Atlantis (Zeta 1 Reticuli II)
| The friend of my enemy may also be my
friend – if the price is right.
Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization,
based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the
management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and
...the man is free, we say, who exists for his own sake and not
When I arrived, the town was moving. A zep was lifting
one house straight into the air, and two houses had been connected to
cargolifters through previously hidden connectors in the facade. A gang
of very young Ricardians scurried around, always appearing where they
were needed for small jobs thanks to their wearables – a microcredit here,
a microcredit there, and soon it would add up to real money carrying boxes,
guiding trucks or checking connectors. Their parents were making even
more money getting the town moved to its new destination. My guide explained
that the move was partly aesthetic – in the spring Judge Bay would be
much more pleasant than these mountains – partly economic, since buying
this area of land had originally been intended as an investment. Now when
Porn City wanted a mountainous change of scenery the townspeople would
make a big profit by selling their old location. He debited me 233 microRand
for that information.
Atlantis was the first private space colonisation effort that succeeded. It was organised by Atlantis Foundation, started by Nathaniel McDaggart, owner of a space freight company. The goal was to create a "free haven for free thinking individuals". Would-be colonists signed a contract of non-initiation of force and other parts of a social contract, pooling their resources in the foundation. Eventually enough groups and individuals could support capital for the colonisation project, and in 2038 the colonisation ship Mayflower was launched towards Zeta 1 Reticuli II.
Mayflower arrived in March 2136, finding an earth-like world with seven major continents. Shortly after the initial landing the Auction was instituted, establishing the land ownership rights and constitution of the planet. McDaggart TransPlanetary bought Terminal (originally McDaggart Terminal), where the "capital" Galt’s Gulch was located. Atlantis Foundation acted as a coordination function for the colonisation effort, originally handling the space systems. Later it mainly became a registry for land rights, public notary and accreditor of courts.
During the initial colonisation phase the colonist groups settled down across the planet. The settlements were widely dispersed, but long-range communications and transports had been pre-planned. Originally shuttles and planes were used, but TransPlanetary soon manufactured zeps. Many groups and settlements quickly specialised themselves, such as McDaggart TransPlanetary (transports), the Ricardians (general labour), Transhuman Research Institute (research, education and development), Explorers United (surveying and exploration), Xie Manufacturing (heavy equipment), Akston Farming and Mulligan Capital & Investment. Local police forces and PPLs emerged to protect people.
1st October 2136 the first Gun Pride Day was celebrated in Galt’s Gulch. Many of the founders felt that they ought to celebrate the right to bear arms. This later became a tradition, when the citizens get together, show off their weapons and playfully blow up things.
In 2150 a major debate was started after some risky experiments with HE viruses at the TRI about how to handle insurance and security. A widespread insurance system was instituted, putting economic restraints on irresponsible actions. The insurance firms today have tremendous influence; while there are practically no laws except the basic libertarian constitution their policies rein in behaviour economically: blowing up your neighbours property will cost you a lot, and your insurance premiums will skyrocket. Killing people will ruin even the richest. In time this also evolved into the current system of maturity: children are gradually insured more and more, given more and more control over their insurances and finances, and when they reach their IQI (Insurance Quota for Independence) with self-signed insurance they are regarded as their own people. This means that there is no fixed age of maturation, some people become independent at a very early age while others remain "children" for decades.
Atlantis first state, Hope Colony, was founded in 2151, by a group of malcontent youths and people who feared that Atlantean society was doomed. Hope Colony persisted for 20 years before finally dissolving in 2171. Since then several other states have been founded, but few have persisted.
In 2176 the second largest outbreak of violence in Atlantean history when a conflict ensued between the PPL Glick Law and its subscribers on Lichtenstein over outstanding debts of a retroactive added charge the subscribers had refused to pay. The PPL tried to make the subscribers to pay or impound resources in payment, which resulted in violence. The Glick Eruption, as the incident became called, lasted for two weeks and 132 people were killed. In the end the PPL was forced into bankruptcy, both due to extensive legal action and the sheer expense of fighting against a widely distributed armed population that did its best to sabotage the organisation. In addition, many of the employees deserted it at critical points. The whole Eruption made many Atlanteans question the idea of PPLs from a practical point of view (beside the danger of similar incidents, the PPL had shown itself to be vulnerable in a critical situation – could other PPLs withstand real threats?). One effect was the foundation of the Dronamraju Republic on Completion 2187.
The Dronamraju Republic was intended by its founders to act as a "mutual society", where the economy was based on pooling resources and having expert systems distribute them justly; outwards the Republic acted as an ordinary Atlantean company. In addition, security was upheld by a security force run by the government. While the attempt attracted more attention and followers than usual when somebody founded a nation, it quickly ran into problems. Due to constant quarrels with orthodox libertarians the republicans gradually isolated themselves, a move towards cultism that has often occurred in nations on Atlantis. Slowly the tone got harsher, as the republicans struggled to keep their nation working. Inefficiency and laziness became more and more firmly discouraged, often incurring "fines" of non-access to goods from the expert systems. The Republic found that many Atlanteans did not want to deal with it, or offered it worse deals than to groups they approved of. There were also claims that outside agents were trying to infiltrate the Republic and sabotage it, making it close its borders and instituting mandatory surveillance. At this point it became more and more clear to outsiders that the republic was failing fast; many outside groups actually began to work to convince people to leave (but various rules and debts made this hard to do legally). Over a span of 20 years the nation moved from an idealistic democracy to a police state. From time to time purges were instituted, as "illoyal" fractions were discovered and forced out of office or work. Finally the Republic went bankrupt in 2215; the expert systems found themselves with insurmountable shortages, the government couldn’t do anything about it. A riot in the capital Dronamraju turned into a revolt. At first it looked like the government would fall, but it turned the security force on the population. The resulting collapse was the largest outbreak of violence ever on Atlantis, involving thousands of people; ironically more people lost their lives than in the Eruption which caused the foundation of the Republic. Most of the victims were not victims of violence, but rather an infrastructure that collapsed or turned against them in the last-ditch attempts by the government to keep people under control. After the Republic dissolved Atlantis Foundation took over the land, mostly selling it but keeping the ruins of Dronamraju as a warning for future generations of the dangers of having a government.
2187-2197 the SDC (Space Development Consortium; the brainchild of a team of visionaries at Xie Manufacturing interested in the future possibilities of a beanstalk) managed to put the asteroid Jack in atlantosynchronous orbit, a major feat of engineering, investment, space technology and insurance deals. This made space industry boom, and people no longer had to rely on adding on structures to the already heavily encrusted Mayflower. Later more and more space habitats and industries have grown up in orbit.
During the 2200’s clans became an organising force in social life. They began among the migrant workers of the Ricardians but the idea caught on; formal family networks became an added level of security and contacts. Some clans, like the Dabreen and the McDaggarts, developed strong traditions and styles, while others became little more than networks.
Around 2210 Squidding began to develop after the development of simple real-time brain scanners. The scanners could determine the current brain state, and compared to more detailed scans done at hospitals the current mental state inferred. Some of the TRI people began to project their squid data with their wearables, and this practice quickly spread. Better representations emerged, and people began to learn how to interpret squids at a glance. Projecting a clear squid of oneself became a sign of trustworthiness, and thanks to the improved communication society became a bit more efficient and trustworthy.
In 2280 the Abdela Theory of Higgs manipulation was presented. At first a theoretical curiosity, it soon attracted attention when its consequences were understood. In 2298 this led to the first creation of a force projector. Geodesic Systems Inc started to exploit and research Higgs fields. In 2307 they managed the first creation of confused matter in their orbital lab; these experiments were later moved to the outer parts of the system. Experiments continue to this day with containment methods – confused matter could potentially become an infinite energy source.
In 2345 the Beanstalk project was eventually started. For generations the Atlanteans had discussed the idea of using Jack to build a hanging tower down from the geosynchronous orbit to the ground; this would make getting to orbit much cheaper than spaceplanes (this was of course one of the reasons Jack was put into orbit in the first place). To build it, superstrong materials like bundled carbon nanotubes would be necessary, and they had just become somewhat affordable due to nanotechnology. The Beanstalk Consortium is one of the largest industrial consortia of Atlantis, including construction, aerospace, research, finance, insurance and research corporations. Work began with constructing a nanotech factory on Jack converting carbonaceous rock into nanotube cables. Slowly they were lowered towards the planet, and the asteroid moved outwards slightly to keep the whole system static relative the planned touch-down point in the desert of Terminal. The project is extremely complex, and the outcome is still in the balance: several Cassandras claim the beanstalk will never become economical due to the development of GATA (Gravity Assisted Takeoff and Acceleration), as well as the risks involved when the cables become several tens of thousands kilometres long. The projected end-date is sometime in 2354.
Atlantean society is very decentralised, and practically every human activity can be found somewhere (which is amazing given the limited number of Atlanteans). It is largely a telecom civilisation, with trade and business as paradigm. It is a contract culture where nothing is real unless it can be bought or sold – trade is important even in human relations, and trade is generally regarded as the noblest profession (although relatively few regard themselves as pure traders, since almost everybody is a trader by offworld measures). The confusion exhibited by offworlders when arriving on Atlantis tends to amuse Atlanteans; many of the "foreign embassies" have clustered together in Galt’s Gulch more or less by default, not really seeing that their physical location is irrelevant.
Despite the image many outsiders get, Atlanteans are not very violent. Most Atlanteans firmly believe that coercion is the root of all evil; coercing someone robs them of their free will and rationality. Sane people interact freely, trading services rather than demanding or begging for them. Violence is financially discouraged: being violent and rude tends to raise the insurance premiums, and acts of violence tend to lead to expensive lawsuits. Murder is almost certain to ruin one's reputation and end up in a PPL jail. Many Atlanteans born with violent tendencies get therapy to reduce them in order to lower their insurance costs. On the other hand, many people are killed or wounded in accidents every year, and Gun Pride day can be quite risky sometimes (in many areas you have to sign a waiver before entering during Gun Pride Day).
Atlanteans are used to speak their mind and debate things. They regard most other planets as far too low-key, filled with untrustworthy yes-people. They want to set up trade with everybody else – what good is FTL without trade?
Atlantean buildings are often moveable or modular, easy to move to a new location. Whole cities can be moved if needed (or wanted), and people do tend to move around for a variety of reasons. Zeps, ultralights and other air vehicles are popular since there are relatively few large roads. Cities hence tend to have rather variable populations, and many are more like parking lots around a few static buildings. Sometimes many people arrive, sometimes the city is out of season.
| The IPD Society attempts to create a social
immune defence. Their idea is that unless vigilance is constantly tested,
parasites and freeriders will spread. So the IPDS both inform people and
organise "tricks" to keep people alert. Guardian groups like this
exist with a variety of goals, all trying to influence society at large.
Many Atlanteans dislike them for their meddling, even if they agree with
The Rand monks in the Medius mountains are just one of the many strange cults that exist. They seek to live a truly objectivist life, without the Kantian stupidity they think has ruined Atlantean society. A related religion is the Cult of Profit. Practically every religion exists somewhere on Atlantis, but the Atlanteans seldom hold a faith long before moving on. While many proudly proclaim to adhere to lifelong truths, most tend to be slightly sceptical and practical.
The major newspaper/newssource is Big 'uns; originally founded as a pornographic magazine by Tom "sleaze" O’Donald (journalists are commonly called sleaze due to this). The magazine did well, but in time it had to diversify due to competition. In time it became the major newssource, and O’Donald Associates is the major publishing and media corporation. Today Big ‘Uns is an advanced subscription service individually adapted to each subscriber, with very little pornography (unless deliberately included, of course). It’s slogan is "I only read it for the pictures".
The McDaggart family is the closest thing Atlantis has to a royal family. Their fortune has shifted over time, but currently it is on the top again (even after less-than successful ventures as the trans-Terminal monorail line). The ideas of Nathaniel McDaggart have played a significant role in the development of Atlantis, and his sentence "the businessman has to be a philosopher" is often quoted. In the entrance to the TransPlanetary building the family motto "In labore, vita et virtuus" is proudly written in Earth marble above the famous statue of Nathaniel. Nathaniel is kept in cryonic suspension in the shrine/subbasement, with a typically ironic sign above the suspension unit: "In case of planetary emergency, break glass".
TRI, Transhuman Research Institute is a university, think tank and R&D community located on a mesa at the southern tip of Madeleine. TRI is generally the major source of scientific results and heretical ideas. The inhabitants and students take pride in questioning old assumptions and inventing new ideas to be tested (the University motto is "Question *Everything*!"). The original goal of creating a centre for human enhancement were diverted into other areas at first, but over time TRI has developed a number of workable methods of enhancements; it is just not the core of the organisation any more. It has diversified into other areas, ranging from technology to social debate. On neighbouring mesas competitors and offshoots have sprung up; the whole area is sometimes called University Tip. The core however remains in the old pyramid glass-steel buildings around More Square and Bostrom Boulevard. TRI has traditionally competed with the University of Galt’s Gulch both academically, economically and ideologically: GGU is more directed towards developing and defending the original values of Atlantis, while TRI wants to explore all values (GGU people sometimes call TRI "state U" since several prominent statics developed their ideas there), even those that do not agree with the views of the original founders.
Atlantis Environmental Protection Agency is the largest environmental group on Atlantis. They value the natural, and are willing to pay for it. They take a typically Atlantis free-market view of protecting the environment: they buy up as much land, water and air as possible and then let it remain unspoiled. Funding comes mainly from private donations, but also from paying hikers, their expertise in ecomanagement and litigation. AEPA is not particularly popular among neighbours, since it is known to be prepared to sue for ecological infringement at any influence on their areas (to them, lawsuits is nearly a kind of investment). Its most controversial method is "patch clamping", the practice of buying up a small patch of ecosystem like a forest core, and then sue any infringing activity – which includes just about any changes of the ecosystems in the vicinity, often far outside the patch. Currently AEPA owns or controls extensive tracts of ocean in the arctics, most of northern Madeleine and half of Koslowsky. Whether the group will manage to buy up or clamp most of Atlantis in the long run remains to be seen, most Atlanteans think they will break down sooner or later.
Trillicom Arms is the premier armaments designers and manufacturers on Atlantis. They go for the extreme, outrageous and advanced rather than the practical. Most of their truly extreme weapons have never even been built, but exist as engineering concepts until they can find somebody rich and eccentric enough to buy them. They have everything from handguns over creative rifles to plans for planetwrecking devices. Originally founded at TRI, it is one of the most successful trichines. In the Madeleine mountains they own the Forgotten Valley, where customers can take a weaponry-hike and try out their catalogue; they also arrange a variety of wargames, publish Destruction Review (a widely respected journal of weaponry, of high academic standing), sponsor Gun Pride Day just about everywhere and overall go for an ubiquitous presence. As the founder Nicosia Tessin put it: "Wherever you go, whatever you want to blow up, we will be there to sell you what you need".
Assurance Insurance, Unlimited Futures Inc and Landau-Preskhill are the three major insurance companies of Atlantis. They are especially important not due to their size, but due to their influence over insurance policy and hence over just about everything else. Other insurance firms often adapt or harmonise their rules with the three. Unlimited Futures is the oldest and most radical; beside insurance the company network also includes banking, cryonics and hospitals. It encourages customers to join the corporate web with their own networks, creating an "insurance/trading nexus destined for profit and longevity". Assurance is much more conservative, holding the view that unnecessary risk-taking should be costly. They promote a much more careful lifestyle, making sure that whatever fun the customers have they are always well protected. Landau-Preskhill are much more Atlantean and promotes extreme flexibility: customers can chose from a wide variety of "lifestyle patterns" to find the right combination of insurance, economic security, legal protection and other services.
TransLife is one of the major powers in the biotech business. The business network contains many companies that network together. Some of the most well known are EugeniX (reproductive technologies), TeratoTech (builds robots or real biotech targets/monsters for hunting or other entertainment) and Euphrosyne Pharmaceuticals (drugs both for medical use and entertainment).
Sandberg and Öhrström Creative Genetics is one of the old and traditional biotech companies at TRI. Generally regarded as stuffy and old-fashioned in their views on human enhancement (strongly pro-enhancement but has definite views on what constitutes an enhancement and whether it is allowed to put it into a child) even if they are up to date in the technical area. Like most of the biotech companies it is investing heavily in nanotech and doing its best to exploit it in gene therapy, cell repair and bionics.
The Nannies are the nanotech upstart companies. They are new, brash and investors throw money at them; the mood is not unlike Silicon Valley during the computer revolution in the 20th century (although in this case it might be more properly called "diamond crater" since most are located on Jack). Most companies are fairly small and relies on automated engineering expert systems. Designs are constructed and first tested virtually by nanotechnologists and their software, then built physically (and usually the designs have to return to a virtual version several time before the bugs are fixed). Entire nanotech labs can be housed in a suitcase, although the extra equipment tend to require well-stocked macroscale labs. Companies like NanoDepressive, Mymach, Mechanosynthetic Systems Inc, DrexTech and TRI Supermolecular Chemistry Department Inc. scramble to explore what can be done with nanotechnology now when the main limitations have been overcome. They are not so much competing as coevolving (being first with something is more important than being the only one with it after a few weeks). Many experts move freely between the companies.
Rotha Netsys is a newly formed interstellar trading corporation (the main investors are Mulligan Capital & Investments, Proxitech Computing and Solidity Insurance). It is actively trying to set up a trading route between Atlantis, Nova and New America and involved with the Origo project. So far it has profited mainly from developing conversion programs for different data formats and importing software.
The Freedom Foundations are a number of foundations working to keep Atlantis free and/or provide a social safety net. They support poor people, get involved in lawsuits when other organisations have broken against the rules or act in unethical ways. Some also act as or run consumer information, rating systems for PPLs and other businesses or act as ethical certifiers. While some of the most well known (like the Bois Defense Fund and the Atlantean Freedom Watch) are non-profit, there also exist for-profit organisations where people can invest in good causes.
Aurum Investments is one of the most ambitious Atlantean investment and trade firms. Fiercely independent and a bit more daring than most others it invests in wild projects such as the Beanstalk, interstellar trade (they own the Lady Koumakov) and the confused matter research of Geodesic Systems. Observers give it a 50-50 chance of surviving the next decade, but if any of the investments pays off, the investors in Aurum will be very, very rich.
The Tigers of Luxemburg is the most famous and expensive mercenary/bodyguard company. It dates back to the Glick Eruption, where some of the citizens hired a team of people to strike at Glick Law. The Tigers have specialised at disabling armed foes such as outlaws and out-of-bounds PPLs; the need for the Tigers is fairly low most of the time, making them act mainly as a bodyguard firm, but their reputation rests on their ability to deal with armed and capable foes.
The Truth is an Atlantean advertising/media firm. The name is pure irony, as Atlanteans never believe in anything proposed as the Truth. It runs a wide variety of net channels and virtuals, as well as knowledge network services and expert system production. One of its most important range of products are microtrading agents making daily life and family interaction work economically. The organisation is little more than a network of cooperating sub-firms, partially family run, partially consultants.
Geodesic systems is the leading research and development company in higgstechnology and antigravity. Over time it has relocated more and more of its activities to the outer reaches of the system, especially around Aristotle (which they own). The main reason is to lower the insurance costs for their experiments in confused matter. The company is overall somewhat clannish and eccentric, a fine example of a trichine.
The Network for Xenology studies the semioticist bugs, claiming that they are intelligent beings and the "mating patterns" drawn on beaches are really a sign language. Most Atlanteans scoff at the notion, and researchers from GGU and TRI have both concluded that the bugs are not much smarter than terrestrial cats, but the Xenologists think that the bugs both have a very alien form of thinking, a non-technological civilization and that most of their social interactions are hidden deep underwater. The Xenologists try to convince people that the bugs deserve rights in society, but few support them. Atlanteans usually call them bug-huggers or buggers.
The Tartarus Commonwealth is an Atlantean colony on Daedalus. It began in 2274 when Detroit Marhenke (generally regarded as having expensive impulse control problems) murdered a competitor. To escape the PPLs and financial ruin he and his family escaped from Atlantis to Daedalus where they owned some land. This posed a problem for the PPLs and insurance companies; getting him back would likely entail a very expensive attack mission, where some of the other family members could file countersuits for endangering them. In the end it was solved by paying off the victim’s family and deliberately ignoring the Marhenke family. They were blacklisted instead: almost nobody on Atlantis would deal with them, and they were without insurance.
Despite what most thought was possible, the Marhenkes survived on their icy worldlet. They lived in a base inside the extensive cavern systems of the Mises mountains, eking out a poor and troubled existence but surviving against all odds. The name originated as a joke during the first years. Over time a new generation grew up, not formally blacklisted and able to deal with the Atlanteans. Over time a fragile trade has emerged, where the Marhenkes sell ice and software in exchange for goods they cannot produce themselves. A number of other disaffected Atlanteans have also joined the Commonwealth, which now number in around a hundred. It is organised as a company, with members as shareholders; most is of course owned by the older Marhenkes. Currently it is trying to scrape together enough money to build a catapult to make ice trade more feasible, but it is having trouble finding investors.
| Atlanteans dress as they like, there are few
styles that extend outside small groups. Since outdoors life is common,
robust clothing and boots are often used, but Atlanteans are known for creative
styles. New materials or shapes are popular, and currently nanotech fabrics
made of micromachines are all the rage: still very expensive (which of course
makes them even more stylish), but with interesting possibilities as they
are able to change and reform in delightful ways. Carrying a weapon is usually
regarded as either stylish or silly (is it Gun Pride day already?). Wearables
are often combined with jewellery. The squids are often worn as headbands,
headsets, diadems, coronets, laurel wreaths or even Mickey mouse ears –
Atlanteans tend to be inventive.
It should be noted that many words like ‘greed’, ‘selfishness’, ‘altruism’, ‘market’ and ‘solidarity’ have different values and meanings on Atlantis compared to the use on other planets. This tends to cause confusion. When an Atlantean calls somebody a greedy and selfish person they likely mean it in a neutral or even positive way, while altruism is regarded as suspicious or naive..
1,385,054 people. Life expectancy at birth: 430 Earth-years (estimated).
Atlantis uses a system of private currencies, where each person, family
or group "prints" its own currency backed up by their personal
capabilities or resources; these currencies are then seamlessly converted
by the wearable computer systems. There exist everything from Ingdahlian
Rands to Flax Scrip (backed by marijuana) to corporate currencies.
The day is 23h 18m. The standard time measure divides the day into 14
longhours, each with 100 minutes. The year has no months (mainly due to
problems agreeing to name them) but is divided into numbered seven day
weeks. One year is 385.3 days long, giving 55 full weeks and a leap day
every third year. (times look like 202-43-Wed-13-84-43, year-week-day-hour-minute-second).
| None official. Sometimes the logotype for the
Atlantis Foundation is used, a slanted ’A’ with the horizontal line extended
into a forward-pointing arrow. There have been many suggestions for an Atlantean
flag, but the only widely accepted version is simply a map over the planet.
| The sun is commonly called Zeta. The other planets
were named Icarus (hot rockball close to the sun), Daedalus and Prometheus
(two desert worlds outside Atlantis), Hayek (gas giant), Doc Halloway (iceball)
and the four gas giants Natasha, Max, Locke and Aristotle. There are a few
settlements on different moons and asteroids, but few major installations.
Zeta 2 Reticuli lies just a light-month away, and shines brightly in the sky. It is significantly brighter than Venus ever was in the Earth sky, and can often be seen during the day half of the year. There is no accepted name for it, but some of the most common names are Sparky, Diamond, Zed Two and Little Bitch.
Atlantis orbits 0.9 AU from the sun and has a diameter of 10,081 kilometres, 1.3 times the Earth’s density. Gravity is 1.026 g, the day 23h18m long. The 26 degree axial tilt creates major seasonal variations.
The surface is 80% ocean, with five major continents and two smaller ones. The major continents are Terminal (temperate, subtropical and desert, with Galt’s Gulch on the eastern shore), Heinlein (subtropical and tropical, main city New Carthage), Madeleine (mountainous with a very varied climate, stretches across the equator), Lichtenstein (polar, with parts arboreal and the highly settled Mediterranean York peninsula) and Jahn (mostly hot temperate). The two minor continents, Completion (composed of several major islands linked by shifting sand bridges) and Koslowsky (jungle) are both located in the tropical zone.
Madeleine, Terminal, Jahn and Koslowsky surround the warm Vinge Sea, the source of many tropical cyclones but also the most heavily traffiked part of the planet. West of Madeleine and east of Completion lies the deep Freud Sea, and west of Completion the unimaginatively named Great Sea.
The ecology is fairly terrestrial, with some odd properties. The dominant animal life is all derived from a trilobite-like creature with a ridged carapace and lots of small legs; they look like centipedes, turtles, bugs, sculpted stones, porpuquines and everything else (of any size) but the body plan is the same. The largest animal is the semioticist bug, a swimming five meter creature with elaborate paddles that extracts nutrients from the rich waters around Heinlein and Madeleine (the name comes from the strange "signs" they draw on beaches as a part of their mating rituals). Other common animals are the land barnacles (a common pest), snail-like grazing creatures with though shells that affix themselves to hard surfaces to eat algae and bacteria and the discobugs, colourful animals often kept as pets and bred for their patterning.
Some higher plants reproduce in symbiosis with certain species of animals,
the altruist turtles: the turtles eat the fruits, and the seeds grow inside
them and are either excreted when partially grown or they actually kill
the animal, but bring the turtle’s eggs with them – the next generation
of turtles develop safe inside the plant. The Jahnian reciprocal tree
contains cysts of embryonic discobugs and other symbionts that emerge
when the conditions are right - to the mutual benefit of the tree and
the animals. There are several other similarly arcane forms of symbiosis
between different species and plants, suggesting a long coevolutionary
history. The continents have very different ecologies, and at least Jahn
sports many species that are quite deadly to humans due to some of their
biochemistry. Especially troublesome is the featherock, whose hairs cause
acute anaphylactic shock in humans.