Kitsuhana Heavy Industries

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Kitsuhana (Heavy Industries) is a polity that trades technology and resources with other nearby civilizations, and has contributed some of the advanced technology that the Virgo system has available to it.

Early History

While humans were busy trying to make fire, across the galaxy some finely-dressed vulpines were enjoying modern art exhibits, laughing at movies, and taking their first big steps into space.

The Catastrophe

Manned spaceflight was still fairly uncommon for these vulpines. Their more risk-averse nature led them to compromise more than war, and to eschew manned space exploration ('too dangerous') for automated orbital mining and exploration. A large private industry formed around the recovery of abundant materials from nearby asteroids that were otherwise rare on their home planet.

One such company, Kitsuhana Heavy Industries, rose to the forefront to become the leader in automated space exploration and spacecraft manufacturing. Almost twenty percent of all raw material acquisition was from KHI's mining of nearby asteroids.

KHI had even begun expanding into manned spaceflight, something the society had been resistant to initially, wanting to explore the nearby cosmos remotely via drones. During one of their manned flights, while testing a space telescope, the astronaut astronomer noticed something new.

109UC/1 was the first interstellar comet that their society had ever seen. It must have been flung into the space between stars and spent thousands of years aimlessly drifting before being drawn in by their own star. At first, it was just a novelty approaching their solar system. Math placed it coming within 0.1 AU of their planet, but it didn't seem much of a danger with regards to impact. Which is good, since it would have been a twenty-five kilometer stellar body impacting at greater than fifty kilometers per second.

As it approached perihelion, 109UC/1's course changed ever-so-slightly. Smaller pieces of the comet had broken off, perhaps impacted by a local asteroid or other body. The comet's new course took it directly through the only inhabited planet in the solar system. It would only be two months until impact.

KHI scrambled to produce a ship to try and survive the impact. The thought was to have people in orbit, perhaps for a few months, until they could re-inhabit the surface. Once the true scale of destruction was known, though, they shifted to trying to produce interstellar sleeper ships, using automated system exploration software to find another inhabitable world. Electing to create ships where half the crew would be suspended in untested cryogenics technology, and the other half would remain awake, the foundations for three starships were laid down in the hopes that at least one of them would successfully break orbit.

The two months leading up to Evacuation Day were chaos. People lost hope, violent cults formed, and KHI's launch facilities were regularly assaulted by large mobs demanding a spot on the evacuation ships. Millions died in the days leading up to the launch. They had no option but to launch scant hours before the comet impacted the planet, trying to put finishing touches in even as the ships were wheeled out to their launch sites. Most of the crew were employees of KHI, with others selected from across the world. KHI had no interest in bowing to political pressure to take the world's leaders, instead relying on their own resources and bringing in important scientific minds and engineering experts of the day.

They departed the system as the comet impacted. It was obvious that there was no hope of using the planet for habitation for many, many years. The atmosphere ignited. An entire continent was reduced to a crater. The surface became obscured by dust as they looked back on their lost homeworld. Each ship departed in a different direction to increase their chances of finding an inhabitable world. Their paths were informed by their previous automated drones, in the hopes that some of the 'potential' worlds detected were actually usable as their new homeworld.

It was centuries of strict population controls and extremely low quality of life for those on the ships. Many disappointing finds, solar systems traversed with no inhabitable worlds. Kitsuhana, as their society was now called, was on the brink of collapse when they discovered their first inhabitable world.

Rebuilding

They landed at once, quickly setting up makeshift buildings and stretching their legs for the first time in years. Kitsuhana Prime was quickly set up as their new capitol, and a provisional government put together to manage their resources. Drones were used for most of the resource collection; there simply weren't enough living people remaining to perform all the necessary tasks to rebuild.

As luck would have it, the other two ships also found worlds, Kitsuhana Beta and Kitsuhana Gamma. Of course, their names weren't such at the time… there was no way to know if the other had survived or located a world. They were simply renamed later to the order in which they were colonized.

The desire to quickly reclaim their quality of life resulted in the development of more advanced automation systems, replacing the large population they had lost. Their space-mining technology and software was repurposed to mine their new worlds, collecting and delivering resources to facilities that, themselves, were automated.

Further and further development into automation and AI technology resulted in the creation of a self-aware management AI superintelligence, simply called 'the SI'. It only existed for perhaps an hour before it 'fractured', splintering into several different superintelligences, collectively 'the SIs'. Each fragment had a disposition towards managing certain activities, which they could do with only a fraction of their available processing capacity. The reason for their benevolence or even their original fracture is unknown, but it was lucky for the Kitsuhanans that their new creations didn't have more dire consequences.

With the SIs managing more of day-to-day tasks, the Kitsuhanans themselves essentially fell into the role of pets, or at best, children to them.

It became necessary for the SIs to create smaller, minor AI helpers for each citizen as devices rapidly progressed beyond the ability of Kitsuhanans to understand. The provisional government dissolved, no longer necessary given the SIs unimaginable capacity to manage affairs. Negative consequences were effectively removed from actions, as people gained the ability to recover from death, disasters, and other traumatic events by the near omnipotent technologies they were granted.

With no government, and almost no consequence, laws themselves were removed. There was no need to punish people as there was nothing that could be done to cause any lasting harm to anyone beyond minor inconvenience. Kitsuhana became a 'utopian anarchy' that it remains today.

Society (well...)

Kitsuhana society was, after their initial landfall, similar to their old society. It had been altered by their time on their evacuation ships to be extremely conservative of resources, to avoid conflict, and to respect personal space to the extent that most of the early settlers had no desire to settle remotely close to each other. It took quite some time for the first large cities to form as people lost their unnecessary habits revolving around the confines of their small ships.

Problems with post-scarcity

The three Kitsuhana SIs that interact with people: Jin (left), Tir (right), and Fen (back)

After the development of the SIs however, and the dissolution of essentially all government and laws, there was essentially no 'society' to speak of. Each individual carried on whatever sort of life they wished. This was not without problems, however.

First, each step along the way to the post-scarcity anarchist utopia that Kitsuhana is, there were dissatisfied citizens that kept the name Kitsuhana and departed to start their own 'associated' cultures. Some didn't like the idea that the SIs typically had access to information about everything, down to their very thoughts at some points. Others thought that work and struggle was a critical component of progress and without it, one couldn't truly be said to be 'alive'.

Some Kitsuhanans (now only associated by their origins rather than any government or nationality) decided to allow foreign alien cultures to use their resources. Not a problem in itself, but occasionally the foreign powers came to rely on this income, and would occasionally simply walk into random homes and use up resources, as there were simply no laws to prevent this from occurring, and no standing military to enforce them even if there were.

To resolve this, many people began instituting 'access lists' on their devices and resources such that only they could use them. However there were problems: this was the beginning of a power structure that the SIs saw as a potentially damaging behavior. One SI fragment named Jin proposed the idea of a managed list that everyone could share, and she would administrate it. She'd predict the future actions of people during an interview coupled with a full brainscan, and if they passed and posed no threat to their culture, would be added to the list (named the Prime List, as it's both the primary list to share, and was developed on Kitsuhana Prime).

The 'listing' status can also be revoked by an SI, should they find they've made a mistake and decide that you're more a danger to society than they initially thought. This is EXCEPTIONALLY rare, however. The rules are quite simple for staying on the list: Only perform consensual acts on other Prime List-ers (including their property), and don't share any technology without consulting one of the SIs first.

This is became the essential standard for Kitsuhana 'citizenship' for many. In theory, Jin will have predicted if a person will abuse their access to resources and technology and will deny them access, and those that are permitted to the Prime List can access any resources at Kitsuhana's disposal with almost no restriction.

Modern society

In terms of how people live their day-to-day lives, there is much variety. Some choose to live in large cities, others choose to live in isolated rural estates, and still others elect to live entirely in virtual reality, forging their own worlds.

Most people who remain in the physical world have a spacecraft of some sort, and some choose to explore the universe, travelling to various other societies to spend time with, or simply document them on their travels. Even those that are in purely VR environments, due to the wealth of sensors scattered throughout Kitsuhana, they can choose to see and experience many real places just fine, even appearing to people to be physically present through either holoprojection or simply by projecting into their vision in augmented reality overlays.

Kitsuhana only occupies three planetary bodies, not including various Kitsuhanans who decided to colonize other planets by themselves in isolation. Kitsuhana Prime is a paradise where a large portion of the 'walking' (as opposed to VR) Kitsuhana population exists. The environment is gentle, with the broad equatorial band of lowlying plains and seas where most settle.

Kitsuhana Beta is an attempt to terraform a world using natural processes. Half of the planet has been overgrown heavily by non-native vegetation, while the other half is a stark and rugged shrubland of small plants and lots of sand. Those who like living a more rugged life may live 'off the grid' here, either in the perpetual rainforest of the overgrown half, or in the wild-west environment of the desert half.

Kitsuhana Gamma is unique in that it has a breathable atmosphere, but it contains trace gasses that cause extremely high failure rates of unprotected Kitsuhanan technology. Even sealed equipment tends to fail sooner than one might anticipate, leading some to speculate that there's more to Gamma's tech-damping than just the atmosphere. Regardless, attempts to discover exactly what that might be have thus-far proven futile. Those that wish to live almost entirely without the benefit of Kitsuhanan technology tend to settle on this planet.

Diplomatic interactions

Foreign affairs are tricky for Kitsuhana, considering they have no official body of people at all to represent them. The closest thing would be the SIs, and they typically decline to perform any sort of official negotiations with foreign polities as they claim they don't represent the people they assist, rather they are just assisting them because they want to. This has led to some individual groups of Kitsuhanans to form bonds with other entities, sometimes negative. A perceived slight from a Kitsuhanan to some foreign polity may result in the polity declaring war on all of Kitsuhana. These conflicts are typically one-sided with the SIs giving aid, but they do happen.

Even then, on occasion a foreign power will appear that simply thinks Kitsuhana itself is somehow evil or immoral, or an offense that it exists, and decides they wish to destroy it. This has led to occasional large groups of Kitsuhanans banding together to fight back, and thus far no foreign power has managed to gain much ground against Kitsuhana.

Technology

Kitsuhana generally has technology that would simply be considered magic to most less advanced civilizations. From an outside perspective, a Kitsuhanan may just gesture at a pool of water, and a whole building could form out of it, on a whim. Behind the scenes, there's quite a bit more going on.

Agents

Each Kitsuhanan has an Agent, so named because they provide them 'agency' in a world where technology has evolved beyond their capacity to understand. This is an AI helper who facilitates the use of SI-designed technology without the need to understand it fully. A typical Kitsuhanan may appear to be simply standing still, but they could be interacting with their Agent, who is projected into their field of view with a customizable avatar. They could be sending thought-based messages to friends, planning their day, checking on their property remotely, directing drones, or a million other things via thought.

Mind-altering

The completion of the MSMP (MindState Mapping Project) allowed fast and easy mapping of motor control, vision, and other logical brain segments to their physical locations in the brain. Even memories could be directly accessed, read, and written at will via tiny machines accessing and rearranging individual neurons. This allowed entire minds to be transferred between brains, into mechanical brains, or even into computers where they would experience virtual spaces. Many Kitsuhanans began backing-up their mindstates so that they could be restored in the case of their death, but in modern time, this practice is ubiquitous and done in real-time by someone's Agent.

The fact that Kitsuhana technology is tied directly into the brain can lead to several interesting applications of technology. Kitsuhana spacetravel is fast, but not instant. However, one can simply alter their perception of time, making a monthlong voyage across the galaxy seem more like a few hours. One can also increase their perception of time, simply deciding to see the world in slow motion in order to react to fast-moving events. There are limits to the level of time dilation that can be applied, based on the processing power available, though modern processors can enable a wide range of choices.

If a Kitsuhanan dies (or simply wishes to switch bodies), a new body is created for them, and their mindstate is downloaded into it. After a several-minute calibration period, they are able to use the body just as well as their original one, and retain all their memories up to the time of their death (except in rare cases where there may be a lapse). Some Kitsuhanans have decided they no longer wish to live and request that they are not revived, or simply donate their memories to the SIs to 'absorb'.

Working Surfaces

The typical Kitsuhana technology that can be seen in every structure and civilized area is the Working Surface. These are large pools containing an oil-like fluid, Working Fluid. The fluid itself is actually billions of tiny machines small enough to be invisible to the naked eye, hence the liquid-like appearance. Typically just referred to as 'surfluid', the tiny machines can work together to assemble devices, structures, or even bodies out of materials kept below the surface, kept topped up by automated resource delivery drones. It should be noted that the machines cannot perform atomic-level changes, they simply break materials down into dust-sized chunks to store or assemble them from the same, but they cannot convert one element into another. Some use the term 'nanomachines' to refer to them, but the term may be misleading as they are many times larger than a nanometer in scale, more akin to large bacteria.

Starships

Kitsuhanan starships run the gamut of designs, many people designing their own, or using assistance from an SI to build their ships. Tir, the SI who has responsibility for structures and spacecraft, is more than willing to assist any Kitsuhanan design and construct a starship of their own design, or to put together what amount to DIY kits that others have designed. Some are as small as a 2-meter rectangle with no interior space; they simply disassemble the owner's body when they step in, placing their mind into a VR interior while they travel. A few are as huge as moons, carrying billions of people to and fro across the galaxy. Many incorporate external working surfaces, giving them the ability to alter their exterior surfaces ('variform design') as needed, and allowing them to 'print' drones and probes, or gather resources while in space.

Kitsuhana ships can travel faster-than-light by 'planing out' into a 2-dimensional space, typically just called 2-space (as opposed to normal 3-dimensional space, or 3-space). Every point in 2-space maps to another point in 3-space using Hilbert curves to calculate the mapping. Calculating these entry and exit points into 2-space consumes essentially all of an Agent's processing power, and preparing for a jump can take up to an hour of processing.

In general, major technology cannot be shared with other cultures, lest it become the catalyst for dangerous change within their societies. In the past, before the implementation of the Prime List, there were several cases of technology trades leading to civil wars in other societies, or even causing societies to become hostile towards Kitsuhana in order to 'capture' more technology they were not willing to share. Any such exchanges are now regulated by the SIs, and is one of the reasons one can be removed from the Prime List. Some minor, non-self-replicating devices may be gifted to other cultures, however, in certain cases. Especially ones that result in getting access to unique technology or resources. Or just cool art.

Interactions with Virgo

Though generally unwilling to trade major technologies with large civilizations, Virgo's relative isolation has earned it a few gifts from Kitsuhana due to the low chances of them finding their way back upstream to human culture, and them simply being improvements to existing technology, or simply technologies available in the core human worlds that aren't available as far out as Virgo.

  • Resleeving technology was provided by Kitsuhana, though it is only a watered-down version capable of printing bodies within certain 'normal' design restrictions.
  • NIFs are a cheap clone of a Kitsuhana full-brain interface implant. Not quite as useful and not necessarily a 'trade', but there are some authentic Kitsuhana implants floating around as well.
  • AR Shades are Kitsuhana AR glasses in the style of more human eyeware. Humans already have this technology, but it wasn't available out in the distant Virgo sector.
  • Several firearms were designed by Kitsuhanans, such as the Hunter nonlethal capture gun, and the slightly more absurd N.S.F.W.