Norĵek is a Human populated world in the heart of the Klaithesh spiral arm of Galfarra.
The world itself is quite small, more like a moon than a planet. It’s quite low gravity, only around seven units, and very cold.
The world orbits a dwarf star in the thin band of warmth sufficient for the surface of the planet to support oxygen, water, and other things to keep the planet’s Human populace alive. Humanity, however, has to cling to the equatorial (approximately) one-third of the surface as the more polar regions can reach incredibly low temperatures – during some years, low enough to precipitate some of the vital gasses out of the atmosphere at the poles themselves.
Despite this, the planet has a remarkably robust biosphere, even more amazingly it possesses such a biosphere from pole to pole.
Near the equator the biology of the world is largely a mix of tundras, cold-swamps, and ice-jungle, with typical temperate zones hugging the few degrees above and below the actual equator. Approaching the poles you find a shift toward silicate life, and other ice-world biologies as well as unusual forms extremophilic carbon/water life. Plants on Norĵek are more closely related to ferns, and some do not metabolise carbon dioxide, but various ammonia-based gases instead. Most life on the planet is found under its considerable ocean, which is exceedingly deep for a world so small and filled with geothermal vents than keep the lower reaches liquid. Underwater all forms of life from bacteria to fungus to reptiles to mammals can be found. On the surface it is primarily insects, saurians, and a few mammals as well as the fern-like planets.
Geologically there are two major continents and one minor one which have only separated from a single continent in the last 500,000 standard years so are fairly close together. There are also numerous archipelagos of volcanic islands scattered around the ocean. Geysers abound on the landmasses, and the hot springs tend to be the population centres for the Norĵeké whether you mean Human or animal.
Economically the world is part of the Galfarran Union and while on the poorer end of the spectrum is still considered “average wealth” by the Galfarran Trade Council. Their major exports are in a few exotic alloys that are produced in the planet’s mantle and collected at lava flows (for example, Norĵek is the best source for blethĵŝ); their woodcrafts have long been a powerful artisan market as the profoundly long and isolating winters leave plenty of time to perfect handcrafts which couples well with the extreme beauty of the wood of Norĵek’s few species of tree; they also produce many raw goods needed by various cosmetics industries in the form of oils, volcanic rocks, etc.
No worlds in the Norĵek system have moons, but the first four planets, Norĵek being the third, are all so close to each other and their star that they can be seen quite clearly in one another’s skies.
Norĵek’s orbit, being so small, does give it a very short year, being only slightly longer than a standard korva, and it has a rotation of approximately 29 nulaire 7⅔ saenead.
It goes without saying, for anyone who’s ever heard their singers or language, but Kivanians (and by evolutionary connection, Tylanians) have exceedingly complex larynxes.
For most humans the variety and kinds of phonemes commonly found in their languages are virtually (in some cases utterly) impossible to reproduce. Some excellent mimics can fake as much as 50% of the sounds and upwards of 80% of the most common; the average person is lucky to get 5% and 20%.
Part of it is that their complex vocal cord structure allows for chordal tones – some of the sounds they use to talk are actually two simultaneous vocalisations from the throat. They largely incorporate sounds that can best be described as clicks, pops, chirps, and blended vowels. Some dialects and words get even weirder and may include caws, whistles, and screeches.
The language is fairly easy to transliterate into Galfarran due to the very wide selection of phonemes included and glyphs for each of them with diacritics to help cover more esoteric alien phonics, but even here some sounds are often “skipped.” In Universal Standard (English) these skips are indicated, typically, by an apostrophe. In Galfarran they’re usually marked with a kilĵā. An example, the Kivanian word for “plate,” “k’ghnma,” has a complex vowel, ǔǫī, between the k and g, those who’d like to pronounce it properly would have to manage to pronounce an oo while making something on the lines of a long i (the simplest accent of that vowel; some dialects’ way of pronouncing it cannot be meaningfully conveyed in English), but as with many similar transliterative tricks in English the apostrophe should be treated as a syllable break, the ghnm should be pronounced as closely to a single consonant sound as possible, the a should be soft like in “car”.
There are several dialects of Kivanian, but few of Tylanian. This is due to the much smaller population of the first Tylanians and no significant effort for the earlier members to preserve any ancestral tongues. Dialects have cropped up in the mean time in a manner rather analogous to the various accents/dialects found in various regions of the Earth city called “London“.
Tylanian is incomprehensible to Kivanian speakers and vice versa as they broke off when there were more distinct Kivanian languages and predates the Imperial Decree of Languages and its corresponding founding of the Imperial Language Conference.
Within the span of the Imperium a common tongue based on the first Imperial clans’ native tongues was adopted, but various clans kept and used their ancestral languages as well. Due to the influences of having to conduct all formal interactions in Imperial Kivanian influences settled into the ancestral languages that has aligned them somewhat with the common language. The dialectal differences can still manage to be distinct enough that two clans from far enough apart in the Imperium will sound as though they are saying the same thing, but could be making radically different statements (kind of like in Albanian when some regional dialects use a word that some interpret as war, but another as a vulgarity for coitus). Even speaking Imperial can get strange for them as accents can be difficult for those from extremities to follow, though it’s safe to say they figure it out more often than not.
Written Kivanian is a kind of cursive script that has often been described as intricate drawings of vines.
The loops, curls, and other features of the script very rarely go far above or below the ulk’ragth (central connective line), leaving the writing very narrow on the vertical (if it were written out in typical left-right top-down fashion like English) and quite wide. There is no break between words, instead the breaks appear to indicate ending of sentences.
Diacritics are used to indicate inflections, and inflections indicate exclamation/interrogative/etc. as well as a certain degree of irony/humour/etc.
The lot is arranged into spirals beginning at the centre and working one’s way outward.
Simple texts will maintain very basic geometric shapes: triangles, circles, or squares (generally) with shape chosen having loose conventions relative to the shape of what’s being written on, whim of the writer, and other factors. Poetry, however, has a habit of becoming a complex drawing of something related to the topic of the poem – including foregoing sentence breaks in favour of specialised punctuation, to help the clarity of the image. This leaves Kivanian books of longer fiction quite beautiful in many cases as they never really got the idea of the novel or prose, so keep to something better described as epic poetry for longer works.
Their writing has no ulk’ragth, instead there is the ulthg’ath, which is a connecting line at the top of the characters. Words and sentences are separated by marks, but the only spacing is between stanzas (some linguists argue it should be translated ‘paragraph’ as the purpose is closer, but the grammatical rules involved favour ‘stanza’). The text is read from the centre as with Kivanian, but generally keeps to triangular spirals.
Tylanians have a better grasp of prose, though only about two centuries old and still not exceedingly popular, but some quite creative novels have evolved. Even in prose the Tylanian tradition of writing fiction in elabourate knots similar to the Celtic and Nordic designs of ancient Earth is held, though the prose struggles with the convention of the complexity of the design being reflective of the complexity of the content and lends to its lack of popularity as the designs from page to page are seen as being in an aesthetically disturbing chaos.
Anerix is both the name of a world and a small union of worlds operating on the idea that any means available should always be used to improve the peace and prosperity of the society.
The Anerix High Chancellor, a student of philosophy whose name and origins are not known, is the founder and leader of both. The history of Anerix is understood to have begun almost half a Sweytzian century ago around the time of Lorkik’s attempts to dishonourably expand the Mugdarran Empire.
The world, located in the Milky Way, was claimed as a privately held world and very shortly afterward was announced opened as a private colony, with the High Chancellor declaring that the governmental power would be held exclusively by himself and a group of select ministers known as the High Command.
Through various forms of promotion the population of Anerix swelled with the promises that anyone could achieve high rank within the government – should they desire it – with the Chancellor and, later, hired motivational speakers pointing to the diverse members of the High Command who represented medical, academic, military, and political leaders. Others flocked there for the promises of absolute safety of life and property for all citizens.
From there Anerix, which lacked significant planetary or system wealth, began to expand its reach through treaties, alliances, and annexation of other worlds. There are many who suspect that some of these allies and annexes were gained via conspiracy, sabotage, subterfuge, assassination, and the like – though little has been firmly proven, many wary neighbours of Anerix and its members dedicate a portion of their military counter-intelligence to guard against potential terrorist efforts by the dictatorial government.
The actual government of Anerix, according to the adamant claims of the Chancellor, his High Command, and those hired to represent them, is not a dictatorship, but rather a wholly new form of governing called a Glaerocracy (Glaeronosha when directly transliterated from Galfarran, the Anerix official language). This word, coined by the High Chancellor, is derived from a clumsy and amateur bit of linguistics. It derives from a Jinoashu word for co operation; the government, ostensibly, being a co-op between the High Command, who provide security in the form of law & order with the military and police forces needed to enforce them, and the people do their share in providing the means to support these leaders and the raw materials and economic fuel to drive the society. It is wondered if the choice is ironic or deliberate as the word the Chancellor used is, idomatically, best translated as ‘coercion’ – many opponents of Anerix’ efforts to expand their reach throughout the galaxies often point out that they are hiding behind rhetoric and a word that means police-state.
In recent years Anerix has caused several stirs amongst the various governments in that arm of the Milky Way as they have taken to pre-emptive ‘defensive’ military actions to secure peace with worlds they claim to have felt threatened by.
Throughout the galaxies there are races with varying degrees of one or both telepathic/empathic senses.
In a clearly developed and obvious form, these senses are generally quite uncommon, though it is suspected that most (if not all) creatures do possess them to a very limited degree; this theory is furthered by the variety of species types that show the capability and that it is not unique to sentient beings.
Telepathy is the ability to read the thoughts of others. The range and how strong (often stated as “loudness”) the thoughts are play an important role in whether or not they can be “read”. No telepathic race has ever shown any capacity to broadcast their thoughts into the minds of others who were not themselves telepathic, and none are able to tap into the minds of others to gain insight into memories and other information not actively being processed by the conscious mind. The phenomenon is fairly well understood to be a trait of certain nerve receivers which then carry the information to one or more specialised brain lobes which then interpret the information. These sensory nerves are sensitive to the detectable emanations of certain parts of the cerebral cortex (or its various analogues across the diversity of species).
A common myth about telepathy beyond the ability to place thoughts or to mind-probe is that it means that all thoughts can be understood. This is quite untrue. Any conscious reminiscence that occurs can be “seen” in the same way that the person remembering is “seeing” the recollected images. The language that the person is thinking in is the one “heard” by the telepath. No special understanding is gained. Also the more alien the mind the less likely that the telepath will receive anything or that she will be capable of understanding it even if the thoughts are in a comprehended language.
Empathy, on the surface, seems to be a linked trait to telepathy, though they do function on rather different principles on the biological level. The ability to pick up and interpret emotions is derived from specialised tissues which read a number of things from brain impulses to pheromones and this information is carried to the brain for analysis in a structure that is usually located much closer to the mid or hindbrain than to the cerebrum (again, or analagous structures).
Ability to sense emotional states does not, of course, carry with it any understanding of the causes. Contrary to popular holo-serial characters’ depictions, for example, one can tell that a person is feeling love, hate, jealousy, etc. but must rely on observation or questions to determine for whom the emotion is felt. Similarly a telepath cannot interpret emotional states, if the person’s thoughts provide no clues then she is no more able to tell how a person feels than could someone who can hear or see the individual.
Some technologies do exist which are designed around the understanding of telepathic senses, and even some empathic variations of them. Magvinnians, for example, have designed most of the interactions with their computer systems to work on a computerised version of the their own telepathic senses as well as ways to record and play back thought and emotional patterns in a fashion not at all unlike recording and playback of sound, which allowed them to retain their heavily neural based language in long range communication as well as the development of entire entertainment media such as thought and feeling symphonies.
The Xentorn system is ruled by a body known simply as The Seven Crowns.
This group is comprised of three members of the military, three from the priesthood, and one who is from neither. They are elected for life and selected from among the Naéla Båvassí (Miraculous Children, or Spirit Children); these individuals comprise a sacred segment of Xentoran society as they are children of impossible birth, most of them from pregnancies resultant from ryeal (a sacred orgy held in Xentoran temples every third klaeretha — a division of the Xentorn calendar), but can be anyone whose birth is deemed a miracle by a temple priest due to the exceptional unlikelihood of it.
These individuals are charged with maintaining the safety and security of Xentor and her people. They are responsible, too, for the preservation of Xentoran culture, language, and tradition. Their principle duties are the maintenance and ultimate command of the temples spread throughout the Xentoran system as well as the tri-galaxies. They are also the law makers, judges, and chief enforcers of the Jaýnæ (Holy Law). They maintain the Xentoran military, a defensive force that patrols the space inside and around the Xentorn star system.
Each Crown is granted residence in one of the Grand Palaces (Ilnyara Vaersa), one of which is located on each of Xentor’s largest continents, and they rule from the Spirit Palace or Great Temple (Kaelsha Ilnyara) located over what ancient Xentoran tradition holds is the heart of Xentor Herself, located in a valley between Xentor’s two greatest mountains and home of some of the world’s most spectacular geysers, hot-springs, and other geothermic phenomena.
Once selected as a Crown, the individual is blessed as a home for a portion of the spirit of Xentor by the other six Crowns. The Crowns do, in fact, wear crowns — though technically they are tiaras — each is an elabourate filigree of irydra with polished olphaeria the size of hummingbird eggs. Once the coronation is complete the Crown may never leave Xentor unless she is of the military Crowns, then she may leave the planet (so long as she remains within the system) to lead military actions in very specific and dire situations.
They do act as head of state and are responsible for greeting and hosting all visiting dignitaries, as well as selecting diplomats to represent the crowns when there is need for their presence in an off-world setting. These diplomatic representatives are also selected from among the Naéla Båvassí and are granted Xentor Båvassí (Xentor’s Blessing) — a temporary, and small portion of the spirit of Xentor, when selected for such an honour. For most details of etiquette these diplomats are to considered heirs apparent of a royal household.
It is a myth to say that Mugdarrans have no notion of cuisine or even any concept of how to cook. They do, however, follow the trend of many obligate carnivore races and have a somewhat looser definition of cooking, but this definition is not without profound care to preparation, presentation, and taste so is by all measures a fine cuisine (for those able to stomach it).
First it must be said, though ought to be obvious, Mugdarrans enjoy meat. Some 90% or more of their diet is in the form of organ, muscle, bone, and other tissues of various animals. They enjoy a wide array of such foods from fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and other seafood, to poultries, lizards, and darker meats. Land game of various mammals seems to be a favourite.
Fruits and vegetables, while enjoyed for flavour, garnish, and visual effect are not a serious component of a Mugdarran dish or meal except in beverages; a common misconception is that the race drinks glasses of blood with their meals — this is inaccurate, there is a popular wine made of a fruit with a deep, ruby coloured juice that is fairly opaque and the name of which is derived from the Mugdarran word for blood due to the obvious resemblance; nakjeru contains nothing more than fermented jaktherik, however.
Part of the Mugdarran stereotype of being barbaric in their diets and having no notion of cooking or cuisine comes from their meats typically being eaten raw. Mugdarrans, like many carnivores throughout the tri-galaxies, do not benefit fully from cooked meats — certain of their vitamins are lost or destroyed in the process. A certain instinct related to this is thought to be why the race (and many like them) seem to have little taste for meat that is thoroughly cooked (and in some cases, cooked at all). They do, however, have a fine tradition of roasting, searing, frying, and most other methods of cooking both for certain meats as well as in the preparation of desserts and plants. It should be noted that true traditional Mugdarran dishes do not include breads. Some cereal grains were used as ingredients, but no evidence suggests that the race had thought to make flour until they’d encountered other races.
A typical morning meal would be small game, often whole in some capacity. This can include fish (often chargrilled or broiled), small birds (plucked, but whole and honeyed), small reptiles (again, whole, but may be raw or fried), or a hearty soup made from minced meat and organs with herbs and thickened with a sweet grain (such as barley).
The next major meal may be at midday or in the evening, depending on where the Mugdarran’s family originated, but will often include various stuffed organs of large game (roasted, raw, or slow cooked), whole medium to large game (cooked or raw), or large portion of a bigger game gently seared (flame kissed haunch, for example). These will often be seasoned in myriad fashion from rubs and marinades, to basting. The stuffings are often cheeses, peppers, grains, flavourful roots (e.g. onions, or laugreth), or even fruits (stronger, acidic ones like grapefruit or hangred preferred). Honey, nuts, and the like are also popular for coating the meat.
Regardless if it’s midday or evening, there is a light meal traditionally enjoyed in a day that will consist of more fish, a steak, liver or other organ. This one may be seared or boiled in a broth made with wine and seasonings.
Mugdarrans have, as a rule, a serious sweet tooth and desserts can be taken quite seriously — they are among the finest confectioners in their half of the Milky Way. While traditional desserts don’t include cakes or pastries for the aforementioned lack of having invented flour, many delights with chocolate, honey, nuts, fruits, sweet grains, butter, and hot peppers abound. Since discovering flour they have gained a certain flair with cakes, cookies, pastries, and sweet rolls; though there are many purists who refuse to learn how to make them. Liqueurs, coffee (please note that most coffees grown within the Mugdarran Empire were cultivated from the robusta strain and can be very potent — approach any Mugdarran coffee or item containing it with caution), as well as whole or crushed tea leaves are also readily found, especially in higher grade/class artisan confections.
Another item of note is Mugdarran candies. These are enjoyed at all ages, are almost always exceedingly colourful, and often moulded into humorous or cute shapes. There’s a preference for hard candies of a variety of flavours, but chews and jellies are by no means unheard of; especially bredgik, a chew made of molasses and juices from whatever variety of chilli is most readily available, and seeds then coated in a dusting of powdered sugar which has seen a surge in popularity due to Emperor Harjort’s particular fondness for them.
While biologically and historically omnivorous, Xentorns are a philosophically vegetarian race, as such they have no surviving recipes for any sort of flesh.
The Xentorn race, spread through Galfarra, and even somewhat into the Milky Way and Vorton galaxies rely on a wide array or foods as do many such races, but there is a common theme among their foods.
Traditionally this race grazes throughout the day on various foods in light meals and snacks. In this respect various pies, especially custard, fruit, or egg are quite popular; as are fruits and berries in raw or simple cooked form (e.g. boiled and spiced).
The single, traditional, Xentoran daily meal is a time for family and friends to gather and have a mini celebration and as such mimics, in small scale, the feasts of a temple gathering.
The family and guests gather in the household common room on cushions with low tables set close to hand. Or, for those associating heavily with other races often, they may gather in more local means such as in a dining room around a table. Regardless of setting, the meal is served in specific courses.
First comes a small, warm tayæ, a dish in small hand bowls eaten with a spoon and consisting of one or more stewed berries mixed with a sauce made of mild spices (typically described by Terrans as reminiscent of mulling spices) in a mix of a rich cream and/or butter (traditionally made from a plokëo, one of many Xentoran fruits similar to the coconut of Earth but just as often from an animal milk), and a syrup made from nectar or honey. This is served with a very small glass of a simple, weak wine or with water with a bit of fruit juice squeezed into it.
Next will come the raìsu, a cold soup made from pureed melons and nuts, and often features olkaeri, a fruit many have said is what one would get if a fig and date were crossed. This is eaten scooped by a soft pita or naan like bread. No drink is typically served with this course.
Next is the main dish, or yaero. Xentoran cuisine flourishes on the experimental and adopts new preparation methods and ingredients readily. The most consistent thing about a yaero is that it will be an experience, whether for good or ill.
Favourite themes in the dishes, though, do crop up out of long racial habit. On Xentor, and as a result, often elsewhere, the main course will rely heavily on foods similar to the dozens of species of tyheari, a family of fruits very similar, and potentially related to the plantain or banana of Earth and known to be related to the Ilzwik hathbok fruits. Other popular foods are various sweet tubers, and various things best described, in English, as figs, dates, and coconuts. These along with nuts, legumes, various rhubarb like plants, and vegetables will be cooked together. There are various family recipes, successful yaeroa of the past that were recorded for making again, but no really widespread recipes.
Xentoran cookbooks do contain a number of tayæ, raìsu and faeriea recipes, but for yaero it will merely give suggestions and advice such as one in a currently popular book Xentoriae Laeysô Junillash Qaelù [A Xentoran Take/View of/at Junillian Foods/Cooking], “a reasthê’s flavour and aroma is brought out and enhanced if you sauté it cut into small cubes then marinate it overnight with a mix of equal parts threasedi oil and a hearty Plotreadi beer”.
Many different kinds of drink might be served with a yaero, but most often it will be a refreshing, cool, mellow flavoured ale, any complimentary variety of wine, or coffee.
Finally is dessert, or faeriea. Xentorns do not, traditionally, eat sweet faerieaï. They prefer a final course that is spiced. Rarely to the degree of a strong pepper, though it is not unheard of; instead it will be more along the lines of nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, grishokna and the like. Popular faerieaï include seasoned custards, squash or tuber pies (Xentorns who’ve visited Earth often feel quite at home with a slice of pumpkin or sweet potato pie, for example), and similar preparations. This course is most often enjoyed with some kind of tea or naewi, a drink made of unsweetened cocoa mixed with milk from certain fruit nuts and juices from chilies.
A drink rarely found off of Xentor, but highly prized when it can be gotten is daesriu, a popular drink to enjoy with faeriea that consists of fermented milk (plant or animal is equally likely) sweetened with honey and flavoured with various herbs from mint and ginger families then served ice cold. It is, deservedly, noted for its ability to aid in digestion or to soothe digestive issues.
A Xentorn living alone, who cannot enjoy a meal with any friends or family will, normally, not have one – instead lightly snacking for all her food in a day. Some will prepare a lone five courses and enjoy them in private celebration of the day, usually as a self congratulation for a personal achievement, but many Xentorns find any solitary meal, regardless of reason, depressing so will find other means of self-congratulation.
Be forewarned: invitation to a Xentoran meal can be a truly fantastic experience, it being equally likely to be utterly horrible as profoundly enjoyable. As with all people, there’re varying degrees of competency, skill, talent, and instinct for cooking among Xentorns. And as in most beings, there is a varying degree of awareness of this. Unlucky individuals have reported waking years later to nightmare remembrances of a disastrous yaero. Others have likened various yaeroa to sexual and/or spiritual bliss. As with any race of humans, the average Xentorn knows her limits and will stick to what she is good at, and saves extremes of experimentation for herself or for certain of the less pleasant Xentoran celebrations.
Please note, too, that no part of a Xentoran meal will, normally, include any drink stronger than 10%ABV, as anything stronger is usually deemed to overpower the flavours of the food or to numb the palate. Exceptions exist in the form of adopted customs on various worlds, and individual tastes.
Some final notes regarding traditional diets of the Xentorn people: a common item for midday snacks is a readseuo, a deepfried starchy vegetable on a stick eaten with various condiments.
Also no commentary on Xentoran food is complete without mention of the widespread stereotype that Xentorns neither enjoy nor are competent in creating distilled beverages. Which, after extensive study is partially deserved.
Xentorns do not seem to have any racial aversion to distilled drinks, though they are slightly more wont to avoid high proof liquors, being 15% more likely to find drinks over 25% ABV to be unpleasant, or to enjoy them only sparingly. Not a significant margin, really, and this stereotype is more deserved by the Glokirthe people who seem to be quite loathe to drink anything much over 5% ABV — despite this they are popularly depicted as boozers and drunks, proving many things about popular perceptions and entertainment, one is sure, but will leave to the xenopsychologists and sociologists to work out.
The stereotype of being poor distillers is rather accurate, however. While it would be ridiculous to say that they never developed the technology of distillation, they never seem to have applied it to beverage making – only to purification methods and medicine production. The only distilled beverage made on Xentor that might pre-date their exposure to other races (though evidence for this is thin at best) is kearuiea. This liquor is generally 20-35% ABV and is made from the kaerophi nut, a plant so similar to the Earth hazelnut that xenobotonists have spent centuries trying to determine if the two plants in fact, share a common ancestry. It is also the only distilled beverage from Xentor that is often considered to be any good, all others being deemed rotgut or little better. Some Galfarran bartenders have been known to give a different, more expensive drink, on the house, to someone so down on their luck as to order a Xentoran liquor that isn’t kearuiea. The drinking of these distillations is also a popular dare at many parties among Junillian youths.
Galfarra uses a form of the ancient Junillian measures with regards to names, but the pattern of the units is a simplification of the Guyathri system and was adopted by the Galfarran Federation some twenty-five thousand years ago (Galfarran standard).
The units are based on the structure of a nujarak crystal, which sets the definition for an ilurĵa, the smallest basic unit, though for scientific purposes and for percision various sub-ilurĵa are used or alien measures of smaller increment are adopted (for example, for measuring atomic distances a common convention in Galfarran is to use the Ruvellian jañoursar).
Every 16 ilurĵa is one varĵé. 16 varĵé is a korĵed, and 1600 korĵed makes a maldri (which is, coincidently exactly equal to 2km in the Terran Standard Units system).
The extreme jump from korĵed to maldri is due to the decline and eventual disuse of other increments which would have maintained the 16 count pattern and history does not give strong evidence to suggest that any but these four units were ever often used for anything except speciality purposes in the first place, though some farmers on worlds in the Glardredi sub-galaxy do still use the huydri is still defined as a square haydri (80 korĵed).
Above this distance there is no official standard of distance beyond the parsec (in Galfarran an utraĵedri) which, as one would expect, is used for interstellar distances.
Ilurĵa, varĵé, korĵed, maldri, and utraĵedri are both the plural and singular form of these units. This is based on the Galfarran habit of maintaining grammatical constructions for words that are adopted rather than incorporated, and in old-Junillian all units of measure were considered klindra (old-Junillian actually had a sufficient number of words that were their own plural that they had a term for it, this has been known to drive some linguists and historians to distraction when context does not make it clear which is meant).
Formerly the Federazione Democratica di Marte. As of firstname.lastname@example.org it became, officially The Democratic Federation of Mars to comply with measures in the Confederate Congress aligning member worlds with the official use of Standard.
Mars was first established as an independent nation when war on Earth had escalated during the last half of the 21st century. They were an autonomous colony, already, when the American Second Civil War broke out, the terraforming stations having reached full production. Recognition of Mars’ independence was one of the last acts of the faltering United Nations.
During the worst fighting, on Earth, of the third world war and at the points of greatest political uncertainty Mars’ population increased substantially as refugees sought asylum from various leaders and governments causing it to became a power second only to Luna.
Unlike Earth’s moon, however, Mars’ importance waned as the governments of Earth settled back into a semblance of order and by the time of the Treaty of Tycho, Mars was only important for its microchip and glass production, these are still, in fact, its primary export and industry.
This loss of importance, and population, is due to its less than spectacular climate. The air is still thin as compared to Earth’s or any of the habitat domes and stations throughout the Solar system, though it is breathable (it has, in fact, a substantial population of both Chilean, and Tibetan descent as people from Andes and Himalayan mountain regions tend to find the atmosphere and temperatures more tolerable). It did have a brief vogue from the last decades of the World War to the first decade of the Terran Confederation as a tourist destination. Before and since it has had a minor popularity as an exotic skiing locale.
The Martian constitution was used as a template for elements of the Confederate Congressional Charter, especially their Bill of Basic Rights and Privileges. In the past century the Martians have also found themselves as one of the key customs ports in the Solar system, but a tertiary one to Luna port and the various stations around Jupiter and in transplanetary orbits.
Transmat is simply the Terran term for matter transmission devices.
Transmats are not unique to the Terran Confederation, but they are a very rare technology, such that it often seems they are — they’re certainly the only race to currently use them so extensively. Most races that ever develop this technology tend to either never adopt it or else quickly abandoned it. The reason being, simply, that they’re exceedingly dangerous.
Various means and methods for matter transmission do exist throughout the galaxies, though all methods come down to a technique by which the relationship between energy and matter is exploited to allow some form of carrier wave to carry the matter across an intervening distance.
The danger of transmats comes in the fact that there is absolutely no simple, no-harm-done accident. When a matter transmitter goes wrong, it goes horribly wrong.
It has been suggested that, perhaps, minor mistakes do occur and in fact many who distrust transmats insist they happen with every transmission. Hence, for example, many top shelf vintners and chocolatiers refuse to allow their products to be moved by transmat; determined that it damages the flavours — most connoisseurs agree.
The other barrier to widespread adoption is that most sentient beings are in some fashion spiritual and/or religious. Of the worlds that will trust a matter transmitter, fewer still will use it to transmit living beings; the Terran Confederation and the Golfadre, both of the Milky Way galaxy, are the only races known to routinely transport themselves and others in this manner. The barrier is the very serious question: can a matter transmitter also transfer the soul? Even among the tri-galaxies’ less religious and even atheistic populous there is the question of: how do I know it’s me that comes out the other end?
In the TC these people are considered backward luddite alarmists in both cases. Among the Golfadre it is explained that the soul and the mind, already being energy, simply travel along with your mass and this seems to satisfy them.
It should be known that all forms of the technology are exceedingly sensitive to signal degradation so have common limitations. All are subject to unobstructed line of sight, various experiments with reflectors and repeaters have been attempted but are not successful at sufficient rates to have been adopted even by the most careless of societies. There are distance limitations as well, if transmitted at or near light speed using something like an electromagnetic wave the general limit is between one and thirty light seconds distance; this makes the technology viable for surface to moon or surface to space station transmissions plausible, given sufficient measures to reduce atmospheric disturbances to the signal (the TC precedes all atmospheric transmissions with a laser burst to clear a path, for example). Greater distances may be achieved, but at a marked loss of reliability if the matter is converted into faster than light energies (e.g. tachyons), also the gains tend to net few because while upper limits have been as great as a light hour there becomes a short-range limit — the signal never reconstructs properly under ten light minutes (the reasons for this are not yet properly understood).
A curious note in support of those who question the ability for the devices to deliver souls, spirits, intellects: non-organic goods transport with a full 30% greater reliability and non-living organic materials (e.g. leathergoods, foods, etc.) transport their own 30% more readily than living creatures. As an example, the TC has established transmat routes from Luna to the Jupiter, but will only transport goods and materials via this system. All living cargos must still travel by the stations on Luna, in Trans-Luna-Martian orbit, on Mars, to the Trans-Martian-Jovian orbital stations, and then to one of the Jovian satellites or orbital stations due to the safety concerns.
While various popular science fiction depictions of transmats will have them able to collect and deposit a subject anywhere all incarnations ever discovered by archaeologists and in present use require the subject to be sent by a transmitting device and reconstructed by a receiving device — in virtually all cases the technology was designed so that the same device could serve both functions. In the Terran Confederation, these devices are known as transmat capsules.