The Trellis

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The Trellis is a hard science fiction space opera setting by Jörg Rhiemeier. It is currently in a very embryonic stage and exists only as a cloud of basic ideas. The project is named after the Trellis, a metacivilization made up of a number of non-humanoid alien species in the Milky Way. The human race is a newcomer on the scene.

The Trellis is connected to the Global Spring near future setting in that the events of Global Spring are part of the human history in The Trellis.

The Trellis is influenced in some aspects of its design by the Culture universe by Iain M. Banks, also by the Orion's Arm project. However, the Trellis is not transhumanist.

The metacivilization

The Trellis (from a Loc expression meaning "frame to support growth") is also the name of a metacivilization consisting of several starfaring intelligent species. The member species are built on a wide variety of body plans; none would fit nicely into any of the phyla of living beings on Earth. The Trellis is a loose-knit, adhocratic structure whose only permanent institution is a wormhole-based Internet-like communication network (also known as the Trellis). Whenever a problem occurs, it is discussed on the network until a volunteer team marshals itself to deal with the problem. The member races have very diverse social and political structures, but all of them are either democratic or adhocratic, and respect what we humans would call human rights. Living in the Trellis means living in peace, freedom and prosperity.


Language of Communication

Main article: Language of Communication (The Trellis)

Each of the species have their own languages, and as their anatomies differ, they cannot pronounce each other's languages. Instead, they use an artificial language to communicate with each other, the Language of Communication (usually called Loc or Trellisese by humans). This language is an engineered language consisting of bit streams grouped in bit quartets. Each species uses their own characters to transcribe it; humans use the hexadecimal digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F.

Faster-than-light travel and communication

Faster-than-light travel works by means of a warp drive. The warp drive can also be used to travel slower than light, and is indeed used for interplanetary travel. The warp drive interacts with gravity fields such that faster-than-light travel is only possible at some distance from a star. The average travel time between two neighbouring inhabited planetary systems (ca. 20 light-years) is about 5 days.

Faster-than-light communication works via wormholes. No matter can be sent through these, only information. Wormholes are stationary installations at the perimeter of planetary systems. Ships during FTL warp travel are unreachable.