The war for Pontakus IX would shake the Caractacan Brotherhood to its core, and the horrors that happened on that world would have far-reaching consequences in galactic history.
Pontakus IX was a strange world to begin with. Orbiting the A-type star Pontakus at five AU, it had no axial tilt at all, resulting in permanent climate zones. There were those who insisted that life should not have existed on the planet at all, given the radiation levels and the permanent climatic stasis. And yet it did. It wasn’t complex, and it was generally tough and poisonous, but it was life.
The colonists who landed there were desperate. The surviving elites of the Eurasian Cooperation Sphere had fled the Sol system ahead of the vengeance of the Nipponese Resurgence in the east and the Novgorodian Republic in the west. They had seized one of the earliest Bergenholm-equipped ships and fled the system. Only a few of them were military personnel, and fewer still were pilots. They relied on the flight computer for their course, almost to their permanent loss.
By the time they were able to go inert and determine their location, they had fled clear out of the Orion Arm and into the Crux Arm. Frightened and desperate, they sought out the nearest world they could find with an oxygen atmosphere, which happened to be Pontakus IX.
Faced with the harshness of the environment, the fledgling colony nearly died. Most of the Eurasians had been bureaucrats or simply political leaders and their families. They had few useful skills when trying to survive in an environment inimical to human life. The handful of military leaders took over, and through brutal discipline, managed to stabilize the colony and ensure its survival. Continue reading
A race of long-lived centauroids, the tehud have been slowly spreading across the Carina Arm for the last ten centuries. No tehud faction has ever been considered a powerhouse in galactic history. Some have been rather more ambitious than others, but rarely with any great success.
The tehud arose on Marageesh, a large-diameter but low-density world near the coreward edge of the Carina Arm. Tectonically inactive, low on heavy metals, and at the outer edge of the system’s habitable zone, it would seem to be an unlikely birthplace for any sort of sapient race at all, let alone a starfaring one.
But the tehud, being a mostly herd-based society, seem to have managed it through slow, plodding patience. Wars between tehud herds tended to be over scarce metals or richer feeding grounds. The temperate areas of Marageesh have very short growing seasons, and the ice caps cover over a third of the planetary surface. These wars tended not to be of the level of savagery seen among other races, but more simply a matter of forcing the opposing herd away from the contested resources. Continue reading
The Speed of Information
The lightspeed barrier may have been broken, thanks to the Bergenholm field, but the single greatest obstacle to any sort of coordinated, interstellar association is still communications. Without the Bergenholm, the lightspeed barrier remains a solid wall, and despite attempts and creating “Bergenholm tunnels,” no one has yet managed to move radiation faster than the speed of light.
There have been successful experiments with quantum entanglement communicators, but they are expensive, extremely limited—there are only two terminals possible, so communication must happen between two relatively fixed points—and extremely slow. Manipulating the linked particles in such a way to send a clear message is extremely difficult. The only viable method of communication using quantum entanglement is therefore to use relatively simple codes. Continue reading
An Enduring Legend
The Carvago has become one of the enduring mysteries of galactic history. Unlike most “ghost ship” stories, the Carvago’s sightings have been widespread enough that the ship’s story has spread across multiple arms of the galaxy. Given the distances involved, the persistence of the story lends it greater weight than many historians might otherwise give it.
The Carvago was a slowship, launched before the advent of the Bergenholm field. It was one of the biggest engineering projects in human history to that point. There had been other slowships built, many of them already decades into their long acceleration ramps and well past the Kuiper Belt. But the Carvago, the pet project of charismatic visionary Eugen Viniate, was to be the largest in history. Continue reading
The Confraternity is a relatively new Military Brotherhood, but it is also one of the fastest growing. Relatively poor as far as such organizations go, the brothers of the Confraternity are eager to make their mark. Given the Confraternity’s somewhat dubious origin, this has made a number of planets extremely wary of them, but they have acquitted themselves well, putting their past successfully behind them.
Unlike the Caractacan Brotherhood, the Confraternity has no one founder. The First Brothers were in fact a mercenary company working the Sobretan Circuit. The Circuit is perhaps misnamed; there is no formal agreement as to what systems comprise it, and many trouble spots that are considered parts of it are actually outside the Sobretan Sector. Many of the worlds on the Circuit are perpetual flashpoints, many of them jointly colonized by outsystem factions that then had a falling out. They are not necessarily always made up of different races, either. Some of the nastiest wars have been human on human, or forvak on forvak.
Some of the older members of Rheloman’s Company, a mix of humans, forvaks, gordoks, and sefkhit, were talking one day, and hatched on the plan to start their own Military Brotherhood. No one can be sure of their exact motivation. The Confraternity’s founding documents are full of high ideals and a story about the First Brothers’ weariness at the constant wars and corruption they had seen. Some of it is doubtless true. There are other tales told, however, that the Confraternity was an attempt by the First Brothers to win some greater legitimacy among higher-paying clientele. It could even have been conceived as a front to allow for quick smash-and-grab robberies of rich clients who let the Confraternity in out of trust. A Military Brotherhood is far more respectable than a Private Military Company, in many eyes. Continue reading