Traverse Civilisations

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When the Traverse was first discovered, the sheer quantity of habitable worlds in the region led us to believe we had finally found a place that could harbour non-human civilisations and societies. Alas, if the Traverse proved to be ideal for human settlement, none of its planets bore the signs of active extraterrestrial civilisations. However, expeditions and archaeological endeavours on Traverse worlds have reported vast amounts of ruins and remnants, proving that the region once was teeming with well-developed sapient life.

Note that this guide is far from comprehensive: many Traverse planets have only been partially explored, or not at all. Even Elora itself may still contain mysteries yet to be unearthed.

[Displaying per-planet summaries].

Despite being a super-habitable world, Elora is surprisingly devoid of obvious signs of colonisation. If nonhuman species once settled or emerged on this world, they did not leave any ruins, though some would argue that the planet's incredibly complex symbiotic life is a form of sapient life in and of itself. In fact it could even be said that Elora's plant life, with a capacity for pheromone-based communication and organic tool-making, can be considered as a civilisation in and of itself, just one that doesn't operate on human timescales. Aside from local life though, Elora contains the mangled remains of a few exploration ships that crashed here about three hundred thousand years ago, including a Sequence-made skiff that somehow managed to impact a very visible mountain.

The Ishtar system was colonized at least five times by different civilisations over the course of the past ten million years. They left various ruins ranging from derelict space stations to barely recognizable solar sails orbiting Ishtar's parent star in silence. Most if not all of these civilisations apparently came from Ishtar itself, though tectonic cycles and local life have erased any signs of their presence.

Masan, qith Masani's seat of power, was once home to a tree-based civilisation dubbed the "Verdant Council" by the Starmoth Initiative. It seemingly relied on trans-continental root networks that linked billions of individuals together in some sort of plant hivemind, a bit like Eloran forests on steroids. At its apex, the Verdant Council mastered most plant life on the planet and was seemingly capable of surface-to-orbit travel by way of explosive seeds. There is actually some debate over the extinct nature of this civilisation given the timescales over which such a species operated, with a single thought potentially taking months to coalesce into action. Masani specialists are arguing that the Verdant Council did not disappear but is simply experiencing a post-apocalyptic period where they would have returned to a quasi-feral state making them indistinguishable from regular vegetation. A more radical theory is that the Verdant Council is just operating as it has always been: we are simply ill-equipped to notice a civilisation operating over millions of years.

The isolated system of Parys is full of weird oddities. Its second gas giant contains a vast necropolis of kilometre-long coffins floating in the upper atmosphere, containing skeletons belonging to a whale-like species. Its third gas giant harbours the remnants of a vast megastructure destined to turn it into a star, which suffered catastrophic failure a few million years ago. This giant itself has an icy moon that was entirely covered in laser-carved canyons telling the tale of an ancient monarch tricked by a beggar. The system's Oort cloud has been clearly altered to draw strange (and probably meaningful) patterns in the skies, while the inner planets all harbour the same cube-shaped temples at the equator. Considering that Parys doesn't have any habitable planet (nor any planet that once was habitable), a few specialists have formed the hypothesis that the system is in fact a vast art installation.

An art installation that might have been created by the now-derelict and slightly insane planet-sized artificial intelligence that once covered the entirety of the Dogon forge world, about five lightyears away.

Finally, it should be noted that several young Sylphs dwell in Traverse stars, including a very well-developed individual nicknamed "Athena" which has complete control over Masan's distant second star.

Illustration from the Wootha Public Domain release. 

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