First discovered during the late 21st century, the Imbrian culture was a solar system spanning civilization that had achieved absolute mastery of arcanotechnology. This mastery, however, did not prevent the near total annihilation of the Imbrian culture in an unknown cataclysm.
The Imbrian culture was a large, technologically transcendent civilization that had major population centers on Earth (almost all of which are now underwater, but at the time of the Imbrian Culture, coincided with major ice age glaciation, and were above sea level at that time. The written language of Imbria appears to have similar elements to Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform. The extremely fragmentary remains of this written language give credence to the fact that these settlements were not the bulk of the Imbrian society, may have been the source of the Atlantis mythos, and that they coexisted with humanity at a time when mankind was technologically 'still in the cave'.
The Moon, Luna henceforth, was the focal point of much of Imbria's technological prowess, and the cataclysm that ended their civilization was focused on Luna, and the destruction of their core infrastructure there lead the eventual collapse of all other Imbrian settlements and colonies across the solar system. According to the records found, during the time of the Imbrian culture, Luna was an idyllic world of gardens, crystal spire cities, and the rest of the common ultra-futuristic trope.
The Imbrian Culture had potentially reached the equivalent arcanotechnology singularity, and it was both the cause of their civilization's expansion across the solar system, and the reason for their demise.
The Nibiru Array - this arcanotech device was an ancient relative of the CogNet in that it was a massive data network that reached across the entire solar system, but comparing the CogNet to the Nibiru array is comparing a monitor lizard to a tyrannosaurus.Nibiru was often referenced as a specific place, another planet or world, but the modern CogNet with it's immersive realities and artificial worlds (ala MMOs) demonstrates that a world need not be a physical planet to exist. To the Imbrians, their entertainment wasn't something that entered their homes, it was something they went and visited through their own data network. The core nodes of the array were all located on Luna, and there is nothing left of them. Ruins on Mars have contained long broken equipment, and badly damaged stations have been found in locations well away from the plane of the Solar System, located by long searches following mathematical models for what it would take to make a data array measured in AUs.
Teleportation - The Imbrians had colonized the Solar System, and their society was in a post expansion phase, and they mastered Teleportation, removing the need for spacecraft. The Imbrians had the ability to upload physically into Nibiru, and 'transmit' themselves anywhere they wanted to go, and generally viewed physical spacecraft as obsolete and anachronistic relics of a barbarous era. This has been a frustration, as the discovery of an Imbrian spaceship, no matter how crude and primitive they found them, would be well beyond the capabilities of any modern cosmic era spacecraft.
Indeterminate Teleportation - A fascinating and terrifying concept, the Imbrian records reference the ability to place things into holding position in mid-teleport, functionally saving large physical objects as data in the Nibiru array, forgoing the need for long term storage, or worrying about an object succumbing to the passage of time. Imbrian warriors held their advanced armor and weaponry in this indeterminate teleport until they had need for it, and would 'summon it' allowing it to finish teleporting. The level of sophistication allowed for things as precise as a suit of combat armor to teleport onto/around a warrior in the heat of battle. This could then be reversed, and equipment thus used could be returned to it's holding phase. The nebulous nature of the Nibiru array translating matter into energy and back meant that rather than having people and industries to repair damaged goods, anything damaged was reset to it's last us in the array. A half destroyed suit of armor would be reconstituted to it's former condition upon the next use of the gear.
Resurrection Engine - Imbrian records indicate that the Nibiru array could be used to resurrect those who had died, in a fashion similar to the restorative effect of indeterminate teleportation and back up data copies. This was not widely available, as it seems to have been either economically expensive (unlikely), had cultural significance, or was restricted to what group of people were allowed to benefit from it. All the records of Imbrians resurrected were either heroes who had accomplished major feats in the name of their culture, or were members of the dynasty that lead the culture.
Reincarnation/Immortality Engine - The Imbrians made use of a construct they referred to effectively as Personas. A persona was the continuation of an Imbrian, their memories, hopes, dreams, and so forth carried on through new bodies. As a body died, their animating essence/soul was transferred to a new body, not a cloned one, but the body of a newborn child. Personas existed and were known by their roles, typically corresponding to medical professionals, scientists, soldiers, and philosophers. Like the Resurrection Engine, this technology seems to have been limited to the Imbrian dynasty, and those that had served it well. This potentially had the effect of making the ruling dynasty ever more entrenched and unchanging as a small group of Personas could accumulate hundreds or even thousands of years of experience and skills to lock their specific prejudices in place, and replacing a Persona in a role could be seen as offensive, or questioning one would seem heresy. While this certainly advanced their culture, it also very likely caused it to stagnate, and ultimately become static as the elite were never humbled by death, and were never replaced by others.
Crystal Technology - Imbrian technology reached new pinnacles in materials tech and fabrication, and crystal was a common building material. The actual chemistry of this material is unknown as the few samples found were badly damaged, and it is speculated that not all Imbrian technology was physically present, and many devices were physical manifestations of the Nibiru array, such as having a very durable case for a data tablet, but the tablet only exists when it is activated through the array, except this could be done with energy as well, for providing power, illumination, and anything else the imagination can come up with.
Teratomorph domestication - The Imbrians cultivated teratomorphs, aka kaiju, to do things for them. The main roles of the titans was construction projects and military applications. Swarming Exomorphs were also employed by the Imbrians, again, mostly for military purposes. Given the advanced level of technology available to the Imbrians it was surprising to find them as heavily armed and warlike as they were. It is postulated that certain creatures, such as the monsters of ancient mythology might have actually been Imbrian teratomorphs and domesticated exomorphs that were either remnants on Earth, or passed down through oral histories before being written down as myth, legend, and faith.
The ruins of Imbria, those hidden under the oceans, and those on Luna were inspirational to the field of arcanotechnology. While Human arcanotech works differently than Imbrian arcanotech, the two are distantly related. Scientists and engineers saw what was possible, and a few hints and design elements they observed helped spur on human development. Groups like the Glassenheim Foundation worked to conceal the evidence of the Imbrian Culture, and also worked to make sure that historical references to it, such as Atlantis and related subjected remained as deeply in the fringe as possible.
The main use of the Imbrian Culture is twofold, it demonstrates that no matter how powerful and advanced arcanotech is in the Cosmic Era, it's full potential has only been scratched at, and it demonstrates that this power, this technology proved to more than useless in a full on cataclysm, specifically because this technology caused said cataclysm.
There are two trains of thought on what happened to the Imbrians, both of which have disturbing implications. The predominant theory is that the Imbrians reached a point of technological transcendence at which point their physical existence was abandoned and they entered a new mode of existence as energy beings. A variation on this theory is that they achieved faster than light travel capability and left the Solar System thousands of years ago to follow their own devices and purposes. This has the implication that said individuals could potentially return, and would do so with a technological advantage that would make them functionally godlike. The second train of thought is that something went horribly wrong on Luna, and that something triggered a planet wide Dimensional Fatigue Event, on a scale large enough that it destroyed cities and turned the garden like Luna into the dead moon that orbits Earth. This is frightening because, like nuclear weapons before, the emerging technology of arcanotech has the power to destroy all life on a planet.
The Truth (Spoilers Ahead)
The Imbrians were humans, or perhaps more correctly, humans are actually the descendents of the Imbrians. The Imbrians originated on Earth, and as soon as they had the technological ability, they left earth and heavily colonized Luna. To them, Earth was a hot, festering, heavy, disease and death ridden world. The settlements that remained on the planet were prisons, detention centers, political reeducation camps, and similar institutions, largely cut off from the largesse of the Nibiru array. Atlantis existed, but rather than a model civilization, it was the Imbrian version of Alcatraz.
The Imbrians had a semi-feudal government with a monarch and established dynasty that ruled from a massive city now occupied by the lava flow that is the Mare Serenitias on Luna. The dynasty controlled the core elements of the Nibiru Array, and were functionally immortal, regularly reincarnating themselves, and controlled mundane armies of soldiers, artificial lifeforms like androids, and warhosts of armed and armored teratomorphs and associated exomorph spawn. Imbria was frequently at war, maintaining martial control over it's colonies on Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Minerva, the Galilean moons, and so forth.
This conflict reached it's climax with the creation and detonation of the Caldera Device. A bomb of incredible power, the first Caldera device was used to destroy a rogue planet, Minerva, before it passed through the solar system, wrecking havoc on moons and other planets. The destroyed rogue planet became the asteroid belt, and associated pockets of debris around the solar system. The Caldera Device was rebuilt, in smaller forms, and used in the wars between Imbria and it's colonies. The wars reached a fever pitch, with various factions unleashing armies of kaiju, huge bug swarms, and other horrific weapons. The fighting would only end with the absolute butchery of one side or the other. When the Imbrians lost a world, they would retake it, and when the cost of the fighting grew too much, they would send a Caldera Device and simply blast everything off of the offending colonial world.
Mercury was devastated by multiple blasts. Venus, once home to dense and lush jungles and vast tropical seas was cracked, boiling the seas with volcanic fumes, stalling the rotation of the planet, and turning it into the toxic nightmare it is today. Dimensional fatigue events still send tremors through the planet, and extremely strange forms of life exist on its surface, and under it. The old maps of the Imbrians indicate that Saturn didn't have rings during their time period, but there was extensive fighting in it's vicinity, which ended when the renegade Saturn Moon worlds were blasted to fragments by Caldera Devices.
The orgy of destruction continued at a fevered pace, but the Imbrian dynasty was largely unconcerned with the violence and destruction of worlds. The damage could be repaired with time, new colonies established (except for those moons that were completely annihiliated, but the new rings around Saturn were glorious, and they considered smashing more moons to create rings around other planets. The dynasts were also unmmoved by the widescale death, because they themselves had been alive so long that they had lost their fear and concept of death. It didn't affect them, and their immediate dramas, and the destruction of worlds didn't affect their entertainments and diversions.
A subversive faction in the Dynasty brought a Caldera device to Luna, attempted to hold the dynasty hostage, to force their abdication, to face justice for their callous deeds, and then the device was detonated. Luna barely survived as a planetary body, and its atmosphere was blow away, it's surface biomass incinerated, and the core was unsettled. Where a few cities had survived, they were buried under miles of molten lunar lava. The Nibiru array collapsed, and all the things held in situ were either lost forever, or were forcibly dumped wherever the collapsing system spit them out. Lacking any meaningful fleet of spacecraft, the colonies, decimated by the previous battles fought fell. Some simply could not survive without outside support, others were overrun by their own weapons, the teratomorphs and such.
The only place Imbrians survived was on Earth, their trash bin and space toilet. Cut off completely from Imbria, the Terran colonies revolted against their now helpless masters, and many of the earth colonies collapsed, such as Atlantis. Their populations scattered, and were forced to join the feral humans who lived on the planet. The last good deed of the Imbrian culture was that it exterminated all teratomorphs that were on the planet before completely failing.
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? Responses (4)-4
A very good writeup - lots of details and the tendency for these people to store stuff extradimensionally helps tie up the loose ends of where the heck are all the artifacts.
I like the concept a lot, and think this is an excellent piece.
It's just, I sense that the creative force behind it made it stumble over itself in the effort to get written, and it feels hurried in places, and I'd welcome more detail in others.
(I'll change my vote to a higher one then)
(btw., Earth as both cradle and penal colony of humanity is rather funny)
Which sections would you like more detail in?