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  • File : 1255807642.jpg-(432 KB, 1600x1200, Space Art Wallpapers 00.jpg)
    432 KB Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)15:27 No.6312668  
    (Original post from http://forum.rpg.net/showpost.php?p=10916622&postcount=95)

    "Worse than the little pockets of degenerate holdouts stuck in some asteroid, eating the fungus they grow in their own crap, are the suicides.

    Whole goddamn worlds, of suicides.

    Civilizations that killed themselves.

    There's a kinship in death you won't feel for a bug or a moth or a sea anemone in life. It's the sad little signs of thinking feeling souls that do it. A worm-thing with a little flip-book of pictures of other smaller worm things. A hairy fang beast with a sloppy painted kid's drawing of a house (a square with a triangle on top. go figure), a little stick-figure fang-beast out front. When it's not trying to kill you or eat your face off, it's just something dead, a long way from home, and from anything that ever loved it.

    Now, imagine a whole world like this. Brain-cases blow out by compressed gas guns. Stadium-sized euthanasia machines, filled with the voluntary dead. Orbital apparatus designed to focus sunlight and turn a world into a Venusian hell of lead-melting heat and toxic gasses, all the while the citizenry below looked upwards with weaponry enough to stop it. If they wanted to.

    What the hell could make a whole species decide life was too miserable to continue?

    I hope I'm not the one to find out."

    Post about an alien civilization, and how it committed suicide.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)15:45 No.6312860
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    (I'm gonna make this short because I have to leave)

    They turned inward and that is why died off.

    At some point these beings developed the technology to perfectly replicate the world around them using technology. This naturally came with benefits. A being experiencing this virtual reality was mostly freed from the troubles and consequences of life in the universe. They could fly, they could walk through walls, and none feared death.

    Or so we theorize.

    The virtual world was superior to the real world for it was not just free of consequences but it was also more malleable. As the technology rapidly improved individuals and communities could exist in fantastic universes limited only by their own imaginations. Over time more and more people were drawn into these varried simulations and the physical world around them grew empty.

    Ultimately they stopped having children. For you see offspring would have necessitated spending time outside the simulation. Obviously we don't know the details of how this happened. It is logical that some parties acted to prevent this from happening, but the virtual world was an addictive drug and resistance to it eventually ceased.

    The scary thing is that by analyzing the ruins which once comprised the primary facilities running simulation indicates it may have outlasted its creators by quite some time. Decades perhaps, or even a century. Imagine, a hundred years of a perfect but soulless civilization existing within a computer, its inhabitants virtual offspring? They'd have behaved and acted exactly like real "people", living their lives and otherwise pantomiming a meaningful existence within simulation.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)15:49 No.6312906
    This has significant potential.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)16:11 No.6313098
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    War, war never changes.

    These beings, like so many others, developed weapons capable of destroying their entire planet. But unlike many races mutual assured destruction did not deter them in their lust for conquest of their neighbors.

    We found only an irradiated husk of their former civilization. Not much to gain from it. The planets resources are all mostly of no value at this point. After the initial bombings on the planet many of the species got into a series of deadly skirmishes with one another or simply locked themselves away to die underground.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)16:11 No.6313107
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    "First time you've been to the Drakkars, girl? It's quite a sight, isn't it? Like something out of a fairy book, all the ships floating silently around the green world. You like Svenson's "The Silent Vessels?" He composed it after the Drakkars: he was just a bit older than you when he came with his father, Professor Svenson, and the first team of xenoarchaeologists.

    Look, there they are. See how well they're maintained? Not bad for something that is basically made of wood. Not all of them are so lucky, every once in a while we find broken remnants around the system, or lodged in the ring asteroids. Of course, now they are clean: Professor Svenson's team had the long and thankless job of cleaning up all the spaced corpses on their docks.

    Best guess we have is that the Drakkars (Svenson named them like that after the ships, they kind of look like ancient raiding boats from Old Earth) somehow tapped into antigrav technology in their equivalent of the Dark Ages. No, not countergrav, but anti-grav: the denial of gravity. From what little records survived the Drakkars, we get that they used the technology to generate energy from the very movement of their world through space, and they used that to power their ships and protect them against the void of space. They even managed to get to the asteroid ring around the world, we've found ruins belonging to them there. With that kind of major paradigm shift, though, their normal scientific development stalled, which is why they didn't get actual void-worthy space ships, or even rudimentary electronics.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)16:13 No.6313123
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    As far as we know, all Drakkars - every single one of them! - decided one day to get into their ships, meet up in this region of space, and deactivate the force fields. We know that it was intentional, for the xenoarchaeologist team found the bodies on their control rooms, and the crews tied down to the ships to prevent themselves from floating away. What we will never know, I am afraid, is why. All that we found in their records and ruins is that late Drakkar culture was overwhelmed by sadness and grief. A pain powerful enough to destroy a whole race.

    But still, the ships are beautiful, aren't they?"
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)16:16 No.6313157
    One wonders if they knew what was coming? As the population living outside the simulation grew old and dwindled people who's lives depended on them must have realized they had a problem. Perhaps they were apathetic, or perhaps some fought violently not to be detached from their fantasies. Anyone who had been hooked up to the simulation since childhood would likely have not been able to even survive in the real world. Their minds would have in most cases been savvy and sharp, but their bodies might not have been. That is all we can surmise.

    When did they realize they were trapped, when did they realize that there were not enough able bodied people living in the real world to keep the addicts alive? Did they panic or did they deny it? Maybe some thought that the simulation was a myth and that the fantasy they lived indeed was the real world.

    They might not have even noticed as the number of authentic users declined to nearly nothing, the population at large by that point composed of convincing computer programs. It's an eerie thought to imagine those bots thriving within the simulated world(s) decade after decade until one day infrastructure failed and the simulation promptly shut off.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)16:18 No.6313179

    Imagine being a person inside the virtual reality near the end, and slowly falling into despair as your friends' avatars stopped becoming active because there was no one living to control them, and watching as the virtual world depopulated and became empty.

    This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)16:19 No.6313194
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    From what we've gathered from this planets cultures turned completely to death for it's answers to everything.

    Have cancer? Kill yourself. Lonely? Kill yourself. Can't get a job? You guessed it, kill yourself.

    Over time this kind of morbid finalization of life over trivial things kind of became their only way of handling anything. You can see from their records that as time goes on, the general intelligence of the their planetary community as a whole degraded as all the older generations began killing themselves with such high frequency.

    Eventually there wasn't anyone having any children. And those that did often found themselves in the grip of post delivery depression. And guess what the answer was for that?
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)16:25 No.6313241
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    It was simple for them really. After splitting the atom every tribe and nation on their planet rushed to acquire nuclear weapons and in the end most of them succeeded. Then it happened, the bombs were dropped and irradiated mushroom clouds blossomed over almost every major settlement on the planet. Such a catastrophic loss of leadership and life, combined with a brief nuclear winter gave their species a famine of unimaginable severity. Within five rotations around their star over ninety percent of their species was gone along with most other higher life-forms including plants.

    It was very tragic, and they knew it. While the embers of their once great civilization were still burning they figured out what happened and recorded it, intent perhaps on passing it on to their descendants (who would die out before ever discovering their parent's legacy).

    It was a trick of the sun. Light reflecting off of a peculiar cloud formation and registered on one powerful nation's defense systems as an enemy attack. In a panic that nation launched its missiles at its greatest enemy and that enemy then responded.

    Their extinction was the result of an unaccounted for computer glitch.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)16:31 No.6313310
    Who were they, and why did they just stop one day? As far as we can ascertain, they were at a mid-20th century level of tech, and one day they all just laid down and died. Was it racial despair? a cult suicide? We don't know because their bones are all that's left to tell their story.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)17:24 No.6313939
    bump for dead worlds
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)17:31 No.6314026
    The Catacombs, yes.

    Initial surveys had classified this as a barren world - sulphurous atmosphere, signs of heavy vulcanism in the planet's past, no life-signs detected on the surface apart from a few resilient algae in the steaming mineral sludge that comprised the shallow oceans.

    It was a prospecting mission found them - boring through the old long-cooled lava flows in search of any minerals worth extracting, when one of their core samplers broke through into a vast cavity over a hundred metres below the surface. They tried again a little way away - except this time rather than breaking through, the sampler brought up... artifacts. Or fragments of artifacts, at least. Carved and worked stone, metal and glass.

    After that they brought in the xenoarchaeologists, did some deep-level scanning, and discovered a whole network of cavities under there - not the mindless formations of erosion and subsidence, but structures - corridors, hallways, rooms and chambers laid out with orderly deliberation, carved into the bedrock itself. Investigation of other likely-looking sites brought back similar results. Imagine Pompeii or Herculaneum, but engulfing New York, London, Beijing and Rio de Janeiro all at once.

    An entire civilisation, buried under hundreds of metres of solidified lava and volcanic ash.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)17:32 No.6314038

    At first we thought it might be some kind of mass-eruption, some tectonic disaster that had immolated and buried the entire planetary surface. That the populace had sought refuge in subterranean cities implied that perhaps they'd seen it coming, had hastily carved out these shelters and planned to wait out the cataclysm, so they had seismologists, vulcanologists, geologists, experts on planetary geophysics come and find out what happened - and whether it could happen again. So they started looking at faultlines and the old cindercones of the world's volcanoes, and the xenoarchaeologists sent a team into the ruins to start exploring and cataloguing.

    It wasn't long before the geo-whatevers reported back their preliminary findings, and that got people paying attention. Turns out that there were signs of construction at the volcanoes, too - enormous shafts bored deep into the crust, lined with machinery constructed on a monumental scale.

    Consulting with one of the dig's engineers, their best guess was that it was a system of siphons and pumps designed to draw magma from deep down and pour it out onto the surface in vast quantities. They'd deliberately drowned their world in molten rock. Why? God knows. Maybe it was an act of war. Maybe there was some threat on the surface, something they feared so greatly that they would willingly burn their world to destroy it.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)17:34 No.6314051

    It was around the same time that the archaeologists returned from the depths, and their report was even more unsettling. These creatures had a sophisticated culture, and their skill in crafting was unparalleled - you can see the artifacts for yourself, there's plenty of them on display in the Colonial Museums on a dozen planets. Scenes from daily life, historic events, that kind of thing.Exquisitely-worked, sublime in their artistry - especially the pre-Cataclysm pieces. Made the caches in the Valley of the Kings look like junk-shop detritus.

    The post-Cataclysm works were also in ready supply - it seems that their civilisation had survived for some time following the volcanic inundation, but the artifacts are altogether... different. Still beautifully-crafted, but the motifs depicted are unsettling, disturbing - all the more so for the attention to detail that was clearly lavished upon them.

    Then there were the remains. The long-dead bodies strewn throughout the silent halls, many with marks of violence upon them, even after all this time - pinned to the wall with elegantly-wrought metal weapons, hewn apart with blades that remain sharp to this day. Some madness had seized them - despair, perhaps, at their predicament, trapped so far beneath the surface of a scorched world. Others had withdrawn to secluded chambers and simply laid down to die, alone.

    And the carvings... everywhere there were carvings, on every surface. Lovingly-rendered scenes of carnage, of atrocity, every detail graven in stone and preserved for all time. We know how they died - we know in awful, terrible detail how they died, right down to the last of them slumped against a wall with engraving tools at hand, a tiny, pitiful figure carved into the rock beside it.

    We know exactly how they died.

    But we still don't know why.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)17:38 No.6314090

    Squat fortress?
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)17:39 No.6314100
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)17:45 No.6314152
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    >boatmurdered world

    pic related in every way.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)17:48 No.6314177
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)17:50 No.6314201
    Livinya is an interesting case among the dead civilizations. Not only is their demise comparatively recent on a galactic historical scale, the Liv represent a cautionary tale about the dangers of first contact.

    Their civilization was quite similar to Earth, really. But the dominant religion was an extremely outward-looking one. Its prime tenents contained a commandment to look to the stars, to seek out other civilizations and contact them. Every temple was a telescope, and when the Liv managed to get into orbit almost all of their satellites were loaded with sensory equipment, scanning every spectrum for signs of intelligent life. They'd have laughed at our pitiful SETI program.

    They did find what they were looking for, in the end. The Shor-xi civilization found a Liv probe and sent a diplomatic mission to Livinya. During their long history, the Shor-xi had established connections with several other sophont species. But they weren't used to the kind of treatment they recieved from the Liv.

    The Shor-xi mission was seen as gods. Every word they said became holy scripture. Every scrap of information, every technological improvement the aliens could provide the Liv took up with a feverish reverence the Shor-xi never expected to find. And then, a few years in, the disaster happened.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)17:52 No.6314217

    It was a parasite, completely benign to the Shor-xi who had adapted to it to such a degree that they didn't even consider its presense as anything but a natural part of their physiology. When the Liv were exposed to it, though, it wreaked havoc on their nervous system. Made them apathetic, lethargic. Infected subjects simply lost their will to live. In the advanced stages of the illness, they simply laid down and calmly waited to die.

    Naturally the Shor-xi followed standard quarantine protocol, recalling the diplomatic mission and returning back to their homeworld. But the damage was already done. And because of their religion, most of the Liv didn't try to fight the infection.

    First contact was the driving force of their entire civilization. And when it was finally achieved, the beings from beyond the stars brought with them the gift of death. The most popular ideology among the Liv became Tashak, roughly translated as Tomb Fate, which stated that the Liv were destined to extinction now that their civilization had realized its goal. Was not the way in which the parasite killed, the calm contentment of death, symbolic of the way the Liv were now to go, they argued?

    When the Shor-xi returned with medical and science ships to support Livinya's population, it was already too late. The entire population had either voluntarily or forcibly been infected with the parasite. Livinya was a dead world. This incident left a mark on Shor-xi policy: following Livinya, they became the silent, isolationist civilization Humanity knows them as today.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)18:04 No.6314344
    Bump for epic win.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)18:06 No.6314370
    "When Humanity went to the stars we went seeking life. What we found instead was death. On world after world, we found evidence of previous civilisations, worlds of tattered spires and crumbling skyscrapers, empty and desolate. Worlds where mass transit systems and roads stayed in place but where every single on of the buildings had been calmly and efficiently demolished. On Jagio we found a mausoleum that ran across the length of a continent, on Minas a billion gravestones scattered equidistant on the planet's surface.

    And on every world it's the same. the tantalizing hints of life, of fossils, footprints...but on every world nothing remains. These worlds hold nothing but ashes and gravedust. Tombs waiting for us to find them empty.

    The question that we ask ourselves now is, are we the gravekeepers, or are we next...
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)18:12 No.6314437
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    Jolly good.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)18:15 No.6314495
    Sounds like a mix between crossed and that japanese spiral horror comic.
    With a sprinkle of chtulu.
    Awesome OP, keep them coming.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)18:16 No.6314512
    Most of them are not mine. /tg/ is delivering the awesome.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)18:56 No.6314943
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)19:01 No.6315030
    Compiling a textfile of some of these (Awesome stuff!)
    >> I troll U Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)19:13 No.6315159
    These are just a few of the images we've recorded. And you can see, it wasn't what we thought. There's been no war here and no terraforming event. The environment is stable. It's the Pax. The G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate that we added to the air processors. It was supposed to calm the population, weed out aggression. Well, it works. The people here stopped fighting. And then they stopped everything else. They stopped going to work, they stopped breeding, talking, eating. There's 30 million people here, and they all just let themselves die.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)19:45 No.6315608
    You know, I would play this as a videogame. A xenoarcheologist on a dead world, trying to figure out how the civilization living there died. No need for monsters (maybe some environmental hazards), just let me explore alien ruins and shit.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)19:52 No.6315737

    brb watching Serenity.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)20:03 No.6315874
    i too would play this game, maybe not mmo, but perhaps using a system like spore with user generated content distributed about, and a randomly generated galaxy each new game.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)20:24 No.6316157
    >like spore
    Like the game Spore was supposed to be, you mean.

    Man, what a fucking disappointment.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)20:33 No.6316258
    no like spore as in the peer to peer distribution of user made content thingy.

    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)20:35 No.6316291
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)20:52 No.6316493
    Very few ever travel to the planet that we first called Heaven.

    It was an amazing world in many ways- evidence shows that the low gravity combined with the dense rock structures created awe-inspiring spire-like mountains and few great oceans. Depictions xenoarcheologists have found show that it also was a world of puffy clouds and temperate weather. A paradise by any definition.

    What was most impressive, however, were the Angels.

    While scientists refuse to speak of the species in religious terms, the cultural impact of a race of feather-winged humanoids is undeniable. There has never been a movement to change the name of "Exterrus Seraphi".

    It is known that these wings were not merely evolutionary reminants- their own depictions and our studies of their anatomy show that it was physically possible for them to fly. We can see that they were a peaceful culture: there were no depictions of war or conflict in any of our artifacts. We can also see that they valued language and the written word, as seen by there layers upon layers of dense, mysterious scripture. We did not at first understand why they died. However, upon a first investigation into the oceans of Heaven, we found our facts, but not our answer.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)20:52 No.6316498
    Sounds awesome. I'll look into it.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)20:53 No.6316500

    Deep within the oceans there is evidence of powerful industrial destruction, shockingly tall mountains felled as if they were a tree, free-falling onto the ground below or into another mountain, causing a domino effect of devastation.

    Yet it was the finding deep below the Crescent Islands that truly shocked us. There is evidence now of a vast ocean trapped within an ancient caldera that eventually contained the majority of the planet's water. And the final act of our Angels was to crack this great natural dam and flood their own world. A Megaflood more powerful than what occurred in Ancient Washington and Oregon during the Ice age before man.

    And yet it would have been containable had the angels not first timbered their own great mountains. Without that, there was few if any remaining land-masses during the flood where our Angels could survive. And only a few did: fossilized remains have been found on the few remaining islands, and our research has been split on a few facts.

    Where our island-angels the last desperate survivors of a suicidal genocide? Or were they the causes of the Megaflood as a way to preserve their own chosen people? It is unknown, and under much debate.

    However now there are few pilgrimages to Heaven by the aghast believers as there was during the original discovery. Only the macabre funeral-watchers and we squabbling anthropological theorists, glancing and pondering upon a cryptic world.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)20:57 No.6316541
    ahem. To quote Poul Anderson
    ""In a way." Narden's words tumbled over each other. He himself, his consciousness, did not know whither they led. "In a very real way, yes. But not identically with his life while the body functioned. He hasn't got physical parts or senses any longer, you see. But of course, he must have gained new psionic abilities which more than compensate. He could speak mind to mind with living Cibarrans, tell them the facts--and then, maybe, go on to the next phase of his existence, like a butterfly leaving the cocoon--"

    He turned to the watching Cibarrans and shouted, "That's what you've been trying so hard to keep us from finding out, that death isn't the end! But why? You claim to be interested in our happiness. You couldn't have told us anything more wonderful than that we have immortal souls!"

    The stranger vanished. Elth remained a second more. Narden realized it was a surrender: the answer given now because it would be discovered anyway, unless these humans joined in hiding the fact. When he spoke, it was with surgical compassion.

    "You don't," he said."
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)20:58 No.6316561
    you can read the whole thing here
    sage for addendum
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)22:12 No.6317314
    It's a tragedy of course, but the unfortunately named Bullseye is one of Interplanetary Expeditions most lucrative sites. The inhabitants were quite advanced at the time of their death and had even begun experimentation on a hyperdrive. Crude by our standards but an interesting approach we are still puzzling out.

    IPX doesn't like to use the term suicide. We call them events. Quite baffling of course. A space faring race could have easily diverted any near-planet asteroids on a collision course. It wasn't until we expanded our survey into the rest of the system that we realized what happened.

    A base out near the second gas giant Trojan point. Dedicated to the manufacture of ion engines and the attachment of same to kilometer wide asteroids. Aimed at their home planet. Not just one, but dozens.

    We still don't know why, but the conclusion is inescapable. They manufactured planet killing bullets and then shot themselves.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)22:33 No.6317583
    Archived for awesome.
    >> Anonymous 10/17/09(Sat)22:35 No.6317610
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    This thread is <3
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:05 No.6318604
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:25 No.6318832
    This world was named Hyperion when we found it, after both the mythological titan and the fact that the captain of the ship that discovered it was a fan of a late twentieth century author who used it for some reason or another.

    The world itself seemed to be mostly desert, but not in the death-world sense we had found elsewhere. More a desert in just calmness, an absence. There were a few shallow seas with fertile land around them, but still, mostly just barren, austere desert. The geo-scientists said that this should not have happened, but hey, it was hard to argue with fact. It wasn't till we landed that we found them.

    Every few meters, across the entire desert, there were white, plastic protuberances. We set down next to one and started hitting it with sonar, turns out it was hollow, but there was no real door. We ended up turning the ships guns on it and blasted the thing down. First people in the hole went down some stairs and found rows upon rows upon rows of sarcophagi, each with a body in it. The bodies were human, or at least looked it to us. One person touched one, and a light came on, we moved over to the light and a collage of pictures began to play across the screen.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:26 No.6318838
    It was difficult to see at first and then a scene caught my eye, it was a scene from a 2-D movie from back when, I know the movie too. A character, some kid, had just blown up a space-station. Then it changed, a war movie, men landing on a beach, carnage everywhere. The images flashed faster and faster, slaughter and death from our world's fiction over the last centuries played out on this alien tomb-screen. The final shots were of the people here, who we could plainly see were just as human as we were, in utter terror of this menace from beyond the stars.

    They killed themselves in order to spare their children and their world the anguish they knew a people with such an unstoppable bloodlust would wreak upon it.

    It was then that it dawned upon us, we had killed our brothers with our blind broadcasts to the sky. As far as I know, I'm the last person of that ship that's hasn't killed themselves yet.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:30 No.6318891
    bamp for great justice and more of /tg/'s awesome creativity
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:32 No.6318917
    The discovery of intelligent life gave us hope that there could be more sentient species out there. It only took another few thousand years to find them.

    The Quinches were like us in many ways, if not physically then perhaps in some parallel, similar in their outlook. Centres of population crusted the continents with architecture that mirrored our own in diversity, if not in design. They had spread throughout their star system, but as yet could only contemplate the vast interstellar distances beyond. Once, they confessed to us, their ancestors had raped their world for its resources with scant regard for the long-term consequences. They would have tried to shoot us out of orbit had we ventured into their system a thousand years earlier. Yet they avoided catastrophe, learning the fundamental lessons before it was too late. Their homeworld still bore the scars.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:32 No.6318918
    bump for justice
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:33 No.6318934

    And there were others, in other solar systems. To the Dring we became the focus of revere, our journey the ultimate pilgrimage. They beseeched us to help them in their plight. Their world, locked in eternal winter, once revolved about a yellow main sequence star. They claimed that it had faded in the space a few million years, and now the lacklustre orange-red sun that rose every morning could manage little more than a frigid twilight glow at noon. In our arrogance we faulted their science. We tried to make them understand that a star took a thousand times that long to die. But they were unshakable in their belief, as we ourselves could not give credence to the existence of the demon that was consuming their sun.

    Nevertheless the Dring wished us well as we departed. I remember being saddened as their icy planet dwindled. Perhaps we had been rash to discard the faith of these benign and deeply spiritual people. In the end they had refused us permission to establish a community on their homeworld, and I couldn't help wondering if humans had become somehow diminished in their esteem. If only I'd been more circumspect to what lay between the lines of the extensive library of theological texts that they had allowed us to examine. Could we have prevented the catastrophe?
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:36 No.6318964
    The Eternity was already in-system and I had a library of information to sift through, which kept me busy for another three months until orbital insertion. Initial observations had suggested an uninhabited planet, its rotation so slow as to be almost imperceptible. The mantle seemed to have solidified aeons ago. Only a remnant of a core still spun sluggish at its heart: just enough to generate a weak magnetic field. The star was an orange-red dwarf that had been christened Octavia before my waking, after a famous Resident pioneer, long left behind. I’d slept through her life.

    We were only a week out when a colleague, Ira, spotted a feature on the fringe of the planet's terminus that seemed somehow out of place. It was too regular to be a natural formation, and soon turned out to be the first of many similar ruins littering the surface. "Nothing seems to be more than a couple of thousand years old..."

    We had the planet mapped in its entirety by the time we achieved orbit. It floated over the astro-lab's holo-plate, with some of the derelict structures expanded to show detail. I had to agree with Ira. On Earth there were relics in abundance at the time of our departure that were much older, like the Egyptian pyramids. "We won't know for sure until we go down and have a closer look. Any ideas?"
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:38 No.6318989
    My tone was sharp. Distracted as I had been, I'd missed the ruins on my initial survey, and it irritated me to have one of my staff bring the mistake to light. We were sleeping with each other, and Ira had been tactful, but that didn't make me feel any better.

    She shrugged, not appearing to notice my indignation. "Hard to say. But extinction appears to be total. It looks like there's nothing left alive down there. We'll see more detail as we get closer. I've included a series of test scenarios to apply to the figures. I wouldn't like to speculate until we've seen the results."

    "It could be anything: comet strike, massive coronal mass ejection. Global epidemic is unlikely. There'd be something left; plant life at least. Perhaps a nearby star went nova?" Ira thought that that was unlikely. The contradiction didn't improve my demeanour, but I mustered my temper.

    "Test the scenarios but keep an open mind," I told her evenly. "We won't know for sure until we get down there. Suspend the preparations for colonisation. We need to figure out what happened to the previous tenants."

    It wasn't long before I was left alone at the console, with an overriding sensation that I was rapidly becoming unpleasant to be around.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:39 No.6319007
    I'd selected several sites, but focused on what appeared to have been the largest centre of population: a sprawling network of decaying buildings on the equator that we named City Number One. There was a structure at the centre that had drawn my interest. It was by far the tallest surviving artificial feature on the planet: a steep-sided cone, some three thousand metres tall, surmounted by a slim spire that went up half as far again. Long fibres, encrusted with fragments, trailed from the tip, drifting gently on the breeze, like the tendrils of a sea anemone. The whole thing stood in the middle of an open area of cracked stone that was just big enough to contain it. As the explorer homed in on the apex of the spire we saw that it had broken off; a clue that once it had been taller. I brought the explorer down in a spiral around it, keeping its primary scanner focused inwards on the spire. A three dimensional diagram of the structure bristling with labels began to rise out of a secondary holo-plate.

    "I think I have an idea what it could be," I heard someone mutter. The viewing chamber was crowded and I had no idea who'd spoken.

    "Enlighten us then, if you would," someone else said.

    "Well, it's built almost exactly on the equator - to the centimetre. And those fibres are comprised of bundled chain molecules of diamond. Then there are the channels running down the entire length. They contain devices similar to the mag-coils that were once used on those old trains in the Residents habitat. I'd suggest it's some kind of sky lift."

    "A space elevator?"

    "Whatever you want to call it…"

    Further speculation was abruptly cut short. The explorer had reached the top of the cone. No one was at first sure of what they were seeing.

    "Can you zoom in on those loose stones?"
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:40 No.6319027
    I adjusted the optics. The image exploded, blurred, then sprang into perfect focus. Utter silence filled the room. There could be no mistaking what we were seeing. Regardless of the inhuman features, it was without doubt a skull that stared back at us. And it was not alone. There must have been hundreds of them. That was my initial guess. They rested amid other bones, straight and curved, of different sizes and shapes, some whole, others fractured and broken. Slowly the picture pulled back out again and I revised my original estimate. There were thousands… no millions… …And then I realised. "Oh my God. The whole thing's made of bones," I said quietly.

    "How many individuals do you imagine it would take to make something that big?"


    I'd covered my mouth with my hand, at the same time appalled and fascinated. I removed it long enough to say: "A whole planet's population." It remained a mystery how this grim edifice had come about. In general, opinion tended towards self-annihilation through accident or war. After all,had we not nearly destroyed ourselves in the twenty-first century? So it was possible. Perhaps humans had been one of the lucky ones, surviving that era in their social and technological development. We certainly would not have had the maturity to thrive in the closed society that existed aboard the Eternity.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:43 No.6319058
    But something continued to nag at me. I turned to the data once more, in order to seek an alternative solution. My thoughts continued to linger on the dreams I was having in cryo-sleep: so vivid, more like real experiences than a picture constructed from a mosaic of memories.

    I eventually suggested to my Mission Commander: "I think it has something to do with what's happening to the stars," when she’d asked for my thoughts on the gruesome memorial.

    I saw the first lines of concern creep across Sara's brow. Her tone softened. "What's happening to the stars?"

    The condescension that I perceived in her voice irritated me, but the figures I brought up on the plate went a little way towards preserving my credibility. I took her through them. "The stars are dimming," I insisted. "It's as the Dring tried to tell us. And rather than face their ultimate fate, they destroyed themselves. I think the same happened here in the Octavia System. And it's happening everywhere."

    She remained sceptical. Perhaps because of that, I could not bring myself to tell her about the dreams. In them I had experienced whole lifetimes through the ages of man, while my body was suspended in the tank.
    And it was not only the past I’d dreamed. I’d seen the Earth, as it would be in years to come, turning so slowly now that a single day lasted ten years, and witnessed the ground torn open beneath my feet as a tremendous force from space struck the planet. I’d lived many lives watching the sky grow progressively darker as we’d descended into the rents in the world to escape the cold. And finally the Great Redoubt, where the last enclave of humanity subsisted and would snuff itself out rather than be consumed by the darkness.

    It seemed to me that man's future was mirrored in the graveyard world we'd discovered, though I remained unable to voice my fears.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:45 No.6319080
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:46 No.6319088
    The Sphere is perfectly reflective. It has to be, lest any stray cosmic ray raise the internal temperature above the perfectly maintained zero degrees kelvin: the temperature at which atomic motion stops. Apparently the builders even worked out some way of negating virtual particles, the techs say the Hawking radiation is proof of that, I don't know.
    Either way, whatever is in there will survive until the heat death of the universe. Survival of a sort, anyway.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:48 No.6319106
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:52 No.6319156
    We began encountering similar worlds: infrequently at first, then, as millennia rolled by, with increasing regularity. Decimated races, on dead planets, circling dying suns.

    On some worlds we found no trace of their passing at all, save their homes haunted by emptiness. Perhaps they fled the ravagers of their worlds, or maybe all that was left were ghosts. And in some cases evidence concluded that they’d chosen to destroy themselves, rather than face whatever it was that had threatened them.

    Gradually, the number of dead worlds increased in number. I knew I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)00:54 No.6319180
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:01 No.6319257
    These paragraphs are just part of a longer story, entitled Across The Night Wall. It was inspired by Hodgson's The Night Land, but now with 85% more C'Tan!
    Sauce: http://www.thenightland.co.uk/nightacross.html
    >> Shas'o R'myr !!TZikiEEr0tg 10/18/09(Sun)01:05 No.6319313
    I can't help but think of that story by Arthur C. Clarke, where a religious expedition finds this planet with a giant ruin on it. It was a monument to their species after they realized their sun was set to supernova. The guy in charge runs the numbers, and loses his faith after he realizes the supernova that killed off the aliens was the light above the birth of Jesus.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:06 No.6319317
    I read that.
    That is all.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:09 No.6319348
    I can't help but think this sort of story would be perfect for the Imperium's first explorations of the Tomb Worlds, long before they realized the corpse of Necron civilization was awakening.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:17 No.6319440
    Funny, I was reminded of a different Arthur C. Clarke story; Childehood's End.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:17 No.6319448
    Reminds me of a story I read once, I think one of Larry Niven's Draco's Tavern tales, about a race that supposedly discovered what awaited them after death. Then they all committed suicide. Speculation was that either there was Heaven, and they all wanted in, or a Hell that gets worse the longer you were alive. And people who investigated the world too closely would follow in their footsteps.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:21 No.6319489
    Childhood's End is another good one. Humanity is shepherded by a species called the Overlords, who are basically the devils of every mythology ever, but turn out to be okay guys. They were sent by a cosmic intelligence (called, stereotypically enough, the Overmind) to watch over the last stage of our evolution. This turns out to be a generation of psychic children who perform a sort of planet-wide ritual to merge with the Overmind. The ritual destroys Earth, but not before everyone but the psychics kill themselves in despair at the end of humanity.

    Let me tell you, this was not a good book to be reading in middle school.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:24 No.6319516
    >Let me tell you, this was not a good book to be reading in middle school.

    Since when has simple logic dictated what books should be read in school?
    >> Shas'o R'myr !!TZikiEEr0tg 10/18/09(Sun)01:36 No.6319643
         File1255844207.gif-(24 KB, 60x56, Overmind.gif)
    24 KB

    So I am told.

    Were the Overlords not pissed off they could not merge with the Overmind for some reason or other?
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:39 No.6319671
    They were more vaguely depressed about it. Which is a weird reaction to not being eaten by an epic-level psion uncarnate, but to each their own I guess.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:44 No.6319711
    The Subject Is Closed, yep. I fucking loved the Draco Tavern.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:46 No.6319734

    Well, it's because their entire culture taught them that unity with the Overmind was basically immortality for an entire species, merging in perfect harmony for all eternity. It's almost like nirvana (or like human instrumentality, if you want to be a big weeaboo about it). Imagine being told that you could never get into heaven--not because you were a bad person, but because your soul just wasn't shaped the right way. You'd be pretty sad about it too, I think.
    >> Richard Motion 10/18/09(Sun)01:46 No.6319735
    The usual pattern we found the dead aliens in was slumped forward, with what would have been an elbow joint on a human underneath their 'heads' - little more then prehensile mouths. It was only when the archeology team found one who had fallen sideways down a hill, instead of forward as their center of mass would let them, did we make the connection. They had been kneeling, with their heads bowed, and their arms upraised; perhaps in prayer, or supplication. Seventeen billion aliens, all gathered in what we surmised were their temples. Seventeen billion aliens, all dead some ten thousand years before we even arrived - as was every single other lifeform on their planet, down to the single-celled organisms. Nothing rotted, and nothing decayed, save for a thin layer of oxidation on everything - an eon's worth of rust.

    We found personal electronic devices on the dead - could have been pacemakers, or sports watches, for all we knew. Once we deciphered the information contained within them, we figured it out. Their deaths were fast, possibly instantaneous, but not everyone on the planet died at the same time. Adjusting for ten thousand years of planetary cycles, they all died at midnight, wherever on the planet they happened to be, ten thousand and seven years ago. The first deaths occurred at their grandest and largest religious site, at which we have found a strange device that seems to extend for some miles below the ground. Investigation is ongoing.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:47 No.6319738
    Well, it's either being eaten by a universe-spanning psychovore (is that the world? Mind-eater?) or joining with the ultimate Thing Larger Than Oneself.
    >> Richard Motion 10/18/09(Sun)01:47 No.6319740
    /tg/ you're awesome.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:50 No.6319767
    I don't know, you would need a radical Ordo Xenos inquisitor for the appropriate mixture of wonder and horror rather than HURR PUNY DEAD XENOS
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:51 No.6319774
    There are few places you can go in the universe that are more eerie than Quadrant One Zero Eight. That was the name it was given when it was first discovered, but it has come to know many names in its time. The most common is the Graveyard Galaxy.

    For that is what it is; an entire galaxy, beyond the scope and scale of the Milky Way. Thousands of billions of planets, and each, without exception, colonized in the past. The architecture, the style, everything, on every planet, is the same. What is terrifying is that every one of those planets, every floating structure, is perfectly empty.

    Beyond that, each is perfectly still.

    There are no stars left in the Graveyard Galaxy, and yet every planet is perfectly illuminated, on all sides, as if in a permanent day. When the Xenoarchaelogists first discovered this bafflingly massive colonization effort, the scientific community was ecstatic. Every aspect of whatever species had built these structures was hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years more advanced than we are today. It would not be an exaggeration to say that they would have been gods among us.

    Excitement turned to confusion, which gave way to absolute befuddlement, however, when any attempt was made to dissect the structures, or to move anything from the planets. Even a stone, from a barren part of the planet’s surface, could not be pried from the ground on which it lay. Attempts to access some of the consoles found were absolutely useless; the keys would not move, as if they had been carved out of cement.

    The xenoarchaelogists were like ghosts, unable to touch these strange worlds.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:52 No.6319782

    Years passed as they continued to explore the galaxy, finding no variance or deviance from these patterns; only starless space, with frozen planets. However, whomever had once been here had not been content to pass without a final testament to their memory. Now that we know everything, we almost wish we had let these monuments sleep.

    It was at the very core of the galaxy, where logic dictated that a supermassive black hole should be, that they instead found a planet. There was only one structure on this planet, no bigger than a football field, and inside was only a terminal, with a message frozen on it. Not a message in any alien script, but a message in English, bizarre and out of place in such an advanced construction. Stranger yet, it was addressed to the very ship that had landed on the planet.

    This strange race had reached a plateau in their progression. A point of perfect stagnation, not because of a lack of desire to progress, but because there was no more progression to be made. Perfect understanding, perfect application. There was nothing more to be done, no height left for their species to reach.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)01:52 No.6319792

    They had reached a consensus then. Uncountable individuals from uncountable worlds, all in agreement to erase themselves totally from the face of the universe. It was the widest-scale civilization suicide ever recorded, but what is more profound is what they left behind. They had frozen the entire galaxy in perfect stasis, unmoving, unchanging, immortal. With no need for stars, they had removed them; with no need for a gravitic centre, they had erased a supermassive black hole and left a message there instead. And, with all their work done, they had simply disappeared. They leave no record of how they did it, only a mention that this is all that is left of them that exists.

    The crew of that ship packed up, and all the expeditions after that report were recalled. There was nothing more to learn here, only unsettling halls filled with what might have been memories.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)02:07 No.6319914
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)02:26 No.6320080
    We wouldn't have known what had happened at all had we not found the large facility on a rogue planetoid; all we knew about the K-88 Nebula was that there were absolutely no inhabitable planets across an anomolously large area of it and that you got strange gravity distortions, as if there were dozens of tiny, tiny black holes in the region, always near the inhabitable zones of the nearest star. At least 3 dozen of them, in fact.

    A deep space mining probe found the planetoid, following a strange red-shift pattern that shouldn't have been there but for a huge asteroid, and then sent a communication back to its corp HQ about finding an alien structure. Standard response was to send a science team and a squad of marines, which were dispatched immediately. They found a small structure containing a deep-core fusion drive of very advanced design and a large amount of computer equipment. When they entered, it scanned their minds somehow and the central console turned itself on. This was the message it broadcast:

    "Our scientists have perfected what you would call Quantum Theory. They have discovered that there is no afterlife, there is nothing to look forward to in death. All there is, is the continuation of the atoms that make us all up. They will continue for all eternity, until heat-death claims this universe entirely. We will spend forever as frozen, disparate atoms spread thinly across the infinite.

    We have decided that we shall deny an uncaring universe that which we are made of. Let this stand as our testiment: we will go into that eternal night on our own accord, not at the whims of fate. We shall remove ourselves from this universe entirely."

    Which apparently they did, using some kind of Quantum Vacuum technology we haven't even begun to fathom. They ripped themselves, whole and complete, out of space-time.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)03:12 No.6320643

    Dear god this is depressing in the middle of the night.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)03:30 No.6320921
    I'm sorry, the Galaxy of Death? The No-Afterlife message?

    No. Simply no. That's the sort of chain-letter nonsense that makes our work difficult. Quite frankly we, and I'm speaking here as a representative of Interplanetary Expeditions, have no idea why so many xenocivs encounter end-stage events.

    We are hoping that will change, very soon. This is off the record, no reporting at all. Understood? Good, I remind you that you are still bound by the IPX nondisclosure agreement you signed as a condition to this story.

    We've got a planet with corpses. Not mummies, not DNA laboriously harvested from fragments on the wind, but fresh corpses.

    Pre-radio xenociv otherwise we'd have found them much sooner, but this happened incredibly recently. Had the Scout Service found them even a year earlier God knows how it would have worked out, but anyway IPX has a priority contract on this one. That will look good for our bottom line.

    We just need to find contractors able to handle the .... situation. Human compatible atmosphere, but it smells like a slaughterhouse. And the relics are a bit disturbing. It seems the natives...ate each other.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)03:30 No.6320922
    Good story, but the Overmind ATE the psychic children. There was no grand elevation into a new form of being, just absorbtion into a greater one.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)03:48 No.6321159

    That's not the story I remember. The last unevolved human being remains behind to witness their apotheosis, and he is awestruck by an incredible sense of accomplishment from the transformation. The Overmind *absorbs* humanity's essence; they become one with it. They're aren't eaten as a snack--the remnants of humanity's ultimate evolutionary process join with the Overmind, and the story's context makes it both horrifying and beautiful.
    >> No Man 10/18/09(Sun)04:07 No.6321381
    Tired and going to bed.

    - population responsible for aesthetics spontaneously commit suicide, all over world.

    - a wide, slowly moving radius of area drives all within it to suicide.

    - evidence of continent-spanning weaponry is found, but the march of the death zone coninues unabated.

    - the sapients become nomadic. Eventually they find that crossing into the area already covered by the suicide-inducing force acts as if it was still there.

    - BAD ENDO
    >> Richard Motion 10/18/09(Sun)04:10 No.6321429

    You know, I thought of something similar involving nukes and leftover electromagnetic signatures, a la Warren Ellis's planetary, but decided not to write it.

    You know what's worse than the 'pockets of degenerate holdouts stuck in some asteroid,' or even the galaxy-spanning suicides?

    It's the ones that held on. The ones that are still alive. How can someone... or something... stare into the void that has caused the demise of so many species and still live, still eat, still subsist in the cesspools of the universe?
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)05:06 No.6321916
    We've spent so long searching an admitidely small section of space for life, how would we react if we instead find death? What would we do if instead of civilizations, we find graveyards?

    What would become of us?

    Would we be consumed by the emptyness, and become the latest in a line of suicidal cultures as long as the existance of the universe itself? Would we continue to drift through the void, finding the cold remains of more and more civiizations, compiling a codex of dead worlds? Perhaps one day, another race who have just unlocked the secrets of interstellar travel will find our world, our people, dead by our own hands, and know that every society that has ever been, accross the expanse of the universe, eventually killed themselves, whether by accident or design. And thus, does the cycle repeat itself.

    It's...Beautiful, really, when you think about it.

    Kudos to all who contributed. Perhaps I'll have something more than an elaborate, eloquent bump to share, should this thread see the morn.

    But that's the point, isn't it? We all 404 eventually.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)05:14 No.6321962
    Bumping through to the morning
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)05:32 No.6322094
    Does it get me down? To be honest I've never thought about it that way.

    I mean I know there are a lot of catacivs out there..cataclysmically ending civilizations. I know we are supposed to say end-stage events, but that's the literature term and IPX hasn't bought out Nature or Xeno-Archaeology yet.

    Mostly it's just fascinating. It's an entire alien civilization we are working on here, and why they killed themselves is really just a small fraction of what we uncover. No, we really don't know exactly why, but it seems to revolve around some kind of civilization wide revelation. What exactly is still a bit opaque.

    Oh why do I do it? Because I'm curious and in a way I like to think I'm speaking for the dead. The catacivs may be gone but there are thousands of years of history to uncover. Culture, beauty, dreams... yeah technology too. That's what pays the bills but it's not why I'm here. Or anyone else besides management.

    I don't know what they discovered that was so terrible. I like to think that if we ever do the same we just won't go that way. There's so much beauty in these relics and so much to share with the rest of the cosmos.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)06:08 No.6322302
    Damn, wish I'd found this earlier.

    The Keldrian Gap is one of the galaxy's more curious finds. Stellar drift analyses show that it was a perfect cube 243.7 light-years to a side, accurate to about a gigameter, maybe 32 million years ago. In the Gap, there are no stars or planets, though it's just as dense as it's galactic position would indicate. Apparently, all of its mass was converted to- guess what? Spaceships. Each one ranges from 50 meters to hundreds of kilometers, with 200 meters being the average. The full count is unknown, most estimates place it in the 26th order of magnitude. They're scattered throughout space in relatively homogenous distribution, so all throughout the gap there's one every few million kilometers. It's shifted now, so on the borders you'll find a bunch of them in planetary or stellar orbits, and quite a few have crash-landed on planets somewhere.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)06:09 No.6322309

    Inside each ship, it's empty. Atmosphere is vented, airlocks open, on purpose by the looks of things. Hallways, corridors, wiring and various instruments, but there's nobody running it, and no systems are operational. Near as we can tell, there *were* some kind of aliens there. There's some residue, fossilized bacteria, clearly alien skin flakes, other signs of activity, but we never found any bodies. Not yet, at least. They're just... gone.
    There's a theory that they might have been jettisoned, considering the open airlocks. Given 30 million years of drift and their expected size, they'd be scattered among the ships, probably no more than one every few hundred thousand kilometers. Our sensors aren't sensitive enough to pick something like that up, so it's definitely possible.
    All the ships we've found have been inhabited at some point or another; that much is clear. Population figures could be anywhere from a dozen to thousands per ship. What I want to know is, how did 10^27+ individuals of any species even come to exist? And why would *all* of them just suddenly decide to take a stroll in deep space?
    >> The Fall of the Tar Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)07:34 No.6322816
    This was meant to be a two-poster and a few minutes' work. Stupid momentum.

    There are all sorts of suicides, all other the galaxy, when a civilisation decided extinction was the best choice. Some do it because they revered death. Some, because they thought they knew something about it. Others, because their cultures made it right. There are those who died because it was the only choice left. Mass suicide as a last gesture of defiance against a coming dominator, or where death is a better fate, or rarely, because their civilisation was... done.

    But in all the worlds of the galaxy, only one civilisation has ever killed itself because it wanted to live.

    Out on the very rim of the spiral arm of the galaxy, there is a dead system. It contains just one sun, long since burned out, a single world, utterly barren, and one artifact. That artifact is a vast ring of an unknown substance, standing tall against the surface of the world, on a pedestal of earth dozens of kilometres high. It is completely immutable to every technology at our disposal, even the controlled short-term use of a matter sink, and almost inert.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)07:34 No.6322824
    When we focused our most powerful sensors on the ring from the space at its heart, we saw a brief flickering of exotic energy, barely registering, and existing solely at that point over an area of effectively zero size. For ten years our sensors studied it, trying to find out what energy was leaking, and what it could tell us about it. Then, on the eleventh, a bored exotic energy characteristic analyst playing around with the readings found the pattern, a simple flicker of on and off in the emittance one of the pseudoparticles we found, and one repeating perfectly every three hundred thousand hours. The notion that, for once, one of the great enigmas left behind could at last be solved brought a vast outpouring of interest, and the pattern was decoded.

    We found a history, a testament, and a warning.

    The world we saw was that of the Tar, a species utterly unique to all we had ever seen. They were relatively humanoid in thought, having come from a similar ecological niche, and well within the bounds of physicality we had seen. But their system was encased in a nebula, one of such incredible depth and density that there was nothing to be seen but their world, and their star. They knew nothing of the outside universe, and never sought to look. It is, as always, the little things that make a difference.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)07:35 No.6322826
    Their world was harsher than most, but rich in natural resources. It bred into them a determination to survive, to thrive, to grow, and fueled by their mineral wealth, they did. Their civilisation grew rapidly, driven by a species-wide tribalism, until they had covered their world. Cities vast beyond belief covered entire continents, were set adrift on floating islands, sunken to the seas to live underwater, and at their peak, set into the sky. Every last resource was used efficiently and well, and their technologies had grown far beyond those of even galactic-scale species, for they had always sought to work inwards rather than outwards.

    And then, they ran out. They ran ouf of room, ran out of resources, and ran out of ideas. Their civilisation could no longer grow in the space they had been given. This, the pressure cooker of every world, is the driving force that sends most to the stars, but here, with no reason to ever believe that anything more existed, no such release was found. Something would have to give.

    Something did.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)07:36 No.6322834
    Their fierce species instinct, the power of cooperation, broke in the face of their will to survive and grow. They were now a vast mass of smaller groups, faced with the onerous task of clearing out every other in order to spare more for them. First came conflict, then fighting, then all-out war. They were very nearly the most brutal wars known to the galaxy, with such incredible destructive power unleashed on such a small world with such a vast population. Lives were lost in the hundreds, then the millions, then the billions, and into numbers so vast they no longer held any meaning. A cruel ultimatum and a desperate peace was developed, as the survivors, most desperate and ruthless of all, created weapons capable of annihilating every last life on the world. The survivors grew again, but this time, knowing what would come. The others sought to develop better weapons, and destroy the weapons of their foes before they could be used, or better defenses, so as to ride out the coming storm. But one, just one, sought another way.

    He knew that there was no way to survive the coming storm, and that come it would. But, in a leap of ingenuity only equalled once in his races' existence, he thought to himself, why can't we simply skip past it? His scientists, the top minds claimed from all the other long-dead tribes, worked feverishly at his plan, knowing in their hearts that it was the only way for them to live, driven by their furious desire for further life. He told not the others, knowing that the survivors must be of one tribe and one tribe only, for their split had seen their ruin. Whatever they did, they must do it as one, for as one they could live and grow in peace amongst themselves.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)07:37 No.6322845
    His scientists developed theories of wormholes; passages in space and time, that we know now to be impossible ventures. And yet, despite this simple truth, build it they did. Perhaps never seeing the lessons of the outside universe had given them the means to bypass their restrictions, though here at a cost far too terrible to pay. They built the vast wormhole we know as the ring, using theories written in formulae mathematically incorrect and with outcomes contradicting observable fact, and yet, made it work. They created the wormhole using the wormhole generator, created the generator using the wormhole, and used the very patterns the wormhole forges to power the generator, a paradox both unsolved and unsolvable, and sent their entire tribe in; a desperate leap of faith, trusting in the one hope they had left for survival. They triggered their vast and terrible weapons, and sealed the wormhole shut as their world burned behind them.

    They did not reappear then. This was not a hole through space, for there was no other space they could travel to. This was a passage through time itself, into a future in which their world could once again sustain life.

    The scouts emerged, one by one, a thousand years apart. Most died, the legacy of their apocalypse still utterly lethal. Then, a hundred thousand years later, one lived long enough to tell the wormhole to open. By now the world was at last fresh, for the scouts who had survived beyond their first few seconds knew that their deaths must see the survival of the others, and had worked at reseeding the biosphere of the world. It was beautiful and lush once more, marred only by the life markers where the scouts, one by one, had fallen.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)07:37 No.6322852
    They stepped forth into this new world, marvelling in the second chance they had been given, and vowing never to repeat the mistakes of their past. They grew as before, in a grand and unified civilisation, closer, if anything, than that before it. As before, their thirst for survival and their cooperation fueled their advance, and within centuries, they had grown beyond their former height.

    And then, they ran out.

    Again, they bickered, and again, they warred. They heeded the long-dead words of their forbears and split not by race, but this time, along belief. Again they developed the extinction weapons, and the world was erased as the descendants of the former chief left for another future to make their own, taking the grave lesson to heart never to allow themselves to be split by belief.

    The next time, it was intellect. Then age. Then marriage. Then birth. Then random chance.

    Every time, they vowed never to repeat the mistakes of the past.

    Every time, they heeded well those words.

    And every time, they never saw to the heart of the matter. Instead, they inflicted a hundred thousand genocides on themselves, each time fleeing the devastation they wrought into the future.

    And then, they ran out.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)07:38 No.6322858
    They left the wormhole, scarce few in number, just enough to sustain their civilisation at base level. They saw that they had been out of time for not a hundred thousand years, but a hundred million years. They saw the structure the countless emergences had built, a tiny refuge insufficient to sustain any meaningful number of them. They saw the blank face of the world, utterly bereft of the verdant life that had greeted them in every other case. They saw the incredible array of apparatus that had been focused upward.

    And then they saw the sun.

    It was only the testimony left by the scouts that could tell them it was their sun at all, for it had diminished to a cold, white ball, empty of life. All that they had, and all that sustained them, was what they had brought with them. They had never planned for a change in what they had thought unchangeable, and when it came, they were utterly unprepared. They were far from relenting, and turned all their intellect, their technology, and their unbending will to live into finding out whether the sun could be brought back. The answer was the same as all the lone emerged had found. Their world would never see life again.

    This did not deter them. They had the wormhole, and they had the will. They saw everything that could be done with it. They could not travel back, merely forward, for to do otherwise was impossible. They tried, again and again, but to no avail and the great loss of irreplaceable resources. At last they saw no choice but to go forward again, and this time, to go all the way. They would see the last moment at which the wormhole could possibly be sent, the last moment of time, and go there. What they would find, they had no idea, but an impossible hope is a hope all the same. They set the wormhole, took everything they had with them, and walked onward to the end.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)07:40 No.6322868
    Their leader, though, stopped for just a moment. For the second and last time, a leap of supreme ingenuity struck him; that perhaps life did not exist only as they had seen it, and that even their cold sun could give rise to something that would one day be called life. Determined to see the survival of life itself if he could not see to his own, he set the wormhole to one billion years into the future, surely, enough time for new life to arise. He stepped in, and stepped out, and beheld a horror that very nearly struck him dead.

    Above the bare ashes of the world, and below the pale glimmer of their sun, were lights. Lights like their sun, numbered beyond counting. At last the nebula that veiled their sight was lifted, and above him stood the entirety of the galaxy, a billion billion stars. He had found the salvation of his kind, and found it too late.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)07:41 No.6322875
    He tried, in futility, to change the course of the wormhole, but once it was set it was fixed, impossible to change, even more than it had been impossible to create. He could code a message in the wavering of the wormhole, that he knew, for he had seen that the history of his kind and the testament of their passage to the end of time had been recorded into the wormhole for all eternity. But now that he had a message that would save his species, there was a far greater purpose to it. He sought to encode his warning not into the warping of the wormhole's passage, but into the very fabric of the wormhole itself, to embed it in this machine that existed simultaneously at every moment of its past and future. It was also impossible, but in the same way, was perfectly logical by the workings of the intrinsically inexplicable machine. He set to encode it with the last days of life he had left in his suit, but as he did the inescapable feeling of déjà vu sat heavily on him. Foreboding growing apace, he read back the message, now translated into the language of the wormhole.

    It was exactly the same as the inherent fluctuations they had seen since its construction.

    And there, the last of the Tar died.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)07:42 No.6322879
    "I am Gryyd, son of Niad, heir to Salvation Road and the last survivor.

    We sought to live, and thus, we died.

    Know that growth is not life, it is only the postponement of death.

    And never forget to look up"
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)07:47 No.6322912
    Archiving thread 6312668
    Thread found.
    Thread is already archived; updating content.
    Sanity checking passed. Continuing with archival.
    Downloading images... 11 found, 0 new. Done.
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    Thread 6312668 is now archived.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)07:50 No.6322928

    The thread was archived 9 hours ago
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)07:59 No.6322989
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)07:59 No.6322996

    Shamelessly stolen from Fallen Dragon, but well adapted nonetheless.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:07 No.6323042

    Oh, sorry, I missed that line. I thought you were trying to upload it elsewhere.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)08:08 No.6323048

    It had bothered me, the way the Mordiff story ended. There was no reason for them to not have ever seen outside their nebula, and I always like to focus a little more n the way things work out like they do. Yes, it's a children's story about a superhistorical event, but it's still in a book of fiction.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:13 No.6323069
    They had an empire once, a whole globular cluster out there in the halo, tens of thousands of light-years outside the galactic disc. They'd developed FTL and set out to colonise their neighbouring star systems soon after, seeking out promising-looking rocks and seeding them with life.

    The expansion was rapid, a span of mere decades before they had colonies on every terraformable rock within a hundred light-years. It was the terraforming that was the slow part, waiting for engineered algae to manufacture a breathable atmosphere, to rot down into a soil layer that would support more sophisticated plantlife. But they did it, with patience and care, tending their patches of algae, then moss, then higher forms until their worlds bloomed.

    That took centuries, but they persevered, and then prospered. The FTL drives allowed them to weave a coherent, united culture across hundreds of worlds, to trade and travel and thrive. Rapid communication, news travelling from one side of their empire to the other in a matter of mere days. Even now it takes us weeks to travel from one of their worlds to its nearest neighbour, and that's after we learned a lot from their relics.

    It was the FTL drive that led to their end-stage event - or at least, it hastened it, and led to the tomb-worlds that our surveyors discovered when they first ventured into the region.

    At the edge of their sphere of influence, something happened. They only noticed it when one of their worlds dropped off the grid. I mean, how would they know beforehand? Something happens way over there, so what? Unless you've got someone sitting there with a FTL-capable ship ready to go, you won't hear about it until the light reaches you.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:13 No.6323077

    Best guess from the stellar remnants is that a neutron star finally managed to snare and devour one of its planets, releasing a massive burst of X-rays. Enough to sterilise anything within five hundred, a thousand light-years. A sphere of death, expanding in all directions at the speed of light.

    For a span of time, nothing comes from this planet, and none of the vessels sent there return. The other worlds get worried, obviously.

    Eventually an exploratory vessel returns, its crew half-dead and almost glowing in the dark. They'd dropped out of hyperdrive to find the whole world dead. Not just the people - the animals, the plants, right down to the monocellular fauna. All the ships that had arrived before them were there too, just drifting in decaying orbits, their crews just as dead as the people planetside.

    They send in more heavily-shielded ships, and the radiation level subsided, and after a while they manage to piece it together. A sudden death that had scythed across the whole system, bathing the world in lethal X-rays for days. They ran the numbers, and realised that nowhere in the cluster would be safe. The neutron star had doomed them all. They had decades, a century at most for the worlds farthest removed from the point of origin. Each world got its own deathclock, counting down to the arrival of the pulse.

    They did what they could - the worlds nearest to the neutron star were evacuated as completely as possible, and their more distant neighbours took them in. But all that did was delay the inevitable. They watched as world after world died, seared clean of life, left barren and silent. FTL-capable scouts visited after the pulse had passed, bringing back images of garden planets now yellowed and withered, coastlines thick with the unrotting carcasses of dead sealife, streets strewn with the bodies of those who'd been unable or unwilling to leave. Everything their civilisation had nurtured for centuries, wiped out.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:14 No.6323080

    They were pushed back. Each successive refuge became more crowded, more desperate, as the displaced populations of now-dead planets fled before the neutron star's deadly glare. Finally they were driven to just one planet, right on the far edge of their empire. By this point any attempt to evacuate the doomed worlds had been abandoned, the cluster's population too close-packed to condense any further, and so billions were left to face their inexorable doom. The lucky ones found passage to the final world, which xenoarchaeologists have dubbed Namtar.

    From the signs of decay, the planetary population was dead long before the pulse reached them. Some in their homes, huddled among loved ones. Others lying in orderly rows in the aisles of their temples. A few found in secluded spots, in the high places, overlooking dustbowls and dunefields that must once have been lush parks and valleys.

    There were some stragglers, some whose well-preserved state indicates that the planet's putrefactive bacteria had died alongside them. Some had picked a direction and walked until the pulse dropped them. Others were found alongside mass graves, still burying the dead of a whole world.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:16 No.6323095
    Hamilton has a thing for time portals.

    Great writer, though.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:18 No.6323106
    Heh, that was stolen too. From the book SPACE. Also a good book; Malenfant was a true hero.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:19 No.6323113
    The world of Beatrice, covered as it is by a vast ammonium sea, would have been marked uninteresting for settlement and passed over by IPX ships if it wasn't for the orbiting beacon. I was part of the xenobiology research team on the Hope, and since we happened to be the closest ship at the time, we jumped in.

    Beatrice didn't actually have a civilization, in the usual sense of the word. What it did have was an enormous organism; a coenocyte spanning the entire planet, and from the evidence we could gather, that was what had built the sattelite. It was intelligent, or at least, it used to be, because when we attempted contact we were met with random patterns of electromagnetic activity in the cytoplasm, nothing even remotely resembling the sophistication of the language used to broadcast the signal, the beacon that told us Beatrice's story.

    It had expanded to fill the entire ocean. Free from ecological constraints, its great mind was free to contemplate, to brood, to consider what to do next. It was the master of its world, but it was alone. Utterly and completely alone.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)08:19 No.6323115

    Well, mostly forward-time portals, for some novelty. Except once.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:20 No.6323121

    And so, in order to find other intelligent life with which to communicate, it spent all of its intellectual resources at developing technology, physics, scientific disciplines I'd never thought were possible for an amoeba (even if this particular amoeba was the size of Jupiter's famous Red Spot) to grasp. It conducted experiments, and then, after a long string of failures, after expending a tremendous amount of resources, burning out at least half of its then-existing mass, it managed to get a sattelite into space.

    And then it waited. God knows for how long, how long would it take for a mind, even as gigantic as Beatrice's, to fall into despair? To decide it wasn't worth waiting for? To regress into the childhood of its species, back into a mindless existence of action and reaction, feeding and growing, back to peace?

    We placed a station in orbit around Beatrice. Some of us felt that we could still reach out to the cytoplasm, that if we had the proper combination of stimuli we could coax it out of its self-induced lobotomy. I'm not so sure. The message that Beatrice's beacon left ends on a note of sadness. It breathes with a melancholy I've never experienced anywhere else in the universe. A perfect loneliness, a perfect despair. Perhaps it's best that Beatrice never awakens again.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:25 No.6323155

    Never read it. Who's it by?
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:30 No.6323182
    Stephen Baxter. Basic premise is - mankind goes to the stars. Big whoops. They get around using 20th century technology and these magic stargates that have a finite number of quantum states in them - they read you, transmit you ftl (but still really, really fucking slowly) and destroy your original self, with some bizarre side effects. There are always these fucking massive galactic "reboot events", where in the galactic core, two stars collide and spew out a chain reaction of radiation that goes through entire worlds, sterilizing the galaxy. It's about humanity realising they are fucked, regressing, going further, over the course of a thousand years. And meeting aliens. The first ones are called the Gaijin. Also Nemoto, who is also a matyr for the human race, even more so than Malenfant. It ends with a reboot happening anyway and the world getting ended, but the magic starsail the alien races were building (with malenfant subsumed as inspiration to make htem work together, since humans are the only ones who sacrifice themselves, everyone else is hellbent on living and this is an example) to avert a reboot event being used to avert the NEXT one, giving their galaxy time to spread across to OTHER galaxies, life going onward and ever outward.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 10/18/09(Sun)08:31 No.6323190
    What's funny, and incredibly depressing, is that it is vastly more likely that this is all we'll ever see of intelligent life in our universe than being able to actualy interact meaningfully with it.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:33 No.6323198
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    Pretty inaccurate, but it'll do. The sail is completed, there is more than just one race building the sail, there is only one book. Nemoto lives through a flat thousand years because she uses life extension treatments.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:46 No.6323277
    "It's beautiful and horrific at the same time. Entire planet changed into a garden. Most of local fauna gone. Their machines were maintaining it for at least ten thousand years. Amazing technology, infallible. It's unfortunate their programming is the only record of this civilization.
    From here you can see the structures. When we arrived we thought those were buildings. We thought we'll find abandoned cities. Then we went into those structures and saw how enormous their husks were. Not buildings, cages.
    The material is like concrete, they secreted it. For some reason they all decided to build a cage around themselves and starve to death. The machines waited until the last of them was dead, then started their work."
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:47 No.6323280
    Nodus-3 is a Class T world - 0.2 standard gravity, wide oceans with landmasses occupying only around 30% of the planet's surface. Its atmosphere displays healthy levels of nitrogen, well within breathing parameters.

    At first we detected no signs of life but after a quick orbital survey, we found signs of civilization: cities, roads, facilities. All shut down and partially covered with overgrown vegetation. We suspected some sort of chemical agent, maybe viral warfare, but further scanning showed nothing of the sort.

    Finally, we sent a team down to the planet's surface. It was... pristine, if you overlook the obvious sign of the planet's biosphere taking over the land once claimed by this unknown civilization.

    Whatever corpses there were had long since decayed. Only durable artifacts such as synthetic fibres and plastics remained. Still, we remained, intrigued by this vanished civilization.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)08:55 No.6323329
    Through their technological artifacts we managed to find more about them. They were organic beings, Laozoid in shape, displayer vertical symmetry. They had short life spans and a high rythm of civilizational advancement.

    Their fiction was rich. They'd dream up their goals and then work towards them, no matter what. But as time marched on, they had less and less to dream about. They were too good, success came to them too easily. A wave of ennui crashed upon this civilization before they could even breach the confines of their homeworld, before they expanded to at least colonize their system.

    They burned out. Their minds, geared towards incessant discovery and overcoming odds simply gave up when all they wished for became reality. Thinking themselves alone, they simply dwindled.

    They stopped having children, they stopped inventing. They becam despondent, careless - no, carefree. They didn't care. Everything was perfect - as they saw it, at least. In the end they died out.

    If only we had explored this sector of space before. Maybe the 'humans' would still be with us.
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)09:20 No.6323499
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    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)10:35 No.6324056
    what i make of these threads...

    a super villan wins, there is no bond on these worlds
    the trynids have been and gone
    these are a poststorys from any "Fuck yeah humanity" thread
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)12:37 No.6324955
    >> Anonymous 10/18/09(Sun)13:28 No.6325527

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