Encyclopedia Galactica A-F

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Achilles is the third planet in the Terra-Sol system. This planet bears some resemblance to the Earth/Sun systems, planet Mars. It was early on targeted for terra-forming. Scientific research indicated that the planet had once been home to multicelled life. The native lifeforms (mostly algae type plants) disappeared, likely because Achilles atmosphere has slowly dissipated into the nether regions of space over the last 3 billion years or so. When discovered Achilles atmosphere ranged from 50 millibars in the low regions to as little as 3 to 5 millibars at higher elevations.

The first target of the terra-formers has been increasing the planet's atmosphere. It was decided to use the planet's natural volcanism for this purpose. The planet is still geologically active, and has two of the largest volcanoes in the Terra-Sol system. Trouble was they weren't spewing enough gas to keep up with the slow loss the planet was suffering. To accomplish their goal, the terra-formers proceeded to build the largest gravity inductor in all of human space. This huge machine (the size of the Old Earth country of Holland) when operated causes the stimulation of the planets internal tidal forces. Causing increased volcanism and thus the release of additional gases into the atmosphere. Currently Achilles atmosphere is composed mainly of carbon dioxide gas, but the terra-formers are in the process of towing large water asteroids into orbit around the planet to be used at strategic times to try and add oxygen to the atmosphere.

To make the terra-forming self-sufficient the Orion government has developed several industries. A thriving plastics industry on planet makes use of hydrocarbons supplied by Achilles ancient algae like plants. These are buried just beneath the planet's surface. Additionally despite the planet's rather low density, it developed sufficiently Terra like to contain many of the more precious heavy metals that are always in high demand. So a profitable mining industry has developed. Still fully a third of the planets work force (the planet contains a population of approximately 128 million) is employed by the Orion government in the business of terra-forming.

A small but growing religion that is sweeping through many of the stellar nations. Begun in the Borealis Republic, this new faith focuses on the ruins and monoliths left behind by a spacefaring civilization that rose flourished and disappeared long before humanity left its home world.

The faith believes that the ancient civilization was a species of gods. Historians have labeled this mysterious group the Precursors. Their power and majesty can be seen in the structures they left behind, claim the Ancientists. "We are the children of the Precursors," the Ancientists claim, "and soon they will return to see what we did with what they left behind. If we do well they will shepherd us to the next level of existence." Some Ancientists also believe that the Precursors will test and judge humanity when they return.

Ancientists are scholarly, inquisitive, and fond of exploring and studying Precursor sites and artifacts. Their young faith has few established churches or hierarchical structures. Though it has a seminary on Sapphire and a Grid presence in many systems, members of the faith usually gather at Precursor sites to meet, exchange information, and worship.

The outermost planet in the Terra-Sol system, Apollo seems out of place in almost every respect. From its distance from the primary (35AU's), to its name. In fact astronomers now theorize that this frozen iceball was actually a wandering planet captured by Sol.

No commercial value has been found for the planet and it is totally unoccupied. No remote scientific satellites even monitor the system. It's one claim to fame as stated by the famous Orion astronomer Nigel Pennysworth, "It's the biggest snowball I've ever seen!"

Argos System:
The Argos System is Void Corp sovereign territory. The system contains 11 planets, the third being the primary Argos. Argos is a waterworld which is currently being exploited for its krill like fishery. Total population on planet is believed to be approximately 45 million. A further 5 million live in L5 colonies and on the surfaces of other planetary bodies, within the system. Argos food paste (produced from the krill like animals) is an excellent protein base for a variety of foods, and is sold throughout the Twilight Sector.

Arasaka Corp:
A Japanese based Mega-Corp, Arasaka (air-a-sock-a) is Terra-Sols leading provider of security services and armaments manufacturer. The Corp also owns a large banking system, and some heavy manufacturing capacity. Arasaka also acquired a small chain of fast food restaurants 25 years ago. They have transformed Cozy Cottage into the second largest restaurant chain on Terra-Sol. Saburo Arasaka, age 203 is still the Chairman of the Board of the Corp, and by all accounts takes an active interest in company activities. His son Kei Arasaka, age 88 now serves as CEO of the Corp.

Asteroid Belt of Terra-Sol:
Terra-Sol's asteroid belt occupies a position between Achilles and Moria, 3.6 AU's from Sol. Astro-physicists believe that the belt was produced by the collision of two Mars sized planetary bodies during the infancy of the system.

Astronomers and explorers continue to chart additional undiscovered asteroids of which there are currently over 1 million known. The asteroid belt contains numerous mining and ore processing facilities, as well as habitat and food production facilities. Over 48 million make there home "in the belt".

A feature of interest is the Star cluster of asteroids. Seven of these eight asteroids revolve in synchronous orbit around the largest member of their group. This relationship is obviously artificial and when the group was inspected it was discovered that all eight were hollow. Again it was obvious that this was accomplished through some outside agency. Most of these asteroids have been thoroughly explored but several contain warrens of tunnels which continue to be explored to this day. The whole group is now owned by the Pax Combine, which operates them as a resort destination. They are quite exclusive and have become the system's most popular, off Terra, vacation destination.

Athena is the sub-terran moon of Terra, of the Terra-Sol system. Athena has extensive L5 colonies. 65 million make their homes in these colonies. The primary commerce of the colonies is zero-g manufacturing and cargo and passenger trans-shipment. Of note, one of the colonies, called the Joshua Colony is composed entirely of clones of Oshi and Mikada Joshua. There is apparently some religious belief behind this colony, but it is unclear and the Joshua's aren't talking.

Just as Terra is an almost perfect copy of Earth, Athena is an almost perfect copy of the moon. Athena has a population of 246 million. Its economy is based on low-g manufacturing, some mining as well as high-tech research. One of the most interesting of the research facilities is the Orwell observatory. This facility boasts 5 major telescopes, the biggest, the Orwell telescope is one of the largest ever constructed. The facility is dedicated to charting the stars further out in the Orion Frontier. The goal being to identify new areas for exploration.

Austrin-Ontis Unlimited:
This stellar nation of 646 billion, is the principal arms dealer to human space. During GW II, Austrin-Ontis was a member of the Profit Alliance. Many put the blame on this nation for sparking GW II. Prior to the war, Austrin-Ontis arms merchants were known for stirring up trouble to increase the sales of their products. Although no conclusive evidence has been found, it is known that this nations arms merchants supplied most of the weapons used in the Mutant uprising on Tau Ceti. The war however proved disastrous for the Austrins as most stellar nations saw the fallacy in building up a rivals economy, and proceeded to better develop their own arms industries. Further the Austrins had to hold off the combined might of VoidCorp, and their lap dogs the Nariac Domain. While they were successful in doing this, it cost them in lives and systems.

The Aztec Empire:
The Aztec Empire is a Terra-Sol nation-state. Its territory corresponds with Mexico, Central America and part of California, on Old Earth. With a population of 450 million, it is the most populous country in North America. The nation has adopted a strange amalgamation of ancient Aztec and Mayan governmental styles, subject to populist agitation. The Aztec Empire has been aggressive with its neighbors, absorbing territories when possible, and as of late engaging in a border war with its neighbor to the south, the Andes Free State.

Borealis Republic:

The Borealis Republic was originally founded as a sort of retreat into history. The original political structure of this stellar nation was a constitutional monarchy, in reaction to many of the non-traditional types of governments being set up in other parts of human space. This form of government didn't last though, as the nation suffered through a civil war during GW I. The result of this war was the establishment of the present republic. The Borealis mindset has produced a nation with a strong intellectual tradition. Borealis academic institutions are famous all over human space. However this accent on the introspective did not serve the nation well during GW II. The Borealis Republic was a member of the Freespace Alliance, and this was probably the only thing that saved them from extinction. The nation lost much of its territory to the Thuldan puppets, the Hature Community. When the Orion League and the Orlamu Theocracy stepped in, they helped roll back some of the Expansion pentad gains. Most of this territory though ended up as Concord Sagittarius, which at least gives the Borealis a little breathing room. After the war the Borealis Republic's population had declined to 368 billion. Making it the second smallest stellar nation next to Insight.

T'sa religion is a complex polytheistic faith generally referred to as Ch'Nalism. Ch'Nalites believe in a single, all-powerful creator who provides a guardian deity for every sentient creature. After creating the universe, Ch'Nal created many lesser gods, the Ch'Nakan, for each kind of living thing. Each Ch'Nakan watches over its own piece of creation acting as guide and guardian to its charges. The Ch'Nakan can appear in whatever aspect suits them.

Is a nation-state of Terra-Sol. It boasts a population of 410 million. It's capital is Seattle. The nation occupies the same geographic regions as the pacific northwest on Old Earth. Columbia has been a relatively stable nation, although its contains a high percentage of mutants and psionicists, as well as a large number of "Indian" tribes, which are semi-autonomous. This might not bode well for Columbia's future stability. Columbia has had some problems on its northern borders dealing with the Russian Empires encroachment into Colombian territory. The nation is also home to more than its share of Corps and they seem to exert a strong influence on Columbia's representative democracy.

The stellar nation created by The Treaty of Concord that ended GW II. This nation was actually formed from the wreckage of the second galactic war. Broken nations and the most hotly contested pieces of the Stellar Ring (settled space) were given up by all sides in GW II to create Concord. Although the nation has make great strides in building up its strength and fulfilling the mission assigned to it by the treaty, more than any other stellar nation, it still has a colossal rebuilding job in front of it. Concord is a nation designed to keep the peace. Its three arms (Concord Prime, Concord Taurus, Concord Sagittarius) are buffer zones between some of the most strident wartime contenders. It's charter insures that it acts as an arbiter when disputes arise, and it's military provides the club to make sure it's judgments stick.

Concord is an interstellar nation of some 631 billion sentients. Its structure is designed to give all the nation states that signed The Treaty of Concord some say in its governance. Concord controls two important interstellar institutions, The Galactic Bank and The Galactic Court. The bank is responsible for the establishment of the uniform galactic currency (the Concord dollar). This insures a uniform value for measures of credit (credits, dollars, marks, francs, whatever the name) throughout the Stellar Ring (settled space), and protects each nation against the financial machinations or economic collapse of its neighbors. The Galactic Court contains justices from all the signatories of The Galactic Concord. These justices hear cases involving disputes between stellar nations or multi-national entities. It is forbidden from interfering in the internal matters of any stellar nation.

For the last 29 years, pending the ratification of The Treaty of Concord, the nation of Concord has functioned well. It has been a positive force for keeping the stellar nations at peace. Its mission seems impossible, but only time will tell its ultimate success, and as President Hale of the Orion League said, "what have we got to lose".

Cred Sticks:
Cred sticks are the 25th century version of cash. Paper money or coins are not used on most technologically advanced planets. But the desire for something similar to paper money has never left us. Many people do not want to simply use credit devices, but would rather satisfy any debts on the spot. Others do not want governments or corps sticking their noses in their financial affairs, and so want the anonymity of cash.

Cred sticks are simple electronic devices, about the size of a fountain pen. They can hold any sum of cash up to 10,000 credits. This limit is placed on cred sticks by most governments, although sticks with higher limits are available, most governments require that financial institutions report sales of cred sticks capable of accepting these higher amounts to avoid any tax fraud problems. Cred sticks have electronic encryption that makes counterfeiting difficult. Cred sticks can transfer credits from their internal deposit into any credit reader or another cred stick. Credit readers are used at most retail establishments and are usually just a small round slot in the counter into which you insert your cred stick to make a payment for any items purchased. The user of a cred stick can protect it with personnel codes, they can make notations on where and for what payments from the cred stick were used, much like a checkbook ledger is used today. Deposits can be made to a cred stick from any auto teller capable of accessing the users financial accounts with funds available to be downloaded. Cred sticks cost 50 credits on average.

Cyber-technology has advanced to the point that sentients can have limbs replaced by new and better ones. Neural interfaces are used; so that humans may control machines with a thought, or fly the Grid. They can have trauma packs implanted in their bodies in case of injury or add body plating to resist damage in the first place. The only limits are those imposed by law and nature. Those who implant their bodies with too much cybernetic equipment are subject to the mental illness know as cyber-psychosis. Most of the premium equipment is classified for military use, so while it's easy to get a cyberlimb if you happen to lose one of yours, it is somewhat harder to get one of military quality.

Dorlass System:
Dorlass is Orion League territory. The primary, Dorlass, is home to some 72 million Orion citizens, mostly humans. The population contains mainly separatists groups. Groups that for whatever reason want to live out their lives by their own codes or according to their own religious beliefs. These groups always seem to function better in lightly settled areas, and Dorlass and the Twilight Sector are certainly that. The world itself is semi-arid, and the natives are in the process of doing minor terra-forming of the planet. They are attempting to use a large reservoir of internal water, as well as some ice ball asteroids to increase the free water available on planet. This will, if all goes as planed, increase the size of the temperate bands on planet, making more land available for settlement. Certainly it will make the planet more productive agriculturally.

Dukett Theory
Professor Thomas Dukett of the University of Edmonton first advanced the Dukett theory on the evolution of life on Terra-Sol in 2411. His theory proposes that the native life found on Terra-Sol is the product of natural evolution and not introduced by extra-planetary forces. As evidence he cites several species such as the Southeastern Swamprat, and the Sierra vole as examples of his theory in North America. These species contain extensive fossil records, and exhibit biology that while similar to, is still quite different from imported Old Earth species.

The theory goes on to advance the idea that a biological disaster similar to the one that killed Old Earth's Dinosaurs is responsible for there being so few native Terra-Sol species. Dukett points to the virus responsible for the "Goblinization phenomenon that affected Terra-Sol's human population as the chief suspect. Here is where the theory draws most of its criticism, as proponents of the theory have to date been able to offer no physical evidence to support this contention.

Professor Dukett in 2425 discovered an archeological site on King William Island off the north coast of the ROP. The professor claimed to have discovered evidence of large Terra-Sol life forms, which to date had not been discovered. He also claimed that these specimens contained fossil evidence of a virus, which he believed to be, E. Ex. Goblinus. This would have been an important piece of evidence in support of his theory. However in 2427 the Orion government stepped in and closed down the site, invoking the imminent threat clause of the constitution. No official explanation was ever offered, and the site remains closed to the present time.

Economics and the Citizens of The ROP:

The ROP has become a very prosperous nation in its short 169 years of existence. Agriculture, and later high tech industry mixed with some heavy industry has provided a strong economic base. This has lead to a median income among ROP citizens of 15,800 Orion credits. Over 81% of the population can be classified as middle class (12,500Cr to 25,000Cr, annual income). Another 11% can claim annual incomes over 25,000Cr. Only 8% of the population live below the poverty line.

This term refers to Aliens outside the human sphere of influence. Until a species is categorized, cataloged, and brought into a human alliance (either through absorption, treaty, or annexation), it is listed as "external" in all official databases.

In recent years, especially in frontier areas the external classification has taken on a darker and more foreboding connotation. More and more, external species are considered to be dangerous, mysterious, and even hostile. Most scientists attribute these feelings to the inherent dangers of life on the human frontier, but that only explains part of it. Since humans first left Earth, there's been a segment of society living on the edge of known space. Only since contact with its current frontiers have human tensions and paranoia begun to run rampant.

Forensic Science:

Forensic science in 2501 is an integral part of law enforcement. Charge weapons are virtually 100% identifiable because of the unique signatures they impart to projectiles fired through them. Energy weapons are identifiable down to type and even in most instances manufacturer due to the unique damage patterns they leave behind. DNA sniffers can now detect microscopic amounts of biological material at a crime scene. Humans are always shedding dead skin or hair so if any of this material can be found at a crime scene the DNA sniffer can find it and with almost total accuracy complete a DNA analysis. Nothing convicts criminals like pictures, and in most urban centers of large worlds these are now easy to obtain. Tri-dee surveillance of most public areas is almost assured. If no DNA or surveillance evidence can be developed, most court systems now also admit Mindwalker evidence from certified Mindwalker members of law enforcement agencies.

The Fraal are nomadic starfarers who came to Earth more than 10,000 years ago. They arrived in colony ships, crossing the void of space over the course of many generations. During the trip all contact with and knowledge of the Fraal homeworld was lost. Because of losses in route to the Sun/Earth system, much technological know-how, concentrated in the hands of a few skilled Fraal, was lost. Initially, the Fraal set up installations on Earth, building bases in isolated regions, using local materials and components salvaged from their colony ships. From these hidden bases, the visitors set out to explore the planet and meet its inhabitants. Humans, still primitive but demonstrating great potential were beginning to spread out from the geographic cradles that spawned them. Meetings between the two species apparently led to the birth of many of Earth's greatest legends. Because of the primitive nature of Earth's human population at the time and the great fear they displayed upon initial meetings with the Fraal, the Fraal eventually withdrew, and went into hiding in the solar system. In 2124 the Fraal revealed themselves to humanity. This meeting went much better as the humanity was better able to accept the possibility of other sentient species at this time. A free exchange of knowledge and ideas advanced both societies in numerous ways. One of the Fraal's most significant gifts spawned a leap in technology that paved the way for true faster-than-light travel. Both sides prospered, and they soon merged to become a united society.

Fraal society however is not without it's divisions. The Fraal, have two major divisions within their culture. The Wanderers are a conservative faction who advocate lessening relations with humanity and going back to the Fraal's true calling, to wander among the stars. There is an almost mystical or religious tone to this argument. The Builders are composed of mainly younger Fraal who advocate closer ties with humans, and a joint destiny with humanity. The Wanderers obviously are in a minority, and their numbers become smaller all the time, as they put their beliefs into action and take to wandering the stars.

Although the Fraal were the first "extra-terrestrials" that humanity ever encountered, and despite the closeness of the relationship between the two species, and there mutual exploration of the stars. The Fraal maintain a unique "alien-ness" to humanity. Much of this is because of the Fraal's advanced abilities in Psionics. The Fraal seldom use speech except when around humans. They treat Psionics as humanity would a science. Hence humans view the Fraal as a cold and distant race, even though numerous examples exist to contradict the view.

Fraal Philosophies of the Mind:
The Fraal are skeptics in most matters of faith. Indeed the Fraal are the only one of the five major nonhuman species without a native faith of their own. Even Fraal who adopt a religion are rarely very devout. They show little interest in human missionaries and they often forbid preaching on board their city-ships.

At the same time, Borealin colleges have closely studies Fraal philosophy for more than 200 years, and a number of 23rd century discoveries link Fraal schools of mindwalking with sacred belief systems. Though the data is incomplete, the Fraal seem to believe that each major form of mindwalking corresponds to a sentient being's inner form, Possibly something that resembles a soul. However, the Fraal's extreme reticence in discussing their beliefs about the origin of mindwalking powers has frustrated every attempt to broaden human understanding of these beliefs-though the Hatire have gleaned some portion of this knowledge. As long as the Fraal refuse to discuss it, speculation will continue unchecked.

GM: Michael Cross (e-mail)

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