The Shadows at Dusk
- The Ninth World -
The Ninth World is Earth. But it is an Earth that has undergone multiple dramatic changes, for it is Earth approximately a billion years in the future. Over that nigh-incomprehensible span of time, nothing remains constant. Add in the rise and fall of civilizations so great that to us they would seem, again, nigh incomprehensible, and anything is possible.
When attempting to grasp the Ninth World, there are two complementary shaping forces to keep in mind. First is the vast amount of time. Even if Earth were left completely alone, the drastic changes of celestial mechanics, continental drift, erosion, mass extinction, and evolution would render the first world unrecognizable. The second force is that of intelligence. Over the billion-year span, the earth has been home to at least eight civilizations that have arisen (or arrived), flourished and advanced to incredible power, and then either declined or left, never to return.
Although little is known about these civilizations, the following has been confirmed:
- At least one was the center of a galactic (or perhaps intergalactic) space-faring empire.
- At least one wielded the power of planetary engineering and stellar lifting.
- At least one had the knowledge of the fundamental forces of reality and could alter those forces as they wished. The very laws of physics were theirs to play with, like toys.
- At least one filled the world with invisible, molecule-sized machines called nanites (or nanomachines) that could deconstruct and reconstruct matter and manipulate energy.
- At least one explored the multiverse of other dimensions, parallel universes, and alternate levels of reality.
- At least some of these civilizations were not human.