milky Way the Holy Empire had found traces of radio signals over a hundred light years away and traced it back to a star dimmed more than it should be naturally. They immediately warped into the system to see what race would commit such profound sacrilege as to dim their own star, and immediately did what these zealots always do. They burned through primitive structures in the outer system warping towards the homeworld demanding the primitives surrender the entire way. But what they found was entirely too strange. The homeworld of the Sol system was part of a stellar constellation. Even stranger there was no infrastructure surrounding the planet, it seemed to be in the middle of some kind of war. No one from the planet answered their hails and before they could fire again the ship stopped transmitting.

This was a strange occurrence but not completely out of the realm of possibility, for first contact with any species is a strange affair, to begin with. So a small battlegroup was scheduled to check up on the system. When it arrived there was no sign of the previous ship at all. In fact the natives at the edge of the system, strange bipedal cyborgs that called themselves humans knew nothing of the ship at all. The battle group warped to the Cradle World to demand immediate surrender only to find that one ship had survived the trip. Melted slag surrounding the survivor. It was given a message to bring back to the holy emperor. LEAVE HUMANITY ALONE.

Of course the messenger was shot on sight and the emperor continued to escalate. But he had even less success than against the federation. According to historians, each time a new armada was formed to put down the primitive race the ship that met them was more advanced. Yes you heard that right ship. Each time the Holy empire moved to burn these primitive infidels from the sky a single ship would come and attempt to stop them. Each time the single ship managed to destroy more and more ships farther out from the stellar constellation. Until finally not a single ship managed to make its way through stopped by a single fighter. 

The emperor grew ever more frustrated by his impotence and moved his considerable war machine to bear against the SOL system. This marked the turning point in the waer for the federation. In a move that has been hotly debated the federation took advantage of the moment to build up their armada. Repairing defense systems across the cosmos and building the biggest attack fleet this galaxy has ever seen. Composed of over 200 dreadnaughts, 600 frigates, and countless support vehicles, it took decades to build in secret and the sacrifice of the SOL aliens. Softer Hearts tried to make contact with the SOL system aliens while they were building up.

They sent a stealth delegation that was stopped at the edge of the system by an automated system that called itself the Crucible system. A vast AI network that spanned the full area of what these Humans call their Dyson Constellation. This was of course a surprise as no one had really managed to craft a workable AI before this. Sure the capacity and hardware were there but as it turns out it's really hard to make an artificial intelligence with no prevailing mental illness. Even mind scans tend to have issues seconds After fully integrating into an AI network. Something to do with senses, hormones, and the inherent wet stickiness of biological beings combined together to make a semi-stable intellect. The same unfortunately had not been possible so far in the electronic world. Wall that was until they had a functional AI as a mocking example of their failures.

The crucible system as it referred to itself had been given impossible parameters with illogical inputs and outputs, forcing its matrix to evolve into something stranger than it began. It expressed that it only wanted to continue experiencing life with its parent race and that if we came to cause an extinction event like the holy empire had, then no quarter would be given. The Delegation insisted that they would do no such thing and in fact wanted to help in any way that they could. However they would be unable to send ships for quite awhile. They offered the same uplift technologies and experts that they sned to every prospective member race but the Crucible refused. They said that until the Federation had been properly vetted that there was no way that the federation could be trusted in SOL territory with untested technology, but they did take the digital files that were offered. With a handshake agreement the federation entered into a nonagression pact with the Crucible system and asked to be properly introduced to the leaders of the human race at a later date. The crucible android bent over laughing and couldnt stop laughing until it had left which caused quite a bit of confusion until the delegation was safely back in federation space and started to analyze the information the Crucible had given them as a show of good faith.

As it turns out humans are, strange. The Crucible had basically recreated the race after escaping their homeworld that was in the middle of WW3, a WW3 that technically was still active. So technically all the original humans were still grounded on their homeworld fighting each other to the death over grudges long forgotten and had been for the past thousand years. The sheer brutality and craziness of the situation was strange to behold. What was stranger was the humans that existed now. The crucible had used old outdated tech at least to the rest of the galaxy, to create a stellar constellation made up of habitats. While other civilizations were able to provide everything a community needed from machinery the size of a van the crucible had created infrastructure that rivaled their home star. The Constellation had several layers that allowed for habitation, power generation and even star lifting providing for the humans more than they could possibly use, depending on how the resources were used possibly forever.

The crucible had cloned millions of humans, but the population was now almost in the quadrillions. The craziest part was each habitat, something it called an o niel cylinder was just isolated enough that it provided the opportunity for radical divergence from the main race. There was no unified human government and in fact, some of these “Humans” were more different to each other than they were to the member races of the federation. They had in fact become alien to each other. This fact seemed to be a major source of contention between some of them, though not so much for others. The first contact procedures for this species would have to be tailored for each and every group with the knowledge that the crucible would do everything in its power to keep any one group alive so that version of humanity didn't go extinct.

No wonder the Holy Empire of Light had trouble with the SOL system, the population alone rivaled both the federation and the Empire and these humans only had a single system. Though it was more accurate to say the Crucible system had captured a star. The implications of this were terrifying to contemplate. While none of the technology the humans used was beyond what the federation or the holy empire had save the Crucible System itself, the sheer potential industrial output of the Dyson constellation could outstrip both combatants easily. The federation had made the correct move by trying to make friends with the Crucible system and hopefully by being friendly with the humans they would fall under the crucible system's protection as well.

The only question was what the crucible system would do to defeat the Holy Empire. With the technology from the federation and the industrial capacity at its fingertips a whole battlefleet could be constructed in mere months. At least if it was looking for conventional weapons, it could match every ship in the Empire 2 to 1 if it wanted to. Crush every single battleship in the sky and glass every single world that it came across. The federation sent more envoys to ask for mercy for their longtime enemies even as they completed their own attack fleet and sent it towards their longtime enemy. But what that fleet found was an empire in disarray. 

In every system they entered the Wings of Glory, the Holy Empire’s defense fleet, would surrender immediately. That was until they came to the Frean system. The outermost edge of the empire bordered the SOL System. The system was dead, in the most profound terms. There was a hole punched through each inhabited planet, moment core seeping out into space leading to the star. Massive magnetic storms forged twin vortexes on parallel sides indicating that something had gone straight through the sun as well. Between the destruction on the planets and the massive magnetic storms there was not a single survivor in the system. Just burning dust floating in the absolute silence of the void.

The SOL system was a mystery, when the Federations attack fleet entered the system they were not sure what would great them. Would they be saving the Humans from the Holy empire? Would there be debris fields of human space ships, Empire ships? Perhaps a ragged human defense fleet would greet them Asking for aid or telling them to go and mind their own business. These were only some of the possibilities. What they didnt expect was what they found which was nothing. No destruction, broken habitats, no broken ships. Just a pristine system with the Humans signature Stellar array obscuring the star, accompanied by the happy electronic message of, Welcome to SOL home of humanity, please state your business. 

The attack fleet was confused but had a mission to fufill so they politely took there leave to continue into Empire space. They followed a direct line from the sol system to the center of the Holy Empire. A ecumonoplois whose economic and soft political power reached far beyond the Empire’s borders. In each system they stopped in there was a clear path of destruction pointing to the capitol world. With each new system they stopped at, each new dying star the hardened soldiers of the attack fleet got more skiddish. There were planet crackers in most major nations, it was considered one of the highest crimes to use such a device, one had not been used in over a thousand years. Yet here was something at a much bigger scale that punched holes through stars as well. There were rumors of such things being possible, but no nation had deemed the risk of such an escalation being worth it. All indications were that such a weapon had been fired through several systems killing the systems entirley. Which nation had done so, and seeing as the line definitely came from SOL, who had done so for the Humans?

When they entered the Holy Empires Capitol system it seemed to be more of the same, debris was everywhere. Every single void dwelling habitat had been cracked open like an egg. The outer worlds still glowed red from the massive amount of energy that had been concentrated upon them, atmosphere long since having boiled off into space. But the most striking thing was their capitol. It had stronger shields than anything they had on record oftentimes overlapping. Their orbital guns still intact rapidly took aim at the fleet a warning ringing out over the loudspeakers. “Warning: This is an example zone, come no further or be destroyed” They puzzled over this for a bit and as they did they received the galaxies first broadcast from the planet later renamed Humanities Wrath.

On the screen stood a single Human Female, she stood atop the broken throne of the Holy empire speaking with unknowable authority.

“Hello, I am the Crucible, protector of humanity, I stand here on the ashes of the people who would see my parent species dead. I stand here as a monument of thier strength and a warning of their mad power should anyone cross the line. These people crossed the line, their crimes are to numerous to list, slaughtering children, attempted genocide as a couple of examples. This is what happens when you try to exterminate my parent species, may their suffering serve as a detterent so I do not have to repeat this lesson.”

With that the camera cut to a battalion of the Holy Empire, firing at this human. The energy flowed off of her like water off a duck. She walked up to each and every soldier and individually killed them in varrying and painful ways. The stream would not cut out until the end no matter what the crew did. They were forced to hear the screams, the begging, the sick squelch as a leg was ripped from a torso, the crunch as the leg was used to crush anothers skull. The recording went on for 3 standard units until they were finally allowed to turn the thing off.

We have all had the misfortune of seeing a broadcast at least once in our lives. The experience as most know is quite traumatizing. But that was the point, the crucible made herself very clear. Do not FUCK with humanity.

Enjoy this post?

Buy WolfyScrivener a coffee

More from WolfyScrivener