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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Prelude

Methanogen

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Sep 9, 2017
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Summary of the Drelamt Sanctuary circa 2200

The Drelamt Sanctuary is a civilisation bizarre in many ways by the standards of humanity. To summarise it would no doubt be a grave injustice, for to do so would be like summarising the entire history of humanity- much must be left out, lest the speaker die of age before the third century of history be detailed. Nonetheless, it is essential to keep in mind that any statement made here is inevitably going to be a generalisation.

The Drelamt as a species are considered a Fungoid race, though upon their tropical home of Uraya it is not uncommon for fungal species to take the place arboreal and botanical ones would on many other worlds. They are known for their delicate beauty. Their structure is almost skeletal, and though it may seem fragile, its build allows this frame to be of about average strength. Drelamt tower above most life on their world, and are adept climbers. Their diet consist mainly of detritus, but they can also tolerate fungi and small amounts of soil. They have long been experts at caring for the land and are thus very efficient farmers, an attribute only bolstered by their extremely efficient metabolism. The Drelamt are also long-living, thanks to their potent cellular regeneration, though this regenerative ability is too gradual to prevent fatality from immediate trauma and other such problems.

There are, however, many more negative traits associated with Drelamt, though they would not consider it such. Their slow aging makes them mature slowly, and despite (or perhaps because of) a lack of distinct gender amongst their ranks, the species suffers from low fertility rates. Their forms and psychology also make migrating between communities highly unappealing to them, with history only furthering this philosophy. The average Drelamt would happily live in the same place, in the same role, for their entire life.

The Drelamt Sanctuary is the global society of the Drelamt, though at this stage it only rules a single system and only has inhabitants on a single world. The society is best described as an oligarchy valuing spiritualism, authoritarianism and a sense of xenophobia. Each of these is culturally linked to the history of the Drelamt.

Spirituality never lost ground on Uraya. For centuries, two main religions dominated the planet. One sect believed in a form of reincarnation, but the ultimate dominant religion was trust in the Cycle. The fundamental concept of the Cycle is a simple one- there are three worlds one goes through in life. The First World is known as Birth, though it is actually what what goes through before they are born. In this stage, the soul of an individual is formed, known to the Drelamt as the Will. The Second World is Life, the existence in which a second aspect is added to the individual- the Form, and the Mind with it (the Mind being a combination of Will and Form). The Third World is Death, though it’s truly the afterlife. This stage adds the Shadow, a third aspect that represents one achievements. It also adds three more combined aspects, namely Legacy (Form and Shadow), Memory (Will and Shadow), and Being (Will, Form and Shadow). At the end of one’s life in the Third World, their life’s energy is returned to fuel the creation of more souls in the First World.

One consequence of this belief system is how the will of the Cosmos- the universe itself- is perceived. Indeed, this particular aspect of the religion is where the most major schism occurs. One interpretation is that of the “Active” or “Traditional” sect, which believes that the Cosmos itself has no direct will, and that it is only the wills of Drelamt are relevant. To them, the Cosmos exists to be interpeteted. Any will it may have is conveyed by its structure, and that alone. On the other hand are the “Passive” or “Revisionist” sect, which believes that the Cosmos does have a will and that the desires of Drelamt are secondary to that will. To believers of this rather more recent interpretation (of which there are considerably less than the Traditional viewpoint), perceiving and acting upon the will of the Cosmos is essential and should be the guiding purpose of life.

This sense of spirituality plays a major part in the government of the Drelamt Sanctuary. To leader of the civilisation is known as the Diviner of the Cycle, she who determines the will of the Cosmos and commands the will of her people. Every twenty years, a new Diviner is selected by the Divinarium, a council of many individuals with spiritual connections. This caste of priests is above another caste- for indeed, the Drelamt follow a caste system- known as the Interpreters. Not as powerful as the divines, they are nonetheless respected members of leadership positions in the military and in localised governments. Beneath them are the Translators- explorers and scientists who seek to understand how the Cosmos works by focusing not upon the spiritual, but the tangible instead. The next caste down the pyramid is the Lifegiver caste, comprised effectively of landowners and especially farmers. The most populous caste is the Growthborn caste, a generic term used to describe those who are not enslaved, but do not own land or have a role considered particularly important. Below them are the Willbearers, a caste of slaves and servants who are deemed to have no worthy wills of their own, and who instead carry out the commands of others, ranging from delivering messages to doing hard mining work to fighting in wars. The only caste beneath them- though calling it a caste at all is a stretch- is the Rotten, a term used to describe undesirables in society. Criminals, traitors, and heretics of certain denominations belong to this caste, and are castrated to prevent them spreading their foulness to the next generation. The only exception to that rule are those used specifically for breeding to produce Willbearers, for even Willbearers have limited rights, and that of evading forceful reproduction is one of them.


Drelamt population policies circa 2200
All but the lowest castes possess decent living standards. Much of the ruling class lacks the sense of grandeur that many civilisations associate with the possssion- to be close to the Cosmos is to be close to nature. Rather than golden spires or towering skyscrapers, the Diviners instead gather inside the hollowed remains of the great Cloudreach Stalks, living in massive arboreal complexes. However, most castes can have their habitat altered by orders from above, though actually doing this is uncommon except in the case of the enslaved. All Drelamt are capable of joining the military, though in windy different manners. Willbearers are forced to live with the brunt of the hard work of killing and serving as soldiers- Rotten may be lower, but they aren’t trusted as anything but meat shields. Growthborn may choose to fight, though it’s hardly a respected profession. Interpreters are generally the commanders of the armed forces, but this is generally an ancillary duty, something that must be done by someone but isn’t the main focus of their duties.

As beings who consume the decomposing remains of the fallen, it should come as little surprise that the Drelamt despise wastefulness, trying to conserve all they can unless using it is necessary. Despite many environmentalist policies, they are certainly not opposed to technology- all but the most radical appreciate the benefits of computers, machinery and medical studies. However, these are merely tools to be used by those with wills worthy of the task, whether it be directly or thought the use of Willbearers. The idea that a machine could have a true will of its own is simply unthinkable beyond the boundaries of fantastical fiction.

Given the aforementioned aspects of slavery and oligarchy, the Sanctuary has a society that may be considered authoritarian. It is, after all, a place where the wills of individuals are not considered to be equal. It is worth noting this distinction is based largely on personal merit and the decisions one makes, rather than blood. It is perfectly possible for most castes- the enslaved nonwithstanding- to ascend or descend throughout the course of their lives. The letter of the law allows for harsher policies, but the Divinarium is generally reluctant to go against its spirit, for to do so is immoral. An outright democracy is seen as too chaotic to last, a state of affairs proven by history in Drelamt eyes. They are not unfamiliar with these concepts, or indeed those of monarchy, anarchy, or stratocracy. These ideals are simply seen as obsolete. They are fascinating fragements of history woven into the Cosmos, but nothing more.

The xenophobic aspect of Drelamt culture is derived from a simple lack of understanding. To them, a being like a human would be abhorrent and hideous. The idea of aliens does exist, but is seen as unlikely. The concept of interspecies relations is absurd, as is cohabitation. The ideals of each species would simply be too different for the Drelamt to comfortably comprehend. They are not unreasonable in this fear of other races, and many are willing to overcome that feeling in the name of the necessary, but it is nonetheless a part of the Sanctuary’s collection of cultural ideals.


Volgethaana, Diviner of the Cycle, ruler of the Drelamt Sanctuary
The current Diviner of the Cycle ruling the Drelamt Sanctuary is Volgethaana. A capable woman, she is the successor to a leader who pushed for exploring the stars, and shares the last Diviner’s belief that exploring the depths of space is the next step in understanding the Cosmos. Her passion for the spiritual and her gentle yet firm grasp of her people’s desires have made her a champion of the civilisation, making her a popular leader amongst both the higher and lesser parts of society. Indeed, it was this- along with her ambition- that led to her being elected to the position to begin with, after the unfortunate death of her predecessor at the hands of a terrible infection.

Volgethaana is known as one who sought out adventure and discovery in her youth, and maturity hasn’t entirely robbed her of that yet. She was known to gaze at the sky and the stars beyond, and ponder what lurked between those distant beacons of light. Many speculate that if not for her drive to take control and strong religious convictions as a Cyclic Traditonalist, she may well have become an explorer of space herself. However, those traits took her down a different path, one where she was eventually selected to ruin an entire civilisation. Although she is ostensibly a powerful representative of the Divinarium, there is no denying that her actions have had a major influence on the Drelamt Sanctuary, and that her will is difficult to restrain or overcome.

Physically, Volgethaana has a complexion typical of those from a high-altitude environment, such as one of the mountain ranges that stretch across Uraya’s equator. Her orange plumes are seen as an omen of dignity and authority by many amongst the Drelamt. Under her command, several vessels have been constructed, including a construction starship and an exploration vessel. She plans to further develop the interstellar exploration efforts of the Sanctuary, though whether this proves wise or overly ambitious is a matter only time can tell.


Important personnel of the Sanctuary circa 2200
The Diviner of the Cycle is, however, not the only notable member of the Sanctuary. Several other individuals of importance are hard at work in various fields, ranging from scientific research to space exploration to planetary governance.

Kuhdtad is the commander of the only current Drelamt exploration vessel. Once a mere Translator, her rank was improved to be among the Interpreters after her immense skill when it came to analysis was truly uncovered. One of her main skills is her meticulous attention to detail, which allows her to see details in the Cosmos which most would overlook. This can be a detriment- at times, she focuses upon the unlikely when she needs to pay attention to the obvious- but it is a useful ability. Her eagerness to uncover mysteries behind the sky is also a major reason for her appointment, and she was personally recommended by Volgethaana herself. It is hoped that under her command, the ISS Soltreem-Bu (ISS being a prefix that translates roughly to “blessed star vessel”) will make great contributions to Drelamt knowledge of space.


Three prominent researchers and their respective focuses, circa 2200
Whilst Kuhdtad personally commands a starship, many respected figures in the scientific community remain bound to the surface of Uraya. Kariggho is one such figure. An expert physicist, she rose through the ranks to become a highly respected Translator. Her main area of focus is computers, and their applications in a wide variety of other fields. She is, however, capable of leading quantum physics research. Her current priority is developing Advanced but affordable laboratories, to encourage more of her kin to pursue the path of understanding the tangible and to produce superior research equipment. Kariggho is known to be perpetually serious and intensely devoted to her cause.

I’m the field of biology, Spagruum is a legendary woman, and the oldest of the three Translators mentioned here (though only by four years). She has accomplished many great feats, including genetic research, helping produce cures for viral infections, and even thetoretcially demonstrating the possibilities of cloning. She is talkative and polite enoogh most of the time, but is enraptured by her research. Spagruum is also revered for her humility, saying that it is the Cosmos that is responsible for providing her with what she has come to understand, and that she is merely blessed with the right will to take notice of it- a philosophy which makes sense when one considers that she is in fact a Cyclic Revisionist, a rarity amongst leadership positions. Spagruum’s current focus involves an extensive genome mapping project, to better understand the core of her species and allow for numerous future possibilities.

Of all the highly regarded Translators, perhaps the most brash and arrogant is Humiigol. Born with an autumn complexion known to inspire great attraction in the eyes of many, she combines a brilliant mind with the knowledge that said mind is indeed brilliant, and no guilt over claiming responsibility for it no matter whether anyone truly questions it. Her main focus is on industrial engineering, a field in which she helped establish optimised automated construction systems. Despite her often overbearing nature, there is a reason Humiigol is revered- she is quick to understand her work, and can easily uncover and correct of the flaws of most designs. An ongoing project of hers is an attempt to develop more engineering research facilities. Naturally, this led her and Kariggho to have mutual desires, and thus the two are fairly close with each other despite obvious personality differences.


Information on Uraya, and the impact of Birghagh upon it, circa 2200
Uraya is, and has long been, a harsh world in many ways. Towering rainforest canopies leave much of the leaf litter in darkness. A lack of large oceans made rivers and rain the only sources of water that didn’t lie deep underground. With the advent of civilisation, and its rapid expansion, things grew even more chaotic. The planet is wet, windy, covered in tropical terrain and surrounded by a system of rings which, while beautiful, makes the construction of space stations difficult without appropriate shielding. To manage affairs specific to the world and its populace, a Diviner is selected to govern Uraya in the name of Diviner of the Cycle, who must focus on matters at a larger scale.

Birghagh is the Diviner currently in control of Uraya. Her complexion is similar to that of Volgethaana, which is no coincidence- she too is from an equatorial alpine region. Unlike her ruler, however, Birghagh was raised as a Lifegiver and an expert on farming. Her knowledge of agriculture is extensive and she has begun vast plans to revitalise food production and distribution on a global scale, allowing for additional growth. She managed to ascend to the rank of Diviner at the ripe young age of 29, an exceptional feat accomplished through a combination of fortunate, careful planning, and widespread respect for her seeming connection to nature.


The Drelamt Sanctuary compared to the entire galaxy, circa 2200
The Drelamt Sanctuary is a fledgling power. Only the Cosmos know what will await if in the depths of space. Will great discoveries be made? Will the Drelamt triumph over adversity, proving their strength and demonstrating their abilities? Or will a harsh and unforgiving reality come crashing down upon them? All life, in the end, becomes part of the Third World, the reality beyond death. This rising civilisation lies poised fo find greatness...or ruination.

How long will it be before death swallows this Sanctuary of the Second World?

—————————————————————————————————————
Welcome to the first ever Methanogen AAR! Now, there’s a couple of things I should mention. Firstly, as I just said, this is my first attempt at an AAR. Hopefully it turns out alright. Secondly, there’s a couple of things to make this a little interesting. You see...I’ve barely actually played Stellaris. I’ve spent hours making civilisations, sure, but actually using them? Barely an hour of that, I’d say. So, while I have a vague of what’s to come...that probably doesn’t mean I’ll be very good at getting through it. No shame in defeat, right?

Finally, I’m kind of without any of the expansion packs the game has to offer, and I’m not using any mods. The most I have is Horizon Signal and those anniversary portraits. So, if you’re wondering where all the crazy AI people are, or why the giant death monsters aren’t here...that’s why.

Wish me luck, and I hope you enjoy the narrative version of my desperate attempt to not fail at Stellaris!
 
Last edited:

Nikolai

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Wish me luck, and I hope you enjoy the narrative version of my desperate attempt to not fail at Stellaris!
Good luck, and welcome to the world of AAR writing! :) To gain more readAARs, it's a great n00b tip to be active in commenting other AARs, even if it's only a short one sentence or less. It encourages the writAAR to steady on (as you will soon experience yourself, I'm sure) and it breeds more activity in your own AAR, especially if you make sure to link your AAR in your signature. Again, good luck!
 

Idhrendur

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There is definitely no shame in defeat (says the guy who was defeated in his first AAR).
 

stnylan

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Welcome to AAR writing. I am glad you decided to take the plunge. I hope you enjoy yourself.

I will second and say "AAR defeats" can be some of the most engaging to read. And AAR mistakes. Let me grab a couple of examples:
A new Hungary, 1936 AAR is a HoI3 tale which ends in desperate defeat, and yet it remains one of the most engaging AARs I have followed in the last twelve months

Now that was a well-played game from what I could tell. Sometimes though we make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes seem truly titanic (in several senses of the word). Recently @RossN did such a think in On Azure Wings - an Apocalypse AAR. With some encouragement he choose to try and run with that mistake. The mistake he details in this post, and the in-game story he produces follows in this post, and whilst I am fairly sure RossN would rather he hadn't mis-clicked I feel his story is far better for it.

I think you have a very good first post, introducing your species and giving them some real depth and life. I look forward to see how they do.
 

Bullfilter

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Yes, good luck with the project!
 
Chapter 1: Beyond the Sky

Methanogen

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Sep 9, 2017
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As all life is connected through the Cycle, so are all things connected through the Cosmos. There is a pattern to all things in existence. This pattern may not be obvious, but it is through uncovering and understanding these patterns, we may inscribe our Will upon the Cosmos.”
- Compendium of the Storyteller

——————————————————————————————————

For centuries, the Drelamt gazed in awe at the majesty of the stars. Distant beacons of light amidst a mist of darkness made for a fascinating image. With the invention of telescopic imaging, the true nature of some of the drifting stars was revealed. It would not be until much later, however, that the power to actually visit these planets was obtained. For many reasons, interplanetary exploration was a difficult endeavour. While many civilisations could rely on space stations orbiting their own home planets, the immense ring system of Uraya making any efficient orbit difficult to sustain without resulting in the station being perpetually pelted by cosmic pebbles such a micrometeorites, not to mention the larger rocks present in the ring system.

The development of rocketry was slow for the Drelamt. Preferring to settle their differences through diplomacy and non-violent challenges, the species didn’t devote a lot of effort to war. As such, the main use of rocketry for much of history was celebratory fireworks. The idea of rockets large enough to even contain Drelawt, let alone carry them into space, was preposterous. Eventually, however, the idea of trying to use rockets for exploration would take hold. Navigating around the ring system proved possible, and soon other worlds in the Uri’dath system would be explored and surveyed.


Uri’dath, a Class K star
Uri’dath itself is a Class K star, making it less massive and less luminous than Sol. The celestial object is the source of light for the worlds that orbit it, of which there are six. The massive amount of solar radiation it emits is a powerful source of energy. Indeed, a massive solar energy collector orbits close to the star, just out of range of solar flare activity. Known rather pragmatically as the Uri’dath Mining Station, this station transmits its electricity using a system of logistical spacecraft. This is mainly used to power the other stations created by the Sanctuary.


Uri’dath Station, the only current shipyard of the Drelamt Sanctuary
The increasing need to produce more vessels led to the creation of Uri’dath Station, a massive space station capable of producing vessels. The main reason for its position close to Uri’dath is the colossal energy requirements of the installation. Proximity to the energy collection station helps to mitigate the issue. A permanent population exists on the station, mainly comprised of Lifegivers and their Willbearers. The existence of such a community is unusual for the Drelamt, who generally prefer to stay in their place of birth for life. Only the bold and daring (and of course those owned by them) inhabit Uri’dath Station.

The station’s design was intended to allow for constant rotation to generate artificial gravity. In reality, while this functions well in the outer rings (where habitation and recreation take place), this capability was removed from the construction rings towards the centre, the central reactor, and the two outer extensions which serve as hangar bays for supply craft and storage facilities for supplies. Zero gravity proved to be useful when developing and docking spacecraft. The station lacks any defensive capabilities of its own, though the idea that anyone would actually attack it is rather absurd to the Drelamt.


Thrus-Ythoruum, named for one of seven mythical sisters of flame in ancient Cyclic parables
The closest planet to Uri’dath is a world known as Thrus-Ythoruum. It is named after the second sister of flame in old Cyclic myth, a figure known for her burning rage and reckless ambition, but who eventually learned tranquility and humility. The reason the world was named after a myth associated with fire is obvious, as Thrus-Ythoruum is a world covered in giants pools of magma. The fact that it is both tidally squeezed and directly roasted by the nearby star grants it the title of the hottest planet in the Uri’dath system. Thanks to its harsh conditions and unstable nature, there is little of worth to gather on the Thrus-Ythoruum save an appreciation for how mild a hot summer truly is.

The discovery of the world took some time, being the second-last planet to be uncovered due to being so close to Uri’dath. This proximity blinded anyone who tried to get a close look with a primitive telescope, and made it impossible to distinguish the planet from its star until massive improvements in optical resolution and shielding were made. Manned scout vessels made visits to orbit, and two dispatched probes. The first probe was intended to explore the surface, but was overheated and destroyed before it could make touchdown, the sulphuric atmosphere and making things extraordinarily difficult. The second probe was a small dirigible, which floated high in the atmosphere and sent shielded impactors to gain data. This approach proved much more effective, but ultimately nothing of interest was discovered on Thrus-Ythoruum and it is thus portrayed as a wasteland in modern Drelamt society.


Jem-Fhengoorem, named after a mythical creature that roamed the sky, in a time when planets were thought of as drifting stars
Another world covered in magma and volcanic activity is Jem-Fhengoorem. This planet is, at first glance, very similar to Thrus-Ythoorum. However, there is a crucial difference between the two worlds. The tectonic activity of Jem-Fhengoorem is much less chaotic, and can thus be exploited to produce vast amounts of energy. The world is named after a mythical creature from Cyclic tradition, a roamer of the skies who watched on from above and took note of those who noticed her movement by giving them her blessings. The original tale carried a message of careful observation, that by taking notice of the intricate patterns of the Cosmos, one would be rewarded. Cyclic Revisionists, naturally, tend towards a different version of the tale. In their interpretation, Jem-Fhengoorem was a messenger of the Will of the Cosmo, and the ideal the parable imposed was that carrying out that will was deserving of reward.

Jem-Fhengoorem- the planet- was the second planet to be discovered, thanks to its decent mass as not being so close to Uri’dath that the brightness makes clearly seeing it impossible. Indeed, the world can easily be seen with the naked eye, and certainly with the six powerful eyes of a Drelamt. Numerous starships have visited the world, though exploration has proved hazardous due to the heat and magma-coated surface. Plans have been considered to develop geothermal mining facilities and an orbital energy collection station, though it remains to see if Volgethaana will implement them.


Uraya, home of the Drelamt
Uraya is the third world from Uri’dath, and the only inhabited world in the entire system. As has been previously described, it is a lush and tropical world, and home to the Drelamt race. The planet is surrounded by a ring system, though it lacks any moons, and thus any powerful tides. The world’s volcanic activity is stagnant and it lacks any vast oceans. Uraya is of moderate mass, and has an estimated population of around 8 billion Drelamt. From orbit, its tropical nature is obvious, as is the presence of urban infrastructure on its surface.


Sara-Kenjaal, the toxic world, the Eye of the Goddess
The fourth world from Uri’dath, Sara-Kenjaal is a toxic planet, with a poisonous atmosphere and a surface covered in sludge and rocks. The liquid on the surface is a mix of hydrocarbons, acids, and prokaryotic organisms capable of surviving in the harsh conditions. These specimens are a source of much intrigue to Translators specialising in biology- and, indeed, a series of research bases have been established in orbit to study the creatures. While the idea of intelligent or even complex aliens is nothing but fiction to the Drelamt, bacterial life occupies a strange place in the Cosmos to them. It is too simple to be consider proper life, and it certainly lacks Will, but it is capable of reproducing and contains genetic material. This leaves it in a grey area much debated, similar to how humans view viruses (which, to Drelamt, are seen more self-growing crystals than anything).

Sara-Kenjaal was the first planet observed by most Drelamt societies, and named back when planets were simply drifting stars. It was named in honour of a Cyclic tale involving the goddess Kenjaal. The archaic goddess of rain, Kenjaal was forced into battle against Khagaal, the goddess of disease. Khagaal had planned to destroy a sprawling village with a deadly infection, but the village revered Kenjaal, and she felt obligated to defend them. After a long and epic fight, Kenjaal stabbed Khagaal with her spear of and lightning struck her heart, forcing the disease goddess to withdraw. But as a measure of vengeance, Khagaal was able to launch an arrow* into Kenjaal’s top left eye. Kenjaal was forced to use a knife to carve out the infected eyes. One of them fell to the ground, sprouting a garden of plague that became an important location in other myths. The second was cleansed by rainfall, and restored. The last of the eyes was totally contaminated, and constantly returned after being removed. So Kenjaal threw it with all her might, flinging it through the clouds and trapping it beyond the sky. The term “Sara-Kenjaal” translates roughly to “Kenjaal’s eye”. The world has also gained the title “Eye of the Goddess”in honour of the myth.

The planet of Sara-Kenjaal is orbited by a large research station, home mainly to Translators but also a select few Willbearers. Exploration missions were sent to the world many times, including ongoing to help research the extremophilic life on the surface. Some life on the world is capable of radiosynthesis, and one resource Sara-Kenjaal is rich in is radioactive isotopes. The planet is likely the most researched in Drelamt history beyond Uraya itself.


Thrus-Sangurr, fourth of the sisters of flame
The fifth planet from Uri’dath, Thrus-Sangurr is a barren world. Cold and covered in ice and rock, it is rich in rare minerals. The planet is named after the fourth of the sisters of flame in an ancient Cyclic myth. Thrus-Sangurr was the apathetic sister, a cold and emotionless woman who cared only for her own ends. The purpose of her parable was to stress the importance of virtues such as compassion and generosity. Thrus-Sangurr is lifeless, and lacks anything but a tenuous mist for an atmosphere.

Several mining bases, along with an orbital mining station, have been established by the Drelamt Sanctuary. The world has been observed by the species for a considerable amount of time. Indeed, the world attained its name when telescopes allowed its movement to be noticed, and its colour led to an association with the white parts of a flame. Some exploration has taken place on the world, including orbital surveillance and manned surface explorations.


Qeni-Ghirgaam, the giant, and its moon Thrus-Klejaamen, seventh of the sisters of flame
The sixth and thus furthest planet from Uri’dath is Qeni-Ghirgaam, the sole gas giant of the system. It was only discovered after the invention of powerful refractive telescopes, and its size was immediately to be known rather enormous. It is the most massive planet in the star system. Comprised mainly of hydrogen, no expeditions have taken place to the world itself beyond a few impact probes. The planet is named after a mythical giant, due to its gargantuan size. Although no resources can be extracted from the gas giant, the engineering puzzles posed by exploring the planet make it an intriguing possibility for a testbed world.

Thrus-Klejaamen is the largest moon of Qeni-Ghirgaam. It is named for the seventh of the mythical sisters of flame for its red-brown colour. This figure was known as one who was determined to enforce her will on others, and had to learn to be compliant to those above her position. The moon is known to be rich in minerals, especially iron and rare lanthanides. However, few significant efforts have been made to explore the moon.


The ISS Soltreem-Bu, a Drelamt Sanctuary exploration vessel
Despite being relatively new to space travel and exploration, the Drelamt have recently completed a series of (relatively) advanced space vessels. The most recently developed of these is the ISS Soltreem-Bu, a vessel dedicated to scientific research and interstellar exploration. It is thus the first craft in Drelamt history to be equipped with a superlumimal travel mechanism. Intensive research by many prominent Translators- with contributions from figures such as Kariggho and Humiigol- led to the discovery that some star systems seem to be linked by some kind of spatial fluctuation. The precise workings of the device are too complex to sufficently summarise, but it is theorised to be capable of allowing for fats travel between entirely different star systems. However, the crucial field tests is yet to be performed.

Aside from its advanced warp capabilities, the vessel has other interesting features. Like other Drelamt craft, the ISS Soltreem-Bu is designed to be extremely self-sufficient. The vessel has hydroponic gardens to prevent food shortages. It is effectively a self-sufficient laboratory, filled with various chambers designed to help research. Also of note is the large number of probes it contains, along with multiple reusable landing craft. Currently, the vessel is commanded by Kuhdtad.


The ISS Endoreem-Ni, a Drelamt construction vessel
The ISS Endoreem-Ni is a rather less recent vessel. It is a vessel designed for construction, and was involved in developing the mining station around Thrus-Sangurr. The craft’s design was inspired by Uri’dath Station, with a similar method of construction, though oriented towards space stations rather than mobile starships. The vessel is commanded mainly by Lifegivers, and has a considerable presence of both Growthborn and Willbearers.

Although they are not considered often in the public eye, it is important to note the presence of many freight craft and other logistical vessels which serve as the arteries of the Drelamt Sanctuary’s space efforts. Supplying stations and transporting workers, these uncelebrated craft are nonetheless heroes of space exploration and exploitation. It is worth noting that many of these ships are largely populated by Willbearers.


Clockwise: ISS Bammadeem-Ju, ISS Uliasbeem-Sa, ISS Kanjareem-Qa
Perhaps the most unusual astronautical presence in the Drelamt Sanctuary is that of the Ordoloho Stellar Cluster. This is a fleet currently consisting of three armed vessels, classified as corvettes. The extstence of armed starships may seem unusual for a civilisation which doesn’t see intelligent aliens as possible, let alone a major threat. There are two main reasons for maintaining a fleet of armed starships. The first is to ensure that criminals and slave revolts don’t threaten Sanctuary efforts. The second reason is for the craft to serve as training vessels. It is common for aspiring space adventurers- or those forced into the stars by their owner- to gain experience dealing with various aspects of life in space and operating interplanetary spacecraft from working within the Ordoloho Stellar Cluster.

The Drelamt Sanctuary continues to further its knowledge of the Uri’dath system, and has a small yet significant fleet of space forces ready to carry out the ambitions of Volgethaana and the Divinarium. But will these stand up to the test of time? What lies behind the confines of one star system? Will the Sanctuary be able to achieve its ambitions, or will it crumble under the pressure of reality?

————————————————————————————————————————
So, hopefully that was a decent summary of the star system. Yes, I know, I assure you there will be some actual gameplay performed in the next chapter.

Thank you all for your encouragement. It’s very motivating for me.
 

stnylan

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A good write up on the system
 

Vilhelm

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Loving the start of this and your introduction to Drelamt society. I especially liked the etymology of the planets in the Uri'dath system, which far too many Stellaris AARs sadly ignore. Also the best little detail was how Uraya's rings severely impede space travel and development, which is what would actually happen to a civilization on such a planet (yes I'm a science nerd).

I will be eagerly watching and reading.
 
Chapter 2: One Step Away

Methanogen

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Sep 9, 2017
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ISS Soltreem-Bu

It was dark.

Most of the time, starlight from Uri’dath had illuminated Kuhdtad’s personal quarters. She’d been very close to that gargantuan forge at the certain of her home voidcycle. It was a system in balance. The lesser worlds orbited it, and even lesser worlds orbited those. A perfect harmony between worlds. It didn’t matter whether it was the cycle of life, a voidcycle, the microcycles that made up all beings, or the picocycles that made up all matter. There was always a balance, always a cycle. For that was what the Cosmos was- the intricate pattern that connected all things together. Kuhdtad couldn’t see all of it, and perhaps nobody ever would, certainly not in a single lifetime. But they were beginning to peel away the veil that kept the deeper workings of the Cosmos hidden. Perhaps, one day, they’d fully comprehend it.

She stared out of the shielded window. The sights I’ve gazed upon from this very same place. Aboard this very vessel, in the place she stood now, she’d witnessed each world of the voidcycle of Uri’dath. Her own home, Uraya, and it majestic rings. It was easy to forgive the problems they had caused space explorers when the mere sight of them was breathtaking. And all that green and blue below, the life with which her world had been blessed. She’d seen her own home from beyond the sky. Other worlds, too. The flaming cracks of Thrus-Ythoorum, first of the sisters of flame. The Eye of the Goddess, a world covered in those invisible beings which defied all odds to replicate in toxic conditions. The grandness of the giant, Qnei-Ghirgaam, and how it dwarfed its reddened moon. She’d even gazed upon distant stars from space itself, seeing nebulae and the dust of this galaxy. It too formed a cycle, and she speculated only one such cycle remained- the Cosmic Cycle which defined the movement of all galaxies in existence.

Now, peering outside that glass, she saw nothing. It was hardly a surprise. There’d been nothing for two months now. That was what happened when one moved so fast light couldn’t keep up. Exploiting these strange fluctuations in the Cosmos hadn’t been easy, she knew that much. The conversations she’d had with Humiigol and Kariggho proved that. The former had always been sure of herself, and the latter was always calculating and cold. Yet the three of them, despite differences in birthplace, field and temperament, had become close in those days working with each other. It wasn’t like she’d gotten to see what they actually looked like- holograms at most- but that didn’t take away from the comradery she’d felt. Those two, and many others, had exerted every effort to get this “Cosmic link attractor” working. It’s a pity I cannot tell them what they wanted, what I saw in this strange place beyond the known. There’s only darkness out here.

Yet this would be her last look at the dark. For in a few moments- nobody could be sure exactly when, but the expected variation wasn’t beyond the realm of minutes- the vessel would emerge into visible space once more. What would she see? Their telescopes had seen no worlds in this voidcycle, but finding them in the brightness of Ascella itself was no easy feat. Anything could be out there. Anything at all.

There was a sudden flash of light, blinding if not for the shielding on the windows. After a few seconds, the light faded away, revealing darkness once again. But as her eyes adjusted, Kuhdtad could make our stars, nebulae, constellations mildly different to those back at home. She moved towards another window pane, stating at a distant speck of light directly behind the ISS Soltreem-Bu.

Home.

She began to step- or rather, allow her root-like appendages to scoot forward- towwards the exit. There would soon be work to be done. Scanning for worlds. Surveying anything they found. Anything to further uncover the mysteries of the Cosmos.


—————————————————————————————————————————
When the decision was made to test the ISS Sooltreem-Bu’s superluminal capabilities, the Ascella system was an obvious choice. With a name given by an ancient culture long destroyed, but kept out of respect for those fallen, Ascella itself is a Class K star similar in size and luminosity to Uri’dath itself. Not only did this similarly inspire a sense of possible connection, but the star was the nearest that possessed a fluctuation connected to Uri’dath, and thus the easiest to reach should the device operate as intended.

With the revered and meticulous Kuhdtad in command, and hundreds of Translators, Willbearers and other personnel, the science vessel made multiple trips throughout the Uri’dath system to ensure that all systems functioned properly, and to provide the crew with experience for their eventual interstellar mission. Although this was certain to prove useful, it as still unknown whether other systems were similar to Uri’dath in most respects, or what could lurk in the void beyond. Some feared that the device would fail, leaving the ship stranded in the interstellar wind. Worse still was the potential for it to fail in a more catastrophic way and outright destroy the Soltreem-Bu. The days prior to the craft’s arrival at the very edge of the Drelamt home system was met with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation on a massive scale.

When the vessel activated its Cosmic link attractor- the Drelamt name for what many would term a hyperdrive- there was a brief delay. The vessel went silent on all communication channels, and seconds after vanished in a flash of light. This was the expected outcome, yet the idea that this had in reality been an exotic explosion or disintegration was not entirely unmerited. It would take a significant length of time- around 72 days- to reach its destination. Until that time came, nobody could be entirely certain what date had befallen the craft.


The ISS Endoreem-Ni constructing the Jem-Fhengoreem Mining Station
Although the revelation of whether Cosmic travel was possible certainly inspired much anticipation, it would be untrue to say that the Drelamt Sanctuary was idly waiting for results. Two major space projects were undertaken during the time between drive activation and estimated arrival, though the first of these efforts would not be completed until several months later. This particular effort was the creation of a station around the planet Jem-Fhengoorem, known rather uncreatively as the Jem-Fhengoreem Mining Station.

The station was intended largely to support the development of surface infrastructure, which began concurrently with station construction. Specifically, several excavation sites and geothermal power stations were to be established, using the latest technology to help shield them from the heat and toxic atmosphere. The construction vessel ISS Endoreem-Ni was to prove itself during this effort. While the vessel had assisted other construction efforts before, this was the first time it was effectively the only orbital constructor at work, as other missions to the planet needed to focus on the surface infrastructure.

It took many months of work to get the mining station into operational condition. The use of construction automatons allowed for precise movements and delicate connection, but a single error was difficult to undo and a single structural mistake could compromise the entire effort. Favouring caution over speed proved the best option in the end, as the station was fully operational upon completion and had only exceeded estimated time until construction by a factor of days. The ISS Endoreem-Ni had proven itself capable of operating almost on its own throughout the course of the effort.


The ISS Indarageem-Ni, second of the Algerdeem-Ni class of science vessels
Even before Kuhdtad’s attempt at interstellar travel, a second vessel of the same design was under construction on Uraya. In many ways, this was the least ambitious space project of its time. The goal was simply to replicate a craft like the Soltreem-Bu, in a design that would be known as the Algerdeem-Ni class of science craft. This imitation included the Cosmic link attractor. If proven successful, the device would be a great asset, and its inclusion would be a major advantage. It would allow the new vessel to perform Cosmic leaps immediately, rather than needing to retrofit the technology.

Unfortunately, the vessel’s construction was plagued with problems. A major issue was that many of the Translators once on hand to aid designing the craft’s laboratories were now busy with their own unrelated research efforfs. Of the three greatest minds on the planet, two were occupied with intitiatives to promote their respect fields, and the other was in the midst of an extensive genome mapping project. This was an early sign of issues to come. Multiple redesigns needed to take place to account for advancements in scientific equipment and to correct issues that had been reported on the original Soltreem-Bu. It was at this stage that the new vessel was given its name- the ISS Inadarageem-Ni.

Further problems reared their heads when it was discovered that the extensions to the vessel needed to take place in zero-gravity. At this stage, Cosmic link attractors were feared by many to be dangerous to use, as the interstellar exploration effort was yet to report back, and even the original ship to use ojr had been fitted with the device far from Uraya to reduce risk. Because of this, the Indarageem-Ni was sent into orbit, and from their travelled on impulse with many incomplete sections to Uri’dath Station. It was here that final adjustments took place, and that the Cosmic link attractor was integrated. The vessel was completed within sixty days, twelve days before whether it would be proven that interstellar travel was possible.

The idea of what to do with the ship was simple. It would be sent in the opposite direction to the Soltreem-Bu, to explore the other accessible side of the galaxy. It was intended that the two vessels would work in conjunction and aid each other’s research. Unfortunately, there proved to be a major problem with this plan. In the midst of all the uncertainty, and with so many occupied with other research, there was simply no fit person to command the Indarageem-Ni. Volgethaana had originally intended to sort out such issues only after the vessel was completed, and didn’t think there would be much of a problem. However, with no qualified Translator or scientifically-oriented Interpreter, the second science vessel was effectively a husk of dead weight, an advanced self-sufficient laboratory in space without anyone to actually make use of it.

The many issues with the whole affair, combined with the far more successful efforts of the Endoreem-Ni, caused quite a controversy. The science vessel construction project was overseen by Volgethaana herself. However, the mining station effort was mainly commanded by the Divinarium as a whole. This led to a lack of faith in Volgethaana’s ability to lead, and whether her ambitions to explore the stars were worthwhile. Many commented on the Mayer. Birghagh, the Diviner responsible for governing Uraya as a whole, claimed that as the technology was still in its infancy, unexpected setbacks were inevitable. Ever prideful, Humiigol commented personally when the validity of the Cosmic link attractor was attacked by several who disbelieved in the idea of superluminal travel being possible. “Our research was extremely precise and highly complex. If anyone doubts the results, I ask them to wait a little longer, when I will be proven right and they wrong. Until then, I suggest everyone get back to their research instead of worrying themselves for no good reason.”

It would not be long until that worrying did indeed come to an end.


The ISS Soltreem-Bu performing orbital planetary spectrophotometry
At precisely 72 days and 9 minutes after the Cosmic link attractor test began, the ISS Soltreem-Bu made a historic transmission. The first words spoken in another star system (or voidcycle, as the Drelamt would call it) would go on to be some of the most famous in history.

“We see the light.”
-Kuhdtad

The success of the technology was met with global praise and astonishment. Although many Lifegivers and those beneath them were apathetic towards affairs which didn’t yet concern them, there was only a small minority outright opposed to such efforts. The exploration mission did, however, have the impact of making their civilisation feel rather more insignificant. The ISS Soltreem-Bu explored all four planets of the Ascella system, and Kuhdtad noted to have personally stepped upon every body they surveyed (with the obvious exception of Ascella itself). For the sake of simplicity, each world was officially named after its star and given a number corresponding to its orbital position, though a wide variety of unofficial names would emerge for each world and were far more commonplace amongst non-scientific individuals.


Ascella III, the first exoplanet to be surveyed by the Drelamt Sanctuary, and its moon Ascella IIIa
Ascella III was the first world to be surveyed by the science vessel. Scans showed that it was not dissimilar to Sara-Kenjaal p. A world considered toxic, it had a high concentration of sulphuric compounds and an atmosphere with an unusually high chlorine concentration. No life was found, not even primitive bacteria. The Soltreem-Bu dispatched several reusable landers and a long-term exploration automaton to the planet before moving on. No useful resources were uncovered.

Ascella IIIa proved to be an equally barren world, but with a far less interesting atmospheric composition. Kuhdtad had this to say of the moon: “It is, in many respects, reminiscent of Thrus-Sangurr, but covered in dust instead of ice. I feel that the similarity between the worlds in this voidcycle and those of Uri’dath is a sign of a Cosmic connection, perhaps the very same as that which allowed our travel here. It is in many ways a familiar yet exotic place. To be on the boundary of discovery is a wonderful sensation, yet I cannot help but be reminded more and more of sights back home.”


Ascella I, closest planet to Ascella proper
The next world to be surveyed was Ascella I, a wolrd covered in bizarre red mountain ranges and numerous craters. It was compared often to Thrus-Klejaamen and Thrus-Sangurr. It was found to be devoid of usuals resources that weren’t abundant in the universe. Ascella I had few defining features beyond its colour and its large mass. The world had no moons, no volcanic activity, no ring system, no stable atmosphere and no magnetic field.


Ascella IV, furthest planet from Ascella proper, and its single moon, Ascella IVa
Ascella IV proved to be just as barren a world as Ascella III. It was the last world to be surveyed by the ISS Soltreem-Bu, and the world with the least samples taken. It appeared that, for the most part, the Ascella system was devoted of useful materials. The planet had a single moon, which was designated as Ascella IVa. This moon proved to be one rich in hydrocarbons, including lakes of liquid methane mixed with ammonia. The world also had an atmosphere rich in hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, and fluorine gas. No life was uncovered on the world.

Although most worlds in the Ascella system appeared barren, there was one world which sparked a colossal interest from the Drelamt Sanctuary more than any other, perhaps more than any other in all of history.


Ascella II, a tropical planet, and a world habitable to Drelamt
The third world to be surveyed by the ISS Soltreem-Bu was Ascella III, the smallest planet in the entire system. The world was determined to have a strong magnetic field, and seemed to have a green-blue tinge on approach. When the first surface expedition to the planet was launched, Kuhdtad made the following informal report after concluding her first spacewalk on the exotic world:

“As we approached Ascella II, we were filled with fascination. It was a small world, yet one with a powerful magnetic field that protected it from the stellar wind. We passed through a certain point where much of that energy got trapped, and then entered the safe zone. A Willbearer came into my chambers and demanded that I look outside at the planet with my own eyes. I was busy dealing with samples at the time. I almost let my frustration cause the greatest regret of my life. But instead I decided to go along with her, and looked outside of the observation room. It was green and blue. I could make out rivers and giant lakes.

When we arrived on the surface, that same Willbearer came with me to help collect samples. I expected dirt. Instead, I saw fungi. Fungi! Towering fungi, with grey stems and giant green leaves. And I noticed on those leaves tiny movements, and discovered small segmented creatures scurrying about. As we stepped into a marsh to gather water samples, we were attacked by some kind of scaled, piscine monstrosity. It didn’t cause us. But it was obvious to see...as unbelievable as it is, these are living, wilful creatures. Not as wilful or intelligent as us, but they have minds. I’m sure of it. It’s impossible for it not to be the case.

The Willbearer took off her helmet. I rushed over to save her from her stupidity, but...she was fine. She seemed uncomfortable, but...alive. We can breathe here.

We can live here.”


Twenty times as many samples were taken from that one world than any other found during the expedition, and no less than seven permanent exploration automatons were left behind. Ascella II was discovered to have a powerful energy source in its magnetosphere, and a higher than average concenration of red and usually minerals. But in the face of the Cosmic Revelation, none of this seeemed relevant.

Life had been found on another world. The evidence was indisputable. It wasn’t capable of society or creating technology, but it was complex life nonetheless. For millenia, Drelamt had considered this impossible. Only they could be intelligent, and only their world could sustain the cycle of life. Now, that second supposition was no more. Did this render the first irrelevant? A wave of fascination, terror and relentless debate ensued in the wake of this incredible discovery.


Many Drelamt found the recently discovered possibility of other intelligent life deeply disturbing
It would take a long time for these debates to settle down. The Divinarium wrestled with the question seeking without end. The Cyclic Revisionist philosophy surged in popularity as a result of seeming more compatible with the discovery of alien life, leading to great debates between Revisionists and Traditionalists on top of everything else.

Volgethaana offically determined that the possibility of alien intelligent life demanded the retrofitting of all major spacecraft with Cosmic link attractors. She also began a push towards a different view of Ascella II, one which both Revisionists and Traditionalists could agree upon. Whether it be circumstance, destiny, or the Will of the Cosmos, the Drelamt Sanctuary had discovered a world capable lot only of supporting alien life, but also seemingly capable of supporting Urayan life, including the Drelamt themselves.

By her will, the decision was made. The next great goal of the Drelamt Sanctuary was to take control of this world and to secure the system around it.

By the turn of the year 2201, the phase of space colonisation was to begin.

———————————————————————————————————————
I swear writing an AAR has a time translation of ten minutes playing Stellaris to three hours writing it up. No matter, it’s fun to do.

I thank you all for your encouragement once again. I lean towards worldbuilding and narrative because as has been established, my actual gameplay skills are pretty bad. I’ll detail exactly how so down below. Since I had rings, I thought I should probably mention them. Same goes for etymology. Although I’d never be able to do that for more than a couple of systems since otherwise I’d get them all mixed up. I already have three worlds starting with “Thrus” (nice for a naming theme though). I probably won’t put as much detail into future star systems from here on.

So, I’m bad at gameplay. This was proven by me building a science ship without realising that I kind of need a scientist to operate it. So it’s kind of just sitting there waiting for me to get one, which I’m about to be able to afford to do.

Also, I activated the “Search the Stars” edict to help exploration. This may have been a good idea, but it did use up all my influence, a resource I need for my starbase so I can begin developing that colony.

My goal is to stay as true to events as possible while trying to justify as much as I can. I’m no expert scientist, so please forgive me if I ignore accuracy there for sake of plot.

Finally, note that times and such are translated to terms we are familiar with for the sake of simplicity. The date is not the same the Drelamt use, but working that sort of thing out would just cause confusion, so I’m sticking with human time terms and the dates the game gives me (or at least something resembling them).
 
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stnylan

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I swear writing an AAR has a time translation of ten minutes playing Stellaris to three hours writing it up. No matter, it’s fun to do.
You will probably find as you get more into the flow of things the rate will improve, but the simple truth is there is a time investment to writing AARs, even the most simple.

I probably won’t put as much detail into future star systems from here on.
I think this makes sense, because you will be encountering alot of systems in the course of hte game. Of course, should a system become particularly significant there is nothing stopping you giving a detailed write-up in due course.

So, I’m bad at gameplay. This was proven by me building a science ship without realising that I kind of need a scientist to operate it. So it’s kind of just sitting there waiting for me to get one, which I’m about to be able to afford to do.

Also, I activated the “Search the Stars” edict to help exploration. This may have been a good idea, but it did use up all my influence, a resource I need for my starbase so I can begin developing that colony.
Well, Map the Stars is a pretty good edict to launch in the early game, and I wouldn't worry about it draining the initial influence. That will re-generate quickly enough to claim a system in good time. As for the Science ship, I doubt there are many players who haven't done that a time, or two (or three :) ).

My goal is to stay as true to events as possible while trying to justify as much as I can. I’m no expert scientist, so please forgive me if I ignore accuracy there for sake of plot.
Don't worry about it. Remember, ultimately this is your world :)

Finally, note that times and such are translated to terms we are familiar with for the sake of simplicity. The date is not the same the Drelamt use, but working that sort of thing out would just cause confusion, so I’m sticking with human time terms and the dates the game gives me (or at least something resembling them).
Yeah, we all usually make such compromises with dating. Think of it as a translation or something.
 

Nikolai

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Chapter 3: The Cycle of Life

Methanogen

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Sep 9, 2017
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“We obey the will of the Cosmos, for it commands and contains all things. By uunderstanding its desire, we may follow and be rewarded. To attempt to defy the Cosmsos is an exercise in futility. Compared to it we, are nothing. Alongside it, we are indomitable.”

- Revisionist Mantra
“Our will exists to be imposed upon the fabric of reality. The Cosmos is all things, and through it we gain strength. Complacency is a weakness. Ingenuity is a strength. The world is our canvas, and our lives an art. Impress your will upon the Cosmos, and through it, make yourself strong.”

- Traditonalist Mantra

———————————————————————————————————————————
Amidst rampant speculation and disarray in the Divinarium over the possibility of intelligent alien life and the impacts its discovery would have upon Uraya, a more immediate scientific concern needed to be dealt with. The ISS Indarageem-Ni, second of the Drelamt science vessels to be constructed, remained without a suitable Translator to lead its mission into the great unknown. No Interpreter was willing to go, and very few had significant training in research to begin with, leaving only members of the Translator caste available for the mission. With the Cosmic link attractor now proven, a few formerly unwilling souls offered to take part. However, only three candidates were considered qualified for the mission.


Hugghlagga, Igghigha and Kasvaluud were the three Translators considered suitable fo command the ISS Indarageem-Ni
The three candidates selected were each from a different field of science. Hugghlagga was experienced when it came to industrial engineering, and had indeed helped lay the foundations for many space construction projects. Iggigha was the youngest option, and had been involved in military research, including that relating to what eventually become the Ordoloho Stellar Cluster. Finally, Kasvaluud was the eldest Translator suitable and willing, and had a tendency towards rapidly racing through research at an incredible pace.

There was much deliberation and even more contention in the Divine Chambers over who to select for the task. Hugghlagga was ruled out quickly for a multitude of reasons. It was felt by many that her skills were best put to use working on Uraya, rather than leading a space mission. Industrial engineering was far more a concern in construction yards and nearby stations than it was surveying distant stars and their planets. There was, however, another motive. In an age were religious debate was already surging due to extremely recent discoveries, Hugghlagga was a staunch Revisionist in a civilisation where Cyclic Traditionalists were dominant by far. To avoid amplifying the issues further, she was informed her application had been denied. The Drelamt Translator would go in to find work alongside Humiigol a few months after the affair was over, helping to promote the engineering industry.

This left a competition between Iggigha and Kasvaluud. On the surface, it may have seemed to be an argument over whether the more ambitious or more cautious could be better trusted with the assignment. In reality, the argument was just as much over politics and influence in the Divinarium as it was the suitability of the candidate. Rather shocked by recent discoveries and seeking to undo the shame brought upon her by the vessel being made without plans to assign command in the first place, Volgethaana herself supported Iggigha. She made the argument that her youth made her suited to adjust to the circumstances, that she was better adjusted to space than her alternative, and that her military research experience made her superior at adapting to unexpected circumstances.

The first of these arguments was likely true, though Kasvaluud was also at an early age for Drelamt and almost equally as adjustable (especially given her already somewhat eccentric temperament ). The second point was correct, as she had not only been into space many more times than Kasvaluud, but she had even helped design astronautical warships. The third point is- and at the time, was- highly debatable. The real reasons Volgethaana endorses Iggigha were twofold. Firstly, she was young. A younger researcher meant more time to use her life’s experience, and even with only the margin of twelve years between them, there was a notable difference. More importantly, she believed in personal authority, a philosophy caused by her military experience. Iggigha was more willing to take the side of Volgethaana, the Diviner of the Cycle herself, than those of the Divinarium who opposed her. Thus, she could be trusted to take extra steps to keep Volgethaana’s reputation secure, and would grant the woman more leverage over a Divinarium growing more and more divided.

Many in the Divinarium were more inclined towards contemplation and administration than the game of politics. Thus, those in direct opposition to Volgethaana were few. However, Kasvaluud did offer several advantages over Iggigha. She was eager. Her eccentric attitude, though unusual, had made her research fast- an important factor when dealing with so many potential worlds and situations. She lacked experience in space, but she was able to learn quickly. Her temperament also offered a contrast to Kuhdtad, who was known for meticulous but often lengthy analysis. That variety would make oversights less likely between the two craft. Kasvaluud was also older than the alternative, in society where age was largely associated with scientific ability. Her age was perfect to undertake such a voyage.

There was, of course, an ulterior motive at play. Several amongst the Divinarium had decided that this was an opportune time to take advantage of the confusion and debate within the organisation. They planned to make their opinions very persuasive, enough so that no matter who entered ultimate power, they would be the ones really in charge. This group speculated on Volgethaana was so eager to support Iggigha, and came to the correct conclusion. Kasvaluud was a pious- almost zealous- Cyclic Traditionalist, and firmly supported the decisions of the Divinarium as a whole. If she undertook the assignment, the Divinarium itself could secure control of the Sanctuary’s future amongst the stars, and allow the Diviner of the Cycle to take responsibility only for the failures that would inevitably ensue.

After much arguing and debate over the matter, Volgethaana won out. The more neutral Divinarium members- crucial for final decision but not involved beside or against either side based on political gain- were busy contending with more essential matters. They wished to focus upon the meaning of finding other life, the possibility of wilful and intelligent aliens, and how their society and the Cosmos needed to adjust in response. Iggigha was selected to partake in the mission for her youthful energy, her demonstrable skill, and her considerable experience both designing and being within starships. Within the month, she was transported to the ISS Indarageem-Ni, and ordered to set course for the star known as Jor Mon Dir.


The ISS Indarageem was the first Drelamt vessel to enter the Jor Mon Dir system
Whilst Iggigha prepared her vessel for Cosmic travel, Kuhdtad did the same for the now famous ISS Soltreem-Bu. Having completed its survey of the Ascella system, the craft readied its Cosmic link attractor to take it to the next accessible system, an area not officially named on Drelamt star charts. In the midst of the preparation, a far more mundane- though perhaps equally as important- endeavour was pursued by the ISS Endoreem-Ni. The construction vessel began developing a mining station above the lifeless but mineral-rich moon of Thrus-Sangurr.

When the ISS Soltreem-Bu arrived in what the galaxy would come to know as the Rovannic system, it immediately began survey operations. Initially, the survey seemed to be a disappointment- the vessel had recently been responsible for discovering life on other worlds, after all. But in the midst of the scanning, it became apparent that there were also discoveries of importance to be made within the star system.


Rovannic III, a desert planet
Early scans indicated that Rovannic II had a considerable atmosphere, but it’s rocky and dusty surface indicated that the world was barren. However, upon closer inspection, it was discovered that the planet was not less barren than expected, but that it supported life. The desert world’s inhabitants were largely wormlike or arthropods, with a significant amount of scaled, six-legged creatures. Local flora wasn’t arborea, botanical or fungal, but rather resembled giant corals. Later speculation would lead to the theory that the world was once covered by a vast ocean, and that it had begun experiencing a massive drought which had forced life to rapidly adapt. At the time, however, the discovery confirmed two things- life could exist on worlds considered barren by Drelamt, and life was abundant in the cosmos.


Rovannic II, a savanna world
Another astonishing discovery was made in the Rovannic system with detailed surface exploration on Rovannic II. Life was also discovered on the surface of the world. To the Drelamt, the environment was totally foreign, a strange blend of Uraya and Rovannic III. To a human mind, the world could be described as being covered in savanna. Vast plains stretched across the flatlands of the world. Tectonic activity was considerable, with a massive number of active volcanoes dotting the surface. Animals covered the surface, many able to access a complex subterranean ecosystem. Genetic sampling proved something incredible- life on this world seemed to be distantly related to that of Rovannic III. Panspermia had occurred eons ago.

The implications were staggering. Was all life connected at some level, at some point of its existence? With other beings so common, intelligent life was becoming more and more possible. Staunch Cyclic Traditionialists argued that since they’d discovered three other worlds with life, not one of which had life as intelligent as a Drelamt, the chance of such intelligent life existing was increasingly negligible. Many- in fact, most- were reluctant to consider the daunting prospect of being equals- or even inferiors- to another society amongst the stars.


Ascella Station was the first permanent extrasolar presence of the Drelamt Sanctuary
In the midst of Kudhtad’s great discoveries, the most ambitious space construction project yet devised by the Sanctuary was taking place. For once, Volgethaana and the more opportunistic Diviners were in agreement- a permanent presence needed to established in the Ascella system, in preparation for their planned colonisation effort. A colony ship was not an easy thing to produce, and certainly would prove incredible expensive to maintain for the duration of its operation. Therefore, to aid in the logistics of establishing an outpust, the venerable construction vessel ISS Endoreem-Ni began to prepare for a Cosmic leap.

The vessel would arrive in the Ascella system in the midst of Kuhdtad’s exploration efforts. The trusted and experienced crew began establishing the foundations of would be known as Ascella station. A fleet of freighters would arrive shortly afterwards to help deliver supplies. This effort was a major test for the interstellar logistical capabilities of the Drelamt Sanctuary. Fortunately for all involved, the freighter schedule and the self-sufficiency of the construction vessel (and indeed most Drelamt astronautical projects) allowed the operation to be completed without any major issues.

Ascella Station was modeled after Uri’dath Station, but was not equipped with any of the more advanced modules of that station. It lacked defensive measures, and had no way to produce ships. It was a logistical waypoint for future expeditions, and at this stage, nothing more. Nonetheless, it would be regarded as a massive achievement in the progress of the Drelamt into the stars. With the station established, the colony could undergo its design stages and preparations for an interstellar effort to take hold on another world began in earnest.

Even this, however, was soon to be eclipsed.

——————————————————————————————————————————
Uri’dath System
Uraya
Divine Chambers of the Drelamt Sanctuary
“This is impossible!”
“Do you deny your own eyes?”
“This is an outrageous claim! The others were unbelievable, but this!? Something has gone wrong.”


The Divine Chambers were filled with outrage. In the centre of the grand structure hollowed out from a Cloudreach Stalk, from which the Divinarium governed the fate of the Sanctuary, countless figures argued. Drelamt society prided itself on calmness, rationality, and spiritual tranquility. Yet all these traits had seemingly vanished from the Divinarium over the course of the past two years. Arguments had become commonplace.

The shouting died down as Volgethaana entered the room, moving with a confident stride. Behind her, several Translators moved, some with grace, some with a hurried pace. They reached an elevated portion of the room. A holographic screen was activated behind the Diviner of the Cycle, displaying information. When the room finally reached true silence, Volgethaana began to speak.

“Diviners of the Cosmos, seekers of our fate, most blessed and esteemed compatriots. A recent discovery has been made. One we are all aware of. Amidst our disagreements and debates, I believe we must examine what can be ascertained from the immediately tangible. If we move with such haste as it seems we have, I fear our speculation will be misguided. I have seen it fit to assemble the great minds of our world, to determine the likely truth. You may continue your speculation once this conference is complete.” She moved backwards. “You will now speak, Kariggho.”

The veteran physicist and expert computer researcher moved to the centre of the stage. An artificial mechanism amplified her voice, carrying it to the furthest corners of the chamber. As befitted her station, she knelt and sprawled before her superiors. To most, a Translator was superior, and to an Interpreter they would merely bow. But for a Diviner, to do so would be a sign of disrespect. “Most honoured and sacred Diviners of our world, I speak to you in hopes of finding the truth, nothing more and and nothing less.” Her voice was a monotone, with only small bursts of inflection after her pauses. “I believe that the findings of the ISS Soltreem-Bu cannot be disregarded.” The image in the background changed to that of a large asteroid. “The asteroidal object known as WT9-619 is located in the Rovannic voidcycle. Specifically, it can be found in a large rockcycle, similar to the rings of Uraya but with far larger objects, far further apart, orbiting a star rather than a planetary body. Upon this rock, scans had anomalous results. Further investigation of the anomaly revealed a variety of artefacts of clearly artificial origin.”

She stepped back as the room began to erupt into an uproar. The nature of the objects was of intense debate- that was why they had gathered on this day. The arrival of a silvery, lime-crested Translator soon silenced the Diviners. This was Spagruum, an expert biologist. She too knelt and sprawled. “Study of the objects has revealed several important things. From the evidence, we believe those responsible for creating the objects were long, flat creatures almost a hundred metres in length. Intensive dating efforts lead us to believe that the creatures are from around five or six million years ago. There are likely other remnants of their civilisation-“

“What do you know of truth, Revisionist!” A member of the audience, a Diviner of the utmost zeal, stood tall. “You have no right to decide what is and is not correct. You’re merely pushing the agenda of your faith! Have you no integrity?”

“Calm yourself, erratic one, calm yourself. I wish only to analyse the evidence. Spiritual speculation is your duty, not mine. I seek to study the tangible aspects of the Cosmos. There are likely other remnants of their civilisation in space. If we can analyse them, we could possibly make use of some of their technology.”

Spagruum moved back, and an autumn-toned Drelamt took the speaking position. She offered a brief bow. Nobody pushed the issue. This was Humiigol, infamous for her lack of respect towards others. She saw these customs and traditions as nothing more than a fanciful waste of her time. “I think it is essential that we do our best to find other fragments of these so-call “Yuht”. Their knowledge could be of great use to us. I feel that we shouldn’t allow the close-minded nature of some of us to hinder the rest of society’s progress. There is no evidence that the Yuht are still around, but it is possible someone else could be. We need to prepare ourselves for that. And unless you question the integrity of Kuhdtad, interstellar explorer and hero amongst the Translators, I see no reason for you to disagree with the obvious reality of the situation.”

Volgethaana took centre-stage once again. “Thank you, trusted Translators. As you all can see, it is of the essence that we try to understand these fallen things, not cower from the truth. I wish to propose an initiative alongside that of the colonisation effort, to better understand these Yuht and their ways, so we may prosper amongst the cosmos...”

————————————————————————————————————————


The discovery of Yuht artefacts had a profound impact on Drelamt views of space and life
Kuhdtad’s research in the Rovannic system had already become a legendary effort. Thus far, she had uncovered no less than three life-bearing worlds. The exploration of the asteroid belt in the system had been expected to find a few useful minerals and little else. Upon approach the sub-planetary body that had been called WT9-619, however, that all changed.

There were two sets of Yuht artefacts found on the asteroid. The first set could easily be analysed at the time of its discovery. This analysis led to the realisation of just who had made these devices, and the fact that their civilisation was approximately 6 million years old. It also led to the name of the civilisation- the Yuht, a title uncovered after extensive translation efforts of various pieces of writing that were collected.


For her many discoveries in the span of a mere two years, Kuhdtad was awarded the special title “Seeker of Life”
The second set of artefacts was incomprehensible. Their energy readings made no sense, yet nothing more could be determined. As a result, no further analysis was conducted out of fear of causing accidental damage or otherwise triggering disaster. Kuhdtad’s personal notes indicate that she wanted to commence further study, but could not deny orders from the Divinarium to carry on into the next star system and begin a survey there.

The Divinarium had already garnered the most essential data from the expedition. Intelligent life wasn’t just possible. It existed.


Many Drelamt began to consider the discovery of intelligent alien life from the present day inevitable
This possibility had a major religious influence on the Drelamt. The surge of he Cyclic Revisionist philosophy abruptly ground to a halt, then eventually a slow growth. But neither did the Tradititionalist view take hold once again. A new perspective HD emerged, one informed by recent events and which had a rapid and unprecedented spread almost from its moment of inception.

This was the Cyclic Alternative perspective.

The Traditionalists believed that the Cosmos was a canvas, and existed so the wills of Drelamt could be imposed upon it. The Revisionists believed that the Cosmos itself had a will, and Drelamt needed to follow it. The Alternatives had a radically different view on the matter. They believed that the Cosmos had a historical cycle. A cycle where alien civilisations would arise, and fall, and their knowledge would be passed on to another wilful civilisation until the civilisation to fully uncover the Cosmos arose. They aligned more closely with the Traditionalists on the matter of will, but more closely with the Revisionist when it came to the matter of aliens. These precursors were a blessing, to be used to further mastery of the Cosmos. But any civilisations similar to the Sanctuary itself was competition, trying to be the chosen of the Cosmos in their place. The Alternatives, at this point, were a varied and often argumentative group founded more in their oppositions to alternatives- ironically enough- than on mutual agreement. But in time, they would coaslece into a distinct and powerful presence.

Within two years, the Drelamt Sanctuary had experienced what amounted to a religious schism over their discoveries. It was a time of uncertainty, where the foundations of their beliefs needed to be questioned. And in this time, the more opportunistic of those in power began the next part of their plan to ensure their control of the Sanctuary’s future.

—————————————————————————————————————————
“The Cosmos has had many champions. To compete for the place of the chosen, we must seek out opportunity and claim the knowledge of our distant ancestors. Their fallen souls, through the Cycle, have been forged into our own. Should we fail to lay claim to this legacy, others will do so in our place.”

- Alternative Mantra

————————————————————————————————————————

Thank you all for your continued support!

I may be a bit slower to update from now on. Once a day for this sort of thing is a bit too much to handle in the long term.

Sadly, I don’t think I got any scientists with good anomaly traits, so I just picked the youngest. I didn’t end researching the anomaly because I want to wait until Kuhdtad (or Iggigha) has more experience to make it decently fast. Don’t want to be outpaced because I spent forever researching one space rock.

If anyone ever has any questions, feel free to ask. I’m happy to answer, whether it’s about why I did something or whether it’s about lore and such.
 

RossN

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Fascinating work so far, especially on a culture so alien. I'm intrigued to see what they'll make of living sapient aliens when they encounter them, though the philosophy of the Alternatives suggests they'd make poor neighbours!
 

stnylan

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I do believe Drelamt society is about to under revolutionary changes due to these discoveries.
 

stnylan

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Chapter 4: Progress and Tradition

Methanogen

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Sep 9, 2017
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Faghihenejad System
Faghihenejad IV
ISS Indarageem-Ni

Igghigha entered the laboratory. It took a few moments for her to adjust to the gravity. That downard pull wasn’t real. It was caused by a complex series of rotating rings that surrounded the chamber. Not far below her, there was no such pull, just a junction devoid of any gravity beyond that hurtling them around the voidcycle itself. And beneath that junction was another chamber, with gravity making what was the roof to her now the floor to anyone within. There was no getting used to this, not for someone as sensitive as her. The constant fluctuations were inevitable and she was content with their existence. They have her something to ponder, helped keep that feeling of pointlessness and futility at bay.

She was an explorer. The leader of a vessel that was second to explore the stars. Yet she would forever live in the shadow of the great Kuhdtad, the Seeker of Life. Iggigha was a second best at most. Even then, her ship barely had any actual Translators aboard. Most of the crew will Willbearers trained to use the equipment. They did their jobs well, yes, but they weren’t equivalent to her. They were lesser. Less intelligent. Unable to interpret the Cosmos as she could, unable to see the greater meaning of each discovery. And for all her work, all her effort to keep things running with only them for company, she would still be forgotten by the Sanctuary after her demise.

“Warning.” An automated voice came over the speakers in the chamber. The vessel tracked her movement, knew her location, knew the schedule of her work. It was growing more and make irritating each second she was forced to be observed. The only private place was her own quarters. “You have been awake beyond your limit. You must rest to ensure efficient-“

“Shut up!” She slammed her left forelimb into the metallic surface of the wall. Of course, this did nothing to stop the automaton completing its pre-recorded message. What a worthless machine. Iggigha moved towards a particular experiment. It was a container, filled with a gelatinous mixture, stained by alien bacteria. Once, this would have been a remarkable discovery. It wasn’t life, exactly, but it was close. It was a find worth recording. Or so it would have been. Now, the world was too busy arguing over the importance of wilful life and the schisms in religion that were going on. Iggigha didn’t care about any of those views. Though she professed to be a Cyclic Traditionalist, she truly only wanted to find the truth. She didn’t care what lens people saw it in. The more lotical interpretations, the better in her eyes. Even so, she was more aligned with the Traditionalists than anyone else. The Revisionists were too complacent, and the Alternatives were just a fad soon to be extinguished.

To think more people would care about what interpretation of the unprovable would win out than what tangible discoveries she made. But that was the curse of being a Translator. She was were always stranded on the thin line between tangible and spiritual. She had to see both sides to make her judgements, yet believed in only one. There was a reason she’d focused on weaponry. That didn’t have any major spiritual meanings to it. One used it to kill their enemies. Simple. Effective. Obvious. One didn’t need to concern themselves with how one saw the deeper spiritual meaning of a bullet hitting a face!

Yet here she was. She’d volunteered for this I’m hopes of escaping from the outskirts of society and being seen as a hero. And to some, she would be. But in this era, at this rate...what would she amount to? Maybe she was just tired. Maybe it was just the nightmares of those Willbearers she’d sent off to war rising from the mud around her and dragging her to the Third World without a Shadow yet grown. But even if that was the case, she was isolated. Her fellow Translators aboard respected her, but carried an unspoken grudge against her for her past work. She was a killer. How could they respect that, when they saw themselves as problem solvers and creators?

“Am I intruding?” One of the Willbearers had entered the room. Iggigha was about to snap at them, but calmed the moment she saw that silver skin and lime plumage. It was Soregh. She was ostensibly a Willbearer, lacking in her own spirit. Yet in her, Iggigha found comfort and excitement. She was always quick to answer any question flung her way. She spoke with modesty, yet she was rarely outright wrong. She was more intelligent that half the Translators aboard. Yet her will was supposedly nonexistent. Surely she deserved the rifle of Growthborn at very least?

“Not at all. I’m done here regardless.” She walked past the Willbearer, stopping as she exited the room. “Come with me.” It wasn’t an order. The tone she spoke with was soft, soothing. Reassuring Soregh that the option to decline existed. That she had a choice. She wasn’t like the others, who merely carried out her will, or that of others. Soregh needed a choice. Whether the Divinarium recognised it or not, she had a will, and commended that much respect at very least. The Willbearer almost immediately bowed, and followed as she’d asked, a tingling feeling of relief engulfing Iggigha. She needed some proper company, just for a few moments. The two reached the observation chamber, a zero-gravity dome with the top (as determined by internal gravity) made from a transparent material. From here, they could see the planettneh currently orbited, and countless stars beckoning in the distance.

“It’s a majestic sight, isn’t it?” Iggigha watched as the planet slowly faded from view. The craft was rotating as it collected more data, causing the view to warp ever so slightly, just enough for the keen eye to notice. “The true wonder of the Cosmos, right before our eyes. It should be a glorious sight. A testament to our ability that have risen so high, so far beyond our primitive beginnings.” She let out a soft puff of air, equivalent to a sigh. “And yet, it makes each of our lives seem so very insignificant by comparison.”

“That’s not true.” Soregh didn’t add any title to that statement. She was speaking as herself, not as the bearer of another’s will. Would be be caught? Would both of them be punished? Perhaps, one day. But Iggigha would rather that then being forced to suppress this entirely. “The Cosmos is grand. But we are those who can see it, understand it, and impose our will upon it. Life has meaning. The Cosmos never ends. We do, but we are carried into the next world. So fear not, my lady. One day, the Shadow you will cats in the Third World will be enormous, and you will be at peace knowing you’ve accomplished more than most could dream of.”


“I doubt it.” An admission of her cynicism. “But thank you, Soregh, for your kind words. For your true words. For your own words.” There was silence for many moments, but it was not awkward. It was merely a moment of introspection, contemplation, each Drelamt shrouded by starlight. Ancient legends had once foretold that those beacons in the sky carried the souls of the fallen. Now, she knew what they truly were. Stars were the forged of the universe, creating everything in the Second World. Did they too have souls and wills of their own, in a way? Without them, life wouldn’t exist. They were givers of life and purpose.

And one day, she would tell her children about how she’d been to them all, and the fascinating sights she’d seen at the very edge of the Cosmos.

“I’d best get some rest. Thank you once more.” Iggigha left the observation room, readying herself to sleep.

May I ever be amongst the secrets of the Cosmos, for it is that drive that shall compel me towards acceptance.

———————————————————————————————————————————
In the wake of the discovery of intelligent alien life, even if it seemed to no longer be an active force, Drelamt society was beginning to undergo radical change. With the increasing rise of the Alternative perspective, the decision to ignore the second set of alien artefacts found on the asteroid of WT9-619 was being questioned. At the time of the discovery itself, the general view was that the ISS Soltreem-Bu had been unequipped to deal with the alien technology, and that it could be returned to once the needed equipment had been invented and tested. But the Alternatives- growing more organised and united- argued that by doing so, they were ignoring a blessing of the Cosmos, and denying an opportunity to become the chosen wills of the Cosmos of this part of the historical cycle.

The Revisionist view was much easier to reconcile with this evidence of intelligent alien life than the hardline Traditionalist viewpoint. As a result, the Revisionists did see some minor growth for a short time. But the vast majority of those who would become Alternatives would Traditionalists. Unable to reconcile their past beliefs with this new reality, they began questioning core tenets of their philosophy. This led to them being shunned by the more staunch Traditionalists, causing many with these viewpoints to become far closer to each other than anyone else. Eventually, these women, called everything from “truthseers” to “faith traitors”, merged with the Alternatives and formed a considerable coalition of likeminded Diviners.

This left Volgethaana in a perilous position. It was unclear which side was going to win this debate, and she couldn’t afford constant disagreements to impede progress. Her mind was focused on the colonisation effort. She was excellent at appealing to the people of the Sanctuary- that was why she had become Diviner of the Cycle to begin with. But each side was starting to see her as a tool to use to make their position right. She herself was a Traditionalist, and that hadn’t changed despite the exploration of space. At the same time, aligning herself with the Alternatives would allow her to better push for what she wanted to actually happen- they saw the colonisation of space as an urgently necessary process, and their fear of alien life was one she shared, a fear unrecognised by the more stubborn Traditionalists. In the end, she elected to remain neutral on the matter, never spending long espousing beliefs of either side, and trying to focus on the tangible. This reluctance to speak up maintained cohesion to some extent, but it was far from unnoticed by the more opportunistic members of the Divinarium. Volgethaana’s hold on the Diviners was weakening, and she couldn’t keep this up indefinitely without suffering massive backlash from every position.


The Faghihinejad system was the second star system surveyed by the ISS Indarageem-Ni
In the midst of the debate over what religious interpretation of the universe was correct, scheduled scientific exploration continued as planned. The ISS Indarageem-Ni proceeded from the Jor Mon Dir system- remarkable only for a few physics research opportunities- to a star known as Faghihinejad. The system was large, but lacking in the same amount of life as was hoped for given previous efforts in systems like Ascella and Rovannic.


Kerensa, a pulsar
The ISS Soltreem-Bu, in the meantime, explored the pulsar known as Kerensa. The few planets in orbit around the neutron star were barren, soaked in radiation as the fast-spinning star emitted vast beams of intense light. Thankfully, the science vessel’s shielding was up to task of handling the bursts of radiation. Although it wasn’t expected that anything as incredible as life would be uncovered here, the ability to see a pulsar up close and get precise readings on the exotic star was greatly appreciated by the Sanctuary’s Translators.


The Ascella Mining Station was the first power collection station in another star system
Almost immediately after Ascella Station had been completed, the Ascella Mining Station had begun construction. The ISS Endoreem-Ni has an experienced crew, the necessary equipment and supplies to pull the operation off, and a large freighter fleet inbound to aid with the effort. Extensive planning had taken place to ensure there would be no holdup in construction. The Ascella Mining Station existed to collect energy from Ascella- energy that would be use to fuel not only other mining stations in the system, but the colony that was planned for Ascella II. Establishing infrastructure would be much easier with a suitable power source already in place. Construction was completed without any major issues.


Many paths towards the future were debated by the Divinarium
After the completion of the Ascella Mining Station, the Divinarium entered a great uproar. The issue of how to proceed had been growing more pressing, but with the necessary infrastructure for a colony in place, the debate had reached maximum intensity. Each sect had its own perspective on what to focus on when it came to the Cosmos.

The Revisionists supported focusing on issues on Uraya, trying to ensure the happiness and sanctity of all on their own world before focusing on others. There were the most unified in their approach, though only because they were the smallest group of any importance in the Divinarium. Despite this, they pushed hard. They feared the difficulty that progress would bring, and brought up many points relating to the dangers of overexpansion and overdevelopment. With a specific focus on the upheaval too much automation had caused in the past, they made the argument that Drelamt society simply wasn’t ready for this next step, an argument many Lifegivers and Growthborn could get behind.

Unfortunately for the Revisionists, it was not Growthborn and Lifegivers they needed to confjce, and the other two major sects had the opposite opinion and a huge numerical advantage. The Traditionalists and Alternatives actually agreed on what the main focus should be, though for different reasons. The former group wanted a better understanding of the Cosmos and to establish a colony to impose their will upon it. The latter group saw this as the destiny of their people- one which would be taken from them if they weren’t fast enough. This sense of urgency carried with it a fear of the unknown- a fear that other life could be superior, could eclipse them.

The question over whether to prioritise technological development and discover or colonial expansion was argued for much time. Both sides were around evenly matched, but not because the sects were equal in size. In this situation, a rare phenomenon had occurred- both groups were split, and so members of each group would often agree with each other more than their own sect. This exotic event gave Volgethaana the much-appreciated opportunity to be the arbiter of the debate without actually supporting any particular sect.


The need to explore the Cosmos was a driving force of the Drelamt Sanctuary
In the end, Volgethaana made the choice that a focus on exploration and scientific discovery was the top priority. As much as she desired expansion, it was only through that discovery that other habitable worlds could be discovered, and one day colonised by the Sanctuary. She was successful- though not by a large margin- in promoting her perspective, and it was ultimately chosen as the path towards the future. Some personal resentment did exist, but Volgethaana anticipated that it would rapidly fade as the sects focused on arguing with each other once again. Nonetheless, it was only through fortune that she’d had this chance at all. She needed to choose a sect to champion sooner or later, and everyone knew it.


The Habitable Worlds Survey initiative became widely supported after its inception
The main effort of interstellar exploration soon shifted from merely seeking out other worlds to specifically searching for ones containing life. The idea of the search gained popularity in the general population, in part due to the excitement over the idea, and in part because it furthered study of the Cosmos. However, the general population also had many fears about the effort. In general, the population received much less detailed information than the Divinarium, who had direct access to science vessels. The population could also afford to care a lot less about space at the time, though it wouldn’t be all too long before ignoring the matter only happened as a result of deliberate choice rather than simple apathy.

The Habitable Worlds Survey was a global initiative sponsored by multiple foundations. It had the simple goal of locating and studying eight additional worlds capable of sustaining life. The reason behind the number eight was a simple one- it was seen as a lucky number in Drelamt culture, and was thus likely to be noticed by more people. The project accorded public donations to support the effort. Many supplied finances, raw materials, and even Willbearers- a resources not normally permitted to be traded in such a manner, but with an exception made in this case. With these resources, the next step towards establishing civilisation on Ascella II could finally begin in earnest.


The development of a colony effort was a colossal undertaking
The development of the colonial effort is Ascella II was a complicated sequence of events. It wasn’t a single vessel that was designed, but many ships, each designed for a different purpose. A massive number of freighters would be required to help sustain the colony, a wide variety of personnel were needed to populate it. Many of these would indeed be Willbearers, but many Growthborn, Lifegivers and Translators were encouraged to take up the opportunity. Although many Drelamt remained reluctant to take part in the effort, many believed the benefits of being the first wave to arrive would be enough to make it a worthwhile endeavour. They had a chance to become the elite on an entirely new world. Although many standards needed to be met, selection wasn’t overly strict beyond things such as criminal records and religious views. The only way to ensure that the colony had a sufficient starting population to be immediately worthwhile- rather than requiring generations to catch up- was to be fairly lenient with regards to these affairs.


The discovery of another set of artefacts led to much speculation
While surveying the unremarkable batten moon of Faghihenejad I, Iggigha and the crew of the ISS Indarageem-Ni made a remarkable discovery. There appeared to be signs of activity of a fallen civilisation. Intiial scans could not determine their precise origin. Speculation was rampant in the Divinarium, over two concerns. The first of these was the origin of the artefacts. Were they a Yuht creation, or from a yet unknown civilisation? The majority believed they were likely Yuht in origin- it wasn’t far from Rovannic, after all, where the first discovery of Yuht activity had taken place.

The second question led to even more debate. The Alternatives wished to commence immediate study of the artefacts to determine their origin and purpose. They were still bitter over what they saw as a missed opportunity at WT9-619. The Revisionists had little say and were divided on the issue regardless. The Traditionalists, however, believed that trying to uncover it now would risk damaging it or causing unknown consequences. In the end, the decision came down to the Diviner of the Cycle.

Volgethaana had tried to avoid supporting one side more than the other in this debate for over a year at this point. The patience of each group was growing thin. She needed to make a stand. Neutrality was not an option this time. On one historic day, the Diviner of the Cycle stepped onto the stage, the image of the barren world displayed behind her by holographic projectors, and began to speak.

“On behalf of the Divinarium, I speak to you all today. I know this is a difficult decision for many. There is the potential for catastrophe, should we not be cautious. Yet it is our fear which limits us. If we wish to impose our will upon the cosmos, if we desire to succeed these fallen civilisations, we cannot allow such opportunities to continually elude us. Therefore, I have made my decision. Further examination is to begin immediately, for the sake of the Sanctuary. Through progress, we gain strength. Through will, we gain power, and by my will we shall succeed not through cowardice, but through determination.”

The Divinarium would be very divided over this decision, but Volgethaana refused to relent in her position. Shortly afterwards, the ISS Indarageem-Ni began to examine the remains of precursor activity on the barren moon. The path forward had been determined. The path the Sanctuay would follow in its journey to the stars.

The path not of trepidation, but of progress.

—————————————————————————————————————————
I would like to take this moment to thank you all for following the AAR, and for your comments. I greatly appreciate it! Not too much exciting happened this session (I seem to going a year at a time, or something of the sort), but a lot of groundwork is being laid for the future of the civilisation.

I’ve decided to begin trying to reply to each comment individually this time.

RossN: Thank you for your kind words! Developing alien culture can be a quite interesting exercise. Of course, there’s always some limitations, and it does have to comprehensible, but one can make quite an unusual culture. I look forward to seeing what aliens the game throws my way. The Alternative viewpoint is indeed fairly aggressive, for better or for worse.

Stnylan: Indeed, although it will take a while to seep in to culture in general, there will be a major impact on Drelamt society. Additionally, my extensive thanks for the nomination, I never expected to receive anything like that.

Specialist290: Thanks! I hope you will continue to enjoy my work. I do tend towards the narrative and worldbuilding stuff in games. Plus it helps make my poor in-game decisions look a less terrible :p
 

stnylan

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Well now the Diviner of the Cycle may yet find she has to choose, and that her choice will be far from easy.

Though I do wonder if she has not, in fact, already chosen.
 

Specialist290

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Finally caught up!

I'm quite enjoying the level of detail you're giving in particular to the Drelamt's beliefs -- not just the way their views cover their actions generally, but also the way that differing interpretations of the same basic dogma compete for attention and legitimacy in the public eye. It adds a layer of verisimilitude that often gets lost in works that portray a faction, religion, or philosophy as a single monolithic bloc.