A VISITOR'S GUIDE TO DASHI
Ecology: Dashi, the planet of Glass pyramids. Every building on Dashi is
formed from the silicon desert, either as fused silica blocks or as screens
of brilliantly coloured glass panels. The entire population reside either in
the pyramids or in the hollowed-out warrens that lie beneath. There are no
independent dwellings. These massive pyramids of fused multi-coloured glass
tower up to a height of 15km from the ground and burrow down a further 20km
under the surface. Despite this, living space is extremely limited. In the
warrens, entire extended families live in a single room 10m by 10m. Although
classed as a desert planet the entire surface is covered in metre-high layers
of Dashi algae, a blue-green plant which has been genetically altered to
convert ultra-violet rays into oxygen. As a side product, the algae can be
milked to produce insulin. This algae is harvested and mixed with essential
proteins to provide a basic diet for Dashi's millions. The planet itself is
relatively flat with no mountains over 1km and is almost entirely devoid of
water. What little is present, can only be found deep underground. Violent
and intense storms plague the desert tearing through the algae covering and
releasing the particles of silica and glass which can rip through organics in
seconds and strip metal in minutes. These storms occur on an extremely
frequent basis. The Algae will regrow in less than a day repairing any damage
done by storms or harvesting.
Population: Most are of Asiatic extraction, brown skin, small and slim with
dark hair and brown eyes. Only amongst the Kin or Corpse classes may white
Dashian's, descended from vilani and solomani families, be found. Most of the
poorer people are dehydrated since they generally exist on shared water
rations while the richer people are considered "water-fat" by the masses.
Culture: A planet built on credit.. Dashi is a small planet with a massive
population. Most of the people work in the factories assembling electrical
components. This may appear a dated form of manufacture but most Dashian's
receive an extremely low wage making it highly cost-effective. In today's
market, items labelled "Hand Assembled" can carry a higher price tag.
Couple the low wages and expensive living costs with a massive standing
population willing to work just to survive, and you have the reason why so
many are willing to accept the Corporation's easy credit terms to supply not
so much the luxuries as the necessities of life. By allowing the people easy
access to credit whenever they want it, while granting themselves the power
under law to reclaim their money by any means necessary, the companies have
created the ultimate corporate world.
The population can be divided into several distinct classes according to
their employment and credit rating;
Kin - Those who are sufficiently rich to not require any credit at all. These
are generally members of the corporation upper echelons. They live above
ground in the luxury garden apartments at the apex of the pyramids and have
their every whim pandered to.
Sararima (Corpses) - Well-paid employee's who have all their basic expenses
paid for by their corporations. Their homes, food, water, taxes and other
living expenses are paid for. They too reside in the upper reaches of the
city and are responsible for the efficient running of the Corporation's
Tekhno's - Employee's who were in receipt of an educational contract as
children and are now serving out a 20 year indenture.  Their contracts
will generally grant them accommodation, water tax, and food in addition to a
basic living wage. They reside interdispersed with the factory sectors
located around the ground level.
Nullskils - The masses, the unemployed and independently employed. No
corporation looks out for them and they survive by accepting temporary
contracts of employment, working for the "entertainment" industry or by
breeding.  Despite the shortage of facilities there is no population
Unbonded - Those who are incapable of working, criminals or are unable to
repay their credit are classed as unbonded. Their credit repayments are
passed on to their next of kin to repay and they are refused all credit
facilities. This means that the person is refused access to water, food and
accommodation. They must live as best they can outside the cities. Most die.
Dashi is primarily a Buddhist world. However, it has very high religious
tolerances and it welcomes the practice of any other religion. Hence a
Buddhist temple and a Brethren Tabernacle on the same corridor is not an
uncommon sight. The ceaseless pursuit of Sanuk guarantees a plentitude of
festivals, fairs, sports and similar pleasures as well as a number of more
solemn religious ceremonies. Most occur during the cool season.
Psychology: Dashian's are considered by most off-worlders to be extremely
self-centred and cruel. Few parents retain any real family ties to their
children beyond the age of five and many appear to consider their children as
little more than a marketable commodity. While this is an over simplistic
vision, it is unfortunately reasonably accurate. Debt and the consequences of
non payment have made the people this way. They have to be in order to
survive. The Nullskils, in particular, appear to have found some comfort in
their many customs and traditions. These are the major focus of their lives,
their reason for survival, not just of the individual, but of the family.
Despite this the Dashian is far too genial and easygoing to expect a farang
("foreigner") to observe all their ways. Some of the more common customs are;
Dashian's do not shake hands. The customary greeting is the Wai, with the
hands raised as in prayer. Traditionally, the higher the hands are held the
more respectful is the greeting. Dashian's are extremely neat in their
appearance and even in the warrens it is rare to see anyone who is really
dirty or unkempt. Sandbathing at least twice a day is practiced by those who
cannot afford water showers. To say someone is Mai rieb-roi (not neat) is
almost as serious as saying that he is Mai suparb (not polite). It is common
to see two men walking along the street holding hands - a sign incidentally
of simple friendship; nothing else - but very rare to see a man and woman
doing it. Despite the profusion of sexual acts carried out in public, actual
displays of intimate affection are frowned upon. Three Dashian expressions
sum up the Dashian attitude; Mai pen rai, pai-tio and sanuk.
Mai pen rai is generally translated as "never mind", but is actually a state
of mind as well as a specific reaction to a situation. It appears to be an
extension of the Buddhist philosophy - a shugging off of the unimportant, the
merely transient. To visitors it can be an exasperating attitude,
particularly when applied to something they consider "important". It is an
essential element in the relaxed attitude of Dashi - the reluctance to get
overexcited about things particularly things you can do nothing about. Mai
pen rai is the tendency to accept difficulties casually, the preference for
laughter over tears.
Pai-tio means to stroll, to wander about with no particular aim, to see
what's up. Dashian's need people around, they stroll to watch people and to
observe. Pai-tio is a major activity and millions wander around watching each
other and gaining great enjoyment from the chaos around them.
Sanuk means "fun" but it has a greater meaning among the Dashian's - Their
love of fun, of joie de vivre, is deeprooted and irrepressible and pervades
every aspect of their daily existence. Everything in life is automatically
divided into a category of sanuk or mai sanuk (never fun). Going pai-tio,
viewing a kabbadi game, or visiting the maze are all considered sanuk. Work
because it supplies the "luxuries" of life despite its seriousness is classed
as mai sanuk ta ruu, "not fun but life".. The Dashian fondness for sanuk does
not indicate a frivolous mentality or a refusal to face up to the less
palatable realities of life; rather it reveals an ingrained sense of joy,
without which, life would be a drab and meaningless affair.
Dashian's also display an avid curiosity about subjects that would normally
be considered private. Even total strangers will be interrogated as to their
salary, how old they are, whether they are married or not, and why. Such
questions, personal as they may sound, are not regarded as rude but as simply
a way of showing interest. You are not necessarily required to give correct
answers, or any answer at all, as long as you accompany your refusal with a
friendly smile to show that you have not been offended.
Almost from birth a Dashian child begins to accumulate credit. All clothes,
toys etc. (except food which is supplied free to all children until their
fifth birthday) are automatically added to the child's own credit rating. The
cost associated with the actual birth are considered the parent's
responsibility. Once a Megacorporation has been chosen as a source of Credit
all other sources of credit close. Interest is chargeable at a universal rate
of 10% per annum - there is only one exception, children up to the age of 16
do not accumulate interest.  Excessive or abusive use of credit will lead
to credit withdrawal. If an individual dies leaving an outstanding credit
balance, the other members of the extended family have a period of five
years, or until a child reaches the age of 16 whichever is longer, to pay off
the debt with the interest frozen. After that period interest rates are
Water tax covers access to the minimum daily water requirements. Indentured
staff have the tax paid for them as part of their contract. Failure to pay
the tax means access to water is prohibited.
The seven companies that make up the Combine own the planet. Most have
planetary specialities and interests beyond manufacturing.
Naasirka - owns 28% of the shares. Company colour - Black. Runs the Algae
harvesting, water and protein reclamation facilities and Euthanasia Centres.
Makhidkarun - owns 21% of the shares. Company colour - Red. Responsible for
water distribution and power (mainly solar).
Delgado - owns 20% of the shares. Company colour - Blue. Runs the bureaucracy
and ice mining and transport facilities.
Sternmetal - owns 11% of the shares. Company colour - Grey. Runs the tourist
facilities and entertainment.
Ling-Standard Products - 8% of the shares. Company colour - Yellow. Oversee's
the credit facilities and off-world contracts.
SuSAG - 7% of the shares. Company colour - Green. Responsible for education,
on-planet transport and health.
Interstellarms - 5% of the shares. Company colour - Purple. Responsible for
planetary defense and overall co-ordination of security.
Sport: The most popular is Null-G Kabbadi (see insert), an ancient Terran
sport which has come into its own. Among the Nullskils, kaddabi is played in
its more traditional form using any unoccupied square.
Tri-vee: each of the megacorporations produce their own entertainment
channels which are beamed, free, to all dwellings on Dashi. They are mostly
high profile advertising and propaganda but also include comedy, news and
sports - mainly kabbadi tournaments between the Mega-corp teams. On-Line is a
series of free community tri-vee channels consisting of programmes made by
ordinary members of the population which are not subject to censorship. A
portable studio can be plugged into any Tri-vee unit and beamed into the
system. Each person can broadcast for up to 20 minutes at any one time and,
at last count, there were in excess of 2,000 channels broadcasting day and
night. Programmes range from religion to snuff films. Sex, violent duels,
small business advertising and religion are the most common. Each "producer"
is automatically allocated a timeslot to broadcast. If the show rates more
than 1,000 viewers the "producer" can demand a regular slot which they will
lose if their viewing figures ever fall below the 1,000 mark for two
consecutive shows. At this point the "producer" is time barred from a regular
slot for a period of 100 days. Most Tri-vee sets can automatically record
programmes according to pre-programmed criteria or taste for replay at a more
acceptable hour. The most popular show, as far as ratings are concerned, are
the snuff shows which appear frequently. Different channels, times and
locations. Although the Central Authority can't stop the broadcast, the
murder of someone without their consent is illegal and the authorities will
do everything possible to track down and apprehend the broadcaster. Serial
killing takes on a whole new meaning on Dashi. Many independent merchants
will use On-Line to sell their stock by putting together a sleazy show or
duel as a backdrop to their adverts. All broadcasts become the property of
the Combine who resell the more viable programmes off-world.
Entertainment Sectors: The largest and most popular is Ki Phlaem's Maze
District. Here any form of entertainment may be bought - for a price. These
sectors are mainly to entertain the rich and the tourist. In addition to
sexual perversions, SimStims and drugs there are also the Euthanasia Centres.
These centres were established to take advantage of the old, the sick and the
credit-weary. Here anyone over the age of 16 may elect to participate either
in a death duel or an Euthanasia contract. Death duels consist usually of
one-on-one fights until one or other is dead, mass gladiatorial games or
against imported wild animals. The winner will receive either prize money or
a previously agreed percentage of the revenue from the fight. The loser's
family generally only gets the water price, though some fight handlers do
give a token offering in addition. When an Euthanasia contract is entered
into, the participant faces a certain but exotic death. The fee paid to the
family is either a set fee or percentage of the initial revenue. A price is
charged in order to view the extravaganza, either at the ringside or
broadcast on a credit-only megacorp channel. Participating in the death adds
to the cost. Euthanasia viewing is not for the squeamish or faint-hearted as
most death scenes are designed to be innovative.
 At the age of 5 all children are tested for IQ and special aptitudes. If
they are found to have potential the Corporation's may make a bid to enable
them to indenture the child. The parents will be paid a lump sum while the
child receives their living expenses and all appropriate educational costs
until they are 16. In return the company gains the expertise resulting from
the education for a maximum contracted period of twenty years. During this
period of indenture living quarters, food and a set wage are supplied.
Failure to honour the contract or to achieve and maintain the appropriate
grade of expertise is punishable under law with penalties ranging from fines
or enforced labour contracts to death. At the end of the contract the Tekhno
must pay off all outstanding debts to the company or sign on for a further
At this point other companies may attempt to poach the Tekhno with more
attractive offers. Most find themselves released without any offers to make
way for younger Tekhno's with more up-to-date skills. Many will pay for
additional training in order to try and improve their level of expertise.
This can improve the chance of a secondary indenture. This system of
education focuses on particular areas of expertise to the exclusion of all
others with little or no cross-specialisation. The indenture holders,
generally one of the megacorporations, may "transfer" people to other
planet's on a lease basis without notice and without the employee's consent.
 Children can be "sold" into bonded labour contracts from 6 upwards - the
harsh work conditions result in many dying. It should be noted that their are
no minimum legal sex age and no legal barriers to the practice of any sexual
act other than assault.
 On Dashi, all dead are sent to the reclamation plants. There the bodies'
water content is extracted. The next of kin are automatically awarded the
water value - generally Cr. 100. What is not so well known is that the rest
of the carcass is also used. It is minced and mixed with algae to provide the
essential proteins needed to sustain human life. This mixture, known jokingly
as "Soylent Green" by the kin and corpse classes, is the basic diet of the
Nullskils and costs about Cr.2 for a meal. Those who eat algae alone
generally die of malnutrition within six months.
 The interest-free period granted to children is believed to be used by
certain types of parents as a method of providing food and clothing for the
whole family. Although this is illegal there is no effective way of stamping
this out. Youths, at their maturity, who have accumulated an excessive credit
rating without obtaining an attractive indenture, may find that the only
option available is to enter an Euthanasia Centre.
Places to Visit in Ki Phlaem
PLACES TO VISIT IN KI PHLAEM
Pyramid City: The city, above ground, is a beautiful place. Small squares and
tropical gardens are intermixed with apartments, small shrines and temples.
Although the sectors are still crowded it is actually possible to find small
pockets of complete serenity. (The manufacturing complexes are at ground
level, as are the tekhno apartments and the start of the hydroponic farms.
The higher up the tower you go the less functional are the buildings.) Near
the top, each apartment is set in a small but beautifully composed garden
with the building itself made up of pastel coloured glass panels set into
movable screens which form the walls. Every wall can be repositioned so that
the whole building can be altered in minutes. Thus a relatively small home
can become a single hall for entertaining or several small rooms for privacy.
Each building is so designed that they blend into each other and the well
groomed landscape so as to form an aesthetic whole. Among the upper classes,
conformity is more important than individuality. The apex sector is
off-limits to all except residents and their guests.
Leviathan: In 948 a local Nullskil, Kohkeo Pisada, made a massive discovery
while on Pai-tio in the Saiga Pae foothills. Fossilised remains. Not just a
simple mollusc or small mammal, but the remains of a legless reptile which
must have measured over 2 kilometres long when it had been alive. The heat,
dry atmosphere and sand had combined to mummify the corpse. Scientists who
examined it initially believed that the whole thing was a fake but forensic
tests and carbon dating carried out on a fragment revealed that the creature
had really existed over 20 million years ago. Here was proof of evolution
gone wild. A small lifeless dustbowl of a planet apparently spawned the
largest known reptile in Imperium space. Theories abounded as to its living
conditions, its source of food and reason for extinction. Millions flocked to
see the remains. Pisada wrote several best sellers on his discoveries and was
much in demand for lectures. Because of outdoor property laws, the remains
became the sole property of Pisada. Almost over night he became a
Then, in 957, the truth was discovered after an investigation was made of
Pisada's early credit history; The whole affair was a con perpetuated by
Pisada and his friends. In 944 Pisada managed to arrange several simultaneous
credit identities for himself with each of the members of the Combine, a
miraculous feat in itself. He managed to obtain an incredibly high credit
ceiling with each, considering he was an uncontracted nullskil with no living
kin. With the credit he bought molds and gradually, over the next four years,
he literally built the Leviathan out of the desert soil. When the skeleton
came to be tested he "persuaded" the scientists to restrict all their tests
to two bones - bones he'd imported from Uaam/Argi the year before. The most
amazing thing of all was that as soon as the news of his deception leaked out
the tourist trade quadrupled. Everyone wanted to see the fake and meet the
man who had conned the entire Imperial scientific community. Pisada died in
1001, a folk hero and very wealthy man. The Leviathan has now been
transported to the Leviathan Hall in Ki Phlaem where it currently resides.
Indenture Hall: This is the closest that you can get to slavery on a
civilised planet within the Imperium. Here people's lives are held in the
balance as bonds and indentures are bought and sold. The Negotiator Guild
long outgrew a single building and now they control an entire city sector.
Hundreds of thousands line the corridors awaiting a new master. Servants,
prostitutes, labourers, technician's.. All can be found here if you can
afford the price. Anyone who has a contract or indenture they wish to sell,
can put their staff on the block. In debt? Sell your staff. See a technician
you like but wanted a servant? No problem. If you own the contract then you
dictate the type of work providing it doesn't contravene the original
conditions. If the worker doesn't like it then they either buy themselves out
or head for a Euthanasia Centre. In addition to the bonded, many Nullskils
line the walkways in the hope of being contracted on temporary contracts.
Some Nullskils who have failed to win indenture contracts as children have
the foresight to educate themselves on credit. Many pick up a random
selection of skills rather than a single specialisation which makes them
extremely good at acquiring temporary contracts on a regular basis. Most Temp
contracts are posted on the JobNet by the Negotiator's Guild.
The Maze: The lower, underground warrens of Ki Phlaem consist of many
kilometres of narrow, winding corridors and small cramped market areas.
Hundred's of millions are crammed into about 20 kilometres cubed. Millions
live and die without ever leaving. Here life is cheap and, it is said,
anything can be bought. The Maze has many faces, offering just about any form
of entertainment you could dream of. Some areas have been transformed into an
unbroken neon forest of bars, nightclubs and Euthanasia Centres. Touts and
bonded hawk their attractions at every entrance; restaurants, theatres and
parlours are constantly packed with people. The corridors are aswarm with
tourists, the upper classes slumming and Nullskil entertainers. Pedicabs and
Taichi (motorised skateboards) buzz through the crowds at breakneck speed.
Every Taichi-Nu (taxi driver) you encounter is prepared to offer you,
sometimes on a card printed in several languages, a mind-boggling menu of
vices catering for every imaginable taste. While no part of the Maze can be
described as totally catering for Farang's (foreigners) many of the vice
areas do have a predominantly tourist clientele. Even the streets are covered
in smoked mirror tiles and the Shu (male and female prostitutes) can be seen
openly demonstrating their trade. For those who's night tastes are really
basic or perverse then the Phya Tai sector has a sleazy atmosphere
reminiscent of the Shanghai dives immortalised in early Terran 2D films. The
clubs in this area are not recommended for the squeamish, for couples, or for
anyone too arthritic to dodge a beer bottle during the melees that frequently
Throughout the Maze, Shu are on open display behind one way windows and
"customers" select the one's they want by their number. The usual length of
service is an hour and prices vary from around Cr.10 to several thousand
depending on the grandeur of the establishment, the type of "special service"
required and the amount of injury caused to the Shu. The Shu are bonded so do
not get any of the fee. A generous tip is expected. Throughout the open
corridors hawkers have set up narrow stalls selling every imaginable type of
goods. Food is also prepared at these stalls and varies from Sol'vee (Soylent
Green) to excellent Thai and Vilani dishes. Fortune-telling and superstition
holds a great sway in the Maze and includes face and palm-reading, fortune
sticks and small birds trained to select from a prepared list of futures.
Artist's Quarter: The Quarter is a seventy story section of the Warren which,
unlike all other areas which delight in translucent multi-coloured glass
walls and garish neon lights, is developed from sombre black silica blocks.
Here can be found some of the most delicate glass sculptures in the entire
Imperium. Commissions are undertaken at extremely competitive prices. In
addition, the area is home to thousands of live entertainers. These are an
odd group of individualists who persist in the notion that computer-generated
entertainment is not as good as that produced by live actors and singers. No
amount of argument about the perfect pitch produced by synthesisers, the
endless repeatability of the holoformers or the experience-filled dreams of
SimStim can convince them that human actors are in any way inferior. Worth a
visit to see how man's earliest ancestor's entertained themselves.
Odar'a Museum of Fine Art: Possibly one of the finest collections of early
human artwork to be found anywhere. This museum was built specifically to
house the combined art treasures of the ruling Megacorporations. The Museum
itself is a cathedral of stain glass. Here can be found such ancient
masterpieces as Warhol's Marilyn, the Mona Lisa, The Beatles Help Album, the
sonar sculptures of Sharik Bhariikii and the infamous "Death of an Emperor"
by Elton Kiruutai which depicts the assassination of Cleon the mad. The upper
floor has the finest collection of glass sculpture in the Imperium and the
lower vaults hold many valuable documents from the dawn of man.
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