20071226

The Curtain of the Hlutr

In order to contain the evil of Mertorthar, and to shield the developing races of the Scattered Worlds, the Scattered Worlds Hlutr created the Curtain of the Hlutr, a screen of thought and mental song surrounding the Galactic Core to prevent accidentally entering the Gathered Worlds, as well as to prevent traffic out of the Core. This Curtain effectively isolated the Core until Mertorthar's war against the Empire of the Iaranor about 600 million BCE. By that time, the Gergathan had learned how to penetrate the Curtain.

Following the defeat of Iaranor, the Curtain remained as a one-way boundary, telepathically warning Scattered Worlds vessels away. The Curtain was lowered and raised again several times, most notably in the Core interregnums.

copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071219

(from A Child's Book of Stories by Kinson Tomas, Credix Publishing, TE 306)

Now in those days a decree went forth from the Emperor Augustus, that all the Galaxy should be taxed, and a census taken of all inhabitants. This was the census taken while Quirinius was Duke of Credix. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to their own planet and city.

And a man named Josef, along with his spouse Mary, left the planet Nazareth, and went to the city David on the planet Bedlam, to be counted with his own Idara. And Mary was at that time heavy with child.

And in the whole city of David, none of the inns had rooms available. So Josef and Mary went to the zoo, and Mary had her child among the animals. She wrapped him in the animals’ blankets, and laid him in a manger to sleep.

Now in that system there were asteroid miners, keeping watch over their claims. And on their holoscreens appeared a messenger from the Lord Kaal, and they were frightened. But the messenger said, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, for today in the city of David there has been born a Santa, who is the Claus. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in blankets and laying in a manger.”

So the miners made their way straight to Bedlam, and landed at the spaceport in David, went to the zoo, and saw the baby as he lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them, and all who heard wondered at the things that were told to them by the miners.

Now after the baby had been born, magi from Borshall arrived on Bedlam, saying, “Where is he who has been born Santa? For we followed his star and have come to bring him gifts.”

When Grinch Herod the Planetary Governor heard this, he was troubled. Gathering together the police, he asked them where the Santa had been born. He called the magi to him and determined from them the exact time that the star had appeared. And he sent them forth on Bedlam and said, “Go and search for the child, and when you have found him, bring him to me, so that I may give him gifts also.” But he was secretly jealous, and meant to harm the child.

After hearing the Grinch they went on their way, and followed the star, which led them to the place where the baby lay. And they presented the baby with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream, the magi left for Borshall without returning to Herod.

Hearing of Herod’s jealousy, Josef and Mary took the boy back to Nazareth, where they lived in peace. They named the boy Kris.

Now, Josef was a carpenter, and as Kris grew, he learned his father’s trade. Soon he started making toys, and giving them to poor children. After many years, as his skill increased, Kris’s fame spread throughout the Province, and beyond.

When Herod heard of Kris, his jealousy became worse. He sent his agents to Nazareth, to hunt down Kris and his family. But some of the animals in the zoo, remembering Kris’ birth, heard of Herod’s plan. Eight of the reindeer broke loose, and flew to Nazareth to warn Kris.

Kris, warned by the reindeer, gathered his family and his toys, and hitched a sleigh to the reindeer. Together, they all flew to a small, frozen planetoid far above the North Pole of the Galaxy. There, Kris set up a toy factory, aided by the alien inhabitants, called Elves. He leaves his home only once each year, on his birthday, when he and the reindeer travel around the Galaxy, bringing gifts to good little girls and boys. The Galaxy over, he is known as Santa Claus; and the day of his birth is celebrated as Santamas.

And as for Grinch Herod, there came a time when he learned the true meaning of Santamas…but that is another story.



copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071212

Cliodna

Fifth planet of the Xi Bootis system, 19 lightyears from Terra.

Cliodna is a small, rocky body about half the size of Mars. Extensive terraforming was necessary to prepare the world for Human settlement. There was no evidence of aboriginal life.

The foundation of Cliodna in TE 250 (as part of the Imperial Quarter-Millennial Celebration) completed the settlement of all habitable worlds within 30 lightyears of Terra. The 47 worlds involved would have formed a respectable territory by themselves under any circumstances; but most maintained only skeleton colonies at best, and none gained quite the importance of the pre-Imperial near-Terran planets, especially the Nexus Worlds.

At its height, Cliodna was a popular tourist destination for low-level Imperial bureaucrats from the Nexus Worlds. Due to the planet's proximity and relative obscurity, Cliodna tended to attract those who wanted to remain out of the public eye; frequent visitors included the criminal underworld and public figures carrying on illicit love affairs. (Before becoming Empress, Ellen Fodon was rumored to have met various secret lovers in the fleshpots of Cliodna.)

After the Empire fell, Cliodna was no longer able to maintain its terraforming; by about 3500 CE, Clidona had vanished from Human history. In the mid-23,000s HE, several Second Empire archaeological teams visited Cliodna without much success.

copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071205

The Seven Races

The Seven Races inhabited a portion of the Galactic Core about 2.4 billion years ago. They founded and ruled the Pylistroph, the first great interstellar civilization in the Milky Way. Pylistrioph Seed Vessels dispersed their genetic material throughout the Galactic Halo, forming the basis for life on millions of worlds.

The Seven Races were:

The Coruma (singular, Corum)
"The Master Race"
Homeworld: Messilinia
Roughly Humanoid. Technologically advanced but not technocratic. Love the stars and draw most power from the suns. Ancestors of Humans, Metrinaire, Heloxans, Dolphins, etc.

The Daamin (singular, Daam)
"The High Race"
Homeworld: Verkorra
Small in number and stature, peaceful and philosophic. Direct ancestors of the Kien Khwei.

The Hchevidiire (singluar Hchevidir)
"The Elder Race"
Homeworld: Nnevichee
Very large (elephant-size or larger). Live in mountainous regions and arctic tundra, sometimes used as beasts of burden by Coruma.

The Evellan (singluar Evella)
"The Low Race"
Homeworld: Pevve
Arthropod-like, somewhat like Coruma but less intelligent. Less respected than the Coruma, sometimes enslaved by the Master Race, although this is prohibited in the Pylistroph. Longest-lived of the Animal Races. Ancestors of the Kaanese.

The Kareffi (singular Kareff)
Homeworld: Daarsa
Aquatic, ocean-dwelling, non-technological.

The Talebba (singular Talebb)
Homeworld: Brannis
Crystalline, sessile intelligences with long life spans and appreciation of geological processes. Often spaceborne.

The Hlutr (singular Hlut)
Homeworld: Paka Tel
Sessile plant intelligences, communicate by changing colors in leaves & skin, by sound, and by the Inner Voice. Light-sensitive, some varieties carnivorous, highly empathic. Natural genetic engineers. Ancestors of all Scattered Worlds Hlutr.

copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071128

The Fall of the First Terran Empire

The Fall of the First Terran Empire
by Mal Arin. Urbach Professor of History, Bosip University
published 23,953 H.E. by Terra-Prime Publishing Company.

The premier work of Second Empire scholarship, this book was over 200 years in the making. Author Mal Arin consulted primary sources on thousands of worlds while doing research for his magnum opus. The complete work is over 3 terabytes. It is estimated that, if printed, The Fall of the First Terran Empire would run to over 100 volumes equivalent to the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica 9th Edition.

No comparable work would appear until Maarten Travesh's The Rise of Culture in the First Human Galactic Interregnum about 26,500 H.E.

Mal Arin's premise in his great work was that the First Empire was in a constant state of fall from its very beginning. Arin considered the Councilate phase inferior to the various Leagues of Worlds (i.e. the Nexus Worlds) that preceded it, and the Imperial phase was even less efficient than the Councilate. Arin maintains that a vast variety of forces worked to slow the First Empire's Fall, but never in Imperial history was the process of decline reversed.


copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071121

Thanksgiving 2026

There was much to be thankful for, that year. For the very first time, the annual death toll from Dekoa flu had come down. Some said the decline was due to better medicines; others pointed to the Umoja-spawned public health revolution in Africa. Still others credited the happy news to five years of global economic management by the independent Artificial Intelligences. And there were, of course, the few who insisted that the credit belonged to God, or to Allah, or the Goddess, or the Divine Mao...consensus was not forthcoming.

Nearly a decade of scrub grass and buckyball algae had at last begun to lower carbon dioxide levels, and that summer, traces of ozone had been detected above Antarctica.

That was the year Gail Danube carried off seven Oscars -- including Best Director and Best Supporting Actress -- for her performances in the one-woman virtie classic Three in a Bush. It was the year the Meerkats took the World Series in four games and Kuchen Watabe broke the three-minute mile.

That year, for no good reason that anyone could name, over a thousand U.N. peacekeeping troops -- including 318 American boys and girls -- gave up their lives in Melanesia. It was the year that an Emperor again appeared in Middle China, to take his seat on the vacant throne at Sian; the year that Umoja sent troops to protect Nexus volunteers in the Kurdistan blockade; the year that Tsai Yu-chaio, the first native Martian in sixty-five million years, was born in the back seat of a rover racing toward Gagarin Town....

copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071114

The Patalanian Union

2457 CE (TE 304) - 2730 CE
The Patalanian Union consisted of the Province of Patala, plus substantial portions of Borshll, New Sardinia, and the Transgeled.

The Patalanian Union officially seceded from the Terran Empire on 3 May TE 304, under the leadership of Kasia Sayyid Contenau.

By TE 334 the Patalanian Union had expanded beyond the boundaries of the Province of Patala, and faced the Empire's hostility. The official Patalanian policy of isolationism failed under Imperial pressure, which forced further expansion for security reasons.

In 340 a coup occurred, and the Masilek dynasty took over. The Masilek Presidents were ruthless and pushed for expansion. In 361, Patalanian Union forces met and defeated Terran Empire forces at the planet Karphos. This was the first major defeat for the Empire.

Thereafter, Imperial resistance continued to weaken. The Patalanian Union took much of the Transgeled. In 381, Patalanian forces made a surprise raid against Terra, defeated the TERRAD system, and sacked New York. Until about 470, the Patalanians had free run of much of the Sol/Laxus Province, although they did not quite manage to conquer any of the Nexus Worlds, nor did they occupy Terra beyond the initial sack.

The bifurcated Empire continued to put up a good fight -- Phuctra, Neordan, and Credix under the Castiligoni and Chen Idara and Geled under the Tattersalls. But in 471 Patalanian troops landed on Laxus and forced the Emperor, Conrad Kuchta, to abdicate. This marks the official end of the First Terran Empire.

In 2626 CE, immediately after the Empire's fall the Patalanian Union began to suffer defeats. The provinces now had their own navies, much more efficient than the widespread Imperial wings. Teleskany and Credix forced a two-front war, and soon the Union dissolved.

copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071107

The New Renaissance

A period of the Interregnum, 7540 CE - c. 10,600 CE, which witnessed the rebirth of dynamic, growing civilization in the Galaxy.

The Inngebauer Dynasty in Credix

In 7540 CE (5387 CI), disgusted with the Purchik Dynasty, the Credixian Reichstaag chose Josef Inngebauer as Imperator. Josef was the son of Stevn Inngebauer, an obscure Credixian Noble, and Meria Kerteza, heiress to the monarchial throne of Vetret. Josef's older brother reigned as King Denal of Vetret until 7540 CE; Josef I inherited the throne of Vetret and brought Vetret under the rule of the Imperium.


ABOVE: Josef Inngebauer


Josef was a dynamic, expansionist ruler; during the year he reigned, Credix conquered vast territories around Vetret and began looking beyond its borders for the first time in a millennium.

Josef's daughter reigned as Antonia XIII (7541 - 7574 CE) [5388 - 5421 CI], and continued her father's work. She reigned for 33 years and had three co-Imperators: her sister Marcia X (7546 - 7551) [5393 - 5398 CI], her spouse Augusta XI (7545 CE) [5392 CI], and Augusta's daughter Nina VI (7545 - 7583 CE) [5392 - 5430 CI].

Prior to the reign of the Inngebauers, Credix had virtually no foreign policy. Perhaps because of Josef's childhood in the courts of Vetret, he was deeply aware that there were other powers in the Galaxy, somewhere far beyond the unorganized territories that surrounded the Imperium. He was determined to bring Credix into contact with those powers; Antonia XIII and her successor Imperators carried out his dream.

Under Antonia XIII, Credix signed a treaty with the Independent Traders, giving the Traders diplomatic immunity in Credix space, and allowing them to make full use of Credixian repair facilities and trade companies.

Teleskany-Credix Cultural Exchange

About 7650 CE, the Adelhardts of Teleskany allied themselves with New Sardinia and Borshall through a series of diplomatic marriages. Working through the Independent Traders, the Adelhardt Family entered into an alliance with the Credixian Imperium, assuring peace and mutual co-operation between Credix and Teleskany/Borshall/New Sardinia.

Jontan Adelhardt was sent to Credix and married Imperator Augusta XII (7650 - 7679 CE) [5497 - 5526 CI]. Their son became Imperator Mark XVII (7679 - 7740 CE )[5526 - 5587 CI].

The political agreement was little more than symbolic -- the two realms were on opposite sides of the Galaxy, and neither had the inclination to aid in wars that far away. But the real significance of the agreement was social. For the first time since the First Empire's fall, there was massive cross-cultural exchange between two of the Galaxy's major power groups, and exchange largely facilitated by the Independent Traders. The agreement also showed other powers an alternative to war -- an example of peaceful co-operation.



ABOVE: The Galaxy c. 7700 CE



copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071031

Religion of the First Terran Empire

The KBM (Kaal/Brandix/Meletia) cult began with the Council of Credix in TE 164...thereafter the three dieties were linked in numberless councils and in the pages of the Journal of Experimental Theology, a Terexta-based publication that soon became the voice of the new religion. JET was a rather weird publication: it featured not only scholarly philosophical articles but also theological fiction, ongoing discussions, and a vast number of articles having absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Codified, the new faith spread widely with broad appeal. It stressed the Empire and the Imperial system, and won friends by linking the Throne with the trinity. In 278 Philip Lütken officially recognized the KBM cult as the Empire's semi-official religion, and styled himself Kaal's incarnate son. Shortly thereafter the three-spoked wheel was accepted as the symbol of KBM.

By TE 300 Emperors routinely made pilgrimages to Lathyros, to the Mother House in Paris, and to whatever ridiculous and inaccessible site was promulgated as the True Home of Brandix (at least that year).

As KBM became more respectable, some of the thrill left the movement for True Believers. JET ceased publication in 282, and although annual conventions continued to be held in its name, the coterie of readers faded until by 350 there was no more trace of them.

Kaal

The Kaal cult first sprang up in the late TE 30's as a philosophical exercise carried on by an ecumenical group meeting on Lathyros. It struck a responsive chord, and Kaal-worship spread over the next hundred years to the rest of the Empire. For a time there was a hierarchy of Kaal-worship leading to a Council of Elders on Lathyros. By TE 130, though, Kaal-worship was becoming decentralized and stressed the concept of the family leader as the representative of Kaal.

The Council of Credix in TE 164 confirmed the idea of Kaal as an independent god, and it was at that time that the cult of Kaal became linked with those of Brandix and Meletia, while still maintaining an independent structure.

In the eternal trinity, Kaal was seen as the Father God, the masculine principle, the divine embodiment of authority and hierarchy.

Meletia

The cult of Meletia began as a Catholic offshoot. By AD 2100 there were references to Saint Meletia, and by the time the Empire began she had quite a following. By 2150, the Sisters of Mercy had rededicated themselves to work with the poor, and had begun to give up their Catholic orientation in favor of Saint Meletia. The order continued to work out of their Mother House in Paris. In TE 27 the Sisters of Mercy officially aligned themselves with Meletia. Along about TE 100 Meletia began to be referred to as an independent goddess. In TE 164 the Council of Credix declared Meletia a goddess in her own right; when the dust of the Council had cleared, devotees of Meletia found that their goddess had entered into an uneasy trinity with Brandix and Kaal.

In the eternal trinity, Meletia was seen as the Mother Goddess, the Lover, the female principle, the divine embodiment of the generative and nurturing -- but she could also be the stern emobodiment of death.

The symbol of Meletia was a stylized cross bearing a woman's face.

Brandix

Brandix was originally a Tr#skan deity, and a capricious one at that. His/her worship became popular among university students in the final pre-Imperial decade, and was institutionalized over the next half-century as BDA Tr#ska's power and influence grew.

It was not until TE 164, with the Council of Credix, that Brandixian theology became linked with the cults of Kaal and Meletia.

In the eternal trinity, Brandix is the Trickster, the Other, the spirit of youth and rebellion, the divine embodiment of androgyny, change, unconventionality, disaster; the Eternal Outsider. Brandix was a particular favorite of minorities and those on the outskirts of society. He/she was also a traditional advocate for gays.

The Brandixian sacred litany starts: "This hour, call it one. All that has gone before, forget it; wipe it out; it can hurt you no longer. All that will come, prepare to meet it."


copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071024

Metikos


Third planet of Epsilon Indi, 3.4 parsecs from Terra. Founded 2084 CE.

Distance from Primary: 45.06 million km
Length of Day: 23.34 hours
Year: 142.89 Terran days
Diameter: 13,874 km (1.20 Terra)
Mass: 1.16 Terra
Surface Gravity: 1.08 gee

Metikos was colonized by a coalition of political and religious dissidents who were unhappy with Nexus rule. The planet was always an opponent of Terra, and during the Colonial Wars (c. 2100-2150 CE) Metikos was a leader in the anti-Terra faction. With no gas giants and few other natural resources in the planetary system, Metikos was an economic backwater and had to turn to alliances with other worlds to survive. By 2153, Metikos had established four colonies of its own: Vestiaire, Prakis, Jegd, and Mithatal.

After the Empire was proclaimed in 2153 CE, Metikos was the primary target for annexation. Imperial forces fought several inconclusive battles with Metikos, then in the Battle of Epsilon Indi (TE 12), Metikos was defeated, occupied, and absorbed into the Empire.

In time, Metikos became a loyal Imperial world, a sort of Terran suburb. A vibrant economy, based on tourism, was built around the planet's status as a prime vacation spot.

copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071017

The Nexus


A clandestine worldwide peacekeeping organization. Primarily based in cyberspace, the Nexus was composed of volunteers from all levels of all societies. In the beginning, their operations were considered illegal, so it became customary for Nexus operatives to take on code names and conceal their identities. This custom persisted into future generations, even as the Nexus itself gained more popularity and public approval.

From its foundation in 2011 until the crisis of 2042, the Nexus was primarily an extra-governmental peacekeeping organization. Its most powerful weapon was the Interdict. The terms of Interdict, in theory, were unyielding: an offending nation could have no commerce or contact with the world community until they were ready to rejoin it. No trade, no tourists, no Net connections in or out. Only the press was allowed to enter. Only refugees were allowed to leave.

In this period, the Nexus did not decide when and where to impose the Interdict; instead, it acted when the United Nations passed a resolution against a particular nation or area -- and the Interdict stayed in effect until the United Nations was satisfied.

The first Interdict, in 2011, was primitive and easily avoided; by 2042, with the co-operation of most national armed forces and countless volunteers, the Interdict had become an airtight barrier. The result was an uneasy few decades of world peace.

As its symbol, the Nexus adopted Drake's Starburst: a diagram indicating the position of Earth (and the Solar System) relative to a number of bright pulsars. For the Nexus, the Starburst became a symbol of a united Earth (and, later, Mars), regardless of nationality, ethnicity, race, or any of the other dividing factors that had almost doomed the planet in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Following the crisis of 2042, the United Nations was superceded by the Terran Council, whose delegates were largely Nexus members. For all intents and purposes, the Nexus became the de facto government of Earth and Mars.

By 2153, the Nexus was into its fifth and sixth generations. Many Nexus codenames had become hereditary names and developed into the Idara (tribes), and the Nexus itself had the flavor of an informal aristocracy. The six Nexus Worlds formed the nucleus around which the First Terran Empire coalesced.

copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071010

The Ruin of the Sky

Before the Scattered Worlds were found
Around a golden star
A quiet bluewhite planet spun;
There lived Omalinar.

A lordling of the Pyistroph
A joyful one was he
With loving kin and work profound
He lived contentedly.

Until the day misfortune struck
Omalinar and clan
He saw adversity and fear
And turned away and ran.

Kith and kin abandoned he
And planet of his birth
And lordly station, influence,
And peace, and joy, and mirth.

A vagabond he soon became
Transgressor of the law
And went about the Pylistroph
Disliking all he saw.

The fall of such an able one
Did not unnoticed go
Fellow lordlings sought him out
But he was lost in woe.

The darker side of light and life
Attracted him most strong
And strange the paths he chose to tread
He turned towards the wrong.

And sought for power, sought for force
Sought to dominate
Became a lord of knowledge fell,
Became convulsed by hate.

He travelled to the Dark One's world
And landed on that sphere
Climbed to the depths of darkest caves
And trembling in his fear,

Omalinar the sorceror
Now faced the Lord of Strife
And raising hands toward the stars
Surrendered up his life.

And life, and hate, and brooding power
Burst from that dreaded plain
Raced through the sky, a single bolt
Of horror and of pain.

The Dark One then directed it
And made that bolt to soar
With energies sublime toward
The center of the Core.

And in that center starstuff spun
And wrenched apart did seethe:
A wicked empty hole in space
Where once a star did breathe.

A whirlpool of disrupted gas
Lit hellish space around
And gravity gone lunatic
The vortex tighter wound.

Here where space and time are fey
And Nature hides her eyes
Omalinar's last dying curse
Snarls, and spits, and dies.

The Gergathan's power reaches forth
Driven by its hate
Plunges stars into the hole
Shreds the weave of fate.

The vortex answers with a flash
Like Yx's flaming breath
Hellspawn particles gush forth
Carriers of death.

No more the Gathered Stars are kind
No more the skies bring cheer
For radiation bathes our worlds
And death for all is near.

Omalinar has brought the doom
Awaiting you and I;
The Lord of Strife at last achieves
The ruin of the sky.




Commentary:

From the tenth stanza onward, the song is of incredible antiquity. Manuscripts and printouts survive in the Museum of Worlds on Nephestal, which date from the latter days of the Pylistroph. These contain essentially the same song we have today. Language analysis of these early fragments shows traces of the archaic Coruman which was the original language of the Pylistroph. The events of the song -- a sudden flareup of the central collapsar and the subsequent sterilization of many worlds -- can be dated to the early days of the Pylistroph.

The first nine stanzas were apparently added later, perhaps as emendations of earlier stanzas. Omalinar was an early figure in the legends of many Coruman worlds, although he also appears (as "Ohmahl Inarr") in quite ancient Evellan texts preserved on Nephestal. It is possible that Omalinar was a mythical figure of the Evellan, who was later transferred to Coruman mythology.

The present version of the first nine stanzas dates from approximately the 50th galactic revolution of Nephestal, quite before the development of the Iaranor, when the Daamin were still the only major intelligent race in the Scattered Worlds.


copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


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20071006

Empress Cathie Kuchta

Empress of the Terran Empire TE 254-275

b. 5 March 227
d. 6 July 275

Cathie Kuchta was the second child of Empress Amy Kuchta and Robert Churchill. Developed in vitro and born when her mother was only 18, Cathie was raised under the direction of her grandmother, Mandike Kuchta. Cathie was a product of the Kuchta genetic enhancement program begun by her great-great grandfather Sten Kuchta (123-237). Cathie showed mathematical and pattern-forming abilities rivalling those of her mother. She had a forceful personality, and soon came to dominate her brother and sister.

Cathie was the last Kuchta to be affected by Sten Kuchta's program. In 234, when she was only 7, her genes were combined with those of Councilmember Karl Lütken to produce an in vitro son, Philip Lütken. Philip, like Cathie and her siblings, was raised by Mandike Kuchta. (Sten Kuchta died in 237; with his death came the end of formal genetic manipulation of the Kuchta line. However, data from the program found its way to the Kristeller Family and the clandestine Kala Phenkae breeding program.)

Cathie was educated with an eye toward the Throne; although she was only 15 when David Kuchta ascended to the Throne, she immediately became one of his chief advisors. When David died in 254, Cathie (age 27) had little trouble convincing the Imperial Council to confirm her as Empress.

Cathie's reign of 21 years was second in length only to Maj Thovold's 32-year reign. It was a peaceful time, a time of expansion. (In TE 260, for example, the Empire boasted 4,275 worlds and was adding new colonies at an average rate of 42 per year.) Cathie was a popular Empress, widely viewed as just and wise.

Daily imprinting of the State of the Empire Report upon her brain caused Cathie to age much faster than normal, and by the time she was 45 she was visibly nearing senility. In 275, at the age of 48, Cathie Kuchta died peacefully in her sleep.

Her sister, Judy Kuchta (age 44) was offered the Throne. Judy, however, had by then established a successful career as a writer of historical fiction (under the pen name Voëlle Acier), and refused the Throne. The Imperial Council voted for Cathie to be succeeded by her son, Philip Lütken.


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20070926

Inse


Inse is Terra-size world on the outskirts of the Galaxy, 2.7 kiloparsecs from Borshall and 3.5 kiloparsecs from New Sardinia, settled TE 315 (2468 CE) as a mining base.

Inse is a very cold world. Its primary, Tau Cedri, is an M-type red dwarf. Although Inse averages about 0.67 AU from Tau Cedri, it receives about 20% of the heat and light that Earth receives. Luckily, the atmosphere is three times as dense as Earth's and contains a larger amount of carbon dioxide; without the greenhouse effect, temperatures on Inse would hover around -70º celsius. Even with the greenhouse effect and in temperate zones, daytime temperatures rarely go above 5º in the summer, and a chilly 35º below in winter.

Inse is geologically active; some valleys warmed by geothermal processes are actually livable for Humans (summer temperatures sometimes hit 25º, and winter daytime temperatures are just above freezing.)

The planet is the first of nine, in a system that contains three major Jovian gas giants -- its orbit is eccentric and highly inclined to the system ecliptic, and Imperial Galactographic Survey scientists quickly decided that Inse was once a moon of one of the gas giants, knocked into its present orbit in some kind of catastrophe only one or two billion years ago.

Due to the presence of the gas giants and the abundance of geological activity, Inse was an important mining site in Middle Empire times, and remained under the control of Borshall Province throughout the Patalanian War. During this time, the population never exceeded a hundred thousand.

After the Fall of the Empire, Inse maintained a precarious existence trading with Borshall, New Sardinia, and Terexta; however, it was never a highly important port, and did not (for example) become part of the Tr#skan Trade Union. With the formation of the Sardinian League in 5973 CE, Inse attracted limited interest from the Metrinal Union, and her folk began slowly to move away to both Sardinian and Metrinal worlds. By 6800 CE, the population had declined to about 1500, all concentrated in one valley. The disastrous winter of 6916-8 CE destroyed crops and completely buried the last remaining deep-mining installation under a massive avalanche. Hundreds left right away and in early 6918 CE the last Human settlers departed Inse.

Although there were rumors of sporadic expeditions, Inse was not repopulated until Metrinal Union refugees landed there in 8259 CE. About 8600 CE, Inse became a trading partner of the Borshallan Federation, and a terraforming project was undertaken with the co-operation of the native Hlutr.

copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers


Find out more in The Leaves of October: a novel of the Scattered Worlds by Don Sakers

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20070919

The Grand Starwoods of Ziparque

The Grand Starwoods are a Scattered Worlds race of the world Ziparque. Ziparque is a large gas giant/substar, and the Grand Starwoods are continent-sized tree-like organisms which live, floating freely, in Ziparque's roiling atmosphere. The Starwoods are an offshoot of the Hlutr, but have no particular sensitivity to the Inner Voice and are not considered part of the Hlutr race.

The Grand Starwoods are capable of managing species evolution by force of will. Each Starwood is essentially an independent ecosystem, supporting millions of species and tending their growth and development.

Starwoods reproduce by biological fission, usually when storms tear off pieces of the parent organism. When these fragments survive and grow, a new Starwood is born.

The Starwoods communicate primarily through the exchange of complex biochemicals carried on the winds of Ziparque.

It is conjectured that the Grand Starwoods developed from a Pylistroph Seed Vessel that went astray and crashed into Ziparque approximately 800 million BCE.



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20070912

The Metrinaire

Nonhuman inhabitants of the planet Metrin in the Borshall/New Sardinia area. Metrinaire are six-limbed mammaloids with two equally-developed brains -- one in the head, and another just under the rump.

The Metrinaire became partners with Humans in the Metrinal Union (5721-8206 CE). Except for Dogs, Metrinaire are considered the closest thing to a Human partner-race.

Under the Second Terran Empire, the Metrinaire were full citizens. From 21,123 - 21,340 HE, the Empire was ruled by a dynasty of Metrinaire.

Evolutionary Biology

About 880,000 BCE, roughly twenty thousand years after the proclamation of Kaylpeskrit, the Gergathan made a military foray into the Scattered Worlds. Kaylpeskrit had sensed increasing activity in the area that was later to become the Empire of the Miethara, and as a warning threw an ice-asteroid at Metrin, whose Coruman-descended inhabitants were in a hunter/gatherer stage.

The results were catastrophic. Metrin was knocked into a markedly eccentric orbit, one that took about 600 Earth-days and allowed average temperatures to range between -10 degrees and 60 degrees in the temperate belts.

The dominant species entered a symbiosis with another species, resulting in a creature with two brains. The hindbrain (or, in Metrinaire terms, "inner mind") took over body function, allowing biofeedback in a way only approximated by Humans. During the 40-day hottest spell, and the 100-day coldest spell, the Metrinaire went into reduced activity, almost hibernation. The hindbrain developed its own eye below the digestive organ, and nervous circuitry to echo the sensory impressions processed by the forebrain. In effect, the two creatures became one, ultimately carried in the same uterus and fused during gestation.

Later, with technological advance, the Metrinaire managed to gain more degree of activity, but still the annual cycle is divided as follows:
100 days: Contemplation (hindbrain dominates)
130 days: Action (forebrain dominates)
40 days: Contemplation (hindbrain dominates)
130 days: Action (forebrain dominates)

The fact that an individual Metrinaire is actually a fusion of two beings has become obscured with a merging of body function, and nowadays that fact is known to few beyond sophisticated biochemists.

Sex organs merged, so that a male Metrinaire produces sperm from both symbionts, while both sets of ovaries release eggs at the same time. Female Metrinaire have two independent uteri; in each, pairs of embryos develop and merge. Young are borne highly undeveloped, like Terran marsupials, and finish their development in the fur of the mother. Clutches average about 8.3, and infant morality rates are as high as 60%. Gestation takes about 40 days,m and can only occur during the first half of either of the 130-day Action cycles. Conception must occur during the first 10 days of each Action cycle.

Philosophy

The central event of Metrinaire history was the ice-asteroid impact c. 880,000 BCE. The proto-Metrinaire were hunter/gatherers at this time, and apparently had begun to develop speech and mythology. Although most natives died in the 2-300,000 years after the impact, and the rest were transformed beyond recognition, legends and memories were still preserved.

The mythological impact of the Impact was considerable. The ice-asteroid, seen approaching from the sky, was viewed as an act of hostile gods against the Metrinaire race. The Metrinaire thus managed to conceive of themselves as surrounded by hostile gods in a hostile universe. This attitude gave the Metrinaire impetus to develop intelligence, and later civilization, in spite of their built-in dormancy periods.

Most land-based life on Metrin was destroyed by the Impact -- only a few dozen animal species, and fewer than a hundred plant species, remained. The plants, insectoids, and animals immediately started differentiating into other species, to fill newly-vacant ecological niches. Many degenerate Metrinaire forms fill these niches. As a result, the Metrinaire had an early awareness of evolution.

Unfortunately, all species of Hlutr were destroyed on Metrin; there were not even degenerate, partly-intelligent Hlutr forms as on Earth. The Council of the Free Peoples of the Scattered Worlds debated sending Hlutr seedlings to guide the Metrinaire, but Dyyla Nstaz of the Daamin argued against the step, and the Council finally decided simply to ask the Galactic Riders to keep an eye on the planet. The extent to which these Riders helped to direct the evolutionary development of the Metrinaire is unknown.

The Metrinaire, therefore, were one of the only societies to grow up with a full awareness of the legends of the Scattered Worlds.



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20070905

The Karphos Corporation

The Karphos Corporation was a mining corporation, specializing in mining the solar wind of unstable stars, especially Mu Venarum, primary of the planet Karphos.

The Karphos Corporation was organized in TE 40 with the discovery of Karphos. By TE 80, the company had expanded operations to six stellar systems within 2 kiloparsecs of Karphos. In addition to mining, the company entered the fields of tourism and starship rental/repair/replacement. By TE 100, the company had reached the upper levels of the Imperial Stock Exchange, and displaced Terran Foods in the #13 spot.

Entry into the Imperial Council cemented the company's position, and until TE 361 the Karphos Corporation remained powerful.

After the Battle of Karphos in TE 361, the company's fortunes declined, and although it remained rich and powerful, it lost its Imperial Council seat and its share in the Kaa Cartel.



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20070829

The Singing Stones

According to legend, the Singing Stones were delivered to the Daamin by the Elder Gods in the time before the Pylistroph.

The Stones were 21 in number, of many different colors and shapes. They produce music, music that is different for each listener, and which cannot be captured on physical recording devices. Scientists discovered that the Stones are telepathic resonator/amplifiers. That is, they pick up, focus, and re-project all the thought patterns and emotions that occur anywhere in the Galaxy. The combined concert of all the Galaxy's minds is perceived as the purest music ever created.

Over the eons, four of the Stones were destroyed. One is mounted on the Golden Throne of Avethell, and another is held by the Eldest Hlut in the Secluded Realm. Five are lost, their fates unknown.

The ten remaining Singing Stones are kept on Nephestal in Geva Elen, the Place of the Stones, before the Temple of All Worlds. There, the Watchers of the Stones, a cadre of telepathic-sensitive volunteers, attempt to divine meaning from the music of the Singing Stones.

Through the millennia, some specific prophecies have come from study of the Stones. The two best-known are those of Crettim Bruv and Hanna Hoister.

The Prophecy of Crettim Bruv

    Only a weapon forged of a Singing Stone
    Held by a scion of Forriva's line
    And swung in friendship's truthful innocence
    Shall serve to kill the dreadful Lord of Strife.


Prophecy of Hanna Hoister (directed to Gregori Hoister)

    A son of yours shall fight and pave the way
    And Love's bright daughter by his side will stand
    Yet fruitless shall their greatest efforts be
    The Lord of Strife will perish at the hand
    Of only one: a scion of Forriva's line.





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20070822

The Kaa Cartel

The Planet Kaa was discovered in TE 203, and the Kaa Cartel was organized the next year under the Imperial Act of Nonexploitation, for the purpose of regulating contact with the nonhuman natives. The Cartel, after much wrangling and wheeling/dealing, turned out to be a five-member board composed of representatives of the Throne, the Wakmarrel School, Idara deVigny, the Karphos Corporation, and the Sisters of Mercy.

Human interaction with the Kaanese, when it took place, was based in Kaa Station: a large, complex station in Clarke orbit above the major population center of Kaa.

After TE 360, the Karphos Corporation's seat was taken over by Borshallan Artificial Intelligences. In the wake of the TE 381 upsets, the Borshallan Artificial Intelligences seat went to the Borshallan cyborg Kwofi, a re-animated corpsicle from pre-Imperial Umoja. House deVigny was at the time represented by the 52-year-old Alma deVigny. Alma and Kwofi fell in love and married in TE 385. Until TE 413, they totally dominated the Kaa Cartel. Kaa Station became an orbiting Victorian Gothic mansion, the Kaa Cartel wrapped its proceedings in secrecy and extended its power into odd corners of the Empire's socioeconomy in search of security for its charges.

The Kaa Cartel in TE 400 was as close as it could be to all-powerful. Kwofi shared time in Chance, a Svarth-series computer that the Cartel owned. Alma deVigny brought all the considerable power of her Idara to bear. Kandry Renj, the Wakmarrel adept, had slight telepathic sensitivity and spent her time studying the natives from orbit. Sister Julia the Blessed of the Sisterhood barricaded herself in her room and only conversed with the outside world by voice-and-vision circuits. And Ilanor Alexandrov, representative of the Throne, was a slight, pale man whose eyes stared past you and replied to all conversations on a skewed line.

It was a marvelous time.



Find out more in A Voice in Every Wind by Don Sakers Digg!

20070815

The Ebettor

A pale, humanoid race from the Galactic Core. It is rumored that the Ebettor are descended from escapees from Cambolinee, who settled on other secret worlds undetectably close to the Core. From those worlds, settlers moved into the Core and under the dominion of the Gergathan.

The Ebettor contacted the Duchy of Geled via ultrawave c. 6390 CE.

First Contact with the Ebettor came in 6484 CE, during a Terran Library expedition to repair Ultrawave Relay Alpha.

Legend says that a daughter of Cambolinee will one day arise to free the Ebettor from slavery.




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20070809

TERRAD

TERRAD, the Terran Defense Network, is a series of linked sapient computers whose primary goal is the protection of the populace of Earth and, later, the Terran Empire.

Developed during the crisis of 2042 CE, the TERRAD system rarely took direct command of Terran defense forces; instead, it issued recommendations and strategic plans. Nominally under the command of the Terran Council/Imperial Council/Emperor, Terrad was in reality quite autonomous.

All details about TERRAD were kept classified for security reasons; however, it is known that TERRAD's main processors were buried some kilometers under the surface of Earth, in a secret location or locations. It is conjectured that major TERRAD resources also existed on other worlds, most notably some Provincial Capitals and the Nexus Worlds. After the Imperial Capital was moved to Laxus in TE 381, TERRAD's functions continued unimpeded. However, the Patalanian Union seemed unable to access or influence TERRAD, so any installations on Patala must have been shut down or destroyed at the time of the Secession.

TERRAD most often menifested itself as a single voice and personality. The system was a major advisor to Secretary-Generals and Emperors.

Nothing is known of the fate of TERRAD after the fall of the Terran Empire.




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20070801

Dunsinane

Human world near Neordan, home of Idara Adelhardt, founded 2091 CE.

Features:

Birnam Wood: Gerald Adelhardt began Birnam Wood by planting a tree for each new member of his Family. Within a few centuries, it was a dense and trackless forest. One path, the Southern Approach to Castle Adelhardt, was always kept clear of vegetation -- it was a long, impressive, rough-hewn stone staircase. In addition, Birnam Wood is honeycombed with secret paths known only to the members of Idara Adelhardt.

Castle Adelhardt: Built by Gerald Adelhardt, a modern re-creation of Mad King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein.

Cawdor: Capital city. The Adelhardt Planetary Administrator (inevitably) carries the title "Thane of Cawdor."

Thanes of Cawdor

1. Gerald Adelhardt (2091-2144 CE)
2. Howard Adelhardt (2144 - TE 56)
3. Luis Adelhardt (56-116)
4. Karel Adelhardt (116-135)
5. Grant Adelhardt (135-205)
6. Joseph Adelhardt (134-249)
7. Kurt Adelhardt (249-274)
8. Dave Adelhardt (274-297)
9. Martin Adelhardt (297-381)
10. Stepkan Adelhardt (381-385)
11. Gerald Adelhardt (385-422)
12. Duncan Adelhardt (422-435)
13. Beldon Adelhardt (435-438)
14. Heather Adelhardt (438-?)




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20070725

Empress Mary Tattersall


b. 12 October 390
d. 6 July 419

401 - 419: Empress of the Terran Empire

Mary Tattersall was the result of a political marriage between Denise Löwenger and Edward Tattersall. At the time, Idara Tattersall controlled a bloc of about 25 votes in the Imperial Council, votes which were desperately needed by the unraveling Carroll Coalition. The Tattersall allies, who generally steered a middle course between the Throne and its chief opponents, agreed to support Joseph Löwenger and, later, Denise, against the Elendan-led opposition which wished to make peace with the Patalanian Union.

In 390 the Imperial Council passed an Act of Succession which named Mary as Denise's Heir. The same Act also, as a matter of routine, named Edward Tattersall as Regent in case Mary was too young to take the Throne.

Denise had little interest in her daughter or her spouse; she left Mary to be raised by Edward under the vague supervision of other Carroll elders.

Idara Tattersall won its gamble in 401 when Denise died while Mary was only 11. Under the terms of the Act of Succession, Edward took on the mantle of Regent, while at the same time he moved Mary firmly away from the influence of the Carrolls. Edward's Regency lasted until 406, when Mary passed her adulthood tests and took on the Crown. (Edward remained Mary's most trusted advisor until his own premature death in 411.)

Edward's Regency was a time of quiet anticipation and political suspense, as Edward worked to balance the two factions -- Carroll and Opposition -- against one another. By skillfully adjusting appropriations, Edward was able to beef up the local Navy forces of Borshall, New Sardinia, Credix, and Geled -- the Provinces which adjoined the Patalanian Union, and the sites of the heaviest fighting. At the same time, he allowed the Provincial Dukes to increase their control over Navy forces in their Provinces, thus satisfying those of the Dukes who wanted more autonomy. Edward began a strategy of "defense only" -- under his rule (and, subsequently, for the rest of Mary's reign), the Empire ceased attacking Union worlds and did not intrude into Union space.

In TE 406, days before she turned 16, Mary took and passed her adulthood tests; she formally ascended to the Throne on her sixteenth birthday (although, thanks to her rigorous training and daily stints under the Memory Crown, she appeared to onlookers like a woman of thirty.)

Mary continued Edward's policy of political neutrality, balancing one party against the other while all the time trying to keep the Empire together and defend it against the Union.

In order to placate Opposition forces, who still formally called for peace with the Union, Mary agreed to an Act of Succession which named her cousin Charles Castiligoni as Imperial Heir. (The same Act, as a major concession to Carroll forces, named Thomas Carroll as Heir's Heir.)

In all her dealings, Mary tried to steer a middle course. Personally, she was a calm and diginified person, and after the juvenile excesses of Denise's reign, she brought a sense of style and decorum back to the Throne. During Mary's reign, a new restrained style of fashion and furniture swept the Empire; it is referred to by historians as Regency or Tattersall Style.

By force of personality and skillful politics, Mary Tattersall soothed the Imperial Council and the Dukes, and restrained the growing power of the Idara. Beginning in TE 412, she held an annual summit meeting between Galactic leaders -- she and Union President Pola Masilek were the chief attendees, but the summits also included the Archdukes of Elendan, Odonia, Sedante, and Teleskany. Largely as a result of these summits, hostilities between Union and Empire slowed down.

Mary's reign, which had begun in a hostile atmosphere with all sides waiting for the other shoe to drop, turned out to be a period of relative peace and quiet -- just what the Empire needed.

In 419, at the chronological age of 38 and the biological age of 100, Mary Tattersall passed the Crown to her Heir, Charles Castiligoni, then closed her eyes and died peacefully. She was mourned throughout the Galaxy; even in the Patalanian Union flags were lowered and the President declared a tenday of mourning.




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20070718

Empires of the Gathered Worlds

The Pyslistroph (c. 2.4 - 1.2 billion BCE)

    Little is known of this culture, as most records were lost during the Schism and the Flight of the Daamin. The Pylistroph was a loose confederation of 50-100 worlds inhabited by the Seven Races. The Pyslistroph was led by The Council of the Wise, composed of a few beings from each of the Seven Races.

    It is known that the Pylistroph did not have tachyon conversion, nor the antigrav. Pylistroph ships were mainly light-sail vessels. The Pylistroph sent light-sail ships out into the Galactic Halo (aka the Scattered Worlds), apparently to seed suitable worlds with Pylistroph-based life. It is conjectured that a Pylistroph vessel passed by Terra about 8-900 million years ago; it has been further conjectured that almost all life on planets in the Scattered Worlds is descended from Pylistroph Seed Vessels.

Mertorthar (c. 1.2 billion - 600 million BCE)

    Mertorthar was born when the Gergathan recalled the Coruman race to Messilinia and launched a war of conquest against the Pylistroph. The Gergathan is a great war-machine, constructed on Messilinia during the wars that preceded the foundation of the Pylistroph. Composed of computer parts plus the living minds of those it has absorbed, the Gergathan is vastly intelligent, utterly implacable, and relentlessly ruthless.

    The Council of the Wise capitulated quickly, but others fled the Core into the Scattered Worlds (the "Flight of the Daamin"). The Schism of the Hlutr divided the Hlutr race.

    About 600 million BCE, Mertorthar reached beyond the Core to destroy the Empire of the Iaranor. During this effort, many tributary worlds rebelled, and Mertorthar's authority fell apart. The Gergathan was forced to turn its attention back to the Core.

Garadhros (c. 600 million - 22 million BCE)

    Garadhros was established in the wake of a successful war against the Empire of the Iaranor. During its rule, the Gergathan established a boundary about the Gathered Worlds that prevented its subjects from leaving or observing the freedom of the Scattered Worlds. Teleportation was developed about 500 million BCE, and Garadhros expanded into the Cores of nearby galaxies, most notably Andromeda.

    About 22 million BCE, Garadhros met the expanding cultures of M-87 and its surrounding galaxies of the Virgo Cluster -- the so-called Virgo Cultures. A great war ensued, a war which resulted in the detonation of M-87's Core. Garadhros, however, was conquered and the Gergathan shut down. The Virgo warrior Jel Haran fought, and was seriously damaged, in this final war.

    After an interregnum of approximately one million years, Garadhros was succeeded by Diebethar.

Diebethar (c. 21 million - 5.2 million BCE)

    After its defeat by the Virgo Cultures, the Gergathan took a million years to recover power and influence. Although hindered by the Free Peoples of the Scattered Worlds (and particularly by Jel Haran and Lirith), by 21 million BCE the Gergathan had regained enough power to start reconquering the Milky Way's Core, and to proclaim the third great Core Empire, Diebethar.

    Through treachery, guile, and division, Diebethar rapidly spread through the Local Group and beyond, meeting and defeating the Virgo Cultures about 19 million BCE.

    About 5.2 million BCE, the Avethellan Empire led an assault against Diebethar and Messilinia, and the Avethellan hero Kylvin struck at the Gergathan with one of the Singing Stones. However, Kylvin's Strike -- like Forriva's -- was blunted at the last moment.

    Nonetheless, Diebethar fell, and the Core was briefly integrated into the Avethellan Empire. About 5.19 million BCE, Diebethar was succeeded by Malreppidar.

Malreppidar (c. 5.19.million - 2.7 million BCE)

    After the fall of Avethell, the Gergathan proclaimed Malreppidar, and began the systematic destruction of all life in other galaxies. Before this effort was really begun, about 3 million BCE, intercontinuual travel was developed, and Malreppidar spread like a virulent plague into the Secondary Spaces. (The Deserted Worlds of the New Continuum date from this era.)

    About 2.7 million BCE, a tributary state in an adjacent continuum revolted and seriously damaged the Gergathan. Malreppidar fell.

    The Kohlenebian Empire (c. 2.7 - 2.3 million BCE) carried on the Core culture in the Scattered Worlds, but a true successor to Malreppidar did not appear until about 900,000 BCE, with Kaypleskrit.

Kaylpeskrit (c. 900,000 BCE - present)

    Kaylpeskrit rose about 900,000 BCE, following an interregnum of more than a million years. After destroying all copies of the Gergathan in Secondary Spaces (completed about 100,000 BCE), Kaylepskrit began isolating the Secondary Spaces from one another, and systematically eliminating all life in each.

    Kaylpeskrit destroyed the Scattered Worlds state of Marpethtal c. 300,000 BCE.

    Kaylpeskrit was instrumental in the collapse of the First Terran Empire c. 2600 CE.




Find out more at the Scattered Worlds site Digg!

20070711

The Children of Lost Time

A Scattered Worlds race which flourished c. 550 million BCE on the planet Lamtek Tarluen. The Children of Lost Time were an offshoot of the Daamin race, descended from a Pylistroph-era exploration vessel that was marooned in the Scattered Worlds. The original Daamin had regressed to nonsapience, then evolved back up to a high cultural level, although they never developed star-travel. They excelled at the construction of intricate artificial intelligences.

After a long history of nearly a million years, the Children of Lost Time passed into a still, contemplative silence and over the next centuries their bodies withered and became one with their world.

The only survivor was Hes-Namu, a sapient computer constructed by the Children shortly before their ultimate demise. In time, Hes-Namu picked up and deciphered ultrawave transmissions from the Scattered Worlds. After a period of communication that lasted several centuries, Hes-Namu came to Nephestal to serve the Council of the Free Peoples.




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20070704

A Daamin Song


    Before your mother's mother's dams
    Yet danced in magic twilight dim
    Before their mother's tribes were born
    When time was new and yet unworn
    We lived in endless day.

    Remember, cub, the sea from which
    In far-gone past the Daamin sprang
    Now feel the soil of ages lost
    And clouds that in a bright sky hang
    Beneath a million suns.

    We fled away into the night
    When night was yet a haunting dream;
    In dreams remember, cub, our home
    Verkorra in eternal light
    To light we shall return.





Find out more at the Scattered Worlds site Digg!

20070627

The Oath of the Fey

The Oath of the Fey, also called the Raytheonic Oath (named after Eduard Raytheon, first Master of the McIntyre School) is an oath taken by telepaths and, eventually, by all psi-talented individuals.

The oath is given in the presence of a telepath, and the swearer's mind is open so that the telepath may read his/her sincerity. No practicing telepath is given the approval of the McIntyre School without swearing the Oath.

Text of the Oath:

I swear by all the gods of my house, by the spirits of my ancestors, and by the integrity of my being that I will keep this oath to the end of my life.

I will hold in highest regard those who taught me my art. They shall be as my parents and siblings, and I pledge that they shall never suffer want or neglect while I can prevent it.

I will use my talents as I have been taught, always guided first by the dictates of conscience and morality, second by civil law, and third by the orders of my superiors. I will be personally and singly responsible for all my actions, and will allow no other to take that responsibility from me.

I pledge never to use my talent in anger or other emotion, nor while I am made irresponsible by drugs. I pledge always to be respectful of the rights of those without my abilities, and always to be courteous to those who share my talent. I pledge that I will render aid and instruction to any who have not mastered their talents.

With purity and holiness I will pass my life and practice my art. Whatever I learn through my art and under seal of secrecy, this shall remain secret; whatever I learn without such seal, I will not reveal without clear and compelling reason.

While I continue to keep this oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of my art and craft, respected by all men, in all times; but should I trespass and violate this oath, may the reverse be my lot, and may my life be forfeit to the one who took this oath and to all paranormals everywhere. In token of my sincerity I open my mind to my oath-taker and my teachers, that they may read and judge my intentions.





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20070620

Empress Amy Kuchta

Empress of the Terran Empire TE 235 - 242


b. 30 April 209, Nagoya, Terra
d. 28 December 242, New York, Terra

Amy Kuchta was the only daughter of Mandike Kuchta (177-290) and mathematician Lisand Vasiliev. From before her birth, her destiny was dominated by her great-grandfather, Sten Kuchta (TE 123-237). Sten, in a bid for more political power for Idara Kuchta, embarked upon a program of genetic enhancement beginning with his daughter Erika (151-232) and continuing with Mandike (177-290) and Amy. Amy's particular enhancements included the strengthening of genetic constellations associated with mathematical ability and pattern-formation.

Amy's education included stays at Harvard, Cambridge, and Harare Universities. She passed her adulthood exams at age 15, and immediately began moving up through the Imperial bureaucracy. At 16 she attracted the attention of Emperor Tsung Dao Wu, who took an instant liking to the girl. She was attached to the Imeprial Court in 227, and in 229 she rose to the position of Imperial Hand, the Emperor's chief assistant. In 231, when she was 22, Tsung Dao Wu formally adopted Amy, naming her as his chosen successor.

In 223, at age 14, Amy entered into a dynastic marriage with Robert Churchill. The couple's three children (David, b. 224; Cathie, b. 227; and Judy, b. 231) were grown in vitro and raised under the supervision of Mandike Kuchta.

For the four years following her appointment as Emperor's Hand, Amy was the instrument of Tsung Dao Wu's administration. She travelled throughout the Empire on various missions, and built a reputation as a stern but rigorously fair person of great practical intelligence.

Upon Tsung Dao Wu's death in 235, Amy ascended to the Throne without serious challenge. Her seven-year reign was mostly absorbed in political machinations aimed at establishing a hereditary succession. It was not until 240 that the Imperial Council approved her nomination of her son David as her Heir.

Amy died in 242 at the age of 33; it is conjectured that the daily operation of the Memory Crown conflicted with her brain structure and caused cumulative damage. She was succeeded by her son, David Kuchta.




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20070613

The Marching Morons

It used to be an article of faith, among the self-appointed intelligentsia, that the human race would grow steadily stupider as time progressed. After the advent of reliable birth control, so the reasoning went, intelligent people would choose not to have children, or would stop after one or two—whereas the non-intelligent would continue to breed like rabbits. Over the course of generations, then, the proportion of intelligent people in the population would decline, and in the end, we would all be a bunch of morons.

This reasoning was impeccable—but it rested on the erroneous assumption that intelligence is hereditary. In fact, once economic factors are removed, there is absolutely no evidence of any correlation between the intelligence of parents and the intelligence of their children.

In short, the morons have not marched over the rest of us, because morons insist on having just as many intelligent children as do geniuses.

-from Closet to Chamber: An Autobiography by Miranda Maris, Firebrand Books, 2035



Find out more in Dance for the Ivory Madonna by Don Sakers Digg!

20070606

The Lister Gestalt

LISTER GESTALT: A virtual reality environment containing a specific arrangement of audio-video-tactile stimulation, which interacts with the human nervous system in such a way as to set up patterns of electrical feedback, resulting in immediate and total cascade failure, complete loss of higher brain functions, and death within 10 hours. Although the Lister Gestalt is commonly considered to be nothing more than hacker folklore, believers are quick to point out that no human could survive contact with the Gestalt, and that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Every hacker, it seems, has a friend of a friend who knows someone who died after exposure to the Lister Gestalt.

The AI community has declined to either confirm or deny the existence of the Lister Gestalt.

-The Boy Who Cried 10111011110110000110 and Other Cyber Legends
by Dr. Brand Danjun, Norton, 2018



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20070530

So You’re Going To Geled…

(Galactic Traveler, April 6484 CE)

The most difficult adjustment for non-Geledi tourists is to the odd Geledi calendar. No matter what your local system, you are probably used to a Terran Standard calendar of 24-hour days. A year is 365 such days, arranged into 12 months of three tendays each, with five vacation days scattered throughout.

Geled is the only major Imperial splinter state to abandon the Terran Standard. The Geledi Standard Day last 22.4 hours; a year is 292 days (1.3467 Geled years equals one Standard year). The year is divided into 16 months of 37 days each. Each month consists of six weeks (called nyeedyeh) of six days each, plus an additional day (Prahznyeh) at the end of the month.

The days of the Geledi week are Senkyeh, Mahnyeh, Tarehyeh, Vrenzyeh, Geletyeh, and Soobtayeh. The months of the Geledi year are Yeenvahr, Fyeevahr, Vyeesyahbr, Mahrt, Ahpryehl, Migh, Lyehyahbr, Iyon, IIyul, Ahvgoost, Ossyahbr, Syeentyahbr, Ahktyahbr, Nahyahbr, Zeemyahbr, and Dyeekyahbr.

And just to make things more interesting, every so often there’s a leap year, in which the 37th day of Zeemyahbr is dropped.

Tourists are advised to purchase conversion software for datapads and headsets. In addition, inexpensive Geledi timepieces are readily available at tourist shops and in spaceports—these usually run for a few centuries without adjustment, and make fine mementos and gifts once your trip is over.



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20070523

Are You One In A Billion?

Located in Alexandria, Egypt, the Grand Library is the central repository of all information known to the Human race. The Library's information is available from terminals all over the Galaxy. The Grand Library receives billions of inquiries every day. And each day, thousands of those inquiries require the personal assistance of a Human Librarian.

These Librarians are among the most talented and highly-trained professionals in the Galaxy. Ten times rarer than chess Grand Masters, Grand Librarians are gifted with a remarkable intuition, allowing them to sift through vast amounts of data to pinpoint exactly the information to answer any question.

The Grand Library is always in search of new Librarians. Only one in a million are neurologically able to undergo the delicate surgery that links the mind directly to the great databases. Only one in a billion have the combination of intuition and imagination that make a Grand Librarian.

Are you one in a billion? If you think so, contact the Grand Library for recruitment information.



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20070516

The Kala Phenkae

(from Encyclopedia of the Interregnum, edited by Oskar Bartlett, Terra-Prime Publishing, 20,832 H.E.)

Little is known of the origins of this secretive breeding program. During the First Terran Empire, various Idara conducted programs of genetic enhancement, most notably Idara Kuchta under Sten Kuchta (TE 123-237) and the Hoister Family. By TE 250, many of the veterans of these programs had joined an ongoing effort under the sponsorship of the Idara Kristeller. The combined program settled in permanent headquarters on the planet Obron.

By TE 320 the program coordinated two hundred six distinct bloodlines, on about four hundred planets; thus, it was popularly referred to as "the Two Hundred Six." During the Interrregnum, the program became known as The Kala Phenkae, supposedly from "Cealla Faenke" ("Two Hundred Six" in the Heloxan language). The Kala Phenkae included Idaras Adelhardt, Carroll, Loewenger, and others, as well as many non-Idara bloodlines.

Over the millennia of the Interregnum, the bloodlines were kept reasonably pure. During this time, the Kala Phenkae were one of the few institutions that remained Galactic in scope, although communications difficulties and political circumstances often limited the program's effectiveness.

In many parts of the Galaxy, and particularly in the Credixian Imperium, the Kala Phenkae wielded great political influence, even though it was practically unknown to the population at large.

Due to the security surrounding the program, the mission and ultimate goals of the Kala Phenkae remained a secret until the time of the Second Terran Empire….




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20070510

Aladdin Systems: Not Your Greatmother's Autoservants

Who could imagine life without autoservants? They cook and clean for us, tend our homes and businesses, keep everyting in good repair, and take care of our every need. Servs and mechs and cybs are indispensible to modern life.

Yet how often do you think about your autoservants? If you’re like most people, seldom. You inherited them, or they came with your home, your business, your ship. They work perfectly—and when they don’t, mechs fix them.

Would it surprise you to know that your autoservants may have been in service for thousands of years? It seems incredible, yet it’s true: the average autoservant in today’s galaxy dates back to the days of the Terran Empire.

What must fill your poor serv’s circuts. Think of the inevitable bloat and clutter of that long a lifetime. Your grandfather’s drink preferences. Great-Aunt Matilda’s favorite breakfasts. The social schedules of a hundred generations. Millennia of trivia.

At Aladdin Systems, we specialize in making old autoservants new again. We’ll clean out your servs’ memories, peel away generations of clutter, and update their software with state-of-the-art routines. You’ll find that your autoservants are more responsive, more efficient, better able to serve.

Touch here to contact a representative for a consultation.




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20070502

Medical First Aid Diagnostic Leech

Emergency Instructions

You will need:
• Series A-1 First Aid (red) or B-1 Diagnostic (white) leech
• Datapad(s) or dataspex
• Phone or other communications device

1. Peel back the leech’s transparent covering. Attach leech to patient’s exposed skin. (If the patient is wounded, attach the leech as near as possible to any wounds.)

2. It is normal for the leech to deflate as nanos enter the patient’s bloodstream. Leech casing will drop off or disintegrate when no longer needed.

3. Nanos will perform diagnosis and begin any necessary treatment. Consult your datapad and follow any instructions.

4. Provide phone for nanos to communicate with medical resources or authorities.

5. Further, specialized leeches may be required. Be sure to match color and number before attaching leeches to patient.

6. If medical professionals are available or needed, they will be summoned by nanos. Please be prepared to assist in locating patient for authorities.




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20070426

The Right Datapad Makes All the Difference

When you’re looking for a datapad, you want high resolution, quick response, durability, and compatibility. And above all, you want value.

All Ipuwer brand datapads feature near-molecular scale resolution, with nano-addressing to achieve results that exceed the limit of unenhanced human eyesight. With a refresh rate less than 0.01 seconds, Ipuwer datapads can display even the highest-speed video with no trace of breakups or artifacting.

Constructed from permaplast polymers that will last for decades of normal use, Ipuwer datapads are crumple-resistant and fully-rollable. And Ipuwer pads feature Snap-Smooth technology to eliminate folds and creases at the touch of a corner.

Ipuwer datapads are the most compatible on the market, fully compliant with all major data and networking standards, including FLBLA, Terran Empire Standard, and GalactiNet. Each Ipuwer pad comes with a minimum 2 TB of onboard memory, with access to local and wide-area network storage. Input methods include stylus, virtual keyboard, and auto-congifure data transfer from any system or network.

Ipuwer pads are available in all standard sizes, from wallet (5 x 7.5 cm) all the way up to Display (60 x 80 cm). Pads can be linked, physically and virtually, to make larger displays as needed. Available in multi-packs of 10, 25, and 50, Ipuwer datapads provide superior performance and value.




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20070418

Meet a Galactic Rider

(from Stars of the Galaxy, May 6482 CE)

For millions of years, the Galactic Riders have served the causes of peace and freedom in the Galaxy. Yet Humans know little about this ancient alien order. Recently, on the planet Dovan, we interviewed Tto Yachim, a Dorascan Rider who was happy to answer some questions. Like all of his people, Tto Yachim is a superb linguist and vocal mimic; he speaks Terran Standard perfectly.

Stars: So tell us, what are the Galactic Riders all about?

Tto Yachim: The Galactic Riders provide help to those in need. In addition, we assist the cause of freedom over repression, maintain cultural continuity, act as mediators, and provide role models.

Stars: What sort of training do you need to be a Rider?

Tto Yachim: We are extensively trained in music, history, culture, and the accumulated wisdom of the Free Peoples.

Stars: Galactic Riders are empowered to act as judge, jury, and executioner. Who oversees them; who prevents them from abusing their power?

Tto Yachim: Galactic Riders act with the full authority of the Council of the Free Peoples of the Scattered Worlds. Riders are responsible only to their own consciences. A Rider’s integrity is beyond question. On the few occasions that a Galactic Rider has misused power, other Riders have hastened to administer justice.

Stars: Where are the Galactic Riders based?

Tto Yachim: Our order is headquartered on Nephestal. Many individual Riders make regular circuits of various worlds and settlments, visiting each perhaps once a year or so. Some set up permanent homes, and operate out of them. Others consider their ships to be their homes.

Stars: Thank you for sharing this information with our readers.




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