Man Can Into Space

The State of Technology


Baseline human daily food energy 1 * 10^7 J 0.1 insols 100 -ng
Fuel for a 250 ton starship at 0.75c 3 * 10^22 J 3 * 10^14 insols 3 * 10^5 -kg
Solar Luminosity 4 * 10^26 W
1 day's total Solar output 3 * 10^31 J
1 Mercurial insolation-day-square-meter 8 * 10^8 J 8.0 insols
1 Terran insolation-day-square-meter 1 * 10^8 J 1.0 insol
1 Martian insolation-day-square-meter 5 * 10^7 J 0.5 insols
1 Jovian insolation-day-square-meter 4 * 10^6 J 0.04 insols
1 Saturnine insolation-day-square-meter 1 * 10^6 J 0.01 insols
1 Neptunian insolation-day-square-meter 1 * 10^5 J 0.001 insols
1g antimatter annihilation 9 * 10^13 J 900,000 insols 1 -g

Racial Tags

in-mood ulslo-bol untag-soc un-sub sucocer-sub

The Solar Government




Earthlings and Moonites




The orbit of Saturn is the traditional, but approximate, border between In and Out, and whether the polities of Saturn are on one side or another depends on the general state of Solar civilisation. During times of high civilisation, Saturn is a second Jupiter, with its own centres of culture and learning. In downswings, Saturn is almost like Uranus, minus the penal elements. At present, things are undergoing something of a slow ebb downwards, Saturn is slowly Outerising, and is distinctly provincial compared to Jupiter.


Uranus, the bearer of unfortunate names in many of the classical languages of the Solar System, is the pariah of the Solar System. Too cold and distant to be fully integrated into the Solar economy, but too important to be left ungoverned, the Solar Government has made Uranus into a combination prison world, military base and waste dump. Almost as poor as Neptune, the Uranian economy is kept somewhat more vibrant, or at least crawling, with public energy.


The Neptunians are the weirdest people. Racially, they're as you'd expect -- derived one and a half ages ago from pretty pure Saturnine stock, mostly from Enceladus -- many Neptunian clans are proud of their Sinbadi and Aladdini roots -- but with a large contribution from Mimas. They have the usual suite of in-mood [introverted-mood], ulslo-bol [ultra-slow-metabolism] and untag-soc [unantagonistic-society] derivations common in races that formed that far Out, but whereas the Saturnines and Uranians (albeit less voluntarily in their case) have stuck to un-sub [underived-substrate] bionomies, the Neptunians have gone as far as the Mercurians and Sungrazers in transferring themselves entirely to computronious substrates -- except in their case, they prefer a super-conducting ceramic substrate, leading them to be classified as a 'sucocer-sub' race.

They live in what are essentially large, flat, thin lamellae of computronium, closely coupled to solar arrays, with the Neptunians keeping their substrates as close as physically possible to the photogenerators to avoid transmission losses. The lamellae, sometimes anchored to asteroids, sometimes outfitted with actuators are owned and occupied by clans of between 1 and 100 Neptunians, or shared by a Local Consortium of clans. Because of their peculiar socio-psycho-physiology (which see below), there are single Neptunians who are larger than some clans a couple dozen members large, and so individual lamellae have all kinds of combinations of population sizes, clan diversity and energy consumption.

All Neptunians subsist on solar energy, as it is their Outist ideological commitments which prevent them from using nuclear power, not their poverty. The costs of fusion power are ones of overcentralisation and of clans 'accidentally' bootstrapping themselves into dominance. The whole race has therefore been left to reconsider this in light of the Solar Vinculation Crisis.

Once you ignore the senselessness of living that far Out (spatially and ideologically) in the first place, solar subsistence makes tremendous economic sense. Condensed energy is almost prohibitively expensive to ship that far out, but sucocer fabrication is relatively cheap, indeed all the cheaper because of the low irradiance Out there keeping temperatures low. You pretty much have to be ultra-reactionary Outist Puritans like the Saturnines, or dependent on Inner supplies like the Uranians (and the less hard-shell, or more hypocritical, of the Saturnines) to stick to the Gl00qOzE-n-PePtYde lifestyle that far Out. Which is not to say that the Neptunians aren't ultra-Outist -- the constant politicing necessary to get anything done in Innerist societies is impossible since the Neptunians are spread out too far in their orbits to interact with one another quickly; their poverty leaves them with little surplus energy; and their untag temperaments combine to leave them incapable and unwilling to engage in campaigning, warfare or transfection on a scale and pace familiar to Innerists.

Nevertheless, they have common interests and a shared racial identity so that there is a Neptunian Government: a minarchist confederacy, composed of 89 polities that do most of the actual work of government themselves. The main activity of the Government, apart from representing Neptunian interests Inwards, is to send out roving courts administering justice based on a law that has changed little from the Saturnine original, itself based on ancient Kantglo-Terran Common Law. Most of the cases heard by the Government's courts relate to civil torts and property disputes. Serious criminal cases are rare, and rarely come before a court -- a typical penalty is exile, usually Inwards, in abhorrent cases, Out to Deep Heaven. The Neptunians, by and large, recognise the authority of the Solar Government, but since there is little revenue to be gained by taxing the Neptunians, beyond the regular censuses and Solar Assizes to gather up escaping Outfangfoes and Neptunian criminals that the Neptunians could not, or did not want to, arrange to get "lost in Deep Heaven", they have not been a very relevant actor in Neptunian politics.

Despite the name, most Neptunians do not live near Neptune -- only about 100,000 of them do, with the remaining 310,000 being scattered around Neptune's orbit at varying eccentricities and inclinations.

Neptunian polities vary in size:

The three largest polities are found on Triton, each with a core role in the Government. Cantaloupia is the smallest of the Tritonian polities, but houses Parliament -- the other two polities have Government Houses networked to Parliament with (relatively) high bandwidth comm links, as well as the lunar and orbital cities, and also the more important hinterorbital clan-holdings. Parliament meets every Neptunian Degree (that is, every 1/360th of a Neptunian year, or approximately 167 Terran days) and is reconstituted every five Degrees in general elections. Sovereignty is held by Parliament collectively. Members of Parliament have to live on Triton while Parliament is in session, though not necessary in Cantaloupia

Cryovulcania has the most powerful comm laser in Neptunian space, owned and operated by the Government but only rarely leased out to clans and individuals, and then under very tight restrictions. This is a matter of cost as much as anything else -- most of the surplus of Cryovulcania goes towards maintaining the laser, its archives -- which form the nucleus of the Government's archives -- and surrounding infrastructure. It is technically capable of reaching the colonies in Deep Heaven, though it has only twice been powered up that high in as many ages: once by a Martian faction with interests in Deep Heaven, but who had so poorly arranged their affairs that every polity which owned a powerful enough laser was at war with them, or at least Not Talking to Them, and on the second time by a forward-thinking, borderline rebellious, Neptunian consortium/political party seeking an unorthodox solution to the Solar Vinculation Crisis and willing to spend several decades' collectively accumulated capital on it. The Government also owns two In-And-Out-Again power lasers, capable at full power of sending messages across the Solar System as far as the orbit of Neptune on the other side of the Sun, but these are operated by Nereid and Proteus.

The third Tritonian polity is Triton proper, the original colony. Triton holds the political balance between Cantaloupia and Cryovulcania, and is something of a paradox. Despite having the oldest architecture and Neptunians, and so being a locus of Neptunian religion and traditions, it is also (again, relatively) the most Innerist Neptunian polity. Partly this is because foreign (Neptunian and otherwise) trade is conducted through Triton and because the Mayor of Triton receives Solar delegates. In Kantglo-Terran tradition, Cantaloupia bears legislative power, Cryovulcania judicio-intermediary power and Triton commercio-executive power.

Triton dominates the Neptunian system -- the other moons are merely conveniently located and so more expensive, asteroids, a little more densely populated than their hinterorbital counterparts. Nereid and Proteus, as mentioned, have powerful comm lasers, and are each their own polities. The remaining moons are grouped into five polities, mostly for historical reasons dating back to the first colonies, making a total of ten planetary polities. The remaining 79 polities are all in hinterorbits and, with a few polities owned by exceptionally powerful clans, only equal the Planetary Polities in Government influence if they act together.

The Neptunians have a rare problem: Inwards, most gathered solar energy is consumed as it is generated, with little concern for waste or excess. Energy storage is mostly a matter for rich men, with high-value antimatter and high power maser as the commercial standards for bulk energy transmission, with various electrochemical solutions for doling out smaller portions. It is only these smaller technologies that meet the Neptunians' needs, and even then the Neptunians have not standardised much, using whatever chemical cells the Neptunians could scrounge up. Each lamella contains at least one, usually several, chemical fuel cells to store the trickle of excess energy not used by its inhabitants. Mostly it is used internally at some point for relatively expensive and powerful transactions such as low-range laser communication and waldo usage, or else it is lost as waste, but when Neptunians form companies, the typical structure is for some lamellae to be converted into banks, which take and concentrate the excess energy of multiple lamellae, beamed into it by laser-beams, or through translated fuel cells.

Despite being based on computronium, their poverty is such that they still only think at about 1/10th of the ancestral baseline speed -- this means that at best, it takes a couple of subjective weeks to send a message to Neptunians on the far side of the Sun. Their long-distance messages are mostly sent like their short-distance ones -- via peer-to-peer relay. If it is urgent, the Government's lasers on Nereid or Proteus, or if anybody has a private one nearby, can be hired. Charging one of them up is a costly proposition, however. Calling the Inner system is a more affordable project for Neptunian polities, although beyond the means of most individual Neptunian clans, but there are few people there who care much about what Neptunians have to say.

This is mostly because they are weird and boring. The Solar System is not short of weird and interesting people, but the Neptunians are not among them. One reason for this is the important distinction between them and the Inner compusub races: whereas the Inner races rejoice in their wealth, and elaborate all kinds of fanciful psychologies and physically unlikely-but-not-impossible pseudobiological forms, the Neptunians take mycoplastic efficiency to an extreme

Mycoplasticity is the name for a suite of morphotechnologies which attempt to optimise biological structures. The name is derived from a baseline bacterial genus Mycoplasma. Mycoplasma sp. are unusually small, lack cell walls and have reduced genomes. This is beneficial to them since they live as parasites on baseline vertebrates, requiring basic products of vertebrate metabolism to live. Mycoplastic techniques are those which involve a bottom-up rewriting of pseudobiology on non-baseline substrates which take advantage of properties of those substrates which provide efficiency advantages.

Whichever functions, the more basic the better, that could possibly be pushed down to the ceramics and away from pseudobiology were long ago optimised for minimum energy expenditure. But just as Mycoplasma sp. are restricted in their environments by their degeneracy, so are the Neptunians. Indeed, it is not even clear how one could accurately reproduce a Neptunian in a un-sub homologue; one can imagine that, say, computronian Starlingflocks could theoretically be translated to unsub bionomies: a very very large flock of birds with unusual minds, which can fly at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light, and could emit and fly through micropatterned clouds of airborne drugs. But at every level from the pseudomolecular to the pseudoanatomical, Neptunians have had whole sections, and tiny little intricate parts too, taken out, refactored and reimplemented close to the ceramic. Neptunians are made of pseudocells, which pseudorespire and produce pseudoATP, although the actual energy-binding steps are an abstraction of basically photovoltaic processes. Neptunian DNA is stored in a central database, with clan-, individual- and cell-line- diff patches applied on-the-fly, although much of the pseudogenetic apparatus operates as though it were manipulating baseline genetic material. A typical representation of Neptunians, especially Inwards, and one which Neptunians on occasion find it worth living up to, is the ancient monstrous archetype of the 'nanocyborg' -- a humanoid being with Drexlerian nanotech integrated into it at the cellular level, but also with comically large, primitive mechanical limbs. The Neptunians look normal to each other, though.

Neptunians are also narcissists. Not necessarily deeply so, especially the ones who live in lamellae with multiple clans, but the modal Neptunian is. This lifeway/style/quirk/pathology (delete according to ideological preference) comes about because of their slow and eccentric adaptation to the computronian mode of production. Most Neptunian pseudophysiology outside the homologues of the central nervous system is mycoplasticised away -- digestion, and locomotion in particular -- with the unusual exception of the cardiovascular system. which is instead worked into a pseudobiological analogy to the infrastructure of the array. Neptunians spend a great deal of their time micromanaging their own vascular systems in order to maximise energy inputs and minimise energy expenditure on pseudoneurons. Since sunlight that far out is extremely attenuated, the arrays are large even on a human scale, let alone a subjective Neptunian scale, and so the pseudoneurovascular-consciousness of a Neptunian is widely spread out. This leads, pseudoanatomically, to a decentralised system with multiple pseudohearts and multiple pseudoganglia, each of which have the tendency to individuate into subneptunians. If a subneptunian becomes too distinct from the 'core' Neptunian then it, usually amicably, is considered the child of the parent Neptunian, and belongs to the same clan. Reproduction is not usually asexual, although Neptunian sexes are extremely conservative -- they consider that one sex-axis is quite enough, thank you, with Neptunian sex-extremes being most similar to Butches and Femmes. Neptunians die when they die -- usually of something pseudocardiovascular.

Deep Heaven

Deep Heaven is the traditional name given to occupied space beyond the solar system. Space not known to be occupied is known as Beyond Deepest Heaven, or just Beyond. The inhabitants of Deep Heaven, therefore, are quite diverse, and include:

The Solar Vinculation Crisis