A Planet Monument (sometimes Monument for short) is an extremely tall, roughly spike-shaped structure of Shaper origin, named as such because every planet and every natural satellite of the Cosmic Disk has one. These extremely complex and fully automated constructions are presumed to be the foundation of various vitally important processes in automation, but they are mostly known as the backbone infrastructure of interstellar logistics the galaxy.
Because of this, and other hypothetical purposes they were designed for, Planet Monuments are by far the greatest and most significant artifacts of the Shaper race.
Planet Monuments consist of an extremely tall tower, ending in a very sharp spike shape; two low arcs, creating a C shape from top view; the courtyard surrounded by these arcs, and a number (between 1 and 17) of pressure equalization chambers - each enclosing a semicircular socket housing a spatial warp. These provide direct and instantaneous contact between the interior of the chamber and the interior of another such chamber, within another Monument, somewhere within the galaxy.
Monuments are made of alloys and materials being the subject of extreme strengthening via channeling and presumably other non-anomalous treatments unique to Shaper technology. As such, no weak point of a Monument has been discovered: there is no known way to injure, destabilize, or even interfere with any working parts of it, and for all intents and purposes, they are functional for billions of years and beyond. It was also shown said decompression chambers block any kind of radiation of the outside, including gamma- and ethereal rays, as well as heat and sound.
Said indestructibility also prevents any sort of reverse-engineering of the technologies used, and as such, the access to the functionality of Monuments is extremely limited; there is no way to manually change direction or state of any portals, or even access any other functionality not directly used or usable by sentient entities. Other than that, they are inert structures: they are capable of holding any weight and are not resistant to adhesives or extra coating.
The pressure chambers can also be opened or closed via switches on either side; there is no way to prevent access from either side, however. Since they are automatically timed and set up for a very easy use, various theories assume the spatial warps were solely implemented to support logistics for any race that is capable of doing so - as part of some intelligent design.
The sole convenient function of these towers is the spatial warps housed inside - it’s largely accepted that spatial warps in Monuments are a mere side-effect of their internal workings and more high-order functionalities. Depending on the type, said portals can simply stay constant, or disappear then reappear after a random (or constant) period of time, and can even change destination in the process.
Certain types are initially differentiated by coloring in the edge of the warp itself - this is not noticeable from the outside of the chambers, however. Most races categorize portals by said coloring; more advanced civilizations or colorblind races use custom classifications.
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Monuments have “roots” at their statical foundation which form an orb-shaped web of an unknown metallic alloy. Given their size and holding capacity, Planet Monument foundations go down usually until the beginning of the mantle in any planet or satellite; this is where the web is spread through.
Every Monument are different in their exact shape and the pattern of the web.
In some very rare cases, usually involving planetary destruction weapons, the Mantle Web can be exposed to open air; there seems to have no effect of it.
As several other Shaper constructions, Monuments also started their existence as automatons - far from the capabilities of living organism yet being able to self-sustain and also bearing augmentations providing the ability to build themselves up from surrounding materials and to communicate with Beacon World, or each other. Despite all these functions, Monuments are generally considered inert, unintelligent entities.
They were never formed on gas giants, due to the harsh conditions and the lack of a comprehensible surface, though remains of early Monument impacts were found in many. (see below)
The age of Planet Monuments are largely inconclusive, varying between 700 thousand and one billion years - largely assumed to be the consequence of the sheer scale of resources and time needed for the formation on the Cosmic Disk. Most likely, they were shot sporadically across the Cosmic Disk from various inconclusive angles, in order to be caught by gravitational fields of various celestial bodies - mostly by stars at the beginning.
During their travel, they assumed to only consisting of a core and an encapsulation made of an alloy much harder, yet slightly similar to their current coating as protection from exposure to radiation and heat in space. Remains of said shells found in the depths of gas giants provided much of the details of these aspects of early history.
On solidified planets and satellites, the arrival of such an automation was not unlike an extremely heavy meteor strike; naturally, it could theoretically cause the extinction of local wildlife or civilizations, but the general consensus is that the galaxy was largely devoid of life at the time. So far the only species known to be affected by such an impact is the Cloudan.
About 70-100 million years ago, the Shapers ceased any noticeable activity, as archeologists and researchers estimate. At the time, life has already appeared at the surface of numerous places and some (most notably the Cloudan) even started evolving. Consequently, several issues in the Shapers’ plans arisen: some planets had no Monuments and launching new ones could have caused extinction events (as it happened by accident, later in Cloudan history), thus, the Shapers had a much more careful approach: they were taking a special route while leaving into the intergalactic void towards the Gate and carefully sent more automatons towards unaffected celestial bodies (mostly natural satellites) to minimize the scale of the upcoming impact.
The Beacon World Era
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Eventually, every solidified celestial body had one Monument and even the remaining of the Shaper race could retreat into the void and wait. It took an additional 30 thousand years of hibernation for their plans to take the stage and eventually, the Beacon World activated the first time in history. The final survivors of the Shapers have left the galaxy through the Gate, only to be followed by Cloudan soldiers barely hours after them. Their eventual fate is as-of-yet unknown.
The Activation event, as it was planned, shook the galaxy, bringing several races to extinction which, eventually, led to an alien recolonization period, establishing the status quo as of 7901.R.D..
Ethereal Energy transmission
Beacon World Activation Events
Influence on civilizations
It’s not known whether Planet Monuments exists outside of the galaxy: some assume the Shapers could even conquer and transform entire spiral galaxies of hundreds of thousands of light years of diameter, while others consider the current system a standalone implementation of technology, given the special nature of the Cosmic Disk, combined with the theories about the Gate and the limitation in interstellar communication even for Monuments.