Technocratic Meritocracy of Caruflaith Restored
Djinye National Front
Marshal Galen Aoife
Legate Aoife Aoi
Queen Lin Sid of Plantera
The Bespéartha solar system is, unusually, named not after a star, but after its only planet, for cultural reasons – the followers of the Church of the Twin Gods would not allow either of the stars to be more honored than the other by using its name for the whole system, for the two stars are palaces and representations of the Twin Gods, who must remain equal. The stars’ names are Gras and Sciatha, and they are both F-type main sequence stars.
Bespéartha is a planet with mass twice that of Earth and radius 1.25x bigger than Earth, with a surface gravity of 12.55 m/s^2. The oddly-shaped orbit is easily one of the most interesting things in the Bespéartha system - Bespéartha orbits its two suns in a figure eight shape path. Even the planet’s own inhabitants have soon, after observing other solar systems, realized that, while the orbit technically does not violate any laws of physics, it is a rarity even in the colossal Axiom galaxy. Naturally, this has led many to assume that this system must have been constructed by an intelligent and unimaginably powerful entity. Followers of the Church of the Twin Gods often speak of this as good proof that gods do exist. Bespéartha has no natural satellites, so tides are relatively low. There are artificial space stations in Bespéartha's orbit.
Approximately 75% of its surface is covered by oceans, which are, on average, 4.5 kilometers deep, the rest is dry land, most of which is accounted for by the four great continents: Ríall, Coghmhu, Án Tybaltic and Anteguo. The climate is fairly hot and wet in most places, sustaining large tropical forests. However, if one is not accustomed to the unusual seasons and day cycles that are a consequence of the planet’s unusual orbit, one can be caught unaware by a sudden spell of cold, as one of the stars eclipses the other, or by a polar day, occurring even on the equator, when the planet is directly between its suns.
Of special socioeconomic interest are several species of marine plants called "Floaters". They form dense nets of branches and foliage that, well, float on the surface of water bodies, including the ocean. There are two distinct groups: the Great Floaters grow in shallow waters only, and have their roots in the seabed, flexibly connected to the surface part of the plant. Their branches are sturdier, and with some clever engineering, wooden houses may be built on top of them. Lesser Floaters are more algae-like, and can float freely on the surface of the water body, subsisting on dissolved minerals and microorganisms. The first Djinye to cross the ocean used large amounts of Lesser Floaters as flotation devices, eating parts of them for sustenance on their journey.
Fauna: Many land animals, especially large animals, have been made extinct by the Djinye. Only those that have adapted to the constant spread of the urban environment have flourished. The most prominent of these species is the pigeon Columba urbana, which has large colonies in the core cities of the Meritocracy that are scarcely populated by humans.
There is a large asteroid belt on the periphery of the Bespéartha system, where several mining and factory ships and are usually present, though there is no permanent human population.
Near to Bespéartha are several other solar systems. Most of them have already been explored thoroughly, but none are nearly as life-friendly as Bespéartha is.
Hyperíon is red giant, the most luminous star in the area. A gas giant (Hyperíon a) and a cold dwarf planet orbit it. The dwarf planet is barren, but three icy moons of the gas giant have subsurface oceans containing vitally important elements and minerals that made it possible to construct and man small, but permanent stations on these moons. These are mostly used for scientific and military purposes, though around ten thousand brave/crazy civilians also live in this solar system.
Ikla is a red dwarf. Four planets are in its solar systems, three terrestrial and one ice giant. All of the terrestrials orbit too close to Ikla to allow for life to develop, however. On Bespéartha, the Ikla system is best known for stunning photos of its many planets and moons, and for being often used to gravitationally slingshot probes and spaceships, as it lies in the orbital plane of Bespéartha.
Years on Bespéartha are counted from the year of the Great War that nearly wiped out humanity. The years before are suffixed with AE (Ancient Era), and the years after with PW (Post-war) or FR (Final Revolution), depending on your stance on the revolution that took place during the war. The current year is
There were countless ancient nations, but history is written by victors, so it is sufficient to introduce two: The Kingdom of Fultain and the Sacred Groves of Airia, both located in the western parts of the largest continent, Ríall. Fultain and Airia were each fighting the so-called "Seven Evil Kingdoms" for many years, but they could not prevail, until their respective leaders realized that only by a combined strike would victory be achieved. Now, Fultain and Airia regarded each other as more righteous than the Seven Evil Kingdoms, but there was a problem: each of them worshipped and derived its mandate to rule from a different god, and these gods seemed to be the opposites of each other in just every aspect.
In 7 000 AE, overcoming their distrust of each other, the King of Fuil Táin (as Fultain was called back then) and the High Priestess of Airia arranged to meet in person and get married, to unite their realms. But the gods did not take kindly to the decision. The sky was permanently overcast, though no rain came, as in a calm before a storm. For seven weeks neither sun could be seen, until the rulers consummated their marriage. At that point the gods... accepted the mortals' decision and made peace with each other. The countries of Fultain and Airia united and survived for thousands of years to be the most important founding members of the Caruflaith Empire. Their religions merged into one, with the priests revising their interpretations of their gods to allow for a common story.
The Caruflaith empire (2537-73 AE) was a union of over a hundred countries, ruling over most of the world. It started as a monarchy, but as modern ideas developed, the rulers preserved it by adding more democratic elements as time passed. One of the reasons that historians give for its success was that it was able to create a common national and religious identity accepted by the billions of its citizens, yet remain flexible enough to allow for local traditions. The Caruflaith empire saw the human race through one of its greatest crises. Around the year 900 AE, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has risen sharply due to excessive burning of carbohydrate fuels. The Emperor conspired with Realtaist priests to create a falsified ancient scroll that would introduce a new principle for Realtaists to follow: "Nature is cyclical. One's waste it makes into another's sustenance. Thou shalt not impede this cycle; thou shalt return thy waste whence it came. But not all mixed up. As thou givest to the Goddess what is her due, and to the God what is his due; so give to the plastic, paper, glass, [...] vessels what is their due." Combined with a transition to solar power, the natural course of action for someone worshipping the stars, this ploy was successful in averting an increase in global temperature.
The Empire prospered, and humanity grew faster every year. With much pomp and splendor, the first space elevator was revealed in the capital city, Mar, in the year 400 AR. Several fleets of spaceships were designed and built, but, it turned out, there was nothing to be found in space. No life, no water, no gods, nothing that wasn't on Bespéartha. The project was a huge disappointment. Some probes were released, and manned space stations put in orbit, but the public had already moved on. Nevertheless, humanity used the plentiful resources on Bespéartha and continued to grow in power and understanding of the universe, without any obstacles in sight.
There was a problem, however. While humanity flourished, the humans that comprised it stagnated. The Djinye numbered one trillion. Metropolitan culture being increasingly influential, people largely stopped interacting with anyone outside their workplace or home. As human understanding of all possible aspects of the universe grew, more specialization occurred, to the point where, for example, a string theory quantum physics seismologist and a spectral image exoplanet painter could not talk to each other, not even about the weather, without resorting to jargon and advanced terminology that were incomprehensible to the other party. The ruling political parties stopped catering to the masses, who didn't understand politics anyways, and who often voted against the best course of action, even if it was recommended by all relevant experts. Instead, they started following the strategy of making politics boring and even more incomprehensible, leading to low voter turnout among the uneducated. In the case that some anti-system representatives got elected, the ruling parties used the ministers' ability to appoint unelected officials, who were given more power, leading to an opaque bureaucracy. Due to wealth naturally attracting more wealth, class divides grew insurmountable. Now, these developments were driven by societal trends and the invisible hand of market, not by the actions of individual humans. If history were different, this might have continued until people were to humankind as cells are to a human - unaware of the group's structure or goals, yet working day and night for its sake. But one day, an inexperienced journalist made a fatal mistake in 73 AE. A new law was being drafted that would allow androids to replace humans in all jobs involving physical activity, which would, according to economists, eventually lead to the displacement of the human workforce toward creative professions, and increase the nation's GDP twofold. There was a legal requirement for important laws to be advertised in all state-run media. Since it was predicted that citizens would disagree with this law (for inadmissible, selfish reasons, of course), the report would usually be extremely obfuscated. Our aforementioned journalist, however, did not yet understand the realities of the profession, and wrote a very simple article, understandable by people of all professions and social circles.
The Final Revolution
The government did not stand a chance. Outraged citizens, who finally had a target for venting their frustration with life, stormed the offices and found out about more and more of the government's questionable decisions. The military distanced itself from the government and, ultimately, joined the uprising. Nothing was sacred, even the Imperial family was dragged out of the palace and shot. Eventually, some semblance of order was restored. The territories of the former empire passed into the control of multiple generals. The one who controlled the island of Caba, southwest of Ríall, wished to carry on with the deployment of intelligent machines, as he was sure it could only benefit humanity. However, most of the other warlords were opposed, so he built up a large army of androids in secret underground facilities, and attacked. As he could replace his soldiers fairly easily, and they were actually better than human soldiers, he conquered half of the continent. However, his opponents successfully labeled his android army as a threat to humanity, and tens of millions of volunteers joined their coalition to fight for humanity's future. They took back large swathes land, though not without heavy losses, and soon they were threatening to surround and capture the large amounts artillery and supplies that the Caban warlord had stationed in the city Mar. The Cabans called a strategy meeting. Despite the urgency, the meeting was going nowhere.
The following events are not recorded history, but a fairly likely narrative, pieced together from leftover evidence and memories: A young military officer was frustrated with the indecisiveness of those present, and eventually drew their weapon and slaughtered all those present, seized power, and launched Caba's thousands of nuclear rockets at its opponents. When they learned of the attack, they were shocked that their foe would escalate the conflict so - but they had no other choice but to retaliate in kind. Most other nations, also shocked that someone would resort to using such horrifying weapons, joined the war to punish either or both of the combatants, launching their own missiles. The sky was filled with death, and the first missiles were about to hit the ground, spelling the end of the Djinye.
But something else happened. In a flash of lightning, the missiles disappeared. It is not at all clear what happened, and some think it was a conspiracy orchestrated by those who would rule after these events, but most agree that, after arguing with her Brother who did not wish to intervene, the Goddess flew down and swept the weapons from the sky, saving the Djinye from self-extinction. As she stood near Mar, pondering her next course of action, a group of soldier spotted her. Not only did they not recognize their own goddess (though, to be fair, the rate of divine appearances has been steadily declining over the last millennia), but they also failed to make sure that she was not a civilian, and shot at her without warning. That was the last straw. Furious with the ignorance and ingratitude of humanity, the Goddess struck the ground, creating a chasm hundred kilometers deep and twenty kilometers wide, and disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. Perhaps she died from exhaustion or from the impact of her own blow, or perhaps she is simply done with humanity, not even her Legate* knows.
*A Legate is the highest religious rank in the hierarchy of the Realtaist Church
It seems that the Goddess also meted out the ultimate punishment to the one that started it all: the young officer was almost removed from reality and forgotten. They disappeared along with all photos of them and all documents that mentioned them. Even more unsettling is that people who are presumed to have met the young officer cannot remember anything about them. Their name, their appearance, their character, their motives for what they did... all lost. In the Meritocracy, they are greatly revered nonetheless, and called "the Hero" for starting the Final Revolution and making a stand against the anti-progressive, contra-revolutionary forces (i.e. those who were against the use of androids).
As the dust settled and everyone came to understand what had transpired, a group of twenty-five friends calling themselves the Hero's Disciples rallied what remained of the Caban army and, with some luck, managed to quickly drive out the anti-android coalition from the continent. The most zealous of their enemies's troops, however, did not surrender and made a fighting retreat into the recently-formed crater, where they set up an impenetrable defense. They continue to fight the Meritocracy to this day, and they support rebels from within Meritocracy.
In the year 0 FR, the Hero's Disciples divided the land they conquered into several countries, all considerably different but sharing the spirit of the revolution. However, by corruption, incompetence, rebels or pressure from the countries outside the former Caruflaith empire, which had stayed mostly anti-revolutionary, they failed, one by one. To ensure that righteous revolutionary land would not fall into the hands of dirty imperialists, the Meritocracy, initially constrained to Caba, took control of it. Eventually, this led to the Meritocracy expanding to the borders of the Caruflaith empire. It is currently the most powerful country of the world, and can intimidate the other nations into following some of its policies. However, the Meritocracy is weak against foreign cultural influences, and some Realtaist priests regularly slip counter-revolutionary ideas into their preachings. Citizens are losing faith in the merits of the Meritocracy as rumors spread that the Marshal is merely a figurehead secretly controlled by the Imperial family/Realtaist priests/aliens.
Recently, the Meritocracy and other countries have created a space agency that will launch missions on behalf of the whole world. The spaceship will take off using a new space elevator. The elevator and all facilities are in the Meritocracy, but other countries have the right to send priests to spread Realtaism, if there should be other intelligent beings in space.
Spoiler: People and Society
Djinye means „thinker“ in one of the Djinye’s languages, and indeed, they generally think of themselves as the only intelligent beings on Bespéartha or the surrounding solar systems.
The Djinye are humanoids, on average 1.60 meters tall. Their skin is gray with a tint of pink or brown. They (and other terrestrial animals on the planet) need to drink significantly more water than other similar species, as the hot, humid weather would otherwise take its toll on them. On the other hand, their higher body temperature is associated with a faster metabolism, making them faster and more nimble than species living in colder environments.
The Djinye's maximum "natural" lifespan is about 80 years. However, in the later Caruflaith empire, scientists have developed medicines that cure most causes of aging. They chemically replenish the telomeres of one's cells, increasing tissue regeneration capabilities. These medicines are usually mixed in standardized ratios and administered in the form of a drink called the Elixir. In most countries, one needs to purchase the Elixir; only the Meritocracy supplies it to every citizen for free. There is an associated tax, true, but most citizens are happy to pay it. Djinye who drink the elixir typically live for 200 years, absent fatal accidents. Death is either caused by the fact that the Elixir is standardized and does not meet the needs of a person's biology exactly (causing localized aging or cancer), or by loss of brain function - to the Meritocracy, few things are as sacred as the wonderful human brain. Therefore, performing or condoning any acts that could unnaturally alter the brain is usually judged as high treason against the human race, punishable by death. It follows that the Elixir is carefully crafted to ensure it does not affect the brain, at least not directly.
There are two main types of cultures visitors from the other worlds should know about:
The cultures influenced by the ancient Church of the Twin Gods, popular in Anteguo, northern Án Tybaltic, and the underground tend to view the world as a theater play in which each person is an actor with a predetermined part, great or small. Those actors need to be in harmony with each other, otherwise the play is spoilt. One should obey and respect one's superiors. One should fulfill one's obligations and try to fulfill others' expectations, especially the expectations of one's family and friends. One should not do disharmonious acts, such as arguing about who will get to sit in the front seat of a car. The outcome hardly matters in the grand scheme of things, but all of those involved suffer from feelings of bitterness. Honor and industriousness are valued highly.
As a reaction to the revolution, a counter-revolutionary movement has developed. The counter-revolutionaries fight a constant guerrilla war against the Meritocracy, mostly from the vast underground tunnels below the ruined city of Mar, trying to retake land on the surface. They refuse to use robotic devices with any kind of AI, but they are the only country-like entity to openly embrace genetic engineering of humans, undeterred by the Meritocracy's threats. They often have green hair that is capable of photosynthesis, meaning they need less food in sunlight. Although the Meritocracy tries hard to arrest those responsible, the counter-revolutionaries make great profits from smuggling precious minerals and genetically modified organisms to Meritocracy citizens. They are mockingly nicknamed Goblins.
There is also the relatively recently invented culture of the Meritocracy, although true fanatics would tell you that it is not a culture, but merely a set of conclusions that necessarily follow when one considers utilitarianism and other self-evident principles. First and foremost, the Meritocracy forbids discrimination full stop. Racism, sexism, nationalism, cults, unwarranted familial ties, simply all kinds of tribalism are seen as highly undesirable. The government of the Caruflaith Empire that preceded the Meritocracy had benign goals, but it failed to reach them, resulting in its decline. The main cause for the failure of the Empire is asserted to be the wildly differing conditions one is born into. The lower socioeconomic classes suffered through their entire lives through no fault of their own, while those born into wealth struggled to make people judge them on their own merits. Physical appearance also played a large part in arbitrary, yet common, prejudice. More attractive people had an easier time getting through life, only because they randomly developed features that evoked emotions in others. It should be noted at this point that while the human mind is regarded as sacred, emotions are not. They are merely the ball and chain that weigh down the immaculate, rational intellect of human beings. Some emotions are regarded as more noble, and excepted from condemnation: loyalty - considered necessary for a functional society, platonic love/respect - ditto, and greed/desire for power - fulfilling one's dreams is what one should strive for in life, after all!
All of this was clearly wrong. Hence, all of these evils and more were eliminated in the Meritocracy, one way or another. Laws became more and more
extreme perfect as time passed. At first, inheritances were abolished, and the money of dead taken by the state and redistributed equally to newborn children's families. Then, a course in raising children that was obligatory for parents was introduced, to minimize the percentage of lives affected by bad parenting. Finally, families have been abolished altogether. Why have random, unqualified people handle the most critical of a young Djinye's development stages? The new system for child-rearing works like so: Mentors are experienced Djinye, usually at least 30 years old. Communities of Mentors and children are established, each consisting of 7 children (any more, and the children would start to form cliques, according to sociologists) and about 4 mentors. The children usually change communities every 8 years, or on request. Adults can ask someone to become their Mentor, if they wish to learn something. Mentors usually only have one adult Disciple. As an aside, the Meritocracy has outlawed surnames along with families, so the name of one's mentor can be used in the place of a surname. (e.g. Galen, a Disciple of Aoife, can be referred to as Galen Aoife)
Also, citizens are pressured to wear masks concealing their faces in the company of others to fix the judgement-based-on-appearance issue. As for the problem of emotions, marriages have been abolished and forming romantic relationships is discouraged from, as it is believed that people spending too much time with their partners and families, not making new connections, is one of the leading causes of the Empire's social collapse.
Even though the Meritocracy was initially becoming more extremist by the day, with those who led the country a month earlier getting accused and killed in duels by greater zealots or opportunists, the government eventually stabilized, as the revolution ground to Some Djinye have also picked the parts from both cultures that they agree with, frustrating extremists from either side.
The "Final Revolution" is a concept supposedly invented by the Hero. It may be a little difficult to translate, but put simply, it is the belief that everything is solvable by science, and will eventually be solved by science. It is the belief that there are no limits to your possibilities, you reap exactly what you sow. It is the belief that you are beholden to yourself only. Most importantly, though more recent, less revolutionary Meritocracy governments have tried to downplay this aspect, the Final Revolution means that one can challenge one's superiors without punishment. Including challenging them to a duel, if they are a soldier. Particularly fashionable are jet fighter dogfights. Inflicting permanent damage on someone is illegal even in a duel, but accidents do happen.
To sum up, the Meritocracy attempts to reject and/or eliminate any kind of difference between humans at birth, so that they can compete on equal footing, resulting in the strongest possible leadership and maximum utility. One may think that this is contradictory; if you reject all differences, how do you differentiate people that are better or worse at something? The key idea here is that the Meritocracy defines an individual by his or her mind only. While bodily differences randomly handicap or benefit an individual, mental differences effectively are the individual, and thus should be used as a metric for determining which individuals are better at what. This logic is not perfect; gender differences are also partially mental, and duels, which are one of the most prominent ways of getting promoted, can be greatly impacted by physical characteristics of the duelists, even with modern weapons. The Meritocracy has only been around for a short time, and it has cycled through leaders fairly quickly, with each leader introducing new policies. Only time will tell if this system is sustainable or not.
With regards to fashion, the Meritocracy favors simple, dark blue military uniforms. It might be regarded as peculiar that the uniform's lower part consists of what looks like a short skirt worn over slim-fit trousers. This is a political statement: it combines aspects of the customary pre-revolutionary attire of women and men, illustrating the idea that gender does not matter.
One undeniable benefit to the Revolution is the standardization of measurement and abolition of negative cultural baggage. No longer is Bespéartha's radius 2341 Fultese leagues (which are a multiple of the stride length of an ancient king), it is 838 picolightyears. Unfortunately, the revolutionary time units mostly did not catch on except as jokes, probably because a day, inconveniently, does not divide into a whole amount of teracesiumcycles.
The androids invented by the Djinye are generally fairly intelligent, and can compete with humans in many mental tasks. However, most do not regard them as humanity’s equals, as the androids do not seem to have any agendas or desires other than those that they had been programmed for.
In the Meritocracy, the androids perform jobs that are beneath the Djinye, such as managing the agricultural and construction machines, doing mundane office work or managing the resources needed for one’s personal activities. There are about 3 androids for each Meritocracy citizen. About a quarter of androids are owned by the state, a quarter by companies, and the rest are privately owned. The androids have an androgynous look, which is favored by the Meritocracy, to avoid sexism. Notably, they also assist with reproduction.
Spoiler: Faith - Realtaism
Also called the Church of the Twin Gods.
While the officially encouraged religious position in the Meritocracy is atheism, this is one aspect of the Imperial culture that the revolutionaries dared not encroach upon, lest they lose the loyalty of the predominantly (60 %) Realtaist population.
Realtaism is a dualistic religion. It views all things as a manifestation of the aspects of the Twin Gods. The Gods themselves are benevolent beings that have guided humanity since prehistoric times. They have, however, not created it. They are not omnipotent, omniscient, or absolute in any other manner, but they have so much power at their disposal that it may be assumed to be sufficient for almost any purpose. They have reportedly done things that violate the laws of physics, but it may be that our understanding of the laws of physics is not refined enough to understand their actions. They are each associated with one of the suns of Bespéartha - the Sister with Gras and the Brother with Sciatha. Formerly the stars were thought to be palaces in which the gods literally resided, but with the advent of modern astronomy and with probes taking close pictures of the stars, this idea has been disproven, and so the scriptures that mention it are interpreted as being figurative or as parables. Many other passages of the ancient Realtaist scriptures have shared the same fate of being interpreted more liberally to accommodate for scientific advances.
The Gods have a complicated relationship; sometimes they take the opposite stances on an issue, other times they work together. They are reluctant to reveal details of their life before coming to Bespéartha, but theologians analyzing the holy texts (which are mostly transcriptions of interviews with the Gods) think that the Gods have implied that they previously lived in some larger society of Gods.
As the Djinye became able to do more and more things by themselves, the Gods gradually withdrew from the mortals' lives, only granting a miracle occasionally. The religion has thus evolved from the worship and admiration of humanity's ever-present, clearly real guardians to a more abstract dualistic philosophy. Notably, many balance- and family-role-oriented customs were added only after Realtaism was introduced to Anteguo by colonizers, where it became very popular and was strongly influenced by native philosophies.
The two gods have many contrasting aspects associated with them. Actions that are perceived as being unbalanced, drawing on one aspect without including the opposite, may be called "Sisterwise/Brotherwise" or "orange/blue" (in reference to the colors that the Divine Twins are often assigned). Usually, being too Sisterwise or Brotherwise is bad for your life, and you will be chided by a priest, but sometimes it is beneficial to disrupt the balance, for example, if one will be facing an enemy who is radiating Sisterwise energy, one's armor should be as "Brotherwisely" designed as possible, to neutralize the enemy's strikes. A deity's Aspects can be good or bad, depending on the situation, and likewise the deities themselves are human-like and have good and bad personality traits.
Aspects of the Twin Gods (non-exhaustive list):
Sister x Brother
Female x Male
Orange x Blue
Rounded x Jagged
Giving x Taking
Life x Death
Cruelty x Mercy <-- this Aspect pair may seem strange, but it is related to the Aspects directly above: The Goddess would usually punish sinners by inflicting on them a life of suffering, while the God would be more inclined to kill them or forgive them entirely.
Age x Youth
Animals x Plants
Sugar x Salt
Right x Left
Due to Realtaism's ancient history as two separate monotheistic cults forced together by politics, there are strict rules about not discriminating against either of the gods, invented to help cultural assimilation, but in force to this day. Any temple of the Sister must have a separate part dedicated to worship of the Brother, at least a small chapel, and vice versa. The gods must always be presented as equal; if giving precedence to one of them is inevitable, the Goddess shall be mentioned first, as she is canonically the slightly older and slightly more powerful divine sibling (e.g. in text, they are mentioned as the Sister and Brother, and not in the reverse order).
One may choose to actively worship only one of the religion's deities, if one feels particularly attuned to that deity. Realtaist priests devote themselves to one of the deities only, men to the Goddess, and women to the God. At the top of the religious hierarchy there are two Legates, one for each of the deities, who currently reside in a republic in Anteguo.
Realtaists also venerate other stars, and would be opposed to the idea of building a Dyson sphere. At least, one should ritually sacrifice a spaceship with a message asking for permission. The star's response can be divined from solar flares and the like.
Certain historical personages are said to have been chosen by the Gods to lead an extraordinary life, notably rulers of Fultain and Airia, who have derived their mandate to rule from the Gods. In their coronation ceremonies, the ruler ritually married the God of the opposite sex. But the four most famous Chosen were not rulers:
-Chosen Danu: Nobody knows the historical details about her, but she is fairly frequently referenced in the oldest religious texts as, among other things, being the first human to set foot on Bespéartha. Yes, they all phrase it strangely like this for some reason...
-Chosen Aidan Smith: The only Djinye in history to make an offering truly on the gods' level. He forged a bracelet shining with all colors of the world. It is said that the Goddess herself came to him to receive the gift. This is dubious, but it is said that he became an actual lover of the Goddess, more so than the Kings of Fultain. He died tragically, of course, and his story is one of the most popular theater plays.
-Chosen Ikla of the Middle Sea: an infamous pirate of the "warring kingdoms" period, she redeemed herself by saving Fultain-Airia in its hour of need by sinking an overwhelmingly large pagan invasion fleet from Anteguo. She has a star named after her, and she is the patron of (space) mariners.
-Chosen Korrin the Brilliant: Polymath. Made the modern calendar, created the first primitive solar panel and, most importantly, he is considered the father of democracy, as he was a prominent speaker at many royal courts and assemblies of important people, arguing for a more free system of governance. Alas, his ideals are largely being ignored in this flawed world.
Realtaism does not have many hard rules, instead it judges actions and choices as better or worse, relative to the other options. Usually, one is not chastised for occasional, low-impact "worse" choices - one's own consciousness is assumed to be enough incentive to improve oneself. However, meditation is encouraged.
Airian hieroglyphs are a fairly popular logographic writing system that was developed by priestesses in the third millennium AE - most other writing systems in use on Bespéartha are alphabetic. They are commonly used in Realtaist rituals and scriptures. According to tradition, any words written in Airian glyphs are, or will become, true. Masks and uniform accessories are often adorned with Airian calligraphy, though the writing system is officially deprecated as "needlessly complicated" and "cultural baggage".
The Meritocracy is held together by the military, which also acts as the police. One can advance in military ranks by challenging superiors to duels, performing well on missions or by bribing some higher-ups. The military has de factor control over the civil administration, although it is nominally separate from it. The androids may not hold a high rank in the military, and no android may be the direct superior of a human.
The Meritocracy controls the whole continent of Ríall and more, but it has 100% control only in cities. In rural or less politically important areas, the borders are often invisible and citizens do not wear masks.
The leader of the Meritocracy is Marshal Orrin. He is a warrior first and foremost. He does not care about politics, and lets his subordinates manage the country as they please. He believes in only one thing: Military discipline. He drills his troops to pass time, and unfortunate army officers often get challenged to sword duels. He does not kill them, but he humiliates and beats them as much as possible without breaking any laws. Fairly capricious.
Spoiler: This guy is not important at all, and will play no role in the game whatsoever :P
Vice Marshal Galen (Disciple of the Aoife, Orrin and Stammos)
Galen is the current Vice Marshal of the Meritocracy. He is a tall, handsome (well, handsome according to pre-Meritocracy standards) man of a dark complexion. He is generally virtuous and principled, although he may have hypocritical tendencies.
His rule has seen closer cooperation with the non-revolutionary states and attempts to reconcile Realtaism with the values of the Final Revolution (he is the first Realtaist Marshal, even, though he practices privately only, to avoid criticism from less flexible citizens of the Meritocracy). However, this does not mean that he will shy away from attacking dirty imperialists and nationalists. The mentor who influenced him the most was Aoife, a fighter pilot and former general of the Meritocracy, who guided him for fifty years. He loved her, but she was cold to his advances and kept her distance, claiming that he was violating the Principle "love everyone equally". She disappeared from the public eye shortly after completing his training, and is presumed to be dead.
Galen believes that humanity is the Gods' favored species, meant to rule the world. He is not opposed to the Meritocracy's excessive use of androids, as they could, obviously, never pose a challenge to glorious humans. They wouldn't ever even oppose the humans, as they are simply programmed to know their place.
Most other countries on Bespéartha are constitutional or absolute monarchies.
The Meritocracy churns out hundreds of thousands of androids
every year to satisfy all needs of its populace. Unlike other machines, the androids do not specialize in any task – instead they are able to perform most actions decently, using their intelligence to help mitigate the lack of specialized limbs. While they are capable of manual labor, it’s usually more cost-effective to let the “dumb” machines do the job. In the Meritocracy, androids are most often employed as doctors, officials, managers of less intelligent machines, and low-ranked soldiers.
They resemble humans (more specifically, the Djinye) in overall size, form and movements, though they can be easily told apart from humans by the fact that most of them do not have any imitation of a skin, but are instead covered in plates made of hard aluminium alloys.
TP1 The Restored City of Mar Spaceport: (Meritocracy)
TP2 Anteguo: (Open)
TP3 Asteroid belt: (Open)
Required resource: Food.
Even though Bespéartha's biosphere was saved from the ravages of a nuclear winter, it has suffered from centuries of urban expansion, over-exploitation, and the extinction of many species by the Djinye. For now, there is enough food, but economists predict prices rising steeply in the next decades unless another food source is acquired. The space colonies in the region would also greatly benefit from a source of cheaper food imports.
Por's Sign (SE of Bespéartha)
There are several solar systems with mostly small inhabitable planets in the region, relatively close to each other. The planets inhabited by the Sau have surface temperatures ranging from those acceptable to humanoids to the boiling point of water. Some planets have vast arid deserts and others hot rainforests. The most populated solar system is Por's Sign.
The Sau are the dominant species in the region. They live on the wetter planets. Their bodies are anywhere from 50 centimeters to 2 meters in length, and are covered in blue or green porous skin with a gelatinous feel. They have six long limbs with six webbed fingers each. Some species that live on especially hot and wet planets, where the air is dense with water vapour and flying is easy, have evolved wings from the front two pairs of limbs. The Sau usually use all of their limbs to move around, but they can also walk while carrying objects in the front pair. They have already developed a fairly advanced civilization before first contact (~19th century Earth), and they wear varied, bright-colored clothing, dyed with plants. More colors and greater intensity indicate a higher status.
The Rito are large worms with beaks and claws that inhabit the deserts. They are meat-eaters, and have been hunting the Sau for many millenia until about thousand years ago, when they grew more intelligent and decided that it would be far easier to make peace with the Sau and instead demand to be fed. Relations between the two races are still tense.
According to the legends of the Sau, they were created at the centre of the galaxy, where their god Por dwells. He then gave them chariots that move across the sky, and pointed them toward the planet best suited for life, which they named Por's Sign upon arrival. The worms are said to have been created later as Por's punishment, when the god found out that his children were not following his principles well.
However, recently some scientists have begun to doubt this based on evidence found in archaeological sites and in the genomes of various living creatures. According to their research, it is likely that all life (not just the Sau) on the planet was created by a single powerful being or coordinated team of beings. Unlike other life in the Galaxy, inhabitants of Por's Sign have no traces of previous evolutionary stages in their genomes, nor any "inactive" genes without function, save for a few, which, based on statistic analysis, appear to be encrypted messages in some kind of language or code. However, the Sau haven't been able to decode them yet.
The Sau have a hiearchy based on the rites that one goes through in various life stages, starting with the naming of newborns according to the names of their mother, paternal grandfather and spiritual sibling, the current alignment of constellations, and the first thing they touch. This composite name determines one's options for jobs and partners.For example: ZarDooLhaLycaRock's mother's name begins with Zar and his grandfather's with Doo. A girl born in the same village on the same day was also given the name Lha, to signify the spiritual bond between their families. On the day when he was born, his home planet and sun were in conjunction with the star Lyca. As Lyca is at the top of the 'Scepter' constellation, he is considered fit to be a leader or organizer. His parents had him touch a rock first, to make sure he would have a good last name, indicating toughness and courage. Friends may call him Zarock.
The Rito are few in number, and they have no legal system. Disputes are usually solved through a contest of elaborate war dances - usually, one party backs off before real violence starts. They are known to convene if a decision affecting them all needs to be reached.
Yeather is the Sau name for the petals of the gargantuan, slow-growing blackwood trees' flowers. Every other part of the plant, including the fruit, is either poisonous or too tough to eat. It seems that groups of blackwood trees coordinate their life cycles - all trees in a forest or a grove bloom simultaneously for only a few days, making Yeather fairly difficult to gather. Strangely, since the introduction of galactic time, it has been discovered that they bloom exactly once every Galactic year if possible, regardless of planetary seasons.
Yeather, if properly cured, does not rot or grow mouldy. It is extremely calorie-dense, to the point that one is at a risk of suddenly becoming overweight if one eats a full flower's worth.
Obviously, Yeather could be useful as an easily-transported Food for space fleets on long campaigns.
Traditionally, the Sau have worshipped the omnipotent god Por, whose advice and commands were relayed thorugh shamans. However, recently most heads of state have instead begun to rely on the solid social hiearchy provided by Orthodox Realtaism, which has become very popular after contact with the Djinye.
Learning Center: Realtaism