The Transarchaeologist’s Guide to the Colonies (15th revision, 2440 CE) is a collective work designed to help freelance Transarchaeologists, tomb raiders and treasure hunters acquire and sell the most valuable technological artifacts. It is an evolving text that provides an in-depth look at the Transhumans and the legacy they left behind.
Solving the mysteries of the Transhumans starts with the massive terraforming structures they built on the Solar System's planets and moons. Archival image: Kappa Base
THE TRANSHUMAN JOURNEY
To find Transhuman treasure, one must have an understanding of those who created it. Before going into the field, it is important to consider the origins of the Transhumans and their journey into the depths of the Solar System.
SAVIORS OF HUMANITY
By the late 2100s, Federal Earth had become plagued by famine and overpopulation. The advent of the Transhumans (1) brought rapid and wide-ranging solutions to the planet’s most pressing problems. They helped create new land, and with it new sources of food. Living conditions improved, with human lifespans reaching 130 years. Communication and cultural awareness grew as well; a golden era of peace had arrived.
(1) Transhumans are mechanical, highly advanced beings that emerged from humanity’s experiments with artificial intelligence. Their exact origins are a matter of dispute among historians.
CASTING OFF: THE VALKYRIE VENTURE
In 2210 CE, the Federal Earth government created a task force to push these advancements even further. Entrusted with the mission of ensuring the future of humanity, this group—comprising thousands of scientists and Transhumans (2)—set out to create even more livable spaces. Nicknamed the Valkyrie Venture, this team’s mission was to terraform Federal Earth’s closest neighbors: Mars and Venus.
(2) The term “Transhuman” originated in news reports around the time of the Valkyrie Venture. The name stuck.
The Valkyrie Venture began with Project Fury. In just 25 years, the team was able to transform Mars into a habitable, temperate world. Although this enormous achievement fulfilled the task force’s original objective, the Transhumans persuaded their human counterparts to continue with Project Morrigan (3), which resulted in the birth of a terraformed Venus by 2240. As the Valkyrie Venture came to a close, all of its scientists were assigned to work on improving life on the newly created Home Planets.
(3) Many historians identify project Morrigan as evidence of the Transhumans beginning to think for themselves.
BRAVING THE ASTEROIDS: THE VIKING VENTURE
After the Valkyrie Venture, humanity’s needs were more than met. However, in 2239 CE, the Transhumans made a proposal to their masters that they couldn’t refuse: immortality for the human race. With the blessing of the new Home Planet governments and minimal input from humans, the Transhumans initiated the Viking Venture. Named in the spirit of exploration, this project set its sights on transforming the outer Solar System.
Between 2260 and 2340 CE, the technological capabilities of the Transhumans developed at breakneck speeds; they tamed the asteroid belt, manipulated gravitational forces and sculpted the surfaces of planets and moons. They successfully terraformed the majority of objects in the Jovian, Cronian and Uranian systems for humanity, leaving vast treasure troves of technology in their wake.
THE END OF THE LINE: NEPTUNE
Upon reaching Neptune in 2340 CE, the Transhumans informed the Home Planets of their intent to take it for themselves. One can only imagine the level of technology that the Transhumans had developed by this time—because before humanity had the chance to see it, they had declared war on the machines that had created it for them.
A derelict jumpgate, known as Cillix, orbits the Jovian moon Thebe. This massive, Transhuman-built structure is one of the many lucrative tech scavenging sites.
When looking for lost artifacts, listen. When listening to rumors, keep your eyes open. Transhuman treasure has a tendency to hide. Your best bet: trick it into being found.
—common Transarchaeologist adage
HUNTING FOR TRANSHUMAN ARTIFACTS
Historians study history. Transarchaeologists seek to dig it up, catalog each piece and divine its purpose. Below you will find a primer on what Transhuman treasure is and the larger regions in which it can be found.
THE NATURE OF TRANSHUMAN TREASURE
A century after the Transhumans left, fragments of Transhuman treasure lay dormant, emitting mysterious signals to those who stop to listen. These relics include advanced weaponry and warp drives; however, most come from tech that was built to kick-start the terraforming process of planets and moons, such as mining towers, purification facilities and machines capable of controlling the orbits of asteroids. The Transarchaeologist hunts for artifacts of all shapes and forms; whether the size of a ship or microchip, they are relics worth possessing. While the Transhuman tech that is found may be rusted, weathered or broken, it still has the power to transform worlds.
FINDING THE FUTURE IN THE PAST
Tech artifacts can be obtained in a variety of ways; they can be stumbled upon, traded for, won on a bet—even fabricated (4). However, to increase your chances of finding a respectable cache in the traditional manner, you need to know exactly where to look.
(4) Counterfeit artifacts are big business—and a big problem. It is estimated that the majority of pieces traded on the Home Planets and in the colonies are worthless fabrications.
The terraformers on Callisto’s Red Sands outpost extend hundreds of kilometers below its surface into the moon’s subterranean ocean. Their purpose remains unclear, but the site holds ample low-value items.
The Jovian System
This region was the first to be shaped by the Transhumans (5). During this period—known as the Bronze Age of Post-Leap Development (2260 - 2300 CE)—massive terraforming structures were built at Kappa Base on Io, Dry Dock on Ganymede and Red Sands on Callisto.
The Jovian system’s proximity to the Scum Belt makes it a good starting point for novice Transarchaeologists in search of loot, but not for experienced hunters. Many of the functional, high-value items have long been scavenged; what’s left are mostly weathered or broken parts. In this region, whether you find trash or treasure depends largely on your perspective.
(5) Humans established colonies in this region before and after the Transhumans. However, it was the latter who left their mark with their colossal machinery and research stations.
The Cronian System
The Transhumans’ presence on Saturn’s moons has come to be classified as the Silver Age (2300 - 2330 CE) (6). During this time, they were able to make their Bronze-Age tech even more powerful and efficient. Transhuman mines and terraforming machines on Titan, Rhea, Lapetus, Dione and Tethys still stand as monuments to a race of machines that was developing at an exponential rate.
More remote than the Jovian system, Saturn and its satellites offer richer stores of tech artifacts. Transarchaeologists willing to spend ample time hunting around the outskirts of Ixion’s Beanstalks on Titan will find whole, partially functioning pieces of tech—from warp drive components to Transhuman ship modules. However, it is important to travel with protection; scavengers as well as outlaws from Sinley Bay have a strong interest in acquiring treasure.
(6) Few humans were able to explore this region before the Great Solar War. However, only a few decades after the Atlantis Battle, the Home Planets had colonized all of Saturn’s moons.
Spaceports across the Solar System deal in counterfeit Transhuman items, especially larger cities. One of the most notorious is New Singapore, Europa: capital of the Federal Earth colonies.
The Uranian System
Uranus and its moons were the final celestial objects to be terraformed for humanity. During the Golden Age (2330 - 2340 CE), Transhumans were able to craft serene, delicately balanced ecosystems most of which were destroyed during the Great Solar War.
This region has produced some of the most valued and prized artifacts (7). The tough part is finding them and surviving the journey back to civilization. If one does venture this far, the Transhuman-made tropical regions of Titania, Uranus’ largest moon, have proven to be fertile grounds for hunting. However, it is important to avoid the many scavenger hideouts within Uranus’ dark, thin rings. Whatever precautions are taken in the Cronian system should be doubled for this wild, far-flung region.
(7) The most famous discovery: Transhuman diamond mines and helium 3 extractors in the upper atmosphere of Uranus. Estimates of this site’s worth vary greatly—but all agree it is the most notable in the region.
The Atlantian System
Much about this dim, cold region remains a mystery. What is known is that Neptune was adopted by the Transhumans as their home planet—a move that triggered the Great Solar War. Although it was damaged beyond recognition in the Atlantis Battle, this icy planet still holds traces of hyper-advanced infrastructure that was clearly leaning toward supporting non-human needs.
There are many rumors about fearless Transarchaeologists braving this frigid, isolated region. However, no one has survived to tell about it. A curious, intrepid soul reading this article will likely be the first.