on a galactic scale
|Systems with significant populations|
The Antheons were an advanced civilization that emerged more than 7 Gda ago on the planet Eon in the Antheon System. They were the first known species to accomplish interstellar travel, and they did so independently—in contrast to most subsequent civilizations which used the knowledge of prior civilizations. After achieving spaceflight, they developed a near-instantaneous form of travel, which they distributed throughout the galaxy.
The Antheons are commonly believed to have reached a type A society in popular culture. However, archaeologists do not believe that there is sufficient proof that they did. They disappeared from the Basilicus Prime Galaxy approximately 300 Mda before the emergence of the Helics, Highlords, and Kelosians.
Although not much is known about the Antheons, enough of their civilization was left behind so that archaeologists and anthropologists could come to some sound theories. The first appearance of Antheonic life, outside their home planet Eon of the Antheon System, was on their neighboring planet, Buvios. Now a magnificently terraformed planet, highly conducive to intelligent life (particularly those who love lush forests and clean air), Buvios was naturally a dry, desolate, airless world. The oldest Antheonic artifact on Buvios dated 4.2 billion GY: roughly four billion GY before the first current interstellar civilization appeared on the Galactic map.
It is not certain that during that four billion GY period there was no other life traveling through the stars, but scientists have yet to see any evidence of this.
Their initial exodus to Buvios from Eon has fallen under debate. To understand their motivation, one must first understand their society and that is what is most unclear to researchers.
The Antheons would have surely been quite advanced by the time of the Exodus. On the Helic Civilization Class chart, they would have been at least a Type C Society. To put it into perspective, when Crystaldeep Natives first arrived on Rola, they would have been classified as a Type C, barely above the information age. Type C meant they had the ability to go from planet to planet and perhaps have the technology to terraform a planet. They would have to be able to go to the planet in a timely way (Buvios is 6 holds from Eon).
From archaeological records it is fairly evident that the Antheons moved their entire species from Eon to Buvios in a short period of time (most likely 20 GY). To accomplish such a feat, the Antheons must have had terraforming technology and advanced interplanetary vessels capable of transporting millions of occupants. The quickest a Type C society can traditionally terraform a planet of Buvios's size is 50 GY and the quickest a vessel can go 6 holds in one GY. Much thought and preparation must have gone into the exodus, allowing a minimum 70 GY to complete the project (not to mention acquiring the resources, manufacturing and funding - this could easily tack on another 50 GY in a Type C society).
The only clear motivation to exodus an entire planetary population is to avoid some sort of cataclysm. Scientists have found a large crater on the now lifeless equator of Eon, dated to be roughly 4 billion GY old. The meteor that caused that crater would have meant global genocide. This was most certainly the reason they left.
That being the case leads one to surprising conclusions. Antheons must have detected the doomsday meteor at least 150 GY before it struck. They had the current technology to terraform and so must have begun work on the exodus right away. The amount of resources for that project would have required a global effort.
Once the great exodus was complete, small Buvios would have been very crowded and since the planet was terraformed, natural resources would have been virtually non-existent. The meteor would have destroyed any resources on Eon. The civilization would have been immediately pushed into another quandary. How would they perpetuate the species with no room for increased population and no lasting resources?
This was the motivation to embark on interstellar travel. The only three remaining planets in the system were large, distant, and gaseous. Such planets could not be terraformed by a Type C society (Type B's even have trouble with that, although it is possible). The Antheons were forced to look toward other stars.
Fortunate for them, their civilization lay toward the center of the galaxy and so immediate stars were easy to come by. There are over 250 stars within 3 holds of the Antheon System and of them, 102 are life supporting. As is now known, within those parameters, 38 have habitable planets and only 13 are naturally prepared for life.
The biology of Antheons is unknown, but because of artifacts left behind, it is known they were bipedal. Due to conditions of Buvios, many agree they were probably warm-blooded mammals, similar in chemistry to Kelosians and Highlords.
Buvios's average temperature is 102 degrees Kin and it has a low gravity force. These conditions would have been maintained over the lifespan of the Antheons, because it is clear the settled on Buvios until the very end, so very few changes occurred in 200,000 thousand GY. It is commonly agreed that the Antheons were looking for worlds of this flavor and preferably one that didn't require the costly and timely process of terraforming.
The next few hundred years seemed uneventful as Antheons were busily searching for a method of interstellar travel. A Type C (although they were quickly escalating to a Type B) society could reach three holds in a couple dozen million years. It would seem impossible, but the Antheons somehow figured it out.
It is evident that a large majority of the population left Buvios all at once and within 2,000 years, the Ovar System was colonized. What happened in that 2,000-GY period is unknown. The Antheons managed to evolve into a Type B society seemingly overnight and had mastered the preliminary concepts of interstellar travel.
Although crude by present standards, the Antheons' accelerated crafts past the speed of light, effectively reversing their time and mass and exponentially their distance. It is certain that many would have died in this process, but with quantum theories, it was managed, most likely, by putting the travelers into a "sub-space" pocket to protect them from the relativity effect.
Traversing the stars as antimatter, the Antheons reversed time for themselves and arrived at their destination millions of GY before they were scheduled. This "reverse relativity" accomplished their goal, but scientists project that it was very dangerous and unpredictable. Once settled, however, they could use their new technology to ship resources home to Buvios.
In simple terms it actually did take them millions of years to arrive in Ovar (their first destination), but because they, relative to the universe, reversed their speed, mass, and distance, it took no time at all (based on the speed, they could arrived at the very moment they left). This form of interstellar travel has been emulated in labs, but never successfully. Scientists still don't know how it was done, how the energy required for such a trek was harnessed, or even what the energy was.
History became foggy after this point. The Antheons settled and terraformed over 2,000 worlds within the millennia and there is strong debate as to why. While the first exodus and interstellar journey was done out of necessity, why would they colonize beyond that? The answer may be as simple as "because they could." Certainly, extended lifespans would create a population problem and the acquisition of planetary resources would have been a priority, it does not justify the extent of their travels.
Some debate they were looking for creatures like themselves. But why? To dominate them? Learn from them? It seemed they were peaceful already and they knew quite enough on their own.
Others suggest the Antheons were no more than philosophers traveling to understand the universe. This is a plausible explanation, although it doesn't explain why they stopped exploring 2 billion years into their civilization.
By that time they had long forgotten their antimatter days and were constructing what is now called Antheonic Rings. These are large, planetary machines that make modern interstellar travel possible.
Although scientists know the principles of the Antheonic Rings, they don't know how it fundamentally works or even what energy makes it work. If this was to be discovered, perhaps the scientists could shed their three dimensional bodies as well.
Nothing displays more the Antheons ability to cheat time than the Antheonic Rings. When travelers enter a ring, another dimension is added to them. Being fourth dimensional, they are separate from time, i.e. it no longer takes time to go distance, then they enter the ring of destination at the moment they left, safely third dimensional again. Since the trip is "timeless" travelers must be frozen or they could instantaneously age and die. Those that were conscious during the journey have never returned, not being able to join the third dimension again. Possibly these travelers are forever suspended in non-time, never to wake.
The Antheons were so good at this technology that they made thousands of rings throughout the galaxy. Many of these rings have yet to be discovered. They stopped making them almost as suddenly as they stopped exploration. Again, the cause for this change of pace is unknown and again there is debate. It is known that they continued to be 3D creatures for another 2 billion GY.
Many believe that what happened 2.2 billion GY ago was the same thing that happened 4.2 billion GY ago. They were preparing for an exodus. Now a Type B society (the most advanced known type) they were planning to be Type As and their species were going to exodus out of the universe altogether. In the same way it took them 150 GY to leave their planet, it would take them 2 billion to leave the universe.
Others say there was internal conflict separating their sparse empire. They suggest that the civilization collapsed from within, eventually taking the inevitable extinction path.
Whatever the case, they were decidedly gone 200 million GY before their successors, the Helics, came into the galaxy. They left behind empty structures, Antheonic Rings, and their old spacecrafts, now called the Vessels of Gold and Silver. Modern society can't even open the doors of these vehicles, let alone figure out how the rings work.
If modern society becomes a Type A, maybe all of their questions about this mysterious cosmological species will be answered. Until then, Type Bs and Cs will happily use the junk they left behind.
Today, they are worshipped by the Aelthers