The Owners of the NexusThe Owners (original name unknown, even by themselves) are a species of unknown origins, of a technical tech level of A4, who are the self-appointed managers and owners of the artificial universe known as The Nexus. They maintain their position due to their hyper-advanced technologies and complete mastery of The Nexus, down to the universal constants that operate within the sub-universe. Largely stand-offish and aloof, the Owners delegate a lot of the day-to-day management of the Nexus to various Boards which are nominally headed by a designated Owner, but operated by selected Clients. Most Clients, beyond the initial first contact, will only ever interact with their designated Advocates; Owners who have chosen to offer advice and guidance on Nexus procedures.
Physiology: The Owner's original form is unknown, as they long ago discarded most of their physical form for the far more efficient and flexible existence as digital beings. Most of the Owners live in this form and never have any reason to become corporeal. Those that do are either assigned or choose a form best suited for the task they need to do; for Advocates, this is typically a form close enough in appearance to the Client's own form to be recognised as representing that Client, but different enough to not be mistaken for one. It is considered highly impolite for an Advocate to be mistaken for an actual Client.
Micro-wormholes connect the entity’s biological components (reduced to little more than a brain and sensory inputs) held in Hub, to a remotely controlled form that is shaped according to the needs, environment and aesthetics of the situation. These forms are a collection of nano-particles, capable of shaping themselves into different textures, structures and forms as needed, from a biological looking humanoid (indistinguishable from the real thing down to the microscopic level), to fully machine like drones capable of withstanding the extreme conditions sometimes found through Gates. The exact number of Owners is unknown, but the many billions of corporeal Owners are supplemented by the trillions who exist now as independent intelligences housed in Hub’s vast information network.
History: If the Owners are aware of their origins, they are not admitting it, claiming ignorance. The earliest records of the Owners date back eighteen thousand years, and even then they lived and worked in the Hub, using Gates to open to empty worlds for minerals, air and energy. Gates that opened into regions that had inhabitants were closed as soon as they opened, the Owners preferring to avoid contact with other intelligences. They became adept at using empty worlds to make large areas of the Nexus veritable paradises and a number of Gates had opened up into the centre of stars; this vast amount of energy provided everything the Owners ever needed.
This all changed about twelve thousand years ago, when the Owners opened a gate into what they at first detected as an empty world. Widening the gate from its initial microscopic test gate, the first scouts reported a dead world, devoid of atmosphere, moisture and even any accessible minerals. This initial report was soon shown to be in error, as the Gate was attacked by a swarm of nanites; self-replicating robots who sought only to make more of themselves. Whilst the Nexus was never under any threat, the attack took the Owners by surprise and it was only their utter mastery of fields and the gravity within the Nexus that enabled them to first push the nanites back, and then to cleanse the planet by focusing the energy of a gate that opened into a star.
The investigation afterwards provided the Owners with sobering facts; this world had once been home to a thriving civilisation, billions of intelligent entities spread across the entire star system. It was unsure whether the nanites were a development of this civilisation or an outside threat, but whatever it was, it had stripped the system of all life within a matter of years. The Owners realised that this was a threat that could afflict any civilisation and took the decision to open contact with as many species as it could, to enable a sharing of information and technologies, so that if such a thing happened again (an event it termed a ‘hegemonising swarm’) a coalition of species, linked with the Nexus, would be able to defeat it.
Whilst opening Gates was a routine matter for the Owners, Gates that opened into viable locations were rare, in the order of a tenth of a percent of all Gates. Of these Gates, not even seven percent held locations with intelligence. It took the Owners several centuries to find another intelligence capable of enacting an exchange with, but once one ‘Client’ (as they were termed) was found, more soon joined in. The Law of the Nexus was formed soon after the first interactions between Clients; the Owners simply didn’t have the resources or the inclination to micro-manage every aspect of its Client’s business. Now, aside from the input of Advocates and the various Boards that manage the Law, the Owners are content to open new Gates and watch for signs of more Hegemonising Swarms.
Technology The Owners are, officially, the only A4 class civilisation within the Nexus' sphere of influence. The lack of Clients with similar technology levels to the Owners has been rationalised either by the Owners simply not opening Gates to universes containing such civilisations, or that A4 civilisations tend to depart from physical existence altogether in favour of an energy-based form that requires little interaction with the physical universe. Whatever the reason, the Owners possess a level of technology that far surpasses that of any of their Clients.
The exact mechanisms they use are unknown, perhaps even unknowable without fundamental alterations in the way a culture perceives the universe, but what is known is that the Owners have the capability to alter matter on a sub-atomic level, directly manipulating the nature of quantum-scale particles. As well as this seemingly impossible feat, the Owners can manipulate gravity; certainly within the Nexus, but also outside of it, although this appears to have a maximum range from an open Gate. Displays of this technology are most prominent within the Nexus and, not including the existence of the Nexus itself, include the manipulation of the energies found in stellar interiors, their inertia-less drive systems, creation and manipulation of micro-black holes, and, outside of the Nexus, their ability to travel almost instantly between points hundreds of light-years apart.
No Client has managed to successfully replicate Owner technologies, or even managed to eek out even a small hint of how the Owners manage it. Suffice to say, whilst they control and manage the Nexus, they maintain a tight control of such technologies.