Quantum Mosaic: Electrons and Light
Quantum Mosaic Primer
Quantum: (noun, adj) the most discrete yet completely integral manifestations expressing a constant or variable
Mosaic: (noun) in art, a mosaic is a singular image comprised of numerous composites
A galaxy apart. A collage of worlds. The Mosaic Galaxy is home and hearth to a vast plethora of life. An elliptical super-massive galaxy whose profundal ring yields numerous iterations of numerous bases-for and expressions-of sentient and instinctual life. A vast proliferation made all the more miraculous by the vast expanses that lie between them. No civilization, without FTL capability is likely to encounter, reach or even be aware of their closest ‘neighboring civilization’, but once that veil has been lifted then the conflicts of that civilizations history will prove only to have been a test for the proving ground of galactic awareness, conflict and commerce.
The full name of the “game” is Quantum Mosaic: Science fiction fantasy with the rails kicked off!
The core idea is that the plethora of generic science fiction stories, settings, races, cliches, and unique expressions can all have a home in this common over-arcing setting. Best yet, I built in it’s own core “magic” system that is uniquely and universally adaptable – even though it has some core conceptual rules. Quantum Mosaic, is a generic science fiction setting/story, and it happens in the Mosaic Galaxy (TM and R: ME!). In it, space-faring civilizations are eking out their own existences, dominance and mere survival among the unforgiving mysteries of populous space. In the Mosaic Galaxy there are many civilizations that have TRUE FTL in a variety of forms. However the journey to make it to that level of civilization and/or technology is perilous and lofty and THOUSANDS more don’t achieve that goal for every single civilization that does.
The Essence – an inconstant constant.
FTL, as big an element as it is in a civilization’s development and establishment on the Galactic stage, it is of secondary importance to another vital element; Essence. Known by many names in many tongues, Essence is a scientifically proven element that often plays a hand in the development of species in their own homeworld’s cycle of survival and dominance. From expanding the boundaries of one’s sensory capabilities to greatly increasing the strength, durability, agility and coordination of it’s users, Essence is a versatile element. Those that can access and manipulate Essence are uncommon to rare, they are known by many names but we will call them Adepts.
Wow… there sure are a lot of … ‘people’.
Races that have a basic face/brain, trunk organ carriage, fine manipulator and locomotive array are what we humans would call ‘hominid’ or ‘human-like’. In the Mosaic Galaxy there is a high number of dominant races that are hominid. This is not just because of their construction, but also because hominids in the Mosaic Galaxy have a unique and oddly uniform trait – they ALMOST all have a ratio of 1:100 of their population as Adepts – that’s 1% of their populations – meaning that 1 in 100 people of any hominid race will be Adept. In smaller civilizations that’s a meager 10,000 per million, but on worlds that support billions that becomes 10 million per billion.
A Public Secret.
With great numbers comes greater opportunity and likelihood to develop the unique sets of skills that it takes to effectively manipulate and utilize Essence. We will call these Disciplines and they are often only taught by what we will term Orders, each taking on names specific to the cultures that they originate from and are currently in. Each Order has it’s own purpose and role in society, some being vanguards of a body-politic, others being underground ’people’s movements’ that are continually hunted – and every derivation between the two.
The Essence of Martial Power.
Orders teach both the basic array of abilities that even the untrained Adepts have access to, all the way to the highest and most precarious disciplines that border on the supernatural (but they AREN’T!). Physical abilities require mental discipline. Mental abilities require physical preparedness. Each ability requires a gestural action to “activate” and each gestural action has a martial use. To this end, all Orders exist in plain-sight as martial schools, teaching both basic kinesthetic martial techniques for the races of their origin, as well as the Essence-infused variations for the Adept students.
No, seriously… A LOT of ‘people’.
A basic element in this galaxy is that most life – plant and animal – has triquetral (triple helical) DNA, comprised of six precursor protein variations. This element expresses itself in a variety of ways across the plethora of life; life, as you know it and as you’ve never dreamt of before. The same is true of the prevalence of hominid life across a variety of origins. Originating from three atmospheric chemical bases, three basic protein structures are native to each, tolerant of another and find the other completely toxic. Not all or even near most of the macro species on any world develop toward a hominid line. However the sheer volume of species – especially planetary-dominant space-faring species – that are hominid, Essence involvement in species dominance is a persistent phenomenon.
Proteins and Chemical bases (Bay-seez)… life is, varied.
Out of every 100 class B-D stars (class A’s are too weak and Class E+’s are far too heavy and massive) only 9 will have Fertile Orbits (TM and R: ME!). Among those nine, only three will likely support atmospheric/lithospheric chemical ozone supporting planets. Among those three, the race of survival, propagation and dominance is arduous and persistent. Beginning at the chemical stage of development, different types of chemical solvents for atmosphere can support multiple orders of base-protein development – conversely similar protein bases can develop in different solvent atmospheres. Each protein base would have it’s Advantageous chemical base and it’s Alternate, resulting in a plethora of life that is as exclusive as it is interchangeable and intermixable. Yet still the commonalities of the triple helix and the abundance/happenstance of dominant hominid life still persist.
What this means is that in huge expanses of stars across the expanse of a single ‘megaspacial’ there may be only three “homeworlds” to three chemically diverse species of hominid, who may or may not even have similar protein makeups – leaving a large expanse of solitary, clustered and system-supporting stars unattended. A lot of territory, raw materials and time – the greatest resource – await each of these potential star-spanning races before they encounter each other and continue the race for survival, propagation and dominance.
Okay, but what about all of that … other stuff.
There is significantly more space; stars, nebulae, asteroids and planets that are unpopulated, unsettled and unknown (let alone unmapped) than there will ever be populated. When I say significantly more I mean that OFTEN races will refer to a race that’s alien to them as “THE ALIENS” and even upon coming to understand that they’re in a much larger galactic community of civilizations. Early on civilizations will still have to overcome a mindset of “ALIENS!”. However, civilizations that become a part of the greater galactic community around them have usually been involved with the other civilizations in their “local regions” for often multiple centuries – when not millennia.
The over-arcing setting, your civilizations and all the elements between
The in-game analogies of ‘continents’ in this part of the Mosaic galaxy are super-massive expanses spanning multiple hundreds of parsecs each, and they are called Constellations using the in-game terminology. That said, these ‘Constellations’ can be home to hundreds if not thousands of FTL using races who each have their own territories, unique advantages, anomalies, enemies and politics. The real beauty is that without true FTL travel and communications networks, there are exponentially more space-faring races that travel and live at relativistic speeds – all the while not even knowing that they’re in these areas of space that are united under a common banner, divided by politics or regional conflict, or are even completely outside of the protection/domain of any of the Constellations.
The populous areas of the Mosaic Galaxy are called “known space” and are home to nation-like Networks. Networks are over-arcing ‘civilizations’, alliances, empires and territorial governments that claim dominion over connected or even disparate regions inside their Constellations. Networks often include dozens if not hundreds of FTL races that haven’t even a clue that they’re even in a network of “a.a.a.ALIENS!?!?!”.
That’s alot, what does it mean though?
What this means at it’s core is that you can tell optimal versions of other fictions you’ve encountered, but in a whole new light and new perspective. You can mix and match elements of science fiction series’ premises to create something completely and uniquely your own and still not have to worry about it counteracting or countervening the core story of other players’ series.
Faster Than Light. Proximal. Actual. Post.
For the bulk of a civilization’s experience light-speed should be the cosmic-cop, providing a finite edge for travel and conceptual technologies. Civilizations that develop technologies creating craft that can travel at fractional speeds of lightspeed, are considered Light-Proximal., or P-Civilizations. P-Civilizations aren’t always the absolute push-overs they appear to be either, but more often than not, civilizations that travel in light-speed technology usually tend to either dominate and subjugate them. Otherwise they maintain tight surveillance of the progress and development of these P-Civilizations. Often open warfare between them usually favors the one’s who are more mobile, but there are exceptions.
Sadly, with lightspeed technology also comes mastery of certain precursor technologies that can affect core forces and structures of the universe. Though it does not happen often, when these technologies are employed in a conflict for matial purposes, the effects are devastating and often final.
No Prime Directive… only prime-time.
Civilizations that develop lightspeed technologies usually come onto the stage of Galactic inter-politics with either some other conflict-deterring advantage or they find their outposts, colonies and even homeworlds under a period of assault from all sides. Many civilizations on the receiving end often treat these as wars of attrition, but often this is simply a ‘sizing-up’ of the new competition for par-sec resources and land, making the phenomenon common and moderate. Once a civilization can either establish finite and formidable borders or can form effective relationships with longer-standing members of their ‘local’ stellar community, the ‘sizing up’ phenomenon usually ceases – usually. These civilizations become the rank-and-file of their parsecs and clusters. The technologies of lightspeed civilizations are often influenced by The Predecessors.
Yes. The Predecessors indeed ARE ooooh! An ancient and enigmatic race whose civilization exists solely in the artifacts and ruins it has left on multiple worlds – gigantic, man-sized and even micro. Their interstellar constructs, the “interspace” gate networks provided fore-running civilizations with the basis for interspace technologies. The Predecessors also left “Axospacial” gate networks on planets through out the parts of the galaxy where interspacial travel can be hindered or possibly WAS non-existent at the primordial time in which they came from.
The Predecessors’ ruins and sarcophagus tapestries illustrate images, icons, equations and prose that support multiple messages, from ones of hope, to ones of dominance, from the equality of life to personal glory. Depending on the demeanor and nature of the players characters, these technologies may react in strange, miraculous or even apocalyptic way. Many suspect that the artifacts come from MULTIPLE millennial eras of the Predecessor civilizations, others believe that the Predecessors own inconsistencies caused them to devour each other (literally) in a war of absolute galactic attrition.
What IS known is that the sum-totality of the spatial “interspace” gate networks, and the full range of the “Axo/Axio-spacial” gate networks has never been nor might they ever be fully mapped and explored. The diversity of stellar propagation has bent interspace conduits to the breaking point and shifting planetary gravities (and local positions) has also caused axospacial networks to shift-constants (move from one address prefix to another).