Intrepid Merchant: A vital part of the interstellar economy outside the stargate network. Of course, given the power required to accelerate even a small bit of matter to a noticeable percentage of lightspeed such merchants generally trade more in data than material goods, selling licenses or fabricating the goods in-system from an unclaimed asteroid or too.
In the more trafficked unlinked worlds, trade tends to be dominated by mercantile cartels, guilds, or clans of assorted origin. Small “tramp” traders just can’t match their volume. Meanwhile, in the network laser transmissions through the stargates can transfer all the data any planet needs and shipping materials becomes economically feasible.
Hive Mind: While anyone with a BCI can communicate “telepathically” with others it isn’t true thought-sharing, anymore than a phone call or text message is. Because everyone has a differently-shaped brain the sharing of actual thoughts or memories runs into firmware incompatibility issues. It is possible to translate the thoughts of one person into a format that another can view but the emulation software has to be customized to each pair of users.
Thus far, the only way to create a “hive mind” or any sort is with a group of bioprinted clones with brains shaped from the ground up to be all but identical to the original.
Hegemonic Empire: The Federation of Parahuman Species doesn’t bother with military conquest, it’s too much trouble really. Instead, they convince planets to join them. From there they maintain their hold in three primary ways:
- Exclusive access to nanotechnology: As demonstrated in the prologue to Of the Collective they can program nanoviruses to target specific individuals, either to kill or remove their microbots, rendering them mortal.
- Wormholes and Monopoles: The infrastructure to produce the magnetic monopoles used in sub-light ships is massive, on the planetary scale, and all known installations are under Federal Guard control. While the Gateforge that produces all of the Federation’s wormholes comes close to qualifying as a Dyson Sphere around Proxima Centauri.
- Telepaths: The House of Silver, as one of the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful families in the Federation, has all but cornered the job market for telepaths with their breeding program, one of the best known means of interstellar communications.
Healing Factor: The symbiotic microbots in most Federation citizens not only stave off the aging process but also repair the body at a rapid pace. Most minor cuts and bruises will be healed in a couple hours and something like a broken limb will be set within the day. Trauma that would normally kill but leaves the brain largely intact would be too much for the internal microbots alone to heal so they instead induce a coma and keep the brain oxygenated until external medical assistance becomes available.
Generation Ships: Outside the stargate network it, of course, takes decades to get anywhere. What with civilian starships having a max speed of about .5c and military craft being classified but not that much faster. While immortality and nanostasis remove any necessity of having children on board to continue the mission it does happen every so often.
The Fog of Ages: A parahuman brain is only capable of holding about a century or two’s worth of memories. The vast majority of immortal Federation citizens have BCIs with memory augmentation for this very reason. Telepaths and others who refuse to use BCIs can seem a little scatterbrained at times after they pass their first century, journals help, a little, but digging out a specific event out of a hundred thousand daily entries can be tiresome.
Feudal Future: While the central government (under the Argentum genus’ control) re-established itself and wrested military control from the territorial families in short order on SecLand, and while Tau Ceti’s feudal system was dismantled after annexation into the Federation, variations on the oldest form of government remain popular, especially in the Outworlds.
The Federation: The Federation of Parahuman Species claims to be this, of course. To an extent it is true in that it is a union of multiple states under an “elected” central authority, but it veers dangerously close to qualifying as an Empire.
Elective Monarchy: While the New Pallas Republic and the Federation it leads is officially a republic and the Praetor is popularly elected, a variety of factors have made it nigh-impossible for anyone who isn’t a recognizable scion of Argentum to attain the post. In some ways making it closer to a Hereditary Republic, if not for the fact that the succession doesn’t always follow a line.
Earth That Was: When Earth is hit by a small moon hurtling through space at approximately 90% lightspeed it’s not going to support life again anytime soon.