GALACTIC INFOFILEAmazon-1 reference Archives,
Human (English) Edition
General Editor: Lt. Melissa St. Clair,
Engineering/Information officer Amazon Division
Hi, Captain. I'm sorting through the Galactic Reference files the agency sent us. They don't seem to trust us much, do they? I'm working with the GHIDA information and language bureau, trying to tabulate them a bit for handy access, but it's slow going…each entry is in a different language and has to be translated, not to mention made meaningful for humans. And we've had to invent names and words for things that are unpronounceable in English. It'll be nice to eventually have an onboard refence file for quick access, but there's a LOT of information to plow through, though. Who would have thought the Galaxy was so big?
Missy, don't ever change.
Charybdis is the huge black hole in the center of the galaxy. (Every culture calls it something different, so for us I chose an appropriate name from Greek mythology. This is cool, I get to name stuff!) It was caused by the Fury and nearly destroyed the Milky Way six thousand years ago. Fortunately it was contained in a vast mass-inversion field, a masterpiece of Malabari engineering, which is far beyond the current level of technology. Hegemony scientists have been studying Charybdis for centuries, and it's also a popular tourist attraction.
Chipolkic Possession Entity Um, pretty much what the name says. It's sort of a free-floating bioelectric field with its own consciousness, originating on Chipolk-12. It can generate wild bursts of energy capable of rupturing a starship hull, but it can't survive much longer than 32 hours outside a host organism. When it latches on to one, it sort of subsumes and feeds of off the host's own biolelectric field and takes control of their body. Theoretically it should be able to maintain its hold indefinitely, but most lifeforms not native to Chipolk are an ill fit. It can take days or years, but eventually either the hosts' bioelectric field is too different and rejects the C.P.E., or else (more often) the host gets "burnt out" and usually dies from any number of medical complications. If the host dies, the C.P.E. dies, so the best way to get one out of a host is to put it in a life-threatening situation and force the C.P.E to jump out of the body, where it can be contained using a number of methods.
The Galactic Hegemony currently considers all CPE's hostile and keeps them contained on Chipolk, but there are still a few floating around the Galaxy, as we found out back on Deispura-4.
Deispura-4 We didn't get to visit it long, but it seems to be covered in jungle and home to some vanished, ancient civilization. We were mostly too busy trying to bring in a perp to really check things out, but it seemed fascinating. I'd like to get back there some time...
Yeah, that'll happen.
Diktari Consortium The largest aggregate interstellar government in the galaxy besides the Galactic Hegemony. They were founded by the Diktari, but comprise over 15 different races and hundreds of star systems. Relations with the Hegemony are understandably a bit chilly at times. The Consortium was formed through mutually beneficial relations between star systems, not imperialist conquering on the part of the Diktari, which is why the Hegemony recognizes it as a legal interstellar state. However, the Diktari is at odds with the Hegemony over a key issue. The Hegemony tightly restricts the use of genetic engineering and outlaws many forms of biogenic technology, especially weapons…all of which are relied on extensively by the Diktari. As a result, the two powers have had their run-ins with each other, sometimes flaring into outright hostility. At the moment they're in the midst of a centuries-long cold war, but there hasn't been all that much activity from either side...
Draconian Sentient species, native to Sigma Draconis 2.
PHYSICAL STATISTICS: Typical adult male stands 7 feet tall, around 15 feet from nose to tail when fully extended. Females somewhat smaller, and are typically lighter and more varied in colour. Draconians separate hydrogen from the air they breathe, which is retained in a series of bladders in the abdomen; this assists in flying. Combined with sulfur and other chemicals in the food they eat*, they can expel this gas in a highly flammable form that they ignite using a sort of natural tinderbox, formed by the tip of their tongue and a bony ridge at the end of the lower palette. In other words, they can breathe fire.
SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS: Draconians were one of the 12 Founding Races of the Galactic Hegemony…maybe they were even the main founders, I'm not sure. They've been civilized for quite a while...their culture is absolutely obsessed with law & order. They live for it. If you think Earth lawyers are sneaky…wow. Most of the great lawmakers in Galactic history are Draconians, and so are something like 8 out of 10 of the judges in the Hegemonic courts, which is pretty impressive since they're one of the less populous races in the Galaxy. They seem to have a knack for moral and ethical philosophy, and solving crimes. They're also pretty strict…um, harsh, one might say. They stick to the Hegemonic legal system, of course, but within their own jurisdiction they're even tougher…you can be sentenced to death for littering within the Sigma Draconis system. Yikes.
By the way, it seems like their own personal empire used to expand over a really large chunk of space about three thousand years ago. It's interesting because they used to claim the Sol system within their jurisdiction. There may have been Draconian overlords on Earth for a good chunk of our history. They're pretty good at not interfering with the development of primitive races, but…y'know…judging from human mythology and everything, I suspect there were a few peasant revolts.
*As I discovered when I sat next to one on a long connecting shuttle jaunt, Draconians seem to love hard-boiled eggs. What can I say? You try sitting next to a hungry-looking Draconian for eight hours.
Earth Mostly Harmless.
(Missy, is this entry one of your little in-jokes? I don't get it.)
Ephemerean Sentient race, native to Dyaphninn.
PHYSICAL STATISTICS: Humanoid race, very tall, thin and beautiful. They're quite human-looking, except for their unnatural thinness, bald heads with antennae, and their skin (usually green, but comes in shades from yellowish to pale grey). Also, they have no noses and do their "smelling" with the antennae, which can also detect energy signatures over a very wide spectrum. This makes them incredibly sensitive to anything from the "shape of the air" to the moods of various species (based on heat signatures and chemical emanations).
SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS: One of the more common races in the galaxy, and another of the 12 Founders. On the whole, they are a very peaceable race, mostly committed to art and science. A great Ephemerean prophet of five millennia ago, Ikkta Jylth, propounded the doctrine of the "Quantum Mind", which has become one of the most widespread religions in the galaxy. The vast majority of Minders are Ephemereans, and the race as a while is often viewed with great reverence or worshipfulness, even by those who don't hold to their philosophies. They are also held in great regard as psychologists, behavioural scientists, teachers and diplomats.
It's not all sweetness and light with these guys, though. They were involved in The Fury, one of the most destructive conflicts the galaxy has ever known, and several Ephemerean societies have specialized warrior castes, known collectively as the Llyakk Tin, who are pretty feared fighters. And I find them to be smug bastards, I must say.
Formidians Wow, this is really interesting. Formidians are ANTS. As in, Earth ants. Apparently they're a sentient species that work to terraform planets all over the galaxy. A colony, when it's large enough, forms a single hivemind with a governing intelligence. They've been shaping Earth's biosphere for ages now, and they're also the preservationists who keep Earth safe from intruders. When dealing with other species they adopt environment suits that look a bit like mobile anthills, manned by thousands of drones.
Fracturan Sentient race, native to Olega Prime. They're an avian species that look kinda like rolled up carpets, and can glide short distances.
Fraxx, Theglo Our boss. We don't really know much about him, except that he's the head of Special Operations at the GHIDA. I don't even know what species he is, and we've never met face-to-face...think that'll change?
I wouldn't hold my breath.
The Fury was a huge war between the Malabari Empire and the Divine Theocracy of the Solvorn Daa that lasted over a millennia and laid waste to large patches of the galaxy. In particular, the Solvorn caused the gigantic black hole in the center of the Milky Way, which was once home to the Core Cluster, the Malabari capital. This black hole (known as Charybdis), and much other attendant devastation , was caused by the Solvorn in their attempts to destroy and then remake the galaxy. They were eventually defeated in a huge battle and Charybdis contained, but the Malabari Empire collapsed soon after and the galaxy entered a dark age.
Gan-69 Last remaining fragment of Gan, the legendary living planet that was once revered throughout the galaxy as the only source of pure pleasure. It was a living, sentient biosphere that fed on brainwaves generated by beings experiencing pleasure. To achieve this it would generate simulations of whatever its guests most desired. Gan was mysteriously destroyed millennia ago; by some accounts it was the work of the now-extinct Solvorn Daa sect, who viewed Gan as a "tainted" source of worldly physical pleasure. Some pieces of Gan were salvaged thanks to a team of Terramedics, but few of them proved viable over the years, and only 69 retains a shard of the initial overmind. I actually don't believe it does anymore, thanks to our experience there.
Galactic Hegemony The closest thing the galaxy has to a united government...consisting of 35,000 inhabited star systems and many more uninhabited ones, or about two-thirds of the Milky Way Galaxy. And there's some talk about establishing a presence in other galaxies, but I don't think we're supposed to know about that. The Executive Officer is Neerda Spekwi
GHIDA Stands for Galactic Hegemony Investigation & Defense Agency. That's who we work for. Specifically the Special Ops, Amazon Division. (Missy: Yeah, I know you guys know this, I'm just being completist, OK?) They're headquartered at The Rose and serve as sort of a combination FBI and CIA (and, I guess, IRS) for the Hegemony. We're the police, espionage agents, and, should the need arise, army, for two-thirds of the Milky Way. It can be a bit of a bureaucracy at times (Tell me about it), but on the whole I'd say it does a pretty good job, considering how hard it must be to manage an entire galaxy.
Ida Moira Fifth planet from Canis Major.
Jabydea Third planet from Aldeberan, homeworld of the Lebili. It orbits in a Trojan relationship with Gybilnon and thus has the unusual feature of "the migrating sea". Almost half the planet is covered in a shallow sea that moves around the planet in accordance with Gybilnon's tidal pull. Thus, at any given time, half of it is dry and half of it is underwater. Naturally, almost all the lifeforms of Jabydea are amphibious, except those that are forced to migrate with the sea, some land creatures that actually burrow in and hibernate for 8 years, and those that live on tall mountains. But due to the constant erosion, there aren't many mountains (or valleys) on Jabydea. The non-aquatic portions tend to be rolling plains or forests of what look like gigantic, pulpy strands of seaweed. Obviously this makes for an unusually fertile planet, and the Lebili are known as farmers and agricultural specialists.
Kyrillis A moon orbiting the ninth planet from Tau Ceti. Very cold, encrusted in ice, but with volcanic activity that has produced pockets of thaw where living things grow.
Lebili Sentient Race native to Jabydea.
Lebili are an amphibious race, Looking sort of like lobster-squids. They are invertebrates and have hard, carapaceous shells, but they can move quite fast.
The Malabari Empire brought 100 millennia of peace and prosperity to the galaxy, and is widely considered the high point of technological and social sophistication in the Milky Way. There are even rumours that they had managed establish contact and trade with galaxies outside our own. And there are OTHER rumours that trade cut off abruptly after they made contact with something very unpleasant from another galaxy… Well, anyway, the Malabari Era has attained legendary status as the Golden Age in galactic history. That came to an end with The Fury, the war that destroyed the legendary superstructure in the Core Cluster that served as the Malabari capital, leaving a vast black hole in its place. After the war, a long galactic dark age followed, until 12 races came together to create the Galactic Hegemony, which is still with us today.
Nooglit Sentient race native to Wumpledump-3. (Yes. That's what it says. I'm just the messenger.)
PHYSICAL STATISTICS: I'd think Nooglits were cute if one of them hadn't tried to kidnap my sister. They're about three feet tall, covered in fur, big eyes, look a bit like teddy bears. They also have a tiny horn protruding from their heads and really sharp teeth. And they can jump really high, even while carrying heavy loads.
Obriath Sentient race native to Ble-hennyu.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Obriath are orange-skinned, sharp-toothed, piggish-looking creatures, usually around five feet tall (standing normally), and often extremely obese. They have three spider-like legs (one at the front, two at the back) which are ideal for bearing their ample girth. (They can draw themselves up on these to tower over most other lifeforms.)
SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS: Obriathi culture is highly dependant on robots and other technology, so they have a reputation for being somewhat lazy and sybaritic. They often see little reason to let the law stand in the way of their pursuit of pleasure, and wealthy Obriathi are often caught "greasing the wheels of justice" so to speak. Where rich Obriathi gather, you can usually find a somewhat corrupt local constabulary. The justice-obsessed Draconians generally do NOT get along with the Obriathi.
The Oosphere is the galactic internet, a virtual world that's itself the size of the galaxy. It links almost every computer system and hivemind cooperative in existence, allowing instantaneous communication across the milky way. It also creates self-enclosed virtual realities that seem as "real" as anything you'd experience outside. In fact, an entire species-the enigmatic Skilikti-have devoted their existence to maintaining it. If you arrange things properly with them, you can create your own virtual space, concoct transactions and create imaginary landscapes. It's no wonder that "virtual regression syndrome" is a common problem among those who would rather spend their lives in the virtual world.
Paladak is the primary penal planet for the Galactic Hegemony. A long-dead planet, it orbits just outside of the gravity well of the black hole that was once its sun. This makes flying tricky, and escape nearly impossible (since only authorized ships receive the necessary guidance from the traffic control installation). Few law-abiding citizens have seen Paladak, its inhabitants being prisoners and government workers (I made a funny!) so the exact nature of life there is uncertain. Occasionally there are reports of it being a hellish gulag, but at other times investigators report a generally humane and livable environment. Since this is where most of our opponents end up, I generally can't feel too bad about the living conditions there…
The Quantum Mind is currently one of the most popular religious philosophies in the galaxy. The founder, Ikkta Jylth of the Ephemereans, believed that all sentient species have the potential to be "pure telepaths", i.e. sharing thoughts in a vast Communion that will outdo any form of communication yet invented for speed and efficiency, and allowing the galaxy to be united in one gigantic, sentient brain-a process he called the Awakening. Some Minders believe that this will involve technology, others believe that it can be achieved through self-discipline and expansion of the mind. The Minders are a peaceful group, widely credited with preserving knowledge and civilization across the galaxy during the dark ages following the Fury.
The Solvorn Daa An ancient religious sect that arose ten thousand years ago, during the later Malabari Empire. The Solvorn started out as relatively benign, but eventually mutated into a highly warlike religion that believed the galaxy was irredeemably corrupt. They worshipped the Old God Urizen, who they believed was trapped in a galaxy too encumbered by scientific laws and human hubris, and who could only be freed by the complete destruction and recreation of a new, anti-matter universe. They nearly destroyed the galaxy in the conflict known as The Fury, but were stopped, dispersed, and eventually rehabilitated (those who hadn't been destroyed). The founding race of the Solvorn, the Thylcanrans, underwent a radical shift in their philosophy. Another race that was heavily involved were the Ephemereans, but at their height the Solvorn Daa claimed members of virtually every sophisticated species in the galaxy.
Spekwi, Neerda The Hegemony XO (i.e. the President).
The Rose That's the nickname for the GHIDA Superfortress HQ, in orbit around Zamphora. I think the official name is unpronounceable if you're not Zamphoran, but it starts with a sound that kind of resembles "rose", and it's red and shaped vaguely like a flower, so…that's what we call it. We've only been there once, for three weeks, during our training period. It's designed so that, even if every other GHIDA installation in the Galaxy has been captured or destroyed, they can still hold off a siege for an extended period of time.
(Not only that, but they could theoretically provide protection for almost a quarter of the GHIDA's agents and soldiers if it came down to a siege-that thing is literally a Last Line of Defense for the Galaxy.)
Terramedics are like doctors who operate on a planetary scale. There are numerous branches and teams, of all races; their origins are lost in the very ancient past. They certainly predate the Galactic Hegemony. Their training centers on Oth Rosli are ancient, though still not the original headquarters. They consist of all races and subspecies, those who choose to devote their lives to this calling. The best can work seeming miracles on planets whose ecosystems seemed in irrevocable decay.
Thylcanrans An entire race of twelve-steppers, as Roz puts it. Formerly warlike, now reformed race devoted to peace and prosperity. They have placed behaviour modification blocks on themselves to prevent acts of violence under any circumstances. They can't fight wars, even to defend themselves. This is the source of much contention; a few philosophers have pointed out that their continued existence gives a certain degree of hope for the inherent goodness of civilized beings. However, were they to be destroyed, they would simply consider it justice for the horrific act of violence they committed centuries ago; they believe that their race is damned forever, regardless of anything they might do.
The Worm Status unknown. Worms, of course, are Earth animals, so whoever it is has probably chosen the name for our benefit. It makes it borderline impossible to dig up any information at all on the Oosphere. All we know is that he, she, or it (or they?) are the mastermind behind the attempted bombing of Gan-69 and kidnapping of Chrissy St. Clair.
Zamphora This is the capital of the Hegemonic government. It houses the Capitol buildings, the Galactic Senate, the Information Distribution Center, and (in orbit) The Rose, among many other vital organizations in the process of governing the galaxy.