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.


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.


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 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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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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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

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

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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.


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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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.

copyright (c) 2007, Don Sakers

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