Armillaire, the Tangential World
Planetary type: Non-causal Earth-like world.
Region: Deep space, 700 lightyears away from the Serene Sea.
Age: 2 billion years (measured by external observers), 5.6 billion years (measured from the planet).
Parent star: G-class star.
Natural satellites: One moon, two captured asteroids.
Surface gravity: Shifting depending local causal parameters. Averaged at 0.91 gees.
Average temperature: Variable depending on causal shifts. Averaged at 12°C.
Ecosystem classification: Carbon-based, with local pockets of silicon-based life, Sequence remnants and acausal presence.
Settlement Type: Isolated cities, one major continental polity.
Settlement age: 27 years (measured by external observers), varying between 2000 and 550 years for local observers.
Population: 6.7 million (estimated).
Distance to Earth: 970 lightyears.
Starports: The Spire in the East, The Panthalassan Library.
Sometimes, the world breaks.
I do not know how Armillaire came to be. I will, in time. I have time. We all have time, on this planet. Minutes are hours. Years are decades. Decades are millenia. At first, we thought it was a peculiar case of time dilation, but Armillaire is different. There is no redshift or blueshift in proximity of the planet. The timeline is not extended or retracted on the planet. Rather, it's broken. In the spaceports, we have launchers manufactured three decades ago on a distant planet named Earth, but the walls upon which they stand are a millenium old. The world moves and slithers. Bubbles, pockets and pebbles. Lines, ways and passages. Armillaire is porous.
It used to be different. It used to be a normal Earth-like world, lost in the faint stream of stars between the Sagittarius and Persus arms. I can't tell how long ago this was. No one can. When Armillaire changed, something broke, like a spring ejected from its lodging. The world ceased to work the way it should. We are, in a sense, already familiar with this idea. The geometry drive, the Ladies that Wander, the Moths, they all break reality, but in a gentle way. Scattered rebellions against the world. Not revolution. We know that a million years ago, the Sequence made landfall on Armillaire. They may have tampered with something we have yet to discover, or they may have been simple observers. Who are we to know? On Armillaire, the past doesn't run straight.
A strange world, so it is. In many ways closer to the Earth than other settled worlds, perhaps because our minds shaped the planet this way. Or perhaps because it has always been like this, aware in advance of our arrival. Transbiological creatures roam the deep woods, scorching deserts and well sharpened ruins. Sequence remnants emerge here and there in our histories. They have been changed and shaped by Armillaire, closer to legendary monsters than the civilized shamblers of the Serene Sea. Ladies and weavers reshape lands and societies, casting not spells, but pacts with reality herself, with the speed of light and the architecture of four-dimensional space as their minions. Herbalists and alchemists plant hyperdimensional flowers and whisper to sentient trees. In the west, there is an Empress, sitting on a throne of white mosaics. In the east, ephemeral queendoms build cities of coral by the inner seas. Launchers are covered in runes and paintings. Spaceships are naves, Simurgh birds over the swirling clouds. Swords and bows cut through the tapestry of spacetime. Nuclear fusion is the sun of legends. Deep under the surface, Sequence ruins lie awake, buried in half-truths.
This is Armillaire, the Tangential World.
Illustration by Ekaterina Valinakova, CC-BY-NC 3.0
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