The Tesserelios system is about 1.5 billion years younger than the Solar System. Fifteen globes (planets or moons) have native life, but only on Eccome, Avras 8, have macroscopic land animals developed.
The system has been settled by many previous civilizations and terraformed by most of them. It currently has nineteen life-bearing globes and has had twenty. (Delias, Avras 3, has reverted to venusian.)
Five worlds have (or had) life only because of past terraforming:
Past civilizations have stripped Delias and Toropei of excess atmosphere by directed solar flare, and have adjusted the orbits of several globes by asteroidal and cometary fly-bys.
The Tesserelios system was settled by three cultures, first by the Aliquine Terraformers, then by the Barudani and Iahocho. Finally, a small wave of Liandan immigrants arrived.
Tesserelios first came to the attention of the current civilization through archeological records left by the Predecessors (the civilization immediately before ours, the 1207th). It was then examined by astronomical instruments, then by probes, and finally by expedition. Because of the system's isolated location, it was two hundred years between the last exploratory expedition and the first settlers, the Aliquine Terraformers, Thirty-First Fleet.
The Aliquine restored much of the terraforming work of previous civilizations and settled in all four planetary systems.
The Iahocho then arrived and peacefully acquired one planet from the Aliquine, Volluse, in the Telat system.
Soon after that, the Barudani arrived and settled widely in the Avras and Kamil systems, among the Aliquine and, in some cases, displacing or absorbing them. After some decades, they tried to form a central government. The inner worlds of the Avras system rebelled, forming the Avras Union, leaving the new Barudani Commonwealth to claim the Kamil system and the outer worlds of Avras. The Vethas Republic formed at the same time.
A few decades later, the Republic of Volluse fell to Sratlan the Conquest Engine. This AI then tried to seize the entire Tesserelios system. He was put down by an alliance of the other states in the system and the status ante bellum was restored.
That status consists of the Avras Union holding the inner Avras system, the Barudani Commonwealth holding the Kamil system and outer Avras system, the Vethas Republic holding the Vethas system, and the Volluse Republic holding the Telat system (in theory; the other systems have been in military occupation for several years and still have military bases scattered through the Telat; the end date for the occupation is under negotiation).
- Aliquines arrive in the Tesserelios system
- Iahocho arrive
- Barudani arrive
- Liandan arrive
- Barudani Commonwealth founded
- '970 – '978:
- Avras Rebellion, resulting in the founding of the Avras Union
- '984 – '994:
- Vollusean Revolution, and the regime of the Horror Machines, ended by Sratlan the Conquest Engine
- '997 – '009:
- Sratlanic War
- '009 – present:
- Occupation of Volluse
The Institute of Life was invited to the Tesserelios system by the Aliquine Terraformers, when they started operation. Their chapter house is currently in Vazuthun Sel, capital of the Avras Union.
The Institute of Wisdom established a chapter house in the system late in the Aliquine period, shortly before the arrivals of the Barudani and Iahocho. Their chapter house is now in Setokvaad on Imnas.
The Institute of Time made itself known in the system as the Avras Rebellion was starting, and so is much the most recent arrival, at least openly. (Given the nature of this Institute, it may have been operating in the Tesserelios system before it arrived.) It clearly arrived to police the use of time-travel in the upcoming conflicts, but has remained characteristically tight-lipped. Their chapter house was in Dinadan on Bavil, capital of the Barudani Commonwealth, but moved to Marrid, capital of Volluse, just before the war.
The Avras Union is the largest in both territory and population. It occupies the inner Avras system, out to the orbit of Agen. Its culture is based on that of the Aliquine Terraformers.
The Vethas Republic is third in population and territory, fourth in power, but also has an Aliquine culture.
Project: Terraforming. They are here to make living places, where they themselves, in all their species, can thrive and raise up both tame and wild ecologies.
Language: The main language is Terranic, with local languages in frequent use, the commonest being Iahocho, Lilopopore (a tliggo language), and Ayffeeoh (a vom language). Most ETs are bilingual, as are Terrans with ET friends and relations.
Honorifics: Kyro (m), Kyra (f)
Religion: Entrega and Consilianism in roughly equal proportion. There is a large Zurvanite minority and a biggish miscellany.
Communications and Privacy: You have a personal (off-duty) line and a business (on-duty) line. You use each only during its proper shift, except for emergencies. No guarantee that you have a comm with you while off duty.
You are very prickly about any inquiries into use of sealed channels or read-once messages, or about being monitored at all, for your off-duty shift. On duty, these things are dictated by the needs of the job, but monitoring had better be only for reasons of safety, or you will raise hell once you are off duty.
Cuisine: The most varied and the only one to use any form of non-vat meat (bugs and seafood). Not to mention the ET diets.
Tipple: "astorak"—carbonated vodka, served either "warm" (room temperature) or "cold" (below 0°C)
Psionics: Based on the quartet school, but augmented with many other borrows. Liberal use of zeening and splicing. Psionic talent is very widespread in the population; to have none is mildly odd. Personal counter-psi is commoner than psilencers; people wanting psionic security usually use psi conditioners.
Marginal Populations: ETs: tliggoes, azwars, voms, and Ilden machines.
Points of Interest: —
Annoying habits: As a leftover of their time as crew of a space fleet, they have a sharp distinction between on-duty and off-duty. They are generally very relaxed off the job, but any intrusion into the work period had better be a bit of an emergency or something scheduled beforehand. And you had better be apologetic about intruding work into off-duty time.
Possessions: The capital of the Union is Vazuthen Sel, a space-station city orbiting Agen. The Union claims the inner Avras system, containing the following nine worlds:
The Union also has military bases and mining and manufacturing settlements on various airless bodies.
Government: A representative parliament with prime minister and a popularly elected president. But this central government is weak and primarily concerned with defense and foreign trade. Internal public services are run by a varied mixture of organizations:
The Avrasi divide public life into two main sectors, the environmental and the civil. The environmental sector is dominated by the religions, the Institute of Life, and the local organizations. The civil sector is viewed as secondary or derivative to the environmental and is dominated by the government, the Institute of Wisdom, and the planet-wide and Union-wide organizations.
Currency: The chet. Symbol: ✓, e.g. ✓12.35. Exchange rate: 1 chet = ½ pua = ¾ dellen.
History: The Aliquine Terraformers' Thirty-First Fleet came to the Tesserelios system well after the great age of terraforming empires, though some fleets still worked the edges of civilization. The Thirty-First resolved to make Tesserelios its last great work. They:
They also settled all nineteen available globes of the system, albeit thinly. Theoretically, the fleet command structure remained as the system government, but local settlements and city states, and their mutual-assistance associations, became dominant, and the fleet command slowly transferred resources to the local governments, to aid terraforming. In any case, the Fleet had never had a strongly military focus.
There was therefore little to be done when the Barudani showed up and began founding their own settlements, except "welcome" their "help." However, when the Barudani declared a nation-state in the Kamil system, and claimed colonial territories in the Avras, the result was the Avras Rebellion. The infant Barudani Commonwealth, not fully unified and unpopular with those of its own people living in the Avras system, soon lost the inner orbits of the Avras. The old Fleet structure, revived during the Rebellion, became a new government, the Avras Union.
The Avras Union and the Barudani Commonwealth put aside their differences to cope with Sratlan, since the Conquest Engine attacked Avrasi worlds as well as Barudani and Vethas ones, and in any case was an obvious menace. The Union is now at peace with its neighbors, after a period of jockeying with the Commonwealth for control of Volluse during the twenty-year occupation. The peace is not very cordial, except with Vethas, but it is there.
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The Commonwealth (also called "the BTC" for "the Barudani Tesserelios Commonwealth") is the second in size, but the richest and most powerful in military. It is a genarchy, holding the Kamil system and the outer Avras system.
Project: Eugenics. But the enhanced humans are supposed to be there to serve the common good, on principles of noblesse oblige.
Honorifics: Anaxo (m), Anaxa (f) for the Anaxo caste
Aro (m), Ada (f) for lower castes
Communications and Privacy: For the Barudani, the higher your caste, the more privacy you have. Theoretically, the same laws apply to everybody, but:
Cuisine: Blandest and most mechanized in the Tesserelios system, making Barudani very easy for the other cultures to terrorize at table.
Tipple: beer and whiskey.
Psionics: The quartet system (telepathy, clairvoyance, dicing, and levitation) is standard. Anaxoi are expected to have at least verbal telepathy. Personal and room psilencers are widely used for privacy.
Marginal Populations: —
Points of Interest: —
Annoying habits: As a consequence of the noblesse oblige attitude, higher-caste Barudani are very ready to offer advice and criticism (and, it has to be said, help) to lower. Resentful push-back is so common, it often gets ignored. Any offers of help or advice can be seen as signals of social superiority even within a caste. If you want to make sure your offers are not seen that way, you make them tentatively, almost apologetically. But there is a decent chance you are perfectly fine with signaling social superiority that way.
Possessions: The capital of the Commonwealth is the city of Dinadan, on the moon Bavil, in the Kamil system. The Commonwealth claims the entire Kamil system and the outer orbits of the Avras system.
Government: The Commonwealth is a parliamentary genarchy, headed by a prime minister. Citizens elect members of parliament and have a number of votes dependent on their rank in the genarchy caste system:
The members of parliament then elect the prime ministers and the cabinet ministers. Each Barudani world has one or more governors, elected by a parliament, in the same pattern.
Aside from the obvious inequality in voting, the law is supposed to apply to all castes equally, and includes guarantees of freedom of expression, religion, and association for all voting castes.
There are several political parties, forming shifting coalitions. Major parties include:
"Loyal opposition" is traditionally led by lower-rank clergy.
Currency: The pua. Symbol: π, e.g. π6.20. Exchange rate: 1 pua = 2 chets = 1½ dellens.
History: The Commonwealth is technically a member of the Barudani Diaspora, a colony of the homeworld of Barudan and its other, older colonies, allied with them by treaties. In practice, it is so remote from the rest of the Diaspora, it acts independently.
The Barudani colony fleets arrived knowing the Aliquine Terraformers had been working in the Tesserelios system for some centuries. They found the Aliquine scattered on all the habitable worlds, in loose alliances of city-states and small shires, still distinctly underpopulated. It was therefore easy to join in the terraforming effort without starting a war, and it was hard for the Aliquine to do anything about it.
Within a century, the Barudani had settlements throughout the Avras and Kamil systems. Dinadan, on Bavil, was the leading city-state, and the home of a class of merchant-princes (almost all Anaxoi) who remotely owned large stretches of the Avras system.
Meanwhile, the earlier Aliquine settlers were not assimilating. Fewer than half became citizens of Barudani states; of those, not all did so voluntarily, and virtually all were classified as Agrioi, people of unverified genetics.
Then, for reasons of politics and economics internal to their own society, the Barudani declared a nation-state in the Kamil system, and claimed colonial territories in the Avras. This prompted the Avras Rebellion. The infant Commonwealth, not fully unified and unpopular with its own people living in the Avras system, soon lost the inner orbits of the Avras.
The Aliquine, meanwhile, had been remembering their organizational skills from the days of the terraforming fleet, and copying those of their Barudani neighbors. Using these, they soon declared an independent Avras Union.
For a few decades, there was a tense peace. Then Sratlan the Conquest Engine erupted out of Volluse and made an excellent attempt at taking over the entire Tesserelios system. The Commonwealth joined forces with the Avras Union, the Vethas Republic, and the Volluse resistance to put him down. There followed a brief occupation of Volluse by the other Tesserelios states, to restore the Republic, and then the current situation.
The Commonwealth is now in a more relaxed peace with Avras and Vethas, mostly bickering over trade and how to rehabilitate Volluse.
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The Republic is a distant third in size and power, especially since the Sratlanic Wars. It holds the planet Volluse and all the rest of the Telat system.
Project: Development of personal ability. The leaders lead by good example, thus the whole society is strongly meritocratic. The higher the meritocrat, the more like a Vegan Zone Agent they are, multitalented, with AI mirror (even if AI themselves), characterizer, staff of sapidaries and others, patharchy & psi.
Honorifics: Sio (m), Dama (f)
Religion: Zurvanite (Original Zurvanite. Cf. the Liandan, who are Universal Zurvanite.)
Communications and Privacy: You have a personal line and a business line. The personal address is limited to friends and family, but you don't always carry a comm and may have times when you deliberately don't. The business line has clearly delimited hours for pickup vs. voicemail.
You are very prickly about any inquiries into use of sealed channels or read-once messages, or about being monitored at all.
Cuisine: Spiciest of the three. Hosts are proud to prepare meals by hand.
Tipple: "zire"—high-proof syrupy liqueur in very small shot glasses like communion cups
Psionics: Enhancement psi is the favored school, applied to individual talents. Psilencers are readily available, but using personal counter-psi has more status.
Marginal populations: AIs. The AI minority has a wider social spread than the humans. A larger fraction of AIs are really low class or really high class than with humans, though humans outnumber them in all classes.
Points of Interest: —
Possessions: The capital is the city of Marrid, somewhat over the terminator on the dark side of Volluse. Volluse is basically a single independent planet, though the Republic claims the entire Telat system. At present, however, there are military bases from the other Tesserelios states scattered through the system.
Government: The Republic is a parliamentary democracy with a prime minister, elected by the members of parliament, and a popularly elected president. The major political parties are:
Currency: The dellen. Symbol: D:, e.g. D:16.40. Exchange rate: 1 dellen = ⅔ pua = 1⅓ chet.
History: The Iahocho arrived several years before the Barudani, but well after the Aliquine. Though there were a few Iahocho in the inner Avras system, they concentrated on Volluse. There, they had already largely replaced the Aliquine, mostly by buying them out with assistance on terraforming projects elsewhere in the Tesserelios system.
From its founding, Volluse was governed by a coalition led by the Mandarin and Alexandrine meritocratic parties. During the early decades, this meritocrat coalition developed its own classification of citizens into a range of "phyles" based on levels of accomplishment, paralleling the Barudani caste system. The phyle system started out as an academic classification, was never given formal, legal status, but became widely circulated among the elite meritocrats and widely resented among more and more people.
During the Avras Rebellion, Volluse supported the Avrasi against the Barudani. The few Iahochan settlements in the Avras system were disrupted in the war and most Iahocho made their way back to Volluse. The remainder assimilated.
After the Avras Rebellion, the "Phylist" meritocrats tried to give their classification system legal authority, and attached it to a schedule of incentives and coercions to get people to move up in rank. There followed a popular revolt, put down by a faction within the Commonweal party, all AIs, calling themselves the "Committee of Public Service" but soon known as the Horror Machines.
The Horror Machines were in turn overthrown by Sratlan, a career military AI and brilliant general; he was elected president and vastly increased his powers.
During the unrest, the Barudani, Avrasi, and Vethasi had started making and taking outposts in the Telat system, mostly on Fathatar (Telat 3) and in the moons of the neptunians Morril, Lorril, and Kurril. Sratlan took back Volluse's outposts, plus the new ones from the interlopers. He then went on to conquer the entire Vethas system except for Imnas and Eshas themselves, which were effectively besieged for several years. After that, he set his sights on the worlds of the Commonwealth, starting with Daha in the outer Avras system.
Avras and the Barudani put aside their recent differences to join against Volluse in the Sratlanic Wars. They were assisted by Vethas worlds, when they broke their seige, and by the resistance on Volluse. There followed a joint occupation of Volluse for sixteen years so far.
Volluse has gone back to its earlier multi-party parliament, with a severely curtailed presidency, chastened meritocratic parties, and no visible vestiges of the Phylists, the Horror Machines, or Sratlan the Conquest Engine.
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The Vethas Republic is roughly tied for third with Volluse in size and power. It holds the lifebearing moons Imnas and Eshas, and all the the rest of the Vethas system, though it is currently trying to get the Barudani to close some military bases left over from the Sratlanic War. It is pure Aliquine in culture.
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Late in the terraforming and settlement period, Liandan settlers arrived. Their main settlements are on the Torril orbit in the outer Avras system, on the moons Torril Hune, Torril Tsfu, and the trojan planet Daha. They were immigrants, not colonists, and did not join in the competition with the first three waves of settlers.
Project: The Liandan just came seeking a promising place to settle. They do not buy into the Barudani eugenic project or the Iahocho personal development project.
Language: Liandan. Most also speak Terranic.
Honorifics: Vre (m), Zeh (f)
Religion: Zurvanite (Universal Zurvanite. Cf. the Iahocho, who are Original Zurvanite.) There is also a minority Mazdian Christian church that identifies Ormazd with Jesus.
As Zurvanites, Liandans worship with fire. Every temple has a sacred fire; homes normally have a fire shrine; worshippers often carry a lighter to light while praying; next step down is flame-shaped lights.
Communications and Privacy: You typically have one line and you always have your comm with you during business hours. After hours, business goes to voicemail and you may not have the comm with you at all. Why should you?
You are very prickly about any inquiries into use of sealed channels or read-once messages, or about being monitored at all. If you use these a lot, you likely have a second line specifically for them, under another identity. Criminal? Why? Who wants to know?
Cuisine: Hearty, with much use of dairy from sheep and mammoth.
Tipple: hot vodka with a variety of fruit flavorings.
Psionics: Auric, in which one cultivates an aura as the organ of psychic action and sensing. By default, the aura is visible and luminous, in a color characteristic of the psychic. Compared to quartet psi, auric psi has a limited range, but takes less effort. Psychic privacy is by raising "wards."
Marginal populations: Neo-beasts—dogs, cats, raccoons, bears, and elephants. Neo-beasts are actually about 35% of the population, so a minority but not exactly "marginal."
Points of Interest: —
Annoying habits: —
Settlements: The Liandan live on Hune, Tsfu, and Daha, in the outer Avras system, along with Barudani settlers.
Government: Liandan are Barudani citizens and have no independent governmental system. Human Liandan default to the Agrio caste, though some have qualified as Canonico. Neo-beast Liandan are, of course, all Therio caste.
Currency: The pua (π), since they are part of the Barudani economy.
History: The Liandan arrived well after the Barudani, and in small numbers, with no overarching organization. The Barudani channeled them away from the central Barudani worlds in the Kamil system and the prime real estate in the inner Avrase system, to the ice-age worlds they now occupy. The Liandan supported the Avrasi during the Avrasi Rebellion and made a bid to claim Daha for themselves, but it was put down.
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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2012