Friday, October 2, 2015

Into the Night Faction - The Orphic Protectorate

    Hey, everyone. In response to a notable lack in Into the Night, I said that I would write up some information about a galactic federation or some such organization to liven up space. Here's my take on it, and I only hope that it lives up to the standard. With that, I give you the Orphic Protectorate.

The Orphic Protectorate

Flag and insignia of the Orphic Protectorate.

    One of many interplanetary governments, the Orphic Protectorate is the largest such organization in the Milky Way Galaxy. They are dedicated to protecting galactic civilization and ensuring that the disparate alien civilizations can live as they choose without resorting to violence. To this end, the OP arbitrates disputes between governments, legislates galactic law, and occasionally uses force to diffuse conflict or protect against outside threats.
    Above all, the OP holds to the doctrine of non-intervention, believing that all civilizations must be allowed to follow their own natural course of evolution without upsetting outside influence. The OP monitors the activity of ships, bars landing on underdeveloped planets, and imposes sanctions against certain technologies on planets deemed unworthy.
    The OP is a democratic organization, but a tiered one. Government organizations throughout the galaxy may officially join the OP for the chance to send ambassadors to argue and vote on their behalf. However, in keeping with its doctrine of non-interference, the OP only accepts governments who have advanced beyond a certain level.
    Furthermore, different societies are given different rights and responsibilities based on their level of technological advancement. Less technologically advanced societies have a lesser say in deciding policy than more advanced ones, but are also asked to contribute fewer resources to the OP. Likewise, higher-tech civilizations have more decision making power, but are responsible for more of the funding and staffing of the organization.
    The OP has countless enemies and far more critics. These critics accuse the OP of opposing arbitrary restrictions on member worlds for the sake of socio-economic engineering and preserving the status quo, all to exploit lower-tech civilizations in favor of the higher-tech ones. Further, they claim that advancement to higher tiers in the organization has less to do with technological development and more with political maneuvering. Many of these critics are ambassadors or member-governments of the OP itself, but fortunately the OP protects all forms of speech.

The Protectorate Scale of Technological Advancement

    This is the scale by which the OP measures technological advancement of a civilization. Any time that an alien civilization is discovered, the OP sends a team of surveyors to profile all of the planet’s governments and civilizations. Then, according to a dizzying array of criteria, the surveyors assign 
the planet a “tech level,” and file a report to the OP. Though arcane, the tech levels assigned by the OP follow this general format:
  • TL 0 – Stone Age. Hunter gatherers with no agriculture. Little to no metal tools.
  • TL 1 – Agrarian Age. Agriculture discovered, permanent civilization and metal tools common.
  • TL 2 – Industrial Age. Steam powered automation discovered. Mass production begins.
  • TL 3 – Electrical Age. Electricity discovered and widely used for lighting, machines, etc.
  • TL 4 – Information Age. Large scale use of computation. Global telecommunications network present.
  • TL 5 – Space Age. Slower-than-light space travel common. Other planets and moons in the star system colonized.
  • TL 6 – Interstellar Age. Faster-than-light space travel common. Multiple star systems explored/colonized.
  • TL 7 – Immortal Age. Biological immortality discovered and all disease eradicated. Unlimited free access to physical needs.
  • TL 8 – Cosmic Age. Travel between galaxies common. Matter and energy harvested on a cosmic scale. Society free of all material want.
  • TL 9 – Transcendent Age. Travel between realities and through time well-established, if not common. Engineering new universes and altering the laws of physics possible.
    Only civilizations of TL 4 or higher are permitted to join the OP. If the society is assigned at least TL 4, the OP sends a team of ambassadors to greet the alien leaders, welcome them into the galactic community, and offer them OP membership.
    If the civilization’s TL is 3 or lower, then the OP does not reveal its presence and instead sets up an automated monitoring system to watch for further development. The OP’s doctrine of non-intervention is binding, and all member societies are forbidden from approaching OP designated TL 3 or lower planets. The OP has also been known to evacuate or rescue planets bearing sentient species in the event of global catastrophes, so as to prevent extinction, but otherwise they do not interfere.

The Orphs

    Though the OP contains many TL 9+ species, among them the devas, the ahrmen, the isiri, et al., the enigmatic orphs are the masters of the organization. The OP was the brainchild of the orphs, and it bears their name to this day. Though officially the orphs have no more authority than any other TL 9 species, it is impossible to verify, as lesser races find the actions of TL 9 species incomprehensible. From the enigmatic comments of other, comparable species, it is inferred that the orphs wield special privileges.
    In fact, some doubt the existence of the orphs altogether, as they have thus far concealed themselves from the rest of galactic society. Their claim is that any contact with a lesser race, even allowing themselves to be seen, would unbalance their societal evolution, violating their doctrine of non-intervention.
    When an orph needs to convey a message to another species, they usually appear in the form of a roughly humanoid robotic body, or as a holographic projection of a member of the observer’s own species. Given their extreme advancement, orphs are practically incomprehensible by lesser races, and many of their instructions, orders, and suggestions make no sense.
    Orph (Robotic Body): Level 8 (24). 40 hp. 5 Armor. Can fly Long distance per round. Intellect tasks at level 10.

The Athraim

    The OP’s central base of operations and a common ground for all member species, the Athraim is a massive embassy and space station. Circling a planet-less white dwarf star called Pergolo, the Athraim takes the form of a spherical object enclosed in clear, hexagonal synth panes. The Athraim is the size of a small moon, about 3000 miles around, and the surface beneath the outer shield is entirely covered in a vast cityscape. Further, the Athraim is built as a series of nested spheres, each with more buildings on it.
    The Athraim is extremely old, and was actually found drifting and derelict before being repurposed for its current function. At the very core of the Athraim, amid its various machinery, is ball of organic brain matter a mile across, fused with layers of optical circuitry and ceramic structure tubes. The brain is alive, but it serves no apparent function. Many speculate that the Athraim was once a single intelligent creature, a cyborg taken to its logical extreme. However, the station predates the OP and even the orphs, so no one truly knows.
    The Athraim features not one, but several debate halls for council meetings, and contains permanent residence for over 10 billion ambassadors and staff. The cityscape of the Athraim is made of nigh-indestructible white synth (level 10), and the individual districts can have their atmospheric and gravity conditions altered to suit the residents. Further, the entirety of the Athraim is covered in a violence-suppression field that makes any violent action require a level 9 Intellect check.
    Important locations are connected by teleport pads, as well as a system of transport-tubes and flying cabs. Getting anywhere from anywhere on the Athraim takes no more than a couple of hours at most.
    Aside from the spaceport, various common-ground offices and meeting halls, the Athraim is also technologically segregated. Fearing ambassadors from low-tech worlds may steal, purchase, or otherwise illegally acquire proscribed technology, all personnel aboard the Athraim are confined to areas of their own tech level.
    Given the violence-suppression field, the restrictions on technology, and the assumed constant surveillance, over half of the Athraim is uninhabited. Almost everyone on the Athraim either works for a member government, the OP, or a business with branches on Athraim.

The Athraim Hearsay
  • The Kaemor-Threx Group, an elite guild of assassins, has developed a device to negate the Athraim’s violence suppression field. The OP denies this, but many ambassadors would pay dearly to hire an assassin equipped with such a device.
  • A coalition force of TL 4 and TL 5 ambassadors is planning a demonstration to picket important OP offices, in protest of the OP’s technology sanctions and inequality.
  • The Arnox, a rival interplanetary government, has infiltrated the Athraim. Security has increased, but with technology equaling the OP, chances are good that the Arnox will succeed in their mission before being caught.

The Weird of The Athraim
  • The ambassador of the ochopi, a race of blue-shelled crustaceans, does nothing but draw bizarre symbols on the walls of buildings, seemingly at random. The cleaner drones can’t seem to get them off, either.
  • Certain districts are subject to recurring temporal weather. Within these districts, time might move several times faster or slower than usual, sometimes for days.
  • Reports describe bizarre, white-skinned five-limbed creatures coming out of the walls and stealing things from the apartments of staff and ambassadors before melding back into the walls. The creatures match no known species, sentient or otherwise, and the most thorough scans reveal nothing.

More Factions

    If you liked that, there's more where that came from. I don't think I'm going to write up another faction in quite this much detail, but I will write up a list of some other important space factions. You can expect a post like that in the next few days. Until then, iadace.

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