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Transformational Era

(Historically 3250CE-3800CE)

Overview

The Transformational Era was a period of continued growth in interstellar and post-material societies.  It was marked by advancements and refinements that could bring greater well-being and prosperity to existing societies.  In the Transformational Era, the distinction between organic and machine intelligence blurred, allowing for the transfer, blending and reconstruction of organic beings.

Materials

Living metals continued to dominate Transformational Era construction.  These materials often incorporated static neutronium cores for additional strength.  Structures ranging in size from the microscopic to cities or small worlds retained the ability to rapidly morph, altering shape, texture and color with intelligent guidance.

Real time fabrication continued to develop during the era, with clouds of centrally-controlled nano-constructors able to build structures up to one hundred meters in volume in a matter of seconds.  Rapid fabrication techniques could assemble any complex material good from its constituent particles, an atomic-level blueprint and adequate power inputs.  Rapid fabricators could even produce hyper-quantum sentient machines and biological Constructs.  Only collapsed material processing required additional fabrication or construction facilities.

Energy

Energy production remained tied to vacuum distillers during the Transformational Era, with units reaching multipliers of thirty times input and scaling down to fifty kilograms in mass, allowing highly secure units to power most households and vehicles directly, eliminating the last niches for fusion power units.  Antimatter storage batteries also continued to scale down to units weighing a few hundred milligrams.  Energy absorption and storage panels (ASP), though still an integral component of antimatter-driven power devices, only persisted as stand-alone power sources at nano levels.

Transportation

Hyper-string pseudo gravity (HSPG) sleds remained the mainstay of personal and cargo travel on many worlds in the Transformational Era.  These vehicles were normally vacuum distiller-powered for unlimited endurance and could travel interplanetary distances at up to ten gees pseudo-acceleration.  In effect, such vehicles were personal spacecraft and they were intelligent goods commonly available to citizens of a post-material society.

Teleportation technology continued to evolve during the period.  Though range restrictions remained unchanged, a virtual focus technique allowed a single booth to initiate teleportation of up to fifty cubic meters from a single node to any location on a world's surface or to and from geosynchronous orbits around most worlds.  More stable teleportation fields allowed two-way booths up to a thousand cubic meters in volume to instantaneously transport cargo canisters or small vehicles.

Interplanetary vehicles became essentially undifferentiated from planetary vehicles during the period, as planetary cruisers were often just larger or more robust HSPG sleds.

Interstellar travel remained based on microjump technology, with faster modes of travel able to reach 9.77 and later 13.68 light-years per day.  With vehicle size restirctions increasing to over two hundred meters in diameter, and passages of one hundred light-years taking little more than a week, the need for niche macrojump vessels ended.  Microjump became the universal form of starship travel, capable of operating well over a thousand light-years from the nearest support facility.

Information

Hyper-quantum (HQ) computing continued to evolve in the Transformational Era, allowing the existence of sentient cores as small as a few hundred milligrams.  Advanced implanted and embedded technology gave nearly all macroscopic items independent, near sentient capabilities, though as a matter of practice, most of these capabilities carried some forms of constraint.

Evolved brain-machine interfaces allowed real-time two-way transfer of memory and personality between biological and mechanical sentients, allowing fully blended beings to exist and allowing for full Mechanist "Soul" transfers to cloned bodies.

Highly realistic simularium environments became indistinguishable from physical reality, allowing individuals to spend their entire existence in "real" artificial universes.

Biology

Geneticists utilizing HQ instrumentation and real-time fabricators gained greater ability to reform existing genetic patterns, giving rise to incremental, or Crowlian, cellular biomorphisis.  This technique allowed drastic additions and changes to the Human genetic code.  A few months of nanomed transformation allowed incremental biomorphisis to alter an existing Human form to produce advanced Human-based Variants able to survive in a variety of environments from the deep oceans to vacuum to methane, frigid nitrogen or gas giant atmospheres.

On a more pragmatic level, advanced restorative nanomed organisms, when replenished regularly, could effectively end all aging, extending the standard Humans' lifespan to between one and two thousand years without resorting to time-consuming and still occasionally fatal regenerative therapy.  Such life extending remedies required annual incorporation of additional nanomeds to remain effective.

Armament

Forcefield technology continued to advance during the Transformational Era, leading to the production of the first trans-string or "clear" force field generators, allowing energy and matter shielding without impacting vehicle performance and also providing the first limited defense against disintegrator and disruptor weapons.  Shield components scaled down, with complete units massing as little as five tons, suitable for smaller vehicles and installations.

Disintegrator and disruptor weaponry remained dominate forms of offensive armament, ranging in size from planetbuster units capable of destroying a hundred cubic kilometers per second to rifle-sized weapons massing under ten kilograms.

Tactical warfare reached near microscopic scales with the development of antimatter-powered gram-sized intelligent infantry units capable of firing gamma laser pulses at extended ranges.  Human troops were strictly traditional or ceremonial except in societies where machine sentience remained prohibited from combat roles.

Personal

A Transformational Era citizen, even without formal cyborgization, was effectively a blended being, nearly completely unable to function without nanomed implants, thinskin protection and artificial sentient companionship.  Equipped with advanced morphing implants, people, like their possessions, could alter external appearance at will, often in conscious or unconscious response to external or emotional stimuli.

Most material possessions had become like air or water: easily attainable, effectively irrelevant consumables in post-material life.  Only major sentient items such as companions, homes and vehicles retained persistent value for most individuals.  Discretionary or earned income was available for luxury items, including the first purely personal starships, small microjump vehicles available at great cost to those that desired them.

Life expectancy for individuals of the period was limited more by personal desires or priority than by increasingly available technologies.  Individuals living for hundreds, even thousands of years could become dissatisfied, bored or depressed, with suicides, homicides and accidents becoming the only major causes of death.

Society

Transformational Era societies could provide great material well-being for all citizens, but they faced the problem of providing a meaningful existence for a long-lived populace.  Society became a matter of culture and tradition, often difficult to alter, but also subject to the whim of new philosophical fads as a bored populace sought new outlets.  Depending on the strength of cultural institutions, a Transformational Era society could persist for the life of the universe, slowly decay into effective extinction, or it could rapidly destabilize into hostile or warring factions.  The continued function of the underlying infrastructure was effectively independent of the biological members of society, who remained completely reliant on layers of machine-controlled industry.

A Transformational Era society could span several thousand light-years, across large sections of a galactic arm.  Travel and commerce beyond a few thousand light-years remained prohibitively expense for all but exploratory journeys.

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