Editorial Fridays by Troy David Loy 2.6.17 Gods of Terra Notes n Thoughts on the Magna


Agnishatdal The Ezine

The third of the four wielders of the Prime hypershards is perhaps the most complex, with a tragic past and a bright future in store for her in further fiction.

The Magna was a particularly spirited adolescent girl living on a farm in what is now known as West Bengal, India. That is, before she was taken by the Kai’Siri and made into a weapon of mass-extinction with not one, but two hypershards.

She was born Agni Bose, with a hyperseed, an undeveloped, nascent hypershard in her brain.

This unfolded and grew, like origami sculpture, as she did. It was a unique, uncorrupted one which the Kai’Siri used to track her via the shard’s terahertz emissions.

This was also to prove instrumental in gaining her freedom.

She lived her entire old life on Earth unaware she had even it, but it was only with the implantation of one of the…

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Gods of Terra | Chadameer, the Fauns


This post is for a version of the Chadameer species existing in the Gods of Terra setting. I’m also using them in a book collaboration with the prolific Sharmishtha Basu, which will be announced in detail once the book goes live online. Enjoy.

Chadameer (chadəˈmēr)

General Description:

  A species of capriform humanoids, also known as “Fauns” to humanity, conquered and enslaved by the Dalazinnu Sodality as their chief scientists, engineers, technicians and emissaries to other species. Chadameer are bipedal, bimanual, and have an endothermic metabolism with a closed circulatory system and 2 two-chambered hearts. Chadameer are long-lived, having almost twice the lifespan of a human, but mature slowly and have a low birthrate, restricting their numbers and under the present set of circumstances, a factor endangering their survival as a species. The beings are unimpressive, standing an average of 1.45 meters tall and massing less than 40 kilograms. The head is vaguely goatish, though with a large cranium and in both genders adorned with four horns and a short beard. The digitigrade legs end in four-toed hooves and are quite nimble. The arms end in hands with two fingers and two opposable thumbs. The body is covered with short fur ranging from whitish to almost black, generally in neutral tones, and the tail is thin and whiplike, used primarily for communicating emotional states. Chadameer have good hearing, exceptional depth-perception, and an excellent kinesthetic sense useful for climbing and balancing on uneven mountainous terrain. The species has eight lungs, several stomachs, and a unique geodesic rib structure that makes the torso more resistant to injury caused by blunt trauma.

  Some Chadameer are telepathically gifted, and these are often genetically “tagged” with black and grey striped coats and silver beards, but are also frequently prone to recessive genetic traits.

  Faun young are born sexless, but upon maturity assume either a male or female gender, apparently by choice, which they retain throughout their lives.

  Chadameer typically wear robes, tabards, equipment harnesses, or nothing, and use hearing aids tuned to ultrasonic registers to permit them to hear everything their Dalazinnu masters say to them, question or command, to reduce the likelihood of beatings that come when orders are not heard by those spoken to.

Psychology:

Chadameer have eliminated aggressive traits from their psychology by altering their genome, rendering themselves incapable of intentional violence toward intelligent beings. The species has a paralyzing horror of space-flight because of a vague and ancient legend of “death from the stars,” of something that lives “out there, in the void between worlds.” This horror has never been named or otherwise specified, though all Chadameer legends refer to it in tales of those foolish enough to venture beyond the solid ground and skies of their homeworld. Terror of this “death” has been more than sufficient to keep the Fauns on their homeworld, reluctant enough to leave it as to cause them to go into a state of shock when forcibly removed by spacecraft. A few of the Fauns, in particular, those with unusual mental powers, are not afraid of space travel and indeed, are often addicted to the effects of Maelstrom travel, to the point of eagerly volunteering for off-world assignments at the behest of their masters. Such Chadameer are considered insane by their fellows and closely watched for signs of mental aberration. Many of them cannot properly care for themselves, but are still considered useful by the Dalazinnu, as they are frequently employed as interrogators, messengers and diplomatic agents when their masters deem it necessary to question or parley with aliens.

Society:

The Chadameer are children of a dying world, and themselves a dying race, due to their low birthrate, their abuse at the hands of the Dalazinnu, and the poisoning of the ecology by rampant industrialization and their masters’ initial bombardment of the planet before its conquest. The Dalazinnu consider the Fauns to be a disposable commodity, and are even now looking for another technically advanced, militarily vulnerable species to replace them when they become extinct.

  An underground movement has arisen among the Fauns that seeks to reverse this trend, freeing their race from the yoke of their masters by genetically sabotaging the races they have uplifted for them, subtly altering them to turn on the Dalazinnu. This has already begun with such behavioral flaws in slave races as the killing rage of the Maktathuun when losses are taken, the tendency of the Tenebruuta for recklessness when bored, and even attempts to reengineer the genes for aggression back into their genome. So far, the Dalazinnu haven’t caught on just yet, but some of the brighter ones may become suspicious of their servants if the subversives play their hand too soon, which they just might as time for their species grows ever shorter.

Chadameer History:

The Chadameer removed their capacity for violent aggression and lowered their birthrate as a means of making them less likely to commit racial suicide by war or overpopulation. They also lost all desire to explore space, and technology with which to do it in the event that led to the legends of “death from the stars.” At some distant point in the past, they began to explore their home star system, and missions were sent to the other planets and moons. One such mission, however, brought back a strain of lethal microbial life to the homeworld that somehow survived the decontamination protocols, and a deadly plague swept across the planet, nearly destroying the Fauns until an antibiotic was developed to stop it. The social backlash was severe, resulting in a ban on space exploration, and the destruction of the remaining such technology, leading to the legends, and the “fear.” This was reenforced yet again, when their first sentient alien contact, the Dalazinnu, bombarded the planet, and took the Chadameer as a slave race, using them to create more slaves by cloning and uplift, and new weapons technologies to conquer still more territory.

Chadameer Telepaths:

These unusual individuals are considered to be both useful and dangerous. They are afflicted with a rare psychiatric disorder which is genetically cross-linked with such recessive traits as their distinctive grey and black striped coats. The psychotropic drugs used to treat their mental symptoms also serve as the catalyst that triggers and maintains their latent talents, especially telepathic ability, which makes them an asset to their Dalazinnu masters, who use them as go-betweens with aliens, whom the Dalazinnu are psychologically unable to relate to as anything but slaves or enemies in direct personal contact. These Chadameer are the first, and usually the only, Fauns met by most aliens, and are often led by a Dalazinnu master with an unusual gift for self-restraint. Without their drugs, these rare Chadameer are also without their powers as well as subject to rapid swings between fits of aggression and depression. The Dalazinnu use them as their primary interspecies diplomats, when dealing with aliens in a nonviolent manner is absolutely necessary.

 

Lyapunov’s Children | The Impactor


It happened in a newly colonized, barely surveyed system near the rim of the galactic habitable zone.

I saw everything when then end came, screaming out of the sky to those below like the shriek of a banshee having her arms ripped off by a murderous giant. What happened next was the worst, when the impactor hit, causing massive seismic disruption and tsunamis across the face of the tiny planet.

Billions of tonnes of dust were kicked up into the atmosphere as a shockwave rippled across the world. Where it touched, outposts fell, forests burned, and the oceans boiled from the spread of the accompanying fireball of superheated dust, air, and steam.

Where was I in all this?

I was in an orbital station, monitoring satellite traffic and planetary weather patterns when the strike happened, watching it all with horror as ninety-percent of everything on the planet died, unable to even so much as warn those below…

Lyapunov’s Children | Solitude


   He stood, in silence, taking in the solitude, and without a hint of loneliness. Yet that is what he felt, alone, however he failed to show it. Such displays of emotion were beneath one of his posthuman status.
   He grinned slightly as he saw the lights above in the sky; not just stars, of course, but also the ship above which kept him under surveillance, kept him from trying to escape this dead world. It alone, without crew, kept him company. Far above, its sensors watched his every move.
   Perhaps he could go back below the surface, to his subterranean living chambers, with all the accommodations of home, but no company to give solace in his punishment, for the crime of regicide.
   It would be a long, long time before his sentence would come under review by the Judges of the Hierate of Five Suns.
   He held the thought in mind just long enough to dismiss it. He looked,  this time downward, toward the toxic forests marking the horizon, sighed, and returned to the chambers below, away from the sight of his sole companion in orbit.

Gods of Terra | Fiction: The Trial of the Magna


Agni looked about her, surrounded by hostile glances in the vast courtroom, presided over by a stern judge with a reputation for merciless convictions on the homeworld of the Kai’Siri, Sirug.

She was not happy with the current turn of events, as the jury, most definitely NOT her peers, had just ruled her guilty of the charge of high treason against the Exarchate.

She had only recently spared the giant planet Bruticus from being destroyed by a black hole in a literal change of mind from her prior avid patriotism for Empire, Exarchs, and People. This was completely unsuspected, as was her sudden shift of from Enforcer Prime to Agni the Earthwoman.

The judge was ready to pass sentence, decerebration resulting in death, when a sudden loud ‘Pop’ filled the chamber, and a strange figure appeared, along with another.

It was Sarusammog of the Gates, along with Agni’s adopted sibling, the Tempest, whose ginger hair, freckled complexion, and a strong, determined face even an Alien* would be intimated by, appeared in front of the judge’s podium.

“I hereby sentence you, Lady Magna, to…” His voice trailed off with confusion at the sudden appearance of the two figures.

The defendant spoke up, “I told you before, I am not that person. I am now addressed as Bhadromohila Agni Bose, and you will refer to me as such! I’m not the avatara of death you wished me to be. I stand for life and freedom for all peoples, not the heinous warcrimes of the Exarchs!”

The judge caught his composure and was about to finish sentencing her, when his face suddenly went grey and his eyes blank, to slump forward on the podium unconscious as though on cue.

Agni looked at Sarusammog and the Tempest with a knowing glance. There was an indicator light shining from beneath the fur over the Paradox harness that Sarusammog wore. He and the Tempest nodded to her.

“Well, alrighty then!” Sarusammog crowed, trilling to Agni, “That’ll teach those humans to put brain control implants in people! You’ll find out soon enough dearie that the terrible past they gave you never happened, and it’s the judge who was given the implant as a sedative for crippling tremors! Come along, girls, We’ve a universe to explore, and books to collect! That, and I’ve just composed an instrumental piece you’ll love!”

He smiled, purring, his overly wide grin nearly splitting his felinoid face as he pulled a set of drums out of thin air. The trio then vanished, and the courtroom emptied, a confused jury, bailiffs, and attendees wondering why on Sirug they were there to begin with!

*1970s Movie by Ridley Scott Reference, Hint, Hint…

Gods of Terra | Digmas Tassuula: The Cult of Kai’Siri Nationalism


Digmas Tassuula is an ancient faith, though to maintain its longevity it has adapted in an almost Darwinian fashion to the needs and selective pressures of the times. It, like Kai’Siri society as a whole, is the sum of its history, and trends over time in the culture.

It is the basis for Kai’Siri nationalism, the force behind their drive for empire. Ethnic Kai’Siri alone are permitted as members, whether converts or through upbringing. Digmas Tassuula’s prime dictum is this:

Spread the culture of our species to the stars, to all peoples, to all worlds, but the Faith of our people is ours and ours alone. None but we may lay claim to it.

It would be foolish for this religion not to have a means of perpetuating itself. It does so mainly through its promotion of pride in a national identity binding the Kai’Siri race together.

Digmas Tassuula has no gods, no beings that are prayed to, invoked, or worshipped, unlike some prominent Terran religions originating on that world’s Eastern Hemisphere. It does, however, have a mythology that describes ancient beings it calls the Strangers, who are said to have brought humans from Terra to Sirug long ago, and taught them the basis of civilization and high culture, enjoining them to spread these across the galaxy.

Digmas Tassuula requires no belief in any sort of supernaturalism, and postulates no such entities or miraculous events as historically or factually true. Kai’Siri are a critically thinking culture, and know the dangers of oversimplification, reification and literalism in one’s belief structure.

The early history of the religion was not always so rationalist in its outlook, and it was largely the social consequences of this which led to its current state. The most recent reaction was several millennia back, just following the Third Sirugian Dark Age, when planetary war and human dieback from repressive social policies instituted by religious authorities nearly destroyed civilization and spurred massive reforms by the survivors.

What of its future? Well, at the moment it shares the landscape of belief with several other less practiced and more secretive mystery religions, including the Hidden Order of the Orugruuta, an extreme nationalist sect responsible for the project that created three of the four wielders of the near-legendary Prime Shards; the Mirus, the Fractus, and the Magna, beings of formidable power. One day, it could be eclipsed by that one or some other, even more extreme sect.

But for now, Digmas Tassuula is the main player where religion is concerned, and where the majority of Kai’Siri direct their faith and ideological fervor, a tricky thing to balance with their rationalism. Then again, Kai’Siri are humans, so that shouldn’t be surprising.

Gods of Terra | Who are the Wavetouched?


gods_of_terra_1Even today, in our world, humans continue to evolve. How we turn out tens of thousands of years from now is anyone’s guess, as we are a species in continual transition. But humans in the Gods of Terra setting live side by side with a recently emerged daughter-species, the Wavetouched, also known as Homo mirus, the Myrad race.

But these are no supermen, or superwomen, merely divergent from H. sapiens in some interesting ways.

Wavetouched differ genetically from baseline humans by less than one percent, and these genetic differences spell out the code for a slightly different brain structure. The architecture of their brains gives them an early built-in baloney-detector, operating below the threshold of consciousness and making them, to varying degrees, natural rationalists. At the very least, these allow a particular talent for structured logical thought an easier time than baselines with mastering the mental toolkit of critical thinking, and generally quick studies in learning how to apply it in context.

Not that they are completely immune to errors, but they are more prone to catching themselves in the act of reasoning poorly, engaging in motivated reasoning, or applying critical thinking out of context. They are humans, after all.

This varies, like any human trait, along a statistical bell-curve, with more or less skilled or talented being outliers along the far ends of the curve.

This variant brain architecture also has one other effect:

It protects them from the neurological and psychiatric dangers of harboring a hypershard in one’s brain. They may use these relics and access their potent effects in ways that would burn out baseline human brains, if, of course, they have one, and some few actually do.

Wavetouched came to prominence mostly through Kai’Siri meddling in Terran affairs in search of subjects to become walking doomsday weapons using three of the four Prime shards, the first three being implanted in the Mirus, the Fractus, and the Magna, with the fourth, undiscovered by the Kai’Siri, residing within the head of the Herald of It Who Scratches at the Gates, the Tempest.

It was the public actions and deeds of these four, known across the Local Galaxy, that first brought the species to the public’s attention. The Wavetouched were at first quite indistinguishable from baseline humans to most, save for the occasions they were brain scanned due to the need to diagnose injury or the occasional neurological condition that any genetically diverse population might be subject to. You’d be surprised how easy it is to miss something as subtle as seemingly minor differences in brain structure, especially using early technology, and the errors in perception of those performing the scans even with better tech. Humans are good at pattern recognition, but limited, often failing to see what’s right in front of us even if not imposing false patterns on what we see. Early on, Myrads were  thought just quirky outliers along a bell-curve, until recognized as a species in their own right some centuries later.

Where did Wavetouched come from? From sinister but failed plans to create superhumans, to an escaped virus from a lab infecting the human genome, to a natural transition of the species over time, and other ideas, there is much speculation on their origin.

But for now, the Children of the Great Ripple, are here, ready to take their place on the galactic stage as the heirs of humanity’s legacy among the stars.

And for good or ill, they will not be denied.