Warning: Very long background story below
Skip to the bottom if you don't want to read it all.
Location: Komaria, Tk'iln, Scutum-Centaurus Arm
Race: Homo Sapiens Variation 14c (seeded 1.5 million years ago)
The Komar are an advanced Type II civilization controlled by their ruling elite which number about 3% of the population. These wealthy aristocrats, who long ago confirmed the existence of the soul in living beings and the Cycle of Learning, have dedicated themselves to developing life extension technology for the sole purpose of prolonging the privilege, wealth, and trappings of luxury they were born into. Pursuit of this technology must be done at all costs.
They were warned centuries ago by the Dream Travelers, the enigmatic race of nomads that are known primarily for their esoteric study of dreams, that embracing this lifestyle would increase the karmic debt that follows them into the next existence. They choose not to take this advice.
84 life cycles ago a Komari scientist perfected a device that at the moment of death could capture the life force of the departed. The experiments began with the capture and release of single cell organisms and plant life forces. The scientist who created the device noticed that when working in close proximity of the energy hungry device, now known as the Soultrap, that he felt invigorated and energized. He also noticed after decades of work and experiments, that he had not aged visibly more than a few years. A team of researchers and scientists later concluded that being in close proximity to the Soultrap reduced the aging process drastically and kept the subject in good health, with no adverse effects upon cessation of exposure.
There was a group within the science establishment that wanted to continue these tests using as a catalyst the deaths of more highly developed creatures. Over the protestations of the Dream Travelers, the number of experiments was increased, soon it expanded to include reptiles and native lab animals. These animals' souls eventually proved to be too weak to be of much use for detailed study, and it became obvious that it would require the death of much more advanced life forms. For this purpose, the secret police of the Komar began to gather up the migrants and homeless; these poor and downtrodden were sent to internment camps. Suicide rates were high in these camps, but it proved a bonus for the scientists running the experiment, since they were able to tune their instruments to these suicides and thus began a program known as Project Black Truth. This program worked on identifying and isolating the unknown energy source given off from the captured souls, and attempts to harness that energy.
More research confirmed that the Soultrap needed a constant replenishing of souls; eventually the souls would become drained and the energy levels given off by the device would diminish. Once emptied, a soul was never released from the system, because opening the exit gate on the Soultrap not only allowed drained souls to escape, but also fresh newly captured ones to flee. In effect, the souls were in limbo unable to obtain the light and start the cycle of rebirth.
Where these souls were actually trapped was a matter of almost no debate among the elite, since they cared little what happened to their 'property,' but the scientists began to formulate hypotheses. It gradually became accepted that the trapped souls of the dead were sent to a dark and empty universe, a monstrous abyss of nighted horror. Again there were strenuous objections to what they were doing, but such was the price of their progress. After years of bloody work, finally an interface was created which allowed a Komari individual to directly tap into the life force energy of the captured souls. This required a small, highly controlled gateway to draw the energy in raw form out, without letting the souls themselves through. Plans were drawn for an extended interface which would allow hundreds of elites to receive the reinvigorating soul energy simultaneously. However, this device needed energy to power it – more energy than the planet could provide. In their search for this energy, they decided on the single most powerful source in their entire solar system, their sun. Their plan conceived of building a Dyson sphere around their star to capture titanic amounts of solar energy to power their interface, known now as Thanatos Gate.
The sphere was constructed over a period of six centuries. The building of such a massive structure required suitably gigantic amounts of matter, more even than could be found in all the asteroid belt and available moons, so the Komar began an empire spanning program to mine the cores of both gas giants in the system. Millions of workers' lives were lost, but they were simply fed into the Soultrap network as fresh fuel for the aristocrats and their loyalists. Enormous mines, hanging from orbital stations thousands of miles deep into the gas giants' atmospheres, served to dredge up enough raw materials for the teeming construction stations to create the framework of the sphere. Besides the incredible amounts of carbon, steel, titanium, and other structural materials, there is also a great need for more exotic elements. Perched in the foreground, on the moon's ageless regolith, is N'kai mining base, built to remove the exotic ores from deep veins in the moons crust. Once the pure elements have been separated from the rubble, it is loaded onto freighter ships which leave for flight up to the orbital construction station. From there, the basic parts are sent to massive orbiting construction sites where huge pieces of the sphere itself are built. The sections of sphere are sent on a course towards the star, where they are carefully caught in nets made out of the star's magnetic field lines. There, in a delicate dance of robotic limbs and remote controlled construction craft, all guided by the inhumanely precise Artificial Intelligence, the Dyson sphere has slowly taken shape.
Due to their haste, and impatience to finish the project, the Komar decided it was safe to begin powering up the system in stages, resulting in more and more energy being produced as the sphere was slowly completed. When the Soultrap initially went online and Thanatos Gate was opened, immediately millions of loose souls were devoured from the local stellar neighborhood. This resulting rush of energy caused a blast resembling a nova to light up the surface of the star. Of course, all this excitement has not gone unnoticed by the neighbors ....
This is a collaboration with
we worked on it for a LONG time, but I think it was worth it
Go take a look at Darin's art if you haven't already seen it, and give him some DA love!
Full view is definitely recommended! Thanks for taking a look!