The proto-Xeelee established symbiotic relationships with other survivors as well as autocatalystic reactions in the new baryonic matter, thus emerging what would later be called the Xeelee. This potentially dates the Xeelee to when the universe was only a few hundred thousand years old, but with direct knowledge and observations that reaches back to within minutes of the big bang.
The Xeelee use primordial black holes as a habitat, construction tool, and computing devices because, at the time they emerged, the event horizon was one of the few thing that survived from earler epochs that they understood. More so, heavier atoms were exceedingly rare because stars had not yet had the time to create them through nuclear fusion.
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As the primordial black holes evaporated over time the Xeelee eventually migrated to using the supermassive black holes around which Galaxies were forming. Although the galactic black holes were trillions of times more massive than their ancestral homes, the Xeelee proved to be quite adept at using the complex physics around the event horizon for their own purposes. Over the billions of years since their migration, the Xeelee have become ubiquitous part of the complex ecology of the super massive black holes along with an unnamed number of other species that are also veterans of the same very early eras of the universe.
There is no explicit physical description of the Xeelee throughout the series.
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In the novel Exultant it is alluded that over their exceedingly long history, the Xeelee have combined themselves with their technology and, as such, may not have a distinct individual presence that Humans would be familiar with, but in Vacuum Diagrams, it is implied that they have small fingers, as the buttons and controls of their technology are small. The Photino Birds are a species of dark matter with that prefer a habitat in the gravity well of stars.
In general, the photino birds are probably unaware of almost all other forms of life due to the fact that dark matter interacts extremely weakly with baryonic matter normal matter that is composed of atoms. The Photino Birds recognize a risk to their habitats from supernovas and other consequences of normal stellar evolution and have set themselves to ceasing nuclear fusion in the cores of stars, thereby prematurely ageing them into white dwarves.
The resulting dwarves will have the same gravity well but be stable for billions of times longer than their progenitor. Because white dwarves are extremely cold and dim compared to typical stars, they would not support life on nearby planets. The long project of the Photino Birds will ultimately make the universe hostile to baryonic life, and they have spread across the universe. Further, the activities of the Photino Birds will effectively halt formation of new black holes due to a lack of Type II core-collapse supernova.
This effectively puts the Xeelee and the Photino Birds at irreconcilable odds because each species is fundamentally seeking to threaten the ideal habitat of the other. The Xeelee became aware of the Photino Birds approximately Seemingly as a unified species, the Xeelee have concerned themselves with defeating the Photino Birds for almost the entire history of the universe.
Despite their state of high technological advancement, the Xeelee were ultimately unsuccessful. While recovering from a brutal occupation by the Qax that enforced stagnation and flirted with extinction, Humanity adopted an extremely xenophobic imperative that aimed to ensure the future of the species known as the Druz Doctrines after its founder, Hama Druz.
Eventually Humanity again began to expand into the galaxy, wiping out any other species encountered during their advance. Eventually Humans became the second most advanced and widespread race in the galaxy, second only to the Xeelee. Humans had no knowledge of the Photino-Xeelee war or even what was at stake, making the Xeelee seem inherently sinister.
Building the Ring had the appearance of being destructive on a galactic scale because its larger purpose was not understood until the very far future, and many smaller Xeelee projects, such as changing the orbit of Callisto to preserve the bacteria there, lacked an obvious explanation. Though there were several orders of magnitude fewer Xeelee than humans known to be in the Galaxy, their high degree of technological advancement made them a formidable enemy. Through a bitter war of attrition, Humans eventually contained the Xeelee within the Galactic Core where the battle lines stagnated for at least three thousand years.
Both humans and the Xeelee gained strategic intelligence through time travel by constructing Closed Timelike Curves, further contributing to the stagnation.
Baxter, Stephen - Xeelee 04 - Ring
Human casualties were estimated to exceed more than 10 billion per year and more than 30 trillion over the course of the assault. The imperative commitment to total war also stagnated human physical and intellectual evolution. Then Poole tried looping a wormhole back on itself, tying a knot in space and ripping a hole in time.
It worked. Too well. Poole was never seen again. The universe was doomed, but humankind was not.
Poole had stumbled upon an immense artifact, light-years across, fabricated from the very string of the cosmos. The universe had a door. And it was open Clarke , and The Time Ships , a sequel to H.
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Wells's classic The Time Machine. He lives in England.
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