In the late 21st century A.D., humanity created the parahumans, transgenic human-animal hybrids, in order to harvest the riches of the solar system for them. By the 22nd century the parahumans had revolted and won their freedom. Within decades the fledgling parahuman civilization in the Belt was torn apart by faction wars. Seeking to avoid mutual destruction the largest factions agreed to an interstellar space race, launching seedships to nearby stars.
No sooner than 30 years after the first colony ship was launched did it receive a message informing them of the Sol system's destruction at the claws of unstoppable machines of unknown origin.
The surviving ships landed and formed insular colonies that hid from the outside universe for centuries. Some regressed to clannish feudalism, some died, while others prospered. Six hundred years after the exodus from Earth, the colony of Alpha Centauri cautiously began to creep out into the night and recontact the other colonies. Eleven hundred years after the exodus they developed a means of stabilizing wormholes, the Federation of Parahuman Species was born.
Roughly one thousand, eight hundred years after leaving Sol the explored universe is a medley of high-tech Federation worlds populated by immortals and fed by ubiquitous nanotechnology, and low-tech cult colonies where half-human people barely eke out an existence. All held together by a network of data traders.
- Absent Aliens: Thus far the only extant alien race that parahumanity has discovered are the kershkans, who are barely out of the Renaissance. However there's considerable evidence of extinct alien sophonts, not least of which being the Destroyers that annihilated all life in the Sol system.
- Absolute Xenophobe: The generally accepted hypothesis for who could have built the Destroyers.
- The Ageless: Most, if not all, Federation Citizens have implanted microbot hives that maintain their bodies at peak condition virtually indefinitely.
- Alternate Calendar: The Federation's standard calendar measures time from the landing of the first colony ship on SecLand, the capital orbiting Alpha Centauri A.
- Arcology: Since SecLand was initially uninhabitable the oldest cities are arcologies. Though after the Plague War ended there was an exodus into the newly terraformed countryside.
- Artificial Human: The original parahumans were constructed in bioprinters. While most in the modern day are produced "naturally" the technology still exists.
- Binary Suns: The Alpha Centauri system, as in real life. Though the third star, Proxima Centauri, is covered by the Star Forge.
- Biological Weapons Solve Everything: Historical, the Cold War on Alpha Centauri between New Pallas and the SPPS ended with both sides employing biological weapons against each other. Their greater genetic diversity enabled Pallas to survive and wipe out the SPPS's cloned soldier and leader castes.
- BrainComputer Interface: Ubiquitous in the Federation and the more advanced outworlds, though telepaths need to use external electronics instead. They are primarily used for Augmented Reality and reinforcing memory.
- The Clan: The House of Silver, genetic descendants of the parahuman who founded the Pallas Republic in Sol System, and whose family politically dominated the New Pallas Republic in Alpha Centauri and the Federation once they expanded into other systems. They've maintained power for nearly two millennia from a combination of near-religious reverence for their ancestor, a monopoly of volume on telepathic communication, and the same tactics as every other family oligarchy in history.
- Cult Colony: The Federation intentionally creates them, when an ideological group becomes violent they're forcibly deported to a rim world and barred access to nanotechnology until they "learn to behave". Though traders are allowed to visit and remind them of what they lost.
- Dyson Sphere: The Star Forge, the production site for the exotic matter in wormholes, partially covers the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri.
- Earth That Was: Earth was hit with a relativistic projectile that cracked the surface down to the mantle and boiled away the atmosphere. Leaving little evidence that it ever hosted life.
- Elective Monarchy / Hereditary Republic: The Praetor of the Federation is in theory elected by the masses, but it's for life and the House of Silver has held the position since the Federation's founding. Especially given the origin of the title, the Praetor is effectively The Emperor.
- The Federation: What the Federation of Parahuman Species claims to be, but it's closer to a Hegemonic Empire as detailed below.
- Feudal Future: Tau Ceti's original colonists set up a system of species-based territorial clans, which ended up vassalizing each other until there was a single kingdom. The feudal system was dismantled by the Federation after annexation but many outcast colonies from Tau Ceti retain it.
- The Fog of Ages: The parahuman brain can only hold about a century-and-a-half of memories. Those without implants to back up their memories, such as telepaths, tend to get a bit scatterbrained once they pass that age.
- Generation Ships: There is no FTL drive in the setting, most starships that go outside the stargate network take decades to reach their destinations, though with their immortality most crews only run the risk of boredom. It's also not uncommon for children to be born and grow up on ships in transit, due to said boredom.
- Healing Factor: Most injuries, including many forms of what would today be called clinical death, can be healed by Citizens' implanted microbots. But catastrophic brain damage is beyond their ability to repair so they can die.
- Hegemonic Empire: The Federation. Alpha Centauri's Federal Labs are the only source of stable wormholes or the magnetic monopoles that power starships. And the House of Silver is the primary source of telepaths that provide the most reliable form of interstellar communication. If you don't want to live in the Federation you can leave, or get thrown out with none of your advanced technology, but as soon as the majority of your planet's population votes to join the Federation it's theirs.
- Hive Mind: The Emilia Collective. An outworld founded by a sect that sought to unite all of parahumanity as one consciousness. The founders created a "perfect" genotype and cloned her repeatedly with enough resolution that the copies could all access the same memory implants. Individual bodies can make their own decisions but their memories are streamed by wi-fi to all others in range and they consider themselves mere cells of the whole. Also, she's feeling a bit lonely.
- Immortals Fear Death: The Federation's main "vaccine" against memetic plagues.
- Intrepid Merchant: Systems outside the stargate network often depend on tramp freighters who speculate on software licenses to remain up-to-date on the latest technology and current events. Due to the length of time and mass-based expense of interstellar travel most traders carry software rather than bulk goods, if the destination planet lacks nanofabs they can scavenge an asteroid or two and mass-produce the end products in orbit.
- Matter Replicator: Nanofabricators are the basis of the Federation's economy, data and time are the single most valuable things as a result. Merchants mostly ship blueprints for products and the Federation Production Credit (PC) is backed by public nanofab time.
- Multiple Government Polity: The Federation of Parahuman Species encompasses numerous planets of different forms of government. Of the three Core Worlds alone Alpha Centauri (the capital) is a Hereditary Republic, Tau Ceti is a post-feudal constitutional monarchy, and Epsilon Eridani is a corporate technocracy.
- Nano Machines: Most Federation technology is built on nanotech, and they make a point of denying its' benefits to everyone else.
- Portal Network: The stargates are permanently open wormholes placed at the edge of star systems.
- Post-Scarcity Economy: Currency in the Federation is backed more by time and energy than material.
- Science Marches On: The page on space travel included the Casimir thruster when initially written.
- Sex Shifter: "Hermaphromorphs" change sexes annually.
- Society of Immortals: The Federation due to ubiquitous nanotechnology. And it's so taken for granted that its loss is the primary motivation to "toe the party line".
- Starfish Aliens: The kershkans are trilaterally symmetrical, with three legs for instance, have recessed pits of photosensitive skin instead of eyes, and inhabit a hot world with lower air pressure and a higher O2 content.
- Subspace Ansible: Radio is the one thing that's known to attract the Destroyers, so lasers are typically used for in-system or in-stargate network communication. Quantum entanglement can be used for instantaneous interstellar communication, but both entangled "nodes" have to be made at the same location and then moved apart. QE comms also have the issue of every bit disentangling one pair of entangled particles, telepaths have entangled particles in their brains that they can use indefinitely but the data they can transmit is limited to speech and text, sometimes drawn pictures.
- Technology Uplift: The Federation is providing advanced technology to select kershkan nations in hopes of using them to colonize other planets resembling their homeworld. Carefully avoiding radio.
- Terraforming: SecLand, the Federation capital, was terraformed, though it's still colder than Earth was. While there are planets that can handle parahuman life with minimal modification the majority had to have artificial ecosystems installed.
- Twin Telepathy: All true telepaths are identical twins, if not larger sets of monozygotic siblings, and they're only capable of linking with their twins. The reason involving pairs of entangled particles that suffused their cells during embryonic development.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The secret society/cult commonly referred to as the Kitsune make use of extensive nanocybernetics to allow their members to change their appearances at will.
- Uplifted Animal: A number of the more intelligent animals native to Earth were uplifted, without using human DNA. Including apes, dolphins, octopi, ravens, parrots, and sea lions.
- Useless Spleen: It's typically replaced with a microbot hive, said microbots usually replace the actual functions of the spleen.
- Weaponized Exhaust: Conversion drives in use produce a very long, and hot, exhaust plume that makes a handy weapon against would-be pirates.
- Xenofiction: "Inside the Chinese Room" is presented as the internal log of a (non-sentient) AI. "Of the Collective" shows the multiple simultaneous perspectives of a group mind. And "A World Lost" shows parahumanity from the perspective of a Starfish Alien.