Stellar Engineering

Diffusion disk:

Another fractaform structure.  This variation on the Ring World uses optic fiber and fractaform architecture to allow maximal habitat around a host sun.  The ring itself only acts as a scaffold for arcologies.  A diffusion disk requires advanced material and gravitronic technology.  When members of the Retired Order wish to "homestead" a red-dwarf system, they often begin by constructing a diffusion disk.  A diffusion disk collects much less stellar energy than a fractal system, but is much less fragile.  Because diffusion disks usually become fractal systems, only a handful are likely to exist at any given time.  Due to the recent continua quakes the three diffusion disks openly referenced by the Library are rapidly being transformed into fractal systems.

Members of the Transcendent Order also use a form of diffusion disk.  These appear as solid compact-disk like structures, usually built as close as possible to a super-dense stellar remnant to minimize communication lagtime and maximize tidal exposure.

Dyson sphere:

Any spherical "structure" built around a star to collect energy.  In the simplest form this involves putting large numbers of satellites in various non-intersecting orbits around a star.  To maintain orbit and avoid collisions the satellites must have some motive force and ability to steer.  Some systems located near major jumpline nexuses are effectively this kind of Dyson sphere.  A second model imagines an single enclosed sphere that envelopes a host sun.  An enormous irradiated surface would thus be obtained.  This would be a very expensive and complex feat of stellar engineering with less potential to generate revenue than a fractal system.  Earthlings imagined numerous variations on the Dyson sphere prior to contact.  Galactics found most of these ideas quaint and "amusing."

Fractal system:

A variation on the theme of a Dyson Sphere.  The idea is to use a fractaform surface to get as much habitable area as possible, thereby maximizing return on investment.  From the inside, a fractal system somewhat resembles a giant geode, with a star in the center.  This sort of stellar engineering project requires advanced material and gravitronic technology.  However, the engineering demands are less than for a true Dyson Sphere because the habitation areas are actually arcologies built into the inner surface of spherical fractal structure, so the main structure can be built as a lightweight scaffold.

Fractal systems are popular habitats among the Retired Order.  Unfortunately, spatial stresses associated with the recent continua quakes seriously damaged or even destroyed many of the Retired Order's fractal systems.  In some cases, rare intra-order violence among the Retired exacerbated fractal system damage.

Ring world:

A large ring-like structure built around a host sun in the habitable zone.  The ring provides a large habitable surface area, and generates gravity by rotation.  Only two exist in known space, fractal systems being more economical.  Both ring worlds are attributed to the Progenitors and orbit small, very stable stars.  One is the central headquarters of the Main Sequence and Retired Order's divisions of the great LibraryCentral Archive also has an artificial Jovian planet in orbit 180 degrees opposite a natural planetary partner and an artificially dense asteroid belt.  A brown dwarf orbits the host sun at almost half a light-year's distance.  The other, somewhat smaller ring world, serves as the headquarters of the Galactic Institute for Migration.  It does not have other significant enhancements, and the brown dwarf that serves as the headquarters for the Brown Hydrogen breathers has wandered quite far from the Conservatory Ring System.

Multiple rings tilted at different angles could be built in a single system, but no multiple ring systems actually exist in known space.

(See bibliography)

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Contributors to this page include: Joshua Bell, Stuart Braid, Matt Grimaldi, Stefan Jones, and others