Sector General Information

Yiklerzdanzh Sector / General Information

  • Credits
  • Sector Data
  • Sector Timeline
  • The Izrats Kriezhlas Unity
  • The Meichntid Ibl
  • Contact: S'raak
  • The S'raak War
  • The Talpaku
  • Talpakuhome
  • History of the Talpaku
  • Talpaku Communality
  • Talpaku Vehicles
  • Talpaku Referee's Notes
  • The Vlazhdumecta
  • The Zhodani Presence


    HIWG Australia
    Yiklerzdanzh Project Credits
       This survey has been a labour of love by HIWG Australia. We hope you
       enjoy the sector and find the documents useful. For other HIWG project
       work, see the main History of the Imperium Working Group home page.
       For further information on Traveller, see the Imperium Games Home
    Sector Development Team
       Project Coordinator: David Schneider
       Editors: David Schneider and Grant Sinclair
       Typesetting and Internet upload: Grant Sinclair
    Specific Developers:
       Talpaku Development: Grant Sinclair
       Meichntid Ibl Development: Angus Foster, Steven Fernandez, David
       Schneider, Grant Sinclair
       Carillon Development: Corran Webster, David Schneider, Grant Sinclair
       Vlazhdumecta Development: David Thornell, Grant Sinclair
       S'raak Development: Paul O'Grady, David Schneider
       Rom's Loch Development: Geoff M. Kelly, Grant Sinclair
    Additional Development
       Ben Arnall, Michael Butler, Mike Dooley, Gustav Ness, Paul G. Ridgway
       Special thanks to Chuck Kallenbach II for advice and coordination with
       Vanguard Reaches sector.
       All contents copyright FarFuture Enterprises and the authors.
       Comments to

    Sector Timeline

    Compiled Yiklerzdanzh Sector Timeline
    Version 6 (20 November 1994)
    David Schneider (with Grant Sinclair)
    5 East Avenue
    Allenby Gardens
    South Australia 5065
    -8000  Carillon reach TL 1
    -5500  Carillon reach TL 2
    -5415  Zhodani discover jump drive
    -5120  Zhodani discover Addaxur
    -5110  Zhodani contact Addaxur
    -5109  Meichntid Ibl founded, start of Shadow War. Secession at this time 
           succeeds because the Zho are not large enough to counter TL disadvantage
           with sheer numbers.
    -5100  Zhodani scouts attempting to flank Meichntid Ibl discover Talpaku 
           homeworld and briefly observe Talpaku; Zhodani scout ship surveys 
           Carillon system. Flanking attempt abandoned since there is an effective
           3 pc barrier on the subsector E/I boundary (wilderness refuelling 
           impossible at 0421); Zhodani mount no further scouting missions. To 
           trailing, the Zhodani also enter Afachtiabr sector and contact 
    At the end of this period, the Meichntid Ibl control much of subsectors B and C
    and most of F and G. Shadow War going strong. Few Zho worlds; no other 
    interstellar states exist.
    -5000  Zhodani continue outward expansion; Vlazhdumecta expand through 
           Afachtiabr sector; Carillon reach TL 3
    -4900  Vlazhdumecta Empire collapse complete, link to Yiklerzdanzh colonies 
           abandoned, collapse of these colonies under way; Carillon discover 
           principles of their genetic code, sparking a technological explosion
    -4800  Carillon reach effective TL 6
    -4700  Carillon reach effective TL 8
    -4650  Carillon fight civil war using biological weapons, Carillon thrown into 
           dark age
    -4400  Talpaku reach TL 5, Zhodani transmissions detected and reply sent.
    -4364  Carillon Dark Age ends
    -4340  Talpaku first manned space flight
    -4300  Talpaku reach TL 6, establish first offworld colony
    -4200  Carillon reach TL 9
    -4192  Carillon develop first bioengineered rocket, first Carillon in space
    -4119  Talpaku begin TOre WarsU, reach TL 7-8
    -4091  End of Talpaku TOre Wars'
    -4050  Carillon breed and release interstellar probes
    -4034  Zhodani lose interest in Yiklerzdanzh expansion after discovery that 
           projector device is accurate
    -4000  Zhodani launch first Core Expedition
    By the end of this period, the Vlazhdumecta Empire has long collapsed and their
    Yiklerzdanzh colonies, also collapsed, are isolated The Meichntid Ibl have lost
    some ground in the continuing Shadow War but are still a potent force. They do
    not know that the Vlazhdumecta exist. Zhodani wish only to expand where
    involved in the war effort with the Meichntid Ibl and some captured MI worlds.
    -3995  Xenophobia begins to unite the Talpaku, interstellar missions planned
    -3915  Talpaku reach TL 8-9
    -3500  Nadir of collapse of Vlazhdumecta Yiklerzdanzh colonies
    -3000  Talpaku have colonised 5 systems, founding of Talpaku Communality
    -2800  Zhodani first contact with Vargr
    -2700  Talpaku reach TL 10 (no jump drive) and trigger Zhodani interdiction 
           probe; Vlazhdumecta world (Qrazhazhjal) regains TL 9 and begins 
           reunification of Vlazhdumecta systems in Yiklerzdanzh
    -2500  Vlazhdumecta systems in Yiklerzdanzh unify as the Izrats Kriezhlas
           Unity; Zhodani have reached TL 12
    -2400  Zhodani survey ship recontacts Izrats Kriezlas Unity
    -2280  Zhodani offer Vlazdumecta jump 2 and 3
    -2000  Zhodani contact Vilani traders, Dzhagser Plague breaks out resulting in
           reduced Zhodani populations, Zhodani trade and communications routes to
           Trailing severely disrupted
    -1792  Talpaku capture Zhodani trader, gain jump drive
    -1750  Zhodani task force overwhelmed by Talpaku
    -1685  First Talpaku War begins when Zhodani occupy Talpaku world. Talpaku 
           retake world and invade Zhodani Consulate. Meichntid Ibl astonished, as
           they "only patrol 4-5 pc and hence had not contacted the Talpaku". 
           Attempts to make contact for an alliance spurned (since they look like 
           Zhodani to the Talpaku); so they mount an independent offensive to
           regain some lost worlds. Talpaku offensive turned back after initial
           success and ceasefire called.
    -1680  Zhodani begin serious survey of Yiklerzdanzh. Meichntid Ibl contact 
           Talpaku and explain things; Talpaku distrustful but enter into an 
    -1600  Izrats Kriezhlas Unity covers 20 worlds and active on that many more. 
           They have been told about the Meichntid Ibl and Talpaku but decide 
           discretion is the better part of valour (for now, anyway).
    -1595  Talpaku execute Zhodani diplomat after psionic incident, Second Talpaku
           War begins. Meichntid Ibl join in.
    -1594  Second Talpaku War ends. Establishment of DMZ between Zhodani and 
           Talpaku. Meichntid Ibl lose many worlds.
    -1400  Dzhagser plague strikes Zhodani again from Vargr space
    -1300  Talpaku execute several Zhodani over psionic incidents, several 
           skirmishes occur, but war averted
    -1230  First Izrats Kriezhlas Unity "Talpaku Mission" fails
    -1000  Zhodani Consulate reaches present size, Dzhagser plague effectively
           under  control, Izrats Khriehlas Unity becomes a formal Zhodani client
    By the end of this period, relative peace exists. The Shadow War has petered
    out, but tensions exist between the Zhodani and the Meichntid Ibl/Talpaku 
    alliance. The Zhodani have totally lost interest in expansion and just want 
    secure borders. The Meichntid Ibl is roughly its present size. The Talpaku and
    Carillon will have met, somewhere after -1500.
    -950   SUraak reach TL 1
    -900   Talpaku xenophobia begins to ebb
    -600   Zhodani Fourth Core Expedition
    -399   First Sword World colony of Gram settled in Spinward Marches
    Few border changes occurred in this period. The Meichntid Ibl/Talpaku alliance
    has grown very strong.
    -390  Small number of Sword Worlder explorer colonists reach Yiklerzdanzh and
          settled Fordays Fortune
    -300  Zhodani discover budding S'raak civilisation. Their homeworld is declared
    -200  Zhodani begin closing down large scale relations with Izrats Kriezhlas 
    -120  Second Izrats Kriezhlas Unity "Talpaku Mission" succeeds; large scale 
          trade begins.
    -50   Zhodani contact Imperials in the Spinward Marches
    60    Imperial settlers colonise Mora in the Spinward Marches
    75    Imperial settlers colonise Regina in the Spinward Marches
    176   SUraak reach TL 2
    350   Zhodani mount 6th Core Expedition (? or 300)
    500   Zhodani military interest in Izrats Kriezhlas Unity increases, IISS
          begins Class 1 survey of Vanguard Reaches
    561   More Solomani arrive in Yiklerzdanzh and settle in Rom's Loch (larger 
          numbers this time). Sword Worlder extremist sect establishes small 
          colonies on Forge & Hammer in subsector N.
    589   First Frontier War begins
    600   Zhodani reach TL 13, Jump 4 developed. Relay route to Izrats Kriezhlas 
          Unity from subsector H replaced by one from subsector E, to boost Zhodani
          influence in the region.
    602   Meichntid Ibl contacts Imperium, Imperium not interested in alliance.
    604   First Frontier War ends
    609   Zhodani explorers make serious survey of Vanguard Reaches and contact 
          Murians there
    613   Eslyat in Vanguard Reaches capture jump drive from Zhodani
    615   Second Frontier War begins
    620   Second Frontier War ends
    626   Driantia Steblenzhtia, a Zhodani client state, created in Afachtiabr, 
          Vanguard Reaches and Yiklerzdanzh
    750   Seventh Core Expedition
    800   Imperial Psionic Suppressions begin
    802   Imperial refugees begin to flee psionic suppressions with Zhodani 
    809   Imperial psionic refugees settled in Chinzhedniedoch subsector by Zhodani
    826   Imperial Psionics Suppressions end
    900   Allarton Corporation gathers good quality information on Vanguard Reaches
    936   Duchy of Trelyn in Vanguard Reaches created by patent of Emperor Styryx
          at  Capital/Core
    962   Joint Meichntid Ibl and Talpaku emmisary mission to Imperium destroyed en
          route secretly by Zhodani.
    979   Third Frontier War
    986   Third Frontier War ends
    1000  Zhodani reach TL 14 (Jump-5)
    1031  SUraak reach TL 4
    1046  Ill-fated Class V Survey of Vanguard Reaches begun
    1100  Talpaku reach TL 13 (Jump-4)
    By the end of this period, there have been a number settlements by 
    Solomani/Sword Worlders (e.g. the Salinaikin Concordance, Driantia Steblenzhtia
    and Akigura Union).
    1061  Class I survey of Yiklerzdanzh undertaken by IISS for the Second Survey.
          Consequent official contact with Third Imperium (though only fleeting).
    1082  Fourth Frontier War
    1084  Fourth Frontier War ends
    1098  Zhodani rediscover SUraak but suppress news
    1099  Talpaku and Meichntid Ibl hear rumours and also try to secretly recontact
    1100  Zhodani, Talpaku & Meichntid Ibl all contact S'raak hoping to use them
          for  their own purposes, S'raak pretend to go along with all parties to
          gain technical assistance but secretly declare holy war against all
    1102  S'raak begin breeding programme to create army for Holy War
    1106  Wildly inaccurate Class V survey of Vanguard Reaches published
    1107  Fifth Frontier War
    1110  Fifth Frontier War ends
    1116  Dulinor assasinates Emporer Strephon and his heirs
    1120  Zhodani begin planning 8th Core Expedition; Zhodani resume interest in
          taking direct control of the Izrats Kriezhlas Unity; S'raak reach TL 6,
          begin nuclear weapons tests; Duchy of Trelyn releases new class V survey
          of Vanguard Reaches
    1126  S'raak declare Khaar off limits to all foreigners
    1130  Collapse of Imperial civilisation
    1153  S'raak reach TL 8 and use imported jump drives to create jump capable
    1159  S'raak begin attacks on Zhodani Consulate, Meichntid Ibl and Talpaku
          Communality, attempting to play each against the others.
    1160  SUraak War. SUraak carve out small interstellar state, Zhodani lose some
          unimportant worlds to Meichntid Ibl, Zhodani relay route to Izrats
          Kriezhlas Unity changed to again start in Chinzhedniedoch subsector
    1181  S'raak begin explorations of Tsadra sector
    1185  First S'raak colony established in Tsadra sector. Talpaku commence
          explorations into Tsadra sector to counter S'raak expansion
    1191  Regency consulate established on Talpakuhome
    1196  Regency consulate on Talpakuhome upgraded to embassy, consulates
          established on FordayUs Fortune and Izrats Kriezhlas Unity capital
    1201  Dawn of the New Era
    So here we are at the current date. Relations are only now beginning to settle
    down after the SUraak War, and it will take a while before things settle down
    totally (for instance, the full effects of the change in the Zhodani Relay
    Route). Although full scale interstellar war seems unlikely at the moment,
    border incidents and lower level conflicts still exist.

    The Izrats Kriezhlas Unity

    The Izrats Kriezhlas Unity
        by David Thornell (with Grant Sinclair)
        Date: 21 September 1995
       The following comes from the History of Draj Orshtiel (First House) on
       Anchli, as collected by Archivist Shtivats jir-Vretsdriezh. This
       special collection presents a history of the Vlazhdumecta Izrats
       Kriezhlas from before the first landing.
       Our race is the Vlazhdumecta. About 6000 years ago, our ancestors had
       a flourishing commercial empire in Afachtiabr sector. Over the years,
       their empire expanded beyond Afachtiabr and soon the ships of Draj
       Orshtiel arrived in Yiklerzdanzh, seeking new frontiers. They settled
       Anchli and the ships of other Houses followed and more systems were
       Tragically, our Afachtiabr civilisation fell, leaving us as the last
       remaining Vlazhdumecta state. We have broken with the past and we now
       call ourselves the Izrats Kriezhlas - the "People of the New
       We of the Izrats Kriezhlas Unity are near pure Vlazhdumecta (see TTC
       8), though we now refer to our race as the Izrats Kriezhlas. There has
       been enough interbreeding with Zhodani to alleviate the worst of the
       biochemical problems, but we are still recognisably Vlazhdumecta.
       Government: The central ruling body of the Izrats Kriezhlas is called
       the Izh Kriezhlal, a term sometimes used for the name of our state. It
       is comprised of an upper (House) council, and a lower (planetary)
       council. Each house has representatives in proportion to its size. The
       lower council, representing planetary holdings, currently has 216
       members. The upper council, representing each House as an entity, has
       44 members. This includes 2 representatives of the Zhodani Consulate,
       who have Great House status due to the amount of Zhodani investment
       that remains even now.
       Our state is generally known as the Izrats Kriezhlas Unity, or just
       "the Unity". Our symbol is a blue droplet of water containing stars.
       The water droplet is a reference to a basic teaching in philosophy;
       just as a droplet of water can hang on, seemingly defying gravity, so
       can the proper frame of mind allow a person (or a state) to endure and
       overcome any hardship.
       Design Techniques: To the Izrats Kriezhlas, form is as important as
       function, so manufactured items must be pleasing to the eye. Although
       the price is higher, our quality goods are able to compete well at the
       "high-end" of markets in any human state. Conversely, items from other
       states need to meet this standard to have success in our own markets.
       This has been a problem for the few attempts by companies of the
       Meichntid Ibl (a rival Yiklerzdanzh state) to establish trade links.
       Tattooing: A practice still common in the Izrats Kriezhlas, although
       seldom found in other descendants of the Vlazhdumecta. A person's
       occupation, ranking, and history are marked in small glyphs, usually
       located on the upper cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and forehead. The
       position, size and detailing of these glyphs all hold particular
       historic significance.
       About 6000 years ago, our ancestors were contacted by the Zhodani.
       Already possessing a moderate tech level, they were able to use the
       secret of the jump drive obtained from the Zhodani to colonise much of
       Afachtiabr sector.
       At about the same time as the Zhodani were becoming concerned about
       the Vlazhdumecta, a multi-House effort established the first
       Vlazhdumecta colony in Yiklerzdanzh. The Anchli system was chosen,
       since it was a desirable world, near the centre of the area intended
       for the spinward spur of the Vlazhdumecta Colonisation Sphere. It was
       also a long way from the secession wars of the Meichntid Ibl.
       Other Houses started their own colonisation efforts, but House
       Orshtiel was left as controller of Anchli after several minor
       skirmishes. A number of other nearby worlds had just been settled when
       the Vlazhdumecta Colonisation Sphere began to collapse. When it was
       realised that the end was near, the last Vlazhdumecta in spin/rimward
       Afachtiabr with the capability to do so consolidated in the
       Yiklerzdanzh colony. By -4900, the link to the Yiklerzdanzh colonies
       had been long abandoned.
       Forced to cooperate to survive, the Yiklerzdanzh colonies chose the
       only model they knew for a successful interstellar state - the Zhodani
       Consulate. Massive changes in House power structures developed, with
       the attempted control of top levels in society.
       Even with the most desperate efforts, the colonies simply had not
       enough time to be able to continue independently. By -3500, most
       worlds had regressed to a weird combination of TL 3, with touches of
       homegrown TL 5-6 in specific areas, and the rare occurrence of
       ancient, unreliable TL 8-9. On worlds where Houses were mixed (most
       are single House worlds) they had settled in for the long term, with
       occasional sniping. Some Houses merged - some disappeared. Some
       records were kept of the past, but most were lost, and the records
       that did survive generally related to the time since settlement, or
       were thought to be of use for immediate survival needs.
       Fortunately, this was the nadir of the collapse. The populations of
       most worlds had been able to expand despite the falling technology,
       due to the favourable ecologies of the worlds selected for initial
       colonisation. Their economies stabilised and then began to expand.
       Innovation could and was supported, assisted by the knowledge that had
       been preserved in our libraries.
       Around -2700, Qrazhazhjal reachieved TL 9 and recontacted
       Itsplanzhikar and Anchli. It was decided that sundered Houses must be
       rejoined and a dozen systems were united by -2500.
       In -2400, a Zhodani survey ship arrived at Itsplanzhikar. There was
       some initial hostility because of old memories but our ancestors
       needed all the help they could get. The Zhodani were particularly
       pleased by the government structure that so closely resembled their
       own and the Unity was eventually convinced that true friendship was
       now possible. The society structure (i.e. highly structured, rigid
       society comprising various Houses with nobles at top and serfs at
       bottom) was very amenable to the Zhodani form.
       By -2280, the two states were very close. Zhodani investment had given
       a boost to the local economy that allowed full recovery from the fall
       and the Zhodani had gained a buffer state. To seal the arrangement,
       the Zhodani offered jump-2 and 3. With consent of both sides,
       immigration from the Consulate was encouraged, from all social strata.
       Psionics was used by all levels of society but was strongest (and most
       erratic) in the House nobility.
       Starting around -2000, the Houses institute breeding programs with
       Zhodani assistance. The aim was supposed to be to eradicate wildcard
       psi powers and to finalise stabilisation of Izrats Kriezhlan
       biochemistry. However, the Zhodani actually wanted to eradicate psi at
       lower levels and strengthen it at higher.
       In -1685, the first war started between the Zhodani and the Talpaku
       Communality (a Yiklerzdanzh non-human minor race) and some of our own
       forces went to Zhodani space to help with the defense. The Talpaku
       were left unaware of our existence, which was in our best interest,
       since our state was still not in a position to defend against a major
       By -1600, we had achieved homegrown TL 11 on several worlds. The Unity
       then spanned almost 20 systems, including some in Fulani sector.
       Around -1000, we became a formal Client State of the Zhodani
       Consulate. By -200, the relocation project was complete, with almost
       5% of IK population Zhodani (mostly in upper classes). The Zhodani
       believed that they had completed shaping the Unity and felt
       comfortable turning their political and military attention elsewhere.
       The Unity was left alone for many centuries, until the Zhodani
       military regained interest in the leadup to the First Frontier War.
       The Zhodani established a number of military and naval bases as a
       bastion to trailing and rimward. Many young people joined up to fight
       with the Zhodani in this and the later Frontier Wars. The Unity became
       inward looking during this time and actually contracted a little
       around 900.
       This more distant political relationship changed with the Rebellion.
       Freed of the need to watch the Imperial border so closely, the Zhodani
       again became interested in closer control of the Unity. This was seen
       as an advantage to both states, but proved ill-fated. Students began
       to agitate for independence and popular opinion changed as these
       students grew older.
       The final blows to Zhodani influence came in 1160 with the S'raak War
       (a widespread conflict within Yiklerzdanzh sector). Even political
       conservatives disliked the massive withdrawal of Consulate and local
       forces, leaving the Unity only lightly defended against possible
       Talpaku invasion (which, fortunately, never came). Public opinion was
       shaken further when many ships and lives were lost against the
       Meichntid Ibl. Finally, Zhodani prestige was shaken with the result of
       the war and the need to replace the old trade route.
       Now, we are an independent state, still with cultural ties to the
       Zhodani, but no longer wishing to be controlled by it. We are much
       happier with the situation and have begun to relax more and enjoy
       life, though some say that this has resulted in some stagnation of
       society. Recently, there has been a renewal of interest in our
       origins, and some have travelled to Afachtiabr to contact such
       Vlazhdumecta who remain. Tragically, it seems that even more of our
       culture has been lost in Afachtiabr than in our own settlements.
         * Zhodani Consulate: The Unity has always been close to the Zhodani,
           and were a formal client state for over two millenia. The Zhodani
           are still our closest ally, with the replacement major trade route
           now established and with naval bases still jointly operated with
           them. The bases with Zhodani codes and symbols are jointly
           operated; the remainder are smaller and operated solely by the
         * Talpaku Communality: The first trade/diplomatic mission to the
           Talpaku Communality (in -1230) was a disaster, but the second
           mission (in -120) fared much better. Relations have never been
           better than cordial, since the Talpaku have always been our own
           and Zhodani enemies, but it is possible that relations will now
         * Carillon Harmonies: The Unity and the Carillon have had fairly
           warm relations, particularly as a result of the Carillon
           assistance that led to the Vlazhdumecta anagathic.
         * Meichntid Ibl: The Meichntid Ibl displays an arrogant, superior
           attitude to the Unity and our people, who the Meichntid Ibl
           wrongly see as being a lower order "easybeat" race of humaniti. An
           example is the recent series of popular Meichntid Ibl holographic
           movies, featuring a villainous Zhodani with a bumbling Izrats
           Kriezhlas sidekick. If this were not bad enough, the sidekick was
           named Orshtiel, a great insult to the name of our founding House.
           Of course, their attitude has also been coloured by the fact that
           the Unity has generally been pro-Zhodani, the Meichntid Ibl's
           great enemy.
         * The Regency: A small Regency consulate was established in the
           Unity in 1196. Discussions with the Regency diplomats continue,
           but no policy on relations has yet been formalised. The people of
           the Unity are a little tentative, since volunteers joined several
           of the Frontier Wars against the Imperium, fighting under the
           Zhodani flag.
       Character Generation: Izrats Kriezhlan characters are generated as if
       seven-eighths or better Vlazhdumecta blood (see Vlazhdumecta article
       in TTC 8).
       Anagathics: Normal anagathics have little effect on the people of the
       Unity, due to biochemical differences.
       Fortunately, assistance from the nearby Carillon Harmonies resulted in
       the development of a modified version several centuries ago. These
       have the normal effects according to the game system in use, except
       for TNE, where a 2 is added to the 2d6 roll for the Anagathics Side
       Effects table (i.e. side effects are more severe when they do
       occur).These special anagathics are at normal prices, but can only be
       purchased from Unity or Carillon worlds.

    The Meichntid Ibl

    The Meichntid Ibl as at 1201
        Original Concept: Angus Foster & Steven Fernandez
        Updated By: Gustav Ness, David Schneider & Grant Sinclair
        Date: 29th March 1995 (Finished)
        1. Physiology
        2. History
        3. Society
        4. Psychology
        5. Government
        6. Law
        7. Military
        8. Roleplaying Meichntid Ibl Citizens
        9. Visiting Meichntid Ibl
       10. Foreign Relations
       The overwhelming majority of Meichntid Ibl citizens are biological
       Zhodani. Less than one percent of the human gene pool is from humans
       of other origins, primarily Vlazhdumecta.
       There is also a sizeable minority of Droyne and Chirpers who are
       citizens of Meichntid Ibl. The Droyne are currently undertaking a
       project to "uplift" the chirpers into being fully viable Droyne.
       The origins of the Meichntid Ibl go far back into Zhodani history. In
       the early period of Zhodani interstellar expansion, many non psionic
       members of the Zhodani nobility became tired of the increasing power
       and prejudice of the psionic nobility. Many of these nobles felt more
       comfortable in the forefront of the expansion, since they enjoyed
       overcoming the technical problems involved and also enjoyed the
       greater autonomy found on worlds more distant from the Consulate core
       worlds. The initial group of nobles happened to choose rimward and
       many others chose to follow, for no reason other than friendship and
       common interests. The Consulate leadership were happy to see them go,
       since it left them firmly in control of the reins of power.
       When the colonisation push finally wound down a few centuries later,
       most of the coreward half of Yiklerzdanzh had been settled and claimed
       by the Zhodani Consulate. The majority of worlds in subsectors B, C, F
       and G were controlled by technological nobles and they formed the most
       important scientific and industrial region outside the core worlds of
       the Consulate. This system worked quite well for quite a long time and
       most people were content. Tavrchedl' officers occasionally surveyed
       the nobility and found no cause for concern, since there was genuinely
       no intention of secession or rebellion.
       Toward the end of the colonisation push (around -5100 Imperial), the
       Zhodani had contacted the Vlazhdumecta minor human race in
       neighbouring Far Frontiers sector. The Vlazhdumecta absorbed much
       culture from the Zhodani and rapidly spread out to colonise most of
       Far Frontiers sector, thanks to the secret of the jump drive.
       The Consulate government became alarmed at the rate of Vlazhdumecta
       expansion and decided to eliminate this potential threat to Consulate
       security. In a series of political, economic and finally military
       moves, the Consulate "absorbed" the Vlazhdumecta core worlds in Far
       Frontiers sector. The Zhodani had never before needed to attack an
       interstellar state and found their then defensive oriented Navy to be
       inadequate. To support the war effort, it commandeered shipping and
       other resources to support the war effort, with little compensation to
       the "owning" nobility. The industrially strong Yiklerzdanzh worlds
       were therefore affected disproportionately highly, resulting in some
       ill will towards the government.
       Soon after the absorption of the Vlazhdumecta core worlds, the
       Vlazhdumecta mercantile empire began to collapse. Within a few
       centuries, the Vlazhdumecta Colonisation Sphere had completely
       collapsed, with many unfortunate colonies reverting to either
       barbarism or oblivion.
       News of the attack on the Vlazhdumecta homeworlds spread rapidly
       throughout the Consulate. The reaction of the Zhodani people in
       Yiklerzdanzh was one of horror and outrage, leading to widespread
       rioting and civil disturbance on many Yiklerzdanzh worlds.
       Disillusionment and cynicism towards the Consulate government within
       Yiklerzdanzh began to spread.
       The outrage and horror was not restricted to the general population.
       The non psionic and technological nobility in Yiklerzdanzh was also
       deeply disturbed by what had been done to the Vlazhdumecta. The idea
       that the Consulate government would give the Vlazhdumecta the jump
       drive and then that same government would destroy their civilisation
       and leave literally billions to their fate did not inspire confidence.
       Many Yiklerzdanzh nobles protested the harsh treatment meted out to
       the Vlazhdumecta, but such protest fell upon deaf ears.
       During this time, the Consulate enacted several reforms to their
       interstellar taxation system which were intended to improve the
       revenue gathering process and to take into account the ability of
       individual systems to contribute to the Consulate Coffers. Owing to
       the vagueness of some parts of the legislation, the tendency of the
       new laws to penalise industrial systems and some poor interpretations
       of the new laws by assessors on the spot; the Zhodani systems
       throughout Yiklerzdanzh sector (as well as many other colonial
       regions) found themselves paying dramatically increased levels of tax
       to the Consular government. Needless to say this did not endear the
       Consulates leadership to those paying the new taxes.
       At about this time, a visionary philosophical thinker Anidrep
       Dienzhishinch, on Zhdant, released a manuscript detailing her advanced
       philosophical work. This work by the unpsionically gifted visionary
       became rather popular with the non psionic nobility of Yiklerzdanzh,
       and was consequently widely disseminated throughout the Zhodani worlds
       in the sector. The Yiklerzdanzh nobility were so impressed by
       Anidrep's manuscript and her subsequent philosophical work that an
       invitation was extended by the Yiklerzdanzh nobility for Anidrep to
       move to the sector, with promises of financial support and
       dissemination of her output.
       However, instead of a reply from Anidrep, the Yiklerzdanzh nobility
       received news that Anidrep had been arrested by the Tavrchedl'. The
       Yiklerzdanzh nobles were shocked and amongst the protests concerning
       the fate of the Vlazhdumecta, and unfair taxation, there began to
       appear protests calling for the immediate release of Anidrep. There
       was widespread shock throughout Yiklerzdanzh when a brief message came
       from Zhdant stating that Anidrep had died in an "accident" while in
       Tavrchedl' custody, the exact circumstances of the accident were
       unclear and not mentioned in any subsequent message.
       The result of this brief message was far reaching. The death of
       Anidrep dramatically increased the levels of disillusionment and
       cynicism towards the Consulate government, and the numbers of anti
       Consulate protest and riots increased substantially. Once more the
       Yiklerzdanzh nobility sent protests to Zhdant, this time hinting that
       if the Consulate government did not pay closer attention to individual
       rights, they would have to take Steps to protect the interests of the
       population in their charge.
       The response of the Consulate government on Zhdant was as sudden as it
       was unexpected. The Consulate government removed large numbers of the
       popular non psionic and technological nobles in Yiklerzdanzh and
       replaced them with psionic noble appointees. It also gave orders for
       these nobles to end the pro Vlazhdumecta and Anidrep civil
       disturbances using whatever means necessary.
       The result of these orders was unprecedented. The Yiklerzdanzh portion
       of the Consulate seceded from the Zhodani Consulate declaring itself
       to be the Meichntid Ibl, or Thinkers Haven. The new state ended
       economic ties with the Consulate and, to show they were serious, moved
       warships and troops up to the new border. They also declared a
       constitutional convention to create a constitution and a new system of
       government and their capital world was renamed Dienzhishinch, in
       honour of Anidrep Dienzhishinch.
       The Consulate government was shocked beyond belief at the steps taken
       by the Yiklerzdanzh nobles. Consulate forces were deployed along the
       new Meichntid Ibl/Consulate border, but neither side seemed
       particularly eager to attack the other. The idea of Zhodani people
       fighting Zhodani people was rather unsettling for all concerned.
       The Consulate then attempted a number of political and diplomatic
       solutions to bring the Yiklerzdanzh colonies back into the Consulate
       fold, but the Meichntid Ibl would have nothing to do with it. After a
       few months of fruitless diplomatic negotiations, the Consulate decided
       to leave the matter until it had finished with the absorption of the
       Vlazhdumecta core worlds. At this time it was also decided to try and
       infiltrate agents across the Meichntid Ibl border with a view towards
       influencing the civil population towards rejoining the Consulate of
       its own accord. Thus began a long series of covert actions,
       skirmishes, and border clashes between the two states which have since
       been dubbed "The Shadow Wars". Over the millennia, the Haven slowly
       fell back, growing only through rimward expansion. By the time it had
       reached about two subsectors in size, the Consulate had grown to the
       point where the Haven was no longer felt as the threat it once had
       been. The Haven was certainly not interested in declaring war on the
       Consulate, so borders remained stable for some time.
       In -1792, a then xenophobic alien race was encountered in
       Yiklerzdanzh subsector I by a Zhodani merchant. The race (later named
       "the Talpaku" by Imperial explorers) attacked and captured the ship,
       resulting in the acquisition of the jump drive (see HIWG Doc YIKL01).
       The first war between the Talpaku and the Zhodani began in -1685,
       which was a great surprise to the Haven, since they had no idea that
       the Talpaku existed. Although not involved in the war initially, the
       close proximity of the war and the jumpy nature of the Zhodani leaders
       at the time led to border incidents and then strikes against systems.
       At the end of the war, the Haven was able to recover a few of their
       most recently lost worlds. Despite their common enemy, contact with
       the Talpaku was not easy and was not until -1680 that an alliance with
       the Talpaku was signed.
       A second war between the Talpaku and the Zhodani again drew the Haven
       into conflict with the Zhodani. Unfortunately, the Talpaku did not
       inform the Haven of their intentions until after the war began, so the
       Haven again lost some worlds to the Zhodani.
       However, this war (ending in -1594) marked the end of large scale
       conflict with the Zhodani. The Haven concentrated on developing its
       own economy and began trade with the Talpaku and (later) even the
       Zhodani Consulate and other nearby states. The difficulty of
       reabsorbing those worlds which had been taken by the Zhodani showed
       that conquest of other cultures was to be avoided and so they
       concentrated on building up their own worlds. This attitude prevails
       to the present day, so neighbouring worlds find the Meichntid Ibl to
       be a safe, if aloof, neighbour.
       All of this changed in 1160 with the outbreak of the 
       Meichntid Ibl society is harsh. When originally founded, the great
       goal of the founders was to create a "philosophical society" based
       upon the teachings of their great spiritual leader Anidrep
       Dienzhishinch. Over the millennia since, things have gone a little
       awry - or at least so feel many non Meichntid Ibl observers.
       One of the major aspects of the original Anidrep philosophy was the
       importance for the individual to strive to be as successful and
       productive a member of society as possible.
       Over time this fairly mild statement has taken on a massive amount of
       importance to the people of the Meichntid Ibl, indeed they pretty much
       structured their entire society around it. In M.I. society nothing is
       more important than success, hence M.I. society is fiercely
       competitive. Also status symbols and the approval of ones peers are
       extremely important to the M.I. people.
       Not surprisingly Meichntid Ibl society is capitalistic, indeed many
       would say it is capitalism without conscience. At the age of 18 every
       M.I. citizen receives 600 shares in the economy. These shares cannot
       be sold or exchanged, and the dividend paid from them is enough to
       provide a subsistence level existence. This share system provides a
       safety net for the people of the Meichntid Ibl - it also allows the
       successful Meichntid Ibl citizen to have a clear conscience. This is
       because the Anidrep philosophy also states that all sophonts have a
       right to the basics of life.
       The concept of success above all else pervades all levels of M.I.
       society, it fills their entertainment and literature. Those who, for
       whatever reason, are unable to meet the massive demands of M.I.
       society fill what is known as "The Underclass".
       The underclass makes up a sizeable proportion of the M.I. population.
       These unfortunates are the cynical or apathetic dregs who were unable
       to make it in the cut throat world of M.I. society. As might be
       expected, the M.I. government has little sympathy for these
       individuals; in fact, some call them the skeleton in the Meichntid Ibl
       closet. These people are settled in special "estates", well away from
       the main residential districts. Every home in these estates is
       equipped with a Holovision set, provided free of charge by the
       government. In fact, they are mandatory in the estates and cannot be
       turned off (at least, not legally...).
       The average successful M.I. citizen typically works for one of the
       many corporations which dominate the Meichntid Ibl economy. These
       corporations demand a great deal of loyalty from their employees, and
       people seen to be loyal and efficient by company management can expect
       lucrative bonuses, fringe benefits, or other perks provided by the
       company. Employees who are not seen as being efficient enough, or
       dedicated enough to the company miss out on many or all of these
       perks. Indeed, corporations often withhold a particular perk from an
       employee as a quiet warning that they should improve their
       performance. Needless to say office gossip tends to be about who is
       getting what, and who isn't getting what.
       Psionics: To the Meichntid Ibl, psionics is a perfectly natural
       ability. Their view is that some people have the ability and some
       people don't, just like any other ability. The Meichntid Ibl reject
       outright the idea that mere possession of psionic abilities should
       entitle someone to rule.
       According to the Anidrep philosophy, interfering with someone's mind
       using psionics is abhorrent. The Anidrep phrase, "if you alter my
       mind, you alter who I am", is taken very seriously by the Meichntid
       Ibl people. Anyone convicted of tampering with another sophont's mind
       using psionics can expect the death penalty.
       Use of psionics during business transactions is illegal. Most non
       psionic traders utilise psi shield helmets during business
       transactions. Indeed, use of psi shield helmets is wide spread
       throughout Meichntid Ibl, if only to protect against Zhodani spies.
       Success Drive: The average M.I. citizen is under enormous pressure to
       succeed from the day that they are born, to the day they die. This
       pressure comes in many different ways, from media content to peer
       group pressure. As long as a M.I. citizen continues to appear a
       success, friends and prestige are theirs. However, as soon as things
       go bad the person is very much on their own - because hanging around
       with a failure is bad for your own success.
       This tends to make friendships in M.I. society very shallow. It also
       places a great deal of guilt upon those unable to keep up with the
       pace of M.I. society. These failures, who typically make up the under
       class, are taught to see themselves as being at fault, rather than the
       system. This attitude on the part of members of the under class does
       much to perpetuate the system and stifle attempts at reform.
       Education: The M.I. believe that education is a right, not a privilege
       - up to a certain point. Education is free and of a good standard up
       to High School level, with a widespread curriculum that includes
       teaching of basic Anidrep philosophy and social skills useful in a
       workplace (e.g. "how to make business contacts").
       Higher Education must be paid for, and the fees are not small. This is
       fine for the wealthy but difficult for everyone else. Fortunately for
       those with talent but not money, scholarships are available.
       Corporations will pay for Higher Education in exchange for a
       commitment to work for that corporation for a fixed number of years,
       after completing their award.
       Capitalism: Virtually all aspects of M.I. life are related in some way
       to the capitalistic ideal, though taken to an extreme that disturbs
       many observers. For example, there are very few charitable
       organisations active within the bounds of the M.I., and the few that
       do exist receive no government support of any kind. The general
       attitude is that if people have failed to provide for their future
       then they deserve what they get. Apart from which everyone has the
       right to use their subsistence shares to exist - even if it is a
       burden on the economy and therefore on the responsible part of the
       Suicide: Suicide is widespread throughout Meichntid Ibl. Indeed many
       outside observers have severely criticised the M.I. as simply throwing
       people away after using them up. The view of the M.I. people is,
       however, completely different. The M.I. see suicide as an appropriate
       course of action for someone who has little left to offer society. The
       general view is why should someone who has failed linger around
       wasting resources and being a burden upon the economy? By committing
       suicide, the person ends the shame they are carrying and saves friends
       and family the untold numbers of credits that would have been used to
       support them.
       The Meichntid Ibl is a democracy, where each citizen has one vote.
       Each citizen may retain that vote or sell it, for a given election.
       All sales of votes are carefully monitored by the Election Commission,
       an independent government agency. The Corporations wield a great deal
       of power, in Meichntid Ibl society, and it is typically the
       corporations who buy votes. Not surprisingly, it is typically the
       underclass who sell their votes.
       The Meichntid Ibl is essentially a massive military-industrial
       complex. Although the government is supposed to be an independent
       elected body reflecting the needs and wishes of the Meichntid Ibl
       people, such is no longer the case. In practice the government spends
       much of it's time looking after the interests of various corporate
       groups, arbitrating disputes between corporations, and attempting to
       make sure that no one corporation becomes powerful enough to threaten
       the balance of power.
       In order to get elected, M.I. politicians require huge amounts of
       money to finance the massive election campaigns required by Meichntid
       Ibl society. Very few politicians are able to provide these funds
       themselves, so a system has evolved where politicians will approach a
       corporation for sponsorship, in return for which they will take an
       interest in matters of concern to that corporation.
       This has led to a complex situation in which Meichntid Ibl politicians
       represent, and are accountable to, the political party to which they
       belong, the people who elected them, and the corporation who sponsored
       them. Many corporations try to resolve one of these problems buy
       buying as many votes in the politician's District as possible.
       However, the average M.I. politician still has to deal with various
       special interest lobby groups reflecting citizen concerns, military
       and diplomatic concerns and corporate concerns. Most corporations are
       more than happy to try and "poach" politicians sponsored by rival
       Individual worlds are allowed to use a variant of the basic electoral
       system, as long as it does not infringe upon the citizens
       constitutional right to have one vote, or otherwise conflict with the
       Federal constitution. One other important aspect of Meichntid Ibl
       election campaigns is that there is no limit to the amount of
       advertising that a candidate may use. Politicians are elected to the
       world legislature. These legislatures are responsible for appointing a
       set number of representatives to the Federal legislature. These
       federal representatives are not elected by the people, but rather are
       responsible to the world legislature which appointed them.
       There is an independent judiciary known as The Questioning Eye. The
       role of the Questioning Eye is primarily to monitor government
       activities, in order to make sure that they are being conducted in an
       efficient and proper manner. The questioning eye has a wide range of
       powers and is also responsible for much of the M.I.s intelligence
       Individual worlds are not permitted to have independent military
       forces of any type. However, police and law enforcement activities are
       not considered military and are therefore under world government
       control. There are sometimes disputes concerning paramilitary arms of
       these agencies.
       The Federal government has an annual military budget of trillions of
       credits. At any given time there are at least half a dozen new
       military ships under construction. Outside military observers have
       described the top ten priorities of the Federal Governments as being
       "1 to 9 Stop the Zhodani Consulate!!!" and 10 "Oh yeah, stop the
       Meichntid Ibl has two areas of law, local (world) law and Federal law.
       The powers and authority of each type of law is strictly determined
       under the Meichntid Ibl Constitution. By and large though, the M.I.
       constitution gives the federal government a great deal of power.
       The federal government is responsible for the running of all starports
       in Meichntid Ibl. In practice, though, this means that the Federal
       Starports Authority sets up a list of rules and guide-lines by which
       all starports must be run, and then contracts the starports out to be
       run by various corporations.
       Meichntid Ibl criminal law is very harsh, particularly for repeat
       offenders. Initial or minor crimes tend to attract fines as penalties
       rather than loss of liberty through imprisonment. With the more
       serious minor crimes the more an offender is convicted of a particular
       crime, the steeper the fine. An offender's family is expected to help
       the offender to pay their fine if the offender is unable to. If the
       offenders family is unable or unwilling to do so, they may legally
       disown the offender for a token fee. This frees them from any
       financial obligation of the offender.
       For more serious crimes and offenders unable to pay their fines, the
       offender is given four options:
        1. Indentured labour.
        2. Volunteering for testing duty.
        3. Joining the Border Patrol.
        4. Volunteering for Environmental cleanup duty.
       Indentured Labour: The offender becomes a ward of a corporation and
       has to work for a token wage for a period of time determined by the
       courts. This sentence is very, very humiliating for the average
       Meichntid Ibl citizen (the only people lower on the M.I. social scale
       are the unemployed). This form of punishment is monitored by the
       Federal Indentureship Authority (F.I.A.). This Federal body
       distributes convicts to particular tasks in particular corporations on
       the basis of the severity of the crime. The corporations pay the FIA a
       fee for the use of the convict labour and may also purchase the right
       to choose convicts, rather than accept whoever the FIA assigns them.
       Testing Duty: The offender undertakes to participate in the
       development of a new product. The task may range from testing a new
       drug to trying out combat armour under field conditions (i.e. against
       live ammunition). This type of penalty is very hazardous.
       Border Patrol: The offender volunteers for a one year tour of duty
       with the Border Patrol. The convict goes through a basic training
       course and then is deployed on border worlds (both within and without
       the M.I. borders) upon which guerilla warfare is still being conducted
       with S'raak irregular troops (they are called irregular because the
       S'raak Empire doesn't admit that they are part of its forces).
       Convicts are deployed in special penal units which often find
       themselves trying out new types of equipment, or with jobs that the
       regular military units don't want (e.g. disarming land mines).
       Volunteering for the Border Patrol is dangerous, but the pay is better
       than in the other options. There is also the prestige of having served
       the Nation and the respect of ones peers. At the end of the your of
       duty the convict is given the options of joining the regular M.I.
       military as a veteran or accepting an honourable discharge. Both
       options leave the convict with a clean record.
       The Border Patrol option is a popular one amongst offenders, even
       though Penal Units tend to experience higher casualty rates then
       regular units. It is not uncommon to find 40 year old accountants and
       similar people serving in the penal units.
       Environmental Cleanup Duty: Many areas of Haven worlds are badly
       polluted, due to corporations using their political influence to cut
       costs. Funds are not available for the expensive protection that is
       needed, so many convicts volunteering for this duty later develop
       health problems. Some convicts are attacked by the groups who choose
       to live in these areas (to escape the law or society in general). Some
       underclass people survive by scrounging in these areas, so there is
       some pressure on the government to end this option. However, the
       influence of these people is much less than that of even those few
       wealthy who favour environmental causes.
       For Capital crimes, such as treason and premeditated murder, there is
       only one penalty if convicted - Death. This is largely due to the
       Anidrep philosophy which is very empathatic against interfering with
       the mind of an individual. The Meichntid Ibl view is that if they
       cannot reform the person then they will remove them from society
       The standard method of execution is anaesthetising the condemned and
       then removing their brain. Upon brain death the body is carefully
       disassembled and the organs, skin, et cetera are stored away in the
       organ banks. It is felt that this method of execution allows the
       convict to make a final contribution to society via their body parts
       for transplant purposes, and gives young M.I. doctors valuable
       experience. The method has brought criticism from sophont rights
       groups who point out that the M.I. tech level is sufficient on most
       M.I. worlds to permit cloning of new body parts.
       The method remains extremely popular within the Meichntid Ibl though,
       as convict body parts are provided at minimal charge to underclasser
       transplant patients. Also a large number of convict body parts are
       exported to low tech worlds surrounding the M.I. for a good profit.
       The Akigura Union is a major customer of the M.I. convict organ trade.
       Voluntary donation of organs and other body parts is also a common way
       for criminals to pay their fines for lesser crimes. For instance,
       someone convicted of theft of goods of a particular value may choose
       to sell a kidney or an eye to repay the aggrieved.
       All military forces of the Meichntid Ibl are under the direct control
       of the Meichntid Ibl Federal Government. The M.I. military system and
       philosophy is very much a reflection of M.I. society.
       The military is divided into four main branches:
       Central Command and Control Branch: is responsible for all Strategic
       planning for the Meichntid Ibl military. There is a supreme CCC group
       which plans for the entire M.I. and has supreme command. Next, there
       is a CCC group for every system of the M.I.. Next, there is a CCC
       group for each inhabited world within the Meichntid Ibl, and finally
       there is a CCC group in charge of every major fleet of task force.
       The CCC branch is responsible for logistics and training of the M.I.
       military machine. It is also the CCC branch which is responsible for
       requesting funds and equipment from the Federal Government. The CCC is
       responsible for informing the M.I. Federal Government of the current
       overall military situation and what types of equipment the military
       Navy: is responsible for all military ships and installations in
       space. The Navy is responsible for all system defence forces in space.
       In short, if it's in space it comes under Naval control. The Navy also
       has control of the Marines subbranch. The Marines provide ships troops
       for the Navy and ground troops for naval forces when Army ground
       troops are not available. For the main part though, marines are only
       used as ships troops or for hit and run raids.Special Operations
       Branch: consists of specialist units such as commandoes, medical,
       intelligence, Sappers, and Military Police. Special Operations branch
       also controls the penal units of the Border Patrol.Army: consists of
       only line units such as Powered Infantry, Lift Infantry, Armoured
       Units and Line Infantry. The Army also consists of two subbranches of
       Wet Navy and Air Force (non space capable).
       Troop Types and Deployment
       All four main branches may be divided into two troop types, green and
       elite. Elite troops are highly trained, well motivated and well
       equipped troops with the latest technology. Green troops have much
       less training, adequate motivation and adequate equipment. Green
       troops tend to be issued with old or low tech equipment.
       Of the four branches CCC has about 60% elite/40% green, The Navy 65%
       elite/35% green, and all of the small Marines subbranch is elite.
       Special Operations, the smallest branch, has 70% elite/30% green. The
       Army, which is the largest branch, has 40% elite/60% green. This is
       fairly constant in the two subbranches as well.
       The majority of the elite M.I. military is deployed along the
       M.I./Zhodani border, where a number of skirmishes with Consulate
       forces have occurred in recent years. A handful of elite units are
       deployed against the S'raak as well as all of the Border Patrol.
       There is a fair degree of cooperation between the M.I. military and
       M.I. corporations who supply them. Meichntid Ibl corporations are
       always offering the military all sorts of new weapons and equipment.
    Roleplaying Meichntid Ibl Citizens
       When roleplaying citizens of the M.I. it is vital to bear their
       success drive in the forefront of your mind. M.I. citizens are
       desperate not to be perceived as lacking in any way. M.I. citizens
       have a habit of talking down to everyone, particularly non M.I.
       citizens. M.I. people are also very loud and intimidating. Many non
       M.I. people find M.I. citizens to be irritating or obnoxious.
       M.I. citizens typically try to seize the initiative whenever possible.
       When in groups with non M.I. people, the M.I. character will usually
       attempt to take charge immediately, becoming de facto leader and
       therefore successful. If the M.I. character is unable to take charge
       they will attempt to insinuate themselves as high up the social ladder
       as possible.
       M.I. characters are competitive to an extreme. Their desire to succeed
       makes them desperate to outdo all others in all things, they then brag
       about how well they have done or are doing. M.I. characters do not
       like to be reminded of personal failures, particularly in public.
       M.I. characters have many status symbols, their clothes must be
       dramatic and have flair, their handcomputer must have more functions
       than yours and so on and so forth ad nauseam. M.I. characters outside
       of M.I. territory have an unfortunate habit of rubbing people the
       wrong way and getting themselves (and those with them) into all sorts
       of unpleasant situations.
    Visiting Meichntid Ibl
       The cost of living is found to be rather high by people visiting the
       Meichntid Ibl, since visitors are not exempt from the universal
       consumption tax (20%) that is levied in exchange for a single, low
       income tax rate. Traders may find themselves having to pay a Meichntid
       Ibl consumption tax to buy goods, then having to pay an income tax to
       their own government on the profits made from such a purchase.
       Starship fees are higher for ships of non-M.I. registry and there are
       tariffs for importing non-M.I. manufactured goods. Importing raw
       materials draws no tariff, nor does exporting M.I. manufactured goods.
       People visiting M.I. worlds will be overwhelmed by the level of
       advertising. Advertising of all types will be seen, as there are no
       restrictions on advertising with the exception that subliminal
       advertising is illegal as it conflicts with the Anidrep philosophy.
       People asking questions about the underclassers will be avoided by
       M.I. citizens and nothing short of a hefty bribe will get an M.I.
       citizen to tell foreigners about the underclassers. Players will have
       to go far to find underclassers, as their estates are well away from
       areas likely to be visited by foreign tourists.
       Visitors will also notice the huge amount of anti Consulate
       information to which the M.I. people are subjected on a daily basis.
       Any character who is a Consulate citizen or who is of obvious
       Consulate cultural heritage will find that it is illegal for them to
       leave the bounds of the starport.
    Foreign Relations
       Zhodani Consulate:
              Relations with the Consulate are as strained as ever. While the
              two states aren't actually at war, there are incidents every
              year. Surprisingly there is trade between the two states -
              though it is heavily regulated by both governments.
       Izrats Kriezhlas Unity:
              Relations with the Izrats Kriezhlas Vlazhdumecta are cool to
              say the best. The early goodwill towards the Vlazhdumecta which
              helped set the stage for M.I. secession are long gone. The
              Unity collapsed not long after the fall of the original
              Vlazhdumecta Empire. When they finally reemerged as a
              starfaring state they received Consulate aid and became a
              Zhodani client state, an arrangement which only ended in recent
              The Meichntid Ibl see the Unity as being tainted by the Zhodani
              and their media has portrayed the Unity Vlazhdumecta as
              bumbling Consulate lackeys for centuries. The Unity also
              launched a diversionary attack on the M.I. during the S'raak
              War in aid of Zhodani forces. This was seen as a good way to
              show the M.I. how the Unity felt about them.
              Relations are unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future.
       Glenauran Signatorate:
              The Meichntid Ibl does not recognise the Signatorate. The
              Signatorate doesn't care if the M.I. recognises them or not.
       S'raak Empire:
              Relations with the S'raak Empire are strained. The Meichntid
              Ibl (as well as other states) has accused them of issuing
              letters of marque and of being behind so called independent
              S'raak groups fighting guerilla wars on several worlds. The
              S'raak have denied these charges.
       Talpaku Communality:
              The Communality has an alliance with the Meichntid Ibl against
              the Zhodani Consulate. Apart from this, both states have little
              to do with one another. Recently Talpaku diplomats have been
              warning the M.I. about the S'raak and urging a united stand
              against them. This has received some support from the M.I. but
              no combined action has yet been agreed upon.
       Salinaikin Concordance:
              The Concordance is neutral towards the Meichntid Ibl and the
              Zhodani Consulate. The Concordance is much more concerned with
              internal affairs and deteriorating relations with the Akigura
       Akigura Union:
              Relations between the two states are good considering that one
              is a nominal democracy and the other a full fledged police
              state. The Union leaders purchase Convict body parts from the
              M.I. as well as some high tech goods. The Meichntid Ibl imports
              large numbers of psi shield helmets from the Union.
       Carillon Harmonies:
              The Carillon and the Meichntid Ibl do not get along well with
              one another. The two states are rivals over trade and influence
              in Stellar Chorus Subsector. Also the Meichntid Ibl fear and
              distrust Carillon biotechnology, particularly their success at
              cracking various DNA codes. The fact that the Harmony's major
              friend, Forday's Fortune, does not like the M.I., does not help
       Forday's Fortune:
              The Fordayites do not like the M.I.. They do not like their
              disregard for the lives of their citizens, they do not like
              their stupid philosophy and they do not like their competition
              in high tech manufactured goods. The Meichntid Ibl don't think
              much of Forday's Fortune much either, so relations are not
              The Meichntid Ibl visits Talpakuhome to discuss matters with
              the Regency Ambassador directly, since it will not deal with a
              lesser diplomat. Relations are not close, since the M.I. is
              notoriously distrustful of outsiders.

    Contact: S'raak

    Contact: S'raak
        by Paul O'Grady and David Schneider
        Date: 22nd October 1994
    General Note
       Since the emergence of the S'raak as a starfaring race, their extreme
       hostility has prevented detailed research on either the S'raak or
       their homeworld (Khaar 0221). Planetary data is cited from surveys
       conducted during rediscovery of the S'raak in 1098-1099. Society and
       physiological notes have been compiled from various diplomatic and
       trading personnel who have had contact with the S'raak. Note that due
       to the inability to conduct independent confirmation and the age of
       some of the information, some data (such as population and technical
       codes) is suspect and may be unreliable.
       S'raak are upright, bipedal organisms averaging a modest 1.5 metres in
       height. They are covered with thick leathery scales in mottled brown
       and yellow colours, although exact patterns appears to be dependant on
       clan heritage. They are notable for their sulfur based metabolism
       resulting from their evolution on a world with an atmosphere highly
       tainted with sulphur. Sulphur dioxide is the primary respiratory
       compound, acting in the same role as oxygen does in humans, and their
       body chemistry and metabolism is comprised in sulphur saturated
       compounds. S'raak DNA is configured in a left handed helix rather than
       the right handed one as in humans, and their DNA repair mechanism is
       so efficient that they are far more resistant to normally lethal doses
       of radiation in all forms.
       S'raak are hermaphroditic. Foetal development occurs over a period of
       five months, and young are born live through an abdominal urinogenital
       opening. Physical maturation is complete at 6-7 standard years, with
       mental and intellectual maturation some 4-5 years later. This leaves
       an adolescent in between physical and intellectual maturation very
       susceptible to suggestion, and such S'raak comprise the majority of
       the labour force. Due to the reactive nature of a sulphur based
       metabolism, S'raak life span is less than that of humans and mean age
       at death is 45-50 standard years. There are no known anagathic
       S'raak are non-homoeothermic and have no circadian rhythm. Instead
       their metabolic rate is determined by their environmental conditions.
       They require 4 hours rest in every forty or intellectual capacity is
       reduced due to fatigue. Extended periods of conditions less than 20
       degrees Celsius will bring on a catatonic like hibernation state.
       S'raak are omnivorous, with an emphasis on a high protein diet. They
       have five basic senses, concentrating on visual and aural, with vision
       extending into the near and far IR spectra and possessing low
       frequency sound sensitivity.
       Contacted by the Zhodani, Talpaku and Meichntid Ibl in 1100, although
       they had been under covert surveillance since 1098. The reason for
       contact was to coerce the S'raak to ally themselves, with the intent
       of gaining a strategic foothold in the middle of the then
       Talpaku-Zhodani Demilitarised Zone. Prior to contact, the S'raak were
       a barbaric, uncivilised race locked in continual warfare between
       warring Clans. Seeing the off-worlders as abominations in the view of
       their complicated and badly understood religion, the S'raak Clans
       unified and secretly declared a jihad to destroy all life not native
       to their world (rather ambitious, but at tech level 4 they had little
       comprehension of what this task entailed). Since contact, the S'raak
       elite Council began soliciting all parties, plus various shady trading
       organisations, and whilst playing each side off against one another,
       exchanged their abundance of radioactives and heavy metals for
       technological information, hardware and expertise. They also
       instituted a breeding program to raise the S'raak population from
       levels kept low by inter Clan warfare to create a massive army.
       The result was an enormous jump in tech level. However this technology
       primarily applies to personal and heavy military equipment and space
       transport technology. All other fields such as medicine, etc are
       significantly lower, with some jumps in tech in selected areas such as
       communications and power. Their small interstellar navy was built
       using S'raak constructed hulls and imported jump drives. The primary
       source of the jump drives were the Wyld World pirates and several
       shady corporations. Other jump capable warships were "acquired" from a
       variety of other sources.
       In 1160 the S'raak launched an invasion of the Zhodani Consulate and
       the Talpaku Communality and raided systems in the region near to their
       homeworld. The war initially went well for the S'raak who achieved
       several noted victories through a combination of surprise and a
       willingness to accept very heavy casualty rates. In time however, the
       S'raak were pushed back into the area of the old Talpaku/Zhodani DMZ.
       Due to troubles at home the various enemies of the S'raak did not
       crush them but agreed to a ceasefire. The ceasefire was later
       confirmed by a treaty which allowed the S'raak to keep those systems
       in the old DMZ that they currently occupied and the S'raak Empire was
       officially founded in 1162. See the S'raak War for further details.
    S'raak Timeline
              S'raak achieve TL 1
              Zhodani Scouts discover budding S'raak Civilisation and declare
              Khaar a Forbidden world. Talpaku and Meichntid Ibl agree and
              also declare system off limits. After initial period of
              interest, everybody moves on to other matters and the S'raak
              are all but forgotten.
              S'raak reach TL 2
              S'raak reach TL 3
              S'raak reach TL 4
              Zhodani rediscover S'raak, but attempt to suppress news after a
              plan is formed to use them for their own purposes.
              Talpaku and Meichntid Ibl independently hear rumours and (after
              investigation) also rediscover the S'raak.
              Talpaku, Zhodani and Meichntid Ibl all contact S'raak hoping to
              use them for their own purposes, triggering a massive
              xenophobic reaction in the S'raak population. Clan Unification
              - Elite Council formation and end of balkanisation. S'raak
              Elite Council pretend to go along with all parties to gain
              technical assistance but secretly declare Holy War against all
              Massive breeding program instigated by the Elite Council to
              create an army for the upcoming Holy War.
              Nefarious traders begin exchanging military hardware for S'raak
              heavy metals and radioactives.
              S'raak reach TL 5
              S'raak reach TL 6, nuclear weapons testing begins.
              Orbital defences around Khaar completed
              Automated system defences operative. S'raak declare system
              off-limits to all vessels of foreign Empires.
              S'raak achieve TL 7
              S'raak achieve TL 8, hull building program begun using imported
              jump drives to create a jump capable Navy. Jump drives are
              obtained via Wyld Worlds pirates.
              S'raak attack systems of the Talpaku Communality, Meichntid Ibl
              and Zhodani Consulate using vessels originating from an
              opposing power. The S'raak hope to provoke war between the
              three powers and attack once they have been weakened.
              S'raak plans uncovered by adventurers and leaked to Talpaku
              Communality media. S'raak decide to invade everyone immediately
              - S'raak War.
              S'raak beaten back and ceasefire called.
              S'raak sign treaty to end the war. S'raak Empire officially
              S'raak expeditions launched into Tsadra Sector.
              First permanent S'raak colony established in Tsadra Sector.
              In response to increasing levels of piracy, Talpaku Communality
              accuses S'raak Empire of issuing letters of marque.
              The Present. Diplomatic relations between the S'raak Empire and
              everyone except the Wyld Worlds pirates are strained.
       The unification of S'raak Clans occurred in 1101 due to an
       overwhelming xenophobic response to contact. The basic administrative
       unit is still the Clan, with each Clan sending representatives to the
       Administrative council, who deal with day to day tasks. Two other
       councils exist; the Military Council and the Technological Research
       Council. All three councils report solely to the Elite council,
       comprised of Clan elders from the strongest Clans.
       Little detail is known about S'raak social structure. It is known that
       virtually all S'raak are members of the military in some way. The
       S'raak Empire maintains a standing army under the direct control of
       the Military council, however each clan also maintains it's own
       military forces which are under the direct control of the Clan elders.
       In theory the Military Council may draw forces from the Clan military
       forces, however inter Clan politics often causes problems with this
       procedure. Since the creation of the S'raak Empire much of the
       specialised labour and manufacturing tasks has been taken over by
       Slaves on Khaar itself and non S'raak serfs on the worlds conquered by
       the Empire.
       The only known S'raak custom is that the bodies of slain Warriors and
       Elders are ritually consumed at a feast so that the soul of the dead
       will remain with their tribe and aid it in times of great need. Many
       researchers have referred to this custom as evidence that the S'raak
       area race of uncivilised beings who have obtained advanced technology
       much too soon and for which they are incapable of responsible use.
    New Game Rules For S'raak
       Note: S'raak characters are only possible if previously permitted by
       the referee. They should be allowed only under exceptional
       circumstances. Referees should consider it to be his or her duty to
       victimise S'raak characters when outside their own space, because just
       about everyone dislikes or outright hates them. The same applies to
       the rest of the party where it is obvious they have a S'raak as a
       friend. On some worlds, it is a criminal offence just to be a S'raak.
       S'raak should be rolled up as normal except that Strength and
       Endurance/Constitution each have a +1 DM, Intelligence has a -1 DM and
       Education has a -3 DM (minimum 1). Social Standing and/or Charisma are
       normal on worlds of the S'raak Empire and when meeting other S'raak,
       but otherwise treat each as if 3 lower than the actual value (minimum
       To determine the age of a S'raak character, multiply number of terms
       by 4 and add 11. Aging is resolved by rolling for all four stats
       (Strength, Agility/Dexterity, Constitution/Endurance and Intelligence)
       at the end of the fourth and subsequent terms, with a -1 DM applied to
       saving rolls for the fifth and subsequent terms. Anagathics are not
       available for S'raak. The reduction in a stat due to aging is 1 point,
       plus the DM. So at the end of the fifth term, saves are at -2 and each
       failed roll reduces the affected stat by 2. At the end of the sixth
       term, saves are at -3 and each failed roll reduces the affected stat
       by 3.
       The following TNE careers only are available for S'raak: Barbarian,
       Bounty Hunter, Civil Engineer, Construction Worker, Corsair, Criminal,
       Farmer, Hunter, Law Enforcement (actually a branch of the military),
       Mechanic, Prisoner, Rebel, Scientist, Scout, Tough, Trader, Army,
       Aviation, Navy, Marines, Special Ops. Note in particular that the
       S'raak do not particularly like water (they patrol seas and oceans
       from the air or space), so there is no merchant marine or wet navy
       career and no S'raak character should select Swimming or Small/Large
       Watercraft skills.
       When exposed to radiation, assume the exposure was only one-fifth the
       actual value to administer effects. Burn damage (even from incendiary
       chemicals and plasma/fusion gun debris) is always one-half normal.
       Poison effects vary - the unusual nature of S'raak biology mean that
       substances will not affect S'raak in the same way as humans. For
       poisons, roll d6 and apply a DM to the poison damage die roll
       accordingly: 1=-2, 2=-1, 3 or 4 means use die rolls unmodified, 5=+1,
       6 =+2. This need only be done once per type of poison.
       S'raak do not react well to cold environments. Unprotected S'raak in a
       cold region will begin to suffer from impaired mental processes after
       three hours exposure. Their bodies also slow down, dramatically
       reducing reaction times. After five hours continued exposure to a cold
       environment a S'raak will fall into a state of hibernation and will
       remain in that state until either the temperature improves, they
       starve to death, or they die from excessive exposure and cold
       (prolonged exposure to temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius.)
    S'raak Homeworld
       Khaar 0221 B5728CE-A  K             R 812 Sr G0V
       Khaar: Period 2.11 standard days. Diameter 8480 Kilometres. Density
       1.3 (heavy core). Mass 0.317 standard. Mean surface gravity 0.811g.
       Rotation Period 21 hours 12 minutes. Axial Inclination 33{ 46' 9.8".
       Energy Absorption 0.860. Surface Atmospheric Pressure 0.85.
       Composition: low oxygen-nitrogen mix with sulphur taint. Hydrographic
       Percentage: 15% (liquid water). Mean Surface Temperature: 98{C (371
       K). Native Life.Total World Population: Exact figure unknown.
       Resources: heavy metals, ores, radioactives.
       Other Names: Shtenzh Zhi (Zhodani), S'raaka (Forday's Fortune)
       Political Structure: Contrary to what might be expected from the
       Capital of an interstellar state, the surface of Khaar is divided into
       various districts, each under the control of a different clan. The
       size of each district varies according to the area granted to that
       clan at the formation of the Elite Council. Typically the largest
       Districts are in the possession of the strongest clans which make up
       the Elite Council.
       Although every district is responsible to the Elite council, they are
       virtually autonomous areas under the complete control of the ruling
       clan. Each clan maintains its own standing army and rules its district
       virtually as it desires - within certain restrictions imposed by the
       Elite Council. Each year the Administrative Council informs each
       district of what it must supply to the Empire. Also the Military
       Council may requisition Clan troops to supplement Empire forces.
       The Military, Administrative, Research and Elite councils are based in
       the Capital District, the largest of all the districts. The Capital
       District is under the direct control of the Elite Council (via the
       Administrative council). Khaar's primary Starport is also located in
       the Capital District.
       WARNING: The Surface of Khaar is strictly off limits to non-S'raak
       (except slaves). Note also that the environment of Khaar, in addition
       to its sulphur taint, has numerous areas of high radiation.
    Roleplaying S'raak
       When roleplaying any S'raak character, it is important to remember
       that all S'raak view non S'raak sophonts as abominations. This
       attitude is a result of the teachings of their poorly understood
       religion (it mostly being poorly understood because the S'raak aren't
       too keen to explain it to abominations). S'raak typically view non
       S'raak as something to be exploited or manipulated for their own
       Most non S'raak find the S'raak to be arrogant, condescending and very
       militant. Most S'raak who are expected to have frequent dealings with
       non S'raak (such as traders or customs officials) are given special
       diplomatic training to make them less hostile towards non S'raak.
       However, only members of the S'raak Empire Diplomatic Corps are well
       trained enough to disguise the natural S'raak contempt for all other
       S'raak player characters should treat non S'raak members of their
       party with a great deal of contempt and should always try to give the
       impression that they are making a great sacrifice just being in their
       company and, and in fact doing them a great favour by allowing the non
       S'raak to be around them.
       Threats by non S'raak against a S'raak are seldom a good idea. S'raak
       will often respond to a threat by a non S'raak with violence,
       generally utilising the most powerful weapon available to them at the
       time. S'raak will kill non S'raak with little provocation, often
       having great difficulty seeing anything wrong with this (as all non
       S'raak are abominations and will all have to be killed or enslaved
       eventually anyway). It is a really bad idea for S'raak to become
       involved with things like brawls, as casualties inevitably occur.
       Virtually all S'raak have a keen interest in technological items, even
       if they have no idea what they are or what they do. S'raak are well
       known for buying all sorts of odd pieces of technology, at all sorts
       of prices, and shipping them back to Khaar for study by the research
       council. An average S'raak has little real understanding of science or
       how technology works and so will cheerfully buy all sorts of rubbish.
       When roleplaying S'raak characters it is important to bear in mind
       that the S'raak are from a clan orientated culture which is extremely
       militant. S'raak have not had access to high technology for long and
       most of them have little understanding of how it works. More often
       than not, when a S'raak is confronted with a difficult situation it
       will attempt to resolve it by military means.

    The S'raak War

    The S'raak War
        by David Schneider
        Date: 28 June 1994
         Note: This document is based upon the notes of Professor Ellen F.
         Nelion, Faculty of History, University of Forday's Fortune. Students
         desiring more detailed information on the war are directed to refer
         to Professor Nelion's textbook, The Jihad: A Comprehensive Guide to
         the S'raak War, University of Forday's Fortune Press, 1175. This
         textbook is available in the University's bookshop.
       The S'raak War is the last major interstellar conflict to occur in
       within the boundaries of Yiklerzdanzh in recent times. On the surface,
       it is often surprising to new students that the war occurred after
       such a long period of comparative peace. The gradual improvement of
       diplomatic relations between the various states in the sector had been
       continuing for a very lengthy period of time, and apart from pirate
       activities, the only real hot spot in the Sector concerned the
       deteriorating relations between the Akigura Union and Salinaikin
       Concordance. Yet, when the causes are clearly examined, it becomes all
       too clear as to how the war came about. There is an ancient Terran
       expression, "as Ye sow, so shall Ye reap". There can be little doubt
       that the eagerness of the Zhodani Consulate, Talpaku Communality, and
       Meichntid Ibl to achieve a strategic foothold in the old
       Demilitarised Zone, effectively set the stage for this bloody
       conflict. Sloppy or non existent first contact procedures by all three
       States triggered a massive xenophobic reaction in the primitive
       S'raak, one that may Xenologists argue could have been avoided if
       correct procedures had been followed.
       Hostilities extended into six subsectors and involved five
       interstellar states. These were the Zhodani Consulate, Talpaku
       Communality, Carillon Harmonies, S'raak Empire, and Meichntid Ibl.
       Numerous non aligned and independent systems were also caught up in
       the fighting, as the S'raak surged into space, determined to claim
       their place in the sun. S'raak raiders are known to have ranged over a
       large area, however the full extent of their operations may never be
       As with most Wars, the causes of the S'raak War may, with hindsight,
       be easily found by examining events which occurred in the years prior
       to the War. The S'raak War, many writers claim, was a direct result of
       poor contact procedures with a race who were quite simply not ready to
       be contacted. The S'raak, at the time of first contact in 1100 by
       Meichntid Ibl, the Zhodani Consulate and Talpaku Communality. The
       reason for contact by these three states was simple. All sought a
       strategic advantage by getting the S'raak to ally themselves with that
       particular power. This would have allowed them to neatly bypass the
       conditions of the Demilitarised Zone Treaty, which had been in effect
       since the Second Talpaku War. Each of the three powers secretly made
       contact with the S'raak, who were then at tech level 4, and offered
       them essentially the same deal; "be our friends and we will give you
       knowledge and technological assistance". It is interesting to note
       that neither the Talpaku Communality and Meichntid Ibl, who were
       allied to each other at that time, thought it appropriate to inform
       the other about what they had done. Declassified documents from all
       three States show that when the S'raak were contacted, the First
       Contact manual went out the window.
       The effect of this sudden interstellar contact upon the low tech
       reptilian S'raak was swift and dramatic. The S'raak, who at that time
       were divided into numerous warring tribes quickly unified and created
       an elite council made up of members from the strongest tribes. The
       first action of this council was to declare a secret holy war against
       what were perceived to be "abominations" from the stars. In short, the
       S'raak under went a massive xenophobic reaction. After being on the
       wrong end of what the contact teams described as "contact troubles",
       the S'raak realised that they didn't have a hope of beating their new
       found enemies at their current tech level. So it was decided to go
       along with all parties in order to gain as much technological
       assistance as possible.
    S'raak Industrialise
       The following years saw a dramatic increase in the S'raak's tech
       level, as the S'raak became more and more adept at playing the three
       powers off against each other. It also saw massive social change in
       S'raak civilisation and culture. S'raak society rapidly became more
       and more military orientated with power shifting from the tribal level
       to the elite council, with a great emphasis placed upon centralisation
       of vital industries. The S'raak also instituted a massive breeding
       program, in order to dramatically increase their population, in order
       to create the massive army that would be required to take the war to
       the aliens. Great sacrifices were made by the S'raak people in order
       to begin huge industrialisation projects and to build vital
       As time passed the S'raak were able to make contact with some
       unscrupulous traders who had blundered into the S'raak's home system,
       Khaar (0221), which was then known as Shtenzh Zhi. These traders
       proved most willing to provide the S'raak with information and
       technology that their benefactors were unwilling to release, so the
       S'raak were soon able to acquire jump drive technical data and several
       functioning examples. The S'raak soon also had a regular trade run
       with these traders, who were able to put the S'raak into contact with
       the Wyld Worlds pirates. The S'raak were soon buying any technological
       item the traders or pirates had to sell. None of the major powers were
       aware of these developments as they had long since been restricted to
       specific landing sites on the planets surface and all had declared the
       system to be a Red Zone long ago.
       Upon gaining jump drive technology, the S'raak proceeded to construct
       shipyards and began to produce their own star and space ship hulls.
       Jump drive components were put into production, but it was found to be
       difficult to produce complete jump drive units, and the S'raak were
       forced to import jump drives, and many types of jump drive components
       from sources in Wyld Worlds subsector. This also allowed them to
       produce vessels with a much higher jump than their tech level could
       possibly allow. In spite of this, the S'raak continued to experience
       great difficulty in producing or obtaining good quality jump drive
       components. This problem continued to dog the S'raak for the rest of
       the war. The S'raak also began to assimilate and analyse data
       concerning surrounding systems, and the political relationship between
       their neighbouring interstellar states. It was following analysis of
       this data that the S'raak came up with their master plan, and overall
       strategy to wage war upon their numerically superior enemies.
    The S'raak Master Plan
       The S'raak established a number of secret bases in several systems.
       These systems were Pezeibifiench (0723), Stiepldrofr (0922), and
       Chtiejtlenz (0921). In addition, the S'raak had covertly colonised the
       then barren Zhodani system of Enz (0119), and the barren system of
       Yenzhshiavr (0322). They were also able to gain aid from the String of
       Pearls subsector pirates. These pirates had been suffering from
       improved Communality anti-piracy patrols, and were desperate to
       deflect Talpaku military interest from their region. Upon learning of
       the existence of the S'raak from their Wyld Worlds brethren, the
       String of Pearls Pirates provided the S'raak with equipment which was
       instrumental in the establishment of these bases.
       The S'raak put their plans into operational effect in 1159. From their
       secret bases the S'raak made a series of surprise attacks upon border
       systems of Meichntid Ibl, the Consulate and the Communality. These
       attacks were made using vessels similar in design to vessels from
       another state. These attacks were then blamed by the major states upon
       one another. This led to increased tensions between the Communality
       and Meichntid Ibl with the Consulate, and resulted in a number of
       minor incidents which helped to further inflame the situation. The
       S'raak were hoping to provoke a major war between the powers. Their
       plan was simple. Once the three states had become significantly
       weakened by fighting each other, the S'raak would launch their own
       offensive. The S'raak General Staff felt that they had a good chance
       of a successful conclusion to the campaign following this strategy.
    The S'raak Strike
       Things were proceeding well for the S'raak by the start of 1160. The
       Meichntid Ibl and Zhodani Consulate were upon the verge of open war
       and the Talpaku Communality was in the process of mobilising its
       defence forces. Then something unforseen occurred which threw the
       S'raak's plans into disarray. A group of adventurers from Forday's
       Fortune (0929) came to Khaar to investigate the reason for the red
       zone. They encountered the S'raak and were able to uncover what the
       S'raak were up to and escape to the Talpaku Communality, to warn
       authorities there. The S'raak, realising that this stage of their
       plans had been thwarted, decided to move their timetable forward. The
       S'raak High Command gave orders for immediate mobilisation and
       invasion of their neighbours.
       The Talpaku Communality had some warning of the impending S'raak
       attack. Meichntid Ibl had virtually no warning, what warning they did
       receive came from the Talpaku Communality and arrived scant hours
       before the S'raak war fleets. The Zhodani though, were completely
       unprepared for the S'raak attack. The Zhodani commander, Admiral
       Plaedr, mistook the S'raak attacks as being the result of Meichntid
       Ibl aggression. He ordered a major invasion of Meichntid Ibl. This
       invasion was a major success for the S'raak planners, as it divided
       the S'raak's enemies and drew valuable resources and forces away from
       the S'raak.
       The War took an immediate turn for the worst for the enemies of the
       S'raak. The S'raak were able to overrun the independent systems of
       Pieflip (0323), Piaplripref (0520), Bridgeworld (0421), Venzhsbiav
       (0322), Jelobrzech (0523), Pezeibifiench (0723) and Tietliejdia (0821)
       were overrun by the S'raak in fairly short order. S'raak attacks were
       launched against the Zhodani systems of Sntiefa (0319), Kili (0518)
       and Yidlpiants (0318). The Talpaku systems of Fairwater (0423) and
       Pearl (0223), as well as several other Talpaku systems, also came
       under determined S'raak attack. The S'raak secret bases were activated
       resulting in the capture of Chtiejtlwnz (0921) and Stiepldrofr (0922),
       two virtual Meichntid Ibl client states. In addition S'raak deep
       raiders struck deep into the surrounding states
       The Zhodani invasion of the Meichntid Ibl was an unmitigated
       disaster. Although the Zhodani invaded with massively superior
       numbers, this was not enough to compensate for a number of factors
       working against them. These were the essentially poor (some say panic
       stricken) planning of the entire operation, the inexperience of the
       majority of the Zhodani crews, the obsolete ships still in service,
       and the haste in which the entire operation was put together. In spite
       of heroic efforts on the part of Zhodani crews and fleet officers, the
       invasion quickly lost coherency and was repulsed by the Meichntid Ibl
       with heavy losses. It was not long before the Meichntid Ibl counter
       While the Zhodani and Meichntid Ibl waged war upon each other under
       the mistaken belief that they each were responding to the others
       aggression, the S'raak turned their attention towards Stellar Chorus
       Subsector. Advancing S'raak forces overran Netsiazdinsh (1023),
       Afalliia (0924), and Chokrqil (1024). Ianzhva (1025) was the furthest
       system to rimward that the S'raak were able to make serious attacks
       against, although they never came close to over running the system.
       S'raak raiders however, were able to range much further to rimward.
    The Tide Turns
       Carillon, Forday's Fortune and some Talpaku forces were eventually
       able to launch a strong enough counter attack to drive the badly over
       extended S'raak from the subsector. However, these victories did not
       come cheaply. S'raak ground forces fought fanatically, and in several
       instances S'raak forces who were cut off fought to the death. Forces
       deployed against the S'raak experienced high casualty rates. The
       Meichntid Ibl were able to divert sufficient second line troops from
       the Zhodani front to liberate the 'independent' systems of Chtiejtlenz
       and Stiepldrofr, although with appalling losses. Talpaku defence
       forces were also successful in repelling all invading S'raak forces
       from within their borders, and liberated the pro Talpaku system of
       The S'raak High Command found itself in a very difficult position.
       S'raak forces had been defeated and forced to withdraw from Stellar
       Chorus subsector with substantial losses. They had also been driven
       from the borders of the Talpaku Communality, Meichntid Ibl and the
       Zhodani Consulate. The S'raak were over extended, had suffered massive
       losses in terms of personnel and were experiencing great difficulty in
       replacing material losses. Starships were particularly hard to
       replace, and repair and maintenance (never terribly good to begin
       with) was growing worse, which combined with poor quality S'raak jump
       drives, was leading to an increasing number being lost to misjumps.
       The S'raak High Command was forced to conclude that they were losing
       the war, and that the longer hostilities continued, the higher the
       probability of being utterly defeated. The High Command had no option
       but to recommend to the Elite Council that the S'raak Empire should
       sue for peace. To set the stage for this the S'raak launched a massive
       raiding offensive. The orders for this offensive were to cause as much
       damage as possible so as to put the other combatants into a mood
       desiring peace.
       In time it was decided by the war weary powers that a ceasefire was
       indeed an attractive option. This was particularly the case with the
       Zhodani Consulate, partly because of internal dissent as a result of
       the poor way the War had been handled by the government and the
       Admirals and partly because of the Empress Wave from coreward. Keen to
       bring the war to a swift conclusion, the Consulate had already ceded
       several systems to the Meichntid Ibl as part of its ceasefire
       agreement. With all parties interested in suspending hostilities, in
       the mistaken belief that the S'raak were much better off than they
       actually were, the S'raak Peace Accords were signed.

    The Talpaku

    The Talpaku
        By Grant Sinclair
        Date: 29th March 1995
       This report is the result of a study of the Talpaku, in a joint
       project with the Talpaku Communality government. Each of the sections
       is by a different author, some human, some Talpaku. This first is by
       Giwhe Low Laughter, Professor of Biology at Bluewater University.
        1. Physiology
        2. Psychology
        3. Society & Culture
       Height and Weight: We Talpaku (pronounced Tal-pak'-u, singular Talpak)
       are smaller and lighter than humaniti. Females are about 1.7 m tall,
       males are about 1.6 m tall. Even though we are wider at the hips than
       humaniti, we are still lighter - massing about 65 kg in the case of
       females, 60 kg in the case of males.
       Appearance: The first Terran to see our race thought we resembled
       giant moles, since the first Talpak he saw was a uniform dark-grey in
       colour and we often still like to live underground. In fact, the
       typical Talpak is more similar to a marsupial of the Terran
       island-continent of Australia.
       Our short fur is usually a tan, light brown or light grey in colour,
       mottled by white, darker brown, grey or black. Our eyes are larger
       than those of humans, and glassy black in appearance. Our snout is
       evidence of our pre-historical liking for roots and worms and our
       larger ears reflect the importance of hearing when hunting in low
       light conditions.
       We have 3 fingers and a thumb on each hand, and five toes on each
       Diet: We need a wide variety of nutrients to survive, eating
       everything from roots to large animals. In recent centuries, we have
       finally learned to synthesise most of the nutrients we need, allowing
       us to issue our troops with concentrated food pellets. Previously, our
       troops needed to carry great quantities of food with them (some
       requiring refrigeration), or else be very vulnerable to cuts in supply
       We don't like cooked or smoked meat, though we eat it if there is no
       alternative. Such meat is inadequate from a nutritional viewpoint, if
       consumed for more than a few weeks. Frozen meat is much better,
       satisfying all nutritional needs, but lacks a little in taste when
       compared to the real thing.
       Rest: Our circadian rhythm is 55 hours 47 mins long. We sleep and rest
       for about 19 hours, work for 9.5, rest for another 18.75 hours, then
       work for 9.5 more.
       Originally, our work periods corresponded to dawn and dusk periods
       respectively (dawn and dusk being in the middle of each period), since
       that is when we went hunting and gathering. A modern Talpak uses these
       times for more contemporary pursuits. It is becoming common for more
       and more Talpaku to extend the first work period into the rest period,
       and take a nap during the rest period to make up for it. The first
       half of the rest period is traditionally the time of most active
       social activity (since it is cooler then) and the second half is used
       for rest in the more literal sense.
       Reproduction: Our reproductive process is initially similar to that of
       humans. However, the young are born after only one month, when they
       crawl to the mother's pouch. They remain there for another 7 months,
       being suckled for the first three months of that time. In the last
       month, they are allowed to leave the pouch for increasingly longer
       periods, until the mother decides that the child is ready.
       No case of multiple births has ever been recorded for our race.
       However, a female can bear another child within a few months of the
       last, so a mother can have more than one child in her pouch at once. A
       mother can suckle up to three young at once.
       In times of poor food, an embryo would be "suspended" indefinitely,
       with growth resuming without ill effect when food improved. In modern
       times, this can be triggered quite easily by drugs. This allows our
       females to delay birth to a more convenient time, where necessary.
       In some cases, children allowed out of the pouch for a short time
       refuse to return to it. Such children grow up smaller than other
       Talpaku, and more of them become eccentric than usual.
       Senses: Our vision is inferior to humans during the day, but we have
       much better low-light vision. Our colour vision is also operative at
       lower light levels than humans. Our eyes are most sensitive to orange
       (due to the colour of our star). We cannot see some of the lowest red
       frequencies but see further into the ultraviolet than humans do - in
       fact, the group of frequencies we see past violet have a name in our
       language ("tegowa"). Some human clothing looks strange to us, for
       items which look all black to you contain strange splotches of colour
       that we can see (which once caused some "camouflaged" Zhodani
       commandoes trouble, for our guards just let them creep up and then
       disposed of them at close range). Humans say the same about us with
       After being in daylight for more than 10 hours, our eyes become sore.
       To remain in such light, we need sunglasses or eyedrops at least; by
       preference, we retire to shade or a more dimly lit room for an hour or
       Our hearing is better than humans, both in ability to hear for further
       distances and in ability to determine direction of sound.
       Anatomy: Talpaku (as with all life forms on Talpakuhome) have small
       lungs, since the high oxygen taint means that human sized lungs are
       unnecessary. This means that we can only live easily on worlds with a
       dense atmosphere, tainted with high oxygen. After an adaptation
       period, we can live in standard atmospheres with a high oxygen taint.
       Lifespan: Normally, we live for about 90 of your Imperial years.
       Proper medical attention commonly extends this to about 120 years, but
       greater lifespans will not be possible until anagathics can be
       developed for our race.
       At present, we must use such alternatives as fast drug, chill berths
       and cold berths to enhance lifespan (fortunately, our race has
       ancestors which practiced hibernation, and so we find that we rarely
       experience ill-effects from such procedures). Obviously, these can
       only be used in time that would otherwise would be wasted (e.g. time
       spent in jump space).
       Some feel that a longer lifespan may explain why we have been able to
       have such a long-lived, stable interstellar state, and why we attach
       importance to social and cultural activities. However, we believe that
       these are better explained by psychological traits.
       Gregarious: We Talpaku are more gregarious than humaniti and most of
       us feel uncomfortable when alone. Unlike other sophonts who have a
       desire for the company of their fellows, we Talpaku do not prefer to
       select companionship from clan or tribal groupings. We generally enjoy
       the company of any of our fellows.
       Our gregarious nature shows through in the popularity of festivals and
       group activities.
       Possession Instinct: To us, theft is just as serious a crime as
       murder. If someone were to steal something of mine, or to threaten it,
       I would feel it as if someone had stolen part of my very soul. My
       instinct would be to react with anger and violence. If a human visitor
       knows only one thing about us, it had better be this.
       Persistence: One of the things which endeared Imperial and then
       Regency humans to our race was their legend of the tortoise and the
       hare. This strikes a chord with us, for we believe in slow, steady
       progress to a set goal. Once we set ourselves on our goal, we are not
       easily diverted from it.
       It is this characteristic which has allowed us to maintain our culture
       and interstellar state after millennia of contact with the powerful
       Zhodani, where other cultures have allowed themselves to be dominated
       and fall.
       Eccentricity: Some of our number, mainly those who left the pouch
       early, are eccentric. Most of these are harmless, colourful
       individuals with unusual habits or outlooks on life. Some of them have
       popular public broadcast programmes, while others are more reclusive.
       Some people deliberately join a particular commune in order to live
       with a colourful eccentric.
       Other eccentrics have darker twists. Most of them stop short of
       serious criminal activity, with activities ranging from practical
       jokes to confidence trickstery. Some go beyond this, committing more
       terrible crimes than any "sane" criminal. Their activities always have
       a touch of warped logic.
       Eccentrics are treated with great tolerance until they break criminal
       law. Once this fine line is crossed, they are treated no differently
       to "normal" citizens.
       In general, however, these people enrich our society and lives.
       Names: Our true names are quite long, and change over time. Initially,
       our names have three components: a physical reference (e.g.
       White-eye), a family name (based on matriarchal lines) and place of
       birth (e.g. Blue Water). After coming of age, a fourth reference based
       on personality or career is added (e.g. Big Drinker). In some cases, a
       special particle is added to indicate status (e.g. member of
       government). Most of the physical references cannot be readily
       translated into Galanglic (there are just not enough words in the
       language) and so the Talpaku term is used instead.
       We Talpaku gain great pleasure from names, and some of us collect
       them. It is not possible to determine gender from our names.
       An abbreviated version of the name, consisting only of the physical
       reference and personality reference, is sufficient for everyday
       purposes (e.g. Giwhe Low Laughter).
    Talpaku Society
       Even after millenia of a space-going society, virtually all Talpaku
       are citizens of their single interstellar state. This is partly due to
       a feeling that it is necessary to unite against the Zhodani, but
       mostly due to their strong feelings of companionship with each other.
       The Talpaku are used to working and living with each other and have by
       necessity learned the social skills to deal with each other. Of
       course, there are always exceptions. Our sociologist, Jane Wilkins,
       has interviewed a number of Talpaku for the following report.
       Possession instinct: Our possession instinct also applies on a racial
       level to our racial possessions (i.e. our interstellar state). If we
       have things stolen from us, or even if we feel threatened, we react
       swiftly. A world which we have explored but not settled is perceived
       by us to be as much "ours" as Talpakuhome itself. Aliens (such as the
       Zhodani and the S'raak) have sometimes misunderstood this and so
       provoked us.
       Eating habits: In early times, we needed to group together to hunt or
       gather food. From this has developed our custom of eating with others.
       If you, as a human, walked into one of our restaurants and selected an
       empty table (following your own instincts), any Talpak sitting alone
       would feel greatly insulted. Of course, we understand you humans
       better now than we did, so it is unlikely that such a Talpak would
       attack you. No Talpaku would enter a restaurant and ignore a Talpak
       sitting alone.
       Communal society: In our pre-history, we Talpaku had a very loose
       social structure. We had to live in groups to survive, but did not
       need to stay in one particular group for life. Individuals were free
       to come and go as they chose, and conflict occurred between
       individuals, rather than between groups. Such conflicts could be quite
       Our society today is largely unchanged from prehistoric times,
       preferring to live in large, sprawling Takh. As a result, our smallest
       settlements tend to be larger than the smallest human settlements, but
       our largest tend to be smaller than the largest human settlements.
       Pair bondings are rarely permanent, so the father of a child is often
       unknown. Descent is traced through maternal lines. Young are the
       collective responsibilities of the community.
       An example of our community attitude concerns sleeping arrangements.
       With our fur, we can sleep alone without bedclothes in the warmer
       months, but prefer not to. If cold at night, our first reaction is not
       to put on more bedclothes, but to wonder if there is someone nearby to
       sleep with. For this reason, all Takh have a large bedchamber, so that
       all can sleep together.
       Clothing: We have no nudity taboo and just wear clothes as ambient
       temperature requires. One of the great things that we have learned
       from humans is that dressing up can be fun, and fancy dress parties
       are very popular. The fact that we cannot see as deep into the colour
       red, and can see past violet means that our colour schemes may seem a
       little strange to you.
       {It is disconcerting to see giant moles running around with cheesy
       grins, dressed up like Napoleon - JW}
       Our place in Nature: We see ourselves as part of our ecology. I
       understand that you humans are different, seeing yourselves as
       different to "animals". For us, sentience is a gradual scale, not just
       a matter of being sentient or not sentient. If necessary, we would eat
       each other for food, though we find our own flesh to be tasteless,
       when compared to just about any alternative.
       We like exotic lifeforms of our own worlds and others. For most
       Talpaku, this interest shows in a love of pets (some take their pets
       with them to work). Some richer communes have private enclosures
       (these are usually large, in order to provide foodstuffs for the
       exhibits). Some richer Talpaku are collectors, owning safari ships
       similar to Regency designs and travelling many parsecs for a unique
       specimen. These are then shown off to enhance prestige.
       The Ketyeklu: Our nearest species relative is the Ketyeklu. These are
       a little larger than us, stronger but with much lower intelligence.
       They live in underground burrows on Talpakuhome, much as we did in our
       prehistory, emerging from them every day to hunt. We have always had a
       good relationship with the Ketyeklu, and there have been cases of
       communes which included members of both species. There are also
       ancient tales which are believed to be based on bands of Ketyeklu
       coming to our rescue when hunting ambushes went badly. The Ketyeklu
       have a very small and primitive vocabulary that includes some sounds
       shared with our own language.
       In our rise, we unknowingly deprived the Ketyeklu of much of their
       natural habitat and their numbers were reduced. After emigration to
       other worlds freed suitable land, we were able to create reservations
       for them.
       The Ketyeklu are now found in many parts of Talpakuhome (mostly in
       islands reserved for their use) and our ancient bond with them has
       been renewed. A few Talpaku share their primitive lifestyle with them,
       hunting without weapons and sleeping in their burrows. Others visit
       for a few weeks.
       Attitude to death: When one of us dies, we have a funeral to mourn the
       dead, telling anecdotes about the deceased. We often record anecdotes
       of our own, to be replayed at our own funerals. The bodily remains are
       of no significance to us, and these are disposed of matter of factly.
       Of more significance are the possessions of the deceased, which are
       distributed in accordance with the wishes of the deceased. If someone
       dies intestate, his or her possessions are destroyed, for none of us
       would accept them unless we were sure that the deceased wished it.
       We feel no outrage when one of us is killed and eaten by a creature
       that you would call an "animal", since it is just following its own
       nature. After all, we do the same thing to them.
       Religion: We had several religions in ancient times. The most powerful
       of these worshipped the gas giant Kitawhi, which dominated the sky of
       half of Talpakuhome. Although the religions have been largely
       abstracted into philosophies, remnants continue in sayings and
       For instance, a worshipper of Kitawhi who travelled into lands from
       which it was not visible would take a pendant with a glittering disc
       of the same colour, as a "connection" with the god. Now, such an item
       is seen as a good luck charm, often given as a present to someone
       leaving to travel far away. This charm is also the origin of the
       glittering disc design that adorns the robot assigned to each
       government official for secretarial and clerical assistance.
       Another example is in a saying "... is a true child of Kitawhi",
       meaning someone who is persistent and never gives up (a trait admired
       by Talpaku).
       Currency: Each world has its own currency, the values of which
       fluctuate against each other according to economic circumstances.
       There is a "reference" unit of currency called the kuyo, which is used
       by the Communality government (e.g. in paying employees and the
       military and for it's own purchases), by multistellar companies,
       starports and for transactions between individuals and companies on
       different worlds. Most worlds use the technology for electronic funds
       transfer, in an attempt to avoid the possibility of theft. Banks
       commonly import higher tech security devices, such as passive full
       metabolic scanners, in order to attract customers over their
       competitors. The effect on the economy that a Virus outbreak would
       cause is currently a common topic of conversation.
       If necessary, the communications networks can be instructed to accept
       financial transfers via less secure means (e.g. over video
       communicator, when only limited security checking is possible, or over
       a voice only communicator, when only voice print analysis is
       possible). Such prior instructions must be done at a scanner with full
       metabolic scanner security.
       Any citizen (and non-citizen who has been onworld for more than 28
       days), must pay tax on income. The tax rate is variable (one rate
       until you have earned a certain amount, then a higher rate on
       subsequent income). This is of little concern to most visitors, since
       they tend to spend money rather than earn it.
       There are no such things as cheques or bearer bonds, and bartering for
       goods or services is illegal. Financial transactions are kept in
       strict confidence, like all other conversations and exchanges of data,
       so a cash economy is theoretically unnecessary.
       Mathematics: We have only 8 fingers and found ourselves with a base 8
       arithmetic system, for the same reason that humans chose base 10.
       Translators are not always able to tell when a figure is precise or
       approximate (just as human may or may not be being precise when saying
       "a thousand").
       Timekeeping: Our base measurements of time are the day or Wheda (about
       55.75 standard hours) and the year (about 48.3 local days). The year
       is subdivided into 2 seasons of 24 local days each, with an extra 3
       days every 9 local years.
       Other divisions of time are shown in the table below. Note the impact
       of base 8 arithmetic on subdivisions of time.
         Period      Equivalent     Approx Human Value
       1 Keplek                     1.02 standard seconds
       1 Whagok     64 Kepleks      1.09 standard minutes
       1 Kzawekl    64 Whagoks      1.16 standard hours
       1 Zduptaki    8 Kzawekl      9.30 standard hours
       1 Wheda       6 Zduptakis   55.75 standard hours
       The translations of the names of each Zduptaki are, in order,
       Firstdark, Latedark, Rising, Basktime, Homeseek and Cooling. The
       translations of the seasons are, simply, Summer (the first season of
       the year) and Winter (the second). Days (and other periods of time
       shorter than the Zduptaki) are simply numbered.
       Takh: Most of us live in large groups called Takh (same word for
       singular and plural; meaning similar to a Terran commune or kibutz).
       This allows us to be with others of our kind (important due to our
       gregarious nature) but without danger of theft (since this is so
       abhorrent to us). It is necessary to buy a "share" in a takh before
       being allowed to live there. Shares in popular takh are prized.
       Most takh have underground and overground sections. The sleeping
       quarters are underground (taking advantage of the dark and the fact
       that temperatures are more even there).
       Music: Most Talpaku love music, and many of us have some training. We
       prefer woodwinds, strings and percussion involving wood, and cannot
       understand what you humans enjoy about metal instruments. Many of us
       "sing", though most humans find it grating. Architects ensure that
       Takh have some rooms with good acoustics, since this is a selling
       point with us. Some of our Takh are built in near inaccessible
       locations, but are among the most desirable because they are near
       natural caves with good acoustics.
       We like human classical style music, preferring chamber music to
       orchestral music. Humans who bring us good pieces of music that we
       have not previously encountered enjoy a good selling price.
       Festivals: These are huge, energetic, boisterous affairs, with lots of
       music, revelry and good times. There are lots of entertainers in the
       streets, people dress up colourfully and the insides and outsides of
       buildings are adorned with decorations. The biggest festivals last for
       Our main festival is the Festival of Life (held at the start of each
       Summer). At this time, we celebrate our newborn, as well as our own
       birthdays (for we count our ages from our first Festival of Life, not
       from the anniversary of our birth). At our 16th Festival of Life, we
       receive the personality component of our names. The Festival of Life
       is supposed to be a time of good luck, although this is seen in modern
       times for the superstition it is. Our interstellar state was
       deliberately founded during the Festival of Life of that year.
       Our other major festival is the Festival of the Passing (held at the
       start of each Winter), when we remember loved ones who have died
       during the last year. This is not always the sad affair that humans
       might think, for we try to remember the good times as well as the
       sadness of their passing.
       The above are the only festivals celebrated simultaneously across our
       whole interstellar state. Individual worlds hold festivals of their
       own at other times of the year, though these are all smaller than the
       festivals of Life and Passing.
       Every 9 local years, the Festival of Life is preceded by a 3 day
       Festival of Sport. This is a great sporting event staged on one
       Talpaku world (selected at random during the previous extended
       Festival). One team may be entered from each stellar system. The
       series is extremely popular and recordings of each match are sent away
       as soon as possible. Like the Tea Clippers of ancient Terra, the first
       ship to bring a recording of a match to a world gets a premium price
       for it, enough to justify the purchase of expensive (but highly jump
       capable) ships for this purpose alone. Each Festival draws huge crowds
       of Talpaku, many of whom have been saving up since the previous
       The sport, called Whug Kzaki, originally started underground, when we
       lived in caverns interconnected by tunnels. Each team has 8 members,
       and start at a "home base" on opposite sides (though neither side
       knows the exact location of the base of the other side). Each team
       must then attempt to locate the base of the opposite team and take
       possession of their trophy, called their Kziyadtova. The sport is more
       violent than Regency games, since certain types of hand-to-hand combat
       are used when one player encounters a member of the opposite team. In
       normal versions of the game, the blows are purely superficial and
       result in being "out of the game" for short periods, but members of
       the military forces play a more dangerous version as part of commando
       training. There are rumoured to be illegal "underground" leagues that
       also involve more violent (sometimes lethal) battles.
       The game is normally played in the slow steady way that is a feature
       of our race, interspersed with flurries of activity when players meet.
       Players try to creep along silently, listening for opposition players,
       hoping to sneak unseen past corridors and the like. Encounters with
       the opposition are resolved much more quickly, preferably dealing with
       an opponent silently, so as to make it difficult for others to bring
       With technology, Whug Kzaki became a spectator sport. Cameras are set
       up in every chamber and corridor, on-screen maps show the locations of
       the team members, commentators describe the play and so on. They also
       allow the close refereeing that was previously impossible. Over the
       years, a three dimensional aspect was introduced, and, with space
       flight, a zero-G three dimensional version (since the game is ideal
       for space stations and habitats).
       Energy research: We have always had an aptitude for energy
       technologies and our achievement tech level there is higher than our
       general tech level. The reason for this is believed to have something
       to do with the high oxygen taint of our homeworld - internal
       combustion engines were dangerous, and so alternatives were needed.
       For many years, we believed that a nuclear reaction (fission or
       fusion) would ignite our atmosphere, and so such technologies were
       banned. It was not until scientists working with Kazka Eyes of Fire
       did it illegally that this was disproved. Even so, it was this fear
       which allowed our race to survive our mid-tech years without using
       nuclear weapons on each other.
       Attitude to psionics: No Talpak has ever been shown to have psionic
       powers. In fact, it was some years before we accepted that psionics
       existed at all. Unfortunately, our lack of ability with psionics does
       not prevent the Zhodani from using telepathy on us (being from a
       separate evolutionary path).
       If any Zhodani visitors are found to have used psionics on world, the
       penalty is death. We now insist that all Zhodani visitors are
       vouchsafed by another of their number, and the vouchsafer is also
       executed if a transgression occurs. After all, Zhodani should know
       which of their number is psionic and which aren't, surely? Sometimes,
       we even take hostages. We once executed a Zhodani ambassador for
       vouchsafing a psionic member of her entourage - this triggered the
       Second Talpaku War.
       We reserve the right to refuse visits from anyone suspected of
       psionics, whether proof is available or not.
       Language: Our language is comprised of whistles, clicks and so on.
       These are mostly controlled by the lips and vocals cords, and the
       tongue has little to do with it.
       So, Talpaku and Humaniti are physiologically incapable of speaking the
       others' language, though we can learn to understand the other's
       language reasonably well. A Human and Talpaku who each know the
       other's language will just speak to each other, each using their own
       language, but mutually comprehensible. Translators have recently
       become available (both translator machines and people of each race who
       know the other's language).
       Talpaku words are translated into Galanglic in two ways. Some words
       are translated according to meaning, since the name carries meaning to
       the thing (e.g. Broken Promise, Firestar).
       Others are translated by the use of an artificial language, replacing
       particular whistles and clicks with letters.


        By Grant Sinclair
        Date: 18th June 1996 (Finished)
       Talpakuhome is both the political and cultural capital of the
       Communality. Virtually every body in the system has had inhabitants
       at some time or other, and some have greater populations
       than the entire population of other Talpaku stellar systems. This
       description of the system is by a Talpaku merchant ship owner and
       ex-surveyor, Whukikaka Quickfingers, in standard RISS format.
        1. Physical Notes
        2. Society Notes
        3. Other Worlds In The System
    Physical Notes
       Star: K3 V, mass 0.672 standard, luminosity 0.642.
       Orbit: Talpakuhome is a satellite of the small gas giant Kitawhi, in
       orbit 1 (0.4 AU) from the star. Kitawhi is UWP size 62 (99,200 km
       diameter), density 0.13 for 60.5 Earth masses. It has a slightly
       eccentric orbit (e=0.01), an axial tilt of 29 degrees and an orbital
       period of 112 days 17 hours 15 mins (112.3 standard days). Rotational
       period is about 43 hours.
       Talpakuhome orbits Kitawhi at a distance of 297 600 km (6 radii),
       beyond the worst of Kitawhi's single radiation belt. Orbital period is
       2.324 standard days (55 hrs 47 mins 0 secs or 55.776 hrs);
       eccentricity is 0.05; inclination of orbit to the equator of the gas
       giant is negligible. Being tidally locked to Kitawhi, axial tilt
       relative to the star is the same as that of Kitawhi (29 degrees) and
       day length is the same as the orbital period around Kitawhi (55.765
       hours). Visible disk of Kitawhi from Talpakuhome is 19 degrees
       (compared to Luna's visible disk of 0.5 degrees from Terra).
       The complex interrelationship of the magnetic fields of Talpakuhome
       and Kitawhi are of great interest to scientists and spacecraft pilots
       alike. The magnetic field of Kitawhi is much weaker than that of
       larger gas giants (and is in fact weaker than that of Talpakuhome).
       Spacecraft pilots must be careful to avoid areas of space with great
       numbers of highly charged particles - this is tricky but by no means
       impossible. Talpakuhome arrival and departure is usually a matter of
       leaving at one of the magnetic poles and taking the quickest safe
       course away towards the outer system. The surface of Talpakuhome is
       protected by its own magnetic field.
       Size: Talpakuhome is 11680 km in diameter, with a molten core. World
       density is average (giving a mass of 0.67 Earth masses) and surface
       gravity is 0.9 standard. The Seismic stress factor is 7. The world
       exhibits a slight bulge towards Kitawhi.
       Atmosphere: Dense oxygen-nitrogen mix with high oxygen taint. Surface
       pressure 1.8 atmospheres.
       The high oxygen taint has resulted in an ozone layer that is much
       thicker than normal. This helps protects the inhabitants from
       ultra-violet and other rays from Kitawhi and Bright Light. The high
       oxygen taint also causes a greater than normal number and severity of
       Without a filter mask, humans experience the first side effect of the
       high oxygen taint (dizziness) after about an hour. This is followed by
       steadily decreasing dexterity and decision making ability.
       There are many more aurorae in the upper atmosphere at night than on
       Terra - Talpakuhome residents find night skies of other worlds boring
       by comparison.
       Temperature: Base surface temperature is 15.2 degrees C (288.2 K).
       Rotation-Luminosity Factor 1.015. Axial tilt increases summer
       temperatures by 17 degrees C and decreases winter temperatures by 29
       degrees C. Day average increase 11 degrees C; night average decrease
       14 degrees C.
       Closest approach to the star (perihelion) occurs during the southern
       spring, increasing temperatures at that time by 0.3 degrees C.
       Furthest separation occurs during the southern autumn, decreasing
       temperatures by 0.3 degrees C.
       Note that the axial tilt means that summer nights and winter days do
       not occur within the arctic and antarctic circles at certain times of
       the year.
       Native Life: Yes. The dense atmosphere and high oxygen taint means
       that life thrives from the ocean deeps up to the skies.
       Many fish and sea creatures deal with the extremes of seasonal
       temperatures by migration. The remaining wildlife are forced to deal
       with the problem in different ways - usually by finding shelter from
       the heat and cold. Many animals are able to hibernate through the
       winter, including some racial relatives of the Talpaku.
       Hydrographics: 81%, tainted with high oxygen. Tectonic plates: 7.
       Volcanoes: 42.
       There are 2 major continents, 5 minor continents, 9 major islands and
       6 archipelagoes.
       Weather control: Yes.
       Terraforming: Hydrographic: No. Terrain: Yes. Atmosphere: No.
       Greenhouse: No. Albedo: No.
    Society Notes
       Population: The 2.5 billion inhabitants of Talpakuhome are almost all
       The 2 primary cities are Blue Water (500 million, starport A) and
       Smoky Dawn (500 million, also starport A). There are 15 secondary
       cities with populations in the tens of millions, amounting to 750
       million inhabitants total (all of them have a type F spaceport). There
       are three orbital cities, one for each type A starport and one for the
       spaceports, totalling 42 million inhabitants in orbit. The remaining
       708 million inhabitants live in ground based tertiary communities, the
       largest of which is 9 million strong.
       Government: The executive/legislative branch of the Talpakuhome
       government is comprised of four takh. Each takh has a different
       political philosophy, rather like a political party in a democracy.
       Since size of a takh partly indicates popular support of its policies,
       the largest takh has the most influence. For instance, the head of
       this takh has the nominal Head of Government position. It is therefore
       in the interest of each takh to accept everyone it possibly can, and
       it is this open policy that gives the system continuing public
       The takh argue and discuss issues amongst themselves, receive advice
       from the public, conduct opinion polls and commission study groups
       where appropriate. These checks and balances, in conjunction with a
       free media, ensure that decisions made have the broad support of the
       public. Decisions can be slow, but this is Talpaku nature anyway.
       The judicial branch is independent, with members appointed by a panel
       consisting of all four governing takh.
       The communications network: Talpakuhome has a widespread network,
       which can handle voice, data and video transmissions. All but the
       smallest settlements have an orbital linkup, so access is possible to
       anyone with a communicator which can reach such a booster.
       Communicators with 500 km range are needed to reach direct to orbit.
       Many of us wear an earpiece communicator at all times, allowing
       hands-free access.
       Legal Profile: Law level is 8 overall (territorial for Talpaku,
       personal for aliens). Weapons=8, Trade=6, Criminal Law=9, Civil Law=9,
       Personal Freedom=5.
       Social Profile:
       Progressiveness: Talpakuhome has a "Conservative" society, which is
       advancing very slowly ("Indifferent").
       Aggressiveness: People are "Competitive" and are militarily
       "Militant". Their first response to any serious threat is force, and
       any diplomacy comes later.
       Extensiveness: Social customs are "Harmonious", people are "Aloof" to
       most alien offworlders but "Friendly" to Talpaku offworlders.
       This profile is typical of Talpaku worlds.
       Technology Profile: The highest tech level commonly found on
       Talpakuhome is 13; low common is 12. Certain specialist areas of
       expertise have tech levels as follows:
       Energy: 15
       Computer/Robotics: 12
       Communications: 13
       Medical: 12
       Environment: 13
       Land Transport: 13
       Water Transport: 13
       Air Transport: 13
       Space Transport: 13
       Personal Military: 15
       Heavy Military: 12
       Novelty: 15
       Trade: Resources: Agricultural, radioactives, crystals, compounds,
       agroproducts, metals, nonmetals, parts, durables, consumables,
       weapons, software, documents.
    Other Worlds In The System
       Kitilku: is a companion satellite of Talpakuhome and was settled very
       early. It is 5440 km in diameter, has a density of 1.45 (due to heavy
       core) for a mass of 0.076 standard and surface gravity of 0.533. It
       orbits 446,400 km (9 radii) from the gas giant, with an orbital period
       of 4.27 standard days, axial tilt of 22 degrees, eccentricity of 0.01
       and a rotational period relative to the gas giant of 59 days 0 mins 21
       The original atmosphere was a standard oxygen nitrogen mix, with
       surface pressure 1.10. Coupled with the pleasant base temperature of
       19.3 degrees C (292.3 K), the early Talpaku found that the world could
       be settled with little difficulty. It was a great source of ores. They
       used it for their main industry in later years, and so the atmosphere
       is now tainted with pollutants.
       Hwhik: This entire world is operated by the Talpaku Navy. It is used
       for training, resupply and repair. It is one of only a few worlds
       capable of repairing the new TL D ships in the Talpaku Navy.
       Petbazkezk: This world is mined sporadically by a small number of
       prospectors. These people have homes on Talpakuhome and consider
       themselves citizens of that world, even though they spend most of
       their time here. There have been occasional attempts to set up robot
       mining of the world (either programmed to go prospecting
       independently, or controlled by remote control by radio signals from
       Taklpakuhome), but none of these has lasted.
       Whulkiwi: This world is the site of large scale mining by Demand
       Minerals (a mining corporation based in Smoky Dawn). Some of the
       population was born here and consider themselves "native", but most
       are workers on tours of duty of a few years or so. The labour
       intensive work is done by machines or robots.
       There is also an installation here associated with the Talpaku Navy.
       It is generally believed that the site is some sort of communications
       or sensor base. The naval installation is TL 13 (hence the rating of
       the world), but the mining company facilities are only at TL 12. The
       company and the Navy each have separate type F spaceports.
       Bright Light Gamma: is a large gas giant with UWP size 125, diameter
       200,000 km, density 0.18, mass 687 standard. Orbital period 261
       standard days, axial tilt 39 degrees, eccentricity zero.
       Chakikzudev: is the home of independent miners, some spend years at a
       time here alone in a self-imposed exile. Many are fleeing some trauma
       in their personal lives; others are guilty of non-violent crimes and
       have accepted official exile to this world as an alternative to
       Dalv: is a research station operated by a big Talpaku company (Keyodlo
       Investigations). It is based offworld for security and safety reasons
       (e.g. to isolate biological research). The company sometimes rents
       parts of its facilities to reputable companies and persons.
       The mining activity here is to supply the research station with raw
       materials, not for export.
       The spaceport itself can be used by anyone (and is sometimes visited
       by ships which merely refuel at the gas giant and move on). Special
       clearance is needed to visit the research station complex.
       Chukzadl: This world is also operated by the Talpaku Navy. Although
       security here is very tight, it is believed to include the yard where
       the few TL 13 ships in the Talpaku Navy were built. No civilian
       shipping may pass within 2 million km of the world, much less land on
       it (hence the absence of a civilian spaceport).

    History of the Talpaku

    The History of the Talpaku
        By Grant Sinclair
        Date: 18th June 1996
       The Talpaku have a civilisation that dates back for many thousands of
       years, but written records are more recent. Cave paintings and oral
       history give some information but the first reliable studies were,
       ironically, done by their great enemy, the Zhodani.
       The Talpaku obtained copies of these studies during a peaceful period
       some centuries ago. We lack a trained historian, so our sociologist,
       Jane Wilkins, presents a condensation of these and other events.
    Talpaku Timeline
       -5120 Zhodani encounter Addaxur.
       -5100 Zhodani reach Talpakuhome system and observe Talpaku briefly
       -4700 Southern continent united for the first time, though only briefly.
             Reach TL 2.
       -4600 Southern continent balkanised again, but the times are relatively
             peaceful. TL 3 reached during this peaceful period.
       -4400 Eccentric technological genius takes society from late TL 3 to full
             TL 5 in one lifetime. Zhodani radio signals detected, reply sent.
       -4340 First manned space flight (to Kitilku).
       -4300 Reach TL 6. First permanent colony established on Kitilku. Probes
             sent to all worlds in home system.
       -4119 Competition for ownership of ore bodies through entire home system
             results in "Ore Wars". TL reaches 7 (early TL 8 in some cases) as
             competitors strive for advantage.
       -4114 Zhodani find projector device to be accurate and lose interest in
             Yiklerzdanzh expansion.
       -4091 End of Ore Wars.
       -4000 First Zhodani Core expedition.
       -3995 Xenophobia begins to unite the Talpaku against "unknown hostile
             aliens". Interstellar missions planned, space defenses against
             interstellar invasion begun.
       -3915 Full TL 8 (and TL 9 for space technology) reached. First
             interstellar colonisation ships launched. Steady, planned
             interstellar colonisation begins.
       -3000 Five systems now colonised (including home system). Founding of
             Talpaku interstellar state.
       -2700 Full TL 10 reached. Zhodani interdiction station discovered,
             automatic defences accidentally triggered. Increased xenophobia.
       -1792 Zhodani merchant ship wanders into a Talpaku system and is captured.
             Talpaku learn secret of the jump drive.
       -1750 Zhodani task force returns and is overwhelmed. Zhodani change tack
             and send scout ships to determine extent of Talpaku space.
       -1685 Zhodani return and symbolically occupy a single Talpaku system to
             prove a point. Talpaku retake system and invade Zhodani Consulate.
             War goes well initially but Talpaku driven out once Zhodani have
             fully mobilised. Indefinite ceasefire called.
       -1680 Zhodani begin making serious survey of Yiklerzdanzh. Meichntid Ibl
             contact Talpaku and explain things; Talpaku are distrustful but
             enter into an alliance.
       -1595 Execution of Zhodani ambassador for psionics use triggers Second
             Talpaku War.
       -1230 First Izrats Kriezhlas Unity "Talpaku Mission" fails
       -1000 Zhodani Consulate reaches present size.
        -900 Talpaku xenophobia finally begins to ebb and some diplomatic ties
        -120 Second Izrats Kriezhlas Unity "Talpaku Mission" succeeds; large
             scale trade begins.
        1100 Talpaku achieve TL 13
        1160 S'raak War
        1195 Coreward/Trailing piracy and raids increase
        1201 Present Day
    Talpaku Historical Notes
       Evolution: The Talpaku evolved from omnivore gatherers. Originally,
       their diet consisted mainly of roots and worms, but meat was an
       important secondary component. This was because meat contains
       important nutrients that were not easily found elsewhere.
       They originally lived in caves, which were extended and modified as
       needed. They mostly emerged in the periods around dawn and dusk,
       rather than the daytime, when fierce predators abounded. Later though,
       they found that they could defeat even the fiercest predators by
       banding together and using intelligent tactics.
       The highest status individuals in their early society were the
       firemakers. The high oxygen taint made bushfires common, so those who
       could make fire carefully and control it were highly valued
       individuals. Some worshipped fire, some feared it, others did both.
       Early kings had their "Thrones of Fire" and only the most significant
       people would have a "fire" reference in their names.
       The other main source of worship was the gas giant, Kitawhi, since it
       was a huge, stationary object in the sky that even eclipsed the sun
       from time to time. Even today, it still has some mystical
       significance, but on the same level that tarot cards and superstition
       has in Regency society.
       Zhodani visit: In about -5100, the Zhodani Consulate visited
       Talpakuhome. They were as interested in Kitilku as Talpakuhome and
       made only a short study of the Talpaku. By this time, they already had
       a rich culture, but were only early TL 1. The Zhodani considered them
       to be of less interest than other races they had encountered
       (particularly the Addaxur) and ignored them. Since the Zhodani
       observed the Talpaku from orbit and hidden locations, no legends of
       the visit persisted.
       First technological advances: By about -4700, different TL 2
       innovations had been made in different places. One central area,
       called the Kachakelv Hwho, had the benefit of limited trade with
       surrounding communities, and so was able to integrate the technologies
       learned to create a full TL 2 society. These were used to conquer the
       entire southern continent. In this time, widespread trade and exchange
       of ideas boosted the general tech level to 2, ironically giving local
       communities the ability to throw off the rule of the Kachakelv Hwho
       after only 75 years.
       The Age of Peace: Pre-unification lifestyle and culture were resumed
       for about 200 years, though the trade links set up were continued.
       This time was a period of great adventure, thanks to TL 2 transport
       technology that allowed great expeditions never before possible. This
       time is now romanticised.
       Kazka Eyes of Fire: In -4400, the great eccentric technological genius
       Kazka Eyes of Fire was born. Despite our conservative society, his
       genius took Talpaku society from late TL 3 to full TL 5 in one
       lifetime. In -4363, he detected strange radio signals now known to
       have been from the Zhodani Consulate, and transmitted replies. His
       group persuaded him to stop and the transmissions were kept secret
       (since they knew that the general public would find the news
       disturbing and they would get into trouble for replying). The secret
       came out slowly over a number of years, and was largely ignored by the
       In -4340, he mounted the first Talpaku visit to another world:
       Kitilku. Although his expedition reached Kitilku successfully, he was
       unable to return due to sabotage from an anti-progress movement. Kazka
       Eyes of Fire died there soon after and is the first Talpaku to die
       offworld. His memorial on Kitilku is still visited by millions every
       Interplanetary period: In -4300, they had reached early TL 6 and
       established their first permanent colonies on Kitilku. They also sent
       probes to all worlds in their home system. A loose world government
       formed; this became dominated by anti-progressives within a few years.
       Under this government, further exploration of the planetary system
       slowed to a crawl and full TL 6 was not attained for another 100
       The Ore Wars: By -4119, the Talpaku had spent almost 200 years at TL
       6. All ore bodies on Talpakuhome that were readily accessible at TL 6
       were being exploited, so Kitilku (much richer in ore bodies readily
       accessible at TL 6) began to rival Talpakuhome as an industrial base.
       In order to find alternatives to increasingly limited natural
       resources, Talpaku companies were forced to expand into space.
       Competition for the best mine sites soon exploded into open war, which
       was initially ignored by the (secretly pleased) anti-progress
       dominated government. In order to prevail, companies were forced to
       sponsor illegal research projects, which produced a black-market tech
       level of 7. By the time the government attempted to curtail space
       activities, it was no longer in a position to enforce its dictates.
       The Ore Wars were officially concluded in about -4091, by which time
       the black market tech level had reached full TL 7 and (in some cases)
       early TL 8. There was some turmoil in society as the anti-progressives
       in government lost favour, but the R&D drive slowed as available
       resources filled demand. Democratic reforms were forced on the
       government structure.
       Under moderates in government, the next 50 years were spent
       consolidating the prototype innovations of the Ore Wars and organising
       interplanetary settlements, rather than driving on to higher tech
       levels still.
       In -3995, a Conclave of scientists on Talpakuhome decided that any
       reply to their interstellar transmissions would have been received by
       that time. They wondered why none had, in fact, been received.
       Speculation mounted, and xenophobia began to show itself for the first
       time. Fear united the Talpaku against the unknown hostile aliens who
       were probably forming an invasion force Right Now. Interstellar
       missions were planned, space defenses against interstellar invasion
       were begun. The consequent slow but steady research into space
       technology had spinoffs which increase general tech level.
       Interstellar period: The first serious interstellar probe was launched
       in -3915, using prototype TL 9 space technology (general TL was only
       8). When cryogenic suspension became possible soon after (as Talpaku
       metabolisms are more suited to this than humaniti) they decided to
       launch manned probes immediately, rather than wait for the probes to
       reach their targets. Surrounding worlds were found to be devoid of
       hostile aliens and colonisation began.
       By -3000, the surrounding worlds of Bayou, Gale, Shallowwater and
       Haven had been colonised and full TL 9 had been reached. The political
       system had also evolved to the point where the new systems were no
       longer colony worlds, so the Talpaku interstellar state was founded
       and the existing logo was adopted. Xenophobia slowly reduced after 900
       years of peaceful, slow expansion and prosperity.
       In -2700 (by which time they had reached full TL 10) a survey team
       explored the Fantasia system (0524) and discovered an unmanned Zhodani
       interdiction satellite (actually intended for the Meichntid Ibl). They
       accidentally triggered automatic defences and most were killed
       immediately. The rest survived long enough to send a distress signal
       back to Gale and Talpaku returned in force, to destroy the satellite.
       Analysis of the remains led to several scientific advances and
       xenophobia increased again.
       By -2400, improved technology revolutionised space travel and
       interstellar trade became feasible for even small companies.
       Zhodani contact: In -1792, the captain of a type ZM Zhodani Trader
       decided to vary his normal route to the Izrats Kriezhlas Unity (see
       TTC 9), in the hope of a chance find. The ship stopped at Plenty
       (knowing from the original survey that refuelling was possible there)
       and discovered that the system was now inhabited.
       The ship's boat was sent to observe the mainworld but Talpaku thought
       it was another armed artefact and destroyed it. Deciding that
       surrender was futile, the Zhodani decided that a sneak night
       refuelling mission was their only chance. They reached the mainworld
       (thanks to good piloting and some creative use of radio transmitters
       as false targets) and were able to conceal themselves underwater for
       long enough to refuel, but the ship was shot down when it attempted to
       The ship was recovered and a number of the crew were captured. The
       crew were initially unresponsive, but after the Talpaku ate one of the
       dead ones (just to see what they tasted like) they suddenly became
       much more cooperative. From interrogation of the crew and analysis of
       the ship, they were able to learn the Zhodani language and the secret
       of the jump drive. They did not find out about the Zhodani psionic
       ability, nor that one of the crew could teleport.
       In the following few years, the Talpaku were able to duplicate the
       jump drive. Their industrial capacity was sufficient to construct many
       jump drives very quickly, and the Communality was transformed. Some
       STL ships which had left before the Zhodani visit were beaten to their
       destinations by the new jump capable ships. Knowing from experience
       that the Zhodani were technologically advanced and clever, they
       started construction of a jump capable navy immediately.
       In this period, when the jump drive was being distributed
       indiscriminately, the Zhodani took their chance. Playing their psionic
       trump card, they were able to hijack a jump capable ship and return to
       the Consulate.
       The crew alerted Zhodani military forces, who were horrified by the
       talk of Zhodani eaters with jump drive. They despatched a punitive
       task force but had underestimated the Talpaku industrial capability
       and the task force was overwhelmed by sheer force of numbers.
       Rather than retry a failed tactic, the Zhodani sent scouts to
       determine extent of Talpaku space. The Talpaku used this time to
       analyse captured ships, learning more about weapons technology and
       military starship design.
       Zhodani Conflict: In -1685, the Zhodani decided to make a point about
       who is boss and invaded Fantasia. Their greater combat experience and
       better technology gave them a quick victory. They hoped that this
       would put the Talpaku "in their place" without sparing too many
       resources from other areas, but they instead triggered the Talpaku
       possession instinct.
       The Talpaku assembled a task force of their own and retook Fantasia.
       Feeling that the time had come for the great battle against their
       Enemy, they continued onward, seriously intending to conquer the
       Zhodani Consulate (being unaware of its size).
       The war went well for the Talpaku initially, since no state the size
       of the Zhodani Consulate expects to be invaded by a state the size of
       the Talpaku Communality. The Zhodani refused their terms (i.e.
       unconditional surrender of the entire Zhodani Consulate) and began
       getting serious. Better technology and creative use of psionic talents
       stemmed the invasion and drove the Talpaku back to their own space.
       The Zhodani drive then stalled, for every system the Talpaku had was
       bristling with hidden defences, and the death toll affected public
       support of the war on both sides. When the Meichntid Ibl took
       advantage of the war to regain some of their own systems, a cease fire
       was called. The Zhodani "allowed" the Talpaku to keep Fantasia since
       it was more trouble than it was worth. There was no official end to
       the war, just an indefinite ceasefire based on antebellum borders.
       It took until -1680 for the Meichntid Ibl to convince the Talpaku that
       they were a separate state to the Zhodani. Despite a level of
       distrust, an alliance was formed that has lasted until the present
       day. Some speculate that if the alliance had been formed during the
       war, rather than after it, the Zhodani would have been thrown back
       much further.
       Although the Talpaku will not admit it, the war left the Communality
       exhausted. The Zhodani sacked many systems, gaining revenge for the
       same fate inflicted by the Talpaku on Zhodani systems, earlier in the
       The Second Talpaku War: In -1595, a senior Zhodani diplomat named
       Fitsiavlatl was found to have used psionics and executed. This led to
       war, which the Talpaku call the Fitsiavlatl War, but the Zhodani and
       everyone else calls the Second Talpaku War.
       The war lasted about a year and was inconclusive, leading to major
       ship losses on both sides but with no territory taken. In fact, both
       sides expanded slightly to support the war effort; the Talpaku
       colonised Chaos Fallen to supply their shipyards and the Zhodani
       advanced a little closer to the Talpaku. The main loser was the
       Meichntid Ibl, which was caught by surprise by the sudden onset war
       (in fact, finding out about the war they were suddenly involved in
       after the Zhodani did). The peace treaty led to the creation of a
       demilitarised zone between the Talpaku Communality and the Zhodani
       Post war relations with Zhodani: After the war, the Zhodani changed
       their strategy. Being more interested in coreward expansion anyway,
       they decided to defend their own borders and wait for the Talpaku
       state to collapse, as most minor races eventually do. Unflattering
       public perceptions of the Talpaku were formed in the Zhodani Consulate
       at this time and these remain commonplace.
       Meanwhile, defenses were rebuilt, waiting for another invasion that
       never came. Their experiences in the two major wars made it obvious
       that to the Talpaku that they could never invade the Consulate
       successfully, and so their military forces were oriented to defense.
       There was little advancement in TL for the next thousand years, since
       resources were spent on repairing damage and occasional brushfire
       wars, in the hope that the Zhodani could be lured into a trap. The
       largest of these was around -1300, when the Talpaku executed several
       Zhodani citizens (not officials) over psionic incidents.
       The Talpaku maintained their alliance with the Meichntid Ibl, knowing
       that only in this alliance could the Zhodani be seriously threatened.
       Hostilities ebb at last: By about -900, the Talpaku finally noticed
       that the Zhodani were not attacking them. Xenophobia began to ebb and
       some diplomatic ties began. Zhodani reckon "maturing" of the Talpaku
       from this date. In -120, large scale trade began with the Izrats
       Kriezhlas Unity.
       Imperial Contact: Official Imperial contact occurred in early 1061,
       with IISS vessels involved in a class I survey of the sector for
       Second Survey. Though contact was brief, it did allow the Talpaku to
       send an official message to the then Emperor (Paulo III).
       It was at this time that the Imperial name for the Talpaku originated.
       The first scout contained people of both Solomani and Vilani descent;
       the Solomani thought they looked like moles ("talpa", in Latin) while
       the Vilani thought they looked like ilaku (an animal of Vland of
       similar appearance, though much smaller in size). A compromise was
       reached that named the race from elements of each word.
       The Rebellion and the Hard Times that followed prevented further
       S'raak War: In the early 1100's, the S'raak (from Khaar, Yiklerzdanzh
       0221) had secretly been the subject of military and other aid from the
       surrounding powers. In 1160, they attacked all sides in an attempt to
       carve out an interstellar state of their own. The S'raak were largely
       held off, though they were able to claim most of the demilitarised
       zone for themselves. In the course of the war, the S'raak attacked
       most of the coreward worlds of the Communality. Following the war, the
       Talpaku Communality formally incorporated Pieflip (0323) and Twinstar
       Regency contact: In 1191, as part of the resumption of interest by the
       Regency in matters spinward, a small Regency consulate was established
       on Talpakuhome. This was upgraded to embassy status (though not size)
       in 1196. Certain MegaCorporations (particularly Ling Standard
       Products) have also showed some interest, more in the hope of selling
       knowledge than actual goods.
       Coreward/Trailing Piracy increases: From about 1195, the amount of
       piracy increased in systems nearby to trailing and to rimward of the
       Communality, and then within the core/trailing systems of the
       Communality itself. Only two ships have been captured, though some
       others were destroyed or chose to blow themselves up instead. Some of
       the pirates turned out to be S'raak, but the S'raak Empire hotly
       denied rumours of letters of marque or any other connection with the
       pirates. In late 1199, the first attack on an installation in a star
       system occurred (an outlying planet of Takiwhibl), followed in early
       1200 by a similar raid in the Fantasia system.
       Present Day: Tensions with the Zhodani have again increased, over
       protests concerning the Pieflip system (Yiklerzdanzh 0323). Relations
       can be described as "cool" at best.
       Rumours have started that the pirates are using high tech equipment,
       source unknown, that can defeat the lower tech Talpaku sensors. It is
       also said that this explains the recent exchange program with the
       Meichntid Ibl, where several ships from that state have been added to
       Talpaku patrols.
       Increasing cynicism is felt by most Talpaku towards their government.
       The government handled the S'raak badly (giving the S'raak weapons
       which were later used against them), handled the negotiations over the
       system of Pieflip badly and have so far been unable to stop the
       increase in piracy and raids to core/trailing. Public relations
       campaigns are being run to reverse this, though so far without effect.
       There is serious discussion of major reform and even of secession. In
       short, the Communality is currently in the most fragile state it has
       ever been. Only time will tell whether this is reversed or

    Talpaku Communality

    Talpaku Communality
        By Grant Sinclair
        Date: 18th June 1996
       The Talpaku Communality has been in existence since about -3000. It is
       a tightly knit interstellar state, showing much less variation than
       human states, such as the Imperium. Chiblgewhekh Climber-of-Mountains,
       Foreign Minister of the Talpaku Communality, has personally written
       this description of the Communality.
       Communality Structure: Our Communality is a relatively loose structure
       of individual world governments. The Communality is responsible for
       Foreign Policy, Defense, Law, Culture and Trade; individual worlds are
       responsible for other matters. We Talpaku are bonded more by cultural
       things than laws.
       The executive level of the Communality Government is comprised of two
       representatives of each significant system (those with a total system
       population of about 134 million or more) and one representative of
       each of the remaining systems. These representatives select a
       Moderator from among their number (who controls debates and votes only
       to break deadlocks). The system which supplies the Moderator then
       selects an additional representative as a replacement. Individual
       systems select their representatives as they see fit.
       Referee: Government types 3, D, E and F are not found in Talpaku
       space. The exact population required for "significant system" status
       is 134,217,728 (8 to the ninth power).
       System Governments: The Communality establishes basic levels of
       individual sophont rights, but world populations are otherwise free to
       administer themselves as they see fit. Any government form which is
       acceptable to the citizenry is allowed, and the Communality will step
       in if coercion is discovered. Under Communality Law, a referendum must
       be called to test that acceptance, upon presentation of a petition
       signed by 1% of the population. This is rare.
       Law Levels are lower than in human space. Individual sophont rights
       established under overriding Communality law means that law levels
       must be in the range of 0 to 9. Note that even at law level 0, poison
       gas and similar weapons of mass destruction are banned (e.g.
       bacteriological, nuclear, fuel-air). A law level of 1 applies to
       Communality Space not within the jurisdiction of system governments.
       Referee: A DM of -2 should be applied to law level rolls. When
       determining Legal Profile using the World Builder's Handbook, use the
       general law level as a base rather than government code, and always
       set the weapons law level equal to the general law level.
       Symbol: The symbol of our Communality is a circle drawn with a thick,
       black line (representing space), surmounted by five five-pointed stars
       at the points of an imaginary pentagon (which represent the five
       colonised stellar systems when our interstellar state was founded,
       i.e. Talpakuhome, Gale, Bayou, Shallowwater and Haven). There was talk
       of adding stars as other systems were colonised, but it just didn't
       Foreign Policy: The best word to describe our attitude towards the
       Zhodani is "suspicion". Trade exists, particularly through third
       parties or on neutral ground, but not in strategic technologies.
       Relations with the Meichntid Ibl are much better, though the only
       thing we really have in common is our common enemy (the Zhodani).
       There is considerable trade, mostly along the jump-2 route slightly to
       trailing of our borders. We do not use surplus Meichntid Ibl warships
       in our Navy, as might be expected, since we do not have the
       technological capacity to maintain them. It is also true that the
       Meichntid Ibl consider us to be the "junior partner" in our alliance,
       and many there do not think highly enough of us to trust us with their
       most potent weapons. The Zhodani have played on the inherently weak
       nature of alliance in the past, attempting to break the alliance, but
       we have always seen through these attempts eventually.
       Relations with the Carillon Harmonies are more neutral. We prefer to
       understand the people we deal with, at least to some extent, but these
       strange creatures have always baffled us. We fear their abilities,
       against which we have no defense, but are also aware that they have
       never showed aggression towards us. It is hoped that now that some
       nearby worlds are inhabited by both of our races, a better
       understanding will develop between us.
       The Izrats Kriezhlas Unity is the only state with which relations have
       varied over the years. The warmer their relations with the Zhodani,
       the colder their relations with us.
       We have no formal relations with the S'raak or the more distant,
       states in the sector. We hope that our current tentative contact with
       the Regency will result in technological and other assistance.
       Trade codes: Talpaku worlds are Rich only if atmosphere is type 7 or 9
       with same taint as Talpakuhome.
       Communications Network: There is no equivalent of the Regency express
       boat network. There are instead several companies which run jump-3
       manoeuvre-1 Kzit class couriers around the major worlds (those which
       are high population or starport A) - these routes are shown on the
       subsector maps. At least one courier (and usually more) will leave
       each of these worlds every day.
       The courier companies have offices on all these major worlds. They
       also have agreements or contracts with other shipping, so anyone on
       any world can send a message to any other world in the Communality
       with a single payment. The network is such that all worlds (except the
       prison world of Exile) are within jump-2 of a major world, so
       information crosses the Communality fairly quickly.
       The Kzit class couriers are 100 ton vessels that cost MCr 24.294 (less
       than that of an Regency x-boat). Many of the couriers are stock
       standard (i.e. all cargo space devoted to databanks for messages), but
       others have a mix of databanks and a cargo space provision for smaller
       packages. These couriers are the equivalent of the aircraft which
       provide overnight courier services between cities of 20th Century
       Terra; they carry mail at rates equivalent to Regency xboat costs, or
       small packages at 5 times normal starship freight cost. Governments
       and corporations also use these couriers (sometimes encrypting the
       messages), though the biggest have couriers of their own.
       The recent development of TL 13 technology has allowed our Navy to
       upgrade its own couriers to jump-4. These are attached to fleets in
       wartime and are used to ferry military and intelligence material as
       required (usually, from naval base to another). Some of the older TL
       12 (jump-3) designs were sold off to private industry, and are
       included in the ranks of the courier companies described above.
       Merchant Princes: Many Free Traders, Interface Lines and small
       companies are actually a takh. Larger lines are either run by a
       partnership of takh, or else as conventional companies, with
       shareholders and employees. In the brief notes concerning sample
       Merchant Lines that follow, Galanglic translations of the names are
       used where possible.
       Free as Air Trading (Interface Line; Home Port: Bayou). This is
       typical of many companies that trade from our trailing worlds along
       the jump-2 trade route up to the Meichntid Ibl and the Zhodani
       Consulate beyond it. The line rarely visits Forday's Fortune or the
       Carillon. This merchant line is wholly owned by a single takh, the
       members of which form the permanent employees of the line. Other
       employees are hired on a contract basis, the contracts lasting for
       periods as short as 1 jump to as long as 1 year, or for indefinite
       amounts of time, like 1 circuit of the route. These contract employees
       are commonly from races other than our own, partly because of the
       system the ship was in at the time a new employee was needed, and
       partly because the interface nature of the line makes a mixed crew
       valuable. Free as Air Trading has recently acquired a 1000 ton ship,
       but most vessels are 400 tons or less. The growth of the line has led
       it to the point where a single takh has difficulty managing
       operations, and so it is likely to split or else enter into a
       partnership or become a company. Deliberation over this matter has
       been sidelined due to mourning, following the recent loss of a 400 ton
       vessel to piracy.
       Night Mist Line (Interface Line; Home Port: Talpakuhome). This line is
       a partnership of three takh, operating 1000 ton jump-2 ships from
       Talpakuhome to Carillon. The partnership finds trade along this set
       route (visiting Bayou, Heaven's Scent and Forday's Fortune along the
       way) to be sufficiently profitable that it rarely strays from this
       path. The regularity of the line has enabled it to enter into shipping
       contracts with companies on the worlds of its route. The business
       contacts built up by this sometimes allow the line to find markets
       where others cannot, so it is not uncommon for them to buy goods from
       other trading vessels they encounter (particularly at the starport of
       Forday's Fortune). This policy occasionally backfires.
       Rambling Kziwhawhuv (Free Trader; Home Port: Gale). This rather old
       400 ton jump-2 vessel can be found anywhere in or near the
       Communality. The small takh which operates it is unusually
       multi-skilled, and they supplement the income from trading and
       passenger services by putting on shows at the pubs of the worlds they
       visit. They are an excellent (if unconventional) ship to travel with,
       since they like to try out their new material on their passengers, and
       chat to them for ideas for future shows. They are gregarious even by
       our standards, and will sometimes delay leaving a world if they are
       short of their full complement of passengers. Fortunately, their
       interpersonal skills mean that this is rarely necessary.

    Talpaku Vehicles

    Talpaku Vehicles
        By Grant Sinclair
        Date: 1st January 1997
       This description of Talpaku craft was written by Whakipl Measured
       Pace, a sales executive for the largest Talpaku vehicle company,
        1. Introduction
        2. Starships
              + Katwha Type A Free Trader
              + Kzodazdak Type A2 Free Trader
              + Zdayok Type A2 Free Trader
              + Hwhibuhwha Type J Interplanetary Seeker
              + Tetukov Type PW Mining Habitat
        3. Vehicles
              + Kuzda Air/Raft
        4. Robots
              + Yatikiki Biological Sampler Robot
       Our long technological history has been intermittent, driven by
       different factors at different times. It also reflects the long period
       of isolation that has ended only in the last 900 years. The result are
       technologies that are sophisticated, but often not very compatible
       with equivalents developed by other cultures. This means that many of
       our items can only be repaired on their own worlds. The main
       exceptions are the jump drive and certain other starship related
       technologies, since these were obtained from the Zhodani and follow
       Zhodani design principles.
       About 80% of our existing military and civilian starships, vehicles
       and robots range from TL 11-12. The remaining 20% of civilian designs
       are pre TL 11, though TL 13 designs have reached the mass production
       stage in the last few years. The remaining 20% of military designs are
       split 15% pre TL 11 and 5% TL 13 designs. In all cases, power plants
       can be one TL higher than the rest of the design, thanks to our
       proficiency in this area.
       Civilian starships range from 100 tons to about 25000 tons. A handful
       of larger ships exists in private hands, but the occasional needs for
       huge vessels are satisfied only by leasing military transports.
       Military starships range from 100 tons to 100,000 tons. We prefer to
       have greater numbers of smaller craft than small numbers of huge
       craft. We use planetoids of all sizes for system defense; many are
       just hollowed out planetoids armed with missile launchers and without
       even a manoeuvre drive.
       A few military non-starships (buffered planetoid designs) exist that
       are larger than 100,000 tons.
       Both military and civilian designs are long and angular, following the
       original Zhodani influence. Interior design is also similar to Zhodani
       design, except for living quarters; these are open space, with
       communal sleeping quarters. There are some small cubicles for study
       and meditation. The total space used for accommodation is the same as
       human designs.
       Outside the Communality, weapons are powered down only for the first 5
       days in jump space or when in starports felt to be particularly safe.
       Within the Communality, weapons are powered down permanently. We do
       not venture outside the Communality with weapons powered down, as we
       fear that even the short time to warm start could be our undoing. We
       have no particular preference for battle power plants, but it is
       sometimes necessary when more power is needed and there is
       insufficient space in the power plant room to install a larger power
      Katwha Type A Free Trader
       Craft ID:Talpaku Katwha Free Trader, Type A, TL 12, MCr 36.781
       (including 20% discount) Hull:180/450, Disp=200, Config=1SL,
       Armour=40F, Unloaded=1546 tons, Loaded=2719 tons Power:4/8,
       Fusion=495Mw (TL 13), Duration=30/90 Loco:4/8, Maneuver-1, 4/8,
       Jump-1, NOE=160 kph, Cruise=750 kph, Top=1000 kph, Agility=0
       Commo:Radio=System Sensors:EMS Passive=Interstellar, EMS Active=Far
       Orbit, ActObjScan=Rout, ActObjPin=Rout, PasEngScan=Rout
       Off/Def:Hardpoints=2, DefDM=+2 Control:Computer=1x3, Panel=Dyn Link x
       331, Special=HeadsUpx3, Environ=Basic Env, Basic LS, Extended LS, Grav
       Plates, Inertial Comp Accom:Crew=4 (Bridge=2, Engineer=1, Steward=1),
       "Staterooms"=10, LowBerths=6, HighPsg=4, MidPsg=2, LowPsg=6
       Other:Cargo=1140 kl, Fuel=468 kl, PurificationPlant (14 hours),
       ObjSize=Average, EmLevel=Faint
       The Katwha class Free Trader is designed to carry cargo and passengers
       from one end of the Communality to the other. Most owners do not
       bother with weapons (since piracy is rare and resistance of military
       vessels is futile), though some add sandcaster or missile turrets.
       Some spare space has been allocated to the bridge to allow for control
       panel units for any weapons which may later be added. Double occupancy
       of crew is not required unless gunners are present.
       Energy weapons are harder to install, for there is far less spare
       power for even a single laser turret. It is not possible to enlarge
       the existing power plant, so it is necessary to convert the low berth
       room or some cargo space into an auxiliary power plant room.
       There is a cargo-only variant of the Katwha which has only three
       staterooms, no low berths, no steward, cargo 1599 kl, loaded weight
       3178 tons and discounted cost MCr 34.301.
       All Katwha class vessels have names starting with a "K".
      Kzodazdak Type A2 Free Trader
       The Kzodazdak class Far Trader is mainly used to carry cargo and
       passengers within the Communality, though it is also used to trade
       with the Zhodani Consulate and the Meichntid Ibl. It differs from the
       Katwha in that it has jump-2, 368 dynamically linked panels, 8
       staterooms, Purification Plant (22 hours), 950 kl cargo, loaded weight
       1914.265 tons, discounted cost MCr 40.99.
       The cargo-only variant of the Kzodazdak has three staterooms, no low
       berths, no steward, cargo 1302 kl, loaded weight 2263.265 tons and
       discounted cost MCr 39.153.
       All Kzodazdak class vessels have names starting with a "Kz".
      Zdayok Type A2 Free Trader
       Craft ID:Talpaku Zdayok Trader, Type A2, TL 12, MCr 89.2 (including
       20% discount) Hull:360/900, Disp=400, Config=1SL, Armour=40F,
       Unloaded=3022 tons, Loaded=6177 tons Power:11/22, Fusion=1485 Mw (TL
       13), Duration=30/90 Loco:8/16, Maneuver-1, 11/22, Jump-2, NOE=160 kph,
       Cruise=750 kph, Top=1000 kph, Agility=0 Commo:Radio=System Sensors:EMS
       Passive=Interstellar, EMS Active=Far Orbit, ActObjScan=Rout,
       ActObjPin=Rout, PasEngScan=Rout Off/Def:Hardpoints=4, BeamLaser= x02
       (Batt 001, Bear 001), Missiles= x02 (Batt 001, Bear 001) Def:DefDM=+3
       Control:Computer=1x3, Panel=Dyn Link x 691, Special=HeadsUpx3,
       Environ=Basic Env, Basic LS, Extended LS, Grav Plates, Inertial Comp
       Accom:Crew=5 (Bridge=2, Engineer=1, Gunners=2), "Staterooms"=4,
       LowBerths=6 Other:Cargo=3117 kl, Fuel=936 kl, PurificationPlant (22.5
       hours), HE Missile magazine=12, ObjSize=Average, EmLevel=Faint
       The Zdayok class Trader is mainly used for trade outside the
       Communality. It is sometimes found in the hands of a single-ship small
       company, but is usually owned and operated by a takh or small company
       which owns several ships.
       There are two spare hardpoints, so extra weapons can be installed if
       desired. To do this, the low berth room or some cargo space must be
       converted into an auxiliary power plant room. Spare space has been
       allocated to the bridge to allow for the associated extra control
       panel units. The extra two gunners can be accommodated by everyone
       being in double occupancy.
       All Zdayok class vessels have names starting with "Zd".
      Hwhibuhwha Type J Interplanetary Seeker
       Craft ID:Talpaku Hwhibuhwha Seeker, Type J, TL 12, MCr 15 (including
       20% discount) Hull:63/158, Disp=70, Config=2SL, Armour=40F,
       Unloaded=580 tons, Loaded=1156 tons Power:3/6, Fusion=414 Mw (TL 13),
       Duration=60/180 Loco:1/2, Maneuver-1, NOE=n/a, Cruise=750 kph,
       Top=1000 kph, Vacuum=1200, Agility=0/2* Commo:Radio=Far Orbit
       Sensors:EMS Passive=Interplanetary, EMS Active=Far Orbit, Densitometer
       High Pen/50m, 2 heavy robotic arms, ActObjScan=Rout, ActObjPin=Rout,
       PasObjScan=Diff, PasObjPin=Diff, PasEngScan=Rout Off/Def:Hardpoints=1,
       PulseLaser=x01 (Batt 001, Bear 001) Def:DefDM=+2/+3*
       Control:Computer=0/bisx3, Panel=Dyn Link x70,
       Special=LargeHoloDisplay, Environ=Basic Env, Basic LS, Extended LS,
       Grav Plates, Inertial Comp, Air Lock Accom:Crew=1 (Bridge=1),
       "Staterooms"=1 Other:Cargo=564.7 kl, Fuel=163.2 kl, ObjSize=Average,
       The Hwhibuhwha class Interplanetary Seeker is often found in systems
       with rich belts that can sustain a permanent belter population (and so
       vessels do not need a jump drive). The pulse laser is used only for
       carving up planetoids, so the power plant is powered down most of the
       time (the duration stated provides for 240 hours use of the laser).
       Stats marked with a * are affected by power plant status (e.g. agility
       0 when powered up, 2 when powered down). Obviously, the laser can be
       used for combat purposes when necessary.
       Although the craft can be operated by a single person, a crew of 2 is
       more usual. This prevents loneliness and makes it more feasible that
       the necessary skills are well represented. Occasionally, these craft
       are found with a crew of 4, with each person specialising in some
       required skill and allowing 24 hour operation of the prospecting
       When used with a Tetukuv mining habitat, these craft have scoops
      Tetukov Type PW Mining Habitat
       Craft ID:Talpaku Tetukov Seeker, Type PW, TL 12, MCr 76.865 (including
       20% discount) Hull:540/1350, Disp=600, Config=8USL, Armour=45,
       Unloaded=3942 tons, Loaded=5691 tons Power:8/16, Fusion=1080 Mw (TL
       13), Duration=30 Loco:11/22, Maneuver-1, NOE=n/a, Cruise=750 kph,
       Top=1000 kph, Vacuum=1200, Agility=0 Commo:Radio=Far Orbitx2
       Sensors:EMS Passive=Interplanetary, EMS Active=Far Orbit, 4 heavy
       robotic arms, ActObjScan=Rout, ActObjPin=Rout, PasEngScan=Rout
       Off/Def:Hardpoints=6 Def:DefDM=+1 Control:Computer=0/bisx3, Panel=Dyn
       Link x714, Special=LargeHoloDisplayx2, Environ=Basic Env, Basic LS,
       Extended LS, Grav Plates, Inertial Comp, Air Lockx4 Accom:Crew=4
       (Bridge=2, Engineering=1, Medic=1), "Staterooms"=45, "MidPsg"=56,
       EmergLowBerth, SubCraft=Interplanetary Seekersx2 Other:Cargo=1719 kl,
       Fuel=432 kl, Purification Plant (51.8 hours), ObjSize=Average,
       EmLevel=Moderate/Faint (powered up/down)
       The Tetukov class mining habitat is mostly used by communes which wish
       to live in a planetoid belt, living a belter lifestyle. It is also
       used by larger companies.
       The duration assumes that the manoeuvre drive is used for only 5 days
       (i.e. to travel to and from the planetoid belt and otherwise used only
       for occasional orbital adjustments). The duration can be extended
       indefinitely if one of the carried subcraft (c.f. Hwhibuhwha class
       Interplanetary Seeker) is fitted with scoops and is sent on occasional
       missions to a gas giant to gather fuel (purification is done upon
       The craft needs only 4 crew but allows for a permanent population of
       60 Talpaku. The 45 "Staterooms" represent space for immediate living
       quarters and also areas needed for residents of all ages (e.g. general
       entertainment, education, fitness and medical facilities). One of the
       spare computers is used for entertainment and education unless needed
       by an emergency.
       The robotic arms are used in the cargo bay. The emergency low berth is
       for medical use. No provision for environment controls are made in the
       cargo, fuel and subcraft areas (not even grav plates). The air locks
       are used for access to the cargo bay (1), the subcraft (2) and the
       outside (1).
       There is a variant of this craft without a manoeuvre drive. These are
       bases, rather than craft, and must be moved by a tug or similar
       The Talpaku Communality stations military bases in belts which
       superficially resemble these habitats. The military bases are armed
       with missiles, energy weapons and/or fighters and are used for
       surprise attacks during invasions by such external threats as the
       Zhodani. Power plants are powered down to resemble the profile of a
       real Tetukov mining habitat and only a Passive Object Pinpoint from a
       densitometer will reveal the true nature of the craft. The minimum
       size of a prospecting claim is far greater than the maximum range of a
       densitometer, so the stations are normally safe from such detection.
       If a civilian craft does close to TL 15 densitometer range of a
       station, some crews will fire to protect their secret, even though
       this is technically against orders. It should be noted that an
       advantage of contact with the Imperium was that the Talpaku now know
       the ranges of many Zhodani sensors.
       It is sometimes said that trigger-happy prospectors who attack those
       who intrude on their claim space are not prosecuted as strongly as
       they should. This allows the military to cover up the occasional
       shooting by claiming that the victim was actually attacked by a
       trigger-happy civilian and it was not them at all.
       Vehicles are prolific in our decentralised society. All vehicles
       include computers, providing such features as navigational assistance,
       proximity alerts and cruise control at a minimum. All airborne
       vehicles can be controlled remotely, by the owner or by a traffic
       control computer.
       In the larger settlements of some worlds (e.g. Talpakuhome), traffic
       density makes central traffic control the only safe option. Most of us
       prefer traffic control computers anyway, since this allows us to
       concentrate on conversations with other passengers, listening to
       music, doing hobbies or work, or putting our makeup on.
       Vehicle design is similar to that of humans, but there are some
         * Accommodation need be doubled only if journeys of more than 9
           hours are expected.
         * Extended accommodations need only be provided if journeys of more
           than 9 hours are expected.
         * Civilian vehicles usually have "adequate" or "roomy" interiors,
           since this better allows the occupants to amuse themselves on
         * Basic life support is common in vehicle designs intended for the
           whole Communality, since only two of our worlds have breathable
           atmospheres. This allows us to remove compressors and filters for
         * Robot brains are often found in "deluxe" versions of longer-range
           vehicles, though these are only about skill level 1 or 2 and
           cannot handle extreme terrain or weather conditions.
      Kuzda Air/Raft
       Craft ID:Talpaku Kuzda Air/Raft, TL 12, Cr 713,085 Hull:2/5, Disp=2,
       Config=1SL, Armour=4F, Unloaded=6.3 tons, Loaded=6.8 tons Power:1/2,
       Fusion=2Mw (TL 13), Duration=15/45 Loco:1/2, Low Power H-Grav,
       Thrust=12 tons, NOE=160 kph, Cruise=675 kph, Top=900 kph,
       MaxAccel=0.75G Commo:Radio=Continental(5000km) Sensors:All Weather
       Radar=VDist (50 km), Synthetic Vision, ActObjScan=Diff, ActObjPin=Diff
       Off/Def:None Control:Computer=0x2, Dyn Link Accom:Crew=1 (operator),
       Seats=Roomyx5, Adequatex1, Env=Basic Env, Ext ls, inertial comp
       Other:Fuel=1.8 kl, Cargo=.442 kl, ObjSize=Small, EmLevel=Faint,
       The Kuzda air/raft is a typical vehicle owned by those who live in
       outlying communities but must commute to larger settlements on a
       regular basis. Although the design assumes routine journeys will not
       exceed 9 hours, the speed of the vehicle makes most destinations
       accessible in this time. Due to the cost, this vehicle is sometimes
       purchased by a commune rather than an individual.
       Extended life support is provided for convenience and also to allow
       the owner the option of using the vehicle for journeys of more than 9
       hours (this has no effect on performance except to reduce the maximum
       number of passengers).
       The first robot arm is in the cargo compartment and loads baggage. The
       second is in the cabin and performs basic steward functions.
       In deluxe models, such as those produced by my own company
       Kiplkhewhawhe, a robot brain replaces the primary computer: CPU=11
       linear, 10 parallel, 1 synaptic, Storage=30 standard, FundLogic=Low
       Autonomous, FundCmd=Full Command, Software=Grav Vehicle-1, Steward-1.
       Extra cost Cr 108,700.
       Robots have normally been used to replace manual labour rather than
       tasks involving intelligence; this tendency has increased, thanks to
       Virus. For efficiency, manual worker robots are found in groups, where
       one is a master robot and the rest are brainless slave robots. The
       master robot itself can be controlled remotely by radio.
       When a robot has need for "cargo space" (to carry tools, ore samples
       or the like), we instinctively place it in the lower torso, rather
       like a pouch.
       Robots are open-frame unless the environment in which they work makes
       enclosure necessary (as is the case with the sampler robot below).
       Unlike human society, open frame robots are quite acceptable (and
       cheaper, too!). Their owners sometimes like the incongruity of an open
       frame robot adorned with a feathered cap or scarf.
       We have no need to anthropomorphise our robots and would not bother
       with pseudo-biological types, even if we could build them.
      Yatikiki Biological Sampler Robot
       RobotID:Talpaku Yatikiki Biological Sampler Robot, TL 12, Cr 246,925,
       UPP LAx54x (Strength L=20) Hull:14/35, Size=350 litres, Config=2,
       Armour=2A, Weight=300 kg Power:5/10,FuelCell=75 kw (TL 13),
       Duration=180 hours Loco:1/2, 2 legs, Speed=3
       Commo:Radio=Regional(500km) Sensors:Visualx2 (with light intensifier
       and passive IR), Touchx2 (extra sensitivity), Olfactory (extra
       sensitivity), Audiox2 (extra sensitivity), Taste, Video Recorder 2D,
       Spotlight Off:Snub Pistol (with tranq) Def:None Brain:CPU=19 linear,
       10 parallel, 2 synaptic, Storage=36 standard, FundLogic=Low
       Autonomous, FundCmd=Basic Command, Software=Biology-3, Close Combat-1,
       Hunting-2, Snub Pistol-1, Recon-2 Append:Light Armx2 Other:Fuel=54
       litres, Cargo=29 litres, ObjSize=Tiny, EmLevel=Faint
       A more interesting type of Talpaku robot is the Yatikiki Biological
       Sampler Robot. Our complex nutritional needs can make colonies very
       reliant on foodstuffs imported from offworld, so it is important to
       make the most use of the biospheres of all our worlds. This robot is
       designed to go about the wilderness, looking for plants and small
       animals. The robot can be instructed to search for any new organism,
       or given particular criteria to use in searching.
       Biological surveys normally make robots responsible for different
       areas within the survey region. Each robot is dropped into the centre
       of its area, together with a refrigeration unit and hydrogen gas tank.
       From its base, each robot makes numerous field trips, progressively
       covering the surrounding area. The inbuilt radio is used when the
       mission is complete or when some pre-designated situation occurs.
       The video recorder can be replaced by a video camera, which transmits
       video images back to the mission supervisor. Another version has a
       half normal size fuel tank, allowing extra storage space.
       There are apocryphal stories of sampler robots capturing Zhodani
       spies, mistaking them for wildlife.

    Talpaku Referee's Notes

    Talpaku Referee's Notes
        By Grant Sinclair
        Date: 18th June 1996
    The Gourmet Club
       There are small numbers of dark eccentrics on a number of worlds
       called the "Gourmet Club". These Talpaku particularly like human flesh
       and periodically kidnap humans (mostly Zhodani) for this purpose. The
       unfortunate victims are kept alive in order to provide fresh, raw meat
       at a feast, generally an elaborate affair. Some prefer specific
       sub-races of humaniti or even individual blood types.
       The organisation is too loose for authorities to stamp it out
       entirely. The authorities are also frustrated by the fact that it is
       quite easy for those with means to secretly obtain humans. At present,
       the media is voluntarily downplaying these events, in an attempt to
       stop other dark eccentrics being inspired to copy these crimes.
       Although this policy does appear to be working, it does have the
       unfortunate side effect that visitors are also unaware of the
       existence of the club.
    Character Generation
       Talpaku characters should be generated as per normal rules, except
       that psionic ability and anagathics are not possible. Homeworld
       limited to one of the worlds of the Talpaku Communality or one of the
       nearby worlds stated as including Talpaku population.
       Roll up characteristics as normal, except:
       Classic Traveller: Subtract 1 from Strength (minimum 1). Gain DM of +1
       on any interpersonal die roll (excepting those involving Zhodani). Any
       career from the normal set and from Citizens of the Imperium is
       allowed. Rogues exist, but as members of street gangs and not as
       Megatraveller: As Classic Traveller. In addition, a bonus of 2 is
       gained for aging roll saving throws (since the Talpaku live longer
       than standard humans).
       TNE: Subtract 1 from Strength (minimum 1), add 1 to Charisma (maximum
       15). Any career from the normal set of careers is allowed (except that
       Psionic Researchers and Rebels require permission of the referee).
       Toughs exist, but as members of street gangs and not as individuals.
       In addition, a bonus of 2 is gained for aging roll saving throws.
       In addition, players may elect that their character is eccentric.
       Players choose a suitable, significant, eccentricity and also gain a
       significant advantage (perhaps a DM of +1 on rolls made involving a
       given characteristic). Both the eccentricity and advantage must be
       approved by the referee.
    Roleplaying Talpaku
       Talpaku think that all Regency humans are like the people they met
       through the IISS, RISS and diplomatic services and rather like them.
       They think that Regency humans are great people and find them far
       nicer and more trustworthy than the Zhodani.
       Since musical scores and even holochips with critical information are
       so small, player characters could individually become significant on a
       trade level.
    Overall Military Strategy
       The Talpaku are experimenting with warbots with prototype TL 15 power
       plants and energy weapons. These have average intelligence and hence
       are superior to Zhodani warbots. The Zhodani only know about the
       standard Talpaku TL 12/13 warbots, which are slightly inferior to
       their own designs, so the Talpaku hope to give the Zho a shock the
       next time around. They cannot make great numbers of these, but hope
       that deployment at a critical moment could turn the tide of battle.
       This could be the only thing where they are better than the Zho. A
       Virus outbreak amongst warbots would be horrific...
    Talpaku Intentions
       Expansion: Now that the S'raak form a small buffer state between the
       Communality and the Zhodani, the Talpaku are again expansionist. The
       government sees such expansion, if handled properly, as a way of
       improving the economy and of improving the public perception of the
       government. At this stage, expansion into subsector M is most
       attractive, since there are some worlds there that the Communality
       would like to snap up before anyone else does. Otherwise, the
       Communality is looking into expansion into Tsadra sector. The S'raak
       Empire: It is true that much of the Talpaku military is tied up on the
       S'raak border, but this was the case before the S'raak War anyway
       (against the Zhodani). The Communality feels that it is strong enough
       to handle any future S'raak invasion, now that the S'raak advantage of
       surprise has been negated. It is the continuing annoyance of the tiny
       raids that cause a problem.
       The Communality does not particularly want any of the worlds of the
       S'raak Empire (most are less than ideal for Talpaku colonisation), but
       if the S'raak were to provide a reasonable excuse for the Talpaku to
       take a world or two from them, the Communality knows that this would
       be politically possible. Of course it is aware that this is true of
       the other states bordering the S'raak Empire, and so the Talpaku watch
       openings for the others very carefully.
       The Communality believes that the raids are more than just independent
       pirates, and is hoping to get information from captured pirates that
       point to S'raak or Zhodani involvement.
       Talpaku words are translated into Galanglic in two ways. Some words
       are translated according to meaning, since the name carries meaning to
       the thing (e.g. Broken Promise, Firestar).
       Others are translated by the use of an artificial language, replacing
       particular whistles and clicks with letters. Such words can be
       generated as normal, rolling 1D for number of syllables and then
       generating each syllable by consulting the table.
       All vowels are short (as the "a" in "apple") and pronounced (unlike
       the "e" in "apple"). Most consonants are hard and need not be doubled.
       For instance, the sound "apple" would be spelt ("apl"). The only
       exceptions to the consonants rule are the breathed w, wh, hwh (each
       having more breath than the last) and ch (which is pronounced as in
       the Scottish loch). The kk initial consonant is not an exception - it
       is pronounced as two k's.
                       Basic                                    Alternate
                 1   2   3   4   5   6                  1   2   3   4   5   6
             1   C   C   C   C   C   C                  V   V   V   V   V   V
             2   C   C   C   C   C   C                  V   V   V   V   V   V
             3  CV  CV  CV  CV  CV  CV                 VC  VC  VC  VC  VC  VC
             4  CV  CV  CV  CV  CV  CV                 VC  VC  VC  VC  VC  VC
             5  CV  CV  CV  CV  CV  CV                 CV  CV  CV  CV  CV  CV
             6 CVC CVC CVC CVC CVC CVC                CVC CVC CVC CVC CVC CVC
       For initial syllables, or after CV or V      For syllables after VC or CVC
    1  Initial Consonant              Vowel                     Final Consonant
         1   2   3   4   5   6    1   2   3   4   5   6     1   2   3   4   5   6
     1   B   B   B   B   B   B    A   A   A   A   A   A    BL  BL  BL  BL  BL  BL
     2   B   B   B   B   B   B    A   A   A   A   A   A    BL  BL  BL  BL  BL  BL
     3  CH  CH  CH  CH  CH  CH    A   A   A   A   A   A    CH  CH  CH  CH  CH  CH
     4  CH  CH  CH  CH  CH  CH    A   A   A   A   A   A    CH  CH  CH  CH  CH  CH
     5   D   D   D   D   D   D    A   A   A   A   A   A    CH  CH  CH  CH  CH  CH
     6   G   G   G   G   G   G    A   A   A   A   A   A     D   D   D   D   D   D
    2  Initial Consonant              Vowel                     Final Consonant
         1   2   3   4   5   6    1   2   3   4   5   6     1   2   3   4   5   6
     1   G   G   G   G   G   G    A   A   A   A   A   A     D   D   D   D   D   D
     2   G   G   G   G   G   G    A   A   A   A   A   A    DL  DL  DL  DL  DL  DL
     3   K   K   K   K   K   K    A   A   A   A   A   A    DL  DL  DL  DL  DL  DL
     4   K   K   K   K   K   K    A   A   A   A   A   A   DWH DWH DWH DWH DWH DWH
     5   K   K   K   K   K   K    A   A   A   A   A   A     K   K   K   K   K   K
     6   K   K   K   K   K   K    E   E   E   E   E   E     K   K   K   K   K   K
    3  Initial Consonant              Vowel                     Final Consonant
         1   2   3   4   5   6    1   2   3   4   5   6     1   2   3   4   5   6
     1   K   K   K   K   K   K    E   E   E   E   E   E    KL  KL  KL  KL  KL  KL
     2  KH  KH  KH  KH  KH  KH    E   E   E   E   E   E    KL  KL  KL  KL  KL  KL
     3  KK  KK  KK  KK  KK  KK    E   E   E   E   E   E    KL  KL  KL  KL  KL  KL
     4  KK  KK  KK  KK  KK  KK    E   E   E   E   E   E    KT  KT  KT  KT  KT  KT
     5  KK  KK  KK  KK  KK  KK    E   E   E   E   E   E    KT  KT  KT  KT  KT  KT
     6  KZ  KZ  KZ  KZ  KZ  KZ    E   E   E   E   E   E     L   L   L   L   L   L
    4  Initial Consonant              Vowel                     Final Consonant
         1   2   3   4   5   6    1   2   3   4   5   6     1   2   3   4   5   6
     1  KZ  KZ  KZ  KZ  KZ  KZ    I   I   I   I   I   I     L   L   L   L   L   L
     2  KZ  KZ  KZ  KZ  KZ  KZ    I   I   I   I   I   I     L   L   L   L   L   L
     3   P   P   P   P   P   P    I   I   I   I   I   I    LK  LK  LK  LK  LK  LK
     4   T   T   T   T   T   T    I   I   I   I   I   I    LK  LK  LK  LK  LK  LK
     5   T   T   T   T   T   T    I   I   I   I   I   I    LK  LK  LK  LK  LK  LK
     6   V   V   V   V   V   V    I   I   I   I   I   I    LV  LV  LV  LV  LV  LV
    5  Initial Consonant              Vowel                     Final Consonant
         1   2   3   4   5   6    1   2   3   4   5   6     1   2   3   4   5   6
     1   V   V   V   V   V   V    I   I   I   I   I   I    LV  LV  LV  LV  LV  LV
     2   W   W   W   W   W   W    O   O   O   O   O   O    PL  PL  PL  PL  PL  PL
     3   W   W   W   W   W   W    O   O   O   O   O   O    PT  PT  PT  PT  PT  PT
     4  WH  WH  WH  WH  WH  WH    O   O   O   O   O   O    PT  PT  PT  PT  PT  PT
     5  WH  WH  WH  WH  WH  WH    O   O   O   O   O   O    PT  PT  PT  PT  PT  PT
     6  WH  WH  WH  WH  WH  WH    O   O   O   O   O   O     T   T   T   T   T   T
    6  Initial Consonant              Vowel                     Final Consonant
         1   2   3   4   5   6    1   2   3   4   5   6     1   2   3   4   5   6
     1 HWH HWH HWH HWH HWH HWH    U   U   U   U   U   U    TL  TL  TL  TL  TL  TL
     2 HWH HWH HWH HWH HWH HWH    U   U   U   U   U   U    TL  TL  TL  TL  TL  TL
     3   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y    U   U   U   U   U   U     Z   Z   Z   Z   Z   Z
     4   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y    U   U   U   U   U   U     Z   Z   Z   Z   Z   Z
     5  ZD  ZD  ZD  ZD  ZD  ZD    U   U   U   U   U   U    ZK  ZK  ZK  ZK  ZK  ZK
     6  ZD  ZD  ZD  ZD  ZD  ZD    U   U   U   U   U   U    ZK  ZK  ZK  ZK  ZK  ZK

    The Vlazhdumecta

    The Vlazhdumecta (as at 1201)
        by David Thornell (with Grant Sinclair)
        Date: 15 August 1994 (Published in TTC)
       The following comes from the History of Draj Orshtiel (First House) on
       Anchli, (Yiklerzdanzh 2140), as collected by Archivist Shtivats
       jir-Vretsdriezh. This special collection presents the mixed blood
       Vlazhdumecta (the most commonly encountered type in Afachtiabr) and
       the rarer pure or near-pure blood people (as in the Izrats Kriezhlas
       Unity in Yiklerzdanzh, the last remaining Vlazhdumecta state, and in
       backwater settlements in Afachtiabr).
       Externally, we show only minor differences from the bulk of humaniti.
       However, the story is quite different below the cellular level, where
       extensive geneering by the Ancients has greatly modified the genetic
       mechanism (while still remaining within human norms).
       These genetic differences have led some scientists to argue that we
       should be considered a separate race, rather than part of humaniti. As
       we have obviously interbred with other human races, this is of course
       Evidence suggests that this geneering was incomplete when the Final
       War began and that the stabilisation of our biochemistry has been a
       gradual process over the last 300,000 years. The interbreeding over
       the last 6 millenia with the Sky Raiders, Zhodani and other human
       races has been of great assistance.
       Height and Weight: There is little difference in size between males
       and females. Both sexes average 1.9 m tall. However, while males mass
       approximately 90 kg, females mass slightly less at 85 kg.
       Appearance: Our appearance remains mostly unchanged from that of our
       ancestors millenia ago. Our skin is heavily pigmented and ranges in
       colour from golden bronze to almost pure black. Most pure blooded
       Vlazhdumecta are a dark bronze. While our skin is dry, we have a layer
       of subcutaneous fat which gives us a sleek, "rounded" appearance. Our
       hair is coarse, straight and usually pure white. Interbreeding has
       seen the appearance in the last few thousand years of blonde, grey and
       even brown hair. However, facial and body hair is almost non-existent.
       Our faces are dolichocephalic (long-headed), triangular in shape with
       high cheekbones. There is some prognathism (projection) of the lower
       face. We have a wide forehead that slopes back from a light brow
       ridge. The nose is small, convex and high bridged. Eyes are always
       large and dark. There is an epicanthic fold and secondary lid
       arrangement controlled by additional muscles beneath the brow line.
       This gives us our so-called "sleepy" appearance to other humans, but
       protects against glare and windborn particles. We have small, recessed
       ears which lie flat against the skull. A protective membrane can seal
       them from cold and dust. Because of this arrangement, we have poor
       hearing in standard atmospheres or thinner.
       A female of our race is featured in a large low resolution
       illustration (33K) and also in a higher resolution head and torso
       only view (24K).
       Diet: Like most humans, we are omnivorous. However, due to the changes
       in our metabolism, we require a regular intake of certain amino acids
       and sugars. Luckily, these can be found in most foodstuffs. These
       changes also allow us to find nutrition in a wide range of
       biochemistries. We generally eat 5 to 6 small meals a day, the largest
       of which is generally taken after the first sleep period of the day.
       Rest: Our colonising origin has made our circadian rhythm highly
       adaptable. However, left to itself, our natural rhythm seems to be
       adapted to a 28 hour repeating cycle over 168 hours (6 hours sleep, 10
       hours work, 4 hours sleep, 8 hours rest). The sleep periods in the
       final 28 hour period are generally longer, with a shortened rest
       period. When working in the 24 hour cycle of most other human
       cultures, we usually keep a shortened 24 hour cycle over the same
       period (4 hours sleep, 8 hours work, 9 hours sleep, 7 hours rest).
       Reproduction: We are unusual in that the female has well marked
       periods of oestrous. These were originally of fixed durations and
       times, but they have become longer and more frequent over the
       Males are always sexually capable, but suffer periods of infertility,
       due to the last remnants of incomplete geneering.
       If fertilisation occurs, live offspring are born after a gestation
       period of about 270 days. Multiple births are rare. It appears that
       this method of reproduction was developed to offset the lowered
       fertility associated with the geneered changes made by the Ancients.
       Sterile offspring are still relatively common (1/1000), although much
       less so than at the time of original Zhodani contact (1/20).
       Those of us with even a minor Zhodani genetic heritage tend to be more
       fertile and are less likely to bear to sterile children. With as much
       as half Zhodani or other genetic heritage, sterile offspring are
       virtually unknown and fertility is further increased (though still
       lower then human norms).
       Senses: Our senses are about as acute as those of other humans. We
       differ only in that our eyes can cope with greater brightness and
       atmospheric irritants and that our hearing is less acute in standard
       or thinner atmospheres.
       Anatomy: Apart from the minor differences already mentioned, there is
       little to distinguish us externally from other humans. However,
       internally, our basic biochemical functions exhibit several major
       differences from other human races. Of most interest is that our
       bodies are in a constant state of metabolic acidosis. This is due to
       the higher plasma levels of lipids and ketone bodies resulting from
       metabolism of an extra four amino acids. As a result, some humans
       (particularly Solomani) complain of an unpleasant odour associated
       with us. We have a different range of blood types to other humans. The
       three major types are designated V1, V2 and V3 for convenience.
       Lifespan: Biological evidence has shown that the first Vlazhdumecta
       were autopolyploidal. It is believed that the Ancients geneering
       efforts on them were experimental and incomplete at the time of the
       Final War. As a result, sterility of offspring after the war exceeded
       50%. Population would have plummeted and extinction would have been
       imminent for millenia after the war.
       However, these changes have markedly reduced the rate and effects of
       senescence compared to that in other Humans (even Vilani). A racially
       pure Vlazhdumecta has a life expectancy of about 130 standard years.
       For most of that period, they will appear unchanged from when they
       were 30-40 years old. Interbreeding has reduced the lifespan, but even
       those with less than one eighth Vlazhdumectan blood can expect a
       lifespan of 110-120 years.
       However, at some point the metabolic process starts breaking down.
       Degenerative changes occur rapidly and death is usually 8 to 10 months
       after the first physical symptoms. This period is called the Inzhan
       Hel: ("divine wind"). Due to the horrendous breakdown that occurs once
       senescence sets in, most of us finalise our affairs after the first
       symptoms and opt for euthanasia.
       The last vestiges of unstable biochemistry produces premature Inzhan
       Hel in about 1 in 100,000 of us. This tragic event usually also
       induces unstable psychological patterns.
    Cellular Geneering
       Most of the changes in our race are the result of only a few
       fundamental changes in our genetic structure. The non-histones, the
       small proteins that bind other proteins to DNA, are markedly
       different. Transcription of specific genes into mRNA is thereby
       modified and enhanced with the use of several unusual biosymthetic
       enzymes, thus aiding the synthesis of additional protein. Our
       chromosomes are also much more heterochromatic than other humans,
       meaning that unlike other races, most of our chromosome is involved in
       genetic activity. However, some of this activity is additional
       reiterations of genes. Another benefit is an increase in packing
       density, resilience and regrowth potential of the neurons and their
       surrounding myelin sheath.
       Philosophy: To us, the universe is hierarchical in nature. It
       comprises the mundane (yetsda), sublime (kethra), and causal (hokhsda)
       worlds. The physical mind and body can only experience the mundane
       world. The world as experienced through the external senses can never
       relate to true reality. The sublime world is experienced through the
       inner mind, manifested by intuition, imagination, and the visionary
       experience. This is the true reality, and is experienced most directly
       during the Inzhan Hel, prior to death. The causal world is a unified
       consciousness that links the mundane and sublime experiences. This is
       most easily accomplished through the use of psionic potential's.
       To the extent that this philosophy embraces religion, we believe that
       God is utterly unknowable, but is present in all creation. Creation is
       God, whose energies can be experienced through the sublime being.
       Lam Dre ("proper action"): The basic ideal to which all Vlazhdumecta
       strive. The concept refers to principles including honour, gentility,
       sensitivity to proper behaviour, faithfulness to duty, recognition of
       ones proper place, and harmony.
    Society And Culture
       The Vlazhdumecta are a deeply spiritual, emotional people. Their
       society and culture has been profoundly affected by their contact with
       the Zhodani, both before and after the Vlazhdumecta collapse. Like the
       Zhodani, psionics has sculpted our society and is an integral part of
       our racial psyche.
       Itos: A basic tenet of our culture. It denotes the understanding from
       within accomplished by empathy, intuition, imagination, and/or divine
       inspiration. It rejects knowledge from without accomplished from
       observation and research.
       Draj ("House/clan"): A descent grouping incorporating one or many
       lineages. Companies are often based around these family or extended
       family lines. Even within companies, business units tend to be smaller
       than those of normal Zhodani or Imperial practice. The highest status
       work is associated with value-added products, so Vlazhdumecta items
       tend to be well crafted and long lasting, though more expensive. Some
       travellers like to visit obscure villages, hoping to find some item of
       great workmanship.
       Ishikin ("amalgamation of purpose"): A grouping of Houses brought
       together for a common purpose. The group is considered one House for
       legal purposes for the duration of the quest and holds special status.
       If divinely inspired, any action thwarting the achievement of the goal
       can result in pariah status.
       Kishik ("place of contemplation"): Any place which is used for quiet
       contemplation and experiencing of the sublime world. Most settlements
       have a variety of such places, whether constructed (our equivalent of
       your churches and monasteries) or natural (specially preserved areas
       of natural wilderness, such as pools and streams). It is not unknown
       for hikers or mountain climbers to come across such places far away
       from population centres, perhaps established and nurtured by a single
       About 6000 years ago, our ancestors were contacted by the Zhodani.
       Already possessing a moderate tech level, they were able to use the
       secret of the jump drive obtained from the Zhodani to colonise much of
       Afachtiabr sector.
       At about the same time as the Zhodani were becoming concerned about
       the Vlazhdumecta, a multi-House effort established a colony in
       Yiklerzdanzh. A number of other nearby worlds had just been settled
       when the Vlazhdumecta Colonisation Sphere began to collapse. When it
       was realised that the end was near, the last Vlazhdumecta in
       spin/rimward Afachtiabr with the capability to do so consolidated in
       the Yiklerzdanzh colony. By -4900, the link to the Yiklerzdanzh
       colonies had been long abandoned.
       Originally, the Vlazhdumecta spoke numerous languages, each with a
       stylised ideographic written form. After Zhodani contact, many learnt
       the spoken and written forms of Zdetl (the Zhodani language) and so
       Zdetl became the lingua franca of the Vlazhdumecta. Some believe that
       the increased ability to communicate with each other was a factor in
       the sudden boost of Vlazhdumecta fortunes that followed Zhodani
       As the Vlazhdumecta spread out into space, each colony used an
       official language (derived from the part of the homeworld from which
       they came) and Zdetl (used to communicate with off worlders). The
       languages began to merge and evolve in different directions,
       particularly after the breakup of the Vlazhdumecta Colonial Sphere and
       the influx of Sky Raiders Imperials and other peoples.
       Pure Vlazhdumecta languages disappeared well before modern times,
       though many backwater villages speak tongues which in part descend
       from them. Linguists are very interested in reconstructing the
       original languages, but no such attempt has gained wide acceptance.
       Linguists are famous for fierce arguments, attacking the theories of
       others and defending their own, to the point where all are stereotyped
       as fiery, larger than life characters. Archaeologist-Linguists are
       well known patrons of expeditions to obscure villages on obscure
       Travellers will find that Zdetl is needed on most Zhodani
       ex-Vlazhdumecta worlds. Galanglic is best outside the Consulate, but
       travellers should beware the higher number of loan and slang words
       than usual.
    Vlazhdumecta Characters
       Character Generation: Vlazhdumecta characters are generated using
       normal rules, except that a -1 DM should be applied to
       Endurance/Constitution (minimum of 2 for Endurance and 1 for
       For all three game systems, aging rolls are made at the usual times.
       For seven-eighths or better Vlazhdumecta blood, add 4 to all saving
       throws against losses (so losses are less likely). For six-eighths,
       the modifier is +3, for five-eighths +2, for one-eighth to
       four-eighths +1. Those with less than one-eighth Vlazhdumecta blood
       live normal human lifetimes.
       Anagathics: Normal anagathics have little effect on pure or near-pure
       Vlazhdumecta, due to biochemical differences. However, virtually all
       Vlazhdumecta in Afachtiabr sector have enough genes from other human
       races to use the standard anagathics.

    The Zhodani Presence

    The Zhodani presence in Yiklerzdanzh (as at 1201)
        by David Schneider
        Date: 23 October 1994
       The Zhodani hold six coreward subsectors of Yiklerzdanzh
       (specifically, A-E plus H). This document has library data (including
       some world write-ups) for these subsectors, as at 1201.
       Admiral Plaedr: was appointed to command of all military forces in
       Yiklerzdanzh in 1142. His career prior to this date is largely
       unknown, although it is believed that he was transferred to
       Yiklerzdanzh from somewhere coreward. Rumours suggest that this was
       following some scandal, and that he was sent to Yiklerzdanzh to avoid
       embarrassment to the nobility.
       The Admiral inherited a shabby command. The majority of the sector
       fleets consisted of second and third line vessels which had been
       reactivated when most of the front line warships were sent as
       replacements for Fifth Frontier War losses. These front line ships had
       never been replaced as the provincial government became more and more
       preoccupied with other matters.
       In the first month of taking command the Admiral set the tone for the
       rest of his career as supreme commander in Yiklerzdanzh. He made no
       attempt to upgrade his fleets or equipment, dispersed his most capable
       officers to various minor postings and formed a general staff
       comprised of "yes men".
       In 1160, at the outbreak of the S'raak War, the Admiral launched an
       unsuccessful invasion of Meichntid Ibl after assuming that S'raak
       attacks were done at Meichntid Ibl instigation. The invasion was a
       complete disaster and was repulsed with terrible losses. Admiral
       Plaedr was removed from command and subsequently disappeared. An
       illustration (14K) of the Admiral has been circulated by the Zhodani,
       the Rellington News Service and the Meichntid Ibl, all promising
       sizable rewards for information leading to his capture.
       Ancients Sites: exist in a number of Zhodani systems in Yiklerzdanzh.
       The Consulate Government confirms only two sites, located on
       Fishieshnianj (0906) and Zhiefnach (1404).
       Security is tight on both of the confirmed sites. Zhiefnach, a
       forbidden system, is strictly off limits to non Consulate citizens.
       Numerous requests from foreign scientists to examine either site have
       been refused.
       It is rumoured that other Ancients sites exist upon Iabrinch (2605),
       Yienchbrej (1902), Zhdi'apl (2812), Klichints (3008) and Reentschti
       (1206). The Consulate government refuses to confirm or deny rumours of
       these or any other sites.
       Iadr Nsobl Province: is a Zhodani province covering sections of
       Yiklerzdanzh, Afachtiabr, Iakr, Briakqra', Tloql, and all of
       Ziafrplians sectors. The Yiklerzdanzh section of the province has its
       senior council located at Kizdalfa (2007)/Shipaiebria. The Zhodani
       systems in Yiklerzdanzh have been settled for millennia and have a
       long history of civilisation.
       During the S'raak War, in 1160, the sector fared badly when Fleet
       Admiral Plaedr misinterpreted S'raak attacks as Meichntid Ibl
       aggression. The Admiral launched a disastrously unsuccessful invasion
       of Meichntid Ibl in which the neglected Zhodani fleets were decisively
       This defeat was a serious loss of face for the entire province, both
       inside the Consulate and with the states upon its borders. Following
       the S'raak War, Fleet Admiral Plaedr disappeared. Admiral Staedrlie
       replaced Admiral Plaedr and was given special powers by the provincial
       government to put Consulate affairs in Yiklerzdanzh in order.
       The following years have seen a variety of new reforms and
       initiatives. The formerly neglected Yiklerzdanzh fleets have been
       reorganised, re-equipped and brought up to strength. The amount of
       military tonnage on the slips has increased dramatically, as has the
       number of combined arms exercises.
       Japradlie Incident: In 1193, the Consulate system of Japradlie (0214)
       was attacked by a lone S'raak warship. The S'raak warship was
       successful in destroying a merchant ship and two system defence boats
       before it was itself destroyed.
       The incident was thought to be a deliberate act of aggression on the
       part of the S'raak Empire and Zhodani military forces were placed on
       alert in preparation for an invasion by the S'raak.
       Later, however, a part of the S'raak warship was recovered by Zhodani
       investigators and the ships log was found. Upon decoding and
       translation of the log, it was discovered that the vessel was one that
       the S'raak had lost to an apparent misjump in the late stages of the
       S'raak War.
       According to the ship's log, the S'raak warship had been part of a war
       fleet on its way to engage Meichntid Ibl forces at Chtiejtlenz, but it
       had misjumped due to poor quality zuchai crystals. The ships crew,
       finding themselves some distance from their target and quite far away
       from the nearest system, had set a course for the closest star and
       climbed into cold sleep berths.
       When the vessel reached the Zhodani system, after decades of sublight
       travel, the crew climbed out of their cold berths and continued with
       the war, apparently ignorant of the fact that the war had been for
       quite some time.
       It is believed, and partly confirmed by the S'raak themselves, that
       quite a few S'raak warships were lost during the war due to misjumps,
       primarily a result of the S'raak's inability to obtain high quality
       jump drive components. There is widespread concern throughout the
       region that, even as you read this entry, there could be S'raak
       warships heading towards your system.
       Psionic Shield Helmets: Use of Psi helmets is widespread throughout
       the non Zhodani areas of Yiklerzdanzh. Psi shield helmets block all
       mental attacks upon the wearer of a psionic nature, and also prevent
       any sort of psionic mind reading.
       It is not surprising, therefore, that Psi helmets are illegal within
       the borders of the Zhodani Consulate - possession of which is a
       re-education offence. The major manufacturer of Psi helmets in
       Yiklerzdanzh is the Akigura Union, and it is believed that there is a
       thriving smuggling operation of helmets from there into the Consulate.
       Qriil Program: Following the appointment of Admiral Staedrlie, large
       numbers of second and third line vessels in service with the Zhodani
       Yiklerzdanzh sector fleets were decommissioned and replaced. This left
       the Zhodani with a large number of surplus vessels, of obsolete
       The Qriil Program, begun in 1171, saw these obsolete vessels sold to
       potential allies and client states at drastically reduced prices. It
       should also be noted that the Program applies not only to warships.
       Large numbers of supply ships, courier vessels and other support craft
       were also decommissioned and replaced.
       As a consequence of the Qriil Program the amount of vessels of Zhodani
       origin in service throughout the sector has increased dramatically.
       Former Zhodani vessels can be found in use with planetary defence
       forces, merchant corporations, and an increasingly large amount are
       falling into the hands of independent traders.
       Subsector Capitals: The Zhodani government structure in Yiklerzdanzh
       is broken up into seven regional councils based on the subsector
       level. The home systems of these councils are consequently the
       subsector capitals of the subsectors they are in. The Subsector
       Capitals are located at 0708 Chtench/Peedizh Chr, 1308 Viadl
       Rirnch/Tapljifriens, 2007 Kizdalfa/Shipaiebria, 2801 Shiqrch/Drbli
       Chtidr, 0316 Zhelzdatl/Izellensjdash, 1013 Rblinch/Meichntid Ibl, and
       2714 Itlfeklkrekl/Chinzhedniedoch. Zhodani systems in Lenchiajzhdiezh
       are administered directly from Kizdalfza.
       The council based on Kizdalfa is the senior council in the subsector
       and is regarded by outsiders as the sector capital. The least powerful
       council is that based upon Rblinch, as it only controls a small number
       of systems. There has been talk for the last ten years or so of
       abolishing the Rblinch council and turning control of the area over to
       Zhelzdatl or Chtench.
       Trailing Relay Route: The Zhodani Consulate maintains a special Relay
       Route down the Trailing side of the sector to the Izrats Kriezhlas
       Unity, which is a Zhodani Ally.
       The Route goes through the Akigura Union and Salinaikin Concordance.
       It also goes through several independent systems. It is believed that
       the Consulate spends a great deal annually to keep this route open.
       However the route brings a great deal of trade to the systems it goes
       through, which is probably the main reason why the Zhodani bases are
       tolerated by several governments which are not pro-Consulate.
       Another relay route used to exist on the Spinward section of the
       sector, but this was closed following the S'raak War. Many systems on
       the previous route suffered extreme economic hardship due to the
       closure. Much of this hardship persists to this day and has resulted
       in quite a bit of anti-Consulate feeling in many systems.
       Zheelibli Deerzh: is the foreign news service of the Zhodani Consulate
       in Yiklerzdanzh. The news service has signed a special exchange deal
       with the largest private news network in Yiklerzdanzh, The Rellington
       News Group.
       Several governments of states in Yiklerzdanzh have criticised the
       Zheelibli Deerzh as being a propaganda tool of the Consulate
       government. While this may or may not be true, the news service is the
       best, and fastest, source of news about events happening to coreward
       and trailing.
       Zhodani Free Traders: Contrary to what some people may prefer to
       believe, the Zhodani Consulate does not restrict free trade. There are
       numerous private companies and corporations throughout Zhodani space
       and among them is the humble free trader.
       Like free traders everywhere, most are in operation only after a hefty
       bank loan. So, again like free traders everywhere, Zhodani free
       traders are very much motivated by a desire to make a profit and keep
       ahead of the repayments.
       Far traders tend to be owned and operated by members of the Intendant
       class, although some few are operated by adventurous or disgraced
       nobles. Also a surprisingly large number are owned and operated by
       members of the Prole class, probably as this is a way of bypassing
       some aspects of Zhodani social structure.
       Many states in Yiklerzdanzh, and in some neighbouring states for that
       matter, are distrustful of Zhodani Free Traders. Meichntid Ibl is the
       worst of these and enforces strict travel regulations for Zhodani
       trading vessels within its territory. It is believed by many people
       that all Zhodani trading vessels are really spy ships gathering
       intelligence for military purposes.
       The widespread belief that all Zhodani are psionic is completely
       false. Psionic training is generally limited to the nobility, so it is
       unlikely that a Zhodani merchant will have any psionic abilities.
       However most governments recommend the use of Psionic Shield Helmets
       when dealing with Zhodani. This recommendation is seldom disregarded.
       Zhodani Scientific Bases: exist in several systems throughout the
       sector. These can be a sore point with rival states, such as Meichntid
       Ibl and the Talpaku Communality, who suspect that the Zhodani have an
       ulterior motive for the bases and the ships that supply them.

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