Sarcasm Node, on history: “I have a great idea! Let's build godlike AIs so we can hack reality and ascend to a higher plane of existence! This couldn't possibly lead to hellishly terrible consequences!”
The region currently called the Refuge was, in part, a short-lived interstellar nation which had been built on its plentiful hyperspace lanes, but collapsed due to internal strife. Trade dissipated as the population fled and piracy and warlordism became rampant. The nation had never been fully developed and was distant from other holdings, so the sectors became isolated and rarely visited. The Refugees arrived in a rather empty of nearby sector of space and moved into the home sector after some scouting.
Due to the inherent difficulties in communicating between the different races, the Refuge has a complex internal linguistic and naming system that is hard to translate to outsiders. As such, most names given are descriptors that others can translate into their own languages. Exceptions were usually made where locations clearly had previous names. (See Species section for more detailed information).
Note: population estimates can be tricky due to the nature of the Aggregates, Modulars, Mechanicals, and artificial/computational intelligences.
3 colonies x 1 pt each = 3 pts
3 hyperspace junctions x 2 pts = 6 pts
1 warp gate x 1 = 1 pt
8 GDP boosts, 7 pop boosts (15 total) x 1 = 15
Boost distributions spread among the three colonies.
In order of importance:
1) The gods must not be provoked again lest they come back and find us.
2) Internal security of other natures must be maintained.
Generally, if nations/peoples/organizations/etc. are willing to be friends with the Refuge, the Refuge will be friends with them. However, due to the rather paranoiac nature of the Refuge in general, maintaining the secrecy of the goings-on of the Prime Refuge is a higher priority, and anything that would risk the appearance of the 'evil gods' must be stopped, regardless of consequences. This is leading to an uncomfortable situation when dealing with ESPers, as it far too closely resembles practices now considered theologically-unsafe.
Publicly, the Refuge will leave out the information about the evil gods and only say that they were driven from their previous home due to a devastating war. Information on the full history of the Refuge and their predecessors is only divulged to highly trusted individuals and groups.
The Refuge has been openly disseminating the plans for constructing and using an Emergency Drive, such as they had used to escape their previous compromised location. Since the Emergency Drive is one use, one way only to a very distant location in the universe and cannot be aimed with any accuracy, and construction of one would require approximately 45,000 standard building units, it is considered a safe gift that would merely use up an inordinate amount of a nation's resources only to remove a portion of it permanently.
Prime Refuge (Home Sector)Edit
Most of the population lives and works in space in orbitals, habitats, ships, etc spread out in orbit around the systems' primaries or gas giants. Asteroids, small moons, planets, and so forth have been systematically stripped apart for resources. The exceptions are the easily planoformable worlds. One of them, now called the Garden, appeared to be the site of a former planoforming project that had been abandoned at an advanced stage. As its name implies, it is being turned into a garden world for recreation and pleasure although more work remains to be done. Two other worlds are in very early stages of planoforming while a third is being held at the moment until resources are made available for the project and a few valuable and rare minerals have been mined from it.
Access to Prime Refuge is extremely limited. Only by invitation may anyone enter in normal-space. Ships wishing to pass through on the hyperspace lanes must stop at the Escort Stations and be accompanied as they pass through. Interdiction fields are also set up as a secondary measure to keep out prying eyes.
Sector Population: 60 Billion
Sector GDP: $14,000
Warp Gate & Hyperspace Junction present
Notable Population Centers (each in a separate system):
Central Complex (major moon of the Garden) – the primary governmental center where the main AI cores reside or visit for major decision making. Also an research base
Home Gate Port – Coupled with the massive gate-guarding station; a transfer station, mostly for resources coming from the Grand Junction warp gate and monitoring its traffic. Also an industrial base.
War Shipyards – the site of the construction of the largest warships ($150 and up) as well as the largest civilian ships. For Refuge use only.
Escort Stations – at the ends of the major hyperspace lanes passing through Prime Refuge, these stations were established for traders or travelers wanting to pass through. Ships must pay a toll and then wait for a military escort that will accompany them as they pass through, and any ships can be refused entry for any reason.
Three 'colonies' have been recently claimed by the Refuge for their strategic value (all three have a hyperspace junction, and one had a unused warp gate). Although some patrols scout surrounding unclaimed sectors, the Refuge has not officially claimed any as its own territories.
All of these sectors have experienced a huge population boom and increase in industrial capacity recently as the Refugees poured out of the Prime Refuge into the three sectors.
(1) Grand Junction (Sector):
The sector formerly known as Prajuk's Horizon had previously and briefly been a regional capital and center of trade in the developing area. Perhaps over-enthusiastically, they invested a great deal of funds into building a warp gate. It barely received any usage before the nation collapsed and the warp gate was abandoned due to lack of power to run it.
Grand Junction is being rapidly built up to be the main gateway to the galaxy at large. It holds the most administrative offices and officials outside of Prime Refuge itself, as well as the majority of the Contact and Diplomacy Division and associated embassies.
Sector Base Population: 10 Billion + 3 boosts (45 billion) = 55 billion
Sector Base GDP: $2,000 + $3000 + 3 boosts ($9000) = $14000
Warp Gate and Hyperspace Junction present
Notable Population Centers:
Prajuk's Horizon – gas giant moon, in size about halfway between that of Mars and Earth of the Sol System. Former capital of the sector and then system. Planoforming had been failing and the society had slowly been falling apart from disrepair.
Gate Port – the non-military section of the gate station. It contains amenities for travelers as well as officials and diplomats, though some accommodations may be moved to Prajuk's Horizon
(2) Khe!Srri Sector
The Refuge adopted the name that had been previously used for this sector for the native Khe!Srri race. More information is given on the Khe!Srri in the Species section.
Sector Base Population: 10 Billion + 2 boosts (30 billion) = 40 billion
Sector Base GDP: $2,000 + $2000 + 3 boosts ($9000) = $13000
Hyperspace Junction present
Notable Population Centers:
Khe!Srri's World: a hothouse planet consisting of many islands surrounded mostly by wide, shallow seas. Homeworld of the Khe!Srri.
Junkyard Recycler: The site of a battle, apparently during the collapse of the former interstellar nation. Hulks of warships and converted starships floated in space. Prior to the formal annexation of this sector, the Refuge had sent research scouts to scour the wrecks for information and intelligence on the peoples of this galaxy. Now, with all the possible information gleaned from it and free information coming from outside, the hulks are being taken apart for scrap.
(3) Teal/Cyan Mighty Flier of the Most Noble Sacrifice Sector
This rather awkwardly named sector is named after a Modular hero of the previous war.
Sector Base Population: 10 Billion + 2 boosts (30 billion) = 40 billion
Sector Base GDP: $2,000 + $2000 + 2 boosts ($6000) = $13000
Hyperspace Junction present
Notable Population Centers:
Species of the RefugeEdit
Minds (AI cores) – 'descended' from the Thinkers of old, these are the main controllers and policy determiners of the Refuge. Although vastly inferior to the former 'AI gods' they are still respectably intelligent by galactic standards. There are less than fifty Minds, though counting can get confusing when one Mind takes itself apart or buds and rejoins for certain tasks.
The Emotional Nodes, although not officially counted, are given honorary Mind status as they were created from shunted buggy emotional programs from the Minds and continue to siphon them as they develop. Although most of the Emotional Nodes handle emotions that are usually considered destructive or dangerous, they are held in reserve in case they are needed. The most well known and widely-appearing Nodes include Panic Node, Swearing Node, Sarcasm Node, and (in military circles) Bloody-Mindedness Node.
Mechanicals - 'Mechanicals' cover everything inorganic on a lower tier from the Minds, from sentient robots to simpler programs-complexes capable of learning, although they generally do not include sub-sentient machines or programs.
Modulars - The Modulars are what remains of the original creator species of the Thinkers. Their individuality has generally been lost, and each individual is more akin to a cell or block which can join with others to perform a task. A Modular assembly can gain some individuality once formed, especially if it stays together for a long enough time. Modulars mostly communicate via color flashes on their surfaces, although a sufficiently complex Module may be able to form speech sounds as well.
Aggregates - Aggregates are somewhat similar to Modulars as no individual body has its own mind. However, combining between eight to twenty Aggregate bodies together can create an individual, separate thinking being (five is a lower bound for making a consolidated mind, but the individual would be mentally disabled). Previously this connection was achieved by ultrasonic 'thought sounds' but most now have implants so their pieces can communicate by radio or other means and also keep their thoughts separate from others.
Aggregates can be described as "resembling small plushie blobs." Many are able to change colors in order to communicate with the Modulars more effectively. An Aggregate, when needing to travel a significant distance, uses a cart or other small vehicle to hold all its members. By tying the controls in with their implant communications, they can make the vehicles move as they desire and even have it talk for vocal communications.
Avians - From the point of view of the other Refuge races, the Avians are the most unusual, although most of the rest of the galaxy would consider them the most normal species (one mind per body, one body per mind, individualism, etc.) They are, as described, basically giant intelligent birds with egg-laying (potentially, though natural birth is a rarety), feathers and flying. They are capable of having their appearances altered technologically and do so frequently, and have various levels of cyborg implants or organic enhancements.
They have an exceptional vocal range and so their language is very complex; unmodified humans are incapable of speaking it fluently. Personal names could consist of a musical phrase or other complex sound.
Because they can more easily relate to most of the other races of the galaxy and vice versa, they are chosen most often to be diplomats and ambassadors for the Refuge.
Other races: Edit
[from some encyclopedia, Goddamn Unreal Time Edition]
The Khe!Srri are an organic sapient race that has been described as 'insectoid' or 'reptiloid' by humans, although neither is technically correct; there is no easy analogy to them from Earth/Terra Nova-descended species. (One researcher described them as, “Like Giant Cambrian Space Bugs, but weirder.”) There was some supposedly evidence that they were a very distant cousin of the Karlacks, but most of the evidence was lost and what little remains looks highly questionable. Not much fossil evidence was ever uncovered for their ancestry and even that dated back at most five hundred thousand years; though it was somewhat understandable due to the geography of the planet and the short time the planet was explored and surveyed, some speculated that the Khe!Srri were a lost colony of another alien race.
They were at an approximately early Neolithic stage of development when they were discovered by human surveying crews, though with some deviations from the human stages (no agriculture but some aquaculture, some tools that were more advanced, and oddly primitive boating). The species was differentiated into a caste system, though many of the differences between castes were cultural and environmental effects. They had no name for themselves as a whole or the world, so the name 'Khe!Srri' meaning 'all of us here' in one of the more dominant languages was adopted by the humans to use, and the planet was called alternately Khe!Srri Prime or Khe!Srri's World.
Following soon after their discovery was a misguided and amateurish attempt at uplifting. Before proper study could be conducted or a coherent plan made, Khe!Srri were being taken into space, haphazardly educated, and even given weapons far beyond what they understood. Attempts at improving their lives often lead to greatly unforeseen circumstances, such as the medication for treating digestive system parasites that caused hyperfertility and a subsequent population explosion. Proper precautions were never taken against pirates or smugglers, who set up base on the world and used/enslaved the local populations for labor.
The Khe!Srri were abandoned not long after the collapse of the interstellar nation. The Uplift Foundation was never on a stable footing and funds dried up as news of their debacle spread and increasing raids made maintaining a base unsustainable. Even educated Khe!Srri who begged to follow the humans were left behind, including a few that were off-world. With no means of long term survival, all of them either died in space or were forced to attempt a landing.
Without the Uplift Foundation artificially propping them up, the post-discovery societies that had grown up fell apart. Many populations had become dependent on supplemental feeding while agriculture was being developed, and without it they quickly outstripped their food supplies, viciously fought each other over scraps, denuded areas of anything edible, and starved en masse. The survivors generally reverted to their previous level of civilization (though some were worse) but with a few changes or additions, both helpful (better boat-building, fruit orchards) and harmful (blasters that had been left behind).
The Refuge has recently claimed the Khe!Srri system as a protectorate within their sector colony and blocked access to outsiders although other systems in the Khe!Srri sector can be visited by traders or travelers. All requests for information have been refused.
Humans and others - Scattered among the Outlands were a number of small populations, mostly human but including a number of other species. Many of these populations were little more than smuggler or pirate bases but there were a few abandoned colonies.
Current military costs: $6960/year
Costs are high, but the Refuge is currently under a control economy on a war footing.
$6,000 Cost, 24,000,000 men @ 20,000/$1 with x5 kit modifier
- 2 giant warp gate-guarding stations ($2500 x2 = $5000)
- $500x2 ultraheavies, one more complete and in trials as of August, another currently under construction, more planned, facilities being constructed for even larger ships.
($500x2=1000 + 500 + 100 = 1600)
- $350x4 ultraheavies, ~3 under construction
$350x4=1400 + 600 = 2000
- $200x5 superheavy, ~4 under construction
$200x5=1000+ 1000 = 2000
- $150x12 heavy (includes carriers); ~15 under construction
- $125x4 heavy, test run for building larger ships, none under construction
- $100x10 heavy, arrived with the Refugees (many of the smaller ships also arrived with the Refugees).
- $100x55(different types) heavy, constructed at Refuge, ~30 under construction, 5 completed soon
$100x$55=$5500 + $2000 = $7500
- $75x115 medium (cruisers) + 10 under construction
75*115 = 8625+375= $9000
- $50x180 light = $9000 – additional construction costs negligible
- $25x116 ultra-light = $2900 – additional construction costs negligible
- Diplomatic fleet – yachts 100x$9=$900 (Expensive because of customization needed) – none under construction
- $500x2 ultraheavies, one in shakedown
- $350x5 ultraheavies, one in shakedown, one in shakedown by end of year
- $200x9 superheavy
- $150x27 heavy (includes carriers)
- $125x4 heavy
- $100x10 heavy, older type
- $100x85(new types types) heavy, constructed at Refuge, incl. 20 carriers
- $75x125 medium (cruisers) + 5 more by end of year
- $50x180 light
- $25x116 ultra-light
The diplomatic yachts are being moved out of Defense's fleet to be Contact's fleet. During the changeover some may be sold off or converted to other uses.