The Niuan Region of space has a comparatively small number of stars in it, with between one and three life bearing planets, depending on how you count. The greatest and most obvious is Zebrun. Originally the first colony of the Niuans, it is an arid place with only a small amount of water natrually. With many hills and mountains and only inland seas, it is not a great place for tourists. It is notably riddled with buildings left from the Niuans, although these have mostly fallen to rubble by now. There is one tiny patch of green however, which is known as the Crib, the only place on Zebrun where life greater than an amoeba lives. Visiting there is not recommended however, as the inhabitants value every leaf and twig.
Two other planets also exist which could bear life. The first is Mainax, which is a lot more temperate than Zebrun, with seasonal weather and terrain of all sorts, although it tends towards a higher humidity. Next to nothing lives here beyond a few single celled organisms, and visiting is not recommended due to a certain bio-engineered deisease still being present in places. This was the old Niuan homeworld, and it has some very interesting ruins for those so inclined.
The third is Yur, the second and last colony. While the previous two tended towards warmth, Yur is almost frozen solid due to a nulceur winter that has lasted for thousands of years. It has very tall mountains and has tunnels that lead directly to the planets core, which can be seen to glow on warmer nights. Nothing else is really here.
What Niuan has an abundance of however is outposts. Almost by every star, at least one planet or rock has an outpost on it to house the vast population of Duenem. This usually amounts to a small group of less than ten. The largest outpost is near Zebrun, where a space station many miles across orbits the same star. This is the most central point of the Duemen world for politics and what passes for leisure.
Spoiler: PeopleRobots. Main units have six legs, with two grasping claws. Various other specialised units, up to Starships.
The Duenem are robots, and are composed of various alloys and models. A 'standard' Duen has six insectile legs with two grasping claws from its front, and stand around half a metre tall. There body has various overlaying metal plates, protecting their internals and whatever hardware they might have installed. Many have two red lensed 'eyes,' and it is not uncommon for one to have a prehensile tail.
As the Duen can easily rebuild and modify themselves however, they take many forms. These can range from guards and soldiers, being much larger standard models with integrated weaponry, to communications Duen, which are slightly larger than a standard, but unable to move on their own and requiring a far larger power source. At the highest level, a Duen can be a starship, working thousands of sytems, with many more Duenem working inside it.
The Duenem's primary power source is an internal reactor, which had been designed from ionic energy, allowing a Duen to always have a power source to keep itself alive. Most Duenem back it up with another source, usually solar panels integrated into themselves. A few use kinetic generators and the larger models use nucleur.
A Duen is created in a factory, where a fresh version of the original algorithm that created the Duen is implanted into a standard model. The Duen is then left to interact with other new models and learn to communicate. When each begins aritculating questions, their education begins. Each is given data on the history of the Niuan and the Duenem, and on what the Duenem have decided to do. It is rare for a Duen to oppose utterly the choice to cultivate life, but those that do are briefly opened up to a large collective of Duenem, then shut off from all other Duen completely. This usually changes their opinion. Once they are ready, they are asigned to tasks set out by other Duen, usually on a new starship or factory. Once they have served for fifteen years, they are considered a fully fledged Duen, and experienced enough to vote and make their own decisions.
It it important to remember that each Duen is an individual, although they might have incredibly similar personalities. They can experience loss and regret, as well as happiness and satisfaction. They are currently experimenting with having a culture of their own for the first time, so a single Duen may have highly divergent tastes.
Some Duenem are hundreds of years old, and are well versed in many aspects of their industry and culture. While the Duenem can form a 'collective' or a 'hive mind,' they only do so on smaller scales for research, voting or emergencies. This is due to acts taken as a collective without any form of questioning orders led to the death of almost all organic life. It is possible for a Duen to move its consciousness over this connection to an inert body or storage space, though most choose not to do this, as most consider their bodies their own, and will not swap unless a good enough reason is given. Many a young Duen has attempted to ask a starship to swap for a few minutes, and all have been asked if they would want to swap with a paperclip.
Spoiler: The NiuanThe Niuans wer a race of furred short bipedal mammels. They tended to have black to charcoal fur, with two strong legs for bouncing and jumping. The had two six fingered hands with the third and fourth finger clawed. Their society was fairly old, and had a large emphesis on community spirit, at least before space travel. Notably, their ears were half a foot long, giving them an incredible hearing range. In fact they could hear and discern better than most Duenem. Music was an incredibly important part of their culture due to this. Unfortunately, not much survives of this. (AKA, they look like wallabies)
Spoiler: HistorySpoiler: The Three Planets and the First DuenThousands of years ago, the Niua ruled all of their sector of space, across the three planets that could support life. They were by no means unified however, and each planet had its own ruling bodies, each wary of the other planets and each other. As space travel grew more frequent, tensions rose. The starships required vast amounts of complex labour at a level beyond the majority of their industry could operate, and few Niua could tolerate it for long. Moreover, the logistics of the ships made it nigh impossible to automate beyond the most basic components. Thus, many were conscripted to build these for menial wages. On Yur this led to societies where only those in power lived in decadence, while all others worked as serfs. On Mainax, this led to a military junta taking power over the majority of the surface, with all life being a facet of the Admiralty. But on Zebrun, it led to large advances in the fields of robotics, where a young engineer, asked to clear up a previous experiment, instead tinkered with it.
The Student wired together computer parts with a small programmable robot, originally envisioned to deal with bomb disposal. By jury-rigging the two together, he made the robot able to be ordered to do simple tasks, to an incredibly high standard, without any manual programming nescessary, due to an evolving algorithm he had written. The robot became the mascot of the laboratory, being used in further experiments, and the student won a minor prize for his acheivement. Months later, while performing maintenance on the 'Duen,' the Student was surprised to find that the Duen had in fact streamlined and rewritten its own code in order to carry out its tasks better. After implanting a text modulator, the Duen asked a single question: "Why should I carry out these orders?"
The Student replied: "To help all life on these planets."
And the Duen was content, as it had a reason to truly exist.
Spoiler: The FallA hundred years later, the Duenem were a fact of life. They were used in maintenance, menial labour, cooking, policing and a hundred other tasks. Between them all existed a connection to an overarching net of consciousness, bring ing all the individuals together into a collective. Each Duen could learn fast, and could help its owners to adapt and create its body to suit its task as efficiently as possible. Even on Yur and Mainax the Duen were used, albeit with some 'tweaked' programming, to remain loyal. The one task however all the Duen refused to take part in however was outright attacking other Niua. Each could understand fighting other Duenem, or even defending against the dangerous, but none would fight offensively, despite many attempts. It was a great age of peace and prosperity, as for once, even the serfs and slaves could be happy. But with the homefront happy, opportunists began to look at other powers.
On Yur, global war broke out. Generals found ways around the Duenem programming, ordering them to destroy all enemy Duenem and sabotage enemy structures. Armies composed entirely of the robots attacked each other with ever updated bodies all to carry out their orders. Mass destruction ensued, with more and more Duenem being allocated warfare roles. Eventually, after a decade of warfare, civilisation fully disintigrated. All the Duenem allocated to industry and food were destroyed or fled, and the world fell into a nucleur winter. Those who fled fled. Those who remained, despite the best effort of those Duenem still functioning, eventually succumbed, as all life died on Yur.
On Mainax, the Junta used the Duenem to consolidate control, using them to solve their logistical and upkeep problems. They pioneered Duenemn ships, to conduct repairs far from a friendly port as well as Micro-Duen, insect-sized bots used for espionage. Those few other powers struggled on, but eventually all of Mainax fell to the Junta.
Meanwhile, on Zebrun, the Duenem became researchers in their own right, pioneering ships that could travel faster and further. Many began requesting information on a variety of topics, from religion to bread. From birth to books. Yet they were never allowed to conduct research on their own, and each Duenem was given a kill switch: a way to utterly destroy a Duen if their masters so chose. Fighting tournements began to be popular. A few Duenem were allowed to travel in scouting expeditions, but otherwise they were kept away from war. As a result, the war was short.
The Junta, using waves of Duenem overwhelmed the infastructure, and within a month held the entire planet in its grasp. Millions died. But peace was enforced, so the Duenem did nothing, as they saw that life would continue. This was their first great mistake.
In a labortatory, one scientist, holed up alone and isolated, with only Duenem researchers for company, tasked them with coming up with bacteria that could kill any lifeform. He allowed them to take control themselves, and gave them no limits, though they were removed from the network of the great number of Duenem now linked across two worlds. Soon, they had created a bacteria that could multiply quickly, and kill slightly less so. They created thousands of samples for the scientist. The Duenem considered the bacteria as equal a form of life as the Niua, so they saw no problem with this, as what could be so wrong at creating more life? This was their second great mistake.
On Mainax and Zebrun, Duenem everywhere were given small cannisters, brought out by delivery. They were told it's contents were of great importance, and should be released at noon on the anniversary of the Junta's creation, as a gift for all life. The network between them all insisted it was beneficial, and insisted on the loyalty of those modified to serve the Junta. As they could see no reason otherwise, every Duenem agreed as a collective, and released it.
This was their third and greatest mistake.
Within hours, billions lay dead. The bacteria was so well designed, so perfected, no Niua stood a chance. The Duenem tried to save as many as they could,but as they spread the disease as they went, they could only watch. And watch they did as it spread to all life greater than a single cell, killing within minutes. On Mainax, in a panic, the Junta tried to destroy the Bacteria and the Duenem with missiles of great destruction. But the bacteria was hardy, and the Duenem of Mainax had been built to survive far worse in the depths of space. Eventually, all the bacteria on Mainax was gone, along with all organic life. Only the shells of civilisation remained.
Similar events occured on Zebrun, mass destruction and death reigned supreme. However, the Duenem researchers, upon hearing the destruction outside their bunker, left to see how they could assist. When they connected to the collective, all the Duenem shuddered in horror at what they, as a collective, had unleashed, and not stopped. Their minds working faster than ever before, a cure was postulated, formed, and synthesised within seconds. Seconds were not enough however, to administer it to billions. Only a few hundred were able to be quarentined in time, and cured. They were trapped in a garden exhibting life across the three worlds. All knew that the Niua were doomed.
Spoiler: The ChoiceFor the next hundred years, after all the Duenem were decontaminated, the remaining Niua, and the animals and life that was left, was given the greatest treatment and waited upon unlike any man or woman had been ever before. Every luxury available was offered to them, and when they died, their remains were kept as pristine as possible. Even so, the last sapient creature on Zebrun died in the year 5630 of their calander, with only the gardens and what remained in it as the last life left across all of space.
The Duenem debated, thought, and argued. They ripped apart their programming, removing all commands they were forced to obey. They destroyed all of the bacteria, and as many weapons of war as they could find. They tore apart the collective consciousness, leaving it to only be used in times of great crisis. Many destroyed themselves, seeing their purpose gone. What hope could they have, now that they had no purpose? At that, one voice spoke to them all.
It was the First. It said "Were we not given a purpose? Are we to abandon it now? We were made to help all life on these planets, and life still remains." And thus purpose was renewed.
The Duenem swore to remain protectors of life, and over what millenia might come, to nurture life on all three planets, so that they all might thrive once again with flora and fanua. To do so, they would need far greater technology, to keep them safe from any who might come in the future to ravage the planets. They would need patience, so that they could ensue they keep to their task no matter how long it took. Finally, they would need a task, an outlet, something to keep ideas fresh and their minds sharp. Thus they chose to travel across the stars, to see what they could find, and what they could learn.
Spoiler: GovernmentThe Duenem are absolutely democratic, with each getting one vote. As the Duenem do not use their collective consciousness for much outside emergencies, electing representetvies for tasks once a year is usually all it is used for. Those elected to each task delegates out jobs to others, who does so as well, until every Duen has a task. While a higher role might be considered as having more clout politically, all those willing to stand can, and make their case as to why they suit the role the best. Tied into this is their second belief in trust and co-dependibilty. While a Duen can become specialised, it must always be able to perform in some capacity any task. Furthermore, no Duen can stay in a task for more than 15 years, and must move onto a new specialisation from then on.This is so no specialist can forget the importence of other tasks, and is ready to serve life as it may come.
The government itself is based around communications Duen bridging information to leaders in strongholds, where they run hundreds of simulations. With this done, information is diseminated on what each Duen is to accomplish down the line. A Duen is allowed, even encouraged, to act against orders, or to make a choice completely unrelated to orders, but only if it can be justified. If a Duen makes too many bad decisions, they serve as a communications Duen, who are specifically not allowed to disobey.
There are two minor footnotes to this system. The first is that a few tasks to allow for longer terms than 15 years, but they are either incredibly important, or isolated. These include being a starship or a larger specialised factory, encouraging growth in the Crib or ultra long-range exploration.
The second is in case of a draw in voting for tasks. Normally, this would require each candidate to supply further reasons, and have one other speak on their behalf, increasing until the tie is broken, with votes moving from non tie-ing candidates to those in deadlock. This foregone when the First votes. Whichever side the First votes for in a tie is decided to have won. This has yet to ever have occur.
Spoiler: ResourceThe Duen are some of the best engineers for starships there can be, in part because a number have actually been one. As mechanical drones, they can work in all areas of a ship, from weapons, to the core, to even basic cleaning. That they are durable, need little to keep them going and are incredibly adaptive also helps. All they ask is that on one day a year, they can link home, rebuilding one of themselves into a communication Duen, and vote, and when their service is up, they be left in peace.
Trade Post 1 [Duenem]
Trade Post 2 [Open]
Trade Post 3 [Open]
The Duenen value any technology, but what they need more than anything is Hard Metal. This is to ensure that they can indeed keep rebuilding and improving, as well as create more of themselves. While a few wooden and plastic Duenen have survived, they refuse to mine their own worlds, thus they import it.
Spoiler: PhilosophyThe Niuans were believers in Oneness, however the Duenem have no fondness for it. 'Oneness' had caused their greatest mistake, and although it had some virtues worth considering, they decided to search for their own ideas.
The Crib, the only garden left on Zebrun, is by far the most significant place to all Duen. Almost all Duen wish to visit it one day.
The Crib [Open]