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.

Kivanian (and Tylanian) languages

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.

Tylanian written language is best described as cursive Sanskrit.

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.

Telepathy & Empathy

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 Seven Crowns

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.

Mugdarran Cuisine

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.

Tafinith Robin Thase (né Kavaliro)

Birthdate: 4 Dufoje 264
Birthplace: Near Lusvil, Delthakk Province, Sweytz, Sweytzian AllianceMilky Way
Current Residence: Near Alton, Delthakk Province, Sweytz, Sweytizan Alliance, Milky Way

Biography: Bobby, as he’s known to everyone except his wife who likes the sound of Robin, spent his childhood getting into all manner of scrapes with his best friend, Vincent Blue.  As he grew older and his father became a war hero and his elder sister became a champion fencer, he started to resent their success and became determined to make a name for himself instead of being in their shadow.

He was already a talented loothin player with a very pleasant singing voice, but his inherently lazy nature kept him from doing the work necessary to perfect his craft, as did his single-minded focus on pursuing every attractive young woman he saw.  Especially the ones who were known to put out on the first date.

By the time he was fifteen, he was starting to hang out with a rougher crowd and get in minor trouble with the local law enforcement — which takes some doing on Sweytz.  His father tried to convince him to straighten up and do something productive, such as following in his footsteps and joining the Defence Force, the Kavaliros having quite a long tradition of serving either their faith or their planet.  This chafed young Bobby who saw his father’s well-intentioned advice as trying to push him into something he wasn’t interested in.  Lacking in self-confidence and looking for an easy way to become someone important, Bobby was easily conned by the Anerix High Chancellor’s rhetoric.

At fifteen and a half, after his parents refused to sign the immigration papers, he tried to punch his father, ran away from home, insulted his girlfriend so badly when she wouldn’t join him that they didn’t speak for nearly thirty years, insulted his best friend so badly when he wouldn’t join him that they ended up in a fight that might’ve proved fatal for Bobby had his friend’s father not intervened, and then lied about his age so he could immigrate without parental permission, all in less than a day.

Once on Anerix, he discovered very quickly that the only thing he was qualified for that paid even remotely decently was the Army.  He served as a infantryman for a couple of years, until he irritated his commanding officer one too many times and found himself ‘volunteered’ for the High Chancellor’s Bodyguard.

The High Chancellor’s Bodyguard is actually Anerix’s assassin squad.

Little did anyone suspect at the time that one of the assassin trainers was actually an undercover member of the Sweytian Defense Force Special Forces, Kenshin Kenodori.  Kenshin had briefly served under Bobby’s father during the Second Mugdaran War and took a special interest in the young man, who was by now clearly disillusioned with Anerix.  Luckily, Bobby was naturally a gifted martial artist — there are some who suspect the Kavaliros of old practiced selective breeding since so many are naturally talented martial artists — so Kenshin, who was a ninja master, had an excuse for giving him private lessons.  During those private lessons, Kenshin got to know Bobby better, and eventually he invited him to come visit his home for some specialized training.  Bobby eagerly accepted.

During that trip, Kenshin recruited Bobby into his family’s ninja clan.  During his ninja training, Kenshin recruited Bobby as a spy for the Sweytian Defense Force.

Bobby was considered a valuable asset by both of his employers for the next few years.  Then he had a serious misunderstanding with a member of High Command who he was — depending on which one you ask — either dating or casually having sex with, and she made it her purpose in life to ruin his.  Rather soon after this, Kenshin’s spying was discovered.  Bobby was ordered to kill him to prove his own loyalty.  Instead, he helped him escape.  He claimed to the High Chancellor that Kenshin was just too good for him to kill.  No one in High Command really believed it.  Bobby suddenly found himself suspected every time there was a security leak and assigned all of the most dangerous missions.

During a much overdue vacation, he met Karen Thase, a physical therapist originally from Moulei, but now living on Sweytz.  She was very unlike the vrisks he’d been having shallow relationships with for years.  By the end of the vacation, he was pretty sure he was in love for the first time since the girlfriend he’d wronged when he left Sweytz.

Their relationship deepened as more of High Command became convinced he was a traitor.  Finally, fearing for Karen’s safety, he left the Anerix Army.

Back on Sweytz, he reconciled with his family and his best friend, and reconnected with Kenshin who’d retired from the military and opened a dojo.  Determined to keep out of trouble, he started working at Kenshin’s dojo and, with his brother-in-law, Viktor Blue, opened The Sword & Scroll Tavern, playing loothin and singing in The Band Without A Clever Name.  The tavern and the band both quickly gained local fame which spread rapidly thanks to the number of spacers from the nearby ‘port who dropped by, looking for something nicer than the bars nearer the ‘port.

Bobby and Karen married and had two children, Cassie and Char, then he, for reasons that even he isn’t quite sure of, suddenly decided that it was time to do more for Sweytz.  He joined the Defense Force and was quickly recruited into the Special Forces.  The discipline problems he’d had in the Anerix Army didn’t completely disappear, but the worst thing he ever did — punching a mithoska — only got him busted a rank as the mithoska in question was trying to provoke him.

He and Karen had two more children, Ben and Melissa, and everything in his life was going well for years.

Then his eldest got old enough to date and he took the overprotective father thing too far.  Before things had gotten too bad between he and Cassie, he was severly injured on a mission and very nearly died, his heart stopping three times while he was on the operating table.  His recovery took a bit longer than it should have because he refused to obey the limits the doctors put on his physical activity.

Stuck at home and seeing his children every day, he grew very close to Melissa, who wasn’t quite five, and succeeded in almost alienating Cassie, who by now was nearing fifteen.  Every single outfit she wore, every single thing she did, he was sure was going to lead to her being taken advantage of by a young man.  He thought every young man thought like he had at that age.  These problems with his eldest led to problems with his wife, so once he was well enough to return to active duty, having turned down a medical retirement, he volunteered for every mission he could, finding home an unpleasant place to be.  This, naturally, led to worsening relationships with his wife and children, except Melissa, as he made sure to never miss anything important in her life if he could help it.

When he wasn’t on a mission, he started drinking heavily, partially as a way to self-medicate insomnia which had plagued him for years.  On missions, he started feeling like he needed to prove himself, his old lack of confidence plaguing him again now that he was older and younger men were undeniably performing better than him.  This resulted in him taking chances he shouldn’t have taken and getting injured many times.

Finally, after a mission where he’d been severely stabbed in the elbow and left with it permanently affected somewhat, followed by one where he’d gotten shot next to the heart, Karen had had all she could stand and broke down crying when he said the doctor cleared him to return to full duty.  Affected by her tears, and his youngest’s comment that “And you’ll get to see me grow up if you retire, so you’ll know me better than you do Cassie, so maybe we won’t fight so much”, he retired only seven years after his father.

Cassie and he were barely on speaking terms by then, as he’d offended her a great deal when she became a leytgelez, as he was apparently incapable of comprehending the difference between a leytgelez and the whores he’d hired between girlfriends in his youth.  Char didn’t much care for him as he’d not been supporting her burgeoning athletic career much.  Ben tried to just stay out of the way of the family’s fighting and blamed Bobby for it.  So by this point, his youngest daughter was the only member of his family who he had a good relationship with.

During the early days of his retirement, boredom led to him drinking heavier and getting in some minor scrapes with the law, usually dragging Vincent into them as he always had.  Finally Karen had had enough and forbade him leaving the house without adult supervision — with their seven year old counting as adult supervision.

A few korvare later, his drinking now worse than ever, he said some very stupid things to Sal and Lori when their relationship started.  The young lovers didn’t notice.  He ended up pissing Vincent off severely.  Vincent’s husband, usually a rather calm man, got so aggravated when Bobby repeatedly failed to comprehend why Vincent was so upset that he punched Bobby, leaving quite a bruise.

When Bobby got home that night, Karen demanded to know what happened.  Then he proceeded to, in the course of the conversation, insult all of his children and their significant others, except, of course, Melissa.

Karen ordered him to call Vincent and apologize for what he’d said. In the course of that conversation, Vincent told Karen how much Bobby had been drinking lately, knowing that Bobby’d been lying to her about it. As Vincent had had a drinking problem himself in the past, he recognized what Bobby was going through and had been trying to get him to quit or at least cut back for a while. While Karen was fussing at Bobby, Melissa came in the room and said the words that very nearly damned her father to spending the rest of his life alone: “I didn’t tell her, Daddy! I swear! It’s still our secret!”

Karen had put up with a lot from Bobby, but convincing their daughter that lying about how much he drank was no different that not telling her when he’d sneak her cookies and such before dinner was almost too much.  She was very close to kicking him out and cutting off all contact with him.  This possibility sobered him up very quickly.

As Karen did still love him, she pretended he’d been too drunk to know what he’d said that night and gave him a second chance. She called Kenshin, as he was the only person who’d ever had much luck getting Bobby to see reason when he was at his most stubborn, who immediately rehired Bobby at the dojo.

Bobby tried to turn his life around, but his ego was thoroughly trounced by how close he’d come to throwing away everything that mattered to him and how horrible his relationships with his oldest children were. The once cocky man now said things like “Of course I’m wrong. I’ve never done anything right in my life” and meant it. His ego bounced back a bit as his youngest, who was already quite a martial artist, took up competing more seriously and he was able to have a connection with her he’d not had with any of his other children.

He had surgery on his damaged elbow shortly before the birth of his first grandchild and the restored range of motion helped his mood, as did the arrival of his granddaughter.

During a trip to Zeiper to buy brandy for the bar, he and Viktor ended up forced by circumstances beyond their control to fight to save the world. Bobby proved to still be quite a fighter, though he discovered that he’d grown a bit too used to sleeping in his own bed every night and could barely sleep on the floor of the hut they were staying in.

He made a diligent effort to improve his relationships with his children and, on the advice of his eldest, he started seeing a psychiatrist last year. She’s helped him quite a bit, getting him to see that he hasn’t been a total screw-up his whole life. At her suggestion, he got back in touch with his old girlfriend, now a widow, and finally apologized to her. They quickly became friends again.

After some korvare, he realized he still had some feelings for her and asked Karen’s permission to open their marriage. Proving that he has finally grown up, he first asked Kenshin for advice on how to phrase his request, being fairly sure that the first way that came to mind would’ve upset Karen greatly, and then when Karen was hurt that he even asked, comforted her and took her out dancing and to dinner at a nice restaurant to let her know that he was still madly in love with her.

A few korvare later, one of his colleagues from his days as an assassin, now in charge of Anerix’s children’s martial arts’ team, tried to recruit Bobby’s youngest. The two men very nearly got into a fight. The man then tried to get Melissa disqualified, unsuccessfully.

This was just the beginning of an obsession with using her to hurt Bobby. The next tournament both teams were at, one of the Anerix coaches attempted to poison Bobby’s daughter. The other ninja master with Bobby physically restrained him so the law could deal with the would-be poisoner, as Bobby would’ve killed the man and been spaced for it under that planet’s laws.

Less than a korva later, some of the man’s friends attacked the dojo. This was not a wise move on their part.

And then, a few sulida later, the man himself broke into Bobby’s house one night and, pointing a blaster at Karen, told Bobby to hand over his daughter, or he’d fire. Karen ended up killing the man herself, which left her rather shaken. And left Bobby very firmly convinced that he never, ever wanted to piss his wife off again.

Presently, Bobby’s life is rather boring. After the excitement of the last few korvare, he’s glad for the break. He’s spending what time he’s not working at the dojo or tavern spoiling his grandchildren. He was even able to calmly accept his 15-year-old son’s engagement to the 13-year-old daughter of one of his fellow ninja.

Xentoran Cooking

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.

Distance (Galfarran)

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).


Mars, 2001, with the southern polar ice cap vi...

Formerly the Federazione Democratica di Marte.  As of 27.1.34@6.00 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.