On the Colonization of Novatierre
& The Evolution of the Tili�n

By Dolores J. Nurss

In the chaos of global collapse the secret of transfer-technology slipped out. By the 23rd century, the Age of Migration had reached full bloom.
The people of Earth colonized Novatierre chaotically and in panic. Not only superpowers sent out colonies, but so did smaller nations, and private corporations, and secret projects among the rich, and coalitions of the poor. Anyone driven enough to survive found a way; anyone with knowledge--or the ability to persuade the knowledgeable--could scavenge the materials for a transfer-device from a junkyard if they had to--not always safely, never reliably, but worth the risk. No one knows who or how many eventually succeeded in transferring to Novatierre.
When they got there few had made the preparations necessary to preserve their way of life. Some brought tractors to lands without oilfields. Some brought books of acid-based paper that crumbled within years. Some brought little but a will to live.
Cultures geared to rain-forests found themselves in deserts. Snowdwellers landed in equatorial savannahs. We'll never know how many disappeared into oceans, but a surprising number survived to regale their descendants with legends of crossing seas on wreckage-rafts.
Colonies that seemed huge in the planning proved too small to make it on their own; they made historic treks to find other men and women, almost always alien in their customs and their tongues. Cultures changed and recombined. A dark age came and went. The people of the 28th century resemble us no more than the Renaissance Italians resembled the Roman Empire.
One needs to understand something about Novatierran technology, despite the fact that large portions of the population enjoy many of the same comforts and conveniences that we do. They have no radio. They have no great highways. They have no fossil fuels and no petroleum-products. They have three airports on the entire planet capable of trasoceanic flight, plus a faint scattering of tiny airports with little planes that can make short hops (on a rare and extremely expensive fuel derived from a marsh organism found only in one small corner of the world.) Some nations do have computers, but their networks do not span the globe, because they have no global telephone lines.
A number of nations, however, have a level of magentine technology far beyond anything known to the people of Earth. They have also taken many other technologies, known to us from the past, and advanced them beyond our wildest dreams. Sometimes they rebuilt what they lost, sometimes they didn't, and sometimes they replaced it with something better. Different populations vary in technology from the stone age to superfuturistic, in a far wider range than ever existed simultaneously on Earth.
Because, by our standards, they live in appalling isolation. Large areas of the globe belong to no one, frequently because they have no human population. Other regions, believed unpopulated by those outside of them, sometimes turn out to host small and furtive tribes of human beings after all, who often as not believe themselves the sole survivors of Earth's demise.
Some nations have cobbled together roads or railways linking them to others, and merchants have braved great treks to ply their goods in distant lands, but many governments prefer to not rub elbows with their neighbors too closely, and count such infrastructure as a waste of taxes. Others think back on the Romans, how broad roads aided conquest, and so they collect their engineers and make their plans...and somehow none of it ever comes to fruition.  (With a little help from those who don't like the idea of great conquering armies.)
And what of Technological Laboratories? Eventually they moved to the mainland–even the scientists among them called the island haunted. Then they discovered that they themselves had become haunted, and no move could change that. Yet in the meantime they had established themselves upon a peninsula of Alter-Australia (later called Altraus) and imported (when their own transfer-base regained power) many support personnel who farmed what became Alonzo Valley, across the Coral Gulf.
Throughout the centuries T.L., now called Til, remained and watched and grieved for her sins. Yet soon she saw her solution: to make recompense by sharing her incredible store of knowledge--preserved, rediscovered or newly made. The earliest generations worked in haphazard stabs, but by Deirdre's time Til had so devoted herself to altruism that no other national purpose existed.
(And how did they manage this economically? By holding the monopoly on other transfer-worlds, unviable for any extensive colonization, but still producing useful mining and polluting-industry sites for the dead rock worlds, and a wide range of useful organic chemicals from the living ones. They did help out the economies of Naugren and Istislan by operating transfer stations there, but still owned the stations.)
Til gathered to herself all of the unwanted children that she could find, all over the world, all the expendable ones. These the Tili�n raised to serve Lovequest. Lovequest means love followed as a quest rather than as an emotion--a lifelong drive to serve, as the sole purpose of life. Neglected, abused and abandoned children found that they could disprove the rejection of their parents by such dedication, that they could channel the tearing force of their traumas into this outlet, that life thus became bearable, even grand.
Tili�n morality is not quite ours. Is it exploitation to do that upon which human survival depends, something that the exploited devoutly desire for themselves--even if you put the desire there? Is neurosis better if society benefits? Is it better to cure mental illness or channel it into a productive direction? I offer no answers here; I merely report on the world that I've dreamed. (Sometimes, in fact, I get very angry at the things that Til does! But what institution has never incurred my anger?) Every era looks morally dubious to those who come before or after, but always, eternally, we struggle after good.
(The people of Til Institute and Til Territories became known as the Tili�n, “an” being the suffix for person in Tilianach, their language. It is an irregular plural. The normal plural would have come out Tilani, but putting the “i” in the middle emphasizes the importance of the community to the individual, while accenting the “an” emphasizes the importance of the individual to the community. The Tili�n try to keep these two components balanced in equal honor.)
What unites all of the
Tili�n is the Lovequest Vow.  I offer it here, as nearly as I can approximate Tilianach braided verse in English. Note that where it says, "I do swear" you may insert the deity of your choice. Atheists and agnostics usually swear "by my Holy Integrity". Those who do not swear may affirm. Some say, "I do swear by ______ to serve Lovequest," while others prefer, "I do swear to serve ________ through Lovequest", whichever suits their spirituality better.

(There exists an older, terrifying version of this vow that ends, “If I fail to love the world/May I cease to love myself!” The members of Fireheart Friendclan learned this more exacting version in their youth, though more temperate souls modified it in their later years.)
Til raises agents. Maybe 20% of those trained for the job make it; the rest become support personnel. The agent's purpose is to immerse so completely into a people that one absolutely thinks as one of them, so that by this means one may find a solution to their problems in keeping with their own ways. You can compare it to making a plant greener by nourishing the roots rather than by spraypainting it. Agents make it their goal to provide for the survival of human life in cooperation with the whole planet, each populace according to the culture which they have chosen for themselves.
The Tili�n have a saying, "A snag in a moth-hole can rip open the fabric of the universe." By this they mean that no culture is too small for their attention. Let me give you an Earth example: The Battle of the Bulge sealed the fate of Germany in WWII, by destroying their dwindling reserve of oil. This only made a difference because a generation before they had lost access to the oilfields of Arabia. They lost this access because their former ally, the Turkish Empire, collapsed to a revolt. This revolt succeeded because the Turks concentrated on controlling the more "advanced" and theoretically more dangerous "City Arabs", while ignoring the "primitive" and ill-supplied Bedouin, who nonetheless had sufficient grievance against the Turks to campaign successfully for English arms and funding for their revolt.
Novatierre is deceptively beautiful, fruitful and abundant. The land makes it easy to forget that we didn't quite evolve for this planet. Five centuries after the Great Migration finds the human populous still perilously marginal.
T.L. emblem turning into Til emblem.

Main Page