Upper Late Arcopel

The arcopel once constituted a hyper-advanced space-faring empire that absolutely dominated the Sealed Kingdoms Region and surrounding space. Before the Mind Cataclysm brought their civilization tumbling down at the end of the Mythic Age, these arcopel, scattered and morally decadent as they had become, also raised numerous species into sentience and diversified them across countless worlds, creating the Sealed Kindoms as they are known in the modern era. This late, diffuse culture of arcopel are often known as the Arcopel of the Mythic Age - or, more simply, as the Upper Late Arcopel.

Culture

Major language groups and dialects

The unified arcopel langauge had largely subsumed all previous region-specific dialects by the early Mythic Age. However, the vast separation that had developed between settlements and individuals during the era of the Upper Late Arcopel meant that even this language became 'dead' in the sense that no major linguistic innovations could be reliably propagated; the only sure way to verbally communicate was to resort to the old, rigid rudiments of the empire-spanning lingua franca. By the end of the upper Late Arcopel culture, most communications between individuals took the form of direct data and sense-impression transfers between cybernetic brain-computer interfaces, rendering verbal communication antiquated in comparison.

Shared customary codes and values

While most Upper Late Arcopel were haughty and unconcerned with ethics, it would be incorrect to say that the arcopel were unanimous in this attitude or entirely without moral scruples. Though many Upper Late Arcopel did regard non-arcopel as little more than animals of various degrees of cleverness, a sizeable contingent of the culture did believe in what they would have called 'animal welfare,' regarding the unneccessary infliction of suffering on a sensate, organic being as morally untoward. Many Upper Late Arcopel were strident proponents of scientific objectivity, detatchment, and non-interference to the extent possible with captive non-arcopel on research worlds, allowing less-developed species to grow under covert observation rather than directly intervening in their affairs.   Some Upper Late Arcopel even went so far as to question the ethics of creating and keeping skyphoform servitors, as they deemed them capable of suffering in the same way as organic beings, but this was a minority opinion by the time of the Mind Cataclysm. Lufthaus, a researcher at the Telfegor Robotics Foundry and the creator of the skyphoforms (see Attained Technological Levels) himself came around to this point of view only in his final years leading up to the Cataclysm, allowing a skyphoform made in his own image to go on to become the progenitor of the splinter Defected lineage.

Average technological level

by Hero Forge
The Upper Late Arcopel possessed technological and scientific sophistication that remained unparralleled even unto the development of Wurth Harkin's matrioshka brain and some of the greater feats of Vbyifabid stellar engineering.   The Upper Late Arcopel were masters of long-distance interstellar travel, crossing the vast gulfs between stars at high relativistic speed in cryosleep with near-zero probability of Cryostasis Recovery Syndrome or, in some cases, as the result of engineered biological immortality. Their artificial intelligence was among the most advanced in the setting, with their skyphoform servitors going on to establish their own independent civilizations after the collapse of the arcopel interstellar empire. The Upper Late Arcopel would gather sample species from across tens of thousands of lightyears of space and place them on marginally habitable worlds in the Sealed Kingdoms region as a form of captive zoology, instituting various flavors of gene drive to mark their finds and differentially hasten the development of certain useful traits in these hapless creatures. In this way the Upper Late Arcopel are directly responsible for the rise of the Cobalt Protectorate and its various humanoid subgroups, the develoment of emoxi and ashquilish as offshoot species, and the regional specialization of the vbyifabid.   Much of what the arcopel knew and made is lost in the modern era. The Mind Cataclysm was an act of information warfare on the part of a small colony of arcopel back on Arctopelago who wished to establish a collective mind for the arcopel as a whole - akin to the vbyifabid flockmind - with themselves as the dominant 'thought-leaders.' Instead, due to misjudgements on the part of the attackers, most arcopel with brain-computer interfaces or whom were uploaded consciousness - in other words, most arcopel in existence at the time - were driven insane, crippled, or killed outright by the attack. Those unfortunate souls left alive in the wake of the Cataclysm were left scattered and disconnected from one another across gulfs of space, isolated from their culture's extensive knowledge base. The few remaining group settlements of the arcopel collapsed into anarchy and disrepair, becoming deathtraps for the salvagers, archaeologists, and other opportunists who would risk the journey.

Art & Architecture

The traditional arts of the arcopel as a species had become stagnant by the time of the Upper Late Arcopel. It was widely accepted by the culture that there was nothing new to be done with traditional visual, musical, or sculptural forms, as arcopel culture had been already ancient by the time that other species were just learning to use tools. Instead, most Upper Late Arcopel sought to incorporate aesthetic work into their scientific and industrial work. Miniaturization and optimization meant that arcopel ship design, for example, could finally embrace ideals of form beyond rude practicality. Some arcopel regarded the engineering of living systems towards specific traits (see Attained Technological Levels) as a form of art that had the benefit of dynamism and self-propetuation; the grotesque, hyper-optimized forms of some now-extinct ofshoots of early humanity demonstrate the unethical excesses to which this 'aesthetic' was pushed before the end of the Upper Late Arcopel Culture.

Ideals

Beauty Ideals

The Upper Late Arcopel were masters of genetics and cybernetics, allowing them to achieve whatever standards of beauty they set for themselves. At the same time, as many of the Upper Late Arcopel were scattered across 10,000 light years of space as individuals or small groups, they had little in the way of input from one another by which they could establish unique cultural aesthetics. Instead, efforts were made by most of these arcopel to strive towards a half-remembered 'prime arcopel ideal' which emphasized physical strength, intellectual growth, and a return to a general physical form that resembled what arcopel looked like before their technology. The effect of these efforts was that most arcopel began to look like museum replicas of pre-spaceflight arcopel with all the major self-alterations concealed beneath this uniform exterior. Flaunting luddite suppositions, an arcopel with no visible physical enhancements was more to be feared than any ultra-muscled collage of sinew and cybernetics, as the latter had merely embodied the practical ideals of Upper Late Arcopel society while the former had the wealth, knowledge, and resources to perfect them.

Gender Ideals

The Upper Late Arcopel had little in the way of gender ideals. While arcopel possessed male and female sexes, their gender dimorphism was very slight, and individual self-improvements were believed to impart more of an identity than any gendered predispositions. Indeed, as the automation (see Relationship Ideals) and self-alteration (see Beauty Ideals) technologies of the arcopel advanced, contact between the sexes became altogether less necessary for the continued propagation of the species and, as such, most old gender ideals had faded into obscurity by the time of the Mind Cataclysm.

Relationship Ideals

Skyphoform Ideogram by BCGR_Wurth
The more advanced the Upper Late Arcopel became, the more likely they became to choose lives of solitude. The advanced exploration vessels of the era were so packed with in-situ resource utilization systems that they could be self-sufficient nearly indefinitely. Armies of the artificial life-forms known as skyphoforms attended to the every need - no matter how excessive or twisted - of their arcopel masters, providing sustenance, labor, entertainment, and pleasure without that baggage that came with in-person interactions with other organic beings. Among the very last of the Upper Late Arcopel, it became common for an arcopel to never see one of his or her kind in-the-flesh, with individuals born in artificial wombs, reared by the skyphoforms of their now-deceased forebearers, living in the vast gaps between stars, and often retreating into endless cryostasis when their bodies ultimately failed them - only for the cycle to continue with genes harvested from their ice-glazede catafalques. Even more social Upper Late Arcopel held individualistic capability and accomplishment to be the greatest of virtues.   Those Upper Late Arcopel who chose to live with others of their kind often did so in various small communities spread across their homeworld of Arctopelago or, more commonly, in orbital habitats around various stars held by their widespread interstellar empire. These bands of arcopel related to one another in a way that a human might recognize as a 'small town culture.' Outside groups were held at arm's distance, but not outright rejected; non-arcopel, however, were regarded as animals at best and never graced with such social warmth except as a means to an end. One notable exception to this was the ashquilish, whom the arcopel had bred from early chitiquish stock in eons past to serve various roles in arcopel society before the creation of the skyphoforms. Ashquilish came to be regarded as lesser members of the arcopel 'family' - something akin to pets - and were accorded a degree of respect by the arcopel that no other species ever attained.



Cover image: by Beat Schuler (edited by BCGR_Wurth)
  • 40000 BCE


    Upper Arcopel Culture
    Cultural event

    The Upper Arcopel Culture represents a point in arcopel history where scientific and technological advancement began to stagnate not for a lack of desire or capability to improve but because it wasn't clear to the arcopel at that time what else there was to learn. The already hyper-advanced arcopel interstellar society spent the Upper Arcopel Culture era using the knowledge it had amassed to expand, explore, toy with lesser species, and improve their own personal comfort at the expense of deeper inquiry into the nature of the cosmos. While new technological and scientific concepts were rare in this period, what knowledge existed was perfected to the extent that it became indistinguishable from nature in many cases.

  • 32000 BCE

    28000 BCE


    The Arcopel Cause Speciation Among the Vbyifabid
    Population Migration / Travel

    Through a combination of transportation to remote worlds and the judicious application of gene drive technology, arcopel scientists cause the vbyifabid to be divided into at least four different major breeds. One offshoot population of the vbyifabod undergoes radical speciation to become the separate, but related, emoxi species. Later vbyifabid will come regard their victimization in such a manner with outrage, but will be powerless to exact justice against the far more powerful arcopel interstellar empire until after the Mind Cataclysm.

    Additional timelines
  • 27000 BCE


    The Ashquilish are Engineered by the Arcopel from Chitiquish Stock
    Scientific achievement

    Additional timelines
  • 10000 BCE


    Arcopel Scientists Visit Earth
    Population Migration / Travel

    A group of arcopel biologists discover Earth in the Sol system. Recognizing that humans would make excellent specimens to study the development of sapience in various environments, the scientists gather sample populations from across the world and place them in suspended animation for the 6,000 light year journey back to the scientists' native Soul Nebula - also known as the Sealed Kingdoms region.

    Additional timelines
  • 1200 BCE


    Human Population Established on Lepidos
    Population Migration / Travel

    Additional timelines
  • 850 CE


    Lufthaus-1b is Activated
    Life, Birth

    Lufhaus-1b, one of the first skyphoforms, is 'born' when the arcopel scientist his neuroelectronics were based upon activates him. Lufthaus will go on to become the 'father' to a lineage of somewhat free-minded skyphoforms known as The Defected.

    Additional timelines
  • 864 CE


    Wurth Harkin is Born
    Life, Birth

    A human child named Wurth is born to the head shaman of Clan Harukin and his wife on the planet Evermorn.

    Additional timelines
  • 903 CE

    904 CE


    Successful Slave Rebellion on Ferrous Minor
    Revolution

    Wurth Harkin, Shank, and other Evermornan human slaves link up with the vbyifabids Gohro and Myrden and the emoxi pilot Rechet to hijack a consortium long-haul refinery vessel. After initially absconding from the planet, Wurth uses the ship's haul of cobalt to pelt the consortium's holdings in the system with relativistic, neutron-activated debris, rendering the system unable to support life for centuries thereafter.   Horrified at the humans' chosen form of revenge, Myrden demands that the Evermornans become signatories to the Valleybridge Accords to prevent any future destruction of habitable worlds at their hands. Wurth agrees, but Shank does not; ultimately, by a narrow majority, the humans do become signatories. Nevertheless, Wurth later lets it be known that he has more irradiated cobalt impactors in reserve should anyone else threaten Evermornan independence and survival in the Sealed Kingdoms.

    Additional timelines
  • 904 CE

    1000 CE


    Great Mind Cataclysm Causes Collapse of Arcopel Interstellar Empire
    Disaster / Destruction

    The arcopel's artificial commensal intelligence is corrupted by an attempt by a small group of over-eager researchers, rendering over 90% of all arcopel attached to it braindead or too damaged to survive on their own. The lethal signal propagates out from Arctopelago as a shell of electromagnetic energy expanding at the speed of light, meaning that the Cataclysm strikes the extents of the Upper Arcopel civilization long after the inciting event. Scattered arcopel communities and individuals remain unaffected, but arcopel civilization enters a steep decline, and the species ultimately disappears as a political force in the Sealed Kingdoms.

    Additional timelines
  • 909 CE

    945 CE


    Lufthaus Romances an Arcopel Survivor on the Fordarus Gas Giant Mining Station
    Life, Trauma/ Loss

    Lufthaus encounters an arcopel woman named Safti on a fuel mining platform on the gas giant Fordarus. He remains with her until she grows old, being denied the life-extending care of the now-fallen arcopel interstellar empire. On Safti's death, Lufthaus buries her by dropping her into the gas giant. He then leaves the now-empty station behind to eventually crumble and fall into the clouds below.

    Additional timelines
  • 915 CE


    The Evermornan Slaves Return to Evermorn
    Founding

    Wurth Harkin, Shank, and the other human slaves return to Evermorn with stolen technology and knowledge borne from their long exodus through the void of space. They and their descendants spend the next several hundred years uplifting their fellow Evermornans and stabilizing the geopolitical situation, leaving only the Cinnibar Hegemony and Obsidian Republic unincorporated into their new governing system. This is the foundation of the Cobalt Protectorate, then known as the Cobalt Tribal Federation.

    Additional timelines
  • 920 CE


    T.K.T. Stellar Holdings R-Bombed Back to Pre-Spaceflight Level of Existence
    Military action

    Additional timelines
  • 1780 CE


    Ashauric is Sealed Away Beneath the Arctopelago Research Arcology Domes
    Life, Achievement/ Win

    A group of skyphoforms, humans, and near-humans successfully trap the genetically engineered uber-arcopel known as Ashauric in a quarantine zone beneath the Arctopelago Research Arcology Domes, preventing the creation of a new, more brutal arcopel interstellar empire. This may be considered the last known extent of the pre-Cataclysm Upper Late Arcopel culture; all subsequent arcopel are generations removed from the cultural milieu of the old arcopel interstellar empire.

    Additional timelines

Comments

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10 Sep, 2022 07:36

This was a overall a good article!, I liked the timeline for it as well!

Master Dazzlinkat
K.S. Bishoff
15 Sep, 2022 12:44

This was good stuff and I like the timeline and how it's placed! One thing, though, ... perhaps one section on their LEGACY that collects all the bits into a summary?

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Sage George Sanders
George Sanders
21 Sep, 2022 03:02

I like the examination of max time of a culture.

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