WARNING: Spoilers Alert. The following contains material you may not want to know if you haven’t read the book.
The inhabitants of New Galimar come from a planet named Galimar found in the “Large Magellanic Cloud” galaxy. This galaxy is one of our closest galactic neighbors. Their home planet was a planet much like ours, however their race had been progressing much differently than ours. Unlike humans, their culture was such that they didn’t experience the same dark ages like we did. Imagine what it would be like now, if humans had experienced the industrial revolution 1200 years ago. That is the way things happened for them. Much of that difference can be attributed to their biology as described later.
The Galimarians are an explorer people. Early on in their social and technological development, they figured out that they derived a lot of joy from the simple act of discovery, and so they embarked on a lot of such discovery. Their first forays centered exclusively around their own biology, as well as the planet where they lived. This planet was a planet quite similar to earth except for some very special things. Things such as the amazing hanging gardens of Ammular, or the gravity wells of Mistikaan.
After a while, their technology progressed such that they ended up beginning an exploration into their local cosmic neighborhood. They first visited each of their five moons (The existence of which was eventually discovered as the reason why the hanging gardens of Ammular existed). As their technology progressed further and further they were able to go farther and farther in their local solar system, and it was, of course, a significant achievement for their people to establish a colony on another planet in their solar system.
Eventually, they were able to devise technologies that allowed them to visit other solar systems, and so that is what they started doing. Some of that technology made it possible to create ships that could travel extremely fast, that of near light speed, but also they developed suspended animation chambers that entirely suspended metabolic processes in their bodies until such a time as they are re-animated. It didn’t use any cryogenic processes since that has the effect of destroying cell structures, but rather it used a unique field that the body is enveloped in that stopped all atomic movement. The benefit of this is that as soon as the field is removed, the atomic movement continues as it was before the field.
It didn’t take relatively long for them to discover that they weren’t the only forms of higher life in the universe, and as they started encountering various races, they would enjoy such interaction. That is … until one particular experience that every Galimarian would rather forget.
There was this one planet that they discovered that had a race of humanoids on it called Traxis. The Traxians were not as advanced technologically, but they were quite gregarious and congenial. After a little while the Galimarians progressively shared much of their technology with the Traxians and for a while, the relationship with the two planets went well. That is … until some on the Traxian planet used that technology to wage a civil war on the planet. Eventually, ALL life on the Traxian planet, except for a few refugees that came to Galimar, was completely extinguished.
This hit the Galimarian people hard. VERY hard. They knew that because their social evolution hadn’t evolved alongside their technological evolution, they weren’t responsible enough to handle the great power that came from being in possession of such technology. After much deliberation, the grand council of Galimar passed laws that forbade the sharing of technology with any civilization that hadn’t progressed to the same point as Galimar.
This pungent footnote in Galimarian history always guided how the Galimarians interacted with other races they encountered. Their own technology, of course, progressed over time, but that technology was never shared with any other races, except for rare circumstances. And even then, it had to be with direct approval from the Galimarian Grand Council.
One day, though, there were some that visited a planet Briteria that had a difference of opinion with the philosophy. You see, as they spent time on this new planet, there were some that ended up falling in love with some of the inhabitants of that planet. They became emotionally involved with those people, and so they wished to share all that they had with them. This, of course, was in direct opposition to the Grand Council, who had ruled that Briteria could not benefit from the Galimarian technology.
This laid the groundwork for a tempest between those who remained loyal to the Grand Council of Galimar and those that lived with the people of Briteria. Eventually, the potential uprising of the ones who loved the Briterians was dealt with. When it became apparent and provable that these particular explorers were going to share the technology with Briteria anyway, they were apprehended, tried, convicted, and sentenced to live with the Briterians. This was quite acceptable to them until they learned that they would be left there without the benefit of ANY Galimarian technology. A bitter pill for them to swallow, but one that was just and benevolent nonetheless.
Over time, ship building was revolutionized by the development of specialized builder robots. Unlike the way previous ships they had used before in their explorations were built, these robots were designed to build the ship (according to plans that the Galimarians would create) but also had the ability to create more of their own kind to accomplish the building task. This had a twofold benefit. First, many more ships could be built in the same amount of time that it would take to build a single ship before. Second, the time it took to build the ship was radically reduced since the robots would work around the clock, and the robots would just build more worker robots as needed to get the building job done faster. As such, so long as the raw materials were available, a complete ship could be built in less than a single month! And if there was a change to the needs of the ship, the master planner Galimarian would just upload the new specifications to the builder robots, and they got right to work on the modifications.
When the job was done, the robots would then begin to decommission themselves, sacrificing their own structural materials to supply the final building materials for the ship being built. It was an amazingly efficient way of building, and it contributed greatly to the way Galimarians branched out to the worlds around them.
One day, a new type of ship was developed for exploration into what they considered deep space in their galaxy. The first of its kind, the Arageena was a complete breakthrough. Since it was designed to go into regions of space that would take a very long time to travel to, this ship included suspended animation chambers in it for the first time. These suspended animation chambers would be used by the traveling Galimarians while traveling to their destination. The ship was designed to manage all necessary functions while the Galimarians slept. Only upon arriving at its destination would it awake the Galimarians from their suspended animation.
The journey to a new faraway planet that they named Eden was planned, the Galimarians were chosen for the trip (from an extremely long list of applicants), and the ship was built. Unlike before, the selection of the travelers happened before the ship was even built. Since the building of the ship took such a short period of time, and since the size and resources of the ship could be expanded to accommodate any number of Galimarians that wanted to travel, the final number of travelers had to be known before the ship was built.
In a very short time, the ship (built in geosynchronous orbit around Galimar in an orbiting space dock) was ready for inspection. The builder robots reported that all was complete, the crew compartments were now pressurized, life support was functioning at 100%, and all other supporting systems including propulsion, exobiology, main computing, and stellar cartography were nominal.
With great fanfare and pomp, the travelers left on their journey. About a week into their journey after the initial shakedown and tuning of the systems on the ship (with the benefit of the few remaining builder robots on the ship), the crew all entered into their suspended animation pods and left the ship to navigate its way to Eden. The ship, quite intelligent by Earth standards, watched over them and made sure it kept on the course during its 10-year journey to Eden.
Once the ship came relatively near to Eden, it began its scans to finalize its trajectory to the planet as it did, it discovered that in the ten years since the Arageena left Galimar, the sun that Eden orbited was on the verge of going supernova. As such, its gravitational pull had changed dramatically, and the Arageena was being pulled out of the way of its planned course. Being as intelligent as it was, it decided that the only way to save the crew was actually to fly toward the sun and then slingshot itself away. It did so, but this left it traveling at near light speed and left it spiraling into an area of space that they had never even considered exploring. Their course never led them near any other planet that was a candidate, and since the main computer on the Arageena was programmed to find an inhabitable planet, that is exactly what it did. Eventually, the ships course led it to exit the actual galaxy where Galimar was located, and it drifted into interstellar space. Eventually, it found its way to the Milky Way galaxy, and eventually the main computer of the Arageena found a planet that was perfect since it almost exactly matched Galimar. It began a five-year-long process of slowing down the speed of the ship and eventually woke up with the travelers. First, the captain was awakened, then the captain would supervise the awakening of the other travelers.
All this happened fully one million forty-six thousand seven hundred thirty-two years after they had originally left Galimar.
Initially, they didn’t know what had happened and had just assumed that they were now in orbit over Eden. An astute navigator though started going through the logs that the ship kept on its journey, and it was he who discovered what had happened, and that they had in fact traveled so far, and for so long.
To say that they were astounded at how much time had gone by would be an understatement. Once they realized their entire lives had been altered, and that all they knew, and all whom they knew including their families no longer existed (and probably hadn’t existed for untold millennia), they were emotionally heartbroken, to say the least. There was a period when they were somewhat paralyzed by the circumstances they found themselves in now. For a while they were despondent. Some wanted to climb back into the pods and go back home, but that idea was quickly shed since they knew their home world wouldn’t resemble what they knew at all. They knew that if they returned to their home planet, they would quite probably end up as pariahs, outcasts among ones who had developed so much farther than they themselves were.
That is … if their home world was even there anymore. Since their race was such an explorer race, they knew that more than likely, NONE of what they knew was the same.
Since they considered themselves to be an enlightened society, they talked as a group to decide what to do, as opposed to just a few deciding what should happen to all. This group discussion that happened on the ship led to the only decision that they could make really. They decided to settle for now on this new planet that they decided to call Eden. All this happened approximately 6,500 years ago.
Soon after landing, and soon after exploring their new home planet, they discovered that the inhabitants of this planet were not technologically advanced, mostly being an agrarian society. Based on their history with the events of Traxis where local life was snuffed out when society was given technology before they could handle it, they decided to isolate themselves from the inhabitants of this planet. Since their ship was built to be watertight (since the original planet they had planned to visit was a water world) they decided to live full time on the surface of the ocean. They tasked the builder robots to begin a program of expanding the island, while still maintaining its ability to fly. Early on, they figured out that the ultraviolet radiation coming from earth’s sun was toxic to them, so they built a force field that would constantly surround the island when it was on the surface. By the way, the island (now called New Galimar) was built so that it could spend some of its time on the ocean floor. They were still Galimarians after all, and their race was a race of explorers. They wished to continue their exploration of their new home. Sure … they could go out in space, but this new home planet of theirs was truly a wondrous place, once you got over the shock that everything you ever knew was gone!
By the way, when they were on the ocean floor, they had no need for the force field and so it was at those time when the seafarers of this planet would pass by the same location where at other times the force field would cause ships to be smashed to pieces, leading to the rise of myths of a flat planet, and of falling off the edge.
The New Galimarians had no knowledge that their force field had sometimes led to the demise of these seafarers. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have done it.
And so … the indigenous inhabitants socially evolved far beyond what the Galimarians suspected would happen.
In time there were some who became bored of life on the island of New Galimar. In keeping with the explorative leanings of their race, they desired to explore their new planet (relatively new that is, they had been here for more than 4000 years at the time), and so they petitioned the governing council for permission to leave the island. The council agreed to them leaving on three conditions. First, they couldn’t take ANY technology with them. Second, they couldn’t speak of the existence of the Island of New Galimar. Third, they couldn’t come back.
The ones that wanted to leave were led by a Galimarian named Docius Atlantis. The group that left with him were largely just his own family. They left and were never heard from again.
When the story of this book unfolds, the population of New Galimar number well over 1.2 million. This was possible because when more room was needed, they simply added to their island ship as needed with the builder robot technology that came with them when they arrived so long ago.