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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.