Helios, Sol System, Sol Federation
The grand battleship Diomedes flashed into space, just outside of Helios megastation. The megastation itself was vast and composed of three concentric rings that orbited and spun around Sol, humanity’s home star in its capital star system.
And it was more than a vast space station - it was a dyson sphere.
In fact, its innermost ring was designed purely to draw energy directly from Sol itself. From there, it processed all of the photoelectric radiation that the star emitted into a stable energy wave, and transmitted it all throughout the solar system itself.
That ring powered absolutely everything within the system, every planet, every city, every building. It even sent power to any ships that were flying in the system, and recharged its capacitors and batteries to the absolute maximum.
In essence, humanity had become a Type II civilization, and dominated the primary energy source of its solar system.
It was without a doubt, the most significant technological improvement that humanity had ever created. Its very presence elevated humanity itself, and ushered in an age of incredible advancement.
In the face of infinite energy, all other barriers to survival became trivial and miniscule. And that allowed humanity to be free to pursue loftier, crazier, and traditionally blasphemous goals. After all, the Sun was a god to humanity’s ancestors. To them, encasing their god in a prison to steal its power was nothing short of sacrilege.
And now that humanity had captured their first god, there was no stopping their domination over the rest of the galaxy. One god was never enough.
It dawned on Eva that Helios megastation represented humanity’s inventiveness, potential, and arrogance all at the same time. Only they would think to do such a thing. And only they would think that even that was far from enough - there was still the path to becoming a Type III Civilization, where they would harness the energies of the entire galaxy.
Of course, there was a long way to go.
The middle ring was purely maintenance and production, and was host to countless machines and nanites devoted to the maintenance of the station itself. There were also countless systems inside of the middle ring where the vast majority of raw goods and materials were generated.
Simply, there was more than enough energy to pass around, and the excess was used to form pure raw elements as needed. Since almost everything was derived from stars, dyson spheres were primed to refine that process.
From there, anything that was created was sent out to all parts of the Federation itself, not just this particular system.
Of course, there were a few people living in that middle ring, but certainly nowhere near as many in the outer ring. It was there in the outer ring that the majority of humans within the Federation resided.
Most spent their entire lives inside of Helios, with little to no need to leave it. Simply put, they had absolutely everything that they could want or need, and so had no motivation to leave. All were provided shelter, energy, sustenance, and to some degree, purpose.
Or at least, those who could afford it, anyway.
According to the information that Eva looked up through her DI, Helios was home to over a quadrillion people. She could hardly wrap her mind around that number. In her previous life, back on Old Earth, it had passed eight billion people.
That number was already enough to boggle her mind, much less a quadrillion.
And as she dug even deeper, found that the Federation’s estimated population was nearly four sextillion, all spread across their corner of the galaxy.
More than that, the Federation was only one of three major galactic nations, each one with nearly equal amounts of people.
The Diomedes approached the slowly spinning outer ring on Helios, particularly towards one of the many massive docking bays scattered all over its smooth surface. At some point, it was caught not just by Sol’s gravitational pull, but also Helios’ gravitational tethers.
They linked up both the battleship and the megastation, synced up their orbital speed, and ensured the safety of everyone aboard.
It took little time for the Diomedes to sink down further and further into the station. And although it was indeed a vast battleship, it was miniscule in comparison to both Sol and the megastation itself. It was pretty much an ant on its surface.
An ant that slowly entered through a vast bay and docked inside a wholly voluminous hangar. It passed through the glowing atmospheric shielding, and headed towards its assigned docking collar. It joined the dozens of other battleships and cruisers being serviced there.
Dozens of docking collars of various sizes extended out from the side of the hangar bay itself, and attached themselves to the Diomedes. Each one clamped down shut as they sealed their connection tight.
Then the entire ship hissed as its internal atmosphere balanced itself with Helios’ atmosphere and decompressed.
Minutes later, every evacuee was let off the ship after a brief decontamination process where specialized hovering drones swept over them with their UV beams. They were then led out through the primary docking collars, and escorted out to a temporary welcoming hall.
It was there that everyone was sorted out between regular citizens of the Federation, who were pretty much given an ‘inconvenience compensation’ and sent on their way. The rest were people like Eva, who had suddenly come to the galaxy without much warning.
Those newly regenerated were quickly corralled into a specific area - they were technically illegal migrants and had no legal place in the Federation itself. But instead of simply carting them off to some jail to rot, they were met by a bevy of Federation social workers, counselors, and lawyers.
It wasn’t long before Eva found herself in one of the many temporary offices scattered around, where she met with one of each. Or rather, where she was strictly interviewed by one of each. All of them sat behind a table and literally questioned Eva, as though she was some kind of convict.
Although, their demeanor was rather more friendly rather than combative. Still, she found them cold when all was said and done.
“Name?” asked the social worker.
“Uh. Eva Benjamin,” Eva replied.
“Date of birth?”
“In standard galactic, please. We don’t use ancient dating systems here in the Federation.”
“I… I don’t know. I just got here.”
The counselor put a hand on the social worker’s arm, as though to remind her of something.
“Take it easy on her,” said the counselor. “She’s one of those from a different galaxy, remember?”
“Mhm, right,” the social worker said. There was a heavy tone of disbelief embedded deep within it. “Fancy phrase for Hegemony spy.”
“While it might be possible all these people are agents from the Hegemony, it’s highly unlikely,” the lawyer rebutted. “They’re going through their own influx of unregistered people. The Empire, too.”
“Whatever, let’s just get this over with. I’ll put you down as being born the cycle your body began to regenerate roughly one week ago. That oughta be enough, right?”
“Um. What’s a cycle?” Eva asked.
“Ten hours exactly,” the counselor replied. “Galactic standard. From what ‘ve heard, people like you are used to a twenty-four hour cycle, a bit like they did back in ancient Gaea. That was necessary way back when, because of the day and night planetary cycle.
“But the Federation has more than one planet, each one with their own specific planetary cycles. So the only way to properly count time is to unify the count. The galactic standard cycle was ratified by the Sol Federation nearly a thousand years ago, and adopted by the Drogar Empire shortly thereafter.”
Eva began to phase out as the counselor spoke. Her mind simply became fuzzier and fuzzier as she lectured her.
It worried her for a moment, before she realized that it was because of her trait. It didn’t allow her to learn directly from being instructed like this, and her mind automatically began to wander. To counteract it, she quickly looked up what time was in the new galaxy.
Her DI quickly replied with a handy chart.
100 seconds = 1 minute
100 minutes = 1 hour
10 hours = 1 cycle
10 cycles = 1 week
10 weeks = 1 month
10 months = 1 year
Eva realized that they applied the metric system to time, which made a whole lot more sense to her. As the counselor was trying to tell her, if they used their old time system, it would quickly get confusing for the rest of the galaxy.
She found that the new system was reasonable, readable, and reliable.
“Alright lesson time’s over,” said the social worker. “Don’t got all the time in the galaxy for this. If you want to take remedial courses to catch up to modern civilization, you can.”
“She can, only if she accepts citizenship,” the lawyer interjected.
He then turned towards Eva sternly.
“We might be pretty sure that you’re not a Hegemony agent, but it doesn’t mean that you get a free ride through the Federation system,” he continued. “If you want to stay here and gain the benefits of citizenship, then you will need to do some paperwork.
“It has come to the Grand Minister’s attention that the vast majority of people like you have great skills in piloting, engineering, and military operations. That’s incredibly valuable to the Federation itself, and he has created a program to welcome you into the Federation itself.”
The lawyer then picked up his datapad, and swiped on it.
A packet filled with literature and information regarding the Federal Refugee Induction Charter came into Eva’s DI. She flipped through some of it, even as the lawyer continued to speak.
“Basically, you sign these papers confirming your status and you’ll be allowed into the Federation as a Refugee. You’ll even be temporarily granted a weekly stipend and a habitational module to give you time to get on your feet. If you prove to be productive and can generate revenue for the Federation with your time and skills, then elevation to full citizenship will be painless.”
“What if I don’t sign, or if I don’t, um, generate revenue?” Eva asked.
“Fair enough question,” the social worker answered. “You get thrown out of the Federation, and dumped out at the border. You can fend for yourself out there.”
Harsh, Eva thought to herself.
“I take it you’ve all been at this a while, huh?” she said. “I mean, I can’t possibly be the first person to come through here. And your office looks like it’s been here a while.”
“Exactly right,” the counselor said. “People like yourself have been regenerating into the galaxy for one month now. You are merely one out of a million.”
“Has anyone not signed?”
“What happened to them?”
“Doesn’t matter,” the lawyer answered. “And we don’t really care. What we care about is - will you be an asset to the Federation, or are you going to be a detriment?”
Eva didn’t have to think twice about it. She had been useless almost all of her life. The atypical NEET. In this new galaxy, with her new body, new mind, new everything, she was determined to do something with herself.
Why waste away doing nothing, when she could be doing something good for herself. There was a whole galaxy out there for her to enjoy, after all.
“Show me where to sign,” she said happily.