|«|| How would it explain? There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They're vast, timeless, and if they're aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants, and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. Yes, they are a mystery. And I am both terrified and reassured to know that there are still wonders in the universe, that we have not yet explained everything.
— Ambassador G'Kar, "Babylon-5"
The Ancients were an extremely developed and old civilization, that spread across the Galaxy billions of years ago. The degree of their technological development was so high that the majority of available artifacts work on the principles that can not be explained even by the brightest minds of the most advanced civilizations of the Alliance, and some even work with blatant violations of the basic laws of physics. The purpose and functions of most artifacts also can not be explained. It is known that the Ancients engaged in terraforming of the earthlike planets, with the purpose of making these planets able to host organic life, often creating entire artificial solar systems and even entire star clusters. The goals of this activity remain a mystery. Only every fiftieth biosphere evolved without the direct or indirect intervention of the Ancients. According to statistics, it can be judged that they gave a significant preference to biospheres with carbon-oxygen biochemistry. As far as we can judge, the Ancients were the only sapient species during their timeline, at least in this galaxy. This theory does not have any archaeological evidence, but it allows us to somehow explain the reasons for the behavior of the Ancients. After completing the terraforming of this galaxy, about five million years ago, the Ancients for some reason disappeared. With a certain accuracy, one can only judge that this was neither extinction nor war with any other civilization. The ancients at some point simply disappear from the galaxy, apparently taking with them most of their technologies and structures. So far, only individual structures, artifacts and evidence of presence have been found, but still there was not been found anything that could been a city, or something related to the everyday life of the Ancients. Many of their artifacts and buildings are covered with inscriptions, but attempts to decipher this language have proved fruitless even with the involvement of AI linguists. The material from which many of the artifacts of the Ancients are made is in itself a very intriguing substance, completely inert and not amenable to any methods of influence, as well as completely opaque to any type of waves and sub-atomic particles. Because of this, the chemical composition of dark-green material, resembling malachite, remains a mystery and age of the artifacts is usually determined by age of the surrounding sediments, if one was lucky enough to find the artifact during archeological excavations. Otherwise, determining the age of the artifact is impossible. Due to its properties, this material is often informally referred to as 'absolute matter', and there is reason to believe that even the gravitational forces are not able to break the subatomic bonds of the material, provided that it is in fact baryonic matter. Scientific Corporation actively hunts for any instances of the material, so even given the fact that the price for the Ancient Artifact prices may reach an absolutely ridiculous number of zeros, finding any of them for sale is practically impossible, even on the black market.
Ancients, by virtue of their impressive age, are the most poorly known civilization of the galaxy. With the sparse data collected by logical conclusions and studying the artifacts, one can conclude that the Ancients were protein-based organics(at least initially), approximately two and a half meters tall, very thin and delicate, with somewhat humanoid body and with six fingers on the limbs ( however, there are serious doubts about whether it is their original appearance, and not the result of experiments and improvements on themselves). No fossils have been found of the Ancients, or any organism that could have relation to them. A few pictures - mostly cave paintings of some (usually also extinct) species and images on some of the artifacts have been found - they indicate that the Ancients did not have any discernible face, though this is highly debatable - the images are quite sketchy and often abstract. The images suggest that their bodies were of unusual structure and were apparently translucent and devoid of bones in the usual sense of the word. Perhaps all these oddities is because the Ancients, at a certain interval of their history, modified their biology through genetic engineering or technological augmentations.
It does not seems that the Ancients had any enemies. However, judging by the fact that the artifacts in appearance and properties resembling weapons are known, the researchers can conclude that disagreements and splits were possible among the Ancients, or that the ancients had laws and individuals capable of violating these laws.
Sociology and psychology of the Ancients - the most glaring white spot in the study of this civilization. In fact, we do not know anything about it. Maximum of information is extracted from the murals of rock paintings of witnesses - Ancients were social creatures, and apparently knew the concept of the hierarchy of power. Their psychology is also a complete mystery, although it is clearly seen in the design of buildings that Ancients inclined to simple geometric shapes, such as cubes, spheres and pyramids. Lack of knowledge on psychology is a main obstacle in a way of understanding the reasons for so extensive terraformation of the galaxy: by the most conservative estimates, Ancient could terraform literally every rocky world in the galaxy, in no more than a few hundred thousand years, but the number of comfortable worlds with the biosphere in the galaxy remains relatively small, and the age of the Ancient artifacts found on these planets estimates from couple of billions to hundreds of millions of years. However, this estimate does not take into account the planets, which once could support life, but then changed conditions have made them uninhabitable.
The Alliance, in addition to the basic philosophy of the regards to the ancient, provided by raharrs, have a number of religious sects who worship the Ancients as gods, and proclaims that they have left hidden observers of this galaxy, and at some point in the future will return.
Two of the most famous works of the Ancients is an artificial Harr sysatem and, according to many theories, Ancients somehow related to the distribution of the Hephren gas in the galaxy (the vast majority of structures and artifacts have been found on the planets of the same solar system, in which deposits of Hephren were discovered).
Absolutely all the opinions and theories found among the civilizations of the Alliance regardless the Ancients are wrong, significantly at minimum. Ancients are civilization far beyond the postsingularity, their logic and goals are understandable by our civilizations no more than goals and logic of mankind comprehensive to an ant, and the familiar concepts like morality do not apply to them. Ancients filled galaxy with inhabited planets, strange artifacts and Hephren not because of some noble desires, but for inexplicable reasons, that may seem benign, but that wasn't the motivation.
|Pangalactic Alliance | Leaving the Cradle | The Cliff World|
|Organizations||Alliance | Independent Worlds | Science Corporation | Politics|
|Technologies||Hephrene | Interstellar Travel | Spaceships|
|Places||Planet Harr (Star Harr) | "Shining" Space station | Underwater settlement of Harr | Artifact X | Artifact Spindle|
|Characters||Gharr | Zane | Hekaht | Ahshu | Dan | Mark | Val | Virus|
|Further reading: | Civilization development stages | Instruments | Идеи ||