During the Diaspora, many colonies were founded. Some survived to become major civilizations, others became Cargo Cults or Old Worlders, many died out entirely. Others dramatically changed from their roots. The Heptagon is one of those.
Founded originally by the libertarian/anarchist wing of the Space Freedom Alliance, they were convinced that the reasons their previous colonies had failed in the Solar System was the proximity of 'free loaders.' Like so many others, they paid for a batch of replicators, a lot of nanotech, colony supplies and a wormhole to their colony site and disappeared from human history for many, many years.
There colony site was in orbit around a brown dwarf with an asteroid belt, and they'd brought a colony cylinder with them. Full of hope and libertarian ideals, they set off to make their ideal society. Needless to say, it didn't work out like they expected.
Within a few years, there were a several colony cylinders and a multitude of mini-colonies spread throughout the belt, and the colonists had altered themselves to have 'Good As Gravity' biological alterations. Before long though, they began fighting with one another and the majority of the colony cylinders were wrecked in the conflict, along with much of their industrial base.
As the colonists coalesced into factions, one began working to great effect – The Heptagons. Based on the seven virtues of cooperation, the Heptagon began to easily out compete the others, and soon out fought them as well. Within a generation they dominated the brown dwarf system. By the second generation, they owned it. There were scattered rebellions and terrorist acts (the Heinleiners were the worst offenders of these) for at least a century after the last of the armed conflict. Over the next several centuries, the Heptagon thrived in its difficult habitat and diverged mightily from the ideals of their ancestors.
The Heptagon's Seven Virtues
The seven sided emblem stands for the seven virtues of the Heptagon. Their seven virtues are:
- Diligence – A zealous and careful nature in one's actions and work. Decisive work ethic. Budgeting one's time; monitoring one's own activities to guard against laziness.
- Community – Selflessness, and the giving of respect. Giving credit where credit is due; not unfairly glorifying one's own self.
- Courage – Courage, also known as bravery, will and fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. 'Physical courage' is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, or threat of death, while 'moral courage' is the courage to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.
- Justice – Being just, righteous, equitable and moral.
- Foresight – Caring for and providing for the future, prudence.
- Patience – orbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving conflicts peacefully, as opposed to resorting to violence. The ability to forgive; to show mercy.
- Kindness – Charity, compassion, friendship, and sympathy without prejudice and for its own sake.
As a civilization, they had (and have) zero tolerance for those that think hanging separately is better than hanging together. Their entire civilization is centered around the preservation and expansion of the common life support system. Because of this, schooling is intensive and long – the age of majority is 30 – with conscript service for environmental maintenance. To facilitate this intensive schooling, everyone has a neural mesh implanted at an early age and receive more and more control over it as they approach the age of majority.
There is also a high level of surveillance, with multiple overlapping surveillance networks. Many visitors find this constant watchfulness stifling (and many Heptagon youngsters do as well), but social privacy is an important concept for them. With it, a person can be left alone and to their own devices – so long as they don't endanger others, or the common life support system. While surveillance is strong, there is also sousveillance, where the population watches the watchers and leaders as well.
The Heptagon has nearly a half billion inhabitants scattered among hundreds of multi-layer cylinder habitats in orbit around a baker's dozen of brown dwarfs with no inhabitable worlds (they're very proud of that last fact). The typical Heptagon habitat cylinder has two layers, is 50 kilometers long and 8 in diameter, made of diamondoid with a illumination cylinder running down the middle. The outer layer has higher gravity, darker and considered less desirable than the inner layer with its open spaces, lighting and lower gravity.
The infosphere within Heptagon space is rich, diverse and varied. Since every member of the civilization has access to it, it reflects the diversity of Heptagon society. Its also very, very useful with additional instructions for key components of the life support system, as well as wireless instructions for non-essential systems.
Travel within Heptagon systems is typically by space liners between the habitats. These liners depart on regular intervals and can hold hundreds of people (thousands on major routes). Most of the passengers have a seat and possibly a semi-private area, though private cabins can be purchased for those that can afford it. And if you really need to get somewhere fast, there is always travel by wormhole.
Government is omnipresent with its surveillance and services, and is democratic, but requires tests and exams to even run for office. Office holders must be competent and the Heptagon doesn't suffer fools gladly – especially in high elected offices. Sociologists characterize it as an authoritarian meritocratic representative democracy.
Their military is largely concerned with defense, rescue and law enforcement, to the point that the national police force is in its chain of command. To this end, it also maintains a fleet of spacecraft for defense, evacuation and relocation of habitat cylinders. It will also involve itself with the protection of major Heptagon enterprises, especially those related to the national security.
In its dealings with other civilizations, the Heptagon is well thought of. They get along very well with the Spacers (and there is some major cross-pollination between the two) and the Stardwellers. They routinely deal with the Mechanicans for advanced engineering and equipment. The Tao of History leases the majority of a habitat to produce entertainments on the Heptagon (and Spacers). They even get along relatively well with the Union and Rationalists. The Masquerade, Replicants, Disciples of the Void and the Stored give them fits because of their potential to easily bypass surveillance.
Emblem: A heptagon containing obtuse and acute heptagrams on a black background.
Common Name: Heptagon, Many-Angled Ones
Inspector Status: Equivalent to state police.
Benefit: Comfort in free fall – Heptagons suffer no penalty in low gravity and free fall situations. They also receive Spacer at level 4. All Heptagons receive a neural mesh no matter their Cognitech score.
Core Values: Diligence and Community
Diligence is what kept the Many-Angled Ones alive in the depths of space around brown dwarfs. It gives a bonus to all actions performed very carefully and without haste, triplechecked and tested for certainty. This takes about twice as long as usual. Ultras can also use this to prevent people from convincing them to half-ass a job.
Community what holds the Heptagons together. Working together as a community allowed them to overcome their foes and survive in brown dwarf systems. They know that they can turn to other members of their community without hesitating, knowing that the rest of the Heptagon is there for everyone. This CV has a very broad application for group work, giving a Heptagon character a bonus on any effort to form a team, community or keep either together. Community can also give a bonus to group actions, but only when working together as a common identity. The drawback is an unwillingness to leave or break up a community once it has been formed.
Other common core values that can be found among the Many-Angled Ones are listed among their seven virtues.