I decided that regardless of what happens with the Dreamers, I wanted a second Civilization for Chronotech. This one has grabbed my brain and refused to let go.
It's not completely written yet, but I wanted to post a teaser here. This is about a third of what I have on them so far.
To the rest of the universe, they have existed only in echoes and glitches. They leave traces that lead nowhere and leave just before we might learn anything important. It's as if they know we're looking for them.
They do. The largest civilization ever known is watching us from just beyond our horizon, making a very difficult decision. You see, they've just discovered us, and they're not sure they can trust us.
The civilization is Perpetua, and they live within the Vault of Life. The Vault is a moon, orbiting a gas giant around a quiet and stable star. The moon's thick crust is honeycombed into a planet-city that supports over ten trillion physical human beings and nearly as many digital intelligences.
The Vault is packed with support space for the people who live there. Infosphere relays, living and working spaces, public transit, art displays, and more are all in place for the benefit of the citizens. Replication is energy-intensive, so hydroponic farms provide food for biological humans. The temperature is high. Heat is carefully rationed, and the moon's surface includes millions of heat sinks radiating into the void. The entire Vault is a carefully engineered city-world.
The Vault of Life is incredibly densely populated. Biotech adaptations reduce the need for sleep and keep the air clean. Chronotech manages space needs. Every street is packed, every bed slept in. Not a single person gets up from a chair without someone else sitting down in it just after them. Exercise and play and work all occupy the same spaces in a seamless busy flow. Each computer is used to capacity until the moment it fails, and then used again the instant it's repaired. It's like an organism with superfluid for blood, all cells slipping past one another without friction or turbulence. If they ever have visitors, the Perpetua will be able to walk around them, greeting them happily, giving them entire inches of personal space, without ever running into them.