May 9th 2013
THE BANU PROTECTORATE
Humanity’s first interstellar friends. Discovered by a NavJumper named Vernon Tar who was out exploring and nearly started a war by taking a shot at the Banu pilot (we helped smooth that over). That Banu, as it turned out, was on the run from local officials for embezzling funds. Once our two civilizations came together and signed the first Interstellar Peace & Trade Accord, we began to trade technology and help each other expand into the universe. Once they spread out, they formed the Banu Protectorate to oversee all of their systems.
The Banu are the traders, the culture-hounds of the universe. Their planets are varied and colorful. Many tales of intrigue start in the murky back alleys of Banu cities.
Baachus. At least the UEE thinks so because this is the world where the Banu convene for ‘Gatherings’ (which isn’t often). A fact the Banu evade with aplomb.
Republic of Planet-States, each run under its own political system. The leaders (or selected representatives) of each planet will gather for a quorum to to discuss/debate legal and trade issues that affect the entire species. Otherwise, each is left to their own devices to succeed or fail.
Vanduul: Precarious but friendly. This breaks down on a planet-by-planet basis, but generally the desire for money and trade outweighs loyalties and grudges.
Multiple. Unsurprisingly, the two deities with the greatest following are Cassa, the Patron of Luck, and Taernin, the Great Traveller.
The Protectorate’s spiritual center is located in the Trise System. While the Gatherings on Bacchus handle the legal and political, “The Council” is responsible for the social and moral dictums that define and direct Banu society.
Their calling requires pure objectivity when dealing with their own race, so they are separated from the rest of their people in so much as is possible.
There are no great Banu pilgrimages, though, so do not expect worshippers to flock to the system. That the Council must be separate from the rest of society is law. Banu monk equivalents do produce elaborate copper-based artwork which has a certain kitsch value; their healers concoct a variety of medicines which have been shown to have a positive effect on Human disease.
The Banu can pull together a formidable fighting force if needed, but they do not have a dedicated standing army. Instead, the Banu Militia keeps the (relative) peace on a day-to-day basis within their systems. This militia operates on a rotational basis, drawing volunteers (even some criminals) from the various inhabited planets within the system to keep an eye on things in space. To call their approach to law enforcement ‘fast and loose’ is an understatement.
Suffice it to say, there is a lot of crime in the Banu Protectorate. The woeful lack of communication between the various planet-states means that criminals can simply hop from world to world when his/her current world becomes too dangerous. Since the UEE (even the Advocacy) is forbidden to pursue criminals over the borders, the Banu Protectorate is a haven for UEE criminals. And if an attempt is made to reclaim fugitives through official channels, very few of the Banu planets will extradite any fugitives found on their surface.
That hasn’t stopped some of the more creative thinkers within the Advocacy from sending Agents undercover, tracking and abducting fugitives, then smuggling them back into UEE space.
Trade is the name of game in the Banu systems. While each of the planets boast their own specific flavor of culture and tradition, a love of money and trade bind them all. Banu worlds are vibrant, dangerous places with criminals and nobles brushing shoulders in the various marketplaces. Anything can be found with the Banu if you have the credits.
Having said that, we should also note that this doesn’t describes every single Banu; just most of them. You can create a Banu who despises the whole profit-oriented focus, or an impetuous Xi’An. But they probably have difficulty fitting in their society.
THE XI’AN EMPIRE
The Xi’An and Humanity have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. While the Xi’An have generally regarded Humanity as short-sighted and impetuous, they have acknowledged our capacity to destroy and treated us accordingly. While their technology might seem superior to ours (it certainly looks nicer), most of that is simply due to its alien origin. Our two civilizations are on relatively equal technological footing. This ability for mutual annihilation is probably what kept either side from attempting an all-out attack.
A line of systems that acted as a no-man’s-land between the UEE and the Xi’An. These systems (Tohil, Oya, Gurzil, Horus, Pallas, Hadur, Indra and Virtus) became known as the Perry Line. After the Peace Treaty of 2789, the Perry Line was divided between the UEE and the Xi’An with Tohil, Oya, Gurzil and Horus going to the UEE and Pallas, Hadur, Indra and Virtus going to the Xi’An.
Relations with the Xi’An have warmed over the centuries, but it would be difficult to call them friendly without a slight hint of sarcasm. ‘Guarded’ is probably a more accurate term. We hope that the Xi’An aren’t planning to destroy us, but we’ll be ready just in case.
Consult the following Dispatch which gives a little more insight into the Xi’An culture:
Has not been declassified yet.
Hereditary Absolute Monarchy. The title of Emperor passes down through the family line. The emperor has a High Council of Advisers, each representing a facet of the government. On each planet under Xi’An control there is a Council that runs that world. Those Council Members report directly to their respective counterpart on the Emperor’s Council.
Emperor Kr.ē – Ruler for the past three hundred years. He was the one who negotiated the peace treaty with Terra in 2789, and has not forgotten how Humans acted back then.
Humans: Formerly hostile/tense but currently friendly. There are still corners of the Xi’An Empire that haven’t forgotten how antagonistic the UEE was back in the day.
Vanduul: Indifferent but not welcome.
Kr’Thak: The Xi’An and the Kr’Thak have been fighting each other for a long time. The longest and most devastating conflict was known as the Spirit Wars. The UEE just recently learned of the Kr’Thaks’ existence, but have not met or opened relations with them.
No official religion. There are scattered belief systems but they tend to offer moral guidelines or promote universal spirituality rather than worshiping specific gods.
Slink (generally offensive (even to some Humans) way to refer to a Xi’An)
There is less crime per capita in the Xi’An Empire than in the UEE, but it still exists. The Xi’An pride themselves on having ‘dignified’ criminals, since acting from emotion is seen as a sign of weakness and immaturity. So criminals within the Xi’An Empire are similar to the syndicates within the UEE, sprawling disciplined organizations whose business happens to be crime.
There are Xi’An pirates and smugglers but they tend to be younger, still in their rambunctious phase of life. These pirates will usually hunt in UEE territory, but they will rob their own kind if the cargo’s right.
Masters of diplomacy. The Xi’An are patient and refined, but can and will throw down if the situation calls for it. They live for centuries; for this reason, propagation of the species is carefully monitored and directed by the government to prevent overcrowding. While their placid demeanor can often be interpreted as aloofness or apathy, their long lifespan means that they act with decades in mind, not years.
To Humans, Xi’An culture can seem rigid and lifeless. A majority of that is artifice. The Xi’An present themselves as polite but neutral, particularly to those they have never met before. This is an age-old social testing mechanism. They approach a person as a blank-slate and let the other person set the tone (or tip his or her hand) as to how the interaction will progress. When a Xi’An feels comfortable with a contact, they will begin to lose the artifice and relate on a more personal level. With Humans, it takes a little longer (as we said before, a lot of them remember the Messer Era).
There is a definite “us versus them” mentality within the Xi’An society. They will not hesitate to take another Xi’An’s side over an outsider unless definitive evidence is presented to support the outsider’s claim or accusation.
It is not unusual to see Xi’An within UEE space, usually falling into three categories: visiting Xi’An businessmen or dignitaries (as described above), younger Xi’An who haven’t quite settled into the Xi’An culture, and expatriates.
There are those within the Xi’An Empire who felt that their way of life was too stifling, welcomed Humanity’s ‘childish’ emotions as a breath of fresh air and expatriated into the UEE. Some went through the arduous process of becoming Citizens while others enjoy the relaxed civic responsibility of Civilian life.
Q: If you are looking for a topic to cover, how about looking at currency? Is there local currency or just UEE credits? How does the currency trade hands? [O]r can it stay off the grid?
A: Within the UEE, there will be standardized UEE Credits transferred digitally (via MobiGlas). We are discussing whether to include alien currencies, but have to weigh a lot of considerations (will we need to create secondary dynamic economies to support each additional currency base?) to figure out whether it would be cool but ultimately distracting. As for a hard currency (for transactions of a more illicit nature), again we’re still discussing it.
For the purposes of your stories, at the moment, I would keep it standardized UEE Credits if possible, or maybe barter of some sort. If it’s an illegal payment, you can use dummy accounts to launder Credits.
Q: Is local law enforcement restricted to a single planet? I ask because it’s been stated that the Advocacy only get involved if a criminal leaves one system and goes into another and if the criminal stays on the planet it is up to local law enforcement to deal with.
What about a criminal that leaves a planet and goes to another planet to escape from locals, but the planet he goes to is within the same solar system? If local law enforcement is restricted to a single planet, then how do they go about chasing down runners within their own system?
A: Local law enforcement is confined to their jurisdiction on a single planet, but since communication technology within a system is at the speed of light, they are able to communicate with their counterparts on the other planets to flag an ID or coordinate a manhunt.
I would imagine that some of the more densely populated systems such as Terra might have an additional level of local police who operate between planets, their jurisdiction being the entire system.
Hopefully this helped shine a little more light on the other civilizations in the universe. I apologize again that we can’t give a full information disclosure, but we have to save some stuff for future updates. Next week, we’ll cover the Vanduul and the Tevarin.