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A society spanning galaxies that has lasted millennia and builds mega-structures for fun to quench the soul crushing boredom of near-immortal life-spans. This civilisation has detected most of the universe and is constantly surveying and cataloguing more, employing stations in the far reaches to keep check on activity. However society does not function without work and a group of biologists taught how to create and control life are stuck forbidden to mess in god-like affairs, instead they sit idle surveying the far-reaches through drones. Frustrated and lusting to use their powers of creation, a conspiracy arises to escape the society and play god on a world far away, now how do we remain undetected?

Every inhabited world this society comes across has a dedicated team assigned to survey it, however such an inhabited world is what is what the 'Gods' wish to make

A mega-structure is a structure spanning a solar system or bigger, a truly grand feat.


  • This society does have advanced FTL travel capable ships.
  • The plentiful far-reaching research centres are in contact with the Galactic Police.
  • Being caught would result in lifetime imprisonment
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closed as too broad by Aify, L.Dutch, Samuel, Draco18s, Azuaron Jul 25 '17 at 20:48

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I was going to suggest move to another galaxy. But you say this is a "society spanning galaxies" and yet they have surveyed "most of the galaxy". Can you please clarify whether they are confined to one galaxy or have spread over many galaxies. By the way there are hundred thousand million galaxies in the observable universe, surely they can find one planet that is unsupervised? $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 25 '17 at 11:02
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android Sorry, supposed to say universe, my bad $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 11:03
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android The problem is the speed of discovery, and the length of lives, yeah maybe we can last century but then we'll be found an it'll all be over, so the small outline of an idea, I've had is to hide where they think they see and to trick them rather than to outrun. $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 11:06
  • $\begingroup$ No that's fine. Slips like that happen to everybody. Don't worry about it. Now your question will be better. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 25 '17 at 11:07
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    $\begingroup$ What you need is to find a small unregarded yellow sun, far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy which has an utterly insignificant little blue green planet orbiting it at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles. No-one would think to look there. $\endgroup$ – Simba Jul 25 '17 at 14:39

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Starting with the proposition that every planet in the universe is under constant surveillance by teams of immortals and there is conspiracy of biologists who want to exercise their god-like skills and knowledge of life creation, but their chances of being caught are high enough for certainty.

The answer is obvious: stay away from planets. Any half-way sensible biologist will tell you there is one form of life which is much loved by science-fiction afficiandos and which makes absolutely no sense at all (biologically, that is). While there are many forms of life that are much loved as science-fiction tropes, there is one form of alien life that is head and shoulders above all of them in terms of pure, simple impossibility.

This is, of course, life in space. Not just in space, but not on planets, and in the depths of interplanetary and interstellar, and possibly even intergalactic space itself. If they wanted to go to the top of class in biological impossibilities and absurdities, they would use their god-like powers to create space-whales!!!!

Perhaps the cabal of biotechnological deities might try to create virus particle like organisms first. The most probable organisms to exist in space will be similar to viruses. Because viruses are basically aggregations of macromolecules. Their metabolic processes will need to be catalyzed by ambient radiation. Matter for them to feed on in space is extremely exceptionally difficult to find, locate and acquire. There will be very, very long time periods between feeding on one tiny amount of molecules.

Creating space-viroids would be their first step in creating an ecology in space so there can be viable biomes. It is absolutely necessary to have a fully developed deep space biosphere before there can be complex organisms living in space. By complex organisms this means something like the metazoans or multicellular lifeforms. If a full-scale biosphere can be established in space, possibly the biologists' cabal could turn their attention to creating actual space-whales.

Why would they go to all this trouble? Because it's the biggest possible challenge any life-shaping biologist can face. Because it will take an incredibly long, long, long time to accomplish as well as taking the utmost of their skills and knowledge to carry out. But they're immortals, aren't they?

Got a few trillion years to spare? Try creating a space-based biosphere with the ultimate objective of producing space-whales. This is a project that will take, almost, forever. What better challenge could immortal biologists try to accomplish?

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  • $\begingroup$ That is an excellent idea, and although far different that what I really wanted , it does make at lot of sense and works really well, also you missed out a word a constant at the top $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Mendeleev I worked out the consequences of your set-up and decided planets anywhere in the universe went out of bounds. This left space itself. Also, it would stretch the efforts of the biologists to their absolute limit. What more can an immortal biologist ask? So, yes, it is probably different from what you wanted. I hope you like the surprise. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 25 '17 at 12:35
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    $\begingroup$ Are you saying space whales aren't real?! $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jul 25 '17 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ If the rogue biologists aren't up to the challenge of space whales, they could also use deep space by constructing something like an O'Neil cylinder and growing more conventional life there. Don't make any windows, light it internally, power and heat it with better-than-fusion supertech, and they would have a potentially Earth like environment that would be very hard to find. $\endgroup$ – Maxander Jul 25 '17 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ Space whales!! $\endgroup$ – aksh1t Jul 25 '17 at 23:16
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Underground!

Maybe not ideal, but a civilization capable of the feats you described could easily build a proper sub-surface biotope where they can do whatever they want. Those observing with drones can watch until their eyes fall out at a barren planet's surface while beneath the surface is where the action happens. Of course the thing has to be properly isolated from both heat and radiation in order to foil detectors. The only way of discovery that remains is when someone physically visits the place or something surfaces for whichever reason.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your idea is really good and thanks for the suggestion however although it could work in my story it isn't convenient and would probably shatter the 'God's' grandiose ideals and plans $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 11:27
  • $\begingroup$ Grandiose and the need for stealth is conflicting, because grandiose things are per definition not stealthy. Unless the grandiose things are grandiosely stealthy. $\endgroup$ – Hyfnae Jul 25 '17 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ Yes you are right however the whole point is too defy the society and to satisfy the immortal 'Gods' if you are hiding even if the 'Gods' do for a century or two, they will begin to feel trapped again. $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Mendeleev I think that's more an issue intrinsic to immortality rather than feeling captive. With a long enough a lifespan any amount of space can feel confining since all space is finite (though that statement in itself might spark a whole other debate altogether) $\endgroup$ – Hyfnae Jul 25 '17 at 13:12
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    $\begingroup$ Think less "cave" and more "hollowed out planet"? davidpratt.info/earth/agharta.jpg $\endgroup$ – Lex R Jul 25 '17 at 15:05
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An alternative take on Hyfnae's idea: The OP says they may stay concealed for a few centuries; so use their God-like powers and that time to gut a gas giant (like Jupiter), and install a hidden Earth in its place that looks like the gas giant; but is a simulation.

See Here for a comparison of size. Presumably the excess mass (nearly all of it, Jupiter is approx 318 x Earth mass) could be easily concealed by feeding it into a star; which is still far more massive than Jupiter (our Sun is approx 1050 x Jupiter mass).

Or as just gasses scattered in interstellar space; presumably the Master aliens are not tracking every gas molecule in the universe.

At least what is not required for their construction efforts in creating a simulation of the Gas Giant.

Using god-like technology presumably their Earth, hidden beneath the (simulated) atmosphere of the gas giant, could go for many millions of years evolving an intelligent race; and by simulation, complete with a holographic projection of the sky and stars that accurately represents what is "outside" their simulation shell. Until they are smart enough to figure that out, at least, but the Master race may always consider this a nondescript, dead system doing nothing at all worth visiting.

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    $\begingroup$ This is certainly a unique approach, it has certainly captivated me because it maintains the conspiracy feel without requiring so much involvement and really provides the feeling that the 'Gods' are just that, Gods. I am also sure this would satisfy the 'Gods' . Of course once again a very unexpected answer, thanks. $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ If there is more than ONE subordinate race that would like to work behind the back of the Masters, this also provides some level of plausible denial. "Really? Somebody did that? Well, I never... Be sure to tell us when you catch them, and for our next party we will delay their invite by an alarming number of weeks. That will make them think twice before doing anything like that again." $\endgroup$ – Amadeus Jul 25 '17 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ You don't need to simulate, you don't need to throw away mass. If you have a strong enough dome for the sky and enough power to not worry about temperature you could put earth at the core of Jupiter. The gravity of a uniform shell cancels out inside of it. $\endgroup$ – user25818 Jul 25 '17 at 20:04
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The easiest way to hide is in a crowd.

In a lifetime measured in eons, I assume there would be much job churning. After spending 1,000 years in biology, someone might get bored want to play in astrophysics, chemistry, or culinary science. This is key to how we hide in the crowd.

Phase One

Identify a remote and uninteresting place for the experiment. This should be somewhere that is out of the way, in a unpopulated portion of the galaxy. Being so far from the action helps to ensure that nobody will stop by and discover the situation as it really is. For the first few eons, nothing interesting is going to happen which would cause the society to notice the experiment. This gives them time to work on phase two.

Phase Two

While the experiment is 'cooking' on the remote planet, other members of the conspiracy make strategic career moves, some even getting into the survey group.

Phase Three

When the civilization becomes known to the wider society, the conspiracy members are in management. They assign other conspirators to 'survey' the planet, whose reports are boring, run-of-the-mill normal.

Phase Four

Here is where we run into a problem. If the experiment grows too successfully, grows too powerful, the conspiracy will not be able to obfuscate the truth. The biologists must have a plan to cover up their fun times before getting into trouble. A device which triggers a supernova would work, although it may cause questions. This could be an interesting plot point, where the experiment are fighting for survival.

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  • $\begingroup$ Although covered vaguely by others, the outline and specifics are fantastic and of course there is a reset button. However with a conspiracy that large you could do bigger things. $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 14:44
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Distract

If monitoring is done remotely through drones, would it be possible to manipulate the information so that the experimental planet looks normal ? Either by sending incorrect date by taking control of the drones, either by having a survey team part of the conspiracy ?

Even better, wait for a new inhabited planet to be detected, but make if fall in the "non-inhabited planet" section, so that nobody will bother monitoring it.

Simulate

The civilization you describe can probably simulate complete words. These could be an alternative to a real world for experiment. If not fun enough, at least the simulation could be used to provide credible information for the precedent scenarios.

Hide

  • basic : places on a planet are hard to monitor. Caves and underground cities, or simply underwater (life is usually abundant there).

You can push this by thinking about lifeforms that are so different that they will not be spotted easily. A few examples :

  • lifeforms within lifeforms : parasites or symbiotic species like what you find even in a human body.
  • other dimensions : a lifeform in 5 dimensions could only be partially perceived if you only have access to 3 spatial dimension yourself
  • mini/macro scale : imagine life based on atomic forces rather than chemical ones. Such life could be located in highly unexpected locations, like the surface of a dead star. It would also evolve very quickly, very handy if its an experiment. On the other side, life based on gravity is left as an exercise :)

Joker

The ultimate hidden location: a black hole. While getting there is challenging, no information can come from it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately the problem with simulations is that in this society simulation are akin to games, advanced yes but not real, and they have the knowledge to make real living beings, yet can't. The parasite idea is excellent if the goal is just to hide a life form but these 'Gods' wish to create something that is a trick (This covers the over dimensions idea as well) and anyway a parasite requires life already so would be noticed anyway. $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ Hiding underwater or other places where there is already life is also problematic due to constant surveillance, the best ideas on here are the mini/macro scale and the idea to deceive the society $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ As for the new addition the black hole, it would work and be incredibly difficult as to entice the 'Gods' however you might as well be in space $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ The trouble with a black hole is information can only move in one direction within a black hole. This means that anything remotely physics-based such as temperature, chemistry, neutrons etc. will break. $\endgroup$ – wizzwizz4 Jul 25 '17 at 13:49
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There are a couple ways you could do this:

Option 1: Go far away

Hyfnae's answer touched on this, but if you hide yourself well enough, and do so on a planet far enough away from this society (you said they only found most of the universe, after all), you can avoid detection for a long time. However, once the society's surveillance stations come your way, your activities will need to be downsized immediately. Even if you've hidden your labs well enough to avoid detection, if life on your planet starts evolving too fast or changing too rapidly you will draw more attention than you want. As a result, another option (my favorite) would be to . . .

Option 2: Bring in more people

What if your conspiracy included not only biologists, but some builders and surveyors as well? You could arrange to construct a surveillance station near the planet(s) you want to work with, and make sure that its leaders are fellow conspirators. Then, you would have nearly unlimited creative control on the planets around the station, as your planets can't be discovered by a society that thinks it already discovered them!

Option 3: Change society

The final option I can see would be to convince this society that "messing in god-like affairs" is not something to be banned, but embraced. After all, you aid that these immortals get bored of their immortal lifespans, so they build structures spanning entire solar systems. Your conspirators could simply pitch their activities as another way to ease the boredom. To make their case better, they could propose to use a lifeless planet and artificially terraform it. Where's the harm in messing with life that would never have existed in the first place? While this option, if successful, would be the best way to play God without fear of getting caught (society already knows about and agrees to your work) I can see how it would make for such an interesting story. However, I can see an interesting dynamic whereby most conspirators try to hide their activities and a few try to make it socially acceptable. These few would risk exposing the conspiracy, and might become the target of a space-age hitman. Hope this helps!

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  • $\begingroup$ This is answer is very helpful , thank you. Although 1 and 2 has both been touched on I think 3, being unique and new is very good, and even if it was not was I expected It is a great addition and could help change the narrative. The problem with 2, that were solved by Uriel's approach is that the facilities would be checked up on by officials which to stop would require the conspiracy to be so large it would be easier to just change the society. That is kind of a shame because that was also my favourite however it could be fixed by not fixing it and having that as a part of the narrative. GJ $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 13:01
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Creating life calls for patience, and cleverness.

The issue here is one of punishment. If they are caught, they are punished. However, they can only be caught if it can be proven they did something which caused life. The solution is to start modifying the environment around you to encourage life to start on its own. Then there is no longer a causal chain linking the creation of life to them.

Of course, the interesting part is that, with a near immortal lifetime, they would hopefully develop a very refined understanding of what "life" is. Currently, one of our biggest challenges in searching for extraterrestrial life is that we are bound by our lack of imagination -- we only have one example of what "life" looks like. It's built around a bunch of sugars that speak a language using A G C and T. This is quite a boring limited definition for an immortal species.

Consider how hard it is to prove that our ideas aren't, themselves, alive. It sounds silly, until you try to disprove it. Then, suddenly, you start pondering because all of the arguments for why ideas aren't alive can be reframed to argue that we are not, in fact, alive. They even reproduce. There's even an approach called memetics which tries to explain how social and cultural structures form using evolutionary theories. They even explain why that blasted song gets stuck in your head!

So perhaps the scientists need to play around with this. Perhaps they need to instill living ideas in people's heads which encourage them to bring more life to the universe. Spread this far enough, and you'll topple the high council, or whatever body is threatening to imprison you. Or perhaps one of those who fell in love with your idea will dare to risk imprisonment and start playing with those A's G's C's and T's. Honestly, if they do it right, nobody will mind. The best way to spread a living idea is to be kind to other people. Who would ever complain about someone being kind to them? The high council might even support it!

Best yet, the results will be real life, not fake-wishy-washy-life. It wont be life that bends itself to your will simply because you programmed it that way. It will be the vast growing, changing, terrifying force that is life itself, influenced by the scientists' desires but never truly controlled.

Be careful what you wish for!

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Hide a planet or something even larger, not physically but bureaucratically, if you can suborn key members of the team monitoring a site, any site will do really, you can lose it in the paperwork, or just put in creative fictions in place of actual monitoring reports, and do what you like instead. In the Uplift Saga the persistent rumour is that someone or a group of someones did just this to Earth in order to allow human evolution. This would be even easier if you A. Terraformed an inhospitable rock or B. hide somewhere new and as yet uncharted controlling it from the get go or C. build something of your own somewhere poorly monitored, although the actual building might be spotted in other ways. Or some combination of the above.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your easier options, actually wouldn't work as well due to constant surveillance and constant new surveillance. The first idea works best as you're hiding in where is seen. $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Mandeleev Yeah it depends on how much control you can get over the surveillance process and how many people you can recruit. My thinking is that with enough manpower in the right places you could control a large area that's thinly monitored anyway from top to bottom. $\endgroup$ – Ash Jul 27 '17 at 12:38
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ADDENDUM: In response to "This is great but doesn't answer the question – Mendeleev"

Question. From OP:

the 'Gods' wish to make A mega-structure is a structure spanning a solar system or bigger

Answer part A. The Gods identify existing entities which fit this bill.

Answer part B. The Gods counterfeit these entities and substitute the counterfeits for the real thing, hiding or destroying the real thing.

I am assuming that there exist things in the universe similar to what these Gods want to make. If they want to make some huge thing which is unique and never before seen then the only way to do that and not be detected is to do it far enough in the future or the past that the surveillance either has not begun yet or has ended.


Banksy style.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/53298/banksy’s-11-most-complicated-works enter image description here

These rebel artists would select existing megastructures / galactic features and then counterfeit them, quietly replacing the original with the forgery. Some might strive for perfection, artificially aging their creations so that even a knowledgable observer might not tell the difference. Some might go more Banksy and replace existing structures with new ones that differ in significant ways, but ways that might be overlooked or accepted by any other than the cognoscenti.

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    $\begingroup$ This is great but doesn't answer the question $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ You cropped my question and combined a definition with a clarification to create something entirely new, to clarify the question is about is life creation and hiding this and that you have done that, the question is at the top the rest is clarification and definitions. $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 26 '17 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ I struggled with your sentence. Specifically /Every inhabited world this society comes across has a dedicated team assigned to survey it, which is what the 'Gods' wish to make/. "Which the gods wish to make" refers either to the world or the team, but neither one seemed right. My original assumption (and original answer) assumed they wanted to make life but that is not stated. The "mega-structures" are mentioned apropos of nothing and so I figured that must be what they wanted. Clarify: what is it that these rogue gods want to do while remaining undetected? $\endgroup$ – Willk Jul 27 '17 at 13:58
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Seems obvious to me, have your story take place in a multiverse where they can either move the test world into an isolated dimension of our universe or move it/tweak a world in another Universe.

Alternatively, if this team is responsible for area where this test world is located, could they falsify data sent from the automated drones?

Another option is build a megastructure around the test world. If they frequently build on a solar system scale, building around a world should be relatively trivial. Closing this world off could hide or obfuscate it from drones and give your immortal tinkerers a way to move it around avoiding detection (either in normal space/time or again, phasing into a different dimension or universe altogether).

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  • $\begingroup$ Your logic, is flawed if they can do this travel so can the society and massive mega-structures would be heavily regulated $\endgroup$ – Mendeleev Jul 25 '17 at 17:57

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