Boundary Districts

Everything you see in the Matrioska Multiverse may constitute spoilers for other worlds I'm working on. Proceed with caution!
The Boundary Districts are the portion of the Substrate concerned with the real, physical aspect of the Matrioshka Multiverse as a megastructure. Contrary to the exile-like suggestion of its name, being assigned to work in the Boundary Districts is considered a grand honor, as it evinces that the person sent is to be trusted the physical safety, security, and maintenance of the Matrioshka.

Geography

The physical aspect of the Boundary Districts is subdivided into three regions:  
  1. Spaceward Layer: The Spaceward Layer is the outermost layer of the Boundary Districts. Primarily concerned with the outer surface and direct support structures of the megastructure, the roles of Spaceward Layer residents include defense, scientific observations of the universe, and the rare communications with outside forces. Because of the dangers the Matrioshka Multiverse would face if discovered by the universe at large, Spaceward Layer residents are among the most closely vetted and monitored citizens of The Substrate; out of respect for the dignity of these citizens, an assignment to the Spaceward Later may be declined at any time should the individual desire to reclaim the privacy of his or her personal life.

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  3. Utility Layer: The Utility Layer entails the structures of the megastructure sandwiched between the Spaceward and Coreward Layers. Residents of the Utility Layer generally perform physical maintenance but, as this is most often relegated to automated systems - and the real space aspect of the layer is otherwise cramped, dark, and boring - they more often spend their time in the simulated aspect of the district. Should the Matrioshka Multiverse ever encounter a physical threat that includes boarding parties or other physical explorers, residents of the Utility Layer may be called upon to perform defense roles.

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  5. Coreward Layer: The Coreward Layer includes the inner surface of the megastructure and its support structures. Because the Matrioshka Multiverse is a massive stellar engine - a Matriohshka brain built around a black hole - most of the residents of the Coreward Layer are involved with maintenance- and science-related tasks. The search for a True Instance is carried out on the Coreward Layer, and any Shkadov thruster maneuvers undertaken by the megastructure are done in coordination with these residents.

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Localized Phenomena

Most blanks who attempt to visit the Boundary Districts simply by fleeing from the 'center' of Unallocated Space only percieve the place as a distant darkness - a termination of traversible space. However, blanks intentionally assigned to the place and who understand its nature can, instead, tap their sensoriate directly into the various sensors and robotic platforms that exist in real space around the Matrioshka. These individuals can see and traverse the Matrioshka Multiverse as normal, but they can also observe, interact, and travel within regular space. A combination of signal lag and the difference in the flow of percieved time in real space versus simulated reality can make this a disorienting experience.

Type
Megastructure


Cover image: by Ferdinand Stöhr

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