Access, by Juan Ochoa
Access, image copyright Juan Ochoa, Orion’s Arm Worldbuilding Project

Goddwellers, also called monsterdwellers and jarchonials, include a number of categories of sophonts that live off transingularitans. They differ radically however according to the type of jarchon, whether it’s predominantly drytech (Yawvek), biotech (Elohom), or infotech (the Archailectality).  Even around and upon a single type of jarchon, the goddwellers will differ greatly, with individual jarchons each being a center of unique evolution.  However trophic requirements and limitations mean the basic ecology (or jarchonecology) is usually standard:

o Endoparasites (think nematode) are the most specialised clades, and live off or in the bodies of the the Jarchons themselves. They are exceedingly specialised, degenerate, and so highly modified through bio, cyber, nano and psi tech that they are no longer recognisable. If anything, they are even more alien than the Jarchons they live in. They have nothing to do with other races, except sometimes for the purpose of distrbuting eggs.

o Ectoparasites (think flea or louse) are the next most specialised clades. They’re all hardy, adaptable, and highly modified through bio, cyber, nano and psi tech. A few may trade with Jarchondwellers and commensialates, but generally they are too specialised to relate to other clades

o Jarchondwellers (think weevil, cockroach or mouse) are similar to commensialates (or in some classifications a category of them). They live in the structures and megastructures the Jarchons construct, but don’t have anything to do with the Jarchons, apart from Thefts – stealing their commodities (for survival) and artifacts (for trade) – and wrecking their structures with their habs. They may also trade with commensalates. While their lives are dangerous and short, they have access to almost unlimited Jarchon materials. Jarchondwellers generally trade with gobetweens, though some contact merchants directly.

o Commensialates (think pigeons, seagulls, etc) live off the Jarchon surplus. They do no harm to the Jarchons (their culture involves mythologies in which Jarchons are to be propitiated and not offended) and may be tolerated for that reason. Or they could be considered vermin by anal Jarchons (depends on the Jarchon), but even if so, they are rarely treated as harshly as Jarchondwellers. They may trade with Jarchondwellers or gobetweens, although they usually have little worth trading. More often they trade with or steal from other commensialate groups. An ecologically speialised group, they generally have little to do with the rest of the universe. Some are domesticated and become Jarchon pets (see next category)

o Pets (think domestic animal) are commensialates that have been domesticated and are pampered and cared for. Different Jarchons may prefer different types of pets. Often they are many generations removed from their ancestors and may be highly modified and exotic. They strongly identify with Jarchons and are generally unable to exist apart from them. They may have a freakish appearance (by human standards). A few may trade with gobetweens and merchants (generally outsiders try to cultivate close relations with Pets)

o Gobetweens (or Middlemen) have specialised ships and vehicles, and risk going to and for between the above categories and merchantmen.

o Imperials use gunboat diplomacy to enforce trade deals on Jarchondwellers and commensialates and discourage freehaulers. Their ships are usually armed, or accompanied by naval escort. Sometimes they will even use piracy or enforce heavy taxes on other ships.

o Corporates use bribes and cozy deals with Jarchondwellers and Imperials. They run the biggest ships and can undercut the prices of the freehaulers and imperials.

o Independent merchantmen, freehaulers, and starsiders, sometimes trade with Jarchondwellers and sometimes with gobetweens.  Both undercut by Corporates and taxed or pursued (depending on policy) by Imperials, choose to eliminate the middle man and resort to increasingly risky trades with Jarchondwellers in risky environments, and finally even undertake Thefts themselves.  Some freehaulers are paid lucrative deals by Imperials or Corporates to become privateers and attack or discourage other independent freehaulers and merchantmen


Author’s notes:

Inspired by William Tenn, Of Men and Monsters (See influences page),  and a development of my earlier write-up, God Dweller (on Orion’s Arm).