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Communication hub

Welcome to Imperial Soulmates! In a gigantic and futuristic fantasy empire filled with solarpunk magitechs, Hélène is hiding that she's one of the emperor's soulmates. However, to lift the legal curse on her best friend, she will have to blackmail the emperor himself... Come read about her plans, and the world in which she lives!
Introduction to the story | Hélène | Soulmates | Novel upcoming

Table of Contents

The communication hub is a public mental hub that is anchored in a gigantic underground mycelium network. Thanks to an artefact, people can mentally connect to it and use it to communicate together and exchange information. This is one of the technology that makes the empire so much superior to any other country and why so many people are happy to have conquered.    
The fungi
In the last century, the empire has developed the use of organic material—at first plants and especially trees—to anchor more complex magics. Thanks to this, it was able to invent new technologies that were more and more intricate, starting a new technological race.   This culminated in the achievement of an even higher order of magnitude in complexity by anchoring magic in the gigantic underground mycelium network of a fungi, combining 1) the pre-organic technologies made of gigantic mineral architecture with 2) the molecular size of organic technologies.   For this, a special fungi was bioengineered:
  • to give it the molecular metallic system that is necessary to anchor magic and to give it the right properties;
  • to allow for the mycelium to spread everywhere in widely different climate and soil and be resistant to parasites and disease, and for the network to survive even if the fungi is damaged locally;
  • to have its main magic anchored in the mycelium located under the capital and in a few local centres through the empire and to use the rest of the mycelium to simply access the magic.
    The communication hub
    The magic anchored in this mycelium network was used to create the communication network. This is a mental hub that people can connect to wherever they are in the empire when they are holding a connector artefact.   The hub can be used to:
  • mentally communicate with other people;
  • access memories or information stored in the hub.
  •   This of course has had a huge impact on the military efficiency of the empire, but also on its political efficiency, on the tight control the emperor holds on the rest of the empire, on its trade network, and on its culture. Foreigners do not have anything comparable and are extremely jealous.
    How to use the hub
    Paying: Each connector has an ID that is locked to its owner magic (in case of theft), and so when using the hub your bank account can be directly billed—and your bank too is on the hub for maximum efficiency.   Communication: You have to use the mycelium network to mentally travel through the empire and track the mind of anyone nearby until you find the person you want; if they have a connector of their own, they will then be warned and be able to access the hub and find you there. This is very complex and magic-consuming. Personal tokens given to acquaintances can help them find you more easily, and most connectors now come with a key ring allowing to attach tokens.   Memories You can go to a local centre to sell your memories and have them uploaded in the network. If your memories are not important enough, you will instead have to pay the centre to upload them. People interested will then be able to pay to access them. This allows for news to spread quickly before being printed locally for a wider audience and for everyone to have access to a recording of important event - although the queue to witness them in the hub can be important.
    Hélène rarely regretting "running away" from her family. Her new life—and her new independence—were fantastic. However, having to pay the price of an organ on the black market just to jump ahead of the months-long queue on the hub to access a hot new memory was enough to make anyone repent.   She gritted her teeth and flushed away all of her savings in one go. She could not afford to stay ignorant about this.   The hub was buzzing with the magic and the agitation of all the mind that had rushed to connect to it this morning. Whether people had money or not, whether they had any chance to access any relevant memory this century, nobody wanted to stay away.   Their emperor had been kidnapped.   The most powerful and clever person in the empire—no mere propaganda given the tournament used to select emperors—had been taken from inside the most well warded building in the world.   Finally, the current viewer released the memory Hélène wanted and she was able to mentally seize it.   Immediately, she found herself thrown into it's owner mind, hiding in a corridor of what had to be the imperial palace and looking at a soldier wearing the uniform of the emperor's personal guard and whose face was hidden by a hastly-thrown hood.   "Are the rumours true?" the owner hissed in a horrified whisper.   "I'm afraid so," the soldier answered in the same tone. "His Majesty retired in his quarters with his soulmates for the night, and by morning he had simply vanished. We have absolutely no idea what happened! The wards did not react in any way, and there was no suspicious activity!"   The owner gasped overly dramatically before exclaiming, "Oh, magic, this is horrible!"   "But wait, there is worse!" The soldier marked a theatrical pause. This whole thing was obviously entirely rehearsed so that the two individuals could make a fortune out of the situation. Still the fact, that an imperial guard was involved led credence to the information. "Sanne has had the gall to contact us with demands!"   Oh magic indeed.   If those damn foreigners had the emperor, this was a catastrophe. They would try to blackmail the empire, but the imperial administration was unlikely to concede. This would be a fight between them and the emperor's soulmates. Hélène had to hurry before they killed the emperor and she lost her chance.   She may have rejected him as her soulmate, but he was still hers, damn it!
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    Cover image: Communication hub by AmélieIS


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    Dec 4, 2023 12:54 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

    Yaaaaaay, fungal communication! <3 <3 <3 I love this.

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
    Dec 7, 2023 18:59 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks <3 This world is the perfect excuse to have plants and fungi everywhere :D

    To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
    Dec 10, 2023 19:59 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks <3 Lots of fungi everywhere!

    To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
    Dec 8, 2023 10:52 by Annie Stein

    This is so weird I love it

    Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
    Dec 10, 2023 20:00 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks <3 I really love this idea and the working of the hub and all the limitations I've put in to make it unique and not just some magical internet XD

    To see what I am up to: World Ember 2023 list of articles.
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