Official Dual Universe Lore
Dual Universe takes place about 10.000 years after the Grand Exodus when humanity left the Earth to establish itself in new star systems. The information below is meant to help answer the most common questions about the game environment and try to set the general framework where fan fiction can be written.
Main historical dates
2027: Discovery of the doomsday Neutron Star that is heading towards the Earth. Collision will happen in 498 years. There are margins of error, so we don’t yet know if it means annihilation or simply major disruption in the solar system’s planets, but the end result is the same: the Earth will not be able to host humanity anymore. The event is nicknamed the [“Star Kiss of Death”], or [SKiD]. It’s basically the Armageddon.
2049: Creation of the United Earth Federation (UEF), a transnational institution in charge of coordinating humanity’s efforts and response to the SKiD. After concluding there was no hope to save Earth, the “Rebirth Program” is launched to analyze possible responses and escape strategies. New measures are voted to encourage natality in the population, to fight against a nihilist movement that advocates a “no future” philosophy and maintain a sufficient level of humans in the long run to fuel the Rebirth Project’s considerable needs.
2084: Better measurements have narrowed the margin of error. We are now certain that the neutron star will hit our solar system, and will actually collide with the Sun, turning into a black hole that will ultimately swallow or eject into deep space all the planets, Earth included. There is no hope anymore. Major funding is directed towards the Rebirth Program. All nation states must contribute at least 20% of their resources
2100: Mankind is entering a new era where robotics and AI have profoundly transformed society. Work as we know it has long disappeared, and social influence has replaced money as the currency of value. People do not “work” anymore, they have “activities” that can get them socially recognized. Money is still used, via a Universal Revenue, mainly as a way to control the scarcity in production, and balance the availability of goods against their rarity.
2130: AI have reached a threshold of global sentience. It is active in political, economic and social debates, and, while its benefits are recognized because it allowed the transition to the post-work era, more and more concern is raised about the sentient aspect and the potentially uncontrollable dimension of the AI agenda. Irrational fear rises. The AIs try to reassure the population that they have no rational reason to threaten humanity, but it only increases the level of suspicion within society.
2145: Massive rebellions all around the world signals the end of sentient AI, introducing a permanent universal ban on this technology, enforced by the very powerful UEF. Against all expectations, sentient AIs accept this and willingly shut down without any form of violent action.
2150: Society is reorganizing itself, as many “jobs” that needed sentient-level AI (surprisingly many, including low skill manual work), are once again left to humans to perform. Robots, in general, are banned also, as most of them required sentient-level AI to function properly. Early attempts at designing automated non-sentient robots all failed in the late 21st century, as it was discovered that sentience was a necessary byproduct of any sufficiently sophisticated AI for it to be able to interact with a complex world.
2200: A major summit of the UEF signals the alarming lack of progress on project Rebirth at the dawn of the 23rd century. Debates continue for years afterward about priorities, what technology to use to build Arkships that could help evacuate Earth, who would be eligible if we cannot host the 3 billion people still in the current population.
2200-2400: Major political events keep slowing down humanity and the UEF in its attempts to advance the technologies needed to build functional Arkships. Many wars, economic crisis, and nihilist terrorism are plaguing the progress.
2400: A period of calm and peace opens up. Major progress is suddenly made in the technologies needed to build the Arkships. Some are scheduled to be built within the next decade.
2440: Several key technologies are unlocked: cryosleep modules, nanoforming technology, nanopack condensers, resurrection nodes (it is unfortunately too late to use this to save humanity, as we would need to install billions of them out of the solar system, on a hospitable planet. There is not enough time for this).
2450: The Arkship technology is now mastered. Mass production begins. The race is on to produce as many as possible.
2500: Terrifying high-resolution images of the neutron star are provided by our most powerful telescopes. Riots break out all around the world over the selection process that dictates who gets to board the Arkships. The process was created by a scientific committee from the UEF, aimed at gathering the maximal amount of genetic diversity, plus a lottery to offset the fact that not everybody could go. Massive euthanasia programs were organized for those who had to stay, in order to provide them with a painless death at the time of their choosing.
2510-2536: The first Arkships leave Earth. Each Arkship is heading towards a particular part of the galaxy. One of them, the Novark, is heading towards the Scutum-Centaurus arm.
2538: The neutron star annihilates the solar system. Arkships are on their way, heading towards different regions of the galaxy.
12477: The Novark arrives on Alioth with a mighty thud as it deploys itself into the planet surface. From afar the planet shows many similarities to that of Earth, a blue and green marble sitting in the goldilocks zone of its star. Large continents surrounded by equally large oceans define the planet's appearance. Mountain ranges suggest continental drift, and large forests have taken hold over most of the planet. Primitive lifeforms are abundant. There are no obvious signs of advanced lifeforms.
Year 0 after arrival (0 AA): It will be your turn to write History in-game.
The world in 2500
In the century that preceded the Grand Exodus, the Earth’s population had dropped considerably, down to something less than 1 billion people. The “no future” movement had gained a considerable momentum. people were simply trying to tend to their immediate needs; losing any vision for the future or any concern for the consequences of their actions. Natality had dropped to an all-time low, crime had been continuously rising, and nation-states, as we know them, had long disappeared.
The UEF was the last large-scale social structure still holding, among a myriad of medium to small sized city-states. UEF representatives and offices, research centers, production units, etc, were scattered all around the world within the largest city-states. The UEF’s role now extended far beyond its initial goals, including a feared and powerful armed force to maintain order and ensure that the proper funding was collected from all city-states, in order to fuel the Rebirth Program.
A global language shared by all people on the planet started to emerge at the end of the 21st century. By the end of the 22nd century, almost everyone was speaking at least two languages: the global language (the “common”) and their local native language, each city-state having somehow evolved a variant from their original country’s language.
During the first half of the 21st century, the Internet quickly decentralized the economy, removing intermediaries and frictions. Anyone was able to open their own marketplace online, with powerful central aggregators to help integrate available offers. This was both true of goods and services. This highly distributed model of economy stood the test of time, both during the sentient AI era, and even after, up until the last century.
One of the main challenges of the last century, after the city-states model had become the norm, was logistics. Transporting goods over long distances carried the risk of being attacked by pirate hordes living outside of the city-states. The UEF and other independent security groups were in charge of ensuring protection, but still, the risk made inter-city trade dangerous, and local markets were the preferred method for basic commerce.
A global currency, the [U2] [(Universal Unit)], is installed by the UEF at the beginning of the 22nd century. It has acquired a growing support over the years and is still used as a reference currency on Alioth to help organize the exchanges of goods and services between colonists.
Culture & Society
At the moment of the Grand Exodus, humanity, and more precisely the UEF, was divided into four main political movements, essentially different from each other in the way they decided to answer one simple fundamental question: what is the main driving force in the development of humanity? Behind this question lies the promise of a political agenda on how to best rebuild civilization after the Grand Exodus and where to put priorities.
The [ Luminous ] are the first group. They consider the main driving force to be knowledge and wisdom. They value science, industry, and technology as the main sources of progress, and were heavily involved in the Rebirth Program, which led to the construction of the Arkships. They are, of course, very much respected for this even if some may criticize them for their all too rational take on things.
The [ Alphas ] are the second group. For them, the main driving force is, well, … force. They believe that people will respond mostly to strength and balance of power. They favor military action as a way to control and orient the evolution of the world in an attempt to avoid chaos and prevent instability. Their intentions are good, but they often fall to scandals involved with their expeditious way of handling subtle situations.
The [ Ethereans ] constitute the third group. They believe in the power of culture and arts. For them, humanity needs to be driven by dreams, beauty, and ideals before anything else. This is what gives us meaning. They are not against more practical endeavors but like to see these activities as a way to expand and support their vision. They have many supporters but are also often criticized for their lack of pragmatic action.
The [ Emporium ] is the final group. They believe in the power of money and commerce. They think that this has been the life and blood of human societies for millennia and, even if they will gladly regret it in private, they think this is nevertheless what gets the job done and can really set people in motion. Some point to them as a cause of an ever greater inequality, but they know how to silence critics and make people happy.
None of these movements are inherently good or bad, they all value human life and sincerely want to help drive humanity to success again.
Science & Technology
After the early 2400 years, science and technology suddenly advanced very rapidly. Incredible innovation occurred, becoming the foundation of the industrial, societal and economical program of Project Rebirth. Here are some of the most prominent breakthrough:
Nano fields: an expected advance in theoretical physics led to the discovery of a new force in nature, called the nano force due to its scale, that allows the fine control of the molecular dynamics of matter with incredible precision using high-frequency nano fields. Nano fields can be focused and modulated in a very precise way to destructure, collect or deploy and assemble matter in a short range radius. This is the core technology that gave birth to the nanoformer that every colonist is now equipped with.
Calabi-Yau Compactification: the science behind CYC has been inexplicably lost in the Arkship archives. It is the technology that powers nanopacks, which are extra small containers (that colonists wear on their suit), capable of amazing volume and weight reductions of almost anything contained in them. All we know is that it seems to work based on the possibility of storing matter within the extra dimensions of space-time allowed by String Theory, inside what is called the Calabi-Yau space. The exact science and understanding behind them have been lost and attempts at reverse engineering have all failed. Due to the limited number of Nanopacks available and their considerable value, further attempts to reverse engineer them are discouraged.
Nano fields displacement: this is a direct application of nano fields, used to collect, store and maintain matter within containers. The matter constituting objects is analyzed and de-structured first then stored using stable nano fields and can then be retrieved later via a reverse process that reconstructs the original object. Unlike with CYC, only limited volume gain can be obtained, and no weight reduction is possible.
Nano 3D printing: based again on the versatile nano fields, advanced 3D printers became possible. They are capable to assemble matter from reservoir sources to build small sized technological parts; from electronic to industrial units. Coupled to the automated assembly, this quickly became the basis of the industrial chain.
Quantum branching: Quantum Branching is at the heart of the Resurrection Node technology and is based on the “Many Worlds Interpretation” of quantum mechanics. At any moment, in particular, when you die violently, several versions of the universe coexist in parallel. Scientists working on EPR pair experiments unexpectedly found a way to instantly switch one universe with another, and in particular to switch the universe where you die with another one where everything would be exactly the same, except that your body position would be inside a Resurrection Node. The amount of matter to switch increases the energy cost of the operation, so RN teleport only the minimal set of mass to get the desired effect, which is... your naked body. A Resurrection Node is paired with your body and cannot be used by somebody else. It will make you virtually immortal, even if natural aging will probably get you out of the loop at some point.
Propulsion Engines: the conquest and exploration of the arrival star system, as well as nearby other stars, is a clear objective of the UEF for each arkship colony. Several engine technologies have been perfected as part of the Rebirth Program to allow for various flight modes, either within the atmosphere or in space. Warp drive technology was near completion and should become available a few years after the arrival, and even stargate instant transport has been sketched as a not too distant possibility but was unfortunately still not available at the time of the Grand Exodus. Warp drive speed is believed to be in the range of 100 times the speed of light, while super warp probes, that could be used to seed stargates, could reach up to 10.000 times the speed of light Making it possible to cross the entire galaxy in just 10 years.
Environment & Alioth
Alioth is a rocky planet orbiting a yellow dwarf star, very similar to the Sun. It has been selected due to its very similar Earth-like environment, including oceans, forests, mountains, and lakes. It has a moderate fauna and flora. The temperature during the day is similar to what can be found on Earth, but nights can be extremely cold.
The planet underground contains all the usual materials needed for basic industry, but more rare resources may have to be later harvested from one of Alioth’s three moons, or even from more distant planets in the system.
The planet day/night cycle is only 5 hours, and its weather pattern is relatively stable. Overall, Alioth is a very life-friendly planet, carefully chosen to facilitate the starting years of colonists.
The Arkships are a marvel of technology. They can host millions of people in cryosleep for extended periods of time. Made out of Kyrium, they can sustain incredible amounts of deceleration or acceleration, and absorb the corresponding crushing forces for whatever stand inside them. The origin of Kyrium is not well documented, and it seems that the material cannot be produced from a known industrial process, but has probably been found during some mining operations within the solar system.
Designed to travel close to the speed of light for extended periods, the Arkship engines are also not part of the colonist UEF documentation and no assembly schema could be found within the archives. There is much debate over why the UEF would intentionally withdraw such potentially useful information.
Each Arkship is controlled by a proto-sentient AI that was allowed to be built against the very strong UEF AI ban because it was argued that it would have been to hazardous to let the fate of humanity rest with dumb automatic machinery that would possibly not be able to react to unexpected situations. While being an exception to the AI ban rule, the onboard AI is still however not allowed to take control of any machinery or robot beside the Arkship itself. The Novark AI is called “Aphelia”.
Once on approach to the destination planet, the Arkship is designed to literally “plant” itself into the planet, to allow the deployment of deep geothermal energy collectors that should sustain the ship functions for potentially unlimited amounts of time. One of the key functions of the ship once arrived, is to deploy a 20km radius safe zone area where colonist would be free from any form of aggression from the outside, or… from themselves. It was indeed decided that the potentially violent nature of mankind under stressful situations should be mitigated with appropriate supervision. Within the safe zone, Aphelia is in charge of maintaining order and providing support and information to colonists.
Regrettably, one known consequence of prolonged cryosleep periods is that the subject will suffer from a loss of episodic memory, as well as most high-level cognitive memory like expertise, skills or know-how. To mitigate this side-effect, the Arkship archive contains large data banks that are transferable to colonists via a wireless data transfer process involving brain implants capable of stimulating neural activity. The process is slow and can take days for the most advanced skills, but is an effective way to re-enable lost knowledge for long time space travelers.
The Arkship extreme energy efficiency, designed to allow the ship to travel for millennia, forced trade-offs on what could be embarked in order to minimize the total mass, and of course, human bodies were preferred over any other “mass”. For this reason, and because nano 3D printing would make it possible to easily rebuild them, no ship or industrial machine was included inside the Arkships’ cargo. Humanity would have to rebuild civilization from scratch. A large set of Resurrection Nodes tuned to each registered colonist where however installed inside the Arkship to avoid any loss of precious life once arrived on the destination planet. For these reasons, the inside of the Arkship, besides the propulsion machinery, is mostly occupied by cryosleep pods, as well as Resurrection Nodes.
While most of the Arkship passengers will wake up after the Arkship landing, a few thousand among them become half awakened between a few years and a few weeks before the arrival: the Alpha Team. While their bodies are still asleep, their brains are awakened and connected to an advanced neural/computer network that immerses them collectively within a virtual reality that is meant to simulate their first steps on the destination planet, for education and testing purposes.
During this simulation, of course, nobody can die (this represents the Alpha phase in-game). They are given easier access to certain resources in order to help them experience various stages of the tasks they will have to face in real life when arrived. The Alpha Team will then be in charge of guiding newcomers and helping to bootstrap the first months of civilization rebuilding on the destination planet.
The cryosleep memory loss side effect and the apparently incomplete archive has given birth to several mysteries for which colonists have developed many “theories”:
Kyrium is an absolute mystery. Nothing is available in the Arkship archives about its nature, how it was found, how to create it or even manipulate it. No colonist have the slightest memory about the Kyrium. If Aphelia is asked for information on Kyrium, the Novark’s AI will just give an elusive answer, explaining its lack of information as memory loss. Obviously, this is not a satisfying answer.
Aphelia is in charge of the Novark and the well-being of all the passengers. She seems as caring as invasive in the private life of the colonists. While she doesn’t seem brutal, hostile or coercive by default, her behavior is perceived as if she monitors every action of each human that has been aboard the Novark. She also seems to avoid disclosing information on some specific topics - at least that’s the feeling of some passengers - despite the fact she always says if she doesn’t give a satisfying answer, it’s because the answer is beyond its capabilities. For these two reasons, many colonists think the AI is not trustworthy. Aphelia seems to have incredible defenses against hacking, far higher than anything the most experienced colonists in hacking have ever seen, reinforcing the feeling that the AI might hide a lot of things.
The Arkship light speed engine is completely undocumented. No schema is available to rebuild one using 3D nano-printing, or by any other means.
There seems to be no trace of the records pointing to the destination of the other Arkships within the galaxy.