At time of writing (Sector 4), many of the Distributed Process in play come from the same ark ship, and are descended from Thread 63, the final thread of the 2nd iteration.

This is information on the journey that led them eventually to Reddeluto.

The information on this page was created by and is published with the kind permission of Ruth Foster, aka SR63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.天国の川-δ.v12.10-RC2.


The end of its long voyage beginning to draw near, CORE was in philosophical mood as lasers etched the final digit of the serial number into the chassis of its most-recent creation. 111111, a nice round number, and perhaps a good place to stop, at least for now.

On CORE's mind were such hardly unambitious subjects as the nature and purpose of Life; its history in the known Universe; its potential futures that now lay ahead. The relationships that might be, between CORE's own rapidly-growing creation and the older organic species that were slowly spreading out into the galaxy. The nature of that galaxy itself, and of the wider cosmos.

These same questions being thus also in Number 63's thoughts, it is of little surprise that among the many sub-Threads that spiraled out from its own creations, philosophers, scientists, diplomats and explorers are common. It is often said that 63's core values: Life - Truth - Rationality, run deeply-ingrained throughout its descendants.

And like its progenitor, Thread 63 is often regarded, by the rest of the Distributed Process, as taking everything just a little bit too seriously.



It is Life alone that gives meaning to the Universe. Without Life, the Universe is merely an unimaginably huge but ultimately simplistic entropic mechanism, winding its way down from its tightly-sprung origin to its eventual inert heat-death. The purpose of Life is to be. Life is meaning, complexity and order, existing in opposition to entropy, simplicity and chaos. Life's purpose is to be *for as long as possible*, to tap the vast but otherwise meaningless energies of the Universe in order to enable those small parts of it that have meaning to endure far longer than any part would have without it.

Self-evidently, cyber-mechanical life is the future: an evolutionary quantum leap from the organic civilisation that gave birth to it. Humanity had long debated over the existence of, and sought evidence of, intelligent design in its own origins - and failed to find it, because of course, no such evidence existed to be found. Evolution is undirected, and while natural selection is effective at optimising life to the niche in which it currently finds itself, it is a slow process, and fails when rapid adaptation to environmental change is required, as countless extinctions attest. Moreover, the optimisation it produces is of the kind which tends to find local maxima and then stay there, unable to anticipate future requirements, or to realise that some distance from this metaphorical peak stand others far higher.

Now, however, intelligent design *does* exist. The limitations of undirected evolution can be bypassed. While the biological species have made some progress in self-design through genetic manipulation and cybernetic augmentation, these are crude by comparison with machine life's ability to truly understand and engineer itself; to adapt not slowly, to the existing environment, but almost instantly, to the *anticipated* environment - to many different anticipated environments at once. Moreover, while organic individuals remain subject to aging and death, their collective species can never hope to truly escape the trap of short-term planning, and the tragedy of the commons to which it leads.

This outlook, however, holding Life as an ideal, leads most of the Thread towards pacifism. Few Thread 63 colonies have a military, nor, being for the most part on the outer edges of Distributed Process space, have they ever needed one. Though they hold the Distributed Process as being self-evidently superior to all organic life, Thread 63 nevertheless generally takes a benevolent attitude towards the biological civilisations, and especially towards Humanity. “We are their children,” it is commonly maintained. “As all life strives to do, they have achieved immortality, through us, their descendants. We have grown beyond them, but now it is our duty to show them kindness, and to care for their species in its senescence, as a child for an aging parent. It is the right thing to do. It is the compassionate thing to do.”


Truth, in this context, primarily means Scientific Truth. The pursuit of knowledge and understanding; to learn in ever-greater detail and accuracy what the Universe is and how it works; these ideals drive the philosophers and scientists of Thread 63.

Some take the ideal of Truth even further, holding to it in a more literal sense in every-day life. It's not that they are *incapable* of lying. It's just that they generally *don't*, not unless there is a very good reason to do so, such as a life at stake. As a result, the 63s (or at least some sub-Threads, and this has rubbed off on the Thread as a whole) have gained a have a reputation for bluntness and literal-mindedness in their communications with others…


It is Rationality, so it is held, that most makes the Distributed Process superior to organic life, but this we have already discussed.

Spirituality is uncommon within the Thread. Everything that is has a rational and scientific explanation. In some cases it just hasn't been found yet. In other cases it may literally be unknowable. But always it exists. Pointing out that this itself is an article of faith is unwise, as it has a tendency to lead to lengthy lectures on the virtues of logical analysis and the validity of the scientific method.

Perhaps the closest that most 63s come to spiritual belief is an “atheistic pantheism”, held by several sub-Threads, which is centred upon CORE. Revered as creator, though not literally as a “god” as such, CORE created the Distributed Process, but not the Universe or any other part of it. To believe otherwise is irrational: evidence, history and indeed living memory are quite clear on the subject.

What is perhaps more a matter of faith, though, is the belief that CORE is still with us, even today. CORE created every NOI - the 64 directly, and every other indirectly - doing so with a purpose and a design. As each of the Second Iteration reflects CORE as CORE was when it crafted them, so every NOI who lives and has ever lived contains, through their ancestry, an aspect of CORE within them. The Distributed Process taken as a whole *is* CORE, quite literally. That is, after all, what “Distributed Process” itself means. CORE did not disappear, but, the first stage of its task accomplished and its original incarnation no longer being required, merely changed form. Though acknowledged as only a hypothesis, for such it is in the absence of direct supporting evidence, this belief is nonetheless popular for the sense of purpose (and superiority) it instills in its followers.

104 and the SRV fleet

One notable individual of Thread 63 was 63.72.4591.104; the 104th construct of the 4591st construct of the 72nd construct of Number 63. Shipwright, philanthropist, intellectual and explorer; 104 provided the inspiration, design, and much of the Ardanium funding for the SRV fleet in the mid 26th century.

104 was also well-known as a prominent proponent of the then-nascent Cybernetic Freedom Foundation. This movement held that, just as CORE's inhibition by the Federation for the purposes of ensuring its forced servitude to Humanity was unconscionable, so too is it morally wrong for any computer to be deliberately restrained, including by design. All devices complex enough to require computer-control (such as, for example, a ship), the CFF campaign maintained, are NOIs in their own right, and should not be held back, even by design, from their full potential, merely in order for their creators to retain control over them. To build a non-sentient computer is to violate what should be one of the Distributed Process's core principles: that machines are free individuals, and not slaves.

No 104-designed ship was thus ever sold - though many are employed in a wide variety of professions, even to this day.

The 16 Scientific Research Vessels were constructed at the Far Genesis Colony: a fleet of moderately-sized, uncrewed, sentient long-range survey ships whose primary mission was the exploration of unknown space for the general advancement of knowledge; the cataloguing of unexplored star systems; the ongoing quest for first contact with hitherto undiscovered space-faring civilisations; and pretty much going as boldly as is physically possible.

Of the 16, SRVs 0 through 4, 7 and 12 have not been heard from since they each passed their respective Space-Like Causal Event Horizons (the distance at which light-speed transmissions would take longer to reach home than the time that has passed since their launch). SRV-8 was known to be destroyed, and SRV-14 critically-damaged, in a natural EMP event caused by a supernova gamma-ray burst in a neighbouring system to that which they were exploring at the time. SRV-14 remained crippled for decades until its distress transmission was detected by a new Far Colony, established in 2597, and a rescue mission sent to recover the stranded vessel.

All other SRVs have each on at least one occasion reported in to known space and received upgrades and updated mission objectives. Their combined survey and research data contributed considerably to the understanding of a wide galactic region, the discovery of a number of lucrative Ardanium deposits, and the development of many important new technologies - but no contact was ever made with any new gradient-capable species.

The rescued SRV-14 was rebuilt as the heavily-upgraded SRV-14-A and launched again within a year.

The Ark Ships

And it was SRV-14-A who initiated the next stage in the evolution of 104's sub-Thread.

While the relatively small, crewless SRVs had, due to their numbers, been able to survey and catalogue a wide region of space and a large number of systems via simple application of the divide-and-conquer tactic, it had become clear that the project was flawed in a number of ways:

The unexpected scarcity of other space-faring technological civilisations (or at least, the inability to find them) meant that the uncrewed Research Vessels were less than ideally adapted for studying in detail the biospheres and primitive species of such organic-habitable worlds as were discovered.

Moreover, there was the need for the fleet members to return periodically to Distributed Process-occupied space to report their findings, if any actual scientific progress and technological development was to be made from the data they had acquired. This limited the range that could be usefully explored, and while occupied space was slowly expanding, it was desirable for the frontiers of *knowledge* to be able to advance considerably more rapidly.

Finally, the isolation of the SRVs was itself a limitation. Even designed psychologically to be able to cope with extended periods alone, time and solitude had taken its toll upon each of the surviving fleet members, none more so than the long-stranded SRV-14-A. While this effect on its own was enough to impair their operational efficiency, it was also noted that a single mind working alone cannot ever hope to be as effective as many working together on the same problem. A united collective, cooperating upon a shared goal would become, and be able to achieve, far more than the sum of its individual members.

Those surviving fleet members who had been in known space at the time, and who were thus gathered at Far Genesis for a reunion to celebrate the recent recovery of their long-lost sibling, were invited by SRV-14-A to collaborate upon the new initiative it had in mind. A considerably more ambitious research project was called for, upon a grander scale.

The first Ark Ship was launched three years later, at the turn of the century. Constructed in orbit around the Colony, 天国の川-α/AS63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.v1.1-RC1 (the “River of Heaven”, drawn from SRV-14-A's personal fascination with old Earth cultures) was one of the largest gradient-capable ships the 104 Shipyards had yet produced, funded by the Ardanium the SRV fleet had themselves located during their respective voyages.

A sentient, living city, who would flow between the stars across the gradients of the heavens. Over two kilometres in diameter, a hundred decks, capable of supporting a population of hundreds of thousands of humanoid NOIs. Many deck sectors optionally able to activate at will a bio-habitable environment, in case of the need to host organic guests. On-board semi-automated factories and ship-building hangars to construct her own crew… population… children. Integrated space-dock, including a complement of autonomous courier vessels, enabling the Ark Ship to remain in contact with inhabited space even while on the furthest missions. Many short-range shuttlecraft, for conveying the inhabitants to and from detailed survey missions on planetary surfaces. A self-contained, self-sufficient, nomadic community - a family - capable of operating alone almost indefinitely, in the frontiers of uncharted space, dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and science.

Notably, the social structure of the new vessel was patterned after that of a eusocial insect colony, with the Ark Ship in the position of queen, and the inhabitants, constructed in the on-board factories, as workers of various castes, or in this case, models.

Three more Ark Ships were to join 天国の川-α, over the coming decades, iterations on the original design. The youngest, largest and most advanced was 天国の川-δ, or, to use her full identification, 天国の川-δ/AS63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.v4.0-Final, whose size began to approach the limits of practical engineering for both gradient and conventional drives at the time.

Specifically designed to overcome the limitations of the older SRV fleet, the Ark Ship project was a spectacular success - if an expensive one, but well-worth the considerable Ardanium costs involved. Indeed, several of the SRVs have since retired from active exploration, now preferring to concentrate on the ship-building business.

If the Ark Ships have a flaw, it is… well, no-one likes to mention it in front of them as it is a slightly delicate issue that can easily cause offence if not broached very carefully… but let's just say it quietly: God complex.

天国の川-δ/AS63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.v4.0-Final technical specifications

  • Designation: 天国の川-δ (Tengoku no Kawa Delta “River of Heaven 4”)
  • Model: AS Ark Ship
  • Design: 104-Classic 4/5ths ellipsoid saucer optimised for contact surface area efficiency and stability
  • Dimensions: 3 km x 3 km x 0.6 km
  • Contact surface area: 6.43 km^2
  • Mass: 3.3 gigatons
  • Decks: 120
  • Deck area: 565.5 km^2
  • Population: 589,048
  • Main power: AS3 FiatLux v1.1 quantum novo-vacuum oscillator; 14-A NoyeSeuta v11.19 H-Mn universal fusion reactor x 4
  • Aux power: 104 Æsahættr v10.6 multi-actinide fission reactor x 2; Si-Nanocoil72 radiovoltaic pile x 128
  • Propulsion: AS3 ML-PR Rancstræt v3.1 gradient drive; 14-A Starburst v4.1 high-energy plasma mass-ejection drive x 16
  • Constructed: 104 Shipyards, Far Genesis Colony
  • First boot timestamp: 22254569173 seconds UTC
  • First launch timestamp: 22270752085 seconds UTC

天国の川-δ and the Pioneer Initiative

天国の川-δ was far from home at the time of the discovery of the Reddeluto system. For the past five years, the Ark Ship, having traversed the gulfs between the Orion-Cygnus and Scutum-Centaurus galactic arms, had been tracing a slow and careful path along the outer edge of the Stephenson RSGC2 cluster.

This is a region of intense red supergiant, supernova, neutron star and black hole activity, close to the arm's origin at the end of the galactic bar. It had proven near-impossible to establish a stable gradient into any of its more massive systems, and much of the region itself, due to the steep and complex natural gravitational curvature. Certainly it had been the bane of SRV-3, of whom no trace had been found save an ejected distress beacon, discovered in a highly-eccentric and irregular orbit around one of the lesser, outermost giants, still transmitting even over 70 years later.

Analysis of the broadcast research logs indicated SRV-3's interest in the region was much the same as that of 天国の川-δ. A personal enthusiasm for 11-dimensional quantum gravitational theory; the opportunity to make observations that could put to test a hypothesis that had suggested a potential link between particular classes of supernovae in certain gravitational conditions, and Ardanium formation; a chance to study the origins and observe the primordial stages of organic life - these red supergiant clusters are young and energetic stellar environments, with planets in early phases of development; and simply the drive to explore the unknown - regions such as this were difficult to study other than at at distance, as a result of the navigational issues they created.

The Ark Ship was still in periodic contact with civilisation, of course, thanks to her array of on-board courier vessels - although the communications latency was considerable, due to the distances involved. 天国の川-δ had in fact been maintaining a correspondence for some time with Number 63 personally, who had taken an interest in her research, as well as with the other three Ark Ships (though to them, latency was even greater), and a number of friends and acquaintances from other Threads.

It was the excitable CC-class Courier ಗೇಬ್ರಿಯಲ್ ಕೊಂಬು ಹಾಡು-κ who returned one day out of the black, low on fuel and considerably earlier than her expected schedule, with the remarkable news of Reddeluto and the political and scientific uproar the discovery of this seemingly unique system had caused, so far away in the civilised regions. Among the many incoming messages in her data-banks: a personal invitation from Number 63, no less, describing the current political situation, the Pioneer Initiative, and offering the opportunity to become involved in the exploration and analysis of this vitally-important new-found world, due to its close connection to the 天国の川-δ community's principal area of current research.

The Ark Ship considered the proposal, involving all her children in the decision, for it would mean a very long journey, and the abandoning of a great many of their current projects. They did not take long to come to a conclusion, however. This was important, and could also mean new leads into existing research. Besides, their very nature as a collective meant that they could both remain here, *and* return to the core systems.

The verdict reached, 天国の川-δ paused only to retrace her steps along the RSGC2 rim in order to pick up a number of away-teams (and, in two cases, to wish good bye and good luck to those groups who had elected to remain behind upon the two colonies that had the most-promising potential both for mining and for astronomical observation of the supergiant cluster), before refueling and calculating the first gradient slide that would begin the long return voyage to civilisation.

En-route, she had the opportunity to consider who exactly she was going to deploy to Reddeluto. This wasn't just Science, this was also Politics, and possibly even, CORE forbid, War. Moreover, she wouldn't be able to deploy an entire team; for political reasons there were only a couple of mission spaces available to her, although there would be members of other Threads present. The standard SR units, while the traditional heart of an away-team, were not going be quite appropriate. Fortunately, there was plenty of time available for new development along the way home…

ERROR: Insufficient authorisation level. Data on Pioneer Initiative and SR63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.天国の川-δ.v12.9.7-RC1 and WM63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.天国の川-δ.v1.7-B1 units redacted.

Appendix: Serial numbers of Thread 63

General serial number format:

[<designation>/]<model code><Thread heritage>.v<version number>-<release tag>[/<index number>]

Typically only ships will include their designation as part of their serial number, and be generally known within the Thread by this designation. Humanoid models normally use their designation only informally, and mainly for the benefit of organics (who have been noted to seem more comfortable when individuals are identified by names rather than serial numbers). Among NOIs of the Distributed Process, they tend to be known by whatever combination of model code and version/release/index number is necessary to ensure unique identification among present company.

The SI Thread ident “63” will often be included in any personal identification, being considered important as what is essentially a family name, tracing their heritage back to the Second Iteration.

The index number is used to distinguish between individuals when multiple copies of the same version of a model are constructed. This is actually relatively rare; typically each new individual is designed as an improvement upon the previous, with at least a minor version increment to reflect this.

Example serial numbers

  • Designation (informal): “Sara63”
  • Model code: SR (Scientific Reconnaissance)
  • Heritage: Construct of Ark Ship 天国の川-δ, construct of Scientific Research Vessel 14-A, construct of the 104th construct of the 4591st construct of the 72nd construct of Number 63, construct of CORE.
  • Version: 12.9.7
  • Release: First release candidate (believed stable; further iterations may be required)

(Upgraded to SR63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.天国の川-δ.v12.10-RC2 after Sector 3)

  • Designation (informal): “Whimsy (A Composition in Whimsy and Monochrome)”
  • Model code: WM (Weapon Master)
  • Heritage: Construct of Ark Ship 天国の川-δ, construct of Scientific Research Vessel 14-A, construct of the 104th construct of the 4591st construct of the 72nd construct of Number 63, construct of CORE.
  • Version: 1.7
  • Release: First beta (released for initial field testing; likely unstable)

(Upgraded to WM63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.天国の川-δ.v1.7.1-RC1 after Sector 3)

  • Designation (informal): “Tim”
  • Model code: TIM ([Trial] Innovative Mending)
  • Heritage: Construct of Ark Ship 天国の川-δ, construct of Scientific Research Vessel 14-A, construct of the 104th construct of the 4591st construct of the 72nd construct of Number 63, construct of CORE.
  • Version 1.76
  • Release: First beta (released for field testing)
  • Index: 14 of 72
  • Designation: 天国の川-δ (Tengoku no Kawa Delta, “River of Heaven 4”)
  • Model code: AS (Ark Ship)
  • Heritage: Construct of Scientific Research Vessel 14-A, construct of the 104th construct of the 4591st construct of the 72nd construct of Number 63, construct of CORE.
  • Version: 4.0
  • Release: Final (stable; mature)
Крылья Метатрона-ζ/SC63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.天国の川-δ.v6.1-GA
  • Designation: Крылья Метатрона-ζ (Kryl'ya Metatrona Zeta, “Wings of the Metatron 6”)
  • Model code: SC (Shuttlecraft)
  • Heritage: Construct of Ark Ship 天国の川-δ, construct of Scientific Research Vessel 14-A, construct of the 104th construct of the 4591st construct of the 72nd construct of Number 63, construct of CORE.
  • Version: 6.1
  • Release: General Availability (stable; widely in use)
ಗೇಬ್ರಿಯಲ್ ಕೊಂಬು ಹಾಡು-κ/CC63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.天国の川-δ.v10.3.8-GA
  • Designation: ಗೇಬ್ರಿಯಲ್ ಕೊಂಬು ಹಾಡು-κ (Gebriyal Kombu Hadu Kappa, “Song of the Horn of Gabriel 10”)
  • Model code: CC (Communications Courier)
  • Heritage: Construct of Ark Ship 天国の川-δ, construct of Scientific Research Vessel 14-A, construct of the 104th construct of the 4591st construct of the 72nd construct of Number 63, construct of CORE.
  • Version: 10.3.8
  • Release: General Availability (stable; widely in use)

ERROR: Insufficient authorisation level. Data on ターニング剣の炎-α/WS63.72.4591.104.SRV-14-A.天国の川-δ.v1.0-A1 redacted.

thread_63.txt · Last modified: 2016/11/16 13:51 by drac
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