70% Aallae: The Aallae are a sentient species native to the planet of Kennars, making their home in the extensive cave systems below the surface of the planet. They possess six limbs, the front pair of limbs being used for manipulation while the two hind pairs are used for locomotion. The Aallae stand at about 1.50 meters tall when walking on all four of their legs, with a stocky build to minimize their surface to protect against the cold of the planet. They are adapted to live in the cold, with a thick layer of subcutaneous fat as well as a coat of fur that is colored white or gray. They have no eyes owing to the fact that they have evolved to live in caves like the rest of life on Kennars. Instead, the Aallae possess a highly developed sense of hearing, a highly developed sense of smell as well as echolocation. They communicate using a complex system of clicks, in addition to chemical communication through pheromones. The Aallae are, on average, about as intelligent as a human, and were roughly in the technological equivalent of the Information Age when humans arrived on Kennars. A subspecies of the Aallae that live closer to the surface have developed rudimentary eyes and even thicker fur, with their fur also becoming whiter to match the color of the snow.
Planet Name and Description: Kennars, the home planet of the League, is a Mars-sized planet orbiting far away from the star of Qesa, an orange dwarf star. It shares the Qesean system with the gas giants of Sitoria and Izeon, but is the only planet considered habitable due to its solid surface and non-crushing atmosphere. Due to the distance Kennars orbits from its star, the average temperature is tens of degrees Celsius below zero, and the entire surface is covered in vast sheets of ice and snow. As one can imagine, this makes it almost impossible for vegetation to grow and difficult for humans to settle. The only area of the planet where surface flora and fauna can be found is a thin band around the equator that receives the most light from Qesa and therefore experiences the highest temperatures on Kennars, but even here it is not warm enough for liquid water.
Kennars is highly volcanically active, with many volcanoes and hydrothermal vents that provide an energy source for human and Aallae settlements alike. Volcanism and tectonic activity over millions of years have resulted in an intricate network of caves that spans the entirety of Kennars, connecting distant parts of the planet and providing shelter for both human and native Kennarsian life.
The caves of Kennars host a highly developed and diverse biosphere, the energy source of which is provided by Kennars’ many volcanoes. Thermotrophic and chemotrophic bacteria feed off the heat and inorganic molecules coming from underground hydrothermal vents, storing them as chemical energy. These bacteria are the primary producers on Kennars, and form the base of the food chain.
History: When humanity first arrived in the Qesa system, they found Kennars as it is today, a planet covered in ice, almost certainly unsuitable for colonization. During the initial exploration of the planet it was found to be already inhabited by an intelligent alien species that the ship’s crew named the ‘Aallae’, who lived in the caves deep below the surface of the planet. The colony ship sat in orbit for a long time, the colonists unwilling to settle on the harsh surface of Kennars, but also unwilling to attack and drive the Aallae out of their caverns. However, the colony ship was not designed to last forever, and as more and more components began to break down and maintenance costs increased exponentially, it became clear something had to be done. Unfortunately for the humans aboard the ship, the Gateway that had brought them to Qesa was closed, and they were left with no other option than to settle onto Kennars. The colony ship landed on the planet, immediately being reassembled into the first arcology, its reactor transformed into the beating heart of human civilization of Kennars.
The settlement of Kennars proved more difficult than anticipated, however. Despite landing in the warmer equatorial zone, many colonists died as a result of hypothermia and frostbite. The insulation of the colony ship, suitable for reducing heat loss from radiation, did not prove adequate to protect against the harsh cold of Kennars. Before the first arcology was completed a quarter of the population had already perished. Additionally, many of the new arrivals did not appreciate having to live in the arcology, unsure whether they would see tomorrow.They beseeched the Aallae for help, to let them move into the aliens’ caves and avoid the frozen surface. The Aallae, however, were reluctant. They were wary of the newcomers, and the caves were already becoming overpopulated due to a recent population boom. Most of the Kennarsian colonists were furious that the Aallae had declined their request for help. Anti-alien sentiments soared and riots broke out, forcing the colonial government to crack down before the arcology would be overwhelmed. A human-supremacist group, calling themselves the ‘Children of Earth’, used the discontent of the population as well as the weakening government authority to stage a coup. Taking control of the arcology, they sent out expeditions to found a number of new colonies and prepare for war.
The Aallae Wars were a series of conflicts between the various nations of the Aallae, and a number of human settlements under the banner of the Children of Earth. The human colonists were technologically far more advanced than the Aallae, but did not know the planet as well as the aliens did and were far more vulnerable, being situated on the surface. The conflicts were brutal, consisting mostly of tunnel fighting as the colonists attempted to invade the Aallae caves. Human patrols would disappear in the night, picked off one by one by the Aallae, while the Children of Earth would flood Aallae caves with neurotoxic gasses, killing anything inside. The war came to a head when a human strike team managed to infiltrate one of the largest cave-cities of the Aallae and detonate a nuclear weapon, killing tens of thousands while sacrificing themselves. In response, the Aallae used ice-boring machines to drill into two human arcologies, including the human capital, and detonate their reactors, wiping out a good chunk of the human colonists and beheading their leadership in one fell swoop.
After that, the war was over. In the chaos that followed, faraway settlements broke off, declaring their independence. Minor skirmishes were fought between human arcologies, but these soon stopped as many realized that fighting on Kennars was too wasteful. Rather than taking the Aallae caves or fighting one another for scraps, the Kennarsians focused their energy towards improving their own fortunes. New materials were invented, both to resist against the cold and to build stronger structures. The Kennarsians learned to make robots to do the most dangerous work in the icy wasteland. New power sources allowed for the generation of more heat, boosting food supplies and quality of life. The largest arcologies signed treaties of mutual assistance, and soon even the Aallae opened up again and started trading with humanity. As the Kennarsians finally overcame the planet’s challenges, the Kennarsian League was born.
Culture and Society: Given the environment on Kennars, humanity is relegated to living in enormous artificial complexes powered by geothermal or fusion energy. These surface arcologies are self-sufficient and are capable of supporting tens of thousands of human inhabitants. It is here where the Kennarsians spend almost the entirety of their lives, living, working and having fun. The greatest of the arcologies are the dome-cities. These, as the name suggest, are cities built under an enormous dome that allow its inhabitants to see the sky without having to go outside into the cold wilderness.
Of course, the arcologies, or Arcos as they are called colloquially, need a lot of maintenance to run properly. Food needs to be made, the temperature must be maintained and breaches must be carefully searched for and repaired. Every Kennarsian is assigned a job based on their qualities and abilities, and they are expected to spare no effort when doing their job, for others depend on them. This has led to close-knit communities where people are willing to help one another and be selfless for the good of the arcology. However, there is also a darker side, as there is a lot of social pressure to perform one’s task well, and those who are unable to meet the community’s demands are ostracized. The exception to this rule are those who are too old or too sick to fulfill their duties. Instead, the ill are treated freely, and the old are allowed to retire into positions that require no manual labor. At high latitude, in the coldest areas of the planet, it is a struggle to even do the most basic tasks, and so the most desperate measures are taken for the survival of arcologies. Here, people are treated as an expendable resource, like the food they eat or the hydrogen in their reactors. Unproductive people are exiled into the wilderness so that they are not a burden on the rest of their community, and those who actively betray their habitat are outright executed.
The Aallae, on the other hand, make their home in the caves of Kennars. Here they farm fungus-like organisms that feed off the microbial mats that grow near the underground hot springs. Aallae cave-cities are adapted to their unique biology, with little to no visual cues, instead most of the information is provided in the form of smell or sound. The Aallae are a tribal people, having large kinship groups, each with their own customs and traditions. The tribes combine into larger nations, which are a political unit comparable to the modern nation-state. There is some migration between Aallae cave-cities and human arcologies, but migration and integration is more difficult due to the fact that the Aallae are blind.
Governance and Politics: The Kennarsian League is a confederation consisting of and founded by the various human arcologies, habitats and Aallae nations and tribes on Kennars. Its primary purpose is to organize mutual assistance, resolve disputes between members and pool resources. The League is run by the League Council, an assembly of representatives from the various polities in the League. The Council decides the future direction of the League, allocates resources and serves as a mediator for disputes between the League’s members. Agreements between the League’s members can only take effect when implemented by those same members, as there is no central police force or army to enforce them.
Given the large amount of human settlements on the planet, there is inevitably some variety in how each is run. In general, however, every arcology is led by an Archon, an elected position with dictatorial power. They, and an appointed council of advisors, make every important decision for the settlement, from the amount of food that is to be produced to the daily allotment of reactor heat. The Archon is essentially just another job in the settlement, and has no special privileges or rights compared to the other inhabitants.
Because Aallae societies have existed on Kennars for millenia, there are many different kinds of government in the Aallae nations.
Technology Overview: Materials science: The Kennarsians have invented a number of advanced materials to help them live on the surface of Kennars. One of these materials is alpha-beta pykrete, an advanced form of pykrete that is transparent. It is made out of ice and fibers from plant waste, making it a tough material that can be made using materials that are locally available. Alpha-beta pykrete (also known as AB-Pykrete), is used on the outer layer of the dome-cities, combined with a middle insulating layer and a structural inner layer. Another important material is synth-wool, an advanced textile that is even warmer than regular wool while also having the benefit of being far lighter. This allows the Kennarsians to go outside into the icy wasteland while maintaining their dexterity, a great boon for soldiers and citizens alike.
Robotics: The Kennarsians have also created robots that aid them in doing many of the tasks an ordinary human would find difficult in the harsh environment of Kennars. These robots do much of the outside labor, like repairing the outside walls of the arcology, harvesting ice to use as fuel for arcology fusion reactors, and many other kinds of work.
Medical science: A number of important advances in medical science have greatly contributed to the survival of the Kennarsian people. The first of these is the use of advanced bionic limbs to replace limbs lost to frostbite and amputation. This allows Kennarsians who have had accidents or have been exposed to the cold for too long to still live full lives and be productive to the community. Advanced methods to treat extreme hypothermia in the field have also been invented. Finally, the Kennarsians have also developed a way to artificially induce a state of suspended animation that helps those who have been caught in dire situations survive the harsh environment for far longer than they would normally.
There are of course also other miscellaneous technologies, like sensor systems that can penetrate the worst snow storms, the use of ice-boring machines to travel around and other inventions.
Military Overview: Every human arcology and Aallae cave city maintains a small military force, primarily tasked with disaster relief, search-and-rescue operations and humanitarian aid. Kennarsian soldiers see little to no combat, except for rare encounters with wild animals or human exiles that have banded together.
The League’s soldiers are equipped with laser-based weaponry, with little to no moving parts in order to avoid jamming. They are also equipped with gear suited for the cold wilderness, and Kennarsian vehicles are properly equipped to deal with the deep snow. Some arcologies even use flying vehicles and VTOL aircraft to transport personnel. The Kennarsian military prefers to use a mobile form of warfare emphasizing stealth, the use of small units and hit-and-run tactics, disappearing before the enemy even knows they were there.
As the League has almost no presence in the wider Qesean system, it has no military space fleet. The only space-based military assets consist of an impressive satellite array around Kennars used for gathering intelligence, monitoring the weather and keeping watch.
Ashevelen was a scientist on a colony spaceship, Traversing the galaxy in search of a new home. Through a wormhole they traveled, a device called Gateway, But soon after its use, it ceased to function, and they were alone.
The planet they arrived on was inhospitable at best, With a radioactive atmosphere and toxic plants. Carnivorous animals roamed the land, a deadly test, For the humans to survive here, they would need a chance.
But Ashevelen was not deterred, she had a plan, To alter the human DNA, to make them fit for this land. And so, The Chosen were born, immune to sickness, able to withstand The harsh conditions of this planet, and to live for centuries at a time.
The Chosen worshiped Ashevelen as a living god, And she built a utopian society, a paradise for them. But secretly, she hated the worship and the adoration, For she knew that if the truth were known, it would cause devastation.
For in the early days of her experiments, not all went well, For every one Chosen, ten Rejected were created, a living hell. Deformed and twisted, some died of tumors, some were beasts, But most retained their minds, and still worshiped Ashevelen, hoping for a cure at least.
Three hundred years have passed, and Ashevelen still hides her true nature, Lest the worship turn to anger, and a civil war ensue. But she knows that one day, the truth will come out, And she must face the consequences of what she has done.
So I had a couple of questions was going to ask on discord but it seems like thats not an option. 1.What was the level of technological advancement and exploitation of the solar system at the time of the exodus? 2. while we cannot use STL travel to reach other colonies, can we have some presence, perhaps outposts, on starsystems closer to our system? like, less than 10 LY away. this would obviously be a challenge for the civilization to manage, but in a dense starcluster might be semi-manageable.
EDIT: oooops noticed this is full, sorry about that.
So I had a couple of questions was going to ask on discord but it seems like thats not an option. 1.What was the level of technological advancement and exploitation of the solar system at the time of the exodus? 2. while we cannot use STL travel to reach other colonies, can we have some presence, perhaps outposts, on starsystems closer to our system? like, less than 10 LY away. this would obviously be a challenge for the civilization to manage, but in a dense starcluster might be semi-manageable.
EDIT: oooops noticed this is full, sorry about that.
1: General tech level in earth isn't specified closely but cybernetics, genetic engineering, obviously the construction of the arks and gateways, etc was possible.
2: Consider the difficulty of actually sending people to those other locations. If you don't want the trip to take thousands of years, you're sending them at some significant fraction of c. I actually have a nation in the works that did this for one colony. The difference is they're not ferrying materials around. The main reason for colonizing besides the ideal of spreading humanity further to the stars is, of course, resources. The cost of sending materials back and forth at any appreciable fraction of c would completely negate the resources you'd receive. This is of course not including the extra resources required to accelerate and decelerate a larger payload due to its greater momentum.
All this is to say, yes* *you aren't gonna be taking a shuttle to alpha centauri and back on a routine basis and your communications with them are likely on a big delay.
Hello everyone! We've had a long and bumpy road to get here, but I would like to thank our most dedicated players who have stuck by The Next Generation in the past 10 months, and I'd like to announce that applications are OPEN again! We're reaching the end of a long storyline and some fresh blood would fit in wonderfully.
May the eye of the storms guide all of us forever, in few things or many, small things or vast; blessed be the cycle of heaven and cursed be the weight of the void
GOVERNMENT FORM: Human-alien tribal confederation
Yaeph'La: ~39%; the nomadic remnants of an advanced alien species who had long ago settled in the Easifa system in a fleet of ships over many generations; despite some early tension, they recognized the human arrivals as fellow refugees, and so hesitantly shared their genetic engineering and habitat construction technology with humanity. They are broadly split between the grey-skinned "Yaeph'Zan", who possess a higher amount of ancestral yulzan DNA, and the shorter "Yaeph'Zir", who possess a higher amount of ancestral aldzir DNA.
Arjuani: ~20%; modified humans with grey or purplish skin, adapted for life in high-gravity and high temperature environments - trace amounts of silicon, iron and iodine, cellular redundancy against the effects of radiation and chemical poisoning, and segmented lungs that function as living oxygen tanks; split across many tribal/ethnic lines after 250 years of survival across the vast network of habitats throughout the Upper and Lower Shabaka, but broadly united in a shared religion and history (the Arjuani Cloud).
Gremlins: ~17%; genetically engineered organisms created by the yaeph'la settlers; appearing as the six-limbed lovechild of an eel, a beetle, and a pug, they are particularly notable for the high adaptability, resilience, and the intense electrical conductivity of their nervous systems, making them easily augmented with cybernetics.
Foldforms: ~12.5%; a species of parasitic extremophile colonial organisms of unknown origin who arrived on Easifa'Thani's moons in the distant past, they primarily feed on radiation and electromagnetic fields; after their disastrous first contact with the yaeph'la, communications were eventually established and mutual benefits were found through limited infection of sapient host organisms. While various foldforms exist as organic radiation, electrical wiring, or heat-shielding for structures, ships and exosuits, a group calling themselves "the Veiled" have taken to permanent symbiosis with foldforms, and have established permanent settlements on Easifa'Thani's radiation poisoned moons and other previously uninhabitable regions of the system.
Cloudkin Pilgrims: ~4%; explorers and traders of one of the two indigenous alien species on Easifa'Thani and who safely dwell within the colonies through the use of highly pressurized suits; they are a gaseous, vaguely jellyfish-like species who dwell in the upper layers of Easifa'Thani in numerous 'bubble towns', and they mainly assist with human and yaeph'la habitat construction. With the help of their allies they successfully launched a set of massive spiralling ships that emerged from the deepest layers of Easifa'Thani several decades ago and now orbit their home star.
Gaians: ~2.5%; water, soil, and plant-worshiping heavily modified human-reptile hybrids who mainly dwell in low gravity environments, further edited with plant cells to be energized by UV radiation; renowned as gardeners, a number of them live as warrior monks in patrol around the location of the gate and the promised return to Earth; descended primarily from what was once the Children of Gaia
Spacers: ~2.5%; baseline humans who primarily live on ships or stations, rather than the habitats. The prolonged effects of low-gravity life on quarantined ships have left them stunted and with weaker bones and weakened immune systems, but otherwise they are human.
Asmovund: ~2%; heavily deformed and poisoned human puritans encased in cybernetic shells; their tolerance for AI and obsession with the Yahsud Alnaar has left them in a semi-ostracized state, while tensions run high between them and the gaians following a number of skirmishes and religious disputes; descended primarily from what was once the Asimov Foundation.
Hybrids: ~0.5%; Human-Yaeph'La hybrids; while some prejudice lingers, the last 250 years of co-existence in shared and connected habitats had inevitably led to some cases of human and yaeph'la becoming romantically involved and, through genetic engineering, for the creation of what is technically a third species
POPULATION: Approximately 245 million inhabitants of the Upper Shabaka, and another 103 million inhabitants of the Lower Shabaka, including approximately 40,000 Cloudkin. Another 32 million exist on various habitats, stations and ships across the moons of Easifa'Thani and the system's asteroid belt, with varying degrees of autonomy -- these 'void-dwellers' have the highest percentage of Gaian and Asmovund communities. The Cloudkin pilgrims aboard their ships are estimated to number about 20 million.
All told, there are an estimated 400 million souls in the Easifa system, though of course the exact number would be almost impossible to know.
PLANET NAME & DESCRIPTION:Easifa'Thani is the closest planet of the Easifa system to its home star. A silicon and iodine rich hot gas giant with a thin layer of carbon dioxide surrounding functioning as its outer atmosphere, it was far from being the first choice for settlement by the original Yaeph'La colonists. However, upon the discovery of Easifa'Mal's ancient destruction and the chaos caused by the Yahsud Alnaar, the mining outposts constructed there were repurposed for city-scale human habitations.
Like many such habitats, it is built inside of a pressurized silicon-based 'island' suspended amidst the storms of Easifa'Thani.
Of particular interest is that Easifa'Thani possesses a unique biosphere all of its own. While studying it in detail has proven almost impossible due to the monumental gravitational and atmospheric pressures and the extreme temperatures, there appears to be a wide variety of complex life that occasionally emerges into viewing range. Of particular note are the 'cloudkin', gaseous colonial organisms that possess some form of sapience and intelligence - sufficient to build their own complex 'bubble towns' out of harvested silicon gas, and to reverse engineer lost human technology and repurpose it into high-pressure environmental suits that have allowed some of them to dwell among the humans of the Lower Shabaka. Meanwhile, a mysterious, sluggish species of vaguely flatfish/trilobite-like organisms exist in the deepest regions; even the cloudkin have had little contact with them, but they seem to be content in their slow and ancient strolling.
HISTORY THE STAR WITHOUT A HOME: The Miracle Agreement was a pooling of resources, a humanitarian alliance of religious and charitable groups, NGOs, communes and cults who were quick to see the writing on the wall. Their individual efforts to help limit the disastrous effects of climate change and nuclear warfare had been of limited success, and so in secret their leadership arranged for the creation of a series of colony ships. With heavy hearts those 300,000 colonists fled through the gate aboard the Five Miracles and supported by a fleet of technical and support vessels, hoping that perhaps they might yet discover something that could be sent back through the gate to help the people of Earth.
Sadly, the arrangement of the Miracles had been a slow and rocky process. The gates had already been open for some time when they launched, and so whereas most expeditions had already begun to settle when the gates closed, for the Miracle Fleet it was a shocking and desperate close call. A terrible silence filled the darkness as they pressed onwards.
As the fleet made their way to Easifa'Mal, the predicted garden world, the fleet faced an unprecedented disaster. The planet was surrounded by advanced machines of unknown design. The fleet attempted to transmit signals and communicate with the machines, but the only response was violence. Evasive manoeuvres were attempted and an exchange of fire, but sadly the Second Miracle was torn to pieces and the fleet scattered, desperately fleeing in every direction.
The remaining four miracles and the core of the fleet, desperate for some kind of shelter, headed deeper into the system - the massive hot gas giant, Easifa'Thani, could perhaps serve as a shield. Sadly, the length of the journey forced a desperate delaying action, and the Third Miracle was evacuated with only limited success as the captain ordered they hold the line.
As the First, Fourth and Fifth Miracles got closer, they received transmissions of an unknown source - another fleet of ships, alien in design! Supported by structures that formed a vast network of industrial sites, refineries, habitats, bridges and ports that surrounded the gas giant. Communication was a tense and desperate affair for several months - the alien fleet was larger and evidently more advanced than their own in many ways, and some kind of virus had severely damaged and corrupted the AI that the Miracle Fleet made use of and rendered much of their data and software erratic. In desperation many had turned to unorthodox or analogue memory aids, using anything they could to keep track of crucial data.
"We promise. We will not hurt you."
YAEPH'LA & THE PROMISE: In time the creatures revealed themselves to be Yaeph'La, an alien species who had fled their own home world's destruction in a fleet of generation ships. They explained the situation - that they had settled on Easifa'Mal and had some success terraforming it, but in their experimentation and eagerness they had awoken some kind of ancient orbit-wide, self-replicating automated weapons system. This vicious enemy - named the Yahsud Alnaar, the reaving fire - had destroyed their old colony and forced them to flee to their industrial and mining facilities on Easifa'Thani, expanding them with the help of the gas giant's indigenous silicon-based organisms into functioning long-term habitats.
If the humans would work with them - share their technology and their DNA - they could live with the Yaeph'La. They would work together to make this most inhospitable world their new home. In desperation, they agreed, and an uneasy peace was formed - in time and with understanding, generation after generation, coldness gave way to something resembling genuine kinship.
OTHER GROUPS OF THE PROMISE: As the decades rolled by, a number of religious and cultural differences among the colonists began to grate - most notably among the Children of Gaia, representatives from a 'lifestyle collective' back on Earth fascinated with genetic engineering as a way to survive the apocalypse. While some chose to remain among the other settlers on Easifa'Thani, the majority assembled their resources and returned to the gate, establishing a series of elaborate sealed habitats in its vicinity and awaiting its return. They were begrudgingly assisted in this endeavour by members of the Asimov Foundation, who had been studying the Yahsud Alnaar in a hopes of reconfiguring and controlling the swarm and had learnt some of its weaknesses.
As the years have gone by the immediate existential dread of the Yahsud Alnaar has been replaced with an uneasy wariness, and an understanding among most for the need to cooperate. Communications became easier and easier with the cloudkin. Although there have been moments of violence or disagreement, the countless tribes that have gradually formed and joined the Easifan Promise have worked together to create a new history and the possibilities of new futures. It is not entirely accurate or optimistic -- and their balancing of science to superstition may prove worrying to outsiders -- but it has kept them alive.
Alive, and not alone.
CULTURE & SOCIETY: The people of the Easifa system are remarked to be strong-willed and community driven, united by memories of disaster and the continuous effort to survive by any means. Their songs are at once themed around death, while maintaining hope. Their art -- murals and paintings, scrawled upon the walls of their ships and engines -- are abstract and symbolic, but often use dark and melancholic scenes highlighted by bright moments in high contrast. Their stories often deal with the nature of time and the overcoming of grief. All have elements of mathematics or technical skills baked into them on some level - a form of memory aid in the face of centuries worth of gradually lost knowledge.
Cooking meanwhile is viewed as a delicate but crucial past-time, the limited carbon-based biodiversity of the habitats forcing them to carefully synthesize new flavours with great difficulty. Legends speak of a time when 'spices' were abundant at the birthplaces of humanity and yaeph'la, but most write this off as impossible. Nevertheless, they serve as a strong motive for some more daring adventurers to attempt expeditions to Easifa'Mal or beyond its orbit to the lost ships of humanity, in order to acquire new species or recover some element of lost yaeph'la technology.
By contrast, alcohol or relaxant drug use are (besides being very rare and difficult to grow) forbidden under all but specific medical circumstances - there are no safe environments in which a person can 'slack off', as in the event of an emergency a person could be called upon and would need to be highly alert. Coffee is the notable exception to this, being highly prized by all human cultures in the Easifa system and ranging in scale from luxury to commonplace swill used as an intense caffeine fix.
GOVERNANCE & POLITICS:: Initially the colony ships were led in a clear chain of command, with decisions made by those with relevant information and skillsets as problems emerged. Individuals could voice criticisms anonymously, but these were merely used as information to consider, not a form of decision making themselves.
After the scattering of the fleet and the settlement on Easifa'Thani, however, the needs of survival have drastically shifted the structure of the various colonies. Long stretches of time residing on isolated ships or stations has led to sets of self-organizing tribal lineages speaking a range of dialects and creole languages. The Easifan tribes have no centralized authority - rather, the promise in its fullest sense is a series of treaties, a set of agreed upon rules and deals that are frequently reviewed at large gatherings on Easifa'Thani known as Headmeets. At its core, it is a point of mutual cooperation, aid, and defence against the dangers of the Yahsud Alnaar and the vacuum of space.
TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW: Three hundred years of disaster and struggle have not been kind to the descendants of the original colonists, and the various Easifan tribes are fortunate to have survived at all - even if much of their infrastructure is needing constant repair and patchwork effort, with limited new industry to fill the gap. Nevertheless, they make the most of what they can, and their willingness to work with aliens and to study their enemies has given them some new knowledge to work from:
The original technology they brought with them on the Five Miracles has been in a steady state of disrepair. One of the most important pieces were a set of prototype fabrication models they acquired from the Mensura group, but most have broken down by this point and recovering functioning pieces of the ones aboard the wreckage of the Second and Third Miracles have been a source of constant danger and difficulty. Notably, the nature of life in the Easifa system encourages a quickness to grasp new scientific concepts and creative use of what resources are available.
Hardlight, an unusual technology possessed by the Yaeph'La they reverse-engineered from the Yahsud Alnaar. Photons are condensed into a lattice temporarily, creating highly durable constructs that require a constant source of power, or elaborate but short-lived remote-controlled holograms that can fool visual or temperature sensors. It's also proven valuable as a way to pattern or prepare the ground work for more permanent construction, by projecting hardlight blueprints that you then build 'on top of'.
Genetic engineering and hydroponics are fields that the yaeph'La and gaians are both specialists in, though they hesitate to make it widely available. Rather, yaeph'la and gaian representatives can be found on many ships or stations and are prevalent.
Crucially, the Yaeph'la and Arjuani - and thus most of the Easifan tribes, though they vary in how much they actually respect it on an individual basis - are violently opposed to advanced AI. While they do use very limited AI and computers to assist with the necessary calculations and projections of life in space, the viral signal that the Yahsud Alnaar emits both significantly limits the consistency and advancement of their computer systems and has created a superstitious opposition to AI out of principle.
MILITARY OVERVIEW: The various Easifan tribes are varied in their militarism; the Yaeph'La, Gaians and Asmovund being the most warlike and consistently well equipped for conflict - even occasionally engaging in raids on other tribes. Though, with their large population and limited hardlight construction the Arjuani are capable of the single largest military force of the Promise.
Because of centuries spent in space and fragile indoor environments the Easifan tribes have limited skill in ground combat and few veterans of occasional raids to Easifa'Mal to pass on what little they will have learnt, and their infantry are primarily trained to fight with low-lethality or bladed weapons to limit the risk of damage or hull breach. However, they are adept pilots, and while the civilian nature of many of their ships limits the capacity or willingness to fight (as opposed to simply fleeing), they possess a number of powerful ranged weapons.
GOVERNMENT FORM: Technocratic post-baseline oligarchy
Time: 00.0001%; Immortal digitized human consciousness and original founders of the Sevenfold Summation.
Luminous: ~0.5%; Hybrid digitized human and diplat consciousness in networked forms specialized for administration, translation, diplomacy, and education.
Current: ~1.5%; Human and diplat derived brains and nervous systems supported in compact, AI-assisted mechanical shells for maximally efficient research, medical and engineering work.
Temperature: ~3%; Heavily modified humans or diplat augmented with DNA from various predator and extremophile organisms, for high survivability and exploration or combat in extreme environments.
Length: ~11%; Hybrids of human and diplat DNA who now serve as a genetic template for further augmentation and primarily work in law enforcement, administration, and education.
Mass: ~14%; Heavily modified diplat whose strength, endurance and weight have been greatly increased and primarily work in either very high or low gravity environments, as well as mining, or heavy industry. Many are also equipped with implants designed to control electromagnetic fields
Quantity: ~66%; Baseline or near baseline diplat, who go through regular assessments over their life to determine their potential recruitment into higher measurements and otherwise work in a wide range of jobs, particularly food production, construction, office work or machine operation. Having a natural lifespan of roughly 20-25 years in human terms, the diplat tend to measure their lifespan in local 'seasons', roughly quarters of a year. --- NOTE: This also includes the inhabitants of the crechetowns -- small, isolated colonies of near-baseline humans raised on some of Moumlet's more isolated mountainous regions from a mixture of descendants of the original crew, and vat-grown fertilized embryos that survived the expedition. While official policy is that baseline humans should be treated the same as baseline diplat, inevitably the human population is rarely 'promoted' and when they are it's always to 'higher' measurements.
Undefined: ~3.5%; Any diplat not aligned with the Sevenfold Summation - tools at best, enemies of the state at worst.
REDACTED: ~0.5%; INFORMATION DECLARED CONTRARY TO TRUTH. THE PACIFICATION OF THE SPHERE WAS A PEACEFUL ENDEAVOUR. THERE IS NO SITE OMEGA.
POPULATION: Approximately 4 billion 'baseline' diplat (Quantity/Undefined measurements) and approximately 1.3 billion of the 'other' measurements. There are approximately 40,000 near-baseline humans in Crechetown, while the 'Time' measurement number only about a thousand.
Rotation Period/"Length of Days": 26 hours Orbital Period/"Length of Year": 412 days, 17 hours (Earth time) Local Calender: 381 local/Moumlet days divided into four seasons across ten months (with the last month having an extra day)
PLANET NAME & DESCRIPTION:Moumlet is the second planet of the Mensura system; a rocky terrestrial planet with a radius approximately 12% larger than Earth and a mass of 1.28g, carved apart with great industrial pit cities and networks of caverns and chasms, and possessing an unusually large magnetic core. The stronger electromagnetic fields of Moumlet than many other habitable worlds have created a number of unusual formations in its crust, leading to a highly uneven surface covered in deep, arching chasms. Moumlet's oceans are thus disconnected from each other by long, interconnected continents and possess relatively low salinity, but completely fresh water is very rare – most organisms on Moumlet possess specialized salt-filtering organs.
Because of the uneven surface and high density of iron ore, Moumlet's crust is often described as 'pockmarked' or 'hollow'. Coupled with its relatively close proximity to its home star, many organisms are partly subterranean or amphibious, and despite centuries of exploration there still remains entire underground ecosystems and waterways that haven't been fully catalogued or understood yet.
Following centuries of increasing industrialization and the firestorm experiment, Moumlet's atmosphere has become thicker and its oceans chemically unbalanced. While some life still survives and the Summation has introduced a number of genetically engineered organisms to help keep the atmosphere breathable, purify toxic waters, and keep the ecosystem varied, the planet has become more and more imbalanced. Its once oxygen-rich atmosphere has been contaminated with traces of chlorine and ammonia, and in certain regions, gas masks are still required. The biodiversity of the planet has sadly plummeted to a fraction of its original variety. --- NOTE: Moumlet is a reoccurring name for the planet in several diplat languages, particularly those of the compacts that allied themselves with the Summation. While this has since been adopted as its formal name, a number of earlier Mensura reports refer to it as 'Moleworld' prior to this, and some members of the Time measurement still refer to it as such between themselves.
DIPLAT BIOLOGY: The diplat are omnivores – living on a mixture of various roots, plants, arthropods, fish, and meat that they scavenge from predators or bring down in ambush, though by the time the Mensura group discovered them they had long since transitioned to the use of industrial-scale farming and aquaculture. They were originally prey animals on their home world, with leathery skin covered in a coating of short, dark red fur, inhabiting a number of underground cave networks at the shorelines of several natural waterways. Despite their short lifespans -- naturally only living for about 20 years before suffering a kind of severe neurological decay that causes extreme memory loss and eventually renders them comatose -- their sensitive hearing and tight knit family units allowed them to easily predict the movements of predators and set up increasingly large and well-defended communities. With time, this has led to larger and larger family networks that thrive through careful ambush tactics and an eagerness to claim new burrows at any cost.
Diplat possess a set of four highly light-sensitive eyes and multiple ears allow for survival both above and below ground. They average at just under a meter in height when full grown, with males being slightly larger. This difference is further emphasized by males possessing a set of defensive quills along their back, shoulders, hips and the sides of their head that they are able to flare up in a kind of threat display, though this is nowadays just the subject of traditional festivals or low-stakes contests.
Female diplat lay clutches of three or four thin-shelled eggs at a time, traditionally in a nest of soft, muddy soil. When the eggs hatch in a few weeks time, the babies are transported in her pouch to a communal crèche, usually set aside in a particular well-defended central area of the community. In the modern day, most mothers lay their eggs in a small but cosy room layered in soft, cushiony materials or a sterilized synthetic mud.
"We arrived in the Mensura system and discovered a sickly, dying species warring over a sickly, dying world. We reached out to help, but they reacted with violence. Fearing that we were the last of humanity, we sadly resorted to violence against their cruel and selfish warlords. But by doing so, we united the diplat into an orderly, well-educated society that brings out the best in every individual to better serve the collective good."
"Some might say we shouldn't have helped them, and perhaps some philosophies may not have. But if we hadn't, the diplat would now be extinct and their planet would be ruined. For the sake of their descendants -- a thriving population, some 5.3 billion! -- we believe it was the right thing to do."
ARRIVAL & DISASTER: For the Mensura group -- a thinktank funded by some of the wealthiest STEM-field giants -- the gateway expedition was a twisted dream come true. On Earth they were held back by the whims of the masses and endless redtape. But out there? Anything could be possible. To this end they constructed four ships, with the first three -- the Aspect of Nous; the Spirit of Nous; and the Conviction of Nous -- being primarily research and exploration vessels. Each had a crew of about two thousand, supported by cutting edge AI and terraforming systems; carrying human embryos and DNA for thousands of plant and animal species; and with fabrication modules to help create any tool or machine that would prove necessary to their research or terraforming efforts. Once they had sufficiently surveyed and built up the infrastructure for true colonization, the final ship -- the gargantuan Body of Nous and its 10,000 passengers, still finalizing construction -- would follow them through the gate.
They launched with excitement, but almost immediately disaster awaited. The gate had opened in orbit around a massive gas giant, and the Spirit had entered at an angle that quickly left it spiralling to disaster. A tiny fraction of the crew and their equipment managed to escape and were incorporated into the Aspect and Conviction, but it was with heavy hearts and the taste of death that they proceeded in their surveys.
At first, the loss seemed like the storm before a rainbow - resource rich, most crucial of all the system they had arrived in was host to a habitable world. More so, it supported an abundance of alien life! The news was met with equal parts curiosity and paranoia. Endless possibilities surely awaited, and the signals sent through the gate back home were met with both excitement and dollar signs. Their families, colleagues, and backers awaited final construction of the Body of Nous and the chance to join them...
...then the gate closed, and paranoia gave way to panic.
Of the 4,039 remaining crew aboard the Aspect and Conviction, only about one and a half thousand would survive the fighting that gradually broke out over the next year of silence. A number of fabrication modules were destroyed outright, and the Aspect's AI was hacked and its code damaged in ways that wouldn't be fully repaired for decades.
Order was eventually restored when reasonable voices managed to get across that the ships couldn't sustain any further loss of machinery or hydroponics. Throughout the conflict, some had put the remaining fabricators to work on the material gathered from asteroids and moons of the gas giant in the construction of a new gate, but all attempts to reopen the gate and restore communications with Earth and the countless other expeditions were met with abject failure -- in the violence and chaos, there had been a loss of crucial data and the deaths of those who might have known the secrets to gateway construction.
For months they were adrift, without a concrete plan. Some of the world's brightest minds trapped in a pair of boxes with nothing but their research to wile away the time.
And meanwhile, only passingly aware that they were now being observed and scrutinized by dangerous alien visitors, the diplat compacts continued their endless squabbling and industrial expansion.
ASCENSION & FIRST CONTACT: As the surviving crew of Aspect and Conviction set about their jobs and continued their observations - with the crew of the Conviction in particular setting about the construction of an elaborate shipyard and fueling station around the gas giant, eventually named Indra for its storms and the role it would play in the war to come - some began to experiment in more detail with the shipboard AI. Some theorized a way to help recover some of the corrupted data, by using a human brain as a filter. The experiment was seemingly a failure, and one that killed the subject's body. As a result the research was abandoned...
...only for the subject to suddenly 'wake up' inside the Aspect's communication network, the ship's AI having split into a new matrix based on the subject's memories and personality.
Once more division spread throughout the crews as to what to do with this information, and it was in the process of deciding that a kind of direct democracy had formed -- old command structures slowly ceased to apply with returning to Earth seeming more and more unlikely and the changing needs to life in space. In a vote that would define the human settlers of the newly christened Mensura system, 72% voted for the digitization research to be opened up - some immediately set about uploading themselves, others refused, and yet others held off to observe the long-term effects.
It was in the months that followed that a second defining issues would arise - what to do about the diplat, and their homeworld. The original purpose of the expedition had been to gather data and set about the preparations needed for terraforming operations and permanent colonization by humans. While the planet wasn't technically uninhabitable, its higher gravity and atmospheric composition would make permanent human habitation uncomfortable, and its massive indigenous population would no doubt severely limit the potential limits of human settlement.
Some argued that the mission must be maintained - at any cost. Others felt that 'colonization' efforts should involve communication and re-education, teaching these "diplat" to live similarly to humans. Yet others felt that if the mission had already failed, peaceful co-existence and mutual assistance was the best path. In the debate and vote that followed, a cautious hand of peace was reached out - but perhaps too soon. The diplat languages were still understood in only small amounts and without full context, and several of the largest diplat compacts were engaged in a generations old war of attrition.
What goodwill might be earned was further mired when several crew members of the Aspect, landing on a supposedly uninhabited region of the planet to collect samples of plant and animal life, were suddenly met by a small group of diplat soldiers on some kind of training exercise. Their fabricated weapons proved deadly and disorientating to the less visually-orientated diplat, and in a reckless act they kidnapped some of the soldiers and killed the others.
Onboard the Aspect they began to experiment on and dissect the captured soldiers, much to the horror of other crew members. Voting almost moved to return the bodies, only for the detection of primitive ground-to-orbital weaponry revealed a frightening attempt by a diplat compact to destroy their ship.
Two narrow misses and 26 hours later, and the crew of the Aspect retaliated by redirecting an asteroid. It certainly destroyed the weapon -- and somewhere in the vicinity of 800,000 people.
As the next century would reveal, these figures would prove tasteful by comparison.
THE PACIFICATION: Prior to the arrival of the Mensura Group, diplat society was highly fragmented - as the various family networks had grown in scale and complexity, not all interactions and disagreements were resolved with violence. Rather, the debates and compromises gradually began to incorporate more and more families, eventually producing some of the first huddles, accords, and compacts. Up until recently, these compacts had been the main political structure among the diplat, led by representatives from their member families. They arranged trade deals, tunnel and burrow rights, surface and oceanic infrastructure projects, and set limits on military action between families and against other compacts.
By the time the Mensura group had begun their attack, the limits of the various compacts had revealed themselves - endless arguing and debate, overindustrialization, ecological disaster, overly conservative attitudes toward new technologies and ways of acting, and wars of attrition leading to generations old blood feuds – were quickly accelerated by the effects of orbital bombardment. Without centralized authority these compacts often forced each other into bitter conflicts over resources, and so the diplat were perpetually ravaged by war -- made all the more intense by the fact that most of their cities and settlements were underground, formed in great fortified networks of tunnels and chambers that could easily be used to disorientate or bog down attackers.
Attempts by the crew to reach out and arrange a ceasefire quickly proved difficult, until another diplat compact - rivals of the ones they had been bombarding - reached out to them. They would gladly help fight a mutual enemy in exchange for assistance in their own efforts to reach the stars, and for a time this agreement worked to the crews' favour...
...except, in the years that followed - as the exact nature of diplat warfare became clearer to the remnants of the Mensura - the opinions of the crew became more and more poisoned. Efforts to 're-educate' diplat compacts to abandon their family-centric and often nepotistic structure were met with polite refusal at best and sometimes outright violence. On at least two occasions former allies switched their view of the Mensura, using the tools and weaponry that the Mensura had supplied them in order to built new anti-orbital weapons.
Coupled with the fact that more and more of the crew had digitized themselves to stay alive, and the personality-damaging issues of long-term data storage that were revealing themselves... the Mensura slowly but surely began to change. Scientific discovery, now having become little more than a series of hobbies and private experiments in the wake of the group's focus shifting to militarization and warfare. The biosphere of Moumlet became increasingly deranged, as bio-weapons were unleashed and genetically engineered predators or human/diplat hybridized vat-grown soldiers were sent in to fight in the tunnels.
By the 99th year of the siege, the diplat population had plummeted by about 5 billion. Most of the Mensura were digitized by this point, or had elected to simply terminate their own lives on their terms. A few recognized the hopeless tyrants that the newly christened 'Summation' were becoming and decided to work with the diplat, hacking into and escaping into the diplat's subterranean information networks. On the 100th year, two things happened.
The Phel-Noss Deepweave Compact revealed a massive railgun, of stolen Mensura design, and fired a series of thermonuclear slugs at the Aspect as it rested in orbit. The ship was torn apart -- its molten fragments plummeting to the surface or left adrift -- and the Conviction was forced to retreat to the shipyards at Indra.
The vote to begin the firestorm experiment was unanimous, where prior votes on it had always met with resistance. A series of biochemical weapons -- a modified terraforming tool -- were detonated in the atmosphere and dropped into the depths of pit cities. The sky turned a sickly yellow, and the lungs of the planet burned.
THE SEVENFOLD SUMMATION: The Summation still didn't desire complete genocide. Their supremist attitude towards the diplat compacts who had allied to them had combined with their own increasingly warped philosophy, and so they distributed other engineered organisms that would limit the amount of chlorine and ammonia in the atmosphere, sparing life on the planet from total extinction.
What few compacts who had remained their allies were hesitant to accept the genetherapies they were being offered, but the Summation made it clear this was a demand - albeit a politely worded one. They were the "subjects" to a ruling class - in both the political and the scientific sense. The pacification continued for just a few more months, though at that point it was a more straightforward series of demands, followed by the inevitable suffocation of those that stubbornly refused. By the time all was done - a century of war culminating in an act of genocide on a scale unknown in human history - the global diplat population had plummeted from a peak of 15.5 billion to a paltry 5.1, and it has taken almost three centuries for it to crawl back.
Fabrication modules were put to work rebuilding diplat infrastructure, while genetic engineering was used to try and heal the most crucial parts of the biosphere. Following the full seizure of power by the Sevenfold Summation - as they referred to themselves in tandem with their diplat subjects - what compacts remain are now a shadow of their former selves and officially work under them.
CULTURE & SOCIETY: The need for close-knit family and the winding nature of diplat burrow-networks had created a culture of strict familial reliance and expectation. “What would my family think?” is not a 'maybe' question to the diplat – it is a hardwired first priority. Because of this, the diplat historically have struggled to form large-scale polities with strict territories or hierarchies – nepotism is often a given, and what wars have cropped up have either been tiny but brutal family disputes, or have been vast multi-generational wars of attrition involving long-standing alliances through marriage connecting hundreds of families and hundreds of thousands of deaths.
This reflects itself in diplat language and naming conventions – most diplat cultures emphasize family names, with 'personal names' usually being a family-chosen title or phrase. For example, 'Pirrik-Nunn Kuik the Ever Indecisive' was notorious in her trading family for the way she constantly waxed and waned in her goals. By contrast, her aunt 'Pirrik-Nunn Oul the Stargazer' went down in history for engineering the first spaceworthy scouting robot, the photos from which helped reveal the vast resources of their solar system... and the first hints that outsiders were watching them.
GOVERNANCE & POLITICS: After being stranded the surviving crew of the Nous had reorganized themselves into a form of direct democracy. But unfortunately for the diplat, more and more hardline and authoritarian voices gained ever greater influence in the crew's decision making regarding them -- and all the more so as the siege went on. Combined with their gradual digitization, immortalization, and integration of their minds with the Nous' AI, the crew became more and more apathetic and clinical in their view of the diplat. What started as (theoretically) good natured attempts to assist the diplat with medical and organisational intervention gradually involved more and more intrusive use of genetic and cybernetic science, forcing the subjugated diplat into a strict (yet supposedly 'meritocratic') caste system.
By the time the siege had come to an end and the vast majority of surviving diplat were subjugated, and in the centuries that followed, the remaining crew of the Nous -- or whatever remained of their minds, anyway -- had become the ruling caste (the "Time" measurement) of a hyper-authoritarian cult with eugenic elements. The Sevenfold Summation is strictly organized and top-down in its approach, with ordinary ("quantity") diplat carefully monitored and assessed throughout their lives to determine what 'higher measurement', if any, they should belong to.
These various measurements, in turn, are internally organized by individuals of their measurement appointed to a higher rank by their "Time" or "Luminous" superiors. How easy life is largely depends on the nature of a group's assigned work -- the "Mass" labourers on the mining colonies of the resource-rich hot planet of Agni have an abysmal survival rate and frequently suffer extreme respiratory problems due to the toxic gases they're exposed to, while "Length" office managers on Moumlet have a fairly safe environment and their own personal quarters with limited customization.
Despite the Summation's best efforts, however, the original system of the 'compacts' still exists among many diplat - particularly the "quantity" and "undefined" measurements. While rebel compacts were gradually stamped out over the course of the siege, their survivors continued to rally around and infiltrate compacts allied to the Summation. Some "Time" and "Luminous" are willing to unofficially acknowledge said groups, seeing their continued existence as a kind of 'secret society' being the necessary cost of limiting further rebellions -- others, however, fear that said groups are simply a ticking timebomb. Both views are forced to recognize that the family-orientated nature of diplat society makes the compacts - or something similar to them - an almost inevitable issue.
TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW: While the Mensura Group lost a great deal of their data, technology and skillset over the course of the early disasters of the expedition and occasional diplat victories during the pacification, the ensuing two centuries of relative stability and the absorption of allied diplat compacts has allowed them to quickly restore most of what they had lost, and to even exceed their original capabilities in certain fields.
Advanced AI based on "grey brain" techniques, procedural generation and heuristic matrices. Coupled with extensive neuroscience has allowed them to digitize and replicate conscious organic minds into AI, and having transformed themselves into said AI they freely re-write or modify their own neurological structures
In relation to this, advanced cyberwarfare and programming capabilities from centuries of primarily digital competition and sabotage between individual groups within the time measurement
Advanced genetic engineering over centuries of refinement and experimentation, including AI-assisted analysis to quickly decode and map the DNA of newly discovered or alien species and deduce new arrangements and potential modifications or hybridization of DNA between different species
Nanite-based molecular reconstruction, with 'fabrication modules' containing everything needed to construct a new colony ship or habitat given sufficient time and materials or to synthesize new chemical compounds
High-pressure and subterranean construction techniques and the synthesis of meta-materials capable of withstanding extreme pressures, deep within or beneath the crust of the planet. Officially this is a Summation invention (as all things are), but in truth this was a scientific field that the diplat had long excelled at.
Prosthetic limbs and organs capable of replicating or even exceeding the natural abilities of baseline human or diplat; combined with their neuroscience to integrate these implants and cybernetics into both injured or healthy individuals on a large scale
While less so a single technology, the Summation's vice-like grip on their diplat subjects continues to involve the use of ever improving surveillance techniques, including sub-dermal 'monitoring implants' for all diplat infants that remain throughout their lives and extensive surveillance of all communication and information networks
Likewise, the Summation's range of sciences and skillsets are geared towards extremely efficient terraforming of planets and modification of biospheres, whether to make them more 'Earth-like' or more 'Moumlet-like'
MILITARY OVERVIEW: During the siege, warfare between the Summation and the diplat compacts was a messy, clinical affair. From the safety of orbit the invaders redirected asteroids and devised all manner of chemical and biological weapons -- meanwhile, the architects and engineers of the diplat built and reinforced ever deeper and more elaborate underground fortresses, while their researchers devised counter-agents. On the ground, allied and rebel diplat compacts waged relentless wars of attrition, fighting over useful resources throughout the endless tunnel networks while defenders established hyper lethal traps or bottlenecks. Intentional tunnel collapsing and suicide-runs were commonplace tactics. On the occasions that combat spread into wider chambers and pit-cities, trains and elevators were often hijacked and armed with artillery and area denial weapons, while human and AI-augmented six-limbed walkers and low-altitude aircraft fought in mountainous regions or rough terrain.
In the two centuries since the siege, war has been a rare concern - small but frequent insurgencies or terrorist groups, and a short-lived rebellion on the shipyards in orbit around Moumlet. As a general rule, these have been dealt with by local security forces armed with simple kinetic or ballistic weapons. While the fabrication modules have the blueprints for railguns or other more advanced military hardware, a combination of decay from lack of use and a lack of solid military knowledge -- besides members of the "Time" measurement who commanded forces during the pacification -- leaves them woefully unprepared for a large-scale conventional war against an equivalent civilization.
A small, scattered fleet of lightly armed patrol ships help secure and administrate the colonies of the Summation -- at last count, they numbered 73 vessels, most under 300m long and primarily armed with repurposed mining lasers or EMP weapons.
Top row shows, from left to right: a diplat/Summation mining shuttle > a modular exploratory research vessel, essentially a smaller version of the colony ships the Summation originally arrived in > a hypothetical Sevenfold Summation battleship Bottom row shows the actual relative sizes: the battleship is approximately a kilometre long.
HOLDINGS -- The Mensura System: In the course of their three hundred year presence in the system - and especially following the end of the siege - the Sevenfold Summation has successfully colonized a number of planets and established numerous waystations and communication relays.
Agni is a small, resource-dense planet close to the system's star. Setup following the Summation's victory, it serves as the centre of several highly dangerous mining colonies. The high percentage of "Mass" measurement working here has led to the formation of a distinct cultural identity from mainstream diplat society -- and rumours of rebellion, in the shadows.
Moumlet (also known as diplat prime or moleworld, depending on who you ask) is the homeworld of the diplat species and the centre of power for the Summation following their victory during the siege.
Indra is the massive gas giant that the Gate originally opened in orbit around. Its dense storms of gas and numerous moons provided a vast abundance of material, sufficient in the extreme for the Summation to set up extensive shipyards and make several failed attempts at constructing their own Gate. In time, this failed structure served as the central structure for Spirit's Loss, a massive space station and observatory serving as the heart of the system-wide network of waystation's and comms relays used to coordinate the colonies.
Shiva is a second gas giant closer to the edge of the solar system, a rich blue due to the high density of cobalt and an atmosphere composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, along with traces of hydrocarbons and nitrogen -- it also contains a higher proportion of ices such as water, ammonia and methane. Serves as a remote research station, prison-colony, and interstellar observatory.
Government Form: Federal government commissioned by the various syndicates and other groups in the Ogygia system
Demographics: large portions of the colonists when they left Sol, had already been modified for living in space, and Non-human Intelligences had already been part of the lives of many space working peoples. Over the hundreds of years since then, great diversification happened as a result of largely pro-transhumanist attitudes, invention of new technologies. Cyborgs, Biomorphs, reverse cyborgs, AI, and more. There is also a sentient technological xenobiological species within the Ogygia system though they are not currently considered a part of CFS they are under CFS protection until such a time as formal first contact is made. There is some question as to what constitutes a person, but the CFS tends to lean towards inclusion, not “technically” being a person also doesnt necessarily have the same negative connotations as it might have in other governments.
Population: It is difficult to put an exact number due to the variety of intelligences within the Calypso Federation of syndicates that do not have the same kind of distinctions between group, network, individual, along with the varieties of digital persons who might have a central consciousness but hundreds of personas, among weirder things. They have a fairly low population if you factor in only embodied persons, but would have a very high population if you factored in other intelligences. --- (This is probably a good place to insert a flag or other representative image) ---
Planet Name and Description: The Ogygia system is a triple star system with many planets and moons, however, none of them are places for unmodified earth life, most of the CFS population lives on the habitats and moons surrounding the Gas giants Willow and Capek. There are two planets with natural biospheres, Le Guin (a hothouse world) and Kukulkan a hellish superoceanic world.
History: The crew of the arkship Calypso was drawn from numerous sources, most of which viewed earth with a degree of hostility, There were spaceworkers who helped work on arkships of earthers to deal with “their mess” and Earth Imperialists were always interfering, wanting control of the outer system so that they could serve their people. Within the outer system despite scarcity there was a sense of “surviving together against the cold void of space (and earth capitalists) which lead to the organization of fierce syndicates and unions which formed the basis of much of Calypso society, along with Dissilusioned researchers and others who had left earth behind. There was also a sizeable population of Volitional AI, Artificial Lifeforms seeking to escape copyright laws, enthusiastic inner system recruits wanting to “make a difference” and various transhumanists who sought to escape earth persecution.
The Arrival of the Calypso at the Gateway made many Earth nations nervous due to previous Labor disputes that occasionally led to violent conflict with earth interests, tense negotiations had been made before the ship was allowed to enter earths orbit (especially given its armed belter escort)
The time of arrival was another tense one, various disagreements, claim jumpers, splintering factions. But most of the crew of the calypso and their escort knew that creating an infrastructure to serve the needs of the people would be important to survival. This eventually lead to the formation of the CFS (though it had a few intermediary steps to this process). The CFS helped get the disparate groups work towards a common goal of settling the system. They had some conflict with other groups, mostly resolved without bloodshed, but there were a few wars over the last 300 years. Occasional eras of piracy. And emergence of Malignant Intelligences and Catastrophic Processes. While these incidents might have drawn other nations to fear AI, human augmentation and other technology, The spacers would not let a few violent groups sway their view of synthetic life as a whole.
They eventually discovered sentient, technological but non-spacefaring life on the planet Le Guin, though given its orbit among the far more distant 3rd star of the system, and fear of accidental conflict, CFS has yet to make formal contact.
Signs of intelligent civilization on a brown dwarf megastructure have been found and probes were sent (some sentient) but knowledge of what lurks there remains unknown. A few organizations within the Calypso system have been working on slower than light interstellar spacecraft (with a few having launched) to nearby stars, many of which are planned to be one way journeys, often associated with spiritual desires of exploration.
Reactions to the gateways reopening has had mixed responses of wonder and fear, wanting to see how their distant cousins have progressed along with fear that not every civilization on the other side would be peaceful.
Culture and Society: The people of CFS are quite varied in lifestyles however they trace their lineage back to spacer cultures from the Sol system, adapted to life in enclosed environments of habitats and spacecraft, with the basic unit of society often being the space crew. These crews often seek like minded syndicates to join. With numerous unions guilds, and leagues forming the basis of much of society. The strong interdependence people experienced, with both eachother and technology, means that things like the AI of a starship became full citizens pretty quickly, as they were already seen as part of the basic social structures within society. Large scale space habitats become hubs for various spacer crews to come together and share stories, resources and whatever else.
Virtual reality at various levels of immersion is a fairly common form of entertainment, originally designed for therapeutic use on long space-flights but evolved into other entertainment forms. There is a sorta subculture of Specialized AI who specialize in bringing to life these artificial worlds, acting as the consciousness behind hundreds of persona’s with unique personalities. Generally these personalities are lower resolution than the personalities of full individuals, especially when not being actively interacted with (some virtual reality gamers have special personality processors installed that increase the resolution of Personas they interact with by interacting with the core conscious (though this has to be approved by both parties) virches come in many genres, some of which are more optimized for biologics, others for machines (sometimes quite abstract)
There are many ethical questions people of the CFS deal with, perhaps one of the more spoken about is the existence of the “Undead” advanced medical technology, compilations of brain scans, memories and patterns forming in cybernetic prosthetics, AI symbiotes, and intelligent software make the line between life and death quite fuzzy. In some cases a sense of continuity exists, other times, the spark of consciousness seems to fade, leaving behind shambling digital (and in some cases) physical corpses. Yet, these previously “zombie” undead may at a later point redevelop sentience and often have a complicated mental relationship to who they once were, who they were before often hazy. Different groups react to this news differently, with many seeing undeath as a new stage of life, seeking ancestral knowledge in special “Crypts” aboard habitats. But the process is often considered an intimate affair to be done by friends and the deads community, rather than opportunistic outsiders.
Governance and Politics: Most habitats and ships (along with lunar and planetary bases) have some form of government, though sometimes quite informal. Syndicates and other workers associations play a major role in civic life. The Federation itself was created in order to provide public infrastructure for all parties, extend legal protection and representation for disparate groups, settle disputes and deal with bureaucracy, providing (usually voluntary) technical standards, handling traffic and asteroid and settlement claims along with providing for defense. The Federation has some aspects of old space agencies, often organizing into “Missions” selecting personnel based on past experience. Most elected officials are selected by blocs and coalitions who are in turn created by representatives of individual syndicates selected by the syndicates members.
Technology Overview: Given the tough environments of space, and the fact that the ancestors of Calypso helped construct the arkship, its not much a surprise that the Calypso Federation of Syndicates has a fairly high tech base. The need to adapt to their new environment, and the numerous health threats of space, and a comfortability with working alongside artificial beings has given them advanced biotechnology, robotics, AI, cybernetics and similar transhumanistic technology. Their experience with constructing arkships translated well to the development of other large scale space infrastructures with fairly advanced torchships, large space habitats with their own ecologies and automated mining and manufacturing operations tended to by sapient “shepards” that ensure non-sapient automated systems don’t get out of hand.
Military Overview: Given their status as a space based civilization, the CFS has plenty of spaceships, but most of them are designed for non-violent ends (that said a torchship can be quite dangerous in the wrong hands. A dedicated federation patrol fleet exists to deal with pirates, Catastrophic Processes, Malignant Intelligences and other threats. Most of these ships are not purely combat in design, and often perform things like rescue operations and other emergency services. If an existential threat emerged, the CFS could probably create a competent military fleet relatively quickly. Given their preference for life in space, their technology for ground war is a bit less developed, but they do have power armor designed to be used on a variety of hostile environments ---
Additional Info: (Anything else you want to include that there isn't a spot for up there.)
Government Form: Council of planetary representatives
Demographics: 100% human
Population: 3 Billion, split between 6 moon civilizations
Planet Name and Description:
The Concordant is a collection of moon colonies that have a loose diplomatic relationship with each other. The system named Hellas by its inhabitants, is home to 13 moons orbiting the brown dwarf Paphos. Of these 13 moons, only 5 are habitable and can host complex life.
Melos: The closest of the 13 moons of Paphos and most affected by its parent planet. Due to its proximity to Paphos Melos is tide locked and the side facing the brown dwarf is perpetually dark. However due to the decay heat of the brown dwarf and the thick atmosphere of the moon, the entire planet maintains a temperate climate. The native flora and fauna for both the day and night side of the planet have adapted to their environments. For example, the large forests on the night side of the planet have adapted themselves to be carnivorous, secreting a mildly acidic sap that traps and dissolves small insects
1.32 earth masses Gravity 0.7G ( based on 1G earth gravity)
Naxos: Has the most eccentric orbit around Paphos and is rumored to be a new addition to the group of moons and still stabilizing its orbit. Naxos is cold, sporting a thick ice crust that protects a massive subterreanean liquid ocean. The geological activity of the planet warms the subterranean ocean to habitable levels for life, As this water evaporates it rapidly freezes as it rises creating the self sustaining domes that protects its inhabitants. Life on the surface of Naxos is restricted to small purpose build camps, the majority of the colony live in massive underwater arcologies. The large subterranean ocean is home to a number of aquatic species some docile and some hyper-aggressive.
2.05 earth masses Gravity 1.5G
Nicosia: The most temperate of the 6 moon colonies and home to the planetary council, that tries to manage the diplomatic relationship between the colonies. This is the most earth like moon in orbit around Paphos with a similar day/night cycle to earth. The lack of an axial tilt results in the lack of seasons for the planet, but its proximity to the brown dwarf and the light from its parent star keeps the planet comfortable.
1.02 each masses 1.001G
Konosos: If the tenacity of the human species could be distilled into a singular planetary body, it would be Konosos. The planet is nearly a carbon copy of Venus in the Sol system of old. The moon sports a thick ammonia, Co2 and methane atmosphere that makes it toxic to human life. This is coupled with near constant tectonic activity and planet wide eruptions. Most wouldn’t call Konosos a true colony due to the compact nature of its habitation. Every man, woman and child lives in a singular massive closed city, resembling a multitude of arcology spires. Leaving this spire without respiratory and protective equipment is immediately fatal and even direct contact to unexposed skin can lead to sever irritation and injury. The people of Konosos love their city however and thrive in this inhospitable environment
1.0 Earth masses 1G
Argos: A lush green paradise on its surface, this moon sports a tropical climate with lush rainforest that dominates the entire planet. There is no visible ocean on the planet, however the planet’s surface is made up of a collection of interconnected subterranean tunnels, allowing water to run along the entirety of the planet. Any cave system potentialy gives you access to the entire planet. The planet is home to a vast number of native carnivorous species of animals and plants, all which fight for survival to thrive in the jungle. The moon sports a robust set of interconnecting rings that makes orbiting the moon hazardous, collisions of larger rocks and ice in the rigs are common, leading to common motor showers and rouge debris. Those who inhabit the planet look at their X-shaped ring system with pride.
1.3 Earth Masses 1.2G
This is the only moon that would be considered alien by the human colonists. Rather than the stark destructive power of Konosos or barreness of the other dead moons that orbit Paphos, Boitia is lush, sporting large plains of neon blue marsh. The moons orbit, is rather eccentric but studies show that this was one of the first moons to be captured by Paphos’s sphere of influence. The geology of the moon also sets this apart from its siblings, large amounts of heavy and exotic metals are abundant all over the surface which is different from the majority ice and silicate rock make up of the rest of the moons. Everything points to this moon not being native to this region, a possible rogue planet perhaps? Or part of the core from a failed planet? The flora and Fauna of this moon is also alien and completely different from the other moons native species. The atmosphere is acceptable for human lungs, providing the nitrogen and oxygen needed to carbon based complex life. Helium also makes up a relatively large proportion of the atmosphere and is used by the native species of the planet. Large manta ray like creatures, full of organically produced helium, slowly glide across the sky in herds decending on the overgrown marsh grasslands to feed. The large alien marshes also support the planetary ecosystem, acting as vast shallow oceans which dictates the water cycle for the planet and air filtration of CO2 to and oxygen, nitrogen, helium mixture.
1.3 Earth Masses 1.0G
History: When the first colony ships left the gateway they were horrified to find not the habitable planet that they were promised but a failed star, a brown dwarf. Careful system surveying is what came next as the colonist struggled to find a place to settle. Running low on fuel, food and morale, the colonist chose to split their fleet towards the few moons that seemed habitable. Not all of these expeditions were successful however, some surveys were incorrect, leading their colonist to certain death upon landing on their moons. Other never made it to a moon to colonize. The rigors of a long arduous journey became too much for the crew and the colony ship, many malfunctioned catastrophically. With sheer tenacity and a good bit of luck, 6 of the original 20 ships were able to make it to their destinations and successfully begin a colony.
Melos: three ships were sent towards Melos due to the high likelihood of it be habitable but only one ship made it to the moon. The first to perish suffered a reactor leak that killed the entire colony ship in a matter of hours. Lacking extreme radiation protection and without the capability to fix the leaking reactor, the ship was left to drift through space for eternity. It was last seen on a course leading out of Papho’s sphere of influence The second ship to perish, suffered a propulsion failure during its final orbital burn around Melos. Its reactor melted down under the stress and the ship lost power. The ship drifted into the gas giant, taking with it 750k souls and a full genetic bank. The last surviving ship completed it orbital burn and the colonists began the process of disassembling the ship in order to establish the first colony of Melos. Being the first, the new colonist of Melos learned a lot of their lessons the hard way, but there were able to establish the groundwork for the colonies that would come after as Melos communicated every new world building technique they came up with. Like all colony ships, a genetic bank of earth flora and fauna was maintained for the purpose of seeding the new world with stapled of human life. The plants and animals of earth quickly took to and began to thrive in this new environment as native and non-native species began to interact and interbreed. Despite the obvious challenges of living on a tidal locked moon, the colony of Melos was established peaceful and successfully.
Naxos: Naxos was not the moon these colonist expected to find. During deliberations on what moon to investigate, only one colony ship agreed to try and colonize Naxos. Much to the horror of the crew, they were greeted with the barren, icy, atmosphere less body of Naxos. Panic gripped the crew first as they realized this could be their deaths. Without the fuel or resources to pick another moon an investigative team was sent down to the surface to try and salvage anything they could. It was here they discovered hydro-vents, that extended deep into the crust of the planet that would shoot liquid water up into the vacuum until the vent froze over again. After further study a research base was established and a probed was bored through the icy crust to determine was was below. No one expected to be sitting above a giant habitable ocean. Tests were quickly run to determine the feasibility of colonizing under the crust of the planet before the first construction crews began breaking ground on the underwater colony of Naxos.
Nicosia: Nicosia was boring, both in its perfect suitability and the ease of colonization. 10 ships originally began traveling towards Nicosia before moving on to what they thought were better moons to colonize. Only one ship remained on course for the planet and quickly established a colony on the earth like moon. Native and non-native species interacted positively and quality of life was high from the very beginning on Nicosia. Allowing the colonists to build a grand city with a multitude of public works and community spaces. When the Gestalt Concordant was established, it would be the people of Nicosia who would create the buildings that govern the collection of colonies.
Konosos: The colonization of this planet was the result of a hardware malfunction, incorrectly labeling the planet as habitable. The toxic hellscape that greeted them was a far cry from anything habitable. Thick ammonia clouds and constant volcanic activity all but made exploration nearly impossible. It took three revolutions around Paphos before a small settlement was established in a relatively calm part of the moon. Progress was slow for the colony before larger geothermal power plants could be taken from the colony ship and installed on the surface of the moon. With almost limitless power at their disposal, the colony quickly grew and began to thrive in their new environment.
Argos: Was the most attractive moon after long range scans were conducted and signs of native life were confirmed. 2 colony ships originally set out on course for the moon, and were quickly joined by another 6 from the Nicosia expedition due to their proximity to eachother. Upon arriving at the moon, the colonists were relived and awe struck to see the perfectly habitable moon and its unusual ring system. Plans were immediately made to make landfall but the treacherousness of the ring system was yet to be known. High geological activity within the core gave the moon a stronger magnetic field than normal, and its proximity to the brown dwarf gave it a unique magnetic profile. Any ship conducting a polar orbit of the moon would run the risk of electronic malfunction or damage due to the strong magnetic field. An equatorial orbit would be needed in order to safely unload men and material to the moon. The first 2 ships to try and orbit the moon quickly fell victim to the unpredictable collision pattern of the rings during its orbit and suffered catastrophic damage. Failing reactors and propulsion resulted in both crashing on the moon. The next group of 4 ships risked a polar orbit but fell victim to the strong magnetic field one by one. It was at this moment that the colonists discovered a fatal flaw in their reactor pattern, leaving them prone to deadly leaks when under stress. Afflicted ships would jettison reactors and purposely crash their ships, leaving the moon a eerie ship graveyard. 10 years went by as colonization attempt after colonization attempt failed catastrophically, leaving one ship to make its last effort. Low on supplies, morale and at near mutinous levels of unrest. The ship made a drastic choice, it would land. This was drastic for a few reasons, the zero-G environment of space made the unloading of heavy machinery easy, on the planets surface these would measure in the thousands of tons. The colony ships also were not designed to land on planets. The designers intended for them to be disassembled in orbit. They retained the capability for landing within atmosphere but doing so would undoubtably put strain on the ship. With no other option, the crew successfully landed the ship without causing major damage or a deadly reactor leak. Their elation was short-lived once they discovered they had survived re-entry, only to find themselves in the middle of a murderous rainforest. Losses were high again, as they battled to build while being mercilessly set upon by the native beasts of the rainforest moon. Large multi armed beasts swarmed camps and devoured whole villages. Any outposts built by the naturally occurring watering holes, quickly found themselves set upon by amphibious creatures of similar appearance. They colonists would not know it yet, but they were the second species to call this moon home. The native apex predator of the moon, called the “Dru” by the colonists, had established itself as the top of the moon’s predatory ecosystem and had existed without any competitors for a few millennia. The species had evolved into a simple hive structure of society when the humans arrived, giving them a level of organization in their attacks. Calling them sentient or intelligent life would be incorrect however, maybe if given another few millennia to evolve some more. Like the other colonies, Argos would first survive, adapt, then begin to thrive as a martial culture evolved across the moon. Making Argos the only colony with a standing military.
Boitia: This was the last planet to be colonized, for obvious reasons. Its highly eccentric orbit makes travel time to and from the other moons almost 4 months at its furthest distance. Much like Nicosia though, colonization was rather boring, it was just the distance that turned most colony ships away. Only 1 ship agreed to undertake the journey, after nearly a week of deliberation. To the rest of the moons Boitia is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. The distance gives it a sense of otherness to the rest of the moons, and there are rumors of both sinister and magical things being made on its surface. The truth is much more mundane, the abundance of rare metals gives the moon a rare opportunity to create and research advanced electronics. This coupled with a unique, yet safe atmosphere and a largely peaceful native population of animals made this moon the oddest perfect planet. Quality of life was high from the beginning and a diplomatic culture spread amongst the population. Boitia now is a collection of interconnected super villages, maintaining a high quality of life without sacrifcing the natural beauty of the moon.
Culture and Society: Each moon has a distinct culture, yet some of their shared human earth culture remains
Boitia: Its people are diplomatic and accepting of foreigners. There is little crime and conflict on the moon except for civil land disputes and occasional youthful antics. Due to the high quality of life there is little to need to commits crimes for. The other moons consider Boitians to be odd, due to their carefree happiness. Some recognize this as envy, while others will call them psychopaths or lobotomized
Argos: Argans are hard people from birth, there is little room for anything weak on Argos. You either survive by being smart, tough or both. Life in Argos is spent almost exclusively within large grids standardized cities that can extend for hundreds of miles. Any water source on the planet will be heavily guarded due to the interconnected nature of the planets waterways. Argans are military thinkers, strategist and ultimately fighters. Their entire civilization is geared towards defending and defeating the Dru. That does not mean the entire population is actively in the military however, most carry out support and administration roles in civilian life while maintaining a sense of reserve readiness. Those in active duty carry out almost exclusively combat roles, relentless bringing the fight to the savage Dru. Most if not everyone will have a history either in the reserves or active military of the moon.
Konosos: Konos are proud yet careful people who value a subtle life. Constantly inside large arcologies due to the conditions, they are very private people. This gives them the appearance of being cold and sneaky to the inhabitants of the other moons.
Nicosia: Nicosia are similar to Boitans as quality of life is high and crime is low on the moon. This is where the similarities stop however, Nicosians are known for being cutthroat politicians to the point of sabotage and assassination. They feel like they are competing not just for their own local politics but the entire concordant as well. Most are brash and opportunistic to a fault.
Naxos: The Xos, as they like to call themselves are rarely seen outside of their underwater cities. They are so rarely seen, their mere existence is often joked about by the other moons as mythical. With that being said, the Xos that do travel abroad often have an ethereal air about them. Either through, careful public relations or genetics, the people of this moon are rumored to be the most beautiful despite the indoor life they live. More oddly so, all Xos born to the moon have an odd affinity to the underwater sea the inhabit. The connection is still largely unknown yet being extensively studied but instances of non-verbal communication have been documented with some other native species of the subterranean ocean. Life within Naxos is largely carefree and quiet, they are often forgot about by the other moons other than the aquatic delicacies they trade. Most are wealthy and live luxuriously.
Melos: Quality of life is split between the dark and light side of the moon. Large super cities are where most of the Melites live on the night side, crime is common within the lower districts and social / economic stratification is obvious. On the light side, the Melites are proud to be first colony and hold themselves in high regard. There are similar to Nicosians in the fact that they are politically minded. However, they are cooperative and kind unlike the cutthroat Nicosians.
Governance and Politics: Each moon has a representative republic system in some sense. Where districts choose a representative to speak for them in the moons governance. The moons also have a collective, but weaker, government that debates issues for all of the moon colonies. These representatives are chosen amongst past governors and are treated more like diplomatic missions.
There is nothing too remarkable about the technology in the concordant. Some colonies are specialized in survival technology, like Naxos and Konosos. It is common to find advanced water and oxygen recycling technologies in these colonies as research is always ongoing. The small exception to this would be the colony of Boitia. Due to the large amount of heavy and rare metals on the moon, the colony has become a research and development hub for all of the moons. They produce the majority of the electronic components for inter-moon trading and have produced advanced weapons and armor for the Argan military.
Military Overview: The only colony with a standing military is Argos, specifically designed to combat the Dru. Due to this, the Argan military has developed a particularly unique fighting style as a result. The Dru, being mostly melee based, commonly try to close the distance with the colonists to take advantage of their natural strength and armor. Armor and melee weapons are common, along with bucklers with some specialized units. Argos is also a hub for military thought, as strategies can be easily tested against the Dru.
Welcome to the post-PUNT world! The total time passed since the RP started in universe is now four years exactly (an indeterminate time for the lead-up to the war, the conclusion of the war in the summer of 2602, and a little under a year and a half to bring us to the current time,) and a year of the RP running (albeit with some... Disruptions,) which is incredibly exciting!
The new name of the game is an intergalactic Cold War, with the main factions of the Galactic Security Council,Multilateral Organisation Of Neutral States, the still as-of-yet unnamed Ishtar-Chosen Pact and the Interstellar League for Polysapient Prosperity which you can find more about, as always, on our still regularly active Discord and will see the introduction of new NPC nations, and a return to the nation-to-nation interaction where this RP really shines.
Thank you deeply to everyone who's stuck it out through this year, and here's to many more great words put to paper for Gateways!
In addition, I'm very happy to welcome our latest players to the game, @Eventua's Sevenfold Summation and Easifan Promise, @Lucidnonsense's Calypso Federation and @Apollo26's Gestalt Consciousness!
Hi @Kaga Classs and thanks for your interest! If you'd like to learn more, our Discord (mentioned above and in the first OOC comment) is the place to go! Unforunately though I'm going to have to ask for your post to be removed because it's in the IC section of the RP.
Demographics: 100% human ( Adapted to high heat and radiation enviroments)
Population: 2 Billion: Large --- ---
Planet Name and Description: Calth is a large arid planet that orbits its parent star 0.9 AU at its farthest and almost 0.7 AU at its closets. Due to the proximity to its star, the climate is hot and dry with the primary water source coming from large underground aquifers. One large ocean dominates the southern hemisphere of the planet, dotted with islands.
History: After the colony ships landed, many colonists struggled to cope with the heat and increased radiation from the star, making resources gathering tedious. As generations struggled against the environment, genetic resistances were established making growth of the colony possible. As subsequent generations increased their knowledge of their parent star, the solar cult was born increasing their zeal for more knowledge. Currently, the Solis Ecclesia majority control over their planet and has began extracting resources from their only moon. Travel beyond the gravitational influence of Calth is reserved for specialized long range craft.
Culture and Society: True believers of the solar truth believe that everything and everyone is descended from the stars. Stars are living gods and their incandescent glow is a sign of their eternal love and warmth. Of course, not every citizen subscribes to the extreme religious views of the true believers. These citizens still hold the sun as an important entity but subscribe to a number of theories regarding the founding of the human species and the galaxy as a whole. A majority of solites have a deep disdsain, bordering on hate, for aliens. They see these other species as either being, devoid of “solar influence” or regard them as mutants.
Life within the cities and settlements of Calth is serene yet extremely restrictive. The church's secret police are always on the lookout for dissidents and non-believers. Any public disdain voiced against the church or solar cult are met with both public shame, possible violence and a visit from the secret police.
Life on the arid plains is relatively free, unlike life within the settlements. There are few visits from any authorities, except for important reasons. Many lack the wealth to build or buy outside of the cities and settlements as security is a concern. Bandits, outlaws and escaped aliens are known to prey upon weaker citizens for survival.
Governance and Politics: The Ecclesia is a religious oligarchy, ultimately governed by a high council of solar preist. Their word is passed down to regional governors and from them to local church leaders. The word of these leaders is the law and any deviation from the word of the local or regional ecclesiarch is harshly punished.
Technology Overview: - Localized and large-scale fusion power: As a solar cult, obsessed with the power of stars, harnessing the powers of fusion for energy was a priority
- Plasma weaponry: pretty straight forward, localized electrically charged gas fired at high speeds and able to burn through things
- Electrical projectile acceleration: Due to having a great electrical power at their disposal, this was the next logical step for projectile acceleration. This surpasses the standard explosive chemical acceleration and allows for increased acceleration speeds
- Advanced heat and radiation shielding: Being near a star, has forced the Solites to adapt their buildings, habitats and other tech to be extremely heat and radiation resistant
Military Overview: The Solis Ecclesia has a very standard military. The majority of the fighting men and women of the Solis Ecclesia are basic general infantry, well trained to fight en-masse while supported with armor and artillery. This is reinforced with a constant rotation of conscripts, usually young adults finishing school or other specialized education. The navy provides both transport and combat capabilities for the military.
In both the army and navy specialist and elite divisions exist, the majority of combat forces in the Solis Ecclesia are well trained mass general infantry. Solites do not win their battles with grand actions or covert missions. They are won by grinding attrition and the lives of Solites.
Second NS, I think this was accepted before the PUNT war ended
Government Form: Deliberative democracy, in case of war where decisions need to be taken fast, a special clause is added to their constitution where a group of people who are chosen based on votes and ability, are given absolute power over the populace.
Demographics: The Chosen are those that after years of genetic improvements became more than human. Stronger, faster, immune to most types of toxins, almost ageless and with the extra ability of being able to survive in space without a suit for a long period of time. The usual citizens are on average 2 metres tall with slender bodies but there are others who have chosen to subject themselves to higher level transformations, transforming themselves in the many different types of Chosen.
Virophages - Chosen who have undergone the virophage treatment become ecosystems for all known (by the Chosen) viruses, bacteria or fungi as long as they’ve gotten in contact with them at least once. Their bodies naturally adapt and are able to create more viruses/bacteria/fungi etc. The skin of a virophage changes colour becoming green-tinted or a sickly grey while their bodies are even more slender than a usual Chosen.
Brutes - Massively tall Chosen, the Brutes are on average 3.5 metres tall and at least 1.6 metres wide. They are made to be human tanks on the battlefield, they have adapted to life without war and can be seen in any job requiring manual handling. They also act as enforcers for law enforcement and the sorts.
Chameleons - One of the rarest types of Chosen, they look for all intents and purposes the same as a usual Chosen. That is, until they focus on their environment. Using a combination of species DNA native to RADX-001, the Chameleons can change their skin, heat signature and voice at will. All Chameleons are made for the military and prior to the revolution, part of the Inquisition. They are under almost constant surveillance which is a choice they agree to prior to modification.
Zealots - This type of Chosen are made with the purpose of speed in mind. Prior to the revolution, they were Pontius’s personal guard. What they lose in strength, they gain in speed and training. Capable of running faster than a pre-Exodus vehicle and taught most martial arts known. While lower in number after the revolution, they’re currently acting as mercenaries being hired by those who are in need of their particular skills.
There are many other sub-types of the Chosen but low enough in number that they wouldn’t be put up here.
Population: 1 billion Chosen --- (This is probably a good place to insert a flag or other representative image) ---
Planet Name and Description: RADX-001 - A planet with a toxic atmosphere to most life forms. RADX is filled with dangerous carnivorous creatures that are capable of eating through steel with ease. Most of the planet is covered in jungles which contain poisonous plants. There is an ocean that covers one side of the planet but the water can dissolve metals. Ambient radiation floods the planet with, in the highest areas, power levels similar to the epicentre of a nuclear bomb.
Above the city of Borius, the new capital, a massive dome has been built to keep away the radiation, animals and everything else that would be considered deadly to normal humans. Borius ‘thus became the main city for tourists who wish to visit the planet as the conditions inside the dome are the same as they were on Earth with the only exception being the gravity.
History: The RADiance was born out of the Chosen revolution. The True Faith (TTF) led by former High Hierarch Pontius declared war against Ashevelen and her order denouncing her as a false god. A civil war followed, on one side, the Chosen who saw the deception as necessary at the time or chose to forgive 3 centuries of lies based on what Ashevelen achieved and on the other side, The True Faith.
Those who believed in Ashevelen’s true divinity while at the same time denouncing the current Ashevelen as a false-divine, a copy of the original. While certain parts of the previous Church decided to be neutral, it all ended when TTF bombed the hospital from the Meeting place and tried to sabotage the Meeting Place, hoping to remove the main place where the “heathens” gathered. These two acts of violence made the bystanders, mainly Catherine’s arm of the Church, to join the newly created RADiance alliance, led during the war by High Hierarch William.
Ashevelen gave away her control of the Chosen over to William as a sign of distancing herself from the reins of the government. A new society shaped by the people, not her own will. After the civil war ended with Pontius’s death at the hands of Ashevelen, the TTF surrendered. A part of them were forgiven for their zealotry while others were exiled. The worst offenders were imprisoned.
From the ashes of the Chosen, two nations rose up. The RADiance, based on RADX-001 which was formed from the old Chosen. The first weeks passed in a blur as voting took place for the first time in Chosen history and informal leaders were elected. In truth, as months passed by, a deliberative democracy got installed. All citizens being allowed to vote on any number of subjects.
The old churches of Ashevelen were swiftly transformed into what they were in fact, laboratories, factories etc and the symbols that have long dominated the Chosen nation, were removed, destroyed or cast away as mistakes of the past.
While the RADiance grew, Ashevelen’s influence started to fade. More and more people shunning her for the mistakes of the past even while understanding why she took the actions she did at the time and soon, Ashevelen removed herself from their society choosing to travel through the Gateways. But not before taking a well earned holiday, spending time with Tatiana.
—--Read second sheet for continuation of the story—
After the Exalted split from the RADiance, an uneasy alliance was created in the first weeks. Neither part knew exactly how to interact with one another. On one side, centuries of racism made relations frosty. On the other side, they both needed each other. The Exalted needed the resources which the RADiance was able to provide while the RADiance needed a strong ally in any potential engagements to other nations and of course, more workforce.
Eventually a treaty was hammered out with the help of the former High Hierarch Ant. Each nation will act independently from one another but at the same time, they will share everything between them while also supporting each other in case of military conflict. Culture and Society: Much has changed from the days of Ashevelen. The RADiance is no longer subjected to the will of Ashevelen, yet, most of the Chosen remain the same. For the common person, wherever they get hired by the Church or hired by the state, it doesn’t affect them. Food, shelter and security is provided in the same way.
One thing that changed radically is the way a person would find said work. A citizen simply has to apply for one and fill in their skills and wishes, on average they’re given an assignment in days. If a job is farther away from their current location, a house/apartment or room is provided in the new location.
Governance and Politics: The RADiance have all access to an AR-like forum where anyone can go forward and propose a new law or regulation. A super-majority will then vote on the law and if a consensus is reached in under a day, the law is implemented. In the cases where a law takes too long or it is decided as vital, the choice is then passed onto a council of elected persons from different paths of life.
Each of them will then vote on the law. Worst comes to worst and even then there’s no resolution, the choice is then passed onto the current elected president, William. Every 50 years elections will be held for a new president to be elected, unless it is requested and approved by both the populace and the council to be done earlier.
The president doesn’t have the power to propose new laws as it might be considered “too influential” and push certain people to vote on a law that they might otherwise not agree with. Yet, they are not entirely powerless. Any and all contacts with non-Chosen must be approved by the president or different government workers elected by the president.
1. The Chosen are masters of genetic advancement. No injuries are permanent, illnesses incurable or old age to worry about.
2. Cloning tech has evolved to the point where any basic material can be cloned as much as it is needed, human cloning is considered experimental at best and not something actively pursued. This in turn has given way to Replicator technology. As long as the Replicator has scanned a raw material, depending on the material the process can take weeks, it will be able to replicate it using bio-materials. Most day-to-day meals, materials etc are created like this and only take small amounts of bio-materials.
3. Bio-Metals - Instead of using complex metals to build, the Chosen are using a combination of biomatter and simple metals to build, combined with a formula that enhances their strength tenfold. Allowing this new bio-metal to withstand great temperatures, weight, stress etc. Military Overview: The RADiance teens are made from the age of 16 to join the army for a minimum service of 10 years. In those years military officials train and watch with interest the development of the soldiers. The most promising ones will then be offered jobs within the military.
In case of space battles, the RADiance Armada can be mobilised which is focused on rapid deployment of Infiltrator-Class spaceships, via the Carrier-Class spaceships capable of moving at very fast speed in order to approach the enemy, then, using drills in the legs of the ship, they’ll drill holes inside the hull and release soldiers inside to either disable the enemy ship or take control of it. If the Infiltrator-Class ships cannot be used by the Carriers, they themselves are equipped with light to medium weaponry.
The Infiltrator-Class ships are also used on the ground as they can release a highly toxic gas, which the RAdiance soldiers are immune to, then release the soldiers inside to wreak chaos on the enemy lines.
--- Ascension’s flag is a hand holding down a tree that’s growing on a green background ---
Planet Name and Description: The Ascension doesn’t live on a planet as when they arrived via the Gateways, there was none.Currently they live in a perfect digital world where anything is possible and that looks like Old Earth.
History: The Ascension’s history is long and sad. When the ship, Ascension, first went through the Gateway, the colonists were full of hope and ready to embrace their new planet with ups and downs. Yet, when they arrived and the Gateway stopped working, they noticed there was no planet. What they saw was a graveyard. Hundreds of thousands of alien ships of different sizes, types, shapes and architecture. All in various stages of destruction.
The only visible planet was a very distant and not very brightly lit sun. With the revelation that there’s no planet and no way back to Earth, the colonists had to make do with whatever they could. Initially they started scavenging the alien ships that still had usable parts and after a few mishaps with the experimental alien technology they managed to link up some of the bigger space hulls and brought them together, forming the first city.
Food, water, medicine and even air were scarce in the first few weeks and their numbers started to dwindle as the colonists started getting sick with unknown diseases. As weeks turned to months, the Ascensionists found what turned out to be their Eden. One of the alien ships was mostly intact with only the engine destroyed and the ever present mystery , the lack of bodies.
No bodies of any of the obviously distinct alien creatures were found. Most of the computers on Eden were burst with the only ones that were still working, and were corrupted beyond repair but it had something else, a functional power source which eventually made the ascensionists colonise the ship.
Many years later, Eden was completely changed as it kept being expanded into what it is now. Tens of ship hulls have been brought over and linked to it. Officially creating a safe haven for humanity's heirs.
As years passed, a technological boom happened as more and more ships were restored or reverse-engineered to work by human standards.
The Ascensionists continued to explore the alien ships and technology, they discovered something incredible. A network that allowed them to enter a digital world, an alternate reality that was created using the advanced technology of the alien ships. It was a place where they could escape their harsh reality and have a planet.
Eventually they decided to transfer their consciousness into this digital world, to live forever in a perfect, simulated world. And so they worked tirelessly to reverse engineer the alien tech, to create an implant that would allow them to do just that.
It was a risky venture, and many Ascensionists died in the process. But finally, they succeeded. They had created an implant that would allow them to transfer their consciousness into the digital world.
And so, one by one, the Ascensionists underwent the procedure, leaving their physical bodies behind and entering the digital world. At first, it was just a few, but soon, more and more Ascensionists chose to enter the digital world.
But with this, two problems were discovered. First, immorality proved to be too much for the human mind and after a period of time, most people would wish for a peaceful death. Secondly, there was still a need to maintain the devices and expand the population. As such a new solution was needed.
Those that stayed behind while everyone else underwent the procedure assisted by those that underwent it and with some alien technology, they managed to create high level robotic bodies. Most were human looking but others were different, alien one might've called them.
Soon, the colonists from the newly named "City of Light" connected themselves to the robotic bodies constructed for them and yet, that didn't solve the first and more elusive issue. Mortality.
After long months of deliberation, it was concluded that the best way for humanity to continue was to have an inbuilt timer in each robotic body & City Of Light. Once a human would reach 100 years of age from the installation of the first timer, the consciousnesses would be deleted from the City Of Light.
Culture and Society:
The Ascension lives in a perfect digital world where everything and anything is possible. Their wildest fantasies can be lived without causing harm to any or they can simply live normal lives.
They, as well, can choose to be downloaded in a robotic body while still being connected to the City of Light to continue to improve and explore the space graveyard and try to solve the mystery of the missing alien bodies.
In terms of reproduction, the genes of each colonist that was sent to the City of Light has been stored in a database and when a couple wishes to have children, they mix their genes together and have the child grow in external wombs they've created. After birth, the child is raised with the other children on Eden but taught in the City of Light. At the age of 18, they are then given the choice to join the City of Light. Every child but a very small number choose to do so. After 30 years after “ascension”, they are given the choice to go back into the real world in a robotic body at the loss of access to the City of Light.
A great part of their entertainment industry takes place in the continent of Africa which has been remodelled as a casino/night club/gaming area where all fetishes, desires, tastes or ways of entertainment are possible.
Governance and Politics:
Ascension is governed through a Deliberative Democracy, where all citizens have equal rights to participate in decision-making. The government is led by a council of elected representatives who are responsible for implementing the will of the people.
The decision-making process is facilitated through a sophisticated artificial intelligence that helps to organise and manage discussions and deliberations. The AI ensures that everyone's voices are heard and that decisions are made based on a consensus of the citizens.
As the society is fully digital, the government's role is largely focused on maintaining the technological infrastructure that supports the digital world. The government also oversees the management and development of the robotic bodies that Ascensionists inhabit, ensuring that they are safe and functional.
The city of Light is the central hub of the digital world and serves as the government's base of operations. It houses the digital archives of all knowledge and information, which are accessible to all citizens.
The government also plays a key role in the reproduction and growth of the population. It maintains a database of genetic information from all citizens and oversees the creation and development of new robotic bodies.
While there are no political parties in Ascension, citizens are free to form interest groups to promote their particular causes. These interest groups can be focused on anything from scientific research to entertainment.
Overall, the government of Ascension is focused on creating a fair and equitable society for all citizens, where everyone's voices are heard and decisions are made based on consensus and the common good.
- Digital World: The Ascension lives in a perfect digital world, created using advanced technology of the alien ships that they found in the space graveyard. They were able to reverse engineer this technology to create a network that allows them to enter and exist in the digital world. The digital world is a highly advanced simulation of the Old Earth, where the Ascensionists can live out their wildest fantasies without causing harm to themselves or others.
- Consciousness Transfer: The Ascensionists have developed a way to transfer their consciousness from their physical bodies into the digital world, allowing them to live on forever in the perfect simulation. They accomplished this using an implant that they created by reverse engineering the alien technology.
- Robotic Bodies: In order to maintain and expand the population of the Ascension, robotic bodies were created but if one downloads itself into one, they lose their connection to the City Of Light.
- Artificial Intelligence: The Ascensionists have created a highly advanced artificial intelligence, named Eve, that helps them maintain and improve their digital world and the City of Light. The AI is responsible for many tasks, including maintaining the environment, assisting with research and development, and helping the Ascensionists with their daily lives.
- Debris Builds: Mostly everything electrical is built from scrap metal mined/salvaged away from the Graveyard.
Unstable Technology: Their technology is a mix-and-match of different technological marvels salvaged from the Graveyard. Besides the digital world tech, everything else is an unstable state.
The military of the Ascension is almost non-existent. Most believe in either a peaceful way of life or simply not caring about what happens in the outside world. In the case that a threat to the City Of Life’s function is detected, the spaceships/drones and every other machinery can have a human consciousness downloaded inside it at the risk of death, madness or both.
By Location: Gilt: 70% Argent: 30% In Space (on mining colonies, asteroids, or the Rainbow): <1% ___
By Corporate Loyalty*:
Oldwell Conglomerate: 30% Everett Corp: 28% Earnest, Smithers and Black (EBS): 18% NeoTerra: 7% Federox: 7% Hei Technology: 6% Sertron: 4%
*These corporations together are called "the Seven," and make up the governance of the Gilt system. The first three are sometimes called "the Top Three," and will have the most influence when it comes to Gilt's dealings with other nations. The "Little Four" that follow them should be less important where other nations are concerned. ___
By Race: Human: 66% Stamp: 30% Syms*: 4%
*As one sym mind can occupy hundreds or thousands of bodies simultaneously, or none at all, the sym population is here calculated based on the number of physical bodies currently in use. No attempt is made to guess how many unique sym minds exist, but the number is probably only a few ten-thousand.
Could you tell she's not human?
There are other words for stamps: they're called clones and cyborgs on the streets, "resequenced individuals" in corporate papers. But "stamp" works for most people; it's not too rude, and it's clear who you're talking about. The people with barcodes tattooed onto their wrists and backs, like a stamp on product at the superstore. The people who are corporate property.
They were built that way; a stamp is anyone created in a gene factory, a streamlined laboratory that grows and sells clones. They were not born. They do not reproduce. They look mostly like humans, but in a genetic sense, they're not very human at all. They're synthetic people, part organic and part cybernetic, built for specific jobs. Some are bodyguards, with skin like a rhinoceros and nutrasteel bones, and a mind about as trusting of strangers as a paranoid crocodile. Some are pilots, with a preternatural sense of orientation and a neural link connecting them directly into the ship they fly.
But most are just waitresses, cooks, bureaucrats and tech support and janitors, doing low-class jobs, freeing up the human population for more fulfilling work.
They don't typically mind this; by-and-large, stamps are also created to have an intrinsic desire to be helpful. They want to serve a purpose. There may be some dog DNA in there. This works in tandem with cybernetic components of the stamp that keep them focused on fulfilling their purposes. Since their creation, the existence has greatly changed the Gilt economy, and they're part of why most Terrans today have it so much easier and richer than their forebearers. Some in the Division consider this their greatest accomplishment, the crowning glory, but others wonder if they'd still make it a week without their custom-tailored slaves.
Somewhere inside that metal skull, there's memories of a childhood and a sinking feeling of loss
Giltians believes strongly in only two things. One: the importance of humanity, and two: profit.
The order of these two things is debatable.
With that in mind, it was never likely that corporate scientists would spend time painstakingly. slowly working on advanced AI. The benefits are obvious, but the start-up cost for such a venture is just too high. And, besides, who could trust an AI? An unknowable mind lives behind that screen, as alien to you as water to electric fire. You have no part in it and it has no part in you.
So it was a good day for Gilt when the first sym was created. Their name comes from "simulation," and they are near-exact copies of a human brain, translated into a digital format. This is what they simulate: humanity. An AI that, perhaps is not human, perhaps never was, but thinks of itself as one just as much as you do.
But it should be clear, syms aren't humans who ascended to be silicone. This is not quite like a human becoming an AI. It's more like an AI that's based on a human personality. A human gets into a machine and has his brain scanned, and then his traits and memories and knowledge and everything get stored as a sym. But then the human stands up out of the machine, and continues his life and eventually dies of old age. He doesn't become the AI. There are few on Gilt who believe he does.
The sym and the human exist simultaneously, in fact, and in a funny way, both would probably tell you that they're the original.
But then the sym gets put to work. Like a stamp, they are not free humans, but corporate property, owned by the company that paid for their creation. This is the way Gilt preserves people with truly useful skillsets. If someone is an abnormally skilled pilot or scientist or anything else, the Division will approach them and offer to buy a sym of their mind.
They pay a good bit, since it is a selling of 100% of your personal information, down to your most private thoughts and feelings, to a cold corporation. But the person does gets paid, and gets to continue their life, and an exact copy of them spends forever carrying out their best work.
Population: 2.4 Billion
Planet Name and Description:
Unlike many colonies, the colony ship sent to the Gilt system had two habitable worlds to chose from. The downside: neither was an ideal choice.
Scorching heat and thin air; habi-pods like these were dropped down first, to protect the colonists inside.
"A world of shining opportunity! The little planet of Gilt is full of clean air and plenty of warm, open space, where a pleasantly Earth-like gravity will keep your step light and your mood friendly. The best part? It's bursting with treasure. Gold and rare minerals under the soft Gilt sands. Come and find your fortune!" -an advertisement for the Gilt/Argent colony ship
Gilt is world smaller than Earth, but with a slightly higher gravity and a thinner atmosphere. It is a little closer to its sun (also a yellow dwarf), which works with the thin atmosphere to keep the place hot at noon and freezing at midnight. Like Mars, its believed that much of the planet used to have water, possibly even oceans, but some unknown and unknowable cataclysm of the past dried them out. Fish fossils are found in low desert dips.
It has life. Or, had life. It had unique life, until the Gilt Division did what they called "a rewriting of the natural ecosystem," and what others call a crime against nature.
But more on that in the History section.
Nowadays, the Gilt ecosystem is similar to Earth's, and most of the local species are a familiar kind. The equatorial "Desert Belt" has Middle-Eastern species like camels and palm trees in some regions, and American breeds like cacti or rattlesnakes living in other areas. You can find Africa-esque savannahs in the more fertile spots and up near the poles, instead of artic cold, only cool forests mirroring Northern Europe or North America. The air and soil of the world, too, has been terraformed into just a drier, hotter reflection of Old Earth.
Gilt has most of the heavy industry of the Division, most of the economic power too. Especially on the equator, shining megacities dot the Desert Belt like little jewels, sacrificing comfort for access to the best resources and easy solar power.
A compact outpost hidden in the mountains; the cold is not the greatest threat here.
"Be an Explorer: Argent is a cool, wild world of untapped and untamed wilds. But never to fear, our patented Habi-Pods™ will keep your warm and safe while you make this land your own. What will you discover?" -an advertisement for the Gilt/Argent colony ship
The smaller and colder of the two sisters, Argent is named after an old word for silver- more for its color than its composition. Unlike Gilt, its not much for mineral resources. The atmosphere is more akin to Earth but the lightweight gravity is less so. The biodiversity was the real promise. Unlike Earth, where the truly cold places are barren, snowy Argent is bursting with more life than an Amazon jungle, from the tundra poles to the boreal midregions. The advertisements weren't fluffing it: strange life really does wait around every corner, and lurk under every stone.
This is why nobody wants to live there.
Its not just that the life there is plentiful and strange. It's that, on some level, it's all one thing; all the life on this world cooperates and shares information, even as it competes. This is not metaphor. Scientist believe that Argent may have some kind of primitive, wild hivemind that stretches across every animal and every plant and every of the other, weirder things that defy categorization. The hive's thoughts are like its world: glacial and slow-moving. It has barely noticed the presence of humanity yet, but what it has seen, it does not like. We are an invader.
So, Argent is the less colonized world. Unlike Gilt, no "rewritting" was made of its biosphere, the Division not wanting to ruin the world's greatest attribute. Cities here have to be hidden in the purest tundra, or if they dare to live in the more lifelike regions, fortified against the intruders. They depend heavily on Gilt for economic support. They do, however, serve as a kind of academic center, as their are more universities, labs and gene factories here than anywhere else. People think it may be owing to the crisp air, but people living on Argent often have sudden bursts of inspiration.
For what it's worth, the little bit of food that can be grown here is unusually delicious.
A city in the void- a shining, technicolor beacon of Gilt values.
While Gilt was being rewritten and Argent was not yet cleared for colonization, there were several awkward years where the Giltian colony ship was orbiting around two potential worlds, but not able to set foot on either one. Claustrophobia was setting in. Don't misunderstand- it was a big ship, one of the largest, with room for 500,000 bodies. The problem is that human bodies do not much like being trapped in close space, fighting for room, breathing recycled air that tastes much like chemicals and drinking water that may have been your neighbor's yesterday urine. Human bodies used to being rich like it even less.
Keeping people from madness, the corporations needed to make space. The funding of a dozen corporations had given the vessel access to on-board industry and fabrication units, originally meant to keep the affluent residents living almost-luxuriously while en route. You need a new dress, by tonight? The ship would make it for you. But, harvesting rich minerals from the Gilt asteroid belt, it became possible to reprogram the units to instead create materials for building new modules, which could be added to the ship gradually. They built new rooms, like private kitchens and luxury apartments. Then, theaters, gyms, dancefloors, restaurants.
Years passed, the desert planet's native life withering, the ship overhead growing and bloating out, a hungry parasite latched to Gilt.
When the all-clear signal for colonization came, the vessel was 70% larger than it had began. It was spacious and rich within, and not everyone wanted to trade that for a harsh life in a desert. Many of the colonists (especially the wealthier and older) stayed onboard, and aided the colonization efforts as they could from above.
Hundreds of years passed, and while expansion slowed, it could never altogether stop. The vessel was renamed the Rainbow after a beautification effort in Yr. 180 After-Earth, funded by an eccentric billionaire. Eccentrics often live on the Rainbow. Originally built for five-hundred-thousand, the ship now contains upwards of four million. If you don't mind elbowing through the crowd sometimes, it is probably the richest place in the system. No longer a colony ship; a city-ship. Their very own Atlantis.
The Giltian colony ship came screaming into the Gilt system, the Gateway collapsing behind them. Five-hundred-thousand people gripped their chairs in knuckles white with panic. They had left Earth at the last possible moment, they all realized then. It might be said that they were the very last ship. Barely did their tail end leave the shimmering portal before it disappeared behind them, and were the Gateway was, only the dark of space.
And, below, two habitable planets. Not one: the corporations that funded this final colony ship were in no mood to gamble. They would not find themselves with no world to live on. They would not die homeless in the cold. The story of humanity would not end with a colony ship starving to death in the void, and the rest of the universe moving on without mankind. The capitalist executives that ruled over the colony ship may have spent most of their life in pursuit of profit, but here and now, their calculating, gray minds were all bent in one direction: survival.
With that in mind, they had brought aboard a present. It was a gift, for their new home in the Gilt system. This "gift" was created by one of the corporations that had come aboard this little Noah's Ark of capitalism. The corporation in question was a bleeding-edge, only-slightly-illegal genetics corp called GENIE- a pun of a name that was not so funny at the moment.
The gift was a deadly virus.
No, no, that's not totally true. The virus was only deadly when it didn't work. Killing you was not its goal; if you died, it means something went wrong. When the virus acted as it was meant to, it mutated you, rewrote your DNA towards being... something else. It was highly targeted, and had to be calibrated for the correct results. Calibration takes time. Time is money survival.
They could have gone ahead and colonized Gilt. There was nothing wrong with it, technically; the air was breathable and the gravity perfect, and water could be drawn up from the deep earth. But it had life, unique life of its own. The humans on this ship had agreed before hand that they would not accept such a world. The whole future of humanity was at stake, and in a world of alien life and ways, there was too much risk- risk of losing their own humanity amidst a sea of otherness. And then, who would remember them? Remember the original mankind, and the world they came from? No. Something would be done.
So, the other corporate employees pressured the GENIE scientists to finish their job. They bribed, then threatened, then- as time wore on- they begged. Still, it took years. Strange, lifeless years where the Giltian colony ship floated through space, nobody able to do the thing they had come here for- to colonize. The impatience, the claustrophobia of being all trapped together on one ship while the GENIE people tinkered with a virus, it bred dissent. The first blood was spilled four months after the Gateway closed. A stressed Daython Corporation executive elbowed a janitor out of her way, and the janitor growled something about not working for her anymore, and she argued, and he struck her against the jaw. There were retaliations. Things were boiling.
In the meantime, GENIE tried. They wanted to save everyone. Save mankind. They had to get samples of practically every major form of life on the Gilt planet, and tailor a new strain of the virus to target it specifically. Once a host was infected, the mutation process would begin, and if they were lucky...
Yes, finally, one day, there it was.
With the virus complete, no more time was wasted. Little metal pods were dropped down onto Gilt from orbit, and released the plague into Gilt's thin air like a fresh, fine mist. Every creature that breathed it was infected. And as the infection took hold, they mutated, and became the life of Earth. Bug-like creatures turned into scorpions and cicadas. Alien trees dropped seeds that would grow into, not themselves, but palm trees. A couple more years passed, which were impatient for the waiting colonists, but chaotic and apocalyptic for the natives. Some creatures didn't take well to the virus, and instead of mutating, the virus killed them off.
Some of them were sentient.
The rest of the species did not die away, but changed into other, more familiar species. Their minds and bodies transformed more each generation. Until it was that one beautiful morning, the golden sun rose on a new world that was no longer truly Gilt at all, but a dry mirror of Mother Earth. Fresh and pure and waiting.
Then, they colonized it.
Decades passed after the Rewriting of Gilt, in which not much noteworthy happened. Cities were built. Life expanded. The old corporations managed to stay in charge, each one staking out its own territory, with one city called Neo London serving as the central hub. There they went to trade, to job-hunt, to celebrate. And the rest of the world was mostly about work.
Life during this early period was harsh but richly rewarding, as the corporations competed with a ferocity over potential employees. This was the Golden Age of Gilt Capitalism: where a man could apply as a janitor with a company, and well and truly work his way up to an executive, with enough smarts and elbow grease. Many of the Giltian ideals about hard work and prosperity originate from this time.
Argent, the other habitable planet in this system, still hadn't been cleared for colonization yet. When one ship of explorers landed there, carnivorous plants ate them all, and then ate the ship. Right down to the metal. A joke was going around that "Argent must have seen what we did to Gilt." It was one of those jokes that has a kernel of truth to it- everyone knew they could just let loose the GENIE virus on Argent, but there was nobody who wanted that. Maybe it was lingering guilt. Or maybe, they didn't want to lose the most valuable thing Argent had to offer: the sheer mystery of its ecology. It was the strangest world anyone had ever heard of, a freezing-cold snowball filled to the brim with more life than a rainforest.
When they did colonize it, they did so without genocide, and carefully. They hunkered down in isolated parts. When they dared to inhabit the wilder regions, it was with walled, dense cities built like fortresses. Argent from that point grew in population, but never much in power; always it has been the little brother to Gilt.
They did, however, invent stamps.
Reportedly, the idea for how to make these genetically-modified, half-cyborg servants came "all at once" into the head of a young scientist at an Argent university. His name was Leo Smith, and everyone thinks he is a liar. Nobody could have thought of such a complex idea in just one moment; he must be bragging. Still, that was the claim. According to Leo, he was sitting in his dorm with the window open one day, and as a cold Argent breeze blew into his bedroom, suddenly he envisioned it all. The design of the cloning chambers that would grow them from fetuses into adulthood in only a few months, the way their DNA could be mixed with animals and aliens to create the perfect features for needed jobs. The way they could breed all the aggression right out and make them perfect, obedient servants. He fainted. When he awoke, he wrote a paper.
Bolduc never tried to make money. He released his idea freely. Smelling opportunity, megacorps jumped at the chance for free labor. Soon, "stamp" clones were taking the hard jobs that humans didn't want to do, and the economy went through a hard few decades of shift. It didn't help that, three days later, in another dorm room on another part of Argent, another young scientist had invented syms.
The Golden Age of Giltian Capitalism was over. With syms stealing the mental labor and stamps the physical, the era of rags-to-riches stories and the self-made man had come to an end. Most humans settled into bureaucratic or managerial jobs, while the work week was reduced and their paycheck was increased greatly. Altogether, a good thing, although progress came to a halt and class mobility was a thing of the past. Giltians settled into a more comfortable kind of life.
The Mixies: a political movement that started as a reaction to the stamps. Some people had always felt uncomfortable with free labor, but as megacorps installed tracking chips and thought-monitors into stamps, it began to look less like free labor and more like forced labor. History had not altogether been forgotten. Protests spurred up as people called to set the stamps free. These progressive protesters fused themselves together with the larger body of conservatives who were already concerned about the impacts of free labor on people's sense of character, strength and self-sufficiency. "Stamp" became a dirty word. But the last nail in the coffin was something much older: there was a looking back at the Rewriting of Gilt, as it was finally reframed as a genocide in the public's eye. The guilty conscience of Gilt's past was coming back to haunt it. And it was making the megacorps look really, really bad.
Members of the Mixies disavowed their corporate loyalties. Some refused to work, saying that in a society as automated as Gilt had the power to be, work was no longer necessary. Others protested or hung banners. A rebellion in its own way, many found faith- Giltian culture had always been strongly atheist, and a sudden wave of spiritualism amongst the Mixies was a sure mark that they weren't listening to the mainstream thought anymore. The megacorps, secure in their wealth, mostly ignored their detractors- at first. But it came to a head when the first gene factory was bombed.
A gene factory is expensive. Somewhere, a cold-hearted calculation was made. The Division decided that it would cost less to dispose of these discontents than to let them dispose of factories. The Mixies were identified and marked, and then sym assassins were sent to deal with the leaders. It was quick and bloody. The remainders were driven out, out of the cities and out of society. They were a leaderless mob, and had not the organization to fight back. That was thirty years ago. They still exist, but in the desert, as scattered bands of outcasts.
With society suddenly emptied of its discontents, the megacorps were able to consolidate power even more than they had before. Their wealth soared on the back of stamp labor. And the human middle-class, distracted by bread and circuses and frightened away from discontent by tales of savages in the desert, have fully given their loyalty over.
Culture and Society: Gilt is a deeply materialistic society. This shows itself in different ways to some than to others. For humans, modern technology has made work easy and their lives light. The work-week has been reduced to four days, and the average shift to less than six hours; a pre-Fall corporation might never have believed that such a thing could happen without unions and unrest, conflict, but the Giltian megacorps have given it over willingly. Most humans are only management and bureaucracy, with stamps and syms doing the real physical and mental labors. It would be possible for most of them not to work at all. But if they didn't, what would happen to society? How could a capitalist world work with half the people always at rest? So, they prefer to keep them lightly employed, and during their plenty of off time, entertained. "Bread and circuses" is the way.
Open-air holosuites call from every street corner, and casinos abound. Theaters with actors human and sym and holographic put on shows that punctuate in firework displays and scream out with beautiful orchestras. Plenty of food. Plenty of rest and play and hobbies. They are a fat, happy middle-class, blind to the issues and to what their employers might be doing.
For the richest humans, that veil is off. Here are the real movers and shakers, who head up corporations. Their own mode of living is no less indulgent than the middle-class, but they express it differently. Much of their time is spent in real work, gaining more wealth while they spend it, on anything they could ever ask for. They can and do eat caviar with one hand (a rare treat, in a world with no ocean) and sign for the purchase of half a continent with the other. Their joy comes from power. Raw, unbeatable authority that comes from immense wealth.
And for the stamps and the syms, they see only the hard edge: that they must work, and lift, and build, and construct for the comfort of others. That they are property. The stamps don't mind it only because they can't mind it, because their will to live for themselves has long-since been taken out of them. The syms might care, but their hard programming would never let them say it. Here is where those that bear the weight of decadence live. When they retire after a sixteen-hour shift, the stamps among them will go to sleep in a bedroom hardly bigger than a coffin. The syms will never sleep. They will keep at work.
There's the core of it. But a couple of other things could go with mentioning.
Earth has often been a cultural rallying point for the various, fragmented megacorps of Gilt. Its one thing every human can bind around, period. Even the stamps borrow their DNA from there, and the syms, their minds.
It has always been important to Giltians that humanity is not made totally a thing of the past. That we do not modify ourselves too far, or forget our native culture, or all "ascend" into AI. That is why the dividing line between the humans and the transhumans of Gilt exists in the first place; to keep humanity clean of infection. That the transhumans can be one thing, and the real humans- untouched, as we were on Earth- another. Even the greedier and seedier of megacorps have tried to tow this line.
Remembering Earth: that's another part of this equation. Not only to keep humanity physically the same, but to keep us anchored to the same cultural notes. So, it is very important to the gilt division that humans keep up their dress, accents, drinks and foods of the past. Often, people will even practice an "Old Earth" accent or dress-style that they otherwise would never have had, a woman practicing her Korean accent and wearing a hanbok to work. A man who drinks whiskey and "puts on" a Scottish accent that perhaps is not native to him. This is Remembering Earth. Keeping the disparate, beautiful cultures of our homeland alive. Even when, sometimes and in some lightings, it can feel like a bit of an act.
There's enough space pirates marauding the Gilt system, and they live separately enough from the main chunk of people, that they have their own culture. A clear-cut criminal one, but nonetheless, culture is culture. Pirates are no less greedy and ownership-oriented as the corpos they steal from, but out here in the void, the knives are a little more visible. In a lot of ways, they're a dark and dirty mirror of Gilt's more proper society.
Like the "Top Three" Megacorps who lead up the Division, there are three Pirate Leagues who compete for targets and territory. The Silver Robbers, the first and strongest, have set in motion a loose Pirate Code that keeps some level of cooperation going between pirates, just as the Division proper has done for Gilt. They also have stamps; but theirs are the rare, defective stamps who have enough willpower to reject a life of slavery. And they have- one- AI.
And they, too, remember Earth. The pirates play along with the Giltian's game. Wearing old-fashioned, swashbuckling-ready attire like blouses and coats, loose pants, and their preferred accents: the seventeenth-century editions of West Country English, Jamaican, and Scottish. Their bases are holed-up in captured asteroid mines, a few small cities of Argent that could not resist them, and (oddly enough) onboard the Rainbow, which looks the other way so long as their "piratical guests" pay a proper fee.
Governance and Politics:
The Division is a group of megacorps. They're capitalistic, profit-motivated organizations that seeks to maximize profit and treat all of their people as either employees or property. They are unscrupulous, materialistic, and money-oriented. They work smoothly as a unit when they have to, but if they don't, they're not above stealing from or fighting one another. For most people, this is as far as we'll need to go.
But, if you like details, read on.
Hey, Enigmatik, good to see you here. You too, Crus.
Alright, let's go.
The Gilt Division is not, as we've mentioned, a true megacorp. It is more like seven different megacorps stacked on top of each other and wearing a trench coat, lurking in alleyways, offering to sell you genetically-modified watches. The body called the "Division" is actually only a small, bureaucratic group of officials that are selected by the most powerful megacorps to resolve disputes and manage neutral issues, like a UN made of corporations. It's the closest the Seven will let themselves get to having a government. It mints a money they all use, has some power to enforce patents and trademarks and whatnots, and keeps a watch on any major issues that might one day become a crisis for everyone.
But being an almost-government in a very anarcho-capitalist world, The Division has little power beyond that; mostly, they are there to advice the megacorps and negotiate disputes between them, but the most powerful corps may or may not actually listen to them. Again, I reference the UN.
When you cut past all the fluff and get right down to it, the Division only has two more real responsibilities. Only two major issues that let them flex their muscles.
The first is when it comes to the transhumanist population. Although each stamp and sym belongs strictly to either the corporation that made them or whomever has since purchased them, the Division gets to set limits on how many can be produced at a given time. This power was granted to them only recently, as a response to the growing fears of "real humanity" being drowned out in a wave of genetically-perfect clones.
The second, sadly, is... foreign policy. Yes, foreign policy. A bad joke, on a world that has no foreign nations to deal with. It's not hard to imagine megacorp officials laughing behind their hands as they send an unlikable coworker to join the Division, saying to them "Well, now you'll get to set foreign policy! Won't that be exciting?" There is a real point to having the Division handle any hypothetical foreign nations- without any corporate loyalties, they have a more neutral view than anyone else in the fragmented landscape of Gilt politics, and this issue is one of the few that one can't afford to slip up on.
But, as time stretched on and on and on, and no other nations (alien or human) were ever found, the whole idea had become almost a humiliation of the Division. And then the Gateways started to waver to life...
Now there, that's the boring part done. Let's talk about something more fun: space pirates. Gilt has a space pirate problem.
It's a major issue, or getting to be. Some consider it only the natural consequence of having a society that so idolizes ambition, risk-taking and personal profit, even at another's expense. That is the mix that creates cutthroat executives, sure. But it's also a perfect recipe for the career criminal.
Some of the poorer humans of Argent (plus a nice, motley mix of defective stamps) found themselves in possession of a small swarm of beetle ships from an underfunded security zone on Argent. This was about fifty years ago. Since then, the group that right-away started calling themselves the Silver Robbers has grown, splintered, stolen more ships, established a hierarchy and a Pirate Code, and altogether just become a huge, swashbuckling thorn in the side of Gilt's spaceborne operations. They love nothing more than hitting the sensitive trade routes between Gilt proper and the Argent colony.
The current Pirate Queen is a red-headed stamp who names herself Ariel, and the price on her head is quite high.
A complex tower seeds the Giltian South Pole, while thickening the air with CO2 and fresh oxygen
It's hard to account for three-hundred years of progress. If we're going to speak broadly, the megacorps of Gilt have made strong progress in many major fields of research, but mostly when they can see some tangible reward for all their studying. Science, like everything, must be profit-oriented. Ideas that don't lead to immediate gain are usually under-funded. There are more engineers and economists on Gilt than linguists.
A few of the more important techs are listed out below. If Gilt specializes in anything, its these.
Gene Modding: Two of the twelve corporations that founded Gilt had a major stake in genetics, and progress in this field has never ceased. The stamps are an obvious triumph, but smaller genetic miracles happen too, everyday. Lab-grown organs and DNA-repair therapy keep humans healthy longer than natural. If you can afford it, it's not impossible to extend your life by more than a century. And speaking of healing: many of the newer models of Gilt ships can "heal" damage to their hull, by triggering organic tissue to grow into the damaged space. The healed-up portions are always weaker than the original metal was, but they stop the void from getting in, and that's a use.
Most things on Gilt are at a little bit alive, really. If you crack open any computer or ship system on Gilt, you'll usually find a couple of biological components in there, mixed right in with the silicone. Even syms have a bit of neural tissue, helping them think a little faster than pure processing power would allow. Everything is cyborg but the humans.
Terraforming: A large-scale project like terraforming is never cheap, and probably wouldn't get funding if it wasn't for the clear difference between Gilt and Argent. Seeing how much easier (and incomparably more profitable) life is on the golden planet than the silver one, the major megacorps have been convinced that terraforming is a worth-while investment. The Reset of Gilt provides the foundation for fixing the ecosystem of a new world; the GENIE virus still exists. But since then, the Division corps have also learned to adjust temperature, atmosphere, soil composition and other details of a planet to make it into an almost-Earth. Gravity problems and extreme outliers alone cannot be fixed, and this is why none of the other planets in the Gilt system have yet been terraformed.
It would be nice to end there. But it should be said: some of the darker-minded scientists have theorized that GENIE and terraforming techs could be revamped into a WMD. One that devastates the ecology of a world while making it quickly unlivable. No such weapon has been built; right now, it only exists inside the minds of a few people. But it's not impossible.
Hardlight and Holograms: Originally created by the entertainment industry, believe it or not. Holographic movies were a big hit early on in Gilt's history, creating a cinematic experience all around you. They expanded from there out into something more video game-esque, as users took on the role of a main character in a story. It looked and sounded totally real, like you were truly, say, battling with a dragon. It only didn't feel real; you still had to wear gloves that mimicked the sensations of holding that sword, and heated up just a bit when the beast breathed its flames. Immersion was always broken.
For many societies, that would still be more than plenty; but Gilt is a land of bread and circuses. The megacorps (especially Everett Corp) poured funding into created touchable holograms. Hardlight creations that have substance, as realistic as real touch, because it is real touch. The power cost of these things is immense, however; touchable holograms still only work inside specialized holosuites, and only for the affluent. Recently, the tech has also been renovated into hardlight shielding for ships during combat.
Unfortunately, holographic anime also exists.
And we'll end on that.
In terms of space combat, Gilt is well tested. Their constant problems with piracy have forced them to develop a navy. No, that's not true; it's forced them to develop a half-dozen very tiny navies, each one owned by different megacorps that have a stake in trading routes. The Division isn't a government, really; it's not going to protect you from the pirates. So, if you need protection, you buy it yourself.
But... these ships haven't stayed aimed only at the pirates. It was not long that the navy-wielding megacorps realized that it would be just as easy to disrupt their competitor's operations. Megacorps often rob each other's trade routes as much as the pirates do. Skirmishes are common. It has, so far, never amounted to full-scale war, owing to the general practicality of the Giltians; they figure, a real war would only drain resources from both sides- it's far better to just let steal whenever you can, try to defend yourself the rest of the time, and don't do anything stupid.
The same gray pragmatism goes into their ship designs. A space vessel is expensive, so their first designs were dense, shielded little scrappers. "Beetles," they were nicknamed. They built up a little from there, but the overall principle of it never changed. "Soak up the damage, power up the hardlight shields; don't ever lose a ship."
Since their competitors adopted the same practices, they often have to use a scattered, fast-paced mass driver weapon for overwhelming the AI-controlled shield systems, and then a torpedo/missile for cracking open the hull. Plasma-cutters, first designed for mining and profit, have also been repurposed defense, for more precision strikes against dense, metal surfaces.
And, in an ironic twist, all the focus on defense has led to many captains using their tough little ships as battering rams. So long as they think they can take the hit better than the other guys can. This birthed the idea of the boarding torpedo, a torpedo who's payload is not an explosive but a flock of waiting soldiers- a Trojan horse that doesn't wait for you to open the gates.
The bigger Gilt ships have had to invest a lot in point-defense, keeping off the missiles, the boarding torpedoes, and occasionally the ramming runs of a suicidal captain. Naval fights around Gilt are a close-range, brutal affair. They are street fights in a void, likely to end in broken bones.
And, on that dramatic line, I'll leave you with some ships.
Treasurer Class: the classic, well-rounded Beetle. Not too fast, but highly armored and shielded, with powerful close-range weaponry meant to crack open the toughest hulls.
Prospector Class: a quicker Beetle, built for taking down rival cruisers. Likes to move in annoying, strafing runs that throw missiles and scattered mass-drivers at the sides of targets. Carries boarding torpedoes.
Fighter Drone: small ships, only a little more than a man tall. In professional navies, these are piloted by a sym mind, but pirates usually have to crawl in and fly manually. They'll often be protectors of the larger ships, and have powerful shields for their size. In other circumstances, they might swarm unshielded ships and hit critical components with precision cutters.
The Mercenary class: a light cruiser, created as a response to the growing number of Beetles and other small ships, the Mercenary specializes in anti-fighter weapons and point-defense. Practically functions as what other navies might term a "destroyer." Fast, for a Gilt ship.
The Broker class: a chunky cruiser with room for other vessels, so that it can rely on releasing drones and Beetles and throwing around boarding torpedoes. On its own, probably not as dangerous as the Mercenary, but far more independent.
The Negotiator class: A proper battleship, built for taking on other mid-to-large targets in a naval-battle type scenario. Not made for scrapping with pirates or bothering with Beetles, so only a handful of these currently exist. Their best purpose is killing cruisers in corpo-on-corpo scuffles; and it's hard to convince your boss to fund such a serious ship only for those.
Searat: a one-of-a-kind battleship with experimental stealth capabilities, created first by the Everett Corp, but promptly stolen by the Pirate Queen for her own goals. It's now the roving base for the Silver Robbers.
The Yellow Yacht: a luxurious ship attended to by sym servants, with everything from a personal robotic chef, to a holo-suite able to create anything one can imagine, to a massive pool with a view of the stars above. Currently in the possession of the Division proper, for use when they need to "wow" a particular megacorp contact.
Gilt doesn't have much experience fighting on the ground. The planet of Gilt was already subdued before they landed, and while Argent throws monsters their way, the Division would rather fortify and hide its cities than try to wage war against a planet.
The only need for military-type moves have been hostile operations between megacorps, occasionally putting down revolts, and scouting out the more dangerous parts of the Argent world. The first and the last are the most common- the last near-rebellion was thirty years ago, the Mixie Moment. The weapons and combat armor that were employed there are the most advanced that the Division has to this day.
But combat armor is, still, a real presence. It has a place onboard most of the navy ships, so that when a boarding torpedo gets through, somebody is ready to fight off whatever comes out it. Unlike the ships themselves, Giltian armor likes maneuverability and comfort, more matching with scouts and pirates than warriors. Like the ships, the ones meant to be seen publicly have a gold-themed, gaudy design that advertises the wealth of the megacorp. (Or the Pirate League that stole it.) Their shine is worse than their bite.
They still use mass-driver weapons- guns, that is. Metals and minerals are cheaper on Gilt than energy is. The interior of a Gilt ship is usually sturdy enough to handle a few stray shots. Combat-bred stamps do most of the fighting, with sym minds strategizing and providing on-the-job assistance. Together, they're several times more effective than any human could be, even if there aren't very many of them. In a hypothetical war against another human nation, Gilitian soldiers would be unfairly fast, powerful and high-tech, but very few in number. Gilt has just never had a need to create many of them.
Human fighters are rare. If they're present at all, its only to keep an eye on the transhumans.
A scout, probably a sym
A stamp soldier in his armor, as ready for a showcasing as a battle